Friday, December 28, 2012

Lunch at Château Beauséjour (AOC Puisseguin-St. Emilion) – a Vin Bio de Bordeaux - with Owner and Wine Maker Gerard Dupuy, France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller and Gerard Dupuy at his Château Beauséjour

The Bordeaux Tour in September 2012, organized by Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, was very successful in providing a broad overview of winemaking in the Bordelais. As part of the attempt to offer a broad perspective, we had lunch with Gerard Dupuy at his Château Beauséjour. This was preceded by vineyard and cellar tour.

Gerard Dupuy is not one of the 300 so winemakers in Bordeaux, who produce a premium  Bordeaux that sells en primeur for several hundreds of Euros per bottle. No, Gerard Dupuy is one of the other 15.000 winemakers that are not in the limelight and who have to struggle against the competition of wines from all over the world, including the New World. But Gerard Dupuy’s wines are interesting and special for at least 2 reasons. He produces – like so many others – good value Petit Chateau Bordeaux wines and he makes them organically.

Pictures: Holger Krimmel, Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, Gerard Dupuy, and Gerard Dupuy with the Chef of  Auberge du Village” in 33330 Saint Christophe des Bardes.

The lunch and the vineyard and cellars tour were among the highlights of the September 2012 Bordeaux Tour.

See for more:
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

Gerard Dupuy produces wine under different labels: Chateau Beausejour (AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion), Chateau Langlais (AOC Puisseguin-St. Emilion) and Domaines de la Grande Courraye (Castillon Cotes de Bordeaux). All Wines are Bio Wines, Certified by Ecocert.

For on earlier posting see:
Vin Bio de Bordeaux - At Château Beauséjour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France

AOC Puisseguin-St. Emilion 

Puisseguin-St. Emilion lies at the heart of the four satellite titles of the St. Emilion appellation on the right bank. The grape varieties permitted here are Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Thus, Puisseguin-St. Emilion produces only red wines. Merlot is predominant, most often partnered with Cabernet Franc.

Pictures: Lunch at Chateau Beausejour

To qualify for the Puisseguin-St. Emilion appellation, wines must contain a minimum of 11% alcohol and come from vineyards planted to a density of less than 5500 vines per hectare. Puisseguin-St.Emilion was granted AOC status in 1936. 753 hectares of vine planted areas belong to the appellation.

The 4 St. Emilion satellites are St.Georges-Saint-Emilion, Montagne-St.Emilion, Lussac-St.Emilion and Puisseguin-St.Emilion itself – all located to the north of St.Emilion town. They are known as satellites because the area's more prestigious wine estates historically resented these supposedly inferior wines using the St.Emilion name.

Chateau Beausejour

Chateau Beausejour is Gerard Dupuy’s base, in the village of Puisseguin. It is a AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion. The vineyard area totals 13.5 hectares. Gerard Dupuy told us that the clay and limestone soil of Chateau Beausejour is planted with Merlot (73%), Cabernet Franc (22%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%). All grapes are organically grown, certified by Ecocert.

Picture: Chateau Beausejour

Château Langlais

This is also an AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, with the vineyard area totaling 12 hectares.

Domaine de la Grande Courraye 

The vineyards of Domaine de la Grande Courraye are in the Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. I did not ask Gerard, but my hunch is that Domaine de la Grande Courraye is not more than a name under which the wine from his vineyard in Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux is sold.

Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux

East of St. Emilion and its 4 satellites, above the town of Castillon, lie the Côtes de Castillon and the Côtes de Francs AOCs. Côtes de Castillon is an appellation for red wines only.

The dominant grape variety is Merlot (70%). Cabernet-Franc (20%) and Cabernet-Sauvignon (10%) account for the rest.

Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux was recognized AOC only quite recently (1989). For a long time the wines of Castillon were only used as complementary alternatives to enhance Saint-Emilion blendings in poor years. Until 2009, these wines were sold as Cotes de Castillon. In 2009, the Cotes de Castillon appellation was merged with several other Bordeaux cotes to form the new Cotes de Bordeaux title.

