Saturday, 22 March 2014

Can labels go too far?

We purchased a couple of bottles on a trip to Paris recently from an excellent caviste we came across, Crus et Decouvertes at 7 rue Paul Bert in the trendy 11th arrondissement. Not Languedoc bottles though, even I try to get out a bit wine wise.

Having selected a couple of red Loire's we asked about Beaujolais and this was the suggestion. Now I perceive creative labels exist to 1) promote and be eye catching plus 2) subtly inform about a wine made outside the rules 3) let you know a young artisan created the contents.

Most would recognise this label is eye catching and the connotations are probably PC given the winemaker turns out to be female.

On point 2) the label is less than helpful. The wine is actually a bona fide Appellation Beaujolais Villages made from 100% [G for] Gamey. The email address reveals the maker as [Vin de ...] France Gonzalvez [more possibilities for the overworked G]

As for the contents, it drank well - supple, fresh with lovely balance and fruit. Around €14.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Far Ouest at a London Wine Bar (40 Maltby Street)

40 Maltby Street is a warehouse under a deep railway arch in Bermondsey and home to Gergovie Wines. Although closer to the City of London than the West End the area feels like neither. The Maltby Street half of this "cave" is a glass fronted wine bar that offers what seems their entire wine range along with a simple menu of quality food.

The wines come from lesser known areas of France (this is a Bordeaux and Burgundy free zone) along with growers from Italy, Spain and two from Slovenia. They coin them artisan wines. Only a few years ago it would probably have been Natural wines, but wisely that term seems to be being retired north of the Manche.

We were tipped off at the Roquebrun Festival of vins natures back in May by Mylène Bru, maker of Far Ouest and one of seven artisan Languedoc growers Gergovie Wines import. We enjoyed her wine at the time, and again here with lunch.

This time 2011 Far Ouest reminded me of Domaine Ribiera's Causse Toujours, perhaps not surprising given they both have good dollops of Grenache and the vineyards pretty much face each other across the Hérault valley. Both have heaps of Mediterranean flavour without being heavy.

The kitchen may be tiny but the dishes ooze care and confidence.

Shoulder of lamb with turnip cake, purple sprouting broccoli spiked with anchovy and mint is an example. As fresh tasting as it looks.

Monmouth Coffee (who import artisan grown beans) have their roasting and tasting premises next door. Curiously 40 Maltby Street doesn't serve coffee - probably to allow the small team to focus on the wine.

Diners note this is informal eating from a short menu. Order from the bar and all seating is on stools with mostly shared tables and counters.

Must return and try the Slovenian wines.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Vigne Ecole

These rows of vines by the stream opposite the Cabrières co-op are apparently educational.

All of the common Languedoc varieties are represented and clearly labelled, although they would have been more informative a month earlier blessed with richer foliage and bearing grapes.