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20 vins à moins de 20 $ pour mai 2016

Les choix de notre équipe du Québec

Enfin ! On est récompensés pour le dur début de printemps que mère nature nous a infligé. Tous les voyants sont au vert, et comme le coeur est à la fête, bien commode d’avoir sous la main une liste de bons vins pas chers. Suivez-nous alors, en voici une vingtaine, comme à l’habitude sous la barre des 20 $.

Notre équipe du Québec : Bill, Marc, Nadia et Rémy

 

Les choix de Rémy

La chaleur, quel bonheur ! Surtout quand on l’a beaucoup attendue. De quoi rendre encore plus agréable le caractère rafraîchissant de l’Atlantis, un de mes vins blancs préférés à moins de 20$, tout mois de l’année confondu. Un assemblage à dominante d’assyrtiko qui fleure bon la pêche fraîche et l’air salin.

Deux autres blancs se présentent particulièrement bien pour la saison, soit le Trebbiano aux notes d’amande et de fines herbes de Masciarelli, une maison des Abruzzes bien connue pour ses montepulciano en rouge, ainsi que le Chenin blanc Douglas Green, d’Afrique du Sud, qui en donne beaucoup pour à peine plus de 10$. J’avais déjà bien aimé le cabernet sauvignon de la même maison, il y a quelques mois. Ce pays est en forte croissance à la SAQ, et c’est autant pour les vins fins d’Eben Sadie ou les cuvées éclatantes d’Adi Badenhorst que pour ces cuvées belles, bonnes et pas chères.

Atlantis Dry White 2015 Masciarelli Trebbiano D'abruzzo 2014 Douglas Green Chenin Blanc 2015 Los Molinos Rosado Tempranillo Rosé 2015 La Posta Angel Paulucci Vineyard Malbec 2014

Côté rosé, je suis allé voir ce qui se passait sous la barre des 10$, et dans ce lot, le rosé de Tempranillo Los Molinos 2015 se débrouille plutôt bien. Simple, sans flafla, arrondi par le sucre résiduel (quand même plus modéré que bien des rosés d’entrée de gamme), il offre du petit fruit rouge bien croquant, et voilà le travail.

En rouge, le malbec Angel Paulucci de la maison La Posta est juste un peu moins fringant que le TintoNegro dont je vantais les mérites le mois dernier, mais il fait bel et bien partie de cette tendance si agréable, dans les malbecs argentins, vers une plus grande fraîcheur et un boisé nettement plus modéré. Très agréable.

Les choix de Marc

Mon premier est un petit rosé à moins de 10 $, le 120 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé Santa Rita 2015 : gourmand et enveloppé, facile et pas compliqué. Mon deuxième est un rioja blanc, l’Ijalba Genoli Viura 2015, aux accents floraux, avec des notes beurrées également ; finale sur les agrumes, et pas de sucre résiduel apparent. Mon troisième est un grec, le Paranga Kir-Yianni 2013, mi-corsé, avec une belle acidité, des notes de cuir, une touche herbacée. Mon quatrième, à seulement 13,90 $, est un rouge du Languedoc fruité et poivré : le Château Cazal-Viel Saint-Chinian Vieilles Vignes 2014.

Santa Rita 120 Rose Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Ijalba Genoli Viura 2015 Kir Yianni Paranga 2013 Château Cazal Viel Vieilles Vignes 2014 Emilio Lustau Papirusa Solera Reserva Very Dry Manzanilla

Finalement, mon cinquième et aussi mon tout est un xérès, le Lustau Papirusa Manzanilla, vendu 12,60 $ la demie. Un vin fortifié sec, très sec même, mais avec, en même temps, une superbe texture veloutée. À prendre pour lui-même, à l’apéro, ou avec des noix, des olives vertes, du jambon serrano, enfin, vous voyez le topo…

Les choix de Bill

La chaleur des récents jours m’a amené à boire surtout du rosé et du blanc. Commençons par ces derniers.

Sous la barre des 11 $, le Robertson Chenin Blanc est toujours l’un des meilleurs rapports qualité-prix en blanc à la SAQ. Et le tout dernier millésime le confirme : avec un soupçon de sucre, il est bourré de fruit et fera un excellent apéritif ; on pourrait aussi le marier à des plats épicés.

Le dernier millésime du Tselepos Moschofilero m’impressionne aussi. Le 2015 est à la fois aromatique et généreusement texturé, tout en étant sec et rafraîchissant. Par ici les calmars frits ! Dans la même veine, le Domaine de Bellevue Sauvignon Blanc 2015, en appellation touraine, dans la Loire, témoigne de la générosité de ce millésime. Au final, un sauvignon blanc typique, peut-être légèrement moins acidulé qu’escompté mais tout de même très bon.

Robertson Winery Chenin Blanc 2015Tselepos Classique Mantinia Moschofilero 2015 Domaine Bellevue Touraine Sauvignon 2015 Château De Lancyre Rosé 2015 Gaia Agiorgitiko Nemea 2014

Amateurs de rosé, essayez le Château de Lancyre 2015. Il conviendra parfaitement à l’apéritif ou à table, en mangeant, pour peu que vous ne le serviez pas trop froid. Nuance et puissance : ce Lancyre a les deux attributs des meilleurs rosés.

Enfin, un rouge, à base d’agiorgitiko, un des cépages grecs les plus intéressants parce qu’il combine texture riche et fruité marqué. Parfois le vin qu’il donne est un peu épais, mais Gaïa évite cet écueil, alors si vous voulez sortir des sentiers battus à moins de 20 $, ne cherchez plus.

Les choix de Nadia

Dans le Péloponnèse, à mi-chemin entre Patras et Corinthe, Panayiotis Papagiannopoulos produit le Tetramythos, Roditis 2014, Patras (16,20 $), un excellent vin blanc composé à 100 % de roditis, cultivé en agriculture biologique sur des sols calcaires. Sur la même péninsule, mais un peu plus au sud, pas très loin du site d’Olympie, le domaine familial Mercouri a célébré son 150e anniversaire en 2014. Foloi 2015, Pisatis. Composé de roditis et de viognier (10 %); gras est juste assez parfumé. (19,25 $)

Dans le même esprit de fraîcheur et de légèreté, le Dão Rosé 2015 d’Alvaro Castro (18,40 $) est impeccable! Une minéralisé qui appelle la soif, des saveurs fruitées franches et une texture nourrie, mais animée d’un léger reste de gaz qui confère une agréable fraîcheur à l’ensemble.

Domaine Tetramythos Roditis 2014 Domaine Mercouri Foloi 2015 Alvaro Castro Dao Vin Rosé 2015 Monasterio De Las Viñas Reserva 2008 Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Extra Dry Sherry

Pour le poulet grillé, on voudra essayer le Monasterio de las Viñas Reserva 2008 (16 $), l’une des nombreuses cuvées produites par la plus importante coopérative de la région de Cariñena, regroupant près de 1000 coopérants sur 4000 hectares de vignobles. Rien de grand ni de complexe, mais bien fait et parfaitement ouvert avec des parfums de cuir et de champignons.

Enfin, un fino, parce que c’est toujours si bon. Entreprise andalouse de première importance et connue mondialement, Gonzalez Byass commercialise une gamme complète de Xérès, dont le célébrissime Tio Pepe, le fino le plus connu au monde. Jeune, frais et tellement désaltérant. Aussi disponible en format 375 ml, à moins de 10 $.

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 60 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 May 2016

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 the “bring on the summer” version of the 20 under $20.

Chacun son Vin Critic Team : Bill, Marc, Nadia & Remy

Bill Zacharkiw’s picks

The recent 3-day dose of hot and sunny weather meant that that I spent much more time drinking white and rosé than red wines. Let’s start with the whites.

While at under $11 it’s consistently one of the better bargain whites at the SAQ, the most recent vintage of the Robertson Chenin Blanc is indeed very well done. Just “off-dry,” it is full of fruit and makes a great aperitif or accompaniment with spicier meals.

