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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES – May 14, 2016

Their Favourites, Our Favourites
By David Lawrason with notes from Sara d’Amato and Michael Godel

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

The May 14 release features 23 “Customer Favourites”, as selected by VINTAGES without any explanation of the reasoning. One can only assume they have impressive sales history – but this is not explained to us in the magazine. Do you need to know? Maybe not, but there is comfort and sway in buying something others consider favourites. We go our own way to present our picks, and explain why (hint, quality/price relationship is a rather critical element).

John has been travelling in recent days and will return with his top smart buys in next week’s report, which will also focus on New Zealand and include a report by Sara d’Amato on the New Zealand wine fairs being held in Ottawa (May 9) and Toronto (May 11 – sold out).

So right to it with our release highlights, with a reminder that you can click on David Lawrason, Sara d’Amato and Michael Godel to see the complete list of our most recent reviews.

The Whites

Mas Des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2015, Costières De Nîmes, France ($17.95)
Michael Godel – Unctuous floral white blend in which viognier lifts grenache blanc, marssanne and roussanne. Really special vintage from Mr. Marès – the most ethereal yet.
David Lawrason – This is a very fine southern French white blend. Lovely aromas of orange blossom, star fruit, lychee and wood. Quite creamy but not overblown with some fine acidity. A summer patio winner. Great value.

Rodney Strong 2013 Chalk Hill Chardonnay, Sonoma County, California ($24.95)
David Lawrason – Sonoma is California’s bastion for refined chardonnay, and for many vintages now Rodney Strong’s Chalk Hill has been a classic motif of the genre. This is a very elegant and complex chardonnay with lovely scents of vanilla, orange Creamsicle, Crème brûlée, spice and tobacco. Priced well for the quality delivered.

Mas Des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Blanc 2015Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2013 Bischofliche Weingüter Trier Ayler Kupp Riesling Kabinett 2013 Gehringer Brothers Classic Riesling 2014

Bischofliche Weingüter Trier Ayler Kupp Riesling Kabinett 2013, Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany ($23.95)
Michael Godel – This is a ripe to ripping off-dry wow release with a searing tang. Wait and watch it develop for many years.

Gehringer Brothers 2014 Classic Riesling, British Columbia ($18.95)
Sara d’Amato – Brothers Gordon and Walter have trained in top institutions in Germany and bring their riesling expertise to Okanagan’s Golden Mile Bench. Their focus for several decades has been on aromatic whites from dry to Icewine. This particular riesling shows a real respect for terroir exhibiting riper characteristics and more of an unctuous quality than your typical Mosel brand but still retains a lively vein of acidity keeping it balanced and focused.


Louis Bernard Tavel Rosé 2015

Rollier De La Martinette Rosé 2015

Fielding Rosé 2015Fielding Rosé 2015, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario ($15.95)
David Lawrason – Quietly Fielding has become one of the leading Niagara wineries for offering expertly made, good value VQA wines. This is a beautifully composed, balanced and fresh rosé with just the right acid-sugar balance. Sip all summer long.
Michael Godel – Some rosé just rubs the wrong way. At first sniff and sip you just know this Fielding ’15 is not one of those. In its fresh and spritely youth this is one of the most pleasurable rosés from Ontario.

Rollier De La Martinette 2015 Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France  ($19.95)
David Lawrason – Whiter Shades of Pink seems to be the new anthem for serious producers of rosé around the world, and they are looking to Provence for inspiration. This very pale Provencal rosé packs more flavour intensity than its appearance suggests. The nose shows subtle, pure sour cherry/currant fruit, rosewater, grapefruit and herbs. It’s mid-weight, firm and dry with a warm, spicy finish. A dinner wine.

Louis Bernard 2015 Tavel Rosé, Rhône, France ($21.95) (450833)
Sara d’Amato – It’s not spring without a great rosé and this classic Tavel fits the bill. To call it bottled Provence is a bit romantic but it certainly exudes typical notes of lavender and wild herbs. The fruit is nicely concentrated and there is a slight tannic edge that makes it suitable for pairing with red meat.


Domaine Courbis St Joseph 2013

Joie Farm Pinot Noir 2013

Viewpointe Focal Pointe Cabernet Franc 2010Viewpointe 2010 Focal Pointe Cabernet Franc, Lake Erie North Shore, Ontario ($24.95)
David Lawrason – Lake Erie North Shore is the warmest VQA region in Ontario, well suited to reds made from Bordeaux varieties. We see too few prime examples! This is a quite substantial, complex and deep cab franc that is maturing into prime time but holding some vitality. Expect lifted aromas of red currants, raspberry, wood smoke, capers and spice. Scores on depth and complexity.
Michael Godel – Wine Country Ontario’s Lake Erie North Shore appellation flashes onto the radar here with Viewpointe’s very youthful and soulful 2010 Cabernet Franc. A huge accomplishment and so worth the side trip.

Joie Farm Pinot Noir 2013, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia ($24.95)
Sara d’Amato – Despite a challenging vintage in the Okanagan, this more delicate style of pinot noir is not short on complexity or length. Very expressive with great definition and real purity of fruit – for pinot noir traditionalists.
Michael Godel – A dark berry and mineral pinot noir that will drink well for five years or more though I’m not sure there can be any reason to wait.

Domaine Courbis St Joseph 2013, Rhône, France ($36.95)
Michael Godel – Note the deft touch and dearth structure from this powerful yet elegant northern Rhône syrah. So much berry and tannin, with everything structure requires in between.

Pierre Amadieu 2013 Romane Machotte Gigondas, Rhône, France ($24.95)
Sara d’Amato – The wines of Pierre Amadieu are widely recognized as having a “Burgundian” appeal and focus on balance, respect for terroir and purity of fruit rather than boldness, power or muscle. There is no heaviness here in this 2013 incarnation but certainly a great deal of flavour and focus. Pepper and Provençal garrigue add a great deal of charm and typicity to this blend.

Tüzkö 2012 Cabernet Franc, Tolna, Hungary ($14.95)
Sara d’Amato – Under the management of the Antinori family, Tuzko Estate produces noteworthy whites along really interesting reds such as this unexpected find. Interestingly, the rolling hills of Pannon surrounding Bátaapáti in Tolna are said to resemble those of Tuscany.  The pleasant cool herbal notes compliment the fruit on the palate while the firm tannins give this cabernet franc structure and longevity. Excellent value.

Pierre Amadieu Romane Machotte Gigondas 2013Tuzko Cabernet Franc 2012 Rendola Rosso Di Montalcino 2009 Fabre Montmayou Gran Reserva Malbec 2012

Rendola 2009 Rosso Di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy ($15.95)
David Lawrason – At this price grab a handful for everyday drinking with your favourite Italian dishes, or to sip with mild, firm cheeses. From a ripe, softer vintage, this has evolved to prime, and has developed lovely of sweet cherry/tomato fruit, cedar, dried rosemary and licorice aromas. Smooth, warm and delicious if not deep.

Fabre Montmayou 2012 Gran Reserva Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina ($24.95)
David Lawrason – Here is an impressive, beefy and complex malbec that I would cellar for future grilling events. It is approachable now but has the structure to live well into the next decade. It’s full bodied, fairly dense and juicy with considerable alcohol, but dense fruit, licorice and intriguing vermouth-like spices carry the day.

And that’s a wrap for this week. Tune in next time for the up and down, north and south of New Zealand. If you need an excuse to have a glass of wine today, you should know that it’s International Sauvignon Blanc Day. Just use the hashtag #SauvBlanc and you’ll be sharing in good company from around the world.


David Lawrason
VP of Wine

From VINTAGES May 14, 2016

Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
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!

Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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Alerte Cellier : les bons choix de nos experts pour l’arrivage du 12 mai

Le deuxième relâchement du dernier arrivage Cellier arrivera en succursales le 12 mai, mais la prévente en ligne commence dès ce jeudi, 5 mai. Vers quels vins se tourner ? Nos experts Marc Chapleau et Nadia Fournier, qui ont goûté plusieurs de ces nouveaux produits, vous conseillent.

Quelques bonnes occasions à saisir

Marc a d’abord retenu le Cuvée Clarendon 2014 Domaine Gavoty (22,70 $) de Provence. Un rosé fin, épicé, distingué – véritable modèle du genre ! Du côté des blancs, le Craggy Range Kidnappers 2013 (25,60 $) de Nouvelle-Zélande plaira aux amateurs de « chardos » assez corsés ; bien boisé et bien soutenu par l’acidité, il est en plus rehaussé par une agréable pointe de salinité, en finale. Enfin, le Rozès Terras do Grifo 2012 (19,95 $) est un rouge portugais du Douro corsé et tannique, avec une bonne masse de fruit.

Domaine Gavoty Cuvée Clarendon 2014Craggy Range Chardonnay Kidnappers Vineyard 2013 Rozès Terras Do Grifo Douro 2012

Nadia, pour sa part, a eu un faible pour le Rosé 2015 de Planeta (16,95 $); de couleur très pâle, frais, sec et délicat, mais avec une tenue de bouche appréciable. Un peu plus cher et plus structuré aussi, le Rosato 2015 de Castello di Ama (20,85 $) est un vin droit et sincère, dont la sensation fraîcheur est accentuée par un léger reste de gaz carbonique. Une mention aussi pour la Cuvée Clarendon 2014, Domaine Gavoty (22,70 $); maintenant âgé d’un an et demi, le fruité primaire s’estompe au profit d’une trame aromatique plus complexe, avec une tenue et une longueur appréciables.

