Bill’s Best Bets – Apr/May CELLIER Release
Respect for the primary ingredient
by Bill Zacharkiw
As I write this, I am in Toronto at the 9th edition of the Terroir symposium. This is my first time attending this event and I am really impressed by the collection of food and wine people attending. I have spent time with a Norwegian urchin fisherman, a Hawaiian spear-fisher, an ancient grain bread specialist, and a dude who is the reference in Arctic gardening. There is a real common bond here – a love and respect for the primary ingredients in what we eat and cook.
What does this have to do with wine? Well, the SAQ has taken a dive into the world of no-sulphite wines. These are wines which are made without the use of sulphur, which acts as a preservative for the wine. I wrote a few months back in these pages why I love these wines so much, so I won’t rehash it again. But suffice to say that the care and respect for the primary ingredient that many of these non-interventionist wine makers show when making these wines is no different than the characters I have been hanging with here in at Terroir.
While I am a proponent of wines made as naturally as possible, simply because the wines are made this way does not make them automatically good. Of the four wines that were released, two wines from the Loire Valley are excellent and worthy of your attention. Made with Gamay, the Premiere Vendange from Henry Marionnet shows a beautifully restrained yet chirpy fruited version of the grape.
The second comes from one of my favourite wineries, Catherine and Pierre Breton. Their 2012 Chinon Beaumont has everything I love about great cabernet franc – superb drinkability with just enough tannin to keep the wine tight.
So while the spotlight on the latest CELLIER release were these natural wines, there is something for everybody here. For you fans of rosé, both the Dame Rose from La Mordoree and Les Beatines from Domaine des Béates offer up finely honed, dry, superbly restrained and delicate pinks. Remember that these are made with red grapes so like any good rosé, drink them a touch warmer (10C) if you want to fully appreciate the aromatics.
For those of you who are looking for something to groove with your BBQ, and are fans of flavourful and spicy BBQ basting sauces, then you have a choice of some big-styled Californian wines. The first should be commended for its finesse and restraint and that is the 2012 Proper Claret by Bonny Doon. The Cuvee Z from Zeca Mesa also works very well.
But if you want that pedal to the metal, full on fruit, spice and oak, then zinfandel is what you need. While I find many zins are overly sweet and oaked up for my fragile, white wine loving palate, there is one wine that I would like to highlight. The the Dry Creek Zin from Lake Sonoma Winery offers up the dark, brambly fruit and spice that makes zinfandel so interesting, while keeping all the make-up to a minimum. Crank out the smoked ribs and sweet and spicy BBQ sauce!
CELLIER Premium Feature
For Chacun son Vin Premium members, we have added something new to the site to make your CELLIER shopping even easier. Now if you look under the Wine tab in the menu bar, you will see an option for <<CELLIER New Arrivals>>. By clicking here, you will be brought to a new page where we have grouped all of the new release wines and reviews together by date.
So you can check out our CELLIER tasting notes on all the wines in one place.
“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial
From CELLIER May 2015:
Editors Note: You can find Bill’s complete reviews by clicking on any of the highlighted wine names or bottle images above. Premium subscribers to Chacun son vin see all critic reviews immediately. Non-paid members wait 60 days to see newly posted reviews. Premium membership has its privileges; like first access to great wines!