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Top 15 wines for New Year’s Eve

 

Starting the tear on the right foot also means starting with the right wine. 2020 will be a fabulous year, you need to greet it as so. Here’s a few wines & spirits to let your festive version of yourself share and enjoy with your friends and family. And remember, life’s too short to drink bad wine, this could be one of the best new year resolution ever! And I can even help you with it!!

Bubbles

#1 Devaux Coeur des Bar Blanc De Noirs Brut      SAQ : 55.25$

The small region of the Aube, a little isolated from the rest of Champagne, also called Côte des bars hides some impressive jewels. In this region, the pinot noir is largely majority (a little more than 80%). It is therefore quite natural that Maison Devaux offers us, with this Coeur des Bar champagne, a blanc de noir 100% pinot noir! This vinous champagne with an aging of 3 years has intense aromas of ripe citrus, notes of toast, all sprinkled with white flowers. On the palate, the finesse and delicacy of the bubbles is matched only by the aromatic power of the wine.

#2 Champagne Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé           SAQ : 119.25 $

Today, François and Antoine Roland-Billecart represent the 6th generation of the domain. It has a sense of hidden gem or discreet little treasure. The perfectly maintained garden, the family home and all the different production buildings represent a good part of the small village of Mareuil-Sur-Aÿ. Brut Rosé is probably the most famous wine in the area, it is a gourmet rosé. The pale, salmon and distinctive color is a well-kept secret. Any question concerning it directly or indirectly would be treated with a strict look. Lively, dry, full of fruit and tight acidity, this is a delicious champagne. It is textured and zesty, with a fragrant layer and some notes of toast and nuts.

#3 Parés Baltà Blanca Cusiné  2011                            SAQ: 36.00 $

This blend of traditional Xarel-lo, and two historic grape varieties for the production of sparkling wines: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir knows how to demonstrate the excellence and potential of Spanish Cavas and sparkling wines. The ripe aromas of dried fruit, ginger and yeast blend with the vinous and Rancio character. The lemon palate is lively, with a taste of candied grapefruit and tangerine. Notes of lightly buttered toast and white pepper appear on the finish to give complexity to throw yourself on the ground.

#4 Bera Vittorio e figli Moscato d’Asti, Bera Canelli 2017   SAQ :24.50 $

In 1964, Vittorio Bera e Figli was the first family vineyard to bottle and market its own Moscato d’Asti in Canelli, the most famous Moscato growing area in Piedmont. The history of the estate is venerable and dates back to 1785. There is a richness of flavor and striking texture through the sweetness, layers of complexity, deeply perfumed notes of tangerine skin, white flower and peach, which allow it to age well even. This is a good surprise from a category which, at its best, even among reputable winegrowers, is generally only a light and pleasant sigh of a sweet and simple wine.

#5 Ottopiu V8 + Sior Carlo Brut Millesimato 2018                                 SAQ: 17.55$

This Prosecco is very interesting with a solid salty side. Its delicate floral notes, almonds and green apples are simple, but very fresh. The bubbles are quite fine, slightly frothy, especially for a Prosecco, which gives it an elegant and full touch. This is a very good example of the potential of Prosecco.

#6 Fiol Prosecco                                          SAQ: 15.90$

The word “fiol” comes from the dialect spoken in Venice in the 1400s. It means “ragazzo”, or “dude”, but used with friends, it identifies the brightest of them. FIOL is a sparkling wine with a delicate straw yellow color, with clear aromas of pear and melon with lemon and acacia flowers. It has light alcohol content and a lively acidity which is not overpowering, but which gives it perfect freshness. Simple, frank, honest.

White

#7 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Saint-Péray Les Sauvagères 2017       SAQ : 27.75$

A confidential appellation but which deserves to be known by all. Here, the “Les Sauvagère” cuvée is a marsanne hymn, a grape variety known of course but also quite rare. This white, rich in color as in taste, will not leave indifferent, lovers of great white wines from the Rhône. The fruity structure is perfectly preserved and the minerality is omnipresent.

RED

#8 Domaine de Longue Toque Gigondas 2016                                          SAQ : 43.00$

The Gigondas wines of Domaine de Longue Toque spread out on 18ha, the Ouvèze river to the Dentelles de Montmirail. Before the acquisition in 1991 this vineyard belonged to the Chapalain family. The 201 vintage has a very deep and concentrated smell almost sweet and candied because of the intense ripeness. It’s reminiscent of chocolate coated cherries and cranberries. It’s structured, yet very approachable and lengthy.

#9 Château Pesquié Ventoux Terrasses 2017                                              SAQ: 17.55$

This is considered the blend of all the soil portfolio of the now Biodynamic estate. A little bit of all the geologic diversity and the variety diversity. Even if Grenache is dominant, it feels like syrah is dominant in tasting bringing interesting notes of graphite, new leather and violets as well as structure and pepper tones.

