Wine Appearence

I haven’t posted in quite a while and I do have some associated guilt but in fairness I have been very busy. I have been teaching the WSET Intermediate course for the last 7 weeks and we have tasted some really great wines. Last night we covered sparkling and sweet wines and I realised that sometimes I take for granted that people have a certain level of knowledge when they don’t and should not be expected to have at this level.

When discussing the appearence of a wine I have often gone straight to tilting the glass 45 degrees and commenting about its appearence. Really when discusing the appearence of a wine it should be done in 3 stages.

Firstly you should look at the wine from above the glass to accurately assess the depth of its colour. Secondly look at the side of the glass  for any inclusions, haziness, bubbles etc and then finally tilt the glass 45 degress to see the actual colour of the rim and the core.

This may seem quite obvious but although I would have covered these steps I have previously not highlighted them as being separate. The image below is a great poster I bought which shows the different colours for certain wines. I find it helps students get their heads around colour in wine and how subtle they can sometimes be.

Copyright Bouchard Aine


New Course starting in January in Dublin city centre conveniantly located in our new premises on South William Street
Duration & Times:
Tuesday 25 January 2011
until Tuesday 22 March 2011

Evenings 6:30pm – 8.30pm  

No of sessions:         9

Location:                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Cooks Academy/Dublin Wine Academy, 19 South William Street, Dublin 2

The WSET Intermediate Certificate in Wines and Spirits is intended for those who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the world of wines and associated beverages. This qualification is suitable for those employed in the drinks industry where a basic level of product knowledge is required to underpin job skills and competencies, for example, in the customer service and sales functions of the hospitality, retail and wholesale industries. This course is also suitable for people who are not employed in the drinks industry but wish to learn more about the subject. To gain this Level 2 qualification candidates will be required to successfully complete: a multiple choice paper of 50 questions. The course fee includes study materials, samples, tuition, examination and ISO tasting glasses.

To book a place log on to www.dublinwineacademy.com

Laurent Perrier Rosé

Laurent Perrier RoséI recently cracked open a bottle of Laurent Perrier Rosé. I’ve had it a few times over the years but never put much thought into the flavour and how it might differ from other rosés.

Rosé in Champagne can be made by two methods, either blending a white and red wine or by the saignée method. The saignée method involves the bleeding of some of the wine, made from red grapes, after a certain period of maceration, maybe 48 or more hours. It will thus have gained enough colour from the red grape skins to make it pink and can be fermented separately.

If only a proportion of the wine was to be made into rosé,  then the remaining wine left in the fermentation vat will gain even more colour due to having less liquid in contact with the skins.

Laurent Perrier Rosé is made from 100% Pinot Noir and it is so interesting to taste the flavours of Pinot Noir that you assocaite with Burgundy. There were the usual aromas and flavours of Cherry and Strawberry fruit mixed with the autolytic character of the lees ageing. Great perlage, possibly due to using decent flutes, not too aggressive on the palate so the flavours showing through easily. Great wine and really instructive to taste. Widely available costing from €69.99+ Gulp!

The Two Rullys

Could Rully rouge become the red equivalent of Macon-Villages white wine? Unfortunately no. One of the problems for red burgundy is that there is no readily recognisable equivalent that is consistent, produces enough and is is covered by one appellation, Regional or Commune. White Macon, including Villages & Commune wines tend to produce around 204,600 hectolitres per year. 1 hectolitre is equivalent to 133 bottles so that is 27,211,800 bottles of white Macon. Rully produces 5431 hectolitres of red wine per year or 722,323 bottles. Even Cote Challonaise red produces a relatively small amount, namley 18,843 hl (including rose). Adding Cote de Beaune and Nuits to that mix will only bring in another 40,000 hl of red wines.

My point is that the red wines of Burgundy are often just associated with Gevrey-Chambetin or Nuits-St-George and hence there is a perception that they only produce expensive red wines. Even the regional reds of Beaune or Nuits have a less than enviable reputation with the impression that you don’t get value for money. On the other hand Macon white is extremely popular ,whether people realise it is a white burgundy or not is another story, and it comes in at a good price point that generally offers value for money.

