Everything Wine blog

Adventures in Awesome: Beautiful Barolo

Cappellano “Otin Fiorin” Pie Rupestris 2014, Serralunga d’Alba, Barolo. One of Barolo’s most renowned (and feared) traditionalists, Augusto Cappellano carries on his father Theobaldo’s commitment to terroir expression and minimal cellar interference, as well as his father’s tendency to shoo away wine reviewers who might possibly assign a numbered score to his wines. Although more challenging to other bits of the boot, 2014 gave Barolo a uniquely Burgundian vintage, and Augusto’s Pie Rupestris has heaps of elegance to match Serralunga’s famous richness. Somewhat austere on the nose but generous on the palate and finish; tar, jasmine and licorice can be found once looked for, and the finish is long and linear, 5 years should soften the brightness so we don’t have to squint, but it is actually quite lovely right now. This stuff is so hard to get a hold of, I think I’m safe to say that I have the only 3 6-packs west of Quebec? No Reviews Allowed, 3 6-packs available, $139.98 +tax

Giacomo Fenocchio 2015, Cannubi, Barolo. Holy Cheeseballs I love this wine. Another son carrying on the Pre-WW1 winemaking ethics of his dad, Giacomo’s son Claudio Fenocchio stands apart from Cappellano in his firm embrace of ripeness as a ballast, providing balance to the tannins and rustic aromatics that the Cannubi cru can infuse into Nebbiolo. Flowers, spices and orange peel wrap around the core of red cherries with a touch of vanillin, a velvety delivery precedes a somewhat crunchy finish – a few more years would be ideal here but if you’re drinking this with a protein, you won’t mind one bit. Absolutely delicious. 96 points James Suckling, 4 6-packs available, $102.98 +tax

Cascina Adelaide 2014, Barolo. An exquisitely elegant gulper. This is the entry-level Barolo for the proudly modern Cascina Adelaide, multi-Cru, multi-vineyard and multi-yum. Herbs and black olives mix with the ripe cherries and sandalwood, the demure 2014 vintage balances the fruit-positive palate with enough acidity to moderate the beautifully long finish. Will hold this level of awesome for another 8 years, but it came to party and may wonder why you didn’t. 93 points Wine Spectator, 2 cases available, $53.98 +tax

Something special for your Thanksgiving feast

SOUTHERN RHONE

Domaine Oratoire St Martin “Haut-Coustias” 2015, Cairanne. The reason you don’t think about the southern Rhone village of Cairanne much is because you’ve never tried this. Tracing their winemaking roots back to 1692, the Alary brothers are pretty much the Royal Family of Cairanne, owning the prime spots and making powerful, totemistic wines in a town known for table tipples that tend to blend into the tablecloth. The Haut-Coustias site is a 90-yr-old south-facing vineyard on a hill of chalk, a terroir quite unlike its surroundings and one of the only sites in Cairanne that can fully ripen Mourvèdre, the dark, moody grape that makes up 60% of this blend (with 20% Grenache and 20% Syrah; the Haut-Coustias’ constitution is similar to Beaucastel’s Hommage a Jacques Perrin and about a tenth of the price). Gorgeous violets and nutmeg surround plums and blackberries with a healthy dose of black pepper, boldly spicy and unforgettable. I’ll be pouring this on Saturday at 3pm in the River District Vintage Room if you want to taste for yourself. One of the better values I’ve found this season. 94 points Robert Parker, 2 cases available, $52.98 +tax

Chateau Saint-Cosme 2017, Gigondas. Continuing an unbroken legacy that almost predates the fork, the Barruol family gets back to traditional hues after two hot, climate-changey vintages and breaks out the pepper mill. Black and white pepper fold around blackberry, ginger and black olives over a fresh, vibrant frame, forged in both foudre and concrete. Silky and persistent. Grenache leads the band (70%) with Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault all playing tambourine. Probably best after a 2 years nap to let the finish integrate. There’s something so consistent and so right about Saint-Cosme, quite independent from how delicious it is: year after year it tastes like this ancient village’s natural reference point. 93 points Wine Spectator, 2 cases available, $77.99 +tax

Rotem & Mounir Saouma “Inopia” 2016, Cotes-du-Rhône Villages. The 97+pt Chateauneufs by Husband/Wife crime-fighting duo Rotem and Mounir (also of Burgundy’s hallowed Lucien Le Moine) were presented on these pages a few weeks ago, but these stellar, overachieving  CdRVs come from a rocky, nearly barren plot near Orange that was so tough to cultivate they named the wines Inopia, from the Latin meaning “made from nothing”. The Blanc is mostly Grenache Blanc with Roussanne and Marsanne, gorgeously silky with jasmine, brioche and pear notes over a robust frame with a touch of salinity. The Rouge is almost entirely Grenache with bits of Syrah and Cinsault, bright red fruits and lavender, medium-bodied and hella-versatile. I can’t stress the value of these enough: rather than a mishmash of lesser fruit (like most houses entry-levels are) these are single-vineyard expressions from one of France’s most exciting contemporary houses – Wednesday wines for the well-informed, if you will. I am in with both feet on this.
Blanc, 92 points Wine Spectator, 3 6-packs available, $40.98 +tax
Rouge, 90 points Wine Spectator, 3 6-packs available, $40.98 +tax