#10 Milhistorias Garnacha Manchuela 2018             SAQ : 15.95$

Perched at an altitude of more than 1100 meters, the 120 hectares of Alto Landon are among the highest in Spain. This excellent organic wine has an intense and bright cherry colour. The nose is clean and intense, lots of black fruits, candy and floral notes.  A medley of plum, strawberry, black cherry and black currant with undertones of white pepper, earthy notes, and a very pleasant balsamic end.This is elegant, crisp with mineral undertones and notes of rosemary and cedar that emerge as the wine evolves – not to mention the soft but vibrant tannins.

#11 Fattoria dei barbi, brunello di Montalcino 2013                                  SAQ: 48.85 $

As the first Brunello imported in the USA, and with a growing part of the production destined to export, 55% going towards 60%, Fattoria dei Barbi  is a historic estate that continues to be a pioneer in Tuscan wines. If the name doesn’t sound a clue, the very recognizable blue label might. This Brunello is the benchmark of the estate, consistent, classic and made every year, independently of the vintage conditions. This wine is an explosion of flavors with a great variety in its aromatic profile: Underbrush, dark spices, herbs, wild berries aromas lead the nose. The solid palate offers Maraschino cherry, prune and ground clove alongside firm tannins.

#12 Petra Zingari Toscana 2015                         SAQ: 19.45$

Petra is the Tuscan project of Vittorio moretti’s daughter, Francesca Moretti. It was started from scratch on top of Maremma where it used to be a swamp. That was already 20 years ago. It all started with a single 4 hectares plot where varietals were mix in an experimental stages. They managed to find the most suited varietals and this plot is now used to produce the Zingari Label. The little experiment has grown as the estate is now 300 hectares wide. To explore the region may appear as trendy at that time, but it wasn’t an obvious choice to established this estate isolated from Bolgheri, in the lesser known region of Val di Cornia and the newly allowed Suvereto DOCG.

Quite the unique & rustic wine. The structure is bold and nonchalant at the same time and there’s just the whole spice rack, fresh and dry, in there. The personalized and complex approach is very interesting overall. It may not be the most elegant & refined wine but it has an interesting originality.

#13 Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz Barossa 2017            SAQ : 19.95$

Peter Lehmann is a man closely linked with the Barossa history, but the estate history is mostly one of collectivity and mutual help. In 1977, as winemaker at the Saltram winery in Barossa, he had to deal with a serious surplus of grapes. That troublesome vintage was growing into a major problem for the region/growers and this went on into vintage 1978 too. Peter took on the side project to use those grapes left behind and built his own brand called Masterson wines. This was a huge gamble as all the agreement were based on a ‘Pay now, I promess to deliver in two years’ basis. As time passed by, the focus really switched to quality wines that represent the Barossan identity and terroir.

The newest release of Peter Lehmann does showcase the winemaker’s team vision. They wanted to work and have a special care for the tannins and structure of the wine. The goal was to make it smooth and soft which was a success. The wine is as flavoursome as it can get with an integrated structure filled with tannins, yes, but with a silky soft texture.

Others

#14 Sainte Marie Rhum épicé                              SAQ : 37.00$

The raw material for this well-known Quebec-made rhum is a green molasses from Guatemala. This bright and pinkish spitrit comes from a maceration of a few ingredients. First there are the fruits (cantaloupes and cranberries from Quebec) and then there are the spices (star anise, Sichuan pepper and Jamaican pepper). It’s very different from anything we’re used to when it comes to spiced rum. There’s a simplicity and a festive side to this unique taste!

#15 J.H. Andresen 10 ans                                          SAQ : 27.45 $

Founded in 1845, JH Andresen is one of the few 100% family-owned port houses in Portugal. All of Andresen’s ports are now located in Quinta das Aranhas, near the river, in the heart of the Douro region. Certainly, a little age can give a rich and complex aromatic profile to white ports. Soft, ripe and silky, the wine has a rounded character which is balanced by a frank and delicious acidity. Quince, honey and wild flowers come to mind. It is rich, full of fruit, with a wooden touch and a nice caramel note. It shows the typical characteristics of a 10 year old Tawny, but with the delicacy of white Ports.

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LES VINS DE PROVENCE – Every body wants the Provence’s touch.

Provence, so beautiful, so welcoming, is perhaps more recognized  as a sun destination for many French and many foreigners, but also for the success not only dazzling, but rather exemplary of their rosés. 5% of the world’s rosés come from Provence, it may seem little to you, but for such a small region and facing all the world production, they are positioned as the rosé leader in the world, well ahead of all the competition.

So what makes the difference? Producers in Provence wake up every day to make rosé. It is not just another product in their range, it is their priority and often their exclusivity. Everything is adapted in order to make rosé, the best possible rosé, from the grape varieties chosen up to each stage of winemaking. It is a specific know-how that was developed there, unparalleled expertise. It has also become a way of life, a habit linked to a desire for discovery and conviviality. Drinking rosé is trendy, but drinking rosé de Provence is classy!

