Grace Halligan’s (International Development Assistant at iDealwine) pick of the month

Grace-Halligan-iDealwine

Get to know Grace’s tastes and top picks, and some inspiration for those looking for off-the-beaten-track wines!

Grace was born in Brighton then moved to Bergerac (France) when she was 6 months old. Her parents love France, its cuisine and wines. She lived there for 6 years, before moving back to the UK, to Newcastle. This dual culture undoubtedly contributed to her love of travelling and, since she turned 18, she hasn’t stopped: working in Venice as a translator, a high-class restaurant in Switzerland, then a bar in northern Italy. These two years allowed her to expand her knowledge of wine and food, and she also had the chance to do some training in wine and mixology. After studying French and Italian literature at University College London, Grace spent some time working on a farm in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, near Bologna, where she worked in the vineyard, made cheese, took care of the goats, worked in the vegetable garden and prepared meals for guests… It was there that she decided to learn more about wine, particularly Italian wines.

After some months in Toulouse working as a translator, Grace heard about iDealwine. A couple of months later and here she is, in Paris, working in the company’s international marketing department. “I love the variety of the job, particularly the events aspect as it allows me to meet wine enthusiasts from all over the world, who I am in contact with on a daily basis (anglophone customers). I also enjoy writing, learning about wine every day, and enjoy the marketing side as it allows me to reflect on different ways of looking after our overseas clients.”

Where does your interest in wine come from?

I’ve always been interested in food, which is why I chose to work in hospitality; for me, wine has a constitutive role in gastronomy. Wine has always been very important to my family, as a central element to meals. I like the pluridisciplinary aspect of it, the history, geography, agriculture… I’m very interested in agriculture in general and particularly viticulture, and wine production.”

What bottle sparked your love of wine?

I remember having tasted a Sauternes a long time ago, when I was a teenager, it was the cuvée Madame de Rayne, from Château Rayne-Vigneau. We tasted it at the end of a family meal, with blue cheese; the pairing was perfect. The wine was rich and fruity but balanced by a nice freshness. A memorable pairing.

Your most pleasant surprise in terms of wine?

The 1958 Rivesaltes which we tasted a few days ago in London at the Decanter Fine Wine Encounter: it was my first time tasting a VDN and I loved it! I was stunned by the aromas of rancio, but also its richness, balance, freshness and incredibly long finish.

Your favourite region?

I’ve tasted a lot of wines from the South-West, my adoptive region, and I like the fact that they use local and relatively unknown grape varieties, which is also why I’m interested in the wines from the Savoy and Jura regions. I also love white Burgundy wines, I think Chardonnay is a fantastic variety in that it produces all sorts of varieties of wine depending on the terroir and production methods.

Your drinking habits?

I regularly drink wine at the weekend. I enjoy preparing meals with friends and trying new food and wine pairings.

Your style of wine?

As I said, I’m interested in uncommon, unusual varietals. I particularly like red wines which have finesse and freshness. In terms of white wines, I like the unctuousness of Chardonnay but also enjoy Alsatian white wines (especially Rieslings).

Your favourite red wine?

An impossible question but I’m a big fan of Domaine Plageoles in Gaillac, who produce organic and natural wines using old grape varieties from the Gaillac region. I recently tasted the cuvée Iles Feray from Domaine Gonon served at an excellent wine bar in Paris. It was fruity and rich and went perfectly with the foie gras and terrine we tasted.

Your favourite white wine?

The Meursault Les Charmes from Domaine Henri Germain, which I tasted in a wine bar in Paris. I’m a big fan of Meursault wines, with their floral aromas, body and minerality. I also like dessert wines, such as the Monbazillac Tirecul Lagravière.

Which wines do you dream of tasting?

There are lots! I would love to try an Overnoy, but also the great Burgundy wines, like Leroy, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, of course, but also Didier Dagueneau’s cuvée Silex.

Domains which you’ve visited?

A couple of summers ago I visited a domain close to my parents’ house (Bergerac): Domaine du Bout du Monde, which produces organic Bergerac wines. We had a tour of the vines, the winery and we tasted the wines of course, which were light and elegant, far from the ‘rustic’ stereotype often associated with the region! While working at the farm in Emilia-Romagna, I also visited Cantina da Vittoria, the winemaker to whom we sold the grapes. It was great to taste the wines made from the farm’s grapes.

GRACE’S PICKS:

Bordeaux

Château de Rayne Vigneau 1er Grand Cru Classé 2010

Burgundy

Mâcon Pierreclos En Crazy Guffens Heynen (Domaine) 2016

Chablis Pattes Loup (Domaine) 2015

Mâcon Igé Nicolas Maillet 2016

Rhône

Les Iles Feray Domaine Pierre Gonon – VDP Ardèche 2016

Cornas Renaissance Auguste Clape 2014

Crozes-Hermitage Les Machonnières Domaine des Entrefaux 2015

Beaujolais

Fleurie Jean Foillard 2015

Morgon Corcelette Louis-Claude Desvignes 2017

Loire

Montlouis Les Bournais François Chidaine (Domaine) 2017

Chinon Clos de La Dioterie Charles Joguet (Domaine) 2013

Vin de France Bretonnière La Taille aux Loups 2015

Jura

La gamme du Domaine du Pélican

Arbois Patchwork Bénédicte & Stéphane Tissot 2016

Côtes du Jura Trousseau Marnes Blanches (Domaine des) 2016

Sud-Ouest

Monbazillac Château Tirecul La Gravière Cuvée Madame 2005

Cahors Cosse-Maisonneuve (Domaine) Les Laquets 2015

Irouléguy Hegoxuri Arretxea (Domaine) 2011

Languedoc-Roussillon

Coteaux du Languedoc Gavin Crisfield La Traversée 2016

IGP Pays d’Hérault L’Enclos Terrasse d’Elise (Domaine de la) 2016

Savoie

Vin de Savoie Chignin Le Jaja Gilles Berlioz 2015

Vin de Savoie Ayse – Les Perles du Mont Blanc Domaine Belluard

IGP Vin des Allobroges -Saint-Pierre-de-Soucy Argile Ardoisières (Domaine des) 2017

Alsace

Alsace 1er Cru Engelgarten Marcel Deiss (Domaine) 2014

Pinot Gris Barriques Ostertag (Domaine) 2015

Champagne

Cuvée 739 Jacquesson

Etranger

Colline Lucchesi Tenuta di Valgiano DOC Palistorti 2015

Central Otago Felton Road Bannockburn 2016

 

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