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Posts Tagged ‘No added sulphur

Ward & associés tasting (9/9)

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Champagne grand cru 2013, Rosé, Shaman, Marguet ($68.75, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Chardonnay (71%) and Pinot Noir (29%) from organically and biodynamically farmed vines. The soil is worked with horses and the winery is gravity fed. The wine’s pink colour comes from the addition of five to eight percent still red wine. Bottled in July 2014. Disgorged in March 2016. Dosage: 2.4 g/l. No added sulphur. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.

marguet-shaman-rose-13

Dusty rose with salmon-pink glints, little bead or foam. Engaging nose of cherry, red berries and brioche. So fruity and dry, so elegant. The fine effervescence dances on the palate. The pure fruit – wild strawberries? – fades to chalky minerals. The wine’s depth and complexity are appreciable. Finishes clean and long. Great immediate appeal but by no means a floozy. A joy to drink. (Buy again? Yes.)

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

Written by carswell

February 24, 2017 at 10:12

Ward & associés tasting (6/9)

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Franken 2015, Kleine Wanderlust, 2Naturkinder ($28.32, private import, 6 bottles/case)
80% Regent and 20% Dornfelder from estate-owned, organically farmed vines around 15 and 30 years old respectively. The former was fermented on the skins for two weeks; the latter was crushed by foot and given semi-carbonic maceration for a week. Underwent malolactic fermentation. Matured on the lees in old oak. No added anything, including sulphur dioxide. Unfiltered and unfined. Bottled in April 2016. 3,000 bottles made. 10.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.

kleine-wanderlust

Effusive nose: floral, slate, pink peppercorn, “raspberry-cherry hybrid.” Some rose shows up in the mouth along with a bit of grip on the finish. The fruit is dark and black curranty, the acidity energetic but well integrated. A touch of velours in no way interferes with the wine’s impressive fluidity. Certifiably chuggable. And check out that alcohol level! (Buy again? Yup.)

MWG February 2, 2017, tasting: flight 6 of 9

Ward & associés tasting (5/9)

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Burgunland 2015, Gemischter Satz, Alexander Koppitsch ($40.98, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The estate is located in Neusiedl am See, a village and district on the north shore of Lake Neusidel, southeast of Vienna. As implied by the Gemischter Satz moniker (though I don’t believe the wine qualifies for the Weiner Gemischter Satz appellation), this is a field blend of co-planted white varieties, including Grüner Veltliner, Brauner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, Zimttraube, Ochsenauge, Isabellatraube, Neuburger, Traminer, Muskat and Sauvignon Blanc. Planted in 1934, the vines are estate-owned and biodynamically farmed. Vinified as an orange wine, spending 14 days on the skins. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured in old barriques. Unfiltered and unfined, with no added sulphur. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.
Slightly hazy bronzy rose-gold in the glass. Savoury, spicy and not particularly fruity nose with notes of preserved lemon and browning apple as well as a whiff of volatile acidity. In the mouth, it’s medium weight, fluently acidic, faintly tannic and somewhat inscrutable, like “mineral water” or “weak tea” along with lemon, a suggestion of stone fruit and minerals. Actually quite complex, if subtly so, and long. Smoothed out and unfurled nicely after three hours. Will be interesting to see what gives in three or four years. (Buy again? A bottle gladly.)

koppitsch-gemiscter-satzkoppitsch-rot-no-7

Burgunland 2015, Rot No. 7, Alexander Koppitsch ($23.19, private import, 6 bottles/case)
55% Zweigelt, 20% Blaufränkisch, 20% St. Laurent and 5% Syrah from estate-owned, biodyanmically farmed vines. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and matured in large oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Lightly filtered. Unfined. A tiny amount of sulphur dioxide is added at bottling. Screwcapped. 12% ABV. Manually harvested and partially destemmed. Fermented, with indigenous yeasts and occasional punch-downs, in large (2000-litre) oak and acacia barrels for 20 days without temperature control sitting outside in the yard. Matured in the same large barrels for 1-2 years. Lightly filtered and sulphured at bottling. 2,000 bottles made. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.
Outgoing nose of “clove,” “nutmeg,” candied raspberry, “frankincense incense” and a bit of poop. Medium-bodied and satin-textured. The bright supple fruit has a certain sweetness, though the wine is definitely dry, and an umami quality prompt descriptors like “soy sauce.” Sinewy tannins and a dusting of minerals only add to the interest. The finish is long but more felt than tasted. Nothing profound but eminently drinkable and something of a bargain. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG February 2, 2017, tasting: flight 5 of 9

