Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Thinking globally, drinking locally

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The MWG’s early March tasting was led by the irrepressible Steve Beauséjour, who daylights as a sales rep of Rézin. To say he outdid himself would be an understatement.

We got things rolling with a stupendous dry white served double-blind from a labelless bottle.

The bouquet is a kaleidoscope of seashells, citrus, oats, limestone, bread, a hint of nuts and more. On the palate, it’s a mouth-watering mix of saline minerals, restrained fruit and trenchant acidity, dazzlingly pure and so dry, especially on the long finish. As bracing and engaging a white as I’ve encountered in a coon’s age.

I happened to be sitting next to two French expats, both of them Loire lovers, and all three of us had the same initial reaction: a faintly oxidized Chenin Blanc from a top Loire producer. As we spent more time with the wine and listened to Steve, doubts began to creep in. “Un chablis peut-être,” hazarded one of the français. Other tasters guessed the Jura, Italy, Austria and South Africa. All were shot down.

“Maybe it’s from Laval,” quipped a taster, throwing up his hands. (Île Jésus’s improbable Château Taillefer-Lafon has become something of a meme for the group.)

“You’re getting warm,” said Steve to the astonishment of everyone.

The wine? A special bottling of Québec 2014, Chardonnay, Les Rosiers, Les Pervenches, the regular bottling of which retailed for $25 during the few weeks it was available. This 100% Chardonnay is made from fruit from organically and biodynamically farmed vines grown near Farnham. The grapes are manually harvested and sorted, vinified naturally (indigenous yeasts, no additives, minimal intervention) and matured in casks. The 24 bottles of this special bottling were filled with wine drawn directly from the cask after one year’s maturation. In contrast to the regular cuvée, the wine is unfined, unfiltered and unsulphured.

If I’ve tasted a better Canadian Chardonnay, I don’t recall it. Truly world-class.

MWG March 12th tasting: flight 1 of 7

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