Showing posts with label white-blend. Show all posts
Showing posts with label white-blend. Show all posts

First image of this post
  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rhône Wine Tour 2018 - Luberon and Ventoux (Day 1)



Domaine des Peyre (Luberon)
I had a wonderful opportunity to visit the southern Rhône Valley in May to focus on the brilliant white and rosé wines from the region. It was a 4-day trip with visits to wineries and meet with winemakers in Luberon, Ventoux, Cairanne, Costières de Nîmes, Lirac and Tavel AOCs.

After arriving at Marseille Provence Airport, we travelled about 1 hour north to Domaine des Peyre, a boutique winery and hotel in the Luberon AOC where we would be spending the night. Since Craig Pinhey and I had some time to relax while we waited for Daenna Van Mulligen to arrive before heading out for dinner, we tasted a few delicious wines while sitting and chatting on the patio, all the while observing our peaceful surroundings. We learned that some parts of this historic building were built in the 16th century. There was also a church (which was to host a wedding in a few days) that was originally built in the 9th century.

Domaine des Peyre (Luberon)

Anne Georget was our first guide for this trip, and she took us to dinner at La Bergerie, a casual-fine dining restaurant located on the hill village of Bonnieux that had an amazing view overlooking the valley below. The food was delicious, as we enjoyed some wine on the outdoor patio with truffle pizza (yes, I had truffles for the first time, and it wasn't too bad). It got a bit chilly, so we moved indoors and sat near the kitchen which had an open flame that was used for cooking meats and various other dishes, but also provided some much needed heat to warm the room. I opted for the delicious roasted chicken and capped my meal with a chocolate mousse. It was a great way to end the day, as we had a long (and busy) week ahead of us.

La BergerieLa Bergerie

Our covered the Luberon and Ventoux AOCs. The first stop was actually not too far from the restaurant we dined at the night before. Château la Canorgue is a family-owned and -operated winery in Luberon that is led by the father-daughter team of Jean-Pierre Margan and his daughter Nathalie. The family has been producing wine at this domain for 5 generations on a fascinating site that was built upon the remains of an ancient Roman villa. Château la Canorgue takes its name from the many ancient underground aqua tunnels that cross below the vineyards - we got to see one of these amazing water channels. Nine days prior to our visit, the winery experienced a very localized, disastrous 15-minute hail storm that left nearly 30 cm of ice/snow on the ground. However, it had completely melted by the time we arrived, leaving behind severely damaged vines that Nathalie said will likely need a couple of years to recover. Approximately 80% of their crop was lost due to this freak storm.

Château la Canorgue - Nathalie and Jean-Pierre MarganChâteau la Canorgue Vineyard

Château la Canorgue - Winemaking FacilityChâteau la Canorgue - Tank Room

After a brief walk among the vines, Nathalie took us inside their gravity-flow production facility that was added to their 17th century cellar which was once a silk factory at one point in its history. Château la Canorgue was the very first organic winery in the Luberon and has been producing wines using organic methods, and a few Biodynamic principles, since the 1970's. After tasting through some fine tank samples, we moved into the tasting room to try some of their latest whites and rosé wines. The domain's 40 hectares, most of which are terraced, are planted to traditional regional varietals with 25% of their production devoted to white wines, and 25% to rosés. Grapes for these wines are typically machine-harvested from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m., to keep the grapes cool and allowing for better control over the fermentation process. Vines average 40 years old, with some plots at 80 years old, and some even older at 100 years old. Tasting notes of a couple of my favourites wines tasted here and elsewhere on this day are provided below.

The second stop was Domaine de la Citadelle, a winery founded in 1990 by short-film producer Yves Rousset-Rouard when he purchased a old farmhouse with 8 ha of vines. It is located on the northern slope of Luberon, 35 km east of Avignon and the mouth of the Rhône and Durance rivers. Today, there are 50 ha of vines planted on mostly clay and limestone soils, along with some alluvial marl, griess, and gravel. Since it had been raining, we did not take a walk through the vineyards and proceeded directly to the upper level overlooking the production facility. Like the first winery, they also have a gravity-fed vinification process to gently move the wine through the various stages. It also recently became certified organic in 2016 and use horses to work the soil. 50% of their production is devoted to white (30%) and rosé (20%) wines. The three main ranges of wines in their portfolio are terroir-driven - La Châtaignier from sandy marl soils, the middle-tier Les Artèmes which come from primarily gravel and sandstone soils, and the higher-end Le Gouverneur range which come from their best terroirs and oldest vines. 2017 was a tough vintage due to a severe frost that affected nearly 15 ha of vines, followed by a very long drought with no rain for 6 months. Even with yields practically halved, the wines expressed their terroir with freshness and balance.

Domaine de la Citadelle - TanksDomaine de la Citadelle Rosé Wines

Domaine de la Citadelle White WinesDomaine de la Citadelle - Barrel Room

Lunch was at La Maison de la Truffe & du Vin, a fine-dining establishment that included truffle in each of their dishes. It was located in the Luberon mountains, in the hilltop village of Ménerbes overlooking the valley below. Considering that I had my first truffle the night before (and survived), I was less nervous about having truffles with each course. We enjoyed lunch with two wine producers, which definitely helped calm my nerves regarding the truffles.

Joining us for lunch was Winemaker Sylvain Morey from La Bastide du Claux, and Sabrina Fillod, Export Marketing Manager at Marrenon. Each winery brought four delicious wines to taste.

Sylvain Morey's roots are in Burgundy as he is a descendant of (Domaine) Albert Morey. He began La Bastide du Claux in 2002 to bring his Burgundian vision and winemaking craft to the rising Luberon AOC. Sylvain has a fragmented 15 ha vineyard that offers a rich combination of soils, climates and exposures, and tries to highlight its characteristics. Approximately one-third of all wines produced in Luberon are rosés. One of the interesting points that Sylvain mentioned was the fact that even though Luberon is part of the historical region of Provence, with similar terroir, they are not part of Provence AOC and, thus, cannot put "Provence" on the label. Given that rosé wines from Provence carry some weight and prestige, wineries in Luberon are at a somewhat disadvantage. Perhaps one day we will see the rules changed, but in the meantime we shall continue enjoying lovely the wines of Luberon, which are part of the Rhône AOC, and offer great value!

Sylvain Morey, La Bastide du ClauxMarrenon, Sabrina Fillod

Marrenon is a large cooperative consisting of 7 wineries and 650 winegrowers that was created in 1965. All 4,200 hectares of vineyards are based in the heart of a Regional Natural Park which is recognized as a natural biosphere reserve by UNESCO, and spread out along the mountain ranges of Luberon and Ventoux, ranging in altitude from 150 to 500 metres. With vineyards located in the South East Rhône Valley and in Provence, 50% of their production is devoted to rosé wines and 20% to white wines. They were also the first producer to grow Vermentino (Rolle) in France. They are committed to the environment and sustainability, and all of the work is controlled and approved by Agri-Confiance Certification which, among other things, includes respecting nature and environment, fair income for the producers, and vine-to-glass traceability. There are 3 ranges of wines - Classique, Altitude, and Exclusive Single Estate wines. All of the wines we tasted during lunch were from their Single Estate line, and were delicious!

La Maison de la Truffe & du Vin

After lunch, we visited Domaine de Fondrèche, a family-owned winery that was founded by Nanou Barthelémy when she purchased the property in 1993. Her son, Sébastien Vincenti, joined the business a few years later after spending some time in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. They have 38 ha of organically cultivated vineyards, 10 ha of which are dedicated to producing terroir-driven rosé wines from sandy soils and white wines from clay and limestone soils. As Sébastien took us through the wines and gave us a tour of the winery, it was obvious that he was very passionate about wine and the winemaking process. The winery was built to favour the use of gravity, including having the press sit a few metres above ground, thus allowing the juice to escape through a hole at the bottom of the press with the assistance of gravity. It is interesting to note that Sébastien does not use any sulphites during pressing. Domaine de Fondrèche produces three lines of wines, and I was most impressed with their middle-tier Persia line that come from their older vines.

