Tasting the village heart and regional soul of Burgundy

One Moment, One Bourgogne Wine... www.bourgogne-wines.com

One Moment, One Bourgogne Wine…www.bourgogne-wines.com

I would never turn down an invitation to taste des Grands Crus de Bourgogne. I would not hesitate to partake in a free for all of Premiers Crus. If the call came to experience the village heart and the regional soul of Burgundy’s Appellation wines, I would run, not walk to the show.

One Moment, One Bourgogne Wine... www.bourgogne-wines.com

Bourgognes

So, that’s what I did. At the gracious invitation of The Siren Group and Sopexa Canada Ltée I attended the One Bourgogne Wine event at Hôtel Le Germain, along with François Labet, Burgundy viticulture pioneer and chairman of the Bourgogne Wine Board (BIVB) and Communication Commission. Mr. Labet expounded on terroir; from climats to lieux-dits. Burgundy is a geographical and geological landscape of Jurassic age and proportion. Its heritage is ancestral and has been shaped by twenty centuries of activity. The appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) acts as its guarantor of quality, of terroir, production methods and what typifies the most famous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir anywhere on the planet.

John Szabo presents 15 wines from Burgundy at Hôtel Le Germain's Victor Restaurant on April 8, 2014

Master Sommelier John Szabo of WineAlign presents 15 wines from Burgundy at Toronto’s Hôtel Le Germain Victor Restaurant on April 8, 2014

The Bourgogne event was presented and moderated by Master Sommelier and WineAlign principal critic John Szabo. At the heart of the presentation was the regional diversity that defines real and affordable Burgundy. Mr. Szabo’s chosen wines delved deeper into the soul of the village and regional appellations beyond the Côte de Nuits and the most iconic parts of the Côte de Beaune. Textbook examples from Chablis to the Côte Chalonnaise and the Mâconnais were chosen to offer a true representation of the immensity that is the region.

Bourgogne Menu, Victor Restaurant

Bourgogne Menu, Victor Restaurant

The lunch that followed by way of Hôtel Le Germain’s Victor Restaurant was a reconnect for me and the cuisine of Chef David Chrystian. I first encountered chef’s raw and rooted flavours when he assuaged the Garlands at Café Societa on College Street. I remember with fond confusion his earthly layering foiled by the sterile mall, futuristic canvas of the Colonnade (Patriot). After Chef Anthony Rose left the Drake it was dead to me so mistakenly missed Chrystian’s lauded stint. Thanks to the Siren Group for luring me to Victor to reconnect with Chef David Chrystian once again.

Chef David Chrystian's  Sushi Pizza

Chef David Chrystian’s Sushi Pizza

Here are notes on the 15 wines poured and discussed at One moment, one Bourgogne wine.

Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2012, Burgundy, France (207902, $24.95, WineAlign) From the VINTAGES February 15, 2014 release

Canonical Chablis by the hands of independents. Family farmed and fruit fastidiously judged in timely picking and traditional vinification methods. Produced in allegiance to regional typicity, its nose is pierced by limestone’s necessary metallic tang. Apple tart yet ripe and balanced by plumbic weight. Proper, enjoy it all summer long, Chablis.  @ProfileWineGrp

La Chablisienne Montmains Chablis 1er Cru 2010, Ac, Burgundy, France (265090, $28.95, WineAlign) From the VINTAGES November 23, 2013 release

La Chablisienne alone represents nearly 25 per cent of the region’s plantings. The orchard’s juicy fruit brings expression to this Chablis though it’s more savoury than many and it’s document is read in an angular accent. That and patina transposing into aroma, like the smell of a wet, platinum pipe breaching the fruit’s ability to flesh out. Lubricant at the pipe’s elbow and a moment of quince, even melon, offer weight. This is very good but lacks heft and only shows fossilized mineral on the back palate. Good length but a bit carbonic and needs more flesh and bone to elevate its stratus.  Tasted twice, October 2013 and April 2014   @purechablis

Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne 2013, Ac, Burgundy, France (933077, $20.95, WineAlign)

Jadot’s Bourgogne Blanc is so essential it calls itself Chardonnay. From a vintage in which weather wreaked some havoc and fruit maturity was anything but consistent, the Jadot enterprise found a continued way to get it right, no small feat considering the quantity of triage required for a wine of such quantity. This entry-level white made full use of the warm summer heat, picking was clearly done in advance of the October chill and sorting found the right mix. It’s buttery, nut-browned and figuratively bubbly. The thick and rich texture is key to romancing the fruit into a riper realm than it likely really is. Commendable success from Jadot.   @ljadot