I was also very impressed with the latest vintage of Tselepos’ Moachofilero. The 2015 shows equally rich aromatics and texture while staying dry and refreshing. Bring on the fried calamari! In a similar vein, the 2015 sauvignon blanc from Domaine de Bellevue in the Loire appellation of Touraine shows the ripeness of the vintage. End result is a typical sauvignon blanc with just a touch less acid than you might expect, but it stays very faithful to the grape’s typicity.

Robertson Winery Chenin Blanc 2015Tselepos Classique Mantinia Moschofilero 2015 Domaine Bellevue Touraine Sauvignon 2015 Château De Lancyre Rosé 2015 Gaia Agiorgitiko Nemea 2014

For you rosé fans, I really like the 2015 Château de Lancyre. Works well both as an aperitif and at the table if you allow it to warm a touch. Nuance and power, that’s what makes a great rosé and this has both.

And finally, one red to finish. Agiorgitiko is one of Greece’s more interesting grape varieties as it can have both a rich texture and powerful fruit. It can be a touch thick but Gaia has it dialed, so if you want to try something new for under $20, then give it a go.

Marc Chapleau’s Selections

My first recommendation is a rosé that comes in just over 10$, the Santa Rita 120 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2015 : rich and mouthfilling, easy and not-complicated. Following that, a wonderful little white Rioja, the Ijalba Genoli 2015 Viura, with its floral accents as well as a hint of butter and a dry, citrus finish.

If you are looking for a interesting red, look no further than Greece and the Paranga 2013 Kir-Yianni. It shows some power but with a refreshing acidity, notes of leather and just a touch of herbs to add even more complexity. A touch more classic, and at under $14, is a fruity and spicy red from the Languedoc, the Château Cazal-Viel 2014 Saint-Chinian Vieilles Vignes.

Santa Rita 120 Rose Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 Ijalba Genoli Viura 2015 Kir Yianni Paranga 2013 Château Cazal Viel Vieilles Vignes 2014 Emilio Lustau Papirusa Solera Reserva Very Dry Manzanilla

And to finish off, my fifth suggestion is a remarkably versatile wine, a sherry, the Lustau Papirusa Manzanilla, which  sells for $12.60 the half bottle. It’s a dry fortified wine, very dry in fact, but at the same time shows a superb velvety texture. You can drink this on its own for as an aperitif, with nuts, olive, Serrano ham, or with pretty well anything else you can conjure up.

Rémy Charest’s choices

Isn’t it great to finally have gotten a bit of hot weather? It makes refreshing wines like the 2015 Atlantis even more enjoyable. This assyrtiko-driven blend, with its aromas of fresh peach and sea spray, is one of my perenial favorites under $20 at SAQ.

Here are two more seasonal whites. First, a trebbiano with almond and herbal notes from Masciarelli, a producer better known for their red Montepulcianos. Second, the Douglas Green Chenin Blanc, from South Africa, which delivers a lot, for barely more than 10$ a bottle. I’d already recommended the cabernet sauvignon from Douglas Green a few months back. The country’s wines are selling more and more at the SAQ, thanks to a whole range of wines, from Eben Sadie’s high end cuvées to Adi Badenhorst’s more boisterous wines, as well as entry-level, pleasant wines like these.

Atlantis Dry White 2015 Masciarelli Trebbiano D'abruzzo 2014 Douglas Green Chenin Blanc 2015 Los Molinos Rosado Tempranillo Rosé 2015 La Posta Angel Paulucci Vineyard Malbec 2014

On the rosé side of things, I wanted to check what was going on in the under-$10 range. Among the lot, the Los Molinos 2015 Tempranillo Rosé does a rather good job. Simple, rounded out by residual sugar (less so than many other entry-level rosés, mind you), it’s chock full of fresh red berry fruit.

I also really liked the Angel Paulucci Malbec from La Posta. Just a touch less vibrant than the Tintonegro I was praising in last month’s 20 under $20, but fully in that oh-so-pleasant trend towards fresher, less oak-driven Argentinian malbecs. More, please!

Nadia Fournier’s selections

In the Peloponnese, halfway between Patras and Corinthe, Panayiotis Papagiannopoulos produces the Tetramythos 2014 Roditis, a superb white made with 100% roditis, organically grown on limestone soils. On the same peninsula but a touch further to the south, the family run winery Mercouri just celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2014. Domaine Mercouri 2015 Foloi. Made with a blend of roditis and 10% viognier, it’s rich with just enough aromatics to make it even more interesting.

In the same spirit of fresh and light, the Alvaro Castro 2015 Dão Rosé is impeccable! The minerality seems to make you even thirstier, with pure fruit and a wonderful texture that gets a lift from a touch of effervescence.

Domaine Tetramythos Roditis 2014 Domaine Mercouri Foloi 2015 Alvaro Castro Dao Vin Rosé 2015 Monasterio De Las Viñas Reserva 2008 Gonzalez Byass Tio Pepe Palomino Fino Extra Dry Sherry

If you are grilling some chicken the Monasterio de las Viñas 2008 Reserva is but one of the wines made by the Cariñena region’s most important co-operative which has close to 1000 growers and 4000 hectares of vines. Nothing overly complex, but well made and ready to drink with its aromas of mushroom and leather.

To finish, a Fino sherry is always a good thing. One of the region’s biggest players, Gonzalez Byass, produces a huge range of wines, but few are as well-known as the celebrated Tio Pepe. Youthful, fresh and thirst quenching. It’s also available in a half bottle for under $10.

Cheers !

The complete list: 20 under $20

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 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Szabo’s VINTAGES Preview – May 28, 2016

Veneto, German Royalty and Smart Buys
Text and photos by John Szabo MS

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

This week I’ll have a look at the Veneto feature of the May 28th VINTAGES release, with some thoughts on the region and a quartet of top picks that cover some of the essential styles. A selection of miscellaneous smart buys follows, and includes a pair each of superb whites from the Niagara Escarpment and Stellenbosch, and a duo of old world reds straight from the textbook.

The annual German Wine Fair featured last week in Toronto, a country going from strength to strength and generating plenty of excitement, at least among the trade judging by the enthusiasm in the room. I’ve posted a separate Germany report including an interview with Josefine Schlumberger, current German Wine Queen, as well as top drops currently available, and ones I hope will soon be (calling all importers!!!).

Italian Giant: The Veneto

The Veneto in northeastern Italy is one of the country’s most prolific wine-producing regions. With large and famous appellations like Prosecco, Soave and Valpolicella, not to mention an ocean of pinot grigio “Delle Venezie IGT”, the quantity of wine produced, and exported, is staggering. Soave, for example, is the area with the most intense concentration of viticulture in all of Italy. The principal communes of Monteforte d’Alpone and Soave itself devote more than 90% of their agricultural area to vineyards.

Misty autumn morning, Valpolicella-3697

Misty autumn morning, Valpolicella

With some notable exceptions, the selection made available to us on LCBO shelves is underwhelming to be sure, favouring the largest mass-market brands with advertising dollars to spare. The region of course has much more to offer in the quality spectrum. See my January report from Verona listing the top releases from the 2016 edition of the Anteprima Amarone with bonus picks from the Valpolicella and Ripasso categories.

Vineyards of Filippi in Castelcerino, Soave-5231

Vineyards of Filippi in Castelcerino, Soave

The offerings debuting on May 28th are mixed, though I’ve found four wines that nicely represent their respective regions.

Pieropan 2014 Soave Classico DOC, Veneto, Italy ($17.95): The dual geological nature of the Soave zone, from black and red soils of volcanic origin to white or yellow terrain of calcareous (limestone) origins, is a hot current topic of discussion between producers. This arch-classic Soave is blended from both soil types but, like the region itself, is dominated by its volcanic side, yielding a lovely, floral-flinty, classically structured wine, with ample depth and smoky complexity, and I love the crackling acids of the 2014s in general. It’s terrific to see this come in at such an attractive price ($2 less than the 2013). I’d give it another year or two in bottle to reveal its more mineral side, but the range of flavours is already impressive. Best 2016-2024.

