Here are Peter and Hannah Logan from Logan Wines. Based up in the magnificent Mudgee region of New South Wales. They moved out of Sydney a few years ago to concentrate on winemaking. Their wines are now recognized in over 15 different international markets. They are highly regarded as a quality family wine producer with focus on the fruits from their vineyards in Mudgee and the cool climate region of Orange.
And......in Matthew Jukes and Tyson Stelzer's recent book Taste 2009 (only available in Australia) Peter Logan is described as "the thinking woman's winemaker eye-candy"!! and as Peter comments....I wonder how hard the ladies have to think before they agree!
Peter's sister Kylie also has a herd of Alpacas on the estate, whilst Peter and Hannah run a herd of Angus cattle. They hang the beef for an extra long time to ensure maximum flavours.....(Fantastic accompanied by a Logan Cabernet Merlot 2005)
Sophie the dalmatian is also very important in the Logan family!
We are very familiar with massively intense Sauvignon Blanc from the excellent vineyards of New Zealand....but now the cool climate area of Orange in New South Wales is producing some stunning Sauvignon Blanc wines.
The Logan Sauvignon Blanc 2008 has been awarded several trophies and Gold Medals in Australian wine shows and has even been selected by the Kiwis in their top 100 Sauvignons....generous fellows.
Here are some notes from Peter Logan on this stunning wine:
We harvested the grapes for this Sauvignon Blanc at three
ripeness levels between 12.2° and 13.3° Baumé from
16th to the 28th March 2008. The grapes are grown at
an elevation of greater than 900 metres on the slopes of
Mount Canobolas in Orange. Considerable rain in February
complicated the 2008 vintage, however dry and windy
conditions in March dried the vines sufficiently to avoid
disease and ripen nicely. The mild temperatures resulted
in a very good vintage for the Orange region, particularly
for aromatic whites. The vines have been trained on a
combination of VSP trellis and Smart Dyson trellis systems.
After picking and crushing the grapes in the cool of the
night, the free run juice was clarified by cold settling and
racking. It was inoculated with VL3, X5 and QA23 yeasts
and the fermentation took place over 18 days in stainless
steel tanks. 5% of the wine was barrel fermented in large
Hungarian oak barrels (500 L). Malo-lactic fermentation
was inhibited. The wine was lightly filtered before bottling.
The Logan 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is pale gold in colour.
It has a pungent aroma of passionfruit, guava and nettle.
The palate zings with crunchy fresh flavours of pink
grapefruit, green papaya and lime. The finish is long
Peter Logan reckons that the style of sauvignon blanc he believes
We have a few cases that have just arrived in the UK, so if you are interested please contact me immediately to reserve stock....the retail price is £10.95 in the UK.
Weird how different vines change colours. The vines on the right are Domaine La Prade Mari Viognier (now served at Rick Stein's Seafood Restaurant)whilst the vines on the left are very old vine Carignan.
Dreary damp weather in the Minervois, so we zoomed over to Limoux (30km south of Carcassonne) to explore. Lovely town square where they have a masked Carnival from January to Easter every year.
The main reason for being in Limoux was to taste and explore the fabulous sparkling wines.
Essentially there are three types produced:
1. Blanquette de Limoux....mainly Mauzac grapes (90%) but also can be blended with up to 10% Chardonnay and or Chenin Blanc.
2. Cremant de Limoux.....a higher percentage of Chardonnay is permitted (up to 70%) with the rest being Chenin and Mauzac.
3. Blanquette Methode Ancestrale...the old 'natural' style that I mentioned at a tasting last week. Weird and wonderful style rather than commercially interesting! But strange apple cider characters develop from this 100% Mauzac wine.
Selectively there are some really interesting wines here. We are looking at developing a range of great value sparkling wines that are top quality and aged for 15-18 months in bottle. And all this for a retail price under £10 per bottle in the UK!
I love showing new wines to people and seeing their reaction........hopefully positive!!!
At this time of year my diary is chockablock with tastings from Scotland to Cornwall. It is really good fun to catch up with wine trade friends and also to introduce new and exciting wines to the discerning UK wine drinking market from Australia, Bordeaux and Sud de France.
Many of these tastings are hosted by wine merchants and some can attract up to 4-500 people. But sometimes smaller tastings are far more informal and a great opportunity to have a good chat about the wines.
