Chateau de Beaucastel

Chateau de Beaucastel can be found in the north-east of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, where their 100 hectares of goblet trained vines stand in the sun-baked, galet covered soils. Evidence of the chateau dates back to 1549 and to this day has been family owned and operated.

Beaucastel farm organically, and have for many years, with a push towards biodynamics. They have never taken the easy option in terms of vine management, or winemaking processes. And their experience, strong values and hard work all shine through in the quality and beauty of their wines.

As we were taken through the winery, it was incredible to see the precision of processes, cleanliness of environment, and beauty of the space. If I was a grape, I would love for my conversion to juice and wine to take place there.

If you were thinking of visiting Beaucastel, you may be out of luck. They unfortunately aren’t open to the public and only take in a few pre-arranged visits each year. Basically they are too busy producing great wine. However you can experience their wines, which are available in the UK, at Berry Brothers or Seckford Wines. If quality smooth, sumptuous reds or textured and layered whites are your tipple, then sampling Beaucastel is essential.

Please click on the pictures below for more details:

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#NZV16 Day 54

I just had to squeeze in one more winery! Even if it meant a 35km round trip bike ride, it was well worth it.

Seresin are outstanding artisan producers who have been crafting wine for 20 years and certified biodynamic for the last 10.

Being shown the compost heap may not be most peoples idea of the best way to kick off a tour, however with Seresin, the compost is a great example of the estates’ philosophy. Giving back to the land, utilizing every part of the grape and nurturing the soil.

Whilst I was biking back to Blenheim, it really felt like I’d been visiting a farm rather than a winery. Our hosts spoke so passionately about the land and their biodynamic processes, it was inspiring to be around and the wines reflected this passion and hard work.

There are treats at the cellar door to sample that you may not find yet in stores, which makes Seresin a must visit when you’re in Marlborough.

Please click on the photos below for more information on the wines.

 

#NZV16 Day 51

With the day off today I headed out to Hans Herzog Winery. A treat I have been saving to the end of vintage and it was definitely worth the wait.

Hans is from Switzerland and grows 29 varietals over 11.5 hectares in Marlborough. The vineyard is certified organic and there is very little interference in the winery, in terms of additions and filtering. Resulting in a range where each wine has a wonderful and interesting personality. They’re not made to be crowd pleases, however with such a diverse range, there is something wonderful in the mix for all wine lovers to enjoy.

For more information on the wines, please click on the photos below.

#NZV16 Day 36

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Wine additions.

The more I think about this topic the more I believe that any wine additive used throughout the winemaking process should be listed on the back of wine labels.

Some producers do this already but it’s not compulsory for wines sold in most markets. With most other foods and drinks having to list all of their ingredients and nutritional information, why should wine be exempt?

With no ingredients listed on wine labels, consumers aren’t wrong to assume that the only ingredient in their bottle is grapes. For some natural wines this can indeed be the case. And for organic and biodynamic wines, the permitted additives list is restricted and amounts of those allowed often reduced.

For wines that are made in large quantities at affordable prices, producers are more inclined to balance the acidity and sugar levels in wines to create a consistent product. This will more often than not involve using more additives like sugar, tartaric acid and sulphur dioxide. This suits consumers that are after a reliable glass of wine each time they pop that cork or unscrew the cap. For consumers that want to taste vintage variation (basically the influence of that year’s weather on the wine) it’s great to have less intervention and let the wine taste sharper if it is a cooler year, or of riper fruit flavours and a softer nature if the weather is warmer.

What I would love to see happen is producers providing consumers with more information so that they can make informed decisions when it comes to making their wine purchase.

One other point that as wine consumers we should all be aware of, is the use of synthetic pesticides and herbicides used in the vineyard and chemical use in the winery. It’s incredible how much is used in the wine industry. These can help prevent rot and mildew affecting grapes, however it does take its toll on the environment and also the health of vineyard and winery workers. There are alternative methods that are used by organic and biodynamic producers (growing cover crops between vines, introducing natural predators for pests, alternative cleaning methods for winery equipment).

By giving consumers more information about this, then they can decide which wines they are happy to pay for and enjoy sipping away on. With so many people being aware of what they’re eating, in terms of organic and local, why should wine be any different?