Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

oenopole workshop: picnic wines (2/4)

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The food for the workshop – variations on a sandwich theme – was prepared by Jeff Finkelstein, owner of Boulangerie Hof Kelsten. All the sandwiches were excellent and several were adaptations of ones available at the bakery. Based on this encounter, I’d say Hof Kelsten is not only the source of some of the city’s best bread (something restaurants like Brasserie T!, Joe Beef and Leméac well know) but also one of Montreal’s top sandwich spots.

In this flight, the wines were served with gravlax on a pumpernickel crisp, roasted yellow beet and labneh with fresh pumpernickel crumbs, and chicken salad on soft white sandwich bread.

IGP Peloponnese 2012, Foloi, Domaine Mercouri ($17.85, 12131471)
The wine is named after Mount Foloi, on the highlands around which the grapes grow. The 2012 is a blend of Roditis (85%) and Vigonier (15%). Low-temperature fermentation with selected yeasts. 12.5% ABV.
Mineral, floral (honeysuckle?), melon and a hint of peach stones. Smooth, fruity, even a bit superficial on entry but gaining depth, acid bite and minerality as it goes along. Floral overtones and citrus flavours colour the mid-palate and a faint astringent-like sensation textures the finish. Fragrant, flavourful and above all fresh. Probably not a keeper, this has summer sipper written all over it. (Buy again? Sure.)
> Not a particularly good match with the gravlax, the combo leaving a faint metallic and fish oil taste in the mouth. Much better with the beet and labneh (especially the mildly tangy cheese) and just dandy with the chicken salad.

Sancerre 2012, Domaine Paul Prieur et Fils ($24.50, 11953245)
100% Sauvignon Blanc from grapes grown in the estate’s three terroirs (light limestone, clayey limestone and flint). The vines average 25 to 35 years old. Manually harvested and whole cluster pressed. After 24 to 48 hours’ cold settling, the must is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and then matured on its lees for about seven months. 13% ABV.
Classic nose of gooseberry and gunflint with a soft floral top note. Sits lightly on the palate and yet is quite intense. The fruit’s natural sweetness notwithstanding, the wine is dry. Brisk acidity and a vein of chalky minerals run throughout and are joined by a saline note on the long finish. Remarkable purity and balance. (Buy again? Yes.)
> Good with the gravlax, very good with the beet and labneh and best with the chicken salad, whose celery and apple it picked up. One taster said the wine is a knockout with Crottin de Chavignol, a claim I have no trouble believing.

Santorini 2012, Estate Argyros ($24.60, 11901091)
100% Assyrtiko from ungrafted vines averaging 150 years old. Temperature-controlled fermentation with selected yeasts. Maturated six months, 80% in stainless steel tanks and 20% in 500-litre French oak barrels. 13.2% ABV.
Lemon, quartz, sea spray, distant smoke. Dry and oh, so minerally. The bracing acidity might be biting were it not softened by the fruit extract and sugars and rounded by the barrel. The saline finish lasts forever. “I’d drink this with everything, even on my cornflakes,” said one taster. That sounds about right. (Buy? Oh, yes.)
> Excellent with the gravlax, somewhat to my surprise (salmon and Assyrtiko, who knew?). Good with the beet and labneh, echoing the beet’s minerals. Very good with the chicken salad. The most versatile of the three wines (see “cornflakes” above). Would be killer with oysters on the half shell.

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Written by carswell

May 10, 2014 at 12:30

One Response

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  1. […] The 2016 is currently available at the SAQ ($19.25, 12131471). Aromatic but less floral than some earlier vintages: lemon, flint, white flowers. Bright, light, fresh and fruity but dry. Lingering saline finish. […]


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