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Fattoria dei Barbi

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 he benchmark of the estate, consistent, classic and made every year, independently of the vintage conditions.

The estate is one of only five in Montalcino that have continuously operated for over 100 years. The Colombini family has owned land in Montalcino since 1352, but only acquired Fattoria dei Barbi in the end of the 18th century. They were one of the first families, right after Biondi-Santi, to produce brunello. This might just appear as the past for you, but for old world classic wines like this, history, status and tradition is part of the wine. And again, without a rich past, the cellar wouldn’t be as full. It hides some very ancient treasures and visitors might get a sight of Brunellos and Vin santos dating back to 1870.

BRUSCO & ROSSO

What’s the difference? Rosso is an official DOC, it’s made of 100% sangiovese and just shows the potential of elegance of this majestic grape varieties. It’s not a very restrictive DOC and there’s many style of Rosso and it’s sometimes called the Picolo Brunello ( small Brunello) But this one stands on its own. The Brusco was first produced in the late 60s. It’s a deposited name only Barbi can use and it’s made as an approachable wine with 10% Merlot.

In 1997, the family bought a new estate in Scansano of 20 hectares. While there’s no new land planting permitted in Brunello di montalcino, Scansano & Maremma are regions still open for developpement.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brusco dei Barbi 2016

Brusco is meant to be a lighter and more economical option for the Barbi portfolio. In reality, it’s quite a treat. Lovely fruity expression on dried, fleshy plums with decent amount of empyreumatic notes, coffee and smoke. It has good strength and a dense backbone. It has everything to support a good tomato based plate.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Morellino di Scansano 2016

Even lighter than the Brusco in my opinion, the Morellino is simply based on fresh sour cherries and a touch of green olives. Perfectly fresh and easy drinking.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Maremma 2017

The youth of this wine can be felt in drying tannins and bitterness that follows in the finale. It is bold, intense & traditional in style. The alcohol is warming. It’s a tough little fellow that’ll probably get softer with age.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Rosso di Montalcino 2017

The house likes to call its rosso wine one of the most versatile at the table. Flexible, almost queasy, it still has a tight but tamed tannic structure. For them it is not a little Brunello, but a wine of its own. It shows a great expression of fumed dried cherries, tobacco, dried tomato pesto and some mint on the finale.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino blue label 2013

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.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino blue label 2014

For a vintage that was legendary bad, the most difficult since 2002. They lost 40% of the production to mold this year and there was no riserva nor cru made. The result was this deep and mature expression for the Brunello with a bitter and gamey palate.

 

VIGNA DEL FIORE

Created by Francesca Colombini in 1981 as her 50th anniversary self-proclaimed gift, this is the very feminine and winsome single vineyard of the estate. It literally means Flower vineyard but in fact it relates to the local river called Fiore. It is broad with an incredible expression and substance, especially in the voluptuous 2007.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Fiore 2013

2013 was a peculiar vintage. Very closed on the nose, but overly expressive on the palate. Tannins are integrated and balanced with an immediate pleasantness from the overall tasty intensity. It could be considered a modern vintage with its hints of bitterness and frilly characteristics.

 

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Fiore 2012

Vintage 2012 was very tense & elegant. There’s a delicate softness on the texture, but with a clear and delicious intensity. You’ll find juicy aromas of very ripe red fruits, as well as coffee & dark chocolate notes. The bright acidity makes it quite quaffable.

 

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Vigna del Fiore 2006

A pure and decisive proof that Brunello needs time to express its true potential. The 2006 was a true beauty with its very complex aromas of plums, molasses, leather, Tuscan tobacco as well as hint of violets, bitter chocolate, blood orange and a salty, umami filled finale. It’s a savory but extremely soft intricate vintage.

RISERVA

Opinions differ concerning which wine of Fattoria dei Barbi is the best one between Vigna del Fiore and the Riserva. I guess this is personal opinion. The riserva is definitely more reserved, and open up slower. It doesn’t give itself right away and you have to wait for it to open up. It is more structured and mature.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2013

The lithe, linear palate offers dried cherry, tobacco and star anise alongside polished tannins and firm acidity. Again, 2013 surprises by the originality of its flavor profile including black olive, artichoke, bean sprouts and heavily roasted character.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2012

Traditional expression made with a very reduced production this year. It’s tight, austere, with savory hazelnut and coffee aromas. The palate is bold and wide with polished tanins.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2010

Only 3900 botlles of 2010 was produced. The color is darker than usual with browning sides. Remember, back in 2010, it was a new day for Brunelle, an upsurge for international market. Its in this context of heavy interest that this firework expression was made. It‘s a powerful wine that hides it behind a soft touch.