Planeta Rosé 2015 Castello Di Ama Rosato 2015Domaine Gavoty Cuvée Clarendon 2014Clos Henri Petit Clos Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Enfin, en blanc, on retiendra le Sauvignon blanc 2014, Petit Clos du Clos Henri à Marlborough (19,65 $); l’attaque en bouche est vive et nerveuse et le vin est sec, désaltérant, presque minéral. Toutes les qualités d’un bon vin d’apéro!

Bons achats !


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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The Cellier May12th release

The most recent Cellier release will hit the stores on Thursday May 12th, however, quantities will be available for pre-sale on as of May 5. Which wines are worthy of your attention? Two of our critics, Marc Chapleau and Nadia Fournier, tasted a number of these wines and here are their suggestions.

Cellier New Arrivals

Marc really liked the Domaine Gavoty 2014 Cuvée Clarendon, ($22.70) from Provence. It’s a rosé that’s spicy, finessed and classy – a true model of the Provencal style. For a white, the Craggy Range 2013 Kidnappers ($25.60) from New Zealand will please all those who appreciate more powerful chardonnays; a solid dose of oak, structured by acidity, and with a touch of salinity on the finish. Finally, the Portuguese Rozès 2012 Terras do Grifo ($19.95) from the Douro region is powerful and tannic, with an abundance of fruit.

Domaine Gavoty Cuvée Clarendon 2014Craggy Range Chardonnay Kidnappers Vineyard 2013 Rozès Terras Do Grifo Douro 2012

Nadia had a weakness for the Planeta 2015 Rosé ($16.95); dry and delicate, fresh but with an appreciable mouthfeel and texture. A touch more expensive, the 2015 Rosato from the Tuscan Castello di Ama ($20.85) is an honest rosé whereby the freshness is accentuated by a gentle touch of carbon dioxide. Like Marc, she appreciated the Domaine Gavoty 2014 Cuvée Clarendon, ($22.70); now a year and a half old, it has moved on from its primary fruit and now shows a much more complex aromas and impressive texture and length.

Planeta Rosé 2015 Castello Di Ama Rosato 2015Domaine Gavoty Cuvée Clarendon 2014Clos Henri Petit Clos Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Finally, if you are looking for a white, the 2014 Petit Clos Sauvignon Blanc from Clos Henri in New Zealand’s Marlborough region ($19.65) is worthy of your attention; the wine is vibrant, refreshing, dry and almost mineral. Everything you look for in a good aperitif.

Happy on-line shopping !


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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Celebrating New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc

Text and photos by Steve Thurlow
(with introduction by Treve Ring)

It was the Steve & Treve show representing WineAlign in Marlborough earlier this year, crossing paths at the International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration along with 300 sommeliers, trade, producers and journalists from around the globe. Steve details the Celebration and Kiwi translation of Sauvignon Blanc below, but I wanted to start with a little primer into the distinctive grape itself.

SAUVIGNON BLANC {SOH-vin-yohn BLAHNGK; soh-vee-nyawn BLAHN}

also known as “Cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush.”

#SauvBlancThat was my initial introduction to sauvignon blanc. For a budding wine enthusiast this was at once terrifying (you want me to drink what?) and relieving (finally wine descriptors that make sense!), and now even as a gnarly vine wine enthusiast that description has stuck with me. Of course, sauvignon blanc is so much more than that memorable phrase. This green-skinned grape most likely hails from France’s Loire Valley, where it can blindingly shine in the Kimmeridgian limestone and Silex flint. As the third most planted white variety in France, sauvignon blanc (from the French for sauvage, meaning wild), is also comfortably at home in Bordeaux, blending in harmony with Semillon; as well as throughout Languedoc-Roussillon, contributing greatly to lean and tart Pays d’Oc IGP. The highly vigorous grape is widely adaptable, spreading as easily worldwide as its tangled and aggressive foliage. All things green are its hallmark: grass, hedge, meadow, asparagus, kiwi, green peppers, gooseberries, as well as passion fruit and elderflower in slightly warmer climates. Crisp, piercing acidity permeates all wines, save for those harvested in the hottest regions, and helps preserve freshness and zest in late harvest or oaked examples. As Steve writes below, the grape rocketed to fame over the past 20 years in New Zealand, finding a prime home for a concentrated, pungent, fresh and unoaked style.

May 6th marks the 7th annual International Sauvignon Blanc Day and celebrations will kick off in New Zealand and travel around the globe in restaurants and bars, and on social media. You can share in the celebrations by using the hashtag #SauvBlanc on Twitter and Instagram – all in fun to share the love for New Zealand’s most popular grape. May also brings us the Great New Zealand Wine Tiki Tour with trade and consumer events being held in Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto. You can find complete details here, including a special offer for WineAlign members.

~ TR

Celebrating Sauvignon Blanc

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Marlborough sauvignon blanc has been a runaway success story. No other country has been able to enter the modern world of wine with a premium priced product and grow its market share like New Zealand. Other recent arrivals on the scene like Chile, Argentina and South Africa have brought us value wines, but are still struggling to get us to buy their premium priced products. No wonder everyone wants to emulate New Zealand’s success.

In Canada, New Zealand, and in particular Marlborough, has been the reference for sauvignon blanc for the last ten years or so and its very distinctive style has become the benchmark for producers across the world. Previously it was the steely, minerally sauvignon from Sancerre in France that winemakers were aiming to emulate, but that has been replaced by NZ as the benchmark by most of the New World producers.

I first visited New Zealand in 2004 and have been back there almost every year since, closely watching the growing success of this far-away wine producer. So I was delighted to be among 300 people from all over the world who gathered in Marlborough in February of this year at the first ever International Sauvignon Blanc Celebration (#SauvignonNZ). Since they are the current world leaders in this variety, it was appropriate that we all met there (and it was also a good time for me to escape a Canadian winter).

Before I recount what I discovered on this visit, let’s examine why Marlborough sauvignon blanc has been so successful. To start with, this grape has one good thing going for it. As Matt Kramer told us in his keynote address to the conference, “Sauvignon blanc is the world’s most reliably good dry white wine.” Notice he did not say it was the greatest white wine, just that it was reliable. An excellent go-to-wine when you just want something white to drink that is predictable.

But Marlborough sauvignon blanc is not just any sauvignon blanc; it has its own special distinctive signature. So distinctive that even those unblessed with great vinous skills are usually able to recognize it. It is this distinctiveness that is one of its greatest attributes and why it is emulated by winemakers around the world.

From the moment in life that you first approach a juicy succulent Marlborough sauvignon blanc you will always remember those gooseberry-tinged, green apple, passion fruit, green pepper, green grass, blackcurrant leaf aromas touched by honey that have become its signature. You will soon then notice that your palate is entranced by that lime or grapefruit mouthwatering acidity and its fresh, clean, slightly bitter finish, all wrapped with just enough sweetness to make it delicious.

New Zealand did not start making wine until around 1980, making its wine industry approximately 45 years old. Its success is totally tied up with the success of Marlborough sauvignon blanc, which represents nearly 80% of what they produce. With New Zealand population levels modest, it has, by necessity, been an export driven success.

Being distinctive and popular has facilitated the growth of a brand. I noticed about five years ago that there was a similarity developing within this brand. Every producer was aiming for the same thing and by 2010 they were mostly getting there. The wines were starting to taste and look the same and sell for about the same price, which is understandable when you have seen such success. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with this; the wines were delicious and it demonstrated the ability of growers and winemakers to deliver a consistent product to meet growing demand. And since no other region is able to replicate your brand, why not make hay while the sun shines?

At the conference I detected the sense that wineries were reaching a mid-life crisis. They need to be sure of the path to take to continue to be successful. There seemed to be two major pitfalls that will need to be considered, price and premiumisation.

In the last five years I have been tasting some sauvignons from elsewhere that are starting to replicate the Marlborough style. Some wines from the Leyda Valley and the coastal Aconcagua Valley in Chile, from Darling in the Western Cape in South Africa and Carcassonne in Southern France are getting there. These are not high cost producers so there is a vulnerability here for New Zealand to watch since it is a high cost producer. Another danger of such distinctiveness is the difficulty to establish more premium brand extensions. That is to say, how do you improve on the accepted norm and get people to spend more money, when they are happy with the status quo.

Wairau Valley Marlborough

Wairau Valley Marlborough

The conference and the weeks of personal travel that followed were a great opportunity to see where things were going. As in all successful wine regions that produce a single varietal wine, there has been a steady trajectory for more site-specific wines. The success of many of the early wines from the region was down to complexity created by blending grapes from different parts of the region. In Marlborough, somewhat simplistically, there were originally two basic regions: The cooler Wairau River to the north and the Southern Valleys holding the tributary rivers of the Wairau River to the south, where it is warmer and drier with different soils. Further south over the hills, there was little planted in the nearby Awatere Valley. It’s a different landscape now, with massive planting in the last ten years in the Awatere. So today, three places provide the fruit that goes into the regional blends to create the distinctive wine that we all know. And it’s a wine that is largely made with little manipulation by winemakers. It is the growers and those who blend the wines from different sources who have made  Marlborough what it is today.

There is a movement for more site-specific wines and the three large regions are being delineated as wineries bottle wines from these subregions. In time, I am sure people will start to put boundaries on viticultural maps and give these places names that we will come to recognize. I will look at some of these wine growing activities later on, but first let’s look at what winemakers are doing.

