Gérard Bertrand ‘Cote des Roses’ Rosé Languedoc 2016

Estate: Gérard Bertrand grew up assisting his father on the family’s estate in the sub-appellation of Corbiѐres in the Languedoc Roussillon. He took over the domaine upon his father’s death in 1987, and today presides over nearly 1000 acres of vineyards across the varying Languedoc Roussillon terroirs. He also heads a négociant business that partners with local growers and co-ops. A well-known proponent of sustainable farming, he is one of the largest producers of organic wine in Southern France. His flagship estate Château l’Hospitalet is carbon neutral, and many of his vineyards follow biodynamic practices and are certified by DEMETER. In addition to being recognized for his fantastic wines at excellent prices, Wine Enthusiast bestowed him with the European Winery of the Year award in 2011, stating “He fully understands the movement toward expressive, well-balanced and elegant wines that remain accessible and affordable.”

The cross on the label is a Visigoth cross dating back to the 7th century, which evolved into the Languedoc Cross. For a detailed explanation of its iconography, click here. Cote des Roses is the name of the coastal area near the village of Gruissan.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from varied soils, but predominately hard limestone and schist, “but also gravel transported by the rivers of the Languedoc region”.

Tasting Notes: Coral pink in colour with aromas of strawberry, cherry and rain washed slate. Mineral driven, with red fruits and a hint of spice, finishing zippy and dry. Simple and summery, accented by a fun rose cut into the bottom of the bottle. {The bottle is an original design created by a young designer from the Ecole Boulle.]

Enjoy at 50°F [10°C]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Ideal as an aperitif or with subtly spiced dishes and shellfish.

Blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah [I could not verify varietal percentages.]
Languedoc
France
Shipped and Bottled by Gérard Bertrand
12.5% Alcohol
$15
Enjoy now

 

Stratus Vineyards ‘White’ Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA 2013

Estate: Located in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada, Stratus Vineyards was the world’s first fully LEED-certified winery in the world in 2005. The 62 acres of vineyards “are divided into 44 distinct blocs. Each one, its own small ‘somewhereness’.” The soil consists of layers of mineral-rich earth, resting on a limestone foundation, resulting in a “clay-loam mosaic” of individual soil types. The sustainable estate grows 10 varieties of red grapes and 6 varieties of white. In 2009 Stratus enlisted famed winemaker/viticulturist Paul Hobbs “to bring additional international perspective to its operations”.

Philosophy: “The wine we grow is dependent on the health of the land on which it is grown. We farm our vineyard and guide our winemaking as though our children’s future depends on it. Each vintage bottled is a reflection of this ongoing commitment.”

Winemaking: Aged for 562 days in French oak, 20% new.

Tasting Notes: Light gold in colour, highly aromatic with honeysuckle, pineapple, green vegetation, caramel with a pinch of sea salt and petrol. Layers of apple, pineapple and peach glide atop bright acidity, orange and caramel shine on the nutty finish. Complex and engaging, I found this best on its own, as food tends to overpower the intriguing nuances of flavour.

Blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon & Viognier [I could not verify variatel percentages.]
Niagara-On-The-Lake VQA
Canada
Estate Bottled by Stratus Vineyards
13.8% Alcohol
$38 [Canadian Dollars]
Enjoy now thru 2020

Sea Pearl Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2016

Brand: Sea Pearl is a brand of acclaimed importer Winesellers, LTD. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, the family run company was awarded “2015 Importer of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Sea Pearl takes its name from the unique abalone found in the shallow waters of New Zealand. Considered to have the widest color spectrum of any abalone in the world, they can also produce stunning pearls.

Winemaking: Certified sustainable, with minimal intervention. Grapes are sourced from vineyards close to the sea, in the southern Wairau River valleys of Marlborough. Grapes were pressed with minimal skin contact; the resulting juice was cool fermented in stainless steel to retain freshness and aromatics.

Tasting Notes: Pale gold in colour with vivid aromas of pineapple, melon, lime and tomato leaf. An explosion of flavour, with lemon, pineapple, passionfruit and lime laced with herbaceous tomato leaf and complimented by racy acidity. Citrus peel and clean minerals linger delightfully between each sip. Classic Marlborough, refreshing and bright!

