The Thank You Post

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As I write these words, my heart feels heavy of emotion. It has been almost 3 months that the Wine Bloggers Conference has been finished and I miss it a great deal. I have never participated in a conference before, and it was the first time that somebody took an interest in my persona before.

I had the chance to meet some extraordinary people at the conference. The WBC bloggers welcomed me with open arms and humility.It is very hard for me to write this post. My heart overflows with joy and sadness and it is so difficult to put words to describe this feeling.

So, this is the way that goes. A big thanks to Thea Dwelle and the scholarship comite to have selected me for the scholarship. I hope I lived to your expectations. Never in a million years, I would have thought that my work could be worthy of admiration by the WBC organizers. To this day, I still believe that is all a dream and have not wake up to face reality.

To each one of the sponsors, many thanks as well. I wish that I  could be physically present to shake your hands. Thanks to your sponsorship, I was able to assist in one of the greatest events of the wine industry.

To each of the fellow wine bloggers that I meet on that weekend: Thanks as well for taking the time to hear my story. Had a chance to meet great personalities such as Von Vino, the great Dame Wine and Rick Dean. Let me not forget the execptional Michael Kelly, he was on my table for the Saturday closing supper meal and in the saturday after party. I could go forever, but wait..I cant also forget, the great Cindy Lowe Rynning. I have been an admirer of her work for some time now. For those who saw me at the after party on saturday, thanks too for partying together.

This is not the end but just the beginning. I will continue to write about the conference and I will see you soon in Walla Walla in 2018. I wish that time would pass faster to relieve the conference again.

See you soon colleagues

Love,

Marco

 

 

 

The Ethics of Wine Blogging

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Fred Swan at the WBC 17

The first blogger that I heard talking about ethics in wine blogging was David Pelletier ( a.k.a as Le Sommelier Fou). In his blog, David had a very serious editorial stance where he discussed his tasting methodology and sample policy. Honesty and transparency were the trademarks of David. Out of affection, I used to call him, the original wine blogger. Sadly, Le Sommelier Fou passed away in October 2016. My only regret was that I did not spend more time with him discussing this issue. Another blogger with a clear editorial stance is Julien Marchand. In his approach ( short and sweet), Julien defines the purpose of his blog and sets the tone for his posts: If I am interested, I talk about it.

What do these two bloggers have in common?. Honesty and transparency with no impression of a hidden agenda. At the latest Wine Bloggers Conference, Fred Swan discussed those two important points in what I call the principle of integrity. Similar to journalists, bloggers are on the public eye and must demonstrate an unbiased opinion. Fred Swan could not stress enough that you are brand and you set an expectation. A reputation is hard to build and can disappear in the blink of an eye.

When you declare that the wine bottles for your post were samples, you are being transparent. Same thing apply for the subject of press trips. It is a must to say, that you were invited by a organization or producer. All this above to avoid given the impression that you were bought off.

When you become a wine blogger, you are your own product ambassador and with that comes a fair share of responsibilities This is the gist that I got from the seminar of Fred Swan at the Wine Bloggers Conference. We have a duty to our readers to inform in the most transparent way as possible and we cannot allow ourselves to break that bond.

Beyond the element of full disclosure, comes the principle of accuracy. This point also got my attention at the Fred Swan seminar. When researching a post, it is important to use multiple sources. It is all about balance. For instance, a few years back,when I started writing about wine, one of my editors told me to talk about 3-4 producers when profiling a wine region. It is all about being impartial. It is important not to project the image of favoritism. By simply following this steps you will become an authority in your field.

The last importance point of the seminar was the principle of kindness. Lets not forget good manners and be polite even when encounter something that we don’t like. For example, when we get invited to somebody house for dinner and dont like something about the food, we just dont trash the host. It goes the same way, when we are writing about wine. Be polite, because It is always imperative to remember that the written word stay longer than the oral one. There are diplomatic ways to express your dislike about a specific wine. After all, wine is something very personal and what you might not like, somebody else can find it delicious.

In the very near future, I will be formulating a clear editorial stance. This is something that I do not wish to have any loose ends.

Thanks again for taking the time to read.

Dinner with Annie and Carl

My weekends are pretty quiet. Usually, Saturday and Sunday are off-limits for writing and i spend time enjoying my wife and daughter.

There is also the weekend routine which includes food shopping, laundry and my daughter activities which are skating and dancing courses. We also do diverse family outings such as light hiking, visiting new parks or going to the movies.

