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Posts Tagged ‘Languedoc-Roussillon

Bullish

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Based in Calce in the Roussillon, not far from Perpignan, Jean-Philippe Padié farms 15 hectares of vines divided among some 40 parcels. Before creating his eponymous estate in 2003, he worked as vineyard manager at Mas Amiel and Domaine Gauby. The farming is organic leaning biodynamic (though Padié doesn’t bother with certifications) and yields are kept very low. The wine-making is non-interventionist. Am pertty sure this is his first wine to be sold at the SAQ.

Vin de France 2015, Petit Taureau, Domaine Padié ($28.15, 13113215)
A 50-50 blend of Carignan and Syrah from organically farmed vines respectively rooted in limestone and schist. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Four-fifths of the wine is matured in concrete tanks, one-fifth in barrels. No additives other than a tiny shot of sulphur dioxide at bottling. Reducing sugar: 1.5 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Labelle Bouteille.

Entrancing nose of red and black fruit, hard candy, sweet spice and flowers against a backdrop of slate, turned earth and leather. Dense with flavour yet medium-bodied and oh, so fluid. Very dry yet full of ripe but not heavy fruit. The sleek acidity and soft tannins come out on the finish, adding a pleasing terminal bite. Black raspberry and peppery spice linger. Fresh + supple + fruity + savoury + low alcohol (12.5% in 2015) = dangerously drinkable. The only possible complaint is the price – relatively high for an easy drinker – but that’s a recurring theme these days (blame the exchange rate, among other things). (Buy again? Def.)

Written by carswell

April 13, 2017 at 10:41

WINO tasting (1/6)

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The Mo’ Wine Group’s latest agency tasting was led by the affable Martin Landry from WINO. Around three years old, the agency specializes in wines that are, at a minimum, organic or biodyamic and often “natural.” You’ll find them on the lists at many of the city’s hipper restaurants and wine bars, including Diplomat, Pullman, Rouge Gorge and Moleskine (to name a few recent sightings).

We got things rolling with a classy sparkler from Limoux.

Blanquette de Limoux 2015, Monsieur S./Étienne Fort ($25.33, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Fort is a barely 30-something vigneron who works the family’s two hectares of vines at the Château Saint Salvadou in Bourliège in the Aude department. In 2011, he decided to stop selling his fruit to the local co-op and to start making his own wines. The grapes for this 100% Mauzac come from organically and biodynamically farmed, 30-year-old vines rooted in deep clayey limestone. Manually harvested. Made without additives of any kind. Fermented in stainless steel. Sparkled using the traditional method. Matured 12 months on the lees. Undosed, unfined, unfiltered. Spent 12 months in the bottle on lattes. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: WINO.

Yeasty, leesy nose with quartz and lemon notes. Tiny, tingling verging on prickly bubbles. Bone dry, crisp and clean. Trenchant and minerally upfront with lemon and gooseberry emerging on the mid-palate. A pithy thread runs throughout. The long, savoury, fairly complex finish has a touch of salinity. This bracing and refreshing sparkler would make a fine aperitif or, as Martin suggested, a dashing companion to oysters on the half shell. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG March 23rd tasting: flight 1 of 6

Ward & associés tasting (8/9)

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IGP Côtes Catalanes 2015, Mon P’tit Pithon, Olivier Pithon ($46.55/1500 ml, private import, 6 bottles/case)
According to David Ward, the cuvée’s name is indeed a play on Monty Python. A blend of Grenache (50%), Syrah (25%) and Mourvèdre (25%) from organically and biodynamically farmed young vines. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are fermented with indigenous yeasts. Maceration time is purposefully kept short. Matured in concrete tanks. Lightly filtered and sulphured at bottling. Reducing sugar: 1.5 g/l. 13% ABV. The 750 ml bottling ($20.70, 12574811) is stocked by the SAQ, though few bottles remain. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.

mon-ptit-pithon-rouge

Red berries, Chinese dried plum, spice and slate dust. A medium-bodied mouthful of chiaroscuro fruit, soft acidity, lacy tannins with a lightly astringent edge that provides a welcome touch of gritiness. Fresh, fluid and fleet yet possessed of a certain richness, this easy-drinker seems tailor made for casual fare liked grilled sausages, braised white meats and potluck buffets. Drink lightly chilled. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG February 2, 2017, tasting: flight 8 of 9

