deVine Thoughts

June 20, 2011

Quinta Nova at VinExpo

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 5:11 pm

quinta_novaAuthor: Dirk Chan

Well, we’ve arrived at VinExpo in Bordeaux! And indeed it is four football fields worth of pavillions and showcases wines from all over the world. This is serious business as negotiants and agents meet and all the trade descends on this famous wine city. We navigate the parking nightmare, and we visit immediately with a new winery from Portugal, the Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo or Quinta Nova for short and we met with their Export Manager Renata Abreu (pictured).

The introductory line Pomares Branco and Pomares Red are great values in the easy drinking category of wines as we’ve come to expect from Portuguese wines. The intermediate level Grainha Tinto was full of blueberries and earth from the Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional grapes and finally the Reserva was special and actually needs a few years in the bottle.

The 2008 LBV was very fine, oh so smooth and the alcohol well managed with plenty of fruit. You can also see the avante garde bottle design pictured above with Renata in their CLA Ruby port, with its decanter shape bottling. Creative and innovative, we will be bringing this house to Edmonton. Quinta Nova is a wealthy winery and they are pulling out all stops to fast-track their ascendency into the Portuguese wine scene so look for it over the next few weeks on the New Arrivals page.

Tomorrow, a barbecue at Chateau Camarsac.


June 19, 2011

At Langlois-Chateau

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 12:54 am

langloisAuthor: Dirk Chan

One of the first things to be cleared up about Langlois-Chateau is that the name is NOT Chateau Langlois as most people think (yours truly included) but Langlois-Chateau. The origins of this house lie in the union of Edouard Langlois with a young woman from the Vendee (Muscadet country) named Jeanne Chateau. Due to this very often misconception, the winery will be dropping the Chateau from its labels. This famous Cremant de Loire sparkling wine producer is actually owned by the Champagne house Bollinger. We were greeted by the charismatic General Manager Francois Regis de Fougeroux who juggled a private tasting of their portfolio with us and another German delegation!

We were really impressed with the entire range of sparkling wines, all made in the Champagne method with the rose a clear standout. Their still wines made were equally impressive and we’ll be bringing some in for you to try.

This is a huge property as you can see (photo is taken from our lovely picnic spot high above the vineyards). A clear leader in the region – they are extremely professional and highly motivated in promoting their wines but also those of the entire region – many adjacent properties use the Langlois facilities to make and bottle their own wines. The sparkling wines are clearly superb – try the following:

NV Langlois-Chateau Dry Carmin – $27.99


June 18, 2011

A Visit with Jeremie Mourat

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 1:51 am

jeremieAuthor: Dirk Chan

Already on this trip, we’ve noticed how young the winemakers are in the Loire Valley, and our visit to the Chateau Marie du Fou estate in Vendee is another example. Young Jeremie Mourat is in his early thirties and leading the next wave of innovative winemakers in this vast region. What a beautiful Chenin Blanc the 2009 Clos Saint Andre is, made from old vines from an ancient clos vineyard formerly owned by the Taittinger family for the longest time as an experimental plot, and which Jeremie recently purchased it from the famous Champagne house after it sat idle since 1968. This wine is a great expression of the grape.

A wide range of wines are produced by Jeremie, including his father’s vineyards (under the Chateau de Marie du Fou label) with Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc in the forefront, but we were impressed with an intriguing bottle of the red indigenous grape Negrette (very Tannat like), requiring much cellaring.

In the cellar, Jeremie is using the world’s biggest egg shape vat (pictured with Mark Ferrier of Renaissance Wines), made from porous clay, and with an ingenious interior design such that the wine is swirled automatically and continuously without human intervention. As well, we were all duly impressed with his specially designed stainless steel spit bucket (yes) which leads directly into the sewer system (click on the ‘read full article’ link below to see it). The whole vineyard is very modern in feel and the wines and their UFO based labels are also avant-garde.


June 17, 2011

A Visit at Chateau de Parnay

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 8:05 am

mateusAuthor: Dirk Chan

The Chateau de Parnay in the beautiful town of Saumur in the appellation of Saumur Champigny in the Loire Valley. From the outside, the walled castle property looked like it was in ruins and when we went inside to visit with owner/winemaker Mathias Levron-Regis, we were amazed at what was going on. He is managing an 8-million dollar renovation that will turn this property into a 4-star hotel to be finished in 2013 using all the original marble and rock already in place with rooms renovated in the underground cellars. The castle dates somewhere between the 10th and 11th century. Pictured on the right is Mathias in what will be the main swimming pool – note the pigeon holes slots used by royalty for messaging from the old days – the more pigeon holes, the greater the power and prestige of the owner/proprietor. We can’t wait to come back to see the final results..

