STORY - A NORTH-SOUTH
STORY - A NORTH-SOUTH
SEPTEMBER 2014 THE RHÔNE ANORTH-SOUTH STORY LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON QUALITYTURNAROUND 30 NEW WINES IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18 TRULY SUPERB BORDEAUX2010
BY S.PELLEGRINO CAP TURE THE ESSENCE OF WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE CANADIAN CULINARY SCENE. Orphans cooking with orphans. In Toronto, the people opening restaurants now are in their late 20s, early 30s who haven’t been slugging it out in a brigade-style kitchen for years like the founding fathers. There’s a generation of us rebellious teenagers just opening up restaurants, hiring our friends and taking risks.
Hopefully, these young chefs grow into the leaders of Canada’s modern culinary movement.
HOW DO CULINARY TRENDS IMPACT YOUR MENU? I’m too busy to concern myself with trends. Evolution is made, not speculated. If there’s anything I’m into, it’s about finding something new. Maybe not something new to the world, but new to me. That’s my food trend. WHAT IS INSPIRING YOU RIGHT NOW? Gooseneck barnacles-pre-historiclooking crustacean creatures, super tasty. Only in season for about a month. When I sourced some, I was so excited that I posted a photo on Instagram. 48 hours later there was an article about how these are the “nextnewthing.” ASIDE FROM THE FOOD, WHAT MAKES A GREAT RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE?
Everything you put on the table matters. The details can dramatically elevate the dining experience—like a good quality napkin, artisanal bread or a bottle of S.Pellegrino. Even the bottle itself is beautiful; it’s like a bottle of wine. Water is the first thing served at the table and the last thing that remains. So it only makes sense that the kind of water you serve is considered. If you think about it, filtered water or tap water—it’s only as good as its source. GIVE US A HINT ABOUT WHAT’S ON THE HORIZON FOR YOU? I’m excited about a new venture I’m working on inspired by the Pintxo bars of San Sebastian.
It’s a completely different way of eating, very social and a new style for Toronto. It’s food-at-your-ownpace that takes traditional tapas to a whole new level.
Meet Chef Grant van Gameren, the culinary pioneer and driving force behind Toronto’s Bar Isabel, named as Canada’s Best New Restaurant in 2014. We asked him to reveal his sources for inspiration and ingredients, and tell us what’s on his radar for the future. “EVERY T HING YO U PUT ON THAT TABLE MAT T ER S . THE D ETAILS CAN DR AMATICALLY ELEVATE THE DINING EX PER IENCE, LIKE A G O OD QUALIT Y NAPKIN, ARTISANAL BR EAD OR A BOT TLE OF S . PELLEGRINO .” ADVERTISEMENT GRANT VAN GAMEREN TEXT BY Angie Mosier PHOTO BY Brock Elbank LOV For more inspiration visit
No layaways are permitted until the Monday following the release of products. Prices are subject to change without notice. 30 newly arrived wines. INSTORES SEPTEMBER4AND 18 DIRECTOR – SPECIALTY PRODUCTS BUSINESS UNIT – SAQ Michel-André St-Jean MANAGER FOR SPECIALITY PRODUCTS, MARKETING – SAQ Sophie Drouin PUBLISHER – SAQ Johanne Morrisseau CONTRIBUTORS – SAQ Éric Bertoldi, Carole Boulais, Liette Chaput, François Couture, Geneviève D’Autray Tarte, Maxime Desjardins, François Fortier, Simon Gaudreault-Rouleau, Stéphane Langlois, PierreLauzon, SébastienLeblanc,SébastienLéonard,Stéphane Leroux, Martin De Lottinville, Marie-Ève Meunier, Julie Perreault, Guillaume Ross, Veronica Ruiz, Alain Smith Médias Transcontinental S.E.N.C.
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SAQ headquarters is located at 905 De Lorimier Avenue, Montreal, Quebec, H2K 3V9. CELLIER is a registered trademark of the Société des alcools du Québec. Any reproduction of articles, illustrations or photographs is strictly prohibited. Prices for products in the magazine are subject to change without notice. Legal Deposit: Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, National Library of Canada. ISSN 1911-2238. Publications Mail Agreement 40064963. Return undeliverable addresses to CELLIER, 905 De Lorimier, Montreal, Que. H2K 3V9.
- LES DÉLICES D’AUTOMNE – TROIS-RIVIÈRES – AUGUST 29 TO SEPTEMBER 1
- FÊTE DES VENDANGES MAGOG-ORFORD – AUGUST30AND31,SEPTEMBER1,6AND7
- SALON DES VINS, BIÈRES ET SPIRITUEUX DU SAGUENAY–LAC-SAINT-JEAN – CHICOUTIMI – SEPTEMBER 17
- RENDEZ-VOUS DES PAPILLES – SAINT-HYACINTHE – SEPTEMBER 20 AND 21
- SALON DES VINS, BIÈRES ET SPIRITUEUX DE TROIS-RIVIÈRES – SEPTEMBER 26 ON THE COVER Stretching from Lyon (pictured) down to the Mediterranean, the Rhône Valley abounds with exceptional wine and food.
