Sara’s Sommelier Selections – Sept 14, 2013
As we’ve just wrapped up the World Wine Awards of Canada, I’ve had an opportunity to reflect upon the state of value wines in the world. I will certainly delve into this topic further in the month to come, as will my fellow WineAlign judges, but this past week of judging has served as inspiration for my international picks this week. The following selections from this past Vintages release feature wines from lesser-known regions along with classic examples from renowned appellations, all at exceptional value, of course.
Bernard Massard Brut Cuvée De l’Écusson
Méthode Traditionnelle, Luxembourg
89 Points, ON $16.95, QC $18.80
It is always exciting to discover a wine from a region that we see very little from or are seeing a product from for the first time. Here is a delicious, well-priced example of one such lesser-known region. Landlocked between France, Belgium and Germany, Luxembourg is a very small country sandwiched in the heart of some key northern wine producing territory. Very little wine from Luxembourg is exported outside of the country other than to Belgium and Germany – some of which is bulk wine for the purpose of blending. Despite this, Luxembourg has a long winemaking history and the majority of its production is situated in the southeastern part of the country on the slopes of the Moselle river. It produces almost exclusively dry white and sparkling wines – much more stylistically akin to the wines of Alsace as opposed to those of Germany. This delightful and rather complex blend is made of Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. Food match: Coquilles Saint-Jacques
Ciù Ciù Merlettaie Pecorino Offida 2011
91 Points, ON $16.95
This lightly oak aged pecorino is oozing with character. Hailing from a picturesque region of the Marche in central Italy, located on the Adriatic coast, this topographically rugged region is known primarily for its white wine of various varietals. The Offida subregion received its DOCG status only two years ago and pecorino’s name literally means “little sheep” due to the grapes appeal to the local sheep. Low yielding, bright, aromatically complex and often expressing a mineral note, this slightly riper version of the varietal also exhibits notes of juicy peach and honey. Food match: Olive oil poached halibut.
Snoqualmie Whistle Stop Red Cabernet/Merlot 2009
Columbia Valley, Washington, USA
90 Points, On $16.95
The next stop on this world tour of wine is Columbia Valley, Washington that saw a warm, dry 2009 vintage – quite the norm for this climate with mainly well-drained sandy soils with little rainfall. Snoqualmie is one of the oldest premium wine producers in the region and is considered a leader in sustainable and organic winegrowing/making practices. This lovely, well-priced blend is friendly and approachable despite the fact that it is quite polished and harmoniously knit. Food match: Smoked pork tenderloin.
Château Cheval Brun 2009
Saint-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
92 Points, ON $25.95
The vintage of 2009 was kind to Bordeaux delivering classic, ageworthy wines that were a little more fleshy and generous on the right bank. Hard to pass up at this price, the Cheval Brun delivers complex flavours of blackberry, red currant, cocoa powder, gun smoke and cedar with a chalky texture and terrific length. Food match: Rillettes de canard.
Collin Bourisset Douce Folie Saint Amour 2011
89 Points, ON $19.95
Rounding out this week’s selections is a Cru Beaujolais from northern reaches of the region based on the zesty gamay varietal. Although medium in weight, the wine exhibits a certain intensity of flavour and spice that is likely due to a longer maceration period. Notes of cherry blossom, kirsch, black pepper, iron, dried leaf and exotic spice make for quite a compelling palate. Food match: Seared tuna.
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From the Sept 14, 2013 Vintages release: