Newsletter July 2009

This the (approximately) monthly Newsletter of Vinodiversity. If you subscribe you will get an email reminder and summary of each newsletter and be eligible for some bonuses like the fabulous eCoookbook 10 dishes for Sangiovese

Welcome to the July edition of Vinodiversity News.

Vinodiversity has just returned from South West France. This is a wonderful untouristy area of the world where there is good wine, good food, no fat people (until I arrived) and a healthy regard for the good things of life such as frites cooked in duck fat.

The natives in this region eat a healthy diet and have the longest life expectancy in France. They don't bother about trendy health fads, they just drink Tannat and Malbec.

A couple of excellent books on this region are Goose Fat and Garlic, or A Culinary Journey in Gascony.

Near where we stayed was Madam Murat's restaurant Chez Jeanne which was featured on a recent SBS documentary and a book. Order the DVD at a great price from here) This restaurant has been in the same family for 5 generations. It has no menu. You just come in, sit down and they put a bottle of wine, some water and bread on your table and start bringing out the first of five courses...

See my story about Madam Murat's Chez Jeanne here

A few observations about French wines, especially in the South West

Wine is very cheap. Very good wine for 5 Euros a bottle, well reds and roses that is. The whites in this region are mainly Sauvignon blanc. Maybe it is my prejudice but they all tasted like that dreadful cloudy oyster stuff flooding the market over here. No wonder the French have switched so decisively to rose which now outsells white.

I thought I'd never say it but "Thank god for chardonnay" but white burgundy is a least palatable. There were some viogniers and chenins around. The molleux wines, (semi sweet) made with petit and gros manseng and sometimes semillon and muscadelle were excellent. My advice though is to stick with roses for summer drinking in France - they are usually excellent.

There are several interesting satellite regions around Bordeaux which make interesting wines. Some use classic bordeaux varieties, Cabernets Franc and Sauvignan and Merlot mainly. Other small appellations use some interesting local varieties, such as Tannat, Fer, Duras, Abouriou, Negrette and an old favourite Malbec. These latter tend to be used more often further away from Bordeaux. See this article about some of the lesser known wine regions in SW France

Corks in franceThe French still like corks. In the interest of research several bottles were opened, well over a hundred actually. Nearly all were sealed with a cork. Some were over a decade in the bottle. Only one was corked.

Back in Australia Now

The August Victorian Regional Wine Showcase at Melbourne's Fed Square is the annual awards event. Leading wineries, based on the results of the results of people's choice awards and the judging panel will present their wines for tasting. Details Here

Wine Century Club

The Wine Century Club is for people who have tried a hundred or more wine grape varieties. It is organised by Steve De Long, author of the Wine Grape Varietal Table. The club started in New York but there are chapters around the world where winelovers get together to taste and talk about less common varietal wines

Some Vinodiversity readers have suggested setting up a chapter here in Melbourne, or perhaps an informal club to do some tasting of some unusual wines to help aspiring members get to the ton. If you are interested in pursuing this idea please see this page and register.

General information about the Wine Century club can be found via the De Long Wine Info site where you can also buy the varietal table, wine maps or tasting notebooks.

James Halliday Wine Companion 2010

By the time you read this the companion is probably available. See this page to see my review and how you can order a copy at a discounted price. Order a couple - they are very suitable as gifts.

Recipe of the Month

It's winter. Time to reprise an old favourite. Braised Oxtail with Black Olives.

Now the wine is not hard to find, a big red. Durif is your first choice. But as we are still in SW France mode why not pair it with some Tannat?

Some recent wine articles by yours truly. Finally: Come and say hello at the Vinodiversity stand at Victorian Wine Regions Showcase on 5 and 6 August

Copyright© Vinodiversity 2009.