Fattoria dei Barbi, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2001

For a 2001, I’m astonished by the bright and lively expression. Steely, juicy with soy sauce and truffled aromas, the complexity of this vintage is impressive and developing. This brunello offers a pretty bouquet, showing elegance and restraint at the same time. There are layers of small berry fruit, spice and leather, with dusty, dry tannins.

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What is PIWI – Austrian Wines

There’s a general movement in the Austrian wine industry towards healthy and eco-friendly winemaking. Following this idea, many vineyards are turning organic and sulphur & copper reduction is highly recommended. However, organic methods are not always effective enough. To help the growers, there’s been a long research and development towards creating new, fungus-resistant grape varieties.

These “new breed” of vines results from the intentional combination of two or more grape varieties (single or multiple crossings) with the focus on the new variety revealing all of the positive characteristics of the parent varieties while the negative characteristics are suppressed. Despite intense efforts, however, there has been only partial success. The cross-breeding of vines is both time- and cost-intensive. In Austria, new cultivars are bred at the Lehr- und Forschungsuzentrum für Wein- und Obstbau (Federal Institute for Viticulture and Pomology) in Klosterneuburg.

After many lost and unsuccessful efforts. Some new varieties are finally showing great potential. These new breeds or new crossings are now allowed into the official Austrian Quality Grapes. These partially- resistant varieties all need fewer phytosanitary measures against fungal disease have to be performed.

White grape varieties

Blütenmuskateller

Severnyj x Muskat

The Blütenmuskateller is a Russian crossing from the year 1947, one of the fungus-resistant varieties. It was first added to the register of grape varieties in 2013. It’s very perfumed and very opulent as well as suitable for sweet wine production thanks to its high sugars level.

Muscaris

Solaris x Muskateller

Planted mostly in Steiermark for now, this wine is a good candidate for sekt Porduction. It’s similar to muskateller in terms of aromas but have higher acidity.

Souvignier Gris

Cabernet Sauvignon x Bronner

Souvignon Gris is strongly resistant against oidium and Peronospora and its robust skin makes it resistant to rot also. Somewhat neutral, the wines can get to quite a rich character. It’s medium  everything style is a look alike to Pinot Gris.

For the production of wine without protected designation of origin or geographical indication with grape variety- or vintage-designation, the following white wine varieties are permitted for planting:

Bronner | Cabernet blanc |  Johanniter |  Donauveltliner |  Donauriesling

Red grape Varieties

Rathay

Klosterneuburg 1189-9-77 (= Seyve Villard 18-402 x Blaufränkisch) x Blauburger

Rathay became an official Quality variety in 2000. It is mostly destined as a blending partner for its very dark color and robust components.

Roesler

Blauer Zweigelt x Klosterneuburg 1189-9-77 (= Seyve Villard 18-402 x Blaufränkisch)

Similar to Rathay in term of concentration and color, Roesler is less resistant to oidium but more resistant to winter frost.

Also permitted :

Regent | Cabernet Jura | Pinot Nova

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Vignobles Laur & the revolutionary Paradoxe de Malbec

Les Vignobles Laur Côtes du Lot Paradoxe de Malbec

Available in SAQ: 19:80$

Vignobles Laur has been in the heart of the French South-west viticulture for 6 generations going back to 1881. This superb estate of 46 hectares, planted on the hills around the tiny & hilly village of Floressas in the department of the Lot. It might be 30 km away from the medieval town of Cahors, but they share the very same history and bond toward the culture of the black wines, Côt.

The official Cahors viticultural area spreads for 25 miles (40km) along a tightly meandering section of the Lot River. The Lot rises in the hills of the Massif Central and winds slowly westwards through the southern French countryside before flowing into the Garonne, which then continues on to Bordeaux. This navigable link with the port of Bordeaux (and export markets beyond) was once of vital economic importance to Cahors’ winemakers. The Bordelais also benefited from the connection, not just because they imposed high taxes on the incoming wines, but also because they blended the dark, rich Cahors wines

with their own, which in those times often lacked color and depth. It wasn’t without good reason that Malbec was introduced to the vineyards of Bordeaux in the 18th Century. The key vineyard sites for Cahors wines are roughly divided into two categories. Those on the gravelly slopes between the plateaux and the rivers turn out more approachable, fruitier. Those on the limestone plateaux of the area (known as the Causses) produce more tannic, longer-lived wines. Vignobles laur has the avantages of the latter with intricate clay – limestone ferruginous soils, and an ideal exposure ensuring a privileged sunshine for the vine. They work exclusively with Malbec, even if they weren’t afraid to think outside the box and use the full potential of this unique grape varietal.

