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Posts Tagged ‘Les Importations du Moine

Amphora vs. cask (Baga round)

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Vinho Tinto 2014, Baga, Post-Quercus, Filipa Pato ($22.09/500 ml, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Baga from old, organically farmed vines (the same source for the grapes that go into the red Nossa Calcáro). Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in buried 300-litre terracotta amphorae. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Rich nose of red fruit with definite terracotta notes. Equally rich on the palate though medium-bodied and soft-textured. The tannins are fine but sharp-edged, the acidity bright. Cherry, plum and mineral flavours last well into the long finish. Nothing profound but very drinkable and quite unlike any other Portuguese red I’ve tasted. (Buy again? Yes.)

Bairrada 2013, Baga, Nossa Calcáro, Filipa Pato ($47.48, private import, 6 b/c)
100% Baga from old, organically farmed vines rooted in chalky subsoil with some sony clay. The stems are left on 20% of the grapes. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in open-topped oak vats. Matured in 500-litre French oak barrels (30% new). 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Corked! What came across as reductive funk on opening had morphed into full-blown taint by the time we poured our glasses two hours later. A pity, as you could tell this is a thoroughbred of a wine, one whose price is probably justified.

MWG February 11th tasting: flight 5 of 6

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Written by carswell

March 7, 2016 at 12:04

Gamay vs. Mondeuse

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IGP Isère 2014, Frères Giac’, Domaine Giachino ($25.38, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Gamay (80%) and Trousseau (20%) – some sites claim Syrah and/or Persan are part of the mix in 2014 – from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are macerated and fermented (with indigenous yeasts) for 10 to 20 days with daily pump-overs. The grapes are then pressed. The wine is matured in tanks. No additives other than a squirt of sulphur dioxide at bottling. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Red and black berries, a ferrous note and bacony whiffs of smoke make for a nose with lots of appeal. In the mouth, it’s definitely a Gamay and definitely not a Beaujolais: dark strawberry and raspberry fruit, supple tannins, bright acidity and a surprising density and roundness for an alpine wine. The long finish is fruity, dry and nicely astringent. Your prototypical, thirst-quenching, chuggable vin de soif. (Buy again? Yep.)

Savoie 2014, Mondeuse, Domaine Giachino ($30.86, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Mondeuse Noire from organically farmed vines around 30 years old and rooted in clayey limestone soil. Manually harvested. The whole clusters are macerated and fermented (with indigenous yeasts) for 10 to 20 days with daily pump-overs. The grapes are then pressed and the wine is transferred to 600-litre oak barrels for maturation on the lees. No additives other than a squirt of sulphur dioxide at bottling. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Attractive nose of red berries (“candied cherry” to quote another taster) with floral and peppery notes. Medium-bodied. Elegant and balanced yet also possessed of an appealing rusticity. The sweet-tart, fresh and mouth-filling fruit, spice overtones and mineral undertones last though the long, clean finish, which fine-grained tannins and a current of sleek acidity turn a “bit puckery.” Eminently drinkable, like all the wines from this estate I must say. Probably even better in a year or two (the brothers Giachino claim the wine can age up to 10 years). (Buy again? Gladly.)

MWG February 11th tasting: flight 4 of 6

Written by carswell

March 4, 2016 at 13:13

Amphora vs. cask (Bical round)

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Vinho Branco 2014, Post-Quercus, Filipa Pato ($22.09/500 ml, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Bical fom organically farmed vines; these may well be the same grapes as used to make the Nossa Calcáro described below, though I’ve not been able to confirm that. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in buried terracotta amphorae. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Engaging nose of pear poached in réduit (boiled maple sap at the halfway point to becoming syrup) with notes of honey, orange peel and spice. In the mouth, the wine has a satiny texture, faint stone-fruit (white peach?) flavours, nose-echoing overtones along with some flint, and what one taster described as a “seawatery dryness.” Other tasters noted the relatively low acidity (“lacks spark,” “tastes flat”) and drew parallels with “dry cider.” While I can see their point, I found the wine oddly haunting and, convinced it’s intended more for the dining room than the tasting room, would love to try it alongside simply prepared white fish. (Buy again? Another bottle for sure.)

