Celebrating Spring with Domaine Mosse

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Tomorrow marks the first day of Spring and what better way to celebrate it with a glass of sparkling wine. A good glasss of bubbly is festive but not all sparkling wine is made equal. I adore to drink sparkling while BBQ as an aperitivo or if am sitting in my terrace enjoying a smoke

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Not too long ago I share with  a friend a magnum of Domaine Mosse Moussamoussettes.  It happens often among wine buddies that we buy a wine case and split it with other wine lovers.

Domaine Mosse is a leading natural wine  producer from the Loire of delicious wines particularly those made with Chenin Blanc. This producer have a cult following among natural wine lovers in Montreal. Cant wait to try their other wines including the magic of juju

This pet nat rosé is  made by onefrom Gamay and Grolleau Gris.  It is juicy and brisk, flavors of baked peaches, herbs and a touch of watermelon and red oranges.  A bit funky as well in a good way. Refreshing, fruity. Delightful. Incredible drinkability and dangerous too!!!. A great food pairing wine with cheese or baked omelette!!!

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If you live in Quebec, you can get it privately via its importer Le Vin Dans Le Voiles. 

The standard bottle (750 m) will set you for $38.52 for a 12 bottle case. It is available at the moment. The magnum will be available as of June and it trades for $75.88 ( 6 bottle case)

Highly reccomend it and a must try to explore a natural alternative style of sparkling wine.

Chartier Créateur d’Harmonies Fronsac 2015

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I love good Bordeaux but it has gotten a bit expensive for my wallet. So when I hear, under $20 and the reputation of an excellent vintage for Bordeaux is music for ears. Add to this, a famous name behind the bottle and I got myself a symphony.

Chartier is a well know personality in the world wine industry. Either you love or hate it, it is up to you. He was best world sommelier ( Grand Prix Sopexa 1994) and has published more than 24 books since 1996. Now he makes terrific wines. His critics say he is a sold out, making commercial wines. I totally disagree, he is a pragmatic businessman making outstanding value wines.

Since 2011 he has been on the other side of the fence with his French and Spanish wine project. He is a producteur négociant-éleveur and his wine get better and better with each vintage. It success can be attributed to of course his experience but also his collaboration with Bordeaux winemaker Pascal Chatonnet, his partner in the enterprise.

Fronsac is a “satellite” appellations of Bordeaux that includes Côtes de Castillon, Lalande de Pomerol, Fronsac, Canon Fronsac, Bordeaux Superieur, Entre Deux Mers and Côtes de Bordeaux and it shined on the 2015 vintage.

In recent years Fronsac has been enjoying great critical acclaim for high quality Merlot driven wines made from top notch clay and limestone terroirs.

The 2015 vintage is terrific displaying ripe but not overly concentrated notes of morello cherry, raspberry with leafy blackcurrants and cedar. On the palate, it is round with sweet mouth coating tannins. The wine spent mostly 14 months in one and two years old barrique which gives the wine a creamy and satiny texture with not too much wood retronasal flavors. It is racy and quite long in the mouth. If you have some in your cellar, hold to it for another 5 years and you will be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t, get yourself a case and stash it away. The 2015 currently retails at the SAQ ( 12068070 ). One of the best Bordeaux available at the SAQ for under $20. ( $18.05)

 

A glass of vino with chicharron!!

The simplest wine pairings are the best. Sometimes what we really need with that special bottle is just a tasty bowl of our favorite snacks be it chips or chicharron ( pork rinds)

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I don’t do potato chips or other corn-based since following a low carb diet lifestyle. On an occasional basis, you will see me enjoy a small bowl of popcorn. However, what I really enjoy and can eat without counting carbs  is a nice bowl of chicharrones. In my teenage years, living in Venezuela, I would enjoy them  with a cold beer or a rum with coke. nowadays, beer and rhum are not my favorite drinks.

This also being the beginning of sugar shack season, you will also see pork rinds in many cabanes de sucre. Actually, I will skip the sugar shack this year due to my dietary restrictions.

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So what to drink with your chicharrones?.  Basically, you should eyeball a medium body red with some tannins for the fat but not too much because the salt will accentuate the tannic sensation in your palate. Sparkling wines and Champagne work best because they will cleanse your palate. The above pictured wines are excellent and affordable choices for your next piggy snack!!!

