Sara’s Sommelier Selections – Oct 26, 2013
Inspired by the Classics
Classic examples were what turned my head in this late October release and my aim is to pass on these gems and discreetly tuck in a little Sommelier inspired lesson on the distinctiveness of varietals and regions. Because I can’t help but do so, I’ll also suggest both traditional and more modern food pairings for each of these selections.
To sum up, here are some terrifically accessible wines that are solid example of both varietal and region. When scoring wines as a critic or sommelier, typicity is a key factor in determining that score so it’s no wonder that the wines on this list achieved top points.
William Fèvre Chablis 2011
Burgundy, France ($24.95)
No stranger to the shelves of the LCBO, William Fèvre has, for quite sometime, provided with us authentic, regional examples from this northwesterly Burgundian appellation. This particular incarnation is a refreshingly classic example of the region’s unique expression of chardonnay which is fresh, mineral driven and free of oak influence. It is everything you hope for in a Chablis at a time when the idea of “tradition” is under fire (and most notably in Chablis).
Domäne Wachau Terraces Grüner Veltliner 2012
Wachau, Austria ($17.95)
Characteristic flavours of Grüner include notes of white pepper, floral, almond, tree fruit and sometime grass or lemongrass. Check on all counts here! However, what leads me to recommend this beauty is the price/quality ratio. There is a great deal more depth and complexity than one would expect in this approachable Austrian treat.
Traditional: Smoked fish
Modern: Thai style shrimp spring rolls
Château Doms 2010, Ac Graves
Bordeaux, France ($17.00)
Graves, the sound of the word makes me happy and should make you happy too. Here’s why: generally speaking some of the best price/quality ratio wines originate from this very spot in Bordeaux – a unique region in the Medoc which is notably drier and boasts intensely gravelly soils with good drainage capability. Unlike many other sub-apps in the left bank of Bordeaux, a touch more Merlot is represented in these blends. Lastly, if price were no object, my two favourite Bordelaise houses originate here: that of Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Haut-Brion. Therefore, greatness is no stranger to these soils. The 2010 Chateau Doms represents this value aspect superbly with notable sophistication, style and is easily accessible now.
Traditional: Confit de canard, Lamb in a Bordelaise sauce
Modern: Korean style beef short ribs
Evening Land Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2011
Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA ($33.95)
Oregon’s reputation for pinot noir is quite established now and that state is home to some very unique examples. The wine scene tends to be populated by some of the most interesting and eclectic winemakers in the business with a great deal of worldly experience. There is no shortage of visionaries in the region and the wines, especially at the higher end, tend to provoke polarizing reactions from pinot lovers. Considering that pinot involves quite a bit of heartbreak and is certainly a labour of love, it is no wonder that it flourishes in fringe climates (such as this) and attracts winemakers that are both wild idealists and masochists alike. The best of Oregon tend to exhibit some old world inspiration with unique foresty flavours which are indigenous to the region. The Evening Land pinot is so wonderfully compelling and is a testament to how a terrific pinot can inspire day dreaming for time to come.
Traditional: Wild mushroom fricassee
Modern: Cedar plank grilled wild salmon
Monte Zovo Sa’ Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2010
Veneto, Italy ($17.95)
Some may feel that Ripasso is a touch passé these days so I was pleasantly surprised to be introduced that I could certainly be blindly convinced it was an Amarone. Due to careful and extended maceration and fermentation time, considerable, flesh, warmth and lush fruit has been built on this structured frame. Highly recommended for immediate enjoyment or short-term ageing.
Traditional: strong cheeses such as Asiago, Gorgonzola and Monte Veronese
Modern: Dark chocolate and hazelnut tart
From the Oct 26, 2013 Vintages release:
Editors Note: You can find Sara d’Amato’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the wine names, bottle images or links highlighted. Paid subscribers to WineAlign see all critics reviews immediately. Non-paid users wait 30 days to see new reviews. Membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!