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Posts Tagged ‘Sud-ouest

True to type and under $20

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Madiran 2011, Odé d’Aydie, Château Aydie/Vignobles Laplace ($17.95, 10675298)
100% Tannat. Manually harvested. The various plots are vinified separately. A pre-fermentation cold soak (10 to 12°C) in wooden tanks lasts three to five days. Maceration and alcoholic fermentation at 25°C with repeated pump-overs last 30 days. Maturated 12 to 15 months in oak tuns and wooden tanks. Reducing sugar: 2.7 g/l. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
Appealing nose: blackberry, drying leaves, fresh mushrooms, cedary wood and a hint of vanilla. Dry and, despite the high alcohol, medium-bodied. A mouthful of tannins, saved from overwhelmingness by their sleek ripeness, the cloaking fruit and a ripple of creamy oak. Lingering mineral and wood flavours colour the fairly sustained finish. Approachable now but probably better in a year or two. Needs food (duck confit, cassoulet, grilled duck breast – you get the idea). Great to find such typicité – true-to-typeness, authenticity – for under $20; for an affordable introduction to Madiran wines, you’d be hard pressed to find better at the SAQ. (Buy again? Sure.)

Written by carswell

January 16, 2016 at 12:27

Three Triguedinas

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Cahors 2010, Clos Triguedina ($28.40, 00746412)
A blend of Malbec (80%), Merlot (15%) and Tannat (5%) from 30-year-old vines. The grapes are manually harvested and sorted. Maceration and fermentation with pump-overs last 15 to 18 days. Matured 18 months in Allier oak casks (one-third new). Reducing sugar: 2.4 g/l. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Sélections Fréchette.
Wafting nose of plum, blackberry, spice, cedar, turned earth, leafmould and, eventually, a floral note. In the mouth, it’s on the lighter side of full-bodied. The ripe fruit is structured by fine, silky tannins and bright acidity, overtoned with spice and a hint of game. Finishes long and savoury. Earthy yet refined, modern though not to a fault, above all delicious. (Buy again? Yes.)

Cahors 2009, Probus, Clos Triguedina ($38.75, 12450287)
100% Malbec from vines more than 50 years old (the estate’s oldest parcels). The various lots are vinified separately. The grapes are hand picked and sorted, then destemmed. Maceration and fermentation at 30-32°C last 20 to 25 days. Matured more than 18 months in new Allier oak casks. All the lots are tasted and only the best are blended to make the wine. Reducing sugar: 3.1 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Sélections Fréchette.
Gorgeous, inexhaustible nose with all of the above and more, including an integrating dose of faintly smoky oak. Full-bodied and intensely flavoured yet fresh and beautifully balanced. Layered, structured, long and complete. Accessible now if still young and tight, this will improve with another five to ten years in the cellar. Probus is always a good wine but this 2009 is exceptional. If it were a Médoc, it would cost upwards of $100. (Buy again? Done!)

Cahors 2009, The New Black Wine, Clos Triguedina ($69.00, 10706293)
To explain the origin of this bottling’s name, I can do no better than quote the Cahors entry in Hugh Johnson’s Wine Companion: “The ancient town [of Cahors] on the River Lot […] is linked in the public mind with dramatic-sounding ‘black wine’. This was because so much of the wine made in Bordeaux was thin and travelled badly, and the merchants needed something to give strength and body to their exports. Their position at the commanding mouth of the Garonne enabled them to call the tune at Cahors, whose growers they encouraged to produce a thick, dark brew by boiling some of their wine, even fortifying it. This was the famous ‘black wine’, so celebrated, at least in myth, that Crimean winemakers produced a ‘Cahorski’ in tribute.” First produced in the mid-1990s, The New Black Wine is owner-winemaker Jean-Luc Baldès’ homage to the long-lost tradition. 100% Malbec from old vines. The grapes are hand picked and sorted, then laid on trays and gently heated overnight in a prune oven, slightly desiccating the fruit and concentrating the flavours. The wine is macerated and fermented in tanks and matured 18 months in new Allier oak casks. Reducing sugar: 2.4 g/l. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Sélections Fréchette.
While the other two wines are a deep magenta in colour, this is indeed much darker, purpler and opaque, though not black. Brooding nose of plum, prune, clean raw beef and a hint of virtual acidity. On the palate, it’s dense, rich and tightly wound, finely but intensely tanninc, possessed of fluent acidity and a velvety texture. The fruit is dark and dense but, somewhat to my surprise, not at all cooked or jammy. At this early point in its long life, it’s a bit monolithic though obviously deep, broad and long. Gets better and better as it breathes, indicating it will benefit greatly from extended cellaring (the winemaker recommends 20 to 30 years). (Buy again? Maybe, but I think I’d rather have two bottles of the splendid Probus instead.)

