Dinner with Partida Creus TN 2015

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Happy Birthday to myself!!

On my birthday, I get to do what i do best: sharing my wine passion with the rest of the world.

This past saturday, I had a chance to enjoy another bottling of one of my favorite  natural producers of Catalonia: Partida Creus. This Italian passionate couple ( Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerosa) are making truly wonderful and exciting wines. Their juice is not for the faint hearted!!. In every bottle, it is like a trip to the rabbit hole. You never now what to expect but for sure wonderful and exciting things

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source: entitymag.com

The Tinto Natural 2015 is an unusual  blend of Merlot, Cabernet et Garrut the nose is quite something. It start off with nuances of brandied cherries with raspberry and prunes going wild with aromas of dry blood, black earth and fine refined nuances of brett. On the palate, it is gutsy, high strung and yet so delicious to drink. I just love the finale, so redolent of the earth and everything that is alive in the universe.

My pairing choice was: Chicken thighs baked in the oven with peanut butter, fish sauce and soya marinade. A perfect and fluid match

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Salud!!!

 

Three Spanish wines to kill the february blues

 

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Oh boy, as I am writing these lines the biggest snow is heading towards Quebec. If the weather people got right the predictions, we are expecting between 30 to 40 cm of snow in Montreal and surrounding areas.

It might be a good idea to get a few bottles of vino and some yummy good food. If you live in this part of the world, most likely Wednesday will look something alike the movie the day after tomorrow.

 

Dayafter

If you don’t know what Spanish wines to buy, here are some three red wine  recommendations tasted recently. These wines are widely available through diverse SAQ outlets.

El Pedal de Hermanos 2016. SAQ # 13565406, $17.15

A modest Rioja with inviting aromas of ripe black fruit and confit violets. On the palate, fleshy with chunky tannins and a meaty finale. Quite versatile with beef braised dishes.

Monasterio de Las Vinas Old Vine Garnacha Carinena 2015. SAQ # 13838646, $14.50

There is nothing like a good glass of Garnacha to chase the evil cold away!!!. Beautiful spicy nose with nuances of fieldberries and licorice. Rustic yet comforting with an excellent price/ratio. Enjoy it with braised ribs

Espelt Empordá Saulo 2017. SAQ # 10856241, $16.75

From sunny Catalunya comes this predominant Grenache blend with a hint of Carignan. Lovely nose redolent of prune and blueberry jam with hints of brandied cherries and pencil shavings. On the palate nicely concentrated with a long finale. Perfect with meat dishes stewed in tomato sauce.

If you don’t know what to eat with these wines, maybe some of my latest creations will inspire you. Winter is not over yet, so there is plenty of time to enjoy sunny red wines from Spain.

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A tu salud!!!

 

Under a Mediterranean spell

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Never been a fan of the winter season. I am more of a creature of warmer climates. Crackling skin, ice burn and endless layer of clothing is what makes me loath winter. Last week, I told my wife during a pleasant hike in Mont St-Bruno, that the perfect winter would be Madrid alike. Day dream all the way…

Every time I feel particularly like this, I open a bottle of wine from the Mediterranean Islands and let it drift me away to a place where the temperature is 25 C in the summer or 10 C in the winter. Ideally, I would to live in this temperature interval one day. Happily would trade snow for a sunny beach, olive tree instead of tundra and a winter coat for a pair of shorts!!!

The wine that would take me to that special place

I recently drank a bottle of Acrollam Blanc 2017 from Mesquida Mora. Mallorca is better know for its beaches and happening nightlife rather than its wine scene. Mallorca wines aren’t typically exported, so in order to taste them you will probably have to come to the source.

Mesquida Mora, a biodynamic producer in a paradise. This white, a blend of Prensal and Giro with every sip takes me away to the beach of Caló des Moro. Its bouquet emanates the sweetest mineral and garrique perfume reminiscent of chalk, fennel and dill. Warm and inviting in the mouth, it is the personification of Sol Invictus.

Get it while you can via private import by the agency Origines. $34.06. 6-pack case

Have a glass of Cava for Christmas

Christmas is just a mere 10 days again and a lot of people leave their booze buying until last minute. It is pretty understandable since the attention is turned to gift buying and food preparation.

