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Posts Tagged ‘Rosé wine

L’Aietta trio

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In 2001, Francesco Mulinari, then a 17-year-old high school student, decided to make wine from some abandoned Sangiovese vines growing on a 2.5-hectare plot of land that his parents had acquired as a picnicking spot and natural playground for their children. Located just outside the wall surrounding Montalcino, the spot, known as L’Aietta, had been the site of an army encampment during the 1555 siege of the city. When applying for a production permit, he – well, actually his mother, as he was underage – learned that the parcel lay within the Brunello di Montalcino appellation. His first vintage, the 2001 and officially a Brunello, consisted of 720 bottles.

In 2004, Mulinari replaced the old vines with bush vines, as the hard rock would have made installing posts difficult. The land is so steep – the tiny parcel is divided into 18 terraces – that all work is done by hand. In 2002, he acquired another hectare of Sangiovese vines in nearby Castelnuovo dell’Abate, eventually replacing them with bush vines too. He more recently took over a 2.5-hecatre plot in Monecucco, from whose grapes he makes a Chianti-style blend (Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino) and a raisinated sweet white (Malvasia di Candia, Vermentino and Zibibbo). He works this last vineyard with a horse.

Farming is rigorously organic (certified in 2013); harvesting is manual; wine-making is non-interventionist. The winery, the smallest in Montalcino, has very little technology and only tanks and barrels. All farming and wine-making is done by Mulinari by himself. Current production is around 7,000 bottles a year.

Vino Spumante 2013, Brut, Metodo Classico, L’Aietta ($55.25, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Sangiovese Grosso from organically farmed vines averaging 15 years old and located in the Castelnuovo dell’Abate vineyard. The grapes are harvested based on their acidity, not their maturation, and before their colour is fully developed (green harvest fruit, in other words). Macerated and fermented (with indigenous yeasts) for 30 days in stainless steel tanks. The still wine is matured for one year in large Slavonian oak barrels. Secondary fermentation and one year’s maturation take place in the bottle. Unfiltered and unfined. 11.5% ABV. Around 700 bottles made. Quebec agent: Vadim Fonta.

Pale pink. Initially closed nose with notes of cheese, modelling clay, bread dough and eventually red berries. Light effervescence. Smooth despite the bright acidity. More savoury than fruity. The mineral underlay lasts well into the long, saline finish with its peekaboo berry notes. Elegant, tasty, unusual and rare, though is that enough to justify the champagne-rivaling price? (Buy again? If feeling flush.)

Rosso di Montalcino 2015, L’Aietta ($37.75, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Sangiovese Grosso from organically farmed vines averaging 15 years old and located in the Castelnuovo dell’Abate vineyard. The grapes are macerated and fermented (with indigenous yeasts) in stainless steel tanks for 30 days. Matured one year in large Slavonian oak barrels and one year in the bottle. Unfiltered and unfined. 2,600 bottles made. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vadim Fonta.
Classic nose of cherry, tobacco, herbs and graphite. Velvety smooth on the palate. The ripe fruit is illuminated by soft-glow acidity, shaded by minerals. Stealth tannins turn more assertive on the spicy finish. Will probably be even better in a year or two. Lovely though one of those wines that shows better at the dining table than at a tasting. (Buy again? Yes.)

Brunello di Montalcino 2012, L’Aietta ($71.25, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Sangiovese Grosso from organically farmed vines averaging 15 years old and located in the L’Aietta vineyard. The grapes are macerated and fermented (with indigenous yeasts) in stainless steel tanks for 21 days. Matured two years in large Slavonian oak barrels and one year in the bottle. Unfiltered and unfined. 2,200 bottles made. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Vadim Fonta.
Complex, evolving nose of red and black berries, smoke, graphite, tobacco, leather, oak, spice and maybe mint. Fuller, rounder, deeper and longer than the Rosso. Satin-textured. The beautifully pure ripe fruit is structured by round, firm tannins and fluent acidity. Dark minerals, nose-echoing tertiary flavours and Asian spice overtones add complexity and interest. Very long. A noble wine that’s delicious now but still a youngster. Probably a stunner in five to 10 years. (Buy again? Yes.)

