While we won’t be kicking off the tasting until 8pm, last time out it was felt that getting the introductory blurb about the wines out earlier would help matters flow more freely during the tasting itself. Also, I’m not around tonight to post it at 8pm, so …
Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur Lie, Domaine des Ratelles 2016, abv 12%, £7.50/bottle
It all started in 1948 with 4 ha and Gustave Vinet.
It grew slowly over the years and in 1981 Gustave’s son Gérard took on what was by then 8 ha. Brother Daniel joined him in 1985, and his wife in 1990. Daniel tends the vines and winemaking is carried out by Gérard.
Daniel and Laurence Vinet
Nowadays, the estate has 55 ha of vines in two different sub-zones – 46 ha in La Haye Fouassière and 9 in Château Thébaud, in the very heart of the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine. Located only 15km south of Nantes, the winery is situated in La Haye Fouassière, which is where the appellation has its origins. The vineyards are on the banks of the Sèvre and the Maine, the two rivers the appellation took its name from.
So where are we exactly?
The Vinet winery at La Quilla in La Haye Fouassière
Domaines les Ratelles comes from some of their best plots around La Haye Fouassière totalling 15 ha The harvest generally begins in early September. The soil is sandy, with quartz pebbles (that help retain summer heat) over gneiss and clay of different grades. The grape variety is, of course, like all Muscadet, melon de Bourgogne.
The wine is made in the usual way, followed by six months ageing on the fine lees, bottled at the domaine and released in the June following the harvest. The Vinets say it should be served at 11˚C (precise or what!?), and can be drunk up to 5 years after harvest. Perfect as an aperitif or with fish in sauce, such as pike in a beurre blanc sauce.
A Fistful of Schist Reserve Shiraz-Cinsault-Mourvèdre, Swartland 2017, abv 14%, £5.95
Nestled in the picturesque Riebeek Valley, tucked up against the slopes of the majestic Kasteelberg, on the outskirts of the charming town of Riebeek Kasteel in the Cape’s long-established (and now trendy) Swartland region. lies Riebeek Cellars, a co-operative wine business (comprising some 40 members).
The vineyards of the Riebeek Cellars growers lie in a richly diverse area in terms of soil, climate and topography. Vineyards are situated at heights that vary from 60 m above sea level to 300 m against the slopes of the Kasteelberg mountains.
Rainfall occurs during winter months with enough ‘cold units’ to ensure a proper rest phase for the vines before bud-break in early September. The summers are sunny and warm with cooling westerly winds that are ideal conditions for producing wine.
Riebeek produces a wide range of wines and wine styles, often from older bush vines which deliver greater complexity at very modest prices. The range of Fistful of Schist wines are made here for us, under the guidance of Alecia Boshoff, the cellars’ winemaker and production manager
This example is a silky, fruit-driven blend of three classic Rhône grape varieties from dry-farmed vineyards in the Swartland region and a great Cape vintage.
Cheers all - have a great #TWSTaste!!