Castillon has risen from around 2,450 hectares in 1982 to 3,250 today. During the last 25 years or so, several growers of Saint-Emilion, Pomerol  and other famous areas have recognized the Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux’s potential and invested in local vineyards. One of them is Stephan de Niepperg, who has acquired Château d'Aiguilhe.


Ecocert is an inspection and certification body established in France in 1991. Ecocert has developed its own international network. With 23 offices and subsidiaries, Ecocert operates and offers its services in over 80 countries.

In the Vineyard of Chateau Beausejour

Pictures: In the Vineyard with Gerard Dupuy

Gerard Dupuy: “The refusal of chemical treatments at our wineries dates back to their appearance on the market after 1945. We practice the total grass cover. This method allows regulating the ecosystem in a monoculture, while limiting soil erosion. In our vineyards, wild tulips thrive in the vineyard rows in the spring.” The average age of the vines is 40 years.

In the Cellar

Moving on to cellar, there he follows the natural wine philosophy. Gerard Dupuy: “In the cellar, we use a minimalist approach. Our wines are aged for a period of 12 to 24 months in oak barrels.” All of his wines are made at Château Beauséjour.

Pictures: In the Cellar with Gerard Dupuy


Lunch was fabulous. We started out with an aperitif in the front yard and then moved into the Chateau for a wonderful 3-course meal and Gerard Dupuy’s wines.

Pictures: Lunch at Chateau Beausejour

The menu was prepared by the Chef of the “Auberge du Village” in 33330 Saint Christophe des Bardes. It was excellent:

Duo of Foie Gras
Tornedos of Duck Breast with Sauce Bordelaise
Chocolate Variations.

Jane Anson on Auberge du Village in 33330 Saint Christophe des Bardes : “Just the kind of local restaurant you look for – inexpensive, simple and charming - and it’s very popular. The wine list is short, but well chosen (hard not to be when you are surrounded by Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classés) and as keenly priced as the food.”

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux Wines and their Classifications: The Basics

Vin Bio de Bordeaux - At Château Beauséjour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France

Malbec World Day 2012 - Malbec in Bordeaux, France

Château Brane-Cantenac, Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe en 1855, Margaux – A Profile, France

Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France

The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

What is a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois? France

Tasting with Alfred Tesseron the last 10 Vintages of Château Pontet-Canet in Washington DC, USA/France

(German) Winemakers in the World: The German Roots of Baron Philippe de Rothschild

Tasting the Wines of Chateau Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe, 4ème Cru Classé en 1855, with Owner Basil Tesseron at the French Embassy in Washington DC, USA/France

Château Léoville-Poyferré, Chateau Le Crock, Didier Cuvelier in Bordeaux and the Cuvelier Los Andes Wines in Argentina

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Vineyard Walk, Wine Tasting in the Vineyard and Lunch in the Tarara Tank Cellar with Wine Maker Jordan Harris, Tarara Winery, USA

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Jordan Harris

I had been to Tarara Winery before and enjoyed a fabulous tasting with winemaker Jordan Harris in Tarara’s private tasting room. This time, it was different. Jordan took us to the Nevaeh vineyard for some wine tasting there, then on a walk through his vineyard, and to the Tarara tank cellar for lunch and more wine. The event was part of TasteCamp 2012.

For more, see:
An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA
TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

Tarara Winery

Tarara Winery is in Loudoun County, about an hour by car from Washington DC. The beautifully manicured 475 acre farm stretches along the Potomac River. Founded in 1989 by RJ (Whitie) and Margaret Hubert, Tarara is home to some of Virginia’s finest wines. Annual production is 10.000 cases.


Tarara’s main vineyards are Nevaeh (the estate vineyard managed by Ben Renshaw), Tranquility (in Purcellville, also managed by Ben Renshaw), Honah Lee (in Orange managed by Wayne and Vera Preddy), Mountainview (in Roanoke County managed by Megan and Andy Seibel), and Indian Springs (in the Winchester area managed by Steven Brown).

