The Rare Vineyards Old Vines Ugni Blanc is the house white of Supertravel, a luxury ski holidays supplier. Don’t know about you but I never realised that such companies provide wines and, as investigation reveals, gourmet meals, breakfasts, canapés and so on which are included in the chalet rental. The house wines are complimentary ‘freely available’ according to the Super Travel ‘what’s included’ webpage. Ugni Blanc, is not a grape you see terribly often on a wine label. But there it is, standing proud on the empty bottle in front of me. You don’t see it because the wines it produces are not that great; most production goes into producing cognac and Armagnac. The wines are generally thin and high in acidity, but the fact the bottle on the desk here is empty should suggest something.
Ugni Blanc is perhaps better known as Trebbiano down Italy-way. The Rare Vineyards bottle had me hankering after a rich fondue (do skiing people still eat fondues?) but a simple seafood pasta dish did a fine job as a stand-in. Fish dishes in general would be a good match.
More interesting perhaps is a decent Cotes Du Rhone on the SuperTravel wine list. Domaine Les Grands Bois 2012 was everything you would want in a fresh, easy drinking, mouth-filling red wine. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Carignan are great bed-fellows and here form a warming, joyful little number.
Something a little more serious is Chateau Lacombe Noaillac from the Medoc. I can see this claret being hugely popular down them chalets of an evening. this is a mid-level (price-wise) Bordeaux, offering a great combination of a classic Claret structure with approachable flavours.
Rare Vineyards Ugni Blanc Vieilles Vignes 2012
Made from a forgotten grape, grown on Rare Vineyards located in far away valleys, this wine is a crisp and full-flavoured white. It will delight your nose with its ripe citrusy aromas, combined with refreshing zesty lemon hints on the palate. Enjoy on its own as an aperitif, or as an accompaniment to salads, seafood or poultry.”
Chateau Lacombe-Noaillac Medoc 2009
This property from the famous Medoc area lies on Bordeaux’s ‘Left bank’, which tends to have Cabernet Sauvignon as the major grape variety in the blend. In this wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon is complemented by Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine’s peppery character is nicely balanced – it doesn’t try to shout too loudly in your face. Ripe and fragrant from the sunny 2009 vintage, there is a touch of violet and blackcurrant on the nose, with smooth fruit on the palate and a well-rounded mouth-feel. Straight-down-the-line 100% classic superior Bordeaux.
Domaine Grand Bois les 3 Soeurs Cotes du Rhone 2011/12
This is surely a wine that encapsulates why the Rhone Valley is one of the best sources in the world of accessible, interesting, charming red wines. It has got body and substance, but it does not knock you off your perch. It’s got intense flavours of delicious dark candied fruits and sweet cinnamon spice, but it is no confected fruit juice. Very difficult indeed to resist finishing the bottle with a joint of roast lamb.
So an interesting selection of wines available while on a Supertravel Luxury Ski Holidays; all I have to do now is persuade them to send me off to review the chalets.. I’m not too fussed about all that actual skiing stuff to be honest as I’d rather be eating, drinking or taking photos…
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