WineAlign

Find the right wine at the right price, right now.

WineAlign Bus Trip to i4c World Tour Grand Tasting and Dinner – Sat. July 18

i4c logo

On Saturday, July 18th, please join us on a luxury bus trip to the signature event of the i4c weekend. The Cool Chardonnay World Tour showcases the world’s best Chardonnay and Ontario’s best cuisine. The fourth ‘C’ in i4C stands for Celebration and this is definitely a Celebration of amazing Cool Climate Chardonnays. This is the fifth anniversary of i4c; it’s an incredible event and we are going to the best part.

The evening begins with the Grand Tasting – the only public tasting event that showcases all of the wines of the i4c (60 wineries!). Taste your way through the realm of Cool Climate Chardonnays – from lively unoaked wines to smooth and rich barrel-aged vintages. The popular ‘What Kind of Cool Are You?’ station will return for the 5th anniversary event – an interactive palate profiling tasting of four exemplar Cool Climate Chardonnays.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

14c strolling

Stroll through a pre-dinner reception, exploring the incredible marriage of Canadian oysters and Champagne or Sparkling wine presented by Oyster aficionados Tide & Vine Oyster Co. Then join Chef Paul Harber (Ravine Vineyard Restaurant) and Chef Craig Youdale (Canadian Food & Wine Institute) and their dream team of region’s top Vineyard Chefs who will present a family-style feast highlighting the bounty of Ontario.

14c dinner

After dinner, enjoy the “Après Chardonnay” bar featuring the Ontario winemakers’ favourite RED varietals, the popular Craft Brewery bar, and dance under the stars.

Early Bird Price (until June 14): $200
Regular Price (after June 14): $225

Grand Tasting Schedule – Ridley College, St. Catharines Ontario
5:00pm – 7:00pm – Grand Tasting
7:15pm – 8:15pm – Oyster & Sparkling Reception
8:15pm – 9:45pm – Al Fresco Feast served Family Style with a “world tour of Chardonnay” and special library Chardonnays
9:30pm – 10:30pm – Apres Chardonnay Bar, live entertainment

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

14c girl

Besides the grand tasting & dinner we’ve managed to secure:

  • Reserved seating at i4c
  • i4c t-shirts ($25 value)
  • Summer of Chardonnay Passport ($170 value)*

* To celebrate their 5th Anniversary, the wineries of the i4c have launched The Summer of Chardonnay. This passport entitles guests to special tastings and experiences at 23 Ontario wineries from Chardonnay Day (May 21) to Labour Day (September 7).

We feel we’ve put together a fantastic evening. The cost of the i4c tasting and dinner alone is $150 + taxes. Add on the expense of driving from Toronto to St. Catharines and you’re already well north of $200. By joining WineAlign you’ll not only get round trip luxury transportation, grand tasting & dinner; but you’ll also get reserved seating, a t-shirt and a passport. The early bird price of our trip is $200.00 which includes all wine, food, taxes, fees and gratuities. On top of all that you’ll have the peace of mind of not having to drive.

Bus Itinerary:
Depart Kipling Subway Station: 3:15pm
Pickup at Burlington Go Station: 3:50pm
Arrive at i4c, Ridley College, St. Catharines: 4:45pm
Depart i4c: 10:30pm
Arrive at Kipling: 11:45pm

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

i4c John and David

We want to make our bus trips a great experience for everyone. So while there will be lots of wine to drink, we encourage our members to spit a lot in order to keep their palates sharp and enjoy the amazing cool climate chardonnays.

WineAlign promotes the responsible, legal and enjoyable consumption of wine to adults over 19 years of age. Please drink responsibly. Please arrange a designated driver to and from Kipling, or take public transit. We will be emailing a RELEASE, WAIVER OF LIABILITY, AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT out to all participants that will have to be signed and collected when boarding in Toronto and Burlington.
If you are interested in attending, please purchase your ticket quickly to avoid disappointment.

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

i4c chefs

 


Filed under: Events, News, , , , , , ,

20 bons vins à moins de 20$ pour mai

Les choix de notre équipe du Québec

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

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

Les choix de Marc Chapleau

Faire du vin au Chili, le prix de la main d’oeuvre étant ce qu’il est, cela coûte souvent moins cher qu’en Europe, notamment. Or ce qu’on aime, c’est quand cela se reflète sur le prix. Surtout lorsqu’en plus, la qualité est au rendez-vous. Comme pour le Trio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Concha y Toro, un très bon sauvignon blanc, vif et sec (2,8 g), bien typé.

Cap sur la Sicile maintenant. Et on se tourne vers un producteur du cru qui réussit, sous son climat généreux, à faire du blanc nerveux, à la fois généreux et rafraîchissant. De bons points, c’est dire, pour le Donnafugata Anthilia Bianco 2014.

La Grèce est une sorte de new kid on the block. Enfin, pas vraiment, on y fait du vin depuis des temps immémoriaux, mais la qualité, ces dernières années, a explosé. Une seule gorgée de l’excellent blanc Argyros Atlantis 2014, floral et fruité, presque vif, suffit pour s’en convaincre.

Concha Y Toro Trio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Donnafugata Anthìlia Bianco 2014 Argyros Atlantis White 2014 Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro 2013 Coroa D'ouro Rouge Poças Portugal 2009

De ce même pays dont on se demande par ailleurs, la crise économique aidant, s’il devra bientôt sortir de l’Europe, le rouge Thymiopoulos Naoussa Jeunes Vignes 2013, à base du cépage local xynomavro, recèle une dose de gaz carbonique qui lui donne plein d’allant. N’est pas sans rappeler certains vins à base de nebbiolo ou même certains « bojos ».

Enfin, du Portugal, le Coroa d’Ouro rouge 2009 , assemblage de cépages indigènes, est un vin floral au fruité bonbon. Comme pour son jumeau en blanc, un très honnête rapport qualité-prix et un bon choix également pour accompagner une variété de grillades.

Les choix de Bill Zacharkiw

Mai est un mois très chargé pour moi. Comme j’ai un potager qui fait presque un acre de terrain, j’ai passé les dernières semaines à me salir les mains, préparant mon sol, semant et plantant en vue de la prochaine récolte. Mon jardin n’a jamais vu l’ombre d’un pesticide, un herbicide ou un engrais chimique. Depuis 15 ans maintenant, je cultive bio. Bien sûr, cela pose des défis ; mais impossible pour moi de penser jardiner autrement.

Alors je sais de quoi je parle, quand il s’agit d’agrobiologie. Et ça tombe bien puisque mes cinq vins à moins de 20 $, ce mois-ci, sont tous faits à partir de raisins cultivés biologiquement.

Comment s’escrimer dans le potager sans siroter de temps en temps un bon verre de rosé bien frais ? J’ai deux superbes choix à vous proposer. Du Languedoc d’abord, le Le Pive Gris est devenu l’un de mes préférés. J’adore son fruit délicat et sa finale épicée. Aussi fin, mais plus floral et plus juteux, il y a le Coteaux Varois en Provence de Château La Lieue.  À ce prix, imbattable.

Le Pive Gris Vin Rosé 2014 Château La Lieue Coteaux Varois en Provence 2014 Clos De la Briderie Blanc 2014 Cono Sur Organic Pinot Noir 2014 Château L'escart Julien 2012

Si vous recherchez plutôt un blanc, ne regardez pas plus loin que le 2014 Clos de la Briderie, de la Loire et en appellation Touraine Mesland. Certes, marier le chenin au chardonnay n’est pas fréquent, mais voilà, le vin est très polyvalent, il fait un très bon apéritif et s’harmonise bien, aussi, avec une variété de fruits de mer.

Du côté des rouges, et en présumant que vous lorgnerez du côté d’un saumon, le Pinot noir Cono Sur Organico 2014 est tout désigné avec son fruité généreux et sa vibrante acidité. Servez-le à environ 16 degrés. Enfin, l’un des vins qui m’ont le plus agréablement surpris ces derniers temps : le Château L’Escart 2012, un bordeaux supérieur. Quel beau rouge ! Non seulement il est bien mûr, mais il fait preuve de cette finesse que l’on attend d’un bon bordeaux.

Les choix de Nadia Fournier

Cinq bonnes raisons de boire grec : 1- Assyrtiko, 2- Malagoousia, 3- Savatiano, 4- Agiorgitiko, 5- Xinomavro !

Sigalas, Assyrtiko – Athiri 2013, Santorin : Ce cépage autochtone de de Santorin se caractérise par sa vivacité, son caractère tranchant et sa structure minérale. Complété par une petite proportion d’athiri (lui aussi originaire de Santorin), ce vin blanc du domaine Sigalas saura mettre en valeur de la chair de crabe par sa fine salinité.

Gerovassiliou, Blanc Estate 2014, Epanomi : L’assyrtiko est de plus en plus utilisé en assemblage avec d’autres cépages, comme le malagousia. Cette variété quasi éteinte a été réhabilitée, entre autres, par Evangelos Gerovassiliou, qui en tire chaque année un vin délicieusement parfumé, et ayant assez de tenue pour se bonifier en bouteille.

Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Athiri 2013 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2014 Papagiannakos Savatiano 2014 Domaine Tetramythos Agiorgitiko Achaia 2013 Boutari Naoussa 2012

Papagiannakos, Savatiano 2014, Markopoulo : Cet important producteur de l’Attique obtient un résultat fort convaincant avec le savatiano, cépage grec surtout connu pour ses vins blancs minces et anonymes qui entrent dans la composition de la fameuse retsina. Celui-ci se distingue par son équilibre et par l’originalité de ses saveurs d’agrumes, de céleri et de fenouil.

Domaine Tetramythos, Agiorgitiko 2013, Achaia : Au nord-est du Péloponnèse, l’agiorgitiko – aussi connu sous le nom de st-george – donne de bons vins rouges plutôt souple, fruités et goulayants. Celui de Tetramythos n’est pas sans rappeller certains Beaujolais du sud.

Boutari, Naoussa 2012 : Surtout cultivé en Macédoine, dans le nord du pays, le xinomavro donne parfois des vins austères en jeunesse, mais qui ont la réputation de vieillir en beauté. Un peu à contre-courant avec son fruit discret et son caractère vieillot, celui de Boutari fait preuve d’une personnalité affirmée. À ce prix, on s’en réjouit!

Les choix de Rémy Charest

Ce mois-ci, ma sélection de liquides a vos liquidités particulièrement à cœur. En effet, quatre des cinq vins sont à moins de 15$ (dont un qui fait à peine plus de 10$) et le cinquième fait à peine 16$. Tout ça sur un mode plein de buvabilité.

Prenez par exemple le vin le plus abordable de ce quintette, le Vila Regia 2013, un portugais qui coûte à peine 10,55$, dont on se reverse un verre sans hésiter. N’allez pas croire qu’il sera complexe ou profond, mais il a l’avantage de ne pas être maquillé au maximum, comme tant des vins à ce prix vendus en SAQ (ou au dépanneur).