Nevaeh is made up of three distinct blocks – The Hill, The Road and The Pond.

The Hill has the deepest soils made up of red clay with limestone deposits cutting through the block. The varieties planted on the Hill and used for Tarara bottlings include: Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Viognier and Petit Manseng.

The Road is the flattest of the sights and furthest from the Potomac River. Varieties planted and used for Tarara bottlings: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

The Pond is the coolest site of Nevaeh. This block is the best for Tarara’s aromatic whites like Viognier, but is also home to some of Tarara’s most elegant Merlot due to the length of the growing season it can have and small amounts of Grenache and Mourvedre.

Jordan Harris

Jordan grew up in a little village in Canada, an hour north of Toronto. He went to a Culinary School and became the manager of a fine Italian restaurant. He left the restaurant and went back to school for Oenology and Viticulture at Niagara College. Before moving on to Virginia, he made wine in the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, where he worked for a few wineries.

Jordan shares the winemaker job with his Canadian compatriot Jonathan Boyle.

Wine Tasting in the Vineyard

It is not every day that you ride through vineyards in a wagon with a glass of Petit Manseng. That is how we started our vineyard walk. For our return trip, Jordan poured us the 2007 Syrah.

Pictures: Wine tasting in the Vineyard

Vineyard Walk

Jordan Harris is very passionate about the natural wine concepts. The idea behind the winemaking at Tarara Winery is to take a minimalist approach to allow the vineyards to best express themselves. Jordan believes that fine wines are made in the vineyard. Every time they have to get in the way of the wine, it is less of an expression of that vineyard.

Pictures: Vineyard Walk

Jordan Harris: “All of our wines are meant to be a definition of the grapes. The wines are not treated with enzymes, fining agents or any unnecessary additives. The wines will occasionally need slight adjustments with sugar or acid to help the wines keep their balance and to fine tune the alcohol. All of the wines are fermented on indigenous yeasts with limited temperature control. Our belief is that the natural warmer fermentations allow wines to have more structure and depth, while the cooler temperatures are less necessary to preserve the aromatics which are abundant from the vineyard.”

Salad, Pizza and More Wine in the Tank Cellar

The Tarara wines are made in a 6000 square foot cave. This is where we had lunch after the vineyard walk. And we had more Tarara wines: The 2009 Tranquility, a barrel sample of the 2010 Tranquility, 2008 Nevaeh Red, and the kicker…a 1992 Tarara Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pictures: Lunch at Tarara Winery

The lunch was salad and delicious pizza, made by a portable brick-oven pizza caterer (Pizzeria Moto).

schiller-wine: Related Posting

Northern Virginia Magazine October 2012: Wine Recs from Local Winos

Visiting Jennifer Breaux Blosser and Breaux Vineyards in Virginia, USA

Virginia Wines Shine in San Francisco - 2012 San Francisco International Wine Competition, USA

Judging Virginia Wines in Suffolk, Virginia - Virginia Wine Lover Magazine Wine Classic 2012

A New Winery in Virginia - The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, USA

As Close as You Can Get to (French) Champagne at the US East Coast – Claude Thibaut and His Virginia Thibaut Janisson Sparklers at screwtop Wine Bar

Jim Law and Linden Vineyards in Virginia – A Profile, USA

Boxwood Winery in Virginia: Lunch with Wine Makers Rachel Martin and Adam McTaggert in the Chai between the Tanks – TasteCamp 2012 East Kick-Off, USA

Book Review: "Beyond Jefferson's Vines - The Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia" by Richard Leahy, USA

An Afternoon with Jordan Harris, Winemaker of Tarara, Virginia, USA

TasteCamp 2012 in Virginia, USA – A Tour d’Horizont

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Hotel and Restaurant L’Ami Fritz and Domaine Fritz-Schmitt, both in Ottrot, Alsace, France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Chef Patrick Fritz, Hotel and Restaurant L’Ami Fritz in Ottrott in Alsace

I have had a number of memorable evenings at Hotel and Restaurant L’Ami Fritz in Ottrott in Alsace over the years. Sometimes, we stayed there over night; sometimes we drove back to Germany after dinner.