MWG November 12th tasting: flght 5 of 6

Written by carswell

January 8, 2016 at 13:36

Upfront Fronton

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Fronton 2012, Classic, Château Bouissel ($17.65, 10675888)
Négrette (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) and Côt (aka Malbec, 20%). Macerated (13 days), fermented and matured in temperature-controlled tanks. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Le Maître de Chai.
Reductive aromas quickly blow off leaving an appealing, multifaceted nose of crushed blackberry (fruit and leaves), flowers (honeysuckle and dried violet), shoe leather, red bell pepper and a gamy note. Medium-bodied verging on lean. The juicy, spicy fruit is ripe-sweet and acid-bright on entry but turns drier and gains a bitter edge as it flows across the palate and heads into a fair finish, where soft if rustic tannins make their lightly astringent presence felt and a faint tingly/burning/numbing sensation, like a blend of menthol and Szechuan peppercorns, lingers long. Far from deep but really quite companionable. Food – well, at least my food (duck confit and a warm lentil salad) – brings out the fruit and obliterates the nuances. But that’s OK: it’s still an enjoyable quaffer. A vin nature version of this would be amazing. (Buy again? Sure.)

Written by carswell

April 14, 2015 at 12:45

Party wine

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Côtes du Marmandais 2013, Le vin est une fête, Elian Da Ros ($20.65, 11793211)
A blend of organically farmed Abouriou (40%), Cabernet Franc (40%) and Merlot (20%). Manually harvested. The Merlot and Cabernet were destemmed, macerated for ten to 15 days and gently pressed. The Abouriou clusters were kept whole and vinified using semi-carbonic maceration. All fermentations are with indigenous yeasts. The wine was matured 12 months in old barrels. Unfined and lightly filtered before bottling in December 2014. Sulphur is added only on bottling. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Attractive nose with a pronounced lactic note: cassis, blackberry and a whiff of wildberry yogurt along with faint pencil shaving and red meat notes. Medium-bodied, supple and silky. Fruity yet dry. The fruit is ripe but tart, the tannins raspy but light. There’s plenty of follow-through, with black pepper and slate colouring the long finish. Maybe a little less acidic – and thus a shade less fresh and lively – than the excellent 2012 but still a joy to drink, especially lightly chilled. If Bordeaux made a Beaujolais cru, it might well taste like this. Food pairings for this food-friendly wine? Roast fowl, rabbit stew, grilled pork, portobello burgers, bavette aux échalottes and more. (Buy again? Yep.)

This showed up a couple of weeks ago and stocks are already dwindling. If you’re interested, act fast.

Written by carswell

April 9, 2015 at 09:23

MWG January 8th tasting: A pair of Sud-ouest whites

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As custom has it, the Mo’ Wine Group’s first tasting after the holidays focuses on inexpensive and affordable wines. This year we began with a couple of dry whites from southwest France.

IGP des Côtes de Gascogne 2012, Les Tours, Domaine La Hitaire ($10.20, 00567891)
About two-thirds Ugni Blanc and one-third Colombard with a dollop of Gros Manseng from half-century-old vines. Cold-macerated on the skins for six to eight hours. Low-temperature fermentation. The finished wine is stored in tanks at near-freezing temperatures and bottled year-round on an as-needed basis. Sees only stainless steel. Vegetarian-compatible. Screwcapped. 10.5% per the label, 11.5% per the SAQ. Quebec agent: Mosaïque.
Opens with a whiff of screwcap funk evocative of mesclun past its best before date. As that blows off, canned peach and rock aromas emerge and are eventually joined by Sauvignon Blanc-ish grass and gooseberry notes. In the mouth, the wine’s a middleweight but lacks substance (“a bit watery” one of the tasters noted). That said, it’s fresh and clean despite the hint of residual sugar, which effectively counterbalances the crisp acidity, adds some heft and tames the citrus-pithiness. Suffered from the comparison with a significantly more expensive wine; would probably have fared better on its own. (Buy again? Sure though not in preference to the similarly priced Robertson Chenin Blanc.)