J’ai également été agréablement surpris par le Ventoux Grande Réserve des Challières 2013, un rouge du Rhône bien typé dont le nom laisserait prévoir une cuvée nettement plus chère que 12,95$. Le vin en donne pour son argent – et même plus, à mon avis.

Vila Regia 2013Bonpas Grande Réserve Des Challières Ventoux 2013 Chatons Du Cèdre 2012 Ijalba Genoli Viura 2013 Regaleali Bianco 2013

En montant un peu plus dans les prix (14,20$), on trouve un vin agréable et souple – et non-boisé – venu de Cahors, les Chatons du Cèdre, un malbec additionné d’un brin de merlot, belle démonstration que les vins de cette région peuvent avoir plus de finesse qu’on le pense parfois.

Du côté des blancs, le viura est le cépage dont on fait certains de mes vins blancs préférés – les riojas de chez Lopez de Heredia – mais la maison Ijalba, également de la Rioja, le met en valeur de façon simple, élégante et bien définie. À moins de 15$, on fait difficilement mieux – essayez ça avec une brochette de crevettes passée gentiment sur le barbecue.

Finalement, j’ai eu le plaisir de renouer récemment avec les vins de la maison Tasca d’Almerita, un des producteurs historiques de Sicile, que je n’avais pas goûté depuis un bon moment. Toute la gamme m’a plu, notamment le Regaleali Bianco, bel assemblage de cépages indigènes siciliens qui a de la fraîcheur et de l’élégance, tout ça pour 16$. Ce qui reste une belle aubaine, au final.

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!


Publicité
Les vins grecs

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , ,

20 under $20 for May

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 is the May version of the 20 under $20.

Chacun son Vin Critic Team

Bill Zacharkiw’s picks

May for me is a very busy time of the year. As I have close to an acre of vegetable garden, it’s a month where I get my hands dirty, preparing my soil, seeding and planting this summer’s crop. My garden has never seen a pesticide, herbicide or synthetic fertilizer. For 15 years, I have been organic, and while it presents its challenges, I would never even consider not growing things in the most natural way possible.

So I know what organic growing is all about. So for this months’ 20 under $20, my 5 wines are not only fantastic wines, but also are made with organically grown grapes.

What’s gardening without drinking rosé? I have two fantastic options for you. From the Languedoc, Le Pive Gris has become one of my “go to” pinks. I love its delicate fruit and spicy finish. Equally finessed, but more floral and juicy, is the Coteaux Varois en Provence from Château La Lieue. For the price, it’s unbeatable.

Le Pive Gris Vin Rosé 2014 Château La Lieue Coteaux Varois en Provence 2014 Clos De la Briderie Blanc 2014 Cono Sur Organic Pinot Noir 2014 Château L'escart Julien 2012

If you would prefer a white, then look no further than the 2014 Touraine Mesland from Clos de la Briderie. While it’s an unorthodox blend of chenin blanc and chardonnay, it’s a remarkably versatile white that works as an aperitif and with pretty well any seafood you can cook up.

For the reds, especially if you are having salmon, try the Cono Sur 2014 Organic Pinot Noir. Juicy red fruit with a vibrant acidity. Keep it around 16C and pack it back. And finally, one of the more surprising wines I have tasted recently, the Château L’Escart 2012 Bordeaux Supérieur surprised, no, shocked me with its ripeness, while at the same time maintaining the finesse that one expects from Bordeaux.

Marc Chapleau’s picks

Considering the price of manual labour, making wine in Chile is less expensive than producing it in Europe. And it’s nice that this reality is reflected in the bottle price, and doubly interesting when the quality is there as well. No better example than the Trio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Concha y Toro, which is an excellent sauvignon blanc, refreshing, dry (2,8 g) and varietally correct.

Now onto Sicily and turning to a producer of excellent wines that manages, in a warm climate, to produce a white wine which is at once refreshing and generous in texture. Full marks for the  Donnafugata Anthilia Bianco 2014.

Concha Y Toro Trio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014 Donnafugata Anthìlia Bianco 2014 Argyros Atlantis White 2014 Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro 2013 Coroa D'ouro Rouge Poças Portugal 2009

Greece is in many ways the new kid on the block. But in reality, it really isn’t as the country has been producing wine for centuries. But qualitatively, over the last years, there has been a marked increase. One sip of the Argyros Atlantis 2014, with its florals and fruits, should be enough to convince you of what the “New Greece” has to offer.

Also from Greece, the Thymiopoulos Naoussa Jeunes Vignes 2013, is made with the local red grape, xynomavro. A subtle touch of carbon dioxide gives it extra freshness and harkens notions of drinking certain Beaujolais.

Finally, from Portugal, the Coroa d’Ouro Red 2009, which is made with a blend of local indigenous grapes, is exceptionally floral with candied fruit notes. Like its twin white wine, this is a very honest wine that comes in at a great price and is a perfect match for a summery mixed grill.

Nadia Fournier’s selections

In case you missed my article last week, here are five good reasons to drink Greek wine: 1- Assyrtiko, 2- Malagoousia, 3- Savatiano, 4- Agiorgitiko, and 5- Xinomavro!

The indigenous grape of the island of Santorini is characterized by its cutting acidity and mineral structure. Blended with a small proportion of athiri, which is also an indigenous grape of the island, the Sigalas 2013 Assyrtiko Athiri is a great example of the quality of the wines made with assyrtiko and will work wonders with crab meat due to its delicate salinity.

Assyrtiko is being used more and more with other grapes, like malagousia. This historic Greek variety is being brought back to life by many winemakers, including Evangelos Gerovassiliou, who each year produces Domaine Gerovassiliou Epanomi, a white blend which is wonderfully aromatic with just enough structure to be able to age gracefully.

Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Athiri 2013 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2014 Papagiannakos Savatiano 2014 Domaine Tetramythos Agiorgitiko Achaia 2013 Boutari Naoussa 2012

Papagiannakos is an important producer from the region of Attica that always produces an excellent wine from the savatiano grape, a variety which is most often associated with banal and thin whites which are used to produce retsina. The Papagiannakos 2014 Savatiano is distinguished by its citrus fruit alongside subtle notes of celery and fennel.

In the northeastern part of the Péloponnèse, agiorgitiko – also known as St. George – produces red wines that are supple, fruity and easy drinking. The 2013 Agiorgitiko Achaia from Domaine Tetramythos reminds me of certain Beaujolais.

Known for being the main grape of Macedonia in the north of Greece, the xinomavro grape can sometimes produce wines which are quite austere in their youth, but age with beauty and grace. The Boutari Naoussa 2012  is a great example of this in its relative youth with discreet fruit and aged character. At this price, it’s hard to say no.

Remy Charest’s selections

This month’s selection of easy-drinking wine has your cash flow at heart as four of the five wines are not only under 20$, but actually under 15$, with the other sitting nicely at 16$. All very drinkable stuff.

For instance, the 2013 Vila Regia, from the Douro, the least expensive of the bunch at $10.55, is something I’d pour a second glass of without hesitation. Not that it’s complex or deep, but it has a fairly clear expression of what Portugal is about, without all the heavy make-up you’ll find on so many SAQ (or dépanneur) wines at that price.

Another pleasant surprise for me, this month, was the Grande Réserve des Challières 2013 Ventoux, a nice Rhône red whose name pointed to a much higher price than the actual $12.95. It’s definitely worth the money.

Vila Regia 2013Bonpas Grande Réserve Des Challières Ventoux 2013 Chatons Du Cèdre 2012 Ijalba Genoli Viura 2013 Regaleali Bianco 2013

A touch higher up, price-wise, is the Chatons du Cèdre, a supple, pleasant – and unoaked! – wine from Cahors. The malbec is blended with a splash of merlot, and shows how the wines from that region in Southern France can have finesse, not just brawn.

On the white side, viura is responsible for some of my very favorite wines in the world – the white Riojas from Lopez de Heredia. In the hands of Ijalba, another solid Rioja producer, it produces an elegant and well-defined wine that you should try with some gently-grilled skewered shrimp. Hard to beat, under 15$.

Finally, I had a chance to taste a whole range of wines from storied Sicilian producer Tasca d’Almerita the other day, something I hadn’t done in a long time. I liked the whole range, starting with the Regaleali Bianco, an expressive blend of local grape varieties that shows elegance and freshness. At $16.10, it’s still a great deal.

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!


Advertisment
New Wines of Greece

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , ,

Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES May 30 – Part Two

Southern Rhône Reds and the Best of the Rest
By John Szabo MS, with notes from David Lawrason and Sara d’Amato

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, Master Sommelier

This week’s report features the top Southern Rhône reds of the May 30th release, along with the best of the rest of the reds. Although prices in the Southern Rhône Valley have been creeping up over the last decade, particularly for the marquee appellations like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, there are still plenty of satisfying wines for the money. In fact, I’d say the region remains one of the top sources for fulsome, impactful reds in a style that appeals almost universally, without the premium commanded by more niche appellations. And in my view, the most costly wines are often the least regionally representative, and thus less interesting. I’ll leave those to the trophy hunters with the corporate boxes.

One of the reasons for the Rhône’s famous value quotient is simple: volume. There are over 71,000 football fields worth of vineyards in the valley, producing enough wine to fill 100 Olympic swimming pools, every year. That’s a lot of wine, second only to Bordeaux AOC in sheer size and production. And considering that there are over 5000 producers of Rhône Valley wine, competition is fierce. In the end, basic supply and demand create a favourable playing field for us, the consumers. So, to carry on the alarming display of mixed metaphors, let’s dive into the WineAlign crü’s top medal-winning performers. It’s telling that there’s such a spread of choices between us (only one double alignment), underscoring again the overall consistency and value offered by the southern Rhône. It comes down to nuances of preference, so align yourself up.

Also in this report you’ll find a fine collection of red wines that cover a wide style and geographic spectrum. Read on to see them, an impressive seventeen recommendations in all.

Buyers Guide: Southern Rhône Reds

Château De Nages 2012 JT Costières De Nîmes, Rhône, France ($24.95)

John Szabo – Nages is the family property of the sizable Michel Gassier wine business, representing the top of the ladder. This bold and ripe but balanced syrah-based cuvée (with 14% mourvèdre) is well worth the detour to this lesser-known southern French AOC, delivering well above the price category. It offers plenty of typical smoky, inky, cold cream and black pepper aromatics, while the palate is firm and lively with lots of tannic grip and floral-violet-inflected flavours. Best 2015-2022.

