Methode Sauvage Pinot Noir 2017




Just came back from a press trip and was delighted to drink this Californian Pinot Noir. I usually don’t drink Pinot from the Golden State. The selection at the SAQ is usually a showcase of wines heavily on steroids. Commercial Californian Pinot Noir is a tragic affair. In short: heavily oaked, rich in sugar and alcohol and with a dark colour. Am I drinking Syrah?. Not even, some of these so called “Pinots” are a monstrosity.

My wine buddy Philippe Morin, a great cognoscenti of wines bought a case and splitted with a small circle of friends. This is how I came to know the wines of Chad Hinds of Methode Sauvage.


Chad is working with some serious pedigree vineyards in California and is crafting some of the most exciting wines from California. The grand vent vineyard is the coolest spot in Sonoma County and it shows when you taste the wine. The pinot has crunchy red fruit with lovely herbal and floral undertones. It has a beautiful acidity and lenght. Overall is poetic and almost sensual. Its creamy texture reveals its Californian origin and in a blind tasting, for sure it could pass for a Premier Cru Burgundy from a richer vintage.  Chad Pinot is just perfect.

I am very excited and looking foward to try his other wines. We are very lucky that in Quebec we can find his wines via La Regie, an upcoming Montreal wine importing agency. I am delirious to try his Rhone and Jura varietals. Cant remember, how much I paid but I think it was between $40-$50. In general, the pricing is good as well.



An intimate encounter with Jermann


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It does not happen often that I taste wines from any pioneer estate in Italy. So, when I heard that Jermann was coming to Montreal, I quickly jumped to the opportunity because they single handedly put Italian white wine on the map.

The legacy of Jermann to the wine world is Vintage Tunina. This eclectic wine reflects the adventurous personality of its creator: Silvio Jermann. Vintage 1975 marks the debut of Tunina and quickly became a cult item.
Silvio wanted to make a blend that reflected the diversity of the Friulian territory yet with a modern outlook. In the past, the issue with Friulian whites was early oxidation, heaviness and high residual sugar. Jermann introduced revolutionary changes such as early picking and moderate oak aging that are represented in Vintage Tunina.
After all, the changes that Silvio introduced were only to preserve the biodiversity of the Friulian territory. Besides the special Ponca terroir, there are very special grapes such as Ribolla Gialla and Pignolo and of course Friuliano.

It is without doubt that one of the benchmarks of the region are the wines of Jermann. There is only a handful of producers that I know that can craft wine as pure and elegant like this great Friulian producer Recently, I met Aloiz Felix Jermann for a comprehensive tasting of his family during his passage in Montreal. The invitation was a courtesy of his Quebec Importer Selections Frechette
Below my selection of my favorite wines

Tasting Notes:

Pinot Grigio 2018 ( 6 pack case-$40.25, private import)

IGT Venezia Giulia, 100% Pinot Grigio
Very classic style with such an elegant nose. Aromas reminiscent of pear sorbet and flint with notes of blanched herbs as well complemented by a hint of honey and blossom water in the finale.

Jermann Chardonnay 2018 ( 6 pack case-$43.75, private import)

IGT Venezia Giulia, 100% Chardonnay
Quite an aromatic nose. Church incense, with hints of lemon zest. On the palate, bright flavours with a creamy structure displaying a wonderful balance. Tight finale. Will need some aging in the cellars to open up.

Vintage Tunina 2016. SAQ # 13475195, $99.75

IGT Venezia Giulia
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia, Ribolla Gialla and a local sweet grape variety
Very savoury with pleasant notes of hay, honey and a hint of green pepper. Rich and creamy with generous fruit in the mid palate adding an extra layer of pleasure. One of the greatest ever Italian whites.
Vintage Tunina 2012. ( 6 pack case-$114.50, private import)

IGT Venezia Giulia
Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Malvasia, Ribolla Gialla and a local sweet grape variety
Green pepper character is very apparent with notes of passion fruit, guava and a hint of mocha as well Very elegant, with a prosperous life ahead in the cellar.

Capo Martino 2012 ( 6 pack case-$139.25, private import)

IGT Venezia Giulia
Mostly friulano with hints of Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia Istriana and Picolit
Yellow prunes, bone white fruit, passion fruit. Elegant with a beautiful mineral expression. I love that bitter herb so characteristic of friulano. Still has that crispy finale despite being 7 years old.

