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Posts Tagged ‘La QV

Cabgamay Franc

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Santa Ynez Valley 2015, Cabernet Franc, Coquelicot Vineyard, Lo-Fi Wines ($44.95, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Cabernet Franc from organically farmed vines in the Coquelicot vineyard (fluvial sandy loam and gravel) near Solvang. Manually harvested. The whole clusters – neither destemmed nor crushed – were placed in a vat, which was filled with carbon dioxide gas and covered. Once a day for 14 days, the free-run juice was pumped over, then the vat was covered and gassed again. When alcoholic fermentation (with indigenous yeasts) was complete, the wine was pressed into tanks, settled and racked into neutral barrels (85% in 228-litre French oak barriques, 15% in a 600-litre demi-muid) for eight months’ maturation. Underwent full malolactic fermentation. Racked twice prior to bottling. Unfiltered and unfined. A small shot of sulphur dioxide was added at bottling. 12.2% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Earthy, slightly jammy red fruit with hints of sandalwood and black olive. Dark-fruity and Asian-spicy in the piehole, the brighter colours darkened by an earthy substratum. Structured – if that’s the word for such a fuzzy wine – by smooth acidity and stealth tannins that make their presence felt only on the long, leathery/earthy finish. However original and interesting an interpretation of Cabernet Franc this may be, the QPR – as with so many California wines in Quebec – is seriously out of whack. (Buy again? Irrespective of price, sure.)

Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil 2015, Hurluberlu, Sébastien David ($27.30, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Cabernet Franc. Manually harvested, fermented with indigenous yeasts. Vinified Beaujolais style – using carbonic maceration – and given a very short maturation in tanks, with bottling occurring early in the new year following harvest. Unfiltered. No added sulphur. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Red fruity, cedary and a little poopy. From a hot vintage so richer, rounder, more extracted and conventional, less “like health juice” than some earlier versions. Still refreshing due to its bright acidity, supple tannins and pure fruit. Good, ultradrinkable juice, just a little less special than before. The shapely clear glass bottle is a beaut, especially in magnums. (Buy again? Sure.)

Coteaux Bourguignons 2015, Gamay, Domaine Bouillot Salomon ($29.95, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Gamay from biodynamically farmed vines rooted in clayey-calcareous soil. Manually harvested. Non-interventionist wine-making with no added anything, including sulphur. Matured in stainless steel and cement tanks. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Attractive nose of slightly candied red berries, spice, cola and background barnyard. A bit spritzy (carafing would have eliminated the gas). Fleet, fresh, fruity and dry with bright verging on tart acidity and a rumbling mineral bass line. The longish finish brings an appetizing bitter note. Would be interesting to taste this alongside some cru Beaujolais; I suspect the difference in terroirs would be noticeable. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG June 8th tasting: flight 5 of 6

Notes from the edges

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Vin de Sologne 2014, Quartz, Domaine Étienne Courtois ($39.25, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Located in the Sologne, Étienne and his father Claude make wines exclusively using ancestral methods and sometimes run afoul of authorities. Farming is strictly organic and biodynamic. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc comes from 15-year-old vines. Manually harvested, destemmed and gently pressed. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in oak barrels for 12 to 24 months. 11.7% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Striking, complex nose of turpentine, “eucalyptus,” “wild ginger,” California bay leaf, dried lemon, quartz crystals and parafin. A core of fruit (“candied lemon”) and more (“braised fennel”) wrapped in salt, energized by bright acidity. Good balance and length and real mineral depth. “The best Sauvignon Blanc I’ve ever had,” declares one taster. That said, I don’t imagine most people tasting it double-blind would guess it’s a Sauvignon Blanc. Whatever. It’s spellbinding. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

Bourgogne Aligoté 2015, Troma-Onirique, François Écot ($38.15, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Based in Mailly-le-Château in the Yonne department of northeastern Burgundy, François Écot not only runs, with his American wife, a natural wine agency in New York City, he makes wines using grapes from an abandoned one-hectare vineyard that he resurrected. This 100% Aligoté, however, comes from purchased biodynamically and organically farmed (though not certified) grapes. Manually harvested. Vinified and matured eight months in foudres, fûts and amphorae. No added anything, including sulphur. Unfiltered and unfined. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
The nose prompts comments along the lines of chalk quarry, “match stick,” “waxy” and lemon juice. A sip reveals a rich and minerally wine with a mouthfeel as much like a Chardonnay’s as an Aligoté’s. There’s some surprisingly juicy fruit, bright but smooth acidity, impressive purity and depth and a long, minerally finish. It’s still a surprise to see a $40 price tag on an Aligoté, but that’s what the top wines go for these days. And this is definitely a top wine. (Buy again? Yes.)

