Organic

Burn Cottage Pinot Noir 2012, Central Otago, New Zealand

Drunk@home December 2015

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The winery

Burn Cottage Vineyard Property is a twenty four hectare estate in Cromwell near the foothills of the Pisa range in Central Otago, New Zealand. The vineyard is owned by the Sauvage family which also owns the celebrated Koehler Ruprecht estate in the Pfalz region of Germany.

The vineyard was purchased in 2002 after an auction by Marquis and Dianne Sauvage. Historically the site was used for sheep grazing and there were, and are, no immediate vineyard neighbours. The site was much coveted in the region for it is sheltered from both northerly and southerly winds by large hills to form a protected bowl.

The first blocks were planted in 2003 and many different clones of Pinot Noir were planted on a variety of rootstocks. In addition to Pinot Noir there is a small amount of Gruner Veltliner and Riesling planted. The Pinot Noir is situated on north and north east facing slopes and the Riesling and Gruner are planted on an east facing slope in a gully in the property. The Gruner Veltliner planting is from the first generation of this variety released in New Zealand. 

New Zealander Peter Proctor and his partner Rachel Pomeroy have been intimately involved in the organisation, establishment and practice of biodynamics at Burn Cottage since the very beginning. Along with 10 hectares of vines there are over 20 hectares of land devoted to creating an enclosed farm system to supply manure for the compost programs. The aim is to minimise Sulfur usage and avoid all additives whenever possible including cultured yeasts, bacteria, associated nutrient products and filters. Racking is also whenever possible and wine work is done according to lunar and celestial rhythms.

The wine

Alcohol 13.2 %, Commenced Harvest: 29th March, Finished harvest 7th April. Burn Cottage composition: Block 1 – 17% Block 2 – 13% Block 4 – 16% Block 7 East – 14% Block 7 West – 21% Blocks 6&8 – 19% Bottled volume : 2050 cases 6 x 750 ml

Spring was somewhat changeable and cool but there was very good weather for grapes in December 2011 with very good soil moisture. There was a brief bit of snow in November with some frost. January brought had good spells of hot, dry weather, with excellent flowering and mid-season conditions. Rain in February was welcome for the soils, while March was slightly wetter and milder than usual, slowing ripening a little in the final weeks.

Fermented Grape Tasting Notes

I was looking forward to trying this 2012 Pinot Noir from Burn Cottage as the winery has the reputation of being one of the best in New Zealand.  

There were strong aromas of dark cherry with a hint of spice. The wine had noticeable acidity and earthy characteristics but this was well balanced by the dark fruit, herby notes and fine tannins. There was a long and satisfying finish. The winemaker described it as "the most firm and enigmatic Burn Cottage we have yet produced" and to me this was a classic elegant Central Otago Pinot. Very expensive but with just over 2000 cases produced Burn Cottage is a low volume producer and it is great to try such an excellent wine with their biodynamic credentials. Recommended!

Jospeh Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2011, Burgundy

Drunk@home December 2015

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The wine

This Joseph Drouhin wine is made from Pinot Noir at the heart of the famous Chambolle-Musigny vineyard, with an East exposure. The name of the village Chambolle is probably derived from the Celtic "cambola", already reputed for its vineyards in Gallo-Roman times and cultivated by the monks in the Middle Ages.  

Drouhin owns several Premier Cru parcels in the appellation and since they are too small, these vineyards (Noirots, Hauts Doix, Borniques, Plantes, Combottes) are harvested and vinified together.  The total area is 1.3 ha. (3.25 acres) with average age of the vines of 32 years.The name given to this wine is therefore Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru (since the components of this "cuvée" are all Premier Crus). The vineyards have been organic since 1990 and more recently use biodynamic cultivation techniques so only authorised products for biological cultivation are used: infusions and macerations of plant materials, sulfur and copper, powdered rock. Natural predators are not eliminated.