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh 2010, Les Jardins de Bouscassé, Alain Brumont ($17.10, 11179392)
A blend of Petit Courbu and a little Petit Manseng from vines planted in various parcels and averaging 15 years old. After pressing, the must is fermented in tanks at between 16 and 18°C. Maturation on the lees with regular stirring lasts 10 to 12 months. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Mark Anthony Brands.
Perfumy, floral (orange blossom?) nose with faint fresh herb and brown sugar overtones. Smooth and fruity in the piehole. Fatter, deeper, broader and more layered than the Les Tours. Frisky acidity enlivens the satin-textured yellow fruit and minerals. Finishes clean, dry and on a faint aniseed note. Hides its alcohol well. (Buy again? Sure though I’d be tempted to chip in another $6 and buy the more accomplished Montus Parcherenc instead.)

(Flight: 1/8)

Written by carswell

January 21, 2015 at 10:30

Salon VIP 2014: Root day at Rézin (4/7)

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Jurançon sec 2011, La Virada, Camin Larredya ($43.00, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of equal parts of organically farmed Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng and Courbu Blanc grown in the La Virada vineyard. The grapes are manually harvested and whole cluster pressed. The must is transferred to barrels and fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the fine lees in foudres for 12 months. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Subdued, languorous nose of acacia blossom, candied white and yellow fruit, citrus oil and minerals. Weighty and dense, voluminous and structured. Despite the oily texture, rich extract and faint touch of rounding residual sugar, tense with acidity. Subtle white and yellow fruit and blossoms intertwine with threads of chalky minerals. Finishes long, soft and clean. An excellent wine with years of life ahead of it. (Buy again? Yes.)

A few bottles of the estate’s 2011 La Part Davant remain at the SAQ ($26.45, 12233434). To go by the La Virada, it’s worth checking out.

Written by carswell

November 13, 2014 at 10:46

MWG July 17th tasting: EGBB shoot-out

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EGBB = easy-going Bordeaux blend.

North Fork of Long Island 2010, First Crush Red, Bedell Cellars ($25.30, 11040180)
Merlot (76%) and Cabernet Franc (24%) from young vines. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Vinified and matured in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures.13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: ???.
Black cherry cordial, cassis and a hint of graphite and a candied note that led one taster to remark “sports card bubble gum.” In the mouth, it’s a smooth-textured middleweight that somehow also manages to be light-bodied. Juicy, bordering-on-overripe fruit, light dusty tannins, sufficient acidity. The noticeable residual sugar weighs on the palate and rules out refreshment. A wine for people who don’t care much for wine? (Buy again? Nope.)

Côtes du Marmandais 2012, Le vin est une fête, Elian Da Ros ($20.65, 11793211)
A blend of organically farmed Merlot (60%), Cabernet Franc (20%) and Abouriou (20%). Manually harvested. The Merlot and Cabernet are destemmed, macerated for ten to 15 days and gently pressed. The Abouriou clusters are kept whole and vinified using semi-carbonic maceration. All fermentations are with indigenous yeasts. The wine is matured 14 months in old barrels. Unfined and lightly filtered before bottling. Sulphur is added only on bottling. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Closed, initially funky nose showing lots of Bordeaux qualities – pencil shavings and cigar box, for example – but also exuberantly un-Bordeaux-like fruit along with some black pepper, red meat and a vegetal edge. The young, lightly raspy, appealingly rustic tannins notwithstanding, a fundamentally supple, silky-textured wine. The fruit – so pure and juicy – shines bright against a backdrop of dark minerals and lasts well into the tart finish. True to its name, this fresh and lively wine is a celebration of wine-making and wine-drinking. Drink slightly chilled. (Buy again? In multiples.)

Written by carswell

August 17, 2014 at 13:12