Designations

Essentially, Provence and its almost 27,000 hectares is divided into three PDOs: Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence. Each of them has very specific characteristics and together they represent 85% of the Provence vineyard. There are also 6 other smaller but unique appellations: Bandol, Bellet, Cassis, Coteaux de Pierrevert, Les Baux de Provence and Palette.

The Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence vines are the most westerly of Provence wines. It’s a bit like the gateway to the Mistral towards the rest of Provence. Coming from Bouches-du-Rhône, it will then cross the entire coastal region.

Coteaux Varois de Provence is also called the heart of Provence. It is the smallest of the three appellations with only 2,600 hectares. The soil is mainly composed of Limestone, combined with the altitude, the result gives wines with good acidity, complex aromas and structure.

Côtes de Provence was the first appellation recognized in 1977, it is the largest with 71% of the production. Since it is more extensive, many factors affect the vines. The influence of the sea, the hills, the Mistral form notable differences across the vineyard. It is for this reason that there is research and development work at the level of the Sub-regions. There are currently four and they are called terroir denominations.

Sainte Victoire

Recognized in 2005, the Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire vineyard is located at the foot of the Sainte-Victoire Mountain. Rather mountainous and continental with just enough Mistral to protect the vines from potential disease.

Pierrefeu

PierreFeu was recognized fairly recently in 2013. Between sea and mountains, PierreFeu benefits from a beautiful combination of maritime and continental. This denomination of terroir is often associated with the aromas of Garrigue and fennel.

La Londe

Recognized in 2008, with LaLonde, we get even closer to the Sea. That is to say, more wind, less precipitation and a particularly temperate climate.

Frejus

Recognized in 2005, like Sainte-Victoire, Fréjus is one of the only places characterized by the presence of volcanic soils, but also sandy-clay and stony. Among them are the Tibouron, a red grape originally from Greece but now almost exclusively associated with Provence.

Notre-Dame-des-Anges

Since the beginning of the year, a brand new terroir nomination has emerged: Notre-dame-des-anges. At more than 700 meters above sea level, it is protected from maritime influence, and has large temperature differences between winter and summer. The name Notre-Dame-des-Anges comes from an emblematic summit which dominates the whole region with viticultural meaning and a historical link

The recognition of a new terroir is part of a very important guideline for the appellation. The project to delimit and identify the different regions is a priority. It’s a process that takes time, but is already well underway. For now, the name has been accepted, but the Ministry of Agriculture has not signed the decree. As soon as this is done and announced, the winemakers will be able to declare the wines of the next harvest, 2019, in Notre-Dame-Des-Anges, Côtes de Provence.

Valérie LeLong, Export Marketing & Communication Manager at CIVP, has agreed to enlighten us on the concept of terroir Designation

It is more than a selection, the union of the Côte de Provence appellation does the work well upstream. For example, for the Ste Victoire, which had their approval at the level of the INAO in 2005, one must have started at least ten years beforehand.

In fact, the concept is on a very specific territory, to define with the local winemakers, what brings them together or not. If a denomination of terroir exists on a defined geographical space, there is a typicity of soils, climate and especially collective production which is defined. In other words, the winemakers work in the same way on the same type of soil and on a defined territory.

The winemakers are enormously committed, and nothing can be done if they are not there and if they have not already started working together beforehand. They must have the same typicity of rosés, reds. They don’t make it. This typicity exists because their working method, combined with the soil and the climate made it already exist. The INAO does not recognize the existence of the terroir designation unless all these factors are combined. Then, a specification is added to that of the Côtes de Provence. Generally, these specifications will be more restrictive than that of generic designation. Certain number of grape varieties to use, dates of wine release or longer aging, etc. Currently, apart from Lalonde which has been recognized as white, the other appellations are only on reds and rosés.

The union is currently working on two other zones, two other potential denominations of terroir. They have been working with winegrowers in the sector for several years now. On average, it takes ten years to gather all the information.”

Some suggestions

Château Ste-Roseline

It all started from a source where a hermit decided to settle. Then, Roseline was transformed through the decades into an Oratory and an Abbey. In the 14th century, the site became one of the first vineyards in Provence even before Provence was a wine region. Aurélie BERTIN TEILLAUD is now at the head of this property, succeeding not only her father, but also many important figures in viticulture in the region including Baron Henri de Rasque de Laval who was at the origin of the 18 classified growths from Provende and the Provence wine syndicate.

Domaine les Béates, Les béatines 2018

This estate located in the commune of Lambesc was acquired by Jean-Pierre Terrat in 2002, long supported by Michel Chapoutier in an approach to adapt the vineyard to biodynamic culture. The vineyard now pursues biodynamic principles and the lunar calendar, but abandoned certification after ten years to focus on quality. Characterized by tension and salinity, the wines offer a very satisfactory expression.

 

LES VINS DE PROVENCE – Tout le monde cherche à avoir un air de Provence.

