LIVING legend of Irish music, John Spillane, won over hearts and minds at the 40th annual Fête de Village in Dénat.

On Sunday September 3rd last John Spillane entertained a crowd of 83,500 people at the all-Ireland final in Croke Park and the following weekend he played two concerts for just several hundred people in the village of Dénat.
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John won over locals in south-west France with rousing renditions of ‘Oro Se do BheathaBhaile’, ‘Magic Nights in the Lobby Bar’, ‘All the Ways You Wander’, and ‘Passage West’.
Croke Park
For many people in Dénat, it was the first time they had heard live an Irish artist of the quality of John Spillane with his powerful ballads which mix Irish folk and traditional music.
Vinitek Sudouest was proud to be a sponsor of the 40th annual Fête de Village in Dénat and supplied all the wines for the weekend of celebration.
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To accompany the tasty fare of Moules à la Plancha, Saucisse Frites and traditional Fabounade, revellers enjoyed Vinitek’s red wines including Château Bubas and La Griffe from Domaine de la Chanade.
The overwhelming reaction was that this year’s festival was the best yet and this was in no small part down to the brilliance of John Spillane.
John, a Cork native, was joined on stage for his two weekend performances by renowned Bodhran player, Willie Doherty, and the excellent Harpist, Johnny Walsh, also both from Cork.
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More than a singer/songwriter, John Spillane is also a poet, bard, comedian, romantic and a dreamer. His sincerity and humility appear to know no bounds and people in Dénat are already asking if John will return next year.
Vinitek Sudouest wish John Spillane every continued success in his career.

Excellent new wines from Domaine de la Chanade – It’s only natural.

Yes, we know it has been quite some time since we updated our blog, but at Vinitek we don’t really believe in posting stuff unless we have something important to say!
Well, now we do – with the addition to our selection of south-west France wines of a range of really exciting ‘natural’ wines from Domaine de La Chanade in AOC Gaillac.
The 40-hectare vineyard is located at an altitude of 320-metres on the chalky Plateau Cordais. The domaine is just a few kilometres from Cordes sur Ciel, voted the ‘most beautiful village in France’ 2014.
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Christian Hollevoet bought Domaine de la Chanade in 1997 with something of an avant-gardist vision to make only ‘natural wines’, in an environment-friendly culture, with limited yields following  ancestral wine-making processes.

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So what do we mean by ‘natural’ wines? Christian’s vision favours exclusively organic products for treatment of the vineyard, hand harvesting, no added yeasts or sulfites in the winemaking process and no filtering for either of his two red wines.
In recent years, Christian has been joined in day to day operations at the vineyard by his son, Julien, whose aim is to add a modern twist to the traditional wine-making process.
Christian et Julien
https://vimeo.com/135117887 (link to video clip)
Julien’s modern approach is reflected in their new range of ‘La Griffe’ red, white, rosé and dessert wines which make for great everyday enjoyment at a superb price/quality ratio.
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Literally, ‘La Griffe’ translates as the ‘Scratch’ or the ‘Scrape’- with their best-selling white wine from this range, look how the colour of the wine shimmers through the scratches on the label of the bottle. This blend of Mauzac and Loin de l’oeil grapes reveals a concentrated nose of white fruit and honey with a very balanced finish on the palate. Serve nicely chilled at 6°/8° with white meat, fish or salad. The perfect white wine in apéritif.
 
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With the classic red from ‘La Griffe’ range, typical Gaillac grapes Syrah and Duras combine to produce an aromatic wine full of red fruit aromas with notes of black fruit and spices. Christian’s total respect for producing only ‘natural’ wines means this red has not been filtered. Structured and robust, the finely balanced tannins mean this wine can keep for three years. Serve this one at room temperature with game, red meat in sauces, lamb or your favourite cheese.
La Griffe gamme
The critically-acclaimed flagship red ‘Galien’ combines low yields and hand-picked grapes to produce a wine with a strong aromatic concentration. Aged in 400-litre French oak barrels for 24 months, the Galien is not filtered and has no added yeasts or sulfites. The colour is deep and intense while the delicately spiced aromas reveal notes of roasted peppers and ripe dark fruit. With a powerful long finish, the tannins never overpower the fruit.
This wine should be opened at least 2 hours before serving and can be served in decanter. Serve at room temperature with red meat roasts and strong cheese.
Galien can keep for up to 12 years.
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Wine buyers at Marks & Spencer in the UK have been big fans of this exceptional Gaillac red for many years

http://bit.ly/1W70umF

We’ll be adding more wines from Domaine de la Chanade including the rosé and dessert wines to www.vinitek-sudouest.com  over the coming weeks.
 

