Tomás Clancy reviews Chateau Chatelard, AC Fleurie 2013 from Carry Out and Antica Vigna, Soave, IGP Venice, Italy 2017
Chateau de Chatelard, AC Fleurie 2015
Pricing : around €20.50
Available : Carry Out off licences nationwide
This very accomplished and elegant wine proudly proclaims that it is from the Fleurie appellation, which is in even larger print on its label than its own name, Chateau de Chatelard. This is part of the attractive modesty of many of the producers in Fleurie, one of the most picturesque villages in the much underrated Beaujolais region.
Even mentioning the word Beaujolais might have you think of passing over this wine, I would urge you to pause and think again. This wine is not to be confused with Beaujolais Nouveau, the cheap and allegedly cheerful wines that are released every November in a fanfare of hype.
Those wines, the first to be bottled in France each year are a huge distraction, a gimmick to help post World War II farmers that went on too long and has spoiled the image of a whole region.
This wine is made with all the care and skill of a fine wine, from amazing slightly pink and grey soils with outcrops of manganese. The village and hills of the valley surrounding it are flower filled and there are wild meadows everywhere. The wine seems to breath this floral air and soil in and offers, touches of violets, raspberries and a firm strawberry snap and succulence. A soft, summer delight.
Antica Vigna, Pinot Grigio, IGP Venice, Italy 2017
Pricing : around €13.99
Available : from Martins Off Licence, Fairview; Gibneys of Malahide; Drink Store Manor Street; Redmond’s Ranelagh and good independent off licences and wine stores nationwide.
Here is a wine that will hopefully make open hearted wine lovers rethink their views on Pinot Grigio. Before the near total dominance and global adoration of Sauvignon Blanc as the crisp, lean white wine for almost every occasion, there were others that had their fifteen minutes of fame in the spotlight including Gruner Veltliner, dry Moscato, Chardonnay of course and Pinot Grigio.
Unfortunately, the demand for Pinot Grigio in the early noughties was so high that a mass of very poor bandwagon producers of simplistic Pinot Grigio rushed onto the market and soon, production of Pinot Grigio spread from its homeland in the hinterlands of Venice to across the whole of Northern Italy, then to the US, Australian and New Zealand and pretty soon, the words Pinot Grigio became associated with very insipid, frankly watery and boring wines.
The trendsetters moved on and in Italy, dedicated producers and lovers of authentic Pinot Grigio, pushed to restore the wine as the charming, intricate and alluring wine that had brought people to love it in the first place. Crop yields were lowered, grapes from Venetian vineyards were again treated with lavish hands on attention and allowed to settle on lees for fermentation and given time to age again.
Tenute Salva Terra is a family owned estate in the heart of the Valpolicella, overlooking the beautiful Lake Garda, George Clooney’s second home. Three generations of the Furia family have made Amarone, Valpolicella and Ripasso wines and have a deep love of their native Venetian terroir. The new Delle Venezia DOC will be rolled out from this vintage onwards covering the former IGP, which this wine is labelled under. Hopefully this will not bring price rises but it certainly will bring fine wine attention back to wines like this very different, more authentic style of Pinot Grigio.
The wine itself is a much more full bodied, luxuriant wine with a nutty and lime tinged midpalate, with hints of hazelnut and a ripe pair generosity and zest to the finish. A complex and glorious version of a loved classic, reborn.