Joseph Drouhin Mâcon Villages 2012, Burgundy, France (356956, $17.95, WineAlign) From the VINTAGES February 15, 2014 release

Simple, pleasant, solid and effective Chardonnay. A true and literal portrayal of the Bourgogne goût de terroir. Warm, gently expressed fruit along with requisite mineral, chalk and lime. Made of a quick resolve to satisfy, quench and move on. An open door to true Chardonnay with nothing shocking, striking or problematic.  @JDrouhin

Domaine Jaeger Defaix Rully 1er Cru, Mont-Palais 2011, Burgundy, France (Agent, $41.99, WineAlign)

From the holdings of Chablis specialist Bernard Defaix, the domain’s variegated clay/chalk vineyards are located in the south of Côte de Beaune. The Mont-Palais vineyard comes from the Niepce family, winegrowers since the 16th century. Now managed by Hélène Jaeger-Defaix, this Rully is utterly unique to Chardonnay. There is a steely, patina Chablis quality to it, but also a concentration in magnetic aroma, whirling in an unstoppable centrifuge, not yet ready to spill those aromas forth. Screams both southern and cool climate, new world Chardonnay, in forward ways like South Africa and like Niagara on the Lake. Not to mention a silty, white salinity. Roger Wilco that. “There’s a light, what light. There’s a light, white light.”  @liffordnicole

Château Vitallis Vieilles Vignes Pouilly Fuissé 2010, Burgundy, France (360495, $27.95, WineAlign)

From 45-70 year old vines, from clay and limestone (Marls). Really, really smart, succulent and mathematical Chardonnay. A stony example who’s tangent space is complexified by a vector of gritty, spiked leaden aromas, like lime, ginger and lemon zest but also by a second vector of herbiage, as in torn, sweet basil leaf. Length stretched by a scalar multiplication, engaging another consideration. Would such a fine example not benefit, at least in theory, from a Premier Cru classification? Surely the winemaker and the vintner would abide.

Château De Beauregard Vers Cras Pouilly Fuissé 2010, Burgundy, France (agent, $48.99, WineAlign)

The famous “Cras” climat on the windy and chalky plateau of Beauregard means “chalk” in the local dialect. Not surprisingly, the chalky mineral impart takes centre stage and the oak treatment fleshes the fruit out in the early stages of the wine’s life. This Pouilly Fuissé solicits attention, love and engagement. An example in clarity of débourbage, the strict sorting technique employed before pressing. Exuberant fruit acts as if it were of a higher caste, a higher Cru. This is a testament to treatment, to extreme minerality. This makes the expression. A very good vintage, ready to consider and expect it to keep on seducing to at least 2020.

Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Chassagne Montrachet 2011, Burgundy, France  (364141, $55.95, WineAlign)

The quality of Girardin’s Chassagne Montrachet is clear, the age and maturity of the vines explicitly noted. There is an increased sense of depth and density that clearly required attention and coaxing. The 14-month, scaled down (15 percent) new oak barrel concept pushes substance to the forefront and wood to the rear. This is rich without being fat, textured but not splintered. The stirred lees add layers to the essentia, accruing a woven tapestry of phenols, lunar-driven gravity and anaerobic activity.  Tasted twice, January and April 2014  @HalpernWine

From left to right: Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2012, La Chablisienne Montmains Chablis 1er Cru 2010, Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne 2013, Joseph Drouhin Mâcon Villages 2012, Château Vitallis Vieilles Vignes Pouilly Fuissé 2010, Château De Beauregard Vers Cras Pouilly Fuissé 2010, Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Chassagne Montrachet 2011

From left to right: Domaine Gautheron Chablis 2012, La Chablisienne Montmains Chablis 1er Cru 2010, Louis Jadot Chardonnay Bourgogne 2013, Joseph Drouhin Mâcon Villages 2012, Château Vitallis Vieilles Vignes Pouilly Fuissé 2010, Château De Beauregard Vers Cras Pouilly Fuissé 2010, Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Chassagne Montrachet 2011

André Delorme Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010, Burgundy, France (366427, $20.95, WineAlign)

The thought here is catholic Burgundy, entry-level, old-school, from antiquity and for the people. Smells like and tastes like grand-père’s Bourgogne Rouge. Cherry fruity, dare I say, Gamay like and marked by tannin that doubles the astringency on the drying finish. Nothing scandalous and well-plundered.

