The AWE Blog

The AWE blog is a collection of posts from AWE members.
  1. Heather Dougherty

    Meeting a terroirist – Xavier Amirault, Clos des Quarterons

    By Heather Dougherty
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    Clos des Quarterons, the home of Domaine Amirault, lies on a road running parallel to the Loire in St Nicholas de Bourgueil, which used to be known as “Suisse-Océan”, underlining its position on a major east-west trading route. Wines have been produced here for at least 200 years, predominantly Chenin Blanc in the early days, later Cabernet Franc. Digging inspection trenches to investigate the varying soils of vineyards has become almost commonplace in Chile, but this is the first time I have come across such an enthusiastic bit of trench digging in a French vineyard. Xavier Amirault is an organic and biodynamic grower who clearly understands the importance of what lies beneath and is keen to share his passion – you could even describe him as evangelical. His 36 hectares of vineyard are spread across 33 different plots, so soils vary considerably, even in this relatively small appellation in the heart of the Loire valley.  There can be up to 12 distinct layers below the soil that we can see on the surface. The appellation’s vines cover land that was once Loire riverbed (and long before that, seabed), resulting in veins of sand, gravel, limestone and finally clay and flint....
  2. Heather Dougherty

    The versatility of Chenin Blanc – Bernard Fouquet, Domaine des Aubuisières, Vouvray, Loire Valley

    By Heather Dougherty
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    Two estates vie for the position of top producer in Vouvray in the Loire Valley – Domaine Huet and Foreau’s Clos Naudin. But close on their heels is Bernard Fouquet of Domaine des Aubuisières, with his 30 hectares of vines in some of the appellation’s very best sites.   Overall Vouvray’s 2,200 hectares of vineyard is made up of around 50% clay limestone and 50% silty clay and flint. Bernard’s own vineyards reflect this mix, dedicated to Chenin Blanc, the only variety permitted in Vouvray. His wines range in style from sparkling to sec, sec tendre (just off dry), demi-sec, moelleux (sweet) and liquoreux (intensely sweet).   The wines are all of a really high standard and winemaking in general follows the classic Vouvray model of fermentation in tank, with no malo, and a period of lees ageing before bottling in the Spring. These wines will do most of their ageing in bottle. Consistency and precision were the impressions that I was left with after tasting Bernard’s wines. The highlight was his Cuvée Alexandre 2009, a barrel fermented and aged liquoreux made from grapes picked in two “tries” – one to collect raisined grapes, the second for botrytized grapes. It...
  3. Andrea Warren

    Book Award for Hazel & Keith

    By Andrea Warren
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    THE BEST WINE BOOK IN THE WORLD FOR PROFESSIONALS IS ‘WINE PRODUCTION AND QUALITY’ BY KEITH GRAINGER AND HAZEL TATTERSALL The 22nd International Gourmand Awards were held at Yantai, in China’s Shandong province on 27th and 28th May. Wine, drinks, food and cook books from some 211 counties were entered in the competition. The award for No. 1 Best Wine Book in the World for Professionals was given to AWE (and CWW) members Keith Grainger and Hazel Tattersall for ‘Wine Production and Quality’. The book is a comprehensive guide which explores the techniques of wine production in the vineyard and winery, and considers their impact upon the taste, style and quality of wine in the bottle. At the awards ceremony Edouard Cointreau, president of the awards jury, described the book as, “the one that I will buy for friends and colleagues.” Keith Grainger comments, “It’s great that the book has been universally so well received, and this award really is a fantastic reward for all the work that went into it.” Hazel Tattersall says, “Although written primarily for professionals, I am pleased that wine loving consumers are regularly telling me that the book is incredibly readable. I am so happy...
  4. Heather Dougherty

    East meets west at Olivier Dauga dinner

    By Heather Dougherty
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      Olivier Dauga, the internationally renowned wine consultant and self styled “faiseur du vin”, is a colourful personality in more ways than one. He was in London recently to show wines from two of his clients – Kolonist Winery in Ukraine and Domaines Rollan de By in Bordeaux. Kolonist winery in Odessa,is a recent project with the vineyard dating from 2004 (post-revolution), with Olivier’s involvement starting in 2008. It was a rare chance to taste wines from Ukraine, though ironically I had judged Russian and Ukrainian wines at IWSC just a few days before, so was not surprised that Kolonist’s Bisser bottle fermented Chardonnay was nicely done with pretty, ripe fruit. The estate’s reds, a Cabernet Merlot blend, were also impressive. The Ukrainian wines created most of the talking points on the evening, but they also served as a counterpoint to the classic Bordeaux wines of Rollan de By, which showed particularly well. Château Greysac 2011 impressed with its Médoc “bite” – a lovely combination of ripeness of fruit and refreshment. Available from Justerini & Brooks for £15-20.     Over dinner, paired with both Kolonist and Rollan de By’s wines, it was the Bordeaux part of the partnership that...