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Posts Tagged ‘Vini-Vins

Francs et graves

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Côtes de Bordeaux Francs 2014, Emilien, Château le Puy ($28.15, 00709469)
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carménère (typically 85%, 14% and 1% respectively) from biodynamically and organically farmed 50-year-old vines. The grapes are fully destemmed. Fermentation in open, temperature-controlled vats with indigenous yeasts and no chaptalization lasts two to four weeks. Matured 14 months in large foudres and 11 months in third- to fifth-fill oak casks. Bottled unfiltered with only a small dose of sulphur. Reducing sugar: 1.9 g/l. 12.5% ABV. A few 500 ml bottles of the 2012 can also be found ($20.75, 00896399). Quebec agent: A.O.C.
Intriguing nose that gets the aroma-namers going: plum, “edamame,” “nigella,” “pickled turnip juice.” Medium-bodied. The pure fruit and graphite underlay are nicely structured by fine, firm tannins and bright acidity. Finishes long and clean with faint notes of tobacco and spice. This perennial favourite is true to form in 2014: a savoury, refreshing, eminently drinkable wine that everybody always enjoys. The QPR is high on this one. (Buy again? Yep.)

Graves 2015, Clos 19 Bis/Vincent Quirac ($31.05, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Founded in the late 2000s, the tiny (1.5 hectare) estate makes a Sauternes and a red Graves. The latter is a blend of Merlot (around 50%), Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from organically farmed vines averaging 40 years old and rooted in gravelly soil over a clayey-calcareous base. Manually harvested. The varieties are vinified separately. The Merlot is cold-macerated before fermentation for a week, the Cabernets are directly fermented. Fermentation at low temperatures with indigenous yeasts, punch-downs and pour-overs (using buckets, not pumps) lasts 10 days. The wine is then left on it skins for another eight to 10 days. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vini-Vins.
Cherry, cassis, “cocoa powder and ashes” and a strong whiff of volatile acidity. Quite disjointed in the mouth, with a harsh verging on acrid note, a problem that airing and swirling didn’t resolve. Bears little resemblance to the fresh, clean, juicy-fruited, mineral-laden, roundly structured, medium-bodied wine enjoyed a few days earlier. Clearly defective and, as such, a disappointment. (Buy again? Based on the earlier bottle, yes.)

MWG June 22nd tasting: flight 6 of 7

Written by carswell

August 9, 2017 at 15:22

Three Arbois reds

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Arbois 2012, Poulsard de l’Ami Karl, Domaine de la Pinte ($24.25, 12616515)
100% biodynamically and organically farmed Poulsard from a single vineyard planted nearly 40 years ago. Manually harvested. Destemmed. Maceration and fermentation, with indigenous yeasts and daily pump-overs, take place in tanks. Matured in 50-hl oak barrels for eight or nine months. Lightly filtered before bottling. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: Raisonnance.
Fragrant nose of red berries, sweet spice, cedar and slate. Light- to medium-bodied, silky textured, wonderfully fresh, fluid and alive. The pale cherry-cranberry fruit is bright with acidity and deepened by a savoury, woodsy substrate. Chewing reveals fine, tight tannins, showing the wine to be more structured than first appears. Long, spicy finish. Bordering on magical – even New World fans and self-proclaimed Poulsard haters gave it a thumbs-up. Serve lightly chilled. (Buy again? Done and done again!)

Arbois 2011, Trousseau Grevillière, Domaine Daniel Dugois ($24.55, 12210419)
100% Trousseau from vines planted in the one-hectare Grevillière lieu-dit in the 1950s. Manually harvested. 100% destemmed. The lightly crushed grapes are cold-macerated then fermented with indigenous yeasts for around 18 days. Matured in large oak barrels for 18 months. Lightly filtered before bottling. Reducing sugar: 1.7 g/l. 13% ABV. Quebec agent: Symbiose.
Jammy red berries and crushed leaves. Round, extracted and mouth-filling. The fruit, which tastes stewed, is structured only a little by the streaming acidity and soft tannins. Decent length but heavy for a Jura red, lacking detail and devoid of excitement. Some drinkers report it needs a few years in the cellar or many hours in a carafe to start strutting its stuff; maybe that explains it. (Buy again? A bottle to age and see what gives?)