For the first time earlier this year I presented six wines before, during and after a fantastic dinner party for 12 people in a private house. It was great fun and very successful.
Sometimes wine tastings can be a fun way to get a team or company together. The wine tasting itself can be lighthearted or detailed depending on the theme or mood.
If you are interested in tasting some exciting wines in the UK and want to organize a company tasting or a tasting for enthusiastic wine drinkers, then please contact me.
Now that we have turned the page and all of a sudden Christmas is only a month away we have to seriously consider the key aspect to secure a fun Christmas for everyone....yes the wines. I am writing this now as Thanksgiving would also suit many of these wines.
I would suggest:
Pre dinner drinks/aperitifs
Blanquette de Limoux from Ch. Rive-Blanques (see below) (approx £11 per bottle)
Mas Amiel Muscat 2006.(£12).........if you are having pate de foie gras this is sensational.
Logan Sauvignon Blanc 2008(£11) is a zesty fruity Sauvignon with a delicious mineral backbone.
Moulin Gimie Chardonnay 2006(£9) is a great alternative to good Burgundy at a fraction of the price.
Main Course (presuming turkey):
Ch. La Gaffeliere 2001(£45)......pure class from St.Emilion.
Cuvee Image 2005(£9)..........earthy deep chocolate character from the Sud de France.
Mas Amiel Vintage Red 2006(£14)........great with chocolate too.
Mas Amiel Mini Maury(£9)..............an absolute revelation...concentrated fruit but elegant balance.
And after to accompany coffee!
A large glass of Mas Amiel 1969(£60)......this is especially suitable for anyone who might be 40 next year.
Many of these wines are available via Bella Wines or through our network of quality wine merchants in the UK....so use google or wine searcher or drop us a note and we will help out to find the right wines at the best prices.
Two days in London this week at the Maison Languedoc Roussillon in Cavendish Square. This is a relatively new venue (opened in June). And it is the 'window' in Central London for food and wine from the South of France. It is a great place and hopefully we can host some interesting wine tastings during 2009.
I was involved in organising a 'Festive Wines' event. We had some fascinating sparkling wines from Limoux...the first place to make sparkling wine in France. It was a good opportunity to try a selection of these wines from large and small growers. The Domaine Antech Cuvee 'Doux et Fruite' 2007 (Blanquette de Limoux) was amazing. It is a sparkling wine made in the 'Methode Ancestrale', which means that the first fermentation is stopped by chilling the juice and left on lees during the cold winter months. The secondary fermentation is then started in the Spring with the addition of yeast. It seems a very natural way to produce a wine..working with the seasons. However as Francoise Antech-Gazeau said, it is a very difficult process to manage and also to maintain the stability of the juice without letting rogue yeasts start an uncontrolled fermentation!
The wine was made from Mauzac grapes, which is virtually unique to Limoux and small areas of Gaillac. It is a tricky grape to grow and vinify as it is prone to oxidise easily and loose the flavours. This wine was an amazing medium sweet sparkling wine with a clear 'green apple' fresh style, but also with a depth and slight biscuit richness. The pleasant shock for me was the alcohol level at 6%. This was a very good wine and certainly one that I will be buying for Christmas. A very good aperitif wine.
The other sparkling wine that really stood out was the Chateau Rives-Blanques, Blanquette de Limoux 2006. This was a totally different style. A really classy wine made from 90% Mauzac and 5% each Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The wine had an excellent mousse and medium biscuity rich nose. However the palate was defined by its elegance and the perfect balance between tight structured acidity and beautiful rich harmonious fruit. A wine that is very good value from this well run wine estate that adheres to sustained agriculture principals.
There were some interesting dessert wines from mainly muscat grapes (but also Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier and Ugni Blanc) and then there was a great selection of older and amazing Vin Doux Naturels. These are fortified wines mainly from the Roussillon area near Perpignan. The key grape varieties being Grenache Noir, Carignan and Maccabeu.
I adore the 1969 Mas Amiel, Maury, which is a great example of a perfectly balanced aged Maury wine. I always think of this wine being a cross of old Madeira and aged tawny port....but it is unique. This is ideal for an unusual gift for someone who is 40 years old next year!!!