Bairrada 2014, Bical, Nossa Calcáro, Filipa Pato ($38.41, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Bical from organically farmed vines rooted in clay and limestone and averaging 25 years old. The vineyard in located in Óis do Bairro, a famous Bairrada wine village. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in 500-litre, temperature-controlled (sub 18°C) oak casks with stirring every month until the February following harvest. Bottled in May. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Bit funky/stinky, then gaining citrus aromas and turning brighter. A sip reveals a wine more conventional than the Post-Quercus: complex, dry and savoury, an elegant mouthful of white peach and hay heading to straw, grounded in flinty minerals, lifted by acidity and culminating in a long, bitter-edged, almond-toned finish. (Buy again? Yes, though not without wishing the price was closer to $30.)

MWG February 11th tasting: flight 2 of 6

Traditional vs. ancestral

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3B, Blanc de Blancs, Método tradicional, Filipa Pato ($23.99, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Bical, Cercial (aka Cerceal but not Madeira’s Sercial) and Maria Gomes (aka Fernão Pires) from organically farmed vines grown in the Bairrada region. Manually harvested. Gently pressed in a vacuum frame. The must is clarified by settling, then fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled (sub 16°C) stainless steel vats. Sparkled using the traditional method. Residual sugar: 2 g/l. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Appealing nose of quartz dust, citrus, sweet apple and distant brioche. The fine bead animates the round texture. Not particularly deep but a fresh, clean, fundamentally dry mouthful of apple, faint stone fruit, minerals and lemon peel. The aromatic finish brings a lingering saline note. Very drinkable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Vin de France 2014, Giac’ Bulles, Vignerons Giachino ($29.22, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% organically farmed Jacquère. The manually harvested grapes are gently pressed in a pneumatic press. The must is chilled to 5°C and clarified by settling for eight to 10 days, then racked into tanks for fermentation with indigenous yeasts at 15°C. Sparkled using the ancestral method. Residual sugar: c. 30-35 g/l. 8% ABV. Quebec agent: Importations du Moine.
Unusual, initially disconcerting nose: faint jalapeño, ash and “turnip cakes at dim sum,” eventually turning more minerally and fruity (pear? white peach?). Softly effervescent. Lightly chalky and fruity on the palate – one taster described it as “weird apple juice” – and on the sweeter side of off dry, though not cloying due in no small part to the sprightly acidity that lends a sour edge to the long, complex and, yes, drier finish. Doubtful at first, I quite liked this by the end of my glass. Would make a good summer sipper but could also accompany a not-too-sweet fruit-based dessert (peach and wild strawberry verrine with lemon balm cream and shortbread crumble, for example). (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG February 11th tasting: flight 1 of 6

Octavin and Gahier tasting (4/4): Savagnins

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Arbois 2011, Zest de Savagnin, Domaine de l’Octavin ($50.48, Les Importations du Moine, 6 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodyamically farmed Savagnin from 70-year-old vines grown in the Les Nouvelles vineyard. Macerated on the skins for three months, making this an orange wine, then matured in old barrels for around ten months. 12.9% ABV.
Complex nose of orange peel, floor wax, faint pine needles, sawed wood, peach and lemon, among other things. Smooth and round on the attack and surface though a strong acidic undercurrent quickly makes itself felt. Richly flavoured if a little monolithic for the now (of all the wines in the tasting, this is the one I most wished had been carafed), the fruit wrapped around a mineral core. Textured more like a red wine, with light tannins coming out on the long finish. Better balanced, more complete and fresher than many orange wines. Fascinating if a bit elemental; the future looks promising though. (Buy again? Gritting my teeth at the price but yes.)

Arbois 2005, Vin jaune, Domaine Michel Gahier ($71.00/620 ml, Primavin, NLA)
100% Savagnin. Matured sous voile (under a yeast veil) in old oak barrels for more than six years. 13.5% ABV.
Lightly oxidized nose of straw, apple and dried pear, developing nori and pastry notes as the wine breathes. A marvel in the mouth: so fresh and delicate yet also so present, focused and balanced. The fruit is pure, the acidity bracing. Threads of caramel, vanilla and nuts intertwine on the minutes-long finish. Obviously oxidized but not at all fino-like. Such a buoyant wine – each sip just carries you along. A synergistic match with 36-month-old Comté and walnut bread. In short, one of the best vin jaunes I’ve tasted and easily the most delicious. As remarkable as it is now, Gahier says it needs another ten to 20 years to develop fully. (Buy again? As nearly everyone at the tasting said: yes, price be damned.)