At Christmas, cava may be looked upon as a cheap alternative for Champagne but its supporters argue that this wine, which is bottled-fermented like champagne, is a serious sparkle in its own right

I recently assisted to a tasting organized by the AQAVBS now called A3 Quebec on festive products for the holidays. The cavas that I tasted will certainly put a smile on your face this Christmas.

Unlike Champagne, Cava is produced with the Macabeu, Xarello and Paralleda grapes. However, Cava has a very similar taste to Champagne, in contrast to its close competitor Prosecco But the best thing about Cava is its price. You can find a nice bottle at the SAQ for under $40.

You may think of Cava is merely an aperitif, to be had before a meal or when making a toast. Perhaps it will surprise you to learn that Cava is in fact a highly versatile wine when it comes to food pairing. Cava can be light and refreshing, all the way up to rich and full-bodied. In any event, its strong acidity and tingling effervescence will compliment a whole range of different dishes.  These may include charcuterie, fish and cheese.

Go ahead and inmerse yourself in the holiday spirit with a glass of Cava!!!

Tasting Notes:

Segura Viudas Heredad Reserva. SAQ # 12883461, $30.25

Lovely nose reminiscent of lemon brioche with dry fruits,honeysuckle and levain bread. On the palate, fine bubble, very elegant with a persistent finale.

La Vida al Camp Cava Brut Rosé 2015. SAQ # 13090666, $24.45

Beautiful nose redolent of cranberry confit with lavender and banana cake. Elegant and floral as well. Glossy and caressing finale.

Raventos i Blanc De Nit Conca del Riu Anoia 2016. SAQ # 12097954, $29.30

Toasty cereal notes with roasted strawberry. Medium body with notes of porcini and mountain leaves. Long finale.

Favorite Spanish bottles at Raspipav Part I

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The biggest and most important week of the year in the Quebec wine trade finished last year and alas, I survived. In the space of five days, I attended 3 wine fairs-Raspipav, the Italian trade tasting and RAW wine Montreal. This was an incredible feat considering that my day job is a baker and I have a family to attend as well. I could not taste as many Spanish wines as I wanted  but here is what caught my attention in Raspipav and you should be buying to prepare for your christmas holiday. Disclaimer: These are very sketchy wine notes!!!

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Mas Doix in Priorat

I adore the wines of Priorat but sometimes they are ultra expensive and very heavy. Mas Doix craft elegant wines and affordable for many wine drinkers The Doix family are leading  characters in the Priorat winemaking scene. They have 20 hectares of their own vineyards and an additional 10 hectares of outsourced vines. Like the other wineries in the region, the concentrate on growing old grapes(up to 70 years) Garnacha Tinta (Grenache Noir) and the popular Cariñena

LES CRESTES, D.O.CA. PRIORAT 2016 ( $36.50.-6 pack case Private Import, Les Vignerons de Chartier)

20-year-old Red Grenache vines (80%), old Carignan (10%) and Syrah (10%). Smells like the pizarra soil  of the priorat. Dry roasted black fruits. Full body and very smooth. Fine and suave elegant tannins.

SALANQUES, D.O.CA. PRIORAT 2015 ( $65.00-6 pack case. Private Import, Les Vignerons de Chartier)

65% Grenache, 25% Carignane, 10 % Syrah from  high altitude vineyards in pronounced slopes, with the typical  slate soil called “licorella”. Wine crafted with Grenache and Carignan of old vines between 70 and 90 years, as well as younger vines for varieties of Syrah.  Deep with resonant balsamic notes and ripe Cassis. Fleshy in the mouth with a firm and ripe tannic structure.

MAS DOIX « COSTERS DE VINYES VELLES », D.O.CA. PRIORAT, 2014 ( $148.50-6 pack case. Private Import, Les Vignerons de Chartier)

55% Carignan and 45% Grenache. The grapes come from very old  vines between 80 and 105 years old, with a tiny  production of 400 gr per vine. Iron, bauxite and dry blood. Potent with mind-blowing flavors of  dark cherry and chocolate as well. Lovely balance with fine and precise tannins. Very concentrated yet with a refreshing acidity. A bright future ahead for this wine.

