Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Les vins de Moueix sont Mieux

The first decade of the millennium has been kind to Bordeaux with Robert Parker's Wine Advocate characterizing much of the 2000, 2005, and 2009 vintages as being outstanding for the higher end vineyards  But with great hype from influential critics comes greatly exaggerated prices; and with exaggerated prices comes the snobbery of some oenophiles and their hangers on crowding out those who may be genuinely interested in the wines of Bordeaux yet do not have the deep pockets to saunter to the table to appreciate them.

It does not have to be so.


Christian Moueix, scion of the the French wine establishment and Decanter's 2008 Man of the Year, has marketed for a number of years wines that are characteristic of the Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix estates in Saint-Émilion and Pomerol but at a price point not requiring one to dip into a home equity line of credit to enjoy, as one would have to if a case of Chateau Pétrus 2003 was on order (costing $4229/bottle in Ontario).

Moueix's value wines are this week's Wine Wednesday (#WW #WineWednesday) recommendations courtesy of your friends at SukasaStyle: Les vins de Moueix sont Mieux (Moueix's wines are better).



CHRISTIAN MOUEIX MERLOT (V)   $15.95 | VINTAGES 961227 | 750 mL bottle

Made in: Bordeaux, France
By: Jean Pierre Moueix
Release Date: Apr 18, 2013
Wine, Red Wine
13.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity
Varietal: Merlot
Sugar Content: 5 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

LCBO Description / Tasting Note
Christian Moueix, the man behind legendary wines Chateau Pétrus and Dominus, also makes smashing wines at appealing prices like this fragrant Merlot with its plum and black cherry flavours. A Bordeaux for everyday meals such as beef stew, pepperoni pizza or grilled pepper steak.

SukasaStyle Notes:
With a ruby colour, and fruity nose one needs to drink this dry red, along with other Moueix entries, with food given its acidity. On the palate, there are tannins with a comfortable mouthfeel leading to a finish that is simple and satisfying. Try pairing with pizza or risotto and serve at 16-17 oC

Sukasa Stars: 4.35 / 5
Quality Price Ratio: Good

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CHRISTIAN MOUEIX SAINT-ÉMILION 2009  $20.95 | VINTAGES 979955 | 750 mL bottle


Made in: Bordeaux, France
By: Jean Pierre Moueix
Release Date: Oct 12, 2013
Wine, Red Wine
13.0% Alcohol/Vol.
Style: Full-bodied & Smooth
Varietal: Bordeaux Red
Sugar Content: 5 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

LCBO Description / Tasting Note
Musky, sultry nose on this Bordelaise staple by Christian Moueix. The palate is peppery, sweaty, floral and vibrant. Quite appealing for the price point. Medium to full bodied with balanced alcohol, generous fruit and integrated tannins. The finish delivers some curious soapy, salty notes along with wood spice. Tasted August 2012. Score - 89. (Sara d'Amato, winealign.com, Sept. 15, 2012)

SukasaStyle Notes:
Red and purple hue and a nose that is more floral than expected. The reason this wine is favoured by your scribe yet may not be by many tasters is the mineral nature of the body --one gets the sense of the terroir drinking this-- and the taste was smooth yet balanced with tannins and a medoum-long finish. There was the sense that this was a much more expensive wine that deserved to be opened after 6-7 years in the cellar to bring out its full character.


Sukasa Stars: 4.55 / 5


Quality Price Ratio: Very Good-Excellent

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CHRISTIAN MOUEIX POMEROL 2009   $29.95 | VINTAGES 903013 | 750 mL bottle


Made in: Bordeaux, France
By: Jean Pierre Moueix
Release Date: Jun 22, 2013
Wine, Red Wine
12.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity
Varietal: Bordeaux Red
Sugar Content: 5 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

LCBO Description / Tasting Note
A Merlot-dominated 'house wine' from right-bank specialists JP Moueix. ...So, so, so much better than most basic Bordeaux. Brilliantly flattering fruit spreads right across the palate. I honestly find it quite hard to believe this is as cheap as it is. Maybe it won't go anywhere much but it is VVGV (Very, Very Good Value). Drink: 2012-2015. Score - 16.5 (out of 20). (Jancis Robinson, MW, jancisrobinson.com, Oct. 16, 2012)


SukasaStyle Notes:
Arguably the most fruit forward of the Moueix entries, it can be enjoyed by itself but comes out well when paired with steak. Spicy and woody on the nose coupled with fleshy tannins make this an appealing wine. Serve at 16-17 oC or cellar for another 5 years and you will be rewarded.