Monte del Frá 2014 Bardolino DOC, Veneto, Italy ($14.95): Here’s a totally delightful, fresh strawberry-raspberry-cherry scented red from the eastern shores of Lake Garda, the kind that just begs to be chilled and cracked, like the best wines of Valpolicella next door. I love the lack of pretension and the confidence to make an honest, simple but dangerously drinkable red without recourse to artificial wood flavouring or exaggerated ripeness. This is just fun.

Pieropan Soave Classico 2014Monte Del Frá Bardolino 2014 Masi Serego Alighieri 650 Anniversario Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2011 Giuseppe Campagnola Ripasso Della Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2014

Masi 2011 Serego Alighieri 650 Anniversario Monte Piazzo, Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC, Veneto, Italy ($21.95): If you are in the mood for a more serious red, this Masi wine from the historic estate that still belongs to the descendants of the poet Dante Alighieri is a fine option. It’s an ambitious, mature, very savoury example of Valpolicella, with notable wood influence but an equally abundant measure of dried porcini/leather/barley risotto-type flavours to balance. There’s definite old world styling here, complete with firm-dusty tannins. Best 2016-2021.

Traditional grape drying room at the Serego Alighieri Estate-9965

Traditional grape drying room at the Serego Alighieri Estate

Giuseppe Campagnola 2014 Ripasso della Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Veneto, Italy ($19.95): I find ripasso style Valpolicella a hard wine to get right – it’s neither pure and fruity-vibrant like straight up Valpolicella, nor rich, dense and heady like Amarone, but rather lost in between with varying degrees of unbalanced and overly raisined fruit flavour, or worse, excessive wood flavour, to which the delicate grapes of the region – mainly corvina/corvinone and rondinella – seem particularly susceptible. Campagnola dials it down nicely here, evidently a more serious, polished wine, heavier and more concentrated than the mean while retaining balance, with ripe, soft tannins and plush texture. Fruit remains faithful to the red berry spectrum, and the length is very good, and wood influence is marked but not exaggerated. Best 2016-2022.

Szabo’s Smart Buys

Escarpment Whites

Flat Rock Unplugged Chardonnay 2014 Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2013Supporters of local riesling, and indeed lovers of riesling from anywhere will want to tuck a few bottles of the Cave Spring 2013 CSV Riesling, VQA Beamsville Bench ($29.95) into the cellar. 2013 is a fine vintage for this Niagara classic, from some of the oldest riesling vines in the province. Balance is impeccable, with taught, quivering acids taming a light pinch of residual sugar. Length and depth impress, as does the range of spicy citrus, ginger and floral flavours. Drink or hold a decade – there’s a big window of enjoyment, judging by past great vintages.

And some insider information: the 2015 CSV riesling, made with wild ferment for the first time, is reportedly the estate’s best yet. But we’ll have to wait another couple of years to see it.

Flat Rock takes a page from the Chablis playbook in the 2014 Unplugged Chardonnay VQA Twenty Mile Bench ($16.95), a clean, lively, vibrant and very fresh unoaked chardonnay. I like the crunchy acids, lightly tacky texture, moderate alcohol, and vaguely lactic (yoghurt, fresh cheese) flavours that will remind you of northern France, in a very good way.

Stellenbosch Whites

With the already weak Rand in further free fall of late, we can only expect more great values from South Africa.

For the moment, Rustenberg delivers another overachieving value with their 2014 Chardonnay ($19.95). It’s a nicely pitched, gently oaked, well-structured and complex chardonnay that could hold its own in a much higher price category. Length and depth, as well as complexity are impressive. Best 2016-2022.

South African chenin blanc is likewise one of the best values on planet wine, that is if you like assertive, characterful whites with occasional brute smoky-mineral force. Oldenburg Vineyards 2014 Chenin Blanc ($20.95) is such a wine, melding ripe sautéed pineapple and candied tangerine fruit flavours on a full-bodied, concentrated frame, with the merest hint of wood influence. I like the expansive, wide-ranging palate, and the lingering finish – this is a substantial white wine, ready for full-on BBQed chicken or veal, or similar high-intensity foods.

Rustenberg Chardonnay 2014Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2014Château Pegau Cuvée Maclura Côtes Du Rhône 2013Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2010

Textbook Euro Reds

I’ve been following the wines of Laurence Ferraud for a decade and a half, and watched her expand from her original family Domaine du Pégau in Châteauneuf and purchase Château Pegau just a few kilometers south of the appellation, with similar terroir including mounds of stones, next to the Rhône.

The 2013 Cuvée Maclura Côtes du Rhône ($19.95) is a fine, savoury-spicy, floral and cinnamon-tinged, quite well structured grenache-led GSM. This may run a little to the dry and dusty side for some, but I love the range of flavours on offer, covering all of the spectrums from dusty red fruit to lavender to black liquorice-pepper spice. Best 2016-2023.

Fans of classic sangiovese (with 10% canaiolo) will love the Carpineto 2010 Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Riserva DOCG Tuscany, Italy ($29.95). 2010 was one of those perfect vintages, and this is showing beautifully now, a lovely floral, black pepper, pot pourri-savoury expression. The palate is expansive and terrifically complex, polished and softened by two years in wood, and having reached a silky, refined texture with excellent length and depth overall. Drink or hold mid-term (2016-2025). 

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

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John Szabo MS

From VINTAGES May 28, 2016

Szabo’s Smart Buys
All May 28 Reviews

Buyers’ Guide to May 28th – Judgment of Paris Edition

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 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

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Szabo’s Highlights from the German Wine Fair

I Chat with a Queen
by John Szabo MS

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

The annual German Wine Fair featured last week in Toronto, a country going from strength to strength and generating plenty of excitement, at least among the trade judging by the enthusiasm in the room. Read on for my highlights and watch an interview with Josefine Schlumberger, current German Wine Queen, on what it takes to become a Queen (hint: it’s an election, not a birthright, nor a beauty pageant), as well as top drops currently available, and ones I hope will soon be (calling all importers!!!).

On German Wine & Asian Food

The annual German Wine Fair kicked off with a trade lunch + tasting focused on Asian cuisine paired with a dozen wines, hosted by the reigning German Wine Queen, Josefine Schlumberger, and yours truly. Dishes inspired by Thailand, Japan, China and India were designed by the culinary team at the Arcadian Court at 401 Bay Street to challenge and highlight the versatility of German wines from sparkling to spätburgunder (pinot noir), while a German chocolatier supplied hand-crafted chocolates specifically designed to match with German riesling eiswein.

The lunch tasting proved once again what sommeliers have long known: the pure, lively, sweet-tart balance of German whites, with varying degrees of ripeness and flavor intensity, provide an excellent foil for the baseline taste sensations on which southeast Asian cuisine is often built: sweet, sour and piquant. For example, Thai-inspired Citrus Infused Humbold Squid, Nam Prik, Fancy rice, Cucumber, Cilantro, Mango found seamless harmony with Weingut Rudolf May’s excellent 2012 ‘RECIS’ Silvaner Dry, from the Franken (even if half the room thought the superb Weingut Rappenhof 2014 Pettenthal Riesling GG Dry from the Rheinhessen was the top match; it all hinged on how much sweet mango purée you included in the bite).

New Perfect Pairings

Older wines develop the savoury-umami taste that is echoed in just about every Asian dish, a requisite for true harmony. Witness the impossibly good combination of China inspired Crispy sweet & sour pork, Fermented Bok Choy, Long bean & Pineapple, Sesame oil & Chili with perhaps the wine of the luncheon, the mesmerizing Weingut Leitz 2004 Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spätlese from the Rheingau. The pairing was a symphony of sweet-sour-umami; it would be hard to imagine a better match for this pork dish. Perhaps most surprising was the compatibility of Lime scented Lamb Sirloin, Spiced Tomato & Potato, Wilted Mustard Greens, Kaffir Lime, Cilantro, & Clove with a marvellously evolved but still youthful Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt 1999 Josephshöfer Riesling Auslese, Mosel, a sweet but balanced wine than handled the heavy Indian spicing and gamey lamb with relative ease.

