Bill’s Best Bets – CELLIER release October 2015
by Bill Zacharkiw
It’s CELLIER release time once again and the October offering is one of the better ones I have tasted of late. While there is a decidedly Spanish and Ontario focus, there are wines from much lesser known regions and countries that are deserving of your interest.
If there is a common theme, it’s that we are seeing finesse over power, fruit over oak. There were over 20 wines that I could recommend, but that would be too easy. So in the spirit of being very selective here is my “Baker’s Dozen.” I just had to pick that one extra wine.
Top of my list is Josmeyer’s 2014 Mise de Printemp Pinot Blanc. It has everything I look for in a pinot blanc – nuance, finesse and almost a Burgundian elegance. While we are talking mountain wines, Geyerhof’s 2012 Gruner Veltliner is exactly what I look for in Austria’s signature white grape. Fresh yet textured with a subtle chamomile note to add extra complexity.
Chardonnay fans will be more than happy with the 2012 Mineralité from Thomas Bachelder. Despite the warm 2012 vintage in the Niagara, Bachelder has produced a lean and decidedly rocky chardonnay. On the subject of mineral focused wines, the Chateau Thébaud 2009 Muscadet offers up typical muscadet rockiness with some of the aromatics of an aged wine.
I really liked the red offering. While I am mostly a white wine drinker, there were a number of wines that showed great acids, fresh and juicy fruit and little oak make-up. These are wines that you can happily drink now, on their own, or with pretty well anything that isn’t red meat.
Gamay fans will be excited with two great wines. From the Niagara, the 13th Street Gamay, which won a platinum medal at the recent National Wine Awards of Canada, shows beautiful fruit and a silky texture. From the source in Beaujolais, Damien Coquelet’s Fou du Beaujo, is a perfect example of a “vin de soif,” ripe and juicy with a solid mineral expression.
One of my favourite wines from the release is the 2012 Poulsard de l’Ami Karl from Domaine de la Pinte. I find that the poulsard grape, indigenous to the Jura, is like a cross between pinot noir and gamay, with the fruit of the latter but the structure and texture of pinot.
For those of you who want a more powerful wine, then you do have some excellent choices. Two wines from the Rhône in particular stood out. From Maxime Graillot, the 2013 Equinoxe Crozes Hermitage has all the markings of great syrah – floral, pepper and a grantic mineral component. This will age as well.
On a different aromatic and structural profile, the 2011 Clos Bellane, Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas, shows fresh fruit but with an interesting pine needle note that adds to the aromatic complexity. Lots of heft delivered with a delicate hand.
On a similar theme of finesse and power is the Cune 2009 Rioja Gran Reserva. While still showing a touch too much oak for the moment, the fruit is there to handle a longer stay in the cellar.
One of the more interesting wines is the 2013 Weingut Pittnauer Zweigelt Heideboden. This gives you the impression that it will be easy drinking and fruity, but there are some solid, though ripe, tannins on the finish. Great energy in this wine and if you haven’t ever tried a zweigelt, then this is for you.
And finally, bargain hunters get a treat with two excellent wines that are both well under the $20 price ticket. Continually one of the best wines in this category, the cuvée Domaine d’Aupilhac Lou Maset 2013 brings everything you would want from a Coteaux du Languedoc but with a price tag of just over $16.
I also really liked the Flor d’Englora Garnatxa from Baronia del Monsant. Simple, easy drinking and with a brilliant acidity and freshness. For $14, a more than acceptable wine that will marry with most recipes.
Enjoy the Fall colours folks, get yourself outside!
“There’s enjoyment to be had of a glass of wine without making it a fetish.” – Frank Prial
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 can see the complete list of October Cellier New Releases here, and can 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!