Pierre Amadieu 2012 Romane-Machotte Gigondas, Rhône, France ($27.95)

John Szabo – One of the first to put the name “Gigondas” on a bottle of wine in 1929, the Amadieu family continues to craft elegant, stylish grenache-based wines from their 7 ha at the foot of the village. This is the original cuvée, offering all of the southern Rhône-grenache suppleness one hopes for, alongside garrigue-licorice complexity and mouth-filling richness. It’s worth the price premium if you’re after something a little classier from the region. Best 2015-2022.
Sara d’Amato – Pierre Amadieu was the first producer to bottle wine with the name Gigondas and was also a principal founder of the region’s AOC. The wines from this estate reflect a traditional, elegant and complex approach. This endearing blend is a prime example of why Gigondas is rightfully emerging from the shadow of the neighboring Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Château De Nages J T Costières De Nîmes 2012 Pierre Amadieu Romane Machotte Gigondas 2012 Domaine Les Aphillanthes Plan De Dieu Cuvée Des Galets Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2011 La Ferme Du Mont Première Côte Côtes Du Rhône 2012

Domaine Les Aphillanthes 2011 Plan De Dieu Cuvée Des Galets, Côtes Du Rhône-Villages, Rhône, France ($23.95)

John Szabo – A biodynamic domaine (certified Biodyvin since 2007) producing terrifically rich and concentrated wines from their 37 hectares of vines between Gigondas and Cairanne. This 2011 CDR is bold, very ripe and boozy in the style of the vintage, with 15% alcohol declared, but, amazingly, it’s not out of whack. Serve with a light chill in any case to increase the freshness. As impressive as many Châteauneuf-du-Pape at twice the price. Best 2015-2020.

La Ferme Du Mont 2012 Première Côte, Côtes Du Rhône, Rhône Valley ($14.95)

David Lawrason – One of my favourite “newish” southern Rhône producers returns with a basic Côtes du Rhône that punches above its weight. It shows more exuberance than many more traditional and pedestrian southern Rhônes at this price.

Domaine De La Vieille Julienne 2012 Les Trois Sources, Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, Rhône Valley ($79.95)

David Lawrason – Well this is no bargain, but it is one of my top scoring wines of the release at 93 points, and there will be CdP fans/collectors who might want a few bottles of this very appealing and well made young Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the cellar. It has some opulence yet structured elegance. Best 2017 to 2025ish.

Domaine De La Vieille Julienne Les Trois Sources Châteauneuf Du Pape 2012 Cave De Rasteau Ortas Prestige Rasteau 2010 Famille Perrin Les Christins Vacqueyras 2012 Domaine Les Grands Bois Cuvée Philippine Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2013

Ortas 2010 Prestige Rasteau, Rhone Valley ($19.95)

David Lawrason – This is one of the more adventurous wines on the Rhône release, quite tarry, meaty and leathery as it heads into maturity. It is solid and well structured, yet another decent 2010, and good value.

Famille Perrin 2012 Les Christins Vacqueyras, Rhône, France ($23.95)

Sara d’Amato – A consistently sophisticated, polished find from the reliable house of Perrin. Largely grenache which is nicely complemented by peppery syrah. The appellation of Vacqueyras is quickly becoming the rising star of the southern Rhône with underpriced wines that show restraint, elegance and aromatic complexity.

Domaine Les Grands Bois 2013 Philippine, Côtes Du Rhône Villages, Rhône, France ($18.95)

Sara d’Amato – I am delighted to see the Domaine Les Grand Bois Villages on the shelves of the LCBO again after such a long absence. The Philippine takes its name from one of the three young daughters of the proprietors of this family-owned winery. Mireille and Marc Besnardeau now own an extensive 46 hectares of vines split over 7 southern Rhône communes. This hand-harvested, field-sorted wine made from vines of up to 70 years old is an excellent value.

Buyers Guide: Smart Red Wine Buys

Quinta Das Carvalhas 2011 Touriga Nacional, Douro, Portugal ($21.95)

John Szabo – The crown jewel of the Real Companhia Velha, Carvalhas is a large and spectacular quinta on the left bank of the Douro almost opposite the town of Pinhão where the company’s top wines have been produced since 1975. The 2011 touriga nacional is a bold, ripe, highly polished red with massive structure and concentration (it was a hot year in the Douro), with the potential to improve with another 2-4 years in the bottle. A superb wine for the price, dense, rich and full. Best 2017-2023.
David Lawrason – Go to school here on touriga nacional – Portugal’s signature grape – with this fine, lifted floral yet mineral example. I was reminded of a pure zinfandel. It’s very smooth, deep and driven by good acidity. It should cellar well for ten years. It was a great vintage in the Douro.

2014 Harvest in the Quinta das Carvalhas-3483

2014 Harvest in the Quinta das Carvalhas

Corino 2013 Dolcetto d’Alba, Piedmont, Italy ($18.95)

John Szabo – Giuliano Corino has nailed this one, a polished and supple, deliciously fruity Dolcetto from hillside vineyards in the town of La Morra, known for its more delicate and seductive wines. Drink or hold short-term; smiles guaranteed.

Rustenberg 2010 Merlot, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($19.95)

John Szabo – An arch-classic wine from one of the Cape’s most storied producers, which will have your friends guessing Pomerol. This is drinking beautifully now, and should continue to hold through the mid-term. A terrific buy for old world style/Bordeaux blend fans. Best 2015-2020.
David Lawrason This scores big on depth and complexity. The Bordeaux variety reds of Stellenbosch often taste like Bordeaux actually, with more flesh and power. This is a classic example with all kinds of ripe berry fruit, olive, savoury and mineral notes.

Quinta Das Carvalhas Touriga Nacional 2011 Corino Dolcetto d'Alba 2013 Rustenberg Merlot 2010Errazuriz Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon 2012Diamandes De Uco Malbec 2011

Errazuriz 2012 Aconcagua Alto Cabernet Sauvignon Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($19.95)

John Szabo – A polished and supple, generous and fruity example of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon, from the higher elevation (“Alto”) Andean foothills of the upper Aconcagua Valley. Winemaker Francisco Baettig has dialled the ripeness and freshness, fruit and oak into a highly appealing style. Best 2015-2020.

Diamandes De Uco 2011 Malbec, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina ($24.95)

David Lawrason – Diamandes is one of the French-owned estates within the Clos de los Siete complex in the Vista Flores sub-region of Uco Valley. The compound reminds me of an outpost of the French Foreign legion! But my goodness are the member estates ever making great wine. The top label from Diamandes was the single best red I tasted in Argentina. This junior version still hits 90 – a classy, dense, poised and well structured malbec.

Trivento 2012 Golden Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina ($19.95)

Sara d’Amato – A very impressive cabernet with a great deal of structure and density of fruit for under $20. Trivento is Concho Y Toro’s Argentinean project and is a consistent consumer favourite.

Trivento Golden Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Boschendal 1685 S & M Shiraz Badia A Coltibuono Riserva Chianti Classico 2009 Alvaro Castro Red 2011

Boschendal 2013 1685 S & M Shiraz/Mourvèdre, Coastal Region, Western Cape, South Africa ($19.95)

Sara d’Amato – A little offbeat but wildly appealing at the same time with a name that is sure to spark conversation. The wine is brimming with a complex array of flavours that include pepper, cool menthol, tilled earth, exotic spice, mineral and an abundance of cassis.

Badia A Coltibuono 2009 Riserva Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy ($38.95)

Sara d’Amato – Finding a wine such as this makes the hours of tasting largely mediocre quality wine all worthwhile. With a bounty of charm and character, this largely sangiovese based blend made from organic fruit is drinking beautifully now but has many years yet to come.

Álvaro Castro 2011 Red, Dão, Portugal ($17.95)

John Szabo – I don’t believe I’ve ever had a wine from Castro that I haven’t enjoyed, one of the Dão’s most sought-after producers. This is all elegance, class and balance in a mid-weight, infinitely drinkable red blend. Best 2015-2021.

WineAlign's Bill Zacharkiw gives the Thumbs Up to Alvaro Castro in Viseu, Dão-3708

WineAlign’s Bill Zacharkiw gives the Thumbs Up to Alvaro Castro in Viseu, Dão

 

Wines of Portugal, A World of Difference.

Taste the Soul of Portugal - June 9th - TorontoOn Tuesday, June 9th, you’re invited to discover the exceptional diversity of Portuguese wines – with yours truly along as your guide. Here’s your chance to kick the varietal habit and come to terms with regional identity instead. Portugal has 200+ grapes, and all old vineyards (and there are many in Portugal) are field blends, like the wines. It’s the region that makes the style difference. This is the way wine has always been made, and understood. We should get back there. Find out more and save $10 on your ticket with WineAlign’s access code.

 

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

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo, MS

From VINTAGES May 30, 2015

Szabo’s Smart Buys
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Buyers’ Guide Part One: Pinot Noir’s New World
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!


Advertisement
Castello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2011


Wines of Portugal, A World of Difference.

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , , , , , ,

BC Wine Report – First Look at the 2014 Vintage

by DJ Kearney

DJ Kearney

DJ Kearney

Could be a thriller. Warm but balanced, long from start to finish and uniquely even across all six of British Columbia’s winegrowing areas, 2014 looks like a stunner… and a keeper. We are understated Canadians after all, but a mild euphoria seems to have spread across BC’s wine lands about the 2014 vintage.

The Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys are where 90% of all vines grow and 2014 presented a long and very warm and steady growing season compared to other years. And here in this unique area with its short, hot growing season and desert-like conditions, a little extra hang time for grapes makes all the difference. The last four vintages have been a study in the kind of variation that marginal regions experience: the cool, clipped 2010 and 2011 seasons, solid 2012 that started wet but ended dry and temperate, and 2013 that turned out very well but threw everything possible at winegrowers from wet, hail, sizzling heat, wasps and cool October weather that shut down the vintage early. In comparison, 2014 rates as one of the warmest, but rather than heat spikes, the temperatures were steady and cool at just the right times. Number-wise, 2014 joins 1998 and 2003 as vintages defined by heat and length. “Might be the best vintage of the early part of the century” wryly opined Tantalus’ viticulturist Warwick Shaw. There seems little doubt that wines have the structure, concentration and balance to dazzle now, but also the potential to age particularly well. Disease pressure was low, aromatic and flavour development was unparalleled and tannins ripened supremely well – even for cabernet sauvignon.

Despite being one of the warmest summers on record, Shaw pointed out that the outcome is not what you expect from the hot weather of the 2014 growing season. Grape ripening actually slows down when the heat gets to 35°C, because vines shift into a languid dormancy until temperatures drop, putting the brakes on brix (building sugars) and the plummeting of vital acids. This, combined with early bud burst, flowering and fertilization, steady summer heat, a cool September and long, warm October harvest window added up to some very singular conditions in 2014. It was dry too; between July and September in Kelowna there were just 11mm of rain, and even less in the South Okanagan.