Sébastien Vincenti, Domaine de Fondrèche

Domaine de Fondrèche - Concrete Eggs and Oak BarrelsDomaine de Fondrèche

The final stop of the day was at Château Pesquié, an estate winery owned by a family that is passionate about the Ventoux region and recognized its potential. Odette & René Bastide purchased the property that is located at the foot of the Ventoux Mountain in the early 1970's and became pioneers of AOC Côtes du Ventoux. Even though vines had been cultivated in this region for more than a thousand years, the AOC was only created in 1973. In the mid-1980's, their daughter Edith and her husband Paul Chaudière joined the business. In 1989, the family stopped selling their grapes to the local cooperative and formed their own cellars. In 2003, Paul and Edith's two sons, Alexandre and Frédéric, took over the Domaine and continue the family tradition of producing terrific wines that harness the outstanding Ventoux terroir. We had the pleasure of meeting Alexandre, who through three generations of winemakers in the family have always tried to be agriculturally sustainable and responsible, mentioned that they hope to be certified biodynamic in 2019. Château Pesquié has one of the coolest micro-climates in the south of the Rhône Valley, thanks to slightly higher elevations and mountain influence, while also having great mineral diversity, but predominantly limestone. They have a fabulous visitor centre with impressive displays showcasing their terroir, among other things. The wines are also tasty! Château Pesquié is definitely a place to visit if you're in the area.

Château Pesquié

Château Pesquié

The evening was capped off with a gourmet dinner and a quiet night at the lovely Château de Mazan Hotel that is housed in an 18th century mansion located in the centre of the town of Mazan, nestled at the foot of Mont Ventoux.

Château de MazanChâteau Unang Ventoux Blanc 2017

Château de MazanChâteau de Mazan

This post is just the first in the series. A visit to the Cairanne AOC is next on the itinerary, and reviews from my trip to the other Rhône AOCs will be posted in the coming days.

Tasting Notes:

Domaine des Peyre Paparazzi 2017 (87 pts)

DOMAINE DES PEYRE PAPARAZZI 2017 - AP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 11.5 €
Mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre completing the blend. Medium+ intensity nose is fresh with herbal, garrigue, stone fruit and peach aromas. Medium-bodied palate is delicate with herbally and stone fruit flavours, and a vague impression of sweetness. Clean and balanced, some saline mid-palate. Very good finish length. Score: 87 pts

Agent: DB Wine & Spirits (ON)

CHÂTEAU LA CANORGUE LUBERON ROSÉ 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - 9.50 €
Majority Grenache, with Syrah and Mourvèdre completing the blend. Medium+ intensity nose has herbally, raspberry, and currant aromas. Red berry flavours of raspberry, red currant and strawberry on the medium-bodied, dry palate lifted by fresh acidity. Fine, crisp finish. Score: 88 pts

Château la Canorgue Luberon Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Château la Canorgue Luberon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

CHÂTEAU LA CANORGUE LUBERON BLANC 2017 - AC, Rhône, France (XD) - 10.50 €
Co-fermented and equal parts Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette, Grenache, Bourbeblanc, and Vermentino. Lovely citrus and exotic fruits with plenty of minerality on the nose and flavour profile. The medium+ bodied palate is structured and has a creamy texture with a nice mineral, mid-palate supported by fresh acids. Nicely balanced overall, dry. Floral and fruit on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Agent: N/A

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE LES ATÈRMES ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Luberon, Rhône, France (XD) - 12 €
Vines located 300 m above sea level. 80% Mourvèdre. Subtle raspberry, earth, and mineral aromas. Medium-bodied with crisp acids, rounded mouthfeel and nice aroma replays in a dry style. Structured, spicy, nice clean finish. Enjoy over the next 3-4 years. Score: 88+ pts

