Everything Wine And More

Cheata Nao
May 22, 2015 | Cheata Nao

Rhone Perfection!

Today I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a special wine tasting put on by Pacific Wine and Spirits. The tasting was titled Rhone Perfection: M.Chapoutier Selections Parcellaires Tasting. We tasted through 6 wines that are rarely open for tasting on any given Thursday. Two whites and four reds were in the lineup ranging from $80-400. You can understand my excitement since it’s not every day I get to try $400 wine! Every wine in the flight, except for one, was also rated over 94 points. Our last wine of the flight received a perfect rating of 100 points by Wine Advocate.

If you’ve had the chance to meet me, whether it be at the store or at another tasting, you would have learned very quickly that I love French Wines! In my humble and absolutely biased opinion there is no country that produces better wine than France and this tasting only strengthen my opinion of that.

As I combed through my thoughts from the tasting two words continually popped up in my mind: Acidity and Elegance. These two words are the epitome of why French Wines are far more superior to those of the New World. That isn’t to say I don't enjoy certain American, Australian, or Canadian wines. It is however not a coincidence that those New World wines I do enjoy tend to be made in a French “style” or by French winemakers!

What is acidity? Acidity is that mouth-watering, salivating, and refreshing affect that takes places after every sip. It is the reason you physically crave another glass. In both white and red wines high acidity is a sign of long term age ability. Elegance is a little harder to explain. It can mean different things to different people.  When I use the word elegant to describe a wine, I’m talking about a sense of grace and simplicity to the complexity of the wine. Was that even more confusing? Think of it this way. Wines that are elegant don’t try so hard to be delicious, they just are and you can't quite explain why.

Elegant wines don’t need to pull the wool over your taste buds with overly jammy fruit, oaky spice, residual sugar, high alcohol or mouth ripping tannins and then nothing more. Inelegant wines might have fierce bold flavours, but they’re short lived and don’t leave much to the imagination. They’ve showed you all their cards up front and have nothing left to keep you wanting more.

Elegant wines keep you guessing. Every swirl, sniff, and sip reveals something new and you can’t help but wonder what the next sniff and sip will reveal. You begin to imagine how this wine will change in an hour, 3 hours, 24 hours, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years or even 50 years! They are the Chanel of the wine world. Classics that never go out of style!

The first wine in the flight was the Hermitage “Chante-Alouette” 2012. Suggested retail price $85-$95. Chante-Alouette is 100% Marsanne. The grapes were hand harvested with 1/3 being vinified in wood barrels and the other 2/3 vinified in concrete vats. This wine was my favourite of the flight! Very aromatic and intense on the nose I got notes of candied almonds, honey, ripe pears and ginger spice. Full bodied with notes of bruised apples and fresh almonds on the palate, this wine had a rich creamy texture followed by a crisp refreshing acidity. The elegant flavours lingered on the palate long after the first sip. This wine paired beautifully with the crab cake and smoked salmon crostini with a dill cream cheese. The richness in the wine matched the richness in the food served and the flavours of the crab and dill cream cheese enhanced the acidity in the wine even more.

The second wine in the flight was the Ermitage De L’Oree Blanc 2011. Suggested retail price $200-210. This was also 100% Marsanne and handpicked. 50% of the wine is vinified in oak barrels with frequent stirring of the lees. The other 50% vinified in neutral concrete vats. Based on its vinification process one could’ve expected this wine to be much richer, creamier, and oakier than the Chante-Alouette. To my surprise the L’Oree Blanc had more citrus and mineral notes on the nose and much higher acidity on the palate than the Chante-Alouette. On the nose I got notes of apples, lemon oil, and jasmine with a wet stone on the very end of the nose. The palate brought forth flavours similar to the nose up front followed by flavours of burnt toast and roasted chestnuts that lingered on the finish. This wine will age for another 30-50 years! I admit the 2011 was still showing a little closed, which is probably why I preferred the Chante-Alouette. However, this wine will continue to develop and will only get better with age!

After the two whites we moved onto the Reds. In the Northern Rhone the only red grape varietal allowed to be grown is Syrah. Typically Syrah from the Northern Rhone is meatier and earthier than its new world counterparts found in the US or Australia. Northern Rhone Syrah tends to have high tannins and high acidity and could use a few years of aging before being ready to drink.

The next four wines we tasted were not your “typical” Northern Rhone Syrah. They were much more approachable young. They were all fruit forward with soft silky tannins and of course high acidity!

The first red was the Cote Rotie La Mordoree 2011. Suggested Retail Price $160-$170. On the nose there were notes of ripe red fruits and violet perfume with nuances of baking spices. On the first pour I did not notice any earthy or meaty notes. However, on the second pour which came from a different bottle I noticed more notes of raw meat and brine mingled in with the ripe red fruits. On the palate the ripe red fruits turned into stewed fruits. Medium bodied with medium well integrated tannins and high acidity.