Ward & associés tasting (3/9)

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Steirerland Landwein, “Trauben, Liebe und Zeit”, Weiss No. 7, Strohmeier ($50.73, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Trauben, Liebe und Zeit means “grapes, love and time” and is the name given to the estate’s line of natural wines. Mainly Pinot Blanc with some Chardonnay from the 2014 and 2015 vintages. The grapes are estate-grown, organically farmed and manually harvested.  Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured 11 months in neutral 500-litre barrels. No added anything, including sulphur. Unfiltered and unfined. 11.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.

strohmeier-weiss-no-7

Cloudy light green-gold in the glass. Nose of white pepper, lemon, “sour orange,” lees and more besides. In the mouth, it’s soft textured and a bit spritzy. A wallflower at first though chewing reveals all kinds of complexity – including pear, herbs and chalk – and some depth. Comments from the peanut gallery: “like a gueuze,” “tastes like scrapes” (which, as I learned, are light metal shavings), “stealth acidity.” The long finish is faintly bitter and sour. Unique, fascinating and delicious. I was ready to lay down my money until I saw the price… (Buy again? Only if feeling flush, alas.)

MWG February 2, 2017, tasting: flight 3 of 9

Written by carswell

February 14, 2017 at 12:08

Ward & associés tasting (2/9)

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Located near Bockenheim in the Palatinate, the 20-something Brand brothers took over the estate from their father in 2004. Farming practices, rigorously sustainable since 1994, were certified organic in 2015. The wine-making is non-interventionist.

Pfalz 2015, Riesling trocken, Vom Berg, Weingut Brand ($23.53, private import, 12 bottles/case)
The estate’s entry-level line. 100% Riesling from estate-owned organically farmed vines. Fermented in stainless steel tanks. Screwcapped. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.

brand-riesling-vom-berg-2015

Initially sulphurous nose (not uncommon with screwcapped Rieslings) gives way to slate, lemon-lime and green apple overtoned with honeysuckle. Dry and fruity with nipping acidity, tons of crushed minerals and the faintest hint of caramel. Long, savoury and alive. Like Germany meets Alsace in a glass. Great QPR. Deservedly one of the hits of the tasting. (Buy again? Multiples.)

Pfalz 2015, Weissburgunder trocken, Weingut Brand ($26.37, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Inspired by a similar drawing on the cornerstone of a local church, the front label’s raised hand indicates this is part of the Schwurhand (oath-taking) line of wines made using grapes from the estate’s top vineyards 100% Weissburgunder (aka Pinot Blanc) from organically farmed vines. Manually harvested. Gently pressed and briefly macerated. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. No added anything. Unfiltered and unfined. Screwcapped. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Ward & associés.

brand-weissburgunder-2015

Intriguing nose of chalk, gooseberry/quince, green tea and coriander seed. Equally intriguing in the mouth with a texture that has people grapsing for descriptors like “soft oily velour.” Lactic, bitter and faintly fruity (“like bad plum”) threads intertwine with dusty minerals and soft acidity. A distant mustardy note chimes on the long finish. Complex, savoury and satisfying. If you think Pinot Blanc makes only facile wines, think again. (Buy again? Yes.)

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

Morgon, Morgon, not Morgon

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Morgon 2014, Côte de Py, Jean Foillard ($41.09, private import, 12 b/c)
100% Gamay from organically farmed vines between ten and 90 years old and grown in manganese-rich schist and granite. Manually harvested. Whole-cluster fermentation lasts three to four weeks. Matured six to nine moths in used oak barrels. No additives of any kind during the wine-making. Unfiltered and unfined. A minimal amount of sulphur dioxide may be added at bottling. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Aromatic, very Gamay nose: slate, “dried leaves” (per another taster), floral notes and a whiff of earthy funkiness along with the expected red berries. Medium-bodied and satin-textured. A touch of sweet red chile savouries the lush fruit. The frame of light tannins, the illuminating acidity and a vein of dark minerals run from start through the nicely sustained finish. Accessible if somewhat monolithic at this stage, it showed best at the end of the tasting, four hours after it was opened and double-decanted. A couple of years or more in the cellar will do a world of good. (Buy again? Done!)