The season for dinner invitations and other social outings have just started again. Last saturday, we went to Annie’s house with the occasion of visiting her 1-year-old daughter Maïka. Annie is a work colleague from my wife and I really love eating at her place because she makes great food all the time. She also has a great taste in wine. She loves Pinot Noir and especially from Burgundy.

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We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and we were warmly greeted by them. After the greetings formalities were finished, we were offered aperitivos. Carl offered me a glass of Chardonnay Farnito 2015 from Carpineto. A lovely Italian interpretation of the Burgundian grape, this Chardonnay offered intriguing aromas of ripe barlett pear and white nectarines. Beyond the fruit in the bouquet, I really enjoyed its herbal and flower nuances. It reminded me of an August warm afternoon in the Tuscan countryside.

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Annie offered some sparkling wine to my wife. Our host is a big fan of Bernard-Massard Cuvée de L’Ecusson Brut Methode Traditionnelle. I have had this wine from Luxembourg at her house before. I tried from my wife glass. A delicious sparkler made with Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Nicely balanced with a good acidity and displaying lemon and white orchard fruit on the palate.

Me and a my wife sipped slowly our aperitivos while munching on some raw vegetables. It was a fine and quite appropriate accord. We watched our children played together and I contemplated the time passing by like flipping the pages of a familiar novel.

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The main dish was braised pork shoulder with dates and potatoes cooked in the slow cooker. I am not usually a big fan of pork, finding that the meat tastes slighty sweet for my palate and the aromas could be a bit bland sometimes. However, the dish of Annie was so savoury with complex flavours The hunk of pork shoulder in my palate had a irresistible gamey aroma mingled with the exoticism of middle eastern spices. It was the emblem of seduction!!

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For this dish I chose the Domaine Thymiopoulos Naoussa 2014. For some time now, I have been drinking the wines of Thymiopoulos and they are quite popular among Quebec wine aficionados. A lovely expression of Xinomavro, it is a fascinating wine with aromas of ripe red fruits, pipe tobacco, vanilla bean and spices. On the mouth, subtle and velvety with polished tannins. Xinomavro could yield wild and tannic wines but in the hands of Apostolos Thymiopoulos, they turn out to be quite elegant. Recently, the domaine has switched to biodynamic agriculture and slowly is going towards natural winemaking. It was just a perfect match, the dish complementing the spicyness and red fruit of the wine and viceversa.

The dessert was simple but quite tasty. A piece of caramel-apple tart with vanilla bean ice cream. We finished off the evening playing sequence and eating chips as a snack.

Next week, we are going to Claudia and David to celebrate her birthday. It is supposed to be a potluck supper so I will keep you posted of the festivities.

Ciao for now.

The other California-Top Bottles at the Wine Bloggers Conference 2017

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It took a weekend trip to the golden state to discover the ” unknown ” wines of California. While at the latest  Wine Bloggers Conference, I had the special chance to discover many special wine regions such as El Dorado and Livermore Valley. Regarding this two regions, I will do in another opportunity another post in detail. For now, I will leave with a little amuse bouche, like they say in French.

Below  are some of the wines that the impressed the most at the conference. Sadly for me, these wines are not available in the Quebec market, so I will have to cherish the memory until I return to California.

Masthead 2015 Sangiovese Mohr-Fry Ranch, Block 433

California Sangiovese did not excite until I tried the bottle of Masthead. This is the brainchild of three bloggers: Luscious Lushes, From the Vine, and D’Vine. Block 433 blew my mind and shattered all my preconceptions about the potential of Sangiovese in the golden state. A crossover style between Tuscany and Puglia, you must try this wine.

Ripe Redcurrants, black olives, leathery and also reminiscent of baked earth. Rich and multilayered yet very elegant bringing to mind coffee, maraschino cherry. Fine tannins and very long in the palate.Lovely finale bringing to mind paprika, padron peppers and raspberry jam

Blue Farm 2014 Anne Katherina Vineyard Estate

I met the modest Anne-Moller-Racke in a post conference dinner activity at Shone Farm Winery. A native of Oberwesel, Germany, she owns Blue Farm winery and a 9 acres vineyard that bears the name of her daughter, Anne Katherina. An exceptional artisanal producer with a cult status, her wines are available to wine lovers in tiny allocations

Perhaps the best Pinot Noir that ever tried from California.  The Anne Katherina bottling is a salute to Pinot Noir. More Burgundian than New World, this wines brings to mind Burgundy Grand Crus with its vibrant red fruit notes, floral essences and perfumed and silky palate as you swirl in the glass.