La Fête de Village

La Fête de Village       
Hard to believe that the Dénat village festival is over for yet another year.  After months of preparation by a team of up to 25 dedicated volunteers, all the tents, stages and lights have been dismantled and put away for 2016.
 Fete end
The overwhelming verdict was that this year’s Fête de Village was the biggest and best yet and the figures speak for themselves; 1,000 meals served, 900 litres of beer and 200 bottles of wine sold.
Dishes included the festival committee President, Olivier’s legendary Moules à la Plancha (with 25 litres of white wines just for the sauce), the south-west speciality Fabounade, a variation on the famous Cassoulet, and of course the classic Saucisse de Toulouse.
Fabounade All of this was washed down with red wines from Château Bubas, white wine from Domaine Rotier and rosé from Domaine de Sédouprat all supplied by Vinitek.Fete 2
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Musical highlights from the four bands to perform over the weekend included the ‘Gartloney Rats’ an all-French act who have very strong Irish musical influences and treated locals to tunes by the Pogues and the Dubliners. We were a bit nervous before the gig upon hearing the Rats’ lead singer speaking broken English in a strong southern-French accent. However, on taking to the stage he sang with a near-perfect Shane McGowan accent from somewhere between Tipperary and Camden Town.
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Plans are already underway for next year’s village festival and one of the main aims for the coming year is to twin Dénat with a small town or village in Ireland. If you think your town or village fits the bill, although preferably with a population of fewer than 1,000 souls, then drop us a line with your ideas at contact@vinitek-sudouest.com and we’ll get the ball rolling.
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In other wine-related news, this year’s grape harvests in the south-west are pretty much finished and all that remains are the grapes to be handpicked for the sweet dessert wines. Following an exceptionally hot summer, the harvest came early this year and the feeling is that it will be best vintage in the south-west since 2011.
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Bonne degustation,
 
 

Liquid gold

Have you ever tasted liquid gold? Make this Christmas one to remember with late harvest Domaine Rotier Renaissance dessert wine.

Since the 2011 harvest, the Gaillac AOC is one of only three wine regions in all of France that have the right to call their sweet white wines ‘Vendanges Tardives’ or late harvest.

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Pick of the bunch is Domaine Rotier’s Renaissance Gaillac Doux, which has been making waves f    or many years prior to the addition of ‘Vendanges Tardives’ on the label. If it’s good enough for Robert Parker, then I guess that’s good enough. http://bit.ly/1txuu7L

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This rare appellation doesn’t come easy – it means obligatory hand-picked grapes, the usual element of noble rot, and ageing in French oak barrels for at least 12 months.

The late harvest means the wine is made from much riper grapes with more concentrated flavour and added sugar.

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Of course, there are lots of other well-known dessert wines out there, Sauternes, Jurancon and Alsace spring to mind – but in our humble opinion – this one from Domaine Rotier is easily a match for Château d’Yquem and at just a fraction of the price. http://bit.ly/1txuu7L

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Rotier’s Renaissance Gaillac Blanc Doux is 100% Loin de l’Oeil grape (far from the eye) – a grape variety unique to Gaillac and the south-west of France.

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On the nose, it presents aromas of apricot, figs and quince. It is deeply concentrated in flavour and velvety on the palate.

This dessert wine will keep for at least 10-12 years – best enjoyed with warm foie gras and figs (or even pâtés), smelly cheese, fruit-based desserts or just on its own.

Check out our full range of dessert wines at  http://bit.ly/1ypjCPu

Bonne dégustation,

Vinitek.

http://www.vinitek-sudouest.com/gb

Bon appetit!

Bon Appetit to all our horsey friends at Clonshire Riding Club who held their annual Christmas Dinner Dance last night at the Castletroy Park Hotel in Limerick.

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Les Cavaliers from Adare, one of the best-known Equestrian Centre in the Emerald Isle, were dining last night on a delicious menu of Sea Bass and traditional Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pud. Yum, yum!… (or Miam, miam as they say in France).

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All washed down of course with two choice wines from Vinitek range a crisp chalky organic wine from Gaillac – http://bit.ly/1AAGlKW and a nicely balanced warm red from Corbieres – http://bit.ly/1xVbHHY

Not sure what band was playing last night, but no doubt our good friend, Sue Hassett the Chair of Clonshire Riding Club, was shaking tacky into the small hours.

