Rosé Alert

The vineyards of Provence stretch northward from the Mediterranean coast to
the so-called Maritime Alps above Nice and eastward toward the Italian border.
This is a region blessed with an average of 300 days of sunshine and remains
the global gold standard for the production of crisp, dry and refreshing Rosé.

Originally from Barcelonnette in southeastern France and part of the Provençal
nobility since 1421, the Gassier family and Château are now rooted in amongst
40 hectares of vines in the heart of the Arc Valley plain at the foot of Montagne
Sainte-Victoire lying to the north, also framed by the Regagnas hills and Aurelien
mountains to the south and east. The current vineyard property is managed by
the Baron Georges Gassier, heading up the fifth wine growing generation of the
family. Situated a few kilometers outside the charming and historically rich town of
Aix-en-Provence, this relatively unspoiled geography is now classified as natural
reserve (“Grand Site de France”) after having been made famous by noteworthy
artists such as the painter Cézanne, as well as, a favoured haunt of the writers:
Frenchman Emile Zola and the American Earnest Hemingway.

This salmon-pink tinged wine is a classic regional formula, blending Grenache
with Syrah and a splash of some Cinsault for added softness and bouquet. It
stands out as an excellent example of why this charming, though still challenged,
wine style continues to enjoy a renaissance of appreciation. Unfortunately, less
sophisticated North American versions promote the idea that Rosés are, by and
large, sweet and one-dimensional wines driving down consumption of this locally
made output. As for Provence’s sun-drenched bounty, the opposite is at work,
representing about 80% of its wine making – impressively accounting for almost
35% of all French Rosé wine production!

Bottled in the distinctively slender and shapely, curvy glass vessels known locally
as ‘flûte à corset’: derived as an association to the garment and its effect. In this
case, what’s not reined in is an abundance of summertime flavour. Buy several!

Sables d'Azur

VINTAGES – Product #33621 | 750 mL bottle
Price: $ 14.95
Wine, Rosé Wine
12.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Sugar Content : XD

Made in: Provence, France
By: Château Gassier
Release Date: July 19, 2014

Tasting Note
Fresh berries, peach and citrus zest dominate the aromas and flavours of this
dry and vibrant wine, accented with a delightfully crisp finish. It’s an excellent,
chilled apéritif or alongside pan-fried freshwater fish with lemon, sushi, stuffed
peppers, paella, prosciutto and summer salads.

Mencia Alert

El Bierzo DO is a wine region tucked away in the province of León – among the
most exciting Spanish frontiers and source of some of its most qualitative wine.
The fertile plain and forests of this lush valley situated between the Montes de
Leon and Cordillera Cantábrica mountain ranges is referred to as the ‘gateway
to Galicia’ as it’s geography is a funnel into this verdant corner of northwestern
Spain. Though it’s a relatively small wine growing area, it benefits from a special
micro-climate that is equally conducive to cultivation of both red and white vine
stock. Home to 55 principle vineyards and despite being a lesser-known region
in terms of international markets – it’s producing an impressive11 million liters
of wine annually and still sustainably expanding.

Under the watchful guidance of master wine maker, José Luis Vázquez Santín,
Bodega del Abad (‘the Abbot’s Cellar’) has only been active as an independent
producer since 2003, but already boasts a loyal following that was reinforced
by a surprising release a couple of years ago of a 2001 Crianza-grade cache
that had been hiding somewhere in the very back corners of their cellars. This
week’s offering of a 2006 Crianza is also surprising. In both cases, we are well
beyond the typical 2 years of combined ageing in barrel and bottle mandated
by Spanish wine laws. This presumably translates into the vintner exercising
a significant amount of patience in deciding not to release stock before better
assuring that the vintage has the right balance of having become fully rounded
and mature but still possessing a fruitful vigor.

These attributes are due in part to modern production techniques being applied
but also a result of the innate potential of Mencia. Indigenous to the Bierzo, this
variety is now considered to be one of the four most important Spanish reds.
Producing small, compact clusters of medium-sized berries, its newfound
popularity is based on an ability to yield age-worthy wine at a relatively modest
price point. In the case of this week’s featured vintner, Bodega del Abad’s 35
hectares of vineyards are located up on steep terrain made up of quartzite and
slate-laden soils. The mix of old vines, with some approaching 70 years-of-age,
are producing meticulously handpicked and hand-sorted grapes, creating wine
with a characteristic, velvety palate.

This is ready to go now and likely to fly off the shelves quickly – so buy enough
to get you through the upcoming Fall and Winter while you can!

Abad Dom Bueno Crianza

VINTAGES – LCBO Product #244699 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 14.95
Alcohol/Vol. 13.5%
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Bierzo, Spain
By: Bodega Del Abad
Release Date: July 19, 2014

Tasting Note
Having aged gracefully, this offers juicy red cherry and currant flavours over a
core of gentle tannins. The refreshing acidity enhances the soft accents of black
pepper and tea leaf notes. Serve with rich poultry dishes, roast leg of lamb,
marinated steak or spicy beef empanadas.

Pecorino Alert

Native to the Abruzzo and Marche regions that are framed between the sandy
Adriatic coastline, Sibylline Massif and the inland Apennine Mountains of central
Italy – Pecorino is known for creating exceptionally flavourful wines. This variety
that’s associated with the cheese of the same name (and translating roughly as
“grape of the sheeps” – who apparently also liked it), has concentrated aromas,
good alcohol content and a lively, bright acidity. While popular, it was primarily
used as a blending component to improve the quality of other regional white
wines. Then, in part due to naturally low yields of fruit, Pecorino cultivation all but
disappeared, having given way to arguably less-remarkable grape varieties such
as Trebbiano and Passerina, both of which offer much higher productivity. Now,
largely due to visionary vintners in this region, it thankfully is again resurgent and
in spite of the vine stock being young, is producing aromatic and flavourful wine.

Here, nearby to the village of Loreto Aprutino, the Talamonti winery with its 32
hectares of vineyard in the unspoiled Tevo Valley, benefits from soil that’s infused
with wind-blown volcanic ash, as well as, mineral deposits left behind by Europe’s
southern-most glacier: the Ghiacciaio del Calderone. This historically rich region
has wine-making traditions dating to at least the age of the Etruscans early in
the 6th century BC. Somewhat later it developed its agricultural diversity adding
bay leaf trees, olive groves and surprisingly, highly prized potatoes!

If you need an additional nudge to help move you slightly out of your white wine predisposition(s), then also know that this varietal bottling was a Gold Medal
winner at the 2013 International Wine Challenge.


VINTAGES – LCBO Product #372474 | 750 mL bottle
Price $15.95
Alcohol/Vol. 13.0%
Sugar Content Descriptor: XD

Made in: Abruzzo, Italy
By: Cantine Talamonti
Release Date: July 5, 2014

Tasting Note
Straw-hued with vibrant fruit-forward flavours of pear and apple, this dry and
aromatic wine is wrapped in a crisp, fresh acidity. Ideal with grilled fish and
calamari or lobster, fresh cheeses, pasta, and legume soups.