29 NEWARRIVALS Details on our specially selected new releases.
ORIGINEQUÉBEC” Vignoble Gagliano. 28 6 THERHÔNEVALLEY Split personality. 16 LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON A region reborn. BORDEAUX Fabled wines and affordable crus. 22 PHOTO : MASSIMO BORCHI/SIME. 3 September 2014
Born from passion and pride. It’s the savoir faire of producers, their craft and their land. It’s heart and soul, it’s the sun, wind, snow. It’s our wine, our meads, our ciders, our maple products and our berry liqueurs. It’s who we are, our diversity, our dreams. Born from our hunger to explore, to encourage and share this place our home, Quebec. WINE CIDER MAPLE BERRIES MEAD AVAILABLE AT A PRIDE WE SHARE
Bocuse and his heirs RHÔNEAPPÉTIT! Below, Paul Bocuse and friends at brunch several years ago. Right, Lyon, renowned for its gastronomic delights. The city straddles two rivers, the Saône (pictured) and the Rhône.
September 2014 6
You can’t think of Rhône food without also thinking of the great, sensuous classics – and the legacy of a legend. PHOTOS: JACQUES CAILLAUT/MADAME FIGARO (P. BOCUSE); GETTY IMAGES (LYON). n the public mind, Lyon equates with good food and the name Paul Bocuse. Monsieur Paul, as his family and friends nicknamed him, holds three Michelin stars, never having lost a single star in a career spanning more than 50 years. Mentored by Fernand Point, who died in the mid-1950s, and Eugénie Brazier, dubbed Mère Brazier, who had three Michelin stars in the 1930s, Bocuse rose to fame in France and subsequently worldwide.
He was among the first top chefs to go to the local market in the morning and decide on that day’s menu based on what was available. And at night he’d go into the dining room to talk to his customers – a revolutionary practice at the time, and one that inspired many imitators.
Now 88, Bocuse is an institution. Though he is no longer present on the premises, dining at his Abbaye de Collonges remains an experience to enrapture even the hardest-to-please food critics. “He transcends his profession,” Anthony Bourdain observed after meeting the “Lion of Lyon” this past spring. It’s hard to say whether the magic derives from the region or from its chefs, because, while Bocuse is in a class apart, he is not the only brilliant chef in the Rhône. The area has spawned too many Michelin-starred restaurants and celebrated chefs to count, including the Troisgros brothers, Georges Blanc, Emmanuel Renaut, Alain Ducasse, Anne-Sophie Pic and Daniel Boulud, all of whom have three-star establishments.
Lesley Chesterman, The Gazette Montreal food critic, wrote after dining at Bocuse’s restaurant last spring that she found the meal extremely rich. The main point of her article, however, was that Rhône cuisine has become democratized, and that virtually every bistro these days serves a few wellexecuted Rhône dishes. She’s right. At many of the ultra-contemporary establishments in the so-called néo-bistrot movement, the archetypal Lyonnais fare of offal and charcuteries is nowhere in evidence, because imagination has trumped tradition. But the region retains its culinary savoir faire: The starters flavoured with local fresh herbs found on modern menus are just as good as the traditional quenelles served in Lyon’s old-style bouchon eateries.
Young chefs are innovating by taking classic dishes and revamping techniques and flavour combinations. The famed Bresse chicken that’s cooked inside a cow’s bladder is on few menus these days. But some chefs, taking a page from Japanese cuisine, now serve Bresse chicken accentuated with sprouts. Closer to home, chef Jean-François Vachon – originally from the Saguenay and formerly co-owner of the buzzworthy M on Masson Street in Montreal – I September 2014 7
IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18 PHOTOS: MATHIEU PROULX (J.F. VACHON) ; RECIPE: HANS LAURENDEAU/SHOOT STUDIO, PHOTOGRAPHER. FOOD STYLING: JOHANNE DEPELTEAU. ACCESSORIES STYLING: CAROLINE SIMON. FRANCE CLOS BELLANE, LES ÉCHALAS 2010, CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES $29.25 12235827, 750 ML, 13.5% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 200 Biodynamics practitioner Stéphane Vedeau says he works with “what nature provides.” The richness of one of the Rhône’s favourite grape duos is here enhanced by late harvesting and barrel-aging. GRAPES: MARSANNE, ROUSSANNE SEPTEMBER 4 “Bocuse was the first to say that in the kitchen, you have to follow the rules AND take risks.
Jean-François Vachon, executive chef, Thursday’s restaurant in Montreal. had been cooking professionally for a year when he met Bocuse in the flesh. It was the 1980s. “I was working at Caprices de Nicolas with William Frachot,” says Vachon, today the executive chef at Thursday’s, the popular Crescent Street resto that reopened this past summer. “Monsieur Bocuse came into the kitchen to shake hands with us, and what really made an impression on me is that his hands were gigantic. Some 25 years later, when I was creating the menu for Thursday’s, my first instinct was to get out Bocuse’s La cuisine du marché.
