Thursday, 26 May 2016

WOTW: Terre Rouge Easton Zinfandel 2013

Say the word Zinfandel, and my face goes a bit sideways.  It is not a wine I gravitate towards…I never think to myself….Christ, a Zinfandel would be SO great right now. Nah - I like my reds light, cool, and gritty.  

Zinfandel, also known as Primitivo in Italy, is a thick-skinned black grape that grows in large, tight clusters and is prone to rot. They can be a bit fussy unless they are heavily pruned.  They tend to yield too many grapes, which in turn makes it lack in concentrated fruit.  In my experience, the average zin will produce a wine that has a lot of berry jam flavour, heavy on oak, lacking complexity and freshness. This grape is most commonly grown in California on old vines, southern Italy, and in Australia.  The hotter the region the better - as this grape needs a nice warm climate to ripen fully.1

Many wine drinkers will also see a white zinfandel floating around stores - and it may cause a bit of confusion because it usually will be pink in colour.  What happens here is that ‘bleaching’ or ‘bleeding’ the juice off the skins as fast as possible, hence the pink.

It really is exciting for me to add a Zinfandel to the favourite’s list…and I advise you that if you are planning on having a BBQ this summer, you won’t be sorry to have this wine on your table as your partner in crime. Easton Amador Zinfandel is of excellent quality - especially for the price.  It has all the big, bold, and spicy flavours that a zin will give you but what is extra special about this wine is an added layer of complex flavours and amazing acidity and freshness that will not fatigue your palate. It’s unusual…and for that, it is my wine of the week.  

Bill Easton is the winemaker for all Terre Rouge winery.  They make Rhône style wines under their Terre Rouge Label, but also have non Rhône varietals that they make under the Easton label.  This wine is made from grapes that grow on their rolling mountain sites that have the classic, vermilion-colored, Amador decomposed granite soil.2

 “Freshness has to do with proper winemaking, cellar management techniques, and bottling carefully. This is all French oak aged wine and the wine is fermented dry unlike many Zinfandels these days. The grapes are harvested at just the right time and not overripe.”  - Bill Easton

Medium garnet in colour with purple hues, the nose is very expressive with notes of dark plum, blackberries, spice, and wet earth.  On the palate, it is rich and luscious with black fruit, chocolate and coffee grinds woven in between.  With all of that power, the wine is medium bodied with plenty of acidity, where the medium grained tannins gain power through the mid-palate.  Layers of complexity throughout the long finish.  So delicious… Drink now or within the next 4-5 years.  

Wine: Terre Rouge Easton Zinfandel 2013
Grape: Zinfandel
Alcohol: 14.5%
SAQ Code: 00897132
Price: $26.60
Agent: réZin

Thursday, 12 May 2016

WOTW: Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf du Pape 2011

Every wine tells a story.  It can whisper secrets of the hands that tended to the vines, the relentless pursuit of perfection of the winemaker, or even display the taste of the soil and location it comes from.  A way of travelling around the world by your palate alone. Wine can do that. It can take you, transport you from one region to the next, all in one evening.  Granted, these are romantic notions but those are the things that come to my mind when I drink a beautiful bottle of wine.  Wine IS personal.  There are people and families behind those bottles and if you are willing to listen, it can be a wonderful thing.

C9P.  Châteauneuf du Pape.  This beautiful place has a long story and how it got its name is rooted in its history. Châteauneuf du Pape takes its name from the time when the Pope moved to Avignon in 1309. Châteauneuf du Pape means, “The Pope’s New Castle.” The move was due to issues between the King of France and the Papacy. Eight different Popes served in Avignon as the Papacy remained in Châteauneuf du Pape until 1378. The first Pope to move to Avignon was Pope Clément V, who loved his wine! How’s that for a little story?

Here’s another one for you.  Although I poked and pribed to the folks at Mont-Redon, I did not have a lot to go on in terms of THEIR story. For whatever reason, my sparkling personality did not work its usual charm and I felt I had a generic response with my possibly quirky questions, which I respect. Most winemakers have been brilliant, and go out of their way to talk about their wines, but not this time.  At any rate, the wine is superb and definitely worth looking at.  

Photo: Château Mont-Redon
Château Mont-Redon makes a perfect example of a C9P.  Since 1923, the Abeille and Fabre families have been running the estate, and today 4 brothers work together producing some of the most exciting wines coming out of the Rhône Valley.  With the philosophy of making traditional wines that express terroir and each specific vintage, all brothers work within a different area.  Yann Abeille follows the vineyard, Pierre Fabre is the winemaker, and Jérôme and Patrick develop the export and domestic sales respectively.  

Just last week I enjoyed Mont-Redon’s 2011 Châteauneuf du Pape.  Medium purple with ruby hues, the wine gives generous aromas of blackberries, plum and warm spice. This medium-bodied wine does not disappoint with ripe dark cherries, blackberries and spices. Dark chocolate weaves its way through as do the well-integrated tannins, which are medium grained and medium intensity. Refreshing – still retaining lots of acidity, with a long, complex finish. Ready to drink, or within the next seven to eight years. Keep it hidden away in your cellar for a special occasion.  

Wine: Château Mont-Redon Châteauneuf du Pape 2011
Grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mouvèdre, Cinsault, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarèse
Alcohol: 14%
SAQ Code: 00856666
Price: $47.25
Agent: Charton-Hobbs 

Thursday, 5 May 2016

WOTW: Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Vetliner 2012

I said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a grüner freak.  There’s lots to love about Austria’s rock star grape and drinking a fine, refreshing glass of this at the end of the day can lift my spirits up pretty darn good.  I’m all over the zesty citrus-white pepper goodness, and the wine I am showcasing this week comes from a producer who believes in this grape so much, it is the only varietal in his portfolio.

Laurenz Maria Moser V., started the project in 2004, and 12 years later continues to bottle seven different examples of grüner vetliner, all being sourced from Kamptal, Kremstal, and Weinvertal.  

The idea behind Laurenz V. Singing Grüner Vetliner is a special one, where Laurenz’s daughter Sophie wanted to make a wine with her dad.  That’s a cool project to make with your parent, if there ever was one.

The grapes for this Gruvëe are grown mainly in loess and gravel soils of the Kremstal region. The fruitiness is owed to marked alternating temperatures of the north-south positioned Kremstal: warm air rising from the Danube valley is met by cool air flowing down from the nearby Waldviertel region and along the Krems river. While this warmth influences ripeness and concentrated aromas, the coolness lends strongly to its vibrancy and freshness.

It certainly does sing beautifully on the palate, and this is an every day wine that can be enjoyed on its own, or with meals. As soon as it hits your palate, this sassy white begs you drink a little more.  I’ve seen this wine quite often at SAQ stores, so it should not be too difficult to get your hands on a bottle.  The latest vintage 2014 is due out in stores August 2016.  Buy yourself a few bottles - something a little different to enjoy with your friends!  

Medium lemon in the glass, the nose displays bright citrus with a slight nuance of cumin. The palate is explosive with candied citrus fruit, white pepper and has an acidity that is mouth watering and super refreshing.  There is a very slight fizz which creates an interesting texture.  The finish is medium, full of flavour and simply delightful.  What a beautiful little wine. 

Wine: Laurenz und Sophie Singing Grüner Vetliner 2012
Grape: Grüner Vetliner
SAQ Code:11409320
Price: $19.00
Agent: Bambara Selection