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Posts Tagged ‘Natural wine

Fun

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Québec 2016, Bonbonbulles, Les Pervenches (ca. $21)
This pet-nat (ancestral method sparkler) is a blend of Zweigelt, Frontenac and Chardonnay from organically farmed vines. 10.5% ABV. During its short window of availability, it could be purchased at the winery, at a few area food stores specializing in local products (e.g. Dans la côte, Fromagerie Hamel) and through the Quebec agent, La QV.

Slightly hazy strawberry pink. Wafting nose of straw, cherry, cranberry, “hibiscus kambucha,” hints of yeast and lees and a whiff of volatile acidity. Light and dry in the mouth, with fine, persistent bubbles, zingy acidity and ethereal fruit. The leesy kambucha note lasts into the sweet-tart finish. Fun and refreshing. Jambon de Bayonne really brings out the fruit. (Buy again? Def.)

MWG August 11th tasting: flight 6 of 9

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Written by carswell

October 12, 2017 at 13:15

Luxe quaffer

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Cheverny 2016, Rouillon, Clos du Tue-Bœuf ($32.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The wine is named after the site where the grapes are grown, itself named after the “rust-coloured” (rouille) clay soil. A 50-50 blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir from organically farmed, co-planted vines averaging 20 years of age and rooted in a single, 1.9 ha plot of limestone-rich clay and flint. The grapes are harvested at the same time and co-fermented. Whole-cluster semi-carbonic maceration. Matured six months in 500-litre demi-muids. Nothing added, including sulphur. Unfiltered and unfined. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.

Slate, violet, red berries with leaves, hints of turned earth and spice. Medium-bodied and fluid. Possessed of a velours-like texture, bright acidity and fine, lightly astringent tannins. Good, clean finish with lingering fruit and slate. A bit rakish but also charming and so very drinkable. Probably not an ager. In the best of all possible worlds, this would be $10 cheaper, not that I’m complaining about the price, as the wine puts a lot of similarly priced Burgundies to shame. (Buy again? For sure.)

MWG August 11th tasting: flight 2 of 9

Written by carswell

October 7, 2017 at 15:25

Irrepressible

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Moonlighting from his daytime gig at Rézin, the irrepressible Steve Beauséjour returned to the Mo’ Wine Group in August to lead another of his sui generis wine and food tastings. It goes without saying that the assembled masses enjoyed themselves. Our tastings start at 7 p.m. and normally end between 9:30 and 10; this one finished after midnight.

While the wines weren’t really served in flights, I’ve organized them that way for reporting purposes.

Québec 2016, Seyval-Chardo, Nature SSA, Les Pervenches (ca. $19)
A private bottling of the estate’s regular Seyval-Chardonnay blend. The wine went directly from the barrel into the bottle, with no filtering, fining or added sulphur. While I don’t have the exact proportions of the grape varieties, they’re normally 80% Seyval Blanc and 20% Chardonnay from biodynamically farmed vines. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Undergoes malolactic fermentation. Matured in neutral French oak barrels. 11.7% ABV. While this bottling was never retailed, the estate’s other wines are (though they usually sell out a few weeks after their release) at the winery, at a few area food stores specializing in local products (e.g. Dans la côte, Fromagerie Hamel) and through the Quebec agent, La QV.

Clean nose of lemon, chalk and mowed fields. Fresh and pristine in the mouth. Medium-bodied. The pure fruit lends some sweetness that’s immediately checked by the incisive – not harsh – acidity and dancing minerality. Gains breadth and depth as it breathes. Finishes clean, fresh and long. A bracing, super-drinkable and, yes, irrepressible wine with “lots of energy” (quoting another taster). I’d buy a case if I could. (Buy again? Please!)

MWG August 11th tasting: flight 1 of 9

Written by carswell

October 6, 2017 at 13:15

Wowzer

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Juliénas 2016, Rézin Collection, Lapierre + Pacalet Cousins ($29.90, 13286802)
Christophe Pacalet and Mathieu Lapierre are cousins (who knew?) and this is, as far as I know, their first joint effort. 100% Gamay from organically farmed 70-year-old vines rooted in the granite and schist of a single parcle on the Côte de Bessay. Vinified in the traditional Beaujolais manner, using carbonic maceration for 30 days. Matured in 228-litre French oak barrels for six months. No added anything, including yeasts and sulphur. Reducing sugar: 2.6 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Those who pour the first glasses from the bottle complain of an off-putting aroma but, getting around to it 20 or 30 minutes later, I detect nothing of the sort. Instead, a classic if rich Gamay nose of sappy, ripe red berries with a noticeable mineral streak and that typical floral note reminiscent of peonies. In the mouth, the wine is juicy, dense with fruit yet light on its feet. Bright acidity lends just a hint of tartness and the tannins are sleek and pliable. There’s a slatey backdrop but no greenness. Finishes long, clean and lip-smackingly. Wow. Not as obviously structured (and ageable?) as some Juliénases but great for drinking now and over the next few years. Actually, I’d have a hard time keeping my hands off any bottles in my possession. (Buy again? Def.)