Domaine de la Citadelle Les Atèrmes Rosé 2017 (88+ pts)Domaine de la Citadelle Le Châtaignier Blanc 2017 (88+ pts)

DOMAINE DE LA CITADELLE LE CHÂTAIGNIER BLANC 2017 - AOP Luberon, Rhône, France (XD) - 8.50 €
Blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Marsanne. Subtle stony mineral and herbal aromas continue on the medium-bodied palate, joined by some lemon/lime flavours. Clean acids offer a crisp mouthfeel. Very good length on the fresh finish. Score: 88+ pts

Agent: Balthazard (QC)

BASTIDE DU CLAUX L'ODALISQUE 2016 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
40% Grenache Blanc blended with equal parts Vermentino and Viognier, all spending some time in oak barrels. Medium-high intensity nose with stone fruit and lemon oil notes. It's medium+ bodied on the smoky, structured palate with lemony acids and flavours. Buttery, baked apple notes linger on the long finish. Score: 89 pts

Bastide du Claux l'Odalisque 2016 (89 pts)Bastide du Claux Barraban 2009 (91 pts)

BASTIDE DU CLAUX BARRABAN 2009 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
40% Grenache Blanc, the rest equal parts Vermentino, Clairette, and Ugni Blanc. Pours a deep gold colour, this has medium-high intensity waxy, lanolin, floral, and herbally aromas, all which comes through nicely on the medium-bodied, dry, spicy palate. Nicely textured with balanced acidity. Drinking well now, but could age another 5-7 years. Score: 91 pts

Agent: N/A

MARRENON PETULA 2017 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
Syrah and Grenache Noir. Pretty raspberry, strawberry aromas are open and fragrant with fine minerality. It's medium-bodied, crisp, and clean on the subtly spicy palate with nice, balanced acids and herbally aroma replays. Long with some structure on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Marrenon Petula 2017 (89 pts)Marrenon Grand Marrenon Blanc 2017 (90 pts)

MARRENON GRAND MARRENON BLANC 2017 - AOC Luberon, Rhône, France (XD)
Equal parts Grenache Blanc and Vermentino, and 10% Roussanne. Elegant, medium-high intensity nose shows finesse with ripe, balanced yellow fruit, white flowers, mineral and barrel-aged oak nuances. It's light-to-medium bodied on the nicely balanced palate with pleasing aroma replays supported by vibrant acids. Clean lime and mineral notes, touch bitter on the long finish. Score: 90 pts

Agent: Von Terra (ON)

DOMAINE DE FONDRÈCHE PERSIA ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 20 €
Half Mourvèdre, the rest equal parts Grenache and Syrah. Medium-intensity nose has herbally, spicy, currant, floral, and raspberry aromas. Juicy, fresh acids support the medium-bodied, spiced palate with curranty aroma replays. Spiced finish with very good length. Score: 88 pts

Domaine de Fondrèche Persia Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Domaine de Fondrèche Persia Blanc 2017 (89 pts)

DOMAINE DE FONDRÈCHE PERSIA BLANC 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 20 €
Roussanne from 30-40 year old vines, the nose is reserved with lime citrus and herbs, and hints of hay and white stone fruit. The medium-bodied palate is ripe, rounded with very good acidity. White peach, melon, and some herbal, fennel flavours. Nicely textured on the mid-palate through to the finish, with very good length. Score: 89 pts

Agent: Sens.i (QC)

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ TERRASSES ROSÉ 2017 - AOP Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 11 €
50% Cinsault, 40% Grenache, and 10% Syrah. Shy nose has raspberry, red berry and citrus aromas. Structured, medium-bodied palate has more raspberry and citrus notes with hints of floral. Fresh, juicy acids support the crunchy fruit. Clean, lemony notes on the long finish. Score: 88 pts