 

NORTHERN RHONE

VERTICAL: Domaine Jamet 2013, 2014 & 2015, Côte-Rôtie. You can see the Alps on a clear day from Le Vallin, the high plateau over Côte-Rôtie where Jean-Paul and Corinne Jamet make their traditionally ethereal wines (it’s also where they made their son Löic, who now works the vineyards with them). This “assemblage” cuvée, built from fruit in 15 different vineyards around the appellation, avoids destemming and sees almost no new barrels, so it’s a truth-serum Syrah, honestly and nakedly expressing the slate and granite terraced slopes of Côte-Rôtie in all their peppery, bacon-y glory. The Jamets have a devoted following worldwide, which is why it’s way-cool that I can offer the following:
Côte-Rôtie 2013, 94 points Robert Parker, 94 points Vinous, 3 bottles available, $165.99 +tax
Côte-R
ôtie 2014, 96 points James Suckling, 95 points Vinous 8 bottles available, $165.99 +tax
Côte-R
ôtie 2015, 97 points Vinous, 96 points Robert Parker, 9 bottles available $165.99 +tax

E. Guigal “La Landonne” 2014, Côte-Rôtie. The only one of the “La La”* Cote-Rôties by Guigal to not contain any Viognier, this 2014 Landonne is dark, deep, and more focused than someone jumpstarting a nuclear submarine, an impressive feat in a challenging vintage. The nose has notes of smoked meats stuffed with sage and olives, with hints of blackberries that have fallen under the grill, the deployment is smooth but the finish has notes of bar fights and leg-hold traps. This is a wine to be buried, hidden amongst the muggles until its eleventh birthday – only then can you announce that it is actually a wizard. 98 points Robert Parker, one wooden 3-pack available, $526.98 +tax

René Rostaing “La Landonne” 2015, Côte-Rôtie. Not quite as famous or historically significant as Guigal’s take on the same vineyard (Guigal put Côte-Rôtie on the map and single-handedly saved Viognier from extinction – in contrast, I just learned how to set a DVR recording from my phone), but Mr. Rostaing’s Landonne certainly approaches the Guigals in quality and longevity. Blackberry, fig, tobacco and bacon are just some of the attributes of this ever-changing nose, the palate is elegant power: it’s a medium weight at best but the intensity is almost frightening. Still several years out from true joy, but this 2015 will get there a tad quicker than other vintages. 99 points Robert Parker, 3 bottles available, $249.98 +tax

E. Guigal “Ex Voto” Blanc 2012, Hermitage. The best white Hermitage I’ve tasted besides Chave, from the Ermite and Murets parcels on Hermitage hill. Both stoic and generous, the nose teems with stone fruits, brioche, green apple, ginger and mint, omg. Beeswax and citrus deploy on palate, with that gorgeously viscous sewing-machine-oil texture and finish so prevalent in Marsanne. Drinking amazing now, drinking amazing in 15 years, all because it is made of magic. 97 points Wine Spectator, 8 bottles available, $249.98 +tax

Until next week, Happy Drinking!!

 

*The “La Las” are 3 Cote-Rôties by Guigal from 3 vineyards: La Mouline, La Turque and La Landonne, they are widely considered to be the appellation’s benchmark.

 

Staff Favourites - Castelnau Champagne

No matter your level of wine knowledge, everyone knows Champagne… the time you popped a cork and it flew all the way across the patio, or when you raised a glass to a friend’s engagement or toasted to the New Year. Champagne has a way, it seems, of appearing at some of life’s best moments. For our Abbotsford store manager, Melanie Scott, there’s a Champagne that sparkles a little brighter than all the rest.

“I love my champagnes.” Melanie puts it simply, “my favourite is Castelnau; it’s toasty with a hint of almonds, peaches, and green apples. The lush, creamy bubbles make it a beautiful wine.” she’s swooning over the Castelnau Brut Reserve from Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne wine growing region and well, the world. “The first time I tried Castelnau was back in 2017 at our staff educational event that our Buying team organized. I immediately fell in love with it,” she recalls “it was love at first sip!”

Wine Enthusiast declared Castelnau’s signature Brut Reserve “Mature-tasting with a fine toasty element in the background. Ripe and full with a creamy texture and warming aftertaste.” and awarded it with 90 points. Perfect as an aperitif, Melanie opts to enjoy her bubbles with “something simple like garlic cheese toast or plain Miss Vickie’s chips. My focus is the Champagne.” she adds.

