I had a thread I was updating pretty frequently on chowhound and I thought of bringing my observations here as a basis for further discussions. We have a closed wine and spirits market in Quebec so its interesting to discuss each other’s taste. This will be a long first post.
I usually go for these bottle for a good value profile I enjoy
I really enjoy german style rieslings and they are usually too expensive for a casual buy. The german rieslings I enjoy are boterysed, meaning they are subject to a mushroom that drinks the water in the grape and concentrate the sugars. Their classification varies on the time the grape has been left on the vine and will indicate the amount of sugar content. The “Kabinett” classification will be the dryest of the lot, followed by “Spatlese”, “Auslese”, “Beerenauslese” and Trockenbeerenauslese". I enjoy Auslese most but I find that a bottle of cheap Kerpen Spatlese does the job when I have a desire for a quick hit of german rieslings!
Lenz Mosel Trockenbeerenauslese
If you want to try an inexpensive version of trockenbeerenauslese (think ice wine), try the austrian version. It uses the german classification and is way less expensive.
Chateau Imperial Tokaj
Another wine that has an interesting trace of sweetness while still being dry. The tokaj region of hungary has long been renowned for its desert wines. They have started to diversify recently by producing different wines with interesting results!
I never remember which bottle of bourgogne aligoté I prefer so I pretty much always buy a bottle at random. I know Liverpool house had Bechelder last time I went but getting a mid 20$ bottle of aligoté kinda goes againt what I originaly liked about that wine: it was a cheap, good quality white with a good acidity and a touch of minerality. A good summer wine.
I love love love chianti and the one Ruffino makes I love best. Tried a ton of other ones but I always come back to Ruffino. Don’t know why. Its cheap too. I always feel a bit guilty loving something so… cheap and mainstream but I don’t mind at the end… wine you enjoy is wine you enjoy.
Chateau de Dyonis Pineau Noir
A 10$ Romanian red wine has no business being that good. We bought that bottle on a bet to try less mainstream regions and we were really impressed by that bottle. I remember it being very round and fruity. Very enjoyable.
L’orangerie de Pennautier
Another bottle of red that a friend brought to a supper that I enjoyed. Inexpensive but interesting.
Chateau Imperial Tokaj 3 Puttonyos (Aszu)
I talked to you about the famous Tokaji wines from the Hungary region. This is one of them. If you enjoy ice wines, ice ciders, sauternes or Vendanges Tardives (i.e.: desert wines) this one is worth a short. Wine from Tokay had a similar reputation to the now prestigious Chateau d’Yquem in previous times (it was apparently a favorite of the courts of europe). They are made from boterysed grapes in a type of wine called Azsu. They have a sugar ranking that goes from low (1 puttonyos) to very sugary (5 puttonyos). The more sugary the wine the more expensive it is.
Klein Constantia Vin de Constance
That one has an interesting story. Vin de Constance are south african dessert wines that used to be all the rage in the 18th and 19th century europe. However, the phylloxera epidemic (a blight that came with a species of insect imported from america) killed most of the vines in south africa. This type of wine became extinct until the 1980’s when it became a guy’s pet project to resurrect this wine variety in the same terroir. You can now sample a previously extinct brand of wine mentioned in some of Jane Austen and Charles Dicken’s novels.
Coteaux du Layon Domain Patrick Beaudoin Les Buandières
This is a wine I discovered to my great dismay at Pullman. Following a discussion with the sommelier on my newfound interest in german dessert wines he gave me a glass of this coteaux du layon to try. I immediately fell in love. Honey, vanilla, a very soft, very round mouthfeel, good viscosity, none of the bite or alcohol edge some dessert wine develop, none of this eau de rose perfume I dislike in Alsace desert wines, just an enveloping sweet bothrytis wine with a round welcoming finish. I say “to my great dismay” because it wasn’t available at the SAQ at the time. I tried Moulin Touchais and Domaine FL 4 villages but it just wasn’t the same. I immediately impulse buyed the first bottle I saw at the SAQ and almost wept in joy. The price of the bottle makes it a special buy however and its well beyond my “impulse buy” range. Still less expensive than most good sauternes, auslese and vin de constance though and really an excellent wine.
Planeta Passito di Noto
House Planeta is a sicilian producer that I enjoy and it never lead me wrong. Whether I enjoyed or not the grapes or the terroir I never remember having a “bad” Planeta wine. It could change but for now they have a positive connotation. My favorite product of theirs is, wait for it, a dessert wine. I’ve had it for myself and served it to friends and family with continued success.