La Provence, si belle, si accueillante n’est peut-être plus reconnue qu’en tant que destination soleil pour bien des français et bien des étrangers, mais aussi pour le succès pas seulement fulgurant, mais plutôt exemplaire de leur rosés. 5% des rosés proviennent de la Provence, cela peut vous paraître peu, mais pour une si petite région et face à toute la production mondiale, ils se placent comme leader du rosé dans le monde, bien devant toute la compétition.

Alors, qu’est-ce qui fait la différence? Les producteurs en Provence se réveillent à tous les jours pour faire du rosé. Ce n’est pas qu’un autre produit dans leur gamme, c’est leur priorité et souvent leur exclusivité. Tout est adapté dans le but de faire du rosé, le meilleur rosé possible, à partir des cépages choisis jusqu’à chaque étape de la vinification. C’est un savoir-faire spécifique qui s’est développé, une expertise sans pareille. C’est aussi devenu un mode de vie, une habitude liée à une envie de découvertes et de convivialité. Boire du rosé, c’est tendance, mais boire du rosé de Provence, c’est la classe!

Appellations

Essentiellement, la Provence et ses presque 27 000 hectares  est séparée en trois AOP : Côtes de Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, Coteaux Varois en Provence. Chacune d’entre elles ont des caractéristiques bien précises et ensemble, elles représentent 85% du vignoble provençal. On compte aussi 6 autres appellations plus petites, mais uniques : Bandol, Bellet, Cassis, Coteaux de Pierrevert, Les Baux de Provence et Palette.

Les vignes des Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence sont les plus à l’ouest des vins de Provence. C’est un peu la porte d’entrée du Mistral vers le reste de la Provence. Venant des Bouches-du-Rhône, il traversera ensuite toute la région côtière.

Coteaux Varois de Provence est aussi appelé le cœur de la Provence. C’est la plus petite des trois appellations avec seulement 2600 hectares. Le sol est majoritairement composé de Calcaire, combiné à l’altitude, le résultat donne des vins avec une bonne acidité, des arômes complexes et de la structure.

Côtes de Provence a été la première appellation reconnue en 1977, c’est la plus grande avec 71% de la production. Puisqu’elle est plus étendue, de nombreux facteurs viennent affecter les vignes. L’influence de la mer, des collines, du Mistral forment des différences notables à travers le vignoble. C’est pour cette raison qu’il y a un travail de recherche et de développement au niveau des Sous-régions. Il y en a présentement quatre et on les nomme dénominations de terroir.

Sainte Victoire

Reconnue en 2005, le vignoble des Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire se situe au pied de la Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Plutôt montagneux et continental avec juste assez de Mistral pour protéger les vignes de maladies potentielles.

PierreFeu

PierreFeu  été reconnue assez récemment en 2013. Entre mer et Montagnes, PierreFeu profite d’une belle combinaison de maritime et de continental. Cet dénomination de terroir est souvent associé aux arômes de Garrigue et de fenouil.

LaLonde

Reconnue en 2008, avec LaLonde, on se rapproche encore plus de la Mer. C’est-à-dire, plus de vent, moins de précipitation et un climat particulièrement tempéré.

Fréjus

Reconnue en 2005, tout comme Sainte-Victoire, Fréjus est l’un des seuls endroits caractérisé par une présence de sols volcaniques, mais aussi sablo-argileux et caillouteux. On y retrouve entre autres, le  Tibouron, un cépage rouge originaire de Grèce mais maintenant presque uniquement associé à la Provence.

Notre-Dame-Des-Anges

Depuis le début de l’année, une toute nouvelle de nomination de terroir a vu le jour : Notre-dame-des-anges. À plus de 700 mètres d’altitude, elle est protégée de l’influence maritime, et présente de grands écarts de température entre l’hiver et l’été. Le nom Notre-Dame-des-Anges vient d’un sommet emblématique qui domine tout le terroir ayant une signification viticole et un lien historique

La reconnaissance d’un nouveau terroir fait partie d’une ligne directrice très importante pour l’appellation. Le projet de délimitation et d’identification des différents terroirs est une priorité. C’est un procédé qui prend du temps, mais qui est déjà bien entamé. Pour l’instant, La dénomination a été acceptée, mais il manque la signature du décret par le ministère de  l’agriculture. Dès que ce sera fait et annoncé, les vignerons pourront déclarer les vins de la prochaine récolte, 2019, en Notre-Dame-Des-Anges, Côtes de Provence.

Valérie LeLong, Responsable Marketing & Communication Export au CIVP, sur le concept de dénomination de terroir

C’est plus qu’une sélection, le syndicat de l’appellation côte de Provence fait le travail bien en amont. Par exemple pour les ste victoire, qui ont eu leur agrément au niveau de l’INAO en 2005, on doit avoir commencé au moins dix ans en amont.