Sukasa Stars: 4.5 / 5
Quality Price Ratio: Very Good


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Highland Park 10 Year Old Review


“The essence of Orkney’s magic is silence, loneliness and the deep marvelous rhythms of sea and land, darkness and light” ~  George Mackay Brown

What better way to start Sukasa Style’s inaugural Scotch Sunday post, with a quote about Orkney from one of its greatest gifts to the world, poet George Mackay Brown. The other great export is, of course, it’s Scotch: today we will give you our thoughts on Highland Park 10 Year Old (LCBO 334029) which sells for $59.95 for a 750ml bottle in Ontario.

Whenever we have tasted a dram from Highland Park we have not been disappointed. The first impression of this 10 Year Old –to our knowledge the youngest Highland Park that is offered in Canada—is that it was remarkably smooth. The nose was one of caramel and smoke while the palate reminded us of very dark chocolate with a dash of peat. All of this culminated in a finish that was warm, lengthy and spicy. The remarkable thing was that the Highland Park 10 Year Old reminded us of another departed and discontinued favourite, Scapa 12 Year Old. This isn’t an insult to either distillery as neighbouring Scapa, just south of Highland Park, remains a relatively unknown gem.
 
We recommend this amber beauty as a perfect single malt to introduce to novices, as an option for a daily dram and a must have introduction to the Highland Park portfolio given its price point.

Serve straight or with a splash of water.

Sukasa Stars: 4.5 / 5

Quality Price Ratio: Excellent

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Hunting for a threesome? Say Hello to Syrah, Mourvèdre, Viognier!

Last week's Sukasa Style Wine Wednesday pick hailed from the country whose southern tip is Cape Horn, this week's comes from the country, South Africa, whose Boekenhoutskloof winery is located in the Franschhoek Wine Valley, 86km from Cape Towne. We look at The Wolftrap 2012 (LCBO 292557 @ $13.95 | SAQ 10678464 @ $16.70).
Twitter handle: https://twitter.com/TheWolftrapWine


This is a very well made wine with a degree of elegance not often found in such an inexpensive wine. This deeply coloured blend of syrah, mourvedre and viognier has a nose of blackberry fruit with licorice, pepper and mild oak spice. It is medium to full-bodied with firm tannin which gives a nice edge to the finish. Very good to excellent length. Best 2013 to 2017. Try with grilled read meats. (Steve Thorlow, WineAlign)
This blend of Syrah (67%), Mourvèdre (31%) and Viognier (2%) is a welcoming, easy drinking, fruit forward item with benign tannins. Go here for the winemaker's comments.

Made in: Western Cap, South Africa
Winery: Boekenhoutskloof
Alcohol:  14.32% by vol.
Type and Style: Red, medium to full-bodied and smooth
Varietal: 67% Syrah | 31% Mourvèdre | 2% Viognier
Total Acidity: 5.14 g/l (tartaric acid)
Residual sugar: 3.64 g/l
pH: 3.64
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

Tasting Note
Reminiscent of the wines from southern France and the Rhône valley The Wolftrap blends Mouvedre and Syrah but no Grenache and adds a splash of Viognier to “lift the perfume profile of the wine.”
First impression is that it may be a fruit forward blockbuster but this isn’t an overripe entry; it has seriousness, structure and the potential to cellar for a few years.

Food pairing: Try with beef ribs, pulled pork, roasted duck or a rich north Indian curry dish.

For those like your friends at Sukasa Style who care about value we recommend The Wolftrap 2012 Red (there is a white as well) and a fellow Boekenhoutskloof wine, Porcupine Ridge (Vintages 595280 @ 14.95) as essential picks for your wine collection. We have tasted this wine through a number of vintages (2010-2012) and it continues to score an excellent on the QPR scale.

Serve this at 17-19 oC as it tends to shut down at cooler temperatures.

Sukasa Stars: 4.5 / 5

Quality Price Ratio: Excellent

Monday, 14 October 2013

If you were to pair a car with Carmenere...


For this week’s Sukasa Style Wine Wednesday pick we travel down to Chile’s Valle de Aconcagua for 2011 ERRAZURIZ ESTATE CARMENÈRE  (LCBO reference:  16238 | SAQ reference:  10673575) well priced in Ontario (at $13.95 but $15.20 in Quebec) making it, in our opinion, a recommended buy in relative and absolute terms.

Here’s a question: If you take the analogy of wines to cars, do you think of Chilean wines as a Volvo or an Audi? We suspect neither as the country remains under that radar for many an oenophile considering a higher end purchase.  About a decade ago Master of Wine Tim Aitken made the analogy that Chilean wine was reliable but boring – like a Volvo — while today AurelioMontes argues that Chilean wine is akin to an Audi and capable of competing with the best wines from France.

