My blog post of wine related events I had the opportunity to attend to
Tasting of 2013 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage wines or when wine bring silence into a room…
Why say such a thing? First, let’s take a moment and talk about what is the Domaine Jean-Louis Chave.
Among the great wines of the world, within the French wine elite, the Hermitage appellation sitting in Northern Rhone Valley are ranking at the top of this scale with Chave being one of the best ones.
The Domaine Chave is a family story since 1481 and 16 generations have run this house since its beginning, from father to son. They started producing wines in Saint-Joseph and it’s been only about a century since they established themselves on the hills of Hermitage to move away from phylloxera that had damaged their other vineyards.
They now own about 15 hectares of vines spread out on many climates (or areas) of the Hermitage hills and when vinified, they are blended together to produce one amazing wine of each color. There is no single parcel wine nor special cuvees. Just the best of what Hermitage can offer, either in white or red!
They may be hard to find and not the cheapest wines around, but how could one refuse to have them when so kindly offered!
Following a tasting in the offices of their agency, the following wines were poured to help this another busy year to end on the best note possible.
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Blanc 2013
Medium dense gold color. Aromas of hay, honey with some fruit and oak notes. There is a real depth to that nose, but at the same time, it’s so hard to put words on my impressions. On the palate, the balance between the well-integrated oak that acts like a support to the fruit and spices flavors is so impressive. And I’m not even talking about the everlasting finish! This is what amazed me the most about this wine. Excellent+ (92)
Blend of Marsanne (85%) and Roussanne (15%). Haven’t found any details about the oak ageing. Alcohol level of 14,5%
Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage Rouge 2013
Dark and can’t see through color. Elegantly and deep nose as I’ve so rarely felt before. Way more aromatic than the white Hermitage was. Aromas of pepper, bacon fat, flowers, red and dark berries, then smoke and old wooden floors are just mind blowing. On the palate the wine is dense, long, of medium amplitude with flavors of smoked meat, flowers and oak. Again, the finish is everlasting. Amazing wine, there is no other way to describe it. Superb+ (94)
Blend of Syrah (85%) and white grapes (15%). Aged in a mix of oak vats and barrels with a proportion is new for 12 to 18 months. Alcohol level of 14,5%
The Domaine Jean-Louis Chave website : hermite.fr/domaine-jean-louis-chave
Their agency here in Québec is Réserve & Sélection / Trialto : trialto.com
Tasting of Fratelli Alessandria wines
Hills and small valleys, beautiful landscape views with the Turin river shining waters. Then vines line-up everywhere. A load of images of pretty places comes into our minds when Vittore Alessandria talks about his family vineyard, in the Piemonte region in the Northwest of Italy.
Fratelli Alessandria is a family run vineyard founded in 1870 and now running 14ha of vines, 12 being over Verduno in the North and 2 being over Monforte d’Alba, South of Piemonte. There have the classic area vines of Nebiollo, Barbera and Dolcetto, but also native varieties like Freisa, Pelaerga Piccolo and Favorita.
The vines and the cellar
A great focus is put on the vines and no herbicides are used in the vineyards. The same care is applied to the cellar as everything is clean, from barrels to older wooden cask to avoid the bacteria that causes Brett of other faulty taste or aromas. They prefer to be auto-critic and challenging themselves in a way to make the better wine possible for their clients. They are only using their fruits and don’t buy some from surrounding vineyards.
Of course the Nebbiolo is their main grape grown in their vineyards, even if this requires more work in order to meet the requirements to be classified in the right appellation, from Barolo to Langhe Nebbiolo etc. For example, this grave variety likes South facing exposure, be planted on elevated slopes and in proper climatic conditions to give the best fruit possible.
The Northern part of that region is associated to a micro-climate influenced by the Turin River running at the bottom of the surrounding hills, bringing fresh nights. The blue clay soils makes very fine wines as opposed to the ones coming from the South of Barolo region planted over packed sandy soils that brings more power and tannins to the wines. There is so much complexity in that area that covers only 12km long by 6km wine of land!
