Friday, March 7, 2014
13 French Winemakers Presenting their Wines at a Dinner at Buck’s Fishing and Camping in Washington DC, USA
This was a very exciting winemaker dinner: With 13 visiting winemakers from all around France. It took place a Buck’s Fishing and Camping in the Chevy Chase area in Washington DC. The winemakers were in town for the annual portfolio tasting of Wine Traditions, an importer of French wines.
Ed and Barbara Addiss’ Wine Traditions
Wine Traditions: Created in 1996 by Edward Addiss and Barbara Selig, the philosophy of Wine Traditions is to discover independent winemakers whose passion for their vineyard and mastery of their winemaking craft combine to create a product that is a beautiful expression of the land from which it comes. They believe their portfolio demonstrates that wonderful wines can be found beyond well-known appellations and need not be overpriced. For them, wine is meant to be enjoyed with dinner, every day and at prices that make it an appropriate component of the meal.
Buck’s Fishing and Camping
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post: This arty and eclectic restaurant serves classic food made with the best ingredients. There are few local kitchens that do its familiar dishes better than Buck’s.
The 4 expertly prepared courses of American cuisine from Chef James Rexroad were indeed excellent.
Owner James Alefantis, who told us that he also owns a restaurant in Berlin, Germany, is charming and welcoming as is his restaurant: We are a small, neighborhood independently owned Fish Camp of a restaurant, where a woody, fire lit atmosphere is a great place to enjoy the best local produce, meats and fish.
Ombiasy PR and WineTours, Christian G.E. Schiller and Owner James Alefantis
See: 3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux
Winemaker Dinner with 13 Producers from France
At this totally unique event, after a Champagne and oyster welcome, the 13 French winemakers were on hand to present their wines. We had the opportunity to select one of three wines with each of the 4-courses to pair side-by-side with Buck's beautiful menu.
Oysters on the 1/2 Shell, Warm Gougeres, and Selection of Saucisson
Bourdaire-Gallois, Brut Champagne NV
House Applewood Smoked Salmon with its Roe
3 Wines and 3 Winemakers
Chateau Magneau, Graves Blanc 2012
Brigitte and Jean-Louis Ardurats: Winemakers/ Owners of Chateau Magneau, a beautiful Graves producer in the south of Bordeaux. The Graves region is often referred to as 'the cradle of Bordeaux wine' and has been described as a beauty asleep in her woods and forests. We were delighted to taste their Graves Rouge.
Domaine de Bel Air Pouilly-Fume 2012
Owner/ Winemaker Katia Mauroy-Gauliez from Domaine de Bel Air hails from the Loire Valley where the Sauvignon Blanc grape thrives. Katia Mauroy-Gauliez and her brother Cedric Mauroy are the ninth generation to manage Domaine de Bel Air. Their 15 acres of vineyards straddle the towns of Pouilly-sur-Loire and Saint Andelain. Pouilly-Fume is one of the Loire Valley’s most famous wines – a quintessential expression of flinty, vivacious Sauvignon Blanc.
Domaine Rois Mages "Les Cailloux" Rully Rouge 2011
Anne-Sophie Debavelaere, a native Burgundian, began her Domaine in 1984. 5 years ago, her son, Felix Debavelaere, who was sitting next to me at the dinner, took over. He now farms 11 hectares of vines which are mostly in Rully, but include small parcels in Bouzeron and Beaune. The vineyards are all worked with respect for the land in a fashion known as “lutte raisonnée”. The winery or “cave de vinification” is a vaulted cellar which was dug from the Rully hillside in 1850. It was originally built by a local negociant who wanted to have a cellar for sparkling wine similar to those in Champagne.
Wild Local Mushrooms with Tagliatelle Pasta and Herbs
3 Wines and 3 Winemakers
Domaine Billard Hautes Cotes de Beaune Blanc 2012
Winemaker Elisabeth and Jerome Billard, Domaine Billard have 12.5 hectares of vineyards in different appellations throughout the Cotes de Beaune. Their largest holdings are in the Hautes Cotes de Beaune with other small plots located in Saint Romain, Saint Aubin 1er Cru, Auxey Duresses and Beaune.
Chateau Vieux Chevrol Lalande de Pomerol 2009
The Champseix family has made wine at Château Vieux Chevrol for many generations and continues to do so in a traditional manner. Jean-Pierre Champseix runs the estate today (20 hectares), aided by his son Michel. He has a profound respect and veneration for his land, a relationship that truly guides his work. The vineyard lies on the Neac plateau overlooking the vineyards of Pomerol. The soil is clay mixed with gravel and iron-rich sandstone known locally as “crasse de fer”. The vineyard is planted to 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Chateau Gueyrosse Saint Emilion 2003
Winemaker Samuelle Delol, owns two estates Chateau Bel Air and Chateau Gueyrosse in St. Emilion. Chateau Gueyrosse dates from around 1750 and the Delol family obtained the property in 1850. Samuelle, who has recently taken over from her father, is the sixth generation to make wine at Gueyrosse. The vineyard is in the southwestern corner of Saint Emilion, on the outskirts of Libourne and has a soil of "graves rouge", a soil type similar to that found in the southern corner of Pomerol.
