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Posts Tagged ‘Sud-ouest

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

MWG February 21st tasting (4/8): Two out-there Chenins

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Saumur 2011, Château Yvonne ($24.55, 10689665)
100% organically farmed Chenin Blanc. Fermented with native yeasts, matured in oak barrels, unfiltered and unfined. 13.5% ABV.
Complex if somewhat inscrutable nose: quince, spice, minerals, chalk… Rich and slightly oxidized with honey overtones. The winey texture is lightened by underlying acidity, which also balances out the welcome hint of residual sugar. The kaleidoscopic array of flavours includes spiced pear, passion fruit and pineapple. Long, burned mineral finish. Approachable now though no harm will come from a couple more years in the cellar. (Buy again? Of course.)

VDP de l’Aveyron 2011, La Selve, Nicolas Carmarans ($32, Glou, NLA)
The former owner of a Paris wine bar, Nicolas Carmarans followed his roots back to the Aveyron region, on the Lot River in the Massif central, upstream from Cahors, to make wine in 2007. A natural approach is favoured. This 100% Chenin Blanc from 30-year-old vines is fermented (with native yeasts) in vats and matured in casks. Undergoes malolactic fermentation. If sulphur is added, it is in miniscule amounts and only at bottling. 12% ABV.
“Sharp, pear, steel,” said one taster of the intriguing nose, which also has a sour edge. “Whisky barrel,” said another of the palate, though if so it took a back seat to the oxidized – some said “rotting” – apple. There’s lots of rocky minerals and coursing acidity too. Long, dry finish. Serious and, yes, a little weird. I, of course, loved it. Was shocked to see it clocked it at 12%; I’d been expecting 14% or 15%, not because it was hot or alcoholic but because of the impression of power it gave. It all adds up to an authentically rustic Chenin unlike any other I’ve encountered. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

Written by carswell

March 6, 2013 at 11:42

Terracotta Côt

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Cahors 2010, Un Jour sur Terre, Le Clos d’un Jour ($23.70, 10783475)
100% organically farmed Côt (aka Malbec) from an abandoned vineyard resuscitated by the owners in 2000. Manually harvested, destemmed and eventually crushed. An initial two- to three-day extraction phase with daily punch-downs is followed by fermentation and a hot maceration phase, for a total of one month in stainless steel vats. The wine is then pressed and transferred into 140-litre unlined terracotta jars where it spends 18 months, the idea being to mature and micro-oxygenate the wine as in a cask but without introducing wood aromas or flavours. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. 13.5% ABV.
Inky and opaque in the glass. The rich nose is more raisiny than fruity and shows notes of terracotta and spice. In the mouth, it’s a foursquare, fulsome wine that’s dense with dark fruit: smooth and velvety on the surface with a strong undercurrent of acidity, tight round tannins and a long, chewy finish. Formidable, even a little impenetrable at present, it will likely uncoil and gain complexity with a few years in the cellar.

Written by carswell

February 25, 2013 at 15:56

Cassoulet wines

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It’s a bold claim but one I’m prepared to make: the best wines for cassoulet – and duck confit, for that matter – are traditionally styled reds from southwest France. The wines’ austere fruit doesn’t overwhelm the dish’s mellow flavours while their solid tannins and fine-edged acidity cut its inherent richness. For its part, cassoulet seems to soften the wines’ astringency and bring out their fruity sweetness. Add to that the compatibility of flavours – not surprising since the dish and the wines grew up speaking the same language – and you have a potential marriage made in heaven.

To test the claim, an authentic and rather glorious cassoulet de Toulouse (pork, duck confit, the eponymous sausage and beans purchased last summer in Tarbes) was recently paired with four such reds:

  • Irouleguy 2009, Etxegaraya, Domaine Etxegaraya ($24.00, La QV), a blend of 60% old-vine Tannat and 40% Cabernet Franc, a dry, quite structured, medium-bodied wine whose red and black fruit was shot through with a leafy/stemmy greenness and buttressed by fine but astringent tannins.
  • Irouleguy 2009, Cuvée Lehengoa, Domaine Etxegaraya ($25.60, La QV), which, despite being a blend of 80% Tannat (from 100 to 150-year-old vines) and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, was rounder, softer, fruitier and a touch sweeter than the Etxegaraya – to the point that I mistakenly informed the group that it was a blend of Tannat and Merlot.
  • Cahors 2008, La Fage, Cosse Maisonneuve ($23.45, 10783491), 100% Malbec that spends 14 months in second vintage barrels. Somewhat young and tight but full of savoury red fruit, ripe tannins and bright acid.
  • Cahors 2006, Les Laquets, Cosse Maisonneuve ($35.75, 10328587), 100% Malbec from 40-year-old and older vines, aged for 18–22 months in new and second vintage barrels. A deeper and more complete wine, finely structured and long, with layers of flavour (black cherry, licorice, balsam, iron), a velvety texture and that “fluid savour” that is the hallmark of the best Cahors.

