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Month: December 2019

Wine of the Week

Maury is more

The region of Maury is famous for its naturally sweet white of good value, and it’s here that we find Clos des Vins d’Amour. But Maury is more, and this producer shows that they can make a variety of wines, like this wonderfully fresh young red wine.

Credit: Clos des Vins d’Amour

The estate is comprised of 24 hectares lying in the shadow of the Queribus mountains, and is in the hands of the Dornier family and dates back to 1860.

The soil is mostly black slate, and grenache gris is the dominant grape variety for the sweet white wines. But being located in the Languedoc-Roussillon varieties like syrah, mourvèdre and grenache noir are obviously also seen. This particular wine is made from grenache (noir) 80% and carignan. No sulphur is added here.

Une Lubie 2018 (Clos des Vins d’Amour)

Deep red. Smells of flowers, dark and red berries (blackberry, cherry), a touch of anise. Quite light, fresh, luscious, slightly pétillant.

Price: Medium

Food: Light meat, veal, cured hams, grilled fish, salads, hard cheeses, and (probably) sushi

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Wine of the Week

Danish wines to new heights

My private wine club ends each season with a bring-a-bottle tasting. It’s wonderful when people bring wines they have collected and guarded for years, done a great deal of research to find, or brought with them from travels. And the selection was never better, more curious and overall interesting than the one last Monday. There were aged wines from classical French, Spanish and Italian regions, dessert wines for the season, curiosities like an old Peruvian rosé, a Syrian white, and why not… an up-and-coming producer from the unlikely but emerging wine country of Denmark.

Vejrhøj Vingård in Odsherred (northwestern Sjælland) is run by Nina and Niels Fink. The place sits on an old moraine at 121 meters above sea level, which is high for this generally flat country.

Nina and Niels (credit: Verhøj)

To make the story short, both came from occupations within the economic field when they decided to settle down here in 2009. They have also agronomist background, and with a little help from their friends, they are doing everything in the vineyards themselves. German winemaker Jens Heinemeyer (from Solveigs in Rheingau) assists in the cellar. He has also, with his knowledge and contacts, helped to find equipment for the new winery that was opened in 2015.

Vineyard and wines

The vineyard has southern exposure, with the most sunlight possible here. The approximity to the sea reduces the risk of frost in May, when the vines are blooming. Respect for nature and biodiversity has always been important. There is no spraying, and they will soon have their organic certification.

Solaris grapes in winter (credit: Vejrhøj)

The wines come in different categories, but they have a common denominator, a cool, Nordic freshness. A link back to their economy background is the wine names: Skilling, sterling, seksling, klipping, styver and gylden are all names for old coins. It also gives a nod to the archeologic reminiscents on the site.

The choice of grape varieties were carefully selected to fit the (still) extreme, cool climate. They were all originally crosses, most often with some German parent. Solaris is the main variety (crossed from merzling, with riesling, pinot gris a.o.) In our wine it is complemented by souvignier gris (with cabernet sauvignon in the mix).

Skilling is a rounder, more full-bodied wine than other wines in their selection. 2018 was a very hot year, so the crisp acidity is complemented by some extra richness. Solaris is the main grape, with some souvigner gris. The fermentation was stuck earlier than expected, thus the residual sugar ended at 19 grams, which balances the acidity and gives more richness.

Skilling 2018 (Vejrhøj)

Light yellow. Aroma of yellow fruits (yellow tomatoes), elderberry, citrus, white peach, and a light touch of honey. Rich, full-flavoured, with a nice acidity to keep the sweetness in check.

Price: Medium

Food: Apéritif, salads (with mango, sweet melons etc.), light dessert cakes (panettone), cheeses, light Asian dishes…

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Wine of the Week

Riffin’ with Riffel

I’ve known Riffel for many years, and tasted some of their wines in several vintages, such as this one, their basic dry Riesling. But this time I encountered it by chance, as it was a house wine at a modest restaurant in Stavanger, Norway.

Carolin and Erik (Credit: Weing. Riffel)

Carolin and Erik Riffel are found in the municipality of Büdesheim in the Bingen area, Rheinhessen. Bingen was the birthplace of the famous Hildegard, composer and more. But nowadays it swings more than ever here.

The vineyards cover 16 hectares, most of it riesling, together with other grapes. Their work with silvaner is very promising. They have for a long time had an organic approach, and in 2012 they switched to biodynamic farming. Obviously they use spontaneous fermentations, and there are few additions. Riffel produces around 100,000 bottles annually. Aside from the still wines bottle-fermented sekt, pét nat and non-alcoholic grape juice are made.

This is a fresh wine made in steel at controlled temperatures, lightly filtered, and clocks in at 5 grams residual sugar and around 8g acidity. The alcohol is 12% vol.

Riesling Trocken 2018 (Weingut Riffel)

Light colour, greenish tinge, just a little pétillant. Fresh fruit, citrus (lemon, lime), green apples, a touch of gooseberry. Light, with a fresh acidity, and a pleasure to drink.

Price: Low

Food: Fish, shellfish, salads, light meat, not too heavy or spicy Asian…

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Wine of the Week

Orange called Or Ange

Marc Kreydenweiss is a favourite in Alsace, and highlighted a couple of years ago (see here). The winery is based in Andlau, central-north of the Alsace vineyard. However, in 1999 the family purchased an estate in Manduel, in the Rhône Valley, west of Châteauneuf and southwest of Nîmes.

This one was one of seven wines from a private party (hosted by me). The name means golden angel, but as an orange it’s clearly a wordplay. It’s made from five varieties; the aromatic Alsacian grapes muscat and gewürztraminer, and also riesling, as well as the more pigmented grape pinot gris. The Rhône tradition is here represented by grenache blanc (in some vintages also viognier, and also vermentino). It saw10 days of skin-maceration.

Or Ange 2017 (M. Kreydenweiss)

Light orange-amber colour. Floral, with apricot, citrus (mandarin), cinnamon, and a slight hint of raisins. Full on the palate, a touch of tannins, integrated acidity, long with fruit all the way.

Price: Medium

Food: Fried fish, smoked meat, lightly spiced food, and a varied cheese plate

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