WEINGUT THÖRLE 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC

RHEINHESSEN, GERMANY

 You all know that we’re big fans of the wines of Weingut Thörle here at Bricks Wine Co. (they are exclusive to us in Calgary, after all) and the 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. The fruit for this wine comes from organically farmed vineyards on the steep slopes of the Rheinhessen and the wine goes through spontaneous fermentation using only natural, ambient yeast. Germany is probably one of the last places people tend to look to for Sauvignon Blanc, but James Suckling recently declared the cool climate of the Rheinhessen to be one of the top regions in the world for producing dry white wines.

Inspired by Johannes Thörle’s time apprenticing at an estate in France’s Loire Valley, this beautifully balanced Sauvignon Blanc shows striking notes of passionfruit, Meyer lemon, lime pith, freshly cut grass and chalky minerality. The finish is generous and the acid is bright and crisp, making you thirsty for another sip.

CHATEAU VAL JOANIS 2017 LES AGASSES VIOGNIER

LUBERON, FRANCE

“Agasse” means Magpie bird in very old regional French.

Located just 15 minutes North of Aix-en Provence (by car), the vineyards of Chateau Val Joanis benefit from high altitude and sunny exposure. They enjoy a particularly favorable microclimate with late ripening giving the wines freshness and balance. Viognier thrives here as it’s very close to what is thought to be its ancestral home.

(Although some will argue that Viognier originated on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast.)

This example of Viognier is much more varietally correct than options I’ve included in past BRICKS 6 instalments, although it still has more freshness than examples that see oak or have higher levels of alcohol. On the nose the Les Agasses displays beautiful floral notes of honeysuckle and jasmine, ripe peaches, apricots and a subtle hint of baking spices. The palate is harmonious and has bright acidity, which balances the full mouthfeel.

THOMPSON ESTATE 2017 FOUR CHAMBERS CHARDONNAY

MARGARET RIVER, AUSTRALIA

I’ve been apprehensive to include an oaked Chardonnay in the BRICKS 6 due to the fact that this style is often so misunderstood, but it’s time.

This wine is the perfect example of balance. You get a bit of the influence from the older oak barrels that were used, but the fruit and acidity shine through beautifully. This is no Chateau 2x4, I promise!

Jane & Peter Thompson purchased the land that would become Thompson Estate in 1994 and planted it with Burgundian Pinot Noir & Chardonnay clones in 1997, followed by Cab Sauv the following year. They specialize in these varietals. The Four Chambers series pays homage to Peter’s work as a cardiologist.

This beautiful Chardonnay reminds me of lemon meringue pie. Flavours of bright, zesty lemon curd, creamy meringue with a subtle hint of vanilla and flaky, buttery pie crust come together in perfect harmony.

CAMBRIDGE ROAD 2018 CLOUDWALKER

MARTINBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND

Sooooo… not only am I giving you an oaked Chardonnay this month, I’m also giving you an orange wine (the colour, not the fruit) aka skin-contact white wine. This style has been gaining traction at a rapid pace. Orange wines can range from being fruity to very bitter. This is an excellent introductory example of the style or as I call it, orange wine with training wheels.

“This year's Cloudwalker focuses on a single vineyard planted with Pinot Gris (65%) & Riesling (35%), just under half of the fruit has been fermented for 2 weeks with skins and seeds to build texture and refreshing pith into the wine. It’s then aged in neutral oak and ceramic egg for 5 months. The wine is wild and untouched, with nothing added or taken away. Aromas of dried mango and earl grey with a touch of lemon zest. The palate balances textural weight with a dry crunch and a freshness tempered with bitters. Only 660 cases made.”

– Lance Redgwell, winemaker

TANTALUS 2018 ROSÉ

EAST KELOWNA, B.C.

Tantalus is hands down one of my favourite producers. They make stunning Riesling, Pinot Noir and highly underrated Chardonnay, as well as some amazing traditional method bubbles and the odd ice wine, but let me tell you about their rosé! WOW!

This is a blend of 50% young vine Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier that was planted in 1985. You may recall that the summer of 2018 was a very smoky one, and while the team at Tantalus was worried about smoke taint, the grapes weren’t affected. Instead, the smoke in the sky helped to mitigate the hot temperatures and slow the ripening process for the grapes, keeping sugar levels low.

The result is this dry, vibrant rose. Don’t let the deep colour fool you, darker doesn’t always mean sweeter. The nose reveals aromas of field strawberries and watermelon Jolly Ranchers. The palate is tart with flavours of pink grapefruit, pomegranate, more field strawberry and a touch of white peppercorn.

 BOSCHKLOOF WINES 2017 KOTTABOS GRENACHE SYRAH

STELLENBOSCH, SOUTH AFRICA

The name "Kottabos" comes from a game of skill played at ancient Greek symposia (aka drinking parties). The players would throw wine lees at targets while uttering the name of the object of their affection. If they hit their target, it was believed they would be lucky in love.

This line from young winemaker Reenen Borman is meant to showcase the unique terroir that it comes from and to highlight the great history and fun in making wine. This is a blend of 78% Grenache and 22% Syrah, coming from soils made up of decomposed granite. The Grenache is fermented as whole bunches, giving the wine fresh, crunchy acidity and undeniable fruitiness. The addition of the Syrah and 10 months in neutral French oak barrels adds earthiness, structure and complexity. Ripe raspberries, fresh, juicy blackberries and stewed strawberries jump from the glass and carry onto palate. Flavours of olive tapenade and freshly cracked black pepper compliment the fruit.