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Posts Tagged ‘Bambara Selection

Old World and New

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Eloro 2012, Spaccaforno. Riofavara ($28.50, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Nero d’Avola with small amounts of other, unspecified local grape varieties, all from organically and semi-biodynamically farmed vines averaging 30 years old and grown in a four-hectare, limestone-soiled vineyard. The grapes are hand-picked, then destemmed and lightly pressed. Fermented on the skins and with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Matured at least six months in barrels (80% second-fill tonneaux, 20% third-fill barriques) and at least 10 months in bottle. Unfiltered. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Pepper, leather, violet, herbs, dark cherry and strawberry. Medium- to full-bodied. Bright fruit, bright acidity and tight but not rebarbative tannins, all in perfect balance. Long, smooth finish. Tastes solar yet is less dense, more buoyant than many Nero d’Avolas. Another beauty. Good QPR. (Buy again? Done!)

Crozes-Hermitage 2012, Terre d’éclat, Domaine de la Ville Rouge ($31.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Syrah from organically farmed vines averaging 35 years old. The estate is converting to biodynamic agriculture. Long maceration and fermentation with indigenous yeasts at around 28°C in temperature-controlled tanks and using daily pump-overs. Matured 12 months in barrels. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
The expected dark fruit, smoke and bacon along with unexpected “kefir yogurt” and “roasted acorn squash” (quoting other tasters). More medium- than full-bodied, with a smooth and velvety texture, fine tannins and lifting acidity. The cherry fruit has bacon overtones and slate underpinnings and the finish is long and meaty/gamy. The oak is discreet. Young – would probably have benefited from a few hours in the carafe – but still accessible and definitely enjoyable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Napa Valley 2011, Charbono, Tofanelli Family Vineyard ($49.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Charbono (aka Bonarda, Corbeau and Douce Noir) from organically farmed, unirrigated vines grown in a 1.5-hectare vineyard located in the Calistoga AVA. The grapes were hand-picked, destemmed, cold-soaked for four days and fermented with indigenous yeasts and twice-daily punch-downs or pump-overs. Pressed directly into French oak barrels (25% new) and matured for 17 months with two rackings. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Chocolate-covered blackberries, pomegranate and a “hint of vanilla.” Mouth-filling and round, fruit-driven and soft-tannined but, despite the density and oaky finish, surprisingly fresh. Spice overtones and some stony minerals add welcome complexity. The velvety texture persists through the long finish. Definitely not a Cab or Zin but unmistakably Californian. (Buy again? A bottle for curiosity value.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 6 of 6

Nebbiolo and Nebbiolo

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Langhe Nebbiolo 2012, Roccabella, Eugenio Bocchino ($31.50, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Nebbiolo from organically and mostly biodynamically farmed vines planted in 2000. Manually harvested. Maceration and fermentation with indigenous yeasts and daily pump-overs take place in concrete and/or stainless steel tanks and last 20 days. Matured 12 months in Slavonian oak barrels and eight months in the bottle. Sulphur addition is minimal. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Cherry, “stewed prune,” sandalwood, dried rose, sweat, “icing sugar,” kirsch. A tad denser than, say, Produttori’s Langhe Nebbiolo but still medium-bodied. The clean, ripe, silky fruit, fine tight tannins and edgy acidity play against a cherry wood and graphite backdrop. The nicely sustained finish has spice and floral overtones. Will be even better in a year or three. (Buy again? Yes.)

Barbaresco 2011, Valgrande, Ca’ del Baio ($41.95, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Nebbiolo from organically farmed vines between 11 and 40 years old. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Macerated and fermented, with indigenous yeasts, in stainless steel, temperature-controlled tanks for one to two weeks. Matured 30 months in large Slavonian oak casks and six months in bottle. No added anything except small amounts of sulphur at bottling. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Here the cherry fruit is scented with dried orange peel, sawed wood, spice, tar and a hint of rose. Tight and structured, though the tannins and acidity are fruit-clad. That fruit, deliciously ripe and shot through with minerals, has a slightly chewy texture. Despite the alcohol flaring a little on the long finish, the wine is impeccably balanced. Beautiful and surprisingly accessible yet, like any high-quality, traditionally styled Barbaresco, able to age and develop for at least 10 years. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 5 of 6

Written by carswell

November 23, 2015 at 10:34

Noir and Nerello

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Beaune 1er cru 2011, Les Chouacheux, Domaine Chantal Lescure ($53.95, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Pinot Noir from a 1.5-hectare vineyard of organically farmed vines averaging 50 years old. Manually harvested. After destemming, the uncrushed grapes are gravity-fed into stainless steel vats for cool semi-carbonic maceration. Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts and occasional punch-downs. The grapes are then pressed and the wine transferred to oak barrels (25-30% new) for 16 months’ maturation. One or two months before bottling, the wine is racked. Blending and bottling are done at lunarly favourable moments. Unfiltered and lightly sulphured. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Cherry (the fruit and the wood), mushroom and a hint of “Dutch process cocoa,” as one taster put it. Pure silky fruit, fine tight tannins, supple acidity and a caressing finish. The oak is discreet and perfectly integrated. Not the most dimensional Burgundy you’ve ever drunk but elegant and accessible (though surely able to evolve and improve over the next five to 10 years). (Buy again? Yes.)