The next two reds came from two different vineyard sites that are only 100 meters apart, yet have two completely different soils. The Ermitage Le Meal Rouge 2011 showed ripe red fruits, perfume, and hot stones on the nose. The tannins were chalkier than those found in the Cote Rotie above, but beautifully palatable because of the high acidity on the finish. The palate showed dried fruits and baking spice that lingered nicely on the tip of your tongue. Suggested Retail Price $230

After the Le Meal Rouge we tasted the Ermitage L’Ermite Rouge 2011. Suggested Retail Price $399. The vines in L’Ermite were grown on granitic soils and the vines in Le Meal were grown on clay soils. Granitic soils have better drainage than clay soils. What this means is that water does not stick around in the soil for very long. Vines grown on granitic soils have less water to soak up which results in less water in the grape pulp leaving more room for sugar, acid, and flavour compounds resulting in much more concentrated wines. Essentially there’s less water to “dilute” the flavours of the grape. This concentration certainly showed in the wine.

The L’Ermite was much more aromatic on the nose than the Le Meal. On the nose I found notes of black berry, black currant, ripe strawberries, blueberry jam and red rose petals. It was medium bodied with medium plush tannins and very high acidity. The fruits on the palate were of a berry compote with a dried mushroom finish. This wine has aging potential like nobody’s business! I hope I’m fortunate enough to try this wine again in a few years. I can’t wait to see how these flavours will evolve.

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the 100 point rated Ermitage Le Pavillon 2011. Suggested Retail Price $340. This wine comes from 60-75 year old vines and of all the reds we tasted it was the only one that sees partial maturation in new oak barrels, about 30%. The nose was intensely fruit forward with notes of blackberry, blueberry, vanilla, and sweet baking spices. The palate had flavours of figs and dried dates with rounded blackberry fruit and spice. It had the grippiest tannins of all four reds followed by a very plump and juicy finish.

If you have the chance to get a hold of any of these amazing wines try to hold onto them for a few years. They are delicious now, but they all have so much aging potential! They haven’t even begun to show any secondary or tertiary characteristics. These wines are only going to get more interesting and complex with age and I pray that I will get to taste at least one of these wines again!

At Everything Wine and More we currently carry the 2008 vintage of the Ermitage Le Meal and will be bringing in the Chante-Alouette Blanc 2012. 

Time Posted: May 22, 2015 at 9:20 AM
Cheata Nao
April 8, 2013 | Cheata Nao

The Grand Opening Celebration in Sherwood Park.

Grand Opening Weekend!

On March 30th we officially opened in Sherwood Park.

The day’s festivities began with a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor of Strathcona, Linda Osinchuk, followed by coffee and donuts with the staff and Strathcona councilors. The morning was fairly quiet….merely the calm before the storm!

The afternoon was a fun, busy, exciting, & slightly crazy day to be a part of. The first taste of bubble as soon as you walked through the doors was a big hit! Our customers were quite taken with the Terre Gaie Fior D’arancio, a slightly sweet sparkler from Italy. The fruity sweetness of the wine would’ve complimented the savoury components of Easter dinners very well.

From there we had different tasting tables set up throughout the store pouring wine, beers, & spirits. Our own tasting bar was packed with people looking to take advantage of our try before you buy tasting of the wines featured in our sale. It’s great to see Edmontonians so willing to step out of their comfort zones and try new wines.  So often people get stuck in a wine rut, they find a wine they know they like and buy the same one over and over again. I don’t know about you, but I love taking the chance and discovering new wines!  With 10 tasting tables set up and at least 2 wines at each table I’m sure we helped wine lovers discover some new gems.

A big thanks to all the agents at the tasting tables on Friday and Saturday: 

BonVida Wines
The Wine Syndicate
Constellation Brands
Select Wines 
Lifford Wine Agency
Mondia Alliance
Phillipe Dandurand Wines
Mark Anthony Group
Pacific Wine & Spirits
Oyster Bay Wines 
The Bacchus Group
Empson Canada
Authentic Wine & Spirits

Christopher Stewart Wine & Spirits
Lanigan & Edwards Wine Merchants

and Moosehead Breweries

We couldn’t have done it without your help!

Another big thanks goes out to The Great Canadian Brewhouse for catering the event. 
The staff and customers couldn’t get enough of the delicious snacks that were provided throughout the day. Bacon Jalapeno Poppers and Crispy Boneless Chicken Wings were constantly in need of replenishing. Perhaps you stopped by our Grand Opening because you caught the smell of burgers and smokies that led you to our front doors and to Tiffany who was braving the chilly weather to serve up some BBQ.

It was a great day to be a part of and we hoped that everyone who walked through the doors enjoyed the festivities and had a great experience in the shop. We love wines here at Everything Wine and More and we want to make wine lovers out of Albertans. We love to talk wine and taste wine! We have daily tastings from 2-6pm and educational sit down tastings in our beautiful classroom. Or just come in and talk to our staff.

Greg and Andrew are the guys you’ll want to chat about Scotch and Beers with. Bob in our Vintage loves his Spanish wines will probably get you to buy a case without even knowing it! Pam’s the gal you want to go to when it comes to BC wines, she loves travelling to the Okanagan in the summer.  And you’ll find me in the classroom talking and teaching wine!

See you all soon!
Cheata Nao

Time Posted: Apr 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM
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