Ken Bracke, Sommelier prepared a wonderful selection of Spring wines from around the Globe. Be sure to stop in and pick up a couple for Easter, or just because it's finally spring!
Notes researched and prepared by Ken Bracke
1. Viticulteurs Reunis Kuhlmann Platz Cuvee Prestige Pinot Gris 2014 Hunawihr, Haut Rhin, Alsace, France 13% abv. $18.99 750 ml.
Cave Vinicole Hunawihr was formed in 1952 and has 120 members. In 2005, the respected journal Revue du Vin de France ranked CV Hunawihr as no. 3 of all cooperatives in the country on a list headed by La Chablisienne. The cooperatives are very important for the wine business in Alsace. In the region, there are 8,000 growers but "only" 1,300 producers.
After the Second World War, many families had lost everything, and few had the opportunity to re-invest in their wine making businesses. The growers, who often have just a few hectares, sell their grapes to the local cooperative, which then makes the wine. This is a textbook example of Pinot Gris from French province of Alsace. Tasting Notes (courtesy Majestic, United kingdom):An open, generous and straightforward wine, offering fresh pear and apricot fruit and a lifted smokiness.
- Girard 2014 Chardonnay Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, USA, 13.9 % abv. $28.99 750 ml.
The Girard Chardonnay is made entirely from grapes grown in the Russian River Valley, where cooling ocean breezes create an ideal climate for the grape. Girard sources their Chardonnay from three different vineyards: two from Dutton Ranch and La Porte Cochere. The Dutton vineyards are located in the cool southern parts of the Russian River Valley giving firmness, acid backbone, and defined expression; La Porte Cochere Vineyard is located in warmer Fulton, delivering ripe, full notes. 100% Chardonnay. Winemaker`s Notes: On the palate, the bright acidity laced with Mandarin orange, citrus peel and Bosc pear offers a welcome balance to the baking spice nose. As this wine coats the palate, note a layer of minerality and oak which does not domineer but, rather, adds character and a creamy finish to this Russian River classic.
- Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2014 WO Tygerberg, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 14.5% abv. $29.99 750 ml.
Spier is one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa with a recorded history dating back to 1692. While rooted in this heritage, Spier has a vibrant and conscious energy. Award-winning wine can be paired with fabulous food, grown either on the farm or by nearby farmers. The winery is one of the most awarded in the country. The Spier ethos is a connecting thread: at Spier it is all about balance. They constantly strive to find innovative ways to succeed while maintaining balance with the environment and society. The Spier farm has 21 architecturally significant gables – the most on any wine farm in South Africa, and all have been meticulously restored. This passionately made wine is named in honour of our gables. Winemaker’s Notes: Soft aromas of dried apricots with an oak and vanilla undertow on the nose. White fleshed peaches, almond paste and windfall oranges on the palate.
- Nik Weis St. Urbans Hof Riesling 2015 Estate Bottled VDP, Mosel, Germany $26.49 750 ml.
Nik Weis grew up in Leiwen and is now the third generation to run Weingut St. Urbans-Hof. Traveling around the world gave him many fascinating insights into the international wine business. Since 1997, when he joined Weingut St. Urbans-Hof with a fresh degree in winemaking and oenology in hand, he has dedicated himself to producing grand, authentic Mosel wines with tastes that reflect their origin. In 2000, the estate first founded by his grandfather was accepted into the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter (VDP). His passion lies in a constant exploration of the optimal balance between preserving centuries of tradition and harnessing valuable new innovations. The end goal however remains constant: wine of the finest quality. Winemaker’s Notes: A classic representative of Mosel Rieslings. It opens with the delicate aromatics of refined fruits. Artfully balancing sweetness with acidity, it fuses freshness with filigreed minerality to deliver a sincere white wine.
- 50th Parallel Estate 2015 Gewurztraminer VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C. Canada 13.5% abv. $19.99 750 ml.
Curtis Krouzel and Sheri-Lee Turner-Krouzel, along with their highly skilled team, have created a world-class wine destination only 15 minutes from the Kelowna airport. The estate has been built from scratch in stages. In 2009, the couple hand-planted the first 10 acres of vines. Curtis then engineered a planting machine tuned to the needs of the steep rocky property and now planting is compete with 50 acres now under vine. They are now sourcing additional new properties to expand their vineyards. In 2011, the first wines were released from 50th Parallel; a modest 700 cases. In 2016, the winery produced close to 14,000 cases of wine. The first portion of the main winery building opened for harvest in 2014 and the expansion, including the restaurant and new tasting center, will be open in spring 2018. Winemaker’s Notes: Appearance: Bright, clear, pale wheat sheaf. Aroma: aromatic; essences of passionfruit, lychee nut, and mango, hint of allspice and honeysuckle. Palate: slightly off dry, deceptively lush and mouth filling showing tropical melon fruits: honeydew, dragonfruit, ruby grapefruit framed by a slight Indian spice. Acidity balances the tropical textures.
- Paul Jaboulet Ainé Parallel 45 Rosé 2015 Côtes du Rhône, Tain L’Hermitage, France, 13% abv. $18.99 750 ml.
