Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG February 18th tasting: Noddities

with 4 comments

The idea for this eclectic flight? Easy-drinking reds, all new arrivals, made from off-the-beaten-path grape varieties. New + oddity = noddity.

IGT Maremma Toscana 2013, Ciliegiolo, Azienda Il Grillesino ($17.85, 12280695)
100% Ciliegiolo from vines grown in stony clay-limestone soil near the Tuscan coast. The grapes were fermented in temperature-controlled tanks for 15 days. Matured for six months. Sees no oak. Bottled unfiltered in the spring following the vintage. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Mark Anthony Brands.
Spice, cherry, black raspberry, lingonberry, hints of chocolate, caramel and, oddly, “white vinegar” (quoting another taster). Fruity, supple and light though gaining a little weight as it moves through the mouth. Tart acidity keeps things refreshing, lightly raspy tannins add texture and a bit of backbone. Simple but quaffable, especially if served lightly chilled and with food. I wish it were $4 or $5 cheaper. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Valle de la Orortava 2013, 7 Fuentes, Soagranorte ($22.10, 12475425)
A 90-10 blend of Listán Negro and Tintilia (which, despite claims that it’s Grenache, Mourvèdre or Molise’s Tintilia, appears to be none other than the Jura’s Trousseau aka Bastardo) from ungrafted vines between ten and 100 years old grown in various parcels at altitudes ranging from 400 to 650 m on Tenerife. The grapes from each vineyard were vinified separately. Manually harvested in early September. Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts and manual punch-downs was in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Sixty percent of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and eight months’ maturation in 5,700-litre concrete tanks while the remainder was matured in 500-litre French oak casks. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Les vins Alain Bélanger.
The bottle at the tasting was irredeemably bretty, reeking of barnyard. The staff at my neighbourhood SAQ reported the same of the bottle they opened. A bottle enjoyed last weekend was funky at first but clean-smelling after a couple of hours in a carafe. Unusual nose of sandalwood, sawdust and spice with whiffs of doner and plum. Supple, fluid and medium-bodied, ripe and fruit-forward but not a bomb. Very dry, with soft, dusty tannins, glowing acidity and a dark mineral underlay. A faint, alum-like astringency marks the saline finish. Unusual, interesting and, above all, drinkable. Food pairing? Well-done red meat, maybe one of those doners. (Buy again? Yes.)

IGP Ismaros 2010, Maronia, Tsantali ($13.00, 12460354)
100% Mavroudi (aka Mavrud) grown in estate-owned vineyards around Maroneia. Alcoholic fermentation lasts eight to ten days, after which the wine is left on the grape skins for another two or three days. After pressing, it undergoes malolactic fermentation and then is transferred to new 300-litre French oak barrels for eight months’ maturation. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Amphora.
Jammy plum, sweet spice, sawed wood and “cherry Vicks.” Medium- to full-bodied. The big but not lumbering fruit is structured by soft acidity and round tannins. An undercurrent of tar adds an appealing earthiness. Black pepper and vanilla-caramel colour the finish. Broader than it is deep but, at $13, who’s complaining? A bottle I opened a few days before the tasting seemed lighter and less fruit-driven. Either way, it’s a QPR winner. (Buy again? Sure.)

(Flight: 3/5)

4 Responses

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  1. Are you confusing reduction with Brett? 7 Fuentes has no Brett


    March 29, 2015 at 17:12

    • I was going to ask how you could know that 7 Fuentes is brett-free, Jonatan, but from your Twitter account (@Jonatanvino) I see you’re connected with the bodega.

      In my defence, I’ll say that our bottle definitely had aromas I associate with Brett (barnyard) and none I associate with reduced wines (burned rubber and cabbage, for example). A trained sommelier and a couple other experienced tasters were also present at the tasting and none of them mentioned reduction. The SAQ staff whom I spoke to also characterized the wine as bretty. And I note that the term does come up in a number of online tasting notes.

      That said, the tasting was nearly two months ago, so my memories of the aroma are somewhat remote, and a second bottle opened a few weeks later had a nose that, while funky, wasn’t bretty.

      In any case, setting aside questions about the nose, we enjoyed the 7 Fuentes enough to try to get bottles of the bodega’s other wines for inclusion in another tasting. While that, unfortunately, didn’t work out, I’ll be on the lookout for them at upcoming wine shows. It was exciting to discover that the Canary Islands are a source of fine, interesting, distinctive and drinkable wine.


      March 31, 2015 at 18:33

      • Hi again! First of all thank you for drink our wines. In the cellar we take a lot of care for not having contaminations. We also tested the wines and never found it. Other thing that we don’t understand is that all that wine we sent to Quebec was bottled at the same time and it’s difficult to have bottles with and others without. I’m going to open one bottle of that bottled these days but it’s the first time that we heared that. reduction yes, but never that. Keep in touch!


        April 1, 2015 at 05:32

  2. […] French oak casks. Reducing sugar: 2.1 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: LVAB. Much cleaner than the bottle tasted last February. Slight reduction on the nose but otherwise fine: spice, red fruit, earth, […]

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