Domaine Thénard Givry 1er Cru Cellier aux Moines 2008, Burgundy, France (Agent, $32.50, WineAlign)

The Thénard family has owned land in Givry since 1760 and this Cellier aux Moines vineyard dates to 1258, named by the Cistercian Monks of the Abbey of Ferte. This is iconic 1er Cru for Givry, from relatively old vines (35-40 years) on a single plot, in mid-slope of southern exposure. Straight out notes of sinew, stem and savour. Esses all around. A vegetal and rustic infirmity comes across and travels through the wine as you work with it. Smells oddly like…hemp. Or perhaps it’s a more delectable weed than that, like rapini, or dandelion. The charred back-end scent reminds of a just extinguished joint. The flavours are dubious, maritime and of the antediluvian earth. For the brave Burgundy heart. Perhaps five to 10 years will soften its edges, peel away the foreign matter and allow a hidden fruit purity to shine.

Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Du Chateau Rouge 2009, Burgundy, France (325142, $36.90, WineAlign)

If today is the day to splurge on red Burgundy but crossing to the dark side of the VINTAGES section is not going to happen, take comfort in this LCBO general (Signature) listing. Dictionary entry actually, but also something funky this way Beaunes. Produced from a whole whack (17 parcels) of Premier Cru, the animal is strong but decidedly feminine. Clear, precise, distinct perfume with each swirl and replayed with every sip. Like raspberries and the sweet smell of the trodden earth after the dew subsides. Could drink this for breakfast with organic bacon post morning stroll and before a dreamy nap.

Maison Roche De Bellene Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves 2010, Burgundy, France  (Agent, $46.95, WineAlign)

So very primary, this Beaune, from the work of Nicholas Potel and winemaker Matt Chittick. Some of Les Grèves vines are nearly 110 years-old and there is clear wisdom beyond the edgy, masculine fruit. Those vines are selected for selection massale, a propagation technique that breeds perpetual health and consistency of style for present and future wines. A different sort of animal resides in this one, of musk, and mineral. Like the Beaune equivalent to traditional Brunello. Yet this Beaune from a very desirable vintage is nimble, moves with quick steps and cat-like reflexes.  @RochedeBellene

Albert Bichot Domaine Du Pavillon Clos Des Ursulines Pommard 2011, Burgundy, France (23820, was $49.95, now $40.75, WineAlign)

The funk in this Pommard is unflappable, modish, flirting and so elevated in stained high-acid and tone. Incredibly tight and sour upon sour. A strenuous Pinot Noir to ponder and even harder to ignore. If the tasting were to last for hours into the afternoon I could imagine a resurgence but often the old adage is true. If it isn’t there to begin with, it will never be. Would like to look ahead and say “it’s not what it was before,” but this is either lacking fruit or it’s just so far away. The texture is plush, the mouthfeel aching, breaking hearts. Mineral, astringent long finish. Tough as nails.  Tasted twice, November 2013 and April 2014

Aurélien Verdet Morey Saint Denis ‘En La Rue De Vergy’ 2010, Burgundy, France  (353416, was $44.95, now $36.25, WineAlign) From a storied vineyard just above the very famous Clos Du Tart in the Côte de Nuits. This producer may not be a household name for its holdings in this Burgundy plot but step aside Bruno Clair, Lignier-Michelot and Pascal Marchand. Verdet can handle the terroir of Morey-St.-Denis. Was and still is an unexpected gem. Rich, textured, layered cran-raspberry and earthy flavours. Persistent though sweet and engaging tannins. From my earlier, September 2013 note. “Noses my kind of MSD aromatics. Soft vanilla, black cherry, smoke and obdurate limestone toughness. Coated in fine, tinny tannin and stretchy length, this represents big value for the appellation.”  Last tasted April 2014

Daniel Rion & Fils Vieilles Vignes Nuits St Georges 2011, Burgundy, France  (356600, $53.95, WineAlign) Classic and as representative as it gets for the appellation, this is firm, time-honoured Burgundy. The old vines, the earth beneath its tendrils and the medieval forest are all in the glass. Though terse and tense, this Pinot Noir will come around to fill glasses with humanistic pours 10 to 15 years down the road. That extended wait will be needed to integrate the earthiness into the formidable tannins so that the lurking red fruit can rise to the top. A fine example with a model, lengthy finish.

