Hors d'Age Rivesaltes Ambre, Chateau Lauriga
The grapes are destemmed on arrival at the cellar and put directly into the pneumatic press whereby the fresh harvest is then pressed with great care. The fermentation then takes place with strict temperature control and the operation of mutage can begin, which is the addition of alcohol to the must used to halt fermentation to keep the desired sweetness. A long aging in an oxidative medium (in 225 litre oak barrels) for several years has allowed the development of the aromatic characteristics of this exceptional wine.
This Rivesaltes is a blend of 65% Grenache Blanc, 30% Macabeu and 5% Muscat Blanc a Petit Grains producing a fortified wine not too dissimilar to that of tawny port or Madeira, both in wine style and wine law. All Rivesaltes wine must be aged for a minimum period of 16 months prior to release. This Hors d’Age (‘Very old’ in English) has plenty of characteristics associated with finely aged fortified wine: dried fruit such as raisins, prunes and apricots, toffee and caramel, cream, toasted nuts, sweet spice such as cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. This is a deliciously strong sweet wine from top producer Chateau Lauriga and is a superb example of quality French fortified wine.
2019 Xipella Blanco, Clos Montblanc, Catalonia, Spain
An absolute staff favourite from the moment we first tasted it. The aroma is akin to a good Chablis, yet on the palate the fruit from the Sauvignon is more prominent.
Pale glowing yellow in colour, with greenish flexes. On the nose blended aromas of pear and apple are present, with notes of fresh juicy lime. On the palate is is pleasantly fresh with crisp acidity. It is reasonably full-bodied, with good balance.