Marlborough sauvignon blanc is mostly made today without maturation in oak barrels and using cultivated yeasts. The techniques employed have been perfected to produce the fresh, clean, pure, flavourful and balanced wines that put the place on the map. So it is also a natural that winemakers are starting to experiment with new styles using natural yeast fermentation, oak maturation and other techniques to enhance what nature, soil and climate have so far delivered. I was most anxious to see these efforts and there were certainly some promising results.

However, I do want first to recognize and give credit to the big players who have put the region on the world map, as they inevitably do in any successful wine region. These are the companies with an international reach and established sales channels who can also, because of economies of scale, make very good, inexpensive wine. The success of Marlborough would not have been possible without their presence and they will continue to open new markets in places yet to experience the delight of Marlborough sauvignon blanc. They will also be able to make better blends and fight off any emerging international competition. Pernod Ricard New Zealand, with its Brancott and Stoneleigh wines, Constellation with Nobilo and Kim Crawford, Delegats with Oyster Bay and Villa Maria, along with others, have played a vital role in today’s success.

As well as continuing to develop new international markets, these big organizations are leading the search for the next big thing. They are bottling site-specific wines and providing resources to their winemakers to make even better wines. A recent development is surely designed to attract the drinkers of lightly sparkling wines – wines like Prosecco from Italy that are so popular recently. Lightly sparkling sauvignon blanc is being made by a few wineries now. These wines are very appealing, simple and sweetish and are very drinkable as a party or reception wine. This may be a hook to get these folks to try the more traditional brands.

Anyway let’s start looking at specific producers and wines that illustrate what I have been talking about. Most wineries these days are making more than one sauvignon blanc. There is usually an entry level wine, often a regional blend, and then others at a premium price that are from a single site, or have been enhanced by the winemaking techniques already mentioned.


This is one of the best known and most popular NZ brands in Canada. Their sauvignon blancs are mainly sourced from the Stoneleigh vineyard in the central part of the Wairau Valley region. The gravelly river soils in this region augment the stonefruit aromas and flavours and add mouthwatering grapefruit acidity to the Stoneleigh 2015 Sauvignon Blanc making it lively and exciting to drink. The Stoneleigh 2015 Latitude Sauvignon Blanc is more understated, maybe classier, with some complex aromas and more crunchy green apple flavours.

However it was the Stoneleigh 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Wild Valley that really excited me. Marlborough sauvignon blanc is traditionally made with a cultured yeast once the natural yeasts have been killed off following crushing. This wine, however is fermented naturally using the yeast that lives in the vineyard with the grapes. Winemaker Jamie Marfell uses this to give the wine added texture and enhanced flavour. The natural process is slower which allows the wine to develop texture along with more complex flavours.

More Stoneleigh wines reviewed here.

Jamie Marfell Winemaker at Stoneleigh

Jamie Marfell Winemaker at Stoneleigh

Brancott Estate

The southern side of the Wairau Valley, where the Brancott Vineyard is situated, has a higher clay content than the river bed soils further north. It is also warmer and drier with less stone and more nutrients. The Brancott brand is relatively new to Canada and the very impressive Brancott Estate 2015 Letter Series B Sauvignon Blanc has just arrived at the LCBO. It is a complex wine that has benefited from an elaborate winemaking process. About 20% of the fruit is handpicked and then wild fermented. The other 80% is machine harvested, which seems better at preserving the components that yield the elevated passion-fruit, grapefruit and tropical aromas (thiols) that characterize Marlborough sauvignon blanc. A small percentage of the machine picked fruit is matured in oak vessels. It is a delicious well priced white that is elegant and complex with a mineral tone and lovely lively fruity palate.

More Brancott Estate wines reviewed here.

Brancott Estate Marlborough

Brancott Estate Marlborough

Villa Maria

Villa Maria was founded by George Fistonich in 1961. It has been a major contributor to the wine industry ever since and seems to win more awards for its wines than any other winery. As one travels around New Zealand one meets countless winemakers and viticulturists who at some time in their careers have worked at Villa Maria. Everyone has phenomenal respect and admiration for the founder and his winery which remains a family business.

Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc has always been one of the best value sauvignons and it is deservedly one of the most popular. The Villa Maria 2015 Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc is consistent and faithful to the successful distinctive style with classic aromas of gooseberry, passion fruit, grapefruit, white pepper and delicate fresh herbal notes of green peas and dill.

For a few dollars more one can upgrade to the Villa Maria 2015 Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanca very classy Marlborough sauvignon with lifted classic aromatics. The nose and palate are pure and fresh with a rich creamy texture.

Villa Maria 2015 Lightly Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is a charming well-made, pure, fresh bubbly with aromas of passion fruit with grapefruit, mint and nettles. It is creamy smooth with a hint of sweetness and is very refreshing. Not that complex but quite delicious as a party or reception wine.

More Villa Maria wines reviewed here.

Villa Maria Auckland Winery2

Villa Maria Auckland Winery


Whitehaven winery was founded in 1994 by the late Greg White. His widow, the energetic Sue White, manages the operation which has expanded considerably in recent years. They make two wines from sauvignon blanc. Whitehaven 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is a classic fresh, fruity style, quite herbaceous with a nice mineral salty tang and excellent length.

Whitehaven 2015 Greg Reserve Sauvignon Blanc is a single vineyard wine from the Alton Downs Vineyard in the Awatere Valley. It is well structured and quite mineral with aromas and flavours of gooseberry and guava fruit with spearmint, peapod and lemon tones. Designed for short term ageing, it still needs another year or two of bottle age before it hits prime time.

More Whitehaven wines reviewed here.

Awatere Valley

Awatere Valley

Dog Point Vineyard

This winery was founded by two veterans of the NZ wine business, James Healy and Ivan Sutherland. These pioneers met at Cloudy Bay where they worked together for many years, Ivan growing the grapes and James making the wines. In 2004 they decided to create Dog Point and since then have become a beacon of excellence in the region. Several family members are actively involved in the affair and they now export their wines to over 40 countries – pretty remarkable for a 30,000 case winery founded so recently. When you sample their wines it soon becomes clear that this is a haven for high quality wine produced by passionate people.

They produce two wines from sauvignon blanc. Dog Point 2015 Sauvignon Blanc was the best traditional sauvignon that I tasted this spring in New Zealand. It is textbook Marlborough, made 80% from cultured yeast with stainless steel maturation. The palate is lively and brimming with mouthwatering grapefruit acidity and juicy tropical fruit. The other wine is made 100% from sauvignon blanc but it is called Dog Point 2013 Section 94 after its source in their vineyard. It is fermented with wild yeast in oak barrels and has intense flavours and full bodied fruit. This is another powerful wine best sampled in a few more years when it will become better integrated and age has softened some of its hard edges.

More Dog Point wines reviewed here.


This winery, owned by Kevin Judd, shares the winery facilities of Dog Point. Kevin is another veteran winemaker who also spent many years perfecting his technique at Cloudy Bay. Additionally, he is one of New Zealand’s best vineyard landscape photographers and his pictures are widely used to celebrate the beauty of the NZ wine regions. I have been tasting his wines for many years and have almost always been mega-impressed. The Greywacke 2014 (Kevin Judd) Sauvignon Blanc is in stores in Ontario at present. Quebec and BC also buy this wine each year.

He has another wine in stores in Ontario currently, the Greywacke 2012 Wild Sauvignon Blanc. This is a very impressive and beautiful sauvignon blanc made using wild fermentation in a mixture of new and used oak barrels. The majority also goes through malolactic fermentation and it spends its life prior to bottling on its lees. In effect, it’s made like many chardonnays and as a consequence is a long way from traditional Marlborough style. Complex, elegant and subtle and highly recommended. I also tasted the 2014 vintage of this wine and it was one of the best sauvignon that I tasted on my latest visit. Made largely the same way except very little went through malolactic fermentation and only 7% spent time in new oak. Such was the difference between the 2014 and 2012 harvests. We will have to wait and hope that this vintage also comes to Canada.

More Greywacke wines reviewed here.

Before I conclude, there is need to mention sauvignon blanc produced elsewhere in New Zealand. The Sacred Hill, Craggy Range, C.J. Pask and Sileni wineries located in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island produce sauvignon blanc in both Hawke’s Bay and in Martinborough, as do many other wineries, though the total quantity is small compared to Marlborough. Many of these wineries also have vineyards in Marlborough and so it interesting to compare the pairs of wines from the same vintage and same winemaker.

The other regions tend to be warmer and so the fruit is more tropical, the greenness less strident and the acids softer. For me, the non-Marlborough sourced wines do not have much of a distinctive character such that in blind tastings I have often been unsure of their origin, whereas I think that Marlborough’s  unique signature leads me to guess their origin more surely. Though maybe in future a Leyda Valley or Darling wine might throw me in the wrong direction.

Marlborough sauvignon blanc is one of the great successes of the New World wine industry over the last few decades. It is distinctive, pure and easily recognizable and will, I am sure, remain the go-to wine for many. Provided costs and prices remain reasonable, it will continue to prosper and be the backbone for the entire NZ wine industry.

Innovation and site selection, as we have seen, are being applied to make more interesting and hence more premium wines. There isn’t a formula for these, as there is for the basic brand, and there doesn’t need to be. I will keep watching closely and look forward to returning in 2019 for the next edition of #SauvignonNZ. Meanwhile, I will be focusing on January 2017 which sees the next edition of the Pinot Noir NZ Celebration.