Yields are kept low, around 20% less than allowed by the current law. Harvesting is by hand, in small open crates in order to preserve the integrity of the fruit. Maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks using indigenous yeasts
"Pigeage" (punching down of the cap during fermentation): once a day until half of fermentation is done; one pumping over (remontage) per day until the end of the fermentation.

The wine was aged in French Oak barrels (20% in new oak) for 14 to 18 months and the finished bottle can be cellared for 8-25 years.

Fermented Grape tasting notes

Burgundy's 2011 vintage was pretty poor quality rot, storms, hail and changeable temperatures.  Compared with the excellent 2010 vintage, Pinot Noir quality was variable and careful selection by producer is key. 

Fortunately this Jospeh Drouhin, Chambolle-Musigny Premier Cru 2011 was very good. The nose was strong with cherry and the forest floor which continued on the palate with plum, black cherry and spice with fine tannins and a nice level of acidity.  Fruit, acidity, tannin were finely balanced and with a light style. Expensive but this was top Burgundy and shows the quality of the Chambolle-Musigny area with its highly fragranced wines. 

Battle of Bosworth White Boar 2010, McLaren Vale, Australia

Drunk @ home November 2015

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The winery

The Battle of Bosworth winery is located in Willunga, to the south of the McLaren Vale township. Edgehill Vineyard was established in the early 1970’s by Peter and Anthea Bosworth. Willunga itself was settled in approximately 1837 and Bosworths have been growing grapes in the district from the late 1840s. Son Joch Bosworth took over the management and day to day running of the vineyards in 1995.

Traditionally a region of mixed agriculture from the earliest Pioneer days, Willunga grew wheat, sheep, stone fruits and barley, as well as dairy cattle and almonds. Almonds were an important part of the local economy in the 1950s and 1960s, but Willunga was unable to compete with the Riverland region’s unrestricted access to water for irrigation and cheap land for almond growing, and the industry fell into decline. Many of the commercial almond groves became derelict as a result, and Edgehill Vineyard was established on one such property.

The wine takes its name from the original Battle of Bosworth, fought on Bosworth Field, Leicestershire, England in 1485. Here the last of the Plantagenet Kings, Richard the III, was slain by Henry Tudor, becoming the last king of England to die in battle. His death ended the War of the Roses. The roots of the family’s battle were planted in the early 1840’s with the first Bosworth vineyard in McLaren Vale. 

Grown on their own roots, in some of the world’s oldest soils, McLaren Vale’s benign climate is ideal for growing grapes organically. The wine's label has the yellow Sour Sob (Oxalis pes caprae), usually considered a weed, but encouraged in there vineyards to out-compete other weeds in winter and spring which then forms a natural weed mat in summer. Conversion to organic viticulture began in 1995 and they now have some 190 acres of 20 years and older Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc and Mourvèdre vines (and some Graciano and Touriga Nacional) which are fully certified ‘A’ grade organic by Australian Certified Organic (ACO), a process that takes four years.

JOCH BOSWORTH

Joch Bosworth is the owner and founder of the Battle of Bosworth and Spring Seed Wines. He was raised in  McLaren Vale and following successful study at Charles Sturt University in New South Wales in viticulture he spent a season working for Robert Mondavi in the Napa, he then went on to do a vintage or harvest in Oregon, at Willamette Valley Vineyards.

Returning home, Joch was drawn east of the border to Goona Warra, a small Victorian winery in the Sunbury wine region, where he worked for several years. After three years as resident viticulturist and winemaker (including some practice at making Grappa in the lab) Joch returned home to Edgehill Vineyard in 1995 to take over the reins from father and founder, Peter.

Joch’s commitment to organic principles in the vineyards began with an increasing sense of discomfort about using synthetic chemicals on his soils and at the same time, that using natural, old fashioned farming techniques was utterly feasible in a climate as benign as McLaren Vale’s.

