Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Three sure bets

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Côtes du Rhône VillagesValréas 2010, Clos Bellane ($26.25, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah from biodynamically and organically farmed vines more than a quarter century old and rooted in clay and limestone. At 410 metres elevation, the vineyard is the highest and one of the coolest in the southern Rhône. Manually harvested. Partially destemmed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and “Burgundy-style” punch-downs in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Pneumatically pressed. Matured in stainless steel tanks (70%) and used barrels (30%). To minimize handling by machines, the winery is gravity-fed. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Our bottle was opened 24 hours before we got around to it. Wafting nose of plum, raspberry, spice, oyster bed, red gummy bears and garrigue. In the mouth, it’s full-bodied but restrained. What’s more, the alcohol is not at all noticeable. Flavourwise, it’s remarkably clean, pure and well balanced, with rich fruit, freshening acidity, mostly resolved though still bitey tannins and as much breadth as depth. Black pepper and herbes de Provence overtone the long finish. The estate’s elegant rosé is among the best values at the SAQ, so it’s not surprising the CDRV (the 2015 version of which is also available at the monopoly) is similarly tasty and affordable. (Buy again? Sure.)

Corbières 2014, Prioundo, Les Clos Perdus ($34.60, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Grenache (80%) and Cinsault (20%) from biodynamically and organically farmed, 32-year-old vines rooted in limestone and clay. Twenty percent of the grapes are left in whole clusters, the rest destemmed but uncrushed. Given three days’ maceration before fermentation in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. Basket pressed after 21 days on the skins. Matured on the fine lees in stainless steel tanks for nine months. Unfined and lightly filtered. Sulphur use is minimal. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Lovely, subtle, savoury nose: blackberries and red fruit, minerals, spice and a bit o’ barnyard. Pure, open and sweet on the attack yet dry and savoury. Finely structured with supple tannins and smooth acidity. Full-bodied, round, fresh – what the French call digeste, which is kind of surprising for a 14.5% wine. (Buy again? Sure.)

Vacqueyras 2014, Fruit Sauvage, Clos de Caveau ($65.00/1500 ml, private import, 3 bottles/case)
A 60-40 blend of Grenache and Syrah from 10- to 45-year-old organically farmed vines at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured 12 months, half in tronconic tanks, half in concrete tanks 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Elegant nose of plum and red berries, black tea and background minerals and garrigue. As for the palate, the word smooth appears three times in my notes, though suave might be the better descriptor. Full-bodied and lush yet fresh and energetic. Satiny texture. The ripe, juicy fruit is structured by round tannins and sleek acidity. Minerals rumble softly underneath. Finishes long and clean and with not a hint of heat. Unexpectedly easy-going, especially for a Vacqueyras. (Buy again? Sure.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 7 of 9

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Written by carswell

November 3, 2017 at 12:42

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