Next week Treve will report on the New Zealand Sparkling and Chardonnay Symposium.

Steve Thurlow

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!

Whitehaven Vineyard

Whitehaven Vineyard

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Buy The Case: The Vine’s Hidden Gems

A Report on Consignment Wines in Ontario
Written by WineAlign

Buy the CaseIn this regular feature WineAlign tastes wines submitted by a single importing agent. Our critics independently, as always, review and rate the wines – good, bad and indifferent, and those reviews are posted to WineAlign. We then independently recommend wines to appear in our Buy The Case report. Importers pay for this service. Ads for some wines may appear at the same time, but the decision on which wines to put forward in our report, if any, is entirely up to each critic, as it is with our reviews of in-store wines. 

For an explanation of the program, the process and our 10 Good Reasons to Buy the Case, please click here

The Vine Agency

Sometimes we fantasize about Ontario being populated with fine wine shops owned by some of the top wine importers and Ontario wineries – people who love wine, select their portfolio’s with pride, and sell them with diligence and the utmost in customer service. While there are many “agencies” that we can envision in this role, we suspect that The Vine Agency would end up being among the most popular and successful. Owner Rob Groh founded The Vine with the goal of bringing Ontario wine drinkers and restaurateurs a fine selection of wines from Italy and California (primarily). We tasted a selection of new arrivals for this feature, and it was a delightful experience.

The Vines mantra (taken from their website) is “Authenticity, Distinction, Character” and for a glimpse into how this is achieved consider their approach to their relationship with their suppliers. “When we take on representation, our view is long term. Because we insist on the highest standards, we visit the wineries and get to know the people. We look for relationships where we connect both personally and professionally, and only work with those who meet these criteria”. We suspect they deal with their customers with similar sincerity and thoroughness.

Sometimes you buy a product because it is specifically the product you want; sometimes because you like and trust the store. Here are our critics picks from current Consignment offerings at The Vine.

Podere le Boncie Le Trame 2012, Tuscany, Italy ($59.95)

Tenuta Cocci Grifoni Le Torri 2010

Podere Le Boncie Le Trame 2012Michael Godel – Giovanna Morganti makes Le Trame, from southeastern Tuscany in San Felice just outside of Castelnuovo Beradenga. It is essentially Chianti Classico but labeled IGT, known as “the intrigues” and that it surely is. It will drink into longevity up there with some of the best Brunello, Vino Nobile and Gran Selezione. A Cellaring Wine
John Szabo
– Fans of elegant/delicate sangiovese should line up for this gorgeous example, organically/biodynamically farmed in the heart of Chianti Classico. It’s elegant, an expression of pure finesse, all ripe and vibrant red berry fruit flavoured, exhaling faded roses and spice. A supremely pretty wine with soaring grace all in all, to enjoy now or forget for a decade.
David Lawrason – This is an estate grown sangiovese with great energy and fruit depth. Balanced to drink now but will stretch beyond 2020. It is available in six packs, so just go for it. It is so good that you might regret splitting it with friends. It’s also an ideal size for trying it out on a wine list.
Sara d’Amato – An authentic Tuscan blend from an organically farmed vineyard planted at high density. Predominantly wild yeast fermented sangiovese, this sophisticated find is absolutely captivating. Drink on its own but best with roasted pork.

Tenuta Cocci Grifoni 2010 ‘Le Torri’ Rosso Piceno Superiore, Marche, Italy(21.95)

John Szabo – A leading estate from Le Marche, Cocci-Grifoni’s montepulciano-sangiovese blend is an engaging, dark, earthy-spice, roasted coffee, and bitter chocolate flavoured red, succulent and satisfying. It’s a big and robust mouthful of wine perfect for big cuts of roasted/grilled meat.
David Lawrason – It’s a bit rustic and may not appeal to all tastes – so I would be wary of buying for by-the-glass pours or occasions where you don’t know your guests tastes. But this is delicious in its way; ready to drink and a great match for stews. Buy a case for autumn and winter drinking and split with like-minded friends. Great value from one of the best estates of the region.
Steve Thurlow – This is quite delicious with a delicate nose of black cherry fruit with mineral, herbal and spicy notes. It is complex on the palate also with the delicate fruit finely balanced by soft acidity and gentle tannin. This is ready for fine dining with roast meats or bold mature cheese. Buy a case and enjoy a bottle from time to time over the next few years.

La Mozza I Perazzi Morellino di Scansano 2014, Tuscany, Italy ($24.95)

Valdibella Kerasos Nero D'avola 2014

La Mozza I Perazzi Morellino Di Scansano 2014Michael Godel – One of the freshest and most exciting examples of Morellino di Scansano to come across the consignment channels of the Ontario market. A project of Mario Batali and the Bastianich family, this is one of the best examples of humble decadence in their portfolio. Should very much be considered when bringing tutta la famiglia al tavolo. Consider wine pooling.
David Lawrason – From a modern estate in the southwest corner of Maremma this good value is a blend 85% Morellino (the local name for Sangiovese in Maremma), 5% Syrah, 5% Alicante, 2% Colorino and 3% Ciliegiolo. Sangiovese turns in a riper, darker performance in this area, with a certain plushness and richness. But it’s also quite lively and fresh. It could be my Tuscan house wine, or a decent pour by the glass in an Italian restaurant.

Valdibella 2014 Kerasos Nero d’Avola, Sicily, Italy (19.95)

John Szabo – Here’s a particularly lovely, lively, floral and vibrant version of nero d’Avola, organically grown. I love the energy and tension, the vibrancy and genuine flavour concentration. Dark spice, earth and ash flavours linger.
Michael Godel – Truly modern Sicily here from Valdibella, a.k.a. the “cherry tree”. Its wide ranging flavours make it a limitless match for so many different foods and because it’s amenably virtuous in so many ways. Restaurant pour by the glass. 

Château de Saint Cosme 2013 Gigondas, Rhône, France($57.95)

Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Chateau De Saint Cosme Gigondas 2013David Lawrason – Of all the Cotes du Rhône villages Gigondas often produces wines with the most finesse. Power too, but there is a textural evenness thanks to limestone marl in the soils. It becomes Chateauneuf-like, and is priced in that realm as well. But still good value for fans of southern Rhône. It comes in a six-pack, ideal for a home or restaurant cellar.
John Szabo
– Saint Cosme has crafted a savoury grenache-based masterpiece here in 2013, massively concentrated, but not heavy, structured and full of black pepper and spice. This has enough of an acid lift to keep fruit and spice focused, with abundant but fine and dusty tannins that lend grip. I’d love to see this again in another 3-5 years; there’s more than enough stuffing to see this blossom.
Sara d’Amato – A very old, revered and consistent producer. Grenache and very peppery syrah make up the majority of this spirited and well structured blend. Many great Gigondas keep step with the best of Chateauneuf du Pape and here is a spot-on example.
Steve Thurlow – There is great finesse to this wine with a very fresh pure yet complex nose of black cherry fruit with some sweet herbs a hint of licorice and a floral hint. It is midweight and delicate on the palate with the fruit well balanced by acidity and fine tannin. Excellent length.

Von Strasser Winery 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California (89.95)

John Szabo – This is another terrific vintage from Rudy von Strasser, making the most of his superb volcanic terroir on Diamond Mountain. It’s a classic Napa ‘mountain’ cabernet, which is to say dark and swarthy, ripe and firmly structured to be sure, with serious depth and length, and significant black fruit extract. Broad shouldered but flexible, this has all angles covered, best after 2018.
David Lawrason – This has terrific presence and structure with lifted aromas of blackcurrant, green cedar/conifer, earth, mineral and dusty, spicy oak – all well integrated. It’s full bodied with some heat and tannin to be sure, but fine acidity as well. The focus and length are excellent. I would age it another three years to calm the tannin. Best 2019 to 2030. Split a case with cab collecting friends.

Groth Hillview Vineyard Chardonnay 2014, Napa Valley, California ($56.95)

De Conciliis Selim Spumante Brut

Groth Hillview Vineyard Chardonnay 2014Michael Godel – From a 44-acre Yountville vineyard founded in 1982 and (mostly) re-planted in 1996. This is a perfect and prime example of all the right directions Napa Chardonnay has taken in the last 10 years, with kudos to Suzanne Groth for embracing the ideal, from restraint, for elegance and in balance. Gifting Wine.
Sara d’Amato – If you are suffering chardonnay fatigue, this ought to spice things up! Whole cluster pressed, fermented in fine French oak but offering youthfully exuberant fruit. A chardonnay worth its weight in coin.
Steve Thurlow – This is a beautiful classic California chardonnay that’s fine now but will improve in integration and complexity with a few more years in the cellar. Expect aromas of pineapple and cantaloupe melon, with smoky, nutty and buttery tones with hints of caramel. It is full bodied but feels slimmer due to soft lemony acidity. Excellent length.
David Lawrason – This is a very classy, rich and well honed chardonnay that’s delicious now but could also age nicely for five years. Agree with Michael that it would be a great gift item for chardonnay fans, or introducing casual California chardonnay drinkers to the real thing!

De Concilis Selim Spumante Brut, Campania, Italy ($32.95)

Sara d’Amato – Here is something you don’t come across that often, a tank method sparkler from Campania based on local fiano and aglianico grapes. Pricey for a curio find but the result of this winemaking effort is most definitely rewarding. Available in a six bottle case.

Editors Note: You can find complete critic reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names or bottle images above. 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!

