__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

PM40063855 $7.95

NOVEMBER 2018

MAKING IT WORK

HOW IRISH WHISKEY MAKERS INNOVATE TO STAY AFLOAT


XAD GRANACHA IN FOLDER


NOVEMBER 2018 16 ON THE TRAIL OF ROSSESE MICHAELA MORRIS

GROWING GRAPES IN THE ITALIAN RIVIERA.

33 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS OUR WRITERS AND EDITORS PICK THE BEST IN ASSEMBLAGES, SAKE, BEER AND SPIRITS.

38

19 | LATE TO THE TABLE TIM PAWSEY Can Portugal’s still wines come out from behind the shadow of their sweeter cousins?

22 | DAWN OF A NEW DAY TREVE RING

PURE POT STILL RON LITEPLO

IRISH WHISKEY LOOKS TO THE PAST FOR ITS FUTURE.

Portugal has become a hot spot for white wine.

26 | ON THE ETRUSCAN WAY TOD STEWART Waking up to the beauty of Italy’s sun-soaked Tuscan playground.

30 | FROM A TO ZWEIGELT EVAN SAVIOLIDIS Is Zweigelt the best red coming out of Austria?

TWITTER.COM/QUENCH_MAG

INSTAGRAM.COM/QUENCHMAGAZINE/

FACEBOOK.COM/QUENCHMAG/

YOUTUBE.COM/C/QUENCHMAGAZINE


BACK OF THE BOOK 42 | TAKING IT EASY NANCY JOHNSON

EDITOR’S NOTE

Running out of time? Here are 5 easy recipes you can whip up in a jiffy.

44 | BUYING GUIDE The best wine, beer and spirits from around the world, critiqued by our expert tasting panel.

64 | REDISCOVERING THE VERDE GURVINDER BHATIA Vino Verde is mounting a comeback.

66 | PURPLE PROSE TONY ASPLER Do some wine writers go too far when describing your favourite liquids?

JOIN US IN THE CONVERSATION

SUBSCRIBE NOW AT

WWW.QUENCH.ME/SUBSCRIBE-PRINT/

on twitter: @quench_mag instagram.com/quenchmagazine facebook.com/quenchmag youtube.com/c/quenchmagazine quenchmagazine.tumblr.com for recent back issues: back.quench.me

4 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

I LOVE A COMEBACK STORY. EVEN IF IT’S A SIMPLE ONE. For a number of countries

with a wide and storied history, like Ireland, it’s even more juicy. And like I said, it’s a simple one. In a time when vintage is in and old is new, Irish whiskey producers have made some major decisions. They have invested in equipment that harkens back to their past. I’m sparing you the details. Long-time Quench contributor, Ron Liteplo, tasted his way through Ireland and brought us back his story, which you can read on page 38. So why am I talking (or not talking) about this? It’s simple. The story written is not all there is to tell. You see regions like Ireland, Portugal and Austria, among others, are so steeped in history that they can fast forget that consumers crave the new. It’s the constant battle of the Old World vs … well, the New. Wine lovers of the world, hear me now! Every year brings something new. Every generation puts their twist on things. Every new hire tries to make their mark. It does not need to be said that we — wine lovers, that’s us — should put aside a region for too long. Visiting the liquor store aisle for that long-forgotten favourite may bring a renewed love. After all, if we don’t give it a taste, then who will?


X

One story. AD Many authors. WINES FO NOVA SCOTIA IN FOLDER Discover Nova Scotia’s signature white wine. Officially launched in June 2012, Tidal Bay is the first wine appellation for Nova

Scotia. A white wine with unique character, it brilliantly reflects the terroir, coastal breezes and cooler climate of our region. Described as the very essence of Nova Scotia in a glass, it is cool, crisp, lively and aromatic. The perfect pairing for our local seafood or for socializing with friends. REFRESH IN GLY N OVA SCOTIAN .

T I DA L BAY.C A


XAD OPIM IN FOLDER


WWW.QUENCH.ME EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Aldo Parise editor@quench.me

WINE EDITOR

Gurvinder Bhatia gbhatia@quench.me FOOD EDITOR

Nancy Johnson njohnson@quench.me

ASSISTANT EDITOR

Lisa Hoekstra lhoekstra@quench.me

TASTERS

Tony Aspler, Gurvinder Bhatia, Tod Stewart, Evan Saviolidis, Rick VanSickle, Ron Liteplo, Craig Pinhey, Harry Hertscheg, Sean Wood, Gilles Bois, Jonathan Smithe, Tim Pawsey, Crystal Luxmore, Tara Luxmore, Silvana Lau, Treve Ring CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Elvis Deane

COPY DESK

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR

Holland Gidney, Emma Fucci

WRITER-AT-LARGE

CREATIVE BY PARIS ASSOCIATES

Tod Stewart tstewart@quench.me Silvana Lau slau@quench.me

COLUMNISTS

Tony Aspler, Peter Rockwell, Christine Sismondo, Robin LeBlanc, Brie Dema

CONTRIBUTORS

PRODUCTION

ww+Labs, Designs In Response PHOTOGRAPHY

Push/Stop, Take the Next Shot

Tim Pawsey, Treve Ring, Michaela Morris, Evan Saviolidis, Ron Liteplo

QUENCH MAGAZINE AND QUENCH DIGITAL ARE PUBLISHED BY KYLIX MEDIA PUBLISHER

Pierre Chanzonkov pc@quench.me EDITORIAL DIRECTOR

Aldo Parise editor@quench.me

CFO

Lucy Rodrigues cfo@quench.me

ACCOUNTS

Marilyn Barter accounts@quench.me

CIRCULATION

WHAT IS YOUR DESERT ISLAND WINE?

It would have to be fresh, crisp, minerally, textural and lengthy. Likely Cru Beaujolais, bone-dry Riesling, Chablis, Nebbiolo (a good Langhe Nebbiolo or Barbaresco with a little age), Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, Verdicchio (Marroti Campi’s Salmariano), proper Nero d’Avola or Lambrusco di Sorbara (with some cotechino, of course).

Quench, Food and Drink Magazine, (founded in 1972) is a registered trademark of Kylix Media and is published 8 times a year: (February/ March, April, May/June, July/August, September, October, November, December/January). Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher. ©2018 Kylix Media Inc.

ADVERTISING Sales Associate

Member of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Kylix Media,

ISSN 2293-412X. Publications Mail Registration No. 40063855.

5165 Sherbrooke St. West, Suite 500, Montreal, Quebec, H4A 1T6 Tel: 514.481.6606 Fax: 514.416.1620

Wine editor Gurvinder Bhatia left a career practising law to pursue his passion for wine and food. He is the wine columnist for Global TV Edmonton, an international wine judge, consultant and one of only 13 Vinitaly certified Italian Wine Experts in the world. He is doing his damndest to eat and drink his way around the globe.

SUBSCRIPTION RATES Canada: $42.99 per year, $69.99 per 2 years; USA: $62.99 per year; Other: $89.99 per year. Single Copies: $7.95.

circ@quench.me

Sylvie Bouchard sales@quench.me

CONTRIBUTORS

Printed in Canada on 10% POST-CONSUMER RECYCLED FIBRES.

Ron likes wine and drinks a lot of it. Other interests include: economics, jamming on the ukulele, reading (last book: Kitchen Confidential), music (last album: Songs for Cello and Voice by Kevin Fox), travel (last country visited: Iceland. Free tip: be careful with the cod liver oil). Pet peeve: being asked “What is your desert island wine?” WHAT IS YOUR DESERT ISLAND WINE?

Assuming my desert island has refrigeration, then a generous flow of Champagne. Nothing fancy, a simple NV Brut will do: Lanson or Veuve Clicquot would be fine. Adaptable to any food from seaweed to herbed goat, and any occasion from Mimosas in the morning to sipping on the beach at sunset.

NOVEMBER 2018 7


UMAMI LISA HOEKSTRA

PEACE BY PIECE WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOUR WHOLE WORLD CHANGED IN AN INSTANT? If a war destroyed the business your family

built? Tareq Hadhad and his family had to answer this question when they fled Syria in 2012 after a bomb destroyed their chocolate factory in Damascus. His response was to create Peace by Chocolate, a chocolate factory in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, where the Hadhad family settled in 2016. “We were looking for a destination for my family where they can find peace, they can start their life again,” Hadhad recounts as he describes the harrowing journey from refugee in Lebanon to newly minted Canadian citizen. They chose Canada “after we heard that this country is very well known for its diversity, multiculturalism, respecting others from all across the world, and having great support for those who come to start over.” While they thought they would find a home in one of the big cities, they were brought into the small town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. “There is a group in Antigonish called SAFE [Syrian Antigonish Families Embrace] that is a sponsorship group led by the community members who came together and who have done fundraising … to bring a Syrian family to the town,” explains Hadhad. “Even the government didn’t know which family would land in Antigonish. But we were the lucky ones.” Hadhad and his family were welcomed into the community with open arms. They were taught how to navigate the new culture. In response to receiving this warm welcome, Hadhad wanted to give back. So his family started making chocolate again. “All they really cared about was that we were trying to 8 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

rebuild our lives again in Canada,” explains Hadhad. “Starting the chocolate factory again in Antigonish was our own way to thank the town.” Their first factory was a shed in 2016. It was fixed up and renovated by members of the community. From there, Hadhad grew the family business. “Figuring out the new culture for business in this country after arriving from a completely different culture in the east was difficult,” Hadhad mentions. “I don’t have business education; I’m a physician, I’m a cardiac surgeon. For me, running the family business again was not a challenge, but an opportunity.” Now, two years later, Peace by Chocolate is a well-known Canadian chocolate factory, one that’s been mentioned by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in his speech to the United Nations. Their unique blend of Syrian flavours with local ingredients contributes to their success. They develop new products every second month. “We make sure we are unique and remarkable in very single product we create,” Hadhad states. “Our chocolate always supports fair trade, to make sure it’s a happy product from the source of the cocoa beans to the consumer enjoying the product.” The Hadhad family places great import on spreading the message of peace. “We left a war zone and we travelled all this way. Nothing could make my family members happier than being together and being involved. We have built something; we feel that it is something that makes us all proud.” Still, Hadhad hopes to one day return to medicine. “After I achieve my goal of making Peace by Chocolate one of the top five chocolate companies in the country, I will definitely go back to medicine. Medicine is my passion.” ×


XAD ADAMO IN FOLDER


XAD SAKE IN FOLDER


LAZY MIXOLOGIST CHRISTINE SISMONDO

CON-CIDER THIS Cider usually comes one of three ways: Straight up, on the rocks or mulled. None of these exactly require an advanced degree in mixology and even the most complicated of the three, hot apple cider, is pretty foolproof. Simply spike it with booze and use restraint with the baking spice. But can we be more ambitious with cider? Does it have some untapped potential as a craft cocktail ingredient? We did a little research and discovered several bartenders dabbling in cider, including Vancouver’s Kaitlyn Stewart, who won Diageo’s World Class cocktail competition in 2017. Yes, we’ll admit that asking the best bartender in the world for help with an ingredient as simple as cider sounded like overkill, but once we learned how passionate she was about her original cider creations at Royal Dinette, where she still tends bar, we knew we had the right person. × VISIT WWW.QUENCH.ME/MIXED/ FOR MORE DRINK RECIPES

“I really don’t like the taste of beer, so all I drink is cider,” says Stewart, adding that, generally speaking, she thinks it’s underrated and underappreciated. “The first thing I do when I travel somewhere new is check out the local cider options. I’d like more people drink more delicious cider and respect the tradition a little better.” By that, she’s referring to dry ciders, especially those that still retain some of the sourness of the cider apple — a tannic, high-sugar apple traditionally used in fermentation. Many North American cideries just crush and ferment “eater” apples instead, since we have more of them — the reason we have a lot of indifferent, overly-sweet cider in our market. Stewart says she considers herself lucky to be in British Columbia, where there are a lot of good local options, including Dominion

and Left Field, two of her favourites. She started playing with cider as an ingredient around the time that beer cocktails became a thing, reasoning that her palate would be “off” when she added beer, so she decided to add cider instead. “It’s super-versatile, especially if you have one of the stinky ones that have a ton of character and you can play a lot of different spirits off of,” says Stewart. “I think of it as another drink lengthener option that I can use instead of ginger beer or soda water. It gives you an opportunity to tweak the flavour profile as well as make a higher-ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktail.” Or, if you prefer to dial down the alcohol content of your drink, substituting cider for sparkling wine can significantly reduce the ABV of those delicious but dangerous spritzes and Champagne cocktails. The timeless classic French 75, for example — gin (or cognac), lemon and fizz — is said to have been named after a massive field gun from the First World War because it’s nearly as powerful a weapon. Cider lightens up a French 75, giving the drinker a fighting chance. That said, Stewart’s favourite way to use cider is probably when she adds just a little to a short cocktail, to add a little pop and levity to more potent, spirit-forward cocktails. To that end, she shared the recipe for her signature “Bonita Applebum” cocktail — one of her all-time favourite cider cocktails, which makes seasonal appearances at Royal Dinette.

BONITA APPLEBUM

3/4 1/2 1/4 1/4 2

oz dark rum oz Cinzano Orancio oz Amère Sauvage oz lemon juice oz Broken Ladder BC cider

Add all ingredients, except the cider, to an ice-filled cocktail shaker. After the shake, strain over ice in a copper mug. Top with cider and garnish with a dehydrated apple. × NOVEMBER 2018 11


THINGS LISA HOEKSTRA

BEER IS MADE TO BE ENJOYED FROM A GLASS. The foam,

PERFECT PINT EVERY TIME

aroma and experience is enhanced by the glass shape. Many beer enthusiasts claim that beer tastes better when it’s pulled from a keg or beer tap. Not all of us have the room in our house or budget for the full beer tap installation. Which is why Fizzics created their Waytap portable beer dispenser units. The Fizzcis Waytap, released this past spring, is a portable beer dispenser that’s small enough to fit in even my small apartment kitchen. Its sleek design is quite attractive, reminiscent of something out of a sci-fi bar. BPA free and battery operated, the Waytap is compatible with 12 to 25 oz (355ml to 740ml) cans and 12 oz (355ml) bottles. It is a pretty simple concept. You place the can or bottle inside the machine and insert the “straw” into it. Then you close the whole unit and pull the lever. Beer pours into your glass just like it would from a beer tap (remember to tilt the glass if you don’t want a ton of foam). Changing the can/bottle is easy – remove the body, replace the can/bottle in the base, repeat the set up process and go. If you’re changing beers, I would suggest cleaning the unit before putting in the new beer, to ensure that there isn’t any remaining beer in the unit. They provide cleaning instructions in the box, though I had to read them over a few times before I figured it out. The base must be attached to the body in order for the machine to work. Fizzics Waytap uses the Fizzics Micro-Foam Technology, which leverages fluid dynamics and sound. It pours beer under pressure at a controlled rate to maintain the carbonation. Apparently, if you push the lever backwards, it applies a “sonication process” that uses sound waves to control the process of converting the beer’s natural carbonation into an ideal Micro-Foam. This “delivers enhanced aroma, flavour and mouth-feel.” I’m not sure if there was any really change when I tested it. That being said, the machine did keep the beer pouring fresh over an extended duration, which makes it worth having around if you like sipping beer slowly over time. It’d also be great at parties. You can get the Fizzics Waytap in white, black or slate grey. FIZZICS WAYTAP / $150 ×

12 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS


LAGER THAN LIFE ROBIN LEBLANC

BRUTAL LEGEND In craft beer, there has perhaps been no other style that has undergone so many iterations over such a short amount of time as the IPA. Beginning with the English original that was once upon a time largely out of fashion in North America, we’ve come up with sub-styles like West Coast IPAs, Belgian IPAs, Sour IPAs, Brett IPAs, Double IPAs, Triple IPAs, Session IPAs, Black IPAs, Milkshake IPAs, Fruit IPAs and, of course, the New England IPA. While many purists may shake their heads at the amount of different sub-styles that are hitting the shelves, dismissing them as either flash-in-the-pan trends or abominations of the original style, I for one think that they are a testament to the diversity and creativity to be found in the world of good beer. With that in mind, it’s interesting to note that another substyle of IPA has emerged and has quickly been capturing the minds of brewers all over the world: the Brut IPA. The quick summary is this: a Brut IPA is a very pale, thin-bodied and incredibly dry IPA that attempts to be as refreshing and Champagne-like as its namesake. Think dry sparkling wine with hops. The dryness comes by incorporating amylase enzyme, an ingredient commonly used to remove residual sugars in heavy stouts and porters without compromising the alcohol content, and essentially using it for opposite beer styles that are lighter and intentionally brewed with as little residual sugar as possible. To make such a base, the grain bill is altered to include incredibly light malts and in some cases adjuncts like rice, corn or wheat. The beer style also features very little bitterness, with most of the hops added only during the post-boil process for aroma.

As far as he knows, Kim Sturdavant, brewmaster at the Social Kitchen & Brewery in San Francisco, was the first one to develop the style. Starting from an experiment late last year, the idea was soon enough picked up by a number of brewers in the area and lo, a style was born! What makes the Brut IPA particularly attractive is that the recipe is so open that it allows for a lot of creativity from brewers. The ratio of grains/adjuncts are one puzzle, but the most attractive seems to be the hop additions, which should go well with the dryness. While Sturdavant usually goes with very fruity hop additions, others have made attempts with hops that impart a somewhat spicy flavour. The style is still very new, so it’s reasonable to expect a gradual rollout, but as of writing, Canada already has a few. Hamilton’s MERIT Brewing Co. was the first to bring in the style with One For Us; Great Lakes Brewery from Etobicoke released Brutalism IPA; Hamilton’s Collective Arts collaborated with Aslin Beer Co. from Herndon, VA on Hot Pink; and Halifax’s own Unfiltered Brewing has Marcus Junius. So, lovers of a nice dry bubbly, take note! A beer exists for you, and it’s delicious to boot! × NOVEMBER 2018 13


TBY BRIE DEMA

EL JOLGORIO 100% ESPADÍN JOVEN, PALENQUE DISTILLERY RÍO GOREA, OAXACA 47.8% ($200)

The name gives a nod to village rituals and celebrations (Jolgorios), of which Mezcal is a major part. Rested in glass for several months before release to mellow. This one is more grassy than smoky, with notes of lime, green underripe banana, cut grass, burnt herbs. Astonishingly smooth on the palate, just a lift of the alcohol on the finish, and more of those fruity, herbal flavours. A whiff of smoke, like grilled rosemary, reminds you what you are drinking. Dangerously delicious.

MEZCAL IS MAGIC TEQUILA, FOR BETTER OR WORSE DEPENDING ON YOUR COLLEGE YEARS, HAS MADE ITS MARK. Its closely related

cousin, Mezcal, is now emerging as Mexico’s most exciting spirit to try. Both are made from the Agave plant, thought good quality Tequila is made from 100% Blue Agave, while Mezcal is made with mostly the Espadín variety, along with a range of both wild and domestic Agave. Only the heart of the plant, the Piña, is used, and each plant yields only one in its lifetime. Espadín takes between six and eight years to mature, but some Agave can take up to 30. Talk about resource management! Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Mezcal remains an artisanal spirit, brought to life by the hands of farmers and families rather than mass produced. Another signature of Mezcal is a smoky character, as the Piña are roasted in open air fire pits to cook them in preparation for distillation. Look for the term ‘Artesanal’ or ‘Traditional’ on the label, the former ensures small batch production and the latter forgoes the use of modern techniques like copper pots for traditional clay. These three are all in the Artesenal category.

14 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

PELOTON DE LA MUERTE 100% ESPADÍN JOVEN, OAXACA 41% ($100)

Here is that smoky character! Smoke intermingled with tropical fruits, green mango, grassy agave, black pepper. Robust. Smooth at first, but a rustic build to the finish, owing not to alcohol but to big bold flavour. The name means ‘Brigade of Death’, which might be how one feels after too much mass marketed Tequila. Drink this instead! Well worth the price tag. MARCA NEGRA, 100% ESPADIN JOVEN, SAN LUIS DEL RÍO, OAXACA 50.2% ($100)

Balanced aromas, smoky with notes of the telltale agave plant, which is somewhere between a fresh mown lawn and the smell of being in a summertime forest after rain, green and lightly earthy. On the palate, the flavours are first, with white grapefruit, smoke, and grass but then, light a match! The alcohol takes over the finish, but it seems to belong there. Spirity. ×


BON VIVANT PETER ROCKWELL

ILLUSTRATION: MATT DALEY/SHINYPLIERS.COM

Is Pinot Noir the only grape the state of Oregon grows? No, but considering the way they go on about it, I’ll forgive you for assuming every inch of vineyard within its extensive borders is overrun with the grape. Not that they don’t make amazing Pinot in Oregon. Spoiler alert: they do. Trouble is, they’re too good at it. So, like many wine producers who have been awarded a certain level of celebrity by the liquid media thanks to growing one grape particularly well, the public can’t get its collective head around what else it’s got in the ground. Winemakers in New Zealand and Argentina certainly understand the pain of those non-Pinot Noir producing wineries in Oregon. With the Kiwis masters of Sauvignon Blanc and the Argentineans trustees of the world’s Malbec supply, everything else they put into bottles is seen by consumers as secondary at best. While many of its winemakers try to find a way to open people’s minds and mouths, Oregon has embraced its Pinot powerhouse status. It helps that the grape loves the valleys that work their way down the state’s just-over-580 kilometres of Pacific coastline. The northern Willamette Valley, about an hour outside of Portland, is where much of the magic happens. Over 75 percent of Oregon’s vineyards and 90 percent of Pinot production are based there. × ASK YOUR QUESTIONS AT BONVIVANT @ QUENCH.ME

Three different mountain ranges nearly encircle the Willamette, and thanks to the Missoula Floods (a series of catastrophic Ice Age events worthy of a Roland Emmerich plot line), the valley is jam-packed with layers of vine-friendly volcanic soil mixed with lots of glacial goodness. Add to that a much cooler, more European-esque climate than neighbouring California and the comparisons to Burgundy, France’s Pinot powerhouse, are inevitable. But you said they grow more than Pinot Noir? They do, more than 50 other varieties to be exact. While Pinot Gris has been pushed forward as Orgon’s best white grape, I’d put its Chardonnay output up against any competitor looking for a taste-off. Even more exciting is how well it does Riesling, Albariño and Grüner Veltliner, especially in its southern regions. All of France’s and Italy’s big gun red varietals call Oregon home, though their production pales in comparison to Pinot. What may surprise you the most is how amazing its Tempranillo can be. No kidding. On my last visit, some Spanish friends who were along for the ride were gobsmacked by how well Oregon versions mirrored, if not bested, the wines from their home and native land. × NOVEMBER 2018 15


ON THE TRAIL OF ROSSESE by Michaela Morris

“WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES,” in-

structs Giovanna Maccario when I call to confirm my visit at her estate, Maccario Dringenberg. I feel a rush of excitement. Walks in the vineyard are surprisingly all too rare. I am headed to Liguria, which is often referred to as the Italian Riviera. This crescent-shaped, small slip of a region connects France to Tuscany. The last time I made it to this part of Italy, I was barely 20 years old and cycling my way around Europe. Given the steep slopes that rise immediately from the sea, I didn’t explore the interior and instead hugged the coast. A couple of decades later, my mode of transport is a car. And rather than the beach, wine is my motivation; specifically, Rossese di Dolceacqua. Named after the picturesque village of Dolceacqua, the region is so close to the border that I can still hear French echoing in my ears. Located 16 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

at the western edge of Liguria, Maccario Dringenberg is essentially equidistance between Monaco and Sanremo, extending over two mountain valleys. I meet Maccario in my runners. My heart sinks when I spy her sporting stylish summer sandals. But my disappointment quickly dissolves as I spend the next couple of hours trying to keep up as she leaps around the stone terraces holding up vertiginous slopes. She is as nimble and light on her feet as her wines. She takes me to her plot in the cru of Luvaira, which boasts bush vines well over 100 years old. Where necessary, Maccario has propped them up with inventive arrangements of sticks and stones. Beyond that, she does little else to control them. “The plant should grow freely,” she declares. “It is like an English garden.” The vines in question are predominantly Rossese di Dolceacqua. Note, the grape variety bears the same name as the

denomination. It is often simply referred to as Rossese, though for clarification, there are other genetically distinct grapes called Rossese something-or-other. Considered superior among these, Rossese di Dolceacqua is nonetheless very limited in plantings and little known. It is, however, one and the same as Provence’s Tibouren variety. There, it is vinified exclusively as a rosé and typically blended, giving distinct nuances of garrigue or wild Mediterranean scrub. Here, in Liguria, it is mainly crafted as a thrillingly low-tannin, light- to medium-bodied red with captivating scents of various herbs, flowers and pure summer fruit. “Rossese should be weightless but with great intensity,” pronounces Filippo Rondelli at Terre Bianche. Much less mobile than Maccario, he is hobbling around on crutches, not from scrambling around his precarious vineyards, but instead due to a simple yet fateful misstep in his


storeroom. Despite this injury, he is clearly itching to show me around his breathtakingly beautiful property. At 400 metres above sea level, it offers vistas of the penetratingly blue Mediterranean as well as the imposing Alps, depending on which direction you look. Confined to his tasting room, Rondelli gives me a terroir intensive as I sample through his wines. Dolceacqua is one of the driest places in Italy. The mountains encircle the region to Sanremo, protecting the area from bad weather. While the climate is Mediterranean by the coast, it becomes subalpine near the mountains. “Usually this change occurs over 100 kilometres, but here you reach 2,000 metres in just 20 kilometres,” Rondelli explains. Vineyards can be found at elevations up to 800 metres. As a result, the wines exhibit a salty quality, which is Mediterranean, as well as the vibrant acidity associated with a continental influence. “I love this dual nature because only here is it expressed by our varieties,” he continues, referring also to white grapes Vermentino and Pigato. Beyond varying altitudes and exposures are multiple soil compositions. Though all of marine origin, they run the gamut from blue marl to flysch and galestro to red clay with large stones similar to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. “This gives the possibility for a very sensitive variety like Rossese to demonstrate the differences quite radically in the wines,” Rondelli maintains. Rondelli believes so firmly in this that he is one of the key producers to spearhead legal registration of the region’s crus. As in Barolo and Barbaresco, these Menzioni geografiche aggiuntive (MGA) are essentially geographically defined subzones, which can be included on a label if 85 percent of the grapes hail from the named MGA. He approximates there is potential from more than 2,000 distinct MGAs, but assures me that this wide range has been rationalized into a more realistic 33. At first glance, establishing subzones may seem a bit premature for this relatively obscure region. However, viticulture here dates back to ancient Greek times and the crus have historic origins. Alas, vine growing was largely abandoned over the last century following the ravages of war and phylloxera. “There were 3,000 hectares of vineyards at the beginning of 1900; today there are only 90 hectares,” recounts sixth-generation grape grower Alessandro Anfosso of Tenuta Anfosso. When

