Domaine Maby is found in the heart of the village of Tavel in the southern Rhône. There are some 60 hectares covering Tavel, Lirac and Côtes-du Rhône, with excellent wines produced in all three colours. The Tavel and Lirac vineyards have the same round pebbles (galets roulés) as arefound in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. These are precious for the region’s winemakers as they conserve heat accumulated during the day and then restore it slowly to the soil during the night which helps the grapes attain even better ripeness.
Richard Maby, who runs the estate, took over responsibility from his father in 2005 and brought much-needed enthusiasm back to the business. Before returning to the family domaine Richard worked as a broker at the French stock-exchange in Paris before committing himself to the life of a vigneron. He is a man full of energy and resolve to improve quality and to put his stamp on production methods, respecting tradition but embracing new techniques too.
The individuality of the famous Tavel rosés lies in their great structure and fruitiness, aptly displayed here at Maby, where the style is even chunkier. Richard goes so far as to claim that anyone tasting his rosés blindfolded would be hard pressed to know whether the wine was pink or red. His best cuvée ‘Prima Donna’, made from older vines,is a little fuller and more complex than the standard bottling, its name reflecting Richard’s love of opera.
Domaine Maby reds are meaty and packed with flavour. Lirac is especially generous in style and capable of ageing The estate’s white Lirac, a blend which includes the picpoul grape – a rare sighting in the Rhône valley – along with grenache blanc, clairette, bourboulenc, is dry and herby and true to the tradition style of the appellation.
Domaine Maby Pont du Gard Rouge 2012 £ 7.50
Soft yet full-bodied red made from blend of syrah and cinsault from good vineyards around Lirac and Tavel. Utterly gorgeous and actually quite different to Richard Maby’s more ambitious Lirac offered en primeur. 14% Visit www.thewinesociety.com to purchase a bottle or few today!
Steak and Kidney Pie; Shepherd’s Pie; Stews and Casseroles
Bodegas Palacio is located in the heart of the Rioja Alavesa, at the bottom of the road leading up to Laguardia, a spectacular fortified hilltop village set against the backdrop of the Sierra Cantabria. The original stone-built bodega, now a small hotel, has been superseded by a rather four-square winery that is visually unprepossessing in a landscape increasingly dotted with striking modern architecture. Here, however, the really exciting stuff happens on the inside.
Palacio was founded in 1904 by Don Cosme de Palacio, an entrepreneur from Bilbao, who went on to establish the legendary Vega Sicilia estate in Ribero del Duero. After a period under French ownership in the 1980s, during which Bordeaux guru Michel Rolland consulted here, Palacio was acquired in the 1990s by Hijos de Antonio Barcelo, one of Spain’s largest winemaking conglomerates, itself part of the giant Acconia group. Thanks to a high level of investment, Palacio has been able to expand, modernise and thrive.
This is an unusual enterprise in many respects. It buys in most of its fruit from a long-established network of contract growers, effectively controlling 255ha of vineyards, all in the Alavesa. It concentrates almost exclusively on tempranillo and viura, though in the new alta expresión white, Cosme 1894, there is a touch of malvasia. 3.5million bottles are produced, a third of which are exported, the USA being the major customer. A number of distinctly different bottlings reflect the bodega’s historical French bias, from the almost bordelais El Portico (named after the ornately carved door of the church of San Bartolome in Logroño), to the high-definition prestige cuvée, Cosme de Palacio developed by Rolland.
Pale pink and silky sweet this is a South African classic. Serve cool as an aperitif, after dinner or with cheese.
Nuy’s Cellar Masters are well traveled; they’ve gleaned experience from wine regions in France, Germany, Australia and America. Each individual shows true commitment to producing only the finest wines. Years of winemaking experience, untapped natural resources, time and patience bring out the best in every bottle of Nuy wine.
Nuy Winery is situated in the Nuy Valley at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains in the Western Cape.