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All wine, most of the time

MWG January 12th tasting: report

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In reaction to the excesses of the holiday season, the Mo’ Wine Group’s January tasting traditionally focuses on affordable wines. This year was no exception. All bottles but one were purchased at the SAQ, and most are still available.

THE WHITES

Vinho Verde 2009, Loureiro, Quinta do Ameal ($18.30, 11459992)
100% organically farmed Loureiro.  Floral and grapey in a Muscat kind of way; chalky, too. Light and fruity in the mouth, the slight residual sugar balanced by high acidity. Faint tingle, though whether from carbon dioxide or acid I can’t say. Minerally finish. (Buy again? Probably not, when the more compelling Deu La Deu is available at about the same price.)

Rueda 2009, Nosis, Buil&Giné ($18.95, 10860928)
100% Verdejo. Muted nose of dried lemon peel, wax and gooseberry. Fairly dense and oily though with enough acid to keep it from feeling heavy. Lemony, quartzy flavours and some residual sugar up front, dries and turns minerally as it progresses through the mouth. Lingers long. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Bourgogne Vézelay 2010, La Châtelaine, Domaine la Cadette ($22.05, 11094621)
100% organically farmed Chardonnay. 80% spends time in vats, 20% in barrels. Lemon, green apple and ashes on the nose. Green apple and oats on the palate. Bright acid. Seems disjointed and turns unpleasantly sour and lactic on the mid-palate. In view of the wine’s previous vintages and the embrace of the 2010 by the city’s more clued-in restaurateurs and wine advisors (it was reportedly the third biggest seller during the holidays at the Jean Talon Market SAQ), ours was probably an off bottle. (Buy again? To see what gives, yes.)

Alto Adige 2010, Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella ($22.95, 11451974)
100% Kerner. Fermented using natural yeasts. Sees only stainless steel. Floral, green grape, spice, quartz dust. Weighty in the mouth. Initial residual sugar. Fruity attack fades by mid-palate. High acid. A bit short and alcoholic (13.9% ABV). (Buy again? Maybe.)

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh sec 2008, Château Montus ($23.55, 11017625)
100% Petit Courbu from 15-year-old vines. Honeyed pear. Dense, rich, quite dry. Strong acid. Lemon zest on very long finish. Tasty. (Buy again? Yes.)

Saumur 2010, Château Yvonne ($25.55, 10689665)
100% organically farmed Chenin Blanc. Fermented with native yeasts, matured in new barrels, unfiltered and unfined. Quince, quinine, chestnut honey. Medium-bodied and very acidic. Complex but giving the impression that there’s more in store. Long mineral-packed finish. Not as memorably out-there as some earlier vintages but still a fine bottle of Chenin. (Buy again? Yes.)

THE REDS

Burgenland Qualitätswein 2009, Zweigelt, Zantho ($15.90, 10790384)
100% Blauer Zweigelt.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks; matured 95% in stainless steel tanks, 5% in used barriques. Farty, candied red fruit, graphite, dried herbs. Rustic, a bit jammy and one-noteish, despite some coffee and slate undertones. Drinkable but not delivering much excitement. (Buy again? Probably not.)

IGP Pays de l’Hérault 2010, Exorde, Clos Mathélisse ($21.30, La QV)
100% organically farmed Cinsault. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Bottled unfiltered and unfined with very little added sulphur. Nearly the entire (very small) production is exported to Switzerland and Canada. A first bottle seemed out of character: Red fruit, herbal, hint of rubber. Light rustic tannins. Bright acid but moody, a bit red-vermouthy, not recognizably the same wine as from earlier bottles. A second bottle showed much better: a gush of bright fruit and raspy tannins, with earthy herbal overtones and a pomegranate-like tang – the proverbial “wine that puts a smile on your face.” Surprisingly, three or four hours after being uncorked, the tail-end of the first bottle had righted itself and was drinking beautifully. Such are the vagaries of natural wines… (Buy again? For sure.)