Domaine des Hauts Baigneux Spontané Blanc 2017. SAQ # 13879801. $24.45

This beautiful ” pet nat” is the brainchild of star winemakers Nicolas Grosbois and Philippe Mesnier ( Domaine des Hauts Baigneux). Although working from the Loire Valley, they also source grapes from the French Southwest  ( Semillon, Len de l’el and Mauzac) to make this wine.

Very aromatic nose reminiscent of japanese pear, rose water and vanilla bean. On the palate, dry and slighty saline with a long and pure finale.

Joseph Faiveley Bourgogne 2016. SAQ # 00142448, $25.10

Faiveley is a well established name in Burgundy and does not need an introduction in these pages. This famous  company has been based in Nuits St Georges since the days of Pierre Faiveley who founded the business in 1825. His son Joseph gave his name to the enterprise, to be followed by the first François, Georges who was instrumental in founding the Chevaliers du Tastevin, Guy who developed the business in the Côte Chalonnaise, François who has recently retired and now his son Erwan, born in 1979.

Lovely Pinot Noir with hints of smoke and sun-dried tomato laced with strawberry puree and bright raspberry undertones. On the palate,  structured with soft tannins complemented by delicious flavours of licorice and black fruits.

Podere Castorani Cadetto Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015. SAQ # 12494651. $18.40

Podere Castorani is the wine project of F1 star Jarno Trulli and his family in the Abruzzo region. Although a big estate in the region, Castorani has been making high quality wines since 1793

Textbook Montepulciano nose reminiscent of dark plums and cherry. Full body, yet fruity with lush and chewy tannins.

Disclosure: The wines above were tasted at the A3 Quebec February press tasting.

 

 

Domaine Turner Pageot La Rupture 2015

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By the way…as I am writing these lines, I am listening to Maria Callas

Sauvignon Blanc wines are not very common in Southern France. Bordeaux and Loire, yes but not in a place like Gabian in Languedoc.

I first heard about Domaine Turner Pageot while taking a sommelier course at the ITHQ. Luckily for me Emmanuel Pageot came to visit us one evening  and explain to us the students his vision of Biodynamics in the Languedoc Terroir. Since then I became hooked to the domaine and biodynamic wines in general.

L’Existence des Choix

In every bottle of Turner Pageot we can find the above small heading which translated in English means, the existence of Choice. You can make cold and soulless wines or wines full of life. In every bottle of Turner Pageot, wherever is Le Blanc, 48h, Le Rouge, La Rupture, Carmina Major, B 815, G 230 or Les Choix, you can taste a piece of authencity which is the trademark of the artist that communicates the lifeforce of the terroir. This is what you will find in Turner Pageot.

La Rupture 2015 ( around $33.69. Six pack case, Private Import-Raisonnance agence. Florian Maziere. florian@raisonnance.net)

The ‘rupture’ referred to in the name is with standard winemaking, as 20% of this full-bodied southern French white has macerated on its skins during fermentation, like red wine.

A Sauvignon Blanc unique ( because it does not taste like Sauvignon at all) with sunny accents. Lovely nose reminiscent of anis with complex floral nuances such as white rose and vanilla as well. With some aeration, citric fruit aromas emerges such as grapefruit peel, lime confit lemons and a lovely delicate note of roasted sesame seeds. Dry and quite saline in the palate, very pleasant.  Round and quite digest like the French would say. A captivating perfumed  finale bringing to mind burning hay and nectarine. Unique with a distinctive personality. Perfectly made. A great wine experience, but must important that it feels alive.

I found this video that describes in more depth the philosophy of the wines of the domain:

 

By the way, Emmanuel Pageot will be in Montreal this week ( next Wednesday and Thursday at Chez Victoire   presenting his wines as a part of the gastronomical suppers organized for the Montreal Lumiere Festival. There might be some place left but if you wish you to attend please contact the restaurant directly.

Cheers!!!

Que seras, mi Syrah!!

