Domaine Sainte Croix ‘Le Fournas’ 2013

Brings the funk like the BT Express.

Estate: Domaine Sainte Croix is located in the rugged hills of the High Corbières on the border between the Languedoc and the Roussillon, in the very southern part of France. The 13 hectare [32 acre] estate is owned and run by the English husband and wife team of Jon and Elizabeth Bowen. The area is known for its fantastic Grenache-centric wines, small stone wall enclosed vineyards and fig, almond and wild cherry trees. The vineyards are comprised of multiple terroir, including “of steel-blue limestone to sandy, gravelly clay shot through with quartz crystals, to sheets of purple-green schist.”

Philosophy: “Fine wine is made in the vineyard. Our aim is to express the terroir of the domaine, we see the cornerstone as being the health of its vineyard ecosystems.”

Winemaking: The estate has been certified organic since 2008. Grapes came from vineyards with a blend of limestone, chalky-clay and sandy loam soil. The Carignon grapes came from vines over 100 years old. Fermented using only indigenous yeasts found on the grape skins. 100% matured sur lie in tank for 18 months. Unfined, loosely filtered.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of wildflowers, peppery spice, candied cherry and funky sawdust. Cherry, blackberry, hibiscus and a shake of black pepper wrap around a flinty mineral, earthy core, backed by balancing acidity and silky tannins. Fruit and funk wrap up the velvety finish.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Particularly good accompaniment to the cuisine of the Mediterranean region using tomato-based sauces, olives or wild herbs such as thyme or rosemary.

50% Carignan, 21% Grenache, 19% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre
Corbières AOC
France
Mis en Bouteille au Domaine Par J & E Bowen
13.5% Alcohol
$16
Enjoy now

Chateau Maris ‘La Touge’ 2013

latouge13

Estate: Named the “The Biodynamic Apostles of the Languedoc” by Wine Spectator, Chateau Maris is located at the eastern edge of the village of La Livinière at the foot of the Montagne Noire Mountains, in the Languedoc region of southern France. With a goal of “creating “grand cru-level” wines from La Livinière in the Minervois appellation, winemaker Robert Eden took over the estate in 1996. Eden converted the entire estate to biodynamic farming after trying different methods to revitalized the soils that had been rendered unusable due to the previous owner’s overuse of chemicals. Over the years his green approach and biodynamic processes have gained much recognition. He has built “the world’s first hemp cellar” that functions carbon neutrally. The hemp bricks not only capture carbon dioxide, but also maintain temperature and humidity so that heating or cooling is not needed.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards with “hard and soft limestone and alluvial soils”. Only natural yeasts are used, unfined, unfiltered. Aged 16 months in egg shaped concrete tanks and regular tanks.

Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with aromas of sweet dark fruit, subtle spice and caramel. Well structured with an elegant edge to the wild berries and chocolate flavours abounding in the full, soft body. Silky tannins, herbs and black pepper linger between each sip. So easy drinking, do watch out, as the higher alcohol content is nowhere to be found in all the silky-soft goodness.

Syrah & Grenache blend [I was unable to verify varietal percentage, other then that Syrah is the dominate grape]
Minervois La Livinère
France
Bottled for Domaine des Comtes Méditerranéens by F-11160-315
14.5% Alcohol
$12
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 91 points by The Wine Advocate

Ampeleia ‘Unlitro’ Costa Toscana IGT 2015

unlitro

Estate: Located in the rugged hills of Maremma, near the Tuscan coast in Italy, Ampeleia is the passion project of 3 friends; pioneering winemaker Elisabetta Foradori, Thomas Widmann and Giovanni Podini. [For a detailed account of Elisabetta Foradori’s lifelong work in Trentino, the biodynamic approach, initiatives taken to preserve indigenous plants and wildlife, and the more ethereal, nuances of winemaking, please explore the Foradori website here]. Unlitro is the estate’s 3rd wine; “one litre of Ampeleia is an expression of Ampeleia’s vitality and subtly delicate nature”.

Philosophy: Listening to the land and “creating a deep awareness” of a sense of place. Harmony with nature allows Elisabetta “to express the beauty of the land in her wines”.