I reread it, absorbing the essence of his thinking and his cooking. I decided to serve one of his classics, his gratin de macaroni, commonly known just about everywhere as mac ’n’ cheese. A slightly lighter version of this recipe is on the menu at Thursday’s as an homage. I use his recipe and I’m happy to share it with Cellier. It’s great comfort food for the cool evenings that are just around the corner.” WINE PAIRING You need a wine with oomph to go with this creamy, cheesy classic. The agreeable duo of Marsanne and Roussanne possesses a rich mouthfeel that stretches into a seductive finish of hazelnut, creating a lovely subtle connection with the nutty taste of the Gruyère des grottes (cave-aged) in the dish.
Great harmony of textures and flavours.
AROMAS WHITE-FLESHED FRUIT, WOOD, HAZELNUT, CANDIED LEMON PEEL BODY – FULL PALATE – RICH WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – DISCREET SUGAR LEVEL – DRY WA 89 WS 90 September 2014 8
STEP 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). STEP 2 Pour the milk into a saucepan and add 15 mL (3 tsp) salt. Grate the nutmeg into the mixture and season with pepper. Bring to a boil on high. Set aside. STEP 3 In boiling salted water, cook the pasta for four minutes less than called for on the package. Drain, add to the boiled milk and cook for two minutes. Drain the pasta again, this time in a colander positioned over a container to collect the milk.
STEP 4 Rinse the saucepan and melt the butter in it. Sprinkle in the flour, mixing with a whisk. Pour in all the hot milk at once and bring to a boil again. Remove from the burner and taste to check seasoning. Stir in the crème fraîche. Add the cooked macaroni and mix thoroughly. Ladle into a baking dish.
- STEP 5 Grate three-quarters of the cheese and slice the rest into thin strips. Cover the macaroni with the grated cheese and arrange the cheese strips in a layer on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. RECIPE AT SAQ.COM INGREDIENTS 1.6 litres (6 1/2 cups) milk 2.5 mL (1/2 tsp) nutmeg 454 g (1 lb) ziti macaroni (Rummo brand) 90 g (3 oz) butter 60 g (2 oz) flour 374 mL (1 1/2 cups) thick crème fraîche* 250 g (1 cup) Gruyère des grottes Salt and freshly ground pepper *
- The crème fraîche can be replaced with mascarpone. 8 TO 10 SERVINGS Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking: 35 minutes RHÔNE(CONTINUED) MAC’N’CHEESEÀLABOCUSE September 2014 9
The Rhône Valley Perhaps more than any other French wine region, the Rhône is really two zones in one. An overview, from the good bistro wines to the prestige appellations. SPLITPERSONALITY September 2014 10
he Rhône Valley stretches from Lyon south to the Mediterranean, with the scenery and climate changing considerably en route. But renowned vigneron Pierre Gaillard, one of the trio behind Vins de Vienne, says that a common thread runs throughout the enormous region: “Rhône wines are powerful and always fresh.” Indeed, whatever the wine colour or grape varieties, Rhône cuvées display personality without tipping over into jammy, oaky excess.
Beyond that, Gaillard and his fellow Rhône producers agree that there are two quite distinct halves to the region. The north (see Wine Region) is the kingdom of Syrah, with its characteristic peppery notes and fresh, energetic fruitiness. The scenery there is breathtaking, with vines growing on narrow terraces that march up dizzyingly steep slopes overlooking villages. The south, on the other hand, has hills, rocky plateaus and sweeping plains, and it’s very hot. Grenache is the zone’s main grape; it is always blended with other varieties, usually Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault. As a result, southern reds carry impressions of spices, berry fruit, garrigue and black olives, while the whites convey round aromas of flowers and tropical fruit.
Gaillard is a Grenache fan and would dearly love to plant some in his area, but has not, for one simple reason: “It doesn’t ripen in the northern Rhône.” Drive the roads that wind down the length of the valley and the contrasts between the two sub-regions become apparent. Between Lyon and Valence, in areas where there are no vineyards, you see large orchards of apples, peaches, cherries and especially apricots. After Montélimar, the closer you get to the Mediterranean, the more the landscape features olive trees and garrigue. The climate becomes dryer and hotter, and the singing of crickets and cicadas gets louder.
Logically enough, grape varieties and wine styles change as well. A couple of Rhône Valley appellations are entirely dedicated to whites (Saint-Péray, which works with Roussanne and Marsanne, and Condrieu, which is 100-percent Viognier). One appellation makes only rosé (Tavel), and another only produces vins doux naturels (Muscat de Beaumes de Venise). In short, the Rhône as a whole is a diversified and relatively complex region with 26 appellations plus, within the Côtes du Rhône appellation, 18 “villages.” REGIONAL STRENGTHS Far from being put off by the fact that Rhône wines are so varied, consumers around the world know and love the region.
Exports are on the rise, and leading wine magazines frequently laud both the Rhône’s value wines and its most prestigious cuvées.