Magret Duck Steaks with a Frisee Salad of Duck Cracklins and Farm Poached Egg
3 Wines and 3 Winemakers
Chateau La Bourree Cotes de Castillon 2011
The husband and wife team M. Jean Francois Meynard and Christelle Gauthier, who were sitting next to me at the dinner, own 4 chateaux with a total vineyard area of 40 hectares. Chateau La Bouree extends over 10 hectares. The vineyard is planted with 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The yields are kept to 45h/hl by green harvesting and leaves are pulled as needed to insure proper ripening. Fermentation on the skins lasts for three weeks after which the wine is aged in used barrels for a year
Ombiasy PR and WineTours and the husband and Wife Team M. Jean Francois Meynard and Christelle Gauthier, Bordeaux
Chateau La Caminade Commandery Cahors 2009
Dominique Ressès: The Chateau La Caminade vineyards (34 hectares) lie in Parnac, in the heart of the Cahors region. The vineyard covers a variety of soil types including gravelly sand and clay/limestone. The Ressès family has been making wine here for four generations.
One of my early posting were about Dominique Ressès and his beautiful wines: The Wines of Chateau La Caminade in the Cahors, France - Malbec from its Birthplace
Mas D'Alezon Presbytere Faugeres 2012
Catherine Roque, Languedoc, is owner and winemaker of Mas d'Alezon and Domaine du Clovallon. Catherine says that seeing the results of bio-dynamic farming practices has greatly inspired her. Both of her estates are in Languedoc.
A Selection of 3 Regional Cheeses
3 Wines and 3 Winemakers
Camin Larredya La Part Davan Jurancon Sec 2012
Jean-Marc Grussaute: The Grussautes have a small but remarkable vineyard (9 hectares) situated in the Chapelle de Rousse area of Jurançon. The word “Camin” used instead of Domaine is the local dialect for chemin or road.
The majority of the vineyard, planted by Jean-Marc’s father 40 years ago, is terraced and lies on steep and curved slopes that form an amphitheater. The vineyard is planted to 60% Petit Manseng and 37% Gros Manseng and 3% Petit Courbu. Jean-Marc Grussaute began estate bottling in 1988. He has farmed organically since 2007 with the first certified vintage being 2010. Jean-Marc names his wines after the vineyard parcels from which they come.
The Jurançon Sec which is called La Part Davan, blends two thirds Gros Manseng with Petit Manseng and a small quantity of Petit Courbu.. The wine undergoes a “maceration pellicullaire” before fermentation in stainless steel tanks and foudres. The wine then is kept “sur lie” for at least six months.
Domaine du Pas Saint Martin Jurassique Saumur Blanc 2011
Domaine du Pas Saint Martin is set among troglodyte caves formed out of ancient fossilized marine life that covered the Saumur region 10 million years ago. During the Middle Ages these caves served the Protestants as secret places of worship.
Laurent Charrier and his mother run the domaine which is a certified organic farm. Laurent’s father was not interested in producing wine and thus in 1994 when Laurent took over the responsibility of the domaine, he picked up where his grandfather had left off. He immediately set out to acquire certification for organic farming which he received in 1997. The family vineyards are a bit spread out with small holdings in Anjou and Coteaux du Layon in addition to their primary vineyard in Saumur. The average age of the vines is 25 years with a good part being older than 35 years. Vinification is carried out in temperature controlled stainless steel vats.
Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Pais Marcillac 2012
Winemaker Julien Teulier: Deliciously fruity red wine from Marcillac, first used to quench the thirst of pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Santiago di Compostella, and then miners from nearby coalfields. Made from the local fer servadou grape from a vineyard that was saved from extinction by a handful of dedicated growers in Southwest France.
Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Julien Teulier
Tanis Bark and Fresh Ginger Wafers
schiller-wine: Related Posting
3 Wine Tours by ombiasy Coming up in 2014: Germany-North, Germany-South and Bordeaux
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
An Afternoon at Château Pape-Clément (in 2013), Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux
Dinner at Château Canon La Gaffeliere, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé, France
Visiting a “Holy” Construction Site: Château Angélus in Saint-Emilion, France
Lunch at Château Le Bon Pasteur with Winemaker/Owner Dany Rolland, Pomerol, France
Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Château Beausejour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France
Visit of an Ultra-premium Non-mainstream Bordeaux Producer: Tertre Rôteboeuf, with Owner and Winemaker François Mitjavile
Visiting and Tasting at Château Climens, with Owner Bérénice Lurton, Bordeaux, France
Lunch, Tour and Tasting with Owner Catherine Thibault d'Halluin (nee Boyer) and Winemaker Julien Noel - Château du Cros, Château Mayne du Cros, Château Courbon and Clos Bourbon, Bordeaux, France
Visiting an Oyster Farm at Arcachon Bay, Bordeaux: Raphael Doerfler at Earl Ostrea Chanca , France
Tour and Tasting at Château Pontet-Canet, with Owner Alfred Tesseron, Bordeaux
Tour, Tasting and Lunch at Château Léoville-Poyferré, with Didier Cuvelier and Anne Cuvelier, France
A Tour and Tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet in Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, with Winemaker and Owner Basile Tesseron (2013), France
A Tour and Tasting at Château Coufran, Haut-Médoc, with Co-owner Frédéric Vicaire, France
Tour and Tasting at Château Lynch-Bages in Bages, Bordeaux, France
Tour at Tonnellerie Berger and Fils: How is a Barrique Made? Bordeaux, France
Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Cru Classé de Graves, France
The Wines of Chateau La Caminade in the Cahors, France - Malbec from its Birthplace
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Tour and Lunch at Quinta da Léda in the Upper Douro Valley, with Winemaker Luís Sottomayor, Portugal
This was an amazing tour. Starting in Porto, we travelled up the Douro Valley and into Spain. We spent 2 nights in Porto, 1 night in the Vinho Verde region and 1 night in the Upper Douro Valley, close to the Spanish border. We enjoyed 4 very special winemaker dinners and 3 outstanding tastings in Portugal. The tour was a sponsored pre-conference trip of the 2013 Digitale Wine Communications Conference in Logroño, Rioja, Spain: The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja, Spain
Our last stop in the Douro Valley was a visit and lunch at Quinta da Léda in the Douro Superior which is the most eastern of the three Douro Valley sub-regions and closest to Portugal’s border with Spain. Quinta da Léda is owned by Sographe Vinhos.
We were received by star winemaker Luís Sottomayor and his colleagues.
The Sographe Vinhos Group
Sogrape Vinhos is a family-run company – third generation - with a strong focus on exports and international markets. Sogrape Vinhos owns more than 830 hectares of vineyards in Portugal.
What immediately stands out is the presence of two major global Portuguese wine brands - Mateus Rosé and Sandeman as well as the prestigious wines of Porto Ferreira and Offley. Added to which are the renowned specialist brands that represent the major Portugese wine regions. Beginning with the most famous Portuguese wine of all, Barca Velha, the pride of Casa Ferreirinha (Douro) and continuing with the elegant wines of Quinta dos Carvalhais (Dão), the vibrant Herdade do Peso (Alentejo), the fresh Vinhos Verdes of Quinta de Azevedo and Gazela, and the multi-regional Grão Vasco, to name but a few.
Quinta da Leda
Luís Sottomayor: Located to the east of the Douro, Quinta da Leda is one of jewels in Ferreira's crown. With it, Casa Ferreirinha has reinvented itself with wines of great complexity and structure, full of promise with freshness and vigor. This is the same area that produces the excellent wines to create the legendary Barca Velha. The vineyard area totals 76 hectares.
The Quinta da Leda winery, built in 2001, is exemplary in that it follows an approach that allows the winemaker direct contact with the wine. The grapes are received on the uppermost level and gravity is used to move the grapes, ensuring a far more natural flow, with noted gains in wine quality.
Robyn Bancroft (who has written about the event on her Blog nnnnnn): Upon our arrival, we were served a sparkling wine and some nibbly-bits…
The quinta or winery facility is built into a hillside. The architect took advantage of the topography, so that gravity could feed the grapes from the surface collection hoppers down a series of floors to stainless steel storage containers for final shipping and storage off-site. After harvesting, trucks hauling carts full of grapes pull under a type of open, but covered car-port area where the grapes are dumped into a collection hopper and then gravity fed into vats for punch-over processing or stompers for punch-down processing.
We took a flight of stairs down one level to take a look at these two different processing methods. The punch-down process is more violent and cannot be used when the grape skins are thin due to the mechanical arms which “stomp” down the grapes. The day we were visiting, the grapes being handled were thin-skinned due to a season filled with lots of rain, so the punch-over process was demonstrated. A type of wine “sprinkler” system was turned on that pumped grape juice from the bottom of the vats and sprayed it out on top. The grape skins float to the top during this punch-over process resulting in a much more gentle way of separating or extracting liquid from the grapes. The winemakers use presses to squeeze out the remnants of the grapes to collect the last bit of wine. This most-concentrated wine is placed in barrels and used like salt and pepper for final flavoring and seasoning…
Our tour continued on down another flight of stairs to the next area so that the workers could get back to filling the punch-over vats. The pumps were super loud and filled the whole building like a busy manufacturing plant… The whole space was open, so we could see the quinta’s activities on all three floors.
