A WORLD OF WINE

by CloudWines

Zenith August

Wine 1: Domaine Stina Vino, Plavac Mali Majstor 2009, Brač, Croatie

 

(CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS WINE)

 

 

The region

Croatia’s Dalmatian coastline has more to offert than a summer tourist’s paradise. Hot and dry summers, limestone soils and cooling maritime influence also have beneficial effects on the vine.

Brač is the largest of the many islands that lie along this coastline. Croatian wines have only emerged recently on the international scene but they are rapidly gaining a niche reputation. This country has a long tradition of wine production with many indigenous grape varieties. In the inner part of the country, most of these are white, but red grapes dominate along the coast. Here one of the most intesting red varieties is Plavac Mali, whose strong personnality gives us powerful and full-bodied wines that benefit from barrel ageing and will keep well.

 

 

Vignobles Vrac

 

 

The estate and the wine

In 2009, Jako Andabak took over a winery building that dates from the early 20th century in the port town of Bol, on the island of Brač. Since then his production has become one of Croatia’s best. The cellars have been beautifully renovated and he has replanted some old vineyards perched high up on the spectacular coastline where the stone and rock (stina) has had to be split to allow the vines to root. Only local varieties are used here : Vugava, Pošip, Crljenak (which is the same variety as zinfandel in California) and, especially, plavac mali which produces several cuvées. Majstor 2009 is a fine example of these. It comes from some of the estate’s best plots and shows all the power and richness of this grape. The wine spent a full 2 years in barrels and is now ready for drinking, having also aged in bottles.

 

 

 

Jako Andabak Stina

 

 

Tasting note

The nose is incredibly rich, with all the depth and complexity of a Christmas pudding. One can pick out hints of dried fruit, orange peel, preserved fruit and caramel. This intensity clearly follows through on the palate where it is sustained by a fine tannic structure that is wrapped with fruit-based substance that is as long as it is intense in its flavours.

 

With food

T-bone steak, roast lamb, meat stews, game.

 

 

Sébastien Durand-Viel

 

 

 

 

Wine 2: Anselmo Mendes, Contacto Alvarinho, Vinho Verde, 2014

 

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The region

The Vinho Verde region lies in Northern Portugal, close to the Atlantic Ocean and running up to the border with Spanish Galicia. Both vegetation and topography form a strking contast with those of the usually stark and mountaneous Douro Valley (where Port is produced) to the south and east. Here all is green and moist and production is essentially of white wines that are usually light and fresh, made to be drunk young. Such wines are well adapted to local foodstuffs which often mix fish and sea-food with pork and vegetables. There are five main local grape varieties of which arinto, loureiro and trajadura are the most planted, along with alvarinho which is strongly represented in the Monção sector in the north. Together with its white wines, there is also some production of red Vinho Verde which is essentially drunk locally.

 

 

vinho verde vignobles

 

 

 

The estate

Alselmo Mendes, who was born in Monção, has a high reputation amongst Portuguese winemakers. He produced his first wines in 1998 and is a specialist of the alvarinho grape, which is known as albarino across the border in Spain. This fragrant variety can produce deliciously perfumed and seductive wines when its yields are curtailed. Anselmo Mendes is one of the very best exponents of this style and this example from vineyards in Monção and Melgaço proves the point. The wine has been fermented and raised in tanks.

 

 

 

Anselmo Mendes Vinho Verde

 

 

 

Tasting note

An instant charmer through its aromatic complexity, its softness and fine texture, it manages to be both precise and lively at the same time, mouthwatering and with considerable length. We loved its slight saltiness and its smooth texture. Very satisfying and harmonious.

 

With food

All kinds of light and salty aperitif dishes, sushis, vegetable terrines, grilled fish, savoury pies and sea food.

 

 

Sébastien Durand-Viel

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wine 3: Vins de Vienne, Heluicum, IGP des Collines Rhodaniennes, 2013

 

(CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS WINE)

 

 

The region

Lying just north of the town of Vienne and the famous Côte Rôtie appellation, the vineyard has a modest IGP ranking (formerly Vin de Pays) and was formerly known as Vin de Seyssuel. It forms the northern extremity of Rhone Valley vineyards. These formerly famed vineyards were abandoned after phylloxera had destroyed the vines and were not replanted until long after the appellation system was created. This « rebirth » was the idea and labour of three of the top winemakers in the region, all of whom produce wines in neigbouring appellations such as Côte Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint Joseph. Their inspiration came from ancient texts that vaunted the quality of wines from these steep slopes on poor soils of slate that were made more hospitable by terracing. The vineyard was gradually replanted as from the late 1990’s, logically using the syrah grape that is the exclusive red variety in the region. Even from young vines, the wines show great depth and structure, very similar to those of Côte Rôtie on the other side of the river Rhône and just to the south.

 

 

 

vins de vienne vignoble

 

 

The estate

Vins de Vienne is the name given to the association between the three vignerons : Cuilleron, Villard and Gaillard. Their project, inspired by the readings of Pierre Gaillard when he was a student in Beaune, was to restore the formerly great vineyards on this left bank of the Rhône. The site had huge potential and, a few years later and despite the youthfulness of the vines, three different wines have been produced, their names paying homage to the ancient Romans who took the wines from these hills all the way to Rome. These pure syrahs have both finesse and complexity to offer. Heluicum comes from hillside vines that were planted in 2001 and was aged for 16 months in oak barrels.

 

 

 

vins de vienne 3 vignerons bis

 

 

 

Tasting note

The aromas on the nose are intense and complex, full of refined notes of white pepper, wild berry fruit, thyme and woodland. They are true to the finest expressions of the syrah grape in this region.

The palate is just as refined, with precise aromatic touches surrounding a vibrantly powerful core. The wine has amazing balance since its alcohol level is surprisingly low at 12,5°, and the finesse of its tannins absolves it from any suspicion of austerity in such a young wine. Its lingering finish is the hallmark of a great wine that can be enjoyed now or kept for a good 5 years. Best served at 15/16°

 

 

With food

Grilled or roasted red meat, leg of lamb, t-bone steak, feathered game, duck breast.

 

 

 

David Cobbold

 

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