Coteaux Bourguignons 2015, Pinot Beurot, Domaine Bouillot Salomon ($32.20, private import, 12 bottles/case)
This admirable northern Rhône estate recently acquired 2.7 hectares of vineyards west of Dijon. 100% Pinot Beurot (aka Pinot Gris) from biodynamically farmed vines rooted in clayey-calcareous soil. Manually harvested. Non-interventionist wine-making with no added anything, including sulphur. Matured in stainless steel and cement tanks. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Pear, minerals and more than a hint of reduction, which other tasters describe as “durian” and “cow piss and camomile.” Smooth, round and dry in the mouth. Soft acidity enlivens the verging-on-unctuous texture and brings welcome freshness. There’s a certain minerality and some white spice and butter on the long finish. Not a wine that will have Alsace quaking in its boots but more than just a curiosity. Carafe it at least a couple of hours before serving if drinking now or hide it in the cellar for a two or three years. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG June 8th tasting: flight 4 of 6

Written by carswell

July 12, 2017 at 13:29

Rocca fortis

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Located in Roquefort-la-Bédoule, about 15 km east-southeast of Marseille and at the northwestern edge of the Bandol appellation, Château de Roquefort today comprises 24 hectares of vines located on a northwest-facing mountain slope at about 375 m. The soil is mainly flinty clay-limestone. The vineyard’s orientation and altitude are said to give its wines a rare balance, which is attributed to the grapes’ slow development. The estate has been owned by the De Villeneuve family since the early 1800s and is farmed organically. Most of the wines are blends and in all the blends the grapes are cofermented. Cellar work is gravity fed whenever possible.

In this instance, Roquefort has nothing to do with the celebrated blue cheese from Aveyron and envrions in the French southwest. The Provençal roquefort is derived from the Latin rocca fortis (rocky outcrop), one of which dominates the estate’s vineyards.

IGP des Bouches-du-Rhône 2016, Petit Salé, Château de Roquefort ($25.90, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Mostly Clairette with lesser amounts of Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano) and Vermentino; the Clairette, locally called petit salé, comes from vines planted in the 1950s. The hand-picked grapes were destemmed, crushed and cold-macerated on the skins before being pneumatically pressed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts took place in temperature-controlled (18-23°C) tanks. Malolactic fermentation was blocked. Matured in concrete tanks and bottled in February and March of 2017. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Lemon, white flowers, mineral dust, faint peach. Light yet intense and very fresh. Bone dry but not austere. A vein of salinity runs throughout. Long, clean finish. Much more akin to a Cassis than a Rhône white, this has seafood – including the raw variety – written all over it. (Buy again? Def.)

Côtes de Provence 2016, Corail, Château de Roquefort ($25.60, private import, 12 bottles/case)
This rosé is always made from Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Vermentino and Clairette, though the proportions vary from vintage to vintage; in 2016 they were 30%, 25%, 20%, 10%, 10% and 5% respectively. The manually harvested grapes were partially destemmed. Some of the varieties were cold-macerated from eight to 24 hours. All the grapes were direct pressed, with the juice being combined and fermented in temperature-controlled (18-23°C) tanks with indigenous yeasts. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Subtle nose of peach, lime, sun-baked rocks and garrigue. Clean and fresh in the mouth. There’s a core of sweet fruit (though the wine is very dry), a bit of an acid bite and, again, a current of salinity. Finishes long and savoury. Even rosé skeptics liked this. (Buy again? Def.)

MWG June 8th tasting: flight 3 of 6

Written by carswell

July 10, 2017 at 15:15

White orange

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Vipavska Dolina 2015, Bela, Burja ($37.60, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Istrian Malvasia (30%), Welschriesling (30%), Ribola Gialla (30%) and unspecified other varieties from biodynamically farmed vines grown in the Vipava Valley and ranging from 25 to 75 years in age. Macerated on the skins for eight days before pressing. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in stainless steel tanks. Matured in 25 to 50 hl Slavonian oak barrels. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.

