Archive for the ‘Wines at La Madelene’ Category

My birthday Sicilian themed lunch

Posted on: February 15th, 2016 by Philip Reddaway No Comments

menu60th saffronrisotto beans-tomatoes lilyartichokes duck:cepsmeatballs tomato&basilsorbet chocolatemeringuesbirthdaycake SicilianwinesJust back from a fabulous birthday treat week in Sicily ( Palermo and Taormina) so, inspired, the girls ( Jude and Lily) prepared a magnificent 7 course Italian/Sicilian meal in my honour. Wow..what can I say! Amazing: we started with antipasti of caponata, berlotti beans with dried tomatoes, spiced pumpkin; then a superb saffron risotto ( simple ingredients but perfect execution); then the main – two different kinds of meatballs (pork/fennel and duck/ceps) – then a palate cleanser of tomato sorbet with basil ( thanks here due to new high powered Vitamix!); then gorgonzola cheese; chocolate filled meringues to follow and home made pistachio ice cream; then coffee/petit four…then siesta inevitably.  Just fantastic! wines were Drappier non-dosage Champagne, a Sicilian Grillo/Viognier blend; a Planeta DOCG Cerasuolo di Vittoria red; a Glenmorangie whisky with the coffee.Thank you family!

Xavier Vignon: rise of an important new force on the Rhone Wine scene

Posted on: January 28th, 2016 by Philip Reddaway No Comments

Xavier For a man who has been around in the Rhone for 20+ years Xavier Vignon isn’t a name that trips off the tongue of that many Rhone lovers. Surprising perhaps as to those in the know Xavier has been consultant oenologue to possibly more estates than the very well-known consultant Philippe Cambie – he reputedly looks after some 100+ estates including some of the largest and the most celebrated: Mont Redon, Raymond Usseglio, Grand Veneur, Marcoux. His CV also includes stints as a master blender in Champagne (significant given his current metier) as well as Bordeaux, California, Austraila and NZ. For the past decade or so he has been gradually building up alongside his consultancy a formidable negotiant business under the Xavier wine label (very stylish it is too). This is a range made up of grapes/juice from producers that Xavier knows and likes, and is often  advising regarding viticulture – his skill has been to blend wines across a range of appellations -Cotes de Rhone to top end Chateauneuf (via Gigondas, Rasteau) –  to a house style characterised by full fruit flavours and big structured concentration. A real point of difference with other Negoces in the area is that the range is often sourced from not only different areas, producers and terroirs but different vintages – it’s the ultimate in the blenders art – the Réserve CNP, for example, is currently a blend of three great vintages, 2007/209/2010. Like the best Negoce ranges quality sings through at both ends -the Cotes du Rhone “100% Pure” cuvée , a terrifically intense blend of six varieties: GSM plus Carignan, Marselan, Cinsault, whilst the haut de gamme “Anonyme” (sensational value for this quality level) has attracted the admiration of the critics scooping a 95 from Robert Parker for the 2010 vintage.Pricing is great value across the range.
The Anonyme is available for less than 45 bucks at JJBuckley of California and the British specialist in great reds the Big Red Wine Company for around £32. Watch this space for another blog posting on Xavier’s stylish new reception/tasting facility he is creating in a magnificent setting in my favourite place of all time – The Dentelles. Very exciting for our Rhone Wine Tour guests!


