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Posts Tagged ‘Glou

Beach wine

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Swartland 2015, Kedungu, Intellego ($27.82, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Owned and operated by Jurgen Gouws, Intellego Wines sources its grapes from its own vineyards and from growers with whom it works in close collaboration. All the fruit is certified organic and the wine-making is as close as possible to non-interventionist, small amounts of sulphur dioxide being the only additive. The wines are made in a small rented facility in the Paardeberg region. Named after a Bali beach where Gouws enjoyed himself surfing, the easy-drinking Kedungu is a 66-28-6 blend of Syrah (from vines planted in the 1980s) and Cinsault and Mourvèdre (from vines planted between 2000 and 2004). The varieties were separately whole-bunch fermented in closed tanks, with the Syrah spending 14 days on the skins and the other varieties about a week. The lots were then blended and directly pressed together into old French oak barrels for nine months’ maturation. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.

Plum, burnt sugar, “blond tobacco and butterscotch” on the nose. On the fuller side of medium-bodied but fundamentally fluid. Red and black fruit are the dominant flavours, though the wine is more terroir- than fruit-driven. Bright acidity lends a welcome sour edge, while the tannins are just firm enough. The finish is long and savoury. Wines like this and the Leeuwenkuil Cinsault are convincing me that South Africa and more specifically Swartland are worth keeping an eye on. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG April 21st tasting: flight 6 of 6

Written by carswell

June 5, 2017 at 13:52

Red ends

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After working with the Les Vignerons d’Estézargues cooperative for several years, Édouard Laffitte, who had no background in farming, decided to set out on his own. Invited by Loïc Roure, then newly settled in the Roussillon, to share the wine-making facilities he had just acquired for his Domaine du Possible, Laffitte began searching for vines, specifically ones growing in north-facing, high-altitude vineyards, the better to make wines that were fresh and not excessively alcoholic. He eventually pieced together 7.7 hectares of parcels in the communes of Lansac (granitic sand), Rasiguères (shale) and Cassagnes (gneiss) to make the Domaine Le Bout du Monde, so named because visitors told him that getting there was like travelling to the end of the earth.

The farming is organic and the vineyards are worked manually. The wines are vinified by soil type with as little intervention as possible (indigenous yeasts, no filtering or fining, no additives). The estate currently makes five reds (Grenache, Carignan and Syrah alone and in blends) and one white (Roussane).

Côtes du Roussillon 2014, Tam-Tam, Domaine Le Bout du Monde ($29.30, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Syrah from vines rooted in slate. Vinified in tanks. Given three weeks’ carbonic maceration. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Nose: red fruit, spice, cedar, background earth, distant funk. Mouth: Dry, spicy, sawdusty. Lively acidity, supple tannins. Medium body, satiny texture. Pure, straightforward, fruity and enjoyable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes du Roussillon 2014, Hop’là, Domaine Le Bout du Monde ($32.25, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Grenache (40%), Syrah (40%) and Carignan (20%) from vines rooted in gneiss. Vinified in tanks. Given three weeks’ carbonic maceration. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Far more savoury nose: black raspberry, leafmould, slate and leather. Medium-bodied and fleet, with bright acidity, springy tannins, lively pure fruit. Clean finish. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes du Roussillon 2014, La Luce, Domaine Le Bout du Monde ($43.75, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Grenache from 35-year-old vines rooted in gneiss. Vinified in tanks. Given four weeks’ carbonic maceration. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
The most complex of the three. Floral, licorice, plum cake, marzipan. Smooth and satiny. Layered berry fruit, wood and minerals. Fine complex tannic structure. Sleek acidity. Long finish with a vaporous note. Gorgeous. Delivers all of the upsides of Grenache and none of the downsides. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG April 21st tasting: flight 5 of 6

