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Posts Tagged ‘Alto Adige

Three Rieslings/countries/price points

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Rheingau 2015, Riesling Trocken, Von Unserm, Weingut Balthasar Ress ($20.65, 12510788)
100% Riesling from vines planted in clayey limestone soil in Hattenheim and Rüdesheim. Manually harvested. Direct pressed. Fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Clarified by settling. Screwcapped. Reducing sugar: 4.1 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Balthazard.
Classic Riesling nose of lemon/lime, green apple, white slate and a hint of peach yogurt. A faint spritz is detectable on the palate. Welterweight build. Dry but fruity: apple and lime set on river stones. The acidity stays underground until surfacing on the decent finish. A bit simple but fresh and likeable. (Buy again? Sure.)

Alsace 2014, Riesling, Le Kottabe, Josmeyer & Fils ($31.00, 12713032)
100% Riesling from organically and biodynamically farmed 40-year-old vines rooted in the gravelly, sandy, pebbly soil of Herrenweg. Manually harvested. The whole clusters were pneumatically pressed over five to eight hours. Spontaneous fermentation lasted from one to four months. The resulting wine was matured in a mix of stainless steel tanks and century-old oak foudres. Reducing sugar: 2.4 g/l. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Symbiose.
Appealing nose of lemon pound cake, icing sugar and eventually white spice. Medium-bodied and super dry. The pure fruit (“crab apple” with hints of citrus and peach) is brightened by relatively low-Watt acidity. The long, taut, saline finish has a bitter edge. Tasty. (Buy again? Sure, though not without wishing it was $5 cheaper.)

Alto Adige Valle Iscaro 2014, Riesling, Brixner Eisacktaler, Weingut Köfererhof ($49.00, 12958013)
Founded in 1940, the five-hectare estate is located in the South Tyrol at the foot of the Dolomites, near Italy’s border with Austria. 100% Riesling from vines planted in 1998 and rooted in gravely silt and sand at 650-700 metres above sea level. The grapes are manually harvested in two passes; half when fully ripe and the other half two or three weeks later. The two harvests are vinified separately and blended before bottling. The clusters are not systematically destemmed. Fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled (20°C) stainless steel tanks and matures on the lees for six months. Sulphur is added only at bottling and then in minute quantities. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
A whiff of sulphur blows off, leaving a complex nose of chalk, “papaya,” clean sweat and “lemon grape” that’s like walking through a balsam forest after a rain. Time in the glass produces floral and herbal notes. Equally interesting in the mouth: a dry, structured, dimensional wine of great precision and purity. The ripe fruit, deep minerality and lively acidity are in perfect balance from the clean attack through the long finish. Loses none of its qualities after warming to room temperature, always a good sign. Austere but delicious and absolutely world-class. Wow. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG October 26th tasting: flight 3 of 6

Written by carswell

December 20, 2017 at 14:24

MWG April 17th tasting (5/6): Pinot Noir and Pinot Nero

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Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er cru 2010, Les Hauts Jarrons, Domaine de Bellène ($57.25, 12239262)
The estate is the former Domaine Nicolas Potel, now renamed but still run by Potel; the estate wines are labelled Domaine de Bellène, the négociant wines Maison Roche de Bellène. 100% organically and biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir from 50-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Vinified without additives other than sulphur dioxide. Around 40% of the grapes are destemmed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and at temperatures up to 32°C takes place in stainless steel tanks and old oak foudres and lasts between 15 and 25 days. The must is subsequently pressed in a vertical press, with the wine being gravity-fed into first- to third-fill oak barrels for maturation lasting a little more than a year. Unfiltered. 13.5% ABV.
Bizarre nose of smoked meat and the expected red berries, eventually gaining spicy, cedary and ferny notes. In the mouth, primary and closed. Finely structured, with sinewy tannins and fresh acidity. The silky fruit is lean, ripe and clean, the oak discreet. Minerals come out on the finish. A balanced wine with real presence but one that moved no one around the table. That was especially disappointing as the staff at the Laurier SAQ had raved about the wine, declaring it one of the best $60 red Burgs they’d tasted in ages. By coincidence, two staff members happened to be around when this was poured and both said it smelled nothing like the wine they’d tried. So, was our bottle off? (Buy again? Not without tasting another bottle first.)

