Chateau Ballan-Larquette, 2014, Vignobles Chaigne et Fils

For the money, an outstanding value claret that sends some of the famed / named houses to Coventry.

Pantone 209 with good legs in the glass, warm nose, wonderful dry mouthfeel, silky firm tannins, lovely aftertaste. Always a pleasure to imbibe a Chaignes creation.

Les Hauts de Gros Caillou, 2012, Saint-Emilion, Maison Delor

The pinnacle of the big stone?

A dinner party bring. Lovely Satiny tannins, slightly tart fruit.

A Merlot (85), Cabernet Franc (15) blend, blended and bottled by Maison Delor

Domaine Filliatreau, 2014, Samur, Champigny

You can taste the soft warm summer evening sun in this delightfully smooth yet earthy Red wine from Samur – which we visited last year. Delicious, lovely fruit, worth seeking out and it blows the myth of boring light Reds from Samur.

Brian and I enjoyed this over dinner after a hard day visiting Powerscourt Waterfall, followed by lunch in Avoca, a drop in to wish the parents a Happy New Year, then to the O’Byrnes to wish Sarah a Happy Birthday, capped with a swift Pint of Guinness in The Tinsel Knacker. The girls had Irish Wolfhound Pale Ale. Phew.

Benziger Family Glen Ellen Winery Tour & Tasting, Sonoma Valley

A very pleasant tour through their “Demeter certified Biodynamic” vineyard and extensive new eco-Cellars. We also witnessed the start of the crush and their new super duper optical grape sorting camera-laser machine.

There is an interesting desplay at the entrance to the vineyard with explains their BioDynamic philosopny which takes an originally organic ethos to a new level through all aspects of the business (

The wines we tasted were:

new 2012 Signaterra “West Rows” Chardonnay

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We tasted this sheltering from the sun under a tree in the vineyard – more like a Sauvignon Blanc than a traditional Oaked Chardonnay, this was a crisp drop with a hint of Melon nose. $32.

2012 Signaterra “La Reyna”Pinot Noir

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Light, cherry fruit with a hint of spice. €49

2011 Oonapais Sonoma Mountain Red

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Names after one of their plots this had tints of Leather and Coffee. $49

2013 Frank Johnson Sauvignon Blanc

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A typical ‘agrume’ Sauvignon Blanc: Lemon, Lime and Apple orchard. $26

2011 Winemaker’s Bend

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A blend of 6 varietals from the various plots, more leather and coffee with a plum nose. Lesley’s favourite. $42

2011 Signaterra “Three Blocks” Cabernet Sauvignon

The star for me: black fruits with a dry finish and great mouthfeel. $49.





Charmes de Kirwan, Margaux, 2007

Charmes de Kirwan 160214

Tony & Anne brought this eponymous wine to our Early Valentines dinner with the two AK47’s and their respective Husband & Spouse.

We sampled it two weeks later. This is the second wine of Chateau Kirwan (Some Irish influence through a marriage) itself a third estate of Margaux.

Elegant, well balanced claret,

Charmes de Kirwan 160214 b