Natural born swillers

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Colli Trevigiani 2015, Rosso, Costadilà ($23.75, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Located in Valdobbiandene in the Veneto, Costadilà is best known as a producer of Prosecco. The small estate practices organic polycultural farming, uses only indigenous yeasts and never filters or adds sulphur. This is a blend of Refosco and Merlot. 10.5% ABV (!). Quebec agent: Glou.
Morello cherry, gingerbread, a hint of animale and notes described as “asparagus” and “old leather-bound photo albums.” Medium-bodied, fluid and fresh, full of ripe if tart fruit, brilliant acidity and supple tannins. Finishes long with a faint terminal rasp. Seems tailor-made for salume and stuffed pasta in red sauce. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Umbria 2015, Il Rossodatavola, Collecapretta ($36.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Cantina Collecapretta is located about 20 km north-northwest of Spoleto. Of the estate’s eight hectares, only four are given over to vines, the remainder being planted with olive trees, farro and other ancient grains. In a good year, the wine production totals 8,000 bottles. Farming is organic. The grapes are manually harvested and fermented in open-top cement vats with no temperature control. The wines are matured in glass-lined cement vats and resin tanks before being bottled unfiltered and in accordance with the lunar cycle. No sulphur is added at any point in the process. This red table wine is mostly Sangiovese, maybe with a little Barbera, Merlot, Sagrantino and/or Ciliegiolo. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Initially reduced nose of barnyard and seaweed segues into red fruit, red meat and sandalwood. Medium- to full-bodied. Spicy cherry hard candies and a touch of green. Extract, bright acidity and medium tannins are well balanced. A bit bitey on the long finish. Intense, authentic and appealingly rustic. (Buy again? Yep.)

MWG April 21st tasting: flight 4 of 6

Written by carswell

May 31, 2017 at 12:14

Red bubble

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Vin de France 2015, La Bulle Rouge, Les Capriades ($35.25, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Based in the Loire Valley’s Touraine region, Les Capriades founder and co-owner, Pascal Potaire, is considered the king of pet nats (short for pétillants naturels, natural sparkling wines produced using the ancestral method). This red example is a blend of juice from three varieties of organically farmed red-fleshed GamayGamay de Bouze, Gamay de Chaudenay and Gamay Fréaux – explaining the cuvée’s former name, BCF. 11% ABV and I’m guessing somewhere around 10 g/l of residual sugar. Quebec agent: Glou.

Medium red with scarlet glints and fast-disappearing shocking pink foam. The nose is a swirl of raspberry vinegar, burnt hair, burnt sugar, lipstick, chocolate, pink blossoms and spice. A sip reveals a soft-sparkled wine that’s fresh, fruity and definitely not dry. Sleek acidity, a mineral underlay and a lingering bitterness counteract the sweetness to some degree. “Raspberry freezee” concludes one taster. A tad richer than but otherwise not dissimilar to a Bugey-Cerdon, which can be had for about $12 less. (Buy again? Maybe.)

MWG April 21st tasting: flight 3 of 6

The farthest thing from an aperitif wine

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Languedoc 2013, Roucaillat, Domaine des Hautes Terres de Comberousse ($29.55, private import, 12 bottles/case)
The 14-hectare estate is located about 15 kilometres north of Sète. Its first vines were planted in 1981, The current company, a father and son operation, was founded in 2001. Farming has been organic since the start and the mostly calcareous vineyards are neither tilled nor weeded. This, the estate’s flagship white, is a blend of Roussanne (50%), Rolle (aka Vermentino, 30%) and Grenache Blanc (20%). The grapes are manually harvested and given extended maceration before being gently pressed. The must is chilled, clarified though settling and fermented in temperature-controlled (19-20°C) tanks. Malolactic fermentation and several months’ maturation follow. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.

Striking, savoury nose of “spruce bark,” yellow beet, “cooked Swiss chard,” bacon fat and “pumpkin seed.” In the piehole, it’s rich and heady, extracted but not particularly fruity: beeswax overtoned with orange, bacon and dried herbs. The acidity is of the soft-glow variety while the long finish fades into a lingering bitterness. Unrefreshing on its own (the farthest thing from an aperitif wine), this absolutely requires food. Unique, surprising and, maybe, a year or two before its prime. (Buy again? A bottle or two to relive the experience and play with food pairings.)

MWG April 21st tasting: flight 2 of 6

Written by carswell

May 28, 2017 at 12:19

Brand new and old

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The April 21st tasting featured wines represented in Quebec by Glou and was led by the agency’s prime mover, Jack Jacob. We started with a flight of four fine Alsatians.

Created in 1950 and based in Ergersheim, Domaine Brand sits in the middle of La Couronne d’or, a swath of vineyards stretching from Strasbourg to Marienheim. The estate’s 10 hectares of vineyards are in the communes of Ergersheim, Osthoffen and Wolxheim. Farming has been organic since 2001 and certified biodynamic (Demeter) since 2015.