The typical Cahors wine is darkly colored and has a meaty, herb-tinged aroma, with hints of spiced black cherries and a whiff of cedar. Their selection of Malbec-based wines is impressively representative of the terroir typicity and local potential. From the great Grande reserve, to the iconic Horus cuvée and even within the Cuvée “Le vin de mon pépé” in remembrance of the know-how of previous generation, in tribute to their grandfather (Maurice), who is behind the revival of our vineyard after phylloxera and replanted Malbec in the 1960s. All have a precision, tension and concentration you’d be looking forward to.

Continually striving to improve and innovate, the latest range of wines is called ‘Paradoxe’. Made 100% from Malbec, they are revolutionary wines, with a dry white – yes white. The Paradoxe de Malbec dry white is a wine with extraordinary depth of flavour, almost colourless, yet with plenty of body and a long but crisp finish. There’s a tart, textural character with fleshy peach and nectarine aromas. The Paradoxe has pure flavors and unique aromatic profile.

 

Vignobles Laur et le révolutionnaire Paradoxe de Malbec

Vignobles Laur est au cœur de la viticulture dans le sud-ouest de la France depuis 6 générations et ce, depuis 1881. Ce superbe domaine de 46 hectares, est planté sur les collines autour du petit village de Floressas dans le département du Lot. Il se trouve peut-être à 30 km de la ville médiévale de Cahors, mais ils partagent la même histoire et entretiennent des liens étroits avec la culture des vins noirs, Côt.

La région viticole officielle de Cahors s’étend sur 40 km le long d’un tronçon sinueux de la rivière Lot. Le Lot prend sa source dans les collines du Massif Central et traverse lentement la campagne française méridionale avant de se diriger vers la Garonne, qui se poursuit ensuite vers Bordeaux. Ce lien de navigation avec le port de Bordeaux (et les marchés d’exportation au-delà) revêtait jadis une importance économique vitale pour les viticulteurs de Cahors. Les Bordelais ont également bénéficié de cette connexion, non seulement parce qu’ils imposaient des taxes élevées sur les vins entrants, mais aussi parce qu’ils associaient les sombres et riches vins de Cahors avec les leurs, qui manquaient souvent de couleur et de profondeur à cette époque. Ce n’est pas sans raison que le Malbec a été introduit dans le vignoble bordelais au 18ème siècle. Les sites viticoles clés pour les vins de Cahors sont grossièrement divisés en deux catégories. Ceux sur les pentes graveleuses entre les plateaux et les rivières font des vins plus accessibles, plus fruités. Ceux des plateaux calcaires de la région (connus sous le nom de Causses) produisent des vins plus tanniques et plus complexes. Les Vignobles Laur ont les avantages de ce dernier avec des sols argilo-calcaires complexes et une exposition idéale assurant un ensoleillement privilégié à la vigne. Ils travaillent exclusivement avec le Malbec, même s’ils n’ont pas peur de sortir des sentiers battus et d’utiliser tout le potentiel de ce cépage unique.

Le vin typique de Cahors est de couleur sombre et dégage un arôme de viande aux notes herbacées, avec des notes de cerises noires épicées et un soupçon de cèdre. Leur sélection de vins à base de malbec représente de manière impressionnante la typicité du terroir et le potentiel local. De la Grande Réserve à la cuvée iconique Horus et même au sein de la cuvée «Le vin de mon pépé» en souvenir du savoir-faire de la génération précédente, en hommage à leur grand-père (Maurice), qui est à l’origine du renouveau de notre vignoble après le phylloxera et le Malbec replanté dans les années 1960. Tous ont une précision, une tension et une concentration inattendues.

