Estelle Sauvion-Durand sent me a sample of the the organic 2009 Château de la Fessardière to review. Oddly enough, there are two Château de la Fessardières in the Loire. The other is in Saumur-Champigny, and that is the one with http://www.chateaufessardiere.com. The website for this domain is http://www.muscadet-bio.com.
Ed Eisler of Jing Tea (http://jingtea.com/) has sent me a sample of some Li Shan black tea to taste. This was Ed’s own favourite tea of 2010. It’s high-grown, from Taiwan. Indeed at 1,600 to 2,600 metres above sea level, Taiwan’s Li Shan is one of the highest tea-growing areas in the world. The higher, the mistier; the mistier, the subtler. (Like Taoism itself.)
I’m very enthusiastic about the wines of la Grange de Quatre Sous. Hildegard Horat’s smallish, 8-ha domain is in St Chinian (at Assignan, on limestone rather than schist). The choice, back in 1983, was to plant Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Viognier, so the wines are IGP rather than AOC. No matter. These hugely characterful and uncompromising cuvées strike me as some of the very best made from non-traditional varieties in Languedoc at present. Indeed I can’t think of a more exciting Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine from the Languedoc than the Quatre Sous’s Lo Molin.
Hine has launched its 1960 Cognac in the UK, at around £300 a bottle. Expensive? Well … you pay £6 per year of ageing, and the Cognac comes free. A small sip of 3 cl or less will detain you for a discursive half hour, and you can do that at least 23 times.
Feel free to demur if you like, but I suspect most non-French men finding themselves in France will have idly dreamed, after a good dinner and a stroll around town, of something like this. They are finally alone in a room with a Frenchwoman. The point at which trousers must be removed for comfort's sake has been reached and, so impressive is the sight thus revealed, that it evinces an unfeigned 'Oh la la!'.
It's finally happened to me. Twice in the same week, indeed.
Jan and Caryl Panman’s 22-ha domain lies in Limoux, an intriguing terroir which I am still struggling to understand, along with its no-less-perplexing neighbour Malpère.
Luscious Minervois and savage Corbières are so near – yet so different. Someone has shut a door somewhere; someone has turned a key. Malpère is haunted by Atlantic dreams: it’s Languedoc’s transgender appellation.
This is the text of Andrew's masterclass, delivered at the Australia Day tastings in London on 19 January 2011.
I spent 15 months in Australia, between January 09 and April 10, in part visiting wine growers and regions in order to research a book. That book will be called Ancient Earth: Terroir and the Australian Wine Landscape, though it won't be out for a year or two yet.
The first thing to say is obvious, but worth saying nonetheless: not every wine need be a terroir wine.
I visited Alsace earlier this autumn, during the golden days which preceded the snows, to research material for Decanter and Gourmet Traveller Wine: gorgeous region, luscious wines. I’d quite forgotten how fond I am of Gewurztraminer and all its decadent splendours. More of that in Decanter a little later in the spring.
If any of you ambling in or out of this site would like an opportunity to meet up with me a little later this year, let me tell you about two possibilities.