April 29, 2014

Thursday 17 April, 2014.

The Taste of Provence Master Class held at BERJAYA University College of Hospitality, brought to us by Straits Wine Company together with the Sommelier Association of Malaysia (SOMLAY).

Julian Faulkner of Domaine de Grand Cros in Provence brought along four wines from his “Jules” brand. The refreshing thing about this brand is that he sources the wines from small independent winemakers who haven’t yet found a market and would prefer not to sell them in bulk to a major producer. Julian buys in hand-picked grapes which he processes at his winery and sometimes sources wines themselves for the brand. He is looking for high quality, easily approachable, fun, everyday wines. But more importantly they must offer value for money. He believes you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy great wines. Too true! His aim is to “carve out a niche between dumbed-down mass-market wines and expensive single estate wines”.

Here are the 4 wines we tasted that will be in restaurants in KL soon:

Jules Chardonnay/Vermentino 2012
A really interesting blend that makes a very aromatic and refreshing wine. It has a lovely balance and mouthfeel thanks to the base of Chardonnay that has not gone through malolactic fermentation keeping it crisp. It is then lifted nicely by fresh grapefruit flavours. Delicious.

Jules IGP Mediterranean Rosé 2012
(Merlot/Carignan blend)
Again a quite different blend for a southern French rosé. An attractive light salmon colour. Very soft and approachable. Citrus and strawberry flavours with a hint of minerality. Very drinkable.

Jules Cotes de Provence Rosé 2012
Now we are into true Provencal rosé territory in both terroir and grape varieties. I found more acidity in this wine together with lovely citrus and stone fruit aromas that followed through to the palate. There is more body here but the wine still retains a crisp freshness. Julian pointed out that Provencal rosés continue to gain popularity which is driving up the price. While he loves having these wines in his range it is unfortunate that as prices rise they may no longer be such good value for money.

Jules Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
This wine is sourced from the Languedoc-Roussillon region. It is completely unoaked. Very fruity blackcurrant and blackberry flavours, some spiciness on the palate too. Light and approachable with reasonably rounded tannin. Maturation has been achieved without oak but some micro-oxygenation has taken place after fermentation. This is a high-tech and quite interesting approach which is becoming more popular. It has certainly produced a more than acceptable young cabernet which will no doubt appeal to drinkers who prefer and unoaked red wine.

The Straits Wine Company are the distributor for the brand in Malaysia and Singapore. Look out for the wines as they start to appear in restaurants, they are worth a try and definitely offer good quality and value for money.


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