MAIXEI ROSE ROSSE SE..., VINO ROSATO ($25)

The respectable local cooperative offers a non-traditional expression of Rossese as a rosé. Slightly darker than its Provençal counterparts, this wine is more intense in its scrubby dried herb and wild flowers. MACCARIO-DRINGENBERG BRAE 2016, ROSSESE DI DOLCEQUA DOC ($25)

It is almost impossible to choose a favourite among Maccario’s wines. From the north-facing cru of Brae, located at 480 metres above sea level and surrounded by forest, this represents the very light end of the spectrum. All crunchy red fruit like cranberries and redcurrants with a black-pepper snap, it is fine-boned and delicate. MACCARIO-DRINGENBERG CURLI 2015, ROSSESE DI DOLCEQUA DOC SUPERIORE ($30)

A historic cru that was tragically abandoned but nursed back to life by Maccario, this is one rare and intriguing Rossese. Quite dark in colour and shy on the nose, it is relatively full with blueberry and black raspberry framed by firm grape tannins and finishing with lavender and liquorice. TERRE BIANCHE 2016, DOLCEACQUA DOC ($25)

Rondelli standard Dolceacqua is a gorgeous textbook example of Rossese. Light yet penetrating, it is an explosion of red cherry and flowers accented by thyme and apricot. Juicy and dry with brisk, fresh tannin, this finishes with a pleasant bitterness. TERRE BIANCHE TERRABIANCA 2015, DOLCEACQUA DOC ($30)

The Terrabianca cru is characterized by blue marl rich in marine fossils. This is a rather austere and linear expression yet demonstrates tons of energy and length. It hints at balsamic herbs, cocoa and violets and finishes with a distinct saline note. It could do with a couple more years in the bottle. TENUTA ANFOSSO POGGIO PINI 2014, ROSSESE DI DOLCEACQUA DOC SUPERIORE ($25)

2014 was a cool year but Dolceacqua was spared the copious rainfall experienced in surrounding regions. The Poggio Pini cru boasts a high percentage of sand, typically giving round, elegant wines. Generous and concentrated, it offers redcurrant, mineral and black pepper with fine tannins. KA MANCINÈ BERAGNA 2016, DOLCEACQUA DOC ($30)

Ka Mancinè crafts two equally delicious cru bottlings but the northeast calcareous-rich Beragna is pure charm. Chockfull of pretty rose petals and pomegranate, it is lithe, graceful and succulent with barely-there tannins and a lovely modest 12.5%. TESTALONGA DI ANTONIO PERRINO 2015, DOLCEACQUA DOC ($35)

Established in 1961, this is one of the region’s most historic wineries but its wines aren’t for the faint of heart. Initial reductive notes blow off to reveal savoury hints of anchovy and olive. The palate is light but vibrant with strawberries, slight shoe polish, ashy minerality and a salty tang. It sounds weird but actually works.

NOVEMBER 2018 17


FILIPPO RONDELLI

• Prem emie ierr Cr Cru u ki kitt ra rack ckss • Pr • wine coolers & accessories • established 19995

your wine deserves the very best home 905-275-0979

RosehillWineCellars.com 18 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

people returned to the land, viticulture was replaced with less onerous and more immediately remunerating floriculture. Massive greenhouses have encroached on vineyards throughout the hillsides. Anfosso established his label in 2002 after piecing back together most of the parcels that had been divided up between his relatives over the years. His modest 5.5 hectares includes a plot in the Poggio Pini cru planted by his great-grandfather in 1888. Terre Bianche is slightly bigger, encompassing 8 hectares. It was in the 1980s that Rondelli’s father decided to return to viticulture as his primary occupation. “At that time, there was no electricity, water or telephone lines in our area of Arcagna and only two or three people were living from winemaking,” recalls Rondelli. As for Maccario, she took over from her father when he passed away in 2001. He had been bottling wine since 1972, the year in which the DOC of Rossese di Dolceacqua was established. Like many of the region’s producers, all three offer cru bottlings and recognize the added value of MGAs. However, they are equally aware that, above all, it is the name Dolceacqua that needs to be disseminated. As a result, they belong to a group of 14 producers working together to establish greater awareness of the region. One of their associates is Alessandro Anfosso’s cousin, Maurizio Anfosso, who makes wine under the brand Ka Mancinè. His label captures the essence of the region

and its wines like no other. It depicts a man tiptoeing delicately on clouds while balancing a heavy basket of grapes on his back. Rossese di Dolceacqua is a wine that trips lightly and cheerfully across the palate. Yet producing this wine is gruelling work. In the vineyard, it goes without saying that everything must be done by hand. Furthermore, thin-skinned Rossese is a finicky grape sensitive to temperature and mildew among other things. In the winery, it is prone to reduction, which may produce off-aromas. “A high concentration of sulphur molecules can render its marine-like aromas overly fishy,” admits Rondelli. It requires careful handling and oxygen at just the right time. Preserving Rossese’s gorgeous perfume is of the utmost importance. When Rossese is good, it’s very good and the very best may even be cellared for a decade or more. However, its youthful exuberance is difficult to resist, especially when served with a slight chill of 14 to 15˚C. Refreshing to drink on its own, Rossese is equally food-friendly, complementing everything from vegetables and fish to poultry, lamb and cheese. It can even handle tricky ingredients like artichokes and tomatoes and is just divine with exotic cuisines. Italy is simply heaving with fascinating wines that fly under the radar but I would absolutely put Rossese di Dolceacqua at the top of my list of reds to discover. And if you can get to the region, even better. ×


LATE TO THE TABLE by Tim Pawsey

It has taken a while for Portugal’s unfortified wines to come out from under Port’s formidable shadow. But, despite all odds, they have. And, they’re here to stay.

Wander down the steep, narrow streets of Lisbon’s Barrio Alto and it’s impossible to resist the temptation to duck into at least one (or two) of the numerous wine bars. These compact escapes are rarely fancy. But they flourish in every incarnation, from the tiny but brilliant BA Wine Bar Barrio Alto to the bustling and trendy Old Pharmacy, with its shelves of coloured glass and clever lighting. Each sports its own charm and character. Not to mention a wealth of choices that underscores just how much Portugal has to offer. However, the reality is that the wine bar is a relatively recent phenomenon in one of Europe’s fastest growing tourist destinations. There was a time not all that long ago when, if you wanted to taste wine, you went primarily to one place: Porto. To taste, of course, Port. The blossoming of Lisbon’s wine culture directly parallels the ongoing surge in popularity of Portuguese table wines. For sure, Port continues to be a mainstay. But it’s still wines from the Douro, Dão and many of the country’s other producing regions that are getting all the attention. While, at the outset, the focus of those still wines initially relied more on value-driven drops, in recent years there’s been a much greater appreciation of Portugal’s higher quality still wines, which consistently win major international accolades. The fact that Lisbon’s tourists are packing into wine bars is indeed good news for the industry at large, as it works to take the mystery out of Portuguese table wine and introduces consumers to myriad styles. Not only that, it’s also introducing them to wines from all over Portugal, including to tastes they likely never dreamed existed beyond Mateus Rosé and Casal Garcia. The fact is, says Sopexa’s Edouard Clouet-Foraison, “Portugal has lots to offer. Portugal is full of serious and quality wines, with completely different profiles, from the light and frizzy to the complex and robust, that compete with what is better made in the Old World. And we have our native grape varieties that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, that allow us to offer unique wines, different from everything else.”

The consumer challenges Portugal has been working hard to overcome fall loosely into three principal areas. Firstly, a lack of understanding of the country’s long history of grape growing and appreciation of its regions; a misperception that Portugal makes only light whites and budget reds (and, of course, Port); and a resistance (especially in North America) to “drink outside the box” — to discover lesser known varieties, especially indigenous grapes. Much of Portugal’s challenge lies in the English-speaking consumer’s inability or reluctance to move beyond their comfort zone to discover something new and noteworthy. But signs are afoot that wine drinkers are happy to pursue the likes of Encruzado (a noteworthy peer to Chardonnay). If Albariño’s fortunes are on the rise (and they are, even in Canada) can Avarinho be far behind, especially as drinkers move beyond basic Vinho Verde? Likewise, Arinto is grown in most regions. Now being discovered by inquisitive tasters, it’s also a popular variety used in sparkling wine — which, while still only a miniscule part of the big picture (about two percent), is already flexing its muscle. On the red side of things, it’s not nearly as complicated as some might think. Granted, much of Portugal’s “red identity crisis” stems from the fact that most of the country’s wines are made with field blends. That in itself is a challenge for marketers catering to consumers obsessed with knowing the precise varietal makeup. Add to that the fact that many of those varieties, even once revealed, are challenging to pronounce, and it’s easy to see why Portugal’s path to recognition has proven labourious at best. However, drinkers who take the time to inform themselves soon learn that several key red grapes are not-so-distant cousins of varieties found in neighbouring countries. Tempranillo shows up in Portugal as Tinta Roriz, while Duero’s Tinta Roriz is actually Aragonês. Indigenous Touriga Nacional (Port’s mainstay) is also finally getting the table wine respect it deserves alongside international varieties such as Syrah, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Having originated in Dão and the Douro, it’s now a mainstay throughout the NOVEMBER 2018 19


CABRIZ DÃO RESERVA ENCRUZADO 2016, DÃO ($22)

Dão’s ascendant white grape, Encruzado (think Pinot Blanc meets Chardonnay), is made here with Burgundian-style bâtonnage, with 3 months in barrel. Upfront notes of floral, orchard and stone fruit with mineral hints precede a palate of citrus and pear with tropical notes, well-managed oak, and generous but elegant mouthfeel with lingering minerality, plus a touch of spice in the close. CABRIZ COLHEITA SELECIONADA 2015, DÃO ($21)

Good-value blend of Alfrocheiro (40%) and Touriga Nacional (20%) sports aromas of red- and black-berry fruit with some savoury notes before a balanced palate, with well-managed oak and approachable tannins, anise, blackberry and raspberry flavours with a herbal note through the finish. PORTAL DA CALCADA 2016, DOC VINHO VERDE ($21.99)

This blend of Loureiro, Arinto, Azal and Trajadura, all stainless-steel fermented, yields upfront floral, stone-fruit and zesty notes with a mineral hint, before a tropical- and citrus-toned palate, defined by fresh and lively acidity with a touch of zest and clove through the finish. Easy-drinking but still quite dry and complex, 11.5% ABV. HERDADE DAS SERVAS ALANTEJO SEM BARRICA UNOAKED RED 2015, ESTREMOZ, ALENTEJO ($32)

Blend of Alicante Bouschet (70%), Syrah (15%) and Touriga Franca (15%), foot trodden in the traditional way and aged in stainless steel with 6 months in bottle. Lifted red and black fruits up front precede a full-bodied palate of plum and dark cherry, underpinned by firm, well integrated tannins and fine core through the finish, with good aging potential. QUINTA DAS CEREJEIRAS BRANCO 2015, LISBON DOP ($35)

Blend of Chardonnay (50%), Arinto (40%) and Vital (10%), fermented 40 percent in oak barrel with remainder in stainless steel. Nicely balanced richness with acidity from the indigenous component. Forward notes of baked apple, nuts and pear with tropical and creamy citrus notes lingering through the close. QUINTA DO CRASTO RESERVA OLD VINES, DOURO ($41)

From one of the Douro’s originals, and one of Europe’s oldest vineyard sites. Flagship field blend of 70-year-old vines, painstakingly grown on steep terraces high above the Douro. Aged 18 months in French (85%) and American oak. Upfront notes of red and black berries with vanilla and spice before a structured palate of dark cherry and wild blackberry with spice and mocha hints wrapped in supple tannins through a long close. QUINTA DO ENCONTRO Q DO E 2014, BARRAIDA ($22)

Following a wine-making tradition that dates from the 10th century, this wine blends indigenous Baga (50%) with Merlot. The backbone comes from the high-tannin Baga, which is fleshed out by the Merlot. Forward black fruit and earthy notes lead into a palate of cassis, blackberry and black plum defined by lively and juicy acidity, with a savoury edge, underpinned by firm tannins. QUINTA VALE DONA MARIA VVV VALLEYS DOURO BRANCO 2014, DOURO ($30)

A hallmark white from one of the Douro’s longest established producers, this blend of undisclosed varieties invites with floral and stone fruits before a formidably well-structured, mouth-filling palate with peach and floral notes, balanced oak, a streak of minerality and a lengthy finish. ROQUETTE & CAZES 2014, DOURO DOC ($40)

A long-running collaboration, since 2003, between the families of Quinta do Crasto and Château Lynch-Bages, that coincided with the start of a new era in Portuguese table wines. This blend of Touriga Nacional (60%), Touriga Franca (25%) and Tinta Roriz (15%) is hand-harvested and stainless-steel fermented before spending 18 months in French oak. Aromas of vibrant black fruit and complex spice notes precede a full-bodied palate of vanilla, cassis and blackberry with balanced oak, moderate, well-integrated tannins and a lengthy finish. SÔTTAL VINHO LEVE 2016, DOP LISBOA ($17.99)

Indicative of that new way of more modern thinking, this easy-sipping blend of Moscatel, Arinto and Vital was conceived as an alternative to Vinho Verde, with grapes picked early and alcohol kept low (9.5% ABV). The orange-toned, fruity but zippy blend of Moscatel, Arinto and Vital is ideal with local seafood such as clams and shrimp. 20 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS


QUINTA DO CRASTO’S MIGUEL ROQUETTE

country and valued not only for its complexity but also for its aging potential. Indeed, Touriga Nacional was the original standard bearer in the early, modern table wine movement. Even Barraida’s temperamental Baga (the original force behind Mateus) is finding fans well beyond budget wine drinkers. Now better understood, and again eminently ageworthy, it’s also more likely to ripen now than in the past, thanks to a changing climate. It’s increasingly appreciated for its racy acidity, which makes it an excellent food partner, or blending component. It’s safe to say that no one has done more for Portuguese still wines’ newfound respect than the Douro Boys. This collaboration between five of the Douro Valley’s most celebrated estates took shape in 2003, when Quinta do Vale Meão, Quinta do Crasto, Quinta Vale Dona Maria, Quinta do Vallado and Niepoort Vinhos decided to work together. A group of youthful upstarts — but also smart winemakers from formidable pedigrees — they managed to carve out a personality for Portuguese wines that shook up the staid reputation of Port, so tangled up in its Anglo-Portuguese heritage. You could call them the Vasco da Gamas of the wine world, as they took their message — that Portuguese wine was anything but boring or homogenous, or even that complicated — to every corner of the globe. It didn’t happen overnight. But their message, fuelled by their passion for indigenous varieties, has managed to change the country’s image from staid and predictable to quality-driven and colourful. A pivotal moment in the shift to table wines came with Portugal’s entry into the European Union and common market in 1986. The changes that took place were momentous in enabling the industry to cast off the shackles of a culture driven by the two polar

opposites of bulk wine and Port. The groundwork undertaken not only by the Douro Boys but also by many others over the last two to three decades has now come to fruition, with Portugal finally seeing significant growth and acceptance of its quality table wines. In addition, the increase in table wine production has been significant over the past few years, as has the rise in volume of DOC and IGP wines. For example, the Lisboa wine region has seen its certified regional wines hit double-digit growth, exceeding 20 percent per year. Once almost entirely dedicated to bulk wines for both local consumption and for shipping to Portugal’s colonies, Lisboa now produces some 40 million bottles of certified wine annually. Of that, some three quarters is exported. The challenges Portugal has faced in getting its table wines on the map is not unlike that faced by New World regions such as Chile, Argentina and Australia. But interestingly, unlike those players, Portugal’s very mystery — the wealth of its diverse varieties and even the serendipitous uncertainty of its field blends over centuries — has made it unlikely if not impossible to ever become associated with primarily one variety. Vancouver’s Red Dog Wine and Spirits has been importing Portuguese wines for more than a decade. During that time, the wine importers have watched people discover and come to appreciate even the more obscure, hard-to-pronounce Portuguese varietals. Consumers are constantly looking for the “‘next great find’ … and wines from Portugal deliver on so many levels,” says Red Dog co-owner Laurie Adams. She thinks, in part, it’s thanks to “a changing of the ‘Old World guard,’ in terms of management, wine style, packaging and marketing, and to the new, up and coming winemakers,” she says. “Portugal is finally getting over its inferiority complex.” × NOVEMBER 2018 21


DAWN OF A NEW DAY

by Treve Ring

Beyond Port, and echoing the rise of dry red wines, the white wines of Portugal are currently the most exciting thing happening on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal will forever be known as the land of Port. The historic and ageworthy fortified wines of the Douro were amongst the first in the wine world to be granted official appellation status, back in 1756 when the Região Demarcada do Douro was created by the Marquis de Pombal. More recently, Portugal’s dry red table wines have been having a heyday, propelled by progressive collectives like the Douro Boys, whose deep winemaking roots and family trees reach back to the 17th century. Facing declining Port wine sales worldwide in the early 2000s, the Douro Boys realized they needed to focus on dry table wines to continue telling the unique stories of their dramatic and ancient slate and granite terroir, extreme climate and autochthonous grapes. Grapes are thought to have been grown in the land that is now Portugal for at least 4,000 years. The Phoenicians most likely introduced winemaking to the south, and the Romans spread vine cultivation and winemaking farther north as they drove out the northern Celts. Portugal’s coastal location helped its vineyards grow as they supplied thirsty England, a political and military ally. England drew on Portuguese wine supplies often throughout the 15th 22 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

century, and especially during England’s frequent battles with France. The 1386 Treaty of Windsor gave rise to much trade in wine from the cool northwest of Portugal to England, mostly high-acid, light red wines exported out of the port of Viana do Castelo, in today’s Vinho Verde. Of course, the English merchants were the ones to build and solidify the Port wine trade and make the Douro Valley world renowned, but even then, more than 200 years ago, dry wines were being made in the Douro. Traditions and export markets for table wines dried up as the Port wine market took off, while phylloxera and World Wars I and II took strangling hold of the land and manpower. To invigorate viticulture, beginning in 1937, the Junta Nacional do Vinho established more than 100 cooperatives in less than 20 years. The consequence of this system, imposed by the government, was the high-volume production of poor-quality wines. Thankfully, when Portugal joined the EU in 1986, independent quintas were allowed the freedom to act under their own authority, and since then wine quality and personality rose, steadily, through to the current day.


LUIS PATO

Today’s Portuguese table wines are amongst the most interesting and exciting on the planet. Partner the country’s 250ish autochthonous grape varieties with keen and educated winemakers, viticulturists who care about place and sustainability, and a drinking public around the world interested in what is new and authentic, and you can realize the potential. Quality producers are rediscovering ancient varieties and revitalizing historic properties, while moving quickly forward to modernize production and style. The overripe, over-wooded and overwrought table wines of the past are being replaced with pure-fruited, site-showcasing styles, many highlighting ancient varieties in transparent, low-interventionist ways. I’ve seen a massive shift in focus to white wines in the last couple of years, with producers seeking out cooler sites where these varieties can thrive in the basking Iberian sun. There’s also a big push skywards, for higher-altitude plantings, as well as attention paid to cooler soils, coastal breezes or windy rivulets, and earlier picking dates to preserve the freshness of grapes like Arinto, Azal, Trajadura, Códega, Alvarinho, Cercial, Bical, Encruzado, Gouveio, Jampal, Larynho, Rabigato, Verdelho, Viosinho and others. From north to south, here are four regions that are excelling with white wines that you need to know about.

VINHO VERDE

If you were to ask someone to name a region in Portugal for white wine, chances are they’ll come up with Vinho Verde. In this verdant, hilly region in north-western Portugal, the

temperature is cooler and marine influenced, reflected in lighter-bodied, fresher wines. Grape vines know no political boundaries; many of the whites of Vinho Verde are also grown across the border with Spain, in Galicia. Portuguese Alvarinho alters to Albariño, Trajadura turns into Treixadura, and Gouveio goes to Godello. The vines mostly grow in fertile, granite soils along rivers that flow from the mountains of the east out to the Atlantic, carving out nine distinct sub-regions, of which Monção e Melgaço, the farthest north, reigns supreme. Though the whites are mainly blends of local grapes (and the cheaper Vinho Verde’s often carry spritz), there are many serious single varieties found which are quite distinct. ANSELMO MENDES MUROS ANTIGOS ALVARINHO 2016, VINHO VERDE ($20)

You think Vinho Verde is fizzy simple juice? Think again. Anselmo Mendes is one of Vinho Verde’s icons, and this is from northern Vinho Verde’s Monção and Melgaço subregion, regarded as a “cru” in quality. Its sloping granitic hillsides imbue a bright freshness into this fuller Alvarinho. Confident but quiet, with creamy herbal bosc pear, pear blossoms, meadow herbs and a filigree of sea salts lining the juicy palate, one buoyed with an easy, natural acidity. Precise mineral pixels frame and carry this VV, one of the more serious and ageworthy ones you’ll see. QUINTA DO AMEAL LOUREIRO 2016, VINHO VERDE ($15)

This single-variety Loureiro is from the Vinho Verde subregion of Ponte de Lima. Pedro Araujo focuses on serious, long-lived wines, farms organically and specializes in the ancient and NOVEMBER 2018 23


the field blends of historic grapes that had traditionally gone into White Port have been repatriated for chiselled, mineral and structural whites. Gouveio, Malvasia Fina, Moscatel, Rabigato and Viosinho are finding a new calling in the hands of the next-gen Douro. NIEPOORT DIALOGO DOURO BRANCO 2016, DOURO SUPERIOR ($20)

This youthful white may have a comic on its label, but make no mistake, this is a serious wine, from one of the world’s top winemakers, Dirk Niepoort. From schistose, mica-flecked vineyards on the right bank of the Douro, between 550 and 700 m, this blend of indigenous Portuguese white grapes is native-fermented in a split between stainless and older French barriques (30%), no MLF, and where it remains for 8 months. In 2016, the blend is 20- to 50-year-old Rabigato, Códega do Larinho, Gouveio, Dona Branca, Viosinho, Bical and others. Tight, mineral-laced green fig, lemon thistle, meadow herbs and fine salts over a creamy bed of lees, all youthful and highly quaffable. QUINTA DO CRASTO 2015 SUPERIOR BRANCO, DOURO SUPERIOR ($20)

ANSELMO MENDES

elegant Louriero grape. Yields are very low from the sloping granitic soils, and the grape is handled gently from picking to pressing. Up to 6 months in stainless steel, and low oxygen exposure, preserves the delicate freshness of the grape, one usually blended into Vinho Verde wines. On its own here, the wine is light and crisp, with subtle pear blossoms, shining grapefruit acidity and a lick of anise. What shines brightest is the lime pith and minerality on the finish. Light bodied (11.5%) and vibrant, and perfectly suited to light white fish and shellfish.

DOURO VALLEY

When I was in the Douro for the 2016 harvest, I was struck by how many new high-altitude plantings I saw, almost all of which were for white grapes. At the regal and majestic Quinta do Crasto, perched on the right bank of one of the most spectacular spots in the Douro Valley between Régua and Pinhao, talented winemaker Manuel Lobo has planted vineyards at the highest and coolest elevations of the property, at 500 metres altitude. The highly schistose-soiled, steep and windy site is entirely dedicated to white grapes, a focus going forward for the quinta. Some of 24 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

Viosinho and Verdelho from the Douro Superior spent 6 months of bâttonage on the OXOline, with 60% new wood and 15% headed with acacia barrel tops. The effect is certainly felt in this full-bodied, powerful and structured white. Herbal, waxy acacia lines the creamy body, with lemon curd, thick lees and cloves. A welcome, strong and fine backbone of acidity helps keep this voluminous wine from overwhelming at this young stage. A few years in the cellar would be welcome.