Throughout the valley whites show beautiful aromatics, flavours and great acid levels and should age exceptionally well because of it. The rosés I’ve sampled are flavour-packed and they burst with juicy vibrancy. But the reds may prove the show-stoppers. September’s cooler temperatures slowed down sugar development, but flavours and tannins kept maturing, while cool nights promoted sharply tuned acids. For reds, especially late ripening grapes like cabernet sauvignon, the conjunction of complete flavour and tannin development at lower alcohol levels will be a strong feature of this vintage.

Rhys Pender MW of Little Farm in Cawston farms riesling and chardonnay, and said “2014 was an excellent vintage. There was enough heat to be able to pick at optimum ripeness. It was quite early. We were all done mid-September with harvest. Even though the heat units, harvest dates and numbers were similar to 2013, the wines taste very different. There seems to be more intense fruitiness in the wines naturally from 2014”.

Vancouver Island had a few more curve balls. Chris Turyk of Unsworth Vineyards in the Cowichan Valley said: “we were challenged on all fronts, with vineyard management and timing of vineyard tasks… It was a nice early and long gentle flowering due to the nice spring so it looked great… rain in early October condensed harvest into a short couple weeks. Same amount of work, in half the time. Late nights and early mornings with fruit constantly coming in. This meant there was less time to baby the more challenging fruit through ferment. We had average to average plus yields. Ripeness was good across the board.”

How much wine was made in 2014? Lots. From 10,260 planted acres (4,152 hectares) tonnage was high at 37,919 short tons, which is 6,000 more than 2013, and more than double that of the scant 2010 vintage (17,778 short tons). Yet again merlot (30 % of all red grapes planted) and pinot gris (22%) topped the list, with pinot noir in second place at 21% and chardonnay at 20%. Icewine looks to be stellar too, with an early Arctic outflow that allowed for the second earliest start since 2003. Tantalus picked on November 13th at 4am, and Kathy Malone of Hillside Winery said: “We picked gamay icewine during the second cold weather event on November 30th, and actually broke the cast iron head of our hand basket press on it. Suffice to say it’s one of our highest brix icewines to date. The date—well past normal harvest, but pre-Christmas, was particularly advantageous to red grape icewine production”.

As with all vintages, the proof will be in the wineglass, but as Jacquie Kemp of Moraine Winery summed up, “when you have everything handed to you on a plate, there’s no reason to NOT have everything in the bottle.”

Some of the stunning 2014’s from BC to watch for:

Tantalus Riesling 2014Hillside Muscat Ottonel 2014 Moraine Viognier 2014

Tantalus Riesling 2014

Hillside 2014 Muscat Ottonel 2014

Moraine Viognier 2014

Township 7 Rosé 2014

Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2014

Monte Creek Ranch Marquette 2014

Wild Goose Riesling 2014

Township 7 Rose 2014 Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris 2014 Monte Creek Ranch Marquette Rose 2014Wild Goose Riesling 2014

Editors Note: You can read DJ’s 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 BC wines!

 


The National Wine Awards of Canada

NWAC15 croppedThe National Wine Awards of Canada (NWAC), held annually in June, is only open to wines grown and produced in Canada. The goal of ‘The Nationals’ is to expose Canadian wine drinkers to the best in Canadian wines. There is no restriction on price, leaving each winery the opportunity to compete with and against the best wines in the country. More importantly, as barriers to ship wines across the country come down, the combination of winning recognition at The Nationals and WineAlign’s ability to display the results alongside your key retail outlets, from the winery direct to across the country, makes it the only competition with enduring post competition sales opportunities.

The 2015 tastings will take place from June 23 to 27 in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

The deadline to the Western consolidation point has been extended to Friday, May 29, 2015.

Click here for more information and to register.

 


Canadian Wineries on WineAlign

It’s easy to explore Canadian wines & wineries on WineAlign. From the menu bar simply choose Wine >> Wineries.  You can select by region or winery name, or use our interactive map. We are adding new wineries all the time, so please let us know if we are missing your favourite.

Canadian Wineries

You can also click on the winery name on any wine page to be taken directly to the winery’s profile page where you can see more wines and reviews. Just remember to set your filters to “All Sources” and “Show wines with zero inventory” as some winery wines are not linked to retail inventory.


Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , ,

Top 20 under $20 at the LCBO (May)

Your Guide to the Best Values, Limited Time Offers & Bonus Air Miles selections at the LCBO
by Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

Steve Thurlow

The Top 20 under $20 are best buys among the 1600 or so wines in LCBO Wines and the VINTAGES Essentials Collection. This month I selected 13 wines from Steve’s Top 50, a standing WineAlign list based on quality/price ratio. You can read below in detail how the Top 50 works, but it does fluctuate as new wines arrive and as discounts show up through Limited Time Offers (LTOs).

With all of the wines on promotion, now is a great time for value wine shopping. There are six new wines on the Top 50 for you to try and for the next four weeks there’s another seven wines already on the list that are on promotion i.e. have Bonus Air Miles (BAMs) that apply or are on sale (LTO), making these wines even more attractive; all this will surely make your May/June drinking more affordable.

To make up the balance of this report’s Top 20 I added another seven wines, all with BAMs, that make them good choices. Though none of them quite made it on to my standard Top 50, they were all close.

The discount period runs until June 21st. So don’t hesitate. Thanks to WineAlign’s inventory tracking, I was able to ensure that there were stocks available, when we published, of every wine that I highlight.

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

Reds

Casal Thaulero Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Terre Di Chieti, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75) New to Top 50 – A balanced dry red with a lot going on for the money.

Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2013, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75) New to Top 50 – A midweight dry vibrant red that is great with tomato sauces.

Casal Thaulero Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Citra Sangiovese Terre Di Chieti 2013 Yellow Tail Reserve Shiraz 2012 Tini Sangiovese Di Romagna 2012

Yellow Tail Reserve Shiraz 2012, Southeastern Australia ($8.95 was $15.95) New to Top 50 – A charming wine with perfumed aromas, that’s full bodied with ripe sweet blackberry fruit. Grab an armful at this price before it is all gone. There were over 1300 bottles left when we published.

Tini Sangiovese Di Romagna 2012, Sangiovese Di Romagna, Italy ($8.95 was $10.95) Top 50 May – A very drinkable lightweight Italian red for pizza and meaty pasta sauces. Best to chill a little.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile ($10.95 was $12.95) Top 50 May – A lot of depth and complexity for such an inexpensive wine. Its clean and lively with pure aromas and flavours and very good length.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Merlot 2013 Mountain Fish Agiorgitiko 2012 Borsao Garnacha Selección 2012 Thelema Mountain Red 2012 Faustino V Tempranillo Rosado 2014

Mountain Fish Agiorgitiko 2012, Peloponnese, Greece ($11.10 was $13.10) Top 50 May – Agiorgitiko is one of Greece’s best indigenous red grapes; grown widely in the Peloponnese region. This is a deep purple red with lots of fruit and food friendly acidity. Try with lamb cutlets.

Borsao Garnacha Selección 2012, Campo De Borja, Spain ($11.95 + 4BAMs) – A lightly oaked fresh young Spanish red that’s quite full bodied with a soft warm finish. Chill lightly and enjoy with pizza.

Thelema Mountain Red 2012, Western Cape, South Africa ($12.90 + 6BAMs) – This delightful blend of shiraz and five other grapes comes from high mountain vineyards above Stellenbosch. It is very smooth and quite dense. Try with pizza or burgers .

Faustino V Tempranillo Rosado 2014, Rioja, Spain ($12.90) New to Top 50 – This deep fuchsia pink rose is almost a light red. Match with mildly flavoured meat dishes.

La Posta Cocina Tinto Blend 2013, Mendoza, Argentina $12.95 plus 8BAMs Top 50 May – An easy drinking well balanced red with juicy berry fruit lively acidity with just enough tannin and a mild spicy tone.

La Posta Cocina Tinto Blend 2013 Guardian Reserva Red 2013 Errazuriz Estate Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2013

Guardian Reserva Red 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($13.60 + 6BAMs) – A complex red cabernet blend finely balanced and fruity long lingering finish with some fine tannin. Try with a steak.

Errazuriz Estate Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($13.95 + 9BAMs) – A midweight juicy cabernet with aromas of plum and raspberry fruit, with pencil shavings and herbal tones. Not as powerful as some, but has some charm.  Very good length.

Errazuriz Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Aconcagua Valley, Chile ($13.95 plus 8BAMs) Top 50 May – This is a delicious Chilean pinot with a good depth of colour, a fragrant nose and a well balanced complex palate.  Try with seared tuna.

Whites

Citra Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2013, Abruzzo, Italy ($7.75) New to Top 50 – A ripe fruity white with a good depth of flavour and good palate length for such an inexpensive white.

Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2013 Chile ($10.45 + 5BAMs) – A bright fresh chardonnay with peach and apple fruit and soft complementary oak aromas and flavours.

Citra Trebbiano D'abruzzo 2013 Cono Sur Bicicleta Chardonnay 2013 Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay 2013

Fleur Du Cap Chardonnay 2013, Western Cape, South Africa ($10.80 was $12.80) Top 50 May – A rich smooth intense old style chardonnay with well integrated oak spice. Try with fish and chips.

Mascota Vineyards O P I Chardonnay 2014 Argentina ($10.95 was $12.95) Top 50 May – A rich flavourful chardonnay with just a touch of oak and a firm dry finish.

Villa Wolf Riesling 2013 Pfalz, Germany ($14.80 + 8BAMs) – A juicy flavourful well balance riesling thats almost dry with lovely racy acidity and very good length. A very versatile food wine with seafood, pastry and white meat dishes.

Mascota Vineyards O P I Chardonnay 2014 Villa Wolf Riesling 2013 Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2014 Pocketwatch Chardonnay 2013

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2014, Padthaway Adelaide Hills, South Australia ($14.95) New to Top 50 – An elegant fresh lightly oaked chardonnay with very good length.

Pocketwatch Chardonnay 2013, Central Ranges, New South Wales, Australia ($15.00 + 10BAMs) – Expect an enticing nose of lemongrass, peach and ripe pear aromas with well integrated oak spice and lovely patisserie vanilla, like a baker’s shop. The palate is juicy, midweight and very creamy with elegant fruit.

How does a wine get selected for the Top 20 under $20.

Top 20 Under 20There are three ways that a wine gets into this monthly report of wines that are always in the stores either in the LCBO Wines section or the VINTAGES Essential Collection.

– On Sale (LTO’s or Limited Time Offers): Every four weeks the LCBO discounts around 200 wines. I have looked through the current batch and have highlighted some of my favourites that offer better value at present…. so stock up now.

– Bonus Air Miles (BAM’s): If you collect Air Miles then you will be getting Bonus Air Miles on another 150 or so wines…a few of these have a special appeal for a while.

