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Posts Tagged ‘Castilla y León

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.)

May 19th MWG tasting: report

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Quick notes on 18 (well, 17) of the 22 wines in the first Cellier Summer 2011 release. Most are still available, though the Gros Noré rosé and Venus red are disappearing fast.


Mâcon-Fuissé 2009, Le Haut de Fuissé, Pierre Vessigaud ($22.35, 11419659)
Organically farmed Chardonnay from a rarely seen appellation. Pleasing if muted nose of lemon and chalk. Round and less than bone dry, the sweetness softening the bright acidity. Plump surface, firm core. Long, minerally finish. Not a show-stopper but quite delicious. Great QPR. (Buy again? Yes.)

Montagny 1er cru 2009, Les Platières, Domaine Feuillat-Juillot ($25, 11416343)
Lemon bright with a fresh herb note. Less rich than the other wines in the flight, not in itself a bad thing. Clean, balanced and long. Enjoyable enough but not really memorable. (Buy again? No, not at that price.)

Chardonnay 2007, Hunting Hill (North Island), Kumeu River Wines ($37.50, 11416159)
Rich but not heavy on the nose and in the mouth. Spice, butter, oats and a hint of butterscotchy oak. Ripe fruit and residual sugar balanced by the wine’s acidity and depth. Lemon and minerals mark the long finish. Good aging potential. New Worldish but not turning its back on Burgundy. (Buy again? If I decide to grill a lobster at some point, sure.)


Crozes-Hermitage 2009, Les Terres Blanches, Domaine Belle ($26.25, 11400958)
Around two-thirds Marsanne and one-third Roussanne. Subtle but deep nose: yellow fruit and wax with herb and floral notes. Dense yet balanced in the mouth, not lacking freshness. Shows a bit of alcohol on the bitter-tinged finish. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Montlouis-sur-Loire 2007, Les Choisilles, François Chidaine ($30.50, 11153176)
A last-minute replacement for the Cellier bottle of Chidaine’s 2006 Les Tuffeaux left on my kitchen counter. Appealing nose: hints of wax, melon and tropical fruit, especially pineapple. Mouth-coating texture bordering on unctuous, a feeling only augmented by the sec-tendre level of residual sugar. Peach on the mid-palate. Not particularly deep but pleasant. Touch of alcohol on the long finish. (Buy again? Probably not, when Huet’s Vouvrays are available in the same price range.)

Pinot Gris 2008, Marlborough, Seresin Estate ($25.65, 11420078)
Fermented with native yeasts. Somewhat perfumy nose with hints of vanilla and tropical fruit. Rich, off-dry with spicy white fruit flavours. Sits heavily on the palate. Long, hot finish (14.5%). Hefty, simplistic: an oaf of a wine. (Buy again? No.)


Garda Classico Chiaretto 2009, RosaMara, Costaripa ($20.35, 11415121)
Groppello, Marzemino, Sangiovese and Barbera. About half is fermented and aged in small barrels, the other half in stainless steel. Lightly fragrant nose: dusty flowers. Dry and soft on the palate, more floral than fruity, with just enough acidity and a lingering bitter (almond?) note. A charmer. (Buy again? Yes.)

Coteaux d’Aix en Provence 2010, Les Béatines, Domaine des Béates ($21, La QV)
Organically farmed Grenache Noir (75%) and Syrah (25%). An appealing mingle of wild strawberries, pink grapefuit, nectarine, sun-baked earth and garrigue. Clean, balanced, minerally and refreshing. Red Delicious note on the finish. The most popular wine of the flight. (Buy again? Yes.)

Coteaux du Languedoc 2010, Mas Jullien ($22.95, 11419595)
Cinsault, Carignan, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre from 20- to 30-year-old vines. Made using the saignée method and natural yeasts. Not allowed to undergo malolactic fermentation. Almost dark enough to be a red. Complex, savoury, fruity (nectarine, strawberry) and spicy. Rich yet fluid thanks to the wine’s acidity, dryness and mineral substrate. Pure fruit on the attack, a hint of caramel and a bit of heat on the earthy finish.  Definitely a food wine. Tail-end was even better the next day. (Buy again? Yes.)

