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Posts Tagged ‘Vinealis

The best moment of the day is now

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Vermouth, Dry Red, Fontalia ($19.75, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A red vermouth from the Priorat region, south of Barcelona. Made by Cellers De Bellmunt Del Priorat. Flavoured with 38 botanicals and matured in oak barrels for eight months. 15% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.

Such a complex nose: dried and fresh fruit, spice (cinnamon, clove, pepper), citrus peel, incense, a hint of caramel and more. The flavours echo the nose. Surprisingly fleet and, while sweet, far from cloying due partly to the bright acidity. The spice-laden finish has an appealing bitter edge. Clearly appropriate for cocktails but good enough to sip on its own with a single ice cube and a twist of orange or lime (the label says tangerine or grapefruit). Infinitely preferable to Cinzano and not that much more expensive. (Buy again? For sure.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 9 of 9

Written by carswell

November 6, 2017 at 12:40

Toro solo

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Toro 2015, 4mil cepas, Cuatro Mil Cepas ($24.95, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Founded in 2008 by 11 friends, the estate now comprises 7.5 hectares in three plots in the Toro DO. It also makes wine in the Sierra de Salamanca PDO. I’ve not succeeded in finding any information about this bottling, which is 100% Tinta de Toro (aka Tempranillo) and comes from sustainably farmed vines. It is probably fermented in stainless steel tanks and matured in barrels (likely a mix of American and Hungarian oak). 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.

Black and red fruit, old wood, graphite, sandalwood, Chambord, leafmould. Full-bodied. The flavour is a mix of ripe but not jammy fruit and a layer of spicy but unaggressive oak. Firm yet pliable tannins and sleek acidity confer a velour-like texture. Balanced, fluid, long. Young but delicious and delivering high QPR. If in the mood for an affordable, oak-inflected Toro, this will do just fine. (Buy again? Not really my style but if it’s yours, go for it.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 8 of 9

Written by carswell

November 5, 2017 at 09:33

Three sure bets

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Côtes du Rhône VillagesValréas 2010, Clos Bellane ($26.25, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah from biodynamically and organically farmed vines more than a quarter century old and rooted in clay and limestone. At 410 metres elevation, the vineyard is the highest and one of the coolest in the southern Rhône. Manually harvested. Partially destemmed. Fermented with indigenous yeasts and “Burgundy-style” punch-downs in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. Pneumatically pressed. Matured in stainless steel tanks (70%) and used barrels (30%). To minimize handling by machines, the winery is gravity-fed. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Our bottle was opened 24 hours before we got around to it. Wafting nose of plum, raspberry, spice, oyster bed, red gummy bears and garrigue. In the mouth, it’s full-bodied but restrained. What’s more, the alcohol is not at all noticeable. Flavourwise, it’s remarkably clean, pure and well balanced, with rich fruit, freshening acidity, mostly resolved though still bitey tannins and as much breadth as depth. Black pepper and herbes de Provence overtone the long finish. The estate’s elegant rosé is among the best values at the SAQ, so it’s not surprising the CDRV (the 2015 version of which is also available at the monopoly) is similarly tasty and affordable. (Buy again? Sure.)

Corbières 2014, Prioundo, Les Clos Perdus ($34.60, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Grenache (80%) and Cinsault (20%) from biodynamically and organically farmed, 32-year-old vines rooted in limestone and clay. Twenty percent of the grapes are left in whole clusters, the rest destemmed but uncrushed. Given three days’ maceration before fermentation in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. Basket pressed after 21 days on the skins. Matured on the fine lees in stainless steel tanks for nine months. Unfined and lightly filtered. Sulphur use is minimal. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Lovely, subtle, savoury nose: blackberries and red fruit, minerals, spice and a bit o’ barnyard. Pure, open and sweet on the attack yet dry and savoury. Finely structured with supple tannins and smooth acidity. Full-bodied, round, fresh – what the French call digeste, which is kind of surprising for a 14.5% wine. (Buy again? Sure.)

Vacqueyras 2014, Fruit Sauvage, Clos de Caveau ($65.00/1500 ml, private import, 3 bottles/case)
A 60-40 blend of Grenache and Syrah from 10- to 45-year-old organically farmed vines at the foot of the Dentelles de Montmirail. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured 12 months, half in tronconic tanks, half in concrete tanks 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Elegant nose of plum and red berries, black tea and background minerals and garrigue. As for the palate, the word smooth appears three times in my notes, though suave might be the better descriptor. Full-bodied and lush yet fresh and energetic. Satiny texture. The ripe, juicy fruit is structured by round tannins and sleek acidity. Minerals rumble softly underneath. Finishes long and clean and with not a hint of heat. Unexpectedly easy-going, especially for a Vacqueyras. (Buy again? Sure.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 7 of 9

Written by carswell

November 3, 2017 at 12:42


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Côte Roannaise 2015, Gamay Tentation, Vincent Giraudon ($25.20, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Gamay (technically Gamay Saint Romain, a local variant with small oval berries that have a high ratio of skins to juice) from organically farmed vines rooted in granitic soil. Manually harvested. Carbonic maceration and fermentation take place in concrete tanks. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.

