Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG fifth anniversary tasting: report

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The Mo’ Wine Group’s December tasting is always special. The conjunction of the group’s anniversary and the impending holidays means sparklers are mandatory. We also have a tradition of combining the sublime with a few wines that are at least a little odd and sometimes downright ridiculous.

The prices shown are those paid in December, before the 1% increase in the Quebec sales tax that took effect on January 1, 2011.

FLIGHT 1: A JAPANESE WINE

Isehara 2008, Koshu, Magrez-Aruga ($35.00, 11213360)
100% Koshu. Sour apple, chalk, clover and a suggestion of vinyl. Dry and intensely acidic. Minerals but next to no fruit save a hint of grapefruit on finish. Seems dilute and watery until you focus on it. Clean and long but lacking depth. (Buy again? Only for curiosity’s sake.)

FLIGHT 2: FOUR SAKES

Junmai Ginjo, Taisetsu no Kura, Kinuyuki, Godo Shusei Co. ($29.65, 10758721)
Salty, sourish nose with whiffs of licorice and alcohol. Oily texture, neutral flavour with a briny edge. Hint of sweetness, though not enough to merit the SAQ’s demi-sec descriptor. Not bad. (Buy again? Probably not.)

Junmai Ginjo, Hakushika (Tatsuuma-Honke Brewing Co.) ($22.10, 11156570)
Smooth, round, rainwatery with briny, green tea overtones and a hint of banana peel. Not particularly complex. Enjoyable on its own but returning to it after a sip of either Takasago shows what’s missing. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Junmai Ginjo, Hakusan, Takasago ($37.00, 11156537)
Nose of wet cotton with a hint of dates and umami overtones (mushroom, soy sauce). Not as unctuous as the other Junmai Ginjos: less dense, more acidic, drier. Impression of purity. Good length. Very fine. (Buy again? Yes.)

Dai Ginjo, Hakusan, Takasago ($81.50, 11156545)
Lovely, complex, subtle nose: minerals, lemon, wax, pastry dough. Ethereal texture that I described as silky but another taster likened to rose petals. Delicate and balanced in the mouth with only a hint of sweetness. Bitter mineral notes at the back of the palate. Very long. An elegant and beautiful sake that can withstand comparison to similarly priced wines. (Buy again? Sure, if the price weren’t so prohibitive.)

FLIGHT 3: FOUR SPARKLING WHITES

Crémant de Loire, Brut, Cuvée Flamme, Gratien & Meyer ($19.70, 11177856)
60% Chardonnay, 25% Cabernet Franc, 15% Chenin Blanc. Spicy apple aromas, fruit salad flavours. Clean and dry with somewhat aggressive bubbles and a savoury/toasty finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut, Prestige, Moingeon ($20.60, 00871277)
100% Chardonnay. Inexpressive nose: hints of white fruit and brioche. Fine bead. Foams softly in the mouth. Clean, nuanced and quite dry. Long, yellow apple finish. Elegant. Champagne-like. (Buy again? Yes.)

Cava, Brut Selectio, Parés Baltà ($29.90, 10896390)
Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Macabeo and Parellada . Candied lemon and fruit salad armoas. Clean flavours of minerals, straw and almonds. Forceful bubbles. Very dry. Fair length. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Crémant de Limoux 2008, Tête de Cuvée, Clos des Demoiselles, J. Laurens ($20.90, 10498973)
Chardonnay, Chenin and Pinot Noir. Candied nuts and fruit cake on the nose. Suave with soft bubbles, tropical fruit turning appley on the finish. Clean, bright, savoury and long. Excellent QPR. (Buy again? Definitely.)

FLIGHT 4: FOUR SPARKLING ROSÉS

Franciacorta 2005, Brut Rosé Millesimato, Fratus, Riccafana ($25.35, 11140711)
Organically farmed Pinot Noir (80%) and Chardonnay (20%). Smells fruity (red apple peel, strawberry) yet somehow dry. Fine bead. Considerable presence in the mouth. Dry with hints of peach and toast. Good length. (Buy again? Yes.)

Burgenland 2005, Oeil de Perdrix, Schloss Halbturn ($37.95, 6 bottles/case, Sublime Vins & Spiriteux)
100% Pinot Noir. Pale off-pink. Savoury nose with hints of sweat, peach and quince. Smooth with soft bubbles. Some residual sugar. Long. Enjoyable. The group liked this enough to order a case. A second bottle opened during the holidays didn’t show quite as well: Candied red berries on the nose. Noticeable sweetness on the attack, though turning dry on the mid-palate. Half-sparkling. Elegant in the glass but shorter than remembered; “ça tombe vite,” one diner noted. (Buy again? Yes.)