Written by carswell

February 22, 2017 at 11:40

Limoux times two

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Crémant de Limoux 2013, Expression, Antech ($20.60, 10666084)
Chardonnay (60%), Chenin Blanc (20%) and Mauzac (20%) from vines rooted in argilo-calcerous soil. Manually harvested. After pressing, the musts are chilled and clarified by settling, then transferred to stainless steel fermentation vessels. First fermentation lasts 15 to 21 days. The wine is then clarified by fining and sparkled using the traditional method. Spends at least 18 months on the lees in the bottle before disgorging. Reducing sugar: 8.1 g/l (for the 2014). 12% ABV. Quebec agent: AOC.
Cookie dough, chalk and lemon. Fine and persistent effervescence. Clean and dry on the palate, the fruit tending to apple, with good acidity and a dusting of minerals. A hint of bitterness creeps in on the faintly honeyed finish. It’s a bit anonymous – more cava- than champagne-like – but certainly drinkable. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Crémant de Limoux 2013, Brut, Clos des Demoiselles, J. Laurens ($23.90, 10498973)
Chardonnay (60%), Chenin Blanc (30%) and Pinot Noir (10%). The varieties are manually harvested and vinified separately. First fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then bottled with added yeast for second fermentation, matured on the lees for 15 months and disgorged, all per the traditional method. Reducing sugar: 12 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Sélections Oeno.
Cookie dough again, this time with marzipan, “matches” and a sour edge. Gained faint notes of “slightly rotting tropical fruit” and candied apple. Richer, more complex and less cava-like than the Antech, with softer, rounder bubbles. The fruit – pear and a little citrus – is upfront but the wine comes across as dry, due in part to the lively acidity. Chalky minerals thread through the mid-palate and into the long finish. Fresh, balanced and satisfying. The usually shaped bottle is quite slippery. (Buy again? Sure.)

The Antech was supposed to be the newly arrived 2014 and I didn’t notice that it wasn’t till unveiling the bottle at the tasting. The vintage information is in the SAQ’s product database yet, perversely, SAQ.com doesn’t make use of it. Why the site usually lists only the latest vintage received and thus sometimes misidentifies the vintage in a given store is a mystery, a source of frustration and a major fail.

MWG April 14th tasting: flight 1 of 6

Written by carswell

May 26, 2016 at 11:53

Different drummers

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Saint-Chinian 2014, Antonyme, Domaine Canet-Valette ($17.80, 11013317)
A 50-50 blend of Mourvèdre and Cinsault from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. The grapes are destemmed and fermented in tanks for 15 days. The wine is then transferred to other tanks for four months’ maturation. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Reducing sugar: 2.5 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
Slightly candied red and black fruit with faint smoke and animale notes. Medium-bodied. Smooth, dense, fruity and dry but also listless and lacking relief, especially next to the À ma guise. I recall an earlier vintage (the 2006?) being more Beaujolais-like. Admittedly, the context didn’t do the wine any favours and I expect it will show better with food, ideally something red meaty and grilled (I’ll be hanging on to my backup bottle to see). (Buy again? Maybe.)

Vin de France 2014, À ma guise, Domaine Les Terres Promises ($25.87, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The 13-hectare estate, which includes a parcel in the Bandol AOC, is owned and operated by former Parisian political operative and author Jean-Christophe Comor and located in the Var department in the foothills of the Massif de la Saint-Baume near the village of La Roquebrussanne. The farming is organic, the wine-making is non-interventionist and the chai is open to the air. This primeur-style wine is a blend of around a dozen varieties including Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, Clairette and Carignan Blanc. Unfiltered. No or very little added sulphur. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Vin dans les Voiles.
Complex, “natural” nose. Fleet yet mouth-filling. Chewy, juicy red fruit with exuberant acidity, supple tannins, a healthy dose of minerals, a squirt of vine sap and a dusting of earth. Smackingly tart finish. So very drinkable. A joy. (Buy again? Done!)