Esteemed Côte-Rôtie producer René Rostaing underscores the important role that appellations play in the Rhône’s excellent reputation. Like Gaillard, he says his favourite appellation is the one he was born Lyon is an excellent base from which to explore the Rhône. The third-largest wine region in France after Languedoc-Roussillon and Bordeaux, it encompasses more than 70,000 hectares of vines and is divided into two distinct zones. PHOTO: GUIDO COZZI/SIME. A T September 2014 11
Wine bars abound throughout the Rhône Valley. Many have evocative names, such as this one, the Bar à Gones.
Goneries means “snacks” in Lyonnais patois. RHÔNE(CONTINUED) in. “Côte-Rôtie has the most elegance, finesse and freshness. But,” he is quick to add, “the others have their qualities.” The farther south you go in the Rhône, he explains, the more the wines gain in structure and fullness, finally achieving an expansive and generous character in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a sun-drenched appellation that’s famous for the galets roulés (large pebbles) in its soils.
While the northern Rhône’s standing derives from its well-defined and well-promoted appellations, the south cannot similarly use its appellations as a calling card. “Thanks to a big boost from Robert Parker, Châteauneuf is about the only southern appellation that’s well known,” notes Rostaing. “There are fewer strong identities and more uniformity.” Because blended wines can be very similar to one another, it’s harder to discern the specific character of a Vacqueyras vis-à-vis that of a Gigondas, or to distinguish one Côtes du Rhône village wine from another.
To further complicate things, the same vintage can express itself very differently depending on a vineyard’s location in the valley.
There is sun and heat, but in terms of rain, the Rhône can be similar to Bordeaux and Burgundy,” observes Sophie Mage of Domaine de Fontbonau. Given all these variations, it takes considerable expertise to recognize the characteristics of a southern Rhône appellation – but does that matter, as long as the wine is good? Beyond the appellations, the repute of the region as a whole lies in its well-run, quality-focused distribution system. “In addition to its good winemakers,” explains Rostaing, “the Rhône has long benefited from dynamic players in the form of good négociant firms.” When many regions were exporting bulk wines, Rhône négociants were selling bottled wines and showcasing appellations.
Mostly located in the north but distributing wines from the entire region, the big firms such as Guigal, Chapoutier, Delas, Jaboulet and Perrin put Rhône wines on tables worldwide. By shrewdly combining wine savvy with business savvy, the Rhône has kept its vignerons earning a living and also maintained its prestige worldwide. September 2014 12
- NORTHERNRHÔNE | LYONTOVALENCE WINEREGION
- Big names Between Lyon and Valence lie the northern Rhône’s most prestigious appellations, including Côte-Rôtie, Hermitage and Cornas.
- Paradise for Syrah The region is renowned primarily for the exceptional quality of its Syrah, which thrives on the sun-drenched and extremely steep hillsides along the river. The resultant wines are nervous and complex, dominated by a touch of pepper and spices. Syrahs from Côte-Rôtie are full of finesse, while to the south, including in the southernmost appellation of Cornas, they become more powerful.
- Whites as well Though Syrah rules, three appellations are dedicated to producing white wines: Condrieu and Château-Grillet (both 100-percent Viognier) and Saint-Péray (mainly Roussanne and Marsanne). Meanwhile, 24 percent of the wines from Hermitage and 10 percent from the Saint-Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage appellations are whites made from Roussanne and Marsanne. Some are downright sumptuous.
- Négociant power Many small producers work the precipitous, terraced hills, but at least half of northern Rhône wines are by big négoce firms like Guigal, Chapoutier and Delas.
Château-Grillet Condrieu Crozes-Hermitage Cornas Côte-Rôtie Saint-Joseph Saint-Péray Northern Rhône Lyon Vienne Valence Hermitage The city of Valence, halfway between Lyon and Avignon. FRANCE 2018 FERRATON PÈRE ET FILS, LES PICHÈRES 2011, CROZES-HERMITAGE $31.50 12278851, 750 ML, 13% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 419 Generations of Ferraton males have been vignerons. Now biodynamic and supervised by the Chapoutier winery, the property constantly impresses. Aeration will magnify this wine’s expression. GRAPE:SYRAH IWC 91 WA 91 SEPTEMBER 4 AROMAS DARK FRUIT, ANIMAL NOTES, LEATHER, OLIVES, SPICES BODY – MEDIUM PALATE – GENEROUS WOOD – SUBTLE ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY
IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18 Recipe created by Michelinstarred Anthony Bonnet, chef at the Les Loges restaurant in Lyon. FRANCE 2025 DOMAINE DE FONTBONAU 2011, CÔTES DU RHÔNE $37.00 12280134, 750 ML, 15.5% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 300 GRAPES: GRENACHE, SYRAH HARMONIOUSDELIGHT Fontbonau is the wine equivalent of Barry White’s voice: deep, hot, spicy and captivating. With aromas of fig, cocoa, spices and black licorice, it has a round mouth attack, fruity mid-palate and lengthy finish that pairs perfectly with the tasty beef-chuck cannelloni. Incidentally, you could also play on the cocoa note in the wine by adding Kurdish pepper to the recipe.
Charming flavours that are impossible to resist.