En fait, le concept est sur un territoire bien précis, de définir avec les vignerons locaux, ce qui les réunis ou pas. Si une dénomination de terroir existe sur un espace géographique  défini, il y a une typicité de sols, de climat et surtout de production collective qui est définie. C’est-à-dire, que les vignerons travaillent d’une même façon sur un même type de sols et sur un territoire défini.

Les vignerons sont énormément engagés, et rien ne peut se faire si eux n’y sont pas et si en amont ils n’ont pas déjà commencer à travailler ensemble. Ils doivent avoir une même typicité de rosés, de rouges. Ils ne le fabrique pas. Cette typicité existe parce que leur méthode de travail, allié au sol et au climat faisait que ça existait déjà. L’INAO ne reconnait l’existence de la dénomination de terroir que s’il y a tous ces facteurs réunis. Ensuite, un cahier des charges viennent s’ajouter à celui des Côtes de Provence. Généralement, ce cahier des charges sera plus restrictif que celui d’appellation générique. Certains  nombre de cépages à utiliser, des dates de relâchement des vins ou d’élevage plus long, etc. Actuellement, à part Lalonde qui a été reconnu en Blanc, les autres appellations ne sont que sur rouges et rosés.

Le syndicat travaille actuellement sur deux autres zones, deux autres potentielles dénominations de terroir. Ça fait plusieurs années déjà qu’ils travaillent avec les vignerons du secteur. En moyenne, ça prend une dizaine d’année pour regrouper toutes les informations.

Quelques suggestions

Château Ste-Roseline

Tout est parti d’une source ou un ermite décida de s’installer. Ensuite, Roseline se transforma à travers les décennies en en Oratoire et en Abbaye. Au XIV siècle, le site devint un des premiers vignobles de Provence avant même que la Provence soit une région viticole. Aurélie BERTIN TEILLAUD est maintenant à la tête de cette propriété, succédant non seulement à son père, mais aussi à de nombreux importants personnages de la viticulture de la région dont le baron Henri de Rasque de Laval qui fur à l’origine des 18 crus classés de Provende et du syndicat des vins de Provence.

Domaine les Béates, Les béatines 2018

Ce domaine situé sur la commune de Lambesc a été acquis par Jean-Pierre Terrat en 2002, longtemps épaulé par Michel Chapoutier dans une démarche d’adaptation du vignoble à la culture biodynamique. Le vignoble poursuit maintenant les principes biodynamiques et le calendrier lunaire, mais a abandonné la certification au bout d’une dizaine d’années pour se concentrer sur la qualité. Caractérisé par une tension et une salinité, les vins offrent une expression très satisfaisante.

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Un Champagne d’exception par une illustre famille … Champagne Barons de Rothschild Brut

Au cœur de la côte des blancs en Champagne, une région où le Chardonnay a une place de choix et de la montagne de Reims, le soin minutieux apporté à chaque Champagne des Barons de Rothschild reflète un engagement exceptionnel en faveur de la qualité qui leur donne une telle valeur de rareté. Chaque bouteille repose dans des caves creusées dans la craie où l’obscurité et le silence règnent dans le respect du précieux champagne en cours d’élaboration.

LA SIGNATURE DE ROTHSCHILD

La grande et réputée famille Rothschild est bien connue, entre autres à Bordeaux pour le Château Mouton Rothschild et le Château Lafite Rothschild. Toutefois, on retrouve ce nom, toujours empreint de luxe et de fascination un peu partout à travers le monde. En 1822, l’empereur d’Autriche François Ier éleva au rang de barons les cinq fils de la dynastie (leur blason porte cinq flèches qui symbolisent les cinq branches de cette famille). De nos jours seules les branches Française et Anglaise sont en activité. Elles se sont réunies et ont donné naissance à une ambition unique: produire un exploit magnifique, comme chacune l’a toujours fait dans leurs domaines respectifs.

Pour créer le Champagne Barons de Rothschild, la famille Rothschild a réuni les meilleurs terroirs et a ajouté son savoir-faire. S’appuyant sur leur expérience dans le domaine du vin, les Barons de Rothschild ont une nouvelle fois créée l’excellence. Une illustre famille alliant leurs forces au savoir-faire des familles champenoises pour un champagne unique et exceptionnel.

 

LES MEILLEURS CHARDONNAYS VERITABLE EMBLÈME DE LA MAISON

L’approche exclusive régissant le style des Champagne Barons de Rothschild est évidente dans la présence significative de Chardonnay utilisé dans ses assemblages. Ce cépage, qui ne représente que 28% de l’ensemble des vignobles de Champagne, n’est pas seulement le plus rare et le plus recherché, il est avant tout la garantie d’un vin d’une extrême finesse.

CHAMPAGNE BARONS DE ROTHSCHILD BRUT

Code SAQ :  13740673

76,25 $

12 %

Chardonnay  60 %

Pinot noir      40 %

Cette cuvée est le résultat d’un assemblage complexe de 60 % de chardonnay, principalement de grands crus de la côte des Blancs et de 40  % de pinot noir, principalement de Verzenay, d’Ay, de Mareuil-sur-Ay et de Bouzy … cet assemblage comprend 40 % de vins de réserve, gage de qualité exceptionnelle et de constance dans le temps.