Cherchant constamment à améliorer et à innover, la dernière gamme de vins s’appelle «Paradoxe». Élaborés à 100% à partir de malbec, il présente un vin révolutionnaire blanc – oui un Malbec blanc. Le blanc sec Paradoxe de Malbec est un vin d’une extraordinaire profondeur de saveur, presque incolore, mais avec beaucoup de corps et une finale longue mais vive. Une texture acidulée aux arômes charnus de pêche et de nectarine. Le Paradoxe a des saveurs pures et un profil aromatique unique.

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DIY – My wine co – What if you tried to make wine at home?

DIY – My wine co – What if you tried to make wine at home?

Have you ever wondered how much care and work is needed to produce your nice little bottle of wine you enjoy in the evening?

Wine making in most case is a labor of love, but still labor alright. Working at a vineyard is a highly romanticized career—who doesn’t want to be part of the process of making this delicious grape juice for adults? But it’s hard work. Very hard work!

Yes, we do know it is made from grapes, but what are the stages involved in the process? Wine making is something that has been done from thousands of years. Making wine is not just an art but there is also a lot of science involved in the process. Smallest of mistakes in the process can have a major impact on the final product. First there’s the harvest, the crushing of the grapes, the fermentation, the clarification and the ageing. All of this before bottling. It seems quite simple put like that but it’s a process that takes at least a year, often many, from when the vines start to wake up in spring, to harvest in fall and all the vinification process.

What if I told you, you can try to play around with fermentation at home?

At-home wine-making is a big project altogether. You usually can’t expect fast results. That’s DIY My Wine co. has created an all-in one, winemaking kit. Putting aside the complexity for a fun way to try something new. There’s no bulky equipment or extra space required. You take the base wine, either a Pinot Grigio or a Cabernet Sauvignon, you mix in the ingredients to start the fermentation, you wait, and you get your own 4 liters bag-in-a-box wine. It’s really a simplified way of making wine. It is made to be easy and fun for you, but it’s not at all realistic of what goes on in vineyards really. Unfortunately, life is not as simple as this built-in, all in one recipe.

While you step back and enjoy your self-made wine, I’d like you to be able to think back the winemakers and vine growers out there. Imagine the groups of harvesters bent down in the rows of vines for days. Imagine the barrels forgotten in cellars for years just to let the wine mature. Imagine what happens if there’s a wild fire, hail, frost, storm, drought on those juicy grapes. It’s a whole year of work that is affected.

Wine is not as simple as a DIY, but at least it can be for you.

Bonus: you can even brag about making your own wine to your friends and share it with them if you want to.

 

 

DIY – My wine co – Et si vous essayiez de faire du vin chez vous?

Vous êtes-vous déjà demandé combien d’attention et de travail étaient nécessaires pour produire votre jolie petite bouteille de vin que vous apprécierez le soir?

La vinification est dans la plupart des cas un travail passionné, mais un travail ardu quand même. Travailler dans un vignoble est une carrière très romantique – qui ne veut pas participer au processus de fabrication de ce délicieux jus de raisin pour adultes? Mais c’est un travail difficile, manuel et long.

Oui, nous savons qu’il est fabriqué à partir de raisins, mais quelles sont les étapes du processus? La vinification est une chose qui a été faite depuis des milliers d’années. Faire du vin n’est pas seulement un art, il y a aussi beaucoup de science impliquée dans le processus. La moindre erreur peut avoir un impact majeur sur le produit final. Il y a d’abord la récolte, le pressurage des raisins, la fermentation, la clarification et le vieillissement. Tout cela avant la mise en bouteille. Cela semble assez simple, mais c’est un processus qui prend au moins un an, souvent beaucoup plus, à partir du moment où les vignes commencent à se réveillée au printemps, jusqu’à la récolte en automne et à tout le processus de vinification.

Et si je te disais, tu peux essayer de jouer avec la fermentation à la maison?

La vinification à la maison est un grand projet. Vous ne pouvez généralement pas vous attendre à des résultats rapides. DIY My Wine co. a créé un kit de vinification tout-en-un. Mettre de côté la complexité pour une façon amusante d’essayer quelque chose de nouveau. Aucun équipement encombrant ni espace supplémentaire requis. Vous prenez le vin de base, un Pinot Grigio ou un Cabernet Sauvignon, vous mélangez les ingrédients pour démarrer la fermentation, vous attendez et vous obtenez votre propre vinier de 4 litres. C’est vraiment une façon simplifiée de faire du vin. Il est conçu pour être facile et amusant pour vous, mais ce n’est pas du tout réaliste quant à ce qui se passe dans les vignobles. Malheureusement, la vie n’est pas aussi simple que cette recette intégrée.