Alto Adige 2010, Pinot Nero, Ludwig, Elena Walch ($36.50, 12142567)
100% Pinot Noir. Macerated at low temperatures for 48 hours. Part of the must is fermented in Slovenian oak vats, the rest in stainless steel tanks. When malolactic fermentation is completed, the wine is transferred to French oak barrels for 16 months’ maturation. 13% ABV.
Outgoing, unnuanced nose: red berries, dill, spice and oak. Smooth though, compared with the silky Hauts Jarrons, the texture verges on velvety. The fruit is rich, ripe and not particularly deep, the acidity soft, the tannins round. Sweet oak crescendos into the finish, where it’s joined by spice box flavours and a lingering astringency. Popular with some around the table but I found the oak distracting and cloying. Better in a year or two when it has digested the wood? (Buy again? Unlikely.)

Written by carswell

May 2, 2014 at 20:13

MWG April 17th tasting (3/6): Dry and not so dry

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Alto Adige 2012, Gewürztraminer, Kastelaz, Elena Walch ($40.25, 12142559)
100% Gewürztraminer from the steep Kastelaz vineyard, which has been devoted to the variety for generations. Manually harvested in two passes. The destemmed grapes are crushed, cold-macerated for six hours and pressed. The resulting juice is refrigerated and clarified by sedimentation. Fermentation, with selected yeasts, takes place at 18°C. The wine is kept on the lees for several months. 6.6 g/l residual sugar, 14.5% ABV.
Aromatic nose of rose and, yes, spice, not to mention juniper, orange blossom and a whiff of alcohol. Quite extracted but fresh and unheavy due to the bright acidity and relatively low residual sugar. The flavours echo the aromas and are joined by a hint of gin and tonic. Good depth and a lasting if heady finish. I’m not normally a fan of northern Italian Gewurzes but this is excellent, a wine that would make a good ringer in a flight of Alsatian grand crus. (Buy again? Yes.)

Alsace 2012, Gewürztraminer, Vignoble d’E, Domaine Ostertag ($31.75, 00870493)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Gewürztraminer from several parcels located around the winery in the commune of Epfig (whence the Vignoble d’E moniker). As the wine is always made in a moelleux style, the grapes are picked late in the season. Manually harvested. Whole-cluster pressed and vinified in stainless steel tanks. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. 50 g/l residual sugar, 12% ABV.
Textbook Gewurz nose dominated by floral and lychee aromas. In the mouth, the wine is pristine, dense but still fluid, fruity but not too, quite sweet and rather long. Lovely in its slightly cloying but not caricatural way. (Buy again? If looking for a fruit-forward, luscious and definitely not dry Gewürztraminer, yes.)

After tasting the wines on their own, we tried them with a fine stinky Muenster from Yannick, which the Walch handled with aplomb and which redeemed the Ostertag.

Written by carswell

April 30, 2014 at 21:17

MWG January 10th tasting (2/7): Two cool-climate whites

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Sancerre 2011, Sur le Fort, Domaine Fouassier ($26.40, 12 bottles/case, La QV)
100% biodyanmically farmed Sauvignon Blanc from ten- to 20-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Work in the cellar is based on the lunar calendar.
Classic Sancerre nose: gooseberry, kiwi, grapefruit, chalk and flint. Ripe and extracted though bone dry and surprisingly unfruity. Superficially soft and round but possessed of a strong acidic undercurrent. Long, extremely saline finish. Less immediately dazzling than some Sancerres, this grew on me. I suspect it’s quite food-friendly; the producer suggests Thai-style shrimp or seared tuna with sweet potatoes (!) as pairings. (Buy again? Sure.)

