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Showing posts from July, 2009

WSET Trip to Austria

Dwayne Perreault - Up until a couple weeks ago, I didn't know much about Austrian wines, but my impressions from what I had tasted were generally positive. So I jumped at the chance to take part in a trip organized for Dutch WSET diploma course students by Holland's only Master of Wine, Frank Smulders. This was a four-day trip where we visited some of Austria's top wineries. It would take too long to cover them all or to delve into every wine, but here are my favourites:

Weingut Bernhard Ott, Wagrum

"Mr. Veltliner," as he is called, as 95% of his 30 ha are planted with this variety. Ott is a giant of a man in stature physically, but also in terms of his international reputation, exporting to 15 different countries. Biodiversity and biodynamism are what he preaches, but as a means to an end, which is to produce the best wines possible. It doesn't hurt to have a great terroir, and Wagram is particularly blessed with mineral-rich loess soils which can be 20 meters…

Visit to Bordeaux: Clos du Jaugueyron and Belle-Vue

Earlier this month we spent a week in the Dordogne. Not surprisingly I took the time to visit Bordeaux, in this case the South part of the Haut-Médoc: in the morning Clos du Jaugueyron (Haut-Médoc and Margaux), and Belle-Vue (Haut-Médoc) in the afternoon. Two adjoining properties producing great (and great value) wines, but with very different approaches.

Visting Bordeaux with this great 1977 Peugeot 504 that I borrowed from my friend Igor

Clos du Jaugueyron is a small property owned by winemaker Michel Théron. With its 5 hectares Clos du Jaugueyron could be regarded as a "left bank garage wine". Not far from the truth actually, because Michel made his first vintages in the garage next to his house in the village of Arsac. Michel's approach is rather un-Bordeaux so to say: he is both owner ànd winemaker of Clos du Jaugueyron.

For most grand Bordeaux châteaux there is an owner who employs a complete team for the production of the wine, the usual roles being: (general) manage…

Bodega Horacio Calvente

Dwayne Perreault − One of my pet peeves with Spain is the lack of interesting white wines with recognizably individual characteristics. Yes, you have some affordable and tasty Ruedas if they are made from 100% Verdejo, nice drinkable wines with fresh fruit and citrus flavours, but I tend to tire of Rueda pretty quickly. I'm rather bored with oakey, vanilla-rich Viura-based blends from Rioja.


Somontano has built its reputation on varietals made from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Gewurtztraminer, but do these compete with similar wines from Burgundy, the Loire or Alsace? The same could be asked about the oaked Chardonnays of Penedès. Why bother when you can get the real thing from Pouilly-Fuissé and even Meursault for about the same price? Finally, there are some amazing Albariños from Rias Baixas, but they also cost a pretty penny and are not always worth it.

So now for something completely different: a dry Moscatel de Alejandria (Muscat d'Alexandrie), a Vino de la Tierra de Grana…