What’s in a name? asked the greatest playwright of all time, and for many of us The Simpsons are a cartoon family from Springfield in the USA. But now an English family is reclaiming the name for the wine world as a leader of fine, fine wine!
For some years now, English wines have been reaching a standard we would only see from more famous regions in France. Especially the sparkling wines have gotten fantastic and deserved reviews all over the world, but now the still wines are starting to make a splash as well.
The Simpson estate is located not far from the historic town of Canterbury. The famous cathedral there have attracted pilgrims since the untimely death of Thomas Beckett in 1170. As followers of Kultour will know we like Christian munks and pilgrims, they bring wine and other goods with them wherever they travel, but getting wine to England have taken some time. The Simpsons estate planted their first vines of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Munier in 2014. In a very short time they have established themselves as producers of wines of high, high quality. Vinmonopolet carry several of their wines and we love all of them, but this weeks wine is the Gravel Road Chardonnay. The 2020 vintage is only the third vintage they have produced but it’s an exceptional wine and you will find it here in Norway at a great price.
Simpsons Gravel Castle Chardonnay 2020 - 229,00 kr
Lovely orange notes on the nose, with hints of herbs and lemon zest. Very delicate. On the palate the minerality and acidity makes this a very refreshing wine to enjoy. And enjoy it is what you do. It is so easy to drink. Lemon, orange, lime in the mouth. It is also very “Cool” in the mouth. It’s difficult to explain, but there are no jammy flavours, just very clear and clean fruit and minerality, that you usually find in the best burgundy wines or wines grown at high altitude. This is a wine that can be enjoyed alone or with a flat fish like Dover Sole or Turbot.
5 hours by car west of Australia’s great city of Melbourne you'll find Coonawarra, one of the best wine regions in the country.
Founded in 1891 by the Scottish gold digger John Riddoch, who planted 95.000 vines and 10.000 fruit trees only the first year. But the region didn’t receive any noticeable recognition before the 1960s.
The Coonawarra region holds a quite cold climate for Australia. The terroir is noticeable in its color and consists of a top layer of red clay. Underneath is a layer of chalk stones, both good for drainage and keeping the heat throughout the cool nights. All this makes for a quite interesting wine region.
The region is best know for their signature Cabernet Sauvignon’s. So much so, that the Australian reference point on this grape, comes from here.
At 8AM on the 11th of March 1897 406kg of grapes arrived at the newly build Chateau Comaum. This was the first arrival of grapes at what today is Wynns Estate. A proud winery with long roots. The current owners bought the estate in 1951 and their wines are considered the best in the region.
Several are available at Vinmonopolet, and we’re focusing on their lovely 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon.
After a week’s summer vacation, we are back with our recommendations and this week we travel to Italy. For me the grapes I come back to again and again are Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo. Considered by many among the noblest of grapes that produce some of the finest wines there are similarities and differences. One of the biggest difference is that while the most famous Pinot Noir wines are found in Burgundy, you will find great wines made on this grape all over the world. This is not the case with the Nebbiolo grape. I have yet to taste a wine from some place other than Piemonte one this grape that is worth talking about. But then again the wines from Piemonte are close to perfect, so I guess it is something to try and reach those hights.
This weeks wine is from the producer Travaglini. This family have made wines for centuries, but it was in the 20’s that they established the winery we know today. They strives to minimise its impact on its wine where possible, with the goal being to capture nature's spirit and express it at the highest level. Also famous are their bottles. An exceptional wine deserves an exceptional bottle. With this in mind, Giancarlo Travaglini began to create a bottle similar to a work of art. In 1958, the product became the epitome of a blend of superior oenological quality and ornamental table design. The bottle naturally captures the sediment during pouring, allows the wine to be served directly to the glass without decanting, and is ideal for ageing in a cellar. The dark glass filters the light and preserves the quality of the wine over the years.
Travaglini Gattinara 2017 - 279,90 kr
Dark and fine colour, that becomes slightly transparent when held up to the light. Very elegant an fin bouquet, with red berries, hits of mushrooms and fine herbs. Great length and structure. Still good tannins, so you can lay this down for a few years, but it drinks well now. Rich and long in the mouth. Elegant and fine, with red berries dominating. Perfect for anything from the Italian kitchen.
Greek wines are quickly becoming the next big thing in wine. For some it's been for a while, but now the real fun is kicking in. And that is due to two main reasons. First and most important, the next generation of winemakers in Greece, have really figured it out. What grapes to grow, how to do so and techniques adapted to their climate are some key factors. The second reason is accessibility. Greek wines are now widely available for us consumers. You don't have to backtrack too many years to see a slim list of wines possible for us to buy.
There are a couple of leading wineries for you to watch out for. Number one is Karamolegos. They are in a league of their own. But their wines range in the more expensive category. Here I'd highly recommend you try:
A.Karamolegos '34' 2019 - at 349kr or the wildly fantastic
A.Karamolegos Louri Platia 2017 at 747kr.
The first coming in at 93p and the second at 97p.
The other winery I highly recommend, which holds or pick of the week, is Thymiopoulos Outstanding wines, and some at a more affordable price.
Our wine of the week is Atma White 2020. Sort of an introduction to greek wines. It's very light and floral, and easy to drink. A perfect wine to start exploring the wonderful wine country of Greece.
The Gruner Veltliner grape is a one that we often overlook, both here on our blog and amongst wine nerds. It’s an Austrian grape variety and has been cultivated there since Roman times. 32 % of wine production in Austria is Gruner Veltliner and 47 % of the white wine production, so it is very important in the Alpine country.