Madrona Malbec 2015 El Dorado County

El Dorado County wines was my biggest discovery at the Wine Bloggers Conference 2017. Located just an hour from Sacramento or South Lake Tahoe in the  Sierra Foothills, El Dorado county is blessed with a microclimate that favours Rhone and Bordeaux Varietals.

This Malbec from Madrona vineyards fascinated me with its dense and brooding aromas of cassis and blueberry fruit laced with wild fennel and spearmint. Dense and intense, yet balanced with velvety tannins.

Fenestra Petite Sirah 2013 Livermore Valley

It is always a breeze to taste a Petite Sirah. Also known as Durif, the grape  was created  in France in the 1860s by the botanist Francois Durif.  A cross between Syrah and an indigenous French grape Peloursin, with the purpose of making Syrah more resistant to mildew. At some point the grape travelled to California, where it was rebaptised as Petite Sirah for its resemblance of the Syrah grape.

Livermore Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in California, made famous by Wente Vineyards Concannon Vineyards. The appellation is known for Petite Sirah, a but also Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I heard that exciting things are being made from Gruner Veltliner to Verdelho. From what i tasted at the wine bloggers conference, quality and  price remain very competitive compared to Sonoma and Napa.

 

Big nose featuring very expressive aromas of blueberry, blackberries and cassis.  Full body and quite structured with an elegant rusticness. Flavors bring to mind meaty and exotic spices such as cinnamon, asofetida and licorice.

Stay tuned for the next post, dear readers!!!

 

 

 

The Intimacy of Eating a Chocolatine

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Since october I have embarked on a project to study breadmaking at the Center Calixa-Lavallée.  Besides wine, my other big passion include cooking. Wine and food go together and you cannot have one with out the other.

The study of bread has been a subject that always fascinated me. It is so similar to wine, since it is a product of terroir. At its heart, bread is made with simple down to earth ingredients: flour, water and yeast. If you are a purist, the flour can come from a specific mill, the water from a special stream and well..the fermenting agent  could levain or yeast. This  is the same strain as the responsible for the fermentation of wine: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Unless, you are talking about Levain or sourdough which is another ball game.

A part of my program consist of learning to make viennoiseries. The word “viennoiserie” – is French for “things from Vienna” – spans a whole category of pastry that includes croissants, pain au raisins and brioche. These products, symbolized  with France, tend to close the gap between the arts of boulangerie and  patisserie in culinary school philosophy.

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Viennoiseries are made either from:  a pâte viennoise (a leavened, sweetened dough named because of its origin in Vienna) or  a pâte feuilletée (puff pastry dough, which is not leavened but puffs during cooking like and accordeon because of its many layers of dough and the air that rests between them).

To eat a chocolatine straight from the oven is a priviliged experience that is quite intimate. For me, it brought a fond memory of when I arrived in Montreal and walked in for the first time in La Gascogne in Laurier Street.  Mastering the art of laminated dough to make a croissant is quite a challenge. Under the supervision of my professor Michelle, slowly, I am learning the robes The trick is to incorporate the well the butter in all the dough.  This is called tourage in French. Kneading the dough too thin can kill the feuilletage when you bake the croissants.

Chocolatines are great as a petit dejeuner with a cafe au lait to start off any day of your week. However, they are also very popular in weekend brunches and certainly can be enjoyed with wine. The challenge is to find something not too sweet and refreshing at the same time to handle the buttery richness and chocolate sweetness of the chocolatine. The answer lies in sweet wines. Sparkling cider works best but certain dessert wines from the Loire Valley, South Africa, Italy or the Rhone Valley can do the job as well.

I encourage you to try the following reccomendations next time you have a warm chocolatine. If you cant make one, buy one from a top boulangerie and reheat to kind of live the experience.

 

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Cidrerie du Minot La Croisée Quebec, Canada ( SAQ # 12962063, $9.60)

On the nose caramel with granny smith apple. Fresh and slighty sweet with a frizzante bubble alike. A reasonable priced sparkling cider to have for brunch, specially now during the holidays period.

Voir la photo agrandie du produit. Cette photo s'ouvre dans une visionneuse et peut comporter des obstacles à l'accessibilité.

Cidre de glace Vergers Petit & Fils 2014 Quebec, Canada ( SAQ # 10320972, $23.85)

Enticing aromas of apple turnover, spices with slight balsamic notes. Very fresh and creamy with a good persistance in the mouth. A finale that brings to mind a touch of honey and earl grey.