Pendant que vous prenez du recul et appréciez votre vin fait par vous-même, je voudrais que vous puissiez penser aux viticulteurs et aux oenologue. Imaginez les groupes de vendangeurs repliés dans les rangées de vignes pendant des jours. Imaginez les fûts oubliés dans les caves pendant des années pour laisser le vin mûrir. Imaginez ce qui se passe s’il y a un feu, de la grêle, du gel, une tempête, une sécheresse sur ces raisins juteux. C’est toute une année de travail qui est touchée.

Le vin n’est pas aussi simple qu’un bricolage, mais au moins il peut l’être pour vous.

Bonus: vous pouvez même vous vanter de faire votre propre vin à vos amis et le partager avec eux si vous le souhaitez.

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Sake words

I’ve recently started to get interested in Sake. Not necessarily just to ride the wave of Sake love that is hitting Montreal and a few cities around the world right now, but because it’s just so damn good with Asian cuisine. I had my go-to easy pick for when I would endulge in some delicious ramens, but I wanted to get more serious and discover this unique spirit.

Well, the first thing I learned is that there’s a whole bunch of Japanese specific terms that I had never heard before. So, if you’re like me and you want to start exploring the world of Sake here’s all the words you need to know before you get started. Thank me later.

Polishing terms

One of the first steps in sake making is the polishing of the rice. Prior to the actual sake-making process, the rice kernel has to be “polished” — or milled — to remove the outer layer of each grain, exposing its starchy core. The more rice has been polished, the higher the classification level.

Junmai純米

Junmai is the Japanese word meaning “pure rice.” Junmai is brewed using only rice, water, yeast, and koji — there are no other additives, such as sugar or alcohol. Unless a bottle of sake says “junmai”, it will have added brewers alcohol and/or other additives. It’s a popular and searched for category. Additionally, Junmai is a classification of sake that has a milling rate of 30% for each rice grain, meaning that 70% of the exterior grain remains.

Honjozo本醸造

Similar to Junmai in terms of milling, Honjozo is a classification of Sake with a milling rate of at least 30%. The difference is that this type of sake also includes added additives (alcohol, sugars, etc.)

Ginjo  吟醸

A sake with a milling rate of at least 40%, meaning 60% remains after the process. When used alone, this will be made with additives. You may see it combined with the term Junmai too, Junmai Ginjo. That way it indicates the milling grade as well as the pure rice status.

Daigingo大吟醸

Dai Ginjo is a super-premium It requires precise brewing methods and uses rice that has been polished all the way down to at least 50 percent. Daiginjo sakes are often relatively pricey. The term might be used as well combined to Junmai, Junmai Daigingo

Futsushu普通種

Commonly known as “table sake,” Futsushu typically means any non-premium brew. Barely polished, it can be quite harsh.

Genshu

Normally brewers will dilute sake to bring its natural alcohol percentage of 18-20% down to a more manageable 14-6%. The term Genshu is used to label sakes that have not gone through this dilution process, undiluted alcohol in a way.

Shiboritateしぼりたて

This refers to unaged sake. Regular sake is often allowed to age or mature for a quick approximate 6 months. Shibotitate will be fresh out of the batch.

Nigori 濁り

Sake that is unfiltered. Typically cloudy with a sediment that settles at the bottom of the bottle.

Kanpai かんぱい

Translated into “Empty Cup!” or “Cheers!” A very important word indeed.

Koji 麹

Koji refers to the mold culture that is used in the fermentation process. Also called Koji-kin, it’s basically a  mold, the Latin name for which is Aspergillus oryzae, used in sake production to break down starches in steamed rice into fermentable sugars.

Kuraくら

Simply means a sake brewery. Also known as a Sakagura.

Tojiとじ

The master brewer at any given Kura.

Moromi諸味

“The Main Mash.” A vital step in the brewing process of sake where all the ingredients are added together and the fermentation begins.

Shizukuしずく

A time consuming method of pressing sake that involved hanging the Moromi in cloth bags and allowing gravity to separate the fluid from the rest of the mash. Results in very soft and refined brews.

Masuます

A traditional square wooden box used to drink sake. Now these are typically reserved for ceremonial purposes and no longer the preferred receptacle for drinking sake.

Choko or O-Choko ちょこ

Little sake cups. Often in porcelain.