Rugby World Cup
Welcome to the September edition of the l’Art du Vin wine club!
I hope that you enjoyed the Spanish selection from this month – it was particularly well suited to the late summer sunshine we experienced a couple of weeks ago!
For my next selection, I have sought inspiration from the Rugby World Cup, currently being held in France.
At l’Art du Vin HQ, we are big on rugby. The fantasy league gets very competitive and equally patriotic. Obviously we are holding out for a final between the Auld Alliance but we will just have to see – there is a lot of rugby to be played in the next few weeks before that stage!
On the wine side of things, I thought we would concentrate on some heavy hitters that always produce on the big stage.
It would be remiss of me not to make a French inclusion, so we head to Roussillon to try the ‘Essencial Blanc’ from Domaine des Schistes. Vermentino is one of my favourite grape varieties. I love how flexible it is with or without food and it possesses a bright, green zippy energy that I find very endearing. This particular example is most definitely among the best value wines in our portfolio, I hope that you enjoy it.
Then, much like the Rugby World Cup in recent editions, our case is dominated by the southern hemisphere – namely New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.
The South African inclusion is particularly important to us. We developed the Cannonberg range along with our friends at Imbuko Estate in Wellington over 10 years ago now and it continues to go from strength to strength. We have just recently taken shipment of new vintages from them and we are really happy with the direction the wines have moved in. You are among the first people to try the new vintage of the Cabernet Sauvignon so I look forward to hearing any feedback you may have.
I hope that you enjoy this month’s range. Personally, I look forward to pairing the wines with some comfort food while watching the rugby on tv.
Allez les bleus!
‘Essencial’ Blanc, Domaine des Schistes, Roussillon, France 2021
The vines of Domaine des Schistes have been producing top quality fruit for three generations.
Until the late 80s, these grapes were sold to the local co-operative. However, by 1989, Nadine and Jacques Sire were beginning to grow frustrated at the fact their quality production was being thrown in to the mix at the co-op with fruit of lesser quality from surrounding vineyards. They took the decision to withdraw from the co-op and begin fashioning their own wines.
After his parents had made the initial forays into independent production, Mickaël joined the family team in 2004 and took the wines on to a new level. Rather than learning on the job, he had studied winemaking in various regions both in France and abroad. His innovations included modernising the winery, the purchase of smaller vats for enhanced selection in winemaking and the determination to begin working organically.
A blend of Vermentino (38%), Grenache Gris (34%) and Macabeu. Fresh and bright with flavours of citrus pith and ripe orchard fruit. The palate is mid-weight with a round, lush texture and a salty, mineral finish. An expressive, complex and terroir-driven Côtes du Roussillon.
Incredibly versatile but will work well with fish or dishes that are heavy on the herbs or citrus flavours. Also, very enjoyable on its own!
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Sauvignon Blanc, The Darling, Marlborough, New Zealand 2021
The Darling project was born in 2007, when Chris Darling and Bart Arnst decided to join forces to make terroirs-driven wines in the region of Marlborough, New Zealand.
Previously, they had been making wines for other producers but both had reached the stage in their career where they felt the time was right to begin working for themselves.
They are now very much at the vanguard of organic wine production in Marlborough, with all of their wines certified organic by BioGro New Zealand.
A beautiful example of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Tropical and citrus notes on the nose, followed by a crisp palate that has great texture and length. There is a reason that Sauvignon Blanc from this region has developed such a worldwide reputation – and wines like this show it off in all its glory!
Of course, this can simply be enjoyed on it’s own – a perfect wine to sip in good company! However, it will also work well with lighter dishes such as shellfish, ceviche, asparagus or bright salads. Alternatively, try with sushi or smoked salmon.
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Cabernet Sauvignon, Cannonberg, Western Cape, South Africa 2021
At l’Art du Vin, we are proud of our very own Cannonberg range, comprising a Chenin Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon.It is produced at the Imbuko Farm based in the historic town of Wellington, in the heart of the renowned Cape winelands.
A percentage of the money from the sales of these wines goes directly to support projects within the local community. Philippe is in regular contact with the growers and representatives from the local community throughout the year to discuss how best to use the ongoing funds. At present, our donations are being used to improve and maintain the facilities at the Uitkyk Creche, a centre which takes care of pre-school children and assists them with their homework in the afternoons while their parents are at work among the vines. With so many energetic, eager youngsters, there is certainly never a dull moment! According to Rosaline, the headteacher at the centre; “The school motto is ‘dare to make a difference’!” – a philosophy that we certainly agree with.
This freshly arrived vintage is everything we hoped that it would be! It shows bright notes of cherry, cassis and plum, with a mid-palate that is powerful yet balanced – crucially maintaining some fresh acidity before a smooth finish.
A great autumnal wine by the glass to be enjoyed as the nights begin to draw in. With food, think beef stews, steak or lamb.
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Pinot Noir, Stepping Stones, South Australia 2022
Stepping Stone Vineyards is a project led by cult natural wine producer Xavier Goodridge.
The key mantra for this range came from Xavier, who wanted to demonstrate that wines made from these regions with great care and attention to sustainability can still make it to the UK market and offer good value for money!
Organic farming methods are employed throughout and the resulting wines all showcase the same DNA – bags of fresh fruit and wonderfully well balanced elegance.
Super fresh, light and packed with bags of crunchy berry flavours. The tannic structure is extremely light, so this is most definitely a wine that could be served at fridge-temperature should you desire!
Perfect with turkey or chicken. Alternatively, provides a great partner to bbq flavours. Or a personal favourite of mine – alongside a pepperoni pizza!
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