I first encountered the À ma guise at Satay Bros., where it was being poured by the glass. I liked it enough to have a couple of refills and, a few days later, to trek through the rain on foot and public transit to the middle of nowhere, aka the SAQ’s Futailles Street warehouse, to pick up a case so I could serve it at the tasting. The tasting’s bottle was cloudier than I remembered, a bit funky and not quite as stellar as the Satay Bros. bottle (which may have been open and poured from for a while), though it was still good enough for me to have no trouble selling the remainder of the case. Opened day or two later, a third bottle was verging on vinegar. Such are the vagaries of natural wines. Yet when the wine is on, such are the rewards that we put up with the disappointments.

MWG March 31st tasting: flight 5 of 6

Jaunty Pithon

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Côtes de Roussillon 2013, Cuvée Laïs, Domaine Olivier Pithon ($26.60, 11925720)
A blend of Carignan (40%), Grenache (40%) and Mourvèdre (10%) and Syrah (10%) – that’s per SAQ.com, various merchants and the estate’s website but not the wine’s front label, according to which Mourvèdre constitutes 20% and Syrah 0% – from organically farmed old vines rooted in schist and limestone. Manual harvesting began on September 1. Vinification was traditional (native yeasts, non-interventionist). The wine was matured 12 to 18 months in concrete tanks and foudres. Reducing sugar: 1.4 g/l. 13.6% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.
Crushed blackberry, candied raspberry, rubber, sandalwood spice and hints of black olive and leafmould. Medium-bodied. In the mouth the fruit is dark, juicy and soured by a steady stream of acidity. Supple tannins show a bit of astringency on a finish marked by mineral and lingering grilled red pepper notes. Did the trick with the season’s first charcoal-grilled leg of lamb and vegetables. Food-friendly and drinkable in the extreme though not quite as beautiful or deep as the 2012. (Buy again? Yep.)

Written by carswell

March 28, 2016 at 11:48

The cream and the infidel

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Willamette Valley 2013, Pinot Noir, La Crema ($40.00, 12395652)
The second vintage of this wine from Jackson Family Wines’ new Oregon operation and the first made in its own facility. 100% Pinot Noir from estate and purchased grapes grown in eight vineyards. Manually harvested. The whole clusters were pressed and the juice cold-soaked for three days, then fermented in vats with thrice-daily punch-downs. The resulting wine was racked into French oak barrels (25% new) for eight months’ maturation. Residual sugar (per the winery): 3.0 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Marchand de Vin.
Attractive nose dominated by cedary red fruit (cherry, cranberry). What’s more, ça pinote. In the mouth, it’s medium-bodied and fairly dry. The ripe fruit is only a bit brambly and not at all jammy, nicely brightened by acidity and firmed by supple tannins. Earthy minerally undertones and savoury herb overtones add interest, while the oak is mercifully relegated to the background. Sweet spice notes – from the fruit as well as the oak, methinks – sound on the credible finish. Not a QPR winner – few West Coast wines are, alas – but not a rip-off either, not in either sense of the word. (Buy again? On sale maybe.)

Coteaux du Languedoc 2013, Terrasses du Larzac, L’infidèle, Mas Cal Demoura ($33.50, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A blend of organically farmed grapes, typically Syrah (30%), Mourvèdre (25%), Grenache (20%), Cinsault (15%) and Carignan (10%). Manually harvested. Destemmed. The parcels and grape varieties are vinified separately. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and macerated in temperature-controlled stainless steel and concrete tanks for 20-35 days with punch-downs and pump-overs. Matured 12 months, 80% in 500- and 600-litre barrels (15% new) and 20% in stainless steel tanks. After blending, the wine is matured seven months in stainless steel tanks. Cold-stabilized then bottled. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Marchand de Vin.
Savoury nose of plum, “black sesame” and leather with garrigue overtones. Full-bodied, broad and deep but not massive – quite elegant in fact. Firm tannins and smooth acidity structure the dry, velvety black fruit. Finishes long and on a licorice note. The wine’s balance makes it accessible now though it’s also quite primary; a few years in the cellar will bring added complexity. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG February 26th tasting: flight 6 of 7

Written by carswell

March 24, 2016 at 11:52