They say: This wine has been made using a centuries-old process of drying grapes on straw in order to produce dessert-style wines. Grapes are harvested at the same ripeness required to make table wine and are then laid out on straw for a number of weeks. This allows the grapes to slowly dehydrate, concentrating their natural sugar, acid and flavour.
The straw also acts as a wick for any excess moisture, ensuring the grapes do not rot. After gently pressing the dehydrated grapes the concentrated juice is slowly fermented and aged in old oak barrels to create a balanced luscious dessert wine.
We say: A gorgeous golden wine with a luscious texture. Intense, alluring nose. There’s notes of ripe peach, orange rind, syrup, honey and maybe even a little fig. The incredible acidity balances the unctuous sweetness of the wine. Really nice stuff.
The Book Good things to drink with Mr Lyan & friends
The Author Ryan Chetiyawardana, also known as Mr Lyan, is a bar tender who opened the award-winning White Lyan in 2013 and more recently, Dandelyan at Mondrian Sea Containers mrlyan.com
The Publisher Frances Lincoln Limited
The Release date 1st October 2015
Who’s it for? Cocktail enthusiasts and bar types keen to pick up some new skills or ideas – White Lyan was the first bar in the world to have no drinks on the menu that used perishable ingredients like lemons and herbs so you can expect some exciting ideas inside.
What you’ll find inside The book is very much aimed at those shaking up a round or two at home so there are easy recipes to follow as well as things to experiment with. Case in point, there are some classics like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned and Chetiyawardana’s twist on the Negroni. The beginning of the book tells you about the staple ingredients, the tools, the techniques and the type of serves. Each cocktail has an introduction, ingredients, method and a ‘magic’ top tip that will either improve the drink or make your life easier. It feels like every recipe has a purpose and a reason to be there.
What’s missing Drinks and friends! The book is incredibly well put together, almost like an instruction manual in that it’s concise and comprehensive. Every drink has a recommended glass and a final photo so you know exactly what you should be getting. There’s no history or background on the drinks but that’s perhaps for a different type of book altogether.
The best bit The book is divided according to the time of day and occasion for drinking, rather than by the type of drink. There’s a feeling of spontaneity – no more diving straight into the martini.
Who’s it for? If you’re new to the natural wine world and want to learn from one of the foremost advocates of natural wine then this is the perfect resource.
What you’ll find inside The book defines natural wine as wine made with nothing added and nothing taken away but the approach encompasses the whole natural wine lifestyle. From anecdotes about tapping for birch sap and making herbal tinctures to milling your own flour and making bread, you’ll gain an insight into this often misunderstood world.
What’s missing The book serves as an introduction to the topic so there’s no real depth. However, Legeron does list additional books and resources if you want to delve further.
The best bit The sizeable book is a surprisingly easy read and without being too aggressive, it inspires a desire in the reader to live more naturally.
I mentioned briefly in the post about wine and technology that there would be a vlog coming up… Well, you didn’t have to wait too long for that because here it is:
Côteaux du Giennois
For this first vlog, I tasted a trio of wines from the French wine region of Côteaux du Giennois.
Côteaux du Giennois is right in the middle of France, quite close to Sancerre, and lies between the towns of Gien and Cosne sur Loire by the Loire River. As an appellation, it’s relatively new, AOC since 1998, but grape pips have been found in archaeological digs in Cosne sur Loire which suggests that wine has been made there since the 2nd century.
As in other parts of the Loire Valley, the soil in the area is a mix of flint and limestone which suggests good potential for the white wines. These are made from Sauvignon Blanc. They also make rosé and red wines from Pinot Noir, Gamay or a blend of the two.
Anyway, here are the tasting notes for the three wines:
Domaine de Villargeau Sauvignon Blanc Côteaux du Giennois 2012. A medium bodied wine with intense nose of lychee, pear, apple and citrus. Some stony minerality. A little floral note too. Don’t serve this too cold as acidity will prevail. To have with a creamy seafood dish. RRP£9.99 available from Marks & Spencer.
Les Aupières Rosé Côteaux du Giennois 2013. Light red berry nose with a little hawthorne, perhaps even rose. Slight bitterness at the end. A delicate red-style rosé wine. Enjoy with a chicken and pomegranate salad or something similarly light from the Middle East. RRP£10.99 available from Laithwaites.
