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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES Sept 13th – Part One

Ontario Focus and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
By John Szabo MS with notes from David Lawrason and Sara d’Amato

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

Take a short tour by helicopter across the Niagara Peninsula for a bird’s eye view of Canada’s largest growing region (or check out the photos below). You’ll see the three main topographic features of the region that make grape growing possible, and which shape the character of the wines: the Niagara Escarpment, Lake Ontario and the Niagara River. Both the lake and the river moderate climate extremes like the soft focus feature on your camera, and generate crucial air movement to keep vines healthy. The Escarpment for its part contains that moderating effect in the area between the water and the cliff face, like the focus lock feature. And then of course there are the soils…

Ontario is the theme of the September 13th LCBO-VINTAGES release and the focus of this report. And although Ontario’s cool climate is evidently well suited to crisp whites, bubbles and Icewine, this time there are several red wines that really shine. Warmer vintages like 2010 and 2012 provide opportunities for winegrowers to showcase more substantial reds from grapes like merlot, cabernet franc and syrah, while cooler years like 2011 favour more elegantly styled reds. Forty years of learning just how to deal with Ontario’s often challenging climate has softened the vintage variation curve significantly and Ontario can now be counted upon for consistent quality red wines. There’s a great selection below to choose from, with at least two WineAlign critics aligning on almost every wine.

Looking east and north to Lake Ontario, with the forested top of the Escarpment in the foreground

Looking east and north to Lake Ontario, with the forested top of the Escarpment in the foreground

Approaching Château des Charmes from the west - St. David's Bench Sub-Appellation

Approaching Château des Charmes from the west – St. David’s Bench Sub-Appellation

The Niagara River Sub-Appellation Hugging the Riverbank

The Niagara River Sub-Appellation Hugging the Riverbank

Niagara Falls from Above, with US falls in bottom left

Niagara Falls from Above, with US falls in bottom left

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 

The other theme of the release is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, one of Tuscany’s ‘big three’ DOCG appellations. But Vino Nobile is like the middle child, getting less attention than either Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino. Stylistically (as well as geographically), it also falls generally between its two better-known neighbors. Vino Nobile is similarly based on sangiovese, locally called prugnolo gentile, but the rules allow up to 30% of other varieties, which makes pinning down a typical style more challenging. But the best combine real savory Tuscan character with a finesse rarely found in Brunello, and less forced ambition than one encounters in Chianti Classico aiming to live up to an unrealistic flavor profile.

The Annual New Vintage Release Tasting at the Montepulciano Fortress

The Annual New Vintage Release Tasting at the Montepulciano Fortress

A trip to the Fortress of Montepulciano last year to taste the latest releases revealed a region in dynamic development – things are changing in this small hilltop village, and very much for the better.

I credit in part the storied house of Avignonese for the regional shakeup, which was purchased in 2009 by Belgian-born Virginie Saverys. The highly purposeful and self-motivated outsider promptly converted the entire estate to organic/biodynamic farming, and at 200 ha, it’s the largest in the region.

This move has undoubtedly caused some chatter amongst the neighbors: it’s time for everyone to pick it up or get left behind. In any case, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is a region worth keeping a close watch on to capture the best before Montalcino-like pricing inevitably sets in. We pick our favorites of the examples on offer.

Buyer’s Guide: Ontario

Rosehall Run 2011 Cuvée County Chardonnay, VQA Prince Edward County ($21.95)
John Szabo - Dan Sullivan’s ’11 County chardonnay is a lean, taught, tightly wound wine with a fine lactic quality in the style of Chablis. A highly representative example all in all, which highlights the County’s mineral character nicely. Best 2014-2019.

Charles Baker 2011 Picone Vineyard Riesling, VQA Vinemount Ridge ($35.20)
David Lawrason – The cooler vintage and excellent ten-acre site farther from the lake at higher altitude have created a riesling with real verve and intensity, including classic Niagara minerality from the older vines on the site planted on clay limestone soils.

Flat Rock 2013 Riesling, VQA Twenty Mile Bench ($16.95)
David Lawrason – Flat Rock’s riesling from a high slope on the escarpment has long been a benchmark. The style is juicy, intense and fruit driven, with added acid lift in this great riesling vintage. And Flat Rock has always kept its prices grounded as well.
Sara d’Amato – A love at first sip riesling. The 2013 delivers considerable verve and excitement for the dollar. Bright, racy and dry – lovely on its own but also with also has a great deal of food pairing potential.

No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver Charles Baker Picone Vineyard Riesling 2011 No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver

Thirty Bench 2012 Red, VQA Beamsville Bench ($24.00)
John Szabo – The 1998 Thirty Bench Red has been referenced by several experts as the wine that made them believers in Niagara reds – that wine was a monster at nearly 15% alcohol if I recall correctly. Now 14 years later, the 2012 is in my view even better: better balanced, more poised, more enjoyable to drink while still retaining its full-body, dense, rich and savoury flavours and spicy-fruity complexity. This could easily sit alongside right bank Bordeaux reds at twice the price. Best 2014-2024.
Sara d’Amato – A gold award winner at the National Wine Awards, this impressive Bordeaux style blend delivers intensity, brightness and loads of appeal. The blend exhibits a well-developed balance, focus and definition but is also generous, fleshy and inviting.

Lailey Vineyard 2012 Syrah, VQA Niagara River ($27.20)
John Szabo – I consider Derek Barnett of Lailey a reference point for Niagara syrah, crafting his version in a no-makeup, straight-out-of-bed style, complete with messy hair and a bit of sleepy dust in the eye. Niagara River, along with St. David’s Bench, are arguably the two most suited sub-appellations for the grape. This will give top Northern Rhône syrah a run for the money, at about half the money. Best after 2015.
David Lawrason – From the time I first tasted syrah from the neighboring Delaine Vineyard about ten vintages ago, I knew this little patch of Niagara within a km of the river was a special place for this variety.  The warmer vintage and Derek Barnett’s deftness with barrels have fashioned a very sensual northern Rhonish edition example, which walked off with a gold medal at the 2014 National Wine Awards of Canada.

Tawse 2011 Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore ($31.95)
John Szabo – I’ve always appreciated the more forward, lively and elegant expression of the Laundry Vineyard in the Lincoln Lakeshore sub-appellation, usually the first of the Tawse cabernet’s to be released, and one which Paul Pender has learned to read and allow to express its delicacy rather than impose a pre-conceived style. It takes some time in the glass to reveal its full fruity-floral side, so decant before serving for best enjoyment. Best 2014-2018.

Domaine Queylus 2011 Tradition Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($29.95).
John Szabo -The wines of newcomer Queylus are made by the venerable Thomas Bachelder, from all-Niagara Escarpment fruit including one of Le Clos Jordanne’s former vineyards even if this is labeled generically as Niagara Peninsula. The style in this cool vintage is decidedly earthy and tart red fruit dominated, with supple but nicely delineated texture. It’s firmly acidic in the best sense, for fans with Euro-leaning sensibilities. Best 2014-2017.
Sara d’Amato – A serious undertaking and a considerable value. This project headed by former Clos Jordanne winemaker Thomas Bachelder betrays the long, laborious but passionate undertaking of friends and colleagues that brought this project to fruition. A lovely balance of new world intensity and old world precision and balance.

Tawse Laundry Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2011 Domaine Queylus Tradition Pinot Noir 2011 No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver No Unauthorized Reproduction WineAlign @Jason Dziver

Château Des Charmes 2012 Merlot St. David’s Bench Vineyard, VQA St. David’s Bench ($29.95)
John Szabo – A big and powerful merlot here, richly fruity, full-bodied, and dense, accurately reflective of both the warm vintage and the house style of red wines built to age. This will likely be best after 2016 or so – there’s plenty of stuffing here to envisage a positive outcome.
David Lawrason – This house has always made reds to age, and so with considerable tannin still at play I would not approach this for another three to five years. That said, the warm year and maturing vines in Niagara’s warmest sub-appellation have created a merlot of substance and yes, even some mid-palate elegance.
Sara d’Amato – Understated but a charmer nonetheless with flavours that blossom with time in the glass to reveal a rather complex array of flavours from licorice and earth to plum and raspberry. Lovely grip and appealing rusticity.

Tawse Growers Blend 2010 Pinot Noir, VQA Niagara Peninsula ($24.95)
David Lawrason – Despite 2010 being a hotter, riper year many Niagara pinots suffered lack of colour and structure, and some are already fading. This is one of the strongest pinots of the vintage and it is just now softening into prime. A silver medal winner at this year’s Nationals.

Norman Hardie 2012 County Unfiltered Pinot Noir, VQA Prince Edward County ($39.00)
David Lawrason – This vibrant, perfumed and elegant County pinot has waltzed off with a platinum medal at the National Wine Awards of Canada, a testament perhaps to maturing vines and a warmer season.  It will certainly sell out quickly at the winery so this release may be a last chance to grab some.
Sara d’Amato – The leader of the pack of remarkable County pinot noirs, this warm vintage has bolstered the flavours yet the wine remains both complex and ethereal – the hallmark of Hardie’s wines. Well deserving of its platinum award from this year’s National Wine Awards of Canada.