Château Pesquié Terrasses Rosé 2017 (88 pts)Château Pesquié Quintessence Blanc 2016 (89 pts)

CHÂTEAU PESQUIÉ QUINTESSENCE BLANC 2016 - AOC Ventoux, Rhône, France (XD) - 16 €
Blend of 80% Roussanne (barrel-fermented) and 20% Clairette, with trace amounts of Viognier, and then blended and aged in concrete tanks. Subtle aromas offer wood-influenced herbal, white peach, and hints of citrus, all which come through on the medium-bodied palate. Fresh, balanced acids provide lift. Nicely textured with crunchy fruit, and very good length on the finish. Score: 89 pts

Agent: The Vine Agency (ON), Sélections Oeno (QC)


First image of this post
  • Friday, May 17, 2019

Wines from Santorini Volcanic Terroir

Santorini Volcanic Terroir
In , I was invited to a media luncheon featuring the wines of Santorini, Greece. The luncheon and tasting was hosted and led by Steve Kriaris, owner of Kolonaki Group, and Elias Karkabasis, owner and Sommelier of Pane Vino Trattoria & Wine Bar in Lindsay, Ontario. The venue was VOLOS, a fine Greek restaurant in the heart of downtown Toronto, and a place I realized upon arriving that I had dined here a few years ago with my wife.

Winemaking began in Santorini in 3500 BC, more than 5,000 thousand years ago. In the classic Greek era, the island was called Thera, while today is officially called Thira. The massive volcanic eruption of 1600 BC ultimately created island's caldera and shape as it is today. This explosion left behind a mixture of volcanic ash, pumice stone and pieces of solidified lava and sand, which together make up the soil of Santorini. This soil has little to no organic matter, but is rich in essential minerals, except potassium, thus creating wines with a naturally low pH level and high acidity. All of these factors contribute to creating agricultural products with a distinct profile.

Wines grown on volcanic soils also travel well. As such, when the Italians discovered Santorini in 1200 AD, they began trading wines from the island in amphoras. The wine that was traded the most was the delectably sweet Vinsanto dessert wine and it was exported throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. It was also sent back home to the Pope in Italy - a practice that still occurs today as The Pope receives the oldest and some of the finest Vinsanto directly from Santorini.

Most of the wine production on Santorini consists of white wines and dessert wines. Assyrtiko is the main white grape grown as it thrives in its birthplace, the volcanic island of Santorini. According to appellation rules, Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Santorini white wines must contain a minimum of 75% Assyrtiko. Most often, it is produced as a single varietal wine, but can also contain the varietals Athiri and Aidani. Nykteri wines are also made with Assyrtiko and aged for at least three months is oak barrels. Vinsanto wines are naturally sweet dessert wines made from sun-dried grapes, must contain at least 51% Assyrtiko and be aged for at least 24 months in oak barrels, allowing the wine to develop additional complexities. PDO Santorini wines have great ageing potential due to their unique characteristics that stem from their volcanic origin, as well as their naturally high acidity and minerality.

All of the wines we tasted during the luncheon were from the Union of Santorini Cooperatives, also known as SantoWines. This co-operative was founded in 1947 and today it is the largest winery on the island, representing more than 1,200 active growers of grapes and other agricultural products. SantoWines is committed to safeguarding local traditional cultivations, producing high quality PDO Santorini wines, tomatoes, and fava, as well as promoting sustainable agriculture development.

In addition to the fine wines from Santorini, there were also a couple of other food items from this small and rich volcanic island. Santorini fava beans are scientifically known as "Lathyrus Clymenum L." and have been grown exclusively on the island for more than 3,500 years. These fava beans are considered a superfood as they have amazing nutritional value and contain more than 20% plant-based protein. Traditionally dried and aged under the sun, this legume has a rich, velvety texture and an earthy, slightly sweet taste.