Our tour ended at the bottom level of the quinta with a lovely lunch served right beneath all the wine-making activity we had just witnessed. We were greeted with large cups of warm pumpkin soup. Above us, were the bottoms of the stainless steel vats with spouts ready for efficient conveyance directly into trucks for their transport to cooler storage locations off-site which were much more conducive to quality winemaking and final bottling. A long table was elegantly laid out for us to enjoy traditional Portuguese foods.
The Wines we Drank
Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Rosé 2012
Vinha Grande Rosé is Casa Ferreirinha´s most recent launch, a wine characterised by a combnation between a fine aromatic intensity and a remarkable acidity that provides it with an extraordinary elegance. Vinha Grande Rosé displays the full potential of the Douro region in the making of high-quality rosés.
Casa Ferreirinha 2010 Callabriga Douro
Tasting Notes: Casa Ferreirinha Callabriga 2010 has a deep ruby hue. It has an intense and complex bouquet with a prevalence of ripe red fruits (blackcurrant and strawberry), black fruits (plum) and floral notes of rock-rose. Spicy aromas (pepper and curry) are also present, due to the oak maturation. Excellent quality oak notes are very well integrated. The palate has a fine body, fine-quality tannins, a well-integrated acidity, a strong presence of red fruits and warm spicy notes. It has a long and complex finish.
Casa Ferreirinha Planalto Reserva 2012
Tasting Notes: Casa Ferreirinha Planalto White Reserva 2012 has a bright hue with greenish hints and a finely intense and complex bouquet, with a prevalence of white fruits (melon and pear), tropical fruits (apricot and passionfruit) and slight mineral notes. On the palate, it shows great harmony and fine balanced acidity, with mineral and citrus flavours again in evidence. It has a long and delicate finish.
About Luís Sottomayor
When in 1989 he entered the winemaking team led by master Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, Luis Sottomayor knew he was in the right company to take part in making the finest wines of the Douro. Today, his skills recognized and the quality of his work proven, he heads the Œnology team for Casa Ferreirinha and all Sogrape Port Wine brands, a responsibility he assumed in January 2003.
Although Luís Sottomayor’s career trajectory has afforded him enriching experiences in several other national and international wine-growing regions, his commitment to Douro and Port Wines is unquestionable and had so far seen him awarded the 2010 Winemaker of the Year Award in the Fortified Wines category by Revista de Vinhos, one of the nation’s most prestigious wine publications. In 2012 he was nominated for the Winemaker of the Year accolade at the International Wine Challenge and eventually went on to receive yet another distinction from Revista de Vinhos, this time for outright 2012 Winemaker of the Year.
Author of world-famous wines such as Barca Velha and Quinta da Leda, and of the outstanding 2011 Vintages presented by both Ferreira and Sandeman, Luis expresses great pride in the opportunity he has been given to perpetuate a story without parallel in the world of wines, whilst highlighting the creativity and daring and of those who first set out, unaided by the technological advances of today, to produce wines of a time-defying excellence.
Born in Moreira da Maia, married and a father of three children, Luís Sottomayor has a full academic training that includes courses in œnology from the University of Dijon in Burgundy, France and Charles Sturt University, Australia, in addition to a post-graduate course in Œnology at the Escola Superior de Biotecnologia from Universidade Católica do Porto.
Arguing that the secret of great wines rests on the passion of those who write their history in the vineyards and cellars, Luís likes to emphasize the effort made at Sogrape Vinhos to preserve and enhance the legacy inherited from large and prestigious brands, by combining the values of tradition with emerging desires and trends for the future.
An avowed football supporter, Luís Sottomayor devotes some of his leisure time to rugby, horse-riding and hunting.
Thank you Luis and your colleagues for an extraordinary event.
schiller-wine: Related Posting
Meeting Up-and-coming Winemaker Rita Ferreira Marques from the Douro Area in Portugal at Screwtop Winebar in Clarendon, Virginia
Meeting Rupert Symington from the Symington Family - One of the Oldest Families of Port Producers
The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja, Spain
A Douro Valley Tour from Porto Upstream to the Upper Douro Region, Portugal
Food Tour of Porto with André Apolinário from Taste Porto Food Tours, Portugal
Wining and Dining at the Reborn Quinta de Covela, Vinho Verde Region in the Douro Valley, with Owner Tony Smith and Winemaker Rui Cunha, Portugal
Tasting 2011 Vintage Port at Quinta da Boavista, Douro Valley, Portugal