Where dreams have no end 2016 ( 6 pack case-$87.25, private import)

IGT Venezia Giulia
97 % Chardonnay, 3% Secret family grape recipe
Very spicy with a hint of fennel and chicory. Quite buttery and oaky as well. On the palate, creamy. The Friulian version of a great Burgundy
Where dreams have no end 2013 ( 6 pack case-$111.50, private import)

IGT Venezia Giulia
97% Chardonnay, 3% Secret family grape recipe
Toasty oak with nice buttery and ripe tropical fruit undertones. On the mouth, gentle and quite caressing.Long flowery finale.

An Alpine Pinot Noir

Jean Perrier Cuvée Gastronomie Pinot Noir 2018 SAQ # 00856997, $16.25

Generally speaking, Pinot Noir is not one of my favorite grapes. I can appreciate it and from time to time I will have it.

This Pinot from Savoie was really charming. The nose was really attractive with notes of black plums, cherry and Christmas cake spicy. On the palate, it was medium body, fruity and fresh with a juicy mouth feel. It was a natural partner with BBQ chicken breasts.

This is one of the rare wines that you feel proud to have discovered. Great buy and highly recommended it.

Going the extra mile as a wine writer


close up photo of corkscrew

Photo by on

The role of the wine writer may seem glamorous to some observers and the dream job of many. Who wouldn’t want to get wine for free, go to tastings or even participate in a press trip?. That’s the allure feedback that I get from many consumer acquaintances in my entourage.

In a certain way all of the above is very true. It is very pleasant to drink wine and dine in some of the finest restaurants when a producer comes to town. However, that’s the rosy part. If you’re a serious writer you are required to produce a professional report on the wines that you have tasted or a trip in some cases. It is not mandatory but it’s sort of an unwritten expectations in this business.

That’s the mandate of the role to say the least. Another way of seeing it, it is like preparing a school report or a project. If you care about what you are doing, you want to ace it and impress your professor. In this business, you will be also become a persona non grata very fast if you never write about the stuff that you receive or get invited.

That’s one dimension of the business. Another one less looked is the scope of wine reporting. It is common and quite understandable that some wine bloggers and wine journalists report only about the samples they get. Although, this is ok, it may be very limited coverage. The importers and producers that give free wine are those with usually large advertising budgets. If you want to write about a particular small producers, you have to buy the bottle with your own hard earned dollars.

This is what I call doing the extra mile or being invested. I totally understand that the stuff cost money but if you are really passionate about something, would you not do it? Every month, I spend hundreds of $$$ in wine to have access to the artisanal producers that nobody else talks about it in the mainstream media. At the beginning of my wine career I used to ask those importers for samples and keep hearing the same response: no budget. It took me a while to get over my frustration but finally understood that the small producers and their importers dont have budget to give away free wine. But still, they need to have a voice. Could you imagine if nobody would never talk about those wonderful natural or biological producers. It will be a very sad world.

But then again, there are those who get into this business to have the glamorous life and drink for free and those who are totally indepedent. Then you have people in the middle of the sandwich, like myself, who are able to talk about the small and commercial. I get samples now and then  but with the difference that I dont ask anymore. The rest of the wine expense comes out of my pocket. This is the spirit of independence that made Parker famous. Then again, I have a job and can pay myself for the wine. The difference is that I really love wine and sharing my passion with the rest of the word. However, I cant talk about everything that I love because otherwise, I would ruin myself.

The future of this business are for those who are self-financed and passionate about wine. The internet and social media have democratized wine information. In a future that is not too far away, there will no more paid magazines or newspaper with a wide readership. There wil be a sort of natural selection among wine writers. The world is yours if you can only invest yourself in the burning passion

Three wines that no mainstream wine  journalist is talking about. All paid with my humble salary:


Domaine La Ferme Saint Martin Les Terres Jaunes 2017 $28.75 ( 12 pack case, Imported by Rezin in Quebec, Canada)

One of the best kept secrets of the Southern Rhone is the appellation of Beaumes-de-Venise and this is a jewel of a producer. Bio since 1998, this wine is not for the faint hearted. Plenty of leafy blackberry fruit with that elusive garrique-pencil shaving with breat taking yet noble tannins.