– Steve’s Top 50: Wines that have moved onto my Top 50 Best Values this month. This is on an-on going WineAlign selection (Top 50,) that mathematically calculates value by comparing the price and rating of all the wines on the LCBO General List. You can access the report any time and read more about it now.

The Rest of Steve’s Top 50

In addition to the wines mentioned above, there are another 37 wines on the Top 50 list this month. So if you did not find all you need in this report, dip into the Top 50 LCBO and VINTAGES Essentials wines. There will surely be something inexpensive that suits your taste.

To be included in the Top 50 for value a wine must be inexpensive while also having a high score, indicating high quality. I use a mathematical model to make the Top 50 selections from the wines in our database. I review the list every month to include newly listed and recently tasted vintages of current listings as well as monitoring the value of those put on sale for a limited time.

Before value wine shopping remember to consult the Top 50 (Click on Wine =>Top 50 Value Wines to be taken directly to the list), since it is always changing. If you find that there is a new wine on the shelf or a new vintage that we have not reviewed, let us know. Moreover if you disagree with our reviews, tell us please us. And if you think our reviews are accurate, send us some feedback since it’s good to hear that you agree with us.

The Top 50 changes all the time, so remember to check before shopping. I will be back next month with more news on value arrivals to Essentials and the LCBO.

Cheers!

Steve Thurlow

Top 20 Under $20
Top 50 Value Wines

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


Advertisements
Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , , ,

Hello, It’s Canada Calling.

How Are Canadian Wines Received Internationally?May 26, 2015

Szabo’s Free Run

Text and photographs by John Szabo MS

John Szabo MS

John Szabo MS

Despite the considerable fuss we make over local wines, outside of these borders, knowledge of Canadian wines, and even awareness of their existence, remains limited. Icewine remains the most high profile product by a wide (commercial) margin, while table wines are relegated to the anecdotal ledger book margins of export reports. But over the last half-dozen years or so recognition of quality Canadian ferments has been growing, especially in the UK and the US, thanks to a combination of factors such as shifting taste trends, on-going targeted marketing efforts, the unquenchable thirst for novelty, and, of course, some pretty damned good wines. Canada, it seems, is becoming a bonafide wine category.

The Canadian wine industry is not insignificant, after all. At last count there are over 12,000 hectares of vineyards shared between Ontario, BC, Québec and Nova Scotia. That’s a third more acreage than, say, all of Oregon, a state with considerable international brand awareness, or just over a third of New Zealand’s total acreage, a powerhouse export country. There are also over 500 registered producers across Canada (including fruit wine), all of which suggests that Canada could be more than just a sweet blip on the world wine map.

Although sales at home are strong, there’s still surplus to sell, and more importantly, as with any emerging nation, some outside recognition is a great shot in the arm that can also generate more sales locally. “Positive media and influencer attention from overseas is well received in our own local market creating more pride here at home”, says Magdalena Kaiser of the Wine Marketing Association of Ontario. You may think that’s a typically Canadian position, but Canada is hardly the only country in the world to seek some positive outside reinforcement. Even well established wine producing nations still crave it. So Canadians have been making calls abroad.

The Grand Tasting-2154

The Grand Tasting

On May 14th, 2015, I had a front row seat to listen in first hand on who is answering oversees in the highly influential UK market. On the eve of the annual London Wine Fair, Canadian wine and cider makers were busy pouring their wares to a curious group of British wine tradespeople in the heart of the capital in an event called “Canada Calling”. It was not the first, but in fact the third time in five years that a sizable delegation from Canada presented wines in London (the first in 2010, followed by a 2013 edition). And the setting couldn’t have been more grand: the event was hosted at Canada House, the seat of the High Commission of Canada to the UK, which occupies prime real estate on Trafalgar Square – a subtle reminder of Canada’s pride of place within the Empire.

This year’s delegation included nearly three-dozen wineries from five provinces, building on the success of previous showings that delivered “measurable results” in marketing parlance, according to several sources. Ten Canadian wineries have already signed UK distribution agreements, while others who made the journey this year “are in serious discussions”. It was “the largest pan-Canadian wine event outside of Canada to date”, according to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada co-organizer and WineAlign contributor Janet Dorozynski. The enthusiastic participation was driven no doubt in part by the forthcoming Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Immediately upon CETA’s entry into force, EU tariffs on Canadian red and white wines, including icewine, will be eliminated, leveling the playing field and mitigating one of Canada’s handicaps, high price.

Author Jamie Goode in discussion with Graham Rennie, Rennie Estate, ON-2163

Author Jamie Goode in discussion with Graham Rennie, Rennie Estate

The day consisted of a masterclass held in the morning, focused on red wines – an eyebrow-raising move to be sure for a country perceived as snowbound most of the year. The tasting was hosted by this writer, along with panelists Jamie Goode (UK based wine writer and WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada judge), Thomas Bachelder of Bachelder wines in Ontario, Severine Pinte, winemaker at Le Vieux Pin/La Stella in the Okanagan Valley, and Janet Dorozynski.

It was by all accounts a success, hinging in part on the element of surprise, and particularly the BC syrah flight. “I sort of expected pinot noir and even cabernet franc”, Christine Parkinson told me after the tasting, head wine buyer for the Hakkasan Group in London. “But I was surprised by the red blends, and especially the syrahs”, she continued. She later tweeted: “Enjoyed #Canadacalling tasting with @johnszabo today. Syrah flight so good that I actually heard someone whispering ‘this must be a ringer’”.

Her comments were echoed by others, including the venerable Hugh Johnson who likewise tweeted: “Remarkable wines from British Columbia at Canada House. Esp the Rhonies; scented Syrahs, Rouss/Mars/Viognier blends, P. Noirs. News to me.”

The Venerable British author Hugh Johnson w Magdalena Kaiser, WMAO-2160

The Venerable British author Hugh Johnson w Magdalena Kaiser

The afternoon featured the usual walk-around tasting with tables set up around the perimeter of the main floor salon. But what was perhaps unusual was the number of top-level journalists and wine buyers under the same roof at once for a tasting that included neither Burgundy nor Bordeaux on the list. Paparazzi (like me) were happy snapping candid shots of Hugh Johnson, Jancis Robinson, Oz Clark and Steven Spurrier, to name but a few, who shuffled between a bevy of MWs and sommeliers, wine buyers and educators. Although the room wasn’t packed, as with wine, it’s quality, not quantity that counts, as Jamie Goode pointed out. “Thursday’s Canadian wine tasting and seminar at Canada House was a great success. Lots of energy and enthusiasm, great people, and some lovely wines”, he later wrote on his popular website.

I caught up with Steven Spurrier from Decanter Magazine at the Tawse Winery table, fittingly enough, as the Tawse Estate Chardonnay had recently appeared on the cover of Decanter. “This is brilliant chardonnay, brilliant chardonnay”, he said animatedly, tasting the wine again with genuine enthusiasm. When I asked him what he thought of the value, he responded quickly saying that Canadian wine isn’t about value. “This should take the place of good village or premier cru Meursault on a wine list”, he said, continuing on to point out the importance of sommeliers in the UK market. “If the sommelier proposes it, clients will take a chance and enjoy it. And all the sommeliers at these new restaurants and wine bars are looking for new wines to sell. You don’t see Bordeaux on wine lists anymore.”

Decanter Editor Steven Spurrier, tasting intently-2156

Decanter Editor Steven Spurrier, tasting intently

It’s likely not news to any Canadian producers hoping to export that the best way into any new markets where you can’t compete on value (and I doubt Canada will never compete on pure value alone, even with tariff eliminations), is invariably via the on-trade. And there does seem to be genuine appetite for high quality Canadian wines.

Xavier Rousset MS, co-owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Texture and three wine bars under the 28-50 brand in central London where Canadian wines have found a spot on the list, was also enthusiastic about the overall quality on offer at the event. He cited chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet franc as personal highlights. But he also commented on value: “Canada is not seen as great value”, he said frankly. “North American wine in general is not seen as value. But we buy on quality, and the story behind it”. The comment underscores another well-known aspect of wine sales.

Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London-2152

Canada House, Trafalgar Square, London

So, Canada, What’s your story? When the world answers, it needs to be sharp and focused. Attention spans are narrow.

Here’s one idea: Canada is genuinely cool. Whereas a mere decade ago in the age vinous largess, when the more a wine would give the better it was, a cool climate was a major handicap. But now that the style pendulum has swung to the more restrained and understated side, authentic coolness (and not just a “relatively” cool climate) has become one of Canada’s greatest strengths across the country, even in the southern Okanagan. Canadians needn’t work hard at crafting crackling, sharp, finely tuned wines with all the drinkability of a glacial stream on a hot summer’s day. No need to apologize anymore for slim size or electric acids. Seems like a good place to begin the story.

The rest is yours to tell.

Calling Canadian Wineries: Wine Align National Wine Awards 2015

It’s not too late. If you’re a Canadian winery and would like to see how your wines measure up against the best from shore to shore, calibrated by a dozen and a half professionals with vast domestic and international experience, enter them in the NWACs. We’re pleased to welcome back the very sharp Dr. Jamie Goode to the panel this year.

Click here for more information and to register.

That’s all for this Free Run. See you over the next bottle (of Canadian?) wine.

John Szabo, MS

John Szabo MS


Advertisements
Liberty School Classics

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , ,

Les vins grecs : antidote à l’ennui

Soif d’ailleurs avec Nadia

Nadia Fournier - New - Cropped

Nadia Fournier

Avec ses multiples visages, le vignoble grec est une promesse d’aventure pour le consommateur en quête de saveurs et de sensations nouvelles. Gardienne d’un des plus riches patrimoines ampélographiques de la planète, la Grèce mise résolument sur ses variétés régionales, qui sont autant d’antidotes contre la standardisation et l’homogénéisation du goût. Cette seule raison suffirait à vous convaincre d’abandonner vos préjugés à l’endroit des vins grecs, mais c’est qu’en plus, les vins grecs offrent un rapport qualité-prix-plaisir quasi inégalable. Généreux, éminemment digestes et parfaitement adaptés aux plaisirs de la table.

Aller-retour pour Santorin, en classe éconimique 

Haut-lieu touristique et capitale nationale des lunes de miel, Santorin est bien plus qu’un paysage de carte postale et abrite l’un des vignobles les plus singuliers et les plus anciens de la planète, puisqu’on y cultive la vigne depuis déjà la viticulture dès le 17e siècle av. J.-C.

Forcés de s’adapter à des conditions climatiques extrêmes – Santorin ne reçoit qu’une trentaine de millimètres de pluie pendant les mois d’été – les vignerons ont joué d’ingéniosité pour aider la vigne à survivre. Là-bas, ne cherchez pas de palissage ni de vignoble en rangées comme dans les grandes régions viticole européennes. Les plants d’assyrtiko, cépage blanc local, sont plutôt conduits de façon à prendre la forme de paniers, tout près du sol. Cette méthode offre une protection contre les vents violents chargés de poussière volcanique et permet de mieux retenir la rosée matinale, source d’humidité essentielle.

