Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Paco & Lola Albariño 2015

It’s only January, but if you're like me, you have already started daydreaming about the warm sun and long summer days on the terrace....but sadly, we have a winter to get through first.  One way to make things a little warmer and a little brighter can be as simple as opening a bottle of your favorite wine.    

Sunshine is now only a glass away with a refreshing and super delicious Albariño from Rías Baixas, made by Paco and Lola.  Having been just released at the SAQ, it should be your ‘go to’ wine for any occasion...not to mention it’s just $15.95…amazing quality for the price.

The SCVA was established in 2005 by a group of independent winegrowers who wanted to join forces and work hard with one goal in mind: to produce amazing wine that expresses the region they are so proud of.  The co-op, named Sociedad Cooperative Vitivinícola Arousana now has 400 members.  Paco and Lola hold roughly 400 acres in plots around the region of Galacia. 

Albariño, a white grape variety that thrives in Rias Baixas is moderately rigorous that grows in small bunches and has relatively thick skin. It can be susceptible to downy and powdery mildew, so given the humidity and abundant rainfall in the region, growers use the pergolas as their trellis system.  This method is called emparrado in Spanish where vines are trained horizontally, allowing for the maximum amount of sunlight while at the same time keeping vines away from the ground, reducing humidity and allowing for greater air flow.

                          Photo: pacoloa.com
 This really is a gem of a wine...it is balanced, packed with flavour, and has a plump mouthfeel with an acidity keeps it fresh and super bright on the palate. Awesome drinkability.  Did I mention.....$15.95? Stock up. Summer's comin'. 

Pale lemon in colour, the nose displays lemon-lime, pear and  green apple.  The dry, medium bodied palate reflects the nose with added notes of peach and salty minerality. The plump mouth feel is in perfect balance with the high acidity and medium, layered finish. Delicious.  Drink now or within the next 2 years.  

Wine: Paco and Lola Albariño 2015
SAQ: 13089868
Price: $15.95
Grape: Alabriño
Alcohol: 12.5 %
Agent: Les Vins Dupré



Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Bernhard & Reibel Crémant d'Alsace 2013

Alsace – tucked neatly away between the Vosges Mountains and the Rhin River,  this region in France is producing some beautiful examples of mostly white varietal wines that are simply delicious, with tons of character and excellent drinkability.   It is not uncommon for even the smallest of producers to make 6-8 wines a year given the amount of permitted grape varieties for the area. Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and the famously fussy Pinot Noir are a few examples and by law, all are bottled in the region of production. 

When you think about it, it’s remarkable how Alsace has managed to succeed in making wine.  Annexation, war, phylloxera and oidium crises…it’s been owned back and forth between France and Germany so many times… it’s nothing short of a tug-of-war game.  Well, thanks to relentless and passionate winemakers, who have been taking good care of their vines, it has become one of the most exciting and interesting places in the world when it comes to wine production. Which brings me to one of the most delicious and graceful Crémant I have ever had....

My wine of the week is a beautiful sparkling from producer Bernhard & Reibel – a family run,  organic winery in the heart of Alsace :  Koenigsbourg.  Since 2000, Winemaker Pierre Bernhard has continued the work from his mother Cecile, creating exciting wines that are terroir driven. In less than 5 km, they have a range of gravel, red granite, and limestone soil...quite a mixture of different plots in such a small area.  

The vineyard in which the grapes are grown extend over 23 hectares, where the soil is mainly acidic gravel and adapted to early ripeness.  Consisting of a blend of 80% chardonnay and 20% pinot noir, the grapes were hand-picked with the first fermentation created with natural yeasts.  The yield for this particular blend was roughly 30% lower than what the appellation requires, which transcends into the wonderfully concentrated fruit in the wine.  

The second fermentation in the bottle,  is completed during the winter months where the temperatures are colder....creating a slower, colder fermentation process leading to the wine's complexity and fine bubbles.  It was then aged 18 months on lees, contributing to its rich texture and round mouthfeel. 

Pale gold on the glass with pretty persistent bubbles, the nose displays notes of candied ginger, lemon-lime, with soupçon of cherry.  The dry, medium bodied palate is layered with flavours of lemon, ripe green pear, with amazing acidity and salty minerality. The finish is textured, layered and ever so crisp. Drink now or within the next 2-3 years.

Wine:  Bernhard & Reibel Crémant d’Alsace 2013
SAQ: 13133224
Price: $25.75
Grapes: Chardonnay , Pinot Noir
Alcohol: 12%
Agent: Boire