Chateau de Rully 2007, Domaine Rodet.

I was at the launch of the Superquinn French wine sale and I saw a Rully priced on discount at €12. I was intrigued to see how it would fare representing a good value red burgundy. I have to say that it was really good. It was very soft, nice red fruit, gentle acidity that was not sour and quite juicy. A really easy going red that would be perfect introduction to what bargain red burgundy should taste like


I then tasted a different Rully from the same vintage. This was a Joseph Drouhin, Rully which would normally retail at just under €20. This was a much more serious wine. The palate had more stucture and depth of flavour with an elegant and silky texture. A wine you know will continue to age further and not dry out. Refined aromas of red fruit, including some raspberry and cherry notes. Great length on the finish and worth spending a few quid on.


Reserve de la Comtesse is the second wine of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

The following details are from the official website of Pichon Lalande

In the Bordeaux region the classified crus have mixed soils, but large enough tracts of land to make very rigorous selections. This led the owners to make several wines of different quality. Severe selecting is the guarantee of quality of a great wine, but also of a second wine.

Today, the second wines represent between 20 and 50 % of the total production of the Chateau. From the same soil, the second wine benefits from the same technology as the great wine, and also its reputation. They are generally excellent wines, though less robust and long lasting than their elders.

The archives kept at Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande mention the existence of a second wine as early as the XIXth century:

27 April 1890, shipping of four bottles of the vintage 1874 second wine to the Moscow exhibition.

In addition, the accounts book for the year 1874, that details the production of the year confirms that the second wine was rigorously selected.

The second wine of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, The Réserve de la Comtesse, was created and sold for the first time in 1973.

I tasted this wine last week and compared it to the Clos du Marquis that I had tasted previously. They are both second wines but from different commues and vintages. The Reserve showed great structure and offered so much more on the palate giving more fruit character, body and complexity. There are still large amounts of the primary fruit available on the palate but they are mixed with toasty oak and some chocolate character. Smooth, silky and oozing class this wine has a great length and is what you expect a classy Boreaux to taste like.

Unfortunately the retail price is at around €70

This is the second wine of Ch Leoville Las Cases but is different to other second wines in that the vines are sourced from specific vineyards rather than coming from young vines or rejected fruit intended for Leoville las Cases.

1999 was not a superlative vintage and many commentators regard the wines as being thin or lacking concentration of flavour.

This wine had a ruby core extending to a tawny rim. The overall appearance was between bright and dull which is not being perjorative just reflecting it’s age. Initially the wine was quite tight but softened after 2 hours. Toasty oak on the palate mixed with blackcurrant that did not have as much depth or concentration as I would have expected. Soft tannin and medium acidity with slight bitterness on back palate. Aromas has some blackfruits with subtle hints of vanilla.

Nice wine but scanning the prices for this wine in Ireland it would certainly not be worth €40 – €50 and there is certainly much better value in a Cru Bourgeois from a good vintage instead

La Chouffe

There are only 2 beers that I really love and that I actively seek to buy. I will drink Guinness or Sol (for the vitamin C) in a pub but would never buy them in an off Licence. However I tend to buy a few cases of La Chouffe and Tripel Karmeliet each year.

La Chouffe is strong in alcohol at 8% abv. It has a full body and in wine terms is off dry. There are some spices on the palate with Coriander being the most recogniseable. It is great on its own but I had it with Indian food and it was a perfect match and complimeted the spices as well as softening the heat of the curry.

The packaging and elf on the label may be a bit kitsch for some tastes but I love the fact that they keep their traditional label and don’t kowtow to more modern styles.

It was established by 2 brothers in law in Belgium and since 2006 is owned by the Duvel Moortgat Brewery. Available in Deveneys, Redmonds  and other good Independent Off Licences.