Alas we were there to taste the wines and both the Chateau de Parnay bottlings and the Chateau Prince offerings were amazing. While deVines has carried both houses – including the great Prince Brissac, there are many more bottlings to be had that we will be bringing in for you including some wonderful sparkling wines.

In the meantime, here are some already available wines:

2008 Ch. Prince Brissac – $25.99

2007 Ch. Prince Coteaux de L’Aubance – $28.99


June 16, 2011

Domaine Guy Saget

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 1:51 am

sagetAuthor: Dirk Chan

The Domain Guy Saget is a landmark name in the Loire Valley with seven different ventures and 360 hectares of planted vineyards. It is a huge name in the region, and when you’re talking a five million bottle production per year, you get the scope we’re talking about. Most of the wines are whites made from the Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc grapes and the Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir as reds.

Thus, we were grateful that the afficable Mr. Jean-Louis Saget, who manages this discreet empire, drove three hours to meet up with us at the Chateau de la Mulonniere. We did a power tasting of over a dozen wines in various price categories before heading to a delicious lunch where we bought the wines along with us – my how the wines change with food!

The highlight though was upon our return to Moulonniere where we sample some fabulous dessert wines from the cellars (pictured above) including the fabulous 2007 vintage. Sampled from barrel were the super expensive and tiny production of both the Coteaux du Layon (5 barrels made) and the Quarts de Chaume (2 barrels made). What a way to finish off lunch! And to boot, he sent us on our way with a fabulous bottling of the Vallon Sancerre to have with our fresh caught fish dinner..

Tomorrow, an amazing visit at Chateau de Parnay..


June 15, 2011

Dirk’s French Blog

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 12:06 pm

closelAuthor: Dirk Chan

My trip to France did not get off to a good start, with the connecting flight from Montreal to Paris delayed by 1.5 hours due to lightning, and then sitting on the runway for another 15 minutes for equipment corrections. However, it was a blessing that my arrival day was a religious holiday in France, and the 10:30 train from Paris to Cholet in the Loire Valley was not available, because the plane only arrived at 10am and to have cleared customs and catch the train would have been impossible. With my good luck spurring me on, I navigated the tgv train and arrived safely in Cholet as a guest of Marc Vigneron of Nobilis Wines and his lovely wife Monique.

I don’t think i’ve ever konked out like the 8 hours sleep that came afterwards (old age). With a packed scheduled, we set out to visit the owner and winemaker Comtesse Evelyne de Pontbriand of Clos du Closel in Saviennieres, home of the great dry Chenin Blancs of the region – these wines are not for the faint of heart. The expression still have the honeycombe beeswax nose, but the palate is crushingly bone dry, but what class here. The entry level Jalousie was impressive, and the tete de cuvee ‘Clos du Papillons 2007’ is magnificent and truly a vin de garde (Baumard is the only other winery that also produces this Grand Cru). These are undoubtedly food wines, and not for deck sipping by themselves. But if you appreciate terroir wines and a winemakers’ efforts in the biodynamic realm, you will appreciate this terroir, the minerality, sharp acidity and history that are expressed by this house. Saviennieres are probably the first white wine that this writer has encountered that requires as much brain power as palate power to appreciate. With a tasting inside the historic 11th century ornate tasting room, this is a fiine way to start this trip with!

Tomorrow, we visit with Jean-Louis Saget..


June 12, 2011

The Day After

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 4:52 pm

hardware_e4cAuthor: Dirk Chan

First, thanks everyone for coming out yesterday for the Third annual “Al Fresco 104th St. Block Party” and fundraiser for E4C’s Edmonton School Lunch Program – the event was a smashing success – well attended, raised a lot of money for the charity (final tallies to come in a future blog), and the weather for the third year in a row was outstanding. It is the kind of excitement of everyone which build community spirit and make Edmonton the great city that it is. Our special thanks to all the volunteers, without which this event would not happen.

To view the auction results, click here..

But the fun is not over yet, we have a post Al Fresco event to bring to fruition, the Hardware Grill Luncheon, with proceeds to be donated to E4C. Chef Larry Stewart will prepare a three course lunch, including a takeaway for dessert. Please make every effort to attend this event. More info and registration here..


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