Le Barons de Rothschild Brut est un Champagne aérien, riche et complexe. Ce mélange subtil donne un vin aux bulles fabuleusement fines, à la couleur dorée élégante et aux nuances fines et délicates de fruits blancs. Ce Champagne offre une sensation en bouche agréable et équilibrée avec une balance de fraîcheur, de tension et de richesse lui donnant une distinction crémeuse. Quelques accents de brioches et de noisette lui donnent sa complexité tout en douceur.

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La clairette de die : Appellation méconnue à découvrir dans la vallée du Rhône

par Joanie Metivier en collaboration avec Inter-Rhône

La Clairette de Die, ça vous dit quelque chose? Cette appellation de la vallée du Rhône exclusive à la production de vins pétillants est méconnue, voire mal aimée. On pourrait mettre la faute sur la guerre au sucre des dernières années, mais pour ma part, j’attribue ce manque d’intérêt à l’ignorance seulement. Comment peut-on aimer quelque chose que nous n’avons pas goûté? Pourtant à la dégustation, la clairette plait à tous les consommateurs de toutes générations. Avec ses avantages indéniables, son rapport qualité-prix, son équilibre fruit-sucre-acidité et sa fabrication naturelle, son seul défaut est sa production limitée.

L’appellation

En plein cœur de la vallée du Rhône, dans le département de la Drôme, apposé sur les parois sud du massif du Vercors, Clairette de die est l’un des vignobles les plus hauts de France avec en moyenne 700 mètres d’altitude. Partageant le territoire avec le Crémant-de-die, le Coteau de die et le Châtillon-en-diois, la Clairette fournit pourtant l’essentiel des volumes. Élaborée selon la méthode ancestrale ou dioise, elle privilégie largement le Muscat. Sur ce territoire drômois de 1600 ha, 88% des 300 producteurs élaborent leurs vins en méthode ancestrale. L’appellation, devenue AOC en 1942 dicte un minimum de 75% de Muscat blanc à petits grains. L’assemblage peut être complété par de la Clairette blanche (plus rarement rose) ou par du Muscat à petits grains rouge. Ces cépages, d’une intensité aromatique légendaire, savent charmer par leurs arômes floraux, parfumés et gourmands.

Alors que la Drôme est un affluent du Rhône, les deux régions partagent peu de points communs. La vallée du Rhône, avec ses vignobles pittoresques et ses berges abruptes (pensez Côte-Rôtie) se transforment juste au sud de Valence, là où les deux rivières se rejoignent. Le Diois (région de Die) est l’un des districts viticoles les plus géographiquement isolés de France. Il se situe à 48 km à l’est de la principale région vinicole de la vallée du Rhône et à plusieurs centaines de mètres plus haut. Le diois n’est pas tout-à-fait dans la partie nord, ni dans la partie sud de la vallée du Rhône, mais bien quelque part entre les deux. Elle est unique en son genre.

Le vin

Aujourd’hui, environ 25% de l’appellation est en bio ou en conversion. De plus, la fermentation alcoolique se fait en levures indigènes. Ce n’est pas obligatoire, mais très répandu.  C’est en 1971 qu’a été validée la « méthode dioise ancestrale » reposant sur une fermentation incomplète en cuve à basse température qui se poursuit en bouteille à partir du sucre résiduel du raisin. Avant que le moût de raisin ne se transforme totalement en vin, il est mis en bouteille et conservé encore quatre mois, parfois plus. Dans les caves maintenues à une température avoisinant les 12 °C, les bouteilles sont jalousement gardées par les producteurs. La fermentation peut ainsi continuer son travail. Elle s’arrêtera naturellement lorsque le vin aura atteint son taux d’alcool naturellement bas (7-8%).

Le résultat est un vin avec un profil riche et complexe, une belle pureté aromatique, une acidité élevée qui porte admirablement un taux de sucre à 35g/l. minimum, mais qui s’élève plus souvent à 60-80g et cette effervescence démultipliant l’intensité aromatique. Les vins sont pleins et fruités et contiennent presque toujours un sucre résiduel d’un niveau demi-sec ou plus. Les sols calcaires et argileux ainsi que les altitudes plus élevées offrent un environnement favorable à la Clairette et au Muscat, permettant ainsi aux raisins de mûrir lentement et de conserver une acidité naturelle élevée lors de la maturation. Autant de paramètres qui plaident en faveur de la Clairette de Die.

Le nom

Il existe différentes versions expliquant la provenance du nom de cette région pétillante et délicate. Bizarrement, il ne porte pas le nom du cépage Clairette, bien qu’il y soit cultivé.