Written by carswell

September 7, 2017 at 11:42

Winey dancer

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Vin de France 2015, La Danseuse, Bainbridge and Cathcart ($32.34, private import, 6 bottles/case)
British expat Tony Bainbridge and his American wife Julie worked in wine and ESL in Burgundy before moving to the Loire, where Tony initially held a job at Domaine Mosse. In 2007, with the help of Ali and Rob Cathcart, the couple acquired 4.2 hectares of vineyards in Faye d’Anjou and Chavagnes les Eaux. Total production is around 6,500 bottles. This rosé sparkler is 100% Grolleau from organically farmed grapes. The grapes are manually harvested, given a short maceration on the skins and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Fermentation continues in the bottles, which are riddled and eventually disgorged. Unfiltered, unfined and, like all the estate’s wines, bottled in a clear champagne bottle and closed with a crown cap. The name (“the dancer”) refers to the barrel of wine that, back in the day, a vigneron would set aside for his mistress. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: WINO.

Delightful nose of strawberry pastry, “rugelach” (per another taster), a touch of arugula and yeast. Clean and dryish in the mouth, with bright-verging-on-tart acidity cutting any residual sugar. Tiny prickly bubbles add texture and lift. The load of minerals makes the wine taste more white than red, despite the beguiling strawberry overtones. Some caramel cream creeps in on the finish. Fresh, lip-smacking and super-drinkable. (Buy again? Yep.)

MWG July 13th tasting: flight 4 of 9

Written by carswell

August 25, 2017 at 12:11

Gauzy Ozzie

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Blewitt Springs 2016, Chenin Pet nat, Jauma ($43.25, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Founded and run by former sommelier James Erskine and based in the Basket Range section of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, Jauma is one of the leaders of Australia’s natural wine movement. An ancestral method sparkler. 100% Chenin Blanc from 60-year-old vines organically farmed by Fiona Wood. Manually harvested. Fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts. Matured in French oak barrels. Unfiltered and unfined. No added anything, including sulphur. Crown cap. Residual sugar: ca. 10 g/l. 10.5% ABV. Also available in 12-bottle cases at the LCBO ($53.10, 361641). Quebec agent: WINO.

Hazy, pale yellow-beige. Super natural nose of lemon pith and apple, lees, “jasmine” (per another taster) or maybe honeysuckle and “a little hairspray.” Very dry in the mouth, with tiny, tickly bubbles. The zingy acidity and lemony flavours bring lemonade and maybe wheat beer to mind. The complex of minerals includes a saline streak. The long, savoury finish brings a chamomile or “chrysanthemum tea” note. Light, tart, refreshing and so much fun to drink. The Quebec – let alone Ontario – price does give one pause but this is an ideal summer sipper. (Buy again? A splurge bottle, yes.)

MWG July 13th tasting: flight 2 of 9

Written by carswell

August 22, 2017 at 12:48

Barrel-aged, new moon, off-track

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Based in Mittelbergheim in the Bas-Rhin department, André Rohrer has run his eponymous eight-hectare estate since 1988, when he took the helm from his father. The estate, which has been in the family for eight generations, has holdings in three communes: Eichoffen, Mittelbergheim (including 18 ares in the Zotzenberg grand cru) and Barr. Though it abandoned herbicides in the 1960s and chemical insecticides in the 1980s, the estate has been certified organic only since 2001. In recent years, Rohrer has been exploring new wine-making paths, including a line of natural wines, one of which we tried. The estate doesn’t have a website and technical information is non-existent on the Web, though it’s probably safe to assume that the wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts and made with minimal intervention.

Alsace 2015, Pinot Noir, Élevé en Barrique, Domaine André Rohrer (ca. $23, importation valise)
100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines. Matured in oak barrels. 13.5% ABV.
Faintly candied nose of cherry-chocolate, red wine-poached pears and a little band-aid. Medium-bodied, dry and fruity, with streaming acidity and fine tannins mostly apparent on the longish, faintly astringent finish. The oak is less present on the palate than on the nose. “A bit rustic,” as one taster notes, not that there’s anything wrong with that. (Buy again? Sure, especially at the local price.)

Alsace 2015, Pinot Noir, Nouvelle Lune, Domaine André Rohrer (ca. $26, importation valise)
100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines. Unfiltered and unfined. No added sulphur. 13.5% ABV.
Intriguing, involving nose of camphor, red berries and cherry taking on notes of game stew. Rich though medium-bodied, packed with ripe, almost juicy fruit. Velvety tannins and sleek acidity provide welcome structure. Nicely sustained finish. There was some discussion as to whether the bottle was a little corked; the consensus was no, it just needed time to sort itself out. (Buy again? Sure.)

Alsace 2015, Pinot Gris, Hors Piste, Domaine André Rohrer (ca. $25, importation valise)
100% Pinot Gris from organically farmed vines. Vinified like a red wine, with extended skin maceration. As Pinot Gris grape skins are dark pink in colour, so is the wine. Matured in neutral barrels. 14% ABV.
Intriguing nose of rose hip, peppermint, “nutmeg” and eventually honey. Lightweight yet possessed of a slightly unctuous texture. A tasty mouthful of spicy, strawberry-overtoned fruit, structured by lacy tannins, buoyed by acidity and underlain with minerals. The alcohol is well-nigh invisible. A savoury, refreshing, very drinkable wine quite unlike any other. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG June 22nd tasting: flight 5 of 7

Written by carswell

August 5, 2017 at 13:57