From left to right: André Delorme Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010, Domaine Thénard Givry 1er Cru Cellier aux Moines 2008, Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Du Chateau Rouge 2009, Maison Roche De Bellene Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves 2010, Maison Roche De Bellene Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves 2010, Aurélien Verdet Morey Saint Denis ‘En La Rue De Vergy’ 2010, Daniel Rion & Fils Vieilles Vignes Nuits St Georges 2011

From left to right: André Delorme Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010, Domaine Thénard Givry 1er Cru Cellier aux Moines 2008, Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Du Chateau Rouge 2009, Maison Roche De Bellene Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves 2010, Maison Roche De Bellene Beaune 1er Cru Les Grèves 2010, Aurélien Verdet Morey Saint Denis ‘En La Rue De Vergy’ 2010, Daniel Rion & Fils Vieilles Vignes Nuits St Georges 2011

 

Good to go!

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May Day, Mayday. Dinner and a Beaune

Rigatoni, Ramps and Reggiano

May 1, 2012

 

My May Day horse parade odes not to the Gaelic Beltrane nor to the German Walpurgis.  No International Worker’s Day march, raucous celebration or Neopagan revelry.  My May Day includes a mayday call, a Burgundian venez m’aider if you will, to a blessed Beaune.

A friend of mine, here referred to as the “quote machine,” said “I don’t go beneath Volnay.” So, this tasting note’s for you QM. This Beaune spoke well alongside the aforementioned Pasta Asciuta. Second half of the bottle should be stellar alongside French Toast Hamburger Sliders.

 

Domaine Vincent Girardin Santenay 1er Cru Les Gravières 2009 (940825, $38.95) ventures out on a four-beated gait. Muted Cinnamon, sweet Hyssop aromas and to taste, candied sugar cane beets. Then a two-beated trot where sweet raspberry gets inside the muzzle and ambles on the buds. Canters, picks up speed and flurries into an all out elegant red fruit gallop of pure Pinot joy. A whispering, celestial horse. Currently lean in body but I can see it adding weight and flesh over ten years. Will pay regular visits at the retirement farm.  91

DOMAINE VINCENT GIRARDIN SANTENAY LES GRAVIÈRES 1ER CRU 2009

 

 

Good to go!

 

Eight Under $28 From The April 28th VINTAGES Release

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2012

VINTAGES

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/24/eight-under-28-from-the-april-28th-vintages-release/

 

Vinea Garganega 2010 (230656, $13.95) sugars great Veronese IVR* promise out of the Veneto. Hyperglycemic green-eyed lady bass line and Hammond organ finger roll plum and honey-dew in a state of barm loaf. Glycerin of Amaretto and snappy Salak. Sour apple martini with candy swizzle stick, “soothing every wave that comes.”  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canonica a Cerreto Chianti Classico Reserva 2007 (275867, $17.00) was surely not decanted from a straw flask into this sleek and marketable bottle. A precocious and gregarious ruffle of polish and cask modernity speak of the Cerreto’s new worldliness. Splashes of Cabernet and Merlot lean IGT and yet just enough Chianti brightness remains to keep it honest.  Scales (“never heard of him“) on the label are indicative of this balanced effort. Easy money.  88

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hogue Genesis Syrah 2009 (687822, $19.95) is a steadfast and decent wine so my exegesis begins at its central core. Black colour of a world still unformed. Heady like a stand of old growth forest; black oak, ash and walnut. B’reishit Washington Syrah where the bifurcation of quality and cost collide. Big wall of Syrah sound, perfect for headphones playing “no need to hide. Keep it dark.”  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Mâcon-Fuissé 2009 (264515, $19.95) the vibrant fresh maker, with crisp, apple taut fragrance and void of oak annoyance. Just a touch of baby fat and some mineral too. Well-balanced for under $20. Girardin’s (940825, $39) Santenay on this release is not to be missed.  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arnoux & Fils Vacqueyras 2009 (264663, $19.95) is as modern as it gets for the appellation, right down to “The Vac” label. Sweet Kirsch, lifted raspberry jam, soft, fleshy and forward. Has just enough funk to keep it real. Will have broad appeal and represents excellent Dogg value, if you like the plush style. Betcha Snoop drinks it.   89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leasingham Winemakers Selection Bin 61 Shiraz 2008 (448241, $24.95) the Kitty of Clare Valley is back in town. A loyal and trusted friend, reminiscent of the ’99. Burns no rubber and “goes runnin’ nightly, lightly through the jungle.” Less power, more strength. Less jam, more brakes. This Highway 61 should not be accused of having put its “bleachers out in the sun.”  90

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saltram of Mamre Brook Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (48579, $24.95) may inexplicably enjoy cult status but for the money no other Barossa Cabernet can demand such respect. I would pay $25 for this over almost any $50+ peer within the appellation. Opulent, ruddy, bursting, pickled berries.  88

