Try Something New!
Last weekend I took a wine course, ‘Methods in Modern Winemaking’, which is another chapter as I move closer to my Sommelier accreditation. I am so close. This course was taught by the talented winemaker of Blomidon Estate Winery in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia. And while we were learning, we were also experimenting. I think we tried 31 new wines last weekend, and although I had to spit out most of them as I was driving, there were a few that I finished. Here are a few of the highlights.
You know how some people like to eat dessert before their main meal. I’m going to take that approach with this week’s wine blog and start with a dessert wine. The Chateau Coutet Sauternes Barsac comes to us from the southwestern part of Bordeaux, and is one of the oldest Sauternes producing vineyards. Making heavenly dessert wines, I always thought I didn’t like sweet wines, until I experienced Sauternes or Royal Tokaji from Hungary. This is a taste of heaven in a glass. This estate dates back to the 1600’s, which means they have been making wine for a long long time…. and they are getting it right. I think it’s a perfect after-meal compliment, it will satisfy that sweet tooth without needing a heavy dessert. Gorgeous rich flavors of apricots,honey, and vanilla. Worth the treat, and you deserve it.
I can’t talk about dessert wines without mentioning the locally made Blomidon Vin de Paille. (pronounced Vin de Pie!) This is an exciting new style for this Nova Scotia vineyard, as it is a straw wine. As a matter of fact, Vin de Paille is french for straw wine. It is 100% Chardonnay grapes laid out on straw beds to dry for a significant time at the Blomidon estate. Once sufficiently dried, it is pressed and fermented and then it sits in oak casks for two years before bottling. Lovely orange and citrus flavors, with a very long lasting finish on the wine, this is a winner. And the national critics agree, one giving it 90 Points and a great price point at just $35.
So let’s head to the main course. One of my colleagues taking the course with me bought in this wine for us to try and we all shared it together. It was fantastic, and it’s another Canadian beauty. From the Niagara region in Ontario, the 2011 Domaine Quelus Cabernet Franc Merlot blend was made by legendary winemaker Thomas Bachelder. Named 2009’s winemaker of the year and known for his elegant European style, it came as no surprise this was awesome. This particular vintage won Gold at wine competitions and is regularly given 92+ points across the board. I love a good Bordeaux style blend, and this didn’t disappoint. Full-bodied with juicy fruit flavors from the Merlot and a nice floral note from the Cab Franc, it also has some nice tobacco flavors from the oak. A stellar wine, and a big thank you for allowing me to share this.
And now for my wine of the week….
Please excuse the Tim Horton’s cups in the background, we were using them as spitoons during the wine tasting. This Luis Felipe Edwards 2012 Dona Bernardo is a spectacular Bordeaux style blend from the Colchagua Valley in Chile. The lovely lady on the bottle is the winemaker’s mother. It’s primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with some Shiraz, Carmenere and Petite Verdot added in, for a wonderfully complex and interesting wine. This wine is $40 a bottle here where I live in Nova Scotia and worth every penny. If you are going to treat yourself to a good cut of beef, add this wine to the list and make it a Wow dining experience.
What a week for wine it’s been. And then yesterday I went to visit my friend Rayell and we tasted a couple of spectacular Italian wines. I will tell you all about them next week.
Till next week, Cheers