Current winemaker Philippe Brand took the helm in 2008, following stints at Domaine de Montchovet in Burgundy and wineries in the Peloponnese (Greece) and Barossa Valley (Australia). He soon imposed a regime of non-interventionist wine-making where the only additive, if any, is small amounts of sulphur dioxide. The estate makes a separate line of unsulphured natural wines under the Apollinaire moniker whose labels feature calligrams by the eponymous artist.

Alsace 2013, Riesling, Kefferberg, Brand & Fils ($33.06, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from the Kefferberg vineyard. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are gently pressed. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in large barrels. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Gold bronze to the eye. Complex nose of apple, pear and chalk with hints of petrol and “Meyer lemon” (quoting another taster). Rich but not heavy in the mouth, the fruit tending toward baked apple. Dry and very minerally. The combination of acidity and minerals lends an almost “tannic bite” to the long finish. (Buy again? Sure.)

Alsace 2015, La Chimère, Charles et Philippe Brand ($34.76, private import, 6 bottles/case)
One of the estate’s Apollinarie wines. 100% Riesling from the Osthoffen vineyard. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are gently pressed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and 12 months’ maturation take place in third- and fourth-fill barrels. Unfiltered and unfined. No added sulphur. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Paler. Faintly funky nose of white flowers, lemon peel, flint, barley sugar and a pungent note some described as bubble gum and others as camphor. A bit spritzy on the palate. Less rich and extracted, more crystalline than the Kefferberg. Bone dry (0.5 g/l residual sugar). Lingering green mango. I like. (Buy again? Yes.)

Alsace 2015, Fleurs, Charles et Philippe Brand ($37.64, private import, 6 bottles/case)
One of the estate’s Apollinaire wines. 80% Pinot Gris, 20% Riesling. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are gently pressed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and 12 months’ maturation take place in third- and fourth-fill barrels. Unfiltered and unfined. No added sulphur. Residual sugar: 1.0 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Engaging nose of white peach, white spice and slate with honey and lactic notes. Very dry yet with an “implied sweetness.” Buoyant acidity. Faint spritz. Pearish with bergamot overtones. Mineral-rich. Long bitter-edged finish. Complex. Impressive. (Buy again? Gladly. And I’m really looking forward to trying the orange version.)

Alsace 1999, Riesling, Kefferberg, Brand & Fils ($56.34, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from the Kefferberg. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are gently pressed. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in large barrels. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
A deep bronze colour approaching that of iced tea. Complex, unfathomable nose: dried apple, brown sugar, smoke, hints of petrol and “spicy green” or “dried mint” and more. Equally complex in the mouth, the flavours echoing the nose and resonating on their own. Super dry. Smooth acidity. Considerable depth. Endless finish with, once again, a hint of something camphor-like. The price is more than reasonable for a wine of this age and quality. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

MWG April 21st tasting: flight 1 of 6

MWG September 11th tasting: Barolo di culto

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Barolo 2010, Paiagallo, Giovanni Canonica ($71.00, private import, NLA*)
100% organically farmed Nebbiolo from a 1.5-hectare plot in the Paiagallo vineyard, located on the hillside above the town of Barolo. Other producers use grapes from the vineyard in their blends but Canonica is the only one who makes them into a single-vineyard bottling. The grapes are manually harvested, destemmed, macerated and fermented (with indigenous yeasts and without temperature control) for 30 to 40 days in fibreglass tanks, then pressed in a vertical hand press. The resulting wine is transferred into large Slavonian oak botti for maturation. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. No sulphur is added during the winemaking and a tiny amount at bottling. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Restrained yet complex nose: red berries, gingerbread and granite dust with some rose and tar in the background. Medium-bodied but mouth-filling. Impressively pure fruit (cherry), bright acidity, firm but fine tannins. Long, intense finish with not a hint of heat. Young and primary but already dimensional and clearly full of potential. This beautiful, earthy yet suave wine has become a cult object among NYC and Boston geeks and it’s easy to see why. For a Barolo of such quality, the price is more than reasonable. (Buy again? A case if I could.)

*In Quebec, there’s a waiting list to get on the allocation list.