In 1834, Antoine Jaboulet started working the land in this region thereby linking his destiny with that of this fertile terroir. By dint of hard work and passion, his vines were to provide him with a wine of exceptional quality, to be perpetuated by his sons, Paul and Henri. It was Paul who then gave his name to the business. Since then, the generations have continued to succeed one another. The company is currently undergoing sustainable agriculture qualification, which restricts the use of herbicides in the soil, favours organic fertilisers to encourage the development of micro-organisms, and allows the vines to thrust their roots deep into the ground. The vines consequently benefit from the natural and varied nourishment of the soil. This Côtes du Rhône Rosé takes its name from the 45th North parallel which runs two kilometres from their cellars. In the village of Pont de l’Isère, a monument symbolises this line with an inscription: “The South begins here”. Thewine has had this name since the beginning of the 1950s. Grape Variety: 50% Grenache ; 40% Cinsault ; 10% Syrah. Winemaker’s Notes: Colour: Attractive salmon pink colour, with brilliant tint. Bouquet: Intense and rich with very ripe berries. Palate: Ample and generous with tart red berries and an attractive final note of freshness.
- Spier Signature Rosé 2015 Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa, 13% abv. $15.99 750 ml.
Much like every chef has a signature dish, Spier has wines that are the hallmark of their winemaking style. The Spier Signature Collection offers single varietal wines that are always consistent in their character expression of each grape variety. This collection speaks the truth with a clarity that is repeated again and again, with every vintage. In the case of this rosé, it is not a single varietal, but a blend: 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir. Winemaker’s Notes: Light salmon pink. Aromas of strawberries and yellow apple, with a crisp fruit finish.
- Belle Glos Pinot Noir Blanc 2015 Oeil de Perdrix, Sonoma Coast, USA, 13% abv. $32.99 750 ml
Belle Glos showcases distinctive Pinot Noirs produced from California’s most noteworthy coastal wine-growing regions. While each vineyard location lies near the Pacific Ocean, the climate differences are significant, varying with the amount of fog, wind, sunlight, and soil type at each site. Each Vineyard Designate is crafted to distill the purest essence of the locale into elegant expressions of California Pinot Noir. Owner/winemaker Joe Wagner chose the name Belle Glos (pronounced “BELL GLOSS”) to honor his grandmother, Lorna Belle Glos Wagner. Lorna was a co-founder of Caymus Vineyards, an inspirational figure to Joseph and an avid lover of Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir Blanc is something new and unique from the Wagner Family: a rosé produced entirely from Pinot Noir. Oeil De Perdrix means "eye of the partridge" in French and it's the term they use for these pale-copper colored rose wines. The grapes are grown in their vineyards in Sonoma with the specific purpose of producing a ripe and vibrant rosé. Winemaker`s Notes: Pale pink with a copper hue, classic “eye of the partridge” color. Citrus-driven aromas carry through to the palate. On entry, bright acidity and flavors of pink grapefruit and lemon zest enliven the orange creamsicle notes; hints of dried apricot and sweet spice add complexity. The brightness verges on minerality, but there is so much weight that the richness balances out the firm acidity and carries the flavors of dried fruit through the long-lasting finish.
- Road 13 Honest John’s Rosé 2015 VQA Oliver, B.C. Canada, 13.5% abv. $20.99 750 ml.
Road 13 Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery located between Osoyoos and Oliver, at Highway 97 and Road 13 on the Okanagan Valley’s historic “Golden Mile.” The winery has a short but colourful past and continually receives ongoing critical acclaim for making wines that many feel are a quintessential expression of Okanagan Valley terroir. Pam and Mick Luckhurst purchased this property, already up and running as ‘Golden Mile Winery’, in 2003, and have since expanded their 23 acres with further vineyard parcels. ‘Honest John’ is a reference to former Premier john Oliver, who governed BC through some difficult times, including the readjustments after World War I and the economic depression of the early 1920s. He is remembered as a simple man with considerable integrity. Winemaker’s Notes: The 2015 Honest John’s Rosé has a medium brick color. The wine bursts of intense and lifted notes of fresh strawberries, cinnamon & cranberries. All varieties are working well together to create a complex and powerful wine. The palate is generous and round delivering a huge cocktail of red berries and beetroot flavors.
- Bodega Pirineos Alquézar Rosado Somontano DOC Spain 12.5% abv. $17.99 750 ml
Alquézar takes its name from a beautiful medieval village in the Sierra de Guara, in the heart of the Somontano. Alquézar pink has become a benchmark within the rosé wines of Aragón. Developed since 1990, each harvest has been increasing in expression and finesse, getting a soft wine and with a pleasant "spark" added by a slight frizzante. Tasting Notes (courtesy of Arturo Gaston): Intense strawberry pink. Fruity aromas of cherries, violets, mint. Palate is soft,with a rich sweetness balanced by the presence of carbon that gives it freshness. Great fruity sensation both on the nose and on the palate, with a great aromatic persistence.
LIST OF SOURCES Prepared and researched by Ken Bracke
Gaston, Arturo, Alquézar Pink, Refreshing and Sweet, AG Communication, December 19, 2016
Robinson, Jancis, Vines, Grapes, and Wines: The Wine Drinker’s Guide To Grape Varieties, Mitchell Beazley, Octopus Publishing Group, London, 2002
Stevenson, Tom, The Sotheby’s Wine Encyclopedia: The Classic Reference To The Wines Of The World, 4th Edition Revised 2007, Dorling Kindersley, New York