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Great on its own, pairs well with a variety of dishes, including summer salads, spicy Asian cuisine or grilled fish and seafood.

100% Sauvignon Blanc
Marlborough
New Zealand
Imported and Bottled by Sea Pearl, Healdsburg, CA
13% Alcohol
$12 [average price]
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 88 points by Wine Spectator

 

Sample submitted for review purpose.

Elio Sandri Barolo Riserva DOCG 2005

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Estate: Founded by Giovanni Sandri in 1965, Giovanni was born into a family of farmers from which he learned the art of grape growing and winemaking. In 1965 he purchased Cascina Disa and began crafting his Barolos. Today the estate is headed by Elio and Daniela Sandri, along with their children Luna and Riccardo. Located in the Langhe hills of Monforte d’Alba, the estate consist of 7 hectares of vineyards, with the oldest vines dating back to 1937, the newest 2001. With an emphasis on ecological balance and preservation, in 1999 they purchased a neighboring forest, in order “to balance the impact of human activity with the territory”. As with many other Barolo estates, they also produce Dolcetto and Barbera wines.

Winemaking: Organic, natural processes [along with some biodynamic principles] and minimum interventions are followed in the both the vineyard and cellar. Overall the vineyards consist of marine soils of calcareous clay; grapes for the Riserva are sourced from “the best land where the marl comes to the surface”. Spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts followed by “5 years in large old slovonian oak barrels and bottle”. Bottling done only during the waning moon.

For a more in depth look at Elio Sandri, his wines and vineyards, please click here for Gregory Dal Piaz’s fantastic article on his visit to Cascina Disa.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet with brick edges in colour, with aromas of tar and rose. Agile and engaging, with that divine pairing of tar and rose flavours encased in red berry fruit and velvety tannins. Classic, elegant, powerful, everything I want in Barolo.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Superb for hearty meat dishes, truffles, game and strong Piemontese cheese.

100% Nebbiolo
Barolo DOCG
Italy
Bottled by Azienda Agricola Elio Sandri
14% Alcohol
€50 restaurant wine list in Florence Italy [I could not find any other listed price.]
Enjoy now thru 2022

Podere Giardino ‘Suoli Cataldi’ Rosé Reggiano Lambrusco DOP 2014

 

Estate: Since the end of the 19th century, the Crotti family have been farming Podere Giardino, located in a “small hamlet alongside the historic Via Emilia in the direction of Modena” in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy. At that time, the estate was headed by Donnino Crotti and was primarily for raising cows to produce the famed Parmigiano Reggiano cheese of the region. In 2001 his grandchildren, Paolo, Marco and Federica Crotti took over the estate from their parents and began combining family tradition along with modern technology to produce Lambrusco on a larger scale. They are devoted to organic farming, for both vines and cows [certified since 2003] and production methods “that respects human well-being and defends environmental biodiversity, it is a model of sustainable development aimed at protecting the environment and enhancing the quality of the soil and the resources of local communities”.

Philosophy: Carrying the family’s traditions into the future, they are committed to “the respect of the natural rhythms imposed by nature and our constant effort to recover the authentic tastes and fragrances of the products of our land: these are our values, the ones that allow us to respect the certified biological method”.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from vineyards located in the High Plains of Reggio Emilia with sandy soils called ‘Cataldi’.

Tasting Notes: Light ruby red in colour with aromas of red fruits and earth. Super fruity, with all the cherries [red, sour and black] along with fresh raspberry, pomegranate and a trace of earth. Lip smacking acidity and light fizz keep you coming back for more. Fantastic and fun on its own or with a wide variety of dishes, especially cheese based.

Enjoy at 10-12°C [50-54F°]

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Traditional foods from Emilia Romagna, such as Reggiano Parmesan cheese, fried dumplings and ham.

100% Marani [Lambrusco]
Reggiano Lambrusco DOP
Italy
Produced by Azienda Agricola Podere Giardino, Bottled by ICQRF 2019/RE
11% Alcohol
$17 [average price]
Enjoy now