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Terroir or not terroir?

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Cheverny 2014, Envol, Domaine des Huards ($19.95, 12748278)
A blend of Gamay (50%), Pinot Noir (42%) and Cabernet Franc (8%) from biodynamically farmed vines. Manually harvested. The fruit is placed directly into tanks for alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Halfway through fermentation, the grapes are pressed. Undergoes full malolactic fermentation. Matured several months in tanks. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Reductive at first, then sweet red berries with hints of sandalwood and slate. Supple, pure and nicely tart. The ripe red fruit sits on slate and is appealingly streaked with green. The slender tannins become a little more prominent on the lip-smacking finish. A refreshing easy-drinker best served cool, this could well be my go-to red this summer. (Buy again? Done!)

Cheverny 2014, Le Pressoir, Domaine Des Huards ($24.00, 11154021)
An 80-20 blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay from biodynamically farmed vines. The grapes are transferred to the vats without pumping. Alcoholic fermentation – with native yeasts – takes place at temperatures up to 30ºC and lasts about a week. The wine is then gently pressed, racked, allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation, oxygenated and racked again with bottling taking place in April or May. The only non-grape product added is small amounts of sulphur dioxide. Reducing sugar: 2.0 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
“Salty-savoury” nose of red fruit, mincemeat and some flinty minerals. Light and juicy in the mouth. Supply structured with tart acidity and fine tannins. Finishes with a cranberry-mineral tang. Probably the best Pressoir since the legendary 2006, though it still doesn’t have the full-on Pinot character that made the earlier wine such a delight. (Buy again? Yes.)

Beamsville Bench 2013, Pinot Noir, Hidden Bench ($35.50, 12582984)
This is the Estate bottling. 100% Pinot Noir from three parcels. Manually harvested. Cold-soaked for five days. Fermented with indigenous yeasts with manual punch-downs three to four times a day. The fermented, free-run juice was gravity fed directly into barrels and the skins were pressed in a basket press. Maturation in French oak barrels lasted around 16 months. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Reducing sugar: 1.9 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
Your typical Pinot mix of red berries, cola and red beet along with oak, sweet spice and a faint chemical note that one taster likened to epoxy. Richer than the Pressoir. Tighter too, with firm tannins and sustained acidity. The fruit is forward though not to excess. Oak flavours dominate – some might say spoil – the finish for now but the wine is young. Pitched between Burgundy and New World, this is suave if a little pricey (too bad it’s not under $30). If you wanted to pick nits, you might note that, however well made, it seems a bit anonymous, doesn’t display terroir in the way that many red Burgundies or even the two Huards do. Then again, that may be why the estate’s flagship line is dubbed the Terroir Series. (Buy again? A bottle to cellar for a year or two to see if the wine digests the oak.)

MWG March 31st tasting: flight 4 of 6

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Written by carswell

May 9, 2016 at 13:53

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