Then Vittore Alessandria explained their vision for the many wines they’re producing and brought up the typical spiciness that is present in all of their wines, which we all found in the presented wines.
Another proof of their devotion on making great wines, Vittore added this: « if there is wine left in the bottle when two person are going out in a restaurant and sharing a great meal, then you know the wine wasn’t good enough». I like that vision and the goal behind it; making wine that makes you want to go through the bottle!
The wines now
Fratelli Alessandria Favorita Langhe 2014 (25,20$ – Code SAQ: 13111906)
Saline nose with pear, ripe apples, spices and floral notes. Same on the palate with the additional spices on the finish. This is really tasty! Very good (89)
Aged in tanks for 3-4 months on lees. The Favorita grape is often compared to Vermentino grapes.
Fratelli Alessandria Dolcetto d’Alba 2015 (21,95$ – Code SAQ : 11580186)
Medium dark ruby color with purple hue. Fresh plum notes with crushed red fruits and spices. Red crunchy and spicy fruits burst on the palate, this wine is on the quaffable side. Very good (89)
This wine is made fir its drinkability even if that grape can make more complex wines. Aged in stainless and/or cement tanks for 5 to 7 months.
Fratteli Allessandria Priòra Barbera d’Alba Superiore 2014 (33,50$ – Code SAQ : 12034195)
Darker color. The nose offers more depth and complexity. More complex on the palate too, this is quite balance and have great fruit, spices and earth flavors. Very good+ (90)
Made of Barbera. Aged 12 to 14 months in 500L oak barrels and/or 20-40hl French or Slovenian oak cask.
Fratelli Alessandria Prinsìot Langhe Nebbiolo 2014 (31,25$ – Code SAQ : 12131104)
Garnet color. Nose of flowers with some berry notes, very fine. The the wine opened up as a flower would with even more floral and red fruit aromas. On the palate the wine is juicy, tasty and highly enjoyable. Excellent (91)
Made of Nebbiolo, 40% of the fruits being from the young Barolo vines. Aged 10 months in 20-40hl French or Slovenian oak cask then few months in stainless tanks. The name « Prinsiot » comes from their family nickname for Prince, as their house and cellar are quite big in that village.
Fratelli Alessandria Gramolere Barolo 2012 (70,50$ – Code SAQ : 12247684)
Dark garnet color. Nose and palate where flowers, earth, leather and fruit notes blends all together in an elegant and fresh even if the finish is a little dry at the moment. Excellent (91)
Aged 3 years in 20-40hl Slovenian oak cask, 2 months in stainless tanks and then at least 6 months in bottle prior to release.
Fratelli Alessandria Monvigliero Barolo 2012 (157,00$ pour le 1,5L – Code SAQ: 12499064)
Dark garnet color. Very floral and seductive nose, the richness, the depth and the complexity of the wine can be felt just by smelling it! Flavors of blood orange, red fruits, flowers, earth, light leather notes, this is complex yet enjoyable. Magnificent wine with balance and a long finish. Superb (93)
Aged 3 years in 20-40hl Slovenian oak cask, 2 months in stainless tanks and then at least 6 months in bottle prior to release.
Their wines are really great products and this was not the last time you’ll see then poured into my glasses…
Fratelli Alessandria’s website: fratellialessandria.it
Many thanks to Oenopole for the invite to this event: oenopole.ca
Vietti at M Mme wine bar
Having an history spreaded over five generations (from 1873), it’s only in 1919 that Mario Vietti produced the first wines under the name Vietti. He did have to change the farming they were doing on his family property, plant vines and buy more land.
Since his desire was to own his land, he did what he wanted and bought plot on as many areas possible in the Piedmonte. That explains why Vietti is one of the owners from the area that have the most vines on so many appellation, having vines on 15 different vineyards for a total of nearly 35ha.