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isole E Olena Chainti Classico 2008 (704346, $26.95) the beguiler welcomes with cinnamon, cherry spice and award winning roses. Poised, confident, simply phenomenal CC issue. Delicious now and will be perfect in five.  Better than when tasted in November 2011.  91

TN from Nov. 29, 2011,“…a mouthful of black fruit, bourbon cask aromas, dark and stormy. The barque of a ship’s ocean misted, wooden planks and of a smoked beef rib. Hard lines but hard to resist. Bloody good CC but certainly not traditional.  89

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other Wines Tasted

Two Rivers of Marlborough Convergence Sauvignon Blanc 2011 (277707, $29.95) carries heavy alcohol bandwidth, tomato leaf pesto and band-aid across a frame of sweet lime concentrate. Hot for SB, over processed and heavy with silicone and collagen. Their will be superficial fans.  86

Chavet & Fils La Dame De Jacques Coeur Menetou-Salon Blanc 2010 (525048, $19.95) offers a rare VINTAGES sighting and would excite were it more Loire and less Marlborough. Salmagundi of pâté, gooseberry and kiwi, swathed by an alkaline grapefruit finish.  85

Torres Viña Esmerelda 2010 (113696, $13.95) zests halitious of ReaLemon and petroleum wax. Can’t help but hear the “smell of wine and cheap perfume” lyric played by a wedding band while the cast of Jersey Shore watch their drapery clad mothers put back the Esmeralda. Like Torrontoes with bad make-up. Won’t be tagging along on this Moscatel journey.  80

Colchester Ridge Crew Meritage 2007 (280990, $19.95) noses Ontario from the get go with burning campfire then wafts exotic towards Masala spice, brown derby dressing and horseradish root. Flavour of earth demi-glace, composted apple and black licorice.  84

Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (38075, $23.95) the “melody softly soaring through my atmosphere” is cute, sweet, lyrical and precocious. Gallo incarnate in the AlexanderValley. A death Cab for some but what’s not to like?  87

Stag’s Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (996405, $49.95) the model of consistency vintage to vintage and head to foot. Runs black cherry in its veins with nary a cut, scrape or bruise. Napa varietal profiling in its poised, beating heart.  89

Andrew Rich Cuvée B Pinot Noir 2008 (127043, $29.95) carries currant, candied pomegranate and the rocky crush of clove studded juniper berry. Well made, on the elegant side of Pinot life, even Burgundian if that can even be articulated.  88

Mendel Malbec 2009 (108225, $24.95) typifies Mendoza replete with old vines fruit adding canorous body. Infundibular midriff slows the smouldering, swelling berry pleasure. Crucial minerals carry red grape fluid away from the viscera and out of the body.  87

Susana Balbo Signature Malbec 2009 (79798, $21.95) at the outset teases TCA, then VA. Paulliac nez of tabac et peau danimaux. That and a whack of new French Oak where vanilla, chocolate and coffee lambaste and pummel the senses.  NR

Majella Shiraz 2008 (269308, $29.95) is a vitrified, mined vine of depth and power but short on finesse. Heavy extract with a touch of soap and mired in the details of oak. “The wheels are spinning but the car, neutral.”  86

Esprit de Pavie 2008 (244020, $32.95) shows good spirit as it amalgamates 2nd wine fruit from iconic Pavie, Monbousquet, Clos L’eglise and St. Columbe. Spiced coffee cake and soft yet pretty purple fruit. Obdurate push back indicates three years of cellaring will help. Would have been a CVR** steal at $20-25.  89

Brancaia Tre 2009 (164715, $22.95) the SGM speaks of identity theft and lack of spirit. Once upon a Tuscan, now a global commodity playing on MOR radio stations. This bottling recently rushed to great success but there is now “a question of your honesty, yeah your honesty.” Sure it’s delicious but what’s with “all this machinery making modern music?”  Pair not with pasta asciuta normale87

StefanoAccordini Acinatico Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2009 (85159, $19.95) is pitchy for a valpo with splendiferous up front fruit. Cimmerian red plum joined by buff vanillan cocoa and velveteen in the mouth. So far so good but ultimately flaccid and void of oomph.  86

Allende 2006 (954560, $24.95) in extant cantillates oak, oak, oak. What happened to my Rioja? Tempered Tempranillo so no fear that it may seize. Pendulous and potent, well-mannered, ready to please. Go Condado de Haza over this for sure.  87

Perrin Réserve Rosé 2011 (719062, $15.95) is warm and balanced, all strawberry, all the time. Nutty for its ilk.  86

 

 

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR* – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

 

 

Good to go!