Arbois 2013, Poulsard, Jacques Puffeney ($31.50, private import, 12 bottles/case)
100% organically farmed Poulsard from several different parcels in Montigny and Arbois. Manually harvested. Fermented in vats with indigenous yeasts for 15 to 20 days, then racked into neutral foudres for malolactic fermentation. Matured in barrels for around two years. Unfiltered and unfined. 12.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Vini-Vins.
Closed nose, somewhat slatey and offering up an unusual aroma one taster described as “cold poutine.” Slowly develops minty raspberry and cedar shake notes. Similarly closed and unexpressive in the mouth. Light- to medium-bodied. The fruit is lean, the acidity brisk, the tannins light and tight. Minerals and spice come out on the long finish. Classic natural Poulsard – hazy, earthy and complex – but somewhat enigmatic and austere for now. Will be interesting to revisit in a couple of years. (Buy again? Yes, especially since this is the retiring Puffeney’s next-to-last vintage.)

MWG October 8th tasting: flight 4 of 7

Written by carswell

October 19, 2015 at 13:52

MWG February 21st tasting (2/8): Two Corteses

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Gavi 2011, Granée, Beni di Batasiolo ($16.65, 10388109)
100% Cortese grown in the southern Piedmont commune of Gavi, making it a Gavi di Gavi. Pressed, clarified by settling, then fermented at low temperature. 12.5% ABV.
Shy but attractive nose of minerals and lemon with a floral note. Light but with a round, even winey texture. Quite dry. The green pear and lemon fruit is subdued and dusted with chalk. Brisk acidity and a clean, faintly bitter finish round out the picture. Fresh and graceful if a little anonymous. Still, you won’t find a more elegant white at the price. (Buy again? Sure.)

Vino da tavola 2011, Bellotti Bianco, Cascina degli Ulivi ($20.00, Vini-Vins, NLA)
100% biodynamically farmed Cortese grown in the Tassarolo commune neighbouring Gavi. Manually harvested. Fermented and matured in vats and barrels made from either acacia or oak (the estate’s website contradicts itself). No added sulphur. Lightly filtered prior to bottling in September of the year following harvest. 12.5% ABV.
No one would accuse this Cortese of being anonymous. Complex nose: pears poached in white wine with cinnamon and served on a bed of fresh-cut hay. Richer and more rustic than the Gavi yet still fleet. Dry yet fundamentally fruity with only a hint of oxidation. There’s tingly acidity and a whack of minerals, including a salt crystal or two, especially on the long finish. The label proclaims simplicemente vino and there is indeed an appealing straightforwardness and directness about this wine. (Buy again? Yes.)

Written by carswell

March 4, 2013 at 07:31

Vin de beauté

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Ajaccio 2009, Faustine, Domaine Comte Abbatucci (c. $35, Vini-Vins, 12 bottles/case)
Sciacarello (70%) blended with Nielluccio from biodynamically farmed 10- to 15-year-old vines. Macerated 40 days, fermented with ambient yeasts, aged in concrete vats. Around 20,000 bottles are made per vintage. 13% ABV.
Maquis with cedary overtones; sun-baked earth and stones; dried red berries. Medium-bodied. Muted and dried herby on the attack, followed by a light wave of not very sweet fruit (morello cherry?), tingly acidity and fine, astringent tannins that persist through the long, mineral and leaf-scented finish (tobacco? herbs?). Very dry and austere, yet seductive. Very close to the earth, yet noble. About three hours after carafing, it had sweetened and smoothed though lost none of its savour. Final thoughts: Burgundy-like weight, Chianti-like structure, flavour profile all its own. Drink slightly chilled.

Last I checked – a couple of weeks ago – this was still available (Vini-Vins’s website is little more than a placeholder, having been en construction for months, and they don’t have a mailing list). The price is approximate because I didn’t pay for the case and so haven’t seen the final bill.

I first encountered the wine at the Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack cookbook launch party, where Vini-Vins and Rézin each had a table of bottles from a half dozen or so estates poured by their respective winemakers. Gobsmacked by the 2006 Bandol rouge from Château Sainte-Anne, the other members of the party didn’t try the remaining wines on the Vini-Vins table and, a few days later, I failed in my attempt to find people to go in on a case. Fast-forward to June, when wapiti called to rave about a wine he’d been served at Café Sardine – the 2009 Faustine rouge – and inquire whether I’d be interested in splitting a case. (A Groundhog Day-like repeat occurred a few weeks ago, only this time the venue was Hôtel Herman and the wine was the 2010 Faustine blanc.)