Sue is owner of the Grove on Cecil Street- Limerick’s longest established and best Vegetarian  and Health Food Restaurant. Sue’s Lentil Curry and Nut Burgers are the stuff of legend.

http://bit.ly/1tehvsD

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Sue’s eaterie gets a five star rating on Trip Advisor and even gets a big thumbs up from those most fastidious of Carnivores – the French.

http://bit.ly/1xPI25W

Already looking forward to slow creamy pints and tankards of premium gin with Sue in Tom Collins’ watering hole on the Cristmas trip home.

In other Vinitek news, we’re delighted to announce that our new range of organic wines from Ricardelle de Lautrec is now in stock. We’ve selected three wines from vigneron Lionel Boutis’s list- two whites and a red. The rich white Viognier with hints of Apricot is particularly nice.

http://bit.ly/1rcrgqr

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Cheeky chappie Lionel, specialises in taking well-known grape varieties from regions like Burgundy and the Rhone and planting them in the Pays d’Oc to produce great wines with a Mediterranean twist and at only a fraction of the price.

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Bring home a taste of Lionel this Christmas at http://bit.ly/1nXUtCg

Bonne degustation…

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Happy Christmas to all our dear customers and friends.

Pretty in Pink – If Pigs could Fly….

We recently dropped in to Nick and Diana at Domaine de Sédouprat in Gascony to top up our much depleted stocks of their Olga rosé wine, which has been the revelation of the summer.
This rosé, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is literally flying off the shelves and has also been confirmed as the tipple of choice for fellow villagers in the upcoming Denat village festival. (Sept. 12-14)
Denat Festival
It’s a light and fruity, easy-drinking rosé but part of the charm is certainly related to the unique label on the bottle dedicated to the Nick Patrick’s mini-pig ‘Olga’ that lives in the gardens around the vineyard.
Olga label
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The real Olga
Nick’s entire range of wines are now dedicated to the pets and animals that live at Sédouprat with unique label design by Gascony-based artist, Perry Taylor.
When we popped in to top up our Olga stocks, Nick was busy finishing planting some 5,700 baby Pinot Noir vines, the latest addition to the family at Sédouprat
Nick and baby Pinot Noir
It will be another three years, however, before the vines will be ready to harvest – and more importantly to bottle.
In another recent development at Sédouprat, Nick and Diana recently opened the doors of their first shop at the vineyard.
Apart from the range of excellent wines to taste and buy, visitors can also select from local products including pate, cheese and foie gras.
The boutique also features some really original gift ideas, many of which are wine-related, and is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.
To find out more about the range of products available at the shop, visit the Sédouprat website at http://www.sedouprat.com/ or check out their blog at http://www.sedouprat.com/blog
ENDS

Mane or Domaine?

At long last…a winemaker who’s prepared to have a bit of fun with his labels but importantly makes excellent wine at the same time.
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Nick Patrick of Domaine de Sedouprat in Cotes de Gascogne has rebranded pretty much his entire range of wines to reflect his interests and personality.
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Everyone knows the classic French wine label…Chateau this..or Domaine that…and more often than not there isn’t a Chateau or anything even resembling a Domaine in sight.
While it’s great to see someone making quality wine experimenting with design and labelling, we’re not suggesting that Nick should go too far down this road.
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‘Frog’s Piss’ and ‘Le Vin de Merde’ being two fine examples of the other end of the spectrum.
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Nick trained in oenology and viticulture in New Zealand where he also gained some valuable work experience at the renowned Cloudy Bay estate.
After he bought Domaine de Sedouprat near Eauze, he set about making the best wines he possibly could out of his six-hectares under vine.
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are the red varietals while he has recently replaced the Colombard with Sauvignon Blanc for the whites.
Nick’s latest creation is ‘Wilfred’ – a Cabernet/Merlot blend that he has dedicated to the Shetland Pony of the same name who has lived at Sedouprat as long as the vigneron.
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Wilfred’s head and mane feature on the front label while his large rear-end adorns the back label, who said wine labels have to be stuffy?
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Nick’s other red wine is the ’Sanglier’ dedicated to the wild boar that roam the estate at Domaine de Sedouprat. It’s raised in oak for just three months so that the concentration is on the fruit rather than the wood.
 http://bit.ly/1d5EUVI
It packs quite a punch at 15% alcohol but with the ripe fruit dominating it’s hard to believe the alcohol is really this high.
Nick recently replaced his Colombard vines with Sauvignon Blanc for the white wines. The ’Ridgeback’ label design features an illustration of his Rhodesian Ridgeback hunting-dog, Tanga.
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The 2012 vintage of ’Ridgeback’ displays subtle spicy notes of vanilla, lychees and gooseberries with a nice long balanced finish.