 

April Wine: Top VINTAGES Values to Buy Right Now

April 12, 2012

How many times have you found yourself standing in the LCBO dumbfounded and lost in ambient wine distraction? Do you feel knocked upside the Medulla Oblongata by a monopoly’s shelves bedecked by every race, creed and colour of wine known to Ontario kind? Don’t get caught on The Bad Side of The Moon. Have no fear. Head straight to the VINTAGES section and choose one of these great IVR* and CVR** top picks.

http://blogs.canada.com/2012/04/12/april-wine-top-vintages-values-to-buy-right-now/

 
REDS
 
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Pietro Marini Malbec 2008 (268045, $13.95) Argentina
Petra Zingari Toscana Igt 2008 (244228, $13.95) Italy
Michele Chiarlo ‘Le Orme’ Barbera D’asti Superiore 2009 (265413, $14.95) Italy
Bodega del Abad Dom Bueno Crianza 2001 (244699, $14.95) Spain
Taurino Riserva Salice Salentino 2008 (177527, $14.95) Italy
Domaine De La Janasse Côtes Du Rhône 2009 (705228, $15.95) France
 
VINTAGES April 14th Release
Jorio Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2009 (134577, $13.95) Italy
Fabre Montmayou Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (261891, $14.95) Argentina
 
VINTAGES April 28th Release
Sister’s Run Epiphany Shiraz 2008 (269464, $15.95) Australia
Cannonica e Ceretto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 (275867, $17.00) Italy
 
 
ROSÉ
 
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Tawse Sketches of Ontario Rosé 2011 (172643, $15.95) Ontario
 
 
SPARKLING
 
Current in VINTAGES STORES
Louis Bouillot Perle D’ivoire Brut Blancs De Blancs (48801, $18.95) France
 
 
WHITES
 
Current In VINTAGES Stores
Fielding Estate Chardonnay Unoaked 2008 (164491, $13.95) Ontario
Featherstone Black Sheep Riesling 2011 (080234, $16.95) Ontario
Studert-Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2007 (114777, $17.95) Germany
Marimar Estate La Masía Don Miguel Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 (270090, $19.95) California
 
VINTAGES April 14th Release
Michael Delhommeau Cuvee Harmonie Muscadet De Sevre-et-Maine 2010 (164624, $12.95) France
L’Uvaggio Di Giacomo Vermentino 2009 (279281, $15.95) California
Tyrell’s Brookdale Semillon 2011 (269316, $19.95) Australia
 
VINTAGES April 28th Release
Vincent Girardin Vieilles Vignes Mâcon-Fuissé 2009 (264515, $19.95) France
 

IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio

CVR* – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

 

 

Live Wine Chat on canada.com

April 12, 2012

Join in Today at 2:00 pm ET as I chat online about wine. I will be joined by Ruth Dunley (PostMedia), Rod Phillips (Ottawa Citizen), James Nevison (HALFAGLASS) and Gurvinder Bhatia (Vinomania)

http://www.canada.com/news/Live+Chat+wine+experts/6427822/story.html

We will be discussing wine media. Do you read wine reviews or make purchases based on what wine critics write … should you? 

 

 

 

Good to go!

Nothing Simple About This Wine Dinner

 

12 Tasters, Five Courses, 13 Wines

Simple Bistro, 619 Mt. Pleasant Rd.

Chef: Matt Cowan

 

Well, I float in liquid gardens.”

Large group, small pours, plenty to go around. A Tour de France of the mind-altering kind. Champagne, White and Red Burgundy, Bordeaux. A line up to prostrate the palate. Thank you AZ for the invite, the planning and the execution. A formidable feast matched with precision expertise and the company not bad either. Band of Gypsys (Jimi Hendrix) playing over the sound system. Who knew so much unintentional comedy would grace this evening.

  

 

Three Colville Bay Oysters, shallot mignonette

Oysters of this calibre are a treat. Shell swelling, sweetmeat, toothsome.