Bodegas Tobia in Rioja

Bodegas Tobía is a recent new player in the Riojan wine scene. Created  in 1994, its founder and driving force is Oscar Tobía, who comes from a local family of wine growers based in San Asensio. Oscar was the first person in Spain to create a barrel fermented rosé wine.  Tobia crafts contemporary Riojan wines always respectful of the Terroir

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Tobia Reserva Blanco 2014 ( $40-$50, 6 pack case, Agence Benedictus-Benoit Cavalier)

Grape varieties: 55% Viura, 26% Tempranillo blanco, 19% Malvasia. Complex nose with  many flavors: butter, cinnamon, vanilla and smoke. Pleasant aromas of tropical citrus fruit such as pineapple and grapefruit. Creamy and buttery with a lovely honey note in the finale.

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Daimon Tinto 2016 ( $20-$30, 12 pack case, Agence Benedictus-Benoit Cavalier)

85% Garnacha tinta, 15% Tempranillo. 6 months in French and American oak. Beautiful nuances of cherries, strawberries with wild raspberry, and other forest fruits. Delicate notes of vanilla, cocoa and roasted nuts as well. On the palate, flavours of black and red fieldberries with hints of  cocoa. Perfect balance: soft, fresh and round. Relatively long aftertaste.

Hasta luego and keep tuned for the other part this week!!!

 

La Mancha done right: Bodegas Latué

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When somebody talks to me about La Mancha, the first thing that comes to mind is windmills and Don Quixote. Although the region is notorious for Miguel de Cervantes’ novel is less known by their few premium wines.

This always sound to me as paradox since La Mancha is the largest wine region in the world. While La Mancha has had a reputation for producing mediocre wines, there is a wind of change in the region. One recurring problem of the region is  that they have had focused on price and volume in the past rather than quality.

Another issue has been the necessary monster of the cooperative. The coop is a big player in La Mancha wine industry. A neccesary evil, they still maintain the idea of bulk wine production and export it to other European countries such as France and Italy. This philosophy has prevented La Mancha to develop a clear wine identity. It is one of those weird anachronisms of the Spanish wine industry

Still you can find Bodegas that do things right like Bodegas Latue in This reference producer in La Mancha started out as the  San Isidro Cooperative in 1954. The philosophy statement of the company it is:

The founding spirit of Bodegas Latúe remains latent. Entrepreneurship, ecology, sustainability, social responsibility, quality and innovation define the personality of Bodegas Latúe, in an environment where equal opportunities and social maintenance of people in the rural area are always present.

These values, transferred to our wines and high quality musts, are recognized by associates, clients, institutions and the society, identifying Bodegas Latúe as a socially responsible, sustainable and ecological company.

You can really feel the words when you taste the wines. I recently had a chance to taste their Verdejo and Tempranillo  available in the Quebec market via their importer: Pot de Vin.  The wines are available only via private import. It is actually worth it to buy a case or two of these wines since only a few references listed in the SAQ  from the region have this incredible quality level.

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Verdejo by Latue 2017. ( $19.78/Case of 6, private import in the Quebec market)

From organic grapes. One of the most amazing Verdejos that I tried with an unbeatable price. Great nose reminiscent of peach and tropical fruits. On the mouth, round and quite fresh with delicate notes of roasted herbs and lime sorbet. Pairs well with vegetable soups or light seafood dishes.

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Tempranillo Pingorote Reserva 2012 ( $21.80/Case of 12, private import in the Quebec market)

A maturing bouquet. Aromas of tamed leather, spices such as cinnamon and cacao. With time in the glass, the nose develop enticing nuances of coffee liqueur, Kirsch cherry and vanilla bean. On the mouth, structured with a firm poise and noble tannins. The best Tempranillo reserva available in the Quebec market under $25. Buy by the case, because it stills has some mileage for the cellar.

For more information on these wines, please visit Pot de Vin Importation and Bodegas Latue. 

 

 

An encounter with Telmo Rodriguez

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If you would ask me who were the leading ambassadors of the new Spanish wine industry, I could answer these three: Peter Sissek, Alvaro Palacios and Telmo Rodriguez. In each of their respective regions, they were captains of industry. With Pingus, Peter Sisseck demonstrated that you could capture the essence of a terroir with old exceptional vines. Similarly, Alvaro Palacios resurrected the Priorat and Bierzo with Garnacha and Mencia respectively.