BAIRRADA

In the western part of the Beiras, tucked between the mountainous Dão and Atlantic beaches, spills the hilly region of Bairrada. The mild, maritime climate sheds much rain on the flatter vineyard lands, most of which are divided between the two main soil types of clay-limestone and sand. High-quality sparkling wine is made in this region, as the white grapes can clasp onto the cooler climate’s fresh acidity and thrive on the limestone-studded soils, both ringing qualities in the steely, streamlined, long-lived dry whites. Maria Gomes is predominant amongst white grapes, along with Arinto, Bical, Cercial and Rabo de Ovelha. LUIS PATO VINHAS VELHAS BRANCO 2017, BEIRAS ($25)

Luis Pato’s family has been producing wine since the 18th century, with his father João the first to bottle wine in Bairrada DOC after it was officially demarcated as an appellation. Together they are credited with bringing Bairrada back to life, legitimately. Unoaked


FILIPA PATO AND HER HUSBAND WILLIAM

and raised in stainless steel, this bright trio of indigenous Becal, Cerceal and Sercialinho grapes reflect their pure-fruited nature and chalky clay soils like a mirror. Smoked stone, herbal white grapefruit, pear skin and lemon pith on the nose carry to a creamy, oily, leesy texture with ripe bitter melon, white peach, Asian pear, quince, wild honey, pine nuts and a perfumed elderflower blossom. Beauty freshness and energy, tempered by a bitter edge. FILIPA PATO 2016 NOSSA CALCARIO BRANCO, BAIRRADA ($25)

Want to really confuse your wine geek friends? Pour this 100% Bical from the legendary village of Oís do Bairro (Filipa’s hometown) and watch them all go for top-tier Burgundy. Filipa is Luis’ daughter, and scion of the legendary Bairrada wine family, but she has more than proven her worth and gone her own way, making wines that reflect the historic terroir and grapes but through a fresh vision. 10% of this wine spent time on skins in amphora with the remainder aged in older French barrels. Native-fermented, it streams wild herbs, green apple, bosc pear and pixelated citrus along a mineral-driven, textured palate. So much energy, in such a streamlined form; such a delight to drink.

LISBOA

This long, thin coastal region climbing up alongside the Atlantic used to be known as Estremadura. Coastal winds are prevalent and strong, turning coastal vines hardy quickly. Inland, past a spine of chalky hills and chains of mountains, vines are offered protection and warmth to build body and ripeness. There are nine subregions in Lisboa, notably the two tiny coastal ones at the very bottom, Colares and Carcavelos. Once famed for their table and fortified wines, they have, in recent years, lost vineyards to real estate and development. Interestingly, the subregion of Bucelas is demarcated solely for its white wines, produced from the grape varietal Arinto, a highlight of the area. Fernão Pires,

Malvasia and Vital make up most of the remaining white vine plantings, used both in various blends and as solo wines. QUINTA DA MURTA BUCELAS 2013, BUCELAS, LISBOA ($18)

Bucelas, northeast of Lisbon, is one of the most famous regions of Portugal for dry whites. It was here that Arinto was first cultivated by the Romans 2,000 years ago, and where the grape still shines today, with the coastal limestone and marl soils ideally suited to this local citrus and herbal-driven white. Quinta da Murta’s biodynamic vineyards are located at around 250 m in the chalky hills. After a spell of skin contact and gentle pressing, this light-bodied white was tank-fermented on full lees for up to 6 months, resulting in crisp, saline-brisk lemon, pine nuts and hay woven amidst finely creamy lees. Subtly textural, humming with acidity, with ample saline notes on the lingering finish (a beauty 12.5%). Tastes of the sea; pairs with oysters, gooseneck barnacles or any fresh shellfish. Drinking beautifully now, and with capacity to age. Fantastic value. QUINTA DO SANGUINHAL 2015 QUINTA DE CEREJEIRAS RESERVA BRANCO, LISBOA ($35)

Sanguinhal is one of the oldest wineries in Lisboa, and this wine is only made in the best vintages, living up to its Reserva name. Oak plays a major role here, cushioning the palate and structuring this serious, full-bodied blend of estate sandy/clay soiled Chardonnay, Arinto and Vital. Sanguinhal uses no chemical inputs in their vineyards, adopting some biodynamic philosophies and ample integrated pest management. The Chardonnay was fermented and aged in 600 L French oak, with the remainder spending time in stainless for 8 months, after which all was blended and transferred to stainless for tightening prior to bottling. Honey, orange curd and a creamy mid come courtesy of the Chardonnay, while the brisk acidity, herbal citrus and pine-nuttiness are a tip to the Arinto and Vital. Quite complete now in youth, and at an impressive 13.5 %, this is certainly ageworthy. × NOVEMBER 2018 25


ON THE ETRUSCAN WAY by Tod Stewart

Sometimes, at the end of a busy trip, I look forward to the comforts of my own home, and my own bed. Get “back to reality,” as they say. Yet, after a week in Italy, I’ve decided I’d be more than content if I just kept living the fantasy. That I found myself sculling in the proverbial Fountain of Youth around midnight under a bright crescent moon and a star-filled sky was perhaps a wonder unto itself. The volcano-heated pool of Tuscany’s Terme di Saturnia Spa and Golf Course shuts down at around 7:30 pm to let guests refuel with an extremely well-crafted meal before doing whatever they feel like doing with the rest of the evening. (I spent it drinking topnotch grappa, then the aforementioned paddling). Mostly, I think, they were looking from their windows at me and wondering how the hell I was pulling it off.

26 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS


Ah. Connections are key to this sort of thing. Think CIA and ITA, also known as the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori and the Italian Trade Agency, respectively. Hardly sinister and secretive, these organizations offered me hands-on insight into the Etruscan Way. Together, they arranged an amazing vinous/gustatory/ cultural/historic tour of Etruria, the region inhabited by the ancient Etruscans, delimited by the Arno and Tiber rivers. I spent a week indulging in the spectacular beauty of the region in all its manifestations. Gorgeous scenery, magnificent architecture, incredible wine and food (the latter occasionally in incredible quantities), unforgettable accommodations and some of the most amazing hospitality I’ve yet experienced. If you feel like royalty at the opulent Terme di Saturnia, where guests are ferried to and fro via Lamborghini SUVs, you’ll probably feel a bit more … well, like family at Agriturismo L’Elmo. Agriturismi — farm stays — offer some of the most authentic and relaxing (not to mention affordable) accommodations in Italy. Though some can rival the best of the world’s swank hotels (we’ll visit Tenuta di Montecucco in a bit), most, like L’Elmo, offer cozy rooms and beautiful scenery. Eating in Italy is like hitting the highs of some gastronomic nirvana. Dinner at L’Elmo, with its antipasto starter featuring a range of succulent regional morsels followed by fresh pasta, meats and sweets, shone the spotlight on the gastronomy typical of Umbria. With dinner under my belt and the spring night air wafting warm around me, I shuffled off to bed. Beyond my window lay hazelnut groves. And amongst the trees, the cinghiale partied. Those who know Italy know of the cinghiale (aka, wild boar). I’m not sure if it’s actually Italy’s national animal (shouldn’t such a beast be more, well, regal?), but it’s certainly Italy’s national pest. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the cinghiale (in my mind) is to Italy what the racoon is to Canada. They’re large, belligerent, pretty destructive and, when you are desperate for sleep, damn noisy. But there is a major difference between the two creatures.

Admittedly, I’ve never eaten racoon. However, I’ve eaten cinghiale in many (always delicious) forms. So, enjoy your fun in the hazelnut grove tonight, my friends. Tomorrow you might be dinner. Oh, how I hope!

NEW DISCOVERIES WITH AN OLD FRIEND

It’s a beautiful drive up the undulating Umbrian hills — past shimmering olive and majestic cypress trees — to Tenuta di Salviano, a winery perched high above the azure waters of the Lago di Corbara. The June sun warms me as I step out of the vehicle to be greeted by my old friend Guido Orzalesi. I first met Orzalesi while visiting the rather prestigious Brunello-producing winery where he, at that time, toiled. To connect with him over a decade later in Orvieto gives the term “it’s a small world” new meaning. The wines of Orvieto do not (yet) carry the international prestige of Brunello, though in many cases they should. Orzalesi brings me up to speed. “When you talk about the wines of Orvieto, you have to remember that 80 percent of all production leaves the region as bulk wine to be bottled by large companies that seem to be more concerned with fast profit than quality,” he laments. “Only 20 percent is produced by small estates like Salviano that strive for quality wines that express the unique terroir of Umbria.” It’s a quick drive from the Salviano estate to that of Tenuta di Titignano. Though I’m but a day into my trip, I’ve determined, gazing over the vineyards that cascade down to the shores of Lago di Corbara, that I would never leave Italy. The glass of 2014 Tenuta di Salviano bubbly in my hand has a lot to do with that decision. The wine’s fine effervescence and spring-fresh aroma lull me into that kind of zen state of happiness that some people search for their whole lives. The property — once a town unto itself — is under the same ownership as Tenuta di Salviano and acts as an agriturismo (one of the first to be established) to those looking for a glorious place to relax.

Over a fantastic lunch on Titignano’s outdoor terrace, we taste Silviano’s crisp, mineral-laced 2016 Orvieto, featuring nuances of fresh melon and orange rind; the rich, fragrant 2017 Silviano di Silviano — a Chardonnay/Sauvignon Blanc-based white that treads a perfect line between elegance and power; and the blueberry/truffle/sweet leather-scented 2014 Solideo, a smooth, silky red that aptly proves that the Lago di Corbara DOC is one to watch. Orzalesi tells me that some of the smaller regional producers are starting to band together to promote the quality wines of the region. “Some of us are,” he confirms. “But not as strongly as I would like. Communication is never easy, especially nowadays. And remember, the 80 percent is always against us; they do not want to change anything.” One person who unequivocally sides with Orzalesi is Giovanni Dubini.

A TASTE OF ORVIETO

In an ancient Etruscan cave bored beneath a chestnut forest into the volcanic hillside of his Palazzone estate, Dubini carefully pours a sample of his 2015 Musco, a white wine crafted from indigenous grapes using a method he remembers seeing as a child. Musco is made in a similar way to “natural” wines, which require hardly any human intervention. It’s mineral-laden, earthy, slightly sherried and a touch funky. On its own, it’s a bit challenging, but with food (in this case, some excellent chicken liver pâté) it shines. Later, as the sun sinks into the Orvieto hills, we enjoy a superb, multi course (as always) dinner featuring a range of Palazzone’s wines including the 2017 Grek and 2017 Terre Vineate, followed by three vintages of the amazing Campo del Guardiano that capped with the wonderful 2001, replete with complex, nutty, crème brûlée and caramel nuances. Though red wines may win the international popularity contest, the whites of Orvieto represent a world unto themselves. “In Orvieto, we mainly deal with white wines,” Dubini asserts. “As I’m sure you are aware, they are more difficult to poNOVEMBER 2018 27


sition in the international market, which seems to prefer reds.” Like Orzalesi, Dubini seeks to up the ante when it comes to worldwide recognition of the quality whites of Orvieto. “The road we are following, along with other small- and midsized producers in the area — Salviano, for example — is to show that the quality wines of Orvieto are every bit as good as the most fashionable white wines of Italy.” Or better, from what I’ve tasted. Besides the wines, the region has other experiences to offer, to wit, the city of Orvieto itself. The best way to do explore the city is via a guided tour from a knowledgeable guide like Lucianna Coppola of the Umbria in Tour company. Perched on a plateau of tuffaceous rock, Orvieto is as spectacular underground as it is above. Lucianna took me through the underground Labirinto di Adriano, an Etruscan wonder discovered in the 1980s beneath the floors of the popular Pasticceria Adriano pastry shop. It’s hard to believe that such an elaborate series of tunnels, caves, rainwater cisterns, grain silos and wells, which now lie some 20 metres below the streets of Orvieto, were forged in the 5th century BCE. Now, all that touring builds up an appetite, especially if you decide to follow the 248 steps down into Pozzo di San Patrizio — Orvieto’s impressive well that was commissioned by Pope Clement VII in 1527. Of course, it’s the 248 steps up again that really gets you. The Etruscans were advanced builders, sure, but expecting an elevator is a bit of a stretch. In any case, as you head out of town, pop in for lunch at Locanda Rosati, a beautifully renovated stone farmhouse located on the road between Orvieto and Bolsena. Thusly fortified, you’ll be ready to experience some of the region’s other liquid treasures.

BRUNELLO AND BEYOND

You won’t notice a striking change in geography when you cross the border from Umbria into Tuscany. Yet there is a definite difference in stature. If I were to use a crude analogy: Tuscany is a diamond with facets admired by the world. Umbria is a jewel in the rough awaiting (and deserving of ) international discovery, but with potential rivalling its more famous sister. 28 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

Another way to see it: one is Napa to the other’s Sonoma. Whatever. I would not say “no” to another tour of (or a country estate in) either region. A country estate like Tenuta di Montecucco, for instance, would be perfect. Part of the Castello ColleMassari — what would you call it? empire? dynasty? — that not only includes the Montecucco estate, but also the wineries Poggio di Sotto and San Giorgio in the Montalcino area, Grattamacco within the Bolgheri DOC and ColleMassari in Maremma, the Montecucco property bills itself as an agriturismo. However, the splendour of the estate and the high quality of the meals served in its restaurant suggest to me that the focus here is much more luxury turismo than it is agri. Made from the Brunello grape — a clone of the ubiquitous Sangiovese — Brunello di Montalcino was Italy’s first wine to be granted DOCG status (the highest Italian rank). It’s a wine coveted by oenophiles, and when you taste those of Poggio di Sotto, you start to see why. The di Sotto cellar is a refreshing respite from the soaring temperature and wilting humidity outside. Slumbering within massive Slavonian oak barrels, the Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello di Montalcino and Brunello di Montalcino Reserva develop complex aromas and sublime flavours that reflect the distinctive microclimate the estate enjoys. “We believe in letting our wines express the vineyard’s unique terroir rather than relying more on winemaking technique,” emphasizes my informed host Luigina Villadei. Commenting on my observation on the temperature, she admits, “the climate really is becoming more unstable.” I think about these things while tasting some regal red wines. A couple of things dawn on me: first, that a well-made Rosso di Montalcino really can offer the poise and complexity (almost) of Brunello di Montalcino proper — at a far more doable price; second, that it must be something of a challenge to be a terroir-driven winery when yearly temperatures are becoming harder to predict. Villadei explains that each parcel of vineyard on the di Sotto property has its own rustic/modern character, soil composition and aspect. Only by understanding the nature of each plot can you deter-

mine how best to treat the vines based on weather conditions, among other variables. Considering these sites all seemed to be a stone’s throw from each other, telling them apart might be a challenge similar to knowing the exact personality of each of your many children, and being able to understand them as they grow up in an uncertain world. (Another reason I’ll stick to simply enjoying wine rather than entertaining any thoughts of actually trying to make the stuff.) After devouring a rustic regional lunch, and enjoying some superb wine, first-rate olive oil and potent grappa, there was really only one sensible thing to do … rest! Yeah, right. No, my friend, the correct answer: visit another winery. Wealth may not buy happiness. What it will buy is four artistically stunning wineries, a residence in a refurbished castle and a spectacular agriturismo, all nestled amongst your meagre, 1,200-hectare chunk of Tuscany. In other words, if, with all this you are still unhappy, then at least you are miserable in a very nice neighbourhood. I somehow doubted the family behind Domaine ColleMasseri were miserable. Nor was I at my final winery visit: the beautiful flagship of the “domaine,” Castello ColleMasseri. There are many unique things about Castello ColleMasseri. The winery itself is a study in bio-architecture. Its four descending floors ensure that gravity, not pumps, moves the fruit and must to the fermentation tanks. The cellar — possibly the most visually stunning of any I’ve seen — sports a down-home connection. My guide, export manager Laura Breschi, reveals that the wood lining the cellar is, in fact, Canadian cedar (a known antibacterial medium). A winery, however, is only as good as its wines. Those of ColleMasseri are, well, as finely crafted and elegant as the winery itself. We taste through the range — from the crisp, floral, flinty/mineral Melacce and Irisse Vermentino and Vermentino blends, respectively, through the charming Grottolo rosé. Then onto the reds: Rigoleto, ColleMassari and capping off with the complex Poggio Lombrone — a 100 percent Monteccuco Sangiovese Riserva DOC, redolent of dark chocolate, cedar, black fruit, mineral and violet.


CASTELLO COLLEMASSARI OWNERS, MARIA IRIS BERTARELLI AND CLAUDIO TIPA

As amazing as the liquids of Etruria are, people have to eat, and on this tour, I’ve eaten very well indeed. So, it’s instructive for me, on the last full day of the tour, to actually see where some of the ingredients for my many incredible meals originate.

LOAVES AND FISHES (AND CHEESE)

Sunlight glints off the silver sides of sea bream gorging on food pellets scattered into the clear water. Pier Luigi Piro, president of I Pescatori di Orbetello, guides me around the company’s manmade pools that are part of the aquaculture facility. There’s a long tradition of fishing in and around the ancient town of Orbetello, with its iconic windmill that juts out of the lagoon. Piro tells me not only about the importance of the fishery to the economy, but also the importance of sustainable fishing. The co-op embraces both modern methods and ancient traditions when harvesting and preparing the finned bounty of the region. I enjoyed some of that bounty — including a velvety tartare of smoked mullet, silky pasta with fish ragoût and white truffle, and a mixed platter of sea bass, eel and bottarga (an Orbetello specialty made of salted, cured mullet roe) at the

charming, seaside restaurant I Pescatori. An added bonus was that all this was prepared by Michelin-star guest Chef Moreno Cardone, who gave me a personal cooking demo prior to my amazingly fresh (of course) lunch. I leave I Pescatori (and Orbetello) the way I’ve left most meals here: happy. And full. Unfortunately, the sun is setting on this journey, but one more gustatory stop is in order. Some might argue that fish and cheese don’t really mix. Well, today they are getting along famously. It’s probably wise to leave all pretenses of fashion (and any semblance of vanity … and all your personal microbes) at the door when you prepare for a tour of the cheese-crafting plant that is Caseificio Sociale Manciano. As strict hygiene is the order of the day, I don one of those disposable hazmat thingies one is obligated to wear when entering an environment that needs to be kept uber-sterile or where certain politicians have slept (okay, sorry). Walking with me between rows of the world-renowned Pecorino Toscana cheese in various stages of aging — some just reaching six months, others passing their first birthday — are Claudio Capecchi, president of CIA Grosseto and member of Caseificio Sociale di Man-

ciano’s Board, and Production Manager Fabio Villani. They lead me through the expansive warehouse, and through the history of the company. Founded as a co-op in 1961 by 21 local dairy famers, the company today has a membership of 250 small- to medium-sized farms and manages a combined flock of some 60,000 sheep. The eight million or so litres of milk they produce annually is used to produce the company’s flagship Percorino Toscano PDO — about 435,000 wheels of it. Back in my civvies, I taste through a range of Pecorino Toscano, from creamy and young, to well-aged and piquant, capped off with some sweet and marvellously rich Ricotta, all chased down with local vino (of course). The moon wanes and the stars glimmer as the night segues into a young morning. I float serenely in the cocooning warmth of the Terme di Saturnia pool reminiscing on the week that has passed, and on the unfortunate reality that in not so many hours I’ll have to leave this amazing region with nothing but memories, photographs and a bottle of Grappa di Brunello di Montalcino Riserva stashed in my luggage. Though the latter will likely not last long, the former will last as long as I do. × NOVEMBER 2018 29


FROM A TO ZWEIGELT by Evan Saviolidis

While at this year’s VieVinum, Austria’s largest and most prestigious wine fair — and one of my personal favourite wine events, period — I entered into a debate with a journalist friend of mine as to which indigenous red grape is Austria’s best. He was in the camp of Blaufränkisch (Kékfrankos in Hungary) while I was for Team Zweigelt. In my opinion, Blaufränkisch produces great wines, but structurally, it is linear and tannic. Also, if it’s not ripe nor respected in the vineyard, it can produce harsh renditions. Zweigelt, on the other hand, can deliver a multitude of styles from light/easy drinking to modern/oaky to plush/rich to structured/ageworthy.

ROBERT PAYR

Ironically, Zweigelt is the progeny of Blaufränkisch and St. Laurent, another Austrian grape. Initially known as Rotberger, this relatively new crossing was created in 1922 by Fritz Zweigelt. It was prized for its adaptability in many soils and climates, its early-ripening nature, cold heartiness, rot resistance (thick skins), high sugar levels and quality coupled with high yields. Still, it remained an experimental grape until the 1950s. Enter Lenz Moser, one of the most famous names in Austrian viticulture. After World War II, the mandate was to plant all types of crops to feed and quench the masses. Moser, after seeing the attributes of the grape, started to propagate Zweigelt. By 1971, there were 1,000 hectares. That number doubled by 1978, with another twofold increase by the mid-1990s. It was also around this time that self-imposed yield control was implemented, which helped to create the first premium renditions. 30 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS


GERHARD MARKOWITSCH

Today, Zweigelt is Austria’s top-planted red grape, finding a home in all wine-growing regions, with the majority of plantings in the central and southern wine regions where the Pannonian (Central Europe’s warmest) and Mediterranean climates favour red production. Now up to close to 6,500 hectares, you can find mono-varietal renditions of Zweitgelt, which are my personal favourites, and ones blended with other red grapes of Austrian or international provenance. In the glass, Zweigelt possesses a medium to dark ruby colour with some violet highlights. Aromatically, it is generally Morello cherry that dominates, followed by raspberry, plum and floral qualities. When new oak is added to the mix, chocolate, vanilla and spice complete the package. As for its official identity change from Rotberger to Zweigelt, that was thanks to Lenz-Moser. He promoted the idea back in 1975 as a means to honour Fritz and his creation. If you were wondering who won the debate, I did! After all, I am writing this story. Finally, a thank you to Master of Wine Anne Kriebel; a portion of her Zweigelt presentation at VieVinum was used to help craft this story.

WEINGUT HANS & CHRISTINE NITTNAUS ZWEIGELT LUCKENWALD RESERVE 2015, NEUSIEDLERSEE DAC ($25)

WEINGUT LETH ZWEIGELT GIGAMA GRANDE RESERVE 2015, WAGRAM ($40)

FRANZ & CHRISTINE NETZL ZWEIGELT RIED HAIDACKER GÖTTLESBRUNN 2015, CARNUNTUM ($15)

At first whiff, it is the red fruit that greets the taster, then plum, raisins, cocoa, vanilla, earth and spice round out the package. Nicely balance with both tannins and acidity in harmony. Excellent finale.

Ried means single vineyard. This is a polished offering with morello cherry, plum, raspberry, vanilla, coffee, spice and herbs. Balanced, rich and excellent flavour persistence.

Almost opaque, this is a serious red and funky red, which features a leather/truffle/dark fruit personality. Tannic and concentrated, this wine will age 10 to 15 years. It is a unique offering that will appeal to a specific demographic of wine lover. WEINGUT SCHLOSS GOBELSBURG ZWEIGELT RESERVE 2015, NIEDERÖSTERREICH ($40)

From one of my favourite all-around Austrian producers comes this impressive and modern Zweigelt where oak and fruit come together. Cherry, plum, mocha, smoke and graphite are built on fine-grained tannins. Excellent quality. WEINGUT KISS WALDACKER RESERVE 2015, NEUSIEDLERSEE DAC ($25)

Lots of oak. Spice, cocoa and vanilla meshes with the plum, cherry and earthy qualities. Full-bodied with excellent length. Drink until 2025.

NOVEMBER 2018 31


ANGELIKA AND PHILIPP GRASSL

WEINGUT PAYR ZWEIGELT RIED STEINÄCKER HÖFLEIN 2015, CARNUNTUM ($20)

A powerful and expressive offering with masses of plum, blackberry, dark cherry and mocha on the nose, which meets up with pencil shavings, earth and pepper flavours on the palate. Concentrated and tannic, it should age well for 15 years. WEINGUT GERHARD MARKOWITSCH ZWEIGELT RIED KIRCHWEINGARTEN HÖFLEIN 2015, CARNUNTUM ($20)

A singular Zweigelt, which shows its terroir in the form of beef bouillon undergrowth and plum aromas. Once on the lips, the sweet, extracted fruit appears (red and black) alongside spice, which carries until the end.

vanilla, cocoa, mint and spice run up and down the senses. There is an undercurrent of tannins that calls for grilled quail or bison steaks with a port wine reduction. WEINGUT WINKLER-HERMADEN OLIVIN ZWEIGELT 2015, VULKANLAND STEIERMARK ($35)

A wine of place indeed! From the volcanic soils of Austria’s most southern region comes this singular Zweigelt chock-full of leather, herbs, spice and flowers. Grippy, with a distinct saltiness on the lips. Needs fatty protein to make it work. WEINGUT HANNES REEH UNPLUGGED ZWEIGELT 2015, BURGENLAND ($30)

WEINGUT JOHANNESHOF REINISCH FRAUENFELD ZWEIGELT 2015, THERMENREGION ($25)

Made in an international style and one that will appeal to many. You will find cherry, raspberry, plum, tobacco leaf, chocolate and vanilla. Finale echoes spice.

Earth, cherry, raspberry, vanilla, cocoa and mint are built on a medium body with suave tannins and fresh acidity. Delightful stuff!

SCHWARZ WEIN SCHWARZ ROT 2015, BURGENLAND ($50)

WEINGUT CHRIST ZWEIGELT BISAMBERG 2015, WIEN ($15)

From the region of Vienna, this Zweigelt flaunts red fruit, cherry and raspberry, which combines with plum, vanilla and black pepper qualities. Ready to drink with red fruit echoing long. WEINGUT GRASSL ZWEIGELT RIED SCHÜTTENBERG GÖTTLESBRUN 2015, CARNUNTUM ($20)

Clean with a forward fruit and oak experience. Plum, dark cherry, 32 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

An elegant style that flatters with a bouquet of raspberry, sour cherry, cassis and red flowers. The palate has a tart edge and the fruit brings it all back. WEINGUT FAMILIE PITNAUER BIENENFRESSER ZWEIGELT 2015, CARNUNTUM ($25)

An easy-drinking Zweigelt that shows a layered profile of cherry, plum, raspberry, vanilla, earth, red flowers and tobacco. Perfect for those pasta/pizza dinners. ×


MAV

Every year, the editors of Quench choose the best assemblages, single varietal and other drinks from around the world. Tasters are Gurvinder Bhatia, Ron Liteplo, Tod Stewart, Treve Ring, Rick VanSickle, Sean Wood, Tony Aspler, Gilles Bois and Tim Pawsey.

WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS 2018

Light blush colour with attractively scented red berry, floral and vanilla biscuit on the nose and lively berry fruit with subtle cherry and cranberry flavours supported by good, persistent mousse. Finishes with mineral grip, bracing but not overbearing acidity and a hint of caramel. Certified organic. (SW)

lingering close. A fitting tribute to the legendary grower Denny Dulik, who passed away in 2016. Dulik had the vision to plant Riesling sourced from St. Urbans-Hof some 40 years ago in his Pioneer Vineyard, which his father had bought in 1944 from J.W. Hughes. The vines formed the foundation for daughter Sue Dulik’s Pinot Reach Winery, and later for Tantalus, on which to build — and Dulik remained a formidable presence at the winery. Many believe that BC sparkling wines — late to the party — could well become the province’s strongest suit. This wine offers a strong indication. (TP)

TANTALUS VINEYARDS TRADITIONAL METHOD OLD VINES RIESLING BRUT, 2014, EAST KELOWNA BENCH ($34)

BENJAMIN BRIDGE BRUT MÉTHODE CLASSIQUE BRUT RESERVE 2012, NOVA SCOTIA ($75)

SPARKLING L’ACADIE VINEYARDS MÉTHODE TRADITIONELLE VINTAGE CUVÉE ROSÉ 2015, NOVA SCOTIA ($30)

A fine stream of bubbles with aromas of citrus and green apple precede a broadly textured but elegant palate, with yeasty and leesy notes, lemon zest, appealing mineral core and a persistent,

A 65% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier blend, aged for 5 years on the lees, this fine bubble shows vibrant colour with very fine persistent mousse in the glass. Bouquet is

× FOR A FULL COLLECTION OF TASTING NOTES FROM THE MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS VISIT WWW.QUENCH.ME/MAVERICKS/

NOVEMBER 2018 33


LIGHTFOOT & WOLFVILLE VINEYARDS BLANC DE BLANCS EXTRA BRUT 2013, LIGHTFOOT ESTATE VINEYARD, WOLFVILLE, ANNAPOLIS VALLEY ($50)

100% Chardonnay, hand-harvested from estate-grown grapes handled using organic and biodynamic principles, this is the latest addition to the pantheon of fine Nova Scotia Traditional Method sparkling wines. The wine spent 4 years on the lees prior to disgorgement in March 2018. It offers lively fine mousse with complex citrus, floral and toasty aromas. Delivers richness, weight and length on the palate with green apple and citrus flavours, brisk acidity and solid mineral grip. Already attracting wide accolades, this fine bubble will develop greater complexity over the next few years. (SW) SIMON RAFUSE, WINEMAKER AT BLOMIDON ESTATE

RED rich and complex, with subtle floral scent, fine citrus, hints of berry fruit, a touch of vanilla and toasty brioche. It delivers generously on the promise offered on the nose. Refined, yet focused citrus, green apple and background red berry flavours, crisply bright acidity and firm mineral grip contrast with sensations of weight and creamy richness. Once again, Benjamin Bridge delivers a worthy competitor to classic Champagne. (SW) BLOMIDON ESTATE WINERY MÉTHODE CLASSIQUE BRUT RESERVE 2011, NOVA SCOTIA ($45)

Made exclusively from estate-grown Chardonnay picked late and matured for 60 months prior to disgorging. Shows good depth of colour, with fine persistent bead and both finesse and complexity on the nose. Opens with harmoniously developed, rich lemon citrus, floral and spicy notes together with toasty brioche. A little leaner on the palate than the nose suggests, showing bright citrus, green apple, classic Nova Scotia bright acidity and chalky mineral. Finishes with a touch of creaminess and lingering floral, citrus and green fruit notes. I have tasted this one several times since its initial release and it continues to develop further complexity. (SW)

34 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

JANOUEIX LA CONQUÊTE 2009, AC POMEROL ($39)

The idiosyncratic winemaker plants his vines very densely (6,600 per hectare) and matures his wine in unique cigar-shaped barrels to administer just the right touch of oak. Particularly when made from a great year like 2009, the result is a very deeply coloured, complex potion scented like a raspberry pie, with dates, raisins and Merlot herbs and spices. The fruit still tastes fresh at the moment, and some remaining tannins still provide structure, but this should be enjoyed in the next couple of years. (RL)* HOWLING BLUFF ACTA VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2015, NARAMATA BENCH ($35)

From a stony, west-facing slope on Naramata Bench, once an ancient lakeshore. Lifted red berries, strawberry and cherry notes with earthy hints precede a structured and well-balanced palate of pure fruit with a touch of spice, wrapped in mouth-watering, juicy acidity, with well-integrated, approachable tannins from judicious new and used oak, through a lengthy finish. Emblematic of not just this winery’s capabilities but a sure sign of the variety’s blossoming as a BC mainstay. (TP)


CA’ LA BIONDA 2012, DOCG AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO ($45)

Amarone is made in northeastern Italy from a blend of indigenous grapes. What makes it unique, and delicious, is that the grapes are partially dried before fermentation. The resulting sweet juice easily produces alcohol levels of 15% or more, but it remains drinkable because the highly concentrated flavours, and some oak aging, balance the wine. This particular version is a very deep garnet colour, has smells of stewed black cherries and caramel, and is very full-bodied, tasting of cooked fruits, caramel, chocolate and spices. Perfect to accompany rich dishes such as osso buco. Drink in the next couple of years. (RL)* HAYWIRE FREE FORM RED 2016, GARNET VALLEY, OKANAGAN VALLEY ($54)

From the winery’s recently planted, high-elevation, organic vineyard. Made in two amphorae, whole bunch in one and destemmed in the other, on skins for 10 months, with no additives or other manipulation except for being topped up. Brilliant crimson hue with strawberry, medium cherry and sage notes on the nose before a lush, fuller-bodied palate with structure and elegance, underpinned by a gentle hint of savoury [e.g., the seasoning]. This wine represents another milestone in Okanagan Crush Pad’s remarkable and rapid evolution, which has fully embraced concrete and amphora, and has now achieved certified organic status — all within less than a decade. (TP)

ing of plums and more cherries. The very definition of “balanced,” its high alcohol is offset by the ripe fruit, bright acidity and tannins from significant oak maturation. Drink soon. (RL)*

WHITE SEA STAR SALISH SEA 2017, GULF ISLANDS ($24)

Made from organically grown grapes on Pender Island, this blend of Ortega and Siegerrebe captures the very essence of Sea Star. Inviting aromatics on the nose, citrus, tropical and orchard notes on top. A generous but well-tuned palate, wrapped in a generous mouthfeel. Hints of honey with tropical tones, spice and mineral notes through a lengthy finish. White blends are a dime a dozen in BC. Only a few are truly noteworthy. In combining two of the islands’ mainstay varieties, this wine amounts to a flagship offering, proving what truly can be accomplished with superb fruit, deftly balanced. (TP) AVONDALE SKY MARTOCK LATE HARVEST 2014, ANNAPOLIS VALLEY, NOVA SCOTIA ($25/500ML)

Shows deep burnished gold colour, with developed bouquet offering honeyed citrus, spicy and waxy overtones. Lively honeyed citrus flavours give a hint of orange on the medium-sweet palate, balanced by brisk acidity and mineral grip. Complex, honeyed citrus notes persist on the long, clean finish. (SW)

K1 TZIMMUKIN 2009, ADELAIDE HILLS ($73)

A wine of biblical precedent and proportions, it is made from partially dried Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. A very deep garnet colour, it has a huge, mature nose of black cherry underneath vanilla and pipe tobacco — the sort of aromas that call for sitting by the fireplace and simply sniffing for pleasure. It is full-bodied, tast-

BLOMIDON ESTATE WINERY RIESLING, 2017, NOVA SCOTIA ($25)

2017 was an exceptional vintage in Nova Scotia. This late-picked Riesling was harvested from an estate vineyard on the shoreline of the Minas Basin. It opens with delicate floral, fruit blossom scents, white peach, tropical fruit and a whiff of steely mineral. NOVEMBER 2018 35


K1 VITICULTURIST BEC HARDY WITH HER HUSBAND, RICHARD DOLAN, AND WINEMAKER GEOFF HARDY

Lemon citrus flavour dominates in the mouth, supported by vibrant, but not overbearing acidity, with chalky mineral and stone fruit flavour re-emerging on the lightly sweet finish. (SW) CAVE VINICOLE DE HUNAWIHR RIESLING 2015, AOC GRAND CRU OSTERBERG ($20)

Made by a cooperative, which is often not a good thing, but this particular cooperative has very high standards and access to grapes from some of Alsace’s best Grand Cru vineyards, including Osterberg. This is quintessential Alsatian Riesling, rich and ever so slightly sweet but with crisp acidity to balance. The nose is of grilled pineapple and lime peel, and there is more lime, some Riesling “petrol,” and green apple on a long finish. Fantastic value. Good with German-style food: ham or rich sausages. Will age well for several more years. (RL)*

SAKE TAIWAGURA ULTRA DRY HONJOZO SAKE, JAPAN ($25)

With a Sake Meter Value (SMV) of +20 (plus being drier; minus being sweeter), this is without question the driest sake I’ve tasted. Brewed from Miyagi rice with a 65 percent polish, this is a versatile sake that, while showing nice banana, melon, almond and flower blossom and a crisp, fresh palate when chilled, actually becomes more balanced and complex when heated. Serve chilled with sushi and cold dishes; then try warmed with braised pork belly. Try to find a table wine that’s as adaptable. (TS) 36 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

NIWA NO UGUISU NIGHTINGALE’S GARDEN 60 JUNMAI GINJO SAKE, JAPAN ($38)

From the Fukyoka Prefecture on the island of Kyushu on Japan’s southwestern tip comes this elegant, sophisticated Junmai. Crafted from Yamadanishiki rice polished to 60 percent, it offers up aromas of Asian pear, mineral, pumpkin, nougat, and apple. Medium-dry, with a round, silky mouthfeel and flavours suggesting candied almond and pear. (TS) JOTO JUNMAI SAKE, JAPAN ($25/720 ML)

One person who doesn’t seem all that convinced by Japan’s embracing of “regional” sake styles is Henry Sidel, President of Joto Sake. In Toronto to introduce his company’s range of traditional and more modern sakes, Sidel appeared sceptical when asked about the new trend, even though his firm owns a brewery in Nagata — the epicentre of the regional movement. In any case, his Joto line offers a perfect introduction to sake styles, packaged in a way to be less intimidating to those new to the drink. Floral on the nose, with a hint of steamed rice, marzipan and vanilla, it’s medium-full in the mouth with mildly earthy, stone fruit flavours and a nutty finish. (TS) JOTO YUZU, JAPAN ($40/720 ML)

Yum. Certainly a departure from “typical” sake, this little drop of heaven blends sake with juice from Japan’s famous Yuzu fruit. The aroma combines Meyer Lemon, Key Lime, and orange zest. Explosive sweet/tart citrus flavours trail in to a long, zesty finish. Enjoy chilled on its own, mixed with soda, or experiment as a base or ingredient in an exotic cocktail. (TS)


SPIRITS STEINHART GIN, ARISAIG, NOVA SCOTIA ($35/500 ML)

Refined botanicals highlight juniper, coriander and citrus on the nose. On the palate, the spirit is silky smooth with juniper and citrus flavours initially, and spicy coriander with a suggestion of ginger emerging on mid-palate. Finishes with a touch of spirity heat. (SW)

a more modern light, encouraging the use of cognac in mixed drinks. Martell’s latest expression — the VS Single Distillery — is, as the name implies, sourced from a single distilling source. Dark plum, dried apricot, vanilla, citrus, caramel, mild spice and a whiff of leather. Rich and smooth in the mouth, with upfront sweet plum and baking spice flavours trailing off to suggestions of vanilla and toffee. Crafted as a cocktail base, it’s quite enjoyable neat. (TS) GEORGIAN BAY GIN BATCH 64, BOTTLE 269 ($40)

ARDBEG GROOVES LIMITED EDITION ISLAY SINGLE MALT SCOTCH WHISKY ($150)

Finished in red wine casks charred to the point of furrows being etched into the wood (hence “grooves”), this limited edition bottling is not for the faint-hearted (but then, no Ardbeg expression really is). As with most Ardbeg numbers, this is a doozy. Iodine, brine, tar, sweet woodsmoke and smoked spices erupt from the glass. Vanilla, caramel corn, and briny/smoked meat flavours are enhanced by hints of cayenne pepper. The finish is sweet/smoky and long, long, long. (TS) LEVENSWATER SPRING 34 GIN ($50)

I asked Paul Allamby of Toronto’s Levenswater Gin why he chose to make a potato-based gin (wouldn’t a vodka be the obvious route to follow?). “Because l wanted to create a gin that, at least for me, would represent the complex diversity that we enjoy in our city. Saffron, tellicherry, bergamot, fennel, cubeb, lavender, kaffir lime, blackberry leaves, eucalyptus. There are 34 botanicals layered into this compound gin. I also wanted to not follow the traditions of London Dry Gin and create a vivid palate of flavours and aromatics.” I’d say he succeeded. While its profile might enrage fans of “traditional” gin, it’s like no gin you’ve likely tried. Herbaceous on the nose with hints of amaro, clove, sandalwood, pine resin, liquorice, rosemary and, surprisingly, green Chartreuse. Viscous, herbal and spicy in the mouth, it is a very “un-gin-like-gin.” It’s also an incredibly engaging spirit. (TS) A. DE FUSSIGNY XO COGNAC ($170)

While packaging an XO cognac in a test tube slipped into a cigar tube might seem a tad gimmicky, it’s actually a pretty cool idea. The test tube can be reused to hold, well, whatever, and the aluminium tube makes for a great cigar storage/transport device. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s really good cognac to begin with. Rich, complex aromas of toffee, dried stone fruits, browned butter, black cherry and pipe tobacco. Dark cherries and plums weave around toffee, vanilla, and fruitcake in the mouth. Long, supple, silky and luxurious, with a subtle elegance on the finish. Try with a maduro cigar. (TS) MARTELL VS SINGLE DISTILLERY COGNAC ($65)

I’ll admit to having a soft spot for the Martell range of cognacs. Founded in 1715, Martell is the oldest of the major cognac houses, but as with the rest of them, is trying to position its spirit in

A relatively new Ontario craft gin that’s already garnered critical praise (and a slew of medals) since first hitting the shelf. Quite fragrant, with aromas suggesting mild juniper (not surprising), with some pine needle, lemon zest and herbal undertones. Very well-balanced, with all elements in check, it’s smooth and viscous on the palate, with flavours of subdued juniper, lemon zest, mineral and fresh herbs. Try in a dry martini with a rosemary sprig garnish. (TS) OSBORNE VERMOUTH ($25)

“Vermouth is super trendy now,” Rocío Osborne told me while on a recent trip to Spain. So much so, it turns out, that her family’s company — sherry vintners since 1772 — has crafted one of its own. With a base of Medium and PX sherries, and locally sourced wormwood, dittany (look it up) and bitter orange peel, Osborne Vermouth treads a perfect balance between sweet/bitter/spicy/herbal notes. Try on the rocks with a thin orange slice, or use in your favourite cocktail. Hopefully you’ll see it in your market soon. (TS) NORDÉS GIN ($40)

Nordés translates to the name of the wind that brings good weather. Turns out, it brings good gin, too. Using an Albariño wine base (kinda cool), this unique gin combines the usual flavour suspects ( juniper, cardamon, etc.) with sage, laurel, eucalyptus, mint, glasswort and lemon verbena. It’s very fresh, with herbal, menthol, red berry and pomegranate notes. Soft, clean, savoury, mildly spicy and quite complex. A bit off the beaten track, but that’s where gin seems to be going these days. (TS) SUNTORY WHISKY TOKI ($60)

Japan’s whiskies went from unknown to insanely coveted to unavailable seemingly overnight. Apparently this even caught Japanese distillers off guard. Stocks of aged whiskies literally evaporated, leaving producers with a void to fill; that hole has been plugged largely by malt and grain whisky blends. This, however, is not a bad thing, as Japanese blends are more approachable — in both price and profile — than age-specific single malts. Suntory’s Toki is a good example. This is a complex, fruity dram, with herbal notes; Asian pear, green apple, sweet grain, mint and vanilla nuances. Impeccably balanced, with toasted grain, ripe pear, subtle honey and a gentle smoky note. Blended whiskies often get ignored. Don’t ignore this. (TS) × NOVEMBER 2018 37


PURE POT by Ron Liteplo

STILL More than a century ago, whiskey in Great Britain and much of the rest of the world simply was Irish whiskey. It was made in small copper pot stills by several distilleries, each with its own unique style. Pot still Irish whiskey — full-bodied, spicy, creamy and complex — was the favorite tipple of Queen Victoria, and was by far the most popular after-dinner digestif, capturing 60 percent of the global whiskey market.

But in 1830, the column still was patented. By 1900, 70 percent of Irish whiskey was distilled in these new-fangled contraptions. A typical column still can produce as much whiskey in seven days as a typical pot still can in seven months. But column stills rarely produce the characterful flavours of pot stills. Eventually economics prevailed, and three or four international conglomerates wound up mass-producing the light, sweet and 38 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

“easy-drinking” spirit that most of us know as Irish whiskey today. At one point, only one distillery (Midleton) was still making pure pot still, and Irish whiskey as a whole represented just two percent of global whiskey sales. Irish pure pot still whiskey is unique because it is made by fermenting a mixture of malted and unmalted barley. We have the English tax man and Irish ingenuity to thank for this. Centuries ago, the English slapped a tax on malted barley, and the Irish responded by mixing unmalted barley into their recipe. In doing so, they created a new, and uniquely Irish, whiskey style. Malted barley, common to many whiskies, provides depth of flavour and a toasted-cookie sweetness, while the addition of green barley provides spicy, grassy, gingery tastes and an oily, viscous mouthfeel. The exact ratio of green to malted barley varies from distiller to distiller, and is often a closely guarded secret. Recently a new legal definition of Irish pure


pot still was adopted, requiring a minimum of 40 percent of both malted and green barley, and a maximum of 5 percent of other grains. Preferably straight up or with a drop of water (but also good in full-flavoured cocktails), Irish pure pot still is enjoying a boom among whiskey aficionados around the world. Thankfully, in an evolution akin to the rise of craft beer in North America, the supply is starting to meet that demand. By some accounts, there are now 18 new Irish distilleries producing the elixir in the traditional manner. Although, since the law also requires a minimum of three years of barrel aging (and most producers prefer much more), there are only two distilleries that currently have whiskey available. While waiting for their pot still products to mature, the newbies are making ends meet by distilling and selling vodkas and gins. Some also produce Poitín (pronounced pot-cheen, meaning “little pot”), a white spirit made from potatoes, sugar beets, malted barley and other bases that traces its ancestry to what we call moonshine. The Irish are now optimistic that they will double their share of global whiskey sales over the next decade. Here are some of the new distilleries to watch for. In Northern Ireland, the Echlinville Distillery started in 2010. Uniquely, its products are exclusively made from its own farmed and malted barley. Currently, Echlinville sells more gin than whiskey, but pure pot still makes up about 80 percent of the whiskey being produced, and owner Shane Braniff plans his first release of five-year-old pure pot still in 2019. Judging from the quality his Echlinville Irish Pot Still Gin, the whiskey should be excellent. In the Republic of Ireland, the Teeling Distillery in Dublin expects to release its first pure pot still this year. Head distiller Alex Chasko hails from Portland, Oregon, the capital of craft beer experimentation, and Teeling fittingly has an experimental approach, including trying crystallized rye, chocolate malt and peated malts;

How to make it

Whiskeys are made from various grains, including rye, corn, wheat, barley and even oats. The first step is to malt the grain. For instance, malted barley is barley that has been moistened until it sprouts, then dried to stop the new rootlets from consuming the seed’s valuable starch. Water is added, and the natural enzymes in the husk convert the starch into sugars. Next, yeast is added to cause fermentation, which converts these sugars into alcohols and other substances. At this point, you essentially have a fairly strong beer (called the “wash,” or “pig ale”), which is then distilled through heating. There are two basic types of stills: pot stills (made of copper in a bulb shape, which distill one batch of whiskey at a time) and column stills (which distill continuously, like an assembly line). At various temperature levels, various components reach a boil and become steam, which is then collected and condensed back into a liquid. Since alcohols have a lower boiling point than, say, water, distilling allows the capture and concentration of alcohols. A skilled distiller discards (and perhaps re-distills) both the first, lightest liquids (the “weak feints,” which include poisonous alcohols such as methanol) and also the last, heaviest liquids (the “strong feints,” which often have off-flavours), retaining the “heart of the run” that has the desired alcohol and flavours. Knowing when to cut off the feints is the distiller’s art, and largely determines the unique taste of a final product. Midleton does this very precisely though computer analysis; smaller distilleries like Dingle and Glendalough do it manually, relying on the distiller’s taste buds to make decisions.

There are basically 4 whiskey types:

Grain whiskey is distilled in a column still from a variety of grains, usually mostly corn with only small portions of barley (e.g. your basic Jameson). Single malt whiskey is distilled exclusively from malted barley by a single distillery in a traditional copper pot still (e.g. Bushmills 10 Year Old). Blended whiskey is a mixture of grain and single malt whiskeys, usually mostly grain whiskey (e.g. Powers Gold Label). Single pot still whiskey, uniquely Irish, is distilled from a mixture of malted and green unmalted barley in traditional copper pot stills (e.g. Redbreast). To make Irish pot still whiskey, you have to distill at least twice, and generally three times. A quaint Irish tradition is to give each still a woman’s name. Teeling’s stills, for example, are Alison, Natalie and Rebecca, after the family’s daughters. Irish whiskey became known for being triple-distilled, but this was originally necessitated by English taxes on individual stills, causing the Irish to progress to using bigger and bigger stills to reduce the tax bite, which in turn necessitated an additional third distillation. The big Irish grain whiskey distillers make much ado about their column-distilled whiskey being triple-distilled, but there is not necessarily any advantage to the number of distillations: after all, distilling is a process of purification — if you distill whiskey enough times, you lose all the flavours and end up with pure alcohol. After distillation, the clear, highly alcoholic “new-make” whiskey is barrel-aged. The barrels can be new oak, or previously used for (most often) bourbon, oloroso sherry or other contents. The kind of barrel and the length of barrel-aging strongly influences the colour, smell and taste of the final product. Finally, you will see the term “chill filtration.” This process is intended to remove, prior to bottling, any microscopic bits (called “micles”) that might make the whiskey cloudy. It also changes and dulls the flavours. Avoid it if possible. NOVEMBER 2018 39


getting a taste for it

Tasting spirits is more about the smell than the taste, and hence is generally referred to as “nosing.” The best glass to use is small (about a six-ounce capacity) and tulip-shaped. Adding a few drops of water is permissible, but please no ice or soda, both of which cause flavour distortions. The high alcohol content quickly tires your olfactory senses, so instead of putting your nose right into the glass (as I recommend you do with wine), keep your nose a few inches above the rim and inhale gently through your mouth and nose. Next, take a small sip to condition your mouth, then a decent tipple to roll around your mouth, savour and finally swallow. If you are tasting several whiskies, remember that the alcohol will swiftly dull your nose and taste buds, so swallow as little as possible in a given sitting. ECHLINVILLE IRISH POT STILL GIN is trickle distilled, reflecting a slow and gentle distillation, from

Irish barley. Bottled at 46% ABV, it has soft, sweet aromas of orange peel and spruce sap, and flavours of anise, lavender and coriander. The Echlinville Distillery’s signature cocktail features it with elderflower tonic, a lemon wedge and a sprig of mint. DINGLE ORIGINAL GIN is bottled at 42.5% ABV. It has strong aromas of juniper, mountain ash

berries and rowan berries, but it is perhaps the use of heather that also provides floral notes. The botanicals are not distilled, but rather placed in a porous basket and infused in the neck of the still. These flavours are powerful and fully dry so this gin can be enjoyed almost straight, possibly with an orange wedge. The Glendalough Distillery produces a very interesting range of Irish gins, including four seasonal styles and several specialty approaches. The year-round WILD BOTANICAL GIN is fairly traditional tasting, emphasizing juniper, citrus and pine flavours, but also has some spiciness on the finish. I was only able to taste one of the specialty versions, a wild blackberry and mountain heather gin. A pale pink, it is berry-fruity with a notable liquorice and coriander flavour on the finish, a gin for sipping on its own. REDBREAST 12 YEAR OLD is the classic Irish pot still whiskey. Produced by the Midleton distillery, it is aged in used oloroso sherry casks, which marry the oily spirit with sherry-soaked Christmas cake spices and raisins, resulting in flavours of molasses, brown sugar, ripe figs and dates, all seasoned with ginger. Bottled at 40% ABV. REDBREAST 15 YEAR OLD is slightly darker, and drier smelling, than its younger brother, and also stronger, at 46% ABV. Smells of cream soda seasoned with rose petals, pine and ripe figs. Lots of sherry on the long, prickly finish. POWERS SIGNATURE RELEASE is made by Midleton for John Powers and Son. Less obviously sher-

ry-influenced than the Redbreasts, it clearly shows the sappy, resinous character imparted to Irish pot still whiskey by the green barley, with smooth underlying vanilla flavours from mixed bourbon and sherry casks. YELLOW SPOT is made by Midleton for Mitchell and Son. It is aged for 12 years in bourbon, sherry and Malaga wine barrels. Smells of black pepper, red currant, cloves and honey. Tastes of honey again, with apple and brown sugar notes giving it more sweetness on the palate than most other pot still whiskies despite the 46% ABV. GREEN SPOT is another classic pot still whiskey, sort of Yellow Spot’s older brother on a motorcycle.

