Ur­ban winer­ies and two es­sen­tial Cal­i­for­nia

Montreal Times - - News -

In the past, I of­ten read that ur­ban winer­ies did ex­ist but never got a chance to taste a drop wine from any city’s win­ery un­til early this sum­mer. Such is the joy of wine writ­ing, when every­day you learn some­thing new about wine.

One new trend in the wine world is the devel­op­ment of ur­ban winer­ies. Un­like a clas­si­cal win­ery usu­ally pic­tured in a ro­man­tic land­scape of rolling hills, bar­rel room with a tast­ing room, an ur­ban win­ery is a wine­mak­ing fa­cil­ity, based in a down­town sec­tor or in­dus­trial area where wine is ac­tu­ally made. The grapes could be brought in from di­verse wine re­gions of a coun­try, pressed, fer­mented and bot­tle at this ur­ban-lo­cated fa­cil­ity. In a nut­shell, an ur­ban win­ery is ev­ery­thing ex­cept the vine­yards. Early this sum­mer, in a con­vivial lunch at Le Quartier Général with other wine writ­ers, I had a chance to meet the wine­maker of Winerie Parisi­enne: Julien Brustis. The wine ven­ture of Adrien Pélis­sié and Julien Ben­gué, both in their thir­ties, who were later joined by Julien Brustis, 27 at the time, this ur­ban win­ery ac­quires grapes from re­gions across France to make wine un­der their own la­bel. To­day, they do this in a old ex­print­ing house in Mon­treuil, on the sub­urbs of Paris.

They source grapes from fruit grow­ers in Bordeaux, Provence or the Rhône ... where the grapes are good, which may be dif­fer­ent vin­tage af­ter vin­tage.For in­stance,The Gris­sant Blanc 2016 ( SAQ # 13594995, $24.95) which I tasted on Julien’s visit is a blend of 60 % Sauvi­gnon blanc. 30% Sauvi­gnon gris and 10 % Ver­mentino, sourced pre­dom­i­nantly from the south of France. A pretty nose with cit­rus and flo­ral un­der­tones, it is quite easy to drink. Lots of depth and fresh­ness in the palate with a great acid­ity. Per­fect with the oys­ters in sea­son.

On the other hand, the red Gris­sant 2015 ( 13595007, $24.95) is a hearty blend of 80% Mer­lot and 20% Syrah.This at­trac­tive red brings the best of both the Rhone and Bordeaux. It is a de­li­cious blend with al­lur­ing aro­mas of dark fruit, spices and el­e­gant tan­nins. It is a per­fect wine to have with your fa­vorite meat stew.

Winerie Parisi­enne is rep­re­sented in Que­bec by Elixirs Vins et Spir­itueux and the in­vi­ta­tion to meet Mr. Bru­tus was a cour­tesy of their im­porter.

Cel­e­brate the fall with

Cal­i­for­nia wines

A crisp breeze, leaves turn­ing col­ors and win­ter at bay... fall has ar­rived! . If you have any Cal­i­for­nia wines in your cel­lar, now is the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to pop some and cel­e­brate the ar­rival of cool tem­per­a­tures with good wine and hearty fare. If you don't have any, that’s ok as well. Re­cently, I have been tast­ing a di­verse range of Cal­i­for­nia wines that you should be look­ing into this fall. Here are two es­sen­tial pro­duc­ers that you should ex­plore if you have not been ini­ti­ated to Cal­i­for­nia wine.

Ruther­ford wine Co. Fam­ily owned and man­aged for three gen­er­a­tions, Ruther­ford Wine Com­pany makes some of the finest wine in Napa Val­ley in the Ruther­ford ap­pel­la­tion. On top of fam­ily own­er­ship, they are also con­scious on sus­tain­able farm­ing.The win­ery is cer­ti­fied as Cal­i­for­nia Sus­tain­able Wine­grow­ing (CCSW) and es­tate vine­yards are cer­ti­fied as Cal­i­for­nia Sus­tain­able Farm­ing (CCSF).