**Bernhard Ott Fass 4 **
Loved it. Absolutely in my ballpark. Good fruit, very round, good acidity but not dominant, not a strong attack or finish but big round fruit in the middle. No minerality, perfume, not too dry. I’d have to try it neck and neck with a bechelder bourgogne aligoté (which is in the same range in price). might prefer the Bernhard Ott. Bought the 15.80 bottle instead because 10-20$ is my impulse buy range and 20-30$ is usually my weekend range (anything over 30$ goes in the category “special occasion”.
Fonte de Nico
Mild attack opening a bit more in the middle. The attack is ok, a bit of rise in acidity opening up to a nice understanded fruitness. The middle is quite pleasant. The finish, however, has hints of cardboard and is a bit sour with a bit of a raw aftertaste that is not really interesting. Nice little wine but I fear the finish does not endear it to me. I’d cook with this wine or do a sangria with it but I would prefer the Chevalier de Dyonis in that “category” (10 ish dollars or below).
Its a bit of a shame really. Liked 2/3 of the experience. If the finish would cut it sharp and clean instead of lingering on with it would be way better.
**Veltlinsky Grüner Veltliner 2014 **
Its a very young wine. The attack is lively and vivacious, with a bit of fizz, the middle is pretty acid, strong citrus, a bit grassy, the finish is pretty long and all in acidity. Not much minerality, pretty straight, could be a bit rounder. Lets say straight and long. The Bernhard Ott Fass had rounder fruit, a bit more caracter and a cleaner finish less in acidity. All in all I prefer the Bernhard Ott Fass but the Veltinsky is a very nice summer wine. Maybe I’m wrong but it makes be thing of a Vinho Verde.
Very enjoyable, not sugary, not cloying, no perfume or rosewater. Not too large but good lenght. Pretty light but crisp. Strong berries in the middle. Quite a pleasant wine. Everyone enjoyed it. You could be drinking a white wine but for the berries in the middle.
I would not hesitate to buy another bottle but I would prefer a bigger middle, stronger berries and more residual sugar. I guess I’m looking for something a bit more intense and sugary.
Very light rosé. As promised, no perfume, no rosewater. Not a ton of sugar or acidity. Very very light but a very present strawberry in the middle. Its like drinking strawberry essence. Light, pleasant, slightly aromatic. I would have preferred a bit more power and a bit more sugar. Overall a nice experience. Would not hesitate to buy it again but its not my platonic rosé.
Vieux Moulin Mead
The “vieux moulin” mead has impressed everyone and will probably ascend to “safety bottle everpresent in the fridge” status. Its that good, and at 13$, you can bring it everywhere without shame. Plus it has a great story: a local quebec cider from gaspésie. Bonus points: few know what to expect from hydromel. If anybody asks you how much it cost it won’t be because they find it unpleasant; they’ll ask because they want to buy a bottle for themselves.
Mateus is a Portuguese rosé wine that costs around 10$. It is extremely suspect but comes with a good story. “Supersizers go” is an english food tv show that explores food in different eras of england. The one in the 70’s had a party in which everybody brought a bottle of Mateus as a “hostess gift” (without even talking to each other). Curious, I had to try to taste to what might be a prehistoric variation to what we know as “rosé” now.
You can find the “supersizers go” show on youtube:
It was a very bad mistake. Mateus is classified (along with Baby Duck bubbly) as one of the worst experience of drinking anything wine related in my life. Its as if the producer decided to make a rosé by blending two underwhelming bottom shelf supermarket wine (red and white respectively) and hoping for the best.
It is aggressively bad, with a hint of tannin that highlights the wet cardboard taste of bad red wine mixed with a hint of cheap piney off market white. It has an aftertaste of cheap labor and communism. It also has a slight fizz of young wine that does nothing to alleviate the traumatism of drinking the worst wine you had in the last 10 years (maybe 20, I was quite young when I decided to buy that baby duck bottle).
Nobody in my party of friends liked it. Some struggled to finish their glass. I took it like a man and decided to finish the bottle myself. I felt both proud that I could handle such punishment and a bit disappointed for submitting myself to such a trial out of sheer pride.