Selon la légende, il y a plus de deux mille ans, dans un pays appelé Le Pays Diois, un berger a déposé un pichet de vin dans les eaux glacées de la Drôme pour le rafraîchir. Le vin a été oublié et laissé dans l’eau froide pendant l’hiver. Le berger est revenu au printemps et, à sa grande surprise, a trouvé le vin juste à l’endroit où il l’a laissé. Quand il ouvrit le pot, il découvrit une légère mousse dans le vin… ce que les Français appellent pétillance. Pendant des siècles, les tribus gauloises ont laissé des jarres de vin dans le fleuve en hiver pour les récupérer au printemps… Le vin mousseux était fabriqué dans cette région depuis des siècles, même à l’époque de Pline, le Muscat était déjà mentionné comme cultivé ici; cependant, il a été le plus largement apprécié à la fin du 19ème siècle. Au tournant du XXe siècle, dans les grandes villes les plus proches, Lyon et Grenoble, le vin pétillant de Die était encore vendu directement dans des fûts – un peu comme le vin Bourru, le vin partiellement fermenté qui est vendu juste après la récolte. Inutile de dire que la levure était en suspension, mais graduellement, elle disparaîtrait, laissant ainsi le dépôt derrière elle. Le nom vient donc supposément de ce phénomène de «clarification» ou de «clairette».

Clairette de die rosé

Oui, elle a existé, la clairette rosé a fait son apparition à la fin de l’année 2016. Après plusieurs années de débats, les producteurs allaient enfin pouvoir assouvir leur envies de donner de la couleur à leurs effervescents. Toutefois, la joie fut brève. En janvier 2018, le Conseil d’État français a annulé l’arrêté du Ministre de l’Agriculture qui avait permis la fabrication du rosé dans le cahier des charges de l’appellation. Bonne chance pour trouver cette production de courte durée, seulement le millésime 2017 pourra arborer le nom de l’appellation. Ce seront des bouteilles d’une rareté historique.

Clairette de die: Little-known appellation to discover in the Rhône valley

by Joanie Metivier in collaboration with Inter-Rhône

Does Clairette de Die mean anything to you? This appellation of the Rhône Valley, exclusive to the production of sparkling wines, is little known, even disliked. We could blame the sugar war of the past few years, but for my part, I attribute this lack of interest to ignorance only. How can we like something we haven’t tasted? However, when tasted, the Clairette appeals to all consumers of all generations. With its undeniable advantages, its quality-price ratio, its fruit-sugar-acidity balance and its natural manufacture, its only defect is its limited production.

The designation

In the heart of the Rhone Valley, in the Drôme department, affixed on the southern walls of the Vercors massif, Clairette de die is one of the highest vineyards in France with an average altitude of 700 meters. Sharing the territory with Crémant-de-die, Coteau de die and Châtillon-en-diois, Clairette nevertheless provides most of the volumes. Developed according to the ancestral or dioise method, it largely favors Muscat. In this 1600 ha Drôme territory, 88% of the 300 producers make their wines using the ancestral method. The appellation, which became AOC in 1942, dictates a minimum of 75% white Muscat with small grains. The blend can be completed with white Clairette (more rarely pink) or with small red berry Muscat. These grape varieties, of legendary aromatic intensity, know how to charm with their floral, fragrant and gourmet aromas.

While the Drôme is a tributary of the Rhône, the two regions share few points in common. The Rhône valley, with its picturesque vineyards and steep banks (think Côte-Rôtie) transforms just south of Valence, where the two rivers meet. Diois (Die region) is one of the most geographically isolated wine districts in France. It is located 48 km east of the main wine region of the Rhone Valley and several hundred meters higher. The diois is not quite in the northern part, nor in the southern part of the Rhône valley, but somewhere in between. It is one of a kind.

Wine

Today, around 25% of the appellation is organic or in conversion. In addition, alcoholic fermentation takes place in indigenous yeasts. It is not compulsory, but very widespread. It was in 1971 that the “ancestral dioise method” was validated, based on an incomplete fermentation in vats at low temperature which is continued in the bottle from the residual sugar of the grapes. Before the grape must is completely transformed into wine, it is bottled and kept for another four months, sometimes longer. In the cellars maintained at a temperature of around 12 ° C, the bottles are jealously guarded by the producers. Fermentation can thus continue its work. It will stop naturally when the wine has reached its naturally low alcohol level (7-8%).

The result is a wine with a rich and complex profile, a beautiful aromatic purity, a high acidity which admirably brings a sugar level to 35g / l. minimum, but which more often rises to 60-80g and this effervescence multiplies the aromatic intensity. The wines are full and fruity and almost always contain residual sugar of a semi-dry level or more. The limestone and clay soils as well as the higher altitudes offer a favorable environment for Clairette and Muscat, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly and to retain a high natural acidity during maturation. So many parameters that argue in favor of Clairette de Die.

The name

There are different versions explaining the origin of the name of this sparkling and delicate region. Oddly, it is not named Clairette, although it is grown there.