Oddly, about the same time, friends who had spent part of the previous summer vacationing on the Île de beauté, invited me over for dinner. Two beautiful dry whites were served double-blind and I was instructed to identify their provenance. The texture and flavours pointed to the Mediterranean, the maquis on the nose suggested Corsica. Bingo: Abbatucci’s high-end cuvées, the best Corsicans they had encountered during their two visits to the island. As it turns out, both are also carried by Vini-Vins.

All of which is to say: this is an exceptional estate that makes outstanding wines and we’re fortunate to have access to them.

Written by carswell

August 20, 2012 at 16:09

MWG April Jura tastings: report (3/6)

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Having arrived from Burgundy in the Middle Ages, Chardonnay (also known locally as Melon d’Arbois and Gamay Blanc) is the now most widely planted grape variety in the Jura, occupying nearly half the vineyard. It’s made in a range of styles, from light to rich and from fresh to oxidized. The increasing popularity of Chardonnay-based crémants, which can be successfully made from underripe grapes, has had the effect of improving the quality of the region’s still Chardonnays in recent years.

Arbois 2009, Chardonnay, La Cave de la Reine Jeanne ($20.20, 11575723)
Founded in 1997 by Stéphane and Bénédicte Tissot, this négociant firm is named after the magnificent, gothic-arched cellar in which its wines are stored. The wines have become more accomplished over the years.
Grapefruit nose with clover and beeswax scents. Smooth, balanced and elegant on the palate, the flavours evoking lemon, oxidized apple and a faint nuttiness. Lingers long. (Buy again? Sure.)

L’Étoile 2008, Chardonnay, Nos Vendanges, Rolet Père et Fils ($21.70, 11194605)
Candied yellow fruit and sesame. Ripe fruit on the palate. While you wouldn’t call this bone dry, it’s still fresh, lively and balanced. Clean finish. Not remarkably complex but enjoyable enough. (Buy again? Sure.)

Arbois-Pupillin 2010, Jurassique, Domaine de la Renardière ($22.15, 11472628)
Jean-Michel and Laurence Petit created this estate in 1990. Their wines, especially their whites, are notable for their vibrant fruitiness, somewhat in the mould of Stéphane Tissot’s. Prices are reasonable across the board.
Classic nose of yellow fruit (a bit candied), corn silage and sour cream. Richly textured. Vivacious ripe fruit. The racy acidity is rounded by a touch of residual sugar. Long, browned apple finish with a faint nutty caramel note. (Buy again? Absolutely.)

Côtes du Jura 2006, Chardonnay, Jean Bourdy ($28.00, 6 btls/case, La QV)
Pear, peach, browning apple. Medium-bodied and very dry. Bright acid. Broad and long, with an oxidative note on the finish. Classic and age-worthy. (Buy again? Yes.)

Arbois 2009, Chardonnay, Jacques Puffeney ($28.69, 12 btls/case, Vini-Vins)
Straightforward nose: straw, oats, apple. Clean and flavourful: lemon and light nuts. Medium-bodied with lively acidity. Long, quartzy finish. Becomes more complex, deeper and quite elegant as it breathes. A complete and classy wine. At a recent Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack dinner, this worked beautifully with a wide range of appetizers, including such challenging dishes as a lobster and smoked meat soufflée-omelet. (Buy again? Yes, yes, yes.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Fleur de Marne, La Bardette, Domaine Labet ($37.50, 6 btls/case, oenopole)
Sweat, oxidizing yellow apple, quartz underlay, gaining a smoked ham note. Rich and mouth-filling. The ripe fruit tends to peach. Long, minerally finish. Multi-dimensional and impressively poised. Would make an interesting ringer in a Meursault tasting. (Buy again? Done!)

Côtes du Jura 2006, Chadonnay, En Chalasse – Nature, Julien Labet ($37.50, 6 btls/case, oenopole)
Organically farmed, native yeasts, unsulphured, unfiltered. Cloudy to the eye. Intriguing nose: roast-pork jus, lemon, oats and light oak. Rich. Minerally/chalky flavours combine with lemon and oats. Coursing acidity. A vibrant wine that lost some of its appeal as it warmed and became more fruit- and alcohol-driven. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Written by carswell

May 11, 2012 at 10:16

MWG April Jura tastings: report (2/6)

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Poulsard and Trousseau are the Jura’s traditional red (some would say dark pink) varieties, though Pinot Noir has been gaining ground in recent years. Poulsard wines are traditionally paired with the local charcuterie and smoked meats, Trousseau wines with game.