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My love affair with French Syrah goes back to my early years of wine drinking. The bottle that started my sentimental affair was a Chave Hermitage Rouge 1998. It was seduction at the first sip with its occult raspberry and blackberry undertones but what really felt like lovemaking was the sanguine and animal quality that only Northern Rhone Syrah can give.

Bordeaux and Burgundy are cold to me. Every time that I drink a super Rhone syrah, I always get that feeling that the wine is stripping me slowly. The foremother of my  wine passion, Christine  always use to tell me that eventually all wine roads lead to Syrah. There is something elusive and highly passionate about drinking a St-Joseph, Crozes or Cote Rotie.

In a perfect world, I will drink Hermitage on a daily basis. However, the most famous cru of the Northern Rhone could be like a high maintenance girlfriend. It is nice to have it from time to time but it could burn you if you have it often. Oh yes, passions can kill you.

Here are three lovely examples of Northern Rhone Syrah that you can find in the Quebec market. They are nicely enjoyable and wont kill you like the black spider. Enjoy. Whats the perfect food match of Northern Rhone Syrah?. It is grilled meat. So take out the snow from your BBQ and get grilling.

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Domaine Grangier Reflets de Syrah 2016. SAQ # 13113750, $31.25

Notes of spearmint, licorice with violets and fragrant summer blackberries and a hint of horsesaddle, cocoa as well.  On the mouth, delicious and dangerously fruity. Long and round in the palate, it is a charmer with a rich yet balanced finale.  Very smooth with fine cashmere tannins. Delicate flavours of korean BBQ and anis complement uplift this beautiful St-Joseph.

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Domaine Monier Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes Syrah 2016. Private Import ( Les Vins Dame-Jeanne, $30.87, Six bottle case)

A trascendental nose. It goes beyond the usual suspect aromas of dark blue fruits. Taking it to another level, the word complexity for an entry level Northern Rhone Syrah. Aromas of olive tapenade, roasted seaweed with an intense nose of iron verging towards dry blood. Yes, it has an electric charge of electric  blueberry nuances. Structured and opulent on the palate, yet so easy to drink with those seducing tannins. Long and meaty finale.

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Maison les Alexandrins par Nicolas Perrin Crozes-Hermitage 2015. SAQ # 12661826, $29.10

Dark fruits with that sensational dusty minerality of the appellation. With some aeration in the glass a bit of black smoke and blueberry character on the glass as well. On the mouth, dense and finely concentrated with muscular tannins.

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Cheers my dear readers!!!

 

 

Valentine’s day wine pick

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I spent a very pleasant St Valentine’s day evening in the company of my wife and daughter. Being a weekday, we decided to stay home. To please the two femmes of my life, I cooked salmon fillets poached in butter with a spinach, mushroom and bacon saute.

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My wife is not a big wine drinker. She occasionally enjoy a glass of vino once in a while. Her favorites grapes are Pinot Noir and Gamay and she is not into too much into natural or biodynamic wines.

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Stefano at RAW Montreal 2018

I pushed my luck and decided to pair my dish with the rosato of Stefano Amerighi in Tuscany. Stefano has the best Syrah in Tuscany and even in Italy. This rosato is strictly made with Sangiovese and it was just so harmonious with the dish. It was richer and more complex than other rosatos from Tuscany. After some instropection on, it brought to mind a Tavel. It had a dense core of strawberry laced with raspberry, leather and a hint of spice. Structured with enough body to balance the richness of the dish.

My wife really enjoyed and I knew for sure because she had 2 full glasses which is rare. She kept saying it was so good. I was very happy and relieved at the same time. I was concerned whe would dislike the wine because it is biodynamic.

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This rosato is available privately by its importer: Le Vin dans Le Voiles. This agency has really a very interesting Italian wine portfolio. It retails for $29.84 and comes in 12 bottle case. Sadly, it is not available at the moment, so you better reserve with the agency for the next arrival.

Salute!!. What was your Valentine’s vino?

Keeping your sanity with food and wine.

Christmas holidays are usually a hectic and stressful time. I spent most of my December doing 12 to 14 shifts at the bakery where I work. The nativity month took an incredible physical and mental toll on me. This combined with the agonizing commercial spirit of the holidays was a recipe for panic attacks and anxiety.