(Flight: 9/9)

Written by carswell

October 7, 2014 at 20:54

MWG September 11th tasting: Primitivo sofisticato

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IGT Puglia 2011, Amphora, Cristiano Guttarolo ($41.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Guttarolo is based in Gioia del Colle in Bari province in Puglia, the heel of the Italian boot. 100% Primitivo from 0.6-hectare plot of organically farmed vines in the third decade of their existence. After partial destemming, the hand-picked grapes are placed in 500-litre terracotta amphorae for six months’ fermentation – both alcoholic (with indigenous yeasts) and malolactic – and maceration on the skins. The wine is then transferred to stainless steel tanks for an additional eight months’ maturation and then to bottles for a further 12 month’s refining. No added sulphur. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Surprisingly, almost shockingly pale – the lightest looking red of the evening. Deep and engaging bouquet: sweet-and-sour plum, dried earth, spice and meat. A faint carbon dioxide tickle accompanies the first sip. The fruit is remarkably pure and light, glowing with acidity, sweet at its core yet somehow also earthy. Round, lightly drying tannins, a mineral vein and a long caressing finish complete the picture. An elegant Primitivo? Yep. Just beautiful. (Buy again? Done!)

(Flight: 8/9)

Written by carswell

October 6, 2014 at 12:45

MWG September 11th tasting: Natural natural vertical vertical

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Jean-Yves Péron has been making wines since 2004 using fruit from very old vines, some of them pre-phylloxera, on two hectares of terraced, high-altitude vineyards in Chevaline, near Albertville. After studying oenology in Bordeaux, he trained with natural winemakers Thierry Allemand and Jean-Louis Grippat in the Rhône valley and Bruno Schueller in Alsace. Organic farming, indigenous yeasts, non-interventionist winemaking, avoidance of filtering and fining and the use of little or no sulphur make his natural wines of the first rank.

Péron’s top red, Côté Pelée, is a 100% Mondeuse Noire from ancient vines growing in schist and slate soils. One week’s carbonic maceration is followed by ten days’ to three weeks’ fermentation, depending on the vintage, and one year’s barrel aging. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou. When the three wines were last available in Quebec (c. 2012), they retailed for about $45 a bottle.

Vin de pays d’Allobrogie 2006, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (private import, NLA)
Engaging bouquet of spice chest, slate, earthy mushroom and dried cherry. In the mouth, it’s a satin-textured welterweight with light tannins, light but tart acidity and a dark, mineral underlay. Long, juicy, pure. At its peak? Hard to say. But also hard to resist at this point in its life. (Buy again? Yes.)

Vin de pays d’Allobrogie 2007, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (private import, NLA)
Intense tomato and leather/wood/smoke, then developing an umami-rich aroma not unlike beef chop suey. The fruit – plum mostly – seems a little stewed. Smooth and round. In fact, it’s slightly heavier and considerably less structured and acidic than its older and younger siblings, though plenty of acidity and structure remain. Sustained finish. Delicious but flatter, the least interesting of the three. (Buy again? Not in preference to the other two, especially the 2008.)

Vin de pays d’Allobrogie 2008, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (private import, NLA)
Deep, dark, minerally nose with whiffs of leather, almond and cherry. Medium-bodied, closed and tight. A mouthful of rich sweet-and-sour fruit, grounding slate, shining acidity and fine, sleek tannins. The satin-and-velvet texture lasts well into the long finish. A complete wine, a thoroughbred with several glorious years ahead of it. (Buy again? Yes, please.)

(Flight: 6/9)

Written by carswell

October 4, 2014 at 13:19

MWG September 11th tasting: Grounded, alive, drinkable

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Drawing inspiration from natural winemakers such as Yvon Métras and Dominique Derain and mentored by the likes of Eric Pfifferling and Olivier Cousin, young Benoit Courault worked at Domaine des Sablonettes before setting up shop in Faye d’Anjou about eight years ago. His vineyards, which total about 5 hectares, are planted to Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Grolleau and a little Cabernet Sauvignon. He farms organically, works the soil with a horse, adopts a non-interventionist approach in the cellar and minimizes the use of sulphur. For an extended profile with lots of photographs, see this post on the Wine Terroirs blog.

Vin de France 2012, Les Tabeneaux, Benoit Courault ($28.70, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A middle-Loire blend of organically farmed Cabernet Franc and Grolleau (about 2/3 and 1/3 respectively) from five parcels. Destemmed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured in concrete tanks. Minimal or no added sulphur. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou.
Fresh but not herbaceous nose: plum, black raspberry, a floral note, a hint of ash. Smooth and round in the mouth, with soft tannins, an acidic hum, pure, ripe fruit, a slatey substrate and a long, clean, tartish finish. So grounded, so alive, so drinkable. Proved the perfect charcuterie wine, unfazed even by pickled pork tongue. (Buy again? Yes.)

(Flight: 5/9)

Written by carswell

September 22, 2014 at 12:46