Italian natural wine star

 Elena Pantaleoni and Nicholas Sciackitano of La Stoppa, and Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau, with Darina from April 2016, during Elena’s visit to the school.

We are joined recently in one of our wine classes, via Skype, by Elena Pantaleoni of La Stoppa.
La Stoppa is located in Emilia Romagna and the estate is run by Elena Pantaleoni, along with Giulio Armani, who both starred in the natural wine film ‘Natural Resistance’.


La Stoppa is a wonderful organically-tended estate surrounded by Elena’s home, a 14th century castle, where wild herbs grow freely between the rows of vines and no chemical fertilizers, weed killers or pesticides are ever applied.
Elena spoke to the students about growing and making wine naturally. She gave a tutored tasting of the following wines, via Skype, to the 12-week certificate cookery school students:
La Stoppa Trebbiolo Rosso, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Grape varieties: Barbera and Bonarda

Trebbiolo Rosso is a natural wine made from the Barbera and Bonarda grape varieties. The nose is fresh with cherry and red berries mingling with wilder notes. Lively and juicy, the palate bursts with sweet/sour morello cherries and hints of spices. In all, it is a lovely, fresh, lively and fruit-driven wine which is best enjoyed with food.

La Stoppa Ageno, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Grape varieties: 60% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, 40% Ortrugo and Trebbiano
This is an ‘orange wine (orange / amber / skin contact wines, are white wines that are made like a red, i.e. with grape skin contact)
Ageno is made from 60% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica, 40% Ortrugo and Trebbiano grown on clay/limestone soils in a very warm climate (Elena says that this part of Emilia can be hotter than Sicily during the summer). The juice and skins stay in contact for 30 days and fermentation takes place spontaneously with ambient yeasts. The resulting wine is matured for 12 months, half in stainless steel, the other half in used French oak barriques, with a further 2 years in bottle before release.
“Deep golden/amber in colour. On first pouring, bruised apple. With air, it becomes incredibly complex: candied orange peel and grapefruit, honey, smoke, nuts, and a herbal and Mediterranean character. The palate is medium full, bone dry, again very complex and intriguing. Candied fruit flavours on the sweeter end, yet somehow also savoury, nutty, umami characteristics. Very well balanced, with linear, mouthwatering acidity, a touch of palate-cleansing astringency and a lengthy finish”

La Stoppa Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Grape variety: Malvasia di Candia Aromatica.
100% Malvasia di Candia Aromatica. After a soft pressing in a horizontal press, the wine is fermented using indigenous yeasts in a closed, pressurized tank. The result is a lightly sparkling, semi-sweet wine with only 7% alcohol.
Malvasia Dolce Frizzante, is luscious and subtly sweet with a soft sparkle, the wine is made from the Malvasia di Candia grape variety. Peach, apple, floral, honeyed on the palate with floral, tangy fruits. Delicious with fruit desserts – or on its own!
Our thanks to Elena for an inspiring talk to the students. Further information on La Stoppa on their the website www.lastoppa.it

Following on from this we continued the wine class along the theme of organic, biodynamic and natural wines and we were delighted to be joined by Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau (McKenna Guides Wine Person of the Year 2017). Pascal has been a guest wine lecturer at Ballymaloe Cookery School since 2006 and our thanks once again to Pascal for a fantastic class, and a tutored tasting of the following wines:

Meyer-Fonne Riesling ‘Katzenthal’, Alsace, France
For centuries, Alsace, the frontier province in northeastern France just across the Rhine from Germany, had been passed back and forth between the French and the Germans, depending on who had won the last battle. Felix Meyer has built a solid reputation in Alsace. Working extremely hard in the vineyard, keeping yields ridiculously low, the immense quality of the granitic soils of Katzenthal is reflected in every single of Felix wines. No other grower in the area produces wines with such precision, purity and expression of terroir. Riesling Katzenthal, grown on the granitic slopes surrounding the village is a very distinguished and racy wine. Pure, mineral nose with hints of citrus and ginger. Rich, ample and ripe on the palate with nectarine, orange peel and peachy character the lead to the finish is pristine and impeccably balanced by good acidity

Terre di Pietra, Valpolicella ‘Vigna del Peste’, Veneto, Italy
This farm is owned by Laura Albertini and family and situated in Marcellise in the hills east of Verona. Terre di Pietra is a reference to the particular varieties of stony soils. These vineyards of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara are over 40 years. Farming is organic – they started official conversion in 2011. All the work in the winery is done manually with respect for the grape variety and the terroir. Laura designs label composed of various bands of colour to denote the different types of rock which compose the subsoil underneath the vineyards. Red fruits such as cherries and juicy red plums with a hint of bitterness. The minerality of the estate’s limestone soil is evident in this wine and the finish tasty and fresh.