Fava spread

Tomataki dip (top left) with Saganaki

Santorini tomatoes, commonly known as tomataki, are one-of-a-kind as they are dry-farmed on volcanic soils. They have thick skins with a ruffled shape, a concentrated full-body and a naturally sweet taste. Tomataki also have more vitamin C than regular tomatoes and more lycopene (antioxidant) than any other fruit or vegetable. Tomataki also makes a unique tomato paste, which we got to enjoy during lunch. It has a distinctive dark red colour, velvety texture, and a sweet and slightly minerally taste that was great for dipping with bread.

The wines, as well as the unique Santorini food items can all be purchased through Kolonaki Group. You can also purchase these wines at the LCBO Greece Destination outlet at 200 Danforth Avenue (Toronto), while the first Assyrtiko in the list below is widely available across Ontario.

Thank you Kolonaki Group for the invitation and the opportunity to try these delicious Santorini foods and wines. Lunch was delicious and I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lamb dish paired beautifully with these white wines. Wine reviews of these delicious wines are provided below and I trust that you will enjoy them as much as I dd. Opa!

Exohico (phyllo pastry and braised lamb) with Santo Grand Reserve Assyrtiko

Tasting Notes:

SANTO SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#459032) (XD) - $23.30
Medium+ intensity nose is clean with citrus, herbs and minerality with hints of saline. It is medium+ bodied and concentrated on the minerally-textured palate with nicely balanced aromas replays on the flavour profile. It is structured with vibrant acids, and has a long, juicy finish. Score: 89 pts

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2017 (89 pts)Santo Nykteri 2017 (90 pts)


SANTO NYKTERI 2017 - PDO Santorini, Greece (XD) - $33.95
A blend of 75% Assrytiko, 15% Athiri, and 10% Aidani that was harvested at night to keep freshness. Spent 3 months in oak barrels. This is ripe with roasted pineapple, stone fruit, ripe apple, pear, citrus, and melon, with subtle oak influence. All of which comes through on the vibrant palate with lively acids. Clean, elegant and nicely balanced with excellent finish length. Score: 90 pts

SANTO GRANDE RESERVE ASSYRTIKO 2016 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#814186) (XD) - $57.95
This Assyrtiko spent 1 year in French oak barrels. The medium-high intensity nose has a subtle oak influence with Meyer lemon citrus, baked apple, butter, and stone fruit aromas and flavours. It is medium-full bodied and structured with vanilla notes appearing on the palate. There is a nice mineral texture to go along with juicy acids. Long on the finish. Score: 91 pts

Santo Grande Reserve Assyrtiko 2016 (91 pts)Santo Vinsanto 2011 (89 pts)

SANTO VINSANTO 2011 - PDO Santorini, Greece (#654722) (S) (500 mL) - $67.95
Sun-dried 85% Assyrtiko and 15% Aidani grapes that spent 3 years in oak barrels. Deep orange-red-brown colour. Offers complex aromas of sweet spice, golden raisin, fig, dates, plum, honeyed, brown sugar and hints of hazelnut. Full-bodied with more raisin, fig, and sweet plum notes on the palate, with very good acidity and flavours lingering on the long finish. Score: 89 pts


First image of this post
  • Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 and Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (Niagara) - Wine Review

Malivoire Guilty Men
wines are a pair of entry-level wines from Malivoire Wine Company - one of Niagara's most respected boutique wineries, renowned for its creativity and use of wine-growing practices. Its carefully crafted VQA wines are made exclusively from grapes grown locally on the Niagara Peninsula.

Malivoire Wine is the magnum opus of Martin Malivoire, and was founded after the purchase of the Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench in 1995. Minimal environmental impact is a foundation block of Malivoire Wine's corporate mission. They subscribe to the Oregon-based “LIVE”, or Low Impact Viticulture and Enology programme, whose guidelines determine their farming practices, including the use of eco-friendly winemaking techniques. Winemaker Shiraz Mottiar was awarded Winemaker of the Year at the 2017 Ontario Wine Awards.

