Tomas Clancy reviews Guerrieri Rizzardi, Chiaretto, Bardolino DOP 2018 and Chateau Larose-Trintaudon, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Medoc 2014
Chateau Larose-Trintaudon, Cru Bourgeois, Haut-Medoc 2014
Pricing : around €25
Available : Independent Off Licences and Wine Shops nationwide
This very delicious red wine hails from the very far north of the Bordeaux region and is located just a stone’s throw from many of the most famous names in wine from Chateau Latour to Chateau Lynch Bages.
However this very beautiful chateau history meant that it took a very different path to its very well known and expensive neighbours.
The land was located outside the limits of the small town of Pauillac and its appellation in the no-mans land of a village called Saint-Laurent-Medoc. This neighbour has very similar soils but most of the vines cannot actually see the vast Gironde estuary and this in the 18th and 19th century was a mark not just of quality but also of a touch of class. The inland vineyards of Bordeaux generally were considered much less desirable.
The Larose-Trintaudon estate was founded as a vineyard in the early 1800s having been given over to agriculture before that time and by the middle of the nineteenth century had acquired a good reputation and a well priced, attractive and reliable wine. A wine to be enjoyed by merchants and professionals rather than royalty. Eventually the estate was bought and extended by a minor aristocrat who built what is today a fairly tale style chateaux.
Despite all this the estate made no impact on the top 1855 classification and eventually became part of a very different movement called the Cru Bourgeois, Chateaux who are of great quality but who perhaps know their place. To English language ears it sounds quite odd, but in France a Maison bourgeois simply means today, a fine well made house. It is a mark of quality without over pretentious desires. That is exactly what this wine aims for and achieves.
This 2014 version is just hitting an early peak of glossy happiness with a lovely polished mouthfeel, great ripe dark ripe red fruit, nice touches of earth and a little leather note. If it had been located four or five miles to the east of where its main vineyards are it would cost double or treble the price. Today it has bought up considerable acres of vines and is a powerhouse of solid, ambitious next wave Bordeaux that is also benefitting from successive warm summers.
Guerrieri Rizzardi, Chiaretto, Bardolino DOP 2018
Pricing : around €15.95
Available : Off Licences and Wine Shops nationwide
As usual with Italy, the people and vineyards behind this dazzling Rose have been making wines for almost six centuries. After the first 500 years they tend to approach a pretty confident understanding of their vineyards and the wines they want to make.
This wine is made by the the august and ancient Guerrieri Rizzardi Estate, famed especially for their superb Amarone wines. The name is actually a combination of two aristocratic families of counts, the Counts of Guerrieri and the Counts of Rizzardi and not a name. This joining of estates happened in 1913 and means the current head of the estate, Count Giuseppe Rizzardi has vineyards not just in Valpolicella, but across the northern Italian hinterland of Venice and they make a large selection of styles of wines including a fine Prosecco.
This rose is a much meatier and slightly spicier affair than most Italian rose wines as it is actually made from a blend of the dominant grapes of Amarone making Corvina and Rondinella, with a splash of Sangiovese.
These red wine grapes are left in contact with the crush juice for just under 12 hours, but then the juice is drawn off the skins when only a blush or tint of rose colour has been extracted and then for the rest of the process the wine is made using steel tanks and very light movement as if it is a white wine. The result is a very beautiful vibrant rose colour with a strong internal flicker of amber.
On the palate this wine offers a full-bodied bright red fruit rush at first then flickers of cherry and light spice with great acidity at the finish. It is a rose wine that begs for charcuterie, but will work well as a stand alone, chilled summer delight. Most of the best new rose wines are now of this more complex style, the days of metallic tasting watery rose is long gone and this is in part why so many open-hearted wine lovers are turning to them not just as a summer treat, which they are but as a happy third style all year round.