Roederer Champagne 1996

Apples in stereo. Intro succinct as a toasted energy chord, yeast still runs deep. Soul of the bubbles intact, velocity winding down. Tone has seen its evolution. Not quite Madeira but heading down that road. Beauteous bird.  90

 

Seared Sablefish, spinach, beurre blanc

Teaser, delicious, best crispy Cod crackling 

Vincent Sauvestre Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2004

Sadly, surprisingly oxidized. Flavour of fruit long time gone, now generic, walking a flat earth. Mildly redemptive aromatic qualities, most notably and oddly tequila/caramelized agave, pineapple and honey. Burnt banana too.   NR  

Vincent Girardin Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru 2006

Sleeping baby, horse with no name. Soft, floral, feminine, dry, lost in the desert. then the filly awakens. Evocative scents and images emerge as “plants and birds and rocks and things.” Minerality kicks in, moist sea air fills the bowl. Drink up within two to three years.  93 

 

Roasted Squabsauce chasseur, gnocchi, shiitake

Brilliant dish, earth, mahogany, herb spiked, foul the texture of foie

Château de La Tour Clos de Vougeot 1990

Climbs over the enclosure to dwell in the suburbs of paradisiacal Burgundy. Redolent orchard of plum, coppice of resinous trees. Smokey, nary a sign of champignon. Later stages of ontogeny, post gallic acid but still long as the Saône flows. Choice Côte de Nuits92

Domaine Henri Perrot-Minot Morey-St.-Denis En La Rue De Vergy 1996

The dark knight of the three red Burgundies. Smells like merde at first, a pumpkin left to compost long after the hallow night is done. A few swirls and the funk blows away, leaving behind a smashing MSD. Oracular utterances are in the air now. “Lazer beam of acidity” says AM, “Pinot on a frozen rope” says I.  93

Domaine Joseph Drouhin Clos Vougeot 2002

Concludes the flight of the Conburgs. Ctunning clarity on a new world frame. Oregon of course. AZ notes a “zin, zinging character.” It’s in a sweet, candied Wonka way. “The hard candied shell of the apple” adds the doc. Despite the sacchariferous notes this Vougeot may just be the underappreciated WOTN.  91   

Lamb Saddle, roast root vegetables, brussels sprouts, spiced prune jus

Bison for MJG. Once again, Chef Cowan shows his penchant for rare meat as dentil frieze on a canvas of deep, earthy demi-glace.

BORDEAUX FLIGHT #1  

Château Cos D’estournel, Saint Estephe 1986

Corked, volatile acidity or disjointed? No clear consensus from the group. Despite the fact that I am not overly TCA sensitive I know it is corked. Muted nose, what the wine might have been masked by the taint.  NR

Château Beychevelle, Saint Julien 1996

Brick red, having entered its later stages of evolution. Luster and loin giving way but sweet fruit hanging on. At this stage a house, not a home. Once mighty, mighty, the ’96 Beychevelle “make a old man wish for younger days.”  90

Château Pichon Baron Longueville, Paulliac 1988

This PBL is throwing rocks tonight. I am dazzled by its youth. Purity, clarity, vitality. Embodies Cclaret’s dictionary entry. Opened in the heart of its window. While ’89 and ’90 continue to hog that era’s spotlight, here lies reason number one to endorse ’88.  The turkey of the triple flight.  95   

BORDEAUX FLIGHT #2

Château Léoville-Las Cases, Saint Julien 1996     

Utopian, foxy, rubicund health. Voluptuous tomato, classy and luxurious on every level. Unabashed, showing off unblemished, curvy fruit. Pellucid, transparent, honest. A player, even if the highest caste keeps the dark LLC down. The sixth major94

Château Léoville Barton, Saint Julien 1986

The right honourable LB, consummate professional, trusted friend. Works the room with a politician’s charm, open to debate, unscathed after 25 years in bottle. Cast firm, time honoured through oak, cedar and lead, now showing spice notes in middle age. Stalwart SJ.  92   

Château Monbousquet, St. Émilion 1998

Napa bent with rich cassis and blackberry jam, verging on chewy raisin, resinous Amarone, even Vintage Port liquor. Precious, juiced Bordeaux in a hedonistic state. Pretender or professional? “I was feeling kind of ethereal…had my eye on your imperial.” Not so sure. Tastes great but is it the real deal?  89   

Château Lagrange, Saint Julien 1990

Funky barnyard entry, unfailing after all these years. Dissipates, leaving behind a most noble, prosaic, seasoned specimen. “Pleasant, short, competent, you get what you pay for” is heard from around the table. This was a back-up bottle as understudy to the corked Cos. My take? This ‘Bourgeois’ can saddle up to my picnic bench in a paper cup any day of the week. Thank you for the icing on the cake AZ.  91  

  

Cheese, benedictin, roasted fig

 
 
 
Good to go!

 

Judgement at Barberian’s, Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Now to share with you one taster’s fascination of experience,  his infectious enthusiasm and his awe in the presence of greatness.

