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Posts Tagged ‘Loire

A pair of Pineau d’Aunis blends from the Loir valley

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That’s not a typo. The Loir is an indirect tributary of the Loire, running east-northeast of it for much of its length. The best known Loir valley appellation is probably Jasnières.

Coteaux du Vendômois 2014, Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Patrice Colin ($21.55, 11498220)
Pineau d’Aunis (70%), Pinot Noir (20%) and Cabernet Franc (10%) from organically farmed 50- to 90-year-old vines. The manually harvested grapes are destemmed. Maceration and alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts take place in stainless steel tanks and last around 45 days. The estate never chaptalizes. Matured in large barrels for one year. Reducing sugar: 2.3 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
Complex nose of choke cherry, black currant, spice, beet, old wood, “burnt marshmallow” and eventually compost. Medium-bodied, straightforward and juicy in the mouth. Possessed of a slightly velours-like texture, sleek acidity, tea-ish tannins and a light, singing, savoury finish. A mineral vein can be found under the ripe fruit. A bit monochromatic for now, this will probably be even better in a year or three. Popular with many around the table, especially when they learned the price. (Buy again? Sure.)

Coteaux du Loir 2015, La Guinguette, Domaine de la Roche Bleue ($26.50, 12856261)
A blend of Pineau d’Aunis (80%) and Gamay (20%) from organically farmed vines more than 30 years old. Manually harvested. The whole grapes undergo semi-carbonic maceration in tanks for 20 days and are fermented with indigenous yeasts in third- to sixth-fill oak barrels. The Pineau is matured in neutral barrels, the Gamy in tanks, both for about three months. Undergoes malolactic fermentation. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Total added sulphur dioxide: 50 mg/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Boires.
Delicious, fragrant nose of slightly candied red berries, slate, spice, herbs and flowers (violet?). On the light side of medium-bodied. Supple and lithe, with lacy tannins and bright acidity. The tangy fruit comes with some crushed stems and leaves. Slatey earth and a touch of peppery spice colour the long, caressing finish. Lighter than both the Colin and the 2014 Guinguette but so easy to drink. For those of us who enjoy tart, fleet, savoury wines, a must. (Buy again? Imperatively.)

MWG February 17, 2017, tasting: flight 4 of 6

Written by carswell

March 7, 2017 at 12:50

Loire cousins

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Chinon 2014, Expression, Alain Lorieux ($19.85, 00873257)
100% Cabernet Franc from vines rooted in flinty clay. The grapes are destemmed. Macerated and fermented in stainless steel tanks for around five weeks with daily pumpovers. Reducing sugar: 1.8 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Blackberry, raspberry, hints of ash, leather and greenery. A supple, medium-bodied, oh-so-dry mouthful of sweet-tart fruit, bright acidity and light tannins set against a darker, minerally backdrop. “More leafy” than the Saint Nicolas. Good clean finish that has you aching for another sip. Quaffable in the extreme. (Buy again? Yes.)

Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil 2014, Les Mauguerets – La Contrie, Pascal et Alain Lorieux ($22.45, 00872580)
100% Cabernet Franc from vines rooted in gravelly soil in Les Mauguerets and La Contrie, two adjacent lieux-dits. The gravel retains heat and facilitates ripening. The grapes are destemmed. Macerated and fermented in stainless steel tanks for four to six weeks with daily pump-overs. Reducing sugar: 1.7 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Faintly funky nose of dark berries, spice and tobacco leaf. Compared with the Chinon, “more earthy” and complex as well as a notch richer, more structured and more dimensional. The fruit is a little sweeter and juicier too and the mineral component is if anything stronger. With its scents of black tea leaves, the long finish only adds to the impression of sauvity. This textbook example of Loire Cab Franc doesn’t shout but has real presence. (Buy again? For sure.)