MWG October 13th tasting: flight 6 of 9

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Written by carswell

November 30, 2017 at 13:51

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

Written by carswell

October 12, 2017 at 13:15

Château Landra, take two

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Ventoux 2016, Pur Jus Rosé, Château Landra ($25.86, private import, 12 bottles/case)
Cinsault (70%) and Grenache (30%) from organically farmed vines averaging 15 years old; the blend sometimes includes Syrah but not, it appears, in 2016. Manually harvested. Direct pressed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts at low-temperatures and matured in stainless steel tanks. Lightly filtered. Unfined. No added sulphur. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: WINO.

Watermelon pink. Hard-to-pin-down and initially subdued nose of quartz, “hibiscus,” “pink grapefruit or blood orange,” “Swedish berries” and strawberry. On the palate it’s rich (“really meaty” per one taster) yet fluid, a mouthful of, yes, juicy fruit and crunchy minerals buoyed by smooth acidity. The complex set of savoury flavours, including what I pegged as yeast but another called “a cured meat nuttiness,” lasts well into the finish. Likeable. (Buy again? Sure.)

MWG July 13th tasting: flight 5 of 9

Written by carswell

August 28, 2017 at 14:20

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

Rosé de beauté

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Corse Calvi 2016, Rosé, Pumonte, Domaine d’Alzipratu ($31.75, 12829182)
100% Sciacarello from vines planted on the high granitic slopes of the Pumonte lieu-dit on the Île de Beauté. No pesticides or herbicides are used. Manually harvested. Half the wine is made using the saignée method and the other half is direct-pressed. Fermented with selected indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Lightly filtered before bottling. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Pink grapefruit, sun-baked rock, faint dried herbs and a whiff of vodka-marinated cherries, becoming more effusive as its breathes, gaining floral and spice notes. Slightly oily – or maybe honeyed – in the mouth. The subtle, elegant fruit (strawberry, peach, grapefruit) is set against a backdrop of quartzy minerals. Dry but not bone-dry, with acidity that keeps things fresh but doesn’t draw attention to itself. Turns aromatic at the back of the palate. A stream of bitterness and astringency surfaces on the long finish, while umami, cherry and seashells linger. Impressive. Not an aperitif wine: a rosé gastronomique if ever there were one. Revisited the next day, the tail end of the bottle tasted flat and alcoholic, so maybe not a keeper. (Buy again? Yes, especially as I missed out on the Fiumeseccu.)

Written by carswell

August 11, 2017 at 11:42

Posted in Tasting notes

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It’s a white! It’s a red! It’s Brutal!!!

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Brutal!!! 2015, Partida Creus (ca. €10-15/$15-20 in Barcelona, importation valise)
Apparently, the wine is sin denominación, demoninationless. In any case, it’s a blend of several Catalonian grape varieties (probably Vinyater, Subirat Parent, Xarel·lo, Cartoixa Vermell and Blanc de Sumoll) from biodynamically farmed vines planted in clayey-calareous soil. Manually harvested. The varieties are vinified separately and blended before bottling. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured seven months in stainless steel tanks. Unfiltered, unfined. No added sulphur. 11% ABV.

Cloudy pink to the eye. Spicy/funky nose of dough, distant sweet berries, “pink peppercorns” and an evanescing whiff of volatile acidity that one taster describes as “latex gloves.” A bit spritzy in the mouth. Lightly fruity and quite dry but tangy like “kambucha” and “hibiscus.” The tannins are light while the acidity is electric. So refreshing and drinkable and such energy! Like nothing else I’ve tasted yet also like an instant old friend. Wow. (Buy again? By the case.)

On the Raw Wine website, Partida Creus describes themselves thus: “We are winegrowers and winemakers in the Massis de Bonastre terroir of Catalunya, working with our own production of grapes and with rescued ancient vineyards with interesting native variety of grape. All the vines are organic farming, our organic and natural wines express the terroir with its variety typicity. We try to put in the bottles our deep respect and love for wild and Mediterranean landscape, nothing else. A tribute to nature and biodiversity, our work is a way of life making wine. Certified organic by CCPAE Consell catalá de la Producció Agraria Ecologica.”