There was not too much time for writing or drinking fine bottles of wine. After those longs work days, I came home wasted of tiredness and spitting maledictions to almond croissants and baguette croutons.

What prevented me going Normand Bates during December was my passion for food and wine. Solace was found in the bottle of wine with the simple but exquisite food dish to pair with it. Actually a memorable bottle that I drank was a Domaine Vaquer 1988. This was an exquisite bottle showcasing the sexy shades of mature Carignan. I brought the bottle from my latest trip to Rousillon in 2017. Cocoa, wet leaves, tobacco with a blissful elegance and finesse. Out of the blue, I popped the bottle with a butter saffron chicken curry on Christmas Eve.

A bit of a planned affair was the Cabernet Franc from Domaine Breton Bourgueil 2011. Opened a bit too soon showing fragant aromas of rose peppercorns, strawberry and licorice. Fine and elegant with a bit of a drying finale. It was not my first choice. It was either this or the Pierre Gonon Saint Joseph 2015. It was elegant and classy with a steak dinner. Good wine but I am not a Loire wine lover.

The best wine moments are the improvised ones. Too much planning in wine and food pairing kills the romance in wine. It is like making an appointment on when to have sex.

Tomorrow is the last day of the festivities and I have no idea what I will have. As I write these lines, I am watching Soprano episodes and feeling much better already.

The only thing I know is that I want to have a Galette Des Rois. I will take it from there.

Peace

A tasting from Italy ( Part III)-Saffredi, a Supertuscan from the beaten path

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The Italian trade tasting held this past October in Montreal  may be all forgotten to many of my wine colleagues but it stills resonates in my mind.

The first time that I tasted Saffredi was in the New Years Eve 2003 with my Italian family in Loreto Aprutino. In a context of a luxurious supper with many other bottles that included Querciabella, Massetto, Tenuta di Trinoro and a Petrus!!!, Saffredi stood out. Sadly, I cant remember the vintage in question  but I do remember how beautiful it paired with a black truffle risotto

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After Sassicaia, Saffredi is my favorite Supertuscan. This powerful Tuscan blend evoques in my mind a richer version of a Chateau Lafite. What it is that makes so special?. It is the proportion of Petit Verdot that complements the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Petit Verdot is a grape native to the Médoc area, in France, where it is used for the production of Bordeaux, and is also common in California. In Italy, the Petit Verdot manages to express itself in a truly magical way in Tuscany, in the Maremma area of ​​Livorno, in the Grosseto and in the Agro Pontino in Lazio.

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Saffredi is the grand vin of Fattoria Le Pupille, own and managed by Elisabetta Geppetti ( a.k.a the lady of Morellino) near the village of Magliano within the Morellino di Scansano DOC. From its first vintage in 1987, the wine was destined for greatness. Giacomo Tachis consulted on the project followed by Riccardo Cotarella and Christian Le Sommer, ex-technical director of Chateau Latour. However, the driving force of the wine has  always been the tenacious and passionate character of the Signora Gepetti.

Saffredi is crafted  from a tiny  six hectare vineyard planted to mostly Cabernet and Merlot, although the first vintages used Cabernet from vines grafted onto existing Sangiovese rootstocks in one of the family’s original vineyards.

With time, the property gradually expanded, and today has 75 hectares of vineyards across five sites. They lie at elevations between 200 and 280 metres, on mostly stony clay-limestone soils. Sea breezes from the shore, only 10 kilometres away,cold down the baking summer temperatures.

The 2016 vintage in Tuscany is similar to 2015 in terms of outstanding quality. Similar to Bordeaux, the 2016 vintage could well surpass the 2015.  It is often too easy  to compare vintages, yet 2016 is being compared to great vintages such as  2006, 2008 and 2010 – the new wave great classics.

The 2016 Saffredi blew my mind off at the Italian trade tasting. It had a glorious nose reminiscent of cassis, mint, black truffle and dry lavender. On the palate, it was quite opulent making me think of a Lafite with a Ferrari coat. The flavours were exquisite redolent of  savoury notes of tobacco, dark chocolate and coffee beans with sambuca. The finish was incredible long and harmonious much like Mahler Symphony 5

Saffredi is imported in Quebec by Montalvin. It is not very expensive retailing close to $100 per bottle, considering the much higher price of other Supertuscans. For more information on availability please contact the agent directly. I highly recccomend that you buy at least 6 bottles and let this wine unfold with time in the cellar.