Made from the medium-to-heavy end of the distillate, and aged in bourbon and sherry barrels, it is dry, grassy and reminiscent of hard green fruit, but with a resinous, prickly edge to it. DINGLE POT STILL WHISKEY is fairly dark in colour and, like the distillery’s gin, bold in flavour. Granny

Smith apple peel meets ginger and honey with a creamy, vanilla-tasting texture on the finish. Even as compared to other distinctive Irish pot still whiskies, this one marches to its own drum. 40 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS


FORAGING BOTANICALS FOR THE SUMMER GIN AT GLENDALOUGH DISTILLERY

comparing double- and triple-distillation; and aging in unusual casks (rum, red wine, Calvados, white Burgundy). Their whiskies have many different labels to reflect all these experimental styles, and are worth exploring. Teeling expects to be selling a pure pot still whiskey this year. The Glendalough Distillery started in 2011 and bills itself as Ireland’s first craft distillery. Its motto is “Stand Apart.” Their intention is to do things differently, and if necessary, the hard way. Currently 40 percent of their production is gin, with a year-round version and several seasonals. All are made with fresh, wild botanicals gathered by hand by their full-time forager in the mountains around the distillery: juniper berries, gorse flowers, elderflower blossoms, coriander, sorrel and more. Their current whiskies are from another distillery’s stock but blended and finished

in Glendalough’s own barrels. They are now acquiring two more pot stills to make their own single pot still whiskey. It will age in barrels made of Irish oak and will likely be available in 2022. The Midleton Distillery started in 1825, and now operates under the Jameson name. For many years, it was the only champion and producer of Irish pure pot still, under a number of labels such as Redbreast, Powers, the “Spots,” its own Midleton label and others. Midleton makes an enormous variety and volume of many types of whiskey as well as pot still. It has a fine reputation for precision distillation and experimentation with different types of aging casks. The Dingle Distillery is located in the picturesque seaside town of Dingle. It is the only other distillery currently selling

pure pot still. Dingle makes gin, vodka and about 750 litres a day of whiskey. Fully manually operated, Dingle has in its nearly six years of existence produced less whiskey in total than Midleton does in one day. The distillery is scaling up, but will likely at most only double its current production. Dingle’s pot still whiskey stands out boldly — middle of the road is not the aim. The distillery uses wild yeast to maximize the development of congeners (flavour compounds) in its whiskey. Dingle is experimenting with some 20 different cask types (including Champagne and Caribbean rum), and intends to release many versions in small batches. I was lucky enough to sample Dingle’s first batch of pure pot still. Aged in Pedro Ximénez sherry barrels, only 800 bottles were made — they have sold for as much as 500 Euros each online, if you can find them at all. × NOVEMBER 2018 41


BOUQUET GARNI NANCY JOHNSON

TAKIN’ IT EASY I start Christmas shopping in November, which means I like to whip up fast, easy dishes after a hard day at the mall. An open-faced sandwich, a steak stir-fry, pasta with veggies, a 15-minute soup and shortcut Stromboli fit the bill quite nicely. AVOCADO AND EGG SANDWICH WITH SRIRACHA CREAM SERVES 4

Additional milk will yield a thinner sauce, if desired. Instead of fried eggs, try poached. To choose a ripe avocado, press it gently; it should yield slightly under your thumb.

1/4 1 1/4 6 2 1 4 4

cup mayonnaise tbsp milk tsp Sriracha sauce bacon slices English muffins, split and toasted avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced slices tomato eggs Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, whisk mayo, milk and Sriracha. Set aside. 2. In a large skillet, cook bacon until crisp, about 7 to 8 minutes. Remove bacon and chop into pieces and set aside. Drain off all but 1 tbsp bacon fat from the skillet. 3. For sunny-side up eggs, cook eggs in hot skillet over medium high heat until almost set, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with a bit of water, cover and cook about 1 minute longer. 42 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

4. Arrange avocado slices on 4 toasted muffin halves. Top with tomato slice, bacon and egg. Top each with Sriracha sauce. Season with salt and pepper. MATCH: Serve with champagne and orange juice.

CHICKEN CORN SOUP

As long as you have chicken broth on hand, you’ve got soup in less than 15 minutes. There are many good-quality low-sodium canned chicken broths on the market but I like to make my own. I bring a rotisserie chicken home for dinner and use the remaining meat and bones to make broth and this soup. If making your own broth, be sure to refrigerate it overnight. Skim fat from top before using. To make croutons, cut stale multi-grain bread into cubes. Toss with melted butter. Transfer to cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven until croutons are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

1 4 1 2 1 4 12

tbsp butter scallions, chopped stalk celery, thinly sliced cups chopped chicken breast Salt and pepper, to taste package frozen corn, thawed cups chicken broth, homemade or store-bought butter croutons, homemade or packaged

Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add scallions and celery. Sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in chicken, salt, pepper, corn and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes or until heated through. Divide among 4 bowls. Top each bowl with 3 croutons. MATCH: Serve with Riesling. × SEARCH THROUGH A WIDE RANGE OF WINE-FRIENDLY RECIPES ON WWW.QUENCH.ME/RECIPES/


ORECCHIETTE WITH BABY KALE AND GOAT CHEESE SERVES 4

Orecchiette, or “little ears,” is a small pasta popular in southern Italy. You can use any smaller pasta for this dish, such as farfalle or pasta shells. Instead of shallots, use a small thinly sliced onion. Although this dish is meatless, you can add cooked Italian sausage for a heartier meal.

1 1 4 2 2 1/2 1

package orecchiette tbsp extra virgin olive oil small shallots, thinly sliced cloves garlic, minced cups chopped baby kale or baby spinach Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste cup goat cheese tsp fresh lemon zest

1. Cook orecchiette according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water. 2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add kale and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and pepper flakes. 3. Toss with orecchiette and pasta water. Divide among 4 pasta bowls. Top each serving with a dollop of goat cheese and a bit of lemon zest. MATCH: Serve with a light-bodied white wine such as Soave.

SESAME BEEF WITH BROCCOLI SERVES 4

Mirin is a rice wine with a low alcohol content. You can substitute dry sherry for the mirin. Sambal oelek is a spicy chili paste. If desired, substitute crushed red pepper flakes to taste. When preparing broccoli florets, chop the stems and save for salads, soups or stews.

250 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 1 4

g sirloin steak, thinly sliced across grain tsp mirin or dry sherry tsp cornstarch bunch broccoli florets, thinly sliced tbsp canola oil clove garlic, minced tsp minced fresh ginger tsp toasted sesame oil tsp toasted sesame seeds cups cooked brown rice

STIR FRY SAUCE

1/4 2 2 1 1 1/2

cup soy sauce tbsp mirin or dry sherry tbsp hoisin sauce tsp sambal oelek tsp brown sugar tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water

1. In a large bowl, whisk mirin with cornstarch mix. Add steak and toss to coat. Set aside. 2. Place broccoli in microwave safe bowl. Add 1/4 cup water. Cook in microwave until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry. 3. In a small bowl, whisk soy sauce, mirin, hoisin sauce, sambal oelek, brown sugar and cornstarch. Set aside. 4. Add 1 tbsp canola oil to wok or large skillet. Add steak, broccoli, garlic and ginger. Stir fry about 3 minutes or until steak is cooked through. Add Stir Fry Sauce. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Divide rice among 4 plates. Top with steak stir fry. Drizzle each serving with sesame oil and garnish with sesame seeds. MATCH: Delicious with a Gewürztraminer.

ITALIAN STROMBOLI SERVES 6

Store-bought pizza dough and pizza sauce make this an easy weeknight meal. However, if you’re a purist, feel free to use homemade dough and sauce. Vary the ingredients — ham, red onion, pickles and swiss cheese; beef, hot peppers and cheddar; prosciutto, eggplant caponata and mozzarella. If you prefer to roast your own red peppers, place them whole on a cookie sheet under the broiler, turning with tongs as each side blackens. Let cool, remove stems, seed and slice. The charred skin can be removed or left partially intact for extra crispy flavour.

500 g store-bought pizza or bread dough 8 slices Genoa salami 8 slices capocollo 8 slices provolone cheese 1/4 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, patted dry and chopped 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese 1 large egg mixed with 2 tbsp water Store-bought pizza sauce 1. Preheat oven to 400˚F. 2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board. Roll into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle. 4. Layer salami, capocollo and provolone over dough, leaving a 1-inch border on all edges. Top with peppers and Parmesan cheese. Brush edges with egg wash. 5. Starting at a long end, roll the dough tightly into a French bread shape. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Transfer, seam side down, to prepared baking sheet. 6. Coat a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray. Tent stromboli loosely with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning. Bake 20 minutes. 7. Remove foil and continue cooking until crust is golden brown, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer to wire rack to cool about 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with a side of warmed pizza sauce. MATCH: Open a Chianti Classico. × NOVEMBER 2018 43


BUYING GUIDE All wines listed are recommended by our experienced panel of tasters. Each wine is rated based on its varietal character, representation of style and/or region, balance and price-quality ratio. Readers should assess these, and all wines, using the same criteria. Browse our experts’ tasting notes to find the wines that may appeal to your taste or pique your interest to try something new. Afterall, one of the best parts about wine is the discovery. The prices listed are suggested retail prices and will likely vary from province to province. A large number of these wines can be purchased across Canada, so check with your local liquor board or private wine store for availability. Our tasters are Tony Aspler, Gurvinder Bhatia, Tod Stewart, Evan Saviolidis, Rick VanSickle, Ron Liteplo, Sean Wood, Gilles Bois, Crystal Luxmore, Tara Luxmore, Treve Ring, Tim Pawsey, Silvana Lau, Craig Pinhey and Jonathan Smithe. *Available through private import and wine clubs

SPARKLING MASI NV MODELLO PROSECCO BRUT, DOC PROSECCO, VENETO, ITALY ($20)

This Prosecco DOC is crisp and bright with yellow apple and pear. Impressively dryish, with tight citrus, lemon blossoms to a snappy finish. Best when well chilled, this is great value in a clean, fresh fizz. (TR) CANEVEL PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE EXTRA DRY NV, DOCG PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE, TREVISO, ITALY ($25)

This is an extra dry (sweetish) Prosecco that has rivulets of acidity to match the 12-17 g/l RS it carries. This is from the Classico, or heartland, of the Prosecco region (DOCG). White flowers, white peaches, candy necklace on the finish. A lovely, different take on Prosecco, well suited for brunch. (TR) 44 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

13TH STREET CUVÉE ROSÉ NV, NIAGARA, ONTARIO ($28)

Aged 2 years on the lees, it is the yeast and strawberry that first greets the taster, followed by cherry, earth and spice. Pinpoint bubbles caress the palate and there is fine length. (ES) FIELDING ESTATE WINERY SPARKLING ROSÉ NV, NIAGARA, ONTARIO ($30)

Mild aromas of strawberry, vanilla cream and toast. Pale salmon colour, delicate with a fresh finale and ready to drink. (ES) MALIVOIRE BRUT NV, BEAMSVILLE BENCH, ONTARIO ($30)

Aged for 52 months on the lees, this 80% Chardonnay bubbly features toast, apple, almond, white flower, green apple and citrus. Very good length with a creamy texture featuring small pinpoint bubbles. (ES) DOMAINE CHANDON NV BRUT CLASSIC, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES ($30)

A blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (like BC’s own stalwart spar-

× FIND A COLLECTION OF TASTING NOTES FOR WINE, BEER AND SPIRITS AT WWW.QUENCH.ME/THENOTES/


BLACK’S STATION ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY 2015, DUNNIGAN HILLS, CALIFORNIA ($23) SHOWS GOOD DEPTH OF COLOUR IN THE GLASS, WITH ELEGANT FLORAL AND LEMON CITRUS SCENTS TOGETHER WITH A SPLASH OF LIME. INCISIVE CITRUS FLAVOUR ON THE PALATE IS TEMPERED BY TOASTY, BUTTERY AND NUTTY CHARACTER, FINISHING WITH CRISP ACIDITY AND LINGERING TOASTY HAZELNUT NOTES. TBY SEAN WOOD

kler, Steller’s Jay), this is an ample, generous waisted wine with baked yellow apple, white peach, pink florals and perfumed lemon, with a fine stream of citrus acidity to carry. A higher dosage of sugar gives this a friendly demeanour, which should appeal to a wider audience. (TR) MASI CONTI BOSSI FEDRIGOTTI CONTE FEDERICO BRUT RESERVA 2013, DOC METODO CLASSICO TRENTO, ITALY ($31)

Lemon musky perfume pervades this Metodo Classico Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, with green apple, pear and ginger biscuit. This 2013 feels like it’s ready for drinking right now, with the fine bubbles, soft palate and gently trailing off finish. Enjoy with scallops or lemon risotto. (TR) FITZPATRICK FITZ BRUT 2015, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($33)

A vintage brut from a very warm year offers a more fruit-forward style but still with surprisingly good structure. Pale straw in the glass with bubbles a plenty, nutty and brioche notes on top followed by apple and citrus tones on the palate with a touch of zest and good acidity through the finish. (TP)

DOMAINE CHANDON NV ROSÉ, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES ($33)

Pale pink peach hue, this traditional method fizz of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier is frothy and fresh in the mouth, kissed with wild strawberry, cherry and pretty pink florals. The palate is creamy and the dosage is ample, making this an easy and friendly pour for most palates. (TR)

THE VIEW WINERY PEARLS TRADITIONAL BRUT 2016, EAST KELOWNA BENCH, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($35)

Sparkling blend of Riesling (93%) with White Pinotage offers a fine stream of bubbles with upfront lemon and mineral hints before a zesty apple and citrus toned, lemon lime palate with a touch of minerality in the end. (TP) HIDDEN BENCH NATUR ZERO DOSAGE 2013, NIAGARA, ONTARIO ($39)

It spent 47 months on the lees in bottle and 7 months in barrel with no back sweetening. It is fresh and fragrant in the glass with bright apple and cut citrus notes, but also underlying roasted nuts, brioche and toasted vanilla. It has an energetic mousse in the glass with broad

flavours of baked apple, tangy lemon and lovely nutty/toasty accents through a crisp and clean finish. (RV) THIRTY BENCH SPARKLING RIESLING, ONTARIO ($39)

Pale straw in colour with a honeyed grapefruit nose; light to medium-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate with lime and grapefruit flavours and an engaging note of bitterness on the finish to give more interest to the wine. (TA) CIPES BLANC DE BLANC 2012, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($40)

Traditional method, made from 100% Chardonnay from vineyards in Oliver, Osoyoos and Kelowna. Bottle fermented and aged sur lie for 4 years. Toasty, nutty and lemon notes up front with a persistent, creamy mousse and lively stream of bubbles leading to a well structured palate with vibrant citrus and apple notes wrapped in a well textured, generous mouthfeel through fresh, lingering finish. (TP) LOUIS ROEDERER BRUT PREMIER, CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($40/375 ML)

Light gold in colour with a toasty, apple nose and leesy notes; medium-bodied,

NOVEMBER 2018 45


BUYING GUIDE dry, very elegant with a lemony, green apple flavour and a long, lingering finish. Just a delight. (TA) FITZPATRICK FAMILY VINEYARDS FITZ RESERVE BLANCS DE BLANC 2012, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($43)

Made from 100% estate grown, 20-yearold Chardonnay on the west side of Okanagan Lake, on a cooler site that sees late afternoon shade. Aged on lees for 36 months. Persistent mousse and a fine stream in the glass with lifted floral and orchard fruit notes. Vibrant citrus palate, a hint of smoke and spice wrapped in fresh acidity before a clean finish. (TP) GARDET NV BYZANTINE CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($45)

Pale gold with plenty of bubbles. Full aromas of toast, fresh bread dough, yeast, lime and green apple. Slightly sweet and hence does not present the acidity of typical Brut champagnes. This is a throwback to an older style of Champagne, with rich and ripe flavours of apple, rhubarb, even blueberries or saskatoons. I tried it over ice, as suggested, but am not yet a convert to that experience. Happily, it is very tasty straight up. Drink any time. (RL)* PIERRE PAILLARD LES PARCELLES BOUZY GRAND CRU EXTRA BRUT XIII, AC CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($63)

Les Parcelles is sourced entirely from Bouzy, from 22 plots of the Paillard family’s sustainably-farmed vines, now averaging 25 years. As noted by the XIII on the label, this is based on the 2013 vintage (80%) along with 2012 (14%) and 2004 (6%). A blend of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay (the latter an anomaly in red-wine-centric Bouzy), this spent 4 46 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

years on the lees. Chiselled lemon, nougat and meringue leads this tight, energetic and extra brut (2 g/l dosage) Champagne. The palate pulses with energy, drawing green apple, cream, spice along a creamy, lighter palate and through a very lengthy finish. The chalk bedrock is evident through the driving hum of minerality and lingering chalk finish. (TR) CHAMPAGNE LARMANDIER-BERNIER LATITUDE NV EXTRA BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS, AC CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($73)

The Larmandier and Bernier families have a long history in Champagne, traced back to the French Revolution, but it was not until the marriage of Philippe Larmandier and Elisabeth Bernier in 1971 that Champagne Larmandier-Bernier was established. Larmandier-Bernier is a gem of a grower estate with 15 biodynamically farmed hectares in Grand Cru & Premier Cru villages of the Côte des Blancs. Latitude (formally known as Tradition) is a shimmering Chardonnay sourced from vineyards in Vertus, with 70% base wine (2009 vintage) fermented in stainless steel and 30% reserve wine from foudre and neutral oak. This was aged on the lees for over 2 years before dégorgement and topping with 4 gr/l dosage. A tight core of green apple is rapidly buffered out by crispy layers of meringue, pear pastry, green apple and the aforementioned shimmer, tight with chalk and minerality that propels this to a very elongated finish. Delicate and filigreed, yet with intensity. (TR) CHAMPAGNE COLLET BLANC DE BLANCS NV, CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($85)

A stunning 100% Chardonnay bubbly from the oldest cooperative in all of

Champagne. Aged 5 years sur lie, it will appeal to those who like a more mature/ autolytic (yeasty) style as it features baked apple, toast, caramel, yeast, anise and nuttiness. There is lovely freshness, splendid length and loads of pinpoint bubbles. Chapeau! (ES) BOLLINGER SPECIAL CUVÉE BRUT NV CHAMPAGNE, AŸ-CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($90)

Fresh, creamy and nutty with elegance, finesse and complexity, a combination of ripe and cooked fruit aromas and flavours, baked apple, ginger and citrus peel, baked bread, mineral, a firm backbone and a lingering, layered and lifted finish. 70% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Meunier. Pair with popcorn for the perfect movie night indulgence. (GB) BOLLINGER BRUT ROSÉ NV CHAMPAGNE, AŸ-CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($115)

In many ways, this mirrors the flavour profile and structure of the Special Cuvée, but with more red flavours – wildberry, redcurrant, raspberry and cherry. Incredibly vibrant with mouth-watering acidity and multi-layered complexity, revealing more with every taste. 62% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay and 14% Pinot Meunier. For those that still question (inexplicably) the natural affinity of bubbles for food, try this with duck or grilled langoustines and be delightfully schooled. (GB) BOLLINGER BRUT CHAMPAGNE LA GRANDE ANNÉE 2007, AŸ-CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($195)

Graceful and integrated with candied citrus, rich and complex with mouth-filling flavours of crushed berries, toasted nuts, baked bread, ginger


spice and honey, creamy texture, chalky minerality and a pleasant bitterness. 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Will continue to evolve and gain complexity over the next decade. (GB) BOLLINGER BRUT ROSÉ CHAMPAGNE LA GRANDE ANNÉE 2007, AŸ-CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($240)

Aromatic and fresh with loads of spice, raspberry, peach, candied ginger and citrus peel. Nuttiness and toastiness with great focus and firm backbone. Creamy and layered, minerally and smoky with a lip-smacking finish that goes on and on. 72% Pinot Noir and 28% Chardonnay. Will become more expressive over the next 5 to 8 years, but should age well for the next 15. (GB) BOLLINGER EXTRA BRUT CHAMPAGNE R.D. 2004, AŸ-CHAMPAGNE, FRANCE ($345)

Firm and powerful, yet elegant and refined, showing great balance and integration between fresh and stewed fruit, spice, candied citrus, toasted brioche, toasted nuts and honey with smoky, chalk, mineral and saliva inducing acidity. 66% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay. Incredibly complex and fresh. (GB)

SINGLETREE SIEGERREBE 2017, FRASER VALLEY ($16)

All stainless steel fermented and estate grown. Aromas of orchard and tropical fruits with mineral hints preface a palate of pear, peach and apple with a slight zesty grapefruit edge, wrapped in juicy acidity through a lengthy refreshing finish. (TP) GRAY MONK PINOT GRIS 2016, OKANAGAN VALLEY ($17)

From the pioneering winery of the same name comes this hallmark Pinot Gris. Pretty, pale salmon in the glass with aromas of orchard fruit, tropical hints and quince up front, followed by a lively, juicy palate of red apple, peach and orange blossom and a touch of spice through a fresh and fruity finish. (TP) CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2016, ONTARIO ($18)

Straw coloured with a hint of lime, this lightly aromatic Chardonnay offers a nose of sun-warmed apples with a floral note; medium-bodied, richly extracted flavours of sweet apple and baked lemon fill the palate. (TA) THE VIEW WINERY GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2017, EAST KELOWNA BENCH, OKANAGAN VALLEY ($20)

Rose petal, tropical and citrus fruit up front followed by a generous, intensely fruity palate of peach and bright citrus with a touch of spice wrapped in refreshing acidity. (TP)

WHITE $20 AND UNDER

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CANADA CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ALIGOTÉ 2017, ONTARIO ($16)

Aligoté is a grape grown in Burgundy but it’s overshadowed by its more glamourous sister — the ubiquitous Chardonnay. The only winery in Canada that grows Aligoté to my knowledge is Château des Charmes in Niagara. And what a great job they do with it year after year! Their 2017 vintage is pale straw in colour with minerally, lemon and apple flavours. Light-bodied and dry, it’s fresh and lively on the palate, reminiscent of a Chablis with a green pear finish. (TA)

THE VIEW WINERY PINOT GRIS 2017, EAST KELOWNA BENCH, OKANAGAN VALLEY ($20)

A hint of pale salmon in the glass. Lifted notes of orchard and stone fruits followed by a fresh, juicy entry of apple, pear, peach and lychee with a touch of minerality in the finish. (TP)

FRANCE MICHEL GASSIER LES PILIERS VIOGNIER 2016, MIDI ($19)

Deep golden colour with a toasty, spicy nose of peaches lifted by a light floral note; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted peach and lemon flavours. Well-balanced with a lovely mouthfeel. (TA)

MONT GRAVET COLOMBARD 2017, GASCOGNY ($14)

Pale straw in colour with a lime tint, this Colombard has a minerally nose of green peaches with a light floral top note. Medium-bodied in weight, it has a mouth-freshening flavour of green plums and great length. (TA) CHATEAU PIQUE-SEGUE 2014, AOC MONTRAVEL ($16)

Fairly intense nose of gooseberry, passion fruit and freshly cut hay. Medium-bodied with biting acidity highlighting lemon and more gooseberry flavours. (RL)*

GERMANY DACHSHUND PINOT GRIGIO 2017, RHEINHESSEN ($12)

Pale straw in colour with a fresh, minerally nose of white peach and lemon. Medium-bodied, dry, peachy flavour; nicely balanced with lively acidity, good length and great value. (TA)

SOUTH AFRICA RUSTENBERG UNWOODED CHARDONNAY, STELLENBOSCH ($16)

Creamy richness to go with its citrus, yellow pear and tropical fruit flavours. Deftly balanced and crisply refreshing in the mouth, finishing with a pleasing touch of creamery butter. (SW) RUSTENBERG ROUSSANNE 2017, SIMONSBERG-STELLENBOSCH ($20)

Complex pungent, smoky aromas, with floral scents and aromatic tropical, citrus and stone fruit make way for ripe peach and apricot flavours on the smoothly rounded palate. Creamy, leesy notes and gently refreshing acidity round out the satisfying finish. (SW)

RECOMMENDED ARGENTINA LURTON PIEDRA NEGRA PINOT GRIGIO ORGANIC 2017, VALLE DE UCO, MENDOZA ($15)

Produced from vines grown in high altitude volcanic soils in the harsh con-

NOVEMBER 2018 47


BUYING GUIDE ditions of the Uco Valley, this aromatic wine expresses the terroir, showing finely scented green fruit overlaid with a pungent smoky aroma. Bright green apple and citrus fruit is balanced by lively acidity and firm drying grip on the finish. (SW) BODEGAS ESCORIHUELA GASCON 1884 ESTATE GROWN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, MENDOZA ($17)

This is a big, ripe, richer wine, swelled by the UV rays and sun-filled time afforded this high-altitude grape, tucked into the foothills of the Andes. This gained structure through 8 months in French oak, lending cedar spicing to the compact black and red fruit. Plump plum, raspberry, rasped pepper and prickles of green thorns, all housed by sticky tannins, make this ready to open now, alongside fired beef. (TR)

AUSTRALIA PETER LEHMANN LAYERS 2016, BAROSSA VALLEY ($16)

Very pale with green reflections. Delicate nose of citrus and white fruits. Off-dry attack but residual CO2 creates an impression of freshness. Delicate taste, well balanced, somewhat short finish. Easy to drink right now, so don’t wait. (GBQc)

CANADA 13TH STREET BURGER BLEND RIESLING/ PINOT GRIGIO 2017, NIAGARA ($15)

A 60/40 blend of Riesling and Pinot Grigio. It is easy drinking with a cantaloupe, honey, lime and apple personality. There is a touch of residual sugar and it is ready to go with cheese boards or fish tacos. (ES) 13TH STREET WINERY WHITE PALETTE 2017, NIAGARA ($16)

A real crowd pleaser for sure! Off-dry with a delightful perfume of nectarine, peach, cantaloupe, wisteria and honey. Mostly Riesling and Pinot Gris with Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer acting as a backstop. Chill and serve alongside sushi. (ES) PONDVIEW WINERY RIESLING 2016, NIAGARA ($18)

Bone-dry, with zippy acidity and profile of lime, mineral, white peach, grapefruit, apple and button mushroom. This is a wine that is made for food, especially oysters, so chill it down and shuck to your heart’s content! (ES) MALIVOIRE CHARDONNAY 2016, BEAMSVILLE BENCH ($20)

Medium body with cream, pineapple, apple, pear, spice and vanilla. Easy drinking and food friendly, especially with prawns or lobster with drawn butter. (ES)

and orchard fruit flavours supported by a touch of mineral grip. An easily affordable wine that pairs equally well with grilled salmon and roast chicken. (SW) VIÑA FALERNIA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, VALLE DE ELQUI ($16)

Delicate floral scents with citrus and green herbal notes open the way for supple green fruit and contrasting steely mineral in the mouth. Finishes with lingering crisp fruit and mouth-watering acidity. (SW)

FRANCE LÉON BEYER RÉSERVE RIESLING 2015, ALSACE ($17)

Very pale. Classic citrusy nose with floral notes, hints of chalk. Firm acidity in the fully dry palate, reserved fruity taste. Finish is on minerally notes. An honest glass of French Riesling to be enjoyed soon. (GBQc) HUGEL & FILS RIESLING 2015, ALSACE ($18)

Very pale yellow. The green apple and mineral notes are appealing. Energized by its acidity that drives the fully dry mid-palate of mostly mineral taste, it may seem less approachable to the fruit fanatics. Nice long finish. Drink or hold up to a few years. (GBQc)

AUSTRIA HÖPLER GRÜNER VELTLINER 2014, BURGENLAND ($18)

Medium yellow. Medium-intensity nose of green apple and hay. Medium-bodied, tastes of Granny Smith apples and lemon zest, with high acidity. Refreshing and versatile food wine. Drink right away. (RL)* 48 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

CHILE VIÑA LA JUNTA LIMITADA THE MINE CHARDONNAY 2015, CENTRAL VALLEY ($13)

Mellow-ripe citrus and tropical fruit with a whiff of banana on the nose lead the way for agreeably balanced lemon citrus

E. GUIGAL CÔTES DU RHONE 2016, RHONE VALLEY ($20)

Pale yellow. Pear with shy notes of apricot and mineral hints. Good balance in the round mid-palate, not especially expressive but technically well made. Enjoy now this generic white from a reliable producer. (GBQc)


XAD MCO TO COME

Every now and then, something special comes along. Don’t wait for then.