Next time you’re eating Asian, consider Germany for the glass.

I Chat with a Queen

Watch this video with German Wine Queen Josefine Schlumberger on what it takes to be a Queen, and on what we can expect to see in the future from German wines.

Buyer’s Guide: Highlights from the German Wine Fair

Dönnhoff, Nahe

I was overjoyed to see the wines of Dönnhoff finally available in Ontario, shown for the first time at the German Wine Fair by importer Groupe Soleil. I’ve been following the estate for many years now, always happy to drink the wines in Montreal, Calgary or abroad, wherever I came across them. Helmut, and since 2007 his son Cornelius Dönnhoff, craft wines worthy of a long list of superlatives from a handful of exceptional vineyards in the heart of the Nahe region. There’s really no magic or dogmatism at play here, just hard work and great sites. Sensible farming practices are followed, but not hardline organic or biodynamic. Fermentations are often spontaneous, but Dönnhoff will inoculate with a strain of locally isolated neutral yeast if things are not going “fast and clean enough”. The 2014 Estate Riesling ($29.95) is the entry point into the range currently available, a tight, dry, classically lean blend of vineyard sites with crackling acids. The Kreuznacher Kahlenberg (2014 Riesling Trocken, $41.95) and its heavier loamy-quartzite soils yields a generally richer, more immediately open style of Riesling, even if the cool 2014 vintage favoured tightly wound wines in general.

Cornelius Dönnhoff

The slate soils of the Norheimer Kirschheck (2014 Riesling Spätlese, $51.95) vineyard yields particularly fragrant and floral – cherry blossom-scented riesling with pitch perfect balance, while the slate mixed with volcanic rocks of the Niederhäuser Hermannshöhle (2014 Riesling Spätlese, $75.95), the Nahe’s most famous vineyard, delivers riesling of astonishing delicacy and power, finesse and complexity, with a finish that reverberates for minutes. Available by private order only is Dönnhoff’s greatest pure volcanic site, the Felsenberg, which in 2014 has an almost brutal quality, edgy and untamed, particularly smoky and salty and aromatically closed up for now. “Felsenberg is not always charming in its youth”, Cornelius offers. “It needs time to open.” All of Dönnhoff’s wines are worth a look. – Agent: Groupe Soleil, Stephen Cohen, gsoleil@rogers.com

Thörle, Rheinhessen

Christophe ThörleI met Christoph Thörle for the first time at last year’s German Wine Fair and I was impressed then; this year was no different. From his various vineyards around Saulheim in the limestone-rich northern part of the Rheinhessen just south of the Rhein River and within site of the Rheingau, he makes a cracking range of Rieslings (and an impressive pinot noir) from wild ferments. Top of the range is the 2014 Riesling dry Saulheimer Schlossberg, a wine of terrific tension and finesse from half-century old vines at the highest point in the village, on iron oxide-rich soils. Give this at least another 2-3 years in the cellar. The top value in the portfolio, however, is surely the 2015 Riesling Feinherb (August 2016 VINTAGES release, $18.95). It’s an off-dry but beautifully balanced blend composed of the barrels of riesling that didn’t completely finish their natural fermentations, carrying 17 grams of barely noticeable residual sugar. The secret is that it includes wines from Thörle’s top vineyards – only fully dry wines are bottled as single vineyards (and sold for much more) – a reflection of the current German obsession for totally dry wines. – Agent: Univins and Spirits, Robert Walcot, rwalcot@univins.ca

Weingut Heitlinger, Baden

Heitlinger is a well-funded operation in Baden, with a brand new winery featuring all of the current cutting edge wine producing technology. It shows in the precision spot-on profile of the wines, as in the 2013 Pinot Noir, Baden ($21), a light, pleasantly spicy-stemmy wine with perfectly polished, light tannins and bright red fruit. The top white available in consignment is the 2013 Riesling dry Husarenkappe GG ($58) from a predominantly limestone site with depth, crackling acids and excellent length. – Agent: Halpern Enterprises, Elizabeth Sinclair, Elizabeth@halpernwine.com

Königschaffhausen Cooperative, Baden

For sheer value it’s tough to beat the finely-tuned Königschaffhausen co-op located in the southern Baden region. On LCBO shelves now is the 2016 Vulkanfelsen Grauer Burgunder (pinot gris) (VINTAGES $16.95), an aromatically subdued and delicate wine, elegant and notably salty-saliva-inducing, with fine, lingering finish, versatile at the table.

Dr. Loosen, Mosel, Pfalz

The best value red wine at the fair was hands down the delicious and dangerously drinkable 2014 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir (LCBO general list, $12.95) from Ernst Loosen’s estate in the Pfalz. It’s a pinot in the pale, light, fruity, easy-drinking style best with a light chill, but, by God, it tastes like pinot noir. And at $12.95, that’s a rarity indeed. When you can’t decide on white, red or rosé, choose this.

Wish List Germany: Calling Ontario Importers!

Weingut May, Franconia

Benedikt MayAmong the unrepresented wineries showing their wares at the wine fair, there was plenty of excitement around the table of Weingut May (rimes with “eye”), a family operation launched in 1998 but with 300 years of grape growing history and plenty of old vines in the Franken region. May joined the highly respected VDP in 2014, an association of some 200 of Germany’s top producers that is as close as it comes to a genuine seal of quality in the wine world – it’s a clear indication that the estate is entering the big leagues. The family farms without insecticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers, and ferments are carried out with wild yeasts. In the Franken silvaner is king, and occupies nearly 2/3rds of May’s 13.5ha of vineyards, including many old parcels, on predominantly muschelkalk soils (shell limestone). From the lovely, fun and fruity 2015 Silvaner Orstwein (“village” wine) in the classic flagon-shaped bocksbeutel (reportedly modelled after a goat’s scrotum – yes you read that right) to the superb 2013 Silvaner dry Rothlauf, from a VDP-designated grosses gewächs or grand cru vineyard with substantial weight and striking flinty minerality, the range is excellent. Pricing is attractive, too. Contact Rudolf May, info@winegut-may.de

Weingut Frey, Rheinhessen

Young Christopher Frey was in Toronto for the first time to present the wines produced by him and his brother Philipp in the equally limestone-rich southern part of the Rheinhessen near the Pfalz border. 2014 was the first vintage under the Frey label, a new name for an old family grapegrowing/winemaking affair. The house style leads toward very rich and ripe wines, all harvested at spätlese level but vinified dry with wild ferments. Reds are still a work in progress, but rieslings are a strength. The entry-level 2015 Riesling Dry is a classy, firm but giving and succulent example (approximately 3.5 euros ex-cellar). 2014 Hangen-Weisheim Riesling ‘village’ steps up the concentration, shifting into the riper peach spectrum, while top-shelf 2014 Sommerwende Riesling from the estate’s oldest vines (30 years) strikes the palate with sharp flinty-stoniness, aged for the most part in large, 80 year-old wooden casks. Contact: Christopher Frey, weingut@bechtel-frey.de.

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John Szabo MS

 

Josefine Schlumberger and her home region Canada-Germany


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Time for Summer White

Margaret Swaine’s Spirits Review – May 2016

Margaret Swaine

Margaret Swaine

Summer is finally about to arrive. Time to stock up on neat white spirits, ciders and perhaps one or two of the latest whiskies for late evening contemplation. Here follows are recommendations to tempt your taste buds.

Out of Norway comes a vodka made from ecologically farmed Norwegian potatoes called Norvegia Vodka. I like potato based vodka for their creamy texture and this well priced version is so good I’d keep it in the freezer and drink undiluted. Grays Peak Small Batch Vodka from the US uses five time distilled premium American corn as its base which it then charcoal filters. Cîroc from France is not technically a vodka as it’s made from grape spirit, but it sure tastes like a good one. 

