Purple Palate Blog

Day 28- Cardhu and Balvenie

Up and out early, off to Cardhu for a tour and tasting. Cardhu was the first Scottish distillery established by a woman in 1824. Helen Cumming started by making illicit spirits in her kitchen. After been caught three times by the excise collectors, she would see them coming, hide the evidence of her home brew, cover her arms in flour to make out she was baking bread (to hide the yeasty smell of the fermentation) and invite them in for tea. While they were inside she would duck out and raise a red flag to warn her neighbours (and partners […]

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Day 26, and Day 27- Speyside, and the coldsnap

Woke early in Edinburgh and went to pickup our rental car, you know, something small and nimble. Presented with an M1 Abrams tank. I think something got lost in translation. You may think that Scottish people speak English. They don’t, they actually speak a rapid highly inflective version of pidgin. At one point Roz asked me if Scotland had a lot of spanish people here, as she heard 3 guys talking rapid Spanish. I replied that the 3 guys were Scots picking a fight with each other. Loading up the APC, I noticed 3 things. 1. No four wheel drive […]

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Day 24 & 25 Edinburgh

Flew to Edinburgh. Spectacular view of the Pyrenees. 45 minutes through customs and jumped a taxi into the city. Our Cabbie informed us that we’d timed it beautifully as the Rugby had started 30 minutes earlier and the traffic had been appalling. Hit the hotel and straight out again to find a venue to watch said Rugby from. Followed the music and came across The Three Sisters, a year round outdoor venue crammed between ancient buildings in the old town. And yes, you heard me right when I said outdoor venue… in Edinburgh. They are officially nuts. Ate Cod and […]

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Day 24 – Port Vendres to Barcelona (again)

So, up at out to meet up with the owner of Caves de Roussillon. I am so ashamed to say his name has slipped away from me, because he was by far the most passionate advocate for a regions wines I have met so far this trip. His shop was the closest in philosophy to Purple Palate that I have encountered. His laser focus is on the beautiful wines of the Languedoc Roussillon region, with particular focus on the costal region around Port Vendres and Collioure. Around 80% of the wines he holds are from local producers, many independent and […]

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Day 23 – CNdP to Port Vendres

Into the car (again), and off towards the Roussillon region, heading back towards Spain. We were sent off with warning from our host to grab fuel wherever we could as the protests against the tax on fuel were getting uglier. We headed to Chateau Des Fines Roches (Domaine’s Mousset), where I tried several Grenache dominant blends typical of the region. Even the whites were blends of Grenache Blanc and Gris. The whites were quite fruit driven with medium alcohol with some intense blossom and stone fruit, but where not high in acid. The reds, with the addition of Cinsault, were […]

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Day 22 – Chateau Neuf du Pape- Chateau Beaucastel.

Awoke in a rush to get to Chateau Beaucastel for our appointment. Wow alluvial stones abound in the vineyard, with bush vines as far as the eye can see.  It must be a bitch to hand harvest.  There were also bunches still on the vines. On questioning on the bunches on the vines I found out that Chateau Neuf has the lowest crop level of all wine regions.  35HL/HA.  With chateau Beaucastel owing 100 HA, they still only produce 270000 bottles, much much lower than that. This is due to extensive quality control, (double sorting) and keeping the 13 varietals […]

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Day 21- Beaujolaise at Chateau Moulin-a-vent

So Beaujolaise, I have drunk it, and sold it my whole career.  Either part Or wholly Carbonically macerated, is made from Gamay grape, and the better ones from named village. And I have now found out how little I did know. A whole range of Beaujolaise Cru wines exist.  These babies are the real deal. Terroir expressive, made dry, little to no carbonic maceration, and very expressive of the grape. Chateau Moulin-a-vent has 30 HA, 120 plots, and is all about expressing the grape and terroir and doesn’t have a Beaujolaise Nouveau. While Nouveau is great for cash flow, as […]

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Day 20- Olivier Leflaive, and Maison Harbour 

Interesting day with real highlights and a couple of disappointments. Travelled to Pulign-Montrachet, to meet Patrick Leflaive, and see what makes a Burgundian Grand Cru.  I have been loving the Premier Cru and wanted to see the difference. We walked the vineyards at -2 degrees Celsius, and I was stunned at the way the blocks are split. As a background, the Côte d’Or is split into 2 areas, the northerly Cote du Nuits, and southerly cote du Beaune.  The monks at the time started to identify best plots due to aspect,facing, slope, soils and sun exposure.  Witht he best plots […]

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Day 19 – Dying…

Woke up dead. Spent the day in bed with man flu. Roz managed to drag me out into the balmy 2 degree evening to go to dinner at laCardole Restaurant in neighbouring Givry. It had been recommended to us by our host Eric. We found where they had been hiding the flavour!!! Best meal we have had since we arrived… by a mile… Even better, the best wine we have had so far on the trip. From the shores of Barcelona, to Rioja, to Bordeaux (Grand Crus and down), through the Loire, in Paris, and on the hill of Chablis, […]

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Day 15, 16 & 17 – 3 nights in Paris (not Hilton)

Up and out of Chinon early, with Monets Garden in mind on the way to Paris. One of the few things Roz had insisted on including on the trip. Yeah, no. It’s November, and apparently gardens suck in November, and we don’t get to decide for ourselves. It closes from November 1 to March 22. With a promise of taking Roz to the Musee d’Orsay to see the Impressionist exhibition as a consolation, we decided to break our trip at Chateau Chenonceau instead. We decided on this Chateau, because it is the only one built over water, because apparently building […]

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