Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

oenopole workshop: picnic wines (3/4)

with 9 comments

The reds were also served with three sandwiches: a Jewish-French fusion of chopped chicken liver and mousse de foies de volaille on raisin bread; open-faced corned beef garnished with red cabbage; and beef salami with chiles on a lobster roll-style hot dog bun. As is always the case at Hof Kelsten, everything – including the corned beef, salami, pickles and ballpark mustard – was made in house.

Achaïa 2012, Kalavryta, Tetramythos ($16.10, 11885457)
The estate is located in Achaea, on the Gulf of Corinth in the northern Peloponnese. This wine is made using the free-run juice from organically farmed Black of Kalavryta (Μαύρο Καλαβρυτινό) grapes, an indigenous variety once widely grown in the area but now nearly extinct. Alcoholic fermentation (with native yeasts) and nine months’ maturation are in stainless steel vats. Malolactic fermentation is prevented. Use of sulphur dioxide is kept to a bare minimum. The wine is unfined but coarsely filtered before bottling. 13% ABV.
While other bottles have often been reductive, the wine needing at least a couple of hours in a carafe to right itself, this was sweet from the get-go. Lightly candied red fruit, dark spice, slate, undergrowth and a hint of band-aid. Medium-bodied, supple, juicy and dry, with enough acidity to keep things perky. Not very tannic though a faint astringency and bitterness mark the finish. A savoury vin plaisir and a QPR winner. Drink slightly chilled. (Buy again? Yes.)
> A surprisingly good match for the chicken liver, which brought out the wine’s fruit. Excellent with the salami, unfazed by the smouldering chiles. Serviceable with the corned beef. Based on this sampling, the most picnic fare-friendly of the reds.

Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes-de-Nuits 2011, Domaine Henri Naudin-Ferrand ($27.65, 11668698)
100% Pinot Noir from vines averaging 43 years old. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Three days’ cold maceration was followed by 11 days’ alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts, punch-downs and pump-overs. Undergoes malolactic fermentation. Matured 12 months on the lees, 20% in new oak barrels. Blended and filtered before bottling. 12.5% ABV.
Classic red Burg nose: red berries, old wood, beet, minerals, forest floor and hint of new oak. A medium-bodied, silky textured delight with sweet-ripe fruit, supple tannins, bright acidity and darker mineral and wood flavours that linger through the clean finish. As elegant as in earlier vintages but even purer and fresher. (Buy again? Yes.)
> Good with the chicken liver, the berry fruit coming to the fore. Worked with the salami but not with the chiles, which killed the wine. The best of the three wines with the corned beef.

Côtes du Rhône 2011, Daumen ($21.00, 11509857)
Biodynamically and organically farmed Grenache (60%), Syrah (30%) and Mourvèdre (6%) according to the SAQ (earlier vintages have included a dollop of Cinsault) from vines averaging 60 years old. Although marketed under Jean-Paul Daumen’s négociant label, the grapes come from the estate’s own vineyards. Manually harvested, partially destemmed, fermented in temperature-controlled vats with indigenous yeasts and punch-downs for about 20 days, matured approximately 12 months in concrete vats and neutral 50-hl barrels and bottled unfiltered and unfined. Sulphur is added – and then minimally – only just before bottling. 14.5% ABV.
Heady nose of lightly stewed plum, sweet spice, black pepper, leather and graphite. A suave middleweight filled – but not packed – with sweet fruit, enlivening acidity and ripe, round tannins. Pepper and spice perfume the long finish. So fresh and drinkable, the kind of wine the QPR Winner tag was made for. (Buy again? Absolutely.)
> Didn’t sing with the chicken liver. Not bad with the salami, though the chiles did the wine no favours. Very good with the corned beef. Would really shine with grilled red meat – a lamb burger, say.

Written by carswell

May 12, 2014 at 10:36

9 Responses

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  1. Naudin-Ferrand is showing $33.75 on This is the same bottle you note, with a steep price hike?


    May 18, 2014 at 11:16

    • No, I mistakenly linked to the 2009 Côtes de Nuits Villages. The link now takes you to the right page. Thanks.


      May 18, 2014 at 11:26

      • Thanks! 8 left in the Gat’s SAQ du Plateau. Will bike today for 15% off.


        May 18, 2014 at 11:30

        • Note it’s 15% off the purchase of six or more bottles of wine (can be six different wines).


          May 18, 2014 at 11:34

  2. Yes, thanks. I will be suited for that. Problem is, having consulted your website, I am going to have to ask a heavy favour of my cycling companion.


    May 18, 2014 at 11:37

    • Cool. BTW, in case you missed it, the following debuted at the SAQ on May 8: Dolcetto d’Alba 2011, Madonna di Como, Pietro Rinaldi ($20.35, 12184652). No idea if it’s missable or un-.


      May 18, 2014 at 11:49

      • Ahh… so the Reply button is different from the Comment button. So sophisticated the blogs these days. Madonna di Como is on my radar, but only in terms of a Montreal run in June. It should stick around, though seems a bit late to drag some 11s — I’d say they fell off the back of a truck (or ship, as the case may be). Last time I tasted it was the 08, stocked at LCBO, when it wasn’t available in Quebec. It got me pretty excited, and not just because it was a deal at the time. So it’s definitely “un-” for me 🙂


        May 18, 2014 at 12:06

        • Bought that Madonna di Como based on comments here. Very pleasant drinking.


          May 29, 2014 at 13:48

        • Thanks for the feedback, Andrew. There’s still a lot around and, oddly, many outlets have 12 or 24 bottles, i.e. intact cases, implying it’s not been flying off the shelves. Will try to pick up a bottle soon.


          May 29, 2014 at 14:00

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