Buyer’s Guide: Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano

Poliziano 2011 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy ($29.95)
Castellani Filicheto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2010 Carpineto Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Riserva 2008 Poliziano Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano 2011John Szabo – Occasionally it takes only a split-second whiff to confirm that what’s in the glass is of superior quality; such was the case with Poliziano’s Vino Nobile. Beyond aromatics, there’s genuine depth and concentration on the palate, and you have to admire the balance and vibrancy coupled with complexity, for the money. Best now-2020.
David Lawrason – From a leading modernist, this is a very refined, tidy wine – so well balanced and appealing now that it is hard to believe it has only been in bottle over a year.  A lighter vintage may be one reason, as well as ageing up to 16 months, mostly in new French oak.  But it too should age well through the rest of this decade. Lovely fragrance here.

Carpineto 2008 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Riserva, Tuscany, Italy ($29.95)
David Lawrason – I was pleasantly surprised by the youth this 2008 Riserva is showing. It was not a great vintage, and indeed there is a certain unexpected lightness to this wine. The fruit aromatics are bright and almost floral with oak in the background despite ageing four years before release (two years in large Slavonian oak with a small percent in French barriques). It should handle another five years in the cellar although it is balanced now.

Castellani Filicheto 2010 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy ($19.95)
John Szabo – A tidy little value from the Vino Nobile mini-thematic – it’s solidly flavoured, savoury and succulent, and ready to enjoy tonight.

That’s all for this week. See you over the next bottle.

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo MS

From VINTAGES Sept 13th:

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Lawrason’s Take
All Reviews

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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20 under $20 in British Columbia (September)

Monthly Picks from our West Coast Critic Team

It’s official. Summer is over. Well, ok, not officially. But really, come September and Labour Day and immediately I start thinking less about easy breezy whites and lakeshores and more about crunchy reds and sweaters. As we transition from a glorious summer in BC to what looks to be an abundant harvest, the BC team are starting the subtle shift into fall in the glass. And we want to help you drink better, for less. Our 20 under $20 wines are readily available in BC Liquor Stores and VQA stores across the province for your shopping convenience.

Cheers ~ Treve Ring

BC Team Version 3

Anthony Gismondi

Always a good value, no matter the season, the Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling 2013 is light fresh and packed full of tension a perfect anecdote to creamy sauces. For those who like their riesling extreme.

Southern Italian reds are a great way to ease into fall. Don’t miss the La Casona de Castaño Old Vines Monastrell 2013; you are getting old vine monastrell made by the Castaño family at a giveaway price. Grilled lamb chops anyone?

More tasty red comes in the form of Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2011 with its blackcurrant, black olives flavours seemingly rubbed with Chilean ‘boldo’, the French equivalent of garrigue. Steak is the cure here.

Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling 2013 Bodegas Castano La Casona Old Vines Monastrell 2013 Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 Gabriel Meffre Plan De Dieu Saint Mapalis 2012 Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2013

Gabriel Meffre Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages Saint Mapalis 2012 is an amazing 50/30/20 blend of grenache, mourvèdre and syrah from noted southern Rhone villages. Think more finesse than regular Cote du Rhone serve with turkey.

Finally, one doesn’t always reach for pinot blanc to excite the senses but the Blue Mountain Pinot Blanc 2013 is worth sipping for its refreshing citrus/green peach flavours. Let the fall begin.

DJ Kearney

A southern hemisphere round-up is my theme as I reflect nostalgically about two amazing trips that I took this time last year – one to South Africa’s Cape winelands, and the other to Australia and New Zealand. They were journeys of discovery and delight, as was a recent tour of Argentina. Common denominator in the antipodes? Great-value wines that combine generous fruit, clean lines and good stories.

Give this breezy white a try and join the chenin fan club. The Royal Old Vine Steen 2013 celebrates and preserves mature vineyards for only $14 bucks.

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is a ‘got-it-all’ savvy. Fresh and purposeful with the kind of focus that has sharpened over the last few vintages, it’s killer with crisp greens, goat’s cheese nuggets and pink grapefruit.

The Royal Old Vine Steen Chenin Blanc 2013 Nobilo Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2013 D'arenberg The Hermit Crab Viognier Marsanne 2013 Crios De Susana Balbo Malbec 2013 Anderra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

D’Arenberg’s 2013 The Hermit Crab impressed me with a happy balance of weight and herbal savour in this 65% viognier/35% marsanne blend that tastes dry and energetic. Here’s my pairing: a salad of heirloom tomatoes dressed with no more than torn basil leaves, Maldon salt, cracked pepper and tangy olive oil.

Crios Malbec 2013 presents a mouthful of expressive blueberry fruit to contrast with spicy, meaty grilled chorizo sausages, while Anderra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 serves as a tasty reminder that Chile’s central valley churns out more than decent reds for a song.

Rhys Pender MW

Pinot grigio can be dilute, boring and it is hard to understand why it is so popular. Then you hit on one that is everything the variety should be, crisp, fresh and lively but with some drive and intensity. The Kris Pinot Grigio 2013 fits the bill nicely.

One of the benefits of being a pioneer in the wine business is that by the time you survive all the hardships of helping to create an industry, you are usually firmly established and debt free when it all settles down and you can go about making wine and often at a very competitive price. Gehringer Brothers always outperforms on their quality to price ratio and the 2013 Private Reserve Riesling is no exception and worth buying by the case.

Kris Pinot Grigio 2013Gehringer Brothers Private Reserve Riesling 2013Edna Valley Paragon Chardonnay 2011 CedarCreek Gewurztraminer 2013 Cellar Hand Punch Down Red 2012

The world is making an effort at making chardonnay fresher, crisper, lighter and juicier and California is no exception, even though it is hard in many of the warmer climate areas. When the vineyards are near the cool pacific coast they more naturally produce this modern style. Big boys Gallo have produced the well priced Edna Valley Chardonnay 2011 that is a nice example of what can be done.

Gewürztraminer, like riesling, is increasingly being taken more seriously in British Columbia with producers trying to make wines of character and intensity rather than just the simple fruity wines which, frankly, other countries can do better and cheaper. One increasingly serious gewürztraminer producer is CedarCreek and their 2013 is a good example of the fat and rich Alsatian style.

British Columbia can produce some decent value red wine, the second wine of Black Hills is the Cellar Hand range and the red in particular offers great value at around $20. The Punch Down Red 2012 is a good warming, solid wine for cooler fall evenings by the fire.

Treve Ring

As dated as ‘don’t wear white after Labour Day’ is the credo that white wines should only be reserved for summer months.

California’s Bonterra Organic Chardonnay 2012 is a great example of a fall-worthy wine that will remind you of summer blossoms. This creamy style offers up a sweet green pea freshness and light floral blossoms.

Telmo Rodriquez Basa Blanco 2013 is a wine I’d gladly drink any day of the year, and even more so due to its amazing value. Verdejo, viura and sauvignon blanc from Spain’s DO Rueda come together seamlessly in this crisp citrus, herb and stone beauty.

Bonterra Chardonnay 2012 Telmo Rodriguez Basa Blanco 2013 Bottega Vino Dei Poeti Prosecco Thornhaven Pinot Meunier 2012 Miguel Torres Sangre De Toro 2012

There is never an incorrect time to drink bubbles. Especially when it’s lively, perfumed and citrus kissed, like Italy’s Bottega Nino Dei Poeti Prosecco.

As for reds to ward off early autumn’s chill, Thornhaven Estates Pinot Meunier 2012 is an excellent local choice. This rare solo example of pinot meunier, commonly found in blends, offers up perfumed raspberry and twine-scented spice.

For consistent value year after year, Miguel Torres Sangre de Toro 2012 is hard to beat with its savoury and bright blend of garnacha and carignan from Cataluña, Spain.

****

And that’s it for this month’s 20 under 20. Next up this month our Critic’s Picks at any price, and the announcement of the results of the WineAlign World Wine Awards of Canada. In the meantime, check out my article on last month’s International Pinot Noir Celebration in Oregon.

Cheers,

Treve

Here’s a short-cut to the complete list searchable by store: 20 under $20 in British Columbia

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Premium subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see newly posted reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Fall in the vineyards, photos courtesy of Treve Ring

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Les bons choix de Nadia

Cellier septembre 2014 (1ere vague)
par Nadia Fournier

Nadia Fournier - New - Cropped

Nadia Fournier

Depuis une dizaine d’années, plusieurs consommateurs, particulièrement ceux de la nouvelle génération, ont tourné le dos à Bordeaux. Moi-même, peut-être en réaction à la flambée des prix des années 2000 ou par désir d’explorer d’autres régions de monde, j’avoue avoir un peu boudé les vins de la Gironde – en tant que consommatrice, s’entend.

Mais depuis un an ou deux, sans trop savoir pourquoi, je me surprends à regarnir ma cave en crus bordelais ou à en commander au verre, dans les rares établissements montréalais qui osent en proposer.

J’ai toujours un intérêt très très modéré pour les bordeaux modernes, produits dans le but à peine dissimulé de plaire aux critiques américains. Mais lorsqu’il est élaboré sans trop d’artifices et fidèle à ses origines, qu’est-ce que je me régale ! Car avec leur caractère un peu austère et empreint de fraîcheur, les clarets et autres vins rouges du Médoc, des Graves, de Fronsac, de Pomerol et même d’appellations secondaires semblent conçus pour la table.

Ça tombe bien puisque dans la nouvelle édition du magazine Cellier (dont les vins sont commercialisés en deux vagues, soit ce matin et le 18 septembre prochain), la SAQ ramène Bordeaux au premier plan et rappelle qu’en dehors du cercle fermé des crus classés, il existe encore une foule de bons vins vendus à des prix terrestres.