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Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2012, Western Cape, South Africa ( SAQ # 10999655, $75.25)

Citric aromas such a ripe tangerines, dry white fruits and nuance of musk. Sweet with a good acidity and poetic. A dessert by itself, this sweet wine  is just borderline  in an accord with a  chocolatine.

 

 

 

Wine with leftovers?. A candid interpretation.

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Credits: STEPHANIE HOFMANN

You all now this, i don’t have to remind you but December is the month that we eat the most food. Between office parties, homely dinner parties, christmas and new year’s we end with a lots of leftover food and eating that for several days

Some of my greatest wine experiences have involved a great bottle of wine with a reheated plate of something the next day. I usually do this wearing my pyjamas. After taking the time to do some tasting notes, I proceed to eat taking my tray and watching a good movie. This is what i do the next day after a dinner party.

Reheated lasagna with Amarone?- just bliss. Braised beef and St-Chinian?-the ultimate comfort food. Reheated seafood rice and Champagne-is like dying and going to foodie heaven. These are examples of my previous repertoire of wine tasting memories.

Sometimes i don’t even have to do the cooking. Soon my wife and I will start doing the rounds as part of the christmas holidays in other people’s houses and bring back food This is always the case when i go to my in-laws. She will give us meat or chicken pie, meatball ragu or turkey. The next day, I am standing silly in front of my cellar and thinking what to drink with that.

So, whats an amazing leftover wine?. I am looking at something comforting with some complexity. Maximum price, $100. We don’t want to exaggerate either. A few years ago, my aunt Fanny was staying us for the christmas holidays. I opened up a Calon Segur 2004 from my cellar with warmup chicken cacciatore. The wine was not the proper choice for the occasion but it was extraordinary.

Delicious Mercurey with my leftovers?

I dont get to drink enough red burgundy because of the prices but I should dip my nose a bit further into the region as there are some really good gems. This is the case of the Mercurey appellation.

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Source: Vins de Bourgogne

Mercurey is a humble appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise region (Saône-et-Loire) that  includes 32 Premiers Crus Climats. The producing communes include Mercurey, Saint-Martin-sous-Montaigu. This is red wine territory, 80% is Pinot Noir and the remainder Chardonnay.

For many Burgundy lovers, the wines combine  quality  with a best value that money can give. These are intense reds with lightly earthy flavours that are rustic and austere in their youth but age nicely with a few years in the cellar. The best can go up to a decade.

The terroir of Mercurey is very interesting. Located closer to the northern frontier of the Cote Chalonnaise and near Cote de Beaune itself, Mercurey shares the same climatic conditions as it most prestigious Côte d’Or.  The soil is mainly limestone as it approaches the hilly ( often best vineyards) with more marl at the bottom.

The SAQ list 41 products in their catalog with a price range that goes between the upper $20 and the mid $80 (magnum bottles). I love a good Mercurey with traditional Quebec christmas food leftovers or with a reheated mushroom risotto.

Below are two Mercurey wines that I tasted recently. Other producers that I highly reccomend are: Chateau de Chamirey, Faiveley and Bichot.

Have a joyful wine drinking experience!!!

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Château Philippe-Le-Hardi Mercurey Premier Cru Les Puillets 2015. SAQ # 869800. $29.60

This property was famous since it was owned   by royalty such as Philippe Le Hardi ( 1342-1404), son of king  Jean Le Bon ( 1319-1364) and first duke of Burgundy. This property

Alluring nose of mountain leaves, black prunes with soft barnyard nuances ( porcini and truffle oil comes to mind). Ample with firm and polished tannins. This wine could be very fun with leftovers beef bourgignon.

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Michel Juillot Mercurey 2015. SAQ: 573402. $33.50

Michel Julliot Estate, which has been a driving force  for four generations in Mercurey, cultivates 30 hectares of vines crafting a blend of the best “climats” and expositions that Mercurey has to offer (South & South-East) as well as several Côte de Beaune Crus.  The domaine was partly responsible as well for determining some of the boundaries of Mercurey

Succulent red berry fruit with mint undertones and freshly picked roses/violets. Velvety with soft and ripe tannins with a spicy finale. A bit of cacao, humus and balsamic notes in the finale.

 

Live Wine Blogging-WBC 17

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“Exercising your twitter skills” was how a fellow wine blogger described the live wine blogging sessions at the latest Wine Bloggers Conference 2017.

