Château de Brézé Clos Mazurique Saumur 2015

Château de Brézé Clos Mazurique Saumur 2015

Château de Brézé Clos Mazurique Saumur 2015

Dark purple color but not completly opaque. Nose of berries, grilled bell pepper, earth, really fresh and blooming from the glass. Fruit loaded flavors, then some spices and that typical Cab Franc greens that I truly appreciate when done right as it is the case now. Perfect wine to quench your thirst since it’sjuicy“, lively and so tasty. This is some pretty Cab Franc! Very good+ (89)

Made of Cabernet Franc. Alcohol level of 13% 

Available at the SAQ for 21,45$ (Code SAQ : 12577042)

Château de Brézé’s website:

La Céleste Levure is the importer for their wines in Québec:

Anne & Jean-François Ganevat De Toute Beauté 2014

Anne & Jean-François Ganevat De Toute Beauté 2014

Anne & Jean-François Ganevat De Toute Beauté 2014

See trough light and foggy ruby color. On the nose there’s no doubt that this is a natural wine! Typical aromas completed by cherries, earth and spices notes. Medium open for now with its natural side leading. Fruit loaded on the palate, but still restrained as it feels like it’s not in place for now and still needs time to become the beauty the wine is trying to show. This doesn’t affect its drinkability and sip goes after sip quite easily and the acidity brings freshness to it. Should be layed down in the cellar for some time (1-2 years) to let it come around. Very good (89)

Made of 80 years old Gamay vines fruit from Fleurie and Pinot Noir from Gavenat’s vines. Alcohol level of 11,5%

Available in small quantities in SAQ stores for 43,50$ (Code SAQ : 12884413)

réZin Sélection imports Ganevat’s wines in Québec:

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Madelon 2014

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Madelon 2014

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Madelon 2014

Rubis brillant et pétant de jeunesse. Arômes de petits fruits rouges, c’est ensoleillé, invitant avec un côté nature en arrière-plan, mais présent. Il y a un peu de bulles au départ en bouche, mais ça ne dure pas. Puis c’est la pureté et la simplicité du Gamay dans sa plus simple expression, celle qui porte le sourire aux lèvres! Il y a tellement de notes de fruits, framboises, cerises, fraises, c’est gourmand et le vin coule tout seul. Si je peux lui apporter un aspect négatif, ce serait cette trop grande buvabilité, surtout pour le prix. Mais bon, j’ai eu beaucoup de plaisir avec ce vin, possiblement le meilleur vin nature bu à ce jour… Je vais en boire à nouveau, c’est certain. Excellent (91)

Made of old Gamay vines from Morgon Cru in Beaujolais. Organic farming and natural winemaking. Alcohol level of 12%

Available in small quantities in SAQ stores for 40,25$ (Code SAQ : 12884237)

réZin Sélection is the agency that imports Ganevat wines in Québec:

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Madelon 2014

Hidden Bench

Visit at Hidden Bench

Visit at Hidden Bench

Back from a “day job” assignment in Niagara region and having some free time ahead. Why not stop and visit a winery since I couldn’t be in a better place for that, especially at that moment, a beautiful and sunny day! With the goal of trying a new place, I reached a friend who knows his way around and he comes back to me with this suggestion: Hidden Bench.

Located in the Lincoln / Beamsville area, the place is charming, pretty and surrounded with peach tree. With Pinot Noir vines all around, the stone and wood building of the winery are also giving that welcoming and warm feeling.

Hidden Bench

And it does not stop there, despice the work that is going on there (it will be even prettier this summer or shoud be by now, since the welcome also came from the people there. It followed with a discussion with Mike for what type of tasting I was aiming at (I described him my wine tastes and he selected perfect matching wines!), and then I had to work!

Having about 100 acres of lad, close to 84 have vines on it. The first ones were planted in 1977 which is pretty soon for this young wine region. They have many grapes varieties as the classic Pinot Noir (about half the production here) and Chardonnay, Riesling often good coming from the area and even Bordeau type vines inluding Malbec of which they are the largest producer of Ontario.

Hidden Bench Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir vines

And now, what about the wines? Here is my notes on what I have tasted there:

Hidden Bench Riesling Roman's Block Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Roman’s Block Riesling Beamsville Bench VQA 2013 

When I said what type of Riesling I like, Mike proposed me this one, made of the older vines of the house. Nose and palate of green apples, lime, good minerality and somehow rich, but balanced with a tangy acidity and slightly bitter which makes me like the wine even more. And the finish is so long!

Lorsque j’ai décrit ce que j’aime d’un Riesling, Mike m’a proposé ce vin, tiré de vignes parmi les plus vieilles du domaine. Arômes et saveurs de pommes vertes, de lime, bWhenien minéral avec une certaine richesse, mais c’est surtout cette acidité légèrement amère, surette que j’aime tant qui me fait apprécier ce vin. Et que dire de la longue finale!