To all appearances, not an orange wine; the skin contact may add complexity and depth but the colour is lighter and more golden than, say, the Konkret Weiss, the nose is aromatic without being particularly estery/phenolic and if tannins are to be found, they escaped my notice. So, what are the aromatics? Preserved lemon, white pepper, quartz, maybe a floral note. In the mouth, the wine is very dry and savoury. The fruit takes a back seat to the minerals and a surprisingly intense salinity while sleek if sustained acidity counters the oily texture. The finish is long and vapourous. A food wine if ever there were one and probably a bottle that won’t suffer from a few years in the cellar. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG June 8th tasting: flight 2 of 6

Written by carswell

July 8, 2017 at 12:00

Meinklangers

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The Mo’ Wine Group’s latest agency tasting was led by La QV’s head honcho Cyril Kérébel. The wine-up featured a particularly high proportion of whites, all with great minerality and a saline edge, as well as a wowser rosé and a handful of super-drinkable reds. We began with a trio of new-to-most whites from one of our favourite producers.

Burgenland 2015, Burgenlandwhite, Meinklang ($23.00, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A blend of Grüner Veltliner (50%), Welschriesling (40%) and Muscat Ottonel (10%) from biodynamically farmed vines. Manually harvested. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in stainless steel tanks. Screwcapped. Residual sugar: 4.9 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Hay, straw, white flowers, chalk, distant “chives” and dried orange peel. Round in the mouth, the acidity smooth, the texture verging on waxy. The upfront fruit and underlying minerals give ways to a long savoury, saline finish with a lingering white pepper note. “Building spiciness underneath rosewater,” proclaims one taster. A perfect summer white is the general consensus. (Buy again? Yep.)

Somló 2015, H15, Meinklang ($37.65, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Hárslevelü from biodynamically farmed vines grown at the base of the extinct Somló (pronounced shom-low) volcano in southwest Hungary, not far from the Austrian border. The must is passed through a coarse filter before fermentation. The wine-making – which takes place at the estate’s Burgenland winery – is non-interventionist, with no additions except, possibly, a tiny squirt of sulphur at bottling. Matured in stainless steel tanks and old oak barrels for 12 months. Residual sugar: 4.2 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Complex, aromatic nose dominated by honey, spice and yellow fruit. Dense and weighty (not heavy) on the palate, the fruit wrapped around a softly glowing core of acidity. The complex of flavours turns impressively savoury/salty/sweaty on the mid-palate. Very long. Less tense and minerally, more stone-fruity and unctuous than some earlier vintages but no less engaging. (Buy again? Yep.)

Burgenland 2014, Konkret Weiss, Meinklang ($65.75, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A field blend of three Gewürztraminers, specifically Red Traminer, Yellow Traminer and plain old Gewürztraminer. Macerated on the skins for 21 days. Vinified in egg-shaped concrete tanks. No added anything, including sulphur. Residual sugar: 1.6 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
For once, an orange wine that actually has an orange cast. One taster describes the complex nose of gardenia, cedar, spice and a funky whiff as “like the old lady in front of me on the bus, eating a grapefruit.” Dazzlingly complex and layered on the palate. Rich yet fluid. Dry but not austerely so. Structured by bright acidity and light tannins. The endless finish is awash in umami. (Buy again? Yep, wincing only slightly at the price.)

And Cyril shared some good Meinklang news with us: the SAQ will be including their impressive “Graupert” Pinot Gris in its Opération vins oranges release this fall and will also be carrying their fine ancient grains beer.

MWG June 8th tasting: flight 1 of 6

Odd couple

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As is the Mo’ Wine Group’s longstanding tradition, our first tasting after the holidays focused on inexpensive and affordable bottles.

Vino da Tavola 2014, Il Brut and the Beast, Valli Unite ($25.35, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Based in Costa Vescovato in southern Piedmont, Valli Unite is a 35-year-old organic cooperative whose members grow local grape varieties as well as grains, fruits, vegetables and livestock. Accurate information on this wine is hard to find. It’s not listed on the coop’s website and online reviewers tend to be all over place about its constituent grape varieties, production method (some say it’s a filtered Charmat-method sparkler) and stopper (some say it’s a cork). For all I know, there may be more than one bottling. This much seems clear: the wine we tasted was made from Cortese and may also contain some Favorita. The biodynamically farmed grapes were manually harvested. The wine was fermented with indigenous yeasts and bottled unfiltered and unfined. No sulphur was added during the wine-making process. The fizz is the result of natural, in-bottle fermentation. Vegan-compatible. Crown cap. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Pale straw. Hazy in all the glasses though the last glass or two also contained a lot of brown-coloured lees. Interesting, leesy nose of lemon, sour apple, chalk and “bonbon de banane.” Soft but ticklish effervescence. There’s some fruit on the attack (one taster described it as “fruité austère”), lots of chalky minerals and fair acidity. A lactic note sounds on the long finish. Somehow the elements don’t coalesce into a whole and, as the wine breathes, the alcohol becomes noticeable and the wine seems “oxidized” and a bit “flat.” Not the hit that the 2011 was. I suspect our just-off-the-boat bottle was travel-shocked or otherwise upset. (Buy again? To give it another chance in a few months, yes.)

