Posts Tagged ‘Savoie’
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
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
Domaine des Ardoisières is one of the up-and-comingest estates in the Savoie if not all of France. Its steep, terraced, mountain-side vineyards, formerly forest land above the village of Villard, were created in the late 1990s.
IGP Vin des Allobroges 2012, Argile blanc, Domaine des Ardoisières ($38.20, private import, 6 bottles/case, NLA)
Organically and biodynamically farmed Jacquère (40%), Chardonnay (40%) and Mondeuse Blanche (20%). The varieties are vinified separately. After manual harvesting and sorting, the whole clusters are lightly pressed. The musts are chilled, clarified by settling and transferred to third- to fifth-fill barrels for alcoholic fermentation using indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation is not systematic. The wine is matured nine months (two-thirds in tanks, one-third in thrid- to fifth-fill barrels), then racked, blended, lightly filtered and bottled. Annual production: 10,000-15,000 bottles. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
Fresh and bracing nose of white minerals (think limestone, talc), spice, pear and apple. Direct and to the point on the palate. Ethereal despite its weight of extract. A mouth-filling matrix of quartz and flint lightly infused with lemony fruit and taut with acidity. The long, clean, faintly saline finish draws you back for another sip. A delight. (Buy again? Yes.)
IGP Vin des Allobroges 2012, Argile rouge, Domaine des Ardoisières ($47.35, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Organically and biodynamically farmed Gamay (80%) and Persan (20%). The varieties are vinified separately. After manual harvesting and sorting, the whole clusters are placed in open vats for alcoholic fermentation using indigenous yeasts. After two to three weeks’ maceration, the grapes are pressed and the must is transferred to vats for malolactic fermentation. The wine is then matured nine months in three- to five-year-old barrels, racked, blended, lightly filtered and bottled. Annual production: around 5,000 bottles. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
An explosion of red berries and dark minerals with hints of peppery spice and flowers (violet?). Light- to medium-bodied. Lithe, fresh and pure, pure, pure. Lifted by lip-smacking acidity and structured by light, velvety tannins, the tart and juicy fruit lasts well into the long finish, where it’s joined by undertones of dark earth, ferrous minerals and game. A truly memorable alpine red with a definite wild side. Pricey but I kept tasting it on my mind’s palate for days after the tasting – hard to put a price on that. (Buy again? Yes.)
MWG July 16th tasting: flight 2 of 6.
Jean-Yves Péron has been making wines since 2004 using fruit from very old vines, some of them pre-phylloxera, on two hectares of terraced, high-altitude vineyards in Chevaline, near Albertville. After studying oenology in Bordeaux, he trained with natural winemakers Thierry Allemand and Jean-Louis Grippat in the Rhône valley and Bruno Schueller in Alsace. Organic farming, indigenous yeasts, non-interventionist winemaking, avoidance of filtering and fining and the use of little or no sulphur make his natural wines of the first rank.
Péron’s top red, Côté Pelée, is a 100% Mondeuse Noire from ancient vines growing in schist and slate soils. One week’s carbonic maceration is followed by ten days’ to three weeks’ fermentation, depending on the vintage, and one year’s barrel aging. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Glou. When the three wines were last available in Quebec (c. 2012), they retailed for about $45 a bottle.
Vin de pays d’Allobrogie 2006, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (private import, NLA)
Engaging bouquet of spice chest, slate, earthy mushroom and dried cherry. In the mouth, it’s a satin-textured welterweight with light tannins, light but tart acidity and a dark, mineral underlay. Long, juicy, pure. At its peak? Hard to say. But also hard to resist at this point in its life. (Buy again? Yes.)
Vin de pays d’Allobrogie 2007, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (private import, NLA)
Intense tomato and leather/wood/smoke, then developing an umami-rich aroma not unlike beef chop suey. The fruit – plum mostly – seems a little stewed. Smooth and round. In fact, it’s slightly heavier and considerably less structured and acidic than its older and younger siblings, though plenty of acidity and structure remain. Sustained finish. Delicious but flatter, the least interesting of the three. (Buy again? Not in preference to the other two, especially the 2008.)
Vin de pays d’Allobrogie 2008, Côte Pelée, Jean-Yves Péron (private import, NLA)
Deep, dark, minerally nose with whiffs of leather, almond and cherry. Medium-bodied, closed and tight. A mouthful of rich sweet-and-sour fruit, grounding slate, shining acidity and fine, sleek tannins. The satin-and-velvet texture lasts well into the long finish. A complete wine, a thoroughbred with several glorious years ahead of it. (Buy again? Yes, please.)