It was one of the most challenging but also the most rewarding sessions of the conference. In the space of an hour, you got to spend 5 min with a producer in a round table. In this short time, you had to evaluate the wine but also do a live tweet. It was very tough.

Image result for circuit training high school gif cartoonsThose sessions were the hardest but the most rewarding. Friday, was the session of the white and rose and saturday was the live red wine blogging. These sessions brought to mind physical education classes at high school. Specifically, circuit training. However, I hated circuit training but I loved the wine blogging at the WBC 17

Beyond the fabulous wines that i discovered, those live sessions taught me how to be precise in the nick of time. Sometimes, I experience something personal that I call twitter block. Similar, to writers block, I just don’t know what to say. Two key things that I learnt from the love wine blogging exercise:

  1. Key words. Do simple short phrases with powerful key words. I count my seconds when I was reading the live tweets of my other colleagues, and I spent an average of 5 seconds per tweet. After a careful introspection, I found that reading long sentences was tedious.
  2. Combination of hashtags and tagging. I finds that tagging the winery was the best tool to deliver my message rather than a pool of hashtags. So, tagging was the perfect way to deliver that specific message to the winery and the hashtag thing more like in index summary of a conversation.

You may find that these are silly things that I learnt, but what can I say. I am fairly new to twitter. I only have 543 followers, but I am hoping to build steadily my twitter followers.

The wines that I liked from the first day

In this frenzy wine circuit training, there we some wines that duly striked out. I am reminded of one of the wisdom words of Gerard Basset, one of the best world sommeliers: the first 20 seconds make an impression of a wine, the rest is useless. If I think about this now, when I calm, this is very true. In those 20 seconds, there was something striking on each of the wines:

Matthiasson 2015 Napa Valley White wine.

Matthiasson is an artisanal winery specializing in the production of unique wines both from Napa and Sonoma. This wine was a blend of Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano with some Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Rich and structured with flavors of ripe peaches,  and blanched almonds. Lots of floral nuances in the palate. Creamy with a plesant saltiness.

Hanna Sauvignon Blanc 2016 Russian River Valley.

Beyond the fume blanc style, this Sauvignon Blanc from Hanna charmed me with its herbaceous and pink grapefruit flavours. Fresh and vibrant, I could describe it as a cross between a Sancerre, Bordeaux Blanc with a Californian spirit.

Antinori Family Estates Antica Block A26 2015.

The Antinori family brought their Tuscan family expertise to California and they truly are crafting exceptional wines. In the mid 1990’s, they founded Antica and the project is overseen by Piero Antinori daughters. The A26 is a serious chardonnay bringing to mind textbook aromas of Chardonnay such as ripe Bartlett pear, smoke, honey nougat, wax and citronella.

The reds from the second day

Knowing what to expect from the second day,  I was already feeling more comfortable. I also had a chance to read about the subject and not feel like a dummy. In a very near future, a matter of weeks

Cain Five Spring Mountain District Napa Valley 2006

A righteous Bordeaux blend. I am not into Napa Valley wines but for Cain Five, I am making an exception. It was just a gorgeous wine bringing something of a combined style between a Saint-Estephe, Pauillac with sunny California. Complex with dark fruit notes, graphite, Tuscan leather, Virginia tobacco, and baked earth. Velvety in the palate, long and ample with fine tannins. I wish that we could get more Californian wines like this in Montreal.

Donelan Cuvée Moriah 2013 Sonoma County

A hearty Grenache based wine with a hint of Syrah. Deep notes of red currant fruit, baking spices, vanilla and licorice. On the mouth, rustic and earthy with mild oak flavors. Warm mineral finale.

 

Potluck Languedoc!!!

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To have a wine presentation around a potluck lunch is a wonderful idea. It embodies the generosity of wine and food and it permits you to exploy a wide range of gastronomic plates in a single setting. With this setting in mind, I recently attended a press tasting of Languedoc wines led by Christine Molines, marketing director of Languedoc wines in collaboration with Ateliers & Saveurs.

Hard to resist the invitation, since I love Potlucks but also this French wine region holds a special place in my heart. It was in the Languedoc that I started my early days of French wine drinking.

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For me the Languedoc is the ultimate wine potluck. The region boast 23 AOPs and 22 IGPs. There are over twenty grape varieties planted and the region produces a diverse style: sparkling, still white, still red, dessert. Across the 40,000 hectares of the region, the wines have a distinct mediterranean character.

