The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Pippa Hayward

    Magical Montfaucon – AWE visit to Lirac

    By Pippa Hayward
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    Our  AWE visit to Château de Montfaucon in Lirac (once thought of as poor man’s Châteauneuf du Pape 30 years ago when I first listed a Lirac from Domaine Maby through Yapp Brothers) was one that I anticipated with great pleasure – I’ve known some of the wines through The Good Wine Shop and so I was delighted to see a visit on our itinerary that included seeing the oldest vineyard with  Julien Thorn the winemaker and a fine selection of the estate’s white and red wines tasted in the original cellar complete with 16th century press. Although the Château can trace its heritage back to the 14th century , for most of the last  century the grapes were sold to the local co-op . Then with the return of Rudolph Les Pins as  winemaker in 1995  ,after studying at UC Davis and stages  at  Henschke and Vieux Telegraphe,  Montfaucon  started to make and bottle its own wines once more. The estate now has 60 hectares including the vineyard we visited . It is the oldest vineyard on the estate ,with a field blend of vines averaging over 125 years old . So keen were they to get their hands on this...
  2. Heather Dougherty

    Educators go back to school

    By Heather Dougherty
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    Wine educators like nothing better than going back to school, so our session at the Ecole des Vins in Avignon on our first morning made for a fine start to our trip to the southern Rhône. Oenologist Mathilde Ficty led us through a wealth of information about the region that we were to explore over the following three days. There were some quickfire numbers to take in – 48 appellations, 5,300 producers, 70,000 hectares etc. One figure that Mathilde was keen we retain is that 10.5% of Rhône wine production is organic. The tasting which followed provided a snapshot of current trends in the region, which we were to find echoed in the vineyard visits to follow, namely : organic, low-sulphur and biodynamic winemaking is increasing in the region and some of the most successful wines we tried were following these methods. The southern Rhône especially, with its warm climate and low humidity clearly make a good home for this less interventionist style of winemaking. Rosé may not be what you associate most with the Rhône, but it is 13% of sales (more than white at 6%). And there are increasingly some really successful rosés to be found. What a...
  3. Mandy Stevens

    Gabriel Meffre,Tuesday 24th April, 2018

    By Mandy Stevens
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    It’s been over 80 years since Gabriel Meffre, who was born down the road in Séguret, and his wife set up a negociant business in Gigondas and our group visited their cellar door on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Taking full advantage of the view up to the village on the northern side of the Dentelles de Montmirail, Justin, our host, started our tour by their Grenache vines. Not only was this an idyllic spot for introductions but it was also away from the mobile bottling line and multiple forklifts whizzing about and preparing the Domaine Longue Toque, the only brand that is not bottled at their production facility down the road, where 135 staff are based. This may sound like a lot of staff working on the bottling line but Gabriel Meffre is now one of the biggest wineries in the area delivering over 15 million bottles of wine a year to 40 countries. Relying heavily on UK, USA, Holland, Scandinavia and Canada who take 75% of their share in production this is the company that brings us Fat Bastard from Languedoc grapes. But I digress, we are here to talk about their three Rhone brands. Firstly Domain de Longue...
  4. Laura Clay

    A Celebration of English Wine by Liz Sagues

    By Laura Clay
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    A Celebration of English Wine by Liz Sagues Those of us who attended the Wine GB tasting at the end of April may have spotted Liz Sagues modestly selling her book. She was doing so at the expense of going round tasting from the 30 odd exhibitors, sacrificing the chance of tasting up to 200 English and Welsh wines. But she’s been there, done that, got the T-shirt and written the book. I was unaware that she had written what turns out to be the definitive guide on wines from GB and it seems I’m not the only one. With an English tasting coming up, I thought I’d better buy a copy to ensure that my knowledge was up-to-date especially as things have been moving at an alarmingly but excitingly speedy rate. The title suggests that this is a book, as every good wine book should be, as much suited to the enthusiastic amateur as the professional. It deals with the history and the terroir and the dodgy climate keeping the vine-growers on their toes, but most importantly it’s about the people. More than anywhere else in the world Liz Sagues words, ‘People make wine’ are true. She goes on...