Reconnu pour sa propriété à conserver une bonne acidité malgré les excès de chaleur du climat, le cépage assyrtiko n’est pas exclusif à Santorin, mais c’est là qu’il trouve sont expression la plus racée. Toutes les cuvées vendues à la SAQ ont en commun une minéralité  – ou salinité, c’est selon – et laissent une sensation incroyablement désaltérante en bouche.

Plus abordable, grâce à une 30 % d’athiri (un autre cépage blanc local), qui permet de tempérer la vigueur de l’assyrtiko, l’Assyrtiko – Athiri 2013 du domaine Sigalas arbore un profil plutôt classique. Dans le même style et composée d’assyrtiko, d’aidani et d’athiri, la cuvée Atlantis 2014 d’Argyros est particulièrement réussie cette année.

Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Athiri 2013 Argyros Atlantis White 2014 Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko 2014 Estate Argyros Assyrtiko 2013 Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko 2014 Hatzidakis Assyrtiko Cuvée No. 15 2013

Les vins blancs issus à 100 % d’assyrtiko se distinguent, en général, par une acidité tranchante, souvent structurante même, qui donne à certains des airs chablisiens. Issu de vignes âgées de 80 ans le Thalassitis 2014 est fermenté exclusivement en cuve d’inox pour préserver la pureté aromatique de l’assyrtiko. L’Assyrtiko Estate 2013 d’Argyros tire plutôt sa complexité de vignes âgées en moyenne de 150 ans et profite d’un élevage partiel est fûts de chêne, qui enrobe son acidité.

Pour le dépaysement ultime, il vous faut absolument découvrir les deux cuvées de Harydimos Hatzidakis offertes à la SAQ. L’Assyrtiko 2014 m’a semblé plus parfumé que par le passé, avec des accents de pêche mûre et de miel. Plus chère, mais aussi plus complexe et d’une grande envergure, la Cuvée No. 15 2013 ne cesse d’évoluer dans le verre. Un vin hors norme, assez gras pour accompagner un homard grillé. 

Péloponnèse : de mer et de montagnes

Depuis son entrée dans l’Union Européenne et la tenue des Jeux Olympiques à Athènes, la Grèce a profité d’un important développement économique. Ce vent de renouveau est providentiel pour cette industrie vitivinicole qui accusait, dans certaines régions, près d’un siècle de retard par rapport à la France. Certaines régions du nord du pays n’avaient toujours pas replanté de vignes suite à la crise du phylloxéra qui avait décimé les vignes d’Europe à la fin du 19e siècle.

Dans le Péloponnèse en revanche, le retard se rattrape à grande vitesse, tant au vignoble qu’au chai. À Nemea, la plus importante appellation grecque dédiée au vin rouge, l’agiorgitiko est planté à flanc de collines au milieu d’oliviers et d’autres arbustres indigènes. Dans ce secteur du nord-est du Péloponnèse, ce cépage aussi connu sous le nom de st-george, adopte en général une expression souple, goulayante et séduisante.

Gaia Agiorgitiko Nemea 2013 Parparoussis Reserve Nemea 2010 Domaine Tetramythos Agiorgitiko Achaia 2013 Domaine Tetramythos Roditis 2013

Bien qu’il soit habituellement plus charpenté que la moyenne des vins de Nemea, le Gaia Agiorgitiko 2013 n’en est pas moins séduisant et témoigne du talent de Yannis Paraskevopoulos à mettre en valeur cette variété autochtone. Harmonieux et judicieusement boisé. Un peu moins charnu, mais néanmoins plus complexe, le Nemea 2010 du domaine Parparoussis bénéficiera de deux ou trois années de repos en bouteille. Plus au nord, dans la préfecture d’Achaia, Panayiotis Papagiannopoulos (Domaine Tetramythos) signe un Agiorgitiko 2013 encore plus juteux et gorgé de fruit. Le vin rouge d’été, parfait pour les grillades.

Rappelons que le Domaine Tetramythos a été presque entièrement détruit par les feux de forêt qui ont ravagé le Péloponnèse à l’été 2007. En plus de l’agiorgitiko cité plus haut, Panayiotis Papagiannopoulos produit un très bon Roditis 2013, issu de l’agriculture biologique et frais comme une brise marine, auquel il emprunte aussi des accents salins.

Toujours dans le secteur de Patras, Thanasis Parparoussis et ses filles s’appliquent à la mise en valeur du sidéritis. Leur Don de Dionysos 2014 met en valeur le charme discret de ce cépage indigène; pas très exubérant, mais original avec ses tonalités de miel et de safran.

Parparoussis Dons De Dionysos Sideritis 2014 Tselepos Classique Mantinia Moschofilero 2014 Tselepos Amalia Brut Sparkling Wine Domaine Skouras Cuvée Prestige Moschofilero Domaine Mercouri Red 2011

Non loin de Nemea, le cépage moschofilero contribue pour sa part au caractère floral unique des vins blancs de l’appellation Mantinia. À la SAQ, on retiendra ce deux cuvées de Yiannis Tselepos : Mantinia 2014 et Amalia Brut Méthode traditionnelle. Le premier étant un vin blanc tranquille, le second un vin effervescent correctement dosé (10 grammes), idéal avec des calmars fruits ou des beignets de fleur de zucchini. Pour les soir de semaine, on voudra aussi retenir le Skouras Cuvee Prestige blanc 2014, un assemblage de moschofilero et de roditis, très parfumé et porté par une saine acidité.

Enfin, plus au sud, vers Pyrgos (100 kilomètres au nord de kalamata), le domaine Mercouri mise plutôt sur les cépages refosco et mavrodaphne, dont il tire le très bon Rouge 2011. Rustique, mais pourtant harmonieux et franchement satisfaisant. Une belle bouteille! 

Au nord du sud 

Ktima Biblia Chora Assyrtico Domaine Biblia Chora Ovilos 2013 Domaine Gerovassiliou White 2014Dans la partie septentrionale de la Grèce, la vigne s’étend de part et d’autre de Thessalonique, seconde ville du pays derrière la capitale, Athènes. Evangelos Gerovassiliou a fait partie de la première vague de vignerons qui sont partis étudier l’œnologie à l’étranger. Sur son vaste domaine situé dans la région d’Epanomi, au sud de la ville de Thessalonique Evangelos Gerovassiliou – figure majeure de l’œnologie grecque moderne – produit une gamme complète de vins issus de variétés indigènes et internationales. On lui doit notamment la restauration de la malagousia, une variété aromatique qui peut donner des vins blancs étonnamment substantiels. Assemblée à de l’assyrtiko (le cépage de Santorin) dans la cuvée Blanc Estate 2014 Epanomi, la malagousia donne un bon vin gras et parfumé, particulièrement minéral et complexe en 2014. Avis aux plus patients d’entre vous: il gagne en profondeur et en nuances après quelques anneés de repos en cave…

Après avoir fondé son domaine éponyme en 1981, au sud de Thessalonique, il s’est aussi associé à Vassilis Tsaktsarlis pour mettre sur pied Biblia Chora. Ce projet d’envergure développé au tournant du millénaire dans la région de Pangée, est entre autre la source de l’Ovilos 2013, excellent vin blanc issu d’un assemblage d’assyrtiko et de sémillon. Sur un mode plus vigoureux, le Biblia Chora Estate 2014 doit son caractère fringant à un assemblage de sauvignon et d’assyrtiko. C’est l’une des belles réussites des derniers millésimes.

Pour découvrir d’autres vins grecs disponibles dans une succursale près de chez vous, cliquez ICI.

Pour découvrir d’autres vins grecs...

Plutôt grecque que slave, la Macédoine 

Délimitée au sud par le mont Olympe et par la mer Égée, la Macédoine est la plus grande des dix régions de la Grèce. N’y cherchez pas de maisons blanches et bleues, pas plus que de cuisine méditerranéenne légère. Là-bas, quelque 500 kilomètres au nord d’Athènes, on mange de la viande, des plats généreux à base de haricots blancs et on boit du vin rouge. 

Alpha Estate Axia Red Blend 2010 Alpha Estate Axia Red Blend 2010 Alpha Estate Xinomavro Reserve Vieilles Vignes 2010Sur l’appellation Amyndeon, le domaine Alpha Estate façonne de bons xinomavros de facture moderne, généralement plus corpulents que ceux de sa voisine, Naoussa. À la SAQ, on trouve en ce moment le Reserve Vieilles Vignes 2010, ainsi que le Axia Red 2010, composé de xinomavro et de syrah.

Sur un mode tout aussi accessible, le Paranga 2012 de Kir Yianni est plutôt rassasiant dans un style moderne. La charpente du xinomavro – complété de syrah et de merlot à parts égales – est enrobée d’une chair fruitée bien mûre et le vin.

Xinomavro de Naoussa, irrésistiblement austère

Dans l’ensemble du réseau, le Naoussa 2012 du géant Boutari est un exemple modeste et tout à fait honnête de ce que peut donner le cépage xinomavro. Un peu à contre-courant avec son caractère vieillot, mais ce dépouillement lui confère aussi un certain charme. Surtout à une époque où tant de vins de cette catégorie sacrifient toute originalité au profit de l’opulence. Et à ce prix, ça vaut le coût d’essayer !

Thymiopoulos Vineyards Yn Kai Oupavós Xinomavro 2012 Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro 2013 Boutari Naoussa 2012Cultivé dans toute la Macédoine, c’est sur la roche calcaire et les sols volcaniques de Naoussa, sur le flanc sud-est du mont Vermio, que cette variété dont le nom signifie « acide et noir » révèle pleinement son immense potentiel. Par leurs arômes distinctifs, leur excellent potentiel de vieillissement et leur profil un peu austère en jeunesse, les vins rouges de xinomavro évoquent souvent les nebbiolos piémontais, avec qui il n’a cependant aucun lien de parenté, analyses d’ADN à l’appui.

Aujourd’hui, après avoir sombré dans l’oubli pendant près d’un siècle, les vieilles vignes de Naoussa ont droit à une seconde vie grâce à une nouvelle génération de vignerons. Parmi eux: Apostolos Thymiopoulos, dont les cuvées Jeunes vignes 2013 et Terre et Ciel 2012 sont deux incontournables. On achète à la caisse, le premier à boire dans l’année, l’autre à laisser dormir en cave pendant au moins cinq ans. Mais saurez-vous résister à la tentation ?

Santé! Yamas!

 

Nadia Fournier

Pour découvrir d’autres vins grecs disponibles dans une succursale près de chez vous, cliquez ICI.

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.)


Publicité
Pour découvrir d’autres vins grecs...

