Claire Collins
Claire Collins

15.00 14 Feb 2020


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Tomas Clancy reviews Domaine Rolet, Poulsard, Vielles Vignes, AC Arbois, Jura 2017 and Tempier Bandol Rosé, AC Bandol 2018

Domaine Rolet, Poulsard, Vielles Vignes, AC Arbois, Jura 2017

Pricing :  around €35

Available : Independent Off Licences and Wine Shops nationwide

Our definitions of romance are thankfully as various and contrasting as there are people. For me, few sights excite a more romantic vision of the world than a 100 foot high stainless steel chicken. This gleaming poultry winks at drivers on the N34 autoroute that threads its way between Burgundy and the foothills of the Alps and the Jura Mountains. The chicken statute marks your arrival in Bresse, home of France’s emblematic cockeral, the Bresse Chicken which has blue feet, a white body and a spiky red comb. It is here also you are given to yearning choices as a travelling wine lover, turn right to reach Nuits St George and Burgundy or, take the road much less travelled, a sweeping empty dual carriageway up into the misty, shrouded mountain tops of the Jura. For centuries this journey was almost impassable and so the Jura region was cut off from centuries of strife and development.

Up there on the mountain tops they maintained very traditional farming and ancient ways of life. Their vineyards therefore over centuries became a sort of Ark. It is here in the Jura in a sort of high mountain slops that time forgot that Savignan and Poulsard, grapes that contemporary DNA testing tell us are the distant parental ancestors of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

Domaine Rolet was founded by Burgundy based wine families with roots in the Jura who saw that maintaining these ancient vines and the unique winemaking practices of the Jura, which include making their wines in an oxidative style and some in a sherry like fashion were worth preserving. Today Domaine Rolet has become the benchmark for Jura winemaking and they have examples of nearly every significant style and varietal. This wine is made from the ancient Poulsard grape and is made in a lighter, but more cutting style than most contemporary wines. It has the feel of an eighteenth century wine, a wine that sits well with rustic, unpretentious food. It is quite Pinot Noir like but with superb freshness and pungent aromatic, floral nose.

Down at the foot of the chicken statute they sell Bresse Chicken Baguettes, smothered in chicken jus and a dab of Dijon mustard, this wine with its flicker of spice and fine tannic cut begs to be in the glass beside that dish, consumed as you lean over a stone wall looking into the romantic eternity of a misty high mountainous Jura Valley.

 

Tempier Bandol Rosé, AC Bandol 2018

Pricing : around €35

Available : Independent Off Licences and Wine Shops nationwide

The French, especially the artistic branch, think of the south of France as their soulful, earthy, romantic home, a little like many Irish people, and artists, consider, The Atlantic Coast, to hold our real selves.

In France therefore Provence and the Cote D’Azur are not merely sun drenched holiday fantasylands studded with jewels like St. Tropez, Monaco, Nice and Marseilles. They are mapped by artists from Van Gogh in Arles to Cezanne in aix En Provence to Chagall and Matisse in Nice and the mountains behind the azure coast.

It is this artistic and soulful world of Provence that drew a young couple home in the 1930s to the then small fishing village of Bandol on the Mediterranean just an hours drive from Marseilles. This is a dual love story where young Lucien Peyraud fell in love with and married Lucie Tempier, and then fell in love with her home, a 500 year old estate on the edge of Bandol that was draped over a natural south facing amphitheatre and half a dozen cove like swooping slopes.

There had been a wine estate here for 500 years in the hands of the Tempier family but it had lack a singular ambition that Lucien brought. New vines from the Rhone were planted including Grenache, Mourvedre and Cinsault. From 1936 onwards Lucien’s vision was to create a fine wine in Provence and not just summer quaffing fare. He succeeded eventually with Tempier’s Bandol rose, this wine being declared the finest rose in the world by famous and incredibly influential US wine critic, Robert Parker. This was however almost an afterthought, because throughout the 1950s and 1960s Domaine Tempier became the centre of a food and art revolution under Lulu Tempier who cooked for artists and filmmakers attending festivals from Cannes to St. Tropez. She made local Provencal dishes but Alice Waters, Judith Childs and a host of US food writers saw this food, complex salads as the way forward for the US and all but invented Californian, salad an vegetable based lifestyle. Into this setting the Tempier Rose stormed as a perfect companion.

So, while a relatively unknown wine here Domaine Tempier has a fanatical US following giving it an elevated pricing, but in this case one which is entirely worthy.

This is rose as complex fine wine, a rush of crushed bright red fruits, touches of lively spice, edgy cutting tannin, lifted petal notes on the nose and then a piercing, mouth-watering finish. An unforgettable


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Alcohol Booze Cinema Drink Esther McCarthy Film Movies Red Romance Sean Moncrieff Tomas Clancy White Wine

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