Dans le lot, on voudra surtout retenir les vins rouges des châteaux de Villegeorge, Tour Haut Caussan, Mayne Guyon et Larrivaux, ainsi que l’excellent vin blanc du Château Graville-Lacoste.

BORDEAUX

Propriété de Marie-Laure Lurton, le Château de Villegeorge 2010 (24,75 $) provient d’une parcelle située près de l’appellation Margaux. Plus élégant que charpenté. Un excellent vin en devenir, à prix pleinement mérité.

Deuxième succès consécutif pour le Château Tour Haut Caussan 2010 (26,50 $), un cru bourgeois situé sur la commune de Blaignan, à une douzaine de kilomètres de St-Estèphe. Aussi étoffé et plein en bouche que le 2009 commenté plus tôt cette année, avec un supplément de fraîcheur.

À prix d’aubaine, l’amateur de bordeaux de facture classique se régalera avec le Château Mayne Guyon 2011 (17,95 $). S’il y avait plus de Bordeaux comme celui-ci, l’économie viticole de la Gironde se porterait sans doute bien mieux.

Château De Villegeorge 2010 Château Tour Haut Caussan 2010 Château Mayne Guyon 2011 Château Larrivaux 2010

Dans le même esprit, mais un peu plus cher, le Château Larrivaux 2010 (25,45 $) se signale par ses goûts caractéristiques de fruit noir et de boîte à cigares. Rappelons que ce vignoble appartient à la même famille et est transmis de femme en femme depuis plus de trois siècles. Un fait plutôt rare dans la France viticole…

Plus ambitieux, sans être vraiment complexe, avec un nez de fruit confit et un boisé bien appuyé, L’esprit de Chevalier 2010 (42,50 $) est l’occasion pour les fans de cette maison prestigieuse de flirter avec « l’esprit » du domaine, à moindre coût.

Le Château Belgrave (48,50 $) a connu une importante revitalisation depuis son rachat par les Vins & Vignobles Dourthe (Le Boscq, Pey La Tour, Reysson). On y produit maintenant un vin sphérique et charmeur. Même si je ne suis pas vraiment friande du genre, je suis convaincue qu’il fera plusieurs adeptes.

L’esprit De Chevalier 2010 Château Belgrave 2010 Château La Fleur Du Casse 2010 Château Taillefer 2010 Château Graville Lacoste Graves 2012

Tout aussi flatteur et accessible dès maintenant, le Château Fleur du Casse 2010 (38,50 $) est assez représentatif de l’appellation Saint-Émilion par sa trame tannique veloutée et séduisante.

Propriété des enfants du regretté Bernard Moueix et de leur mère Catherine, descendants d’Antoine Moueix, la branche cousine des propriétaires de Pétrus, le Château Taillefer est la source d’un très bon Pomerol 2010 (34,75 $) élaboré sous les conseils du professeur Denis Dubourdieu.

Enfin, j’ai particulièrement aimé le savoureux Château Graville-Lacoste 2012 (21,35 $). Un vin blanc sec comme on en trouve encore trop peu dans les Graves : minéral, distingué et misant davantage sur la pureté du fruit que sur les parfums de la barrique. Très typé et vendu à prix juste. Personnellement, je ne demande pas mieux !

RHÔNE

Pour vous permettre de faire le plein de soleil avant l’automne, le Cellier propose aussi plusieurs belles cuvées du midi de la France. Dans le lot, une poignée de très bons vins du Languedoc-Roussillon (commercialisés le 18 septembre) et quelques belles découvertes de la vallée du Rhône, dont le Clos Bellane, Les Échalas 2010 (29,95 $), un somptueux vin blanc élaboré par Stéphane Vedeau, sur le plateau de Vinsobres. Le vignoble, acquis en 2010, est certifié en agriculture biologique à compter de cette année.

L’orientation et l’altitude du vignoble – juché à 400 mètres et tourné vers l’est – et la composition calcaire des sols expliquent peut-être la grande sensation de fraicheur qui émane de cette cuvée de marsanne et de roussanne. Parmi les bons vins blancs du sud de la France goûtés cette année.

En plus de produire des vins légendaires sur la colline d’Hermitage, Jean-Louis Chave a mis sur pied une petite affaire de négoce haut de gamme. Les raisins qui entrent dans l’élaboration de la cuvée Mon Cœur 2012, Côtes du Rhône (22,70 $) proviennent d’une poignée de vignerons situés sur les communes de Rasteau, Cairanne, Vinsobres et Visan.

Clos Bellane Les Échalas 2010 J.L. Chave Sélection Mon Coeur 2012 Crozes Hermitage Les Pichères 2011 Domaine De Fontbonau Côtes Du Rhône 2010 Château De Nages Vieilles Vignes 2011

Ferraton appartient à Chapoutier, mais est mené de façon autonome. Question de goût sans doute, mais je n’ai pas d’atomes crochus avec le Crozes-Hermitage Les Pichères 2011 (31,50 $). Costaud, mais surtout un peu pataud et rudimentaire.

Propriété de Jérôme Sarda-Malet (Roussillon) et de Frédéric Engerer, directeur technique au Château Latour à Pauillac, le Domaine de Fontbonau élabore un Côtes du Rhône générique hors norme, tant par sa puissance que par son prix (37 $). Majoritairement composé de grenache et complété de syrah, élevée dans les fûts de Latour. Peut-être taillé à gros traits pour le moment, mais une chose est certaine, il ne manque pas d’envergure.

Pour une fraction du prix, le Château de Nages Vieilles Vignes 2011 fera plaisir à votre portefeuille, peut-être déjà largement sollicité par la rentrée en classe. Beaucoup de vin dans le verre pour 20 $.

Santé et bonne rentrée !

Nadia

Note de la rédaction: vous pouvez lire les commentaires de dégustation complets en cliquant sur les noms de vins, les photos de bouteilles ou les liens mis en surbrillance. Les abonnés payants à Chacun son vin ont accès à toutes les critiques dès leur mise en ligne. Les utilisateurs inscrits doivent attendre 30 jours après leur parution pour les lire. L’adhésion a ses privilèges ; parmi ceux-ci, un accès direct à de grands vins!


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Bill’s Best Bets – September

A look at the September 4th Cellier Release
by Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

The Cellier magazine is back after a summer off, and as usual, a number of wines are accompanying its release. While a few of these wines have already been sold at the SAQ, there are a number which will be making their first appearance at the store level. This seems to be the new formula for the magazine – a mix of new releases and some classic wines. It’s a pretty good idea as a few of these wines which have already been available are pretty damned good.

As always, the 30 featured wines will be split between two release dates – September 4 and September 18. So what’s worth picking up from the first release? Overall, there are a number of very worthy wines, but a few are truly spectacular.

Château La Fleur Du Casse 2010Château Tour Haut Caussan 2010The new releases are all French and from classic regions like Bordeaux, Rhône and the Languedoc, and mostly red wines. So let’s get to it, and start with a few wines from Bordeaux, where the focus is on one of my favourite of recent vintages, 2010.

Despite it not even being close to the most expensive wine in the line-up, try the 2010 Château Tour Haut Caussan. This Cru Bourgeois from the Médoc has been around for over a decade on Private Import and when I worked as a sommelier, was always on my list. This is classic Bordeaux in the best, and most traditional sense of the word. (199 cases available)

Also from Bordeaux, but this time Saint Émilion, the 2010 La Fleur du Casse is as seductive a merlot as you’ll find out there. For those of us who found the 2009’s a touch over the top, especially for the merlot dominated wines of the right bank, this Grand Cru puts the accent back on drinkability over raw power. I would give it at least another 3 years before starting to drink, but its already a pleasure. (126 cases available)

Château Larrivaux 2010Château Les Ricards 2010Going back across the river, the 2010 Haut Médoc from Château Larrivaux is another great buy, especially considering its $25 price tag. Despite it being dominated by merlot, rare for an Haut-Médoc, this is no softy. The tannins have extra bite, probably due to almost 10% of petit verdot in the blend. The estate has another particularity in that it has been run by women of the same family since vines were first planted there in 1861. If you are looking for an inexpensive Bordeaux that will easily cellar up to 10 years, this is it. (300 cases available)

And while I am talking Bordeaux, although it was not part of this release, I recently drank the 2010 Château Les Ricards. For $20, this Côtes de Blaye might be the bargain of the year for Bordeaux. Supple fruit and so ready to drink. I’m not the only one who thinks so as it is flying off the shelves. If you can get your hands on this bottle, then you won’t be disappointed.