Clement et Florian Berthier Rouge Côteaux du Giennois 2012. A little vanilla coming through followed by strawberries. Overpowering farm-yardy aromas. Not one for me. RRP£12.99 available from Laithwaites.
They say: Mount Gay Black Barrel is a small batch handcrafted blend made of aged double pot still distillates and aged column distallates, finished in deeply roasted and charred Bourbon oak barrels. The unique technique releases aromas of spice balanced with oaky vanilla and almond overtones, the signature notes of Mount Gay’s smooth and refined Barbados rum.
We say: Lightly spiced with fruity intensity giving into a complex nose. Lots of vanilla, slightly woody on the finish with a little citrus. At 43%ABV, it’s on the potent side. One to get to grips with over ice or in cocktails.
They say: Fairview La Beryl, a traditional handcrafted straw wine, personifies the quintessence of grape. The grapes were carefully handharvested into small baskets and transferred to an old barn where they were delicately laid out on beds of straw to desiccate. Eventually the bunches lost about 75% of their volume, intensifying flavour and sweetness. The grapes were gently pressed and the juice fermented in French oak barrels. La Beryl is an opulent and concentrated wine, with a rich balance of fruit and spice flavours.
We say: The intensity of this wine is immediate with a rush of complex sweetness coating the palate with its unctuousness. Sultana comes to mind first, lightly bolstered by a slight floral note from the Muscat in the blend. The well-structured back bone comes later with the refreshing acidity of the Chenin Blanc.
The wine: Famille Bougrier Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2013
The producer: Famille Bougrier
They say: Since 1885 and five generations, Family Bougrier selects the most beautiful raisins from our best terroirs, to offer you the nicest wines. We wish you great pleasure with our Loire Valley Wines. Made on old soils, nice white dry wine. Great freshness and roundness. To be served slightly chilled with seafood and fishes from the Atlantic Ocean.
We say: Good perfume with notes of bruised apple, citrus and pear. Lots of acidity with a refreshing finish. A youthful style but nice balance with alcohol at 12%. Light and easy-drinking.
Try with: Roast hog, sage stuffing and apple sauce
They say: Since 1885 and five generations, Family Bougrier selects the most beautiful raisins from our best terroirs, to offer you the nicest wines. We wish you great pleasure with our Loire Valley Wines. Very nice, fresh rosé with a vivid colour. Red fruits aromas very persistent. To drink chilled just for fun during the summer but as well with any spicy or Asian food.
We say: Light salmon blush hue. Bags of strawberry notes with a touch of sweetness. Fruity, but reserved enough to be elegant. Light and delicate but a little hot on the palate at times.
Try with: Couscous salad with pomegranate and parsley
The wine: Château de Fesles Bonnezeaux Limited Edition 2010
The producer: Château de Fesles
They say: 100% Chenin. Six separate hand picking. 15 months in oak barrels. Rare, intense and elegant wine. Serve at 6-8°C after decanting. This wine makes a sublime aperitif and a perfect match for foie gras, blue cheese and warm tart.
We say: Slightly oxidised nose with notes of bruised apple. Opening up with more Botrytis, pineapple, dried apricots, white flowers. Rich with minerality on the palate. A little hot. Great acidity. Intense wine.
Try with: Ripe pineapple cooked in caramel and vanilla ice cream
Price (RRP): –
Available from: 2010 vintage currently not available in the UK
Additional notes: The bottle arrived worryingly warm. Starting to weep at the cork. Certainly on the young side for sample if in good condition. See below for sample bottle image:
They say: Smooth, creamy and fresh, J.P Chenet Ice leaves a long aromatic taste in the mouth with a fine, supple yet rich texture. To be served very cold, the slightly increased sweetness highlights its delicate fruity aromas once it’s in contact with the ice. With an accessible price tag and an eye catching all white bottle, this new wine will offer a chic new way of enjoying sparkling wines appealing to a younger, dynamic consumer who usually chooses RTD or fruit-flavoured ciders.
We say: Very subtle nose. Pear dominates when served well chilled. Not immediately obvious as a demi-sec sparkling wine. Awkward juxtaposition of alcohol and flavour. After ice is added, quince and citrus shows through. Refreshing as an aperitif, with plenty of ice, but not a serious drinking wine.
Try with: Soy and maple syrup marinated salmon
Price (RRP): £9.95
Available from: ASDA
Additional notes: Launched at Cannes Film Festival in May 2014. Intended to be served over ice.