In the event, all the wines worked well and, on its own, any one of them would have made a satisfactory match. That said, the consensus around the table was nearly universal: from a pairing standpoint, the best of the bunch was the Etxegaraya, whose austerity, astringency and flavours – especially that herbaceousness – meshed beautifully with the dish.

Earlier tests support this finding, with standouts being a Madiran from Château Aydie, an organic Irouleguy from Domaine Illaria, the Fronton cuvée Don Quichotte from Domaine Le Roc and a Canon-Fronsac from Château Grand-Renouil. Further testing is planned, though likely not for another year.

Written by carswell

February 21, 2012 at 21:29

There is no white Madiran…

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…because white wines from the AOC are called Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl. What’s more, if they don’t have sec appended to the AOC name, they are moelleux or liquoreux.

Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl 2009, Château Aydie ($18.70/500 ml, 00857193)

100% Petit Manseng. The partially dehydrated grapes were manually harvested in December. Spent 12 months in oak and acacia barrels.

If apricot were a citrus fruit, it would taste like this: honeyed apricot on the attack, quickly followed by burnt sugar flavours and a lemon-like acidity. Yellow apples and minerals on the finish. Rich texture. Not sugary: sweeter than off-dry – though not by much – and seemingly less sweet as it progresses through the mouth, an impression strengthened by the high acid and the sour-bitter/medicinal note that creeps in on the finish. The estate’s suggested food pairings are right on target: smoked fish, fish in sauce, blue cheeses, foie gras or minimally sweetened fruit-based desserts.

Written by carswell

February 20, 2012 at 11:19

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MWG January 12th tasting: report

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In reaction to the excesses of the holiday season, the Mo’ Wine Group’s January tasting traditionally focuses on affordable wines. This year was no exception. All bottles but one were purchased at the SAQ, and most are still available.

THE WHITES

Vinho Verde 2009, Loureiro, Quinta do Ameal ($18.30, 11459992)
100% organically farmed Loureiro.  Floral and grapey in a Muscat kind of way; chalky, too. Light and fruity in the mouth, the slight residual sugar balanced by high acidity. Faint tingle, though whether from carbon dioxide or acid I can’t say. Minerally finish. (Buy again? Probably not, when the more compelling Deu La Deu is available at about the same price.)

Rueda 2009, Nosis, Buil&Giné ($18.95, 10860928)
100% Verdejo. Muted nose of dried lemon peel, wax and gooseberry. Fairly dense and oily though with enough acid to keep it from feeling heavy. Lemony, quartzy flavours and some residual sugar up front, dries and turns minerally as it progresses through the mouth. Lingers long. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Bourgogne Vézelay 2010, La Châtelaine, Domaine la Cadette ($22.05, 11094621)
100% organically farmed Chardonnay. 80% spends time in vats, 20% in barrels. Lemon, green apple and ashes on the nose. Green apple and oats on the palate. Bright acid. Seems disjointed and turns unpleasantly sour and lactic on the mid-palate. In view of the wine’s previous vintages and the embrace of the 2010 by the city’s more clued-in restaurateurs and wine advisors (it was reportedly the third biggest seller during the holidays at the Jean Talon Market SAQ), ours was probably an off bottle. (Buy again? To see what gives, yes.)

Alto Adige 2010, Kerner, Abbazia di Novacella ($22.95, 11451974)
100% Kerner. Fermented using natural yeasts. Sees only stainless steel. Floral, green grape, spice, quartz dust. Weighty in the mouth. Initial residual sugar. Fruity attack fades by mid-palate. High acid. A bit short and alcoholic (13.9% ABV). (Buy again? Maybe.)

Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh sec 2008, Château Montus ($23.55, 11017625)
100% Petit Courbu from 15-year-old vines. Honeyed pear. Dense, rich, quite dry. Strong acid. Lemon zest on very long finish. Tasty. (Buy again? Yes.)