But surely the most interesting wine at the tasting were the two older wines from Domaine de la Coume du Roy. It is not often that you get the chance to taste some wines from 1925 and 1932! Agnes Bachelet travelled over to London with her young son to show him the sights and for everyone to taste these incredible wines. The wines had lost their red/brown colour and were nearer to dark cognac colour. The nose on the 1932 Maury initially had evident alcohol and I thought that it might be a tricky wine to taste. However on the palate the wines really danced! The 1932 had a smooth rich caramel smooth texture and still lively acidity. Whilst the 1925 seemed perfect. The wine had a smoother nose and an excellent balance of rounded creamy textured caramel palate. This wine lasted for a long time on the palate and exudes class.
These wines are still ageing in large oak barrels. Agnes draws off a small amount for bottling whenever she needs some stock!
I recently did a wine tasting at a very good wine merchants called Vin Neuf Wines in Stratford upon Avon.www.vinneuf.co.uk We selected some smart Languedoc wines and compared them to some smart Bordeaux wines. The Languedoc wines ranged in price from £5-£12, whilst the Bordeaux wines were £12-£30.
There is no doubt we are in a financially 'interesting' time in the UK after various stockmarket collapses and bank failures and impending doom and gloom. So guess which wines were the most popular????????????
Yes, the Bordeaux wines.
Undoubtedly the wines were very good, however I think that there is a stronger message that even in hard financial times people generally look for quality wines that they know about and understand rather than exploring slightly lesser known areas such as Languedoc.
The customers were generally knowledgeable and enthusiastic, but I was slightly shocked(and happy) about the support and resulting sales for the higher priced wines.
Here are the wines that we tasted:
Domaine La Prade Mari Viognier 2007 £6.99
Domaine La Prade Mari Carignan 2007 £5.49
Element Syrah Cabernet 2007 £5.99
Domaine La Prade Mari 'Conte des Garrigues' 2005 £12.50
Chateau Haut Ballet 2005, Canon Fronsac £14.00
Chateau Haut Maurac 2003, Cru Bourgeois Medoc £12.95
Chateau Jean Faure 2005, St.Emilion Grand Cru £29.50
and as a bit of an oddity/novelty:
Mas Amiel 10 year Old Maury £19.95
It should be an interesting if challenging Christmas sales period ahead!!!
We live just outside an amazing village called Aigne in the Minervois. The Church is at the centre of the village and the houses are built in a snail shape around the Church ...originally to defend the Church.
1000 years of history.
Nothing seems to change around here. It has a humble charm and very slow pace of life.
The frenetic energy of the grape harvest has just come to an end. And now the vineyards are filled with men in bright orange jackets proudly holding their rifles. Yes 'La Chasse' has started.
This is a great write up in the November edition of Decanter magazine.
If the words are hard to see on the left...
SPLASH OUT RED
''Top drawer St.Emilion. This has silky tannins,classic Merlot notes of ripe cherries and cedar plus subtle oak. It's fresh elegant and restrained with a long, promising finish: a wine that's testament to a great vintage.
2008-2018. Stockist Bla'' (Bella Wines)
If you want a case or two of this fantastic St.Emilion then email me straight away: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Mr Zen checking the sugar levels and alcohol levels on his Syrah....helped by his co workers! Unfortunately it has been a tough year for growers in the Minervois. Yields are significantly lower due to many reasons. The over riding problem is the on going drought (3 years now). However the weather has also been a bit patchy....Spring was cold and dull, so bud burst and flowering were not perfect. Summer was also a bit up and down. Mildew seemed to be a major problem in the vineyards....so lots of relatively expensive and time consuming spray treatments were necessary(mostly Sulphur and Bordeaux mixture). The late Summer and early Autumn season was OK with good average temperatures.
However sporadic and isolated hail storms effected some vineyards in the higher parts of the Minervois. We visited and tasted the grapes in many different vineyards throughout the area during harvest time. The grapes physically seemed smaller and the skins were denser due to the drought. The juice will be highly concentrated and in general terms it is no bad thing for the Languedoc area to produce less wine. The harvest is gradually finishing now....whilst Bordeaux is just starting! I will be tasting post fermented juice over the coming weeks and also the first 'Primeur' wines to get a handle of the quality and style of this vintage...we shall see!