Hélène Dion, sommelier RECIPE AT SAQ.COM EASY GOURMET Beef-Chuck Cannelloni SEPTEMBER 4 PHOTOS: RECIPE: HANS LAURENDEAU/SHOOT STUDIO, PHOTOGRAPHER. THANH PHAM, ASSISTANT. FOOD STYLING: BLAKE MACKAY. ACCESSORIES STYLING: CÉCILE VINET; DOMAINE DE FONTBONAU (J. MALET AND F. ENGERER). RHÔNE(CONTINUED) AROMAS CANDIED DARK FRUIT, CHERRY PIT, COCOA, CINNAMON,WOOD,LICORICE BODY – FULL PALATE – STRUCTURED WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY September 2014 14
- JÉRÔMEMALETANDFRÉDÉRICENGERER | RHÔNE BEHINDTHEWINE
- Their backstory Childhood friends Malet (owner of Domaine Sarda-Malet in Roussillon) and Engerer (manager of the famed Château Latour in Pauillac and of Domaine d’Eugénie in Vosne-Romanée) purchased Fontbonau to produce wine together as a pleasurable sideline.
- Their philosophy Previously, grapes from Fontbonau were sold to the local co-operative and the focus in the vineyard was on yields. Realizing the property’s potential, Malet and Engerer have gone the quality route, building a modern winery, revamping the vineyards and diversifying the plantings.
- Their wines The vineyards and the winemaking at Fontbonau are overseen by Sophie Mage, who learned her craft in Bordeaux. Her precise and refined style resonates in the wines. Fontbonau produces three cuvées: an elegant, curvaceous white dominated by Roussanne, and two smooth and concentrated reds made mainly from Grenache.
- Convergence of styles While the stated goal at Fontbonau is to express the Rhône terroir, the Malet-Engerer approach seems to also reflect both a Bordeaux style and grape savvy acquired in Roussillon. The wines possess a patina reminiscent of Médoc crus, as well as a fullness and aromas rooted in the garrigue and heat of southern France. DOMAINEDEFONTBONAU ATAGLANCE With experience in Roussillon and Bordeaux respectively, Jérôme Malet and Frédéric Engerer are exploring the possibilities of the Rhône climate and terroir as they revitalize Domaine de Fonbonau.
Rich in history (a 12th-century priory and signs of habitation dating back 5,000 years), Domaine de Fontbonau has been revitalized since it was acquired in 2008. Located near Nyons to the east of the Rhône, the estate is in a somewhat mountainous region where the cooler climate promotes balanced grape ripeness. The organically cultivated property includes 14 hectares of vines (mainly old Grenache but also new plantings of Syrah, Cabernet, Roussanne and Viognier) plus olive trees and truffle oaks.
AREGIONREBORN Languedoc-Roussillon and Rhône wines have much in common, which explains why a number of well-known winemakers have a foot in both regions.
Languedoc-Roussillon September 2014 16
PHOTOS: GETTY IMAGES (TABLE) ; DAVID NOTON PHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY (VINEYARD). ou’re a successful vigneron with top-notch vineyards in Côte-Rôtie or Châteauneufdu-Pape. So why on earth would you go to Roussillon near the Spanish border to grow the same grape varieties – Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Carignan, Roussanne, Marsanne, and so on – in appellations with less of a reputation? Yet that’s exactly what a number of renowned winemakers have done, among them Michel Chapoutier, Pierre Gaillard and René Rostaing, who are producing increasingly noteworthy wines in Languedoc-Roussillon.
LIMITLESS LAND Gaillard, a northern-Rhône winemaker, also has vineyards in Faugères in Languedoc (Domaine de Cottebrune) and in Roussillon (Domaine Madeloc).
First and foremost, he wanted to grow grape varieties he adores but that don’t ripen in the northern Rhône – starting with Grenache. Second, he wanted to grow them in schist, the calcareous rock that in Gaillard’s favourite appellation, Côte-Rôtie, delivers so much to the wines. And last but not least, he was attracted by the availability of land. “The Roussillon wine region is identical to Côte-Rôtie, except with land as far as the eye can see,” he remembers Chapoutier’s vineyard manager remarking to him one day. “You can have fun there,” Gaillard adds.
Rostaing, another star winemaker in Côte-Rôtie, notes that land is much less expensive in LanguedocRoussillon. “I felt like I was paying next to nothing,” he says of his purchase in the late 1990s of Domaine Puech Noble, 15 kilometres from Nîmes. But it’s quality terroir too, he adds. “The soil is very calcareous, sedimentary in origin. There are all kinds of variously shaped shells among the rocks. The soil produces wines that have extraordinary characteristics – good pH and good freshness – even though the climate is hot. Syrah suffers there, you have to be careful not to overdo it. It has a higher alcohol content than in Côte-Rôtie and it’s harvested eight days earlier.
But the wines have great tannins and colour.” SOME DIFFERENCES The same grape varieties and soils are found in the Rhône and in Languedoc-Roussillon, but that doesn’t mean the same methods apply. Gaillard admits he had to adjust. “The power of the climate surprised me,” he notes. “We have similar sunshine in the Rhône but the rainfall is very different. This year in Faugères, we’ve been worried about drought since the winter.” Conversely to what Chapoutier, Gaillard and Rostaing have done, Languedoc-Roussillon natives Jérôme Malet and Frédéric Engerer bought Domaine de Fontbonau in the northern Rhône because they Languedoc-Roussillon boasts a wealth of old vines that are pruned short in the gobelet vine-training system (suited to hot climates because the vines get lots of air circulation), as in this vineyard in the Hérault region near Montpellier.
