Friday 3 October 2014

Wine Challenge - Round 4

Last Saturday was the fourth round of our 100 Wine Challenge and was another brilliant evening.

Hubby & I have just spent a lovely 12 days in France (look out for my blog update later this week). We had the enviable task of sourcing the wines and cheeses - so with notebook in hand we browsed our favourite retailers:

On our last full day we revisited with shopping list in hand - all wines purchased and safely stored in the car (just enough room as we had a few for us too). We did buy a few special bottles for our final tasting at Christmas too.
On our final morning we made a quick dash to Auchan to buy the 20 cheeses - cool box ready we stored them away and plugged the box into the car to keep them cool on the journey home. A slightly smelly car but masked slightly by our smoked garlic.
And so with our precious load we left France .....
Ready to board
20 French wines and 20 French cheeses - I was really looking forward to this round, I did add a few little extras too. And so to tasting:
Blanquette de Limoux - £3.33 Auchan - made using the champagne method this wine must contain 90% mauzac, it has it name from the white bloom that appears on the vine leaves.
La Roche Brut sparling wine - £2.29 Calais Wine - a lovely bottle of bubbles, we also tasted it with cassis which is how the French would drink it as an aperitif.
J P Chenet Colombard-Chardonnay - £2.44 Pidou - this wine producer has been a favourite of ours for 20+ years, the bottles used tSao have quite a wonky neck, we have a set of their glasses with wonky stems. Colombard - Chardonnay was a new grape to our tastings.
Reserve des Vignerons Saumur Blanc - £3.30 Franglais Vins - a lovely chenin blanc from the Loire Valley
Touraine Sauvignon Blanc - £3.12 Auchan - this is one of my favourite French wines, a lovely sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley, it was one of the favourites at the tasting too.
Ardeche Sauvignon - £2.05 Simply - another example of a good wine, very slightly sweeter as this area of France is further south.
Les Roches Saintes Picpoul de Pinet - £3.70 Auchan - a crisp refreshing white from the Languedoc area in the south of France, as this wine is perfect with seafood we had nibbles of prawns and mini belinis with salmon mousse.
Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie - £2.85 Auchan - another Loire Valley wine, again perfect with seafood.
Cheverney Cuvée Royale - £3.75 Auchan - this was the star of the white wines, a firm favourite with everyone. It is from the eastern side of the Loire Valley and has to have 60-80% sauvignon blanc and the remainder chardonnay. This Cheverney has a 70% 30% split and was perfect with the goats cheese we tried too.  
The end of the whites meant cheese time - as well as biscuits we had French bread too (Asda). Most of the cheese was soft and thankfully I had cut it up at home beforehand as it softened/oozed even more. Here's our cheese list:
Auchan Camenbert
Mimolette slices
Petit Munster Gerome
Saint Agur
St Paulin
Neufchátel Coeur de Bray
Le Bleu
Gouda slices
Président Rondelé Noix de Dordogne
Tomme Noire Pyrenees
La Pavé Doux
l'Ortolon l'original
Fromage anctueux
Buche de chévre
Belcube mini cheese

French cheeses
The blue cheese was quite popular although strong and quite smelly. The only problem with French bread is that it is so moreish so it was a good job we had plenty.
Our rosé wine was a smaller selection this tasting, just two bottles, one from the Loire and the other from the South.

Les Roseraries Rose D'Anjou - £2.99 Calais Wine - this Loire valley wine was the sweeter of the two rosé wines and the favourite.
La Treille Provencale Cotes de Provence - £2.50 Auchan - from the south of France this wine had quite a crisp finish.
After the rosé wines we paused for our raffle - a bottle of J P Chenet Grenache- Syrah, a mini bottle of Friexenet and a pair of large size wine glasses.
And so to our red and final surprise bottle ...
Reserve des Vignerons Saumur Rouge - £3.30 Franglais Vins - the red wine matching the white from Saumur tasted earlier, a good cabernet franc red from the Loire.
Kiwi Cuvée Bin 518 - £3.49 Calais Wine - a pinot noir wine made by a New Zealander in France, hence the name.
Comte de Rivaliere Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux - £2.15 Auchan - a smooth example of a Bordeaux but without loosing its depth, a favourite of the reds.
Pied Tanque Rouge - £3.11 Majestic - a blend of wine made under the name originally given to the game of boules.
Fitou - £3.00 Auchan - a deep red from the Languedoc, some tannin but not over bearing.
Paul Mas Estate Malbec - £5.61 Majestic - another favourite, Paul Mas wines are from the south and this Malbec was full of deep richness.
Leon Perdigal Cotes du Rhone - £5.61 Majestic - a smooth rich wine full of fruit with a hint of spice. This was second choice of the reds. 
Cellier des Dauphins Cotes du Rhone - £2.50 Auchan - the favourite red, and is Nick's favourite hence including it, full of rich fruit, slight spice, little tannin. We tried a little French salami with the two Cotes du Rhone with mixed opinions.

20 French wines
Our final wine was a bit of a treat - Muscat Rivesaltes - £3.88 Auchan - a delicious sweet dessert wine. This was the first real dessert wine we have tried at the tastings and as it states we had it with pudding, French gallettes and homemade profiteroles. It's smooth honey taste was perfect with both with 'oh' and 'ah's as the delicious sweet wine was sampled.

The two stars of the French tasting were the white Cheverney and red Celliers des Dauphins Cotes du Rhone - both our favourites too.  
Cotes du Rhone


Although the prices seem lower than other tastings the wine was much better quality. Mainly due to the exchange rate but also because Nick and I have spent many enjoyable years researching French wines and therefore knew which to bring home.

The tasting have been very enjoyable to do and hopefully have been enjoyed by others - I must add a HUGE thank you to all our donators with this challenge so far. Our finale is on 29th November and will be Sparkles and Specials. As I mentioned I have a few wines ready but donations, especially raffle items, are always appreciated. 


Dave said...

Looks and sounds like a well organised tasting, as all the others have been.
Some great prices especially from the French stores.

Good choices for the favourites, from the whites, I like the sound of the Cheverney, Vignerons Saumur Blanc and of course the Touraine.

Reds- My choices would be - Paul Mas Estate Malbec, Leon Perdigal Cotes du Rhone (tasted this one and for the price excellent value), Cellier des Dauphins Cotes du Rhone (great price) and the Fitou.

Nice one Clare !

Julie said...

You are so organised, what a treat for the scout leaders to enjoy.
Can hardly believer this is the 4th one, I remember you talking about doing it, is that really a year ago??