From Provence to Modesto

  • Ballet pink: Mirabeau La Folie Sparkling Rosé from the French province, Provence

    Ballet pink: Mirabeau La Folie Sparkling Rosé from the French province, Provence

Recently we have unloaded quite a few new wines and to say that they represent a broad range of tastes is putting it mildly. Let me give you a few examples.

We have stocked two lovely rosé wines from Mirabeau in Provence and now we have just added their brand-new Mirabeau La Folie Sparkling Rosé. The family created this wine to satisfy a request from a large supermarket chain in the UK.

This is a gorgeous bottle of ballet-pink Provence rosé with a delicate effervescent sparkle.

The nose offers up a fresh, soft scent of strawberry and raspberry with hints of gooseberry and blackcurrant.

The mousse is mouth filling and fine. Flavours of red berries, grapefruit with a little spice and a lovely long finish are the result of blending Syrah and Grenache together. $21.85.

New World wines are somewhat easy as many of us just get used to a producer that we like and trust and we feel safe if we reach for a bottle of Beringer, Catena or Oyster Bay.

This is not the case with Bordeaux where more than 7,000 Châteaux offer more than 10,000 different wines. Some of us stick to the 1855 classification of 61 “Great Growths of the Gironde”.

At that time the area known as Graves was not included, but in 1959 they declared thirteen of their vineyards and we have just added one of them to our selections.

Domaine de Chevalier is in Pessac-Leognan which is part of the Graves appellation and we now have their 2013.

I know that many have their phone vintage charts at their fingertips and they will notice that this is an average year, but part of understanding Bordeaux is to pay attention to the exceptions and this wine is one of them.

Domaine de Chevalier is located in a clearing in the middle of a forest that protects the vines from extremes of temperature.

In fact, Chevalier is a sort of secret garden, far from the limelight. This is something of a paradox for such an excellent wine, among the greatest in Bordeaux. They did a wonderful job in 2013.

Let me quote the critic Vinous; “graphite, smoke, plums and violets meld together in the 2013 Domaine de Chevalier. One of the most impressive wines of the year, the 2013 stands out for its energy, delineation and brilliant textural balance. With a little time in the glass, the 2013 opens beautifully, showing off its multifaceted personality. What a gorgeous wine this is. Violets, sage and new leather add the final layers of complexity to what is easily one of the wines of the vintage. The 2013 has been striking the three times I have tasted it. In 2013, the blend is 80 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 15 per cent Merlot and 5 per cent Petit Verdot”. $85.65.

Château Cos D’Estournel in St Estephe is in the second tier of the 1855 classification and this reflects in the price of $230.40 for our 2011. Another smart buy is to consider the second wines of these great estates. You get the same care and attention, but often from younger vines or grapes that have not quite reached the perfection needed for the top wine.

Les Pagodas de Cos 2012 has just arrived and here is what the Wine Enthusiast has to say “92/100 this wine is ripe and smooth in a style that brings out richness and a round character. It is already totally integrated, solid while also very generous”. Parker talks of its purity and depth. $85.65.

I will admit that I approached the following story with a little trepidation as it read “Red wine that has been aged in Bourbon barrels has become a surprise success in the USA and will be coming to the UK in May”.

I knew that Scotch whisky, and even some gin and beer, have used this approach and so I was open-minded when a wine sample recently arrived. In fact, after tasting it we placed an order.

Joining our Apothic Red, Apothic White and Apothic Dark is Apothic Inferno and to quote their winemaker; “aged in charred, white oak whiskey barrels for 60 days, Apothic Inferno blends the red and dark fruit flavours of its wine with layers of maple and spice, giving way to a long, clean finish. The result is a wine with rich flavour and distinctive attitude,” says Apothic Winemaker, Debbie Juergenson. “It may not have whiskey in it, but it’s wine with a whiskey soul.” $20.25.

This column is a paid for advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Michael Robinson is Director of Wine at Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. He can be contacted at or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East. 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George (York Street, 297-0409). A selection of their wines, beers and spirits are available online at

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Published Jun 8, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 7, 2018 at 10:49 pm)

From Provence to Modesto

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