Poiré de glace
Trying right now a “poiré de glace” from Domaine de Lavoie. Poiré de glace is a pear sweet wine made through “cryo concentration”. It is the same process that makes icewines or ice ciders and is sometimes made throught a natural process (the sugars being naturally concentrated in apples left on trees… as I believe “la face cachée de la pomme” does) or an artificial process of cold concentration (like “pomme de glace” from “clos st-denis”), I don’t know if “poiré de glace” is made through an artificial process or natural but I believe it is probably made through artificial means.
For this tasting, I will compare it to my memories of my favorite ice cider, Neige from “La face cachée de la pomme”. It is a lot less sweet and a lot less wide than Neige. A lot shorter too and less acidic. We definitely taste the pear but there is also a bit of acridity and some less pleasant granular pear on the back of the palette. I guess it lacks a bit of finesse and offers the good and the bad side of the pear. I still prefer ice cider, I believe I tasted better ice pear cider and would not buy this particular product again.
Vin gris de Cigare
The story around that wine is pretty interesting. The wine was created as an interpretation of an esoteric variant of a southern côte du rhone rosé wine. Apparently vin gris, in contrast to strict rosé wine, are produced by pressing red wine grape without any aditional skin contact (contrary with rosé wine which leave the skin for a limited amount of time).
Well, it was enough for me to buy a bottle and try it.
The wine is very well made. Unfortunately, at its core it has a strong perfumy eau de rose quality that I strongly dislike. It is not cloying and I can appreciate its quality and craftsmanship but it is unfortunately exactly the type of wine I try to stay away from. If you ever liked Rieslings from the Alsace region but found them too sugary try the Vin gris de cigare from Bonny Doon. You’ll probably like it. If, like me, you try to stay away from Alsace wines because they are perfumy… well… stay away from that one.
Classic case of a nice wine that doesn’t fit my taste.
Chateau de Lancyre
Château de Lancyre is pretty complex and a bit hard to describe. Its miles ahead of Mateus (everything is miles ahead of Mateus). The initial attack is pretty understated but the middle of the palate is pretty acid. There is a bit of lemon zest there. Its a bit tart and there is a bit of the bitterness of the white pulp of the lemon that goes with the zest. Its pretty pleasant actually. Hints of berries also but no residual sugar. It is a bit mineral but not too much, just enough to provide balance to the acidity. Pretty dry. Pretty long too. It ends in a steadily declining acidity slope. The very end is a point of bitterness mixed with a bit of acidity.
Its a lot more complex than the Buti Nage. A lot less strawberry in the middle too. Closer to the Yalumba Rosé but I’d have to compare them side to side to get a better opinion. Its nothing like the “Vin Gris” I’ve tasted as there is no perfume or eau de rose.
I’d buy it again. Pretty complex. The kind of wine 4 people around a table would taste four different flavour profile.
I generally enjoy german rieslings for their play between acidity and inherent sweetness. This one is a pretty low cost riesling in the “Qualitatswein” category (one category less sugary than Kabinett, usually pretty dry compared to, say, a Auslese.) I don’t drink a ton of “Qualitatswein” so I didn’t know what to expect.
On the nose, it is definitly a german riesling. I don’t know if this one is Botherysed but it definitely smells familiar . On taste its a lot weaker than what I’m used too. A lot less acidity, a bit of residual sugar (it still has 25 g/l) but nothing to offset it. Not enough acidity overall and not enough edge. The is a hint of acidity in the attack followed by a weird roundish funky fruitiness in the middle. The finish is fruity and pretty long. The aftertaste is a bit funky and unpleasant.
Its a weird wine. A bit too long, A lot of body but doesn’t quite hit the right notes. Funky, fruity, round-ish. Its not satisfying.
Happy to try it, will try other Qualitatswein Rieslings but will not buy this one again.
This is my first foray in Chenin Blanc and this one was a specific recommendation from a SAQ employee I kinda trust.
This is a strange beast. The attack is a bit acidulate without being too acid. You expect the acid to peak or to lead to a mineral finish but it just opens up to a slight fruity tanginess in the middle of the mouth. Lemon becoming a tangerine. The finish is slighly bitter. Lemon pith. Not super pleasant on its own but it fits holistically. Mouthfeel is pretty wide and varied. Long enough. You do get a slight remaining sense of acidity at the end of the dish.
The flavors pretty are volatile and you get to understand that the flavor profile could be subject to interesting variations when pared to different dishes, tasted by different people or even depending on the time of the day.
Overall I would buy again and will try other chenin blancs.