Vineyards and Soils

The vineyards are located in the southern foothills of the Mount Lofty Ranges which form the eastern boundary of the McLaren Vale region, and are some 7km due west of the sea. The vineyards are approximately 130m above sea level.

Soils comprise predominantly Urrbrae silt loams from the Quaternary period. They are variously red brown to chocolate brown clay loams with slate/ quartz gravel over red brown, very stony and well-structured clay with up to 50% soft carbonate. This all means that the soils are very well-drained and at the same time have excellent water holding properties. Supplementary drip irrigation from underground water is used in the vineyards when required.

Chardonnay, Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vines are all trained to a two wire vertically shoot positioned spur pruned trellis. The Cabernet Sauvignon vines are LC10 and LC 14 and Shiraz a mixture of 1664 and a very old and unknown McLaren Vale clone. Vines are approximately twenty years old. The Chardonnay plantings are made up of the I10VI clone and the Viognier a mixture of Montpellier and HTK. Rows are approximately 3.35m wide in the vineyard and space between vines about 1.8m Vine densities average at about 664 vines per acre across all varieties.

The wine

Organic 60% Shiraz and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Picking date 11th March 2012
pH level 3.61
Total acidity 6.95
alc/vol 15.0%
bottling date 22nd November 2011

2010 Vintage in McLaren Vale

There was just about average annual rainfall over the year, which resulted in healthy crops of Shiraz and Cabernet. Unseasonably warm November weather interfered with the chardonnay during flowering and  resulted in small crops of this variety. The weather then remained almost perfect for the rest of vintage. The general consensus amongst winemakers in the Vale is that 2010 marks an exceptional year for both red and white wines.

Wine making

White Boar is an Amarone style red wine. Amarone is made in Italy and the grapes are harvested when ripe and dried on racks for several weeks before fermentation, making a very rich and flavoured wine.

Shiraz and Cabernet grapes were dried on the vine (after cutting the cordon) to achieve the same effect but with higher risks for approximately 12-14 days. The drying process concentrates flavour, sugar and acid. Grapes were then hand-picked and fermented in old oak. 

FermentedGrape.com Tasting Notes

This 2010 Battle of Bosworth “White Boar” was a superb wine, especially as Amarone is one of my favourite Italian wines and the organic credentials of the wine was a welcome added bonus. It was deep red in the glass with the nose and palate showing intense, concentrated flavours and big alcohol at 15%. The nose was cherry and plum with spice, chocolate and vanilla from the oak. On the palate it was very rich, exhibiting similar characteristics to the nose, with fine tannins and balanced acidity. The finish was strong and very long with spice and heat enduring. Perfect with a casserole.
 
 

Wilfred Rousse Les Galuches 2014, Chinon, Loire Valley France

Drunk August 2015 @ Les Années 30, 78 Rue Haute Saint-Maurice, 37500 Chinon

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The winery

Housed in a former farm in a place called The Halbardière, domain Wilfrid Rousse's logo is a weathervane with a mermaid holding a fish in her hand. This figure once sat on the roofs of the medieval Château Des Places in Savigny-en-Véron, in the seventeenth century property of Admiral and Governor of Acadia Claude de Launay-Razilly. According to legend, nostalgic for his past conquests the Admiral would have put the weathervane on his property. This house would have welcomed several times King Charles VII. The Halbardière where the winery is located was one of the farms of the Castle.

The Domaine Wilfrid Rousse covers 19.5 hectares between the towns of Savigny-en-Véron, Beaumont-en-Véron and Chinon. It consists of 18 hectares planted in Cabernet Franc and half a hectare of Chenin.

The Estate was founded in 1987 and now uses organic farming. It is located on the right bank of the Vienne River west of Chinon. 

The wine

Grape variety: 100% Cabernet Franc - 7 hectares. Vines planted along the Loire on a sandy soil and gravel located in Savigny-en-Véron. Quantity: 60,000 bottles.

FermentedGrape.com tasting notes

This was much lighter in the glass than the 2010 Lambert Cabernet Franc I tried the same evening. 2014 was a good vintage for Cabernet Franc generally in the Loire but with low yields.