Besides making wines from classic Piedmonte grapes varieties, they even started to make a white wine in the 1960s, the Roero Arneis.
Some of the wines currently available were previously made for their personal consumption as the Scarone Barbera, which reflects the fact that they do not produce huge amount of each wines.
That’s why one could consider their total production as small, especially when compared to some of their neighbours, even if they have 25 employees to take care of their vineyards on one of the 3 facility they have.
Here is the approximate amount of vines they have by region:
Barbera d’Alba: 6,25ha
Barbera d’Asti: 8ha
It’s Luca Currado, Luciana Vietti’s son that runs the place since 1990 as Chief Winemaker and Vineyard Manager, having previousy acquired experience in Bordeaux and California.
Vietti Roero Arneis DOCG 2014 (28,90$ – SAQ Code : 12098201)
Fine nose of flowers, it’s salty, have fruit and rocky notes. Finesse drives the wine again on the palate with flowers, pear and salty water. Very elegant and I liked that!
Made of 100% d’Arneis. Aged in stainless steel tanks. This grape variety used to be called White Nebbiolo.
Vietti Tre Vigne Barbera d’Alba DOC 2014 (28,80$ – SAQ Code : 11863282)
Dark ruby color. Nose and flavors of red berries and floral notes. Slightly spicy with some earth, the fruit is shining!
Made of 100% de Barbera. Aged in a blend of Slovanian and French oak barrels and stainless tanks.
Vietti Vigna Scarrone Barbera d’Alba DOC 2013 (52,00$ – SAQ Code: 12900102)
Dark cherry color. Nose of spices, black berries and oak. More serious and showing depth on the palate, this as strenght and structure. Even if this is quite young, it can be enjoyed if paired with a dish that stands up the wine. Nice potential.
Made of 100% de Barbera. Aged in French oak barrels for 15 months. The vines for this wine are located on Barolo land.
Vietti Perbacco Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2013 (31,25$ – SAQ Code: 10861031)
Medium garnet color. Nose of dried flowers, earth cherries, citrus fruit peel and rocky-sandy-earthy soil! Good acidity and more serious and austere than the Barbera wines with its leather and dry fruits notes, it stays drinkable and quite good actually.
Made of 100% de Nebbiolo. Aged 4 months in oak barrels, then 20 months in oak cask. This wine is made of the barrels that will not go into the Castiglione Barolo.
Vietti Castiglione Barolo 2012 (will be available in private import)
Medium brick garnet color. Pretty nose of fruit, flowers, fine spices and leather. Fine, fresh and typical of Nebbiolo wines. Charming on the palate with balance between finesse and rusticity. Flavors of wild berries, dried flowers, leather, sweet spices, all this in a long lasting finish! Will be a Grand vin for sure and is drinking beautifully from now. Can’t imagine this wine but coming from a better vintage! Tastedwith Elena Penna Currado from Vietti. Excellent!
Made of Nebbiolo. Aged 26 months in cask then 8 months in stainless tanks prior to bottling. Alcohol level of 13,5%
I liked these wine and they confirm why I was buying them long before this event. Won’t stop buying either!
Vietti’s website : vietti.com
These wines were tasted during an event hosted by Réserve et Sélection / Trialto : trialto.com
This event was held at M Mme, a very classy and pretty wine bar: mmme.ca
Note: At the moment to publish this blog post, the news just came out that Vietti waas sold to an American, Kyle Krause. What’s known for now is that the team in place will stay and that Luca Currado will keep his place of CEO and Chef Winemaker. Here is the article from Wine Spectator reporting the news: Barolo’s Vietti Winery Sold to American Businessman
Blind tasting – december 2015
In the wine business, there is a common way to taste wine and it’s called blind tasting. This way of having wine consist of tasting wine without knowing its name or origin. The results can often be unexpected, but the main reason why I like to taste wine blindly is that I have reference while tasting it, so anything can happen, even mistakes on which wine it is! It is then judge only on this moment perceptions. The truth is in the glass…
It is a fact that perceptions or feelings can change in regards of the moment of the day, where we are, the people we’re with or even if we’re tired or not. Despite all this, I still think that blind tasting is the best way to be objective on a wine while tasting it.