MWG January 12, 2017, tasting: flight 4 of 7

Written by carswell

January 31, 2017 at 13:16

A Crémant de la Loire and a Prosecco

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Crémant de la Loire, Symphonie de la Désoucherie, Domaine de la Désoucherie ($26.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A traditional method sparkler made from a 50-50 blend of Menu Pineau (aka Arbois) and Chardonnay from Cheverny. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Mon Caviste.
Quiet nose showing hints of apple, yeast and lees and a floral note. Softly effervescent. More minerally than fruity, with brilliant acidity and an intriguing bitterness on the long finish. Not remarkably complex but very tasty and so refreshing. (Buy again? Yes.)

Prosecco, Amor, Canto alla Moraia ($29.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Glera from organically farmed vines. The estate is based in Tuscany but, per appellation rules, the grapes for this wine were grown in the Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia regions. The grapes are direct-pressed and the juice immediately separated from the skins. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine is translated to airtight stainless steel tanks for low-temperature secondary fermentation using the Charmat method. Under three bars of pressure. Flip-top stopper. Residual sugar: 14 g/l. 11% ABV. Quebec agent: Mon Caviste.
Hazy light straw and a fine bead. Savoury nose marked by floral, jalapeño, honey and “peaty” aromas but not a lot of fruit. Light, bright and flavourful in the mouth with a fine, tickling fizz, browning apple and pear, a dusting of chalky minerals and a long, faintly sour-edged finish. Drier than the residual sugar level might lead you to believe. Fresh and appetizing. (Buy again? Yes, though I wouldn’t complain if it cost a few dollars less.)

MWG November 10, 2016, tasting: flight 8 of 9

Written by carswell

January 19, 2017 at 15:15

Start off?

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Montlouis sur Loire, Brut Nature, François Chidaine ($29.35, 11537049)
100% Chenin Blanc from biodynamically farmed vines between 20 and 50 years old. Manually harvested in several passes. The grapes are pneumatically pressed. Alcoholic fermentation with indigenous yeasts takes place in 600-litre demi-muids and can last up to six months. Malolactic fermentation is usually avoided. Sparkled using the traditional method. Undosed. The bottles spend 12 months on lattes. Reducing sugar: 8.2 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
The cork emerges easily and without the expected pop. No foam and only a little fizz are to be seen in the glasses. The nose is complex with notes of sweat, wax, distant fields, citrus and oxidized pear. A sip shows the wine to be barely effervescent and what bubbles there are tiny and tickling. The low level of fizz combines with the extract, smooth acidity and touch of residual sugar to convey an impression of roundness. Quince and pear flavours tinged by browning dominate the palate, while the mineral substrate and a hint of white spice come to the fore on the long finish. Probably a defective bottle but still engaging and delicious. (Buy again? Yes, to see if ours was off or to re-experience it if it wasn’t.)

MWG October 27, 2016, tasting: flight 1 of 7

Written by carswell

November 13, 2016 at 13:10

Majorly Muscadet

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Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2012, Clisson, Famille Lieubeau ($24.95, 12923021)
100% Melon de Bourgogne from organically farmed vines averaging 30 years old and rooted in granite soil in various parcels in the Clisson commune. Manually harvested. Whole-cluster pressed. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts took place in temperature-controlled (20°C) tanks and lasted three weeks. Matured 24 months in tanks on its lees. Reducing sugar: 1.3 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Société Clément.
“Shrimp shells” (per another taster), lemon, apple, limestone and, eventually, peat and “celery salt” notes. Rich and round, dry and tart, subdued but revealing layers of flavour. The pure fruit is dusted with minerals while the credible finish has a saline edge and a faint hint of honey or caramel. Very likeable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu 2014, Clos de la Butte, Domaine de l’Aujardière/Éric Chevalier ($19.05, 12886831)
100% Melon de Bourgogne from 50-year-old vines planted in serpentinite, eclogite and quartz in the La Butte lieu-dit. The grapes are pneumatically pressed and the must transffered into glass-lined tanks. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured eight to 10 months on the lees with regular stirring. Unracked and unfiltered. Reducing sugar: 1.3 g/l. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Similar nose to the Clisson’s but deeper, the shells more oyster-like and showing a distinct white pepper note. Even smoother and rounder on the palate though equally layered and minerally. Crisp acidity keeps things fresh and lively. Hints of butter and caramel colour the long finish. The most middle-of-the-road of the trio, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Great QPR. (Buy again? Yes.)