This report was sponsored by The Vine Agency. WineAlign critics have independently recommended the above wines based on reviews that are posted on WineAlign as part of this sponsored tasting. The Vine has provided the following agency profile.

About The Vine Agency

The Vine AgencySince we took the leap to start The Vine in 2000, our goal has never been to be the biggest, most all-encompassing wine agency in the province or the country. Instead, we set out to offer a focused selection of wines that reflect our personal taste and interests. We believe that smaller wineries – estate oriented and family-owned – provide the best source of characterful wines that deserve our attention. We also place a high value on trust: yours.

To that end, we strive to deliver outstanding customer service, trustworthy recommendations and informed conversation. But ultimately, the portfolio speaks for itself – this is a collection of great wines, selected and supported by people who know the people behind the wines. Most of the winery owners we represent in Ontario are people we are proud to consider friends.

Join our Mailing List

If you wish to have your name added to our mailing list (to be notified of featured wines, tastings or events) please call 416-693-7994, email or write to The Vine, 105 – 625 Queen St. East, Toronto ON M4M 1G4

All the wines are sold in cases of 12 bottles, unless noted otherwise. Unfortunately, mixed cases are not possible due to LCBO regulations. We quote prices per bottle, excluding
Refundable Bottle Deposit. HST is included in Retail prices. Delivery charges may apply.

Nobody home to receive your delivery? No problem – just give us 36 hour’s notice — we’ll have your wine ready for drive-by pick-up. You’ll barely have to slow down. Our office is on Queen St. East, immediately opposite the ramp to northbound DVP. Call as you drive up, we’ll run your wine out to the car, and load it in while you stay warm & dry.



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Soif de « nature »

Soif d’ailleurs avec Nadia

Nadia Fournier

Nadia Fournier

Pour la deuxième année consécutive, la SAQ met en marché une sélection printanière de vins nature, c’est-à-dire biologiques et élaborés avec un minimum de manipulations et un apport réduit, sinon nul, en soufre. Le monopole d’état répond ainsi à une demande sans cesse grandissante pour ce type de produit, particulièrement auprès d’une nouvelle génération d’amateurs de vin. Mais pourquoi les vins natures sont-ils si populaires?

Si je me fie à ce que j’observe sur le terrain – dégustations professionnelles, bars à vin, conversations autour du comptoir de cuisine – je serais portée à croire que leur succès repose essentiellement sur trois choses.

D’abord, l’attrait du bio. À moins d’avoir vécu dans une grotte pendant les 20 dernières années, on ne peut qu’être sensibles aux arguments de l’agriculture biologique. En cette matière, le vin nature pousse encore plus loin puisque, en plus d’être issu de raisins bios – enfin, la catégorie n’étant pas encore définie par des règles strictes, ce n’est pas toujours le cas, hélas! – il est élaboré sans ajout de correctifs œnologiques, avec une dose minimale de soufre. Élaboré dans les règles de l’art, c’est ni plus ni moins que du jus de raisin fermenté, simplement.

Ensuite, et je sais que cet argument ne fera pas l’unanimité, j’y vois un désir de se démarquer de ses prédécesseurs. Dans ma jeune vingtaine, lorsque j’habitais en France, la plupart des jeunes de mon âge n’avaient aucun intérêt pour le vin. Le vin, ça faisait « vieille France », c’était la boisson de leurs parents. Plutôt boire des whisky-coca – même à table – que de ressembler à ses parents. Au Québec, même tendance, mais un peu plus modérée. Pour se démarquer de leurs parents, adeptes de régions françaises et italiennes classiques, les jeunes adoptent des vins de régions nouvelles, de vignerons émergents, parfois à tendance nature.

Enfin, et c’est là, à mon avis, la plus évidente des raisons, les vins natures sont populaires parce qu’ils sont bons. Pas toujours, mais souvent.

J’entends déjà ses détracteurs s’amuser de leurs défauts. C’est vrai qu’ils en ont. Mais limiter le vin nature à ses seuls défauts est pour le moins réducteur et tient presque de la mauvaise foi.

Plus je navigue dans cet univers fascinant et complexe qu’est le vin, moins je crois aux étiquettes, aux catégories, aux camps qui divisent. Vrai, il existe des vins natures tellement défectueux qu’ils en sont imbuvables. Vrai, il existe aussi nombre de vins à tendance commerciale qui sont d’un ennui mortel, quand ils ne sont pas complètement ruinés par un abus de bois ou par un reste de sucre.

Vrai, trop de procédés œnologiques peuvent tuer l’expression du terroir. Tout comme les déviations bactériennes et la prolifération de la macération carbonique à toutes les sauces, sur tous les cépages et dans toutes les régions.

Entre ces deux pôles, il existe une foule de vignerons rigoureux qui n’ont que faire des étiquettes qu’on veut bien leur accoler et qui souhaitent une seule chose : faire du vin, du bon vin. Des jusqu’au-boutistes qui s’appliquent à traduire le goût du lieu d’origine de leurs vins. Sincèrement, sans raccourcis, sans maquillage. À mon sens, c’est ça le vin nature. Juste ça. 

On a soif !

Domaine Sébastien Brunet Méthode Traditionnelle Brut 2013 Château Lagarette Cyrus 2010 Christophe Pacalet Chiroubles 2014Parmi les quelques vins sélectionnés cette année, le Chiroubles 2014 de Christophe Pacalet, neveu de Marcel Lapierre, l’un des pionniers du mouvement nature. Issu de vignes de gamay âgées de 90 ans et fruit d’un excellent millésime dans la région, le vin est très invitant au premier nez. Déjà si séduisant, avec sa vitalité, son caractère vibrant et ses couches de saveurs fruitées et épicées, mais on pourrait aisément le mettre en cave jusqu’en 2020. Le meilleur vin de Chiroubles que j’aie goûté depuis longtemps. (27,55 $)

Toujours en France, mais du côté de Bordeaux, on propose le Cyrus 2010, un 100 % cabernet franc produit au Château Lagarette, une propriété des Côtes de Bordeaux cultivée en biodynamie. Encore passablement boisé, il mériterait de reposer en cave quelques années. (24,25 $)

Pour l’apéritif, l’amateur de Vouvray voudra absolument découvrir le premier vin du Domaine Sébastien Brunet à la SAQ. Son Vouvray Brut 2013, méthode traditionnelle, est impeccable. De légères notes oxydatives au nez pourraient faire craindre un manque de fraîcheur, mais la bouche est équilibrée, sans le moindre signe de fatigue, portée par une bulle fine, distinguée. (24,30 $)

Frappato Barunieddu Azienda Agricola Biscaris 2013 Sangiovese Puro Chianti Fattoria Lavacchio 2014 La Biancara Masieri Classico Angiolino Maule 2014On voudra aussi découvrir l’excellent Masieri 2014, élaboré par Angiolino Maule et ses fils, dans les collines de Gambellara, à l’est de Vérone. Assemblée à du trebbiano, la garganega puise dans les sols volcaniques de Vénétie une expression aromatique singulière et une structure digne de mention. Une belle bouteille pour s’initier à prix doux aux charmes du vin nature. (21,45 $) 

À moins de 20 $, on propose aussi un bon Chianti Puro 2014, pour accompagner les pâtes pou la pizza. Pas de maquillage inutile, mais une expression inaltérée du sangiovese; fruité, vif et fringant. (19,95 $)

Enfin, dernier vin de cette promotion, le Barunieddu 2013 de l’azienda Biscaris, en Sicile. Intéressant dans un registre plus corsé que la moyenne des vins de frappato. (21,65 $)

Les petits extras…

Six vins « natures », c’est bien, mais c’est un peu limite. Je vous en donne quelques autres – peut-être même de meilleurs – goûtés au cours des derniers mois.

Commençons d’abord avec deux vins de frappato, parce que celui commenté ci-haut m’a laissée, je l’avoue, sur ma soif.

De l’aveu d’Arianna Occhipinti – la star de la viticulture sicilienne –, le Frappato 2014 – Tami  est un vin : « 100 % raisins ». C’est-à-dire qu’il est vinifié sans additifs ni élevage sous bois, afin de laisser s’exprimer toute l’essence aromatique du cépage frappato, une curiosité du sud de la Sicile. À 20 $, une aubaine à saisir tant qu’il y en aura en succursales.

Après l’élève, le maître : Giusto Occhipinti, l’oncle et le mentor d’Arianna. Co-propriétaire de COS, où il produit des vins d’une pureté et d’une race peu communes. Son Frappato 2014 est un modèle du genre : vibrant, gouleyant, léger comme une plume et pourtant complexe, avec un large spectre de saveurs fruitées, épicées, herbacées, minérales. Belle bouteille!  (30 $)

Dans le même registre de goût, mais en France, du côté du Beaujolais, le Morgon 2014 de Jean Foillard est arrivé sur les tablettes tout récemment. Élève du regretté Jules Chauvet et de l’école du sans soufre, Jean Foillard est un nom important de l’appellation Morgon. Ses vins sont raffinés, élégants et habituellement dotés d’un excellent potentiel de garde. Son 2014 est l’une des belles réussites des cinq dernières années.