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , ,

Ce bon vieux Languedoc

Hors des sentiers battus22 mai 2015

par Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Marc Chapleau

Grosse commande, voilà quelques semaines, alors que j’étais à Montpellier, dans le sud de la France, dans le cadre d’une opération médiatique baptisée Terroirs et Millésimes.

Retrousser mes manches, j’ai dû – et voilà que je me mets à parler en jedi –, car les organisateurs avaient rassemblé pour l’occasion quelque 1200 échantillons qu’une centaine de chroniqueurs spécialisés du monde entier, dont bibi, étaient invités à déguster.

Tout ça en six jours top chrono. Et à raison, dès lors, de 200 vins par jour.

Je suis fait fort, c’est bien connu, mais au-delà de 150 vins, perso, je ne parle pas seulement jedi, je lévite aussi très très haut, ou très très bas, c’est selon.

Trêve de plaisanterie : personne ne nous forçait à tout goûter. Sauf que, à l’instar de l’amateur qui se présente dans un salon des vins et qui voit s’offrir à lui des tas de stands et des centaines de bouteilles, je me suis senti obligé, le premier matin, à mon arrivée dans la salle de dégustation du très joli château de Flaugergues, de concocter un plan de match.

À l’impossible nul n’étant tenu (on croirait encore entendre Yoda), j’allais me contenter de survoler ce Languedoc. Goûter chaque matin une quarantaine de vins en essayant de cerner les principaux attributs de telle et telle appellations.

Voici donc, en vrac, « bruts de cuve » pour ainsi dire, des commentaires consignés dans mon calepin tout au long de cette semaine fort bien organisée par le Conseil interprofessionnel des vins du Languedoc.

DU GÉNÉRAL…

Le Languedoc synonyme de vins charnus, puissants et concentrés : pas mal finie, cette époque-là. Grâce notamment à un pH plus bas (et donc, en gros, plus d’acidité), les vins rouges affichent un caractère plus serré, plus tendu, par ailleurs parfois à peine corsé.

Comme ailleurs en France et dans le monde, il y a souvent plus d’un style au sein d’une même appellation, certains vins sont par exemple plus riches et plus mûrs, d’autres plus droits, plus nerveux.

Le Rhône Nord demeure la référence avouée pour plusieurs vignerons du Languedoc, et au premier chef ceux qui misent sur la syrah dans leur assemblage. Nous-mêmes, en dégustant telle ou telle cuvée, on s’est passé ce type de réflexion : « On dirait un beau saint-joseph, tu ne trouves pas ? »

Ce n’est pas parce qu’il s’agit d’une réunion de professionnels du vin que tous les crachats, appelons ça comme ça, sont gracieux et impeccables. Que tous les amateurs se désolant de ne savoir que dégouliner au-dessus d’un crachoir se consolent ! En revanche, quand on y va fort sur le piston et qu’on propulse un jet direct et puissant, gare aux éclaboussures sur l’ordi du gars à côté, qui s’entête à prendre ses notes au beau milieu du champ de bataille…

Languedoc

… AU PARTICULIER

En rafale, par appellation ou désignation spécifique, des observations générales, après avoir goûté à chaque fois une vingtaine d’échantillons :

Languedoc Pic Saint-Loup : des rouges plus viandés, plus charnus et où la syrah est bien évidente (notes de réduction, souvent), tout en demeurant assez minéraux.

Languedoc La Clape : un caractère plus mentholé et plus épicé.

Languedoc Montpeyroux : un côté agrumes souvent manifeste, accompagné de quelques notes végétales pas déplaisantes.

Languedoc Grès de Montpellier :  des rouges minéraux, à la texture bien serrée.

Terrasses du Larzac : peut-être les plus beaux rouges de la région, à la fois riches et frais, très digestes, marqués par la minéralité et aux accents souvent réglissés.

Picpoul de Pinet : deux grands styles, l’un plus tendu, plus nerveux ; l’autre plus tropical et avec une odeur de cire d’abeille, lourdaud par moment.

Coteaux-du-Languedoc blanc : la pêche, la poire, vin assez riche, plus que les picpouls chose certaine, moins vif.

Coteaux-du-Languedoc rosé : généreux, assez sec, bonne acidité, de la texture, une certaine mâche.

Cabardès : appellation assise entre deux chaises, caractère végétal du cabernet sauvignon souvent dérangeant ; rapport qualité-prix, cela dit, pouvant être très honnête.

Minervois rouge : des rouges assez épais, au boisé apparent, moins tendus et moins minéraux que la plupart des autres rouges de la région.

Minervois La Livinière :  similaires aux précédents avec toutefois un léger surcroît d’acidité.

Saint-Chinian : relative déception lors de cette semaine de dégustation, plutôt capiteux, parfois astringents, fruité en retrait. Parmi les exceptions, le domaine Borie La Vitarèle, hélas pas vendu à la SAQ.

Saint-Chinian Roquebrun : Je n’ai goûté que les vins de la cave coopérative locale (bien présente au Québec), typés syrah, charnus et toniques, bien soutenus par l’acidité.

Blanquette de Limoux : fraîcheur, caractère parfois légèrement rancio, peu de sucres résiduels. Seul problème, le nom, blanquette, qui fait, disons, moyennement classe – aux oreilles de Québécois, du moins. Un souhait : que les superbes cuvées du domaine Taudou, en blanquette et en crémant notamment, fassent bientôt leur apparition sur notre marché.

Clairette du Languedoc : des blancs originaux (à base du cépage clairette), plutôt rustiques et pas vraiment sur le fruit, comme on dit, mais généreux, légèrement terreux ainsi qu’assez serrés.

Fitou : des rouges décevants (millésimes 2012 et 2013 goûtés), maigrichons, astringents, amers souvent. À revisiter.

Corbières : de la matière, pas trop extraits, avec une bonne fraîcheur. Le Blondus Ricardus 2012 du comédien Pierre Richard est convaincant, frais et digeste, élancé comme lui ! Vivement que notre monopole en importe.

Des moules cuites sur le barbecue

Des moules cuites sur le barbecue (!) au Mas d’Encoste, domaine qui appartient à Frédéric JeanJean, président sortant du Conseil interprofessionnel des vins du Languedoc.

UN NOM PORTEUR

Malgré les nouvelles appellations d’origine protégée à part entière – Terrasses du Larzac, Picpoul de Pinet, La Clape bientôt et Pic Saint-Loup éventuellement –, la notoriété des vins du cru, comme le signalait récemment le quotidien Midi Libre, est encore beaucoup plus portée par le nom de la région que par ceux de ses appellations. Et cela vaut sauf erreur aussi au Québec – le Languedoc demeurant, malgré une hausse de prix, synonyme de bon rapport qualité-prix, les vins étant dans l’ensemble à la fois généreux et rafraîchissants.

~

À boire, aubergiste !

Que du Languedoc, pour faire bonne mesure.

Domaine Clavel Les Garrigues Coteaux-du-Languedoc 2014 : assemblage de syrah, carignan et grenache un peu austère dès l’abord, mais qui gagne rapidement à l’aération.

Gérard Bertrand Côte des Roses Languedoc rosé 2014 : rosé étonnamment délicat, tant au nez qu’en bouche, et qui pour cette raison rappelle un bon rosé de Provence. Épicé et fruité, par ailleurs.

Les Garrigues 2012 Gérard Bertrand Côte Des Roses Rosé 2014 Château Cazal Viel Vieilles Vignes 2013 Château Cazal Viel L'antenne 2011

Château Cazal-Viel Saint-Chinian Vieilles Vignes 2013 : rien de compliqué, tout en fruit, saveurs mi-corsées, et prix très ok.

Château Cazal-Viel L’Antenne Saint-Chinian 2011 : du même producteur, une convaincante syrah puissante et épicée, bien boisée également.

Col de l’Orb saint-chinian rosé 2014 : Fruité bonbon assez marqué, bouche à l’avenant, assez corsée, généreuse.

Domaine de la Grange des Pères vin de pays de l’Hérault 2011 : un grand vin et l’un des porte-étendards du Languedoc. Cher, ça n’a pas de bon sens, mais qu’est-ce que c’est bon ! Incroyable, par ailleurs, que le vin contienne 4,5 g de sucre résiduel, comme l’indique saq.com.

Cave De Roquebrun Col De L'orb Rosé 2014 Domaine De La Grange Des Pères 2011 Domaine Anne Gros Et Jean Paul Tollot Minervois La Ciaude 2012 Domaine La Prade Mari Conte Des Garrigues 2010

Domaine Anne Gros et Jean-Paul Tollot Minervois La Ciaude 2012 : ce couple de vignerons bourguignons réussit très bien en Minervois, témoin ce rouge serré et concentré, au potentiel évident.

Domaine La Prade Mari Conte des Garrigues Minervois 2010 : très bon minervois là aussi, qui fait mentir l’impression que m’ont fait les vins du secteur goûtés à Montpellier. Corsé et concentré, tout en générosité et avec de la fraîcheur.

Bonne dégustation !

Marc

P.-S. Je suis disparu des écrans radars pour quelques jours, jusqu’à lundi soir tard, la faute au doré, à la grise et à la mouchetée…

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 bons vins !


Publicité
Wolf Blass - S'elever tourjours plus haut

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , ,

Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES May 30 – Part One

Pinot Noir’s New World and Ontario Whites
by David Lawrason, with notes from John Szabo and Sara d’Amato

David Lawrason

David Lawrason

Nowadays I am having a barrel of fun tasting and tracking pinot noir’s global gallop. The selection coming May 30 to VINTAGES in Ontario is a clinic on the state of affairs.

When I starting following pinot noir in the mid 80s it was an almost monastic, local grape variety turning out occasionally brilliant wines on a slope called the Côte d’Or in Burgundy, France. With over 400 years of experience they had pretty much figured out that this thin-skinned, nervous and unpredictable grape variety had a knack for showing its place or origin. To taste a line-up of pinots from Burgundy from the same vintage and same producer but different appellations – a horizontal tasting – is still the most important thing an inquisitive wine fan can do for him or herself. It is an indelible lesson on terroir.

For most of the past 30 years the wine world has tended to believe that Burgundy – because it was the first and sometimes brilliant – was the only place where pinot noir could possibly be interesting and of high quality. But of course that is not true. A grape that can show terroir in one place can show terroir anywhere. And what we are now enjoying is the rooting of pinot noir in distinctive terroirs around the world.

The only unifier is a certain preferred climate where it is fairly cool through latitude, altitude or proximity to maritime influence to preserve essential acid tension and fruit purity. The pinot vine can actually grow in different soil types, where it will render different textural nuances, and although styles may vary, quality need not. That is in the hands of the winemakers, and pinot winemakers are among the most serious in the world.