Truffles & Rhone Wine Tour report

Posted on: January 24th, 2016 by Philip Reddaway No Comments

Just finished our 2016 truffle & Rhone wine Tour…lovely guests and a great week. Only wee negative being the paucity of local truffles in the region, the extremely dry summer last year less than ideal for the cultivation of our “black diamonds”. Having said, there were sufficient to indulge my lucky group in some stupendous gourmet experiences -the absolute highlights…Nicolas Monnier’s (our Luberon base truffle hunter) wonderful truffled eggs provencal style; Le Fleur Bleu’s (great restaurant at Crestet) homemade ravioli, poached egg with a truffle bearnaise; Bernard Bijaoui’s ( our neighbouring Olive oil farmer and creative chef) creamed truffled potatoes served boldly on their own as a starter – just amazing. My insider sources (Jacky the local Romany truffle man) tells me that the shortfall of local truffles has been addressed via a major airlift from the Espagne truffle regions – certainly the prevailing price hasn’t skyrocketed  – both Carpentras and Richerenches markets were selling best quality at 850E per kilo this weekend. Incidentally spotted my largest ever truffle at Richerenches – a 620gms whopper, around a 500E buy! We didn’t neglect the serious wine tasting – domain visits at many of my personal favourites: Versino, Solitude, St.Cosme, Saint Amant, and Philippe Gimel. Lovely to see Philippe more relaxed in his new abode – a giant shed this side of Malaucene, very well organized already, he’s now in walking distance for me, great! Added bonus for the guests was the Bernard Bijaoui visit: a larger than life character on great form ( including a “post a few glasses” sing song!); a comparative tasting of different olive oils and a vertical of three vintages of Bernard’s own terrific olive oil…then a top class lunch , Tunisian style, prepared by the man himself, with little bit of help from Jude as assistant chef. Great time had by all. Looking forward to next years event.

An “over the motorway” wine from the Northern Rhone: Rhone Wine Tour top tips

Posted on: January 17th, 2016 by Philip Reddaway No Comments

Chavecotesdurhone Many of my Rhone Wine Tour guests will remember me acclaiming what I call “over the motorway” wines made by Chateauneuf du Pape producers, the wines given humble Cotes du Rhone designation as they are from grapes grown on the land just “over the motorway ( the A7 to be precise) from the illustrious Chateauneuf terroir of their owners – examples are Beaucastel’s Coudolet, Janasse’s Terre D’Argile, the Vielles Vignes from Cristia etc. These are invariably wines that punch well above their weight showing much of the character of a Chateauneuf for a fraction of the price, after all almost identical terroir, same climate, same fanatical attention to quality from the wine maker….a bargain for those in the know. Well, the other day I came across this little gem which must be the Northern Rhone’s equivalent -a simple Cotes du Rhone ( a Syrah dominant Syrah/Grenache blend) from the great (greatest?) Hermitage producer J L Chave -the name of the cuvée”Mon Coeur”. This a very serious CdeR, dark mature black fruit, big ripe tannins and lovely glossy smooth mouthfeel, the 2013 absolutely ready to drink now. A bottle of Chave’s famous Hermitage is going to set you back a pretty penny – at least €240 a bottle. The Mon Coeur costs £13.50 ( £162.00 per case) at Rhone specialist merchant Yapp Brothers in the UK. Bargain, enough said!

Herer’s some more technical info on this wine from J L-L ‘s excellent site ( so it turns out its from an assemblage of Southern Rhone grapes!)purchased wine, usually 40-50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 5-15% Cinsault, 5-10% Mourvèdre, 0-5% Carignan from, in order of amount, Cairanne (Grenache notably), Vinsobres (Syrah from the plateau), Rasteau (Grenache notably), Visan, destemmed, 3 week vinification, pumping overs, aged vat, 4-6 year old 228 and 600-litre oak casks 12-15 months, fined, filtered, several bottlings, 150,000 b (up from 90,000 b early 2010s, 60,000 b mid-2000s, and 40,000 b 2003-04), several bottlings, “I like a little wild side to my Côtes du Rhône”

Christmas wines at la Madelene

Posted on: December 27th, 2015 by Philip Reddaway No Comments
Christmas Wine at La Madelene, Rhone Wine Tours

Christmas Wine at La Madelene

Kicked off the Christmas specials with these beauties on Christmas Eve: the house Larmandier-Bernier “Vertus” 2009 Champagne, steely mineral gorgeousness to get going, one of my fave Condrieus from Christophe Pichon; a Santa Duc Gigondas “Prestige des Hauts Garrigues”2007 – still very young, dark and brooding; two great CNPs – Mont Redon ’98 and Jaufrette ’06, the latter actually the more successful of the two wines in spite of the reputation of the vintages. Happy Christmas drinking to all our friends!