Champagne 2007, Saignée de Sorbée, Vouette & Sorbée ($81.25, Rézin)
100% Pinot Noir, organically farmed. Vibrant dark pink. Explosive nose of candied apple, spice, sweat and volatile herbs – a mix that one taster likens to cheap cologne. Very dry yet wild-fruity, even a bit foxy. Bitter-edged finish. Despite the good acidity and elegant effervescence, the wine seems heavy and cloying. (Buy again? Nope.)

FLIGHT 5: THREE CHAMPAGNES

Champagne 2007, Cuvée Fidèle, Vouette & Sorbée ($59.75, Rézin)
Blanc de noirs: 100% organically farmed Pinot Noir. Toast, oxidized apple and a sourish note on the nose. Understated and elegant, with fine bubbles and a clean, briny finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Champagne 2007, Blanc d’Argile, Vouette & Sorbée ($73.00, Rézin)
Blanc de blancs: 100% organically farmed, young vine Chardonnay. Extended maturation in oak casks. Undosed. Banana bread on the nose. Assertive but not aggressive bubbles. Winey and appley on the attack. Very pure on the mid-palate. Longish, minerally finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Champagne 2000, Avise, Grand Cru, Jacquesson ($108.75, 00871384)
100% Chardonnay. Extended maturation in oak casks. Intriguing if slightly odd nose: yeast, white fruit, coral. “Truffle in a swimming pool,” says one taster. “You haven’t cleaned your goldfish bowl in a while,” quips another. Any doubts are dispelled with the first sip: here we have a nuanced and layered wine. Elegant, rich and long, with caressing bubbles and an oxidized, chestnut honey note on the finish. (Buy again? Maybe in Ontario, where it goes for $95.)

FLIGHT 6: THE TRULY SUBLIME

Champagne, Blanc de blancs, Brut, Initial, Jacques Selosse ($150.00, oenopole)
100% Chardonnay. A blend of three vintages. Aged in bottle two years before disgorgement. Astoundingly complex and savoury nose with notes of white meat (veal, poultry), brioche and butter. White fruit and an intriguing sourness on entry. Fine and persistent bubbles, layers of flavour. Exquisitely balanced fruit and acid. Endless finish. In a class by itself. (Buy again? Just as soon as I win the lottery.)

Isehara 2008, Koshu, Magrez-Aruga ($35.00, 11213360)

100% Koshu. Sour apple, chalk, clover and a suggestion of vinyl. Dry, intensely acidic. Minerals but next to no fruit, save a hint of grapefruit on finish. Seems dilute and watery until you focus on it. Clean and long but lacking depth. (Buy again? Only for curiosity’s sake.)

http://www.bernard-magrez.com/content/en/magrez-aruga-japan

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fg20061208wc.html

Junmai Ginjo, Taisetsu no Kura, Kinuyuki, Godo Shusei Co. ($29.65, 10758721)

Salty, sourish nose with whiffs of licorice and alcohol. Oily texture, neutral flavour with a briny edge. Hint of sweetness, though not enough to merit the SAQ’s demi-sec descriptor. Not bad. (Buy again? Probably not.)

http://www.oenon.jp/

Junmai Ginjo, Hakushika (Tatsuuma-Honke Brewing Co.) ($22.10, 11156570)

Smooth, round, rainwatery with briny, green tea overtones and a hint of banana peel. Not particularly complex. Enjoyable on its own but returning to it after a sip of either Takasago shows what’s missing. (Buy again? Maybe.)

http://www.hakushika.co.jp/

Junmai Ginjo, Hakusan, Takasago ($37.00, 11156537)

Takasago is one of the oldest breweries in Hokkaido. Nose of wet cotton with a hints of dates and umami overtones (mushroom, soy sauce). Not as unctuous as the other Junmai Ginjos: less dense, more acidic, drier. Impression of purity. Good length. Very fine. (Buy again? Yes.)

http://www.takasagoshuzo.com/

Dai Ginjo, Hakusan, Takasago ($81.50, 11156545)

Lovely, complex, subtle nose: minerals, lemon, wax, pastry dough. Etherial texture that I described as silky but another taster likened to rose petals. Delicate and balanced in the mouth with only a hint of sweetness. Bitter mineral notes at the back of the palate. Very long. (Buy again? Sure, if the price weren’t so prohibitive.)