We always had at least one wine from Domaine Fritz-Schmitt, also in Ottrot. Domaine Fritz-Schmitt is owned and run by the brother in law of Patrick Fritz, who owns and runs Hotel and Restaurant L’Ami Fritz.

Pictures: Dinner at  L’Ami Fritz was in September 2012, with the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim

My last dinner at L’Ami Fritz was in September 2012, with the Weinfreundeskreis Hochheim, on the way back from Bordeaux to Hochheim.

See more:
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France


Alsace is a fascinating amalgam of the German and French. The end of the 30 Years’ War in 1648 gave Alsace to France. In 1871, at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Alsace was taken by Germany. After World War I, it was once more part of France — until 1940, when Germany reclaimed it. With the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, Alsace became French yet again — and so it has remained.

While the great powers ruling Alsace alternated between the Germans and the French, I see more German elements in Alsace than French elements. For once, the German winemaking tradition is based on the concept of varietals whereas the French winemaking culture tends to believe in the concept of terroir. Alsatian wines are bottled under their varietal names, unlike virtually all other French wines.

Dinner in Alsace

For me, dinner in Alsace is always a very special event. It can range from very rustic to very sophisticated: Alsace is well known for its traditional, hearty food, reflecting the rustic simplicity of rural life, influenced by next-door Germany (to which Alsace has belonged at different times in history).

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Ombiasy Wine Tours, and Christian G.E. Schiller with Chef Patrick Fritz, Hotel and Restaurant L’Ami Fritz in Ottrott in Alsace

At the same time, Alsace has the most Michelin stars in France; you can eat at very high levels in many places in Alsace.

Dinner at L’Ami Fritz

Set on a cobbled street in the charming village of Ottrott, the 250-year-old L’Ami Fritz is a great hotel and restaurant, with its warmth, value, and charm, and the personal attention of the owners. The guestrooms are  appealing and charming.

Pictures: L'Ami Fritz

L’Ami Fritz has a lovely restaurant dressed in pinks and salmons with a gorgeous scene in wood inlay at one end and a painting of the weinstube at the other. In September, we had dinner downstairs in the “vinstub”, the oldest part of the building. In the summer, there is also a very nice garden terrace.

You can dine a la carte, but Patrick Fritz also offers 3 menus: Menu du Terroir for 28 Euro, Menu Sentier des Saveurs for 45 Euro and Menu Plaisir for 65 Euros (6 courses). For the group in September, we had the 3 course Menu du Terroir, with wines from Domaine Fritz-Schmitt.

Pictures: Menu du Terroir - we had a choice between 2 menus. I chose: Tartare of Herring - Porkcheeks with Kaesespaetzle - Creme Caramel.

The Wines of Domaine Fritz-Schmitt

I always like to drink the wines of Patrick’s brother in law, who owns and runs the Domaine Fritz-Schmitt in Ottrott, although I have never been to the Domaine Fritz-Schmitt.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Dinner at Restaurant Winstub Gilg in Mittelbergheim in Alsace, France

Stopping at Domaine Armand Gilg in Mittelbergheim after Dinner at Winstub Gilg, Alsace, France

Visiting Colette Faller at Domaine Weinbach in Kaysersberg in Alsace

Visiting Jean Trimbach at Maison Trimbach in Ribeauville in Alsace

The World Class Wines of Alsace

In the Glass: Hugel et Fils wines at the cuisine des emotions de Jean Luc Brendel at Riquewihr in Alsace

In the world class white wine region Alsace

Jean Trimbach and the Wines of Maison Trimbach in Washington DC

Visiting Yann-Leon Beyer at Maison Leon Beyer in Eguisheim in Alsace

The Wines of Domaine Lucien Albrecht and the Food of La Chaumiere in Washington DC, USA/France

Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France

Friday, December 21, 2012

Lighting and the Flavor of Wine - With Winemaker Ulrich Allendorf in his Aroma Vineyard and Color Room at Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel, Rheingau, Germany

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Ulrich Allendorf at Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel

Weingut Allendorf is a well-respected wine estate in Oestrich Winkel in the heart of the Rheingau. Producing wine has a long tradition in the family: Knight Kraft von Allendorf was mentioned in 1222. In 1773, Philipp Anton von Allendorf married a daughter of a local wine grower and the family started making wine.

