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Alana L

Alana L

L’avenir

Mason Vineyard L’avenir Chardonnay Unfiltered 2021

Tweinty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada
266 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 95/100

Yowzah… This is the kind of Chardonnay that makes me very, very, very embarrassed to say that I was once, woefully, a member of the ABC Club (yes, that’s ‘Anything But Chardonnay’ club.). Because… I had one too many dates with the overly oaked, heavy, vanilla’ey (not a real term, I know…), buttery (in a bad way, like the bottom of a movie theater popcorn bag) kind… And, let’s be honest, partly out of ignorant snobbery was I a proud ABC card carrying member (who would also claim that she loved Chablis… before learning that Chablis is… 100% Chardonnay, oops…). I mean, let’s face it, few grape varieties elicit a knee-jerk reaction like Chardonnay does. You (proclaim) to love it, or you (proclaim) to hate it but you rarely proclaim to be indifferent about it. And yet… so far are we here, and in so many Chardonnays, from the heavy, cloying, overly toasted Chards… (No hate here if that’s your thing, it’s just not mine, or at least not usually. There’s a time and a place for everything). And so today, for #ThirstyThursday and in honor of the I4C (Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration @coolchardonnay ) that I am lamentably missing this year (overly full schedule be damned) I opened this beautiful crisp, barely oaked 2021 ‘L’avenir’ Chardonnay (Unfiltered) from Kelly Mason at Mason Vineyard (Fun fact: Kelly was born and raised in Montreal before becoming a well-traveled and sought after expert in Burgundian varietals.) But back to this Chard… I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly (virtually) on a few wine panels and talks, and (personally) when I was in the Niagara wine region last month (and from which I brought back some goodies including this stunner). One of her estate wines, i.e., from her personal vineyard (in her own words, these wines represent ‘…the answer to my question - what would happen if I could make all the decisions and bottle what I think is best off of this site?). In a nutshell as I have now wordily run long on this review: Divine. Crisp. Fresh. Lean. Tickly acidity. A pinch of salt. Tart fruit. A slip of butter. She calls it racy. I call it exceptional wine.

Kindeli Invierno 2021

Nelson, New Zealand
300 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 91/100

Vacation. This tastes like it. When the weather says ‘white wine’ but you want red. It’s light, but tastes of sun, warmth and ever so slightly of BBQ smoke, that adds just enough depth to a highly drinkable red that’s oh so perfect served lightly chilled. A summer field blend red that tastes exactly on point with crisp acidity, some spice, a touch of earthiness and just a soupçon of funkiness (it’s good and nuanced here, don’t let that scare you away) that pairs perfectly with that first summer burger on the BBQ. Very more’ish. Very ‘bring it on’. It’s Pinot Noir (mostly) with a dab of Pinot Gris. Co-fermented in stainless steel, unfined, unfiltered, with no added sulfites, and made from independent organically grown grapes that winemaker Alex Craighead buys from New Zealand’s Martinborough and Nelson sub-regions. And the gorgeous, whimsical label art (a fox, which is also featured on the cork) is from the delightful work of Celina Hilbert. Vacation. In a glass.

302 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 93/100

It was Birdy’s (our amazing, blind, rescue dog ‘Gotcha / Birthday’ yesterday (we adopted him 4 years ago, making him 7’ish) and opening this beautiful skin contact 2019 Luna & Gaia from Domaine Milan seemed perfectly fitting! Domaine Milan is a father-son producer of amazing organic (uncertified biodynamic) wines in St Remy de Provence - think no chemicals, no additives, no commercial yeasts and little to no added sulphites. Unfined, unfiltered and made with Grenache Blanc, Rolle (also known as Vermentino) & Roussanne; the fruit is hand harvested, fermented with indigenous yeasts and macerated in concrete tanks before being oak-aged for 12 months. The result is a rich, lush, complex wine that walks the fine line between depth and freshness with notes of flowers, citrus (ripe oranges and lime) and herbs resulting in a delightful combination of creaminess, fruitiness and crispness. Elegance in a glass. And the label - perfect for the event? In the words of winemaker Henri Milan "The label represents the 2 dogs of the Domaine: Luna, the white Jack Russell which means the moon, and Gaia the black Labrador which means the Earth and this in the idea of the duality of things like black and white, the ying and the yang, the moon and the earth." Cheers and Happy Gotcha / Birthday Birdy!

