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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

Wein wine

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Vinealis was the featured agency at the Mo’ Wine Group’s early September tasting, which was led by the agency’s founder and head honcho, André Papineau. Despite the fact that I’ve known André for longer than about anyone else in the Quebec wine importing business (we first met when he was a sommelier at Montreal’s Laloux restaurant), this was his first visit to the group. I suspect it won’t be his last. We began with a wine from the outskirts of Vienna.

Wein 2016, Riesling, Wieninger ($28.15, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from biodynamically farmed vines rooted in loess and limestone. The grapes are manually harvested and macerated on the skins for five hours. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the fine lees. Residual sugar 1.2 g/l. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.

Beautiful nose: apple, peach, chalky minerals, white flowers, crushed leaves and, per another taster, “passion fruit.” Pure, dry and grippy (due not to tannins, of course, but rather to the bracing acidity and high mineral content), filled with ripe yet austere fruit. Impressive dimensionality for a wine at this price point, including a long, stony finish. (Buy again? Done!)

WMG September 14th tasting: flight 1 of 9

Written by carswell

October 24, 2017 at 12:27

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 Catalan 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

Salon VIP 2014: Weingut Wieninger

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Abutting Vienna (the city centre is clearly visible from some of the vineyards), Weingut Wieninger comprises 45 hectares on both sides of the Danube. On the outskirts of the city proper, between the houses and the forest (the Vienna Woods of story and song), are the Nussberg (also spelled Nußberg) vineyards, southerly exposed and gently sloping, where the soil consists of weathered, shell-rich limestone (25 to 65%), loam, clay and sand over solid limestone and where the breezes and temperature modifying effects of the river create near-ideal growing conditions. On the other bank are the Bisamberg vineyards, where the soil is light sandy loess over solid limestone.

The affable Fritz Wieninger was at the Vinealis stand, pouring five of his currently available wines. As a group they seemed more immediately accessible and food-friendly than some of their compatriots, less stern and austere and less demanding of cellar time – well-made wines you’d be happy to drink while sitting in the estate’s wine tavern (Heuriger) or digging into dinner at home.

Chardonnay Classic 2013, Weingut Wieninger ($26.65, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Chardonnay from 15- to 30-year-old biodynamically farmed vines, nearly all of which are in the Bisamberg vineyards. Manually harvested and sorted. Gently destemmed. Macerated for about three hours, then pressed pneumatically. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks (85%) and large neutral oak barrels (15%) for alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation was prevented in the tanks and allowed in the barrels; occasional lees-stirring took place in the tanks and barrels. After five months, the wines were blended and bottled. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Lemon with just a hint of yellow fruit. On the nose and in the mouth shows a steely, Riesling-like quality. Clean, crisp, minerally and dry. The farthest thing from blowsy, a fresh and tonic take on Chardonnay. (Buy again? At $22, it’d be killer. At $26.65, sure.)

Riesling 2013, Wiener Berge, Weingut Wieninger ($26.35, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Riesling from several converting-to-biodynamic Bisamberg vineyards (hail wiped out the usual Nussberg crop). Manually harvested. Manually and machine sorted. A short maceration was followed by pressing. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the lees for a few months, then blended and bottled. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Clean and fresh. Bracing acidity lights up the lemon-lime and minerals. If you look for it, you can find a hint of residual sugar but the alcohol is nowhere apparent. Finishes dry and stony. Very drinkable. (Buy again? At $22, it’d be killer. At $26.35, sure.)

Grüner Veltliner 2013, Wiener Berge, Weingut Wieninger ($26.35, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% Grüner Veltliner from biodynamically farmed vines, most of which are in the Bisamberg vineyards (a small proportion are in the Nussberg vineyards). Manually harvested. Mechanically sorted. A short maceration was followed by pressing. The must was clarified and transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation at low temperatures. Matured on the lees for a few months, then blended and bottled. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Grass, white pepper, quartz and a hint of lime. Shows some citrus on the palate but is more about minerals and crisp acidity. Ends clean and fresh. A classic, easy-drinking GV. (Buy again? Sure, tho’ another four bucks will get you the all singing, all dancing Nussberg.)

Grüner Veltliner 2013, Nussberg, Weingut Wieninger ($30.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
100% Grüner Veltliner from vines in the Nussberg vineyards. Manually harvested and sorted. The grapes were lightly crushed, left to macerate on the skins a few hours and then pressed. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation at low temperatures. Matured on the lees for a month or two longer than the Wiener Berge cuvée, then blended and bottled. 14% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Everything found in the Wiener Berge GV and then some. Still primary but already complex and dimensional. Powerful and intense but, unlike some high-end GVs, remarkably balanced and alluring in its youth. A wine it’d be fun to buy a case of and track the evolution over the next six years. (Buy again? Yes.)

Gemischter Satz 2012, Nussberg, Alte RebenWeingut Wieninger ($44.50, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Similar to what Deitz does in Alsace, this is a field blend of nine grape varieties – Weissburgunder, Neuburger, Welschriesling, Grüner Veltliner, Sylvaner, Zierfandler, Rotgipfler, Traminer and Riesling – from biodynamically farmed 50-year-old vines co-planted in Nussberg’s Ulm vineyard. Manually harvested and sorted. After three hours’ maceration, the grapes were pneumatically pressed. The must was transferred to stainless steel tanks for low-temperature fermentation and maturation on the fine lees. Bottled nearly one year after harvest. 14.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vinealis.
Fragrant, complex nose: wisps of medicinal honey, flowers, citrus, yellow fruit and a subtle minerality. In the mouth, it’s hefty (but not heavy), layered, broad and dry. A stream of acidity keeps everything vibrant. A hint of bitterness colours the long finish. Not the dog’s breakfast I was fearing. On the contrary, an appealing, complex wine with a certain precision and tension. (Buy again? Yes.)

Next stop: Rézin.

Written by carswell

November 6, 2014 at 16:53