Chardonnay 2011, Alto Adige, Peter Zemmer ($24.50, 12 bottles/case, La QV)
100% Chardonnay. The estate’s vineyards are located on the valley floor around Cortina, one of the southernmost villages in the Alto Adige. Zemmer’s website refers to “natural” wines but doesn’t go into specifics; La QV labels the estate’s viticultural practices as raisonné (sustainable). The grapes are given a short maceration before being pressed. The resulting must is clarified by settling. Fermented with selected yeasts at 19ºC (66ºF). 13.5% ABV.
Discreet nose: pear, mineral, smoke and white flowers evolving into lemon. Medium weight, fresh and very dry. The fruit is ripe and clean but could use more oomph, more zing. Turns a little sour on the minerally finish. Not a ton of depth or character, leading one taster, a look-on-the-bright-sider, to describe it as “linear.” (Buy again? While it’s a decent wine, probably not, especially when knock-out Chards can be had for $6 less.)

Written by carswell

January 24, 2013 at 11:02

MWG January 12th tasting: report

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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. This year was no exception. All bottles but one were purchased at the SAQ, and most are still available.


Vinho Verde 2009, Loureiro, Quinta do Ameal ($18.30, 11459992)
100% organically farmed Loureiro.  Floral and grapey in a Muscat kind of way; chalky, too. Light and fruity in the mouth, the slight residual sugar balanced by high acidity. Faint tingle, though whether from carbon dioxide or acid I can’t say. Minerally finish. (Buy again? Probably not, when the more compelling Deu La Deu is available at about the same price.)

Rueda 2009, Nosis, Buil&Giné ($18.95, 10860928)
100% Verdejo. Muted nose of dried lemon peel, wax and gooseberry. Fairly dense and oily though with enough acid to keep it from feeling heavy. Lemony, quartzy flavours and some residual sugar up front, dries and turns minerally as it progresses through the mouth. Lingers long. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Bourgogne Vézelay 2010, La Châtelaine, Domaine la Cadette ($22.05, 11094621)
100% organically farmed Chardonnay. 80% spends time in vats, 20% in barrels. Lemon, green apple and ashes on the nose. Green apple and oats on the palate. Bright acid. Seems disjointed and turns unpleasantly sour and lactic on the mid-palate. In view of the wine’s previous vintages and the embrace of the 2010 by the city’s more clued-in restaurateurs and wine advisors (it was reportedly the third biggest seller during the holidays at the Jean Talon Market SAQ), ours was probably an off bottle. (Buy again? To see what gives, yes.)

Alto Adige 2010, Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella ($22.95, 11451974)
100% Kerner. Fermented using natural yeasts. Sees only stainless steel. Floral, green grape, spice, quartz dust. Weighty in the mouth. Initial residual sugar. Fruity attack fades by mid-palate. High acid. A bit short and alcoholic (13.9% ABV). (Buy again? Maybe.)

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh sec 2008, Château Montus ($23.55, 11017625)
100% Petit Courbu from 15-year-old vines. Honeyed pear. Dense, rich, quite dry. Strong acid. Lemon zest on very long finish. Tasty. (Buy again? Yes.)

Saumur 2010, Château Yvonne ($25.55, 10689665)
100% organically farmed Chenin Blanc. Fermented with native yeasts, matured in new barrels, unfiltered and unfined. Quince, quinine, chestnut honey. Medium-bodied and very acidic. Complex but giving the impression that there’s more in store. Long mineral-packed finish. Not as memorably out-there as some earlier vintages but still a fine bottle of Chenin. (Buy again? Yes.)


Burgenland Qualitätswein 2009, Zweigelt, Zantho ($15.90, 10790384)
100% Blauer Zweigelt.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks; matured 95% in stainless steel tanks, 5% in used barriques. Farty, candied red fruit, graphite, dried herbs. Rustic, a bit jammy and one-noteish, despite some coffee and slate undertones. Drinkable but not delivering much excitement. (Buy again? Probably not.)