Five seems to be a magic number as all the above spirits are five times distilled as is Pinnacle Vodka, which is made from a base of 100 per cent French wheat. Tag No 5 Vodka is guess what? Also distilled five times – from a base of Ontario sweet corn – and then filtered for five days through Ontario birch charcoal.

Skyy Vodka, didn’t seem to get the memo, as it’s quadruple distilled and triple filtered but that doesn’t stop it from being a silky fresh tipple.

Norvegia Vodka Grays Peak Small Batch Vodka Cîroc Original Pinnacle VodkaTag No.5 VodkaSkyy Vodka

SoCIAL LITE is a new vodka based beverage with an adult appeal (no sugar or sweeteners), low calories (just 80) and refreshing flavours such as SoCIAL LITE Ginger Lime and SoCIAL LITE Lemon Cucumber Mint. These are terrific to have on hand for a quick, all natural ‘healthy’ cocktail.

What’s summer without a G&T? Boodles Gin is a cocktail friendly, nicely balanced, London Dry Gin infused with rosemary and sage among its nine botanicals. As for tequila, I’m just loving Siempre Tequila Plata a fusion of single estate blue weber agave from the Highlands of Arandas and the Lowlands of Jalisco.

Social Lite Lime Ginger Boodles Gin Siempre Tequila Plata Ouzo BabatzimSkinos Mastiha Liqueur

I just came back from a tour around the Mediterranean and while on the Greek islands, sampled as much as I could of the various artisanal ouzos to enjoy the refreshing licorice-like hit of anise seed. Available here is Babatzim Ouzo with a really strong and delicious taste of anise and fennel. It freshens up the mouth so well. Another Greek specialty is mastiha based spirit (made from the sap of mastiha trees cultivated only on the small Mediterranean island of Chios) and Skinos makes an excellent version.

From France Jacoulot Crème de Cerise-Gingembre Liqueur is a fresh way to jazz up a sparkling wine or cocktail. The tangy sour cherry and spicy ginger really come through well.

Jacoulot Crème De Cerise Gingembre Liqueur Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye J.P. Wiser's Last Barrels Canadian Whisky The Quiet Man Traditional Irish Whiskey The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey

New on the whisky front is Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye which is tailor-made for a terrific Manhattan or Old Fashioned. J.P. Wiser’s Last Barrels, aged 14 years, has the complexity to make it a serious sipping style whisky.

Coming in this summer in limited quantity from Ireland are The Quiet Man Traditional Irish Blend Whiskey and The Quiet Man 8 Year Old Single Malt. Both are great additions to the whisky inventory.

Ernest Dry Cider Strongbow Gold Cider Molson Canadian Cider

This is also going to be the summer of ciders with new Canadian cideries popping up across the country and imports flowing in. Ernest Cider, sourced from Ontario apples, is slow fermented for months to achieve 6.4% alcohol and much less sugar than the average cider. Strongbow, the number one cider brand in the world has come up with new variants such as “Strongbow Gold” which has an extra hit of golden apple flavour. Molson Coors has a growing cider portfolio starting with Molson Canadian Cider.

Okay beer drinkers, how do you like them apples?

Margaret Swaine

To find these and other picks at stores near you, click on: Margaret’s Whisky and Spirits

Editors Note: You can find Margaret’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 60 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great spirits!


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Norvegia Vodka

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Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément…

Hors des sentiers battus
par Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Pas toujours facile, la vie d’un amateur de vin. Loin de moi l’idée de vous faire pleurer — nous demeurons, pour la plupart, de grands privilégiés, rien que de pouvoir nous offrir autant de bouteilles pas toujours exactement données. Mais n’empêche : nous nous retrouvons parfois dans des situations sinon compliquées, du moins plutôt délicates…

Exemple : gérer l’abondance.

Sans blague ! Je ne dis pas ça pour écoeurer. S’il y a une chose qui déplaît souverainement à quiconque s’intéresse de près au vin, c’est le gaspillage.

Comme c’est le cas parfois, mea culpa, quand on partage un bon repas avec une tablée d’amateurs…

Chacun a alors tellement le goût de faire découvrir telle ou telle chose aux autres, ou de les surprendre, que pour connaître le total de bouteilles ouvertes au cours de la même soirée, il s’agit de multiplier le nombre de convives par deux, par trois, voire par quatre…

Aïe !

Je ne compte ainsi plus les fois où de très bons vins sont passés à la trappe — ou tombés entre les craques du plancher, comme nous disons ici plus volontiers.

La faute à pas de chance, essentiellement. Parce qu’à trop vouloir embrasser, impossible d’y couper, on mal étreint…

Autrement dit, la surenchère fait en sorte qu’on ouvre des bouteilles à tout va, mais que l’on s’attarde et commente… souvent à peu près pas. Tout ce qui nous importe, tout ce qui nous allume, c’est d’ouvrir la prochaine pour maintenir le niveau d’adrénaline à son maximum.

Normal. L’amateur carbure à ça, les émotions fortes, la nouveauté.

LE CAS DE L’AVEUGLE

Et on n’a pas parlé encore DU sujet délicat entre tous : dans ces soupers-là, où on s’amuse tous à surenchérir, devrait-on servir les vins à l’aveugle ?

Hmm… c’est tentant !

On est comme des gamins, je vous le disais ; alors goûter à l’aveugle, entouré d’autres dégénérés comme nous, c’est la cerise sur le gâteau.

Mais pas parce que l’aveugle permet de goûter sans préjugé et que sans elle, il n’y a rien de vrai, et blablabla…

L’aveugle dans ce contexte, c’est le pied surtout parce qu’elle donne l’occasion de jouer, de s’amuser. Comme si on participait à un quiz et qu’on s’excitait à peser le plus rapidement possible sur le piton, persuadé d’avoir la bonne réponse.

Et le comble, c’est qu’on en rajoute toujours une couche : à tour de rôle, les amateurs réunis jouent au maître de cérémonie (à chaque fois que c’est le contenu de leur bouteille à eux, cachée, que les autres doivent deviner).

Bref on perd vite le contrôle. C’est le fun, je sais. Sauf qu’il y a du dommage collatéral, dans ces soirées abondamment arrosées. De beaux flacons perdus dans la cohue. Et aussi, parfois, des vins qui ne sont pas si percutants, au fond, mais auxquels on s’évertue à trouver des qualités parce qu’il s’agit, en principe, de grands crus…

Ah ah ! direz-vous. Justement, déguster à l’aveugle permet d’éviter ce genre de situation.

Pas toujours.

Même qu’il est très rare qu’un grand vin paraisse à son avantage servi à l’aveugle, laquelle aiguise et focalise le sens critique du dégustateur. Comme s’il goûtait dans un petit verre Inao, voire une minuscule copita à xérès. En cherchant la petite bête, en décortiquant le vin, en compartimentant à outrance ses impressions. Sans compter qu’il est souvent obnubilé par l’idée  de deviner ce que c’est. Autrement dit, il n’est pas nécessairement dans un grand état de réceptivité.

Déguster à l’aveugle, en ce sens, c’est le contraire de déguster l’esprit ouvert.

Mais là j’arrête car si je continue je tombe dans un guêpier et je me fais lapider…

~

À boire, aubergiste !

Trêve de métaphysique, voici ma sélection de bonnes bouteilles, pour la plupart récemment arrivées sur notre marché.

Vous les goûtez à bouteille découverte ou à l’aveugle, comme ça vous chante, l’important c’est de se régaler. 