Partida Creus is represented in Quebec by Vinealis. A Brutal inquiry to the agency’s prime mover, André Papineau, elicited the following reply: “Oui je bosse avec Partida Creus depuis presque 4 ans maintenant. Quantités confidentielles au départ et de bons volumes maintenant. Par contre le Brutal a longtemps été seulement disponible pour le Bar Brutal; il est un peu cher, se vendrait @ ± 36 $ la bouteille le carton de 6, alors j’hésite un peu. Par contre j’aurai beaucoup de différents vins en août : VN blanco et tinto, BN blanco, TN Tinto, et les grandes cuvées de Vinyater, Cartoixa Vermell, Xarel-lo. Toutes les bulles sont réservées pour le groupe Joe Beef…” [Yes, I’ve been working with Partida Creus for nearly four years. Tiny quantities at the start and good volumes now. However, the Brutal!!! was available only at the Bar Brutal [in Barcelona] for the longest time. It’s kind of expensive, going for around $36 a bottle, case of six, so I’m hesitant. On the other hand, I’ll have a bunch of other Partida Creus wines in August: VN blanco and rojo, BN (white), TN (red) and the top wines, made from Vinyater, Cartoixa Vermell and Xarel-lo. All the sparklers are reserved for the Joe Beef group…”]

MWG June 22nd tasting: flight 4 of 7

Rosés de Provence

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Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2016, Château Vignelaure ($24.50, 12374149)
Grenache (40%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Syrah (30%) from organically farmed vines averaging 25 years old and rooted in pebbly clayey-calcareous soil. Manually harvested. Saignée method after two hours’ maceration for the Grenache; direct pressing for the Cab and Syrah. The must is chilled to 10°C and allowed to settle for 48 hours. Fermented at low temperature (17°C) and matured in stainless steel tanks except for 7% of the Cab, which is aged in a 400-litre new oak barrel. Maturation on the lees with regular stirrings lasts three months. Reducing sugar: <1.2 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: LBV International.
Rubber bands, straw, yogurt, background minerals and a hint of chile; look for it and you’ll find some stone fruit and red berries. Clean, pure and very dry on the palate, with low-key fruit, good acidity, a long bitter-edged, pink grapefruity finish and a lingering pastry note. Not particularly complex – and not quite the equal of the impressive 2014 – but tasty enough. (Buy again? Sure.)

Bandol 2016, Rosé, Domaine du Gros ’Noré ($32.25, 12931021)
Mourvèdre (50%), Cinsault (35%) and Grenache (15%) from vines averaging 30 years old. Farming is organic though not certified as such. Manually harvested. The Cinsault and Grenache are macerated 24 hours at 10°C, then pressed. The juice is combined with direct-pressed Mouvèdre juice and fermented. Reducing sugar: 2.1 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Saltine crackers, “far-away Creamsicle” and lipstick give way to garrigue and minerals. “Fresh and dewy” in the mouth. Veils more than layers of fruit, sleek acidity, mineral depth and a a long, faintly bitter finish. “A bit more moreish than the Vignelaure,” notes one taster. Drinkable indeed. Will almost certainly gain complexity and presence with a year or two in the cellar. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes de Provence 2015, Rosé, Cuvée Clarendon, Domaine Gavoty ($27.65, 11231867)
This saignée method rosé is a blend of Grenache (70%), Cinsault (15%) and Syrah (15%) from vines rooted in clay and limestone. The grapes, which were vinified separately, were macerated in a vat for three to six hours. The free-run juice was drawn off and combined with the first-pressing juice, chilled and racked into stainless steel tanks for temperature-controlled (17°C) fermentation, which lasted two to four weeks. The various batches were sampled and selected in January 2016 and blended, with the best lots set aside for the Clarendon. Reducing sugar: 2.7 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Vini-Vins.
Closed, minerally nose that, with coaxing, gives up notes of flan and red berries. Sweeter and flabbier than its flightmates, though improving with time in the glass. Fruitier too, bringing nectarine and strawberry to mind. A stronger acidic and mineral backbone would be welcome. Decent finish. Maybe time in the cellar or a carafe will help? At this point, not up to earlier vintages. (Buy again? Maybe.)

MWG June 22nd tasting: flight 3 of 7

Written by carswell

July 29, 2017 at 13:07