BAILLY LAPIERRE CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE NV BRUT RÉSERVE

BURGUNDY, FRANCE

Based in the town of Saint-Bris-le-Vineux, Bailly Lapierre is a small co-operative that makes sparkling wine in their small, unique cellars which are located about 50 meters underground in a quarry. They were established in 1972 and gained organic certification in 2006.

Crémant is the term for sparkling wines made in the Méthode Champenoise (aka Méthode Traditionelle or Traditional Method in English) that are produced outside of the Champagne region. There are eight appellations in France that are permitted to produce Crémant and then just to be cheeky, the term is also legally allowed to be used in the neighbouring country of Luxembourg.

This Crémant is a blend of the four grape varieties of the appellation (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay & Aligoté), aged for 12 months on lees. The result is a wine with surprising complexity; it’s got a creamy mousse with notes of baked apples, ripe pears and freshly baked croissants.

STINA 2019 ZA INSPIRACIJU VUGAVA

BRAČ, CROATIA

Za inspiraciju = for inspiration!

Croatia is located just across the Adriatic Sea from northeastern Italy, and Stina is located on the island of Brač. The grapes grown in Croatia are predominantly indigenous and aren’t very well known in other parts of the world, largely in part due to the fact that they’re hard to pronounce! Vugava is pronounced just how you’d think it is, which is nice! It’s thought to be over 2000 years old and some people believe it to be a descendant of Viognier, but testing has proven that the DNA of the two varieties don’t match.

Stina is a 50-acre vineyard located about 500 meters above sea-level, but the fruit for this wine comes from an ancient vineyard on Vis (another Croatian island, about 90kms away). After fermentation the Vugava spends 6 months on its lees in stainless steel.

This unique wine has lively aromas of apricot and white pepper and tastes like eating salted grapefruit while sitting in a garden surrounded by fragrant wildflowers.

VIGNE SURRAU 2019 CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA

SARDINIA, ITALY

When thinking about Grenache, examples from Spain and France are definitely top of mind, but did you know Italy has over 55,000 acres of Grenache? That makes them the third largest producer of Grenache in the world! In fact, there is heated debate as to whether Grenache originated on the island of Sardinia or whether it originated in Spain. From what I can read, neither camp is willing to concede.

Cannonau is the Sardinian word for Grenache. In order to write Cannonau on the label the wine must be at least 90% Grenache, but this particular wine is made with 100% Grenache, from Surrau’s sustainably farmed estate vineyard which was founded in 2001 and consists of 60 hectares.

True to the rustic Italian style, the nose shows aromas of red cherries, tomato leaf and fresh rosemary; these notes carry to the palate where they’re met with an abundance of juicy plums, stewed strawberries and reduced balsamic. With lively acidity and subtle tannins, you can definitely chill this!

HAJSZANNEUMANN 2017 NUSSBERG ZWEIGELT

VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Vineyards located within the city, although incredibly uncommon almost everywhere else in the world, have a long tradition here in Vienna; the biodynamically farmed Nussberg vineyard is true to that tradition, overlooking the heart of Vienna.

Nussberg is located on a marine terrace that was formed by the movements of the sea millions of years ago. The soil is comprised of limestone with chalky deposits from ancient marine life. Periodic marl and clay sediments are found in the impermeable layers of the lower vineyard sites, allowing for water storage that supplies the vines during dry spells.

The vines range from 35 - 50 years old, and produce concentrated, complex grapes which are harvested by hand. The wine goes through malolactic fermentation before being transferred to oak barrels for 18 months, about 25% of which are new to add subtle, oaky complexity.

The nose is dominated with notes of dark stone fruits, nougat and a touch of orange zest. The palate is harmonious and balanced with a beautiful, lingering acidity.

DOSTERRAS 2016 VERMELL

MONTSANT, SPAIN

Dosterras was born in 2013 by the hand of Fernando Grajales, bringing together a young and ambitious team. The winery is located at the entrance to Marçà, between Mola de Colldejou and the Serra de Llaberia mountain ranges. It’s called Dosterras, meaning ‘two places’ or ‘two lands’ because in addition to their winery in Spain, they also own Hacienda Santa Rosa Xajay, a boutique wine producer in Mexico that makes wines of stupendous quality (according to Alex Good from Spur Imports, who brings this wine into Alberta).

The Vermell represents their classic ‘estate’ wine and despite its exceptional value, it’s surprisingly age-worthy. It’s a blend of 50% Garnacha, 20% Carignan, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Tempranillo. The wine is spontaneously fermented in concrete and then transferred to 5th fill French barriques for 24 months.

This full-bodied red has aromas of forest floor, dried fig and cocoa powder. On the palate you’ll find notes of cassis, vanilla and clove; it has persistent, grippy tannins.

ROSEWOOD 2019 LOOKING GLASS

BEAMSVILLE, ONTARIO

(We’ve featured a wine from Rosewood in the past, so the first bit of this write-up may be a repeat for some of you. I apologize!)

As Niagara’s original meadery, Rosewood is owned & opatrated by the Romans, a multi-generational beekeeping family. It was in 1982 though, when Eugene & Renata Roman were on their honeymoon in Niagara-on-the-Lake, that they fell in love with the region, the people and most importantly, the wines! So, Eugene promised his new wife that he would build a winery with her and the rest, as they say, is history!

This is Looking Glass, a blend of 45% Cabernet Franc, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petit Verdot, and it’s a Meritage. Pronounced like heritage, Meritage is a term used to describe a Bordeaux-style blend.

On the nose aromas of ripe red currants and blueberries, with notes of cocoa, are brought together with underlying notes of dried herbs. On the palate flavours of blackberries and raspberries with accents of toasted oak and baking spice are rounded out with velvety tannins.