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New year, new sparklers

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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 and 2016 was no exception. All the bottles were purchased at the SAQ and most if not all are still available, though not always in large quantities.

Cava, Brut, La Vida al Camp ($19.50, 12693895)
A blend of purchased Macabeo (45%), Xarel·lo (45%) and Parellada (10%) grapes from organically farmed vines grown by a select group of farmers. Made using the traditional method. Second fermentation, which produces the bubbles, takes place in the bottles, which are aged at least 15 months before disgorging. Reducing sugar: 4.8 g/l. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Marchand des Vins.
Subdued but appealing nose of sandstone, white lemon and, as one taster perceptively noted, “almond.” Fine effervescence but little foam. On the palate, it’s clean, fresh and quite dry. The light citrus and mineral flavours are joined by faint saline and grapefruit pith notes on the medium-long finish. Elegant and, unlike many inexpensive bubblies, not devoid of character. If there’s a better cava at the SAQ at this price point, I’ve yet to encounter it. (Buy again? Yes.)

Crémant de Bordeaux, Brut, Paulian, Lateyron ($21.95, 12723003)
Sémillon (60%) and Cabernet Franc (40%) from vineyards in the northern and eastern Entre-Deux-Mers region. Made using the traditional method. The bottles are aged at least 24 months before disgorement. Reducing sugar: 12 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Marchand des Amériques.
Somewhat more fragrant than its Spanish flightmate; the faintly floral aromas have an intriguing sour edge. Softly effervescent with fine bubbles that lighten the slightly waxy texture. Richer and rounder than the cava – probably due to the grape varieties involved, the extract levels and higher residual sugar – but still dry and fresh. The fruit tends to quince and maybe peach and lingers through the slow-fade finish. Not everyone around the table was convinced by this (“tastes like cream soda,” harrumphed one taster) but I and several others liked it. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG January 14th tasting: flight 1 of 7

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Written by carswell

January 20, 2016 at 15:41

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