IVSA November 9: Part II

Well, obviously I am not very gifted as a weather forecaster. Through my window the sky over Vancouver shines, the fuzzy sunlight bouncing off the first snows covering the North Shore mountains. Only two days ago I talked about sombre days but hey, weather is a lot more intricate than describing wine (not that I am much better at that either). The chill of the morning makes me long for warmth, and I find that in my memories of substantial, nourishing reds (unlike other foods, wine nourishes the soul as well) tasted just four or five days ago.

Enough of meteorology and al grano, like we say in Spanish: Let’s get to the point. Bacchus Group had one of the nicest surprises of the night, a Greek wine, that is. I held the glass of 2007 Boutari ODE (23.99) with –excuse me- reasonable scepticism. Little I knew I would be so fond of this 50/50 blend of Agiorgitiko and Cabernet Sauvignon, varieties charmingly described on the winery’s website as karismatikos, ‘charismatic’. Juicy and mildly addictive, this wine may change your stereotypes about fermented grape juice made in the country that gave birth to democracy, philosophy and spanakopita. Next to the ODE, the 2006 Chateau de la Gardine stood out with its odd shaped bottle and old fashioned label. This Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Cuvee Tradition” delivers all the aroma, fruit and tannin one may expect from the appellation, plus a sense of seriously taken winemaking. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Muscardin, this broth offers consistent quality at an affordable price (49.99).

Portugal is a wine country that is still new and unknown to most, including this humble scribe, yours truly. The Seacove Group showcased the Crasto 2007 Tinto from Douro (the Duero River, as it is known in Spain) and the Quinta do Crasto 2007 Old Vines Reserva. Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional make these two outstanding wines. The former has garnered accolades for its blackberryish nose and lively, easygoing body and at 19.99 is a steal. The latter has a nose that is slightly floral and rotund in its finality. Opulent and satisfying, ripe fruit enmeshed with tones of wood and mineral. The 42.99 price tag is well deserved.

Also from Seacove Group but hailing from Languedoc, the Domaine de l’Auster 2008 Faugeres (18.99) excites with a sweet nose reminiscent of confited fruit and its medium, rustic yet velvety body. Braised meats (or replace with forest/porcini mushrooms) will enhance this tasty red broth.

Replacing Natino Bellantoni at the Enoteca Bacco booth, Cicco poured the Primitivo Punta Aquila 2006. This wine by Tenute Rubino is fresh, soft, fruity and approachable. Bursting with fruit and spice on the nose, the berry/spice flavors are supported by playful acidity and sweet tannins. Lovely at 23.95 but the real star at this booth was the Castel del Monte Vigna Pedale 2005 – Torrevento. This is a 100% Nero di Troia.  Fragrant nose, explosive palate with vibrant fruit, mouth puckering tannins  and a long, exuberant finish. Decant a good hour or two; stay away if you are tannin shy. Otherwise you will love this offering from Puglia. 27.95.

This neverending saga has one more installment. Hasta la vista.




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