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While the potluck was being prepared, I enjoyed an glass of Blanquette de Limoux  from Sieur d’Arques ( SAQ # 94953, $17.90).  The AOP  Limoux  yields sparkling wines with a  saline mediterranean character. It is said that the  Blanquette de Limoux was the world’s first sparkling wine, going  back as 1531. This bottling is majority blend of 90% Mauzac with the reminding in equal parts Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Medium body, crisp and refreshing, it was a marvelous match with a scallop ceviche, granny smith and jalapeno pepper. The green apple and iode notes of the Limoux cleansing out the  cilantro undertones from the ceviche.

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The entree of the potluck was an aspic  dashi with eggs, fresh coriander and shiitake mushrooms.  An impressive food match that proves the versability of Languedoc wines. The Picpoul de Pinet Ormarine Les Pins de Camille ( SAQ # 266064, $13.10) was exciting reflecting flavors of iode, green apple, meyer lemons and mint. It was a crisp and nicely round on the edges bringing an aromatic herbal sensation when combined with the dish.  More than half of the still white wines (61%) of Languedoc come from the appellation, Picpoul de Pinet where the Picpoul grape is the leading protagonist reflecting the chalky mineral soil with a sunny mediterranean character.

The dashi was also matched with the rose from Gerard Bertrand 2016 ( SAQ # 12521962, $18.35). A traditional blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah, this rose brought to mind raspberry sorbet, strawberry with provencal herbs or garrique. Crisp and fresh, it brought out a different mineral sensation when paired with the dish.

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Next came a series of  gastronomical dishes matched by diverse wines of the appellation.  With a paella made with in the risotto style, we had two wines from  les Cave de Roquebrun:  A Fiefs D’Aupenac 2016 ( SAQ # 10559174, $18.55) and a Rose Col de L’Orb 2015 ( SAQ # 642504, $12.70). These are from the appellation of Saint Chinian and more specifically coming from the Roquebrun area. This appellations  is very sunny appellation from Languedoc, getting as much 0f 300 days per sun a year for the village of Roquebrun.  The soils to the north are dominated by schists and gravel while to the south they contain more chalk.

Les Fiefs D’Aupenac is a lovely majority blend of Rousanne (80%) with the remainder Grenache Blanc ( 20%). It was very enchanting with its nuances of honey and nougat and notes of ripe apricot fruit and orange blossom water. Structured with a pronounced minerality, it was  a lovely complement to the risotto, elevating the saffron notes of the dish. On the other hand, the rose Col de L’Orb, a blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Grenache with its aromas of bruised red berries and wet flowers gave an earthy character to the accord giving bringing to mind roasted garrique notes.

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Another dish that caught my attention was a fancy rendition of Mac and Cheese with old cheddar perfumed with truffle oil. It was paired again with a hearty St-Chinian and a velvety Cabardes. La Madura Tradition 2014 ( SAQ # 10682615, $18.95) is a multi blend of Grenache ( 30%), Carignan ( 37%), Syrah ( 10%) and Mourvedre ( 14%). A very racy wine with nuances of camphor, dark cassis, prunes and black cumin. Earthy with muscular tannins and balsamic nuances as well. A very interesting match with the mac & cheese providing in the palate a very smoky sensation.

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From the appellation of Cabardés, we also enjoyed the Chateau de Pennautier ( SAQ # 560755, $14.55).  The vineyards that give birth to this wine comes from sunny and rocky hills in the southern slope of the black mountain between 200-300 meters of altitude where the vines benefit from the east-west winds of the climate. A comforting red bringing to mind leather, licorice with red pitted cherry and nuances of red currants and paprika. Full body with a very earthy finale. It was a great food match, the wine bringing out a earthiness in the plate with a certain salinity to it.

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With a meatball ragu Languedoc style came two wines from  the Faugeres and La Clape Appellations: L’Impertinent from Faugeres and Chateau Rouquette sur Mer. They were good matches but I preferred the Chateau du Grand Caumont 2015-Impatience ( SAQ # 978189, $18.55) from the Corbieres appellation and the Devois des Agneaux D’Aumelas 2014 ( SAQ # 912311, $19.45) from the general AOC Languedoc. The corbieres was spicy reminiscent of hoisin sauce, cloves and cacao in a dark fruit sauce. Powerful and racy with a nice minerality with muscular yet vibrant tannins. The Devois des Agneaux brought to mind cofee, macerated cherry in brandy with dry mediterranean spices such as  oregano. It was rich and satiny and very long.

So after reading this, you get the idea that the wines of Languedoc are versatile with a diverse types of cuisine and perfect for any potluck. As the  christmas holidays are approaching, please bear in mind these wines for your family and friends gathering.