Among the many producers in Austria Josef Jamek has a name that instils respect among the locals. The legendary producer is considered the father of the modern dry Austrian wine style and his legacy lives on in the wines his children and grandchildren now make.
Situated in Wachau the vineyards of the Jamek winery are all on steep hills overlooking the Donau river. The views are spectacular and reminds you of the Mosel valley. Here the Gruner grapes have perfect growing conditions and gives the Weingut a great starting point for making good quality wine. The grapes for this weeks wine are all hand picked, left with skin contact for eight hours then gently pressed. Aged first in steel tanks and then some use of oak.
Jamek Mariengarten Grüner Veltliner Steinfeder 2020 - 164,90 kr
Very nice Grüner Veltliner. Fresh and fine on the nose, with honey melon, elderflower and pear. Good acidity and minerality. Nice balance as well. Gooseberry, pear, and green apples in the mouth. Very nice wine, pleasant and fresh to drink. And at 164,90 a real bargain.
Provence is the capital of rosé wine. The growing conditions for this spring-summer style wine is just perfect in this area. Not red, not white, but rosé. And they do it with such perfection that it just makes you smile, sipping a glass.
Domaine Clos Sainte Magdeleine is quite new to the rosé game, in fact this is only their second vintage of this Côtes-de-Provence pale pink gold.The vineyards sits beautifully facing the coast between Cassis and Bandol, making for optimal growing conditions. Grapes for this bottle is a blend of Mourvèdre 20%, Grenache 35%, Syrah 10%, Cinsault 35%.
Unlike most rosé wines, this will be cool to put in your cellar for a couple of years, but it also drinks perfectly now :)
“Strawberries, cherries and an angel's kiss in spring …” so starts the legendary Nancy their Sinatra song Summer Wine. When I hear that song the first wine that springs to mind is a fresh and fine Pinot Noir, fruity and fine with a lot of berries. This weeks wine fits that description and at a paltry 139,90 it’s a real bargain!
Burgundy is of course the most famous wine district when it comes to Pinot Noir, and todays winemaker makes most of his wines in Burgundy, but not this weeks recommendation. Their Château Pech Latt is located near Lagrasse, a charming medieval village located high in the heart of the Corbières appellation, in the Languedoc Roussillon region of France. The vineyard has been cultivated organically since 1991. The estate spreads over 340 hectares, encircled by garrigue covered hills. These calcareous and red marl hills create a natural shelter, offering protection from weather changes and the strong winds of the South. As a pioneer of quality, Chateau Pech Latt was one of the first vineyards to convert to organic viticulture in the South of France. The vineyard is worked using only natural and mechanical methods.
For the red wine, after a thorough sorting the grapes are fully destemmed, and then macerated in large concrete tanks for around 20 days. Then the wine is gently pressed pneumatically, and matured for at least 6months, before a light filtration and bottling.
Louis Max Climats Les Terres Froides Pinot Noir - 139,90 kr
Fine nose with rasberry, strawberries and herbs. REally delicate. Wuite soft en fine in the mouth. Good minerality and acidity. Soft to the pallet and fine. Rasberries and strawberries dominate with hints of cherry. Very refreshing and easy to drink. Can be enjoyed cool almost like a rosé. Workes well with grilled meats and poultry. Try it with Coq au vin!
From the beautiful Douro valley north in Portugal comes this gem of a wine. Made by talented winemaker Claudia Quevedo this concentrated and intense wine resembles many of the top Burgundies we love.
The family owned winery produces a famous port wine, in addition to whites and reds. Claudia’s wines are quickly gaining recognition around the globe, so now might be a great time to check them out.
This bottle is made from a variety of hand picked grapes, that is stored in old French oak barrels. The mix of Gouveio 29%, Rabigato 31%, Côdega do Larinho 11%, Viosinho 29% gives the wine great complexity and will age excellent for up to 10 years.
I always looked at the wines from Piemonte as purely red wines. No good white wines were being made there. Then I went there myself and was introduced to the Arneis grape and now it’s one of my favourite and go to white wines. The Arneis grape originated from Piemonte and is most commonly found in the hills of Roero, which is why you so often see the name Roero Arneis on the bottles.
This weeks wine is from The winery Fratelli Ponte, an exclusive family business, which since generations dedicated itself to the growth if its vineyards and to the production of wines with passion. Culture, passion and the art of making Wine has been passed down from father to son. Their Arneis is hand-picked, typically in early September. Then aged in stainless steel tanks, temperature-controlled to retain aromatics. Aged on the fine lees for 3 months to gain additional complexity.
Frat. Ponte Romano Levi Roero Arneis 2018 - 199,90 kr
Delicate smell of grapefruit, lemon and pear, with hints of camomile tea. In the mouth it has great acidity that gives the wine great structure. Characteristically for the Arneis grape it feels full and round in addition to the freshness from the grape, making it very good to drink alone, but also perfect with food. Try it with an asparagus risotto, mild white meat dishes or anti pasti.
Just looking at the beautiful colour of this wine makes me happy, and tasting it even more. Wongraven has become a household name in the world of wine, known for producing excellent Barolo, Champagne and Riesling. Our pick of the week is his excellent bottle of rosé. It gets the deep brilliant red colour from three days of skin contact during maceration. This also gives the wine better acidity, structure and a broader palette of flavors.
Usually rosé wines are quite simple affairs, with a more pale colour and a lighter palette.
They are ment to be consumed young and rarely benefits from any aging. Our wine of the week, on the other hand, is a different story. Made on 100% Nebbiolo grape, this bottle can easily store in your cellar for 4-5 years and improve. Its also a versatile wine that will handle a variety if dishes.