Anne & Jean-François Ganevat Le Sa Vient d’Où ?. Available at the SAQ ( 14019351) for $54.50

To drink a Ganevat is a privilege and a mind altering experience. One of the luminaries of Jura and the natural wine world, this wine comes from the negoce of the winemaker. Bright and mind boggling aromas of white tea, pineapple water and truffle honey. Incredible purity, grace and precision in the palate. If you are not converted to natural wine, this bottle will do the job. Think about Arnold Layne by Pink Floyd


Domaine de la Roche Bleue Le Clos des Molieres Sec 2016. Imported by Boires in Quebec, Canada for $61. Six pack case, I believe

I was never convinced until I tried this wine of Sebastien Cornille from Jasnieres in the Loire. A pure nose of chalk, acacia with a psychodelic trip into the realm of flowers.  Elegance, yet humility. Beautiful. When you drink it, think about the white rabbit song by Jefferson Airplane. “And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall, Tell ’em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call”




The perfect Rhone white blend for your lobster



Château Pesquié Terrasses blanc 2017. SAQ #  13945265, $19.05

With Lobster season in full swing, here is the perfect opportunity to explore the white side of the Rhone Valley wines.

The Chaudière family has managed the vineyards of this estate for three generations. Only organic treatments and composts are used for the grapes. Weed management  is done by working  the soil, and harvesting is exclusively manual. There are three main terroirs on the property: rocky limestone clay, red clay and loamy gray clay. They grow Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Clairette, Viognier, Chardonnay and Muscat

A sure  solid value in the SAQ, the terrases  blanc from Pesquié is an bright, aromatic blend of Viognier, Rousanne and Clairette. Hailing from Mont Ventoux, this white will seduce you with its bright undertones of verbena, lemon meyer, apricot and honey. Fresh and round with a creamy mouthfeel and a smooth acidity, it is perfectly suited for your lobster weekday meals, specially if they are grilled!!

Disclaimer: Sample provided by the agent for review purposes



Bon appetit!!


Source: Food Republic

The new conspicuous wine buying arrogance

Hey you, glad you have stopped by to read my musings or like we say in Venezuelan Spanish: pendejadas!!

Here I am killing some time while they replace my car tires, or between baking and at the dance course of my daughter.It is the only time that I can write in peace. If I am not taking bread that will urgently be overcooked, I am attending to my highly extroverted 5 year old daughter. Oufff…just when I think I will some peaceful moments then I have to tend to some wife issue!!. This is my life: the tragic comedy of a baker with wine writing aspirations.

Why I am writing this post?. I am trying to answer a question posed to myself. What would I buy, if I had a $1million a month.

Wine has never been stranger to conspicuous consumption. This is one of the less looker reasons wine regions created classification systems: to make you feel better when you buy a product of a certain prestige.

The new conspicuous wine consumption is based on substitute products ( wine). Here I am thinking of the business model of Michael Porter. To put it plain, if you can’t afford a very expensive wine go for the second best.

In the past early internet days or bull markets of the 90’s, classified Bordeaux growths and Burgundy Grand Cru were bought with a blink of the eye. These were the times I learnt about wine. I remember fondly buying my first Massetos in those early times where the banking industry was not highly regulated. The trophies needed to demonstrate your wealth

A lot of classical wine drinkers stopped drinking their favorite Bordeaux’s and Barolo’s because simply they did not have the cash anymore to afford it. This happened shortly after the tech and banking crisis of the early 2000’s. There is also the factor of increased demand from emerging markets such as Asia and certain Latin America countries.

So now a lot of these classical wine drinkers drink now certain artisanal wines ( natural) to feel better about themselves. This “feel good” feeling has been fueled by the artsy wine guerrilla. They are drinking now wines between $20-$30. But won’t work because unless is not endorsed by certain public personalities. And you know what the kicker is…the wines are getting quite expensive. Your new wine importer is like a crack dealer.

It makes me think of the glorified new Gamay drinkers. Don’t tell me about terroir or natural vinification technique. Tell me the truth. Can’t drink anymore authentic Burgundy Grand Cru so now I can only drink a chinese copy of DRC.

So what would I drink with a $1 million a month: Only First Growth Classified Bordeaux


How to identify the hipster wine consumer

They lurk sometimes around you. If you are lucky, you can spot them in your friendly SAQ outlet buying that rare orange or natural wine. However, this is not their preferred habitat. They buy mostly privately and hang out with the hottest sommeliers in the latest artsy restaurants

My non wine friends asked me about these new wine consumers. I made up a sketchy point list of features. Maybe you can add a few more to complete the list.