Familia Ceechin Malbec Mendoza, Argentina
Located in Russell – Maipu, this 75-ha organic farm is owned and run by the Cecchin family since 1959. Strict adherence to organic methods in the vineyard, limited yields and minimal interventions in the winery result in very articulate wines that truly reflect their terroir and capture the essence of the fruit.
The Malbec, a grape that Argentina has successfully appropriated, is made without the addition of sulphites. The nose opens up with enticing, ripe plum, bruised red cherries, liquorice, dark chocolate and a delicate earthiness. These lovely fruit and seeds are also found on the ripe, well-balanced palate and the natural acidity hold this eminently drinkable wine perfectly.

Our thanks to Pascal Rossignol for another fantastic class to the students.

Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine

The inaugural international Literary Festival of Food and Wine took place at Ballymaloe House, Grainstore and Cookery School over the May Bank Holiday wekend, 3 – 6 May. A magical weekend was had, with many wine & drinks events, and here are a selection of photographs and some links to write-up on the weekend. We are already looking forward to 2014 Literary Festival!

http://guides.ie/megabites/jancis-robinson-mw-ballymaloe-litfest-leslie-williams

http://www.jancisrobinson.com/tasting_articles/ta20130508.html

http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a201305091.html

http://www.corkbilly.com/2013/05/the-ballymaloe-litfest-not-book-just.html

 

Jancis Robinson MW Wine Grapes presentation and tasting at the Literary Festival
Jancis Robinson MW Wine Grapes presentation and tasting at the Literary Festival

 

olm pictured with Jancis Robinson MW at Ballymaloe Literary Festival
olm pictured with Jancis Robinson MW at Ballymaloe Literary Festival
Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery pictured with Bill Yosses, Pastry Chef, The White House
Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery pictured with Bill Yosses, Pastry Chef, The White House

 

Tom Doorley and John Wilson 'Wine & Words'
Tom Doorley and John Wilson ‘Wine & Words’
Peter Corr and Literary Festival wine & drinks crew
Peter Corr and Literary Festival wine & drinks crew

 

Douro - still and fortified with Maurice O'Mahony, Wine Alliance
Douro – still and fortified with Maurice O’Mahony, Wine Alliance

 

Mary Dowey and Pascal Rossignol 'Going Natural - New Trends'
Mary Dowey and Pascal Rossignol ‘Going Natural – New Trends’

 

Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery
Ger Buckley, Master Cooper, Midleton Distillery

 

Sherry with Leslie Williams, wine writer, the Irish Examiner
Sherry with Leslie Williams, wine writer, the Irish Examiner

 

Rieslings to be Cheerful with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
Rieslings to be Cheerful with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
Nick Lander, Joe McNamee, Paul Flynn and Niamh Shields
Nick Lander, Joe McNamee, Paul Flynn and Niamh Shields
Single Pot Still Whiskey from Midleton Distillery matched with Irish Farmhouse Cheese by L Mulligan
Single Pot Still Whiskey from Midleton Distillery matched with Irish Farmhouse Cheese by L Mulligan

 

A Wine Goose Show with Susan Boyle
A Wine Goose Show with Susan Boyle

 

Pierpaolo Rapuzzi, Ronchi di Cialla, Friuli
Pierpaolo Rapuzzi, Ronchi di Cialla, Friuli

 

Penfolds Grange and The Rewards of Patience with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
Penfolds Grange and The Rewards of Patience with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland
John Wilson, The Irish Times and Juan Gil, Albarino, Rias Baixas
John Wilson, The Irish Times and Juan Gil, Albarino, Rias Baixas

 

Tom Lynch, El Comandante Wines, Mendoza
Tom Lynch, El Comandante Wines, Mendoza
Wine & Literature with John Wilson, wine writer, The Irish Times
Wine & Literature with John Wilson, wine writer, The Irish Times

 

 

William O'Callaghan, Longueville Irish Apple Brandy and Cider
William O’Callaghan, Longueville Irish Apple Brandy and Cider
Maurice, Pascal and Geraldine checking the wines for Wine Grapes with Jancis Robinson MW
Maurice, Pascal and Geraldine checking the wines.
Sherry in The Big Shed
Sherry in The Big Shed
Daphne launching the literary festival with Nyetimber
Daphne launching the literary festival with Nyetimber
John Bowman with the box office crew - Nicola, Aoife and Ka
John Bowman with the box office crew – Nicola, Aoife and Ka

 

 

Sacha with delicious Iberico Ham for the Sherry
Sacha with delicious Iberico Ham for the Sherry

 

The Big Shed Fringe at the literary festival
The Big Shed Fringe at the literary festival

 

 