According to legend, more than two thousand years ago, in a country called Le Pays Diois, a shepherd placed a pitcher of wine in the icy waters of the Drôme to cool it. The wine was forgotten and left in cold water during the winter. The shepherd returned in the spring and, to his surprise, found the wine right where he left it. When he opened the jar, he discovered a slight foam in the wine … what the French call sparkling. For centuries, the Gallic tribes left jars of wine in the river in winter to recover them in the spring… Sparkling wine had been made in this region for centuries, even in Pliny’s time, Muscat was already mentioned as grown here; however, it was most widely appreciated in the late 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, in the nearest large cities, Lyon and Grenoble, the sparkling wine of Die was still sold directly in barrels – much like Bourru wine, partially fermented wine which is sold just after harvest. Needless to say, the yeast was in suspension, but gradually it would disappear, leaving the deposit behind. The name therefore supposedly comes from this phenomenon of “clarification” or “clairette”.

Clairette de die rosé

Yes, it did exist, the rosé Clairette appeared at the end of 2016. After several years of debate, the producers were finally going to be able to quench their desire to give color to their sparkling wines. However, the joy was brief. In January 2018, the French Council of State canceled the decree of the Minister of Agriculture which had allowed the production of rosé in the specifications for the appellation. Good luck finding this short-lived production, only the 2017 vintage will be able to display the name of the appellation. They will be bottles of historic rarity.

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Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore – Unique sparkling heritage and outstanding landscapes

Among sparkling in the world, there are a few bright, shining stars. Yet, one has managed to shine the brightest and succeeded in becoming one of the most sought out for wine in the world: Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. With its distinguished characteristics, its dedication to the region’s heritage and accessible approach, it’s truly a gem for wine lovers.

The thing is Prosecco is often used to describe Italian sparkling wine in general. We shouldn’t forget that the Prosecco world is intricate and complex. Not all Prosecco are born the same. What you want is a quality focused Prosecco, one that can truly embodies the region’s potential and express the style with elegance. The first thing to look for is the DOCG mention. Basically, in Italy, a DOCG ( Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) Is the highest form of recognition an appellation can get. Then, you want your Prosecco to come from a unique place, with a dreamlike landscape, that has earned UNESCO World Heritage accreditation. Look for Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.

The region

After a ten-year long nomination process, in 2019 Prosecco Hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore was awarded UNESCO recognition as a World Heritage Site due to its unique and ancient cultivation and landscape. Winemaking in the region dates back to 1772. That’s 247 years of tradition and heritage!

The area of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore lies in the countryside situated 50 km from Venice and 100 km from the Dolomites. Here vine-growing has extremely ancient origins. This winemaking region is considered one-of-a-kind because vines are planted on a series of hills with narrow ridges and steep slopes with a hogback appearance. This makes mechanized harvest impossible. All the grapes must be picked by hands and treasured deeply. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. is parted between thousands of small producers, often families that’ve been growing grapes for generations on their own land. This century old tradition won’t be lost any time soon. That’s for sure!

The highest point of the hill is Superiore Di Cartizze, a small plot of land of 107 hectares in the commune of Valdobbiadene divided by hundreds of growers. They produce only a million bottles per year. It is known as the best expression possible.

The wine

Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is the original growing area for Prosecco. It’s a region that is more limited, but also very strict about the quality and styles of their sparkling wines. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG is often considered a guarantee of top quality and highest standards in the vineyard and winery, as well as concentrated flavour and balance.

Prosecco is a versatile wine produced in fully sparkling (spumante) and lightly sparkling (frizzante) styles. It can be found with different levels of sweetness, from the driest (Extra Brut) to the sweetest (Dry). The sweetness of the wine will affect its style tremendously. While extra brut Prosecco Superiore will show great tension and linearity, Dry Prosecco Superiore will be rounded with intense richness and a completely different aromatic profile.

Glera is the main grape varietal and the one that is almost exclusively linked to the fantastic Prosecco sparkling wines. Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is produced from at least 85% of grapes of the Glera variety; no more than 15% of the following local varieties may be added: Verdiso, Bianchetta, Perera and Glera Lunga. Still, only local grape varietals are allowed and Glera still rule as king of them all.

The method of production is called Italian Method or Charmat method or Cuve closed or Mariotti method. It consists of a second fermentation in pressurized vats called autoclaves. Keep in mind that wines from the 2019 vintage and forward will now be allowed to use the term “Sui Lieviti” (“On the Lees/Yeasts). This will designate sparkling wines that have been refermented in bottle. A new style that pays tribute to a traditional style to try out and keep an eye out for.

The flavors and aromas are often light and delicate. These are two of the distinctive aspects of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore. Aromas may include fresh flowers, tangy citrus fruits, orchard fruits, mineral-driven and the very distinctive green almond. Overall, Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG are wines of great sensation that are extremely versatile with food.

Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore is an ancient tradition that was perfectly suited for our contemporary world and taste. This is why it became so popular, even if it’s not always understood; it’s always loved and appreciated.