Bandol 2009, Domaine du Gros Noré ($26.85, 11416837)
40% Mourvèdre, 40% Cinsault, 20% Grenache. Perfumy, peppery nose with hints of garrigue, pink grapefruit and rhubarb. On the palate, quite dry and savoury, complex with pale fruit. Impeccable balance. Good length. Will probably be even better in a year. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Côtes de Provence 2009, Whispering Angel, Château d’Esclans ($22.15, 11416984)
Grenache (73%), Rolle (4%), Cinsault (9%), Syrah (8.5%) and Mourvedre (5.5%). The palest rosé I’ve ever seen; if it weren’t for the pink (as opposed to yellow or green) cast, it could pass for a white. Garrigue, grapefruit pith, peach. Delicate, fruity attack fast-fades to a rainwatery finish with a soft but persistent bitter note. (Buy again? Probably not.)


Priorat 2006, Embruix, Vall Llach ($33.75, 10508131)
Mostly young-vine Garnacha (34%), Cariñena (22%), Cabernet Sauvignon (21%), Syrah (19%) and Merlot (4%). Layered nose: spice, plum, fresh-turned earth, sawed wood, ink, horsehair. Fruity attack, structured mid-palate, with oak chiming in on the long finish. Vibrant and surprisingly fresh for a 15.5% ABV wine, though as it warmed the alcohol became more apparent. (Buy again? 15.5%?! Probably not.)

Montsant 2008, Dido, Venus la Universal ($23, 11376994)
Mostly Grenache with some Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. Ripe fruit, tobacco, leather, roasting coffee and a floral note (peony?). Smooth, rich, structured, complete. Sweet fruit attack, earthy, minerally finish. The 14% ABV is very well hidden. A favourite of nearly everyone around the table. (Buy again? Yes, provided I can lay my hands on some.)


Rioja Reserva 2005, Bodegas LAN ($24.15, 11414145)
Tempranillo (80%), Mazuelo (10%) and Garnacha (10%). Spent around 12 months in American and French oak barrels. Wet clay, plum, slate and a hint of vanilla. Smooth on the palate with soft fruit and a good hit of oak. Structured and balanced enough to age another five years. (Buy again? Probably not, though fans of oaky wines needn’t hesitate.)

Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León 2007, Altos Del Duratón, Bodegas Ribera del Duraton ($18.55, 11387343)
Tempranillo (85%) and Syrah (15%). Spent eight months in French oak barrels. Spice, candied black raspberry, roasted coffee. Not quite a gros rouge qui tâche but getting there. Oak dominates the fruit. Not terrible but in no way memorable. (Buy again? No.)

Ribera del Duero 2006, Robles, Ecologica, Dominio Basconcillos ($22.60, 11413441)
Organically farmed Tinta del País (aka Tempranillo). Spent 12 months in American and French oak barrels. Spicy plum, turned earth, hint of iodine.  Rich and fruity with a mouth-coating texture and oak and alcohol in check. Not much in the way of structure or depth but pleasant enough drinking. (Buy again? Probably not.)

Toro 2006, San Román, Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos ($48, 11412852)
100% Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo). Spends two years in French and American barrels of various ages. Piña colada gives way to soy sauce and choco-cherry. Rich and round. Fruit and oak are deep but, for now, somewhat primary. Velvety tannins and lots of acidity. Long finish. Needs time but should knit together into a classy wine. (Buy again? Could be tempted.)

Bierzo 2007, Losada Vinos de Finca ($23.55, 11377874)
Old-vine Mencía grown on clay (not the appellation’s famous schist). Spent nine months in new French oak. The estate has adopted some organic and biodynamic techniques but hasn’t been certified. Complex and classy, redolent of dark fruit, spice, minerals and oak. Extracted but not to a fault. Light, tight tannins. Roasted and spice (anise?) aromas join the fruit on the long finish. An atypical Bierzo but none the worse for it: surprisingly balanced and vibrant. Many tasters thought this was the $48 San Román and were delighted to find it cost half as much. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

May 21, 2011 at 10:45