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Alana L

Alana L

Gérard Bertrand Clos D'ora La Livinière Minervois 2017

Minervois-La Livinière, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
470 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 95/100

Clos d’Ora, AOP Minervois La Livinière , 2017 / Demeter-certified biodynamic, Clos d’Ora benefits from an exceptional terroir situated at La Livinière in the Minervois at an altitude of 220 meters and is the first Grand Cru of Gérard Bertrand wines; a beautiful blend typical of Southern France of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Grenache. The entire estate is cultivated using biodynamic methods and with only horse traction used to work between the rows. Hand-picked, each varietal and each parcel are macerated in separate batches with distinct winemaking methods and very gentle maceration to limit the extraction of tannins. Deep, deep ruby in colour, the nose has black fruit (blackberry, plum, cherry), chocolate, pepper, incense, coffee, warm earth with a bit of cedar; and the palate is intense, complex, ripe, well-structured and warm but maintaining a freshness (despite the 15.5% abv). Tasted just opened, an hour after opening, and decanted – the decanting definitely makes this wine sing and the tannins become more subtle, smooth and mellow. Exceptional – would age beautifully! Pair this with grilled, aged, or slowly cooked beef – we had it with a premium cut of aged beef, seared in the pan before gently cooking in the over and it was spectacular! A leader in organic and biodynamic viticulture and named ‘Green Personality of the Year’ in 2020 at the Drinks Business Green Awards (the world's largest competition aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues in the beverage industry and rewarding exemplary sustainability and environmental performance), Gérard Bertrand discovered his passion for wine at his family’s estate, Villemajou, in 1975, started running it in 1987 and created the Gérard Bertrand wine company in 2002 to showcase and develop wines in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France. The company now includes 16 châteaux, estates and wineries covering over 850 hectares cultivated using biodynamic methods in one or more of 6 levels of certification: conversion to organic agriculture; organic agriculture; no added sulphites; vegan; bee-friendly and Demeter-certified biodynamic. Guiding his philosophy is that these organic practices are not only an essential way to act for the planet and to ‘be the change’, but also that they allow the identity of the terroir and sense of place to shine through and for the wines to ‘taste of somewhere and not of something’! Tasted as part of Gérard Bertrand’s virtual Organic French Wine festival.

529 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 94/100

Have you tried single varietal Semillon? After this one I will undoubtedly be replying ‘yes please’ the next time it’s offered! Continuing down the path of another often underrated grape as a single varietal wine (we typically see Semillon blended with Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle in Bordeaux Blanc blends amongst many other regions, and as the main player in Sauternes and Barsac) it’s really a secret too good to be kept much longer: Semillon, on it’s own and well made, can result in a dry, refined, high-quality and full-bodied wine that is full of fruit & body and that is lively and expressive, especially when grown in a cool, sunny, windy and arid area such as Patagonia in Argentina. The first Argentinian Semillon was bottled by Humberto Canale in 1976, and his ‘old vines’ (often more than 80 years in age) Semillion has been oft-lauded over the years. Tasted as part of the @lescavistes Wines or Argentina tasting this past Saturday (a tasting that debunked some of my ill-placed misconceptions on Argentinian wine, but I digress, more to come on that in a later post on the reds tasted): the Humberto Canale Old Vineyard Finca Milagros Semillon 2018. Dry, medium lemon in colour, it has fruit (apple, lemon, grapefruit, pear), herbs, honey, warm earth and a touch of butter from the new oak (small percentage) barrel-ageing on the nose and palate, medium + acidity, medium body and alcohol (13%) and a lingering finish. It’s at the same time crisp and lively, yet unctuous, beautifully balanced and smooth. A sip of sunshine amidst the snowstorm that was Saturday (almost 10 inches of snow here)! And the label you ask? The Old Vineyard line of wines is a tribute to the oldest family vineyards and each variety takes its inspiration from the different personalities of the family’s grandchildren, here with one of Guillermo Barzi’s granddaughters, Milagros. 2,500 bottles produced