DUN BHEAGAN ~ ISLAY ~ SMALL BATCH Selected from top Islay distilleries, matured in traditional oak casks, each handpicked and nosed by our malt team. Traditional bottling, straight from the cask. Unchill filtered to give a smoky, richer and smoother taste. This unique Islay single malt is also at a unique price, $52.95*.

* Price subject to change without notice. Available through the LCBO.

...interesting Wines and SpiritsÂŽ

www.mcowines.com


BUYING GUIDE ITALY INAMA SOAVE CLASSICO 2017, VENEZIA ($20)

Light straw yellow. Apricot and light honey with hints of grass and smoke. Slightly creamy texture, ripe fruit flavour, tame acidity. Finish is a bit loose but the length is good. Drink now with white fish or poultry. (GBQc)

tery and vanilla notes. Citrus and green apple flavours are backed by refreshing acidity and a lick of mineral on the medium weight palate. Well-made, affordable wine that will serve equally well as an aperitif or to pair with seafood and white meat dishes. (SW)

$20.01 TO $35

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

NEW ZEALAND ARGENTINA SAINT CLAIR FAMILY ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2017, MARLBOROUGH ($18)

Lively green colour with intensely aromatic gooseberry and grassy herbal scents carrying through on the slightly lean palate. Chalky mineral, mouth puckering acidity and a suggestion of passion fruit complete the picture. (SW)

LUCA G LOT CHARDONNAY 2016, TUPUNGATO, UCO VALLEY ($33)

Day-Glo yellow in colour, this massively oaky specimen is not for all tastes but its slightly reductive nose of peach and spicy oak is reminiscent of a fine Corton-Charlemagne. Full-bodied and richly extracted flavours of ripe peach and toasty oak fill the palate and linger for a long time. (TA)

SPAIN DON AURELIO LA EVOLUCION VERDEJO 2015, VALDEPENAS DO ($14)

Opens with scents of tropical and citrus fruit showing a dash of lime. Crisp and clean on the palate with green fruit flavours backed by gritty mineral, lively acidity and moderate alcohol, this wine will pair best with fish and shellfish. Very good value. (SW)

SOUTH AFRICA FLEUR DU CAP ESSENCE DU CAP CHARDONNAY 2016, WESTERN CAPE ($15)

Yellow straw colour, showing brightly scented lemon citrus with subtle but50 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

entry. Full fruited but elegant with a rich mouthfeel defined by lemon lime and apple flavours, moderate acidity and a lengthy, clean finish. (TP) HESTER CREEK OLD VINES BLOCK 16 TREBBIANO 2017, OKANAGAN ($24)

The only Trebbiano grown in the Okanagan Valley come from vines that are 50 years old, so, quite a privilege to taste. It bursts with tropical island fruits — pineapple, papaya and guava — with peach and citrus accents. It’s crisp and inviting on the palate with a range of tropical fruits and high-energy acidity that keeps it popping through the finish. (RV) BLOMIDON ESTATE WINERY UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2017, NOVA SCOTIA ($25)

Delicate floral, citrus and tropical fruit on the nose yield to citrus and crisp green apple in the mouth. Lightly creamy texture is balanced by brisk acidity and firm mineral grip. Very pure and lean style makes this one an ideal match for Nova Scotia oysters on the half-shell. (SW)

CANADA REDSTONE REDFOOT VINEYARD VIOGNIER 2016, NIAGARA ($23)

This Vio gets 8 months of French oak aging and has round aromas of apple, stone fruits, melon and passion fruit. It has a sense of elegance on the palate with a range of exotic fruits, baked apple and oak spices. (RV) HESTER CREEK TERRA UNICA SEMILLON 2017, GOLDEN MILE BENCH ($23)

Hand-harvested and cold stainless steel fermented for 18 days. Unoaked. Lifted fresh citrus and honey notes with a touch of wild herb precede a generous

TAWSE LIMESTONE RIDGE NORTH RIESLING 2016, NIAGARA ($28)

This is killer Riesling. The nose lights up with salinity, lime, grapefruit and racy wet stone minerality. It’s steely and taut on the palate despite 32 g/l of RS and shows vivid citrus, fresh-squeezed lime, lemon zest and razor sharp acidity. (RV) BURNING KILN SWEET LEAF KILN-DRIED RIESLING 2016, NORFOLK COUNTY ($29)

The notes on the nose include a heady mix of quince, honey, pink grapefruit and super-concentrated stone fruits. It’s rich and textured on the palate with a range of fully ripened peach, apple and pear,


smothered in wild honey and roasted almond flavours through a long, somewhat balanced finish. (RV) THIRTY BENCH SMALL LOT STEEL POST VINEYARD RIESLING 2016, ONTARIO ($30)

Pale straw colour with a minerally bouquet of grapefruit and orange lifted by a light floral note. Light- to medium-bodied on the palate, lovely mouthfeel with great tension between honeyed sweetness and grapefruit-lime acidity. (TA)

toasty note. Medium-bodied, dry, yellow apple flavour with lemony acidity. (TA) GITTON PÈRE ET FILS SANCERRE 2016, SANCERRE AC ($35)

Elegant, archetypal Sancerre aromatic character, revealing delicate floral scent, vibrant fresh green fruit and gun flint mineral. Fine green fruit expresses gooseberry and a hint of passion fruit backed by steely mineral and vibrant acidity. (SW)

GREECE

NOBLE RIDGE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2015, OKANAGAN FALLS ($30)

Whole cluster pressed with 14 months in 20% new French oak. Upfront creamy and buttery notes with stone fruit and tropical hints before a luscious palate of pure pear and melon notes underpinned by good acidity with vanilla oak and spice through the finish. (TP) ROSEHALL RUN VINEYARDS JCR ROSEHALL VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2016, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY ($35)

A sublime Chardonnay with a perfume of pineapple, yellow apple, honey, banana, cream, smoke, vanilla and clove. Elegant with fresh acidity and quintessential PEC minerality wrapping up the package. Try with roasted chicken or grilled salmon. (ES)

DOMAINE DE PAPAGIANNAKOS SAVATIANO 2017, PROTECTED GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION, MARKOPOULO, ATTICA ($22)

Made from the indigenous Savatiano grape, appropriately grown near the ancient Temple of Artemis, long associated with Dionysus, the god of wine, this deeply coloured wine offers complex, elegantly scented floral notes, stone fruit and citrus fruit. Stone fruit, lively citrus and some green fruit flavours evolve in the mouth with a suggestion of bitter almond on the refreshingly dry finish. A lovely wine from another Greek variety that deserves to be better known. (SW)

RECOMMENDED AUSTRALIA

Pale yellow. The shy nose of white fruits with a floral touch gives an impression of delicacy. Rich texture, almost creamy with flavours of ripe fruits. Fine acidity and a pleasantly round finish to wrap things up nicely. Drink or hold 1 to 2 years. (GBQc) PERRIN COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL 2016, RHONE VALLEY ($31)

Pale yellow. Pear and apricot, touches of flowers and fine herbs complete the inviting nose. The fatty, slightly oily texture, the warm alcohol feel and the fruit all contribute to a full mid-palate. Nice long finish to match. Ready to enjoy. (GBQc) LA CHABLISIENNE MONTMAINS CHABLIS 2015, BURGUNDY ($35)

Pale straw in colour with a hint of green. Minerally, spicy bouquet of apples with a

MALIVOIRE PINOT GRIS 2017, BEAMSVILLE BENCH ($22)

Dry with a personality of white peach, pear, apple, almond and a touch of honey. Medium body with great length, hitting mineral and spicy notes on the finish. (ES) MALIVOIRE MUSQUÉ SPRITZ 2017, BEAMSVILLE BENCH ($22)

Made from Musqué, the aromatic clone of Chardonnay, this off-dry white has a slight spritz as the name indicates, alongside peach, honey, yellow apple and white flowers. Fine length. (ES) 13TH STREET WINERY JUNE’S VINEYARDS CHARDONNAY 2017, CREEK SHORES ($22)

The nose completely flatters in this nonoaked Chardonnay: banana, jasmine, yellow apple and cream. Medium body, round texture and ready to drink. (ES)

FRANCE TANIA ET VINCENT CARÊME SPRING 2016, VOUVRAY, LOIRE VALLEY ($21)

FRANCE ALBERT BICHOT POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2016, BURGUNDY ($25)

nose followed by spice and cream on the palate. Good lift and fine length. Drink with a coquille St-Jacques or mahi-mahi with a jalapeño/fruit salsa. (ES)

WEST CAPE HOWE CHARDONNAY 2016, WESTERN AUSTRALIA ($28)

This mildly wooded Chardonnay comes from various plots around Western Australia, specifically from Albany, Mount Barker and Frankland. You can feel the sun-drenched fruit in the shoulders of the palate, though it’s held smartly in check by a stream of acidity and bracket of stones on the sides. Ripe pear, yellow apple, orange blossom and lemon verbena quickly yield to a slick of lees and slight wood spice to the shorter finish. (TR)

CANADA FIELDING ESTATE PINOT GRIS 2017, LINCOLN LAKESHORE ($22)

Contains wine from vines that are 30 years old. Huge peach and banana on the

Pale yellow. Peach/pear, apricot and chalk are typical of the Chenin Blanc grape. Round on the palate, the moderate acidity peaks in the finish. A slightly vegetal taste contributes to its freshness at the expense of finesse. Drink up. (GBQc)

OVER $35

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CANADA TINHORN CREEK OLDFIELD RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2016, OKANAGAN ($35)

From the estate’s vineyards on the Golden Mile Bench, the nose begins with elegant spice notes on top of pear, minerals, salinity, citrus and a gorgeous vanilla/cinnamon toast note on the back end. It shows lovely pear/apple/quince flavours on the entry of the palate with citrus and spice accents that are nicely integrated and woven into the foundation of this terroir-driven and finessed Chardonnay. (RV) NOVEMBER 2018 51


BUYING GUIDE FIELDING ESTATE ROCK PILE CHARDONNAY 2016, NIAGARA ($37)

The nose is tight right now but promises a more open knit nose of poached pear, vanilla cream, citrus accents and a range of elegant spice notes. It’s creamy and rich on the palate with flavours of pear, apple and swirling oak spices to go with a clean, freshening finish that’s already nicely balanced. (RV) TAWSE CARLY’S BLOCK RIESLING 2016, NIAGARA ($39)

The Carly’s Block is from vines planted in 1976 and shows super-charged lime, grapefruit, river-rock minerality and on-point apple slices on the nose. It’s rich, seductive, round and honeyed with layers of lime/citrus, apple, swirling minerality and showing beautifully right now. (RV)

ate that coats the mouth. It ends on a powerful, warm finish of great length. Savennières is a tiny appellation that provides some of the best expressions of the Chenin Blanc grape. (GBQc)

This blend of Sauvignon Blanc (94%) and Semillon (6%) is aged in French oak for 9 months. What a gorgeous wine with an expressive nose of apple blossoms, beeswax, pear with subtle herbs, spice and flinty minerality. It’s rich and textured on the palate with a range of flavours including pear, bin apple, grapefruit, herbs, spice and minerals that remain gorgeously fresh through the finish. (RV)

FRANCE DOMAINE DES BAUMARD CLOS DE SAINT-YVES 2016, SAVENNIÈRES, LOIRE VALLEY ($41)

Very pale. Honey, clover flower, dry stone and hints of tropical fruits. The sharp acidity is matched by a thick, fat mid-pal52 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

FRANCE GUY SAGET POUILLY-FUMÉ 2016, POUILLY-FUMÉ AC ($38)

NEW ZEALAND CEDALION ARAE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 ($45)

Clear medium-deep gold. Fairly intense nose of oaky vanilla over lime and orange peel. Full-bodied with a broad palate of citrus and apple flavours. The fruit is ripe but refined in this Burgundian-style Chardonnay. Drinking well now and will last another year or 2. (RL)*

SOUTH AFRICA HIDDEN BENCH NUIT BLANCHE ROSOMEL VINEYARD 2016, NIAGARA ($40)

RECOMMENDED

HAMILTON RUSSELL VINEYARDS CHARDONNAY 2017, HEMEL-EN-AARDE VALLEY ($45)

From one of SA’s best Chardonnay producers comes this lovely rendition. Medium plus body with cream, baked apple, pineapple, spice, vanilla and honey. Long lasting, with apple being the dominant echo. (ES)

Opens with delicate floral scents together with notes of tropical and citrus fruit. Citrus and green apple flavours emerge on the crisp, mineral infused palate. Somewhat leaner and less exuberant expression than the typical Pouilly-Fumé wines. (SW)

ROSÉ KEN FORRESTER PETIT ROSÉ 2017, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA ($13) 

It’s not often I write, “Buy this wine by the case,” but this rosé will surprise you for its price and quality. Pale pink in colour with a bouquet of pomegranate and red flowers; medium-bodied and dry, flavours of raspberry and citrus fruits fill the palate. A beautifully balanced and elegant rosé. (TA) LA FERLA ROSATO 2016, IGP TERRE SICILIANE, ITALY ($14)

UNITED STATES ROBERT MONDAVI RESERVE FUMÉ BLANC 2013, NAPA VALLEY ($60)

Simply the finest Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted from California. It reminded me of a richly concentrated version of Château La Louvière. Ripe flavours of grapefruit, peach and lanolin fill the mouth; a beautifully structured wine with a lovely mouth feel and well-integrated oak. (TA)

Clear, medium-deep vermilion. Medium intensity nose of strawberry, citrus and a bit of apple. Thin on the palate, with light flavours of strawberry candy. Drink up. (RL)* MARE MAGNUM CRUDO ORGANIC ROSATO 2016, IGT SICILIA, SALENTO, PUGLIA, ITALY ($17)

Lovely salmon orange hue, this is an organic Negroamaro rosé, filled with bergamot, juicy raspberry and fine strawber-


XAD Vinea, latin for vine, is a small batch premium grape based liqueur produced in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the heart of Ontario's wine country.

VINEA IN FOLDER Coming soon to an LCBO near you.


BUYING GUIDE FREE FORM ANCIENT METHOD 2017, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($35) 100% ORGANIC GARNET VALLEY PINOT NOIR GRAPES FROM NOW FULLY CERTIFIED ORGANIC OKANAGAN CRUSH PAD. WHOLE BUNCH PRESSED AND NATIVE YEAST FERMENTED IN LARGE CONCRETE TANKS, FINISHED FERMENTATION IN BOTTLE AND DISGORGED WITH 0 DOSAGE. GOOD MOUSSE AND PERSISTENT LIVELY BUBBLES. VERY PURE FRUIT FLAVOURS WITH ORCHARD FRUIT AND STONY AROMAS LEADING TO A LEESY, WELL TEXTURED PALATE OF APPLE AND ZESTY NOTES WITH SOME ALMOND HINTS UNDERPINNED BY A STREAK OF MINERALITY. TBY TIM PAWSEY

ry, spices that wrap around a pure-fruited and alluring Campari core. This is elegantly shaped with a lovely streamlined flow that lingers and encourages another and another glass. Impressive packaging and menu suggestion (I concur). (TR) LA BONHOMME EN ROSÉ 2016, VALENCIA, SPAIN ($18)

An uplifting and firm wine that possesses a delicate freshness with aromas and flavours of cherry, plum and spice with a bright, clean finish. 100% Monastrell. Turkey wine. (GB) KIM CRAWFORD PANSY 2017, NEW ZEALAND ($18)

Made from Pinot Noir, it shows a deep orange colour, an expressive nose of watermelon, blood orange, ripe strawberry. In the mouth, it is fruity, ripe and dry with a balanced acidity and a good deal of body for a rosé. Not especially light or fresh, it will be best enjoyed with food, think of salads, grilled chicken or hamburgers. (GBQc) 54 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

KEN FORRESTER PETIT ROSÉ 2017, STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA ($19)

Floral and fresh with an abundance of strawberry, roses and cherry aromas and flavours, finishing fruity, but dry. A blend of 79% Grenache and 21% Viognier. Forrester’s Petit line is not only great value, but the winery’s website indicates that no herbicides or pesticides are used and the vineyard is tilled, pruned and harvested by hand. (GB) HESTER CREEK ROSÉ CABERNET FRANC 2017, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($20)

Lifted bright cherry, strawberry and citrus followed by a fruit-driven, vibrant and off-dry fruity entry with cranberry and cherry through a generous palate with good mouthfeel and a fruity finish. (TP) DE ANGELIS ROSATO 2017, MARCHE, ITALY ($20)

A zippy and minerally blend of Sangiovese and Montepulciano with cherry,

strawberry, watermelon and fresh flowers, deliciously juicy and dry, organically farmed and the ideal hanging out, serve with anything wine. (GB) ROCKY CREEK ROBIN’S ROSÉ 2017, COWICHAN VALLEY, VANCOUVER ISLAND, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($22)

Forward strawberry, cherry and earthy notes with a hint of spice precede a crisp, moderately fruity but fresh palate of strawberry and watermelon, with good acidity and a touch of spice and some minerality. (TP) HAYWIRE GAMAY ROSÉ 2017, OKANAGAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($26)

Fresh strawberry, mineral, lightly herbal with a leesy textural quality and salty finish. Fermented in a mix of stainless steel and concrete. The grapes are grown in the Seacrest Mountain Vineyard near Oliver in the southern Okanagan, at an elevation of close to 500 metres. Delicious with cured meats, cheeses and salmon dishes. (GB)


FREE FORM VIN GRIS 2017, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($27)

Whole bunch pressed and native yeast fermented in large concrete through full malolactic. Pale orange salmon in the glass with floral plus orchard and tropical fruits followed by a fresh, well-textured palate of pure fruit flavours highlighted by apple and melon with fresh acidity. (TP) PRIEURÉ DE MONTÉZARGUES 2016, TAVEL, RHONE VALLEY, FRANCE ($32)

Structured and fresh blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and other Rhone varieties with red berries and peach flavours. Tavel is the only appellation in the Rhone Valley to produce only rosé wines. A versatile food wine that would pair with everything from chana masala to lamb carpaccio. (GB) FLOWERS SONOMA COAST ROSÉ 2017, SONOMA, UNITED STATES ($40)

Not your normally priced rosé. Salmon pink in colour with an earthy, reductive nose of red berries with spicy notes. Medium-bodied and dry, it has strawberry and pink grapefruit flavours with a struck-flint note. (TA)

leather, wild blackberry and violets fill the juicy, affable wine, one seasoned with dark chocolate dusted tannins and fine stony textures, upping the interest here. A warming swell of pepper trails the finish. Excellent, approachable and well-made Malbec for enjoying now. (TR)

tannins and acidity. Tastes like a dark berry salad, fresh and young but already smooth and drinkable. What a French claret would be if it had more sunshine. Drink over the next couple of years. (RL)*

BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA HIGH MOUNTAIN VINES MALBEC 2015, MENDOZA ($20)

Opaquely deep plum red. Nose of vanilla, eucalyptus and blackberry. Medium bodied, rich, fruity and concentrated, in lovely balance with a long finish. Flavours of black cherry and some herbal, green pepper undertones. Will improve for a couple of years. (RL)*

The High Mountain Vines tips us off to the freshness to be found here, which works to carry the sunned red fruits and leathered mid along a lengthy palate. Sourced from 4 vineyards ranging from 920-1,450 m and across various soil types, this carries cherries, wild raspberries, dark cocoa dusted tannins along a stream of acidity to a satisfyingly lingering, smoky finish. This vintage has really opened up, though still benefits from a decant. (TR) D.V. CATENA HISTORIC VINES RED BLEND 2015, TUPUNGATO, MENDOZA ($20)

Dense purple colour with a cedary, lightly spicy nose of black plums. Medium bodied, dry, with well-extracted fruit, firmly structured, rich and full on the palate and well balanced. (TA)

FITZ RESERVE ROSÉ 2014, OKANAGAN VALLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($43)

Made from 100% estate grown, 20-yearold Pinot Noir. Pale salmon in the glass. Persistent mousse and fine bubbles lead to a nose of orchard fruit and wild strawberries. The well-textured palate of subtle grapefruit, zesty notes and rhubarb hints yields moderate acidity through a lingering and refreshing close. (TP)

RED

AUSTRALIA GMH MERITAGE 2012, SOUTH AUSTRALIA ($14)

Opaquely dark plum red. Nose of oak, cherries and raspberries. Very fruity and fresh tasting despite its age, in good balance with flavours of cranberry, pomegranate and more raspberry. Drink within the next couple of years. (RL)* BERTON BLACK SHIRAZ 2015, PADTHAWAY ($17)

$20 AND UNDER

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ARGENTINA DOMINIO DEL PLATA BENMARCO MALBEC 2016, MENDOZA ($18)

Malbec from Uco Valley’s Vista Flores and Los Chacayes, harvested around 1,100 m, makes up this youthful, balanced and enjoyable wine. Black liquorice,

Clear, very deep plum red. Powerful nose of black cherry, menthol, dates and oak. Smokey on the palate, with a chewy body and flavours of ripe black plums, licorice and mocha. Will taste even better next year. Great value. Made to accompany rare grilled lamb chops. (RL)* GMH MERITAGE 2013, SOUTH AUSTRALIA ($17)

Opaquely deep garnet. Mature, medium-intensity nose of blackberry, mint, pine needles, figs and tobacco. Medium bodied, with high alcohol in good balance with the

GMH MERITAGE 2014, SOUTH AUSTRALIA ($17)

WIRRA WIRRA CHURCH BLOCK CABERNET 2015, MCLAREN VALE ($20)

Dense purple in colour. Cedary, blackcurrant nose; medium- to full-bodied, fresh and lively palate with blackcurrant and plum flavours finishing on supple tannins. (TA) MT. MONSTER CABERNET 2014, LIMESTONE COAST, SOUTH AUSTRALIA ($20)

Good varietal Cabernet Sauvignon nose showing blackcurrant, green herbal scents, spicy clove and a pinch of cinnamon. Ripe blackberry flavour leads off on the palate, with secondary blackcurrant supported by moderate tannins, well-balanced acidity and a splash of dark chocolate. A polished medium weight Cab, drinking well now. (SW)

CHILE MONTES ALPHA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, COLCHAGUA VALLEY ($20)