Crémant d’Alsace, Extra Brut, Paul-Édouard, Domaine Bott-Geyl ($26.00, 13032845)
A blend of Pinot Blanc (50%), Chardonnay (30%) and Pinot Noir (20%). The hand-picked grapes are purchased from growers, all of whom are converting to organic practices. This traditional-method sparkler was matured in the bottle for 24 months before disgoring. Reducing sugar: 5.1 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: LVAB.
Straw heading toward bronze with a fine bead and next to no foam. Outgoing nose eliciting descriptors like white strawberry, honey, acacia, stone fruit and, surprisingly but accurately, jalapeño. Round and rich in the mouth. The bubbles are low-key, the ripe fruit has a slightly honeyed quality, the minerals are dusty. Soft acidity and hints of lemon provide some welcome freshness. A whiff of yeasty brioche colours the long finish. Impeccable though not what you’d call lively. (Buy again? Personally, I’d go for something tenser but several tasters were quite taken with this.)

MWG January 12, 2017, tasting: flight 1 of 7

Written by carswell

January 26, 2017 at 12:51

Three lighter reds

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Württemburg 2014, Trollinger, Without All, Weingut Knauss ($28.00, private import, NLA)
100% Trollinger from organically farmed though uncertified vines. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. No added anything, whence the “without all.” Unfiltered and unfined. 9.5% ABV. Screwcapped. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.
A bit spritzy and reduced at first, then sour berries, slate and developing clay and animale notes. Light and fluid on the palate. Airframe tannins and bright acidity provide some structure and faint minerals some depth but this is mainly about the pure fruit. Lip-smacking, sweet and sour finish. Light-bodied almost to the point of lacking substance and yet refreshing and ultra-drinkable, this ethereal wine was a hit with several around the table, despite its high price. (Buy again? Gladly.)

Côtes du Forez 2014, La Volcanique, Cave Verdier-Logel ($21.80, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Based in Marcilly-le-Châtel, the certified organic 17-hectare estate grows Gamay and a little Pinot Gris and Viognier. This cuvée is 100% Gamay from old vines rooted in basalt soil. Manually harvested. Macerated 21 days at around 20°C. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Lightly filtered (earth filters) before bottling. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Sappy in the way of a good Beaujolais, though the red berries are a little candied and shot through with some greenness. Supple and tasty. Juicy fruit and sustained acidity play against a schisty backdrop while the tannins turn a little bitey on the sustained finish. Finely balanced yet appealingly rustic. To my surprise, this didn’t create the same sensation that the 2013 did (different contexts?). (Buy again? Yes.)

Quebec 2012, Pinot Noir Réserve, Domaine les Brome ($26.00, 12685879)
100% Pinot Noir according to the winery’s website (SAQ.com says the wine contains 7% Maréchal Foch). Macerated and fermented in stainless steel tanks. Matured 12 months in oak barrels. Reducing sugar: 1.9%. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Univins.
A nose that tasters described as “electrical fire,” “cordite” and simply “weird.” Reactions to the taste were similar, “copper penny” being the one I noted. The not very pinot-ish fruit is brightened by good acidity but deflated by saggy tannins and muddied by extraneous flavours. Odd-tasting finish. I’m hoping ours was an off bottle. (Buy again? Unlikely.)

This flight was built around the Trollinger and the other two wines were chosen in the hope that they might be close to its light body. Neither was. In fact, I’ve encountered only one wine recently that is: Domaine de la Pinte’s 2012 Arbois “Poulsard de l’ami Karl,” which we tasted back in October.