Muscadet Sèvre et Maine 2014, Le Breil, Complémen’Terre ($30.25, private import, 12 bottles/case, NLA)
Founded in 2013 in Le Pallet, the winery is owned and operated by Marion Pescheux and Manuel Landron, son of legendary Muscadet producer Jo Landron. The couple works according to the lunar calendar. 100% Melon de Bourgogne from organically farmed vines rooted in orthogneiss and quartz. Manually harvested. After pressing, the juice is clarified by settling and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the fine lines for eight months. Nothing added except, when deemed necessary, a shot of sulphur (35 mg/l maximum). 12% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Lemon and minerals with hints of butter and eventually pale berries. In the mouth, it’s less rich and more rainwatery than its flightmates. On an equal footing with fired minerals, the subdued fruit is buoyed by soft acidity.. A thread of bitterness spools into the saline finish. Long and elegant if a bit inscrutable. Would love to revisit in a couple of years. (Buy again? If feeling flush, yes.)

MWG September 8, 2016, tasting: flight 2 of 6

Written by carswell

October 21, 2016 at 13:54

Best yet

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Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine 2014, Granite, Domaine de l’Écu ($23.55, 10282873)
100% Melon de Bourgogne from organically and biodynamically farmed vines 45 to 55 years old growing in stony topsoil and mica granite subsoil. Manually harvested. The winery is gravity fed, so no pumping occurs. Pneumatically pressed. The unclarified must is fermented with indigenous yeasts. Sulphuring is limited to 25 mg added between alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Matured on the lees in underground concrete tanks for 15 to 18 months. Reducing sugar: 1.4 g/l. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Raisonnance.
Outgoing nose for a young Écu: lemon fruit and pith, chamomile, minerals, faintest hints of wax, honey and almond essence. In the mouth, it’s fruitier than usual: silky, complex and wonderfully pure, acid bright and bone dry, with real mineral depth and overtones of peach and fresh herbs. The long, long flinty, iodiney finish leaves a white peppery afterbite. This will only improve with a few years in the cellar but, in contrast to most vintages, is beguiling young. Perfect, of course, with raw oysters and moules marinières but has the wherewithal to accompany fine fish and, even, sushi and stinky cheeses. Or see what the winemaker has to say about possible pairings. (Buy again? Imperatively.)

Written by carswell

October 16, 2016 at 12:43

Fresh, fluent, pure

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Another interloper before getting back to the August 12th notes because, at the time of this posting, there appear to be only six bottles of this wine left in the province.

Coteaux du Loir 2014, La Guinguette, Domaine de la Roche Bleue ($26.50, 12856261)
The vintage is shown on the label but, oddly, not on SAQ.com. A blend of Pinot d’Aunis (80%) and Gamay (20%) from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. The whole grapes undergo semi-carbonic maceration for 10 days and are fermented with indigenous yeasts in third- to sixth-fill oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation then follows. Two-thirds of the wine is transferred to barrels and one-third to tanks for three months’ maturation. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Total added sulphur dioxide: 50 mg/l. 12.5% ABV. 4,800 bottles made. Quebec agent: Boires.
Cherry preserves, crushed raspberries, sawed wood, leafmould, hints of black pepper and dried rose. Silky-textured and barely medium-bodied. Fruity-sweet on entry but quickly transitioning to a much drier, more peppery mid-palate with sleek acidity, some mineral depth and tannins that, while supple and light, still confer a lingering astringency on the finish. Fresh and fluent and pure, with a quaffability quotient that’s off the charts. Lightly chilled, an ideal accompaniment to herbed sausages, roasted potatoes and sautéed kale with garlic and vinegar. (Buy again? Yep, provided I can find time to schlep out to the Beaubien store again before it sells out.)

The 2015 is reportedly a success. I look forward to tasting it and will keep an eye peeled for Roche Bleue’s old-vine Pinot d’Aunis cuvée, La Belle d’Aunis. Thanks to MWG member Jack for bringing this wine to my attention.

Written by carswell

September 13, 2016 at 12:04