-They love wines with high volatile acidity. It has to be slightly deviant at the least to be attractive

-They are attracted to rare and obscure grapes. For instance, they love the occult Italian grapes from Piedmont, Tuscany and Sicily.

-Adverse to the classical European wine regions. Allergic to Bordeaux, Classical Rioja and can go in shock in the presence of Super Tuscans.

– They all share a fascination with wine domaines that years ago where not in fashion but only known to wine connoisseurs

-They can’t tolerate oak and only swear by stainless steel in their wines, mostly

Now some demographics and sociological factors:

-Yuppie or moneyed professionals. These are the lawyers, bankers or business marketing people or IT people. They are making at least a 6 figure salary.

-Between their 30 and mid 40’s

-They love to eat in artsy restaurants with china from another time and small portions

-They live mostly in trendy neighborhoods and disdain the suburbs

I like them and they bring diversity to the wine world. Hope you liked this post. I did it while my daughter was in dance class


A pretty Petite Sirah


Californians wines still remain a mystery to me even though I have been drinking vino for the last 20 odd years.

It’s rare to find a Petite Sirah in the SAQ shelves, so when I spot one, I quickly jump to taste it.

In a recent visit to my local SAQ, the label of Cris Cross captivated my attention. From far, it looks like ancient fossils but it actually is boot prints !!

The winery is a joint venture between Lange Twins winery and Vina del Sol, an American wine conglomerate.

The fruit from this wine comes from mostly Clarksburg and a bit of Lodi Vineyards.

I came across this nice article in the San Francisco Gate that talks about the Clarksburg wine Industry. It came to me as a surprise that the two of their signature grapes were Chenin Blanc and Petite Sirah. The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta brings fresh ocean breezes and helps foster a cool microclimate.

Lodi is red wine country and its sandy soils combined with warm climate yields generous wines. It is Zinfandel country but host other grapes such as Petite Sirah. So this wine is the best of both worlds: Elegance and Power.

This Petite Sirah 2015 has bittersweet chocolate, dry prunes complemented by blueberry jam with vino cotto spices. Creamy with a good balanced finale. Faithful to the grape style. Highly recommended for $24.25 for your next meat BBQ.

Seduced by the charm of Provence rose

I came to really appreciate provence rosé wine in my mid twenties trough my Parisian wine mentor Christine. Much like new oenophiles, rosé wine was an afterthought for me. The traditional dictum that I held in my mind was that “pink” wine was not worthy of contemplation. Was I wrong?. Very much, I admit.

My 101 introduction to Provence rosé was no less than Château Simone paired with Petit farcis. The setting for the encounter was a cold January winter night in an old and decaying Côtes Des Neiges apartment. After all this years, I still think that it was a great masterclass

An iconoclastic wine, it hooked me up right away to the style. There was a serenity and calm to this wine that deeply hypnotized me and took me to the sunny lands of Provence. My curiosity for Provence and its wine scene in general was also sparked after reading a year in Provence by Peter Mayle.


Source: Telegraph India

I was shocked to find that Mr. Mayle passed away earlier this year. If I could, I would have eat the words of a year in Provence. It was such an appetizing book.

Since the early 2000’s, the selection of Provence roses have improved modestly in the SAQ. I don’t have all the exact figures yet but I can say that Provence roses is enjoying more than a momentum. Exports of Provence wines to Canada soared by 38% in 2016 (source: CIVP et Douanes françaises). By the way, Provence rose is good for all the seasons, not exclusively for the summer. I have enjoyed it with fine and elegant suppers and down to earth BBQ’s. It is just a question of creativity and thinking outside the box.

Because we cannot drink Chateau Simone all the time, here are two great roses to get you started for the exploration of Provence

Château la Martinette Rollier de la Martinette 2017. SAQ # 13448699, $21.70


Rollier de la Martinette is inspired after the Roller bird pictured on the label; these birds migrate from Africa to Southern Europe and Château de la Martinette where they try to eat off the delicious grapes in the vineyards.

A blend of 40% Cinsault, 25% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Tibouren. This display a beautiful pale salmon colour; though it looks quite delicate, this vintage has an intense note-honey, lavender, peach, white lilacs and cantaloupe. The wine is crisp and round with a long floral and mineral finish. An enticing finale that brings to mind tangerines and white cranberries. The 2018 should arrive soon at the SAQ shelves.