Moving south into the Rhône, there are three wines that are musts. Topping the list is Jean-Louis Chave’s 2012 Côtes de Rhône Mon Coeur. One of the great vignerons of Hermitage, Chave also runs a négoce which he treats with equal care. Every year, this wine flies off the shelves and the 2012 should as well, as it might be the best I have ever tasted of this cuvée. Gulp it, drink it slow, age it a bit – no problem. For the price, exceptional. (500 cases)

Clos Bellane Les Échalas 2010Crozes Hermitage Les Pichères 2011J.L. Chave Sélection Mon Coeur 2012I was equally impressed by Ferraton’s 2011 Crozes-Hermitage Les Pichères. But rather than the juicy fruit and ease of the Chave, Les Pichères is about the earthier side of the syrah. Dark-fruited, granitic, mineral, and with tannins that reminded me of a Cornas. This is a huge step up from most Crozes, and at $30, you are getting your money’s worth. Keep a few in the cellar for the future as this will gain with some cellar time. (419 cases)

I am also a big fan of the white wines of the Rhône. While much of the wine drinking world has embraced white wines with high acidities and exuberant aromatics, the Rhône has continued to make richly textured, and at times, phenomenally interesting wines. The 2010 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Les Échalas from Clos Bellane is one such wine. Vigneron Stéphane Vedeau works biodynamically, and this blend of marsanne and roussanne has exactly what I love about the  Rhône style – stone fruit, a dense texture and lots of intriguing spice on the finish. I would pull this from the fridge and never put it back as it will start to shine above 12C. (200 cases)

Back next week with some great buys from the September 18th release. With the focus being on the Languedoc, there’s a few that you don’t want to miss.

Bill

“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial

Editors Note: You can find Bill’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names or bottle images above. Premium subscribers to Chacun son vin see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see newly posted reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Natural Wine may be an idea, but it’s a good one

The Caveman Speaks
By Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

Bill Zacharkiw

I had a few friends over for dinner when one of my buddies started to grill me about my love for Beaujolais. These aren’t wine connoisseurs, rather folks who just to love to eat and drink. I went on  about the greatness of good Bojo but tasting is believing, so I went down to my cellar and brought up a 2006 Moulin à Vent from one of my favourite wine makers, Yvon Métras.

I poured everyone a glass. The bouquet hovered somewhere in between geranium leaves, beet juice and bacon. “This is weird,” was the first comment offered up.

I told everyone to chill out, swirl their glass a bit, and as the wine opened up, the fruit started to show itself, alongside an intense minerality. The initial aromatic weirdness drifted into the background and each sip seemed to offer up some variation on the theme. The wine was at times challenging, but after the bottle was emptied, the consensus was that while strange, this was one of the more memorable wines they had drunk.

I wonder if I wasn’t there, how many people would have got past that first sniff. “Are all Beaujolais like this?” I was asked. My response, “Well, not exactly.”

Métras makes what is loosely defined as “natural wine.” While organics and biodynamics are concerned primarily with the way that grapes are grown, “natural wine” is all about the wine making. Influenced by French wine maker Jules Chauvet in the 1970’s, proponents of this approach believe that the wine maker should intervene as little as possible when making their wines. In a perfect world, that would mean harvesting and crushing the grapes, allowing them to ferment with indigenous yeasts, ageing the wine in whatever vessel the wine maker chooses, and then putting it in bottle with as little sulfites as possible, or preferably, none at all.

This is the image that the wine industry wants the consumer to have about winemaking. The reality is that modern day winemakers have an arsenal of tools at their disposal to make their wines. Some of these are relatively innocuous and are considered as much a part of making wine as crushing grapes. Cultured yeasts are used to do such things as boost aromatics and finish ferments of high alcohol wines. Sulfur Dioxide and sterile filtration stabilize the wine by removing any lingering bacteria. Tartaric acid is added to adjust over-ripe grapes, as is powdered tannin. Sugar is used to raise alcohol levels (chapitalization), or simply sweeten the wine.

But there are many others which are even more intrusive. Enzymes are added during fermentation to do everything from help clarify the wine to boosting aromatics. Water is used to dilute over concentrated juice, woodchips and oils are employed to flavour the wine. Gum arabic adds texture. Products like Mega Purple colour, flavour and alter the texture of the wine. I could go on and on. And this is not even going into more mechanical interventions such as reverse osmosis (used to concentrate wines), de-alcoholizing machines, and micro-oxydation (adding oxygen during fermentation to soften tannins).

Thierry Allemand

Thierry Allemand in Cornas – a great example of a winemaker who makes wines as natural as possible

And these interventions are not limited to inexpensive bulk wines. Reverse Osmosis and micro-oxydation machines are rampant all over Bordeaux. In California, Ridge’s Paul Draper has spoken out against all the monkeying around with high end wines in California, and has voluntarily added ingredients on his wine’s back labels.

While many believe that wine has never been better, I’m not one of them. I taste a minimum 100 wines a week, have done so for years, and while my chief complaint would be that I find a standardized taste and texture, which bores the hell out of me, some are in fact so incongruent that they are bad.

This is what has led me to my love for more “natural” wines. Now there are probably more critics of these wines than there are proponents. Most revolve around the “I’ve tasted natural wines and they are shit.” Fine, but bad wines are everywhere.

I have drunk hundreds of such bottles over the years, and different bottles of the same winemaker and from the same vintage can vary, at times quite a lot. While a small percentage have definitely taken the wrong fork in the road, especially those without added SO2, the vast majority have what I look for in a wine: complexity, drinkability and while difficult to translate, a certain energy. These wines just feel alive.

The other criticism is that unlike organics, there are no rules, no certification, no real definition as to what is a natural wine. The latest criticism I read was by Tom Wark on his blog Fermentations, where he once again decried the lack of a definition as to what is “natural wine.” You can read the post here.

Wark made one very interesting observation: that “natural wine” is an idea, and not a thing. And in that he is dead-on, even though he sees this as a negative. What is wrong with an idea, especially in the context of how the bulk of wines are being made today? More and more people are gravitating towards natural wines, and I believe it is because they want less standardization, less additives, and a truer sense of place and time.

Disregarding those natural wines that are poorly made, and they do exist, logic says to me that by not manipulating the juice, and by using the yeasts that are there, will offer up a truer picture of the vineyards and the vintage. Of course this means that good grape growing becomes even more important, but that’s another issue.

This flies in the face of the philosophy of the modern wine industry, which often places more importance on reducing the variations from vintage to vintage than showing them. Consumers, the industry believes, want a consistent taste from one bottle to the next. They might be right.

But not me. I understand that wine is a business, and the approach that natural wine makers take cannot be copied by large-scale wineries. There is too much risk. Too much money involved. But the aim should be to translate the uniqueness of each growing site into the eventual wine. I could care less if the wine is faultless. If only more took to heart the spirit of Chauvet’s disciples: as natural as possible.

So what to drink? If you have a wine bar near you that specializes in these wines, go and try them. And if you are looking for a few wines to try at home, here are some wines where the winemakers do it right. (Contact the Agent listed if you are having trouble finding these wines in your province.)

Azienda Agricola Cos Cerasuolo Di Vittoria Classico 2010Domaine Thymiopoulos XinomavroFrom Greece, this wine has mentioned a number of times by myself and my fellow critics.  Thymiopoulos does makes non-sulphured wines, but they all go to Paris. But try his Jeunes Vignes, in Quebec, we are lucky to have it at the SAQ.

One of my favourite wines I have tasted over the last 2 years is COS’ 2010 Cerasuolo. Beaujolais-cru like in texture and fruit. Simply delicious.

No discussion about natural wine is complete without mentioning the name of Marcel Lapierre. While he has passed on, his son Mathieu has taken the reigns and is making wine in a way which honours his dad. While best known for his Morgon, his Vin de Pays Raisins Gaulois Gamay is equally fresh and delicious. Keep this at 14C and enjoy!

If you want a bigger wine, look no further than Vieille Julienne’s 2012 Côtes du Rhône, Clavin. Drinks well now and will celler admirably. Bring on whatever meat you want.

On a similar track as the Vieille Julienne is Château Trolliet Lafite’s 2009 Côtes De Bergerac. It’s the Bordeaux varieties but with a southern rusticity. Interesting, flavourful and eminently drinkable.

Like cabernet franc? Try Chateau Yvonne’s La Folie,  The more evocative and delicate side of the grape that drinks well on its own, yet still shows enough muscle for the table. Try it with chicken brochettes and tatziki!

Domaine Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois 2013Domaine De La Vieille Julienne Lieu Dit Clavin 2012Château Trolliet Lafite 2009Château Yvonne La Folie 2011Domaine Baudry Les Grezeaux 2010Christophe Pacalet Chiroubles 2011

For readers from British Columbia, my colleague Treve Ring has suggested these natural beauties that are available in your province: Try Domaine Baudry Les Grezeaux 2010 or Christophe Pacalet Chiroubles 2011.

Until next time.

Bill

“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial

Editors Note: You can find Bill’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critic’s reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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The International Pinot Noir Celebration

Opening The Doors of Perception
By Treve Ring

There’s a place where all devout pinot-philes go. No – it’s not heaven (the golden slopes of Burgundy) or hell (where MegaPurple flows from the faucets).

It’s the International Pinot Noir Celebration, colloquially IPNC, and widely recognized as the one annual pinot noir event to not miss. Affectionately and affirmably a Celebration (rather than a conference, forum, festival or event), the festive July event brings consumers, winemakers, sommeliers and pinot fans from around the globe to the campus of Linfield College in McMinneville, Oregon, for weekend of sharing and learning.

Linfield College at dusk

Linfield College at dusk

The historic school, an easy one hour drive southwest of Portland and in the heart of the Willamette Valley, has become the traditional home of IPNC, a fitting venue for the scholarly seminars, proximity to vineyards and convenient accommodation in dorms for the hundreds of attendees from around the world.

The 2014 edition marked the IPNC’s 28th year, and major plans are already in the works for 2015’s event which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of pinot noir in the Willamette Valley. During this year’s gathering, next year’s anniversary discussions were as hot as the temperatures (hovering around 30C).