Fun nose: candied raspberry, slate, dried peppermint, clay mud, jalapeño. Light- to medium-bodied, with juicy ripe fruit, a mineral underlay, featherweight tannins, luminous acidity and an appealing earthy streak. Good length. Very, very drinkable. Every time I start wondering whether I’ve reached peak Gamay, a wine like this comes along. (Buy again? Um, yes.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 6 of 9

Written by carswell

November 2, 2017 at 12:16

A serious vin plaisir

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TN 2015, Tinto Natural, Partida Creus ($27.45, private import, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of biodynamically farmed Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Garrut (aka Mourvèdre). Very little technical information to be found on this but André “Vinealis” Papineau describes Partida Creus as one of the most natural winemakers around, so manual harvesting, fermentation with indigenous yeasts, non-interventionist wine-making and no filtering, fining or added sulphur. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.

Red berries, slate, peppery spice and some background funk. Medium-bodied and quite dry, though, as André notes, there’s some “sucrosité” on the attack as well as a hint of carbon dioxide. In contrast to other red quaffers from, say, the Loire valley, there’s a solar quality to the fruit. Fresh acidity adds buoyancy while the fine, tight tannins turn a little raspy on the long finish. Built around a core of red cherry but as savoury as it is fruity: a serious vin plaisir as it were. Quite popular with the assembled masses. (Buy again? Yep.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 5 of 9

Written by carswell

November 1, 2017 at 12:38

White Grenache power

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Vin de France 2016, Louis d’Or, Le Clos de Caveau ($29.15, private import, 6 bottles/case)
The 15-hectare estate – at 300 metres in altitude, the highest in the Vacqueyras AOC – has been certified organic since 1989. This new cuvée, the estate’s only white and not even listed on its website, is a blend of Grenache Blanc and Clairette from organically farmed young vines. Manually harvested. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Appealing nose of wax, quartz, dust and white spice. Rich and dense, even oily on the palate. Very dry. The pure, ripe, honeyed fruit is carried less by moderate acidity than the powerful-verging-on-hot alcohol, which may also explain the tingling sensation that lingers along with an almost buttery aftertaste. Impressive? Yes. Refreshing? No. Definitely not an aperitif wine. (Buy again? Unlikely, though fans of the style may well feel differently.)

Priorat 2015, 1270 A Vuit, Hidalgo Albert ($31.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Unfortunately, no photograph of the handsome bottle was taken. 100% Grenache Blanc. Manually harvested. Given four to six hours’ maceration on the skins. Fermentation and five months’ maturation take place in French oak. Lightly filtered and sulphured before bottling. Residual sugar: 0.35 g/l. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Enigmatic nose marked by “schist” with hints of petrol and honey apple. Full-bodied, rich and, alcohol be damned, not hot. There’s a beautiful grain to the texture and plenty of acidity. The fruit is ripe-sweet yet the wine is fundamentally – albeit not bone – dry. Winey yet fresh. As another taster summed up, “haunting.” (Buy again? Yes.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 4 of 9

Written by carswell

October 30, 2017 at 13:05

Textbook and tasty

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Collio 2016, Friulano, Korsič ($29.25, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Though the Korsič family has lived in the village of Gaisbana in San Floriano del Collio, near the Slovenian border, for nearly two centuries, the winery proper was founded in 1976. Run by Rodofo Korsič, it has 10 hecatres of land and seven vineyards. The grapes for this 100% Friuliano (aka Sauvignonasse, Tocai Friulano and Sauvignon Vert) come from biodynamically farmed vines averaging 30 years old. Manually harvested. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. The strikingly shaped bottle is designed to use less glass and smaller corks than usual. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.

Pretty, fresh, perfumy nose of pear nectar and dusty minerals. Clean and bracing in the mouth, somehow both ephemeral and intense. The ripe, round fruit is carried on a gurgling stream of minerals and acidity. Long and, despite initial impressions, very dry. A faint bitterness and herby/resiny note linger appetizingly. A textbook – and tasty! – example of the whites from this region. (Buy again? Gladly.)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 3 of 9

Written by carswell

October 27, 2017 at 13:55