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Nick’s 2013 ’Ridgeback’ will be an oaked variety of the Sauvignon Blanc and promises to be something very special indeed. Watch this space….
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Le Gaillac Primeur est arrivé….

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The third Thursday in November is one of the most important dates on the wine calendar of the south-west region of France. It marks the release date of the ‘Gaillac Primeur’ or ‘Vin nouveau’ which is unleashed on consumers amid much ceremonial pomp and fanfare.

Gaillac Map - Copy

 

For many, this is something of a ‘Beaujolais Nouveau’ hybrid but it is a worthy rival to its more celebrated counterpart and often tops the Beaujolais for this style of young wine. It’s also managed to make a significant mark in the Chinese market although how it manages to get to Beijing in time for the third Thursday in November is anyone’s guess?

Gamay

Made from the Gamay grape, this style of wine is designed to be drunk almost as soon as it’s made and is rarely seen for sale after the Christmas period.  It’s a pretty quick turnaround when you consider the Gamay grapes were handpicked in late September and early October – bottling took place in early November – and now the wine is ready for sale!

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The Gaillac Primeur will certainly appeal to lovers of the Gamay grape but not to anyone looking for a bit more body in a red wine. It is light and fruity, easy to drink, with aromas ranging from banana (seriously) to strawberry and raspberry. Given the heavy rain and lack of sun in May and September this year, one of the biggest challenges faced by producers here was to get the alcohol content up to the required level for the AOC boffins.  Labels are showing 12% alcohol vol. so we can only guess that a lot of bags of sugar were bought by vineyards around Gaillac this autumn!

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While the bulk of the production is in red wine, the ‘Gaillac Primeur’ also comes in a dry white version often made from a mix of Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc. The white tends to be a more ‘serious’ wine than the red and goes down very well in apéritif.

Gaillac logo - Copy

This year, fans of the ‘Vin Nouveau’ can choose from a range of 40 different reds and 20 dry whites all within the Gaillac AOC. Most of the vineyards hold ‘Portes Ouvertes’ or Open Days the weekend after the launch where customers can ramble around the vineyards and then have a taste.

Tasting PrimeurPrimeur Party

Tens of thousands of bottles of ‘Gaillac Primeur’ will be sold and consumed in restaurants and bars all over Albi and Toulouse in the three or four days after the launch. In a week’s time all the fuss will have died down for another year and there will be a lot of sore heads.

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The ‘Gaillac Primeur’ is certainly very quoffable but wouldn’t be considered a real ‘food’ wine. It’s perhaps best enjoyed ‘Tapas’ style with charcuterie, pizza, quiche and mild cheese.

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Bonne degustation….

http://www.vinitek-sudouest.com

Château Bubas, Corbières

Harvesting is well underway at our favourite south-west vineyard, Château Bubas, in the village of Comigne in the rugged hills of Corbières country.

Sun-drenched soil

Corbieres country

Corbières, which stretches from Narbonne to the foothills of the Pyrenees not far from the Spanish border, is the largest AOC producer in the Languedoc and the fourth biggest in all of France

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Chateau Bubas

It’s predominately red wine territory (about 95% of production is red) and the climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters and very hot, dry summers.

Olivier Durand-Roger, is the fifth generation of winemaker at Château Bubas – a 34-hectare estate made up largely of Carignan vines with some Grenache and Syrah for good measure.

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House at Bubas

Upon arrival at the domaine, the sense of tradition abounds and Olivier points out the rusting shell of his grandfather’s ancient tractor which worked the land here in days gone by.

Olivier's old tractor!

Happily, Olivier has invested in a new tractor but he still drives a 1980 Renault 4L van for getting to the more remote outposts of the hilly vineyard.

Olivier's new tractor

We gladly jump into the old van for a bumpy tour of the sprawling domaine and that’s when you really get a true picture of the stunning beauty of the windswept Corbières landscape.

Olivier's 1980 Renault 4L

Corbieres landscape

It might seem surprising that in a vineyard as large as this, that Olivier produces just two wines – his classic red – the Château Prieuré de Bubas – and a high-end red – the Clos Bubas.

