Our story so far: The year is 2025 and officials from the People’s Republic of Canada just announced that three Canadian men detained and tortured in France during the security clampdown that followed the 2020 Champagne riots will get $31.25 million from the federal government. The resolution and accompanying government apology put an end to a three-year court battle for compensation when a former Supreme Court judge blamed Canadian officials partly for the men’s ordeals. French officials acting in part on information from the Canadian spy agency CSIS labeled the men as “wine extremists” for their refusal to recognize the natural wine movement and their insistence on exclusively drinking Champagne from small-grower producers.
The men were detained for months in a 500,000 gallon blending tank at the Moet Chandon factory, where they were forced to drink non-vintage Dom Perignon and survive by eating snails and brioche. “The Dom was the crap Moet needed to get rid of” said one man. Another reported the horrific torture techniques used by the French (commonly referred to as “using inferior products”). “The butter was clearly substandard, the brioche was not sufficiently eggy, and the escargot had way too much garlic” choked out another man while he barely suppressed his emotional state. “To this day I can only spend 3 or 4 hours in a bistro before I have to leave” stated the third man.
Government officials have refused to comment further on this matter.
Okay, let’s put joking aside…
My last post discussed the power of contrasting. Last Sunday’s tasting of the wines selected from the 28 October release illustrated the perils of the contrasting technique. We will able to contrast six different wines (2 Gewürztraminers, 2 Chardonnays, and 2 Pinot Noirs). In all cases, one wine in the pairing made the other seem pale. Tasted individually each wine was decent. The main difference was the wines had different styles and there is nothing wrong with that. In turns out that contrasting is a double-ended sword.
The $19 Bohigas Reserva Brut Cava Sparkling—VINTAGES#: 401216 is a great buy. A well-balanced-delicious wine with some complexity at a good price. It will please you and make you happy.
The nose of the $20 Rustenberg Chardonnay 2015—VINTAGES#: 598631 explodes out of the glass and will intrigue you. The wine has power, good minerality and acid and plenty of complexity in flavors. The tasting notes overstate the case by comparing this wine to a Corton Charlemagne but if you are a fan of the style found in a powerful white Burgundy then the Rustenberg is for you. At $20 to boot.
The $22 J.L. Chave Sélection Mon Coeur Côtes-du-Rhône 2015 Blend—VINTAGES#: 995548 has potential. The published tasting notes are pretty accurate but what got me thinking about the wine’s potential was the experience of tasting the 2013 vintage next to the 2015 vintage that was in this release. The 2015 is a good wine and the 2013 is a wow wine, which would stand up to much more expensive Rhone examples. My money’s on the 2015 to come together with a few years in the bottle and give you that wow experience.
Behind the tannic blast of the $39 Marco & Vittorio Adriano Basarin Barbaresco 2012 Nebbiolo—VINTAGES#: 496992 lurks all of the things I look for in a rustic-traditional Barbaresco. The suggestion in the tasting notes that this wine would be ready to drink in a year is nonsense. It needs several years to come together and reward you. Don’t buy it unless you plan to cellar it.
Wines to consider
The $22 Featherstone Canadian Oak Chardonnay 2015—VINTAGES#: 149302 is a well made wine. The published tasting notes are accurate. This is a subdued wine and when tasted alongside with the Rustenberg (discussed above) this wine was crushed. If you enjoy a subtle style with a splash of oak then give this wine a try. Thanks to Rosco for pointing out this wine. My knowledge of Canadian wine is poor and hopefully will improve with some help.
The $24 Kew Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013—VINTAGES#: 520080 is a New World style Pinot Noir from a Canadian producer that I have begun to explore. The nose is classic for the varietal and the smell of this wine will really grab you. A fruit-forward-red-berry wine that, while not my style, will appeal to many people. I think the wine would stand up to many New World Pinots.
The $21 Nikolaihof Wachau Terrassen Grüner Veltliner 2014—VINTAGES#: 85274 is steely and mineral driven with good acidity and length. It’s a re-release by the KGBO of this vintage and supply will disappear quickly as GV fans snatch up a bargan. Would likely benefit from a year or so in the bottle.
The $18 Ruppertsberger Gewürztraminer Hofstück Spätlese 2016 Gewürztraminer—VINTAGES#: 320473 is rich and fruity and sweet and would work well with Chinese or other Asian inspired dishes. Unless you are a fan of sweet wine it is hard to drink on its own. To me it’s a food wine. If you seek less intensity consider the $19 Pierre Sparr Réserve Gewurztraminer 2016—VINTAGES#: 747600 instead.
Wines to avoid
As the Featherstone is to the Rustenberg the Kew is to the $22 Roche de Bellène Cuvée Réserve Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2015—VINTAGES#: 299859. I love this producer and expected more from this bottle of wine. It’s light and simple and, well, boring. A slight medicinal element also put me off this wine.