Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Marco De Bartoli Vigna Verde 2015

Grillo. A white grape variety native to Sicily – an increasingly popular variety that produces fragrant, full bodied wines with high acidity and excellent quality thanks to some passionate to the core winemakers.  No longer used only for Marsala because of its fierce acidity and aging potential, dry styles are starting to hit the scene from Sicilian producers and Marco de Bartoli, a race car driver turned winemaker, happens to be one of them.    

A big believer in working with grapes native only to Sicily, Marco De Bartoli started producing wine in 1978. De Bartoli wanted to make wines of quality and rid that image of ‘Marsala is only for cooking’ by producing hand crafted Solera aged 100% Grillo Marsala from his farm named Samperi.

Starting off by planting only Grillo vines and obtaining old solera casks from here and there, he slowly built his portfolio of wines and in the past decade, his three children Renato, Sebastiano, and Giusippina began working for their father.  Today, these second generation winemakers are taking the reins and continue to craft wines respecting Sicilian wine traditions and organic wine making principals.  They are making several different Marsala’s, dry indigenous varieties, sparkling wines, and Passito. 

The 2015 Vigna Verde is 100% Grillo and comes from Contrada Samperi, Marsala, where the vines are about 20 years old, single Guyot trained.  Grapes are picked and selected by hand then soft pressed to obtain a must that will naturally decant under cool conditions for 48 hours.[1]  Using natural yeasts with the minimal amount of sulphates, it is fermented in stainless steel tanks.  The wine is then aged 6 months on lees. 

De Bartoli first started making this style of wine in 2013, and it is an amazing example of what a Grillo can be.  Having the 2015 vintage just last week, it has taught me something new.  It was first experience tasting a 100% Grillo wine, and it was surprising how fresh and layered it can be.  Sicily can be a hot place but given the variety, the wine is fine example of a clean, high acid wine that is round on the palate supported by a lovely concentration of fruit.  It has a plump mouthfeel and certainly creates an interesting dynamic with the floral and sea shell characteristics.  It’s interesting.  It’s super delicious.    Having been just released at the SAQ, it would be a good idea to get some for yourself, before they’re gone.

Pale gold in colour, with lean long legs taking its time to run down the glass.  The nose displays a mix of grapefruit and cantaloupe with an insane amount of lovely salty sea shells.  The palate is dry, round, has a fierce clean acidity with an excellent concentration of citrus fruit that is layered with minerality.  Long finish. Drink now or within the next 2-3 years.

Wine: Marco De Bartoli Vigna Verde 2015
Grape: Grillo
Alcohol: 11.5%
SAQ Code: 13111228
Price: $27.40
Agent: Oenopole


Saturday, 10 December 2016

Shopping List for 2016 Holiday Bubbles

The holiday season is now  in full swing with non-stop office parties, holiday dinners, and get togethers with friends and family .  This will be Jake and I’s first Christmas away from our family, and sadly without David ( Le Somm Fou ) who passed away earlier this fall,  taken from us much too soon.  I don’t know about the rest of you…..but I for one, will not be sad to see 2016 go. What a crap year.    Here's to putting the past behind us, where it should be, and look forward to brighter and better things to come.   Let’s put on our party hats, take out the ‘nice’ stemware, and welcome 2017 by opening our arms AND a nice bottle of bubbly.    

Sparkling wines are the iconic celebratory beverage and for good reason as they are fun to drink, delicious, and when it comes to food pairing, goes with everything.  Something truly has to be said for tradition, and when there is a reason to celebrate, people break out their best bottles of Champagne or other examples of sparkling wine.
The following list are a few of my favourites, and fit for all budgets.  Happy Holidays!

Parés Balta Cava Brut                                                        
CCNP: 10896365
Agent: Trialto

Dry and balanced, it has a medium intensity of grapefruit and tangerine with unmistakable herbs, salty minerality and chalky finish.  The purity of the fruit matched with a clean and bright acidity makes for an excellent refreshing wine.  Drink now or within the next 2 years. 

Casa Vinicola Botter Carlo & C. Santi Nello Prosecco Congeliano Valdobbiadene
CCNP: 10540730
Agent: Les Sélections Fréchette                                                                     
Aromas of pretty white flowers with a slight nuance of buttered toast, this dry, medium bodied sparkling wine has a great concentration of lemon, and green anjou pear.  Crisp acidity mixed with a chalky, medium finish. Drink now or within the next 2 years. 

Segura Viudas Gran Cuvée Reserva          
CCNP: 12696210 
Agent: Featherstone Désautels

This medium bodied wine has a lovely lemon and pear fruit woven with white flowers, honey and  nectarine.  It has hints of smoky mineral with well cut, mouthwatering acidity rounding out to a creamy, lingering finish.  Drink now or within the next two years.  Photo:

Drappier Brut Nature Pinot Noir Zéro Dosage 
CCNP: 11127234 
Agent: Amphora Vins Fins et Spiriteux

Generous aromatics of lemon and tangerine with baked apples and cream.  The dry, medium bodied palate has a fine balance of concentrated citrus fruit flavours, chalky, salty mineral notes and the most delicate amount of buttered toast. The finished is layered, long, and textured. Great quality at a great price. Drink now or within the next 2 years. 

Tarlant Zero Brut Nature                                          
CCNP: 11902763
Agent: Clos des Vignes

Medium lemon in colour, this sparkling concentrated aromas of asian pear and lemon curd.  The dry, medium bodied palate is vibrant with green apples, candied lemon, and has an acidity that is, and thirst quenching.  It has that delicious clean, slightly salty and chalky finish that echoes the fruit around again. Excellent length. Drink now or within the next 2 years.  Photo:

Nicolas Feuillatte Blanc de Blancs 2006 
CCNP: 12687436
Agent: Mosaiq Vins et Spiritueux

A delicate mousse, medium lemon in colour.  A bit of clove winds through the lemon-lime fruit and with just the right amount of tasteful oak.  It is salty, it is creamy, and it is well balanced.  An amount of citrus fruit that supports the clean, bright acidity.  It has a long, salty finish making it a sleek sparkling.  Drink now or within the next 3-4 years.  

Raventos I Blanc Manuel Gran Reserva Personal 2008 
CCNP: 12936455
Agent: Bergeron-les-Vins

With 75% Xarel-lo and 25%Parellada , this is an amazing example of a Cava from Raventós.    Bright and lively, there are flavours of marzipan and lemon meringue pie.  There is a great concentration of grapefruit, pear and slight almond.  Oak is delicate.  The acidity is fresh and clean, with a nice complex, salty finish. Drink now or within the next 2-3 years.

Bisol Vigneti del For Prosecco 2014                      
CCNP: 12914248
Agent: Oenopole

Pale lemon in colour with light, delicate bubbles, this beautiful Prosecco from Bisol has medium intensity of citrus, ripe pear fruit balanced with excellent acidity and a firm underlying, delicious, salty, chalky sensation on the medium finish. Superb.  Drink now or within the nextyears.