IGT Sicilia 2008, Reseca, Gulfi ($57.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Gulfi’s only Etna wine. 100% Nerello Mascalese from unirrigated, organically farmed old vines. Manually harvested. Macerated and fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. After malolactic fermentation has ended, the wine is transferred into 225-litre French oak barrels for around 24 months’ maturation. Bottle-aged another two to three years before release. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Expressive, savoury nose of red plum, dried cherry, clay, spice bread and “roasted dried seaweed.” Rich but not heavy, ripe but dry, with fragrant, chewy, bordering on brambly fruit, velvety tannins, suave acidity, a dark mineral substrate and a long, kirsch-overtoned finish. The combination of warmth and freshness is special indeed. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 4 of 6

Written by carswell

November 20, 2015 at 13:44

Not Brunello and not Maremma

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Chianti Colli Senesi 2013, Le Ragnaie ($22.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
The estate is located in the Montalcino hills and this would be a Brunello if the vineyard’s elevation weren’t so high (above 600 m). 100% Sangiovese from organically farmed 12-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Fermentation on the skins uses indigenous yeasts, takes place in temperature-controlled concrete tanks (maximum 28°C) and lasts 21 days. Matured 12 months in 250-litre Slavonian oak barrels, few if any of which I’m guessing are new. Lightly filtered. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Textbook nose of dusty sour cherry and plum with notes of iodine, graphite/slate, spice and dried rose. A medium-bodied mouthful of pure fruit, racy acidity, light, drying tannins and terracotta minerals. Long, clean finish with telltale bitter licorice, tobacco and leather notes. Like mainlining Sangiovese, albeit one with a Burgundian texture. Exceptional QPR. (Buy again? Done!)

Montecucco Sangiovese 2010, Cartacanta, Basile Agricola ($24.75, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Located in Maremma near the Tuscan coast southwest of Sienna, the appellation gained DOCG status in 2011 (the 2010’s a DOC). 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in temperature-controlled (maximum 28°C) stainless steel tanks. Matured 12 months in French oak barrels, 24 months in the bottle. Unfiltered. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Candied mixed berries, herbs, ink and dried leaves. Richer, fruitier and less rustic than the Ragnaie. Nicely structured and well balanced. The dark minerally finish has a faintly bitter edge. Tastes a little primary at this point; though approachable now, will probably benefit from a couple of years in the cellar. Suave, food-friendly and fairly priced, this deserves to be on many restaurant lists. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 3 of 6

Written by carswell

November 19, 2015 at 12:50

South and north

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Sicilia 2011, Carjcanti, Gulfi ($36.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Carricante (95%) and Albanello (5%) from unirrigated, organically farmed 15-year-old vines rooted in limestone and clay. Manually harvested. Fermented in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. Matured around 12 months in 2500-litre stainless steel tanks and 500-litre French oak barrels. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Striking, complex nose: tamari (!), almond paste, dried apricot, split wood and white spice against a backdrop of minerals. Medium-bodied, fruity but dry, especially on the finish. Lots of minerals and soft but sustained acidity. Long with hints of quince and oxidizing yellow apple. Unique and delicious though probably not a long ager. Understandably a favourite of many around the table. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Alsace 2012, Riesling, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Jean Louis & Fabienne Mann ($35.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from organically farmed old vines grown in several vineyards. Manually harvested. The must from the gently pressed grapes is allowed to clarify by settling, then fermented in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. Maturation on the lees lasts around 10 months. At bottling, the wine is lightly filtered and a small amount of sulphur dioxide is added. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Lemon, white flowers, white minerals and eventually buttery marzipan. Very dry. Rich and hefty. Smooth on the surface but dig a little and you find tense acidity and real mineral depth. Ends long and clean on an intriguing faintly bitter note. Beautiful, classic Alsatian Riesling at a fair price. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 2 of 6

Written by carswell

November 18, 2015 at 12:51

North and south

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In late October, MWG member Simon Thibeaudeau donned his mantle as head of communications and marketing at Bambara Selection to lead a tasting of a representative sampling of the agency’s wares. For detailed information on the agency estates, winemakers and wines, visit Bambara Selection’s newly overhauled, all-singing all-dancing website. We began with a pair of Chardonnays from opposite ends of Burgundy.

Chablis 1er Cru 2012, Séchets, Domaine Louis Michel et Fils ($43.95, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay from a 1.5-hecatre vineyard of sustainably farmed vines averaging 45 years old and rooted in a Kimmeridgian matrix of hard limestone and clay. Yields were 40 hl/ha. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled vats. Underwent spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Matured on the lees for about 16 months. Saw only stainless steel until bottling. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Nuanced nose of lemon, spice and gunflint (among other things). In the mouth, it’s substantial though far from heavy, full of stony minerals and structured by crisp acidity. The long finish is marked by bitter almond and lactic notes. Only beginning to unfurl and show its depth and mettle, this will benefit from a few more years in the cellar. Classic, even old-fashioned Chablis and all the more appealing because of it. Would love to taste though the entire range at some point. (Buy again? Yes.)

Pouilly-Fuissé 2013, Domaine Saumaize-Michelin ($42.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay from biodynamically farmed vines rooted in clay and limestone. The grapes were manually harvested and slow-pressed. After clarification by settling, the must was racked into barrels for alcoholic and malolactic fermentation and aging, about 10 months in all. Only a small fraction of the barrels were new. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Bambara Selection.
Outgoing nose of apricot, honey and hot stones. Medium-bodied yet rich, dry yet sweet-fruited. The soft acidity and a limestony substrate last well into the long, creamy finish. The oak is beautifully handled, adding complexity and texture but not calling attention to itself. A solar wine with great poise and presence. (Buy again? Gladly.)

MWG October 23rd tasting: flight 1 of 6

Written by carswell

November 17, 2015 at 13:45