Kathryn Hall Napa Valley

Hall Wines Kathryn Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Napa Valley, California, United States
1073 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 93/100

90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot aged for 26 months in 80% new French oak, the 2016 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon is the pinnacle of the wineries blending efforts each year (and packs an impressive 16.1% abv and price point). Deep ruby in color, with floral (violet shines through here) and clear saline notes followed by red fruit, dark chocolate, black tea, tar, molasses and spice. Powerful, full-bodied, rich, layered and complex it packs a punch yet stays super smooth, velvety, round, structured and balanced. Pair with a special occasion and a Tomahawk steak – 97 Points (Wine Advocate), 96 Points (Wine Spectator) are just a few of the accolades this wine has received. In Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon is often called the King of Grapes, accounting for more than 50% of the region’s planted acreage grown in all 16 sub regions. To many, Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon are almost synonymous. Tasted as part of the 'California Wine Month: Napa Valley’s King of Grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon’, a panel discussion and tasting to explore the quality, personality, versatility and diversity of the region’s signature grape, bringing together some of its most celebrated winemakers to discuss their insights and experience with the variety; moderated by Master Sommelier and speaker Andrea Robinson and California Wines Canada and featuring panelists Marcus Notaro, Winemaker Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars; Michael Scholz, Winemaker, St. Supery and Priyanka French, Winemaker, Signorello Estates. Cheers!

Grown

Signorello Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

Napa Valley, California, United States
1073 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 92/100

88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec with 18 months barrel ageing in 60% new French oak shows both an ocean (saltwater) and soil (volcanic) influence in its aromas and flavours. Intense, concentrated, structured there’s clear ageing potential here (if one is patient enough to do so!). Red and black fruit, herbal notes (sage, and more sage), vanilla, roasted coffee beans combine with mouthwatering acidity, grippy tannins, gravely notes and a long, lingering finish. Duck confit, roasted pheasant, traditional British Sunday Roast would all pair beautifully with it, as would a cool winter evening and a roaring fire in the fireplace. A luxurious wine. In Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon is often called the King of Grapes, accounting for more than 50% of the region’s planted acreage grown in all 16 sub regions. To many, Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon are almost synonymous. Tasted as part of the 'California Wine Month: Napa Valley’s King of Grapes - Cabernet Sauvignon’, a panel discussion and tasting to explore the quality, personality, versatility and diversity of the region’s signature grape, bringing together some of its most celebrated winemakers to discuss their insights and experience with the variety; moderated by Master Sommelier and speaker Andrea Robinson and California Wines Canada and featuring panelists Marcus Notaro, Winemaker Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars; Michael Scholz, Winemaker, St. Supery and Priyanka French, Winemaker, Signorello Estates. Cheers!

Alana L

Wine BloggerVisit Alana's Website

Memorable Wine

Tough one! Tied between 3: Gérard Bertrand Clos du Temple AOP Languedoc Cabrières 2019 tasted in 2021; a bottle of Chambertin Clos de Bèze Grand Cru 1991 for my (milestone) birthday in pandemic 2020 & Klein Genot Black Swan Reserve 2008 at the most picturesque Stellenbosch winery in South Africa in 2009 (now called Holden Manz Winery)

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First Wine

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

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Unusual Wine Experience

Finding rare old vintages on the wine list of a French restaurant in Algiers, Algeria & having a sheikh send over a bottle of wine at a restaurant in the desert near Dubai to apologize for the ruckus his private helicopter had created when he landed!

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Current Fav Wine

Domaine Le Roc La Folle Noire d'Ambat, Fronton

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Winner World's Best Drink Writer
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Best Wine Literature Book Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Online Writer of the Year Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Award