Beaujolais Duboeuf 2015 — Un beaujolais rosé, c’est plutôt rare. Très pâle, à peine coloré, peu aromatique mais assez riche, ainsi que doté d’une bonne fraîcheur. Une belle bouteille ! Prix : 20 $

Domaine du Pégau Rosé 2015 — Un rosé costaud, puissant et un brin tannique, sec par ailleurs. L’étonnant, c’est qu’il ne fasse que 12,5 pour cent d’alcool. Par contre c’est convaincant, et plein d’allant.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Rosé 2015 Domaine Du Pegau 2015 Ijalba Genoli Viura 2015 La Crema Chardonnay 2014

Ijalba Genoli Viura 2015 —  Un rioja blanc aux accents floraux, avec des notes beurrées également. En bouche, les saveurs sont assez riches, assez corsées, cependant qu’un reste de gaz carbonique avive l’ensemble. Finale sur les agrumes, et pas de sucre résiduel apparent. Bon rapport qualité-prix (15,55 $). À table, un bon compagnon pour les fruits de mer, crevettes, pétoncles, etc.

La Crema Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2014 — On a rarement de vraies mauvaises surprises, avec les La Crema. Les blancs, et aussi les rouges, sont d’ordinaire généreux et assez rafraîchissants. Il y a du bois dans celui-ci, passablement, mais l’équilibre n’est pas vraiment en péril, on aime les notes fumées, c’est relativement digeste même si on aurait souhaité plus de nerf, plus d’acidité. Prix : 30,50 $

Château La Tour De L’évêque Blanc 2014 — Excellent côtes-de-provence blanc bio, issu d’un assemblage de rolle (76 %) et de sémillon. Richesse et fraîcheur, et une élégante texture, très suave. Finesse et autorité – et que du fruit et du terroir, pas de notes boisées. Prix (21 $) tout à fait mérité.

Au Bon Climat La Bauge Au-Dessus Pinot Noir 2011 — Excellent pinot noir de Californie (Santa Maria Valley), aux notes de rhubarbe typiques des pinots du Nouveau Monde mais avec, en prime, une indiscutable élégance, un côté épuré qui lui va comme un gant. Chapeau ! Prix : 50 $

Château La Tour De L'evêque 2014Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir "La Bauge Au Dessus" 2011Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2014Weingut Geyerhof Rosensteig Grüner Veltliner 2014

Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2014 — Coloré, concentré, vanillé, au fruité par ailleurs bien mûr, capiteux (15 pour cent d’alcool) mais néanmoins pourvu de fraîcheur. Pour mémoire : 100 pour cent grenache, et pratiquement pas de sucre résiduel. Dans le style costaud et exubérant, très bien fait. Prix : 21,95 $

Geyerhof Grüner Veltliner 2014 — Blanc bio autrichien à base de grüner veltliner, vif et minéral, avec une pointe fumée tant en bouche qu’au nez. Près de 5 g de résiduel mais il n’y paraît presque pas. Finale sur la lime, tout en fraîcheur. Prix : 24,30 $.

 

Marc

 

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 60 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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Castello Di Gabbiano Riserva Chianti Classico 2012

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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES – May 28, 2016

Commemorating the 40th Year Anniversary of the Arrival of New World Wine
By David Lawrason with notes from John Szabo MS & Michael Godel

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

On May 24, 1976 eight California wines hand-picked by British wine merchant Steve Spurrier faced off with top Bordeaux and Burgundy in a blind tasting by French experts. It was dubbed the Judgment of Paris. And to the shock of not only the judges, but the entire wine drinking world, they did extremely well. Chateau Montelena 1973 Chardonnay beat a Meursault Premier Cru for first place; Stag’s Leap Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon topped Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1970. A thorough reading of the results, with California nicely intermingled with the French wines, proved the top victories were no fluke.

It was of course an enormous coup for California, but really for a whole generation of pioneers and cowboys who were just beginning during the early seventies to create the foundations of the New World wine wave in places like Oregon, Australia, New Zealand and right here in Canada. Just look at where New World wine is today – 40 years later – by viewing VINTAGES catalogue and considering that here in Ontario – one of the most international markets in the world – New World wines are being consumed by a majority of consumers.

My interest in wine had germinated in 1975 when, on vacation in California, I visited my first winery, in Monterey County. I remember reading the Time magazine piece on the Judgment of Paris soon after, and being so excited that California had done so well. In the late 1970s I visited California wine country at least three more times, then in 1984 spent three months tasting and researching California wine, visiting most wineries in existence at the time (about 200) including those on the Judgment of Paris roster. I then spent two months in France that same year, cementing an understanding of where New World wine had come from, and how different it was at the time.

But times have changed. There will likely always be debate about New World wine versus Old World wine, but nowadays it is debate about style. Climates and regions create wine character and style, while good vine-growers and winemakers who have the vision, understanding of their regions and experience create quality. And viticulture, winemaking and quality have improved so much since the Judgment of Paris that the two worlds are not so much colliding, as slipping into each others arms. This makes modern attempts to repeat such tastings as the Judgment of Paris almost meaningless – at least in terms of officiating quality and declaring one country or region better than another. They become mere popularity contests.

Unquestionably the Judgment of Paris did launch California on the global scene. It is now as globally important as Bordeaux or Burgundy, that for so many years it has striven to emulate. Wines from both regions are highly respected, highly priced and sought after. And many other regions around the world have achieved this as well. Wine is in a much better place now than it was before 1976, thanks partially to that one judgment in Paris.

Earlier this month I was fortunate enough to be invited by the California Wine Institute to attend VINTAGES Judgment of Paris dinner at George restaurant in Toronto. I tasted 32 wines that night, from the eight Napa wineries that had competed in Paris. Eight of those wines are being released on May 28, which I re-tasted in the LCBO lab. The remainder are now included in a VINTAGES on-line offer at : Judgment of Paris. This edition of VINTAGES preview features WineAlign team picks from the on-shelf eight, plus my highlights from the rest of the pack. Because the latter were not tasted in proper review conditions they are not rated or fully reviewed.

 

 

Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES May 28th Selections

Ridge Monte Bello 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Cruz Mountains ($191.95)
David Lawrason – At VINTAGES Judgment of Paris event, then again in the tasting lab, this towered above, and outlasted the pack in terms of length of finish. It has stupendous cabernet aromatics; so lifted and pure with cassis, mint, background meat, conifer. Great structure and depth. Deep into the cellar for now.
John Szabo – The 2013 iconic Montebello from Ridge stands in its own league in this Judgment of Paris revival, an arch-classic, monumental wine of staggering structure and proportion. A lovely savoury-mineral note sits out on the leading edge, while the palate shows epic (a word I don’t use lightly) concentration allied to balance in this vintage of pitifully low yields, driven by a second straight year of drought stress. Length is simply outstanding. This is really nowhere near prime drinking – I’d speculate another 5-7 years minimum to relax, soften and shift into the mature flavour spectrum that is the joy of drinking properly aged Montebello. Best 2023-2033.
Michael Godel – From a serious drought vintage, dry, warm and demanding, the 2013 Montebello’s Draper perfume is as heady as ever, to such effect that after one whiff this is where daydreaming takes over consciousness. Montebello is a classic, lithe and restrained blend of sheer, utter exceptionality in balance.

Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello 2013 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2014 Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2013

Chateau Montelena 2014 Chardonnay, Napa Valley ($75.95)
David Lawrason – This is one of the most impressive chardonnays in recent memory, combining a sense of opulence in terms of flavours, plus power, intensity and restrained finesse. And compared to the prices of its peers on this release, as well as top white Burgundies to which is still compares today, it is actually a good buy.
John Szabo – The 1973 Château Montelena, made by a young Mike Grgich, took top spot in the 1976 tasting, and remains one of the classiest whites in northern California. The fruit source has changed (most aren’t aware that 40% of the fruit for the ’73 came from the Bacigalupi estate in Sonoma County, which recently began bottling its own wine), but I love the perfectly pitched nature of this 2014, anchored on tight, bright acids but still delivering an impressive dose of citrus-orchard fruit and beguiling floral notes. But it’s really the length and genuine depth of flavour that seals the deal here, plumbing the depths of this wine requires minutes, not seconds, to reach the bottom. A terrific wine all in all, drinking surprisingly well now, but surely better in another 2-3 years. Best 2018-2026.