Saumur 2010, Château Yvonne ($25.55, 10689665)
100% organically farmed Chenin Blanc. Fermented with native yeasts, matured in new barrels, unfiltered and unfined. Quince, quinine, chestnut honey. Medium-bodied and very acidic. Complex but giving the impression that there’s more in store. Long mineral-packed finish. Not as memorably out-there as some earlier vintages but still a fine bottle of Chenin. (Buy again? Yes.)

THE REDS

Burgenland Qualitätswein 2009, Zweigelt, Zantho ($15.90, 10790384)
100% Blauer Zweigelt.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks; matured 95% in stainless steel tanks, 5% in used barriques. Farty, candied red fruit, graphite, dried herbs. Rustic, a bit jammy and one-noteish, despite some coffee and slate undertones. Drinkable but not delivering much excitement. (Buy again? Probably not.)

IGP Pays de l’Hérault 2010, Exorde, Clos Mathélisse ($21.30, La QV)
100% organically farmed Cinsault. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Bottled unfiltered and unfined with very little added sulphur. Nearly the entire (very small) production is exported to Switzerland and Canada. A first bottle seemed out of character: Red fruit, herbal, hint of rubber. Light rustic tannins. Bright acid but moody, a bit red-vermouthy, not recognizably the same wine as from earlier bottles. A second bottle showed much better: a gush of bright fruit and raspy tannins, with earthy herbal overtones and a pomegranate-like tang – the proverbial “wine that puts a smile on your face.” Surprisingly, three or four hours after being uncorked, the tail-end of the first bottle had righted itself and was drinking beautifully. Such are the vagaries of natural wines… (Buy again? For sure.)

Menetou-Salon 2010, Domaine Philippe Gilbert ($26.50, 11154988)
100% biodynamically farmed Pinot Noir from 20-year-old vines. Natural winemaking. Bottled unfiltered with minimal sulphur. Exuberant red berries: ça pinote. Light but richening as it breathes. Ripe fruit, bright acid, fine, supple tannins. Good balance and length. A rectilinear but very pure expression of the grape variety. (Buy again? Yes.)

Toro 2009, Crianza, Bodega Viña Bajoz ($13.35, 10856195)
100% Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo). Crianzas must be aged for 24 months, with no less than 6 months barrel-aging. Plum, stinky feet, spice, a whiff of alcohol. Rich, ripe, fluid. Raspberry, cocoa, a hint of “high” meat. Some structure. A little alcohol and tannic astringency on the dried herby finish. Good, especially at the price, though not a wine for contemplation. (Buy again? Sure.)

Nemea 2008, Agiorgitiko, Driopi, Domaine Tselepos ($19.75, 10701311)
100% Agiorgitiko from 40-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in stainless steel vats with selected yeasts. Matured in 40% new oak barrels. Menthol, plum, tobacco. Fresh and juicy in the mouth, with leather and spice deepening the sweet fruit flavours. Good acid, plump tannins and a slatey finish. The ripe, round fruit speaks of a southern wine. (Buy again? Yes, especially when it’s grilling season again.)

Douro 2008, Quinta de la Rosa ($20.30, 00928473)
Traditional port varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz from 20- to 30-year-old vines. Manually harvested. Fermented in small stainless steel vats, then matured in French oak casks for 12 months before being minimally filtered and bottled. Volatile, spicy nose. Rich, vaporous, alcoholic (14.2% ABV). A mass of spicy/herby fruit. Good acid and plump tannins. Long, flowing finish. Intense but also a little plodding. (Buy again? Not sure.)

IGT Maremma Toscana 2009, Sinarra, La Fattoria di Magliano ($21.65, 11191447)
95% Sangiovese, 5% Petit Verdot. Manually harvested. Sees no oak. Bottled unfiltered. Typical Tuscan nose: leather, dust, dried cherry. Rich yet supple and fluid. The drying tannins are also true to the Tuscan type. Balanced, structured, long.  Modern but quite enjoyable. (Buy again? Yes.)

Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence 2009, Château Revelette ($18.45, 10259737)
Organically farmed Syrah (55%), Cabernet Sauvignon (34%) and Grenache (11%) from 25-year-old vines. The constituent grape varieties are vinified separately. A fraction of the Grenache and Cabernet are aged in fifth-year barrels. Leather upfront. Spice, black fruit in background. Rich, dense and strucutred but not heavy. Lots of acid. Tarry tannins. Long, savoury, posh. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Fronton 2008, Cuvée Don Quichotte, Domaine Le Roc ($18.80, 10675327)
Négrette (60%) and Syrah (40%). Varieties are vinified separately. The grapes are crushed,  as the winemakers feel this enhances the bouquet and softens the tannins. Matured in vats and barrels. Bottled unfiltered and unfined. Wild red and black fruit with floral and animale notes. Dense fruit but fluid and bright. Supple tannins. Hints of licorice and dark chocolate on the longish finish. Perhaps showing less personality than in earlier vintages but still delivering good QPR. (Buy again? Yes.)

Montsant 2007, Vall del Calas, Celler de Capçanes ($22.75, 10858297)
65% Merlot, 30% Garnacha, 5% Tempranillo. All three varieties are vinified separately. Fermented with native yeasts. Spends 13 months with new, one- and two-year French oak barrels. Bottled unfined and lightly filtered.  Blackberry and black cherry, pepper and gravel. A silky texture and open structure. Rich, ripe fruit along with some wood and chocolate. Fairly long, inky/minerally finish. Seemed quite young. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Chez La QV

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Newly ensconced in an office cum salon de dégustation on Beaubien just east of St-Laurent, La QV hosted a tasting last week at which it and three other up-and-coming agencies presented a number of their wines, all available on a private-import basis. I’ve linked to the websites of the agencies that have them; for the other agencies’ contact info, see the Raspipav site. The prices are for individuals (restaurants pay slightly less) and include sales taxes.

LA QV

Mâcon-Villages 2007, Domaine Rijckaert ($23.50, 12 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay. Chalk and quartz, oats and a lactic note. Rich and smooth with a long, acid-tingly finish. Not particularly deep but flavourful and pure. Good QPR.

Côtes du Rhône 2009, Le Petit Piolas, Domaine la Fourmente ($17.50, 12 bottles/case)
75% Grenache, 25% Syrah, organically farmed. Winey/grapey nose: red fruit with hints of garrigue and milk chocolate. Medium-bodied, supple. Pure fruit and spice flavours, soft tannins. A CDR in the Beaujolais mould. Great everyday wine; if I owned a restaurant, this would be on its wine list.

Côteaux d’Aix en Provence 2006, Les Béatines, Domaine des Béates ($21, 12 bottles/case)
Grenache Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carignan, organically farmed. Lovely nose redolent of plum, spice and kirsch, gaining inky, mineral and tea notes with time in the glass. Suave and savoury, a core of sweet fruit wrapped in fine tannins. Shows some heat on the finish (14%).

Coteaux du Languedoc 2008, La Vista, Domaine Ribiera ($26.50, 6 bottles/case)
2/3 Grenache, 1/3 Carignan, organically farmed, indigenous yeasts. Dark fruit with notes of leather, violet and animale. Medium-bodied. Pure fuit. Round tannins. Long, bitter-edged finish. A bit austere but very appealing. The Carignan seems dominant, the wine coming across a little like a lighter version of Rouge Gorge’s eponymous cuvée. My red of the evening.

MON CAVISTE, CÖTÉ VIGNES

VDP des Côteaux de Peyrac 2008, Tersande blanc, Domaine des Homs ($20.98, 12 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay, organically farmed. Quartz and spice with hints of lemon and dried herbs. Unctuous but kept from heaviness by strong acid. Clean. Flavour tending toward preserved lemon but avoiding tropical fruit. Long, dry finish.

VDP des Côteaux de Payrac 2008, Tersande rosé, Domaine des Homs ($20.53, 12 bottles/case)
A saignée method rosé made from organically farmed Grenache. Appealing nose of spice and strawberry. Fruitiness kept in check by acid and dryness. Minerally finish. Goes down easily. Lovely in its simple, unpretentious way.

Bourgogne 2007, Domaine Paul Pernot (around $30, 6 bottles/case)
100% Pinot Noir. Sees only old wood. Light, pinoty nose: red berries with forest floor and spice notes and the faintest hint of brown sugar. Light and fluid on the palate. Structured not much more than a Morgon or Moulin-à-Vent. Bright acid and fair length. Very dry. Not a lot there but what there is is very nice indeed.

