Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Double blind

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This evening the friendly wine advisors at my regular SAQ outlet were offering small, double blind tastes of a wine – the leftovers of a bottle they’d opened for a staff tasting earlier in the day – to geeks they thought might be interested. Apparently I fall into that category. With the glass came a series of questions: (1) Is it New World or Old? (2) What country is it from? (3) What grape varieties are involved? (4) How much does a bottle cost?

My tasting note (from memory): Dark, nearly opaque maroon. Nose of red and purple fruit, a little spice and a good dose of oak. Quite rich and round on the palate, though not heavy, with good acidity, ripe tannins, supple fruit and noticeable but not overwhelming oak. A bitter note appears on the longish finish.

I was at the store about ten minutes before closing and had wines to pick up for tomorrow’s tasting, so I didn’t have time for extended reflection. My answers: (1) Because it was fruit- and oak-driven but not gallumphing, either a New World wine made in an Old World style or an Old World wine made in a New World style. (2) Italy, maybe the Veneto, due to the medium weight and that lingering bitterness. (3) No idea. Merlot? Bonarda? (4) Guessing high because of the oak treatment, around $30. (The advisors said several others had guessed Italian and almost everyone had pegged it as costing $25 to $30.)

The wine? Double Barrel 2009, Carone Wines ($55.00, 11506630), a blend of Cabernet Severnyi (92%) and Sangiovese (8%) grown in Quebec’s Lanaudière region. The wine’s name refers to the oak regime: 12 months in new American oak barrels followed by four months in new French oak barrels. Cabernet Severnyi (aka Cabernet Severny) is a Russian-developed red grape variety that, according to The Oxford Companion to Wine, “was created by pollination of a hybrid of Galan × Vitis amurensis with a pollen mixture of other hybrid forms involving both the European vine species Vitis vinifera and the famously cold-hardy Mongolian vine species Vitis amurensis.” According to the wine’s data sheet, the grapes are manually harvested as late as possible, sorted and crushed, then cold-soaked for 24 hours. Fermentation is at controlled temperatures and uses Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast “isolated from the Montalcino region of Tuscany, Italy.” The fermented must is given prolonged maceration on the skins.

I’d actually noticed the wine on the shelf a few days earlier when scouring the outlet for wines for the tasting. I’d rolled my eyes at the massive bottle, the corny name (and in English – talk about adding insult to injury), the implied oak regime and the price, and guessed it would be undrinkable. Well, I was wrong. It’s still pretentiously and unecologically packaged, badly named and oakier than I like, but undrinkable it’s not. And if I and others valuated it at about half its MSRP, only the market will say whether it’s overpriced. Certainly it’s rare (only 1,000 bottles made) and unique (Quebec-grown Sangiovese?!). While I’d never buy a bottle for myself, if the theme of tomorrow’s tasting weren’t affordable wines, a bottle would probably have made its way into the lineup.

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Written by carswell

January 11, 2012 at 22:48

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] acidity. Not heavy but also not refreshing. Showed oakier, sweeter and more monolithic than the bottle tasted in January 2012, possibly due to that bottle’s having been open for several hours and, with repeated pours, well […]


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