Fitting Plate for IPNC

Fitting Plate for IPNC

The vision of IPNC began, as many good ideas do, over wine. In late 1985, an informal group of like-minded Oregon wine geeks, winemakers, restaurateurs and retailers envisioned a premier wine event, to be held in the core of Oregon wine country. The first event was held in 1987, and it has grown and matured each year since.

In 2014, the weekend welcomed approximately 800 registered attendees, including more than 140 representatives from 73 featured wineries. For Sunday evening’s main event, the legendary Northwest Salmon Bake, hundreds more arrive, many with stocked coolers in tow, for this long-standing gastronomic feast – one of America’s top dinners.

It’s worth repeating that this is not your average consumer event; the knowledge level of attendees, service staff (all sommeliers) and presenters is extremely high. Past speakers have included Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Michael Broadbent, Dominique Lafon and more luminaries.

This year featured one such luminary who needs no introduction to this column.  Honourary WineAlign member, Dr. Jamie Goode, – who judged with us at the National Wine Awards of Canada in June – moderated the Grand Seminar, investigating the theme of Pinot Noir and the Doors of Perception. It’s a topic of particular interest to me, as a wine journalist trying to clearly articulate my thoughts on wine in a way that readers, amateur and advanced, can relate to. If I write apples and someone else tastes pears, are we off page? Or is my apple, his pear? Is my ‘juicy and grippy’ her ‘acidic and tannic’? Is this the conversation we should even be having?

Perceiving Pinot with Jamie Goode

Perceiving Pinot with Jamie Goode

Turns out I’m not the only one grappling with these thoughts, as Dr. Goode, one of the world’s leading wine journalists, admitted to the same questions himself. He skillfully introduced a shining panel of professionals from around the world who each described how they relate wines that speak to them. I was particularly interested in hearing Elaine Brown, the award-winning wine-writing philosopher and poet behind the popular Hawk Hakawaka Wine Reviews website. She expresses tasting notes as hand drawings, expressing how wines affect her through visuals, rather than words. Can art be something we can all relate to, rather than fruit, or tannin, or acid, or other geeky wine vocabulary? Are there ways I can improve on sharing the message about a wine?

Black Tasting Glasses

Black Tasting Glasses

That’s just one example of how my wine world expanded at IPNC. A University of Pinot seminar on Loire Valley Pinot Noir led by newly pinned Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier was outstanding. The lauded somm of New York’s Michelin-starred pinnacle for vin naturel, Rouge Tomate was born and raised in the Loire, and her understanding of the region, and the characterful wines made sustainably and authentically was fascinating.

Similarly, a seminar with Dr. Jordi Ballester about The Aroma of Colour was a fantastic learning adventure A sensory scientist at the Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, he has devoted his academic career to exploring the question of how does one smell colour. The group were presented with wines in black glasses, and had to determine which was white, red and rose – a task much trickier than it sounds! Fortunately, I nailed the tasting (I credit the wine judging circuit) but most of the people in the room faltered. A fascinating experience illustrating how much our eyes perceive what we taste.

As mentioned, the grand Salmon Bake is the culmination of a full schedule of seminars, walk about tastings, lunches, discoveries and connections. That Saturday evening, as I feasted on an alfresco buffet of wild salmon roasted on alder stakes, local vegetables, salads, breads and too much more deliciousness to remember (all prepared by respected Oregon chefs), I clinked glasses with new and old friends and tasted dozens of wines from the IPNC library and personal cellars from around the globe. I was struck by the fact that we all came together to enjoy, rather Celebrate, pinot noir. Sometimes words, pictures, visuals, tasting notes and specs aren’t important – we were all united for our love of wine.

Salmon Bake Feast

Salmon Bake Feast

The 2015 International Pinot Noir Celebration will be held July 24-26, and will be an extra special event marking 50 years of growing pinot noir in the Willamette. http://www.ipnc.org

~ Treve

This year 73 pinot noir producers were featured, hailing from Alsace, Argentina, Burgundy, California, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Oregon, Washington plus one from Canada – Mission Hill Family Estate.

The following dozen pinot picks are from tastings over past year (including medalists from the 2014 National Wine Awards of Canada).

Domaine Vincent Delaporte Sancerre Rouge 2011, Sancerre, Loire

CedarCreek Estate Winery Rosé 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2011, Okanagan Valley

Matello Wines Cuvee Lazarus Pinot Noir 2011, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Domaine Vincent Delaporte Sancerre Rouge 2011, Sancerre, Loire CedarCreek Estate Winery Rosé 2013Haywire Canyonview Pinot Noir 2011Matello Wines Cuvee Lazarus Pinot Noir 2011   Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2011Josef Chromy Pepik Pinot Noir 2010

Ata Rangi Crimson Pinot Noir 2011, Martinborough

Josef Chromy Pinot Noir 2010, Tasmania

Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2011, VQA Okanagan Valley

Spierhead Pinot Noir Gentleman Farmer Vineyard 2012, VQA Okanagan Valley

Stoneboat Pinot Noir 2011Spierhead Pinot Noir Gentleman Farmer Vineyard 2012 Pegasus Bay Estate Pinot Noir 2011 Keint He Voyageur Pinot Noir 2012 Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Noir 201250th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir Rose 2013

Pegasus Bay Estate Pinot Noir 2011, Waipara

Keint He Voyageur Pinot Noir 2012, VQA Niagara Peninsula

Mission Hill 5 Vineyards Pinot Noir 2012, VQA Okanagan Valley

50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir Rose 2013, British Columbia

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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20 bons vins à moins de 20$ pour Août

Les choix de notre équipe du Québec

C’est bien beau, les bouteilles dispendieuses qui font vibrer d’émotion, mais au jour le jour, avec tous les autres comptes à payer par ailleurs, on a la plupart du temps envie de se faire plaisir avec de bons vins pas trop chers. Ça tombe bien ! À chaque fin de mois, nos chroniqueurs vous suggèrent 20 bonnes affaires à moins de 20 $ parmi les bouteilles qu’ils ont goûtées récemment. Santé !

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Les choix de Bill Zacharkiw

La fin de l’été, vraiment ? Espérons que mère Nature a gardé quelques belles semaines en réserve pour nous. Cela dit, septembre est un mois en « r », et donc les huîtres sont de retour ! Quoi boire avec ? Un mot à 
retenir : Calcari. Élaboré par la maison Parès Baltà, ce blanc est 100 pour cent à base de xarel-lo, un cépage normalement utilisé pour le cava (mousseux espagnol). Avec sa note saline et minérale, un match parfait avec les huîtres.

On a toujours besoin de bons blancs pour accompagner les repas – d’autant que je nous prédis un automne magnifique. Pourquoi ne pas essayer quelque chose de nouveau : un blanc de la région du Dão, au Portugal. Fait à partir d’encruzado et de cercial, le très bon Quinta da Quinta da Ponte Pedrinha’s 2012 est à la fois riche et rafraîchissant. Imaginez un chardonnay léger, pour ce qui est de la texture, et prévoyez par ailleurs des moules, pour vous sustenter…

Parès Baltà Calcari Xarel Lo 2013 Quinta Da Ponte Pedrinha 2012 Domaine D'aupilhac Lou Maset 2012 Pyrène Nature Coteaux Du Quercy 2012 Castell Del Remei Gotim Bru 2010

Durant la longue fin de semaine qui s’annonce, beaucoup de gens se la couleront douce à siroter du vin sur la galerie avec des copains. À la recherche d’un bon rouge passe-partout à servir légèrement frais (16 degrés), et qui se suffira à lui-même tout en pouvant se marier à une variété de mets ? Essayez le 2012 Lou Maset from Domaine d’Aupilhac. Un vin bio, soyeux, texturé et merveilleusement aromatique. Délicieux!

Si vous souhaitez un cran plus de vigueur et de tonus, le 2012 Pyrène Nature est un assemblage de malbec, cabernet franc et merlot assez tannique mais pas du tout rugueux ni rustique. Une sorte de cahors en plus léger. Si possible, passez-le en carafe quelques heures au préalable, il n’en sera que meilleur.

Enfin, si vous recherchez un rouge qui plaira au plus grand nombre, y compris les connaisseurs, le 2010 Gotim Bru Castell Del Remei conjugue habilement la rusticité espagnole au caractère très accessible typique du Nouveau Monde. Par ici la sauce BBQ!

Les choix de Marc Chapleau

C’est, officiellement, la dernière longue fin de semaine de l’été. Snif ! Mais il n’est pas dit qu’on va laisser celui-ci partir de longs mois en restant les bras croisés… Même qu’on va déboucher à qui mieux mieux, ce week-end, oh que oui !

Quelque chose à célébrer ? À part l’été québécois, bien sûr…

Alors les bulles sont toujours de mise. Pour faire changement, et aussi et peut-être même surtout parce que le prix est très bon, on pourrait aller du côté de la Loire et du Flamme Brut Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire. Miellé, épicé et fruité, à la finale croquante.

Très bien également pour l’apéro, si l’on n’aime pas trop les bulles… Le Prince Philippe 2013 Bourgogne Aligoté est floral et nerveux, et plutôt léger aussi, relativement peu alcoolisé.

Gratien & Meyer Crémant De Loire Flamme Brut, Anjou Et Saumur Prince Philippe Aligoté 2013Miguel Torres Sangre De Toro 2012 Torres Gran Sangre De Toro Reserva 2010, Do CatalunyaTorres Muscat Natureo 2012

Un doublé Torrès, en rouge… Il doit être sur le marché québécois sinon depuis un siècle, du moins un sacré bout de temps. Le 2012 Sangre de Toro, à seulement 13,40 $, est un incontournable, concentré et épicé, très grenache.