Côtes du Marmandais 2006, Terra, Clos Cavenac ($23.33, 12 bottles/case)
30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 13% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Fer Servadou and 7% Abouriou, biodynamically farmed. Complex nose with a leafy freshness: pure fruit, leather, freshly turned sod, hints of tar, cedar and animal. Medium-bodied. Round, smooth attack. Fruity mid-palate with mineral/earth undertones and mild tannins. Long, astringent finish. Bordeauxish but not a carbon copy. Enjoyable.

Mon Caviste also poured Clos Cavenac‘s 2007 Arradim ($22.58, 12 bottles/case), a blend of 70% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot and 10% Malbec. After considerable discussion, we decided the bottle was ever so slightly corked. Unfortunate because you could tell that the wine, with its soft tannins, velvety texture and pure fruit, had the makings of a easy-drinking winner.

Costières de Nîmes 2007, Cuvée Perrières, Domaine Marc Kreydenweiss ($28.29, 12 bottles/case)
Carignan (c. 40%), Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre, biodynamically farmed. Fresh, perfumy nose of plum, spice and fresh herbs. Sleek and elegant, structured as much by acid as by tannins. Kaleidoscopic flavour profile, with the Carignan’s earthiness and dry tannins coming out on the austere finish. A winner.

SUBLIME VINS & SPIRITUEUX

Touraine rosé 2009, Chant du Bois, Alain et Philippe Sallé ($19.95, 6 or 12 bottles/case)
100% Grolleau, farmed without chemicals or fertilizers. Natural yeasts. Peach, minerals and spice. Dry, minerally attack. Bright acid and light cherry fruit. Licorice-scented finish. Gains earthy notes with aeration. Tasty.

Touraine 2008, Sauvignon, Alain et Philippe Sallé ($20.50, 6 or 12 bottles/case)
100% Sauvignon Blanc, farmed without chemicals or fertilizers. Natural yeasts. Lime, gooseberry and minerals. Light, minerally with a fruity undercurrent and a rainwatery finish. Good though I prefer my SBs sharper and more focused.

Montello e Colli Asolani 2007, Chardonnay, Villa di Maser ($24.95, 6 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay, farmed “eco-compatibly.” Lemon with a smoky/woody note. Light yet powerful, dry yet showing a sweet fruitiness. Flavours hard to pin down. Fruit fast-fades on the finish while bitterness lingers. Unusual, intriguing and quite different from a bottle tasted a couple of days later (tasting note to come).

Burgenland 2007, Impérial Weiss, Schloss Halbturn ($46.25, 6 bottles/case)
55% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% cask-aged Chardonnay. Green apple, boxwood, oats and a woody/oaky note. Rich and deep with acidity keeping it all fluid and balanced. Chalk and grapefruit pith linger though the long finish. Impressive, elegant and, yes, even a little imperious. My white of the evening.

LES SÉLECTIONS SOLY-LEBLANC

Côtes de Castillon rosé 2009, Château de Chainchon ($17.50, 12 bottles/case)
100% Cabernet Franc. Outgoing nose of strawberry and straw with earthy notes. Very dry and savoury. Fruity attack but mostly about minerals and tannins. Streaky acid. 13.5% alcohol and you can feel it. Unusual and interesting. More a food wine than a summer sipper.

Beaujolais-Villages 2009, Domaine de Sermezy ($19, 12 bottles/case)
Sappy raspberry and cherry, a bit simple. Supple, fruity and pure enough but not showing much depth, follow-through or personality. Vin de soif.

Saint-Joseph 2006, Jean-Luc Chaléat, Cave Saint-Désirat ($32.20, 6 bottles/case)
100% Syrah, made in lined concrete vats. Classic Syrah nose: black raspberry, smoke, tar, violets and animale with a bit of barnyard too. Pure fruit, fine tannins, good balance, silky texture, fair length. Not exactly thrilling but honest and certainly drinkable.

Saint-Joseph 2007, Septentrio, Cave Saint-Désirat ($37.45, 6 bottles/case)
100% Syrah given time in new oak casks. Classic Syrah nose again but more international, with chocolate, vanilla and smoke aromas added to the mix. Denser, more structured and more polished than the JLC, but with the oak now dominating. Good acid yet is there sufficient fruit to outlast the oak and tannins? Would be interesting to revisit in a year or two.

Written by carswell

October 24, 2010 at 14:58