Arbois 2007, Trousseau, Nos Vendanges, Rolet Père et Fils ($21.95, 11194592)
Founded in the 1940s, Rolet is one of the largest producers of Jura wine, second only to Henri Maire. Makes wines from every appellation except Château Chalon, and the quality is high across the board. One of the trail-blazing producers of mono-varietals, Rolet continues to focus primarily on single-grape-variety wines.
Wild strawberry, cranberry, spice. Light-bodied, dry, acid bright, quite tannic and not very fruity. Minerals there are, though, and a sweet, grainy flavour (barley sugar?). Strawberry-scented finish. Refreshing. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2007, Jean Bourdy ($22.70, 11195747)
Jean-François Bourdy refers to this as his PPT (Poulsard, Pinot, Trousseau). The wine is matured three to four years in old oak barrels before bottling. The estate says good vintages can age up to 50 or 60 years; seeing as how they were pouring a still-vibrant wines from the ’50s and ’60s (the SAQ Signature outlets are currently stocking the 1964) at various Jura events a few weeks ago, it’s not an empty claim. Jean-François also suggests carafing the wine for two or three hours before serving, advice our bottle indicated you should follow.
Wild cherry, quartz, lily of the valley, hints of stable and wood shavings. Smooth, fluid, light. Silky attack. The sweet, spicy fruit gives way to fine astringent tannins. Got even better – fuller, richer, deeper – as it breathed. (Buy again? Yes.)

Côtes du Jura 2009, Pinot Noir, Domaine Labet  ($26.85, 11555108)
My latest information, which dates from a couple of years ago, is that Domaine Labet is a practionner of lutte raisonnée. Aside from an early spring herbicide and moderate sulphuring post-fermentation, extraneous chemicals are avoided.
Spicy, strawberry, slightly herbaceous/minty and flowery. Richer than the non-Pinots but still a welterweight. Satiny texture. Fresh and sprightly, with fine, supple tannins and very pure fruit. A bit light on the finish. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Poulsard, En Billat, Julien Labet ($28.00, oenopole, NLA)
Though still connected with the eponymous family domaine, Julien also makes wines under his own name. As befits his age and rocker reputation, he’s more open to experimenting. He’s been farming organically for a while and is in the process of obtaining official certification.
Complex nose, mainly red berries and forest floor. Light yet richly flavoured. Tart, ripe fruit. Tingly acid and, on the finish, tannins. Lingering woodsy note. Textbook Poulsard, with everything in proportion. (Buy again? Already did.)

Arbois 2009, Poulsard, Jacques Puffeney ($30.64, 12 btls/case, Vini-Vins)
Puffeney is one of the Jura’s legendary winemakers and one of the handful who are equally accomplished with reds and whites. A traditionalist in the best sense of the term, he farms organically and uses only ambient yeasts.
Delicate cranberry/lingonberry nose. Lean and very dry, bordering on austere. Light, fine tannins. One taster perceptively described the combination of flavours and astringency as “fruit tea.” Penetrating finish with a hint of earth and spice. Will benefit from a couple of years in the bottle. (Buy again? Definitely.)

Côtes du Jura 2008, Pinot Noir, En Barberon, André et Mireille Tissot ($32.00, 10269661)
This forward-looking estate is now run by André and Mireille’s son, the affable Stéphane. The house style tends toward modern, vibrant, more fruit-driven wines, albeit ones that sacrifice none of the their jurassien character. Organic since the late 1990s, biodynamic since the mid-naughts.
Ça pinote: red berries, crushed leaves, wet shale, hints of game. Smooth, light tannins grow stronger on finish. Fruity yet dry and astringent. An intriguing combination of lightness and intensity. Not quite as seductive as the 2006 but not without appeal. (Buy again? Sure.)

Côtes du Jura 2009, Poulsard, En Billat, Julien Labet ($34.25, oenopole, NLA)
What a difference a year makes. Smells and tastes riper than the 2008. Nose of sweet cherry and a combination of eucalyptus and barnyard that one taster called “koala fart.” Medium-bodied, smooth and pure, the fruit and minerals in equilibrium. Structured with sweet, round tannins. Turns drier on the long finish. An atypically rich expression of the grape. (Buy again? Sure but the 2008’s more my style.)