MWG November 12th tasting: flight 4 of 6

L’autour d’Anne Paillet

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Anne Paillet is married to Greg Leclerc. In 2010, she decided to abandon her corporate career and become a natural winemaker. Wanting to make wines different from Leclerc’s, she has leased 2.5 hectares of biodynamically farmed vines from Languedoc winemaker Christophe Beau (Domaine Beauthorey in the Pic Saint-Loup region). Harvesting is manual and the grapes are vinified naturally, in concrete tanks with no added anything, in the Languedoc. Wanting to make wines different from your everyday Languedocs, she transports the just-fermented juice to Leclerc’s cellars in the Loire for malolactic fermentation, maturation, blending and bottling with no fining, filtering or added sulphur.

Depending on the date on which the wine leaves the Languedoc, it is labelled Coteaux du Languedoc or Vin de France. To avoid red tape and confusion, Paillet is reportedly planning to opt exclusively for the Vin de France designation in future vintages.

Coteaux du Languedoc 2013, C.S.G., Autour de l’Anne ($27.71, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Syrah and Grenache with a little Cinsault thrown in. The 40- to 60-yar-old vines are rooted in limestone and red clay. The grapes are vinified separately in tanks, with alcoholic fermentation typically lasting 12 to 14 days. Maturation in concrete tanks lasts 12 months. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Deux Caves.
Engaging nose of red and black fruit with hints of spice and faint burnt rubber. Medium-bodied, dry and savoury, with clean fruit and bright acidity. Fundamentally fluid and supple though not lacking tannic grit. The finish is long and minerally. As Loire-ish and it is Languedoc-ish, this is a wonderfully drinkable wine. What’s more, a few bottles remain available. (Buy again? Done!)

Coteaux du Languedoc 2013, Pot d’Anne, Autour de l’Anne ($55.47/1500 ml, private import, 6 bottles/case, NLA)
The cuvée’s name, which translates as “Anne’s pot,” is a homonym of peau d’âne (donkey skin). 100% Cinsault from 20-year-old vines grown on limestone and red clay. Half the grapes are destemmed, the other half left as whole clusters. Semi-carbonic maceration in concrete tanks lasts 12 days. Maturation in concrete tanks lasts 12 months. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Deux Caves.
Pretty, perfumy nose of red and black fruit, including berries, overtoned with flowers, sawed wood and spice. Barely medium-bodied. The lightly juicy fruit is fresh and fluid, structured by supple tannins. Finishes long and clean. So, so drinkable. (Buy again? Moot but yes.)

At the second tasting, someone asked why the wines were so Loire-like. Could the fact that they were fermented with native yeasts explain it? Probably not, as the wines didn’t leave the Languedoc until alcoholic fermentation was completed. On the other hand, malolactic fermentation took place in the Loire, so indigenous bacteria could be a factor (though wouldn’t the wines also bring some Languedoc microflora with them?). To my mind, Max Campbell’s theory that the difference is due to the cooler temperatures of the Loire cellars seems more realistic.

As mentioned earlier, both tastings were followed by a light meal of salads, charcuterie and cheese. As the tail ends of the Deux Caves bottles were insufficient to slake the collective thirst, a few other wines were uncorked (gratitude to all who supplied them). I stopped taking notes at that point but wanted to mention four in passing.

Damien Coquelet’s Beaujolais-Villages “Fou du Beaujo” has long been a Mo’ Wine Group favourite. At the second tasting, the 2012 ($22.43, private import, La QV/Insolite, NLA) and 2014 ($19.20, 12604080) were served side by side. The 2012 was a thing of beauty: vibrant, fruity, sappy, fluid, lip-smacking. The 2014 seemed a little harder and less smiling, though whether that’s a function of the vintage, the age, this particular bottle or the filtering and/or sulphuring possibly required by the SAQ is anybody’s guess.

The Valle del Maule 2014, Pipeño, Collection Rézin, Louis-Antoine Luyt ($18.15, 12511887) is a lovable, natural Chilean wine made entirely using purchased País grapes from organcially farmed vines about a century and a half old. (Luyt buys the grapes – at fair trade prices – from his pickers, one of whose photograph appears on the label.) Fragrant and fruity, ripe and juicy, light and fresh, with frisky acidity, very soft tannins, a disarming rusticity and a quaffability quotient that’s off the charts. I’ve drunk more of this wine than any other this year and it was interesting to hear others who were just discovering it planning to buy cases the next time it rolls around.

The 2001 Château Coutet is a classic Barsac that’s showing beautifully. Rich but not heavy (good acidity), sweet but not saccharine. The complex flavours and aromatics are dominated by stone fruit and botrytis. The finish lasts for minutes. A deluxe end to a most enjoyable evening.

MWG September 27th tastings: flight 3 of 3

Lastly, here’s a link to another, much less tardy report on the tasting – one from which some of the earlier-cited technical information about Xavier Marchais comes – that was posted on the Quebec-based wine discussion board Fou du vin by a new and welcome addition to the Mo’ Wine Group. Du beau travail, Raisin Breton !

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming…

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…to bring you the following public service announcement.

Normally I’d wait until all the notes from the MWG’s February tasting were up before posting this one. Why the rush? Because Domaine des Huard’s owner-winemaker, Michel Gendrier, is in town and will be pouring this and other wines at the excellent Le Comptoir charcuteries et vins tomorrow evening (Monday, March 9). And if that weren’t inducement enough, he’ll be joined by fellow Loire winemakers Étienne Courtois and Nicolas Grosbois. For details about this Romo love-in, see here.

Cour-Cheverny 2008, François 1er, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine des Huards ($24.45, 12476452)
Huard’s top-of-the-line dry Cour-Cheverny. 100% Romorantin from organically and biodynamically farmed vines averaging 75 years old. Manually harvested. Two-thirds of the grapes are immediately pressed, one-third are macerated on the skins for 15 hours before pressing. Fermented with indigenous yeasts at between 18 and 20°C. Matured on the lees for five months. Cold-stabilized before bottling in the September following the harvest. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Honey, straw, chalk, dried lemon, browning apple, faint white spices and an even fainter whiff of kerosene. Medium-bodied but with a dense, bordering-on-unctuous texture. Ripe-sweet on entry, the fruit is nicely soured by a surging undercurrent of acidity before slow-fading into the long finish, revealing the mineral substrate and leaving behind a very dry, light astringency and a hint of nuttiness and coriander seed. A lovely, layered, elegant wine deserving of a dry goat cheese or a fine piece of fish (you’ll find a couple of recipe ideas after the jump). Available as a private import, the 2007 was a Loire lover’s must-buy at $32. At under $25, this 2008 is a certifiable bargain. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by carswell

March 8, 2015 at 14:14

Slow mo’ Somló

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Located on the east shore of the Neusiedler See in eastern Austria (Burgenland), not far from the Hungarian border, the 55-hectare Meinklang estate is run by Werner and Angela Michlits. (The estate’s name is the German noun Einklang – unison, harmony – prefixed with the first letter of the owners’ family name.) The estate also has a vineyard in Somló on the Hungarian side of the border (you can see pictures of the area, the vineyard and the owner-manager in this short video in German and English with Hungarian subtitles).

The Michlits could be poster kids for the slow food/wine movement. Not only is the estate organic and biodynamic, it is largely self-sufficient, growing the grain for its beer, bread and animal feed, the hops for its beer, the apples and other fruit for its ciders and juices, the beef for weed control, fertilizer, sausages and horns so important in biodynamic farming, and so on. The wine- and beer-making is non-interventionist and uses indigenous yeasts.

Meinklang’s wines have been favourites of the Mo’ Wine Group since our first encounters with them. In fact, Meinklang is among the small group of producers whose wines we buy automatically, even without tasting them first. That was the case last fall with the new-to-us entry-level Somló white. And, true to form, it didn’t disappoint.

Somló 2013, Meinklang ($24.65, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A blend of organically and biodynamically farmed Hárslevelü (50%), Juhfark (20%), Olaszrizling (25%) and Furmint (5%) grown at the base of the Somlo volcano in southwest Hungary, not far from the Austrian border. The region’s balsat is weathered and topped with loess and light sand deposits, producing a fertile soil. Screwcapped. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Peach, pineapple, grass and straw, basalt dust and hints of honey and white flowers. Intense even a little fiery in the mouth. The unctuous texture is shredded to ribbons by razor-sharp acidity. The ripe stone fruit barely holds it own against the crushing minerality. The peppery (white and paprika), savoury (sour and bitter) finish goes on and on. Such presence and character! Lovely as an aperitif but has the wherewithal to stand up to Hungary’s robust cuisine. Why is this not on the SAQ’s shelves? (Buy again? Moot – the 2013 is NLA – but multiples of the 2014 for sure.)

Written by carswell

February 14, 2015 at 10:50