Martin always insisted that he would never focus on Bordeaux varietals and Bordeaux blends, and instead focus on Pinot Noir and Gamay. He also said he wouldn't focus on Riesling. Over the years, many people kept asking for these styles of wines from Malivoire, so Martin said that "If we make these styles of wines, we would be Guilty Men", based on the male group assembled from the winemaking team, and the fact that he had been very vocal about not going down this road for many years. Guilty Men eventually launched in 2010.

Both of these wines are easy-drinking, food-friendly, and made in a crowd-pleasing style that is also fairly light on the wallet. Moreover, both of these wines are widely available at LCBO outlets across Ontario, and the white wine is currently on sale (save $1) until .

Tasting Notes:

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RIESLING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192666) (D) - $15.10 $14.10 until .
A unique blend of 80% Riesling and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. Screw cap. This has a fruity medium intensity nose with aromas of ripe apple, citrus zest, peach, along with hints of tropical fruit, white flowers and flinty mineral. The light-to-medium bodied palate is off-dry (i.e some sweetness) with apple and stone fruit flavours that mingle with some tropical fruit notes. Clean, juicy acids are nicely balanced, while apple notes linger on the finish, with very good length.  Clean, easy drinking wine to enjoy on the patio, or with seafood or poultry. Chill well and drink to 2019. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2017 (87 pts)

MALIVOIRE GUILTY MEN RED 2016 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#192674) (D) - $15.95
From the very good 2016 vintage, this is a blend of 55% Merlot, 20% Gamay, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, with about 2/3 of the wine aged in tank, while the remainder was in mostly French barrels for 9 months. Screw cap. The medium+ intensity nose offers cranberry, raspberry, dark currant, and black spice with hints of tea leaf and minty cassis. It is medium-bodied on the palate with soft, gentle tannins with just a touch of sweetness that's held in check with the lively acids. Appealing tea leaf and oak spice flavours with hints of raspberry and blueberry on the palate. Good length on the finish. Chill slightly and enjoy to 2020. Score: 87 pts

Malivoire Guilty Men Red 2016 (87 pts)


First image of this post
  • Saturday, April 7, 2018

René Barbier Mediterranean White (Spain) - Wine Review

wine was gifted to me during the holidays. This white wine blend is a General List wine that is readily available at the LCBO.

René Barbier Mediterranean White (84 pts)

Tasting Note:

RENÉ BARBIER MEDITERRANEAN WHITE - DO Catalunya, Spain (#332767) (XD) - $9.95
Screw cap. A non-vintage blend of 40% Xarel-lo, 30% Macabeo, and 30% Parellada. Honeyed aroma profile with melon and lemon rind notes. The medium-bodied palate is sweetish and juicy with balanced acidity and honeydew melon flavours joined by lemon rind and ripe tropical fruit notes. More lemon notes, with hints of white flowers, and good length on the dry finish. Fairly basic and simple, but should have wide appeal. Chill well. Score: 84 pts


First image of this post
  • Sunday, December 17, 2017

Celebrating 40 Years of Roussillon

Celebrating 40 Years of Roussillon

This year marks 40 years of recognition of the AOC status of Côtes du Roussillon and Côtes du Roussillon Villages. Although winemaking in the region goes back hundreds of years, it was only in 1977 when this southern France wine region was formally recognized as an AOP by the INAO. Moreover, it only achieved this status because of the 40+ years of work by Roussillon producers prior to 1977.

I have personally been a fan of wines from Roussillon for many years thanks to the high quality and good value on offer. The AOC Côtes du Roussillon produces crisp white wines, fruity rosés and powerful reds, while wines from the AOC Côtes du Roussillon Villages are entirely made up of red wines. The primary red wine grapes are Grenache Noir, Carignan, and Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Carignan, in particular, is notable for its high quality from historic old vines that can be over 100 years old. Among white wines, the primary grapes are Grenache Blanc, Macabeu, and Tourbat. Most of the wines produced in Roussillon are blends.