Menetou-Salon 2010, Domaine Philippe Gilbert ($26.50, 11154988)
100% biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir from 20-year-old vines. Natural winemaking. Bottled unfiltered with minimal sulphur. Exuberant red berries: ça pinote. Light but richening as it breathes. Ripe fruit, bright acid, fine, supple tannins. Good balance and length. A rectilinear but very pure expression of the grape variety. (Buy again? Yes.)

Toro 2009, Crianza, Bodega Viña Bajoz ($13.35, 10856195)
100% Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo). Crianzas must be aged for 24 months, with no less than 6 months barrel-aging. Plum, stinky feet, spice, a whiff of alcohol. Rich, ripe, fluid. Raspberry, cocoa, a hint of “high” meat. Some structure. A little alcohol and tannic astringency on the dried herby finish. Good, especially at the price, though not a wine for contemplation. (Buy again? Sure.)

Nemea 2008, Agiorgitiko, Driopi, Domaine Tselepos ($19.75, 10701311)
100% Agiorgitiko from 40-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in stainless steel vats with selected yeasts. Matured in 40% new oak barrels. Menthol, plum, tobacco. Fresh and juicy in the mouth, with leather and spice deepening the sweet fruit flavours. Good acid, plump tannins and a slatey finish. The ripe, round fruit speaks of a southern wine. (Buy again? Yes, especially when it’s grilling season again.)

Douro 2008, Quinta de la Rosa ($20.30, 00928473)
Traditional port varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz from 20- to 30-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in small stainless steel vats, then matured in French oak casks for 12 months before being minimally filtered and bottled. Volatile, spicy nose. Rich, vaporous, alcoholic (14.2% ABV). A mass of spicy/herby fruit. Good acid and plump tannins. Long, flowing finish. Intense but also a little plodding. (Buy again? Not sure.)

IGT Maremma Toscana 2009, Sinarra, La Fattoria di Magliano ($21.65, 11191447)
95% Sangiovese, 5% Petit Verdot. Manually harvested. Sees no oak. Bottled unfiltered. Typical Tuscan nose: leather, dust, dried cherry. Rich yet supple and fluid. The drying tannins are also true to the Tuscan type. Balanced, structured, long.  Modern but quite enjoyable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2009, Château Revelette ($18.45, 10259737)
Organically farmed Syrah (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (34%) and Grenache (11%) from 25-year-old vines. The constituent grape varieties are vinified separately. A fraction of the Grenache and Cabernet are aged in fifth-year barrels. Leather upfront. Spice, black fruit in background. Rich, dense and strucutred but not heavy. Lots of acid. Tarry tannins. Long, savoury, posh. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Fronton 2008, Cuvée Don Quichotte, Domaine Le Roc ($18.80, 10675327)
Négrette (60%) and Syrah (40%). Varieties are vinified separately. The grapes are crushed,  as the winemakers feel this enhances the bouquet and softens the tannins. Matured in vats and barrels. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Wild red and black fruit with floral and animale notes. Dense fruit but fluid and bright. Supple tannins. Hints of licorice and dark chocolate on the longish finish. Perhaps showing less personality than in earlier vintages but still delivering good QPR. (Buy again? Yes.)

Montsant 2007, Vall del Calas, Celler de Capçanes ($22.75, 10858297)
65% Merlot, 30% Garnacha, 5% Tempranillo. All three varieties are vinified separately. Fermented with native yeasts. Spends 13 months with new, one- and two-year French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and lightly filtered.  Blackberry and black cherry, pepper and gravel. A silky texture and open structure. Rich, ripe fruit along with some wood and chocolate. Fairly long, inky/minerally finish. Seemed quite young. (Buy again? Maybe.)

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  1. […] Bourgogne-Véselay 2010, La Châtelaine, Domaine de la Cadette ($22.10, 11094621) Lemon-lime with hints of toast, tropical fruit and eventually orange. Rich on entry, sweet-fruity on the mid-palate, puckery on the finish. Bright, bracing and clean as a whistle: quite the contrast to the bottle opened at the January MWG tasting. […]


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