Pictures: Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel

Notwithstanding the long tradition, in 1955, Fritz Allendorf, the father of Ulrich Allendorf, owned only 1,5 hectares of vineyard. Today, the family owns 60 hectares – and is one of the largest family-owned wineries in Germany.

Pictures: Ulrich Allendorf at Weingut Allendorf in Oestrich Winkel

Weingut Allendorf is led by Ulrich Allendorf and his sister Christel Schönleber; her husband Josef Schönleber is the winemaker.

Weingut Allendorf is a member of the VDP, the association of elite winemakers in Germany.


Weingut Allendorf’s vinyards include Hinterkirch and Höllenberg (Assmannshausen), Mäuerchen, Mönchspfad (Geisenheim), Klosterberg and Lenchen (Oestrich), Berg Roseneck, Berg Rottland (Rüdesheim), as well as Hasensprung and Jesuitengarten (Winkel). Annual production is around 500.000 bottles. The grape varieties are Riesling (75%), Chardonnay and Spätburgunder.

Pictures: Allendorf Wines

Searching for Traces in the Aroma Vineyard

Two very special features of the Weingut Allendorf are the Aroma Vineyard and the Color Room.

The Color Room

Ulrich Allendorf first led us to specially designed, windowless tasting room to show us how wine can taste different when you change the color of the room.  We tasted the same wine under 4 different lightening and found it, for example, much fruitier, when we drank it under red light. In blue and green light, the wine tasted spicier than in white light. Blue light made the wine taste more bitter.
Ambient lighting clearly influences how wine tastes.

Pictures: In the Color Room

The Aroma Vineyard

The Aroma Vineyard is a room in the winery where you can discover the most important aromas that are found in Riesling and Spätburgunder. In the room are 18 small glasses with a cover on it. If you lift the cover, you can smell the 18 most important aromas in the Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Pictures: In the Aroma Vineyard

Ulrich Allendorf: “Tasting and enjoying wine always involve a search for traces of aromas that is really not difficult. That’s because everyone is familiar with the most important aromas and tastes that are contained in wines. However, we are unable to immediately discover and taste these; some hide themselves, others are fleeting or only appear after a certain amount of time.”

The aromas in wine have different origins:

•    Primary aromas come from the grape type, climate and soil.
•    Secondary aromas are produced during fermentation.
•    Tertiary aromas are generated during the ripening process and ageing.

Schiller Wine - Related Postings

When Americans Drink German Wine - What They Choose

Visiting Wilhelm Weil at his Weingut Robert Weil in Kiedrich, Germany

Best German Wines – Gault Millau WeinGuide Deutschland 2012

German Spaetlese Wines Can Come in Different Versions. I Have Counted Five.

Visiting Weingut Josef Leitz in Ruedesheim – Johannes Leitz is Germany’s Winemaker of the Year, Gault Millau WeinGuide 2011

Impressions from the Riesling and Co World Tour 2010 in New York

The Wines of Franz Kuenstler from Hochheim, Rheingau, Germany

Hanging out with Rheingau Winemakers: Dirk Wuertz, Desiree Eser, Alexander Jakob Jung, Hansi Bausch and Christian Ress in Hattenheim, Rheingau, Germany

Meeting Winemaker/Owner Desiree Eser, Weingut August Eser, at the Banks of the Rhein River in the Rheingau in Germany

A Pinot Noir Star: Visiting August Kesseler and his Weingut August Kesseler in Assmannshausen, Germany

A Combination of Extraordinary Wine and Art: Peter Winter's Georg Mueller Stiftung in the Rheingau