Looking for that special something this Christmas for the oenophile in your life? How about a Bordeaux style blend? Many countries have emulated the success of Bordeaux and have created their own expressions of the classic Bordeaux recipe. Last November, I posted a blog about the En Primeur Bordeaux we carry in the store. This year, I’m focussing on wines from different countries. All are takes on the Bordeaux recipe: some exactly conforming, some spinning it in the direction of their own varieties suited to their particular climates. All of them are gift-worthy, all have been tested in the crucible of events I have conducted with clients. I haven’t indicated cellaring guidelines; all except the Bordeaux Blanc (but even it will mature for a time in a good cellar)will definitely have good to excellent potential for medium to long term ageing. All are available at the time of writing, but you might have to check with staff if it’s in the store or we have to put it on an order. A caveat, as usual, the wines are available until they are not, prices are subject to change without notice. P.S. You don’t have to buy an entire case; these are wines we regularly carry, so there is no minimum (feel free to order a case if that’s your desire!!). Et maintenant, les vins!!
Château Recougne Bordeaux Superieur Blanc 2020 13% abv. Bordeaux, Fronsac, France, $22.49 750 ml
The white wine from Château Recougne is one of the hidden gems in the Milhade family portfolio. The Milhade family has been landowners in Bordeaux for three generations and currently own six properties in the right bank regions of Saint-Emilion, Lussac- Saint-Emilion, Lalande-de-Pomerol, and Bordeaux Supérieur. Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Sauvignon Gris. Vinification: The grapes are harvest in the early morning to keep temperatures low, and are then destemmed and crushed. The must is given 12 hours of skin contact before pressing. Fermentation then takes place in stainless steel at low temperature. Malolactic is blocked. The wine is aged 3-4 months in stainless steel on the fine lees before bottling in January following the vintage. Winemaker’s Notes: This blend of Sauvignon, Sémillon and Sauvignon Gris has a robe with golden reflections, a brilliant gold color. Explosive aromas characterized by floral notes, lemon, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits, green apple...This dry white wine will go wonderfully with seafood, oysters in particular, as well as grilled fish. The palate is lively and refreshing, with tangy flavors.
Les Vins Rouge
Le Volte Dell’ Ornellia 2018 I.G.P. 14% abv. Toscana, Italy, $33.49 750 ml
Tenuta Ornellaia is among the original Super-Tuscan producers who challenged the status quo of the Italian wine industry in the 1980s. Ornellaia wines were hardly affordable for an average wine lover until they released the entry-level wine Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 1991. Le Volte is produced by the same team and with the same care as their flagship wine. 67% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 13% Sangiovese. Vinification: The different varietals were fermented separately in small steel tanks to maintain their varietal characteristics intact. The alcoholic fermentation was followed by malolactic fermentation, again in steel tanks. The wine was then aged for 10 months, partly in barrique used for Ornellaia and partly in cement tanks, to obtain the perfect balance between tannic structure and an expression of fresh fruit. Winemaker’s Notes: Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2018 perfectly reflects the characteristics of the vintage, revealing great elegance and balance. Its nose is wonderfully complex, very fruity with delicate floral and spicy notes. The tannic and smooth texture is striking on the palate, ending in a crisp and lively finish.
Osoyoos Larose Le Grand Vin 2017 V.Q.A. 14.5% abv. Okanagan Valley, Canada, $55.99 750 ml
A partnership between Groupe Taillan of Bordeaux and Vincor Canada was solidified in 1998 with the mutual goal of creating an ultra-premium Canadian wine. After many field studies, the people of Osoyoos Larose decided to settle where they are now (nestled next to the majestic Osoyoos Lake). It is one of the hottest points in Canada and favourable for planting the various Bordeaux grape varieties that make up the estate’s wines. The 2017 blend: 61.4% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7.6% Petit Verdot, and 5% Malbec. Tasting Notes (courtesy Anthony Gismondi): Merlot dominant, with plush black cherries, blackberries, on a velvet palate, structured via the cabernets, and raging with chewy tannins. The fruit is very ripe and dense, with ample impact and intensity at this youthful stage, and will reward with time in the cellar.
Famille Sichel La Reserve D’Angludet 2016 13% abv. Margaux, France, $51.99 750 ml
(See Ken’s Picks August 2022)
La Réserve d'Angludet is the second wine of the Château d'Angludet. It comes from the same 34 Ha of vines that counts Angludet's vineyard. There are no main differences in the way the vines are cultivated and the vinification methods between Angludet and Reserve d'Angludet. 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot. Vinification: Fermentation is in temperature controlled vats and the wine is macerated for 20 to 30 days. Ageing in barrel (20% new each year) lasts for 6 to 12 months, depending on the vintage. During this time, it is racked every 3 to 4 months and fined with egg white before being bottled. Winemaker’s Notes: The result of a legendary year, this wine is the expression of its exceptional terroir – elegant and charming! Deeply coloured, still deep purple at rim, with a richly layered bouquet that marries jammy fruit – blackcurrant and blackberry –with the toasty, vanilla notes of the barrel. The dense, warming palate is refined throughout, with an elegant tannic structure resulting from its distinguishes rerroir. Note: the name in future will be La Dame D’Angludet.