476 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 94/100

Carpineto Riserva Riserva D.O.C.G. 2016 – Carpineto founded it’s Vino Nobile estate in 1994. With a dry farmed hillside vineyard averaging less than one bottle produced per vine it produces premium wines. Here the Riserva is dry, elegant, smooth and definitely can benefit from decanting an hour before serving. Beautiful ageing potential on this wine! Ruby red in colour, jammy dark red and blue fruit (cherry, raspberry, blueberry), forest floor, black pepper on the nose and palate with some wood and floral notes (violet) showing, the elegance of the 2016 vintage shines here. It’s balanced, elegant and velvety with a long finish. Would pair beautifully with aged cheese and savoury game or duck confit. Tasted as part of this week’s virtual Vino Nobile di Montepulciano tasting, showcasing the 2016 and 2017 vintages, organized by the Italian Trade Commission and Consorzio Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and hosted by Lauren Power. Not to be confused with Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (often budget-friendly reds made with Montepulciano grapes in the Abruzzo region), Vino Nobile di Montepulciano are premium (DOC, DOCG) Sangiovese-based red wines named after the town Montepulciano in Tuscany. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano has a long, and storied, wine history closely associated with Italian nobility (it was only available on their tables) and became a controlled designation of origin (DOC) in 1966 and Italy’s first DOCG wine in 1980. These prized Tuscan wines owe their quality not only to the winemaker’s expertise, but also to the geological features of the vineyards (1,300 hectares are registered for Vino Nobile di Montepulciano) situated between 250 and 600 meters above sea level. Vino Nobile wines must be made up of a required minimum 70% Sangiovese (called ‘Prugnolo Gentile’ in Montepulciano) and a maximum of 30% of other varieties authorized for the Tuscany Region. By law both vinification and ageing must take place in the municipal area of Montepulciano and must be aged for two years (three for Riserva) before being sold. 2016 is considered a 4 star “classical” vintage: intense colors, pronounced aromas, good structure and tannic texture, medium acidity and alcohol – a year with very high quality that will stand out for wines with elegance, finesse and refinement.


Poggio Verrano Dròmos 2010

Maremma, Tuscany I.G.T., Italy
1007 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 94/100

A delicious discovery, recommended by our local SAQ advisor to accompany us on our vacation and to be served with grilled meats. Bordering the Mediterranean, this Bordeaux-style Tuscan blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese and Alicante) has a delicious palate of smoky herbs. Dark fruits, cedar wood, graphite, roast and smoke come together in a fleshy and well balanced wine. Absolutely delicious now or would cellar well for 5 (more but who would risk losing the smokiness) years. Paired with deeply grilled salt and pepper pasture raised chicken wings and a grilled mix of vegetables - the smokiness of both was a delicious offset!


Emmolo Plumerai Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Napa Valley, California, United States
911 days ago

Alana scored this wine: 94/100

As the year draws to an end, we have been reflecting on some of our ‘wines of the year’ and ‘wine events of the year’ and thought we’d post what was, by all accounts, one of our favourite wine moments: tasting Jenny Wagner’s (of Wagner Family Wines and Caymus Vineyards) Napa Valley 2015 Emmolo Plumerai Sauvignon Blanc at ‘A Taste Of Napa’ wine industry tasting event with the winemakers organized by Nantel & Associés and Napa Valley Vintners in Old Montréal in November. ???????????? This reserve Sauvignon Blanc was produced in small quantities and only in a 1-liter bottle which is, according to the winemaker, the perfect size bottle to have that extra glass to share - now that we love! This private lunch table favourite (we were lucky enough to be seated at the table with the Wagner-Caymus team) actually resulted from an experiment in the vineyard where a brush was used to remove more than half the grapes on every cluster, which was both labor-intensive and time-consuming but ensured that the remaining grapes received abundant sunlight, enabling earlier harvest and achieving a linear and singular flavor profile in the wine. ???????????? Pale gold in colour, bright and crisp, with unusually lively acidity, low alcohol and aromas of melons, peach and brioche as well as a creamy smooth lingering finish with light flintiness and good minerality to the taste, this Sauvignon Blanc was like no other we have tasted and disappeared in record time at our table to much acclaim (and no spitting might we add, rare at industry tastings!). As the winemaker notes ‘it calls you back for another sip’ - indeed! And the name? Emmolo is named for Jenny’s maternal ancestors, who came to Napa Valley in 1923, buying property that remains in the family to this day (on the paternal side, Jenny’s Napa Valley roots trace back to 1857 and include Caymus Vineyards founded by her grandparents and father in 1972). Plumerai, we were told, comes from the French children’s song ‘Alouette’ and symbolizes the grapes being brushed from the vines. ???????????? A 2019 highlight without any shadow of a doubt! Cheers friends!

Alana L

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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)


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.


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!


Current Fav Wine

Domaine Le Roc La Folle Noire d'Ambat, Fronton





Winner World's Best Drink Writer
WFour-Time Winner James Beard Foundation
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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