Chais Saint-Laurent ‘La Vigne en Véron’ Chinon 2015

Consistently a fantastic value.

Producer: Founded in 1921 by Paulin Lebrun, Foucher-Lebrun is a “Petit Negociant” specializing in wines from the Loire Valley. Chais Saint-Laurent is their second label. In 2009 fine and rare wine broker Jean Mounard joined the company managing “the selection process for the wines of the company”. His large network of wine growers and winemakers has increased the quality, along with being able to offer wines that “display a real sense of their underlying appellations and are made with a balance and delineation usually found in much more expensive wines”.

Philosophy: “To convey the expression of the appellations in the Loire region by careful selection, vinification and aging of its wines”.

Winemaking: The grapes were sourced from select vineyards with Argilo-Calcaire and gravel soils in the villages of Riviere, Beaumont-en-Veron and Savigny-en-Veron. The average vine age is 45-50 years. Aging of the majority of the cuvee is in used barriques, 1-3 years old, whilst the remainder is aged in tanks.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of ripe berries and garrique. Jammy cherry and berry flavours are complimented by smoky, grilled herbs [juniper, thyme, rosemary] and soft pepper spice. Good acidity and moderate tannins, a hint of chocolate frames the dry, fruity finish.

100% Cabernet Franc
Chinon
France
Produced and Bottled by Chais Saint-Laurent
13% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now thru 2019

Jeff Carrel ‘Les Darons’ Languedoc AOP 2015

 

Brand: French winemaker Jeff Carrel is famous for crafting super tasty wines that are also excellent values. He has worked for a wide variety of brands, including Robert Mondavi and Stimson Lane. Most recently he has focused his expertise mainly in the Languedoc Roussillon region of southern France, resulting in international accolades for his lush, budget friendly wines. ‘Les Darons’ is derived from an “affectionate expression for “The Parents” in the Parisian suburbs where Carrel was born.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from vineyards in the Laure-Minervois area northwest of the medieval village of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region. The vines are in clay and limestone soil and are sustainably farmed. The Grenache and Carignan vines average 40+ years in age. The 3 varieties were de-stemmed and crushed/vinified together. Fermented and aged in concrete.

Tasting Notes: Dark garnet in colour with aromas of black cherry, blueberry, pink peppercorn and a trace of sour cherry. Tasting quite similar to the inviting aromas with black cherry, blueberry and a pop of sour cherry over a clean, flinty mineral core. Good acidity and silky tannins compliment pink peppercorn on the clean finish. A fantastic companion with a wide variety of everyday dishes.

60% Grenache, 25% Carignan, 15% Syrah
Languedoc AOP
France
Bottle by F.11200 for TOOWO The Way of Wine S.A.R.L Négociant in Narbonne
13.5% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

Rated 91-93 points by Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Zestos Tinto Old Vines Garnacha 2015

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Brand: Zestos wines are the product of Manuel Martinez, a 3rd generation winemaker whose family has been producing wine in Madrid for centuries. He owns Viños Jeromin, an organically farmed bodega that crafts wine from 3 different districts within the Madrid DO.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from high elevation vineyards of San Martin Valdeiglesias, just northwest of Madrid. Located at 574 m [1,883 ft] in elevation, with granite and sand soil, the vines were planted from 1960 to 1970. The San Martin area is known for producing “the most floral and mineral Garnachas in all of Spain”. Vinified and aged “in cement and stainless steel tanks to emphasize the purity of flavor and the youthful, fresh character of the Garnacha grape”.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of candied flowers, strawberry, cherry, a hint of pink peppercorn and earth. Super fruity with cherry, plum, blackberry and black cherry dusted with black pepper. A streak of anise and mint compliment the bright fruit flavours. Minerals, along with returning black pepper and cherry comprise the dry, supple finish. Easy drinking, versatile and a fantastic value.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: “Put it next to any casual foods you care to: pizza, Panini sandwiches, pulled pork sliders, fajitas, cheese quesadillas, and pastrami and corned beef sandwiches. This is an “easy quaffer” wine, as well. If you don’t have any aged manchego or aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese handy, just pour some in your glass and enjoy!”

100% Garnacha
Vinos de Madrid
Spain
Bottled by N.R.E. 2B/40.527-M for CÍA de Vinos del Atlántico
13.5% Alcohol
$9
Enjoy now

Marchesi Di Barolo ‘Maraia’ Barbera Del Monferrato DOC 2014

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Estate: Marchesi di Barolo consists of 430 acres of vineyards located in the distinguished Barolo region of Piedmont in Italy. Their vineyards are in some of the most renowned areas of Barolo, including the prestigious Cannubi cru. 185 acres are estate owned, with 245 acres farmed by long standing relationships with family and friends. The family estate has been passed down from parents to their children for over 200 years and is currently headed by 5th generation winemakers Anna and Ernesto Abbona. They maintain the work established by their ancestors and value the great heritage of knowledge and tradition that allows them to continue crafting quality wines.

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from sustainably farmed vineyards located in the community of Maranzana in the Asti area. The soil is calcareous sand, clay, and rich in quartz. Aged for 1 year in Slavonian oak barrels. The name Maraia refers to “a group of rowdy kids, or ‘little rascals’, in Piedmontese dialect, referring to the lively nature of this wine”.

Tasting Notes: Transparent garnet in colour with aromas of cherry, sour cherry, sweet wild flowers, and pepper spice. Rhubarb along with tart, sour and regular cherry interlace with silky tannins. Mouth puckering acidity backs tart blackberry and sour cherry on the dry finish. A bit too astringent for my personal taste, others may find it refreshing with fatty foods.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Pairs well with a wide variety of dishes, from antipasto to pasta with red sauce and light meals.

100% Barbera
Barbera Del Monferrato DOC
Italy
Bottled by Marchesi Di Barolo
13% Alcohol
$10
Enjoy now

Villa Pozzi Nero d’Avola Sicilia DOC 2015

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Winery: For many generations the Pozzi Family has been making and selling wine. Beginning in Cremona, northern Italy the current owner’s great grandfather established relationships with local growers and producers and travelled throughout Italy selling their wines. The winery and vineyards were established in northwestern Sicily in 1860, today 4th generation winemaker Daniele Pozzi, who continues expanding the family’s connections, heads the estate.

Philosophy: The family’s motto is “Res non Verba” [Deeds not Words], and aims to produce high quality wines at affordable prices.

Winemaking: All of their wines are “made to be enjoyed upon release and have a ripe, fruit-forward style”. Vineyards are located in the hills surrounding Marsala, Salemi and Mazzara del Vallo in northwestern Sicily and have an average vine age of 25 years. Grapes were sourced from hillside vineyards with clay soils in western Sicily. “Finished in stainless steel instead of oak, which lets the fresh fruit character of Sicily’s native Nero d’Avola grape shine through.”

Dark garnet in colour with aromas of cherry pie, spiced oak and dusty earth. Cherry driven with streaks of pomegranate, red currant and sour cherry dusted with a shake of white pepper. Baked cherry, vanilla and toasted oak comprise the dry, lengthy finish. A good value and companion to everyday dishes like pizza and pasta.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: Enjoy with rich pastas and grilled meats.

Nero d’Avola [I could not verify varietal percentage, although it must be at least 80% for DOC status.]
Sicilia DOC
Italy
Produced and Bottled by Cantine Europa SCA
13% Alcohol
$7
Enjoy now