Une bonne idée serait de le faire suivre de son grand frère, le 2010 Gran Sangre de Toro, auquel se greffent également du carignan et de la syrah. Plus de tout, dans ce Gran Sangre, avec en prime une tonifiante acidité. Toutes les viandes grillées, même blanches, aimeront.

Maintenant, au cas où il y aurait des femmes enceintes autour de la table, des abstèmes, ou des gens qui prennent des antibiotiques et qui croient que cela interdit d’ingurgiter la moindre goutte d’alcool…

Je n’aurais jamais cru aimer un vin sans alcool – enfin, avec seulement 0,5 pour cent d’alcool par volume. Mais voilà, le Torres 2013 Natureo Muscat 2013 est très léger, bien entendu, mais il est aussi d’une étonnante pureté et tout à fait « muscat ». Alors pourquoi pas!

Les Choix de Nadia Fournier

Élaboré par le talentueux Raúl Pérez dans sa région natale, le Joven 2011, Bierzo propose une expression délicieusement fruitée du cépage mencia. Beaucoup de caractère pour le prix et une parfaite entrée en matière pour s’initier aux vins de l’appellation Bierzo.

Issu de l’agriculture biologique et composé de monastrell (mourvèdre) à 100 %, (mourvèdre), le Luzon 2013 Organic n’est pas très complexe, mais il compense par sa présence bouche gourmande, tout en fruit et assez persistante.

El Castro De Valtuille Mencia Joven 2011 Luzon Monastrell Organic 2013 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2013, Regional Wine Of EpanomiDomaene Gobelsburg Kamptal Riesling 2013 Domæne Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner 2013

Comme toujours, le  2013 d’Evangelos Gerovassiliou est un mariage très réussi entre la malagousia (volume et exubérance aromatique) et l’assyrtiko (vigueur et acidité). Un achat du tonnerre à ce prix.

Léger, mais loin d’être insipide, le 2013 Domaene Gobelsburg Kamptal Riesling étonne par son ampleur aromatique qui se développe tout en subtilité.

Dans le même esprit, mais un peu moins complexe et parfumé, le Gobelsburg’s 2013 Grüner Veltliner plaira à l’amateur de vin blanc archi-secs, mordants et toniques. Surtout à ce prix…

Les Choix de Rémy Charest

C’est comme un mouvement d’horlogerie. Après une bonne bourrée de temps frais, revoici la chaleur et le soleil, juste à temps pour la rentrée scolaire. Au moins, on pourra se consoler avec des blancs frais et sympathiques, pour se sentir comme si c’était encore tout à fait l’été.

Vous voulez du vin sympa (et du pas cher, parce que les dépenses de la rentrée font leur effet…)? Difficile de faire mieux que le Two Oceans 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, d’Afrique du Sud, tout beau tout frais et sans le côté caricatural de bien des vins issus de ce cépage..

Également de l’hémisphère sud, mais un peu plus à l’est, le 2013 Layers White donne aussi dans la fraîcheur et la nervosité, avec un assemblage assez inusité. 11,5% d’alcool, en prime: de la fraîcheur, et vraiment rien d’assommant.

Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Peter Lehmann Layers 2013Domaine Henri Naudin Ferrand Bourgogne Aligoté 2012Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso 2012, Igt Toscana

Je ne me lasse jamais de mon cépage-fétiche du moment, l’aligoté. Et mon exemple préféré des derniers mois est sans contredit le 2012 Bourgogne Aligoté from Domaine Naudin-Ferrand: frais, élégant, gentiment sur le citron et les fleurs blanches, avec une petite touche de rondeur et de matière pour rendre le tout encore plus agréable

Côté rouges, il faut bien un peu de fraîcheur, puisque c’est encore le beau temps, mais pas nécessairement de la légèreté seulement. Le Goatfather un étonnant assemblage issu d’Affrique du Sud, vous fera bien plaisir, de ce côté. Un Sud-Africain qui a un flair italien.

“Quoi, c’est moins de 20$, ça?” Quand on s’étonne de la sorte en cherchant des infos sur une bouteille, il faut se dire que c’est au bas mot un bon rapport qualité-prix. C’est exactement comme ça que j’ai réussi quand j’ai goûté le 2012 Dogajolo, from Carpineto, que je n’avais pas goûté depuis un petit moment. Du beau toscan qui ne se prend pas pour un autre, bon pour l’été, l’automne et la suite des choses.

Santé!

La liste complète : 20 bons vins à moins de 20$

Note de la rédaction: vous pouvez lire les commentaires de dégustation complets en cliquant sur les noms de vins, les photos de bouteilles ou les liens mis en surbrillance. Les abonnés payants à Chacun son vin ont accès à toutes les critiques dès leur mise en ligne. Les utilisateurs inscrits doivent attendre 30 jours après leur parution pour les lire. L’adhésion a ses privilèges ; parmi ceux-ci, un accès direct à de grands vins!


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20 under $20 for August

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

Ah yes, the end of the month. It’s the time when we pay for our excesses over the previous weeks. Well, fear not, this doesn’t mean that you still can’t drink well. Our four critics have chosen for you their favourite five under $20 wines that they have recently tasted. No cash? Still thirsty? No problem! Here’s August’s version of the 20 under 20.

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Marc Chapleau’s picks

It’s officially the last long weekend of the summer. Sniff! But we aren’t going to idly standby with our arm’s crossed and watch the summer pass by. Even better, let’s open a few great bottles this weekend.

Do you have anything to celebrate aside from summer in Quebec?

Bubbles are always an excellent choice. For a change of pace, and especially considering the price, look to the Loire and the Flamme Brut Gratien & Meyer Crémant de Loire. Honey, spice, loaded with fruit, and a refreshing, almost crunchy finish.

If you are not interested in bubbles, another great option for an aperitif is the Prince Philippe 2013 Bourgogne Aligoté. Floral, edgy and with its relatively low alcohol, nice and light.

Gratien & Meyer Crémant De Loire Flamme Brut, Anjou Et Saumur Prince Philippe Aligoté 2013, BourgogneMiguel Torres Sangre De Toro 2012 Torres Gran Sangre De Toro Reserva 2010, Do CatalunyaTorres Muscat Natureo 2012

I have a few choices from the Spanish winery, Torres. It seems like this wine has been in the Quebec market forever. The 2012 Sangre de Toro, at just over $13, is a must. Great concentration and spice – so very garnacha.

A interesting idea would be to follow that wine by its big brother, the 2010 Gran Sangre de Toro, where the addition of carignan and syrah add a little more bite. As a plus, because of its refreshing acidity, it makes an ideal pairing for any grilled meat, even white meats.

Now, if there are any pregnant women, those who abstain from drinking, or simply those who are taking a night off, Torres also has your wine. I never thought I would like a wine without alcohol – it’s actually 0.5% but let’s round it down to zero – and while the Torres 2013 Natureo Muscat 2013 is obviously light, it shows a remarkable purity and is indeed, very “muscat.” So why not?

Nadia Fournier’s selections

Made by the talented Raúl Pérez in the region of his birthplace, the Joven 2011, Bierzo offers up a wonderfully fruity expression of the mencia grape. A ton of character for the price, this is a great initiation to the wines of the region.

Made with organically grown grapes and entirely with monastrell (mourvèdre), the Luzon 2013 Organic isn’t the most complex wine, but more than makes up for that with its rich mouthfeel – all fruit and with great length.

El Castro De Valtuille Mencia Joven 2011 Luzon Monastrell Organic 2013 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2013, Regional Wine Of EpanomiDomaene Gobelsburg Kamptal Riesling 2013 Domæne Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner 2013

As always, the 2013 white from Evangelos Gerovassiliou is a superb marriage between malagousia, which brings volume and aromatics, and assyrtiko (fruit and acidity). An easy purchase for the price.

Light, but far from insipid, the 2013 Domaene Gobelsburg Kamptal Riesling has remarkable aromatics for such a subtle and delicate wine.

In the same spirit, but perhaps a touch less complex and aromatic, Gobelsburg’s 2013 Grüner Veltliner will please those wine lovers who love very dry, biting and uber-refreshing wines. Especially at this price.

Bill Zacharkiw’s picks

One last blast of summer? Let’s hope that Mother Nature has a few good weeks left for us. But my favourite thing about September is that it is an ‘R’ month, and that means oyster season is back! And what to drink? One word – Calcari. Made by Parès Baltà this is 100% xarel-lo, a grape normally used for making Cava. The salty mineral note is a perfect match.

We still need our dinner whites. I’m very optimistic about a beautiful Autumn. So try something new – a white wine from Portugal’s Dão region. Made with encruzado and cercial, Quinta da Ponte Pedrinha’s 2012 is a beautiful mix of fresh and rich. Think a light chardonnay in texture and mussels for your belly.

Parès Baltà Calcari Xarel Lo 2013 Quinta Da Ponte Pedrinha 2012 Domaine D'aupilhac Lou Maset 2012, Coteaux Du Languedoc Pyrène Nature Coteaux Du Quercy 2012 Castell Del Remei Gotim Bru 2010, Do Costers Del Segre

With the Labour day weekend coming up, there will be a lot of sitting around on balconies drinking wine with friends. Need festive reds that are best served at 16C, that will drink well on their own but also at the table? Try the 2012 Lou Maset from Domaine d’Aupilhac. Organic, silky, textured and wonderfully aromatic. Delicious.

