Glenelly Estate, purchased in 2003 by Madame May de Lencquesaing following her sale of famous Bordeaux Chateau,Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande can be found on the southern slopes of the Simonsberg Mountain in Idas Valley, Stellenbosch. Madame May, at over 80-years of age, decided that rather than easing into her retirement she would add to her 30 years of experience in the wine business. She believed in the soil, the micro-climate and the potential for quality wines in the 128 hectare property. Winemaker, Luke O'Cuinneagain, has s suitably Francophile approach to winemaking which was no doubt nurtured whilst working several vintages at high profile estates in Bordeaux and Alsace. The grapes were whole bunch pressed and the juice transferred to new 500 litre barrels after settling. Following 7 months on its lees the Grand Vin Chardonnay sees 10 months in barrel. It is well proportioned with great poise and lift.
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Several years ago Jacques decided to leave the family domaine in Puligny and set up on his own a few doors down the street. With holdings in many of the best vineyards of the region Jacques has top quality fruit which he ferments in cask and ages his wines for a further six months in barrel before finishing off with a six month 'rest' in stainless steel tank. Fresh, good depth of fruit and notable natural acidity mean a very elegant style of wine.
English wine is no longer the joke it used to be and following close behind the world acclaim for the quality of our sparkling wines the still wines are now begining to gather praise. Situated on the banks of the River Dart near Totnes in South Devon, the Sharpham Estate consists of 500 acres of mixed farmland owned by the Sharpham Trust. The house, designed in 1770 by Sir Robert Taylor, stands on a hill overlooking the vineyards, fields and the winding River Dart. The house is also home of the Sharpham Trust, an educational charity that promotes well-being and sustainable living. This off-dry wine has a light, fresh character achieved by carefully blending the different grape varieties and partially ageing in American oak. Lovely fruit aromas with supple delicate flavours and a just off-dry style, result in a wine ideal for drinking alone or with food. This wine makes for ideal early drinking.
Made from Cortese, the hero white variety in Piedmont, this wine has ample ripe peach fruit with an elegant balance of acidity.
The estate is made up of 18 "appellation" hectares (44 acres), sixteen of which are under cultivation. The majority of the plots are grouped around the château itself, in the small administrative municipalities of Sauternes, Bommes, and Preignac. Surrounded by the most renowned Sauternes vineyards, this is an ideal location and combines the best conditions to produce a great Sauternes.
This is a family-run business which was established in 1998 by Miklós Bene. The 7 hectares are planted to indigenous varieties Furmint, Hárslevelú and Muscat Lunel. A shiny new winery was built in 1999, which compliments the 150-year-old barrel cellar, whose walls are covered in Cladosporium cellare, the mould much prized by wine estates throughout Europe. Tokaji Aszú derives its rich, copper colour and depth of sweetness from Botrytis-affected grapes, with its intense aromas and flavours of honey and apricots. A five puttonyos wine (1 puttonyos equals 27 kg of Botrytised grapes) is made by adding 5 puttonyos to a gönzi (136 litre barrel) of new wine. After this maceration, the grapes are then pressed, and the extracted sugars re-start the fermentation, and the wine is finally transferred into oak barrels for ageing. One of the wine world's iconic creations.
The great diversity of terroir of the Robertson Valley is a major contributing factor to the quality and character of the wines made here, from the rich soils near the river, to the shale and sandstone on the lower slopes of the Langeberg Mountains to the gravelly soils higher up. The Robertson Valley is around 100 miles from Cape Town, between these foothills to the lower reaches of the Breede River. The area is perfect for grape growing with unlimited sunshine and cooling sea breezes. Forty-three growers, many of them fourth generation, supply the modern winery with grapes from a mighty total of 2000 hectares. This has the tell-tale mouthfeel and viscous texture of Viognier, with honeyed apricot flavours and limes on the palate.
It appears that the Greco grape variety is probably the ancestor vine to nearly all of Italys white varieties, including Verdicchio, which in turn is related to Trebbiano. Whereas Trebbiano is ubiquitous across Italy (and in France where it is also known as Ugni Blanc), Verdicchio is indigenous to the Marche region of central Italy. In the Castelli di Jesi DOC, they are permitted to add a maximum of 15% Trebbiano to the Verdicchio, and this produces a wine which is fresh and crisp. Founded in 1928, and it is the third generation Luca, Annalisa and Alessandro - who run the winery today. Enjoy as an aperitif or with anti pasti.
Just over the river from Sauternes lies the lesser known sweet-wine region of Saint Croix du Mont. The wines here benefit from the same climatic conditions of misty autumnal mornings that promote the development of the beneficial Botrytis fungus that helps make great sweet wines. The soils are different, being composed mainly of clay and chalk, which is liberally seamed with ancient oyster shells. This gives the wines a lighter character.
The Gadais 96 acres, south of Nantes, is just a short drive inland from the Atlantic at Pornic. Hardly surprising, therefore, that Muscadet is so light and refreshing, with all the cool maritime climate to maintain the grapes natural acidity. The Domaine is run by Christophe, following his father, Michels, retirement. Although Muscadet has struggled in the face of increased competition from inexpensive whites from the New World, its peculiar charms are starting to be rediscovered by those who enjoy a modest amount of alcohol, combined with natural acidity and white flowers and apples. Made from the Mélon de Bourgogne, or Muscadet grape, this is the only thing to drink when eating oysters although lesser bottles are very good when cooking moules marinières.
Lugana is the native grape here (genetically akin to Verdicchio), and is grown on the southern shores of Lake Garda, in the north Italian region of Lombardy, around the town of Sirmione. Low yields from 40-year-old vines, and only the first pressings go into ex-lawyer, Nunzios, pride and joy, which is named after the colourful European Bee-eater, which comes over from North African to feed in their numbers in the summer skies over his vineyards. The estate of Nunzio Ghiraldi dates back to 1900 when the Podere Santa Onorata was purchased by Nunzios grandfather.The wine is fermented in stainless-steel, undergoes a malolactic fermentation and displays a range of herbal notes and tropical fruits, together with a crisp texture and satisfying finish.