You don’t expect the concentration of flavour and elegance of structure in a wine this price. Dense purple in colour, this Cabernet has an intense nose of cedar, cigar box and blackcurrant topped with a floral grace note. Medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted, ripe blackberry and blackcurrant flavours fill the palate ending on ripe, mellow tannins. (TA) 

FRANCE CHÂTEAU LOUMELAT CUVÉE JJ LESGOURGUES 2015, BORDEAUX ($18)

This red Bordeaux from the Côte de Blaye region is very well priced. Deep ruby NOVEMBER 2018 55


BUYING GUIDE in colour, it has a cedary, blackcurrant nose with a floral note. Well-balanced and firmly structured, it’s quite forward and ready for drinking — thanks to the splendidly warm 2015 vintage. Serve it with lamb. (TA) PIERRE AMADIEU LES HAUTES RIVES CAIRANNE 2015, RHÔNE ($20)

Cedary, savoury, herbal nose of blackberries. Medium bodied, dry, firmly structured with black fruit flavours and balancing acidity. (TA) BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS PINOT NOIR BOURGOGNE 2015, BURGUNDY ($20)

Red Burgundy is never inexpensive but this simple village wine is a good introduction to what might make you a lifelong fan. Ruby in colour, it offers a raspberry bouquet with light notes of violets and oak spice. Medium-bodied, dry, red plum and raspberry flavours excite the palate ending with a firm tannic finish. (TA)

GERMANY BRETZ SPÄTBURGUNDER SPÄTLESE TROCKEN 2012, RHINEHESSEN ($19)

Clear, pale rusty red. Medium nose of raspberries and violets. The ripe grapes make the wine taste almost sweet, with strawberry and raspberry flavours. Light-bodied with acidity in good balance with the fruit and a long finish. Drink up. (RL)*

with enticing spicy raspberry with a whiff of dry herb. Raspberry mingles with black cherry flavours on the palate with refreshing acidity, soft tannins and a light splash of milk chocolate. Not complex, but offers easy-to-like Pinot charm. (SW)

PORTUGAL ESTOPA MAIOR RESERVA 2011, DOC DOURO ($20)

Clear deep plum red. Medium-intensity, grapey nose with blackberry and raisin. Medium-bodied, tannins still very high, concentrated dark berry flavours. Should improve for another couple of years. (RL)*

SOUTH AFRICA RUSTENBERG SHIRAZ 2015, SIMONSBERG-STELLENBOSCH ($20)

Opens on the nose with lively fresh raspberry laced with peppery spice. Both raspberry and blackberry flavours kick in on the palate, supported by lightly firm tannins, appetizing acidity and a dash of bitter dark chocolate. Quite Rhone-like in style, though with more opulent fruit. (SW)

SILENI HIPI PINOT NOIR 2016, HAWKE’S BAY ($20)

Shows Pinot varietal brick red colour 56 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

BODEGAS PIQUERAS PALACIO DE CIRAT BLACK LABEL 2013, ALMANSA DO ($15)

A 50/50 blend of Syrah and Monastrell, which spent some time in French and American oak, this one offers stylishly spiced raspberry, ripe blackberry and red plum flavours, harmoniously integrated and deftly balanced, with a light splash of dark chocolate on the finish. Offers tons of flavour and punches well above its weight. (SW) BODEGAS ALTANZA DOMINIO DE HEREDIA 2015, RIOJA DOC ($17)

Developed red berry fruit on the nose, with refined sandalwood, cinnamon and subtle oaky notes. Raspberry and redcurrant flavours come in a medium weight package with moderately firm tannins and still youthful acidity. This is a very good Rioja for the money. Drinking well now with food but will reward further cellaring. (SW)

RECOMMENDED ARGENTINA

SPAIN ALVAREZ DE TOLEDO LUIS VARELA MENCIA ROBLE 2013, BIERZO DO ($15)

NEW ZEALAND

firm tannins, deftly balanced acidity and a medium length harmonious finish. Superb value! (SW)

Refined bouquet reveals bottle-developed nose with dark berry, blackcurrant, cinnamon and clove. Succulent raspberry and blackcurrant flavours emerge in the mouth with moderately

VAGLIO SELECCIÓN REGIONAL MALBEC 2014, UCO VALLEY ($20)

Vaglio is a project by José Lovaglio, son of legendary Argentine winemaker Susana Balbo. These wines are meant to exemplify Argie terroir, not winemaking. Plush, dusky dark red fruited, this Malbec is sourced from different areas in Mendoza’s Uco Valley, from sites that José works with


for his single vineyard wines. The whole is scented with dark perfumed blooms, the tannins worked soft, and the finish trails with a fine medicinal edge. Though fleshy on the palate, this is held to a reported respectable 13 degrees, and ideal for drinking now with lusty grilled ribs. (TR) DOÑA PAULA ESTATE MALBEC 2017, MENDOZA ($13)

8 months in 70/30 French/American oak have certainly left their impression on this wine, with roasted coffee, cedar spice, grilled meats and a lingering bitter dark chocolate. Drink now, with grilled burgers or ribs. (TR)

AUSTRALIA

As the label alludes, this is filled with the perfume of thistle, which overrides (to a degree) the reductive notes stewing underneath (air is this wine’s friend). From El Alto Vineyard in Ugarteche, Luján de Cuyo, this vineyard rests on sandy clay loams at 1,050 m. Big, punchy plum, blueberry and blackberry fruited, with a fine peppery spice and tautly gritty tannins to a warming finish. This is a kicky, youthful wine, 13.5 degrees, for drinking now with grilled pork or empanadas. (TR)

PETER LEHMANN CLANCY’S RED 2015, BAROSSA VALLEY ($15)

FINCA LAS MORAS DADA ART WINE 2, SAN JUAN ($14)

Dark ruby. Intense red and black fruits and a good deal of oak point to a loaded wine. Indeed it is, but there is a surprising freshness to the palate thanks to the biting acidity. Intense mid-palate with powdery tannins. Generous in every way, but not really harmonious. (GBQc)

Dadaism is set as artistic anarchy rejecting the social, political and cultural values from 1916 to the mid 1920s. Dadaists rejected any cultural or societal norms. This wine, named in honour of those revolutionaries, should eschew oak, overripeness and sweet fruit. But it so does not. Soft and ripe black and blue fruit is scented with sweet smoke and has had tannins nearly removed, leaving a plush, warming, smoked cocoa red. Simple enough, but Dada-opposite. (TR) PAZ DE FINCA LAS MORAS MALBEC 2013, PATERNAL VALLEY, SAN JUAN ($16)

From the Pedernal Valley and sourced from Malbec at 1,350 m, this approachable Malbec spent 15 months in new American and French barrels, which is felt in the spiciness of this generous, big red. Cedar, cherries, raspberries, blackberries are framed with dense, sweet tannins that dry out quickly on the snappy, peppery finish. Upfront and ready for consumption now, especially with grilled beef, pork or mushrooms. (TR) BODEGAS ESCORIHUELA GASCON 1884 ESTATE GROWN MALBEC 2017, ($18)

Perfumed violets, blackberry, sweet wood and ample smoky spice take over this plush Malbec, sourced from higher altitude vineyards in the Andean foothills.

Full ruby. Somewhat shy nose of ripe red berries, a little oak. The palate follows with a ripe fruity taste, the acidity slightly tingles the tongue, but it is overall quite fleshy and not without freshness, thanks to an edge of eucalyptus in the finish. Drink up this blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot. (GBQc) PETER LEHMANN THE BAROSSAN SHIRAZ 2015, BAROSSA VALLEY ($20)

CANADA MALIVOIRE GAMAY 2017, NIAGARA ($18)

Always one of Niagara’s top Gamays. Lovely strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, black pepper, herbs and vanilla. Juicy with soft tannins and ready to drink. A crowd pleaser to be sure! (ES)

13TH STREET WINERY GAMAY 2017, NIAGARA ($20)

Strawberry, violets, black pepper, thyme and hints of leather jump out of the glass and onto the taste buds. Smooth, with a mouthwatering personality and suave tannins. Very good length. Made for those pasta and pizza evenings. (ES)

FRANCE PÈRE ANSELME LA FIOLE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2015, AC CÔTES DU RHÔNE ($18)

In its wonky curved bottle, La fiole is a familiar Côtes du Rhône on shelves. Its familiarity and friendliness, not to mention price, has made it an easy choice. Soft, perfumed strawberry, raspberry, some stewed cherries and subtle tannins to the short finish. This is a simple, inoffensive red to pour with casual fare. (TR)

ITALY MONTE DEL FRÁ BARDOLINO 2016, DOC BARDOLINO ($17)

Spiced red fruits fill this DOC Bardolino, a Veneto-area blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese. Nutmeg and cinnamon lead, followed closely by tart cherries, mulberries and red apples. Tannins are dusty and sparse, encouraging a slight chill and partnering with mushroom dishes or toss it in the picnic basket on your way to the beach. (TR) MUSELLA VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSO 2014, DOC VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSO, VERONA ($19)

Corvina, Rondinella and Barbera planted on calcareous, red clay, tufo soils northeast of Verona make up this dusky, supple red, plumped up with the ripasso technique. 15% of Corvina is air dried for 4 weeks, while 20% of all fresh grapes are vinified as normal. The remaining 65% is “ripassato” on the unpressed skins of Amarone to gain colour and structure. It’s aged in French oak of various sizes for 1 year. Sweetly soft plum, blackcurrant, thorny blackberry is kissed with perfumed strawberries and threaded with pipe tobacco. Tannins are softened, cushioning the plush, medium-bodied palate, finishing with well-placed balsamic. Through it all raises a strong stream of acidity, holding this medium-bodied wine aloft (not easy in this style) and at 13.5 degrees. (TR)

MALIVOIRE SMALL LOT GAMAY 2017, NIAGARA ($20)

A sexy nose of cherry, strawberry, oregano, black pepper and violets carry to the palate where blue fruits enter the picture. Very good length, lively acidity and a subtle tannin structure. Perfect for BBQ fare. (ES)

NEW ZEALAND KIM CRAWFORD PINOT NOIR 2016, NEW ZEALAND ($20)

Medium ruby. Ripe cherry, raspberry, soft spices and earthy notes of mushroom. NOVEMBER 2018 57


BUYING GUIDE ROAD 13 GSM 2016, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($37) GRAPES SOURCED MAINLY FROM BLIND CREEK, SIMILKAMEEN, WITH SOME MOURVEDRE AND SYRAH FROM THE OKANAGAN VALLEY. THE GRENACHE AND MOURVEDRE WERE CO-FERMENTED WITH SYRAH SKINS, IN OPEN TOP FERMENTERS, BASKET PRESSED, THEN AGED IN PARTIALLY NEW FRENCH OAK. LIFTED WILD BERRY NOTES WITH FLORAL AND ANISE HINTS PRECEDE A PLUSH, FULL-BODIED PALATE OF PLUM AND RASPBERRY WITH VANILLA NOTES, SPICY PEPPER THROUGH A JUICY, LENGTHY FINISH. TBY TIM PAWSEY

Ripe fruity taste, bone dry mouthfeel. The finely grained tannins, the tingling acidity and the warm finish combine in a generous style that somewhat sacrifices balance and harmony. Drink up. (GBQc)

PORTUGAL JP AZEITÃO TINTO 2017, VR PENINSULA DE SETÚBAL, ALENTEJO ($9)

Soft plum, raspberry, blackberry on the sweetish, easy palate, with tannins wicked away and a cushion of soft lees supporting to the short finish. This is a simple blend of Syrah, Castelão and Aragonez (aka Tempranillo) that is best drunk now, with beef or mushroom burgers. (TR)

SOUTH AFRICA SPIER SIGNATURE MERLOT 2016, WO WESTERN CAPE ($14)

Soft on the sides, sappy on the palate 58 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

and snipped on the finish, this Merlot is sourced from vineyards 20-60 km from the coast in Swartland, Paarl, Overberg and Stellenbosch. Fruit from these 17- to 19-year-old-vines were cold soaked and fermented in stainless with ample pump overs. Post-ferment, 20% saw time in stainless, with the remainder in contact with wood staves. Plum and cherry jam dominate, with some wet wood, medicinal cherry on the back end, choked out with spice. Though blocky in form, the soft sides and jammy fruit will attract many cushy Merlot fans. (TR)

SPAIN PALACIO DE CIRAT COLECCION FINCA TIMONARES 2014, ALMANSA DO ($14)

Sourced exclusively from the Finca Timonares estate in the heart of Almansa, this is an unoaked wine, made from a single grape variety: Garnacha Tintorera (aka Alicante Bouschet). It shows enticingly ripe fleshy and spicy red fruit with

velvety soft tannins, balanced acidity and a rounded, well-integrated finish. (SW)

$20.01 TO $35

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ARGENTINA VAGLIO AGGIE MALBEC 2014, GUALTALLARY, UCO VALLEY ($24)

From a single vineyard in Gualtallary, Uco Valley, this is the project of legendary winemaker Susana Balboa’s son José Lovaglio Balbo. José focuses on single vineyard wines from different sub regions of Northern Mendoza and varying soil types, all sharing vinification with minimal intervention and oak contact. This vineyard was planted in 2008 on sandy, stony loams at 3,800 ft altitude. That freshness is apparent right off, with alluring perfumed black plums, black raspberries and cracked peppercorn. Tannins are tuggy, hugging the fruit through a stony,


lifted finish. Though alcohol reads 14 degrees, the inherent freshness here is unmistakable. This charming young red is ready for drinking now, but will hold in cellar short term. (TR)

AUSTRALIA MILLBROOK BARKING OWL SHIRAZ 2014, WESTERN AUSTRALIA ($21)

I didn’t know that there was a strain of owls that barked, so I checked it on the ‘net – and there is! This Shiraz is opaque purple in colour with a savoury bouquet of blackberries and a note of iodine. Medium to full bodied, it’s dry, firmly structured with the flavour of ripe black plums carried on lively acidity. Ideal for barbequed meats and ribs. (TA)

HOWARD PARK MIAMUP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, MARGARET RIVER ($23)

Dense purple in colour with a spicy, cigar-box and blackberry nose with a note of tar. Medium to full bodied, dry with blackcurrant and plum flavours, lively acidity and a firm tannic finish. (TA) PENNY’S HILL CRACKING BLACK SHIRAZ 2015, MCLAREN VALE ($23)

Dense purple-black in colour showing a bouquet of sandalwood and blackberries. Full-bodied, concentrated flavours of black plum with creamy oak and tannins that give the wine structure. (TA) BREMERTON BATONNAGE SHIRAZ/ MALBEC 2015, LANGHORNE CREEK, SOUTH AUSTRALIA ($35)

Dense purple in colour with a smoky, cedary nose of blackberries with herbal notes. Full-bodied, dry, juicy blackberry flavour with lively acidity and a firm finish. (TA)

CANADA NOBLE RIDGE ESTATE MERITAGE 2015, OKANAGAN FALLS ($25)

From one of the best vintages of the last several years. Merlot with some of the oldest planted Cabernet Sauvignon in the valley yields chocolate and dark berries on top, with toasty notes, before a full-bodied palate of plum, blackberry, redcurrent and raspberry tea with excel-

lent length and integrated tannins. Aged 15 months in mainly French and American oak and further bottle aged. (TP) CEDARCREEK MERITAGE 2015, OKANAGAN ($25)

Dense purple in colour with a cedary, blackcurrant and blueberry nose. Medium-bodied, dry, fruity, blueberry flavour with a light floral note. Beautifully balanced and long on finish. (TA) FIELDING ESTATE CABERNET FRANC 2016, NIAGARA ($25)

What a beauty! Notes of savoury red fruits, raspberry bramble, subtle herbs, cassis and elegant spices on the nose. It’s textbook Niagara Franc on the palate with just the right mix of ripe and savoury notes to go with herbs, succulent red fruits, integrated tannins and good structure and balance through the finish. (RV) MALIVOIRE WISMER CABERNET FRANC 2016, TWENTY MILE BENCH ($28)

Strawberry, vanilla, cassis, green olive, violets and herbs are layered in this full-bodied red. It is concentrated with lots of tannins, mandating 2-3 years of cellaring before being broached. A rare rib eye steak is the way to go. (ES) MALIVOIRE COURTNEY GAMAY 2016, BEAMSVILLE BENCH ($30)

Malivoire’s top Gamay is a stunning rendition in 2016, having benefited from the heat of the vintage. Dark cherry, strawberry, vanilla, cocoa, earth, tar and spice explode on the senses. Full bodied with a concentrated mid-palate and protracted finale. Drink over the next 5 years. (ES) 13TH STREET WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2016, CREEK SHORES ($30)

Mint, cassis, cinnamon, violets, earth and vanilla are all in play in this full-bodied red. Still youthful and tannic, it requires some cellaring to let it express its full potential. Drink from 2020-2028. (ES) TOWNSHIP 7 RESERVE 7 2015, OKANAGAN ($34)

This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon is bottled unfiltered and shows a dark purple in the glass with a hedonistic nose of perfumed blackberries, earth, tobacco, currants, raspberries and elegant oak spice notes. It has struc-

ture and poise on the palate with expressive notes of cherries, currants, anise, spice, toasted vanilla and plush tannins through a long finish. (RV) NOBLE RIDGE RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2016, OKANAGAN FALLS ($35)

Lifted strawberry and crushed berry fruits with a touch of earthiness precede a generous but well-balanced fruit-driven palate. Fresh cherry and raspberry notes are wrapped in juicy acidity and underpinned by silky tannins and well-managed oak from 14 months in French barrels, 20% new oak. The finish is lengthy with a touch of spice and mineral in the close. (TP)

FRANCE DOMAINE D’AUPILHAC CUVÉE AUPILHAC MONTPEYROUX 2014, LANGUEDOC ($23)

Cherry, red and black berries, cinnamon and other spices plus fruit stones make up the inviting nose. Very fruity taste, not more than medium body with ripe tannins and a great balance. Ever so slightly firm finish, overall quite elegant and a great buy that can be drunk now or kept a few years. The wines of Sylvain Fadat are worth searching for. (GBQc) FLEURIE CLOS DE LA ROILETTE 2016, AC FLEURIE, BEAUJOLAIS ($25)

Fragrant raspberry, floral cherry blossoms, strawberries are seasoned with light spice and supple, fine tannins. The middle is a bit muddled, right up to the pink peppercorn kick on the finish. This young Fleurie, from 3 lieu dit and granite, clay and manganese soils, will age well over the short term. #GoGamayGo. (TR) M. CHAPOUTIER DESCHANTS SAINTJOSEPH 2015, RHÔNE ($34)

Dense purple-black in colour with herbal, blackberry and vanilla oak on the nose. Medium- to full-bodied, dry, blackberry and dried herb flavours with a firm tannic finish. (TA)

GERMANY ANDREAS BENDER PINOT NOIR 2015, PFALZ ($26)

Leads off on the nose with striking

NOVEMBER 2018 59


BUYING GUIDE floral scent reminiscent of violets, dark cherry fruit with a dusting of cinnamon, clove and a splash of vanilla. Thickly textured in the mouth with concentrated black cherry flavour wrapped in velvety tannins and lively, forward acidity on the finish. (SW)

RECOMMENDED ARGENTINA FINCA DECERO REMOLINOS VINEYARD MALBEC 2016, AGRELO DISTRICT, LUJÁN DE CUYO ($24)

Sourced from the 3,500 ft Remolinos Vineyard in Agrelo, named for the whirlwinds (remolinos) that keep this site dry, fresh and pristine. Red florals, black raspberries are bedded with pork belly, scented with ample camp smoke and thorns, and housed with cushy, oakplumped tannins that work well to support. Though there is a vein of freshness, this big red requires BBQ meats to match properly. Decant. (TR) LUIS SEGUNDO CORREAS VALLE LAS ACEQUIAS MALBEC 2013, MENDOZA ($24)

Sourced from 90-year-old vines from the Don Angelino estate in Medrano, Mendoza, this dense Malbec is threaded with sun-baked red fruits and leather, as well as fine dusty spices, and bound by sticky tannins. Though the word “oak” is on the label, and this indeed spent 10 months in wood, it’s barely noticeable in this wine, lending some much-needed boning to the velveteen, ripe and concentrated palate. (TR) 60 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

AUSTRALIA BLEASDALE VINEYARDS FRANK POTTS 2014, LANGHORNE CREEK ($30)


This Langhorne Creek red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Dark and smoothed on the palate, with layers of cedar, pipe tobacco, black cherry, cracked clove and cinnamon. Tannins are softened, but carry an edge that cuts the ripeness. Bottled without filtration, this is a solid red for skirt steak or sausages. (TR)

end of the spectrum, there is a complex mix of cassis, chocolate, green olive, violets, tobacco, spice, cocoa and vanilla. Great length and ready to serve alongside a rack of lamb. (ES)

FRANCE DOMAINE DUPEUBLE BEAUJOLAIS 2016, BEAUJOLAIS AC ($28)

Shows dark purple in the glass with characteristic spicy, peppery bitter cherry fruit, grippy tannins and food-friendly acidity. Finishes with a touch of alcoholic heat. (SW)

CANADA FIELDING ESTATE CABERNET FRANC 2016, NIAGARA ($25)

A structured Cab Franc with lots of tannins underpinning the cassis, violets, thyme, graphite, spice and vanilla. Great length but still needs a year or two in the bottle to come together. Requires something grilled, preferably along the lines of cow. (ES)

OVER $35

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED CANADA TAWSE QUARRY ROAD VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2015, NIAGARA ($36)

Even though it is almost equal parts Cab Sauv and Syrah, it is the pepper and smoke of the Syrah that first greets the senses. This is then followed by cassis, violets, cocoa and oregano. Medium body and fine length. (ES)

There is an unmistakable meatiness and earthiness to all Quarry Road Pinots and this is no exception. The fruit is aged for 16 months in French oak and the nose shows savoury red cherry, raspberry, loam, spice, nutmeg and mineral notes. It has grippy tannins on the palate and some weight, revealing darker fruits, dried cherries, savoury spice notes and a certain freshness on the finish. (RV)

MALIVOIRE STOUCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, LINCOLN LAKESHORE ($35)

ROAD 13 SYRAH/MALBEC 2016, BRITISH COLUMBIA ($37)

FIELDING ESTATE CABERNET/SYRAH 2016, NIAGARA ($30)

A job well done as Malvoire winemaker, Shiraz Mottiar, has turned in a serious Cabernet Sauvignon from a challenging red wine vintage in Niagara. On the full

Grapes sourced mainly from Blind Creek, Similkameen, with some Syrah from the Okanagan Valley, delicately handled in open top fermenters, then


aged in French oak. From an excellent vintage, ripe, forward red and black fruit with mineral and pepper notes, followed by an intensely fruited but well balanced palate, mouth-filling and well rounded with assertive but approachable, well-integrated tannins, inviting layers of mulberry, blackberry, dark fruits and vanilla, primed by vibrant, lingering acidity through the persistent, lingering close. A superb expression for drinking now but also with good aging potential. (TP) ROSEHALL RUN VINEYARDS JCR PINOT NOIR 2016, PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY ($40)

From my favorite PEC producer comes this terroir-driven Pinot redolent with strawberry, cranberry, cherry, floral, vanilla, earth and mineral notes. There is sweet fruit on the palate with fresh acidity and suave tannins that will ensure at least 5 years of aging. Very pretty indeed! (ES) HIDDEN BENCH TERROIR CACHÉ 2015, NIAGARA ($45)

This blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon is aged in 100% French oak (25% new) for 20 months and is bottled un-fined and unfiltered. Such richness and depth on the nose, with layers of plums, cherries, cassis, blackcurrants and spice. This is a well-structured red on the palate with fine-grained tannins and a rich broth of primarily darker fruits and elegant wood spice notes. (RV) HESTER CREEK GARLAND 2015, GOLDEN MILE BENCH ($60)

From a stellar vintage, a worthy commemorative wine to mark the 50th anniversary of vinifera planted on this site, among the Okanagan’s very first, by pioneering Joe Busnardo. A blend of mainly Cabernet Franc (54%) and Merlot (32%) with Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec aged 3 years in French and American oak. Vibrant red and black fruit up front, vanilla, fennel and spice notes before a structured, full-bodied palate with plush fruit entry, mulberry, raspberry and black cherry with herbal hints, firm but well-integrated tannins and juicy, lingering acidity. (TP)

SOUTH AFRICA

THIRTY BENCH SMALL LOT CABERNET FRANC 2015, ONTARIO ($75)

Deep ruby colour. Cedary, blackcurrant and plum bouquet with spicy oak notes. Medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured, juicy, black-fruit flavours with fresh acidity and ripe, mellow tannins. A gorgeous wine. (Full disclosure: this wine was voted Best Red Wine in show at the Decanter World Wine Awards in London. Our panel gave it a unanimous gold medal when we judged it blind in May.) (TA)

VILAFONTE SERIES C 2013 ($58)

A blend of the classic Bordeaux varietals. Shows a young-looking deep-plum red. Raspberry, cherry, vanilla and tobacco on the nose. Fresh, fruity red-berry flavours in nice balance lead to a long finish. Classy wine. Will improve for at least 2 more years. (RL)*

UNITED STATES FRANCE DOMAINE GACHOT-MONOT CÔTES DE NUITS-VILLAGES 2015, CÔTES DE NUITS-VILLAGES ($45)

Refined Burgundian nose conveys enticing scents of spicy raspberry and strawberry, shifting to cherry and dark berry flavours on the palate. Good depth of fruit, together with refined velvety tannic structure and harmoniously integrated finish, make this a richly satisfying wine. Not cheap for a Côtes de Nuits-Villages, but delivers the goods. (SW) CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DUPAPE 2014, RHÔNE ($55)

Deep ruby colour. Cedary, blackberry with notes of dried herbs on the nose. Medium to full bodied, dry, elegant, firmly structured and beautifully balanced with well-integrated ok. Savoury black fruit flavours. Hold 4-5 years. (TA) CHÂTEAU HAUT-MONPLAISIR PUR PLAISIR MALBEC 2010, CAHORS AC ($60)

A big, rich mouthful of ripe, developed dark fruit with depth and complexity. Shows spicy and herbal notes on the nose, concentrated blackberry flavours, velvety tannic structure and a touch of dark chocolate on the very long, smoothly integrated finish. (SW)

CAYMUS SPECIAL SELECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, NAPA VALLEY ($200)

Opaque purple-black in colour with a cedary, spicy nose of black fruits. Medium to full-bodied, creamy, earthy black fruit flavours buttressed by firm tannins. Hold 5 years at least. (TA)

RECOMMENDED ARGENTINA BODEGA RENACER MILAMORE 2015, LUJÁN DE CUYO ($37)

The fruit, as sweet and dusky as it ever was, is now pinched with a twinge of balsamic, which tightens, squeezes and lifts this bigger Amarone-style red. This is a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda. After harvest, the grapes were placed on drying racks outside, where wind and the elements dried the berries and concentrated the flavours and sugars. Grapes lost approximately 30% of their weight in this process. After wild yeast ferment and MLF in French oak barriques, this wine aged for 12 months in new French oak. Alberto Antonini consults on this project, one run by winemaker Pablo Sanchez. (TR)

CANADA ITALY BRIGALDARA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2013, VENETO ($67)

Deep ruby in colour with a cedary, blackcurrant nose lifted with oak spice. Medium- to full-bodied, dry, blackcurrant and raisin flavours. Well-balanced, elegant and ready for drinking. (TA)

FIELDING ESTATE WINERY ESTATE BOTTLED CABERNET FRANC 2016, LINCOLN LAKESHORE ($40)

Medium ruby with a bouquet of raspberry, rhubarb, cassis, cinnamon and vanilla. The palate chimes in with the same, alongside black pepper and cocoa. Very good length with a juicy edge. (ES) NOVEMBER 2018 61


BUYING GUIDE BEFORE & AFTER DINNER CHATEAU D’ARMAJAN DES ORMES SAUTERNES 2013, AC SAUTERNES, BORDEAUX, FRANCE ($27/375 ML)

Showing the fruity flush of youth, with just a hint of the honeyed secondary notes to come. Lush aromas of ripe stone fruit, waves of beeswax and floral chamomile. Crème caramel and lemon curd linger on the honeyed finish. Try with fresh Okanagan peaches, prosciutto and roasted hazelnuts. (TR) AMARO NONINO QUINTESSENTIA DI ERBE, FRIULI, ITALY ($65)

Burnished Seville orange, Scottish marmalade and rasped nutmeg glide along a smooth, warming, silken palate, roughened slightly by a grip of wood on the frame. Spearmint, worn tobacco season, while a light Dutch liquorice salt lingers on the warm finish. Each sniff/sip leads to something more to contemplate. This digestif pomace-based Amaro is made in Friuli, infused with a secretive blend of herbs, spices and roots, including gentian, saffron, licorice, rhubarb, sweet and bitter orange, tamarind, quassia bark, cinchona bark and galangal root. (TR) KONZELMANN VIDAL ICEWINE 2015, NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE ($45/375 ML)

A voluptuous, rich dessert wine. Old gold in colour with a nose of peaches and mangoes. Medium-bodied, sweet, honeyed mango flavour with lively balancing acidity and a note of caramel on the finish. (TA) 62 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

BEER & CIDER BRICKWORKS CIDERHOUSE ROSÉ CIDER, ONTARIO ($3/473 ML)

Gorgeous pinky-rouge colour from a blend of raspberries and blueberries. It’s light bodied with aromas of strawberry, crushed raspberries and a hint of fresh florals. Serve it up to party-goers in champagne flutes to show off the stunning colour and dancing bubbles. Yes, the cider Rosé moment is here. (TL) SONS OF KENT BREWING 8 TRACK XPA, ONTARIO ($3/473 ML)

This brewery converted an old cinema in Chatham-Kent into a taproom and brewhouse mid-2017. Drinks like the kid sister of the American-style IPA. Hazy with aromas of canned pineapple, citrus and a hint of fresh spruce, the malt character is muted but leaves a lingering sweetness, allowing the bright fruity and earthy hops to shine. After the swallow, there’s a hint of lingering bitterness, but it goes away pretty quickly. A sessionable but juicy and hop-forward ale. (TL) TAWSE CIDER, ONTARIO ($3)

Made from a blend of Ontario McIntosh, Crispin, Ambrosia, Spy, Ida Red and Gala apples, and finished with 30 g/l of residual sugar. It has a fresh nose of bin apples and subtle citrus notes. Some sweetness on the palate, but maintains fresh apple flavours through the finish. (RV) D’ONT POKE THE BEAR CIDER, ONTARIO ($3)

This is a delicious cider made at 5% abv that highlights fresh apple aromas and

flavours, all delivered with a touch of sweetness that’s nicely balanced by refreshing acidity. Clean, tasty and delivers a powerful message. (RV) SCHOOL HOUSE BREWERY PRINCIPAL ALE, WINDSOR, NOVA SCOTIA ($4/473 ML)

This brewery started in the basement of the old Falmouth schoolhouse, hence the name. This golden ale shows aromatic citrus and hoppy aromas with nutty malt overtones. Lightly fruity malt flavours come with nutty and bitter hoppiness on the finish. (SW) BOXING ROCK BREWING CO. THREE SHEETS CREAM ALE, SHELBURNE, NOVA SCOTIA ($5/650 ML)

This is a mildly aromatic cream ale, medium bodied with rounded texture and a robust hit of hoppy bitterness on the finish. (SW) MUWIN ESTATE WINES BULWARK ORIGINAL CIDER, NEW ROSS, NOVA SCOTIA ($5/500 ML)

Bright straw coloured and lightly sparkling, this one shows spicy perfumed ripe apple scents with similarly ripe apple flavours in the mouth. It finishes medium sweet with balancing crisp acidity. (SW) BRASSEURS DU MONDE L’EXPLOITÉ STOUT MOKA, ST-HYACINTHE, QUÉBEC ($5/500 ML)

Dark brown. Quite complex nose of coffee, dried prunes, dark chocolate, herbal tea. Thick on the palate with a bitter chocolate taste. Slightly sweet impression but the tingling acidity provides a nice contrast. Finish is long on notes of


vanilla. Satisfying and filling, it will be perfect on a cold night. (GBQc) BRASSEURS DU MONDE L’ASSOIFFÉ DUBBEL, ST-HYACINTHE, QUÉBEC ($5/500 ML)

Dark brown. Nose of dark chocolate, molasses, toasted malt. Velvety mouthfeel, not completely dry, filling but not thick or rich like most dark beers (Guinness, for example). Not especially bitter, it finishes on roasted nuts. (GBQc) BOXING ROCK FLOOR TO SHORE DRY-HOPPED HEFEWEIZEN, NOVA SCOTIA ($6/650 ML)

Made in collaboration with Horton Ridge Malt & Grain Company of Hortonville, Nova Scotia, this is a slightly unorthodox Hefeweizen. It is, however, typically hazy in the glass with a soft, persistent creamy head. Aromatic lemon citrus, floral and hoppy herbal scents lead into mild citrusy flavours with lightly yeasty and creamy texture, finishing with a stiff jolt of hoppy bitterness. (SW) CARLOW BREWING COMPANY O’HARA’S DRY HOPPED IRISH PALE ALE, COUNTY CARLOW, IRELAND ($6/500 ML)

Citrus and nutty malt with herbal hoppy scent giving way to well-balanced fruity, malty and nutty flavours, finishing with an IPA-appropriate hit of hoppy bitterness. (SW) THE EXCHANGE BREWERY PEACH PI, ONTARIO ($6/330 ML)

The first batch was brewed to the celebrate the 2nd anniversary of this chic, sour-focused brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The ale was lightly soured with a hit of lactic acid (the same thing that sours yogurt), then aged in wine barrels. The brewers then added fresh Niagara peaches, cinnamon bark and vanilla beans. Aromas of freshly baked peach pinwheels with a nice tartness upfront and a hint of bitterness at the swallow. It’s very dry with a medium finish. (TL) BELLWOODS BREWERY WITCHSHARK IMPERIAL INDIA PALE ALE, ONTARIO ($7/500 ML)

A smooth, well-crafted example of the style. Pouring a deep, hazy orange, this ale is full-bodied with a big, but pleasant bitterness. Aromas of freshly-squeezed

pink grapefruit intermingle with pine sap, with prickly carbonation. Check the date before you buy, this is a beer you want to drink AFAP (as fresh as possible). (TL) DIEU DU CIEL SAISON DU PARC, STJÉRÔME, QUÉBEC ($10/4-PACK)

Hazy straw yellow, lasting white foam. Fresh smell of yeasts and hops with citrusy notes, mostly grapefruit. Quite acidic, low bitterness, light taste, dry finish. Quenching and refreshing as a good season beer ought to be. At only 4.2% alc/ vol, it goes down easy. (GBQc) BREWERY OMMEGANG HENNEPIN SAISON, NEW YORK ($10)

The bright, lemony hue of this beer looks like liquid sunshine. On the nose, there are notes of banana runts candy and spicy ginger. This Saison is medium-bodied, with vivacious carbonation and a touch of warming alcohol. Stock up on a couple of bottles to crack when guests come around; they’ll love the herbaceous and spicy flavours. (TL) CIDRE LE BRUN BIOLOGIQUE, BRITTANY, FRANCE ($12)

Pouring a rich amber, this Brittany cider starts with aromas of ripe pear, baking spices and subtle earthiness. Ribbons of caramel with a low acidity balance the rich sip and characterize the silky palate, with medium tannins drying things out a little. A delight with fresh, salty cheeses and bloomy rinds, Hawaiian or white pizza. Available by private order from Communal Merchants. (CL) HALCYON BARREL HOUSE 7 YEARS BAD LUCK, VANKLEEK HILL, ONTARIO ($13)

An offshoot from Beau’s All-Natural Brewery, this dedicated barrel house has its base beer brewed at Beau’s and then gets to work blending and aging it in various barrels with different fruits, and wild yeasts and bacteria. It’s one of the best wild breweries in the country. 7 Years Bad Luck is a Double Brett IPA made with a fruity, lightly funky Brettanomyces strain and judiciously dryhopped. Waves of tomato leaf, tropical fruit salad, overripe mango and light funk define the scent, while the palate starts with pineapple before leading to a firm, basil-leaf-like bitterness that builds to a long finale. (CL)

PROPELLER BREWING CO. COMMON CALIFORNIA STYLE LAGER, HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA ($14/6-PACK)

Light amber colour with soft fruity, malty and herbal hoppy aromas that persist with similar themes in the mouth. Medium weight and balance, finishing with a refreshing touch of bitterness. (SW) BRASSERIE DUNHAM SAISON DU PINACLE, QUEBEC ($7)

Pouring a bright, brassy gold, this farmhouse-style ale bursts with aromas of zesty lemon-lime and grapefruit. With a medium body and lively carbonation, the ale has spicy and lightly earthy notes. Cellar it away for a few months in a cool, dark place — the bright hop notes will fade while the funky, rustic character will come out. (TL) CHARLOTTEVILLE BREWING COMPANY LOCAL 519, ONTARIO ($4/473 ML)

Tucked away in the Carolinian forests and farm fields of Norfolk County is Charlotteville Brewing Company, an estate brewery which grows 4 acres of hops adjacent to the former horse barns that make up the handsome brewery and tasting room. Local 519 is all about balance: the light amber, toast malt backbone melds seamlessly with hop aromas of tea, peach and lemon basil on a light body. (CL)

SPIRITS REIF ESTATE WINERY VINEA, ONTARIO ($30/750 ML)

Venerated winemaker Klaus Reif first dreamed up this spirit in the ’90s and served it to family and friends, who loved flavour. But for 20 years the recipe sat on the shelf, and in the mind of Rief. After a few minor tweaks, Vinea was launched earlier this year. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and brandy (plus some secret ingredients), it’s silky smooth with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness. Whiffs of liquorice, fresh orange blossom and a touch of cotton candy sweetness, and a pleasant, light bitterness at the swallow. Sip it on ice. Available at the winery and online. (TL) NOVEMBER 2018 63


FIELD NOTES GURVINDER BHATIA

REDISCOVERING THE VERDE LOCATED IN NORTHWEST PORTUGAL, THE VINHO VERDE REGION has

traditionally been best known as a producer of crisp, light, low alcohol, slightly fizzy, quaffable white wines. Some may view these characteristics as negative qualities, but it is precisely their fresh drinkability that is causing people to discover or re-discover the wines from this historic region that was first demarcated in 1908, but for which the earliest references date back to the first century BC. A significant catalyst for the recognition is that industry and wine consumers alike are starting to realize, albeit in some cases subconsciously, that simple should not be confused with simplistic, and drinkability and complexity are not mutually exclusive concepts. The Vinho Verde region borders the Minho River and Spain to the north, mountain ranges to the east, the Douro River and more mountain ranges to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Within Vinho Verde, there are nine sub-regions. It’s well noted that, after Italy, Portugal has the greatest number of identified indigenous grape varieties compared to any other wine-producing 64 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

country. The region is rich with many of these native grape varieties. Also not a revelation, over 85 percent of the wines produced in the region are white. Of course, climate, soils, geography and topography all contribute to the character of the wines. The amount of annual rainfall in the region is high, but most of the rain falls in the winter and spring rather than during the growing season. There is not a large diurnal temperature range, so the climate is relatively mild. It can be quite windy in certain areas with maritime breezes blowing in from the coast, contributing to the salinity of those wines. Soils are mostly granite based and well-draining, contributing to the wines’ aromatics, delicacy and minerality. The traditional refreshing and low alcohol wines of Vinho Verde are representative of the general style that more and more people seem to be drawn to. I am constantly speaking with consumers, restaurateurs and producers, and there appears to be a greater desire for wines that possess drinkability and food affinity. Wine drinkers, it seems, are embracing acidity and wines that are fresh and bright and express the sites in which they

are grown versus those that are overwhelmingly rich, oak dominant, heavy and palate fatiguing. It bears repeating that drinkability does not necessarily imply simplistic, nor does it mean complexity and quality must be compromised. Small producers focussed on minimal intervention and reflecting sense of place in their wines may be leading the way, but large producers have contributed to the renewed interest in the wines of Vinho Verde. In fact, it is the contribution of large producers that is critical to raising awareness with mainstream consumers. According to Portugal’s National Institute of Statistics, during the period 20062017, Vinho Verde exports increased from approximately 10 million litres and just over 20 million euros to 26 million litres and 61 million euros. Aveleda, despite its large production, is still a family-owned winery and one of the most historic and recognized names in Vinho Verde. Established in 1870, their wines, in my opinion, possess excellent price-quality ratios, typicity and veracity. The winery produces 17 million bottles in total, but 14 million are of their fresh patio quaffer Casal Garcia. Quinta


da Aveleda, their oldest brand, is a blend of Loureiro (the region’s most-planted white grape variety contributing floral and fruity notes, a slightly fuller mid-palate and relatively soft acidity) and Alvarinho (perhaps the region’s most important white grape variety with the best examples in the northern part of the region). The 2017 is linear, fresh, crisp, floral, citrusy, lightly fizzy, minerally and salty with juicy acidity. The wine is only 11.5% alcohol The most interesting aspect of the tasting at Aveleda was the horizontal tasting of three Alvarinho wines from the 2016 vintage from separate vineyard sites. The wine from grapes grown in Aprella is mineral and savoury, mouth-filling and textural, although a little subdued in its flavours. The site is on granite soils and is close to the sea, but mountains partially block the effects of the maritime breezes. The Alvarinho from the Estufa site is from an average of 15-year-old vines on granite with a considerable amount of limestone. The wine is very salty, minerally and linear with mouth-watering, limey acidity. Though the Aprella and Estufa sites are relatively close together and experience relatively similar climates, the soils and the resulting wines differ. The third wine, grown in Celorico in the sub-region of Basto on schist, is salty and minerally, slightly more voluminous, smoky, intense, complex and long. Each of the wines was distinct, but all were also distinctly Alvarinho. Although the comparison was done primarily for educational purposes, the winery recognizes that an interest exists within the wine trade and consumers for expressing site in the bottle and is considering bottling the different expressions separately and highlighting the site on the label. ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF PORTUGUESE PRODUCERS FOCUSSING ON NATIVE GRAPE VARIETIES IS THAT OF THE QUINTA DE SANTA CRISTINA’S BATOCA. Batoca is only grown in the Basto

subregion and the grape was thought to have all but disappeared. Apparently, the winery produces the only example of a mono-varietal Batoca. The 2017 bottling is light, fresh, lightly savoury and possesses softer acidity.

While Aveleda and Quinta de Santa Cristina are producers that represent the more traditional style from the region — light, fresh, crisp — there are a group of producers who are attempting to show a different side of Vinho Verde and who are growing wines that are expanding people’s views of what is possible in the region. Producers such as A&D Wines, Vasco Croft of Aphros, Anselmo Mendes, and a group of producers that refer to their collaboration as Vinho Verde Young Projects are proving that drinkability, complexity, typicity and veracity can and do all co-exist synergistically. A&D Wines, established in 2015 by Alexandre and Dialina Gomes, is located in the Baiao sub-region, which borders the Douro region. They own three estates in the sub-region, with altitudes ranging from 200 to 500 metres. Their estates are either certified organic or in the process of conversion. The region’s colder, drier winters and hotter, drier summers seem to provide ideal conditions for the Avesso grape in particular. While all of A&D’s wines show freshness, minerality, bright acidity and an appealing textural component, it was their mono-varietal Monologo bottlings that stood out. Arinto, Avesso and Malvasia Fina each focus on and highlight the distinct character of the region’s native grape varieties. Anselmo Mendes calls himself an experimenter, not a winemaker, and he conducted an epic tasting of many of his bottlings comparing grape varieties, styles, soil types, vinification processes, use of oak, etc. Loureiro, Avesso, Alvarinho, Alvarelhao, Pedral, Cainho all produced in different expressions and combinations, in some cases “just because” so Anselmo, and others, could learn from the results as the study of native grapes is still a work in progress. Standouts from the tasting include the textural, lengthy and bright 2015 Tempo (composed of 100% Alvarinho fermented on the skins like a red wine and aged for 12 months in used French oak) and the fresh and juicy 2015 Pardusco combining the red varieties Alvarelhao and Pedral as well as the white Cainho. At Aphros, lean, silver-haired Vasco Croft is a philosopher, architect, designer, viticulturalist, winemaker

and one of the pioneers of biodynamics in Portugal. He possesses a zen-like passion and commitment that is both understated and exuberant — much like his wines, which are elegant, complex, fresh, expressive, have a connection to the land and, above all, are delicious and possess an insatiable drinkability. The feeling after spending an afternoon with Vasco walking around the property, in the vineyard, through the winery, having lunch on his front deck and tasting the wines, is one of being in a different place surrounded by a calming energy. Croft’s 2016 Phaunus Loureiro is fermented on the skins in clay amphorae lined with beeswax. The wine is harvested, destemmed and pressed by hand with no machinery and possesses exotic, citrus and peach flavours, fresh acidity, great texture, complexity and persistence. The 2017 Phaunus Pét-Nat (pétillant naturel) Rosé Sparkling is made in the ancient method from only one fermentation without added yeasts or sugar. A blend of mostly Alvarelhão (which contributes delicacy, aromatics of plums and sage, and high acidity) with a splash of Vinhao (intense red colour, vinous aromas, wild berries), the wine was ideal with the fried octopus served at lunch. The Vinho Verde Young Projects is a collaboration of Cazas Novas, 100igual, Vale Dos Ares and Quinta de Santiago — producers from different sub-regions of Vinho Verde that are working with different grape varieties and styles, but have formed a group predominantly to market their wines and raise the profile of the region. All these producers are showing that quality, complexity and typicity are not mutually exclusive from drinkability. They are exploring the potential of the region without diminishing the traditional style of Vinho Verde — they can co-exist — and they are pushing the boundaries and creating new interest in the wines of the region. At the same time, there seems to be a renewed interest in the traditional style of the region as consumers and the wine trade are gravitating more to wines that are fresh, drinkable and food friendly. The wines of Vinho Verde are well positioned to not just ride this wave, but help lead the way. × NOVEMBER 2018 65


AFTER TASTE TONY ASPLER

PURPLE PROSE Delving serendipitously into my favourite reference book, Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, I came across the term Gleipnir. Definition: In Scandinavian legend, the chain by which the wolf Fenrir was bound. It was extremely light and made from the noise made by the footfalls of a cat, the roots of mountains, the sinews of bears, the breath of fishes, the beards of women and the spittle of birds. Which got me thinking about the flights of fancy some of my wine-writing brethren are prone to when it comes to describing the aromas and tastes of wine. I have been guilty of adjectival excesses myself, having once described an Alsace Gewürztraminer as “a lumberjack wearing too much after-shave.” But now I realize it was a mere conceit and not something that helps a prospective consumer make a purchasing decision. A small quiz here. To what or to whom do the following two quotations refer: “Raspberry scented like the breezes from the Islands of the Blessed, a dream of grace and delicacy, the twinkling feet of dancing nymphs suddenly set free in our tedious world …” 66 MAV WINE AND SPIRITS AWARDS

“They opened the gates of Paradise which Swinburne fathered on Swedenborg where all the senses were confounded and where music, colour and perfume were one.” Believe it or not, both refer to bottles of wine. Not just any wine. These panegyrics were penned by two British connoisseurs in the 1940s. They allude, respectively, to a tasting of Château Margaux 1871 and Château La Lagune 1858 — wines made during the Golden Age of Claret before the dreaded phylloxera blight destroyed the vineyards of Europe. They say that Bordeaux reds have never been quite as good since. But then, they always say that about all Golden Ages. I surfed the net looking for some contemporary examples of purple prose in wine writing and found this award-winner: “Dark and packed with a large core of hoisin sauce, Port reduction, bittersweet cocoa, raw steak, raspberry ganache and charcoal that manages to stay fleshy and driven through the long, structured finish. A stallion of a wine. Offers youthful impact now, but really built for cellaring — unlike most of its peers, which offer vivid fruit right out of the gate.” (The wine in question was a $44 Chilean red.) Other runners-up were: “Essence of the felt in the case of a Stradivarius violin case” and “Reminds me of the sharp keys on a welltuned Steinway — only the sharp keys!” The best wine writing should make you salivate and should convey the taster’s enthusiasm for the product. Any analogies should be democratically universal and comprehensible (not: “Smells like my grandmother’s knitting box”). Above all, it should avoid references to medical conditions, body parts or the writer’s matrimonial problems. And shun such weasel words as “interesting” and “complex.” They sound like the answers to survey questions about a first date. And then there’s the minimalist school of wine writing, as advocated by my old friend Tim Hanni, America’s first Master of Wine, a trained chef and the man who entered the term “umami” into the wine lexicon. For Tim, wines need only a one-word descriptor. They are, quite simply, either thumbs up or thumbs down: either “Yum” or “Yuck.” Harking back to my opening sentence, Mr. Brewer also enlightened me as to the derivation of the word serendipity. Apparently, it was coined by Horace Walpole, the 18-century historian, politician and novelist. He formed it based on the title of a fairy story, The Three Princes of Serendip, because the princes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.’” Bless you, the Reverend Ebenezer Cobham Brewer for your erudition and the volume you gave the world in 1870. It should be on every wine writer’s shelf. × ILLUSTRATION: FRANCESCO GALLÉ, WWW.FRANCESCOGALLE.COM


XAD

THE ART OF WINE. DOWN TO EARTH.

AUSTRIA IN FOLDER

Austrian wines are invitations.

of nature, Austrian wines proudly stand

Simply open a cellar door to meet the

among the world’s greatest wines and

most approachable international stars

are poured at renowned restaurants all

imaginable: the great wines of Austria.

over the globe.

Produced by true artisans respectful

austrianwine.com


XAD

C T I O N • M U LT I  F U N

KTAIL C O C

B R A S S •

MIXI NG SE

T

POUR

STIR

PRODUCT SPECIALTIES IN FOLDER S E T I N C LU D E S

• Strainer with built-in 2 oz (60 ml) jigger • Mixing spoon with built-in 1 oz (30 ml) jigger • 13½ oz (400 ml) glass Yarai mixing pitcher • 2 non-slip or drip silicone caps that prevent drips after measuring

STRAIN

JIGGER ENDCAPS

Bartenders • CO L L E C T I O N •

• M U LT I  F U N C T I O N

B R A S S •

M I X I N G TO O L S E T

• Solid wood handles • Stainless steel with brass-plated finish • Two-sided jigger for measuring from 1-2 oz • Hawthorne strainer separates ice after mixing • Long 10.6” (27 cm) spoon is great for mixing in tall cocktail shakers & pitchers • Includes strainer, spoon & double jigger & storage box

Visit our website or scan this QR® Code for more information & where to purchase.

w w w. AlwaysFinalTo uch.com

Profile for Quench Magazine

Quench November 2018  

Mav Wine and Spirits Awards and Irish Whiskey. See more food and drink in the pages of Quench, North America's oldest gourmet magazine.

Quench November 2018  

Mav Wine and Spirits Awards and Irish Whiskey. See more food and drink in the pages of Quench, North America's oldest gourmet magazine.