Tami Frappato 2014Azienda Agricola Cos Frappato 2014 Jean Foillard Morgon 2014 Château Cambon Beaujolais 2014Château Cambon Rosé 2015

Situées à Saint-Jean d’Ardière, tout près de Belleville, les vignes du Château Cambon ont en moyenne une cinquantaine d’années et sont classées en AOP Beaujolais, mais elles jouxtent les appellations Morgon et Brouilly. Propriété de Jean-Claude Chanudet et de Marie Lapierre, la mère de Camille et Mathieu, le domaine a donné un très bon Beaujolais 2014, coulant, juteux, gorgé de saveurs affriolantes de fruits rouges. Un vin de caractère.  (23,45 $)

Surveillez aussi de près l’arrivée du Château Cambon Rosé vers la mi-maiGoûté lors d’une visite en France en février dernier, le 2015 était tout à fait délicieux. Saveurs ciselées, précises, délicates et un équilibre idéal entre le gras et la fraîcheur. (23,25 $)



Nadia Fournier

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!

Castello di Gabbiano Riserva Chianti Classico 2012

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20 vins à moins de 20 $ pour avril 2016

Les choix de notre équipe du Québec

Fin de mois, printemps qui se laisse désirer : tous les voyants sont au vert ou bien au rouge, selon qu’on garde ou non le moral, dans l’attente des vrais beaux jours. Quoi qu’il en soit, toujours 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

Dans le monde des vins à 15$, est-on limité à des vins simples et sur le fruit? Pas du tout. Le Hecula de la solide maison Bodegas Castaño, un mourvèdre bien rond et chaleureux, met certainement du fruit à revendre au nez, mais il a aussi en bouche de l’épice, du cèdre et d’autres petites touches sympathiques. Le Curator d’Adi Badenhorst, pour sa part, offre aussi des fines herbes et de la fumée – une dose de fumée qui mérite un petit coup d’air pour se dissiper et qu’on profite pleinement de cette cuvée qui prouve une fois de plus que l’Afrique du Sud a beaucoup à offrir.

En montant près des 20$, on trouve aussi pas mal de vins qui ont de la prestance et une certaine finesse, même dans le nouveau monde aux tendances souvent assez ostentatoires. Le malbec Tintonegro Limestone Block, produit par deux compères argentins très futés qui ont l’œil sur le terroir, plutôt que sur le bois et la maturité, est assez exemplaire : la générosité du malbec, sur une trame pleine de fraîcheur, le tout servi sur un plateau de graphite. Avis à tous : le malbec et le calcaire, là-bas, font très bon ménage.

Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2013 Curator A.A. Badenhorst Western Cape 2013 Tintonegro Limestone Block 2012 Le Pive Gris Vin Rosé 2015 Chartier Créateur D'harmonies Le Rosé 2015

À la veille de mai, le mois où on fait tout ce qui nous plait, on regarde aussi du côté des rosés. Mes deux choix du mois offrent de beaux contrastes, montrant que ces vins sont loin d’être tous coulés dans le même moule ou faits pour le bord de la piscine. Toujours très populaire, Le Pive est particulièrement radieux, sur le millésime 2015, se distingue par son côté chantant, droit et frais. Le Rosé Chartier 2015, lui, a de la fraîcheur aussi, mais sa trame est plus généreuse et surtout, sa texture enveloppante est on ne peut plus séduisante. Deux vins distincts : à chacun sa journée ensoleillée.

Les choix de Marc

À tout seigneur, tout honneur : d’abord le seul blanc de ma sélection du mois, le Don Pascual Viognier Reserve 2015, de l’Uruguay. Un bon viognier, assez aromatique et aussi pratiquement sec. À 15,45 $, un très bon rapport qualité-prix.

En rouge, j’ai retenu, toujours à prix raisonnable, le Casa Silva Carmenère Colchagua 2013, du Chili. Fraîcheur en bouche, bon fruit, alcool en bride, pas de sucre apparent (3 g, peut-être). À 15 $, une excellente affaire ! Puis, du Roussillon cette fois, le Domaine Cazes Cap au Sud 2014. Bouche gourmande et épicée, le vin est relativement corsé mais peu tannique. Excellent rapport qualité-prix.

Don Pascual Reserve Viognier 2015 Casa Silva Reserva Carmenère 2013 Domaine Cazes Côtes Catalanes Cap Au Sud 2014 Allegrini Belpasso 2012 Domaine La Montagnette 2015

De Vénétie maintenant, le Allegrini Belpasso 2012 est typé, bien en fruit et tout en nervosité. L’ensemble est par ailleurs à peine mi-corsé. À table, avec des pâtes, de la pizza ou du poulet grillé. Enfin, le Domaine la Montagnette Signargues Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2015. Un rouge au fruit d’une très bonne pureté qui s’avère par ailleurs tonique (acidité + reste de gaz carbonique) et relativement profond. LE rouge de l’été pour les grillades ? Bien peur que oui…

Les choix de Bill

Comme le printemps s’amuse à jouer avec nos nerfs, côté météo, mes cinq choix du mois s’accommoderont du temps qu’il fait, il y en aura un pour convenir à l’occasion. À ce propos, si vous ne croyez pas que la température influence notre consommation, tant mieux pour vous. Car personnellement, la météo m’influence grandement.

Pour combattre les soirées fraîches, rien de tel qu’un robuste rouge du Roussillon. Le Castell d’Agly Domaine Cazes 2014, un maury sec, est suave, viandé et très complexe. Et bio, par-dessus le marché ! Pourquoi ne pas le siroter à l’extérieur, à table, ne serait-ce que pour sortir enfin de la maison. Autre très bon rouge, le Zuccardi Innovacion 2014, d’Argentine. Un assemblage de tempranillo et de malbec mi-corsé, sec et intéressant — à moins de 10 $.

Castell D'agly Maury Sec 2014 Innovacion 2014 Primelli Soave 2014 Sevilen Isabey Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verde 2015

En blanc, et tandis que le crabe des neiges est toujours de saison, un vin délicat et nuancé est de rigueur. Rare de trouver un blanc qui corresponde à moins de 15 $, alors imaginez ma surprise en découvrant, à moins de 11 $, le Primelli Soave, doté par surcroît d’une belle texture et de minéralité. Si vous recherchez un blanc plus riche, par exemple pour marier aux fruits de mer, le turc Isabey Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (un vin de Turquie, oui) est dans le style néo-zélandais, et très bien fait, par ailleurs.

Enfin, quand il fera assez chaud et que vous viendra une envie de rosé, le pétillant Casal Garcia Aleveda est un bon exemple de Vinho Verde. Il ressemble à un gin tonic aromatisé à la fraise et à un peu plus de 11 $, il fera parfaitement l’affaire sur une terrasse ensoleillée.

Les choix de Nadia

À commencer par le Cheverny 2013 du Domaine Sauger. Rien de complexe ni intense, mais un bel exemple de ce que peut donner cette appellation peu connue de Touraine et une expression pure, coulante et désaltérante des cépages pinot noir (70 %), gamay et malbec. À ce prix, on serait fou de s’en passer.

Un cran plus généreux et nourri par le soleil du sud, le Terres de Méditerranée 2014 de Dupéré Barrera reste au sommet de sa catégorie. Beaucoup de fruit et de corps, du tonus et de la vigueur. Super achat !

Domaine Sauger Cheverny 2013Dupéré Barrera Terres De Méditerranée 2014 Papagiannakos Savatiano 2015 Château Des Charmes Chardonnay 2013Babich Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2015

Enfin, pour l’apéro ou pour accompagner le crabe sans se ruiner, vous aimerez le caractère modérément parfumé, nerveux, vibrant et tout en légèreté du Savatiano 2015 de Papagiannakos.

Envie d’un peu plus de gras? Le Chardonnay 2013 du Château des Charmes (14 $) et le Chardonnay 2015 de Babich (17 $) sont autant de bonnes options. Tous deux présentent les qualités d’un bon chardonnay non boisé : gras, avec des saveurs pures de fruits blancs et un caractère désaltérant. Deux très bons rapports qualité-prix.

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!

Castello di Gabbiano Riserva Chianti Classico

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20 under $20 for April 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 “It’s Finally Spring” version of the 20 under $20.

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

Bill Zacharkiw’s picks

In the spirit of the varying temperatures that we experience in early spring, my five wine choices are paired with weather. So no matter what comes our way, there’s wine for the occasion. And by the way, if you don’t believe that weather affects your drinking, you are lucky – it absolutely does with what I decide to drink.

To combat the evening chill, a big brawny red from the Roussillon?  The 2014 Maury sec, Castell d’Agly from Domaine Cazes is suave, meaty and very complex. And organic to boot! How about for sweater weather, and eating outside, even if it is just to make the point that you will not be held hostage inside anymore! I was shocked by the 2014 Innovacion from Argentina’s Zuccardi. A blend of tempranillo and malbec that is medium bodied, dry, interesting – and under $10.

Castell D'agly Maury Sec 2014 Innovacion 2014 Primelli Soave 2014 Sevilen Isabey Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Aveleda Casal Garcia Vinho Verde 2015

For those first war, evenings, and while snowcrab is still around, a nuanced and delicate white is in order. While its rare to find any white drinkable under $15, how about the Primelli Soave for under $11. Dry, delicate, textured and with a subtle mineral note. If you want to eat fish or seafood and require a richer dish, the Turkish, yes I said Turkish, grown 2014 Isabey Sauvignon Blanc is a nod to the  Zealand style, but works it beautifully.

And finally, for that next hot day, when you just want to crack a rose, the gently fizzy Casal Garcia from Avelehda is a great pink riff on Vinho Verde. Tastes like a strawberry flavoured gin and tonic in many ways, and at just over $11, a fun ‘lil pink to crank back cold in the sun.

