Grapevine Archive for October, 2009
Paul Pujol was winemaker at Kuentz Bas in Alsace then Lemelson in Oregon (when The Wine Society first started importing the wines). In 1996 he went back home to New Zealand’s South Island to make the excellent Prophet’s Rock wines. Ever since The Wine Society started importing Prophet’s Rock in 2006, Paul and I talked about working together to find a single-vineyard wine that could be produced exclusively for Wine Society members.
Paul recently visited The Wine Society’s offices in Stevenage where Societynews editor, Joanna Goodman, and I were able to find out more about how this collaboration came into fruition.
Video clip 1: Paul tells us about the search for a suitable vineyard and what makes the site so special.
Video clip 2: What makes Central Otago so well-suited to the pinot noir grape.
Video clip 3: Paul talks about making the wine and the differences between Mount Koinga and Prophet’s Rock.
Video clip 4: Should you cellar Mount Koinga and if so, for how long?
Video clip 5: Paul tells us more about his winemaking background.
Video clip 6: Paul tells us how Mount Koinga is so unique, and is a little bit of Central Otago with The Wine Society name on it.
From left to right: Marc Kent, Chris Williams, Adam Mason, Mike Ratcliffe
For two evenings, over 400 Society members and their guests have been treated to 32 South African wines from 15 producers, 10 of whom were in attendance at London’s RIBA and in Glasgow’s Trades’ Hall. Marc Kent (Boekenhoutskloof), Michelle du Preez (Bon Cap), Gottfried Mocke (Chamonix), Chris Williams (Meerlust), Adam Mason (Klein Constantia), Fanus Bruwer (Quando), Carl van der Merwe (Quoin Rock), Jeanette Bruwer (Springfield Estate), Cathy Brewer (Villiera) and Mike Ratcliffe (Warwick Estate) were all there talking to, and pouring their wines for, members. Other producers represented were Glen Carlou, Stormy Cape, Kanonkop, Miles Mossop and Nuy Wine Cellar. An amazing array of wines were tasted, testament to both the prowess of the growers and to the talents of The Society’s buyer for South African, Joanna Locke MW
For more details of similar events and more, take a look at The Society’s tastings & events programme.
There are still around ten days left until the end of harvest in Veneto, but Silvia Allegrini and Andrea Pieropan took time out of their busy schedule to fly to London and host The Wine Society‘s eighth dinner at London’s excellent The River Café, before turning around and heading straight back to work among the vines. It was a repeat of our first dinner there back in 2002 with Silvia’s aunt Marilisa and Andrea’s father Leonildo.
The wines were Soave 2008 (aperitif), Soave Classico ‘La Rocca’ 2006 (starter) and Recioto di Soave ‘Le Colombare’ 2006 (dessert) from Pieropan and La Grola 2005, La Poja 2004 (main course) and Amarone della Valpollicella Classico 2004 from Allegrini .
All three Soaves, each so very different from the next, are made from garganega and trebbiano di Soave; La Grola is a blend of corvina veronese, rondinella, syrah and sangiovese; La Poja is 100% corvina; the Amarone is made up of corvina veronese, rondinella and oseleta.
My personal favourite food/wine match was La Rocca with the starter – rotolo di spinaci (fresh pasta with spinach, buffalo ricotta, Scottish girolles and marjoram, sage butter and parmesan) – while during the main course I even added to my Italian vocabulary by learning that gallo cedrone is grouse – it also makes La Poja sing! And if you’ve ever wondered what it feels like to have died and gone to heaven, simply try their pannacotta with grappa.
Harvest is well and truly underway in the Loire Valley and things are looking promising. Despite cool and misty mornings, day time temperatures are still approx. 25 degrees with beautiful sunshine, following a day or two of welcome rain at the start of September. Vines are healthy and Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadet are beng picked in Muscadet, Anjou and Touraine, with most wine makers waiting another week or two before picking red varieties. All are keeping their fingers crossed for what they are hoping will be one of the best vintages for many years.
At this moment Marc Hugel and his team of pickers are harvesting Riesling on the Grand Cru Schoenenbourg. What they are doing now is going through the best part of the vineyard and they are only picking grapes that have been affected by noble rot. Sometimes they can pick a whole bunch, but more often than not they are picking berry by berry. Laborious work especially when the vineyard is so steep. Noble rot is no ordinary rot. Conditions have to be perfect, with humidity in the mornings in the form of autumnal mist, or heavy dew, but then the sun needs to shine in the afternoon to dry everything up. The rot makes the grape skins permeable, so water evaporates, allowing sugars to concentrate. The end result for Hugel will hopefully be a bottling of very rare and highly prized Riesling Sélection de Grains Nobles.