 

 

 

 

 

Chablis,1 cépage, 4 appellations et un casse-tête des «Climats»

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Ana Gallegos

1 cépage, 4 appellations et un casse-tête des «Climats»

Chablis est l’un des noms les plus célèbres dans le domaine du vin blanc, si célèbre qu’après son interdiction aux EU, les producteurs de vins américains se sont appropriés le nom pour leurs vins blancs, une pratique qui se poursuit malheureusement jusqu’à aujourd’hui.

Les ravages du phylloxéra et du mildiou à la fin du XIXème siècle, puis deux guerres mondiales et de fortes gelées ont réduit les vignobles de Chablis, malgré sa renommée, à une fraction de sa production. Cependant, le travail acharné des vignerons a fait renaitre la vigne. Une nouvelle génération d’hommes et de femmes prennent la relève. Alliant tradition et modernité, ils permettent le retour d’un Chablis aux qualités probablement jamais égalées.

Le Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne, représenté par son président Louis Moreau, et le sommelier Kler-Yann Bouteiller, a organisé un souper-formation au restaurant Dur à cuire à Longueuil, dans le but de déguster les 4 appellations de Chablis. Un menu accord mets-vins y a été spécialement élaboré pour chacune des 4 appellations.

Pour bien comprendre ces vins d’exception, il convient avant tout de décortiquer tous les aspects reliés aux caractéristiques de chaque « Climat » et de sa classification hiérarchique.

Chablis est situé bien au nord du reste de la Bourgogne. Certains disent que c’est ici, sur le sous-sol kimmeridgien, que le cépage Chardonnay trouve sa plus grande harmonie avec son terroir, même s’il est l’un des plus largement planté de part le monde.

Le kimmeridgien est essentiellement un mélange des marnes grises avec des bancs de calcaire parfois très enrichis de minuscules coquilles d’huîtres fossilisées appelées Exogyra Virgula. C’est ici, dans ce sous-sol particulier, que les vins de Chablis puisent leur typicité, leur pureté et leur finesse.

Comme dans toute la Bourgogne, les vignobles de Chablis se distinguent par des aires de production précisément délimitées, ainsi que des conditions de production spécifiques. Logiquement, plus on monte dans la hiérarchie, plus les exigences sont grandes. Une bonne partie de ce qu’on appelle aujourd’hui Chablis et Petit Chablis est le résultat d’une expansion des limites de l’appellation depuis les années 1950.

Quatre appellations cohabitent dans le vignoble de Chablis:

Petit Chablis: essentiellement planté sur les plateaux situés en haut des coteaux. Vin frais qui en principe se boit dans sa jeunesse et principalement à l’apéritif.

Chablis: la plus grande de 4 appellations. Les vins de l’appellation Chablis ont plus de longueur et volume en bouche comparé au Petit Chablis. L’âge de la vigne, le millésime et le style de chaque vigneron influent sur le résultat final.

Chablis Premier Cru: cette appellation comporte 40 climats , regroupés sous 17 climats principaux. Cette appellation peut être suivie soit de l’expression Premier Cru, soit du nom du Climat d’origine, soit par l’un et l’autre pour les vins provenant des parcelles classées en Premier Cru. Les différents Climats apportent chacun leur style, les uns plus vifs et minéraux (ex. Montée de Tonnerre), les autres plus tendres et fruités (ex. Montmains).

Chablis grand Cru: dernière étape de la pyramide. Cette appellation peut être suivie d’un de 7 Climats: Blanchot, Bougros, Les Clos, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valeur, Vaudésir. Vins riches en nuances selon les Climats qui peuvent être gardés de 10 à 15 ans.

Les vins de Chablis offrent une large palette de profils et d’expressions pouvant convenir à plusieurs mets. Ils offrent une grande versatilité. Du Petit Chablis au Chablis Grand Cru, il y a toujours un vin pour chaque plat; en voici quelques exemples:

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Huitres Rockefeller
Petit Chablis, 2015, Domaine Moutard Diligent-Val de Mer

20171110_013014.jpgSAQ 12956528 $25,05

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« Gâteau » de riz, saumon bio mariné, oeufs de saumon, mayonnaise au raifort, billes de betteraves, oeufs de caille au vinaigre de riz.
Chablis, Les Grands Terroirs, 2015, Samuel Billaud

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SAQ 11890993 $30,50

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« Pétoncle » de porcelet noirci au sucre de canne, jus de clair de porcelet au thé, pomme de terre fondante au jambon de Parme, lamelles de courges marinées au thym et origan.