 

by featured writer Jascha Baraness

Last week, I was fortunate enough to get invited to an epic BYOW Burgundy dinner in the wine cellar at Barberian’s Steakhouse. First we sipped Champagne, paired with oysters and shrimp so big they would make lobsters blush. Everyone mingled until the bubbles had dissipated.  The host then led the way further down into the main cellar, set with a long table for the party. Here we were all able to look at what our dining partners had chosen to bring.  This two tiered room is a glorious cathedral of wine, with every last square inch of wall space adorned with cubbies filled to the brim with the world’s greatest titles.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s definitely worth the visit on your next trip to the Toronto institution.
 
The wines came out in flights each with great contrast of styles and age.
Whites came first and through all the flights the highlight was the ’96 1er cru Butteaux from the master of Chablis, Francois Raveneau.  He makes wines that are so focused you feel like you’re walking on a tightrope negotiating this searing acidity on one side, and pure, concentrated Chardonnay tree fruit and citrus on the other – phenomenal.  Comte Lafon’s ’06 Meursault Clos de la Barre shone, showing restrained power backed by just the right amount of oak.  Also to be noted was the Tawse-Marchand ’09 Corton showing wisdom beyond it’s youth – will be a gem a few years down the road.
 
There were too many reds to recount, but as always in Burgundy the cream rises to the top.  In order of consumption; a ’95 Volnay Taillpieds from Marquis D’Angerville still youthful.  A ’90 Chateau de La Tour Clos de Vougeot still caressing through flexed muscles.  The ’89 DRC Romanee St. Vivant with the ethereal quality that the legendary house is famous for. Two Ruchottes Chambertin from Leroy and Rousseau, the ’85 and ’05 respectively, giving insight into a glorious vineyard a generation apart.  A close friend of mine and I measure wine by the ‘magic’ content in bottles from the Cote D’or which on this particular evening earned it’s name.
 
Our hosts were kind enough to provide us with a magnum of Hermitage from Chave to wash it all down with as well as an ’83 d’Yquem with cheese that made me close my eyes hope that the moment would never end. It was an evening of palette pampering that I won’t soon forget.   JB
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wines in each flight are listed in order of favourites.

Flight #1

  1. Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé  NV
  2. Charlie Burger Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Classé Champagne NV

Flight #2

  1. François Raveneau Chablis 1er Cru Butteaux 1996
  2. Domaine Servin Les Clos, Chablis Grand Cru 2002
  3. Domaine William Fèvre Chablis Grand Cru Bougros 2005
  4. Vincent Girardin Bâtard-Montrachet 1999 Grand Cru (oxidized)

Flight #3

  1. Domaine des Comtes Lafon Meursault Clos de la Barre 2006
  2. Domaine Matrot Meursault-Blagny 1er Cru 2007
  3. Domaine Roulot Meursault “Les Luchets” 2002
  4. Domaine Latour-Giraud Les Genevrieres, Meursault Premier Cru 2007

Flight #4

  1. Marc Colin et Fils Corton-Charlemagne 2005
  2. Marchand-Tawse Corton Grand Gru 2009
  3. Domaine Dublere Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru 2007

Flight #5

  1. Domaine Marquis d’Angerville Taille Pieds, Volnay Premier Cru 1995
  2. Alain Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny 2002

Flight #6

  1. Château de la Tour Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 1990
  2. Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2006
  3. Mommessin Clos de Tart Grand Cru Monopole 2001

Flight #7

  1. Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée Saint-Vivant Grand Cru 1989
  2. Domaine George Roumier Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru 2000
  3. Merry Edwards Pinot Noir ’30′ Russian River Valley 2003
  4. Domaine Rene Engel Grands-Echezeaux Grand Cru 1999 (corked)

Flight #8

  1. Domaine Arlaud Aux Combottes, Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru 1999
  2. Remoissenet Père et Fils, Gevrey-Chambertin Cazetiers 1er Cru 2007

Flight #9

  1. Domaine Leroy Ruchottes-Chambertin Grand Cru 1985
  2. Domaine Armand Rousseau Père et Fils Ruchottes-Chambertin Clos des Ruchottes Grand Cru 2005
  3. Domaine Ponsot Charmes-Chambertin Cuvee des Merles Grand Cru 1996
  4. Champy Hospices de Beaune Mazis-Chambertin Grand Cru 2007
  5. Faiveley Chambertin-Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 1996

Flight #10

  1. Domaine Henri Boillot Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos de la Mouchère Premier Cru 2007
  2. Peter Michael Chardonnay Point Rouge 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flight #11

  1. Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge (Magnum) 2000

Flight #12

  1. Château d’Yquem 1983

 

 

 

Good to go!