The Slow wine salon was back in Montreal, for a 4th edition. This was a chance to taste more than 125 wines from natural, biological and biodynamic producers. Although most of the wines were Italian, there was also French, Quebec and even one Chilean wine. This was also a chance to rub shoulders with some of the hottest natural importers in Montreal.
Here are my favorite picks from the event:
At the table of Glou Imports, I had a chance to taste the Rosso Masieri of Angiolino Maule. Maule is one of the leading Italian natural winemakers. He is also the founder of VinNatur, an association assembling 130 small artisanal producers that share the ideals of the natural wine movement. Maule is situated in Gambellara in the province of Vicenza in the Veneto region of Italy.
Rosso Masieri 2013. Cabernet, Merlot and Tokai Rosso. Lots of cherry and dark fruit, fresh with a lively acidity. Dark fruit, licorice on the palate, with a salty and mineral taste. Good balanced levels of tannins and acidity. 90/100
Moving fowards to the table of Bacchus 1976 but staying in the Veneto region, i tasted a remarkable Soave made by Fasoli Gino. The Pieve Vecchia is a 100% garganega fermented and aged in oak. It’s a full body creamy wine with a lovely freshness and quite a long finish. I would have this wine anytime with a Pasta Carbonara. This estate is organic since the mid eighties and they cultivate 14 hectares of vineyards divided into seven terroirs in the Soave: Casétta, Cassòla, Creàri, Pessétta, Perantònie, Orgno and Sànde. Definitely, a newfound Soave producer that ranks among the best.
Bacchus 1976 also import the amazing Franciacortas from Barone Pizzini in Lombardia. This is the oldest estate in Franciacorta and pioneers of biological viniculture in the region.
Silvano Brescianini was in person talking about his beautiful Franciacortas. A humble man, he makes Franciacortas that can a give a run for the money to any grand cru Champagne. I particularly enjoyed the brut animante, rich and very smooth and elegant. A wine displaying complex flavors of apples, citric fruit and a wonderful roasted nut character.
I continued my exploration at the table of Oenopole.. From all the wines they had on display, my favorites were La Stoppa Trebbiolo 2012 and COS Cerasuolo di Vittoria 2011.
La Stoppa is another leading winery in the Italian natural wine movement. It is the proyect of Elena Pantaleoni, She recently appeared in the documentary, Natural Resistance by Jonathan Nossiter. Trebbiolo is a blend of Barbera with Bonarda. Natural grass is grown between the vineyards row. No fertilizers, weed killers or pesticides are uses. Only sulphur and copper treatments. This is according to their website. It is a very special wine since it was one of the first natural styles wines that I tried.Here is a little video that talks about the philosophy of the estate.
Trebbiolo 2012. Lots of black fruit, bitter herbs with a hint of spices. In the mouth, medium body with lots of sizzling black plums, blueberries and a hint of barnyard aromas.
Azienda Agricola COS is one of Sicily’s most well known wineries. Not many people, however are aware that their wines are natural wines which contains low levels of sulphites and mostly aged in amphoras.
COS is well known with Cerasuolo di Vittoria which is a wine made of Nero D’Avola and Frappato grapes. This wine is specific to the province of Ragusa as well as parts of Caltanisetta and Catania. This ancient wine region dates back to the third century BC. The Cerasuolo di Vittoria began much later around 1607. Their Cerasuolo 2011 is blend of Nero D’Avola (60%) and Frappato (40%). This wine, always has striked me with its amazing freshness and a very low level of alcohols. I was bowed over by the lovely aromatic depth in the glass, with an amazing purity of the fruit carrying nicely to its .polished finish.
However, the best was yet to come in the Salon. I was very excited to know that one of Tuscany icon cult producers was going to be present. Podere Il Carnasciale, is imported by Montreal’s Les Contrebandiers.
Podere Il Carnasciale is located in the southern Chianti mountains in the Valdarno, thirty kilometers from Siena and Arezzo, and sixty kilometers south of Florence. The small hilltop estate is run by Bettina Rogosky and her son Moritz, in collaboration with the enologist Peter Schilling.
The grape Caberlot was discovered and the end of the 1960’s by the agronomist Dr. Remigio Bordini. The secret grape was found in an abandoned vineyard near Padova. This is a grape that recalls the aromas of Cabernet Franc with a dna profile of Merlot. This is probably an hybrid grape created by mother nature by accident.
The Rogosky family have dedicated themselves to produce a great growth of an unique character, bottled only in magnum. This is what you can call a domaine “haute couture”. Everything is done manually with the most attentive detail.
The most important vineyard of the domaine ‘Carnasciale’ is a small 0,3 ha planted on a denisty of 11,000 feet by ha. The parcel is situated at 425 meters sea level slightly sloped. Two other vineyards were added in 1999 and 2004. These are Selva and Vincaie. In 2011 and 2013, two other vineyards were added, Tamara and Soldani. Both have a combined size of 4,5 ha.
Everything is done at the Carnasciale with the greatest care. From the harvest in October, when the grapes are picked at the optimum ripeness level. An example of this is that the grape baskets are keep refrigerated until they reached the winery!!!. Yields are low. They do not pass the 25 hl per ha.
At the winery, everything is done with white gloves. Fermentation and aging are done with the outmost care without being invasive. It sounds like a paradox but is true. It is like an invisible hand. This allow a perfect fruit expression, elegance and good interpretation of the vintage conditions of the year.
Il Caberlot is only bottled in magnum and there is only 3000 bottles. These are numbered. There is a second wine called Il Carnasciale. There are 6000 bottles of it. The Carnasciale is a wine for more inmediate drinking and require less aging than his big brother.
Carnasciale 2011 IGT Toscana.
The nose offers a profound array of complexity. Dark cherry, silky blackberries, red currant, led pencil, chinese ink, spices, cinnamon and dried flowers. The cascade of flavors is just amazing. The palate adds to the bouquet with all components in place, maybe tannins are a loud, but the acidity and fruit are both stunning. The overall impression is breathtaking. Layer after layer of complexity, elegance and structure. Everything is in a very ordely fashion. 93/100.
Il Caberlot 2010 Magnum IGT Toscana
Dusty note which I associate with young supertuscan wines.Floral, red and black fruits, blackberries, and exotic spices. Medium concentration, seamless and streamlined silky palate with exotic incense, limestone and earth. Unctuous texture, sweet fruit palate and noticeable but nicely integrated tannins. Linear, precise and just a cool wine. 97/100.
The last estate that was a revelation for me was the one of Baricci in Montalcino.Baricci, was one of the 26 founders of the Association of the Brunello di Montalcino in 1967. Nello Baricci, is the personality who most represents the host of small producers who contributed towards making the Brunello di Montalcino the great wine it is today. His farm, Colombaio di Montosoli, has always been one of the great crus of the Brunello and is a small winery that has made its name thanks to the quality of the wines and their philosophy of keeping with tradition.
I started with the Rosso di Montalcino 2012. On the nose, the wine had a great perfume. Multilayered red berry fruit with layers of herbs and flowers.On the mouth, medium body with a high tone acidity. Very elegant and long. A brunello by itself.
The Brunello 2009 was similar to the Rosso 2012. However, it had more high tone red berry fruit with lot of spice character. It had that trademark signature of mineral dust, typical of textbook sangiovese with tuscan leather. In the mouth, full body, austere with an amazing acidity. An emphasis on finesse and elegance rather than concentration. A wine with a great life ahead.
And thats it folks. Looking foward already for the next edition of Slow wine in 2016. Ciao!!!