20 under $30 for December 2016

Monthly picks from our Quebec Critic Team

We at Chacun Son Vin have decided to send out our monthly “value” wine email a little earlier this month, just in time for your holiday shopping. Seeing as it is a special occasion, we also decided that we would raise the bar a touch, and throw in some over $20 wines into the mix. Happy holidays folks and thanks for your ongoing support.

Chacun son Vin Critic Team : Bill, Marc, Nadia & Remy

Bill’s Choices

I always look forward to the next Christmas dinner. Family and friends get together, have a couple of laughs and we feast on our mix of Ukranian and North American dishes. We have our turkey and cranberry sauce, but as well cabbage rolls, Ukranian sausage and traditional foods. Here’s what I’m bringing for beverages.

We start early in the afternoon so bubbles are a necessity but as half the crowd insists on mixing it with orange juice, I don’t bring Champagne. For my family, I want something fresh and easy. And as we cut through a few bottles, nothing overly expensive. But as I’m drinking it straight, I need it to be relatively focused. So my choice this year will be from the Loire valley, and the Saumur Cuvée Elegance from Château de Beauregard.

Château De Beauregard Saumur Brut Cuvée ÉléganceWeingut Schäfer Fröhlich Trocken Riesling Nahe 2015Domaine René Bouvier Bourgogne Pinot Noir Le Chapitre Suivant 2014Tenuta Argentiera Poggio Ai Ginepri 2014Jean Louis Schoepfer Gewurztraminer 2014

We inevitably run out of bubbles, so I need a white and red to follow as aperitifs. The women, and myself, love good riesling, especially from Germany with a subtle touch of sweetness to the fruit. I’m going to spoil them this year with Schäfer-Frolich’s outstanding 2015 Nahe Trocken. For the rest of the crew, I’ll bring a few bottles of pinot noir, and Réné Bouvier’s 2014 Burgundy is the ideal lighter red for both aperitif and to accompany hors d’oeuvres.

For dinner, I like to have both a white and a red. While my choice for a red would be lighter, my family loves bigger wines. So I’m going to Bolgheri and the 2014 Poggio Ai Ginepre from Tenuta Argentiera. A blend of predominately cabernet and syrah, this is classic Bolgheri, showing Bordeaux finesse except with riper tannin and that characteristic Italian freshness. For those of us not drinking red, I’m staying with my love, aromatic whites, and going for a gewurztraminer, which pairs really well with white meats and spiced up stuffing. Try the 2014 from Jean-Louis Schoepfer, full of litchi and spice, lots of body and just a hint of sweetness.

Remy’s Selections

Bubbly is much more than just a sparkling aperitif or for midnight toasting. A good sparkling wine is good wine, period, and should be enjoyed with the same degree of attention. Take, for example, the André et Mireille Tissot Brut Crémant du Jura. Its intense and original profile make a great pairing with salty hors d’oeuvres like cheese gougères or smoked salmon.

If bubbles aren’t your thing and you still are looking to serve salmon, or even better, oysters, a bottle of Chablis will keep everybody  happy. There’s a number of great examples on the SAQ shelves, including the Vigne de la Reine from Château de Maligny, where the sunny 2015 vintage translated into a wine that is at once generous and nervy.

Domaine André Et Mireille Tissot BrutChâteau De Maligny La Vigne De La Reine 2015Causse Marines Les Peyrouzelles 2015Château Lacombe Noaillac 2012Desrochers D Cuvée De La Diable Vin De Miel

With meat pies or turkey, go for reds that are tasty but not heavy. I particularly liked the Peyrouzelles from Domaine Causse Marines, a naturally-made blend from southwestern France that is easy-drinking and flavourful, with a nice spicy finish. Instead of going after one of those big, sweet blends from California (look at the full details on the SAQ web site and you’ll be surprised by the amount of residual sugar in many table reds), why not go for a Bordeaux? There are a number of reasonably-priced cuvées that will give you a lot for your money such as the 2012 Lacombe Noaillac Médoc, which shows good balance between tannin and fruit.

To go along with cheese and sweets, how about, as the Brits call their dessert wines, a local “sticky?” Try the Cuvée de la Diable, an excellent mead made by the Desrochers family in Ferme-Neuve. It recently was called “a revelation” by the New York Times’ wine critic, Eric Asimov.

Marc’s Choices

To start, let’s begin with an impeccable chenin blanc based sparkling wine from the Loire, Vincent Carême’s Vouvray Brut 2014. It shows incredible finesse, nervosity and spice. It’s a true “Brut” with under 8 g of residual sugar. At around $25 it’s an excellent purchase. Champagne producers, pay attention to this.

Domaine Vincent Carême Brut 2014douROSA 2015Les Halos De Jupiter Côtes Du Rhône 2014Château Vignelaure 2012Château De Montifaud 7 Ans D'âge

Now three reds in a row all perfect for pairing with your favourite poultry, and that includes turkey. From Portugal, the DouRosa Douro 2015 is both rich and tasty, full of fruit, with barrel-driven vanilla and floral notes. It’s exuberant without being cloying as everything is in its place. From the Rhône the always solid Philippe Cambie Les Halos de Jupiter is both powerful and concentrated.  It shows its southern roots with fruit ripeness and its alcoholic sweetness which touches 15%. Finally, from Provence, the Château Vignelaure 2012. While a touch reticent aromatically, everything you would want is there. Elegant and finessed tannin, a touch of well dosed barrel, and fruit. It will fully show what it has to offer at the dinner table.

Finally, the Château De Montifaud Pineau Des Charentes 7 years. Pineau-des Charentes is technically a Mistelle, which is unfermented juice fortified with cognac to 17% alcohol. Montifaud is amongst the best producers and this 7 year old cuvee shows oxydative notes alongside a very present fruitiness. By itself, or with cheese, served chilled, it’s a real treat and a great value.

Nadia’s Picks

This final list of 2016 could also be my “best of” when it starts with the delicious Saumur 2014 from Château Yvonne. I have tasted this wine, made with chenin blanc, every vintage for over 10 years, and I simply love it. Textured, racy, structured and remarkably fresh, it’s a wine that drinks exceptionally well right now, and will age with grace and beauty.

Staying with white, but a touch more perfumed, the Gewürztraminer 2015 from Alois Lageder is completely dry, contrary to a number of gewürtz on the market. Dry and focused with aromatics that show an exceptional varietal purity. This is seductive.

Château Yvonne Saumur 2014Alois Lageder Gewurztraminer 2015Domaine Agnès Paquet Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015Château Porto Carras Côtes De Meliton 2006Domaine André Et Mireille Tissot Brut

Talking reds, I love the wines of Agnès Paquet, vigneron in Auxey-Duresses. Her Pinot Noir 2015 Bourgogne is delicate but still shows good volume when you drink it. For fans of classic Burgundy, considering the price, you should be buying this by the case.

A touch more exotic but with a similar elegance, the Château Porto Carras 2006 is reminiscent of another era, with its classic cabernet structure. This Greek estate was developed in the 1980’s under the  supervision of the renowned Bordeaux oenologist, Émile Peynaud. This is ready to drink and sold at a very attractive price considering its age.

Finally, if you are looking for a wine to say adieu to 2016 without emptying your wallet, I have to agree with Remy on this one. You can’t do much better than the Crémant du Jura from Stéphane Tissot (Domaine André et Mireille Tissot). Tasty and with just a subtle bitterness on the finish. This is a wine with character to spare sold at a friendly price.


Cheers !

The complete list: 20 under $20

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