The house of Castelnau, whose vines now stretch across 900 hectares, dates back over 100 years when a group of imaginative winemakers set out to launch a Champagne brand in honour of a French World War One veteran by the name of Castelnau. Decades later, the signature Brut Reserve is produced with a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes which are combined to create a balanced and complex wine that has “the spirit of a vintage Champagne in the body of a more youthful wine.” Extended ageing of 6 years in cellar further enhances the character of this Champagne.

 “Other Champagnes may have a little more fruit and bigger bubbles,” Melanie notes “but this one is dry and bready with hints of fruit… toasty and delicious.” We invite you to raise a glass of Castelnau to life’s exciting milestones and to the little moments too.

Staff Favourites - Antinori Tignanello

Asking a wine expert to choose their favourite wine is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child; in that, it’s probably (hopefully) a difficult choice… but we made Rob Frias, the manager of our Langford store, make the decision anyway, for the sake of our readers of course. So how do you narrow down the immense world of wine to one single bottle? In this case, it was a matter of always remembering your first.

When Rob launched his career at Everything Wine in 2007, he explains that “I didn’t have any formal wine knowledge, but my Portuguese descent meant that wine was always a part of mealtime. And from there, my passion was born.” he says. Upon being thrown into the Italian section of the store, he began learning the history of Super Tuscans, and naturally “had to dive into the Antinori Tignanello,” which he reveals, was “the first high end wine I ever purchased.” Hailing from the heart of the Chianti Classico region, the Tignanello was the first Sangiovese to be aged in barriques (or barrels) and was the first contemporary wine blended with untraditional varieties including Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.

Earning 93-points from Wine Spectator, this “tig” as it is affectionately nicknamed, is full-bodied with rich notes of blackcurrant, cherry, leather, and earth on the palate. It is described by Wine Spectator as “firm and fleshy, with fine balance and a long, expressive finish.” Rob, on the other hand, decides to keep his tasting notes short and sweet “One Word: Intense” he describes it, “just the way I like it.” While a wine of this caliber deserves a Prime grade steak seared to perfection, Rob’s favourite pairings for it include: “weekends, jobs well done, celebrations, and family.”

The most fascinating aspect of the Tignanello, however, is its long history spanning six centuries and 26 generations of the Antinori family. Winemaking has been paramount for the family since 1385, when Giovanni di Piero Antinori joined the Florentine Winemaker’s Guild and linked the name to excellence in winemaking. Centuries later, they are committed to the deep-rooted family values which influence their acclaimed winemaking process.

“This wine over delivers”, Rob says, “my customers love getting a taste of Old World wine that is still very approachable on the palate.” So go ahead, indulge and let us know what you think!

From a whisper to a yell: How Whispering Angel changed the Rosé game

As of late, rosé has become synonymous with summer – not only as the drink of choice but as a lifestyle, just search #roséallday and you’ll see what I mean… What was once only associated with upper class holiday-goers and mostly confined to France, has skyrocketed in popularity. In 2018, blush coloured wines sales at Everything Wine grew in the double digits vs 2017 and is even more popular with millennials than avocado toast. Winemaker Sacha Lichine’s Whispering Angel is widely credited with launching this international rosé trend, but how did the wine from Château D’Esclans rise to this level of stardom?

Long before rosé themed apparel, pool floats, and gummy bears became the norm, Château D’Esclans began promoting Whispering Angel (the wine that Mr. Lichine touted as “probably the greatest wine brand to come out of France in the last 20 years”) in the United States. In the early 2000’s, there was hardly a market at all for rosé and it was reserved for those who ventured to Provence and returned home with it, but Whispering Angel slowly began infiltrating Nantucket summer homes and quickly made its way to Los Angeles hotspots. Whispering Angel did not have an aggressive advertising plan but rather, planted its pink-lacquered toes in places where millennials flocked. Eventually, the rosy-hued wine that started as a whisper became a worldwide phenomenon.

We get it, trend-seekers have fallen in love with the $40 wine, but is Whispering Angel actually that good? Wine critics seem to be eating (or drinking) it up just as much as the average wine fan with James Suckling declaring it “always delicious.” And The Times assuring that “It’s hard to find a fault with this sensational rosé.” The mighty Whispering Angel is extra dry, medium-bodied and tangy with refined notes of grapefruit, peach, and minerality. It’s best enjoyed with light shellfish dishes or salmon, and preferably while overlooking the Mediterranean.

Before it’s devoured, the Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah grapes – among the others that make up Whispering Angel spend their days basking under Provence’s sunlight prior to being harvested and sorted by hand. Both the free run juice and pressed juice are vinified in stainless steel tanks where they evolve into the rosé that has the wine industry, and the rest of the world, seeing pink.

The Whispering Angel rosé is anything but quiet, try it for yourself to see what all the fuss is about. But make sure it’s chilled, or you aren’t doing rosé right.

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