Ruther­ford Wine Com­pany of­fers a port­fo­lio of wines that show­cases the rich di­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia’s premier grow­ing re­gions. The wines are sourced and crafted from di­verse ap­pel­la­tions that in­clude Napa Val­ley, Rus­sian River, Ar­royo Seco, Lodi and the Cen­tral Coast

Not long ago, I tasted their Preda­tor Zin­fan­del and Ruther­ford Ranch Caber­net Sauvi­gnon both from the 2015 vin­tage. The Preda­tor line of wines in­clude Lodi Old Vine Zin­fan­del, Caber­net Sauvi­gnon and Six Spot Red Blend. A dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of the wine line is the la­dy­bug icon which is nat­u­ral preda­tor of de­struc­tive vine­yard pests. The com­pany em­ploys this eco­log­i­cal strat­egy to limit the use of chem­i­cal pes­ti­cides.

The Preda­tor Old Vine Zin­fan­del 2015 is a rich and creamy Zin with aro­mas of black­ber­ries, co­conut cream and cof­fee. Quite pol­ished in the mouth with ul­tra smooth tan­nins and a moka fi­nale. Per­fect for those last BBQ days.

Ruther­ford Ranch Win­ery is sit­u­ated on Napa Val­ley’s fa­mous Sil­ver­ado Trail which is one of the area’s most renowned sub-ap­pel­la­tions.

Their Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2015 is a hearty wine that sees an ex­ten­sive ag­ing (over 12 months in Amer­i­can and French oak). Full-bod­ied with firm but silky tan­nic struc­ture, this is a big Cal­i­for­nian Cab with an in­ter­est­ing ag­ing po­ten­tial. Deep with in­tense fla­vors, it’s burst­ing with aro­mas and flavours of ripe black­cur­rants, cherry and cedar. On the palate, it dis­plays great depth and fi­nesse with un­der­tones of mocha and sage. Racy with a lin­ger­ing fi­nale, it should be per­fect with an ox­tail stew.

The wines of Ruther­ford wine com­pany are avail­able in Que­bec via pri­vate im­port im­ported by Se­lec­tion Cav­iste ( https://www.se­lec­tion­cav­iste.com/fr/).The preda­tor Zin­fan­del re­tails for around $25 while the Caber­net Sauvi­gnon for around $40

Heitz Wine Cel­lar

When Heitz Cel­lars opened for busi­ness in 1961, the Napa Val­ley had fewer than twenty winer­ies. To­day there are more than two hun­dred. The Heitz fam­ily were trail­blaz­ers in the Napa Val­ley, es­tab­lish­ing new qual­ity bench­marks and gain­ing an im­por­tant recog­ni­tion for their wines.

Heitz Cel­lar has been earn­ing ac­co­lades for its wines for over five decades. As the sec­ond old­est win­ery in Napa, Heitz Cel­lar helped shape the his­tory of Napa Val­ley wine­mak­ing and has for mak­ing Napa Val­ley’s first vine­yard-des­ig­nated Caber­net Sauvi­gnon, Heitz Cel­lar Martha’s Vine­yard.

Heitz Cel­lar is rep­re­sented in Canada by Mark An­thony Brands. In the an­nual trade tast­ing of their im­porter in Que­bec, I had a chance to taste their Zin­fan­del Ink Grade Vine­yard Napa Val­ley 2013 ( Pri­vate Im­port, $52.75 per bot­tle /Case of 12).The 2013 Ink Grade Zin­fan­del cap­tures the beauty of the va­ri­ety with­out go­ing over­board:—a medium to full body wine that is quite ver­sa­tile a range of in­ter­na­tional cuisines.The rich core of blue fruit from Zin­fan­del fruit is beau­ti­fully show­cased and laced with del­i­cate nu­ances of graphite and black pep­per This wine is loaded with bright rasp­berry fla­vors that go slow in your palate with sup­ple tan­nins. A spicy fi­nale of pep­per­oncini gives the wine a pleas­ing lift to the fin­ish.

The Napa Val­ley Caber­net Sauvi­gnon 2013 ( SAQ # 11898848, $84.75 Avail­able from De­cem­ber). is a knock­out. Cal­i­for­nian by birth but Euro­pean by spirit, it charms the drinker with its cas­sis and flo­ral nu­ances. On the palate, it is smooth and quite bal­anced with charm­ing barn­yard and graphite notes com­ple­mented by long flavours in the fi­nale that re­call plums and graphite. This is a highly rec­om­mended wine that will charm your up­com­ing hol­i­day ta­ble.

Winerie Parisi­enne: Paris Ur­ban Win­ery

Julien Brustis from Winerie Parisi­enne

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