This is a great wine for drinking with barbeques, pizzas or as an aperitivo with tapas. It could also go well with other strong flavoured dishes such as curries or strong cheeses.

Clos de l’Ours L’Accent 2017. SAQ # 13919438, $26.40

Michel Brotons makes one of the best roses from Provence from Clos de l’Ours. I recently it discovered at the recent  Salon de Quilles Montreal.

The property was restored  just a few years ago, in 2012. Situated  just south of the Provençal village of Cotignac in the Var, in the northern tier of the appellation Côtes de Provence, this is a pretty  property with 13 hectares (32 acres) of vines and a charming guest house.

The rose is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Floral with nuances of tangerine and  hints of melon. On the palate,  delicate with flavours of lavender, white peonies and a creamy finale. A truly gastronomical rose.

Two “Blue Chip” roses for Spring celebrating


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Photo by Pixabay on

In the investment world, Blue Chip companies are the captains of their industry. These are safe and profitable enterprises that can weather adverse economic conditions and still deliver a consistent return on investment.

How does this apply to wine?. A wine producer or estate must be able to deliver a consistent and high quality product vintage after vintage. It is understandable that a wine will reflect the character of its vintage but the winemaker must be able to navigate adverse conditions and deliver a sound product. After all, in a pragmatic perspective, wine is just an economic commodity with an opportunity cost.

Who are the blue chips estates of wine?. These are the grand chateaux of France, the famous Tuscan or Spanish estates to mention a few. What do they have in common?. These producers have an established track record of consistency in wine production.

This concept can also be micro applied as well not only to the most famous name but also the small artisanal producer. What’s important to remember is result consistency.

Bottom line: treat your wine drinking like your money investing strategy and you won’t be disappointed.

Whispering Angel is the successful commercial brand of this famous Provence rose from Caves D’Esclans by Sacha Lichine. Bordelais by origin, Sacha has worked in every aspect of the wine industry. The notoriety of this wine can be attributed not only from its magnificent terroir and winemaking but as well to the business acumen of Monsieur Lichine. Sacha’s American business education and broad International wine industry experience has served me strategically well to promote his wine and overall Provence rose wine drinking.

Whispering Angel sells in more than 100 countries worldwide and has 20% market share just in the U.S wine market. It’s success can be attributed because it is well perceived among all the stakeholders of the wine industry: From the millennial wine critic to the most demanding wine critic.

This is a majority blend of Grenache, Rolle, Cinsault, Syrah and Tibouren. Pretty nose of cantaloupe, white peonies with a very refreshing acidity. Quite an appetizing wine that would be awesome with grilled seafood. At the SAQ for $26.90 ( 11416984)   for the 2018

Another all time favorite rose of mine is Domaine de la Mordoree Tavel 2017. Tavel is the only appellation in the Rhone Valley that strictly produces rose wine. Tavel roses have more weight and structure than your standard French rose wine. The aromas are spicier with darker fruit undertones, kind of like walking the fine line towards a light red wine.


Domaine de la Mordoree is the project of father and son Francis and Christophe Delorme. Its  vineyard holdings group together 50 ha in 8 municipalities across 38 parcels in the Rhone Valley. In 30 years, Francis Delorme elevated this domaine and  consequently the appellation to one of the best of the Rhone Valley and the world.

Sadly Christophe passed away in 2015 but his work legacy continue in the hands of her wife and daughter Madeleine and Ambre. This domaine is in  totality biological with a biodynamic approach.


Spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce and tuna rio mare


2 Pizzas: tomato meat sauce and rapini with mushrooms

La Dame Rousse is a mix of Grenache 60 % Cinsault 10% Syrah 10 % Mourvèdre
10% Clairette 5% Bourboulenc 5%. The vineyards are relatively old ( 40 years) and they grow in a mix of terroir that include rocky and sandy soils

Very pleasant on the nose with floral aromas reminiscent of potpourri, watermelon with a hint of violets and strawberry ganache. Dry and structured on the palate with a perfect tension between acidity and ripe fruit. Smoky finale.

One of the few roses that  can stand up to savoury flavors of tomato based pastas and pizzas. The 2017 retails at the SAQ for $31.25 ( 12376881). It is a must buy for your upcoming BBQ’s as well.

asparagus barbecue cuisine delicious

Grilled pork tenderloin with asparagus

Disclaimer: The above wines were tasted at my local SAQ outlet in Repentigny, Quebec. The author does not have any commercial relationship with the importers and these were not samples