Winemaking: All vineyards are farmed biodynamically. As little as possible human intervention in the winery, with only indigenous yeasts used. Grapes were sourced from the estate’s youngest vineyards. Aged for 6 months in cement tanks.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of wild berries, pink peppercorn and a flash of funk. Vivid cherry, strawberry and blackberry are backed by pepper spice and dusty earth. Black pepper, strawberry and rhubarb comprise the lengthy finish. Engaging and easy drinking with a beatnik edge, well worth seeking out!

Blend of Alicante [Grenache], Carignan and Alicante Bouschet
Costa Toscana IGT
Italy
Estate Bottled by Societa Agricola Ampeleia
12.5% Alcohol
$20
Enjoy now thru 2018

Un Saumon dans la Loire ‘La Cave se rebiffe’ Rose 2015

saumonpetnat

Winery: Progressive winemaker Frantz Saumon is the man behind the negociant label of “Un Saumon Dans la Loire,” or a “Salmon in the Loire”. His own small estate [6 hectares] located in Montlouis in the Loire, was established in 2002. Un Saumon Dans la Loire has allowed him to buy 3 to 4 hectares of additional grapes each year. He is known for his pure flavours, “always looking for clean wines and thriving for dryness”. His Petillant Naturels [Pét-Nat] are recognized as some of the best in the Loire region.

Winemaking: Frantz Saumon has always practiced organic and biodynamic farming. He uses only indigenous yeasts for fermentation and never fines or filters. Wines are aged in a stainless steel tanks and wood barrels of different sizes.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant cherry red in colour, with aromas of chocolate covered cherries dusted with crushed pink peppercorn. Cherry, blackberry, a slice of red apple, and dry minerals sprightly zip along on solid, frothy bubbles. Chocolate covered cherries return on the dry finish, along with a slight hint of white truffle. Elegant and cheery, fantastic on its own or a fun companion with a wide variety of dishes.

Côt [Malbec], Gamay, and Grolleau blend [percentages vary depending on vintage]
Vin de France
France
Bottling information not listed
12% Alcohol
$25
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Château des Charmes Rosé Sparkling 2012

charmesrosebubb

Estate: Paul Bosc, a fifth generation French winegrower who holds degrees in Viticulture and Oenology from the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, founded Château des Charmes in 1978. Paul brought his young family to the Niagara on the Lake region of Canada in the 1960’s “with the idea that growing our own grapes was the best way to make fine wine”. The estate consists of 280 acres of vineyards in four locations all within the Niagara-on-the-Lake region.

Paul established himself as a pioneer in the region, from planting traditional French varietals to employing cutting edge techniques such as installing wind machines to protect the vines from the cold. In addition to being recognized for their progressive, groundbreaking work with traditional French grapes and methods, their wines have garnered accolades for their balance, finesse and quality. Paul Sr still has an active role in the vineyards, his son Paul Jr is President of the estate, and Paul Jr’s wife Michèle is the Director of Marketing.

Philosophy: “We are custodians of the land.” Crafting wines that are “food friendly and age worthy. We hope you will call them delicious”.

Winemaking: Committed from the very beginning to sustainable practices, the family is a charter member of Sustainable Winegrowing Ontario. Chemical treatments are never used, and sustainable methods such as hedge vine canopies, and under drainage are utilized. Naturally occurring yeasts are used for the majority of the wines. All by-products from the winemaking process [stems, skins, seeds] are returned to the vineyards as natural fertilizer. Their extensive cellars are geothermal and do not require any heating or cooling, especially impressive considering how cold Canadian winters can be.

Grapes were sourced from all 4 of their vineyard sites “in order to help maintain the consistency of aromas and flavours in the cuvée each year”. Crafted using Méthode Traditionelle, aged on the lees for a minimum of 18 months.

Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour with subtle aromas of strawberry and minerals. Cheerful and refined, with strawberry, raspberry and a hint of buttery toast bustling around granite minerality. Fresh acidity and fine bubbles buoy the light, crisp finish. Fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes, in fact a kiss of sweet fruit makes it a wonderful accompaniment to spicy dishes.

Blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Niagara on the Lake VQA
Canada
Estate Bottled
12.4% Alcohol
$30 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now