France’s Île de Beauté (Island of Beauty) lies one hundred miles south of France’s Côte-d’Azur and just over fifty miles west of Tuscany. This wildly majestic island enjoys some of the hottest, driest conditions in all of France (it holds the record for the most annual sunshine), and is where the Greeks first cultivated vines back in the 6th Century BCE. Despite this long history of production, it was not until the 1960s, when a horde of skilled wine-makers fled Algeria (the so-called French pieds noirs) for Corsica, that it became known for wines of quality of distinction.
Archive for the ‘Wine’ Category
Posted in France, Producer Profile, Wine, tagged Ajaccio, Alain Courrèges, Corsica, Domaine de Vaccelli, fall, food, Lamb Chops, Maquis, Meadowood Farms, red wine, Sciaccarellu, Wine on October 30, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in France, Wine, tagged Agly Valley, Carignan, Clot de l'Origine, food, France, French wine, Grenache, Languedoc, Marc Barriot, Roussillon, schist, Soif de Plaisir, Syrah, whole cluster fermentation, Wine on October 9, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Southwest of the Languedoc lies Roussillon, a region that has too often been reduced to mere suffix. Roussillon stretches from the river Aude in the north to the border of Catalonia in the South. In the West, the snow-capped Pyrenées rise above 2500m in places, with the jagged peaks of Pic du Canigou at 2,786m (9.140ft) above sea level. A sharp descent eastward brings you to back to the stifling heat of the Mediterranean coastline, where Vin Doux Naturels reign supreme. Roussillon is primarily known for these wines, which are made from partially-fermented grape juice that is fortified with alcohol before it fully becomes wine. Made from the most common regional varietal, Grenache (whether is be Noir, Gris, or Blanc) , these aperitif “wines” benefit from early ripening fruit in some of the hottest, driest vineyards in all of France. Overall Roussillon produces 90% of all French Vin Doux Naturel, the most famous of which is Banyuls, made in the southeasternmost corner of the region. In Banyuls-sur-Mer, Grenache grapes are grown on steeply-terraced schist slopes, allowed to shrivel on the vine, fermented, fortified, and aged in barrel for years at a time at which point they can achieve a depth comparable to vintage port.
Posted in France, Wine, tagged biodynamic wine, Couronne de Touraine, Galet du Cher, Grolleau, Loire Valley, organic wine, Pascal Pibaleau, rosé, Selles sur Cher, Valençay on September 18, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Close to the town of Tours in the heart of the Loire Valley, Domaine Pibaleau sits nestled between two of the region’s historic Châteaux: Azay-le-Rideau and Langeais. The 12 hectare Domaine Pibaleau has been family owned and operated since 1886. Here Chenin Blanc, Gamay, Cabernet Franc and Grolleau are grown on organically farmed sandy-clay soil near the banks of the river L’Indre. Domaine Pibaleau has organic certification, and they work according to biodynamic principles.
Like everything born of Sintra, the Arenae Colares Malvasia is of and from the sea.
I had the good fortune to spend several weeks last summer exploring Lisbon and its surrounding environs, including an unforgettable day in Sintra, guided by two friends of mine who grew up there.
Posted in Italy, Producer Profile, Travelogues, Wine, tagged Giuseppe, Grechetto, Italy, Lazio, Mottura, organic wine, Orvieto, pecorino, porcupine, red wine, Sergio, Umbria, vineyards, white wine, Wine on August 12, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
This past April the Formaggio Wine Team took a pleasant trip to visit Sergio Mottura’s estate on our way to VinItaly 2014. We flew into Rome’s Fiumicino airport early in the morning and drove north-east towards Umbria. We eventually split off from the crazy A1 autostrada onto small, one-lane roads. Just along the northern border of Lazio we reached the medieval hamlet of Civitella d’Agliano, and the home, hotel and cantina of the Mottura family.