A nicely balanced wine with acidity and tannins in check with plenty of berry fruit aromas and on the palate with a certain freshness, though not green. Not to the same standard as the 2010 Lambert but still very good with some veal and nice to see the organic credentials of the winery. A very inexpensive wine and although tasting a little young it slipped down well (sub 10 euros to buy from the winery). 

Pascal et Béatrice Lambert cuvée Marie 2010 (Biodynamic), Chinon, Loire Valley, France

Drunk August 2015 @ Les Années 30, 78 Rue Haute Saint-Maurice, 37500 Chinon

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The winery

Domaine Lambert  "The Chesnaies" currently consists of 14 ha and is located in Cravant Coteaux . The town represents approximately 40% of the Chinon appellation the Loire Valley.

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The estate was founded in 1987 by Pascal and Béatrice Lambert. They converted to organic farming in the 2000's and in 2005, they received the "BioEcocert" certificate and also starting practicing biodynamics (the practice to create harmony between plants, soil, and its environment).

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Since 2012, the practice of biodynamics is certified under the charter Biodyvins (http://www.biodyvin.com/) which means:

  •  no chemical additions to the soil. 
  • Tillage underfoot in the spring and summer avoiding competition from the grass under the vines.
  • Between rows, different plants suited to the soil are planted annually. And mustard, oats, rapeseed, rye facilitate the capture of ground copper and sulphate and assist the development of nitrogenous components, essential to the fermentation of the grapes. 
  • The addition of compost consisting of fermentation products, tree bark (BRF), manure of cattle and horses, with wine effluents, biodynamic preparations, as well as lactic acid bacteria manufactured on the holding
  • Using leaf treatment plants (herbal tea nettle, nasturtium, yarrow, etc.)
  • Manual budding and limited trimming height to increase leaf surfaces.

The vineyard is planted to Cabernet Franc for red and rosé wines, and Chenin for white wine.

The vineyards of Chinon has several types of geological soils:

- The terroir of gravel: alluvial terraces from the right and left banks of the Vienne valley formed in the Quaternary era (less than 15,000 years), depending on the plot composed of gravel and silicas.

chinon clay limestone

- Clay-limestone: clay and limestone soil composed of sub Turonian chalk layers (limestone) deposited by the sea in the Mesozoic era (less than 90 million years). These soils occupy the hillsides and plateaus that dominate the valleys.

- Soil composed of flint and clay

Pickers from 2010 vintage

Pickers from 2010 vintage

The wine

In the autumn, the harvest is done manually. In the winery, the grapes are manually sorted on carpets and stalked berries are dumped into tanks using conveyor belt (not tap), which prevents violent crushing of the grapes. In vats, fermentation takes place slowly and naturally without adding yeast. The Lamberts believe that these natural methods  enhance the micro terroir and offer personalised wines.

The Cuvée Marie comes from the oldest Cabernet Franc vines (60-75 years) in the field on clay-siliceous and gravelly soils of Cravant-les-Coteaux. After a long maceration (35 days), the wines are aged in barrels for 24 months.

FermentedGrape.com tasting notes

The 2010 vintage in the Loire was very good and it was a pleasure to try this biodynamic Cabernet Franc from the Chinon area. An area of the Loire valley known for its red wines.

Cabernet Franc may not be my favourite grape but it ripens faster than Cabernet Sauvignon which makes it particularly suitable for wine making in the cooler Loire region.

This Cuvée Marie using vielles vignes (old vines) had an exceptional berry and spice nose. Unlike some Cabernet Francs, acidity and tannins were not excessive and in balance with the blackcurrant and blackberry fruit.  The palate was smooth with the just right of acidity to make it particularly enjoyable with food. The finish was long and interesting. 

As someone very interested these days in biodynamic and organic wine making, this Lambert Cuvée Marie didn't disappoint.