Our final character is Telmo Rodriguez. Telmo is one of the best  winemakers of Spain.  In a similar manner  to Alvaro Palacios, he travelled and mastered his skills  for many years before returning home to Rioja, where he took  to the next level  a wine that was already outstanding, Remelluri.  In addition he has  supervised diverse négociant projects throughout Spain. One of his most acclaimed projects is in Valdeorras, Galicia.

Ladeiras do Xil is the name of this exciting venture. Since 2002, he has been working miraculously 23 ha of steep mountain vineyards in the Santa Cruz village in the province of Ourense.

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I was recently invited to a Telmo Rodriguez masterclass by its Canadian Importer, Trialto. The purpose was to discuss the Ladeiras do Xil project. Frankly, it was a fantastic enriching experience for myself since I am more familiar with his Remelluri and Matallana proyect.

It is always a pleasure to taste the wines of Telmo Rodriguez. He is like a horse whisperer for the wine terroir. A modern interpreter of the past with an avant-garde vision of the future. I always get goosebumps when I heard him speak. I was also very pleased to know that he is a big fan of Rhone wines. We have that in common. You can actually feel the Northern Rhone influence in his wines.

Tasting Notes:

Gaba do Xil Godello 2017 $21.60  SAQ # 11896113

From the Valdeorras wine growing area, specifically the sites of  A Pedreira, A Torgueira, O Barreiro, Valerio, Valdemas. Monovarietal Godello at high altitude ( 400-500 m). Red, clay and slate soils.

This exciting Godello exhibits a very aromatic nose redolent of ripe peach fruit with hints of  fresh-cut grass with a  smoky and flint point. On the palate, it is creamy with a firm acidity.

Branco de Santa Cruz 2015 ( Not available in the Quebec market)

A field blend of Godello, Treixadura and Dona Branca from the Ladeiras do Bibei in Valdeorras. Different sites around the Santa Cruz town. Granite soils with very low yields.

A fantastic nose that remind me of the wine Silex by Didier Dagueneau. Beautiful nuances of silex, slate and wet rock character. With aeration, aromas of white tea and nectarine develops as well. Elegant and well-balanced, it could age for a few years.

Reds

As Caborcas 2015 $77.25  ( 4 cases coming soon in the Quebec Market)

2.5 hectares of vineyards in the in the town of Santa Cruz. Granite floors, poor and shallow, located in endless terraces on steep terrain that is on the banks of the Bibei River. A field blend of Mencía, Merenzao, Sousón, Godello,  and Garnacha. Aging in small oak barrels, stainless steel and foudres. 

Smoky with fieldberry and savoury notes of cured meat, star anise and black olive tapenade.  On the mouth, very elegant with a lot of depth and concentration Firm acidity. Polished midpalate with satiny tannins. Blind tasted, I would probably guess that this is a Crozes Hermitage. Very exciting wine.

O Diviso 2015. $77.25 ( 2 cases coming soon in the Quebec Market)

According to Telmo, this wine is probably the most authentic expression of Valdeorras in the Bilbei hills. A field blend of  Mencía, Brancellao, Sousón, Garnacha and other red and white varieties. Fermentation in small wooden barrels and a soft aging in foudres.

Complex nose with a lot of depth. Aromas redolent of seaweed, licorice and cardamom. On the palate, fruit driven yet with deep pepper notes.  Very elegant with soft tannins and a fluid finale. This wine reminds of me an electric St-Joseph

Falcoeira ” A Capilla” 2015 $77.25  ( 4 cases to come in the Quebec Market)

From the Falcoeira site in Santa Cruz, a field blend of Mencía, Brancellao, Sousón, Garnacha and other varieties. Made with indigenous yeast and aged in a mix of foudres and wood barriques.

My favorite red from the trio. Dark and decadent with complex notes of smoke, petrol and other animal notes with a vivid note of black pepper. Meaty tannins and a magnificent  structure. A very long balsamic finale. Definitely, the Hermitage of Galicia!!.