Chablis 1er Cru, Vaulignot, 2015, Domaine Louis Moreau SAQ 480285 $30,35.

Chablis 1er Cru, Fourchaume, 2015, La Chablissienne

SAQ 11094671 $39,75

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Carpaccio de tome de Bourgogne, pommes compressées, nougat, tuiles de Graham.

Chablis Grand Cru, Vaudésir, 2015, Domaine Jean-Paul et Benoît Droin
SAQ 12280880 $82,25

Chablis Grand Cru, Bougros, 2014, Domaine Drouhin Vaudon-Joseph Drouhin
SAQ 11590253 $82

 

Heureusement, de nombreux bons vins de Chablis sont disponibles à la SAQ: Christian Moreau, Billaud-Simon, Domaine William Fèvre, Patrick Piuze, Gérard Duplessis, Joseph Drouhin, entre autres. Donc n’hésitez pas à remplir votre cave pour être prêt pour votre prochain souper.

Petit conseil:

La durée de conservation dépend de chaque appellation. Un Petit Chablis pourra être dégusté dans les 2 ans, un Chablis peut également se boire dans sa jeunesse, mais peut aussi se garder 5 ans ou plus. Un Chablis Premier Cru se déguste avec plaisir entre sa 5ème et sa 10ème année. Quant au Chablis Grand Cru, il s’apprécie au moins 10 à 12 ans après sa récolte selon les millésimes. Il n’est pas rare de vivre une expérience sensorielle magnifique avec une bouteille de Chablis Grand Cru de 15 ans, 20 ans voire plus.

Pour qu’un vin soit apprécié, il doit être servi à la bonne température. Elle est idéale pour un Petit Chablis aux alentours de 8°C à l’apéritif et de 9°C-10°C à table. Un Chablis et un Chablis Premier Cru se dégustent entre 10°C et 11°C. Enfin un Chablis Grand Cru est servi autour de 12°C-14°C.

 

Les vins d’Enira et de Bulgarie

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Par Ana Gallegos

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La Bulgarie est un des plus anciens vignobles du monde avec la Grèce et la Géorgie. Après la Seconde Guerre mondiale, la politique soviétique a totalement anéanti les traditions locales. Mais, depuis sa chute, de nouvelles caves dynamiques et bien équipées se sont développées

En 2001 le Docteur Karl-Heinz Hauptmann et le Comte Stephan Von Neipperg ( les propriétaires du Château Canon La Gaffeliere  et La Mondotte à Saint-Emilion), ont acquis, auprès de 800 propriétaires différents, 250 hectares de vignobles pour créer Bessa Valley Winery.

Le Terroir de Bessa Valley

Le millésime 2004 a été le premier présenté au public. Les propriétaires de Bessa Valley Winery ont réalisé pour la première fois l’idée de vin de terroir en Bulgarie avec cette récolte. Environ 720.000 bouteilles sont produites et 80 % d’entre elles sont exportées en Europe, Amérique du Nord  et Asie.

Cette vallée, bordée au Sud par le massif des Rhodopes, et au Nord par des collines d’environ 230 m d’altitude, offre une situation géographique idéale. Les vents s’y engouffrant contrebalancent les excès de température liés au climat continental. Elle bénéficie en outre de l’influence de la Maritsa, qui coule à quelque km de là. Les vins issus de terroirs argilo-calcaires offrent puissance et structure, mais également acidité et minéralité.

eniraOn trouve dans le marché québécois le vin Enira 2011. ( SAQ #  12468807, $20.45) C’est un vin à la couleur pourpre profonde, aux arômes de vanille et de menthe avec des nuances de framboise et de mûre sauvage. Les tanins sont ronds et les fruits rouges donnent une longue finale, le vin révèle une harmonie entre l’élevage dans des fûts de chêne et le fruit. Il accompagne à merveille toutes les viandes rouges et fromages avec un grand potentiel de vieillissement d’environ 5 à 7 ans.

Encépagement

Syrah 50%

Merlot 40%

Petit Verdot 10 %

Vinification

Les raisins sont vendangés à la main, puis sont soigneusement sélectionnés sur la table de tri. La macération à froid des grains entiers se déroule pendant 5 à 8 jours à une température de 16ºC. La fermentation alcoolique est contrôlée à une température de 26-28ºC pendant 8-10 jours. Vieillissement en fûts de chêne français pour environ 12 mois.