The most popular tasting ever done is probably the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 where some of the greatest French wines battled California wines. Everyone there had the conviction that the French wines would win easily, but that was not the case! To learn more about this tasting, here is an article on Wikipedia.
Ok, let’s talk about wine, the whole reason for this article being giving you the results of a tasting I did with “neophyte” tasters, my friends! I had invited them at home for a supper (and to let our kids to play together) and to taste some wines!
At the beginning I didn’t gave then any information about the wines they were having neither their origins nor their price. The goal was to get their impressions of the wines. I did afterward gave away the country then the prices. After that they guessed which wine each one was before giving the answers.
Here is what was poured:
Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Black Label Claret Cabernet-Sauvignon 2013 (26,95$, Code SAQ : 00863654)
Fogo Portugal (only available in grocery stores for 10,19$)
Barone Ricasoli Brolio Chianti-Classico 2013 (24,95$ Code SAQ : 00003962)
I did not made any « official » grid to gather all the scores, but off the results, one thing is sure, everyone had the grocery store wine right. The surprise came from the swap over the Chianti and the California wine.
Here are some comments on the wines :
Dark color. Nose of cherries, dark berries and smoke. Easy going on the palate with fruit flavors, sweet spices and a proper acidity level. At first it was the most interesting wine out of the bunch, not being too charming or easy, but after an hour or so, its origin showed more with notes of brown sugar and sweet fruit flavors. Very good (89)
Light ruby color. Nose and palate of sweetened red fruits. A little too easy, short, but in the end not bad and was not crushed by the other wines, even if it didn’t stepped away… Good (87)
Clear ruby color. Initially green, very spicy and a little harsh, air did brought classical notes of berries, earth and even some flowers. Long and tasty finish. Showed best almost 4 hours after the bottle opening. This could age and to be enjoyed from now, it has to be put into a decanter for a minimum of an hour, maybe two, since I really liked the last glass from the bottle. Will taste it again with the proper treatment. Very good+ (90)
Everyone liked this tasting game and I will host more of them with other type of wines sooner than later !
September 17th SAQ Cellier release Bordeaux wine tasting
Recently were invited by SAQ Cellier for a tasting, wine reviewers, sommeliers, bloggers and wine lovers who follows SAQ Cellier Facebook page. Were in front of us: Bordeaux wines from this Thursday, September 17th release.
We had eight wines to taste and to goal was to talk about our impression on them.
Of course some wines were better than others. Here is my personal top 3:
Château La Cardonne Médoc Cru Bourgeois 2005 (26,20$ – 11095121)
Medium garnet color. Fine aromas with a gentle scent of evolution with earth and tea notes, but still have fruit and spices left in it. It is on the palate that the wine really showed its prettier side with finesse, lenght and was more ready to drink. Will pair well with many dishes rather than overpowering them. My favorite from the lineup at this tasting. At that price, it’s a real deal.
Château Coutet Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2010 (35,25$ – 12592816)
Nice depth where black berry aromas join spices and flower notes in a very fine way. The wine is mouth coating even if a bit dry, but gives nice spicy fruits flavors. Lack some length, but is loaded with charm!
Château Hanteillan Haut-Médoc 2009 (24,00$ – 11396101)
Red berry aromas with tobacco, spices and earth, classic from the Cabernet-Sauvignon grape that leads in the blend of this wine. A bit intense at first, it also had some green bell pepper flavors. Being charmed by its spicy red fruits flavors, making it one of my favorite of this tasting.
Thanks to SAQ Cellier for the invite and at all the attendees for the good time spent together.