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Alana L

Alana L

6 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 93/100

Chose this wine for a recent ‘live’ tasting with Natalie Maclean before even considering what dinner would be and channeled her ‘pair your wine with the diner, not the dinner’ philosophy that she shared at the @lcbo live the evening prior! Have to be honest – I love the label of this wine (I know, I know…) but, and I love when this happens, I love what was (yes, past tense, this wine disappeared without a trace over a long virtual dinner with friends last night) inside it even more! It paired beautifully with a tasting menu from Joe Beef in Montreal that included their famous lobster pasta! Joao Eduardo Novais Malheiro Tavares de Pina Tretas 2019 from Dao, Portugal. Made with 70% Jaen, 20% Rufete (Tinta Pinheira) and 10% Touriga nacional - it’s fresh and fruity with crisp acidity and low tannins - definitely high on the #glouglou scale and deliciously bright and drinkable at only 12% alcohol! João makes unbelievable wine and I’m so happy that @boires.ca imports them! He lives amongst his vines and is non-interventionist, believing in doing as little as possible in the vineyard and winery: natural yield, manual harvest and blending, native yeasts, low sulphur and no chemicals, no new wood, no fining, filtering, not even temperature control on his reds. The vineyard itself is not tilled, so as to not disturb the biodiversity underneath, and he utilizes native flowers and herbs as natural repellents to fungus, mold, and other diseases with a cover crop that includes chamomile and clover amongst others with indigenous lavender at the end of each row to signal any oncoming disease. The winery is carbon neutral and covered in photovoltaic cells making it self-sufficient for energy. But beyond all of that? The wines he makes are happiness in a bottle to me!

Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut

Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut Cava

Penedès D.O., Spain
7 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 92/100

This week’s pick as part of a 34 wines in 34 weeks comparative challenge is Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut from the Mediterranean Coast of Spain. 40% Chardonnay, 30% Macabeo, 20% Parellada and 10% Pinot Noir it’s produced as a ‘blanc de noir’ (where the red grapes are pressed and the juice is allowed to ferment after being separated from the skins and resulting in a white wine that is referred to as a “blanc de noirs” or a white wine from dark grapes). It’s a bit sweeter than my preferred Extra Brut but ‘dry enough to my taste’ still, i.e. not erring towards the sweetness of an Extra Seco. Notes of ripe citrus fruit, apple, nectarine and even chamomile (hmmm, chamomile… could sparkling wine be a nighttime herbal infusion or ‘tisane’? I wonder…) on the nose and palate with the higher percentages of Chardonnay and Macabeo bringing crisp acidity, freshness, rich texture and body. Paired beautifully with a starter plate of fontina cheese and lardons stuffed shishito peppers, dry French saucisson and anchovy stuffed olives.

8 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 90/100

Tasted this surprising Inconnu Papa Jaja 2018 as my pick to accompany Natalie Maclean's recent wine tasting on California Wines. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from California, Inconnu is Laura Brennan Bissell’s project that she describes as a ‘meditation of simplicity’. It’s everything that does not come to mind when you first hear California Cabernet: it’s refreshing, bright, light, crisp and full of fruit (rasberries and berry jam), hints of mint and green bell pepper with no vanilla or oak secondary notes. Unfiltered and coming from organically farmed vineyards in Clarksburg, it is naturally fermented in casks and aged for one year in neutral barrels. The palate is fresh and juicy - it’s the rare California Cab that is high acidity, medium alcohol, light soft tannins and medium (on the light side) body and very bright. This wine definitely represents the ‘New California’ style coined by wine journalist Jon Bonné to describe this new wave of winegrowers making wines that differ from the previous days of excessive ripeness and oak. High 'glouglou' alert on this one when poured slightly chilled, paired beautifully with lamb stuffed red peppers.

Peixe Da Estrada 2017

Galicia, Spain
8 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 93/100

Peixe Da Estrada 2017 – made by two winemaker friends, Jesús Olivares & Curro Bareño – is a blend of Mencia, Mouraton, Grao Negro, Garnacha, Tintorera, Bastardo, Godello, Dona Blanca, Palomino and Colgadeira from Galicia, Spain (coming from disparate and scattered vineyards where old, gobelet trained vines grow on steep, stony terraces and see a diverse array of varieties mixed together). I still, tasting it again this afternoon, can’t put words to the aromas or tastes. In the best possible way, I’m speechless! Tasted as part of a wine tasting hosted by Veronique Rivest from Bar à Vin Soif, she summed it up well when she said something to the effect of ‘it smells like nothing else and just smelling it is so interesting that, regardless of what it tastes like it, this alone is already interesting’ and she nailed it with that one comment. Singular. In a good way. And luckily the taste lives up to the high bar the nose sets and just brings you back for more! Some of the words that came up to describe the aromas were briny, pickles, aneth, olives, ‘garrigue’ (sounds so much better in French than ‘scrubland’) – and while these may give you reason to pause, don’t. It’s addictively interesting with a lot of fruit (cassis, blackberry) on top of the initial mineral and stony side - would pair beautifully with roasted eggplant and feta or a pasta dish with olives. Vegan, practicing organic, biodynamic in some plots, hand harvested, whole cluster natural yeast fermentation in vats and gentle maturation lasting two months. Singular. In the best way.

21 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 89/100

A truly delightful surprise! Received as a gift, this was not a wine that I would have thought I would enjoy so much given the style and relatively high (8 g/L) residual sugar. In fact, it has laid resting in our cellar for over a year until this weekend when we were looking for something to pair with an Indian-spiced crab dish and thought this just might be perfect. And it was beyond! One of the Hugel family's signature wines, it shines with fruity, floral and spicy notes and a surprising crisp freshness that I was not expecting. It's definitely and extrovert: medium lemon in colour with medium aroma and flavour intensities of ripe peaches and pears, cherry blossoms, lime & lychee. Off-dry with medium acidity, medium alcohol, medium body & medium flavor and a long finish, it’s a delight of a wine for any manner of spicy or cream sauce based dishes. A sip of nirvana with the Indian spiced crab and a sign to never judge a wine by one’s preconceptions! Truly delightful!

Alana L

Wine BloggerVisit Alana's Website

Memorable Wine

A glass of Black Swan Reserve at the most picturesque Stellenbosch winery in South Africa


First Wine

Probably the notorious wicker-wrapped Chianti - but the first one that made me fall in love with wine was a Brouilly Georges Duboeuf


Unusual Wine Experience

Finding rare old vintages on the wine list of an Algerian french restaurant


Current Fav Wine

Domaine Le Roc La Folle Noire d'Ambat, Fronton

Winner World's Best Drink Writer
WFour-Time Winner James Beard Foundation
Five-Time Winner Association of Food Journalists
Six-Time Winner Bert Greene Award
Best Wine Literature Book Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Online Writer of the Year Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Award