Jean Trimbach, Trimbach Wines, Alsace

We were delighted to welcome Jean Trimbach, Trimbach Wines, Alsace, France, back to Ballymaloe, who along with Giana & Fingal Ferguson, Gubbeen Farm, Cured Meats and Cheese, and Sarah & Sergio Furno, Cashel Blue and Crozier Blue, Fethard, Co. Tipperary, gave a brilliant presentation together, matching up a selection of Trimbach Wines, including Trimbach Cuvee Frederic Emile Riesling and Trimbach Clos Sainte Hune Riesling with some of their produce – a brilliant presentation. Trimbach are family run since 1626, and ranked amoung the top white winemakers of the world. See also Billy Lyons brilliant series of blogs following on from their presentation all together here at Ballymaloe – about Trimbach here  and Gubbeen here and Cashel Blue here . (Also see Jean Trimbach’s previous visit, in 2010, here )

Jean Trimbach

Gubbeen and Cashel Blue

Riesling

In Association with John McDonnell, Wine Australia Ireland, Ballymaloe hosted a Riesling Revolution  – a wine tatsing with three winemakers from great Riesling producing areas – Carl Ehrhard, Rheingau, Germany, Severine Schlumberger, Alsace, France and Tim Adams, Clare Valley, South Australia – and we had over 140 people turn up in Ballymaloe for this amazing Riesling tasting – Riesling Rocks! A video clip of the event can be viewed here and also see Billy Lyons blog here

Riesling event

Riesling at the Grainstore

At the Riesling event

In the cellar

 

Gubbeen – cheese and wine matching

Wine and Cheese

A very interesting subject – “wine and cheese are first cousins; they are both fermented and the complexities are there”, said Giana Ferguson, Gubbeen Farmhouse Cheese, as Samuel and Colm, Sommeliers at Ballymaloe, took the opportunity to ask Giana’s advice during her  visit to the Christmas Food and Craft Fair at Ballymaloe, this weekend.

Pascal, Giana and GeraldineGubbeen (or Gubbeen Gubbeen as it is affectionally sometimes called, to differentiate it from the smoked Gubbeen, that Giana and her Family also make) is a washed rind cheese (some other well known examples of washed rind Irish Farmhouse Cheese are Ardrahan and Milleens).

GubbeenThe aromas  and flavours that will develop are complex –  “mushroom and nuts being the most distinct”, said Giana, and that quintessential West Cork subtle elusive, often misunderstood, aroma and flavour of ‘bog’! (think of those rolling moss-covered, ancient land & valley’s of West Cork) Forest floor was also mentioned – the well known descriptor in wine terms – ‘sous-bois’ as Pascal Rossignol of Le Caveau said , highlighting again the similiarities of the language used when talking about the aroms and flavours of wine, and cheese. Now to what wine to have with Gubbeen!
We discussed several wines – older Pinot Noir, especially Burgundy of course, in the red line-up – and its equivalent White from the same region – the nuts and mushrooms aroma and flavour profile leading us to aged white Burgundy.

Wines
We matched the ‘Gubbeen Gubbeen’, with a wine from an equally iconic producer, Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 2000, Burgundy (see Anne-Claude’s visit to Ballymaloe here, June 2011) – sublime cheese and wine together.

Giana and Colm
Giana also had an ‘extra mature smoked Gubbeen’ at the Christmas Food & Craft Fair – and her preference wine-wise with this, she said, was Gewurztraminer – a fruity and rich style. Later on, we put this to the test at dinner- and it definitely worked.  Matched with Meyer-Fonné Gewurztraminer  Vielles Vignes Grand Cru Sporen 2008, Alsace – and by good sheer co-incidence, well known wine merchant, Pascal Rossignol, and his wife Geraldine, were also on hand (Pascal represents Meyer-Fonné in Ireland, and earlier this year, owners/winemakers, Mrs & Mrs Felix Meyer had visited Ballymaloe – see here).

Geraldine, Pascal and HazelA fantastic pairing said Hazel Allen, and Pascal and Giana likewise said exactly the same – a superb match – Giana gave us the lovely line ” in China they say, when one has this lovely feeling of having tasted and enjoyed something so good and so nice, it adds 45 seconds to one’s life” – now that’s a great reason to continue with this great pairing! (as if we needed one)

Giana and Samuel
Samuel Chantoiseau, showing his French background, enquired what bread would work well – Giana likes Sourdough with the Smoked Gubbeen, and they also have special Gubbeen cheese biscuits produced by baker, Robert Ditty (with this traditional oat biscuit originating in Scotland when they did not have flour, but just oats)

Mr Ditty
We finished this ‘Cheese and Wine’ matching workshop (ok – work, but not as we know it!) with again, another great pairing – Crozier Blue (Sheep’s Milk Cheese from the Clifton-Brown farm, near Cashel, Co Tipperary, and produced by their cousins, The Grubb Family, Beechmount, Fethard – who make the world famous Cashel Blue cheese) matched with Meyer-Fonné Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Furstentum  Vendange Tardive 2007, Alsace – the sweetness perfectly balancing the saltiness, and texture, of the Crozier Blue.

Our thanks to Giana and all at Gubbeen, Schull, Co. Cork and to Pascal and Geraldine Rossignol, Le Caveau, Kilkenny for a memorable evening – the best in cheese, wine and company!