Its rich viticultural heritage is drawing winemakers to Languedoc-Roussillon from throughout France and beyond.
Y September 2014 17
LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON(CONTINUED) wanted finesse and delicacy in their wines (see Behind the Wine, p. 15). Not that this was a given, according to Sophie Mage, who runs Fontbonau for them. “The impression of finesse and freshness is greater in the Rhône, but you have to work harder to achieve it. The vintage effect is greater too.” The two regions can learn from their differences. Gaillard says that all his white wines changed as a result of his work in Languedoc-Roussillon. “In the south, because of the heat, catastrophe is always lurking.
You have no choice but to think very hard about minerality and freshness, but at the same time you don’t want to harvest early and end up with ‘green’ wines. Because I had to deal with those issues, I’m now more vigilant about my Rhône whites.” NEW GAME PLAN If the terroirs of Languedoc and Roussillon are so great, why is land there cheaper? The sprawling area was long the realm of co-operatives that supplied primarily volume, Rostaing explains. “Vignerons became simply growers who constantly sought high yields. As a result, there’s a lack of a winemaking culture.” The French, who drink far less wine than they did 40 years ago, looked elsewhere for their wine and Languedoc-Roussillon, which saw half its vineyard area disappear, needed a new game plan.
Local vignerons realized they had to start aiming for quality, helped along by winemakers from elsewhere who were only too happy to buy superb old vines that nobody else wanted, at comparatively low prices. What’s happening in Languedoc-Roussillon is akin to the gentrification of a rundown urban area: Newcomers move in because they see the potential and are drawn by the low real-estate prices, and proceed to make the neighbourhood trendy and sought-after. In Languedoc-Roussillon, vignerons took advantage of the good deals to buy properties. Now wine drinkers have ever more enticing opportunities to enjoy the region’s wines.
September 2014 18 IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18
BRILLIANTBLEND In this wine, Syrah expresses itself beautifully in company with the grape varieties Grenache and Mourvèdre; I really like the resulting elegance. With floral, pepper, tobacco and berry-fruit notes, Puech Noble has plenty of personality. On top of that, the scrumptious, fruity mouth conveys irresistible impressions of garrigue, enough to justify the use of bouquet garni in the recipe. You’re transported straight to the Mediterranean! Indeed, the sunny hint in the wine is underlined by the pinch of Espelette pepper in the vinaigrette. The tannins in Puech Noble are not overbearing; they leave an impression of roundness, a quality often found in Grenache.
This wine is perfect with potato skins cooked in duck fat, as in this recipe. In the mouth, fat tends to harden tannins, but this particular pairing works because of the suppleness and fruitiness of Puech Noble, a beautifully crafted Languedoc terroir wine by Côte-Rôtie star René Rostaing.
Hélène Dion, sommelier RECIPE AT SAQ.COM EASY GOURMET Potato Skins Stuffed With Braised Pork This recipe for confit potato skins stuffed with braised pork is by Michelin-starred chef Christian Constant, who is also a judge on France’s version of the reality competition show Top Chef. FRANCE 2025 DOMAINE RENÉ ROSTAING, PUECH NOBLE 2010, COTEAUX DU LANGUEDOC $38.75 12167756, 750 ML, 13.5% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 150 Puech Noble (“noble hill”) is the Languedoc property of René Rostaing, king of the Côte-Rôtie AOC. An unusual price for the region, but when you know who the vigneron is... In vino veritas.
GRAPES: SYRAH, GRENACHE, MOURVÈDRE PHOTOS: HANS LAURENDEAU/SHOOT STUDIO, ACCESSORIES STYLING: CÉCILE VINET.
SEPTEMBER 18 AROMAS BLACKBERRY, PEPPER, VIOLETS, TOBACCO, GARRIGUE, WOOD BODY – MEDIUM PALATE – GENEROUS WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY September 2014 19
FIRST-RATEFORFALL The perfect autumn wine, with its violet tinge and spicy accent, Carignan Les Centenaires is assertive and should be paired with a strongly flavoured meat. A bison terrine is nicely set off by the roundness and delicious fruitiness of this Côtes Catalanes cuvée. Domaine Ferrer Ribière’s old vines generally produce a wine with a soft attack and tannins that put up no resistance.
The finish here imparts a faint impression of sweetness that’s pleasantly underscored by the blackberry chutney, which also harmonizes well with the blueberry note and flower accents in the wine. This is exactly the kind of wine I want when I get home from work on cooler evenings: All I have to do is put out this tasty terrine, fresh bread from the market and a glass of wine.