Cheers!!

Wine and Panettone pairing

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Christmas is the time of giving and sharing, a time of celebration with the loved ones.
In my childhood days, my family would gather on Christmas day to share a special meal: the Christmas lunch.

Panettone is the cake of festivities, a protagonist of the Italian Christmas tradition. It is usually eaten for breakfast but can also be enjoyed as an afternoon snack or dessert.

This sweet yeast dough, soft and spongy brioche alike requires the matching with a wine high enough of residual sugar yet with a good acidity to cleanse the palate, cutting through the rich aftertaste of butter.

The cake has its origins in Milan, sometime in the 15th century with the tradition of eating a slice of panettone on January 4 to bring good health for the new year. It comes in different varieties: filled  with candied fruit, covered in chocolate or almond icing or cream-filled. You can serve panettone in many ways, but for the best taste,  it is better to do it in the traditional way.

If you are looking forward to enjoy your panettone with non italian wine for a change, here are my recommendations:

Domaine du Tariquet Dernières Grives 2016. SAQ # 13034808, $29.00

Lovely nose reminiscent of sultana raisins, honey and tangerine peel.Sweet yet balanced by a refreshing acidity. Long and persistent in the mouth with complex flavours of earl grey tea.

Renardat-Fâche Bugey Cerdon. SAQ # 12477543, $24.85

Floral with nuances of rose petals, lavender and fresh cranberries. Fresh with a fine bubble  and slight sweet  delightful flavors of strawberry and promegranade. Long finale.

Domaine Marcel Deiss Pinot Gris Beblenheim 2015. SAQ # 11544476 , $27.15

Nuances of honey with peach and roasted apples in syrup. On the palate, spicy with a creamy texture and medium acidity. Long in the palate with a dry prune aftertaste.

 

 

 

 

A Gewürztraminer that you won’t forget

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Gewürztraminer is one of the grapes that I have a bit of difficulty with it. It can be too much aromatic with heady scents of rose water and lychee which poses a bit of a challenge in my kitchen. It can go from dry to sweet depending on the producer and region. It does not go well with Southern Italian or Latin American cuisine but it is wonderful with Asian cuisine, specially Thai. Next time you order takeout or visit a BYOB Thai resto, consider Gewürztraminer

While doing an errand at my local SAQ in Repentigny, I spotted the Gewurztraminer Herrenweg De Turckheim 2012 ( SAQ # 11063904, $38.75) from Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. For many years, I have enjoyed the vibrant, complex and above all mystical wines of this mythical Alsatian producer.

The signature of each Zind-Humbrecht wine is its heightened sense of terroir: the expression of the vineyard is always clear and well defined.

Zind-Humbrecht is one of the founding members of the association La Renaissance des Appellations. This association was created in 2001 with the purpose of bringing together producers who shared the vision of Biodynamics and terroir. A few years back, they came to Montreal and did a wine fair. This was my introduction to Biodynamics. After that event, my approach to wine change completely. At the fair, I bought this little DVD. It gives you an introduction to Biodynamic agriculture

Tasting note:

By virtue, the Herrenweg vineyard in Turckheim should be a Grand Cru. However under the direction of Zind-Humbrecht it manifest like one.

The Herrenweg, or “road of the gentlemen,” Vineyard takes it’s name for the location along the ancient roman way that linked Colmar to the passage through the Vosges Mountains. Its terroir is a composition of fine sand, silt and large pebbles which provide an excellent draining capacity and it is blessed with a warm climate that gives an aromatic intensity to the wines. The age of the vines (averaging 46 years) is crucial as deeper roots are less impqctee by poor weather and they can extract more minerality from the soil.

Powerful and structured reminiscent of nutmeg and cloves followed by streamlined notes of white peaches and vanilla bean. With aeration, aromas of honey and middle eastern desserts emerge. Fresh and creamy in the midpalate with a floral finale. Long aftertaste of heat ( hot peppers) and mineral dust.

What would I pair this wine with it?. Simply a Panang curry dish with chicken, tofu and shrimp.