Jean Smullen reviews 2018 Domaine Lafage Cadireta and 2015 Domaine de la Borie Blanche AOP Minervois
The National Off-Licence Association (NoFFla) is the organiser of the annual Irish Wine Show Star Awards. Now in its nineteenth year, 45 wines are awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze stars. The winning is available to consumers all over the country in one of Offal’s 315 independent off licences, nationwide. Look out for their great booklet called The Irish Wine Show Star Award Winners 2019-2020 with information about all the wines. The Irish Wine Show Star Awards Collection is an ideal Christmas gift and they are available in a variety of special gift packs.
Today on Movies & Booze we are featuring the White Wine of the Year and the overall Wine of the Year which is a red wine. Both are identified using a distinctive neck collar.
2018 Domaine Lafage Cadireta €19.95
Stockists: Independent Off Licences Nationwide
From the Côtes Catalanes in France this is a deserved winner of the 2019/2020 Gold Star White Wine of the Year award. Côtes Catalanes is situated in the Languedoc Roussillon and is one of the most important regions for IGP wines in southern France.
Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage farm nearly 400 acres of vines, in their vineyards which you will find between Perpignan and the Pyrenees foothills. Many of the vineyards are relatively close to the sea which means lots of local microclimates which suit white grapes, because its slightly cooler and it means the grapes retain their freshness which is important when you are making white wines. Cadireta is the vineyard area in Roussillon where vines are grown. Jean Marc Lafage is the wine maker, this is a family estate and he is a very good wine maker as evidenced by the great reviews for his wines in Decanter and from Jancis Robinson.com
This wine is made from Chardonnay, not a native grape of the region, so therefore the wine is designated as and IGP wine (formerly known as Vin du Pays), which basically means quality wine from a specified region. Translation: the grape is not native but the wine maker is bloody good!
What makes this wine so distinctive and gives it its edge is the fact that it is lees aged, using Viognier lees. Whatdat you may say? basically the dead yeast used to ferment Viognier which IS a native white grape of the region is added into the Chardonnay (the blow in) after the fermentation process, by doing that they add a certain creaminess and texture to the wine.
To quote the tasting note used to describe this wine, made by one of the tasting panels “Ripe and round with exotic fruit nuances and a stony mineral edge. A truly fine wine!”
The wine also has a touch of oak, 30% of it is aged in new French oak, which works very well for Chardonnay, as this is a grape variety that LOVES oak! 70% is aged in stainless steel which means it won’t be TOO buttery/vanilla in flavour, but will have all those lovely stone fruit peach and apricot nuances showing more vibrantly with just a hint of oak in the background to add a little structure and power to the wine.
According to the importer this wine is sold in the No 1 restaurant in the world which in 2019 is the three star Mirazur , run by Argentinian-Italian chef Mauro Colagreco, in Menton, France, close to the Italian border, which is a great accolade for any wine. Definitely one for the “try me” list!
2015 Domaine de la Borie Blanche AOP Minervois €18.99
Stockists: Independent Off Licences Nationwide
As well as being voted Red Wine of the Year, this wine was also the overall winner and the 2019/2020 Wine of the Year, so this is the biggie!
This wine is made by Maison Lorgeril, a family enterprise, was founded in 1620 in the South of France, between the Rhone Valley and the Pyrenees. We recently featured another of their wines on the show, so I’m delighted to see that their wine is the Gold Star Wine of the Year.
Nicolas de Lorgeril, is the tenth generation family of winemakers, and his wife Miren de Saint Chamas, have been expanding their business beyond Chateau de Pennautier the family’s historical birth place. I was lucky enough to stay at the Chateau in 2014. The Chateau is one of the few palaces to be found in the South of France and its claim to fame is that it houses the travelling furniture of King Louis X111 who visited the family in the 17th century. Lorgeril makes, blends, ages and distributes a whole range of Languedoc & Roussillon AOP wines.
This wine comes from the AOP Minervois La Livinière. This is the heart of the Minervois region, facing south, at the foothills of the Montagne Noire (Black Mountain), about 60 km away from the sea. La Livinière is one of six small communes (vineyard areas) in the region, all six are considered to be the 1er Cru vineyards of the region. The climate is Mediterranean and the main grapes grown here are Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache on limestone (chalk) soil which is what defines the quality of the grapes grown here.
This wine is made from a blend of 70% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache and is aged in French oak for 18 months. For anyone who loves Syrah this is a star. A SMG (as opposed to GSM) the Syrah grape dominates and it shows. Grown on limestone all that elegant blackcurrant fruit shines out but with a lovely mineral edge. At this price, this is a rock star of a wine.
The tasting note written by the tasting panellist describes it beautifully… “From the excellent sub-appellation of Minervois La Livinière in the Languedoc this wine has spicy, warm, soft dark fruits. Our best in show, a really stunning wine!” Make sure Santa has this on your Christmas card list this year. To be enjoyed with slow cooked stew, or any sort of mature hard cheese. A slow sipper for a hearty dinner!
WINE DIARY – NOVEMBER 2019 WINE EVENTS
November is consumer wine fair season in Ireland and there are lots of great tastings on this month that are open to the public. A great way to sample wines before the busy Christmas buying season and maybe choose a few new favourites to serve with Christmas dinner.
Dublin – Tues November 5th, The Cliff Townhouse, Stephen’s Green. JN Wines Annual Consumer Show. Tickets €25.00 available from www.jnwine.com Starts 05.30 p.m.
Dublin Castle – O’Briens Autumn Wine Festival Fri 8th & Sat 9th Nov Friday Evening 6-9pm and Saturday 2-5pm & Saturday 6-9pm. Tickets €30 https://www.obrienswine.ie/page/obriens-wine-festival
Cork – Friday November 8th O’Donovan’s 17th Annual Cork Wine & Craft Beer Fair at the Clayton Hotel, Lapps Quay, Cork. Tickets: €15.00 at O’Donovan’s 9 Cork outlets or http://www.odonovansofflicence.com/ Starts 4.00 p.m.
Clontarf – Thurs 14th Nov Martin’s Off Licence. Fairview - Wine & Craft Beer Fair. Clontarf Golf Club. Tickets €15.00. Starts 7.00 p.m. Tickets from shop.
Clontarf – Fri 15th Nov Clontarf Wines. Clontarf Golf Club. Tickets €20.00. Starts 6.30 p.m. Tickets from https://clontarfwines.ie/contact-us/
Malahide – Thursday 21st Nov, Grand Hotel Malahide. Gibney’s 22nd annual Christmas Wine Fair. Tickets €15.00 from Gibneys in Malahide Starts 6.00 p.m.
Tallaght – Thursday 21st Nov, The Station, Main Street, Tallaght. Molloy ’s Christmas Wine Fair.
Tickets €10.00 from any Molloy’s outlet. Starts 6.00 p.m.
Blackrock – Sat 23rd Nov, Blackrock Cellar, Co Dublin. Big Christmas Wine Tasting. Tickets €15.00 (includes €10 vouchers) Starts 4.00 p.m. Tickets frome Shop.
Details of these and many more wine and spirit events in the wine diary https://jeansmullen.com/