PS: Preferably to be sipped while picturing Roussillon’s beautiful coastline and the towering mountains overlooking its diverse terroirs and traditional grape varieties. – Hélène Dion RECIPE AT SAQ.COM EASY GOURMET Bison Terrine With Blackberry Chutney FRANCE DOMAINE FERRER RIBIÈRE, CARIGNAN LES CENTENAIRES 2012, CÔTES CATALANES $19.55 12212182, 750 ML, 14% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 250 An unfiltered and rarely clarified cuvée made from old Carignan vines, some more than 130 years old, that have been organically cultivated since 2010. The 2012 is a fruit bomb that’s sure to charm. GRAPE: CARIGNAN SEPTEMBER 18 LANGUEDOC-ROUSSILLON(CONTINUED) AROMAS BLUEBERRY, BLACKBERRY, VIOLETS, SWEET SPICES, LAVENDER BODY – MEDIUM PALATE – GENEROUS WOOD – UNOAKED ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18
PHOTOS: RECIPE: HANS LAURENDEAU/SHOOT STUDIO, PHOTOGRAPHER. FOOD STYLING: JOHANNE DEPELTEAU. ACCESSORIES STYLING: CAROLINE SIMON. GEORGE ROSE/GETTY IMAGES (SEGWAY); LES CARMES HAUT-BRION (CHAI); CAMILLE MOIRENC/HEMIS/CORBIS (WEATHER STATION). In areas like Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Ventoux, it’s often very hot, enough to make one yearn for a glass of well-chilled white wine. But in fact, the heat makes the Rhône more favourable for growing red grape varieties: White wines account for just 6 percent of the region’s output and reds for 79 percent, with rosés making up the remaining 15 percent.
REDHOT TASTEANDTRIVIA A sampling of the lighter side of the wine world in southern France, Languedoc-Roussillon, the Rhône and Bordeaux... ONAROLL What’s the best way to explore wine country: on foot, by car – or on something in-between? Visitors to Domaine Rozel in the Rhône can tour the village of Valaurie and the winery property by Segway, then follow it up with a tasting... SHOWPIECECHAIS With many wineries hiring highprofile architects, chais are becoming showpieces. The latest entrant on the scene is the chai at Château Les Carmes Haut Brion. Designed by the renowned Philippe Starck, it looks like the inverted hull of a ship, a nod to Bordeaux’s long history as an exporter of wines.
In southern France, everyone loves soccer, but also rugby – a sport that has spawned quite a number of winemakers. Michel Bataille of Vignobles Foncalieu, Georges and Gérard Gauby, and Gérard Bertrand are just a few of the former players who now helm highly regarded wineries. ONSIDEFORWINE Languedoc-Roussillon is full of winemakers who hail from elsewhere. One of them is Alain Rochard, long-time Montreal restaurateur (Continental Bistro), who’s doing very well with his Vignoble du Loup Blanc, farmed organically and biodynamically. Inspired by the winery name, which translates as “white wolf,” the cuvées have names like La Mère Grand (see New Arrivals section), a reference to Little Red Riding Hood; Les Trois P’tits C, shorthand for The Three Little Pigs; and Petit Chaperon Rose (“little pink riding hood”), a rosé wine.
ONCEUPONATIME September 2014 21
From legendary chateaux to delightful small crus, the Bordeaux regions of Médoc, the Right Bank and Graves produce wines for every taste. FABLEDWINESANDAFFORDABLECRUS Bordeaux September 2014 22
PHOTOS: TIBOR BOGNAR/GETTY IMAGES (BORDEAUX) ; JEAN-LUC BARDE/SCOPE-IMAGE (HAUT-BRION). riving out of the city of Bordeaux, you emerge from the sprawling suburbs and presto, the scenery switches to vineyards and chic chateaux surrounded by impeccably trimmed shrubbery. This is the Graves wine region, running practically right up to the city’s doorstep. The red wines by La Mission Haut-Brion, Domaine de Chevalier and other top chateaux in Graves have an exceptional reputation.
Produced under the PessacLéognan appellation, created in 1987 to showcase the best of Graves, they display elegance and character. Cabernet Sauvignon ripens especially well in Graves, and its angles are nicely softened, even in cool years like 2013. The name Graves is derived from the gravelly soil that absorbs the sun’s heat by day and warms the vines at night. Surprising to some, these chateaux’s white wines are even pricier than their reds. Then there are the fabled sweet whites made from grapes affected by noble rot in the Graves zones of Sauternes and Barsac. Sumptuous and spellbinding, they’re produced in tiny quantities by stellar chateaux that include Yquem, Fargues, Suduiraut and Climens.
GRAVES’LEGENDARYWINE Louis XIV and England’s Charles II drank it in the 17th century, while Thomas Jefferson liked it so much he took some back to Virginia in 1787. Founded in the 15th century, Chateau Haut-Brion is an international luxury brand that has beguiled the elite through the ages. FRANCE 2019 L’ESPRIT DE CHEVALIER 2010, PESSAC-LÉOGNAN $42.50 12307704, 750 ML, 13.5% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 200 Representing 40 percent of production, the grapes used for Domaine de Chevalier’s second wine do justice to the grand vin. Instant charm and, especially, an exceptional pleasure-price ratio. GRAPES: CABERNET SAUVIGNON, MERLOT, CABERNET FRANC SEPTEMBER 4 GRAVES GRAVELLYTERROIR FROMTHESAMEAPPELLATION BUTMOREAFFORDABLE...