Marc Chapleau’s picks

While I normally try for a little more balance in my suggestions, this month there is but one white: The 2015 Viogner from Uraguay’s Don Pascual. It’s well-made, aromatic and dry. At just over $15, a great value.

My first red is the always great valued Carmenere from Chile’s Casa Silva. It’s fresh, with solid fruit, no excess in alcohol and tastes dry. At $15, a great deal.

Don Pascual Reserve Viognier 2015 Casa Silva Reserva Carmenère 2013 Domaine Cazes Côtes Catalanes Cap Au Sud 2014 Allegrini Belpasso 2012 Domaine La Montagnette 2015

From the Roussillon, Domaine Cazes’ 2014 Cap au Sud is both richly textured and spicy, powerful while not overly tannic. Another excellent value.

Moving to the Veneto, the 2012 Allegrini Belpaso is what you would expect from the region – lots of fruit with lots of freshness. It’s a versatile wine and can pair with spaghetti, pizza or even grilled chicken.

Finally, the 2015 Cotes du Rhone Village, Sinargues from Domaine de la Montagnette. A red which shows a great purity of fruit, whose acidity and slight note of CO2 combine to bring an exceptional brightness to the wine. The BBQ wine of the summer? It just might be.

Rémy Charest’s choices

In the world of under-15$ wine, is fruit, fruit and fruit pretty much all you can get? Nope. Hecula, a generous monastrell (mourvèdre) from solid producer Bodegas Castaño, sure shows a lot of ripe fruit on the nose, but on the heartwarming palate, you’ll find enticing notes of spice, cedar and more. Madcap South African producer Adi Badenhorst also throws a lot at you with his Curator, a Rhône blend showing smoke and fresh herbs, among other things. A fair bit of smoke, in fact – something that dissipates quickly when you aerate the wine, so you can fully enjoy it.

Bodegas Castaño Hécula Monastrell 2013 Curator A.A. Badenhorst Western Cape 2013 Tintonegro Limestone Block 2012 Le Pive Gris Vin Rosé 2015 Chartier Créateur D'harmonies Le Rosé 2015

Getting closer to the 20$ mark, you can get a lot of style and finesse, even in the more in-your-face reaches of the new world. Take the Tintonegro Limestone Block Malbec, for instance, produced by two smart guys in the higher reaches of Mendoza, Argentina. There’s terroir, here, not just ripeness and oak : you get the generous malbec fruit, but with lovely freshness and a backbone of graphite. Take note : malbec on limestone is a really awesome match.

As we’re nearing May – and hopefully, rising temperatures – let’s take a look at what rosés have to offer, too. My two picks of the month show that not all rosés are made equal – or limited to poolside quaffing. The very popular Le Pive shines particularly brightly in the 2015 vintage, with a crisp and bright personality. François Chartier’s 2015 Rosé has a fair bit of freshness, too, but it has an extra layer of generous fruit and floral aromas and, especially, a beautiful, enticing texture that keeps going, and going…. Two distinct wines with different occasions in mind.

Nadia Fournier’s selections

Let’s start with the 2013 Cheverney from Domaine Sauger. It’s nothing overly complex but is a great example of the potential of this lesser known appellation of the Touraine. A wonderfully pure and refreshing blend of pinot noir (70%), gamay and malbec. At under $17, you would be crazy not to give it a try.

A touch more generous and sun-laden, the 2014 Terres de Mediterrane from Dupere-Barrera is once again at the top of its category. Loaded with fruit and no lack of body, vigorous and so drinkable.

Domaine Sauger Cheverny 2013Dupéré Barrera Terres De Méditerranée 2014 Papagiannakos Savatiano 2015 Château Des Charmes Chardonnay 2013Babich Hawke's Bay Chardonnay 2015


Finally, for an aperitif or to accompany some crab without breaking the bank, you’ll love the character the Savatiano 2015 Papagiannakos. Moderately fragrant and vibrant, but still light and lively.

Want a little more richness? Chateau des Charmes 2013 Chardonnay and Babich 2015 Chardonnay are good options. Both have the qualities of good unoaked chardonnay – bold, with pure flavours of white fruit and refreshing character. Two very good values for the money .

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!

Castello di Gabbiano Riserva Chianti Classico

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Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES – April 30, 2016

Global Chardonnays, Springtime finds and What it takes to be The World’s Best Sommelier
By Sara d’Amato with notes from David, John and Michael

Click here for more from Sara d'Amato

Sara d’Amato

From Tasmania to Washington to the Côtes de Provence, there are so many gems in this weekend’s release that we each had difficultly narrowing down our top five picks. Thankfully John Szabo covered the two main features of this VINTAGES release, that of the Pacific Northwest and rosés last week. In addition to those spotlights, this release offers a substantial selection of quality wines from both BC and Ontario as well as very fine global chardonnays of which we have several double alignments. An out-of-this-world Chilean sauvignon blanc was also successful in charming more than one of our palates.

Although some interesting rosé finds from the south of France where previously highlighted, we couldn’t resist recommending a few more from this twelve bottle springtime release. Hoping for warm days ahead, you’ll find plenty of fresh, nervy offerings to tantalize your senses as well as some rich, comforting reds in case the beau temps doesn’t arrive.

Buyers’ Guide to Whites & Rosés

Quinta de Couselo 2014 O Rosal, Rías Baixas, Spain ($23.95)
David Lawrason – The albarino-based whites of Spain’s northwest Galician coast can range from dull and weak to overly tropical and blowsy. I like them somewhere between these two extremes, as delivered here. The property once belonged to Cistercian monks but it has been a family winery since 1864, and there is a sense of this pedigree in the bottle. It is a lovely example of Rias Baixas – elegant, a touch floral, complex and well balanced.
John Szabo – A serious version of Rias Baixas, crisp, crunchy, bone dry, genuinely concentrated and richly flavoured. I like the lick of white pepper (“stony, mineral”), and the sharp, well-chiselled acids.

McGuigan 2015 Bin 9000 Semillon, Hunter Valley, New South Wales Australia ($14.95)
John Szabo – Hardly a wine of earth-shattering complexity, but this fits the bill for fans of crisp, bright, saliva-inducing unoaked whites, simple but highly quaffable, ready to enjoy. Think of it as a dry riesling/unoaked chardonnay sort of wine, at a nice price.

Josef Chromy 2014 Pepik Chardonnay, Tasmania, Australia ($22.95)
Sara d’Amato – A crisp but leesy chardonnay with a northern Burgundian feel. The vibrant, floral and delicate flavours of cool climate chardonnay are beautifully expressed here.
John Szabo – Chromy makes a fine representation of cool Tasmanian terroir, zesty and lively, unoaked, and bearing more than a passing resemblance to Chablis. It’s all citrus and green apple fruit, enlivened by tight acids and a pinch of CO2 on the palate. An ideal oyster/patio sipping, aperitif wine.

Quinta De Couselo O Rosal 2014McGuigan Bin 9000 Semillon 2015 Josef Chromy Pepik Chardonnay 2014 Norman Hardie Niagara Unfiltered Chardonnay 2014

Norman Hardie 2014 Niagara Unfiltered Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada ($39.00)
Sara d’Amato – Norm’s Niagara chardonnay offers more plumpness than its County’s counterpart without sacrificing elegance, verve and focus. Drink now and don’t chill excessively.
Michael Godel – It’s hard not to compare Norman Hardie’s Niagara Chardonnay side by side with his County-grown and produced estate counterpart but this much I know. A Hardie Niagara Chardonnay is meant to be enjoyed in its early youth. This 2014 is so good right now.

Vignerons de Buxy Les Chaniots Montagny 1er Cru 2013, Burgundy, France ($24.95)
Sara d’Amato – A real steal, this chardonnay from the white only appellation of Montagny in the Cote Chalonnaise is skillfully produced with terrific intensity and structure. Despite its technical correctness, it still offers an abundance of ready-to-drink pleasure.

Montes 2015 Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc, Zapallar Coast, Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($19.95)
Michael Godel – This is an exciting hyperbole of Chile, a Sauvignon Blanc from the coast with wild flavours and singing aromatics. Job well done with this newly directed Montes.
John Szabo – The Zapallar D.O. is a new, cool coastal region in Chile pioneered by Aurelio Montes on the far out Pacific coast at the end of the Aconcagua Valley. And this is very pungent and zesty sauvignon to be sure, like jalapeño purée with lime zest and lemon juice, all good things, offering good density and weight.

Vignerons De Buxy Les Chaniots Montagny 1er Cru 2013 Montes Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc 2015 Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel Rosé 2015 Gassier Sables D'azur Rosé 2015 Villa Maria Private Bin Rose 2015

Domaine Maby La Forcadière Tavel Rosé 2015, Rhône, France $18.95 (701318)
Sara d’Amato – Longing for hot, sunny days, this most sophisticated of French rosé appellations is a terrific way to take a mental vacation. A spot on, very distinctive Tavel offering rich colour, a dry palate and some tannic presence giving it the ability to stand up to meat such as pork and lamb.

Gassier 2015 Sables d’Azur Rosé, Côtes de Provence, France ($15.95)
Michael Godel – Consistently and unquestionably pure and classically reasoned Rosé from Gassier. A dictionary entry rendering from Provence.

Villa Maria Private Bin Rosé 2015, East Coast, New Zealand ($17.95)
Michael Godel – Villa Maria produces one New Zealand’s most consistent portfolios across a wide range of whites and reds. It is no surprise to see the same high quality with this lively Rosé. It possesses palpable aridity and true red fruit aromas.