Grgich Hills Estate 2013 Chardonnay, Napa Valley ($67.95)
John Szabo – Having just turned 93, Mike Grgich is involved a little less in the day-to-day operations of the business he co-founded in 1976, though his figure looms large. Nephew Ivo Jeramaz has shepherded the estate into organics/biodynamics, and crafts one of the tightest chardonnays in the Napa Valley from vineyards in cool American Canyon and Carneros in southern Napa, made, unusually, without malolactic and designed to age. This 2013 seems a little less flinty (reductive) than previous vintages, coming across as gently ripe and sensibly wood-influenced, relatively round, soft but balanced on the palate, with toasty-honeyed orchard fruit lingering alongside caramel on the finish. Admittedly I miss the intense mineral-flint note of the last vintage, but this will surely appeal more widely. Best 2016-2023.
David Lawrason – This is an organically grown nervy and powerful chardonnay with lifted slightly reductive/matchstick notes amid pineapple fruit, toast and vanilla cream. It’s full bodied, quite fleshy and warm yet dry – a big chardonnay for the cellar.
Michael Godel – Stylistically consistent yet somehow different and still the feeling remains the same. Another exceptional Chardonnay to further the winemaking legacy of Mike Grgich, maker of Chateau Montelena’s 1976 Judgment of Paris chardonnay winner.

Clos Du Val 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($59.95)
David Lawrason – Since my first visits to California in the late 70s I have had a fondness for the light more French leaning style of Clos du Val. Founder Bernard Portet was from Bordeaux. This is the most approachable of the cabernets at the moment, with pretty, soft, ripe fruit driven aromas, and lighter, quite elegant styling.
John Szabo – For more immediate pleasure, Clos du Val’s pleasantly dark and savoury, lightly herbal Napa cabernet is your best option. The estate has always favoured a more reserved, less exaggerated style, and here the palate is attractively mid-weight, with light but still grippy tannins, and lingering finish. A fine vintage for the estate, best 2016-2023.

Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Heitz Chardonnay 2014 Ridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Heitz Cellar 2014 Chardonnay, Napa Valley ($49.95)
David Lawrason – This is a very fine, tender and elegant chardonnay – more refined than most from California. It has generous if subtle aromas of lemon, vague blanched almond nuttiness, crisp apple and lightly warmed bread. Feels slender on the palate, but in any case wonderfully refined.
Michael Godel – When the Napa Valley name Heitz is mentioned it is Cabernet Sauvignon that comes to most minds, 99 per cent of the time. Chardonnay is a Heitz thing, dating back to 1961. Wound tighter than a wire around a boat winch, this 2014 just needs some time to settle in.

Ridge 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains ($74.95)
David Lawrason – Offered as a Flagship In-Store Exclusive, this too is excellent, and great value compared to the Montebello above. Also more evolved and ready to drink. It’s full bodied, dense, yet lifted and superripe. Great tension and richness.

Freemark Abbey 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($54.95)
David Lawrason – This is a bit of a sleeper – not as showy as those above, but worth cellaring. It is a big, brawny cab with reserved aromas of ripe blackcurrant, earth, considerable oak and dried herbs. It’s full bodied, dense, powerful and a touch warm. Into to the cellar now and out in 2020. Tasted May 2016

David’s Recommendations from VINTAGES Special Offer

Judgement of Paris

Chardonnays
Ridge Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay, Santa Cruz Mountains, $80
Mayacamus 2013 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $96
Freemark Abbey 2014 Chardonnay, Napa Valley, $37

Cabernet Sauvignons
Heitz 2005 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $310
Heitz 2004 Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $310
Chateau Montelena 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga Napa Valley, $193
Chateau Montelena 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Calistoga Napa Valley, $203
Grgich Hills 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $117
Mayacamus 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder, $187
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2013 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $279
Stag’s Leap 2010 Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, $280
Clos du Val 2012 Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, $126
Cheers!

David Lawrason
VP of Wine

From VINTAGES May 28, 2016

Lawrason’s Take
Szabo’s Smart Buys
Michael’s Mix
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 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


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The Cellier New Arrivals – May 26th Release

The SAQ’s latest Cellier release will be in the store May 26th but limited quantities will be available on pre-release at SAQ.com as of May 19th. Which wines are worth your interest? Nadia Fournier, Bill Zacharkiw and Marc Chapleau tasted most of the wines and here are a their suggestions. 

A few sizzling slections

All 3 critics were unanimous about two of the wines. Californian Bill Easton’s Terre Rouge 2014 Vin Gris d’Amador, was cited for its texture and generous fruit, making it an ideal rosé to accompany a meal. Equally loved, from the Jura, was Domaine Rickjaert 2012 Les Sarres, a chardonnay which garnered descriptions such as finessed, spicy, lengthy and mineral. If you haven’t tried chardonnay from this lesser known region, this is a fantastic example.

Terre Rouge Vin Gris D'amador Rosé 2014 Domaine Rijckaert Côtes Du Jura Les Sarres 2012 Bodegas Balbas Ardal Reserva Ribera Del Duero 2010 Sangiovese Grosso Braccale Morellino Di Scansano 2011 Château De Fontenille 2015

Both Marc and Bill gave a thumbs up to a big and powerful red from Spain’s Ribera-del-Duero, the Ardal 2010 Reserva Seleccion, noting its power and barrel driven notes. A classy BBQ wine to accompany a steak if there ever was one. They also loved the Braccale 2011 Morellino di Scansano, a red with intrigue and depth that will also do well next to a steak. Marc called it ready to drink but Bill would prefer to store a few away for a couple of years.

Nadia added one other wine to the list of recommendations. On the fresher side of the spectrum, she liked the l’Entre-Deux-Mers 2014 du Château de Fontenille for its lemony notes and how it is representative of this oft overlooked appellation in Bordeaux.

Happy shopping!

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CELLIER Premium Feature

Cellier New ArrivalsFor Chacun son Vin Premium members, we have a special feature to make your CELLIER shopping even easier. If you look under the Wine tab in the menu bar, you will see an option for <<CELLIER New Arrivals>>. By clicking here, you will be brought to a new page where we have grouped all of the new release wines and reviews together by date.

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 60 days to see new reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!


 

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Alerte Cellier : les bons choix de nos experts pour l’arrivage du 26 mai

Le premier relâchement du dernier arrivage Cellier arrivera en succursales le 26 mai, mais la prévente commence dès ce jeudi 19 mai sur saq.com. Vers quels vins se tourner ? Nos experts Bill Zacharkiw, Nadia Fournier et Marc Chapleau, qui ont goûté plusieurs de ces nouveaux produits, vous conseillent.

De belles bouteilles à saisir

Deux vins ont été choisis à l’unanimité : le californien Vin Gris d’Amador Terre Rouge 2014, un rosé idéal pour la table, pour sa texture et son fruit généreux ; puis, du Jura, le Les Sarres Domaine Rickjaert 2012, un chardonnay qu’ils ont qualifié de fin, épicé, persistant et minéral. Si vous souhaitez goûter un excellent chardonnay provenant d’ailleurs que Bourgogne, ne cherchez
plus !

Terre Rouge Vin Gris D'amador Rosé 2014 Domaine Rijckaert Côtes Du Jura Les Sarres 2012 Bodegas Balbas Ardal Reserva Ribera Del Duero 2010 Sangiovese Grosso Braccale Morellino Di Scansano 2011 Château De Fontenille 2015

Tant Marc que Bill ont aimé l’Ardal Reserva Seleccion 2010, un rouge espagnol de la Ribera-del-Duero à la fois puissant et intelligemment boisé. Le candidat tout trouvé pour le steak sur la barbecue. Également bien apprécié, le Braccale Morellino di Scansano 2011, rouge de Toscane doté d’une belle profondeur. Un vin prêt à boire, selon Marc, alors que Bill l’attendrait pour sa part encore quelques années.

Nadia ajoute un vin à cette liste de recommandations. Un blanc, rafraîchissant et citronné, l’Entre-deux-Mers Château de Fontenille 2014, provenant d’une appellation du Bordelais souvent oubliée.

Bons achats !