We don’t take the argument that far – it isn’t going to edge out a Barolo or Brunello from your cellar just yet – but the 2011 vintage of the Errazuriz Estate Carmenère is definitely ready to drink today, balanced with tannins and acidity that opens up after half an hour to be smooth; it is a food friendly number that can be enjoyed by itself as well. And while France may enjoy the cache of being home to higher end wines remember that you won’t get the best Carmenère from Médoc any longer; you have to go to Chile for that now.

Made in: Valle de Aconcagua, Chile

Winery: Vina Errazuriz S.A.

Alcohol:  13.5% by vol.

Type and Style: Red, medium to full-bodied and smooth

Varietal: 100% Carmenère

Total Acidity: 4.82 g/l (tartaric acid)

Residual sugar: 2 g/L

 Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

Tasting Note

To quote the winery for 2011 “The reds display vibrant colour, optimum acidity, and good fruit intensity, leading to fruity, well-rounded wines with smooth tannins.”

Optically, the ruby colour accompanied smokiness, spice and wood on the palate. Was this (somewhat odd description and first impression) the result of the wine being aged for eight months in first-, second-, and third-use French and American oak barrels?

Food pairing: Try with rack of lamb, Indian Style Sheekh Kabab, rib eye steak.

Some may think the similarly priced and more famous CASILLERO DEL DIABLO RESERVA CARMENERE is a better pick. We disagree: give this a try and serve at 15-16oC .

Sukasa Stars: 4.5 / 5

Quality Price Ratio: Excellent

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Hidden Gem From Naoussa Off The Beaten Track

For this week’s wine Wednesday pick we at Sukasa Style are going off the beaten track of the world of wine and venturing to a place that most will not heard of: Naoussa in Macedonia (Greece).

This post dovetails on a recent Globe and Mail article by John Lee on “Thirteen of the world’s best wine regions you probably know nothing about” yet the wine in question, Grande Reserve Naoussa (2007 Vintage) hails from the Naoussa region – which wasn’t mentioned in Lee’s piece.

Made from 100% Xinomavro, this full bodied and firm red has what appears to be a fruit forward character but is balanced with tannins and is memorable for its long finish. This hidden gem was tasted by a Sukasa Style reviewer at Toronto’s Four Seasons Café Boulud on the recommendation of the resident sommelier, Drew Walker.

The Boutari company suggests pairing with game, red meats and spicy cheeses and serving at 16-18 oC and the wine is good to cellar till 2019 or drink now with decanting.


An external review notes:
This supple, complex and enticingly ripe red features a mix of citrus, spice, smoke, dried berry and cherry tart flavors. The long finish shows sandalwood notes, with hints of mincemeat and touches of cream. Ends on a briary note. Xinomavro. Drink now through 2018. Score - 90. (Kim Marcus, winespectator.com, Web Only, 2012)

The wine was released by the LCBO in February 2013 so the inventory at LCBO stores is low but at $16.95 and 12.5% alcohol by volume it clocks in with a very good Sukasa Star rating of 4.5/5 and scores “Excellent” on the Quality–Price Ratio.


Also in the Boutari family is the Boutari Naoussa 2008. The more recent vintage is the bargain priced option (costing $12.95) and weighing in at 13.5% alcohol/volume and given its August release date in Ontario its inventory position is still fairly high outside of the GTA. This has not been tasted by anyone here but here is Mark Squire’s tasting note to whet your appetite:

The 2008 Naoussa, that is, a Xinomavro, is the latest iteration of a well priced bottling that I have come to rely upon as one of the better red values in Greece, often available on the street for well under its list price. This year seems like an exceptional vintage for this bottling, which makes it one of the better values recently. Its hallmark is always refinement and balance. It is never a rustic Xinomavro, but at the same time it still preserves its essence and characteristics and expresses its terroir well as time goes on. Caressing in texture, yet increasingly powerful as it fleshes out in the glass to show good depth, it lingers on the palate and grips it. When the baby fat goes, which I began to see with extended aeration, it will show increasing transparency and character, becoming earthier and purer, more complex and transparent and become interesting as well as tasty. It shows the ability to change into something more with age and it should age gracefully. It drank beautifully the next day, showing that promised purity and transparency, seeming clean and unadorned. If you like Xinomavro -- or Barbaresco -- this is a fine overachiever that I liked more and more as it aired out. It is well worth seeking out. While approachable with some air, it is pretty tight. Drink 2013-2025. Score - 91. (Mark Squires, erobertparker.com, Feb. 2012)