Octavin and Gahier tasting (3/4): Trousseaus

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Vin de France 2012, Corvée de Trousseau, Domaine de l’Octavin ($32.83, Les Importations du Moine, 6 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Trousseau from the Les Corvées vineyard (and maybe other parcels). The whole grapes are vinified using carbonic maceration. The wine is denied Arbois AOC status because the alcohol level, 9.7% ABV, does not reach the required minimum (10%). “Boire du trousseau, ce n’est jamais une corvée” (Drinking Trousseau is never a chore) is written on the label.
I’ve seen darker rosés, though few as murky. Kaleidoscopic nose of cedar, “pale red tomato,” banana peel, red grapefruit, rhubarb and more. Faint carbon dioxide prickle. Light-bodied is putting it too strongly: the fruit is diaphanous, almost rainwatery (“eau de gazpacho” was how one taster described it) and yet the wine has the wherewithal to stand up to dried sausage, which brings out its fruit and makes you appreciate its mineral and acid backbone, dryness and length. A watercolour of a wine, quite unlike anything else I’ve encountered. (Buy again? At $23, I’d jump on it. At $33, a single bottle will have to do.)

Arbois 2011, Zerlina, Domaine de l’Octavin ($35.52, Les Importations du Moine, 6 bottles/case)
Biodyanmically and organically farmed Trousseau (50%) and Pinot Noir (50%) from the En Curon vineyard. 12% ABV.
Red berries with a hint of rubber and spice. Light- to medium-bodied, dry and silky textured. Clean on the attack, lightly structured and brightly lit. The fruit is ripe and fleet, shaded with earthier flavours. A lingering astringency and fine minerality colour the finish. (Buy again? Yes, with only a little grumbling about the price.)

Arbois 2011, Trousseau, Les Grands Vergers, Domaine Michel Gahier ($31.50, Primavin, NLA)
Les Grands Vergers is the lieu-dit (named place) where the 60- to 70-year-old vines for this 100% Trousseau are grown. (The area around Gahier’s village, Montigny-les-Arsures, is considered the homeland of Trousseau.) 12.5% ABV.
Perfumy red fruit with a few black currants thrown in, faint cinnamon, old wood and smoke. Medium-bodied. There’s a freshness and a bell-like clarity to the fruit, a hallmark of all the Gahier wines. Structured with fine, firm tannins, tensed with acidity, grounded in minerals and earth that last well into the finish. A beauty. (Buy again? Yes, in multiples with no grumbling whatsoever.)

Written by carswell

June 1, 2014 at 11:35

Octavin and Gahier tasting (2/4): Poulsards

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Arbois 2011, Cul Rond à la cuisse rose, Domaine de l’Octavin ($27.54, Les Importations du Moine, 6 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Poulsard from the En Curon vineyard. Immediately after the grapes are crushed, the skins are removed to avoid colouring the juice (which, like that from nearly all red grapes, is clear); in other words, this is a blanc de noirs (assuming you’d call the pale Poulsard a black grape, that is). 11% ABV.
Muted, yeasty, sweaty nose that required coaxing to reveal the rumoured stone fruit. A bit spritzy on opening, which may explain the nose. Medium-bodied, possessed of a relatively dense, heading toward waxy texture. There’s an appealing tartness and a cider-like quality to the fruit. The finish is long and mineral-packed. Should probably be carafed an hour before opening. (Buy again? Sure.)

Arbois 2012, Dorabella, Domaine de l’Octavin ($31.27, Les Importations du Moine, 6 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodyanmically farmed Poulsard from 50-year-old vines from the La Mailloche vineyard plus a little form the En Curon vineyard. Vinified using carbonic maceration, like many Beaujolais. 11% ABV.
Pale red, the colour locals term rubis. Fruity, yeasty, cedary, tomatoey nose with a whiff of stinky feet. Light-bodied with lowish acid. The discreet fruit is marked by meaty, bloody and spicy notes. There’s also a bit of fizz, which may be intentional. A little disappointing compared with the disarmingly charming 2011 tasted last November but quite possibly in need of a few months to find its footing. (Buy again? A bottle to see how it evolves.)

Arbois 2012, Ploussard, Domaine Michel Gahier ($25.00, Primavin, NLA)
100% Poulsard (aka Ploussard) from 50-year-old vines in various parcels around Montigny-les-Arsures. 12.5% ABV.
Medium red. Raspberry (a bit candied), sweet spice, quartz and blossoms (musk rose and violet?). Medium-bodied. Iron and light red fruit are the dominant flavours (“blood on white strawberries” quoth one taster), while acidity streams and tannins lightly rasp. Decent length and a lingering tang. A textbook example of the grape and an excellent pairing for charcuterie. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

May 30, 2014 at 17:38