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La fonction Cellier

Nouvel arrivage CELLIERAfin de vous guider encore mieux dans vous achats et faciliter vos emplettes, nous avons ajouté une fonction spéciale au site Chacun son vin pour nos membres Privilège.

Chaque fois que la SAQ met en vente ces nouveaux arrivages, vous n’aurez qu’à visiter notre site et cliquer sur l’onglet «Vin» puis sur «Nouvel arrivage Cellier», dans le menu déroulant. Aussi simple que cela !

Vous pourrez ainsi lire les notes de dégustation sur tous les vins du CELLIER, en un seul et même endroit.

Note de la rédaction: Cet accès exclusif, ainsi que la possibilité de lire dès leur publication tous les commentaires de dégustation publiés sur Chacun son Vin, est offert à nos membres Privilège pour la somme de 40 $ par année. (Les membres inscrits bénéficiant d’un accès gratuit doivent, pour leur part, attendre 60 jours avant de pouvoir accéder à tout notre contenu.)


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La Grèce est dans l’air !

Le pays et ses vins sont très tendance
par Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Difficile de les manquer : les grecs sont partout ces temps-ci. Je parle des vins, bien sûr, quoique plusieurs vignerons helléniques étaient aussi de passage la semaine dernière dans le cadre du Salon des vins grecs.

J’écris « vigneron », et je me dis que voilà peut-être la différence entre la Grèce et les autres pays qui, à tour de rôle, ont fait sensation, au Québec. Je pense au Chili de l’époque, début des années 1990, et même à l’Australie des premiers temps — ouf, voilà qui nous ramène loin —, à la fin des années 1980.

Tout le monde ne parlait que d’eux — Ah, le Gato Negro chilien ! Ah, le Barramundi australien ! —,  il y avait des salons d’organisés, des dégustations, et bien sûr aussi des promotions à la SAQ.

Même chose avec la Grèce, maintenant, et ses vins qui sont sur toutes les lèvres. La différence, j’y reviens, c’est que ce sont cette fois surtout des vignerons, des plus petits domaines, qui font les manchettes. Et non de grosses corporations comme c’était le cas à l’époque pour les vins de l’hémisphère sud tout juste mentionnés, qui commercialisaient et commercialisent toujours du bon vin, attention, mais souvent moins axés sur le terroir, moins « authentiques », disons.

LE CONTRAIRE D’UN GREXIT

Si, économiquement, la Grèce, on le sait, est acculée au pied du mur et risque fort de sortir de la zone euro, elle est au contraire on ne peut plus in parmi la faune branchée de Montréal, Québec et autres grandes villes de la province. Et les Hellènes sont aussi hot un peu partout ailleurs, et notamment chez plusieurs de nos voisins du sud.

Et dire, il n’y a pas si longtemps, que vin grec rimait avec retsina (rète-sina) et muscat, de Samos ou de Patras, qu’on achetait pour une bouchée de pain.

Or justement, une chose n’a pas vraiment changé, ou alors si peu : le bon rapport qualité-prix des nouveaux vins grecs.

L’offre grecque est d’autant plus alléchante que les sempiternels cépages internationaux — les cabernet, chardonnay et merlot de ce monde — n’y ont pratiquement pas droit de cité.

En lieu et place, on se régale avec entre autres, en blanc, l’assyrtiko, le roditis, le savatiano et le moschofilero ; tandis qu’en rouge, l’agiorgitiko, le xynomavro et parfois aussi le limnio interpellent et retiennent l’attention.

L’engouement, et au premier chef la nouvelle qualité de l’offre, se reflète dans les ventes des vins grecs. Ainsi, à la SAQ, celles-ci ne cessent d’augmenter depuis au moins cinq ans (tant en volume qu’en dollars), alors qu’on compte aujourd’hui pas loin de 60 différents produits au catalogue du monopole.

Or si la vague grecque ne se dément pas, pourquoi ne pas surfer dessus nous autres aussi ? Surtout qu’on en sort gagnant sur à peu près tous les plans — les blancs notamment, les assyrtiko particulièrement, s’avérant souvent d’excellents apéros tout en se révélant passe-partout à table, et pas seulement avec les courgettes frites…

PLUSIEURS BONNES BOUTEILLES À LA SAQ

L’équipe de Chacun son vin a goûté à une vingtaine de vins grecs présentement en vente à la SAQ. Pour consulter nos notes de dégustation, allez sur notre site et sélectionnez « Grèce » sous l’onglet « Trouvez un vin ».

Trouvez un vin

Ci-dessous, en rafale, ceux que je retiens particulièrement.

Domaine Tetramythos Roditis 2014 — Des notes légèrement florales, une bonne tenue en bouche grâce notamment à la présence de gaz carbonique, une amertume qui donne de l’allonge. À 16,20 $, un vin blanc au très bon rapport qualité-prix !

Domaine Mercouri Foloi 2015 — Un assemblage de roditis et de viognier, assez riche, des notes viandées (le viognier), un mélange d’acidité et de gaz carbonique qui lui donne une certaine tension. Prix : 19,25 $

Tselepos Mantinia Moschofilero 2015 — Légèrement floral, le vin a par ailleurs de la fraîcheur, bien que son acidité ne soit pas très prononcée. Prix : 19,20 $

Domaine Tetramythos Roditis 2014Domaine Mercouri Foloi 2015Tselepos Classique Mantinia Moschofilero 2015 Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko 2014

Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko 2014 — Un blanc déroutant, évolué, j’aurais dit plutôt oxydé mais la collègue Nadia, qui connaît bien le domaine, corrige en disant « oxydatif », ce qui serait tout à fait dans le style de la maison. Un assyrtiko atypique donc, plutôt riche par ailleurs, sans tension marquée bien qu’il ne soit pas mou du tout. Prix : 26,40 $

Paranga Kir-Yianni Macédoine 2013 —  Un bon rouge mi-corsé, avec une belle acidité qui lui donne de l’allant, des notes de cuir, de mûre, une touche herbacée. Très ok, d’autant qu’on n’en demande que 14,60 $.

Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini 2015 — Un excellent blanc de Santorini (une île de la mer Égée) tendu, minéral, avec une superbe présence en bouche, et du volume grâce à la présence du cépage athiri (25 pour cent de l’assemblage). Vaut les 24,55 $ exigés.

Kir Yianni Paranga 2013 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Athiri 2015Papagiannakos Savatiano 2015 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko 2015

Papagiannakos Savatiano Vieilles Vignes 2015 — Un caractère à la fois floral et plaisamment rustique, une bonne acidité et un bon équilibre d’ensemble. Prix : 17,05 $

Argyros Estate Assyrtiko Santorini 2015 — Une pointe de silex au nez (caractère de pierre chauffée), de l’ampleur et de la fraîcheur en bouche, et aussi du gras en raison, possiblement, de la fermentation partiellement en fûts de chêne. Vraiment très bon, et vaut son prix (27,30 $).

Agiorgitiko by Gaia 2014 — Notes boisées d’emblée apparentes, style moderne, rondeur en bouche, boisé qui perdure bien que l’acidité, bien présente, aide à conserver l’équilibre. Prix : 19,75 $

Gaia Agiorgitiko Nemea 2014 Thymiopoulos Vineyards Yn Kai Oupavós Xinomavro 2013 Domaine Tselepos Nemea Driopi Agiorgitiko 2013

Thymiopoulos Terre et Ciel Naoussa 2013 — Notes herbacées assez intenses au premier nez, de l’acidité volatile, des saveurs assez corsées ; un ensemble quelque peu déroutant mais qui tient la route car il y a de la profondeur. Prix : 32,25 $

Driopi Nemea Agiorgitiko 2013 — Assez costaud mais nerveux, avec de la tension. Des notes de feuilles vertes froissées, mais rien de franchement végétal. Pas beaucoup de profondeur, mais de la fraîcheur, ainsi qu’une finale légèrement tannique. Prix : 21,25 $

 

Yamas !

Marc

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 60 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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