Arbois 2009, Trousseau, Jacques Puffeney ($37.31, 12 btls/case, Vini-Vins)
Red fruit with an earthy, gamy edge to it. Again light-bodied but conveying an impression of richness, due largely to the juicy, tart fruit. Quite tannic. The long, tangy finish dissolves into minerals. Hard to imagine a better Trousseau. A couple of weeks before the tasting, this paired beautifully with the tourtière, duck and pork dishes at the Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

Written by carswell

May 9, 2012 at 20:17

A quartet of naturals

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Among the many attractions of SAT’s Foodlab is the short, constantly changing selection of natural wines, most of them available by the glass. (Among the few downsides of SAT’s Foodlab is the stemware: heavy and small, meaning the glasses are filled nearly to the brim and allow no room for the wine’s bouquet to develop.) We ordered four to accompany this week’s excellent Russian Easter menu, the high points of which were a clear borscht, a coulibiac of halibut and salmon and the dessert, a slice of dry, cardamom-perfumed cake and a slice of a pressed cheese obelisk garnished with candied fruit and almonds.

Bourgogne Aligoté 2010, François Mikulski (c. $25, Vini-Vins)
100% Aligoté from two Meursault parcels planted in 1929 and 1948. Initially muted (possibly the fault of the glasses). The nose’s white peach, quartz and hint of lemon are joined by green fruit (gooseberry?) in the mouth. Acid-bright but not sharp; indeed, it sits softly on the palate. Finishes on a faintly lactic, ashy, leafy note. Not profound but wonderfully drinkable.

Burgenland 2009, Blauburgunder, Meinklang ($25.30, La QV)
100% biodynamically farmed Blauburgunder (aka Pinot Noir). Extroverted nose: berries, beet, cola, earth and smoke. Medium-bodied (13%) and intensely flavoured, the ripe fruit sharing the stage with spices, slate and dried wood. Fluid texture. Light, firm tannins turn astringent on the finish. A vibrant Pinot Noir, not at all Burgundian yet very true to the grape. A winner.

Cour-Cheverny 2009, La Porte Dorée, Domaine Philippe Tessier (c. $28, Vini-Vins)
100% Romorantin from 40- to 90-year-old vines; 85% is aged ten months in demi-muids and barriques. Dry but lightly honeyed. Round, supple and fluid. Acid blossoms on the deliciously sourish finish. Minerals galore and a preserved lemon aftertaste. Pure, clean, long. A beauty.

Colli Piacentini 2010, Dinavolino, Azienda Agricola Denavolo ($27.04, Primavin)
Hazy bronze to the eye. Wafting nose of honey-candied yellow fruit, spice and a whiff of musk (not knowing anything about the wine, I wrote “Malvasian,” so it’s true to type). Quite intense on the attack – fruity, grapey, semi-sweet – it downshifts radically on the mid-palate, fading and drying to rainwater and minerals with a hint of tannins. Intriguing.

Quebec agent Primavin provides the following information on the wine, which is penned by the owner-winemaker, Giulio Armani, who is also the winemaker at La Stoppa

Located at 500 m high, the vineyard DENAVOLO, named after the mountain upper the cellar and the locality where the vineyard is planted, spreads over 3 hectares in the Colli Piacentini area.

The vines are grown on limestone soil, the climate is hot and dry, but at this altitude, the temperature fluctuations between night and day are more than 10°C, explaining that freshness and minerality in the wines.

We only use local grapes : 25% Malvasia di Aromatica Candia, 25% Ortrugo, 25% Marsanne grapes and another not identified yet.

DINAVOLO and DINAVOLINO are produced as if they were red wines, the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed and then stay several months in skin maceration to release in the wine all the aromatic and phenolic components which are in the skin. The wines present a beautiful orange colour, a mineral and lightly flowerish nose, the mouth is well-structured with tannins and a good length.

The main difference between both cuvée comes from the location of the grapes in the vineyard. To produce DINAVOLINO, I selected grapes only located in the downer part of the hill, those grapes keep more acidity and the wine produced is completely different, freshner, younger and more aromatic.

Written by carswell

April 14, 2012 at 14:14