IGP Vin des Allobroges 2012, Schiste, Domaine des Ardoisières ($64.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The steep, terraced, mountain-side vineyards, formerly forest land above the village of Villard, were created in the late 1990s. From the start, all farming has been organic and biodynamic. This is a blend of four of the estate’s five white varieties: Jacquère (40%), Roussane (30%), Malvoisie (aka Pinot Gris, 20%) and Mondeuse Blanche (10%). The varieties are vinified separately. After manual harvesting, the grapes are lightly pressed. The musts are chilled, clarified by settling and transferred to third- to fifth-fill barrels for alcoholic fermentation using indigenous yeasts. Malolactic fermentation is not systematic. The wine is matured for 12 months in barrels, then racked, blended, lightly filtered and bottled. Production: around 7,000 bottles. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV/Insolite.
One of the most crystalline wines I’ve encountered. Fresh, dry, ethereal and above all pure. Intertwining scents and flavours of wax, white fruit, minerals and flowers. Exquisite tension between acidity and extract. Long saline, white spice-haunted finish. An elegantly balanced wine with every quality. Breathtaking now though the estate claims it can age for up to a decade. A knockout with Reblochon cheese. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)
Valle d’Aosta 2011, Torrette, Les Crêtes ($21.30, 11951987)
Petit Rouge (70%) with Mayolet, Tinturier and Cornalin making up the remaining 30%; the estate is converting to organic farming. Manually harvested. Fermented at 28ºC in stainless steel tanks for eight days. Matured in stainless steel barrels for eight months. 13.5% ABV.
Cherry, old wood, obsidian dust, faint flowers (violets?) and a whiff of cheese. Medium-bodied but dense with ripe fruit that’s lifted by grippy acidity and firmed by soft tannins. Earth and animal notes lend the finish a rustic edge. Easy to like and a favourite of several around the table. (Buy again? Sure.)
Vin de Savoie 2011, Arbin, Mondeuse, Domaine Louis Magnin ($27.50, 10783272)
100% Mondeuse from vines averaging 35 years old and grown in various parcels in Arbin commune. Manually harvested. Fully destemmed. Fermented eight days in stainless steel tanks with once-daily pump-overs. Matured 12 months in stainelss steel tanks on the fine lees. 12.5% ABV.
Initial tomato-meat sauce eventually turns more to red berries, cassis, stones and pepper. Smooth and supple on the palate with fleshy fruit, bright acidity and round tannins (and not a lot of ’em). Cherry pits on the finish. Not much depth but considerable juicy appeal. (Buy again? While it’s a little pricey, sure.)
Vin de Savoie 2008, Chignin Bergeron, Domaine Louis Magnin ($28.95, 11901154)
100% Roussanne (aka Bergeron) from several parcels in Montmélian commune. Manually harvested. Gentle, slow whole-cluster pressing. The juice is allowed to clarify by settling at room temperature. Undergoes complete alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Matured on the fine lees in stainless steel tanks. 13.5% ABV.
Acacia, chalk, pear, faint smoke. The combo of restraint and zingy acidity give it an airy texture. The pure fruit has wispy overtones of nuts and honey, the finish is long, bitter-edged and minerally. Fresh, balanced and beautiful, a draught of mountain air. (Buy again? Yes.)
Roussette de Savoie 2009, Domaine Louis Magnin ($40.50, 11901146)
100% Altesse (aka Roussette) from two parcels located in Arbin commune, one with vines 35 years old, the other with vines around 10 years old. Manually harvested. Gentle, slow whole-cluster pressing. The juice is allowed to clarify by settling at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. Undergoes complete alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. Matured for 11 months in 500-litre oak barrels and, on the fine lees, in stainless steel tanks. Only 3,000 bottles produced each year. 14% ABV.
Maple-walnut doughnut, yellow fruit and a hint of something floral. A real mouthful. Delineated and tense almost to the point of unyielding. Thankfully not bone dry. Broad, deep, long and dense – but not heavy – with pure fruit, crunchy minerals, trenchant acidity and a pithy bitterness. The tail end of the bottle had relaxed and rounded the next day. A wine to contend with and, if you’re like me, surrender to. (Buy again? Yes.)