I have been paying a lot of attention to New World pinot through my career – it being a focus of my first extended wine travel in 1984, in California. Yes California, where it was supposed to be too hot for pinot. But go tell that to Josh Jensen who had established Calera, Dick Graff at Chalone, the Carneros pioneers at Acacia and Saintsbury, Jim Clendenen at Sanford in Santa Barbara, or Santa Cruz Mountains men like Martin Ray who planted pinot in the sixties. Even Tim Mondavi, back in his exuberant youth was enthralled by California pinot, and we opened a few together in 1984. My personal taste affair with good California pinot has continued ever since, as long as sweetness and confection do not interfere.

Most recently my attention has shifted to New Zealand, which I have visited three times in two years. I think it is the most exciting pinot region outside of Burgundy. Pinot noir is the country’s most important red variety and it grows very well in the cooler southern half of the country. There are many terroirs here, and I have gone over-length in a recent article published here to outline what I think are 24 pinot noir appellations. But I am equally intrigued by pinots in other southern hemisphere locales in the past five years, and how they show their origin. And of course I have written a lot about pinot in Canada. Even Germany, the world’s third largest producer of pinot noir (Spatburgunder) could be considered a “newish world” for pinot.

Beyond the terroir hunting, what I like most about New World pinot is a certain fruit lift, exuberance and drinkability. Great Burgundy can be ethereal, and I have had some NW pinots that get close to that as well. But what I enjoy just as much is simply drinking a fresh, yet complex and generous pinot noir. And that is what this VINTAGES collection offers. They are interesting enough to be discussed, yet generous enough to be enjoyed, ideally with a light chill, from a large, fine rimmed glass, on the deck before, during and after dinner.

Here are our picks, and interestingly almost every pinot in the release has been “picked” by one or more of us. Such is the individuality of pinot, and in a weird way, its greatest strength.

The Pinots

Auntsfield 2012 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir, Southern Valleys, Marlborough, New Zealand ($29.95)

Rosehall Run Hungry Point Pinot Noir 2013 Auntsfield Single Vineyard Pinot Noir 2012David Lawrason – I am delighted to see Southern Valleys on the label! This is a large “unofficial” but increasingly obvious sub-district of Marlborough where pinots are growing on gravel/clay soils. There are very exciting terroir-driven pinots in the five southern valleys that each might one day have their own appellation – Fairhall, Ben Morven, Omaka, Brancott, Waihopi. This is lovely, very expressive pinot from a cooler year, although still showing considerable ripeness.
Sara d’Amato – David Herd, one of New Zealand’s forefather’s of wine, was responsible for planting the first of Auntsfield’s grapes in 1873. Needless to say, Auntsfield is one of New Zealand’s oldest wineries and produces a masterful pinot noir.
John Szabo – The Cowley family now runs Auntsfield, an established regional leader in the Southern Valleys sub-region widely acknowledge as the best spot for pinot noir in Marlborough. This is a wine of pure pleasure, not massive structure, well balanced, juicy and succulent. I love the immediate drinkability; serve with a light chill. Best 2015-2020.

Rosehall Run 2013 Hungry Point Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County, Ontario ($24.95)

David Lawrason – Being a County pinot this is a light weight among others in this release, but it does have great aromatic lift and cool climate pinot cranberry-sour cherry fruit. It is not as deep as Dan Sullivan’s more expensive JCR pinot, but there is great piquancy and charm here. County to its roots.
Sara d’Amato – Every time I taste this pinot noir (now for the third time) that is quickly coming into its own, it becomes more and more enjoyable. It is produced on the legendary “Hungry Point” site which surrounds Rosehall Run and is formerly known for its inability to produce sustenance. It is now a premium, nutrient-poor growing site for coaxing out only the most concentrated flavours from the berries.

Argyle 2012 Artisan Series Reserve Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA ($44.95)

John Szabo – Although Argyle started off in the late 1980s as a dedicated sparkling wine producer (launched by Brian Croser of Petaluma fame and Bollinger champagne, among others), it was quickly realized that fine table pinot noir could also be produced in the region. This Reserve is made from Argyle’s top lots in the Dundee Hills and Eola-Amity Hills AVAs and their predominantly volcanic-Jory soils, yielding a perfumed, lightly floral, silky-textured pinot, well-tuned to this ripe vintage. Best 2015-2020.
David Lawrason – This nicely defines Oregon’s pinot place, a cross-hatching of ripeness and tension. Look for pretty aromas of fresh red cherry jam, spice, herbs and light toast. There is elevated youthful tannin, so I would give it a year or two – and it should last admirably for five.

Argyle Artisan Series Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 Montes Limited Selection Pinot Noir 2012 Saint Clair Premium Pinot Noir 2013 O'Leary Walker Pinot Noir 2012

Montes 2012 Limited Selection Pinot Noir, Casablanca Valley, Chile ($14.95)

David Lawrason – Pinot Noir in Chile is a relatively recent endeavour, and not yet considered a whole-hearted success. But Chilean pinot is developing a signature that echoes its cabernets and carmeneres reds, showing lifted blackcurrant, fragrant rosemary like herbaceousness derived from its local “garrigue” called boldos. This is ultra-fresh, juicy and lively. And very well priced.

Saint Clair 2013 Premium Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand ($24.95)

Sara d’Amato – I was instantly enamored by this juicy and succulent Marlborough pinot noir offering plenty of verve and a very pleasant note of red currant jelly. This consistently good value producer is most known in Ontario for their sauvignon blanc and it is no surprise that their pinot noir is of equal and perhaps better quality.

O’Leary Walker 2012 Pinot Noir, Adelaide Hills, South Australia ($24.95)

David Lawrason – The western edge of the forest clad hills above the city of Adelaide offer the best pinot noir conditions in all of South Australia. O’Leary Walker is based in the Clare Valley two hours away but the family has Adelaide Hills holdings with vines planted in the 90s. Very lifted aromatics here and it is fresh and juicy with considerable tannin.

Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir 2012 Jekel Pinot Noir 2012 Migration Pinot Noir 2013

Frei Brothers 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA ($27.95)

John Szabo – This nicely captures the approachable nature of RRV pinot without slipping into excesses of fruit, oak or ripeness. I like the punchy and edgy nature, with balanced fruit and alcohol, herbal and earthy character playing nicely to all preference camps. Best 2015-2020.

Jekel 2012 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California  ($19.95)

Sara d’Amato – Bill Jekel is well regarded as an influential and boundary-pushing producer who was instrumental in the creation of a Monterey AVA. If you enjoy this both substantial and elegant pinot, the Jekel riesling is also one to watch for.

Migration 2013 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA ($44.95)

David Lawrason – Migration is the Sonoma wing of the Duckhorn flock. And it has the lovely raspberry and florality that I love in Russian River pinot, with just a touch of evergreen foresty character. It’s delicate, fruity and well balanced.

Ontario Whites

Hidden Bench 2013 Estate Riesling, Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula ($23.95)

Lailey Unoaked Chardonnay 2013 Redstone Limestone Vineyard South Riesling 2012 Hidden Bench Estate Riesling 2013John Szabo – One of the province’s top riesling producers, Hidden Bench regularly delivers quality far above the average, proving there’s no substitute for meticulous farming. The 2013 estate bottling is clean, pure, crisp, dry and firmly structured, and even though this is the “mere” estate blend, it could easily sit among the top single vineyard bottlings in the region.
David Lawrason – This is a very complete and complex riesling; a dandy statement to riesling’s prowess on the Beamsville Bench.

Redstone 2012 Limestone Vineyard South Riesling, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula ($18.95)

David Lawrason – Redstone is a Tawse owned property that will begin to make its mark in the summer of 2015 when it opens, complete with a restaurant. This riesling comes from the Limestone Vineyard over near Flat Rock on Twenty Mile Bench. The ripe 2012 vintage has provided generous peach, honey and petrol character.

Lailey 2013 Unoaked Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula Canada, Ontario ($14.95)

John Szabo – Unoaked chardonnay is rarely a category that excites, but Derek Barnett has managed to coax an unusual amount of flavour out of this 2013. It’s vaguely nutty and creamy, but still lively and crisp and genuinely dry, and altogether more “serious” than the price would imply. In other words, it’s a great buy for serious Tuesday night sipping.

Other Whites and Rosé

Château De Sancerre 2013 Sancerre, Loire Valley, France ($24.95)

David Lawrason – The only ‘chateau’ in Sancerre is owned by Marnier-Lapostolle, the company that produces Grand Marnier liqueur, and also owns Casa Lapostolle in Chile. This is a beautifully refined, delicate and fresh sauvignon to reserve for delicate seafood occasions.

Maison Roche De Bellene 2012 Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne Chardonnay, Burgundy, France ($20.95)

Sara d’Amato – Tremendous value alert! This entry level Burgundy is anything but simple exhibiting a leesy texture, fresh acids and delicately integrated oak. Although this chardonnay would certainly prove versatile with food, I recommend sipping on its own, barely below room temperature.

Château De Sancerre 2013 Maison Roche De Bellene Vieilles Vignes Bourgogne Chardonnay 2012 Domaines Schlumberger Kessler Gewurztraminer 2010 Castello Di Ama Rosato 2014

Domaines Schlumberger 2010 Kessler Gewurztraminer, Alsace Grand Cru, France ($33.95)

John Szabo – Gewurztraminer is the most planted grape in this 28ha grand cru in the village of Guebwiller, and Schlumberger its most emblematic producer. The pink sandstone seems tailor-made to produce a terrifically rich, exotically ripe and plush, opulent style, such as this. The 2010 vintage also yielded wines with brilliant acids, which in this case beautifully balance the considerable residual sugar. A textbook lesson in Alsatian GW. Best 2015-2022.

Castello Di Ama 2014 Rosato, Tuscany, Italy ($21.95)

Sara d’Amato – Lending some credibility to the rosé category, the famed Chianti Classico producer, Castello di Ama, has put forth an undeniably sophisticated blend of merlot and sangiovese. Sourced from high-quality, low-yielding old vines, this rosé was certainly not a mere afterthought, as are many commercial pink wines.

~

That is enough for this week, and what a busy week it has been at WineAlign. We have published an Ontario Wine Report update on Prince Edward County, and have released our 7th instalment of “So, You Think You Know Wine?”. (We get better folks!). We are also ramping up for the National Wine Awards of Canada that are just a month away in Niagara Falls. We are pleased to announce that Jamie Goode will be joining us again from the UK. British Columbia wineries are rapidly reaching their shipping deadline and the response has been excellent, so now it’s time for Ontario wineries to ante-up and register their wines. In recent years the medal performance of B.C. and Ontario has nicely evened out.

John will be here next week covering the substantial southern Rhône Valley collection on the May 30 release.

Until then.

David Lawrason
VP of Wine

From VINTAGES May 30, 2015

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


Advertisement
Castello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2011


Taste the soul of Portugal

Filed under: News, Wine, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

@WineAlign

WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008