If you want a touch more torque, the 2012 Pyrène Nature is a blend of malbec, cabernet franc and merlot that has some good tannin, but doesn’t get at all heavy. A Cahors-light might be a good description. Give this a few hours in a carafe to get the most out of it.

And finally, if you are looking for a red that will satisfy a broad cross-section of palates, the 2010 Gotim Bru from Castell Del Remei is a great mix of Spanish rusticity and New World ease. Bring on the BBQ sauce.

Rémy Charest’s choices

It’s like magic, isn’t it? Cool weather is followed by a hot and sunny spell… just as school is starting again. Oh, well, at least there’s some light white wines for the evenings to make you feel like it’s still 100% summer.

All those extra going back to school expenses are giving you the blues? Well, here’s an under-$12 white to make you feel better: the Two Oceans 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, from South Africa. It’s crisp and fresh, and not a caricature of the grape, like so many other examples from the southern hemisphere.

Also from the southern hemisphere, but just a bit further east, the 2013 Layers White from Peter Lehmann is also on the fresh and vivacious side of things, with a rather unusual blend of varieties. It’s also got a very moderate 11.5% alcohol, so you get freshness and an evening drink without regretting it in the morning.

Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Peter Lehmann Layers 2013Domaine Henri Naudin Ferrand Bourgogne Aligoté 2012Fairview Estates The Goatfather 2012Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso 2012, Igt Toscana

 

I just can’t get enough Aligoté, these days. And my favorite bottle from the last few months has been the 2012 Bourgogne Aligoté from Domaine Naudin-Ferrand. It’s fresh and elegant, nicely showing citrus and white flowers, with just enough roundness and substance to make it all the more pleasant. More, please!

On the red side of things, a little freshness is always welcome, wince there’s still a little heat in the air, but that doesn’t mean the wines should only be light. The Goatfather a surprising blend from South Africa, will bring the best of both worlds together, on that account. South African wine with Italian flair.

“That’s under 20 bucks? Really?” When you’re so pleasantly surprised, as you look up a wine, you should take it as a really good sign. And that’s exactly how I felt after tasting the 2012 Dogajolo, from Carpineto, which I hadn’t come across in a little while. A pleasant Tuscan red that doesn’t think too highly of itself, good for summer, autumn and… beyond.

Cheers !

The complete list: 20 under $20 for August

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to Chacun son vin see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES Aug 30th – Part Two

Pacific Northwest in Passing & Other Critic’s Picks
by David Lawrason with notes from Sara d’Amato and John Szabo MS

David New 2014

David Lawrason

Nothing sparks a wine critic quite like a discussion of scoring wines, but I am personally so tired of the debate after 30 years of critiquing wine, that I find little energy for it. Last week John Szabo hit all the right high points and low points about VINTAGES selection of 90-point wines on this release. I will only add that one of the reasons I love WineAlign is that it’s the only website/publication I know that attempts to let readers align their palates to several expert opinions at once. Scores are nothing if not numerical opinions, and you need to choose who you “Follow”.

I am charged today with focusing on the secondary theme of the release – the Pacific Northwest. VINTAGES focuses only on Oregon and Washington, and misses a great opportunity to include more than two wines from British Columbia – which is of course geographically, culturally and vinously very much in synch with its neighbouring states to the south. The southern Okanagan Valley is actually the northern finger of the Sonoran Desert that cradles the best wines of eastern Washington. The choice of grapes and their stylistic outcome is very similar indeed, and across the entire PNW there is a great spirit of newness, exploration and a brightness in the wines that is defined by higher acidity than achieved in warmer California.

I hold great personal fondness for the northwest – being Vancouver-born and still having strong family ties on Vancouver Island. Some of my closest and dearest friends are from B.C. as well, some of whom I have met through countless visits to Okanagan wine country. I am a bit less familiar with Oregon but I have visited twice, and Washington three times. So when I say I am disappointed by the wines on this release, and VINTAGES general lack of attention to PNW over the years, I do so with a real sense of loss and frustration.

Part of the problem is the price of the wines. VINTAGES is very much stuck in a groove of offering most of its wines just under the $20 mark. Sure, they go over that where a region naturally commands a higher average price, but when a region is less well established they get even more cautious. PNW wines on average are not cheap, so in order to get tax-bloated wines on shelf here at $20 they start scraping the bottom of the commercial PNW barrel. Which is why I do not ‘flag’ any very good buys among the four whites on offer (although John does highlight the Elk Cove Pinot Gris). The reds are a bit more interesting and last week I did give a nod to the A to Z Pinot Noir from Oregon and also like Innocent Bystander Pinot. This week, I’ll add in the Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon (see below).  But that’s about it, until next time, perhaps three years from now, when VINTAGES decides to focus its low wattage spotlight on the region.

Meanwhile, there are many other great buys on shelf Saturday (in some stores sooner). Last week we gave you a long list, and here we three chime in with even more – aligning at times as we go.

White & Sparkling Wines

Blue Mountain 2012  Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, B.C. ($23.95)
David Lawrason – I can’t think of another B.C. winery doing such consistently fine work in recent vintages. The root of its success is the well-established, organically tended vineyard near Okanagan Falls in mid-valley. To me this ideal chardonnay and pinot country, and fine winemaking by the Mavety family that shows restraint and true respect for the terroir is pushing Blue Mountain to the top.
John Szabo – Blue Mountain has been cranking out superb wines across the board in the last couple of vintages, and must be counted among BC’s most reliable (and solid value) names. This is judiciously oaked, savoury and spicy chardonnay, more focused on mature notes rather than simple primary fruit, with much of the enjoyment coming from the layered texture. Best 2014-2018

Elk Cove 2013 Pinot Gris Willamette Valley, Oregon ($24.95)
John Szabo – Forty years make Elk Cove one of the most experienced wineries in Oregon (est. 1974), practicing genuinely sustainable production since long before it became fashionable. But what counts here is what’s in the bottle: a richly flavoured, mineral-inflected, substantial and complex pinot gris made with evident care and ambition. This has the stuffing to get even more interesting over time.

Schloss Reinhartshausen 2012 Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Kabinett Rheingau, Germany ($20.95)
David Lawrason – This venerable, large estate in the Rheingau often sends us brilliant mature rieslings. But they can do ‘young’ very well too. This is super fresh, off dry, lovely riesling with lifted apricot/honeydew melon fruit, gentle spice and a touch of petrol and minerality. Ideal for a late summer’s evening.

Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2012 Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2013 Schloss Reinhartshausen Hattenheimer Wisselbrunnen Riesling Kabinett 2012 Clos Marguerite Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne

Clos Marguerite 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough, New Zealand ($21.95)
John Szabo – The small family winery of Belgian couple Jean-Charles Van Hove and Marguerite Dubois stood out for me when traveling through New Zealand last year. I appreciated then, as now, the evident density and extract, flavour concentration and length of their wines, not to mention the restrained mid old-new world styling. The cooler Awatere Valley sub-region of Marlborough lends its distinctively zesty character to this example, well worth a look by fans of serious sauvignon blanc from anywhere. Best 2014-2018.

Laurent Perrier Brut Champagne, France ($63.95)
Sara d’Amato – I was quite dazzled by this classic Laurent Perrier Cuvée that can easily to stand up to many of the big name Champagnes (and high prices) of this TIFF-inspired release. Save yourself the big bucks and enjoy big names on the silver screen instead.
David Lawrason – This too was my favourite TIFFer Champagne. And you can buy five bottles for the price of one Cristal, or buy one and spend the extra $220 on theatre tickets.

Rose & Reds

Mas Des Bressades 2013 Cuvée Tradition Rosé, Costières De Nîmes, Rhône, France ($15.95)
Sara d’Amato – The 2013 Mas Des Bressades proves once again to be one of the best value rosés at the LCBO. This ever charming rosé is dry, generous in fruit and offers plenty of lovely garrigue of the Southern Rhône.

L’Ecole 41 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington ($24.95)
David Lawrason – Situated in a rural schoolhouse this is one of the pioneering wines of Walla Walla, a region that straddles the Washington/Oregon border and produces some quite magnificent Bordeaux-variety reds. This less expensive edition casts a wider net sourcing from the much larger Columbia Valley AVA. It is a solid, authentic cabernet at a very good price, and particularly good value from Washington.

Porcupine Ridge 2012 Syrah/Viognier, Swartland, South Africa ($16.95)
John Szabo – Mark Kent (of Boekenhoutskloof) has had enormous success with the Porcupine Ridge brand, and it’s easy to see why, even if the measured dose of coffee-chocolate wood flavour isn’t usually my cup of tea. But one can’t argue with the length, depth and pleasure that exceed expectations for the price category. Another fine value from the up-and-coming Swartland region that drinks well now, but personally I’d like to see it in 2-3 years. Best 2014-2019.

Mas Des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Rosé 2013 L'ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon 2010Porcupine Ridge Syrah Viognier 2012 Chilensis Lazuli 2011 Domaine Jean Bousquet Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Chilensis 2011 Lazuli, Maule Valley, Chile ($17.95)
David Lawrason – Named after Chile’s famous turquoise stone – lapus lazuli – this is a well managed blend of six grapes led by cabernet, with all the other Bordeaux varieties, plus a dollop of syrah. That may account for its complexity. But its sense of finesse is, I think, reflective of the slightly cooler aspect of the Maule Valley about 300 kms south of Santiago. In any event, I was taken with the balance and lighter touch here.