Morgon 2014, Cuvée Corcelette, Jean Foillard ($38.75, 12201643)
100% Gamay from organically farmed vines averaging 80 years old and grown in sandstone soil. Manually harvested. Whole-cluster fermentation lasts three to four weeks. Matured six to nine moths in used oak barrels and a single 30-hl foudre. No additives of any kind during the wine-making. Unfiltered and unfined. A minimal amount of sulphur dioxide may be added at bottling. Reducing sugar: less than 1.2 g/l. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Nose of red berries, faint spice, horse/leather: similar to the Côte de Py though a shade less complex, outgoing and airy. So fresh, pure, savoury and delicious. Ripe fruit, good structure and length, with the minerals most prominent on the finish. Perhaps a little less dense, more rustic and more open than its sibling though also sure to benefit from being left unopened for a year or three. Is there a better Beaujolais at the SAQ? (Buy again? Yes.)

After we’d finished with the Foillards, one of tasters generously offered to open a new arrival he had purchased on his way to the tasting room. I wondered whether its coming after two top Morgons might show it to disadvantage but I needn’t have worried.

Vin de France 2015, Le P’tit Poquelin, Maison B. Perraud ($22.70, 12517998)
100% Gamay from biodynamically farmed 40-year-old vines. Manually harvested. The whole clusters undergo carbonic maceration for 12 days. No additives, including sulphur. Unfiltered and unfined. Reducing sugar: 1.3 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Raisonnance.
Appealing nose: floral, slate, berries, sap. A bit of spritz on the palate (carafe the wine for hour an hour if that sort of thing bothers you). On the lighter side of medium-bodied. The sweet fruit has a sour edge and is lightly structured by fine, supple tannins and glowing acidity. Sappy, lip-smacking finish. An easy-drinker with real presence. What it lacks in dimensionality and class compared with the Foillards, it makes up for in immediate appeal. The most successful of the three vintages of this wine that I’ve tasted. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG October 27, 2016, tasting: flight 5 of 7

Thinking globally, drinking locally

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The MWG’s early March tasting was led by the irrepressible Steve Beauséjour, who daylights as a sales rep of Rézin. To say he outdid himself would be an understatement.

We got things rolling with a stupendous dry white served double-blind from a labelless bottle.

The bouquet is a kaleidoscope of seashells, citrus, oats, limestone, bread, a hint of nuts and more. On the palate, it’s a mouth-watering mix of saline minerals, restrained fruit and trenchant acidity, dazzlingly pure and so dry, especially on the long finish. As bracing and engaging a white as I’ve encountered in a coon’s age.

I happened to be sitting next to two French expats, both of them Loire lovers, and all three of us had the same initial reaction: a faintly oxidized Chenin Blanc from a top Loire producer. As we spent more time with the wine and listened to Steve, doubts began to creep in. “Un chablis peut-être,” hazarded one of the français. Other tasters guessed the Jura, Italy, Austria and South Africa. All were shot down.

“Maybe it’s from Laval,” quipped a taster, throwing up his hands. (Île Jésus’s improbable Château Taillefer-Lafon has become something of a meme for the group.)

“You’re getting warm,” said Steve to the astonishment of everyone.

The wine? A special bottling of Québec 2014, Chardonnay, Les Rosiers, Les Pervenches, the regular bottling of which retailed for $25 during the few weeks it was available. This 100% Chardonnay is made from fruit from organically and biodynamically farmed vines grown near Farnham. The grapes are manually harvested and sorted, vinified naturally (indigenous yeasts, no additives, minimal intervention) and matured in casks. The 24 bottles of this special bottling were filled with wine drawn directly from the cask after one year’s maturation. In contrast to the regular cuvée, the wine is unfined, unfiltered and unsulphured.

If I’ve tasted a better Canadian Chardonnay, I don’t recall it. Truly world-class.

MWG March 12th tasting: flight 1 of 7