Olivier is a firm believer in tried and tested recipies – he prefers to concentrate on just two wines and make them to the best of his ability rather than diversifying and risking a loss in quality.

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He’s also a firm advocate of the winemaking technique of ‘Carbonic Maceration’ whereby each handpicked grape is de-stalked and placed whole in the vat without being crushed.

Carbon dioxide is then gently pumped into the vats to begin vinification and to break down the grapes.

This extraction technique is very popular for the Carignan grape; it enhances the fruitiness and makes for a softer, finer wine which will benefit from some bottle-ageing.

Carignan (2)

This year’s harvest is expected to last about 16 days and the bulk of the grapes will go towards production of approximately 20,000 bottles of Olivier’s main wine – Château Prieuré de Bubas.

Bubas label

This Corbières has been awarded two stars in the ‘Guide Hachette’ on a number of occasions, which according to the critics denotes a ‘remarkable wine’.

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However, the very best of the juice from the oldest vines (60 years and more) will be reserved for production of Olivier’s high-end wine – the Clos Bubas.

This is a true ‘Vin de Garage’ with production limited to just an anticipated 1,500 bottles for the 2013 harvest.

(http://bit.ly/GFCdjb)

While the Château Bubas is already an excellent wine, the Clos Bubas, which is raised in new oak barrels for 11 months, really is an exceptional Corbières wine.

It has a deep ruby robe with a powerful nose exploding with black pepper, spice and dark fruit.

While ready to enjoy now, it will easily keep in a good cellar for a minimum of 10-12 years.

This is definitely a winter wine, ideally enjoyed amongst family and friends around the Christmas table.

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Harvesting in Gaillac

THE harvest in Gaillac is finally underway, several weeks later than last year, largely due to a very wet Spring here, particularly the month of May.

Harvest Begins

However, with temperatures set to remain in the high 20’s until the end of September and into early October, producers will aim to make the most of the spell of good weather.

Sébastien Cabal, winemaker at Domaine des Ardurels, explained that he starts by harvesting the grapes for the dry white wines; Loin de l’oeil, Sauvignon Blanc (http://bit.ly/10SmvZr).

Nice Bunch...

Then he harvests the Gamay grape for the ‘Gaillac Primeur’ (see footnote below) followed by the traditional Gaillac red grapes;  Braucol, Duras and Syrah (http://bit.ly/1gSqWHu).

The Cabal family have been making wine at Les Ardurels since 1811, and Sébastien has been responsible for production since taking over the mantle from his father, Maurice, in the late 1990’s. Although officially retired, Maurice Cabal is still on hand every day to help out as much as possible.

Yum Yum...

Sébastien has a pretty  interesting philosophy towards the craft of winemaking which ensures that his customers won’t get too tipsy after tasting his range of Gaillac wines.

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While, it’s not unusual to find robust Gaillac reds at 14% – 14.5% in alcohol volume, none of the six or seven wines in Sébastien’s range at Les Ardurels ever exceeds the 12% alcohol mark.

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This is partly due to his own personal belief that good wine can be enjoyed without incapacitating consumers but there is also a certain business logic here at work.

“From my point of view, it’s much better if customers are able to finish a full bottle of our wine at one sitting rather than just drinking half of it and finishing the bottle the next day,” Sébastien explained.

My meagre contribution to the harvest...

The 12 hectares of vines at Les Ardurels are harvested by a combination of machine-gathering and traditional hand-picking, according to grape variety and local rules.

Father and Son

The last of the Gaillac grapes won’t be harvested until about mid-October – these will form the base for the Gaillac sweet white wines; Muscadelle and Mauzac (http://bit.ly/1ai1lpH). In keeping with local tradition and AOC regulations, these grapes will be hand harvested

Sweet white wines are one of the great strengths of the Gaillac range, with a style less heavy and sugary than equivalent dessert wines in Sauternes or Monbazillac – and only a fraction of the price.

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*Gaillac Primeur – The Gamay grape in Gaillac is used almost exclusively for the production of the ‘Gaillac Primeur’ – a worthy rival to the Beaujolais Nouveau. It is launched with much pomp and fanfare on the third Thursday of November every year.  This is a young wine designed to be drunk almost as soon as it’s made. It will certainly appeal to lovers of the Gamay grape and is well worth a taste although it should really be consumed within about six months of production.

ENDS