Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Domaine G Berlioz Mondeuse Vin de Savoie 2004

One of the ways we've been exploring the further reaches of artisanal wine is by buying mixed cases from specialist wine merchants. This bottle, which is surprisingly bright in colour for a 2004, came from our local Bristol merchant Vine Trail (at £17.95) and is made from 50 year old vines. The producer Gilles Berlioz farms organically and biodynamically and only adds sulphur at bottling.

Vine Trail draws comparisons with a northern Rhone Syrah but in fact I found it more similar to a Teroldego from Northern Italy. Wild hedgerow fruit (I can pick up brambles and sloes) clean, dry, a little hard without Syrah’s more sensuous edge. The sort of wine you need to drink with food (it went very well with a pot-roasted mallard and root veg and I suspect would be good with pasta with a wild mushroom sauce and with charcuterie, especially rough-hewn patés.)

If I was putting it into one of the categories we discussed in my last post I’d say it was an amber wine. Slightly out of most drinkers’ comfort zones but not especially challenging. It’s OK though I’m not as enraptured as my colleagues The Wine Gang recently were. I expect my wines to have rather more personality for this price but, hey, it’s good to find a red that’s only 12%.


  1. Dear Fiona,

    You are right. Sometimes, it’s nice to drink a “lighter” wine (i.e around 12 vol %), just because one feels like it or because the dish demands it. But some make a health issue of it. Yet:
    - working hypothesis: a “solid” drinker will have half-a-bottle of wine (37,5 cl) with his/her main meal every day.
    - A “strong wine” (14,5 vol %) contains: 145 ml x 0.8 = 116 gram of alcohol per liter (0.8 is the density of alcohol). Hence, half-a-bottle will amount to 116 x 0.375 = 43.50 gram of pure alcohol.
    - A “light wine” (12,5 vol %) contains 37.50 gram of pure alcohol for half-a bottle, following the same calculation.
    - One glass of beer (your typical continental lager) will contain 33 cl of a beverage with
    5 vol % of alcohol. This amounts then to 50 x 0.8 x 0.330 = 13.20 gram of pure alcohol.

    My point is: the difference in the quantity of alcohol you absorb during your meal if you drink “heavy” as opposed to “light” wine is just under half a glass of beer!

    PS: For those prefering English Ale (see alcohol content on www.alcoholcontents.com, but mostly around 5 vol % as well) by the pint (= 0.568 litre), here’s the calculation for one glass:
    50 x 0.8 x 0.568 = 22.72 gram.

  2. Think the logic of this is probably that we should all be drinking lager, Luc! But interesting argument. I do tend to feel the effects of drinking higher alcohol wines more markedly though. What's that about if it's not about alcohol?