Does have 10g of residual sugar and an alcohol level of 11%. It’s a beautiful crafted wine, so tasty. Sold only at the Winery.

Hidden Bench Chardonnay Estate Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Chardonnay “Estate” Beamsville Bench VQA 2013 

Typical cool climate Chardonnay feel with a well balance oak and pear, butter notes, quite complex, especially on the palate without being heavy or overly deep.

Aged 10 months in oak barrels and an alcohol level of 13%

Available at the SAQ for 31,25$ (Code SAQ : 12583047)

Hidden Bench Pinot Noir Estate Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir “Estate” Non Filtré / Unfiltered Beamsville Bench VQA 2013 

This smelled so good! Perfumed, fresh, pure, loaded of small red berry notes on the nose, then a fruit explosion on the palate and mineral layers. Then the spices kicks in as long with wild berries and a light bitterness on the finish that gives even more satisfaction with this wine.

Aged 12 months in French oak barrels, 20% being new. Alcohol level of 12,7%

Available at the SAQ for 35,25$ (Code SAQ : 12582984)

Hidden Bench Terroir Caché Beamsville Bench 2013

Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery Terroir Caché Beamsville Bench VQA 2012 

And then came this Bordeau blend type wine. Deep color with smoke and spices coming from the Merlot grape as it is for a good proportion in the blend. Aromas and flavors of black berries, coffee, noble greens (when it is balanced like that, I find that it adds to the wine instead of ruining it…). Mouth coating with a very long finish. Might feel of seems too wide of overwhelming, but it’s so young! This should age even if is approchable with some air.

Made of Merlot (46%), Cabernet Franc (25%), Cabernet-Sauvignon (16%) and Malbec (13%). Aed 21 months in aok barrels. Alcohol level of 13,9%

The 2011 vintage is available at the SAQ for 39,50$ (Code SAQ : 12306411)

Did I liked it? Of course! Don’t be surprise as I will post more notes on wines from Hidden Bench in the following months. I even hope that I’ll have the opportunity to go back visit the winery in a futur trip in Niagara. Do the same!

Thanks again to Sean for the suggestion and Mike for the tasting, his precise choices regarding my tastes and the time he took explaining me how things are at Hidden Bench.

One more flower for the type of glasses they use, Spiegelau Pure series, even for the water glass and that each tasting station have its own spittoon. It makes the experience even better with this additions.

Hidden Bench website:

Maitre de Chai is the agency representing Hidden Bench in Québec:

Hidden Bench

Sirius Bordeaux 2012

Sirius Bordeaux 2012

Sirius Bordeaux 2012

Dark cherry color. Nose of smoke, black berries, some leather, all in the classic Bordeaux perfume spirit. Good showing on the palat with a spicy and biting finish, but drinks pretty well being not too heavy nor too light with just enough strenght to pair well with many types of dishes. This one did passed the test of fast drinking bottles as it went down quickly! Good+ (88)

Made of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet-Sauvignon. Aged 12 months in oak barrels. Alcohol level of 13%

Available at the SAQ for 14,55$ (Code SAQ : 00223537)

Sirius is a win from the Sichel family:

Sample proposed by la Société de vins fins:

Vina Mongras Ninquen Colchagua Valley 2013

Vina Mongras Ninquen Colchagua Valley 2013

Vina Mongras Ninquen Colchagua Valley 2013 

Dark color with purple hue. Nose of spices, earth, oak, bitter chocolate and black berries. Tasty and silky on the palate even if it shows its structure, this wine gives a lot of quality and depth. The flavors are similar to those from the nose, it is approachable from now even if some air wouldn’t not be too much or unnecessary. For those patient folks out there, lay down some bottles for 5 to 15 years and it will be even better. Very good+ (90)

Made of 50% Cabernet-Sauvignon and 50% de Syrah. Aged 21 months in 80% French oak and 20% American oak barrels, half being new the other part of one use. Alcohol level of 14,5%

Available at the SAQ for 29,00$ (Code SAQ : 00928853)

Ninquen’s website, a Vina Mongras brand:

Ninquenis represented in Québec by la Société de Vins Fins :

Château Bélair Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004

Château Bélair Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004

Château Bélair Saint-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004

Dark garnet color. Nose of light smoke, fruit, tobacco, some oak, but everything with this classy and noble Bordeaux feel. Quite open on the palate, this was so good! Beautiful flavors and silky mouth feel wrapping the remaining structure that will allow this wine to age many more years in the cellar. Saint-Emilion charm without its richness. Drank along with the 2006 vintage, I prefered this one for its classic Bordeaux feel… Excellent+ (92)