Domaine Jean Bousquet 2012  Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Tupungato Valley, Uco Valley, Argentina ($14.95)
John Szabo – The wines grown in the high vineyards of Tupungato are increasingly distinguishing themselves from those of lower, flatter, hotter Mendoza. This is fine, and savoury, characterful and well-balanced cabernet with plenty of flavour for the money. Best 2014-2018.

Casa Brancaia 2011 Tre,  Tuscany, Italy ($23.95)
David Lawrason – Tre encapsulates modern Tuscany, as an entity onto itself. It draws grapes from three vineyards in both the Classico zone and southerly Maremma. It uses three grape varieties, with sangiovese leading at 80% plus cabernet and merlot. And it combines all these elements into an artful wine that is both refined and lively, hitting excellent length without being at all ponderous.

Xavier 2010 Côtes Du Rhône, Rhône Valley, France ($15.95)
Sara d’Amato – This project by consultant oenologist Xavier Vignon hailing from the Southern Rhône is impressive at first sip. A finely crafted crowd-pleaser – fleshy and well balanced with an abundance of fruit and a voluptuous mouthfeel (not to mention great packaging).

Brancaia Tre 2011Xavier Côtes Du Rhone 2010 Montresor Capitel Della Crosara Valpolicella Ripasso 2011Domaine Des Amouriers Signature Vacqueyras 2011 Marziano Abbona Pressenda Barolo 2008

Montresor 2011 Capitel Della Crosara Valpolicella Ripasso, Veneto, Italy ($18.95)
David Lawrason – I struggle to enjoy and define what passes for ripasso these days. The lines and the quality between ‘basic’ Valpolicella, ripasso and amarone are blurring. Then along comes a fine, more traditional, slightly firm (less soupy) ripasso that gives me back my bearings. Very fragrant, balanced and delicious.

Domaine Des Amouriers 2011 Signature Vacqueyras, Rhône Valley, France ($24.95)
David Lawrason – The 2011 vintage was not the most opulent or concentrated in the southern Rhône, and indeed this does seem a bit ‘lighter’. But it still carries the richer ambiance of Vacqueyras, it is balanced and hits all the high notes with pepper, licorice, dried herbs. The Polish Chudzikiewicz  family has farmed the 25-ha site since 1900, with fourth generation Igor converting the site to organic viticulture this year.

Marziano Abbona 2008 Pressenda Barolo, Piedmont, Italy ($52.95)
David Lawrason – I have to be stirred fairly deeply to include a $50 Barolo as a value; but this mature, very elegant, complex example is everything I look for in this famous wine. So often we hear and write about Barolo’s needing time, having great potential etc. etc.  But this one is ready to drink, and should be put on the shopping list of anyone who has been wanting to go to school on Barolo.

And that’s the ballgame for this week. One of the greatest and busiest weekends of the year is coming up. We hope you get to enjoy it with a fine meal and bottle of wine or two. We return in September with a full slate of Buyers Guides to VINTAGES releases, to the LCBO General List, and with a special Ontario Wine Report that will highlight the very best from Niagara, PEC and Lake Erie that we have encountered at the National Wine Awards of Canada and elsewhere.

Until next time!

 

David Lawrason
VP of Wine

From VINTAGES August 30th release:

Lawrason’s Take
Szabo’s Smart Buys
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
All Reviews
August 30th Part One – Southern France

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names, bottle images or links. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 30 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Le dégustateur et son ombre

Hors des sentiers battus
par Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Je sors des sentiers battus, cette semaine, en ce sens qu’on va aborder un sujet sinon tabou, du moins dont on ne parle pas souvent : l’instinct de possession de l’amateur de vin, son identification aux bouteilles qu’il possède et qu’il entrepose religieusement dans son cellier.

Autrement dit, mettons que j’apporte un Château Palmer 2000 chez des amis pour souper, alors je suis Château Palmer 2000.

Et gare à vos fesses si vous dites du mal de moi !

J’ai pensé à cela récemment, en écoutant à la radio une entrevue donnée par Edgar Fruitier.

Ce grand mélomane et fin connaisseur parlait de « sa » musique, « sa » symphonie, « son » orchestre et de tel ou tel disque parmi les milliers de sa collection. L’intervieweur, gentiment, le rappelle à l’ordre : « Vous dites “ma” musique, mais ce n’est pas la vôtre, vous ne l’avez pas composée et vous ne la jouez pas non plus… »

Edgar Fruitier de répliquer: « Non, c’est composé par Untel et joué par tel orchestre ou instrumentiste, je vous le concède, mais ça demeure “ma” musique ! D’ailleurs, écoutez… c’est beau, non ? »

Pareil pour nous. Apporter une bouteille après l’avoir mûrement sélectionnée, la partager, c’est dans notre esprit comme mettre notre sceau dessus, comme en garantir la qualité.

Les amateurs de tout poil — et peut-être encore plus les passionnés de fraîche date, à l’enthousiasme débordant — ont déjà ressenti cela : l’impression, quand le vin qu’on a apporté à une dégustation ou à une soirée se fait contre toute attente descendre en flammes, d’être soi-même mis sur le bûcher… Dieu qu’on en fait une affaire personnelle. Comme si c’était nous qui avions fait le vin !

Mais voilà, quand on l’achète, qu’on la chérit et qu’on la bichonne durant des années, la bouteille devient effectivement nôtre, elle fait pour ainsi dire partie de nous. Après tout, elle était dans mon cellier, c’est moi qui l’ai apportée, moi qui vous l’offre…

Alors quand ça va mal à table, quand notre vin déçoit, c’est comme si le cheval qu’on présentait à une course et sur lequel on invitait tout le monde à miser s’avérait au bout du compte une picouille. Pas même foutue de galoper, ou pire encore, qui ne sait que trottiner à reculons… Le comble, c’est que même si le cheval est perdant, même s’il est, je ne sais pas moi, bouchonné ou fatigué, l’amour est aveugle et, donc, on le défend bec et ongles.

On voudrait tellement qu’il brille. Et que la tablée au complet nous aime, par ricochet : « Wow ! Quel beau cadeau tu nous fais là ! T’as raison, il est superbe, ton vin. »

Je ne suis pas pour autant en train de dire qu’il faut se défaire de cette attitude possessive.

Quoique… oui, dans le cas des buveurs d’étiquettes. J’ai d’ailleurs plus d’une fois refusé de prendre part à des dégustations soi-disant de prestige parce que je savais qu’il y aurait des label drinkers à table, souvent fortunés, et que ces gens-là, plus encore que tous les autres, détestent qu’on émette le moindre bémol sur leurs vins. Or comme j’ai une grande gueule…

Mais sinon, s’identifier à ses bouteilles, développer une sensibilité maladive à leur égard, c’est loin d’être une mauvaise chose. J’ai même l’impression que ça fait partie intégrante du jeu.

Edgar Fruitier a bien raison : tous autant qu’ils sont bien au frais dans nos caves, et même élaborés par tel vigneron ou telle maison, ce sont « nos » vins, « nos » bébés et d’ailleurs, goûtez… ils sont bons, non ?

Ton meilleur vin, aubergiste !

Trêve de réflexions. Voici, parmi les vins que j’ai eus l’occasion de boire récemment et qui sont encore disponibles à la SAQ, quelques belles bouteilles auxquelles, perso, je m’identifierais volontiers ;-)

En blanc, le Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco Haberle 2012 d’une région encore méconnue, qui sort, elle aussi, des sentiers battus : l’Alto Adige, le Tyrol italien, près de l’Autriche. Puissant et fin.

Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco Haberle 2012 Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2009 Domaine Chanson Pernand Vergelesses Premier Cru 2011 Château Montus Cuvée Prestige 2009

En rouge, Le Grand Vin 2009 Osoyoos-Larose, l’un des meilleurs Le Grand Vin qu’il m’ait été donné de goûter jusqu’ici. Puis le Domaine Chanson Pernand Vergelesses Premier Cru 2011, minéral, d’une belle pureté de fruit. Le Chateau Montus Cuvee Prestige 2009, à la texture bien serrée. Le Domaine Grand Veneur Les Origines Chateauneuf-Du-Pape 2010, à la fois élégant et très généreux. Et le Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2009, épicé et complexe.

Domaine Grand Veneur Les Origines Châteauneuf Du Pape 2010 Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2009 Quinta Do Noval Unfiltred Late Bottled Vintage 2007 Messias Colheita 1994

Du côté des vins sucrés, à prendre au dessert, au fromage ou au milieu de l’après-midi comme en fin de soirée, j’ai bien aimé le Quinta Do Noval Unfiltered LBV 2007, qui sent super bon la mûre et la réglisse, ainsi que le Messias Colheita 1994, à la texture veloutée et à l’acidité bien présente.

Note de la rédaction: vous pouvez lire les commentaires de dégustation complets en cliquant sur les noms de vins, les photos de bouteilles ou les liens mis en surbrillance. Les abonnés payants à Chacun son vin ont accès à toutes les critiques dès leur mise en ligne. Les utilisateurs inscrits doivent attendre 30 jours après leur parution pour les lire. L’adhésion a ses privilèges ; parmi ceux-ci, un accès direct à de bons vins!


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Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008