The AOP Côtes du Roussillon is the largest of the Roussillon appellations, covering an area of 4695 hectares spread over 102 municipalities in the Pyrénées-Orientales region. Both the white wine and the first red wine listed below come from this large appellation. The Latour de France is a sub-appellation of the AOP Côtes du Roussillon Villages covering 202 hectares in the northern part of the appellation and features mainly grey schist soils.

Wine Appellations of Roussillon

Surrounding the AOC Côtes du Roussillon are three mountain chains and the sea. To the north is the Corbières, the Pyrénées and the Mont Canigou are on the west side, the Albères is down south, and to the east is the Mediterranean Sea. Eighty percent of the vines are located on hillsides, and combined with the hot Mediterranean climate with minimal rainfall, helping create wines that are complex, aromatic and fresh.

Soil types are varied across the region, with a mix of granitic sand and gneiss, black and grey schist, red clay soils, sandy clay, and pebbly terraces.

To get a taste of what Roussillon offers, here are three quality wines that I enjoyed on and are a small sample of the various styles of wine you can expect from Roussillon. All three of these wines arrived in LCBO VINTAGES earlier this year. These wines are nearly sold out across the province, with only limited availability now.

To learn more about this fascinating wine region, visit Roussillon Wines.

40 Years of AOP Côtes du Roussillon & Villages

Tasting Notes:

LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON BLANC 2015 - AC, Midi, France (#485656) (XD) - $15.95
Blend of 60% Grenache Blanc, 20% Macabeu, 10% Marsanne, and 10% Vermentino. Floral, lemon, and tropical fruit aromas from the cork. In the glass, this has a medium+ intensity nose featuring grapefruit, lemon peel, white floral, and herbally notes, with a fine mineral component throughout. It's medium+ bodied and round on the palate with a nice mineral texture. Dry flavour profile features grapefruit, herbs, and floral notes, and a touch waxy. Juicy acids. The finish length is good, ending with a flinty mineral note. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 88 pts

Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Blanc 2015 (88 pts)

LE PUIG CARIGNANE DE LA PERPIGNANE 2013 - AC Côtes du Roussillon, France (#480988) (XD) - $19.95
This organic wine was raised in concrete tank and consists of 60% Carignane and 40% Grenache. Faint aromas of black plum and dark berry from the cork. In the glass, this leads with a mineral and iron nose followed by dark berry/cherry, kirsch, menthol, and spice aromas. Also some meaty aromas with air. It's medium-bodied on the palate with fresh, balanced acids and ripe, dark berry and peppery spice flavours laced with earthy minerality. Supple, gritty tannins add texture, while the finish is juicy with good length. Drink over the next 4-5 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 89 pts

Le Puig Carignane de la Perpignane 2013 (89 pts)

DOMAINE DE L’AGLY LATOUR DE FRANCE LES CIMES 2013 - AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages, France (#480897) (XD) - $29.95
From a 12 hectare vineyard with mica schist and blue granite soils at 300 metres elevation in the magnificent Agly Valley, this is a blend of 35% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 17% Mourvèdre, and 13% Carignan brought up in barrique (one-third new), and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Earthy, dark berry and smoke aromas from the cork. Very ripe and fruit forward on the nose with raspberry, blackberry, crushed rocks, flowers and touches of vanilla. The seamless palate is bright and medium-full bodied with balanced dark berry, blackberry, white pepper, along with hints of violet and meaty flavours, Acids are very bright. Tannins have some grip and gain volume over time. The finish length is very good with some fine mineral notes. Drink over the next 6-8 years. Released into LCBO VINTAGES on . Score: 90 pts

Domaine de l’Agly Latour de France Les Cimes 2013 (90 pts)


Blog Archive

Posts by Tag

Recent Posts

Recent Posts Widget




  

Followers

Lists

OnToplist.com
BOTW Blogs - Vintages Wine Picks and Reviews
My Zimbio
Blogarama - Drinks & Beverages Blogs
Top Wine Sites
Wine blog
RSSChomp Blog Directory