Friday, April 17, 2009

Magic and wine..

Le Chemin des Reves Abracadabra 2007 RRP 15.95

One of my favorite French wines of recent times is this red wine from the Languedoc.
Its made by Benoit Viot at Le Chemin des Reves (“The path of dreams”)

Its certainly a modern-style French wine with a funky colourful label and an English description of the wine on the back label. Benoit travelled to the UK and Chile and he picked up some nice ideas from the New World wines that he came across there.
There’s also a nice quote on the bottle “Reve ta vie en couleur, c’est le secret du bonheur” (dream your life in colour, this is the secret of happiness!)

Ahh, the French and their’d be surprised how many small winemakers
do a nice sideline in philosophy..I’ve certainly come across a few.
(In fairness I think we all like to philosophise after a decent drop of vino! )
I guess there are plenty of times when winemakers have to react philosophically..can you imagine the stress they must be under when a hail-storm threatens their vines and their livelihood! The amount of graft, skill and patience winemakers have to call upon in looking after vines and making good wine constantly amazes’s a real vocation if you ask me..

Anyway,this wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. It weighs in at a healthy 14% alcohol and is absolutely packed with fruit and spice and all things nice. It could easily pass for a Rhone wine and geographically speaking, the vineyards are very close to the Rhone wine region (just to the north of Montpellier) in an area called Pic Saint Loup, which is gaining a real reputation as a top area for red wine.

Keep your eyes open for wines of this region..any of the ones I’ve tried so far have been really good.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Chateau Musar 2001

Chateau Musar 2001 RRP 27.95

This is a must-try wine for any self-respecting red wine fan.
Like Cloudy Bay is to New Zealand its Lebanon’s icon wine and has been for many years now.

I’ve tried this wine in several vintages and I’ve never been disappointed.
I had a memorable bottle of the 1998 at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan with a tasty fillet steak...God Help me..I’ve a hard life..

The people at Musar only release the wine after seven years so its already got some bottle age and is showing a nice bit of complexity by the time you can actually buy it. I really think that’s a great many wines hit the market way too young where they’re not near ready to drink and enjoy.

I had a really enjoyable tasting of Musar wines at the London Wine Fair some years ago and Serge Hochar himself talked us through the wines, red and white. Yes there is a Musar White..although its hard enough to find in Ireland. We tasted several brilliant vintages of the reds and then (on Serge’s advice) moved onto the whites!! An unusual approach to tasting..usually its whites before reds..but then again Musar is far from a “usual” wine.
In fact I think Musar is pretty "unique" in the world of fine wine.

It’s a wine made following Bordeaux winemaking principles (Serge Hochar learned quite a bit from some famous names in Bordeaux) its not really Bordeaux-like though, it has a more exotic "feel" and spicy character from the hot climate and unusual grape mix.

I certainly think it’s a “fine wine” by any measure. Its got quite a funky mix of flavours which I absolutely love and it develops and changes in the glass as you work your way through the bottle.

Its quite liable to throw a sediment as you reach the end of the bottle (the wines are made as naturally as possible and it is eight years old afterall..)
I always get quite excited when I see sediment at the end of a red wine.
(Over the years drinking wine most of the wines I’ve found sediment in have been absolutely sensational.)

There’s obviously a political backdrop to where the wine comes from, the vineyards are in the Bekaa Valley, where there have been many bomb attacks and battles over the years..that they continue to make such great wines through such difficult times gives the wines an added dimension.

Chateau of the World’s most interesting fine wines!