Constantia Uitsig 2017 14.5% abv. Constantia, South Africa, $33.99 750 ml
Constantia Uitsig is located in what can be described as the "Cradle of winemaking" in the Cape and has a long history, being part of the first wine producing estate in South Africa, dating back to the mid-1600s. Merlot 58%, Cabernet Sauvignon 37%, Cabernet Franc 5%. Franc 5%. Vinification: Grapes are hand harvested in the cool of the morning and fermented on the skins. After pressing, the wine is racked to 225 litre French oak barrels of which 70% are new. The wine spends a total of 15 months in barrels. Winemaker’s Notes: This quintessential cool-climate red blend reveals complex aromas of cigar box, plums and herbs that follow through on the palate. A finely balanced wine, with ripe tannins and a fresh, pleasantly persistent finish.
Emiliana Coyam Los Robles Estate 2018 14% abv. Valle De Colchagua, Chile, $32.49 750 ml
'Los Robles' refers to the native oak forests that carpet the valley, creating a breathtakingly beautiful park-like environment teeming with birds, insects, and flowers. 42% Syrah, 39% Carmenere, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Garnacha, 3% Malbec, 3% Carignan, 1% Tempranillo, 1% Mourvedre.Vinification: stainless steel tanks for fermentation using only native yeasts at 24–26ºC. Depending on the variety, the new wine remains on its skins for a 5-day post-fermentation maceration at 22–24ºC for a total maceration time of 20–25 days. Malolactic follows. Natural stabilization: no treatment. Slight filtration. Ageing: 18 months, 75% in 225 L French oak barrels (mix of new barrels, one- and second-use), 15% in 2,000- and 5,000-liter foudres, and 10% in concrete eggs. Winemaker’s Notes: The wine shows a deep red color with raspberry-colored rims. It is complex on the nose, with black fruits like plums and blackberries, fresh Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary and lavender, spices, notes of mocha, and graphite. It offers a silky texture on the palate, a medium volume, and elegant tannins. It is a long and fruity wine. Certified Organic, Vegan Friendly
Mascota Vineyards Unánime Gran Vino Tinto 2017 14% abv. Valle De Uco, Mendoza, Argentina, $30.99 750 ml
“Unánime” comes from the Latin “Unanimis” referring to being in complete harmony or accord. Although considered part of the Mendoza region, the Uco Valley can be recognized in its own right on several counts. Located at a latitude of 33°S (think Algeria, Tunisia) the area's elevated vineyard sites (850-1100 meters above sea level) benefit from high daytime temperatures combined with cooler nights. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Franc. Winemaker’s Notes: Deep cherry-red in color, this blend stands out for the intensity of its fruit flavors and its aromatic complexity. It offers aromas of tobacco and chocolate, along with a touch of black pepper and some fleshy notes.
Elderton Ode To Lorraine 2018 14.7% abv. Barossa Valley, Australia, $53.99 750 ml
In 1982, Lorraine Ashmead, daughter of Samuel Elderton, restored a derelict property along with her husband Neil, and Elderton was born. Although she is now retired, her family continues the wine making legacy. 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Shiraz, 4% Merlot. Vinification: Fruit is fermented in open cement vats and pressed off to a combination of new and 1-2 year old French oak for malolactic fermentation and development over 2 years. Winemaker’s Notes: Careful barrel selection and blending ensures a balance of freshness and spice from the dominant Cabernet Sauvignon and fleshy fruit from Shiraz with Merlot helping to seamlessly bring the wine together.
axr Proprietary Red Wine 2019 14.7% abv. Napa Valley, California, $59.99 750 ml
Named after the axr rootstock (aramond x rupestris) that was so prominent in building the modern California wine industry, axr#1 eventually succumbed to phylloxera and most of California wine country was left as a blank canvas. Vintners had a chance to replant and to rethink the entire structure of the vineyards. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. Winemaker’s Notes: Deep, dark ink with touches of ruby and Ferrari Red in appearance. An explosion of cedar, salt, rosemary and violet with lavender, roses, blackberries and vanilla extract, lingering of tulips and blueberry pie. Soft entrance evolving on a fruity mid palate with touches of blueberry and blackberry jam, lingering on granular fine tannins with plum and cherry pit.
Clos De Los Siete 2018 by Michel Rolland 14.5% abv Valle De Uco, Argentina, $26.99 750 ml
This is one of the Argentine projects of the world-renowned Michel Rolland, influential wine maker and consultant stationed in Bordeaux. 2018 Recipe : 55% Malbec, 19% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot , 2% Cabernet Franc. Vinification: Cold pre-fermentation maceration. Maturing: 11 months – 70 % in oak barrels (1/3 new French oak barrels, 1/3 in one year old barrel, 1/3 two years old); 30% in vats. Winemaker’s Notes: Clos de los Siete 2018 has a beautiful deep red colour with glints of ruby. The nose is characterized by intense, complex aromatic expression with scents of dark fruit, blackberries and blueberries, and floral notes accompanied by delicate hints of spice. The palate is generous, silky and full-bodied. The blend presents a remarkable balance between well-rounded tannins, intense fruit, and good concentration. This wine has a characteristic freshness and beautiful length on the palate. Seductive, elegant and complex, it has great potential to improve with age. Vegan Friendly
List Of Sources
Boulanger, Normand, Osoyoos Larose, Pioneer of Great Canadian Wines, Gentology, January 24, 2021, updated September 6, 2022
Marlise Ponzo, Marlise, Osoyoos Larose Estate Winery, B.C. Wine
Review: Ornellaia Le Volte dell’Ornellaia 2018, August 8, 2021, Wineswinging
Willcox, Kathleen, The Rise of Micro-Managed Cover Crops in the Battle Against Climate Change, Winemag, September 15, 2022