Crémant de Loire, Brut, Cuvée Flamme, Gratien & Meyer ($19.70, 11177856)

60% Chardonnay, 25% Cabernet Franc, 15% Chenin Blanc. Spicy apple aromas, fruit salad flavours. Clean and dry with somewhat aggressive bubbles and a savoury/toasty finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

http://www.gratienmeyer.com

Crémant de Bourgogne, Brut, Prestige, Moingeon ($20.60, 00871277)

100% Chardonnay. Reticent nose: hints of white fruit and brioche. Fine bead. Foams softly in the mouth. Clean, nuanced and quite dry. Long, yellow apple finish. Elegant. Champagne-like. (Buy again? Yes.)

Cava, Brut Selectio, Parés Baltà ($29.90, 10896390)

Xarel-lo, Chardonnay, Macabeo and Parellada . Candied lemon and fruit salad armoas. Clean flavours of minerals, straw and almonds. Forceful bubbles. Very dry. Fair length. (Buy again? Maybe.)

http://www.paresbalta.com/

Crémant de Limoux 2008,  Tête de Cuvée, Clos des Demoiselles, J. Laurens ($20.90, 10498973)

Chardonnay, Chenin et Pinot Noir. Candied nuts and fruit cake on the nose. Suave with soft bubbles, tropical fuit turning appley on the finish. Clean, bright, savoury and long. (Buy again? Definitely.)

http://www.jlaurens.com/

Franciacorta, Brut Rosé Millesimato, Fratus, Riccafana ($25.35, 11140711)

Organically farmed Pinot Noir (80%) and Chardonnay (20%). Smells fruity (red apple peel, strawberry) yet somehow dry. Fine bead. Considerable presence in the mouth. Dry with hints of peach. Good length. (Buy again? Yes, if looking for a pink sparkler in this price range.)

http://www.fratusfranciacorta.com/

Burgenland 2005, Oeil de Perdrix, Schloss Halbturn ($37.95, 6 bottles/case Sublime Vins & Spiriteux). 100% Pinot Noir. Pale off-pink. Savoury nose with hints of sweat, peach and quince. Smooth with soft bubbles. Some residual sugar. Long. Enjoyable. The group liked this enough to buy a case. A second bottle opened during the holidays didn’t show quite as well: Candied red berries on the nose. Noticeable sweetness on the attack, though turning dry on the mid-palate. Half-sparkling. Elegant in glass but shorter than remembered; “ça tombe vite,” one diner noted. (Buy again? Yes.)

http://www.schlosshalbturn.at/weingut/

Champagne 2007, Saignée de Sorbée, Vouette & Sorbée ($81.25, Rézin)

100% Pinot Noir, organically farmed. Vibrant dark pink. Exposive nose of candied apple, spice, sweat, volatile herbs – a mix that one taster likened to cheap cologne. Very dry yet wild fruity, even a bit foxy. Bitter-edged finish. Despite the good acidity and elegant effervescence, the wine seemed heavy and unrefreshing. (Buy again? Nope.)

http://www.vouette-et-sorbee.com/

Champagne 2007, Cuvée Fidèle, Vouette & Sorbée ($59.75, Rézin)

Blanc de noirs: 100% organically farmed Pinot Noir. Toast, oxidized apple and a sourish note on the nose. Understated and elegant, with fine bubbles and a clean, briny finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Champagne 2007, Blanc d’Argile, Vouette & Sorbée ($73.00, Rézin)

Blanc de blancs: 100% organically farmed, young vine Chardonnay. Extended maturation in oak casks. Undosed. Banana bread on the nose. Assertive but not aggressive bubbles. Winey and apply on the attack. Very pure on the mid-palate. Longish, minerally finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Champagne 2000, Avise, Grand Cru, Jacquesson ($108.75, 00871384)

100% Chardonnay. Extended maturation in oak casks. Intriguing if slightly odd nose: yeast, white fruit, coral. “Truffle in a swimming pool,” said one taster. “You haven’t cleaned your goldfish bowl in a while,” quipped another. Any doubts were dispelled with the first sip: here we had a nuanced and layered wine. Elegant, rich and long, with caressing bubbles and an oxidized, chestnut honey note on the finish. (Buy again? Maybe in Ontario, where it goes for $95.)

http://www.champagnejacquesson.com/

Champagne, Blanc de blancs, Brut, Initial, Jacques Selosse ($150.00, oenopole)

A blend of three vintages. Aged in bottle two years before degorgement. Astoundingly complex and savoury nose with notes of white meat (veal, poultry), brioche, butter. White fruit and an intriguing sourness on entry. Fine bubbles, layers of flavour. Exquisitely balanced fruit and acid. Endless finish. In a class by itself. (Buy again? Just as soon as I win the lottery.)

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Written by carswell

January 21, 2011 at 13:13

One Response

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  1. […] showed much better than the 2007s that the group tasted in December 2010. Or maybe our palates have evolved. In fact, at one point during the tasting, I […]


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