The property is planted with 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc. The Estate is named since 2008 Bélair-Monange, as it was bought by les Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix. Alcohol level of 13,5% 

Jean-Pierre Mouiex’s website:

Mark Anthony Wine and Spirits is the Québec’s agent for les Établissements Moueix:

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Le Jaja du Ben Vin de France 2014

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Le Jaja du Ben Vin de France 2014

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Le Jaja du Ben Vin de France 2014

Foggy ruby color with purple hue. Nose of berries, earth and spices with that little “funky” natural wine typical twist. As it is often the case, it’s on the palate that I like natural wine the most on the palate, and that’s exactly what’s happening now! High drinkability with red berry flavors, earth, spices and a good acidity, clearly my type of wine. May be a little expensive, but so tasty. Very good (89)

Made of Gamay, Poulsard and old vines varieties from Jura. Aged 10 months. Alcohol level of 12,5% 

Available at SAQ stores for 30,25$ (Code SAQ : 12883998)

réZin Sélection is Ganevat’s importer in Québec:

Anne et Jean-François Ganevat Le Jaja du Ben Vin de France 2014

Visite à PEC – Hinterland

PEC vineyard visit – Hinterland

PEC vineyard visit – Hinterland

For our camping trip we did only plan two vineyard visits, because a a family trip can’t only be done to satisfy one’s passion. But a bottle of Whitecap, a Charmat (bubbly wine made the same way as Italian Prossecco) from the recent 2015 vintage coming directly from the vineyard and brought by a friend, bottle that we had the first night by the fire. That bottle went down so fast without being able to explain why, that a visit at Hinterland became a necessity… to buy more of that wine!

With my friend suggestions and recommandations in hands, we met Jonas Newman and his wife, both owners and founders of the winery and the Brewery located just aside, County Road Beer. Both were smiling, welcoming and clearly passionnate about what they do (one just have to listen to them or to see Vicky passing by, stopping when she sees what we were having, pouring herself a glass, then going back to where she was heading to…) to fully understand!

Then we discussed about wine in general and wines coming from Hinterland, of where our interest for their products came from. Jonas explain that he passed few years learning, studying and working perfecting ways to make sparkling wines. No way he would have ended up making sparkling wines without cleary be into it! After all, as Jonas said, being an engineer or an architect doesn’t make you a winemaker…

When we talked about the Ontario VQA system, he said that in a way he’s lucky since sparkling wines are more into standards and easier to be approved by the board. Not always the same results for other types of wines or products, as his sparkling cider is and the chances are quite low for this one to be certified…

Here is quick notes on what we did taste:

First, the 2015 Borealis, a pink Charmat, then the Ancestral, a traditionnal method wine, pink also, both having red berry notes, very fresh. I liked the last one just a touch more than the other. Then Les Étoiles 2009 (so lucky am I to have some in the cellar!) and the 2012, blends of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, aged up to 26 months before being disgorged, deep and complex, creamy mouth feel, the 2009 being even better due to the additionnal age of the wine, adding more complex notes and finesse.

From the products to be release, we tasted the 2011 Sacrement, clearly the best wine we had there, close to a Champagne. So complex, round, charming and was drinking very well. The minute it’s released, I’ll jump on it.

Then the sparkling cider with an unbelievable nose and perfeclty refreshing, a Gamay from bought grapes from Niagara (there is a whole story about this one…) and a fuly concentrated but typical Syrah wine.


Since I already have some of their wines at home and that our visit goal was to purchase more of the Whitecap, that’s what we did! Especially since it’s not going to be sold at LCBO’c stores for that vintage. We were satisfied with that tasting, but it was not going to stop there…

County Road Beer

When we asked if we could also buy beers from County Road Beer, we ended up with a “no” ! We had to taste first!

We did then take to time to taste the range they are offering to make better chioces based on our taste. We ended up buying 3 differents beers!

County Road Beer

Our kids liked the plae as we did, for the open spaces behind the winery buildings where they were able to run and play, with chicken all around! Our tasting was then just more smooth and pleasant. A new beer garden is also opening pretty soon for the complimentary lunch!

We will be back for sure!

Visite à PEC – Hinterland

Hinterland Wine Company

Artadi Artazuri Garnacha Navarre 2014

Artadi Artazuri Garnacha Navarre 2014

Artadi Artazuri Garnacha Navarre 2014

Purple translucid color. Nose of small berry jam, pepper and earth and sand blend. Gorgeous on the palate and chewy, loaded of small berries with a nice acidity that bring up the finish. Top juice for the price! Good+ (88)

Made of Garnacha (Grenache). Organic farming. Aged 4-6 months in old and large oak barrels. Alcohol level of 14,5%

Available at the SAQ for 16,90$ (Code SAQ : 10902841)

Producer’s website, Bodegas Artadi:

Sample proposed by Réserve et Sélection: