Latest IVSA Wine Picks – March 2012 Trebbiano and More

I’m a bit tardy with this blog article about the latest Import Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA) trade tasting, with many other work and non-work events happening at this time. Going back to my notes, I found a few good new wines to the BC marketplace. One thing I noticed was there was more Torrontes and Trebbiano at this trade tasting than at other tastings. This could be in part due to the time of year with the white wines being released.  With that, let’s get into my latest wine picks.

White Wines

  • Callia Alta Torrontes 2011

    Callia Alta Torrontes 2011, Argentina (spec $13.95). Medium lemony green in colour.  Very fruity, tropical fruit and flowers on the nose. Medium body with tropical fruit, citrus and oranges in particular flavours.  Nice acidity and some spiciness.  Dry with medium plus length.  This is more complex than most Torrontes.

  • Zenato Lugara DOC San Benedetto Trebbiano, Italy. Pale lemon in the glass.  Nice nose with citrus, apples and a hint of oranges. Light body with citrus and slight sweet spice / nutmeg flavour. Dry. Very nice.
  • Thelema Mountain Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Africa. Thelema is a quality producer from South Africa.  This wine had a wow nose.  Lots of gooseberries.  High acidity with green bean, gooseberry and grapefruit peel flavours.  Some spiciness on the mid-palate.  Short length (wish it was a bit longer).
  • Vouvrey Grandes Caves Saint Roch – Demi Sec 2010, France.  This was my overall favourite wine of the tasting.  It is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. Delicate light crab apple and citrus aromas. Medium minus body mouthfeel yet acts like it is a bigger wine.  Apples and citrus flavours.  Quite round with a good acidic backbone.
  • Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay 2007, New Zealand. Medium lemon colour. Citrus and tropical fruit on the nose with a touch of oak.  Medium minus body, mineral, citrus, and apple flavours.  Dry with medium acidity. Medium length with a waxy finish.  An interesting wine.
  • Kiwi Walk Sauvignon Blanc 2011, New Zealand. Pale lemony green in the glass.  Lots of herbal and cut green grass on the nose.  High acidity on the palate with lots of gooseberry flavour and some jalapeno pepper flavour mid palate.
  • Domaine des Baumard Clos du Papillon 2008, France. Another Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Deeper golden colour. Nutty, peachy nose. Medium body, round with medium acidity.  Peach pit, citrus and some spice on the palate.  Very interesting.

Red Wines

  • Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

    Cameron Hughes Lot 300 Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Napa Valley. Medium translucent ruby colour.  Nice ripe berry nose.  Elegant and not overpowering. Lighter body with cassis and dark fruit flavours.  High acidity, low tannins and long length.  A quality wine.

  • Gorcleyant Malbec 2010, France. Medium ruby colour. Nice bright red fruit nose.  Lighter bodied, soft tannins and juicy red fruit flavour.  A hint of vanilla and spice too.
  • Masi Modello Rosso 2010, Italy. Light ruby colour.  Nice nose with closes and red fruits.  Light body, dry, with soft tannins. Red fruit, oak and cloves on the palate. Good price $12.99.

Sparkling and Fortified Wines

  • Niepoort LBV 2005, Portugal. This is a Late Bottled Vintage port.  This one is medium ruby in colour.  Light aromas of cherries and apples.  Light body, medium sweetness, but quite spicy on the palate.  Flavours of plums, dark cherries and some vanilla.
  • Zinck Cremant Brut D’Alsace, France. Light straw colour with small light bubbles. Nice aromas of red delicious apples and some lees.  Light body, high acidity, with more red delicious apples on the palate.  Dry.  Tasty.

Favorite Wines from My France Trip

As I blogged across France, you would have seen my reviews of different wines I enjoyed. I thought that instead of leaving the reviews scattered, it might be nice for you to see my top France trip wine picks in one place. Hopefully some, or all, of these wines are available where you live. Enjoy!

M. Chapoutier Les Arènes, Cornas, 2007. This is another wonderful Syrah from the tiny Cornas appellation. I read on Wikipedia that Cornas is Celtic for “burnt earth”, so similar to the “roasted slope” of Côte-Rôtie. Medium to dark ruby in the glass. A very nice nose with mint, crushed herbs, olives and dark fruit. Full body with blueberry and dark fruit flavours.  Medium acidity and tannins.  Long soft finish.  I really like this wine, and bought a bottle to take home.

Chapoutier Deschants and Petite Ruche wines

M. Chapoutier De l’Orée, Hermitage, 2008. This wine is made from Marsanne grapes grown by 60-70 year old vines. The actual plot for this wine is called “Les Murets” and is composed of very old fluvioglacial alluvial deposits that face east, getting the morning sun. The grapes for this wine are hand harvested. About half the grapes are vinified in large wooden barrels with regular lees stirring and the rest fermented in vats. The wine matures on lees with stirrings for 6 months. Maturation is between 10 and 12 months. Very deep golden honey in colour.  Lemon and honey aromas in the glass. Full body, round mouth feel, with medium acidity and lemon and honey flavours.  Long length. A very elegant wine. This is another wine that can age 30 to 60 years!

M. Chapoutier Deschants (Marsanne), Saint-Joseph, 2009. Deep golden, beautiful colour in the nice.  Very nice nose with peaches and flowers.  Medium plus body and good acidity, and flavours of peaches, orange and citrus.  Also a vein of minerality in this wine.  Very refreshing.  Medium length. I liked this wine a lot.

M. Chapoutier Petite Ruche (Syrah), Crozes-Hermitage, 2009. Deep purple in the glass with lots of cassis aromas.  Medium acidity and body.  Lots of ripe cassis and blueberry flavours.  Dry finish.  Very nice!

Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu and Clos du Bourg 2010 Sec wine

Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Sec

2010 (€14). Sec means dry so these and the next two wines are dry. This wine was light straw in colour with small bubbles.  Nice lemon and honeycomb aromas with a hint of minty herbal.  Round nice mouthfeel.  Very fruity.  Citrus, flowers, and minerality.  Good acidity.  I really liked this wine.

Domaine Huet Clos du Bourg Sec 2010 (€16). Medium lemon colour.  Light citrus and apple aromas. Medium body, small bubbles, round in the mouth but with medium acidity to keep it refreshing.  Some honey, apple, citrus and spice flavours.  A very elegant wine.

A Galette to Remember at Restaurant la Sarrazine

Restaurant la Sarrazine in Blere

I love finding out of the way tiny cafes and restaurants that only the locals go to when I am on trips. You get unpretentious food served the way the locals enjoy it. Thus after visiting the Chenonceau castle in the Loire Valley, I drove to Restaurant la Sarrazine, a short drive away in the small French town of Blere. I found out about this restaurant as I had stumbled across a blogger who writes about the Loire Valley and his experiences living here. Sorry I don’t have the link to his blog at the moment, but hopefully I will find it upon arriving back home. He talked about how friendly the people were and how tasty his meal was. I was sold.

So here I am sitting in Restaurant la Sarrazine checking the menu.  The restaurant is filling up fast.  A few big tables are put together, so maybe there is an office lunch happening.  Everyone is very friendly.  Great atmosphere.

As always, the best deal is a Formule, where you get an entree (appetizer) and a plat principal (main course) or plat principal and dessert for a nice price. Sometimes the Formule also comes with a drink. Fortunately I did get a glass of brut apple cidre (from Normandy) with my Formule of plat principal and dessert. You can get apple cidre moelleux or brut (sweet or dry). It is a nice break from drinking beer or wine.

Galette with ham cheese egg and salad

My meal consisted of a galette followed by a dark chocolate crepe.

What is a galette?

It is a savory crepe made with buckwheat flour.  Mine had a filling of ham, an egg, cheese and cream.  Served with salad.  I had tried a gallete a few days ago at Le St. Romain in Rouen and enjoyed it so was looking forward to this one.  I was shocked though as to how much better this galette was!  The galette is quite thin and very crispy. Very easy to cut and enjoy.  The Le St. Romain galette was very hard to cut.  The crispiness of the galette went nicely with the creaminess of the galette and the acidity of the salad.  It is hard to describe so many wonderful flavours and textures coming together.  A bit of a symphony on the plate and in your mouth.

The crepe was also done with simplicity but great quality.  The crepe was soft, not crispy, and drizzled with hot, dark chocolate.  I savoured each bite, and left the restaurant not overstuffed, and ready for my next adventure down the street in the Loire.

Crepe with hot dark chocolate sauce

Take a chance on small restaurants when you are on your trip.  Talk to locals, or do some research on the web before you go.  I did and am so happy I tried Restaurant la Sarrazine.  Enjoy!

Some Loire Valley Wines Sans Review

As I passed through different towns in the Loire there would be one or more caves (places to taste wine). I would stop at some to try the wines for the area, but would not have my notebook at the ready, so no notes. The photos below are of the wines that I did try, but did not make any notes.

The wines will be primarily from the Chenin Blanc grape for the white wines, and the Cabernet Franc grape for the red. There may be a few wines that are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Cot, or Gamay, which are also grown in the Loire Valley.

See if you have maybe tried these wines in your travels, or you have seen these wines in your local wine shop. Let me know if you have. I still have some mental impressions of each wine, so email or comment about a wine, and I’ll reply. Enjoy!

I also threw in a French word in the title.  Did you figure out it’s meaning?

Cave des Producteurs De Chanceny Brut Excellence Vouvray 2008

 

Cave des Producteurs La Javeline Vouvray 2009

Cave des Producteurs Vouvray Petillant Brut

Domaine de la Gabilliere, Sancerre Rouge, Pierre Sordais Chinon Tradition 2009

Domaine de la Grande Foucaudiere Touraine Sauvignon 2010

Domaine de la Prevole Touraine Amboise Cuvee de la Prevole 2008

Domaine Frissant Touraine Amboise Chenin

A Traditional French Dinner in the Loire Valley

Upon arriving in Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, France, it was near dinner time. The hotel owner asked me if he can book a restaurant, as Chenonceau is very small, all the restaurants book fast. He gave me a few choices, one of which was “traditional” Loire Valley food. I love to taste the food of a region, so picked the “traditional” option.

Two hours later, I am seated in a restaurant, with mounted heads of animals on the wall. The best deal at any French restaurant is the Formula, which typically comes with an appetizer, main course, and dessert.  My choice was the scalloped potatoes with cream, egg, bacon, and cheese for appetizer; grilled pork chop with salad and French fries for main course; and lemon tart for dessert.  To the appetizer and main course, I paired with two Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.

With the very rich and creamy, bacon scalloped potatoes appetizer, I went with a sparkling Vouvray sec (dry).  No winery was listed on the menu, but the wine went perfectly.  The bubble and high acidity of this sparkling wine cut through the creaminess of the scalloped potatoes.  It was a work of art on the plate.

The pork chop was grilled perfectly. Just a tiny hint of pinkness in the meat.  Very tender.  To this I paired a Bel Air Chenin Blanc.  This wine is heavier in body than the sparkling Vouvray, but also had the high acidity which was a perfect foil for the pork chop.  It also went well with the salad that have a mustard dressing.

The lemon tart had no wine to pair with, but was sublime on it’s own.  Full of lemony flavour and enhanced with the raspberry sauce.  There was also some chopped nuts to accompany this dish.  A great way to end the meal.

A truly memorable dinner. Stay tuned for my lunch in Blere.  Cheers!