IGP Pays de l’Hérault 2010, Exorde, Clos Mathélisse ($21.30, La QV)
100% organically farmed Cinsault. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Bottled unfiltered and unfined with very little added sulphur. Nearly the entire (very small) production is exported to Switzerland and Canada. A first bottle seemed out of character: Red fruit, herbal, hint of rubber. Light rustic tannins. Bright acid but moody, a bit red-vermouthy, not recognizably the same wine as from earlier bottles. A second bottle showed much better: a gush of bright fruit and raspy tannins, with earthy herbal overtones and a pomegranate-like tang – the proverbial “wine that puts a smile on your face.” Surprisingly, three or four hours after being uncorked, the tail-end of the first bottle had righted itself and was drinking beautifully. Such are the vagaries of natural wines… (Buy again? For sure.)

Menetou-Salon 2010, Domaine Philippe Gilbert ($26.50, 11154988)
100% biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir from 20-year-old vines. Natural winemaking. Bottled unfiltered with minimal sulphur. Exuberant red berries: ça pinote. Light but richening as it breathes. Ripe fruit, bright acid, fine, supple tannins. Good balance and length. A rectilinear but very pure expression of the grape variety. (Buy again? Yes.)

Toro 2009, Crianza, Bodega Viña Bajoz ($13.35, 10856195)
100% Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo). Crianzas must be aged for 24 months, with no less than 6 months barrel-aging. Plum, stinky feet, spice, a whiff of alcohol. Rich, ripe, fluid. Raspberry, cocoa, a hint of “high” meat. Some structure. A little alcohol and tannic astringency on the dried herby finish. Good, especially at the price, though not a wine for contemplation. (Buy again? Sure.)

Nemea 2008, Agiorgitiko, Driopi, Domaine Tselepos ($19.75, 10701311)
100% Agiorgitiko from 40-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in stainless steel vats with selected yeasts. Matured in 40% new oak barrels. Menthol, plum, tobacco. Fresh and juicy in the mouth, with leather and spice deepening the sweet fruit flavours. Good acid, plump tannins and a slatey finish. The ripe, round fruit speaks of a southern wine. (Buy again? Yes, especially when it’s grilling season again.)

Douro 2008, Quinta de la Rosa ($20.30, 00928473)
Traditional port varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz from 20- to 30-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in small stainless steel vats, then matured in French oak casks for 12 months before being minimally filtered and bottled. Volatile, spicy nose. Rich, vaporous, alcoholic (14.2% ABV). A mass of spicy/herby fruit. Good acid and plump tannins. Long, flowing finish. Intense but also a little plodding. (Buy again? Not sure.)

IGT Maremma Toscana 2009, Sinarra, La Fattoria di Magliano ($21.65, 11191447)
95% Sangiovese, 5% Petit Verdot. Manually harvested. Sees no oak. Bottled unfiltered. Typical Tuscan nose: leather, dust, dried cherry. Rich yet supple and fluid. The drying tannins are also true to the Tuscan type. Balanced, structured, long.  Modern but quite enjoyable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2009, Château Revelette ($18.45, 10259737)
Organically farmed Syrah (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (34%) and Grenache (11%) from 25-year-old vines. The constituent grape varieties are vinified separately. A fraction of the Grenache and Cabernet are aged in fifth-year barrels. Leather upfront. Spice, black fruit in background. Rich, dense and strucutred but not heavy. Lots of acid. Tarry tannins. Long, savoury, posh. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Fronton 2008, Cuvée Don Quichotte, Domaine Le Roc ($18.80, 10675327)
Négrette (60%) and Syrah (40%). Varieties are vinified separately. The grapes are crushed,  as the winemakers feel this enhances the bouquet and softens the tannins. Matured in vats and barrels. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Wild red and black fruit with floral and animale notes. Dense fruit but fluid and bright. Supple tannins. Hints of licorice and dark chocolate on the longish finish. Perhaps showing less personality than in earlier vintages but still delivering good QPR. (Buy again? Yes.)

Montsant 2007, Vall del Calas, Celler de Capçanes ($22.75, 10858297)
65% Merlot, 30% Garnacha, 5% Tempranillo. All three varieties are vinified separately. Fermented with native yeasts. Spends 13 months with new, one- and two-year French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and lightly filtered.  Blackberry and black cherry, pepper and gravel. A silky texture and open structure. Rich, ripe fruit along with some wood and chocolate. Fairly long, inky/minerally finish. Seemed quite young. (Buy again? Maybe.)