Buyers’ Guide to Reds

Featherstone 2013 Red Tail Merlot, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada ($19.95)
Sara d’Amato – A red blend that is ageing remarkably still with an abundance of fresh fruit and a plump, fleshy palate. Offers everything an affable textbook merlot should including flavours of Christmas cake, chocolate and deep plummy fruit.

Le Gravillas 2014 Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages, Rhône, France ($17.95)
Sara d’Amato – Known for fairly average wines, Plan de Dieu can surprise every once and awhile. Due to lack of wide recognition, this southern Rhône region offers approachable pricing. Lavender, tapenade, black pepper and sundried tomatoes evoke Provence and its sunny warmth.

Featherstone Red Tail Merlot 2013 Le Gravillas Plan De Dieu Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2014 Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec 2012 Pata Negra Reserva 2010 Tenuta di Capraia Chianti Classico 2013

Lamadrid 2012 Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec, Agrelo, Mendoza, Argentina ($17.00)
David Lawrason – One of my main beefs about Argentine malbecs is that many are released too soon, and come across as too blunt and coarse. This is still youthfully tannic but it is also fresh and juicy with lifted mulberry, herbs and graphite aromas and flavours. But the real attraction was the very good concentration for the money. The length surprised me.  The style immediately suggested a barbecue.

Pata Negra 2010 Reserva, Rioja, Spain ($17.00)
David Lawrason – There is a very traditional school of winemaking in Rioja that reveres textural richness and length, even if the flavours are not bright and fruity. Indeed some can be downright farmy.  This maturing example is chock full of cured meat, leather, peppery spice and cedar but so smooth and complex. Very impressive depth of flavour for the money and great balance.

Tenuta Di Capraia 2013 Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy ($21.95)
Michael Godel – Red fruit forward, leather and spice. These are the hallmark characteristics of classic, charming Chianti. This is Capraia’s 2013. A six days a week Chianti Classico.

Tabalí Reserva Especial Syrah, Limarí Valley, Chile ($17.95)
David Lawrason – From an underrated, emerging Pacific cooled region well north of Santiago, this is a deep, dark syrah with quite lifted aromas of tar, licorice, stewed blackcurrant/cherry fruit. I would like to see a bit more linearity and finesse but it is very impressive in terms of flavour depth, complexity and genuine syrah-ness.

Tabali Reserva Especial Syrah 2012 De Grendel Shiraz 2013 Château Bouscassé Vieilles Vignes 2006 Sordo Rocche Di Castiglione Riserva Barolo 2008

De Grendel 2013 Shiraz, Coastal Region, South Africa  ($24.95).
David Lawrason – Syrah/shiraz is the most exciting red from the Cape nowadays. I had several stunning examples on a recent visit.  This is from a vineyard in the Durbanville Hills only 7kms from and 200 metres above the cold Atlantic Ocean. It is a classic with all kinds of complexity, verve and depth. The ferrous minerality and acidity is very mindful of the northern Rhone, and it boasts amazing complexity and depth for the money.

Château Bouscassé 2006 Vieilles Vignes Madiran, France ($38.95)
John Szabo – This is clearly a superior, ambitious wine of class and pedigree, from the sister property of regional leader Château Montus. At this stage it’s pretty much fully mature, with a taste reminiscent of porcini mushroom broth – a big hit of umami. Yet it’s also still very structured, tannic even, with puckering astringency, so serve with assorted salty protein dishes. Terrific length and complexity overall. Best 2016-2026.

Sordo 2008 Rocche di Castiglione Riserva Barolo, Piedmont, Italy ($49.95)
John Szabo – A fine and savoury, now nicely mature nebbiolo from the village of Castiglione Falletto, crafted in a rather classic style, complete with leathery and tarry red fruit, liquorice, dried herbs and more. The palate is medium-full bodied, filling and washing over the taste buds, with excellent length, depth and complexity. Best 2016-2025.


The World’s Best Sommelier

He’s Swedish, 31 and loves hip-hop music. The title of World’s Best Sommelier was bestowed upon the unconventional Arvid Rosengren this month in Mendoza, Argentina. Fifty-six countries participated in this “Olympics of Wine” including our Canadian champion, Elyse Lambert of Quebec.

What does it take to achieve this most coveted of titles? Over the course of five days, the competitors are whittled down to 15 and then to 3 finalists. Rigorous theory exams, blind tasting and identification of spirits and wines, locating errors in wine lists, pouring a magnum of Champagne into 15 different shaped glasses, menu pairing and convincing a table of guests to buy expensive wine are among the many tasks. All of this must be diligently and calmly performed in a timed setting in front of thousands of of spectators in a language other than your mother tongue.


The fifteen semi finalists of the Best Sommelier of the World Contest Argentina 2016

It is not unusual for competitors to train five to ten years for this very competition. All candidates are national champions before they are offered a seat on the world stage. This year, three of the top five finalists were women including Elyse Lambert. A substantial Canadian delegation attended the competition made up of members of the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, a national organization with chapters in BC, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces. Celebrated winemakers and great supporters of Canadian Sommeliers, Peter Gamble and Ann Sperling (producers of both Sperling Wines and Versado among others) offered their Mendozian home to Canadian delegates over the course of the week.

The results are clear, Canada has a wealth of talent and our sommeliers rank among the world’s best. This international recognition of our Canada’s wine savvy community is the reason it has been chosen as the location for the Pan American Best Sommelier Challenge in 2018 which will take place in Montreal. Raise a glass to those who make a living serving others, and in particular, making sure that we are only served the best of wine!


Sara d’Amato

From VINTAGES April 30, 2016

Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Lawrason’s Take
Michael’s Mix
Szabo’s Smart Buys
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!

Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Chardonnay 2012

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Laissez-vous surprendre par les vins d’Allemagne ! – Mardi 17 mai

Salon des vins allemands à Montréal

La tournée canadienne de Riesling & Co. fait escale à Montréal le 17 mai prochain à la Galerie Lounge TD

Afin de promouvoir les saveurs étonnantes et la polyvalence exceptionnelle des vins allemands, l’événement Riesling & Co. arrive à Montréal ce printemps.

vins d’Allemagne

En effet, le 17 mai prochain, une vingtaine de producteurs allemands proposant plus de 100 vins se rassembleront à la Galerie Lounge TD pour offrir aux invités la dégustation de vins allemands la plus exhaustive au pays. Des accords gourmands seront préparés par quatre chefs réputés : Michèle Forgione (Impasto, Gema, Chez Tousignant), Paul-André Piché (Gargantua, Blind Pig, La Tannerie), Tommy et Frédéric (Pork Shop) et Yoan Boullion (Balmoral).

« Quelle meilleure façon pour les amateurs de vins de découvrir la polyvalence des rieslings et pinots allemands, et de partager leur passion avec les vignerons invités, » affirme Mme Ulrike Lenhardt, de l’Institut des vins allemands, qui sera à Montréal spécialement pour l’occasion. Tant les sommeliers que les chroniqueurs, les œnophiles et les gastronomes s’entendent en effet pour dire que les vins allemands s’accordent très bien avec une variété de mets.

Les vins d’Allemagne, soumis dans ce pays à des lois rigoureuses, offrent une très grande variété de produits convenant à toutes les occasions, à toutes les cuisines et à tous les goûts.

Le secret de cette grande compatibilité, c’est la variété des styles (sec à sucré, mousseux ou tranquille), des cépages (riesling et pinot noir notamment, deux des plus populaires) et des degrés de richesse (de léger à corsé). Sans compter que grâce à un climat plus frais, les vins présentent généralement plus d’acidité (un élément vital aux meilleurs accords vins-mets) et un taux d’alcool moins élevé que leurs pairs issus de climats plus chauds.

Autre avantage de l’acidité plus élevée des vins allemands, ceux-ci se conservent mieux une fois ouverts. N’hésitez donc pas à ouvrir plus d’une bouteille et à déguster pour décider du meilleur accord pour l’occasion, car vous pourrez ranger les autres bouteilles ouvertes au réfrigérateur en prévision d’un prochain repas.

« Si vous n’êtes pas déjà friand de vins allemands, c’est que vous n’avez tout simplement pas encore trouvé celui qui vous convient !  »

Chose certaine, rien de tel que le salon des vins allemands du 17 mai prochain pour découvrir, par vous-même, à quel point nos vins et la cuisine apprêtée à toutes les sauces sont faits pour s’entendre.

C’est un rendez-vous !

Acheter vos billets

Acheter vos billets


Mardi 17 mai – Galerie Lounge TD, 2e étage, 305 rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal H2X 3X5

Dégustation informelle – Goûtez à plus de 100 vins

  • Rencontrez plus de 20 vignerons et propriétaires
  • 18 h 30 à 22 h
  • Billets d’entrée : 60 $ avec le code CHACUNSONVIN — tous les échantillons de vins et d’aliments sont compris (prix courant 70 $ )
    Une partie des profits sera remise à la Tablée des chefs

Les amateurs de vins qui souhaitent participer à la dégustation en soirée sont invités à visiter : Soirée Riesling & Co. Vins d’Allemagne

Les abonnés de Chacun son Vin ont droit à un rabais de 10 $ sur le prix courant du billet d’entrée de 70 $. Indiquer le code promotionnel : CHACUNSONVIN

Acheter vos billets

Pour plus d’information, veuillez contacter : Elisabeth Charland, Brad
Tel: 514-871-1616 poste 269 /

Acheter vos billets


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WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008