D AROMAS RIPE RED FRUIT, BLUEBERRY, FLORAL NOTES, UNDERGROWTH BODY – MEDIUM PALATE – STRUCTURED WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY WS 91 September 2014 23 IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18
uite apart from the wines, Bordeaux’s aristocratic right bank – essentially encompassing the entire area to the east of the Gironde – is highly appealing. The medieval village of Saint-Émilion, widely described as “a gem set amid vineyards,” is alone worth the trip, with a church carved from a cliff, narrow streets, high walls and restaurants serving tasty comfort foods. Plus, there are vineyards at the foot of these walls, and not just any old vineyards. You’d have to be a real killjoy not to revel in the seductive richness of the wines from Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and other appellations in the region – Lalandede-Pomerol, Fronsac, even the well-crafted Bordeaux Superior cuvées.
Right-bank wines are enjoyed the world FRANCE 2020 CHÂTEAU TAILLEFER 2010, POMEROL $34.75 11572231, 750 ML, 15% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 150 The vineyard at this estate boasts full southern exposure and its grapes are picked by hand. As in the best Pomerol crus, the soil is rich in iron deposits, the inspiration for the château name. GRAPES: MERLOT, CABERNET FRANC POMEROL’SLEGENDARYWINE At Petrus, the winery building and cellars are fairly modest and the wine label doesn’t even include the word “Château,” but Petrus’ iron-rich clay soils plus ultra-meticulous viniculture deliver an absolutely superlative wine.
FROMTHESAMEAPPELLATION BUTMOREAFFORDABLE... BORDEAUX(CONTINUED) RIGHT BANK MEMORABLEMERLOTS SEPTEMBER 4 Q AROMAS BLACK CHERRY, BLACKCURRANT, ANISE, LICORICE, CEDAR BODY – FULL PALATE – STRUCTURED WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY WS 91 September 2014 24
FRANCE 2020 CHÂTEAU PINDEFLEURS 2010, SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU $27.35 11572371, 750 ML, 13% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 199 A great cuvée crafted by Audrey Lauret, daughter of the owners but, more importantly, the winemaker and vineyard manager. Meaty and modern, yet not lacking in typical Saint-Émilion characteristics.
GRAPES: MERLOT, CABERNET FRANC over, and high-profile consultant Michel Rolland has also exported the area’s round and ripe model to hundreds of wineries around the globe.
The key to the right bank’s success is the ability of its best estates – chief among them Petrus, but also including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, L’Évangile and others – to bring personality and intensity to a grape variety that in other regions is often criticized for its softness: Merlot. “On the left bank they complain about Merlot and on the right bank we complain about Cabernet,” leading right-bank producer Christian Moueix joked recently. But in fact, there is some truth to this. Discussing the unusually rainy and cold 2013 vintage, Moueix explains that each region has specific traits. On the right bank, Merlot, supported by Cabernet Franc, does best year after year, while in Médoc, Cabernet Sauvignon is king.
When a grape variety finds the right terroir, it dazzles, in good years (see the excellent 2010 vintage in the New Arrivals section) and not-so-good years alike.
SAINT-ÉMILION’SLEGENDARYWINE Managed by the energetic Pierre Lurton, Cheval Blanc holds the world record for the highest price for a single bottle of wine (a six-litre Impériale of the fabled 1947 vintage that sold in 2010 for more than US$300,000). Cabernet Franc makes up slightly more than half the blend, providing Cheval Blanc with structure, but the other grape, Merlot, is what gives the wine its richness and acclaimed depth. PHOTOS: SANDRINE ROUDEIX/LE FIGARO MAGAZINE (PETRUS) ; PATRICK DURAND/GETTY IMAGES (CHEVAL BLANC). FROMTHESAMEAPPELLATION BUTMOREAFFORDABLE... SEPTEMBER 4 AROMAS DARK FRUIT, CHERRY, TOBACCO, UNDERGROWTH, OAK BODY – FULL PALATE – STRUCTURED WOOD – SUBTLE ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY September 2014 25 IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18
f Pomerol and Saint-Émilion are the velvet glove, then Médoc is the iron fist. Its grands crus are broad shouldered with assertive tannins and dark fruit, often in a wood framework that can stand up to the wines’ somewhat angular power in youth. The scenery in Médoc isn’t very exciting; it would be an exaggeration to say there are hills in the area, which lies north of the city of Bordeaux. Yet wines produced by chateaux just a few hundred metres apart can be very different, with one finer and the other sturdier, for example.
The southern area of the region, Haut-Médoc, is the most prestigious because it’s home to the big four of Médoc appellations: Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Margaux.
The largest concentration of grands crus classés in Médoc is found in these appellations, starting with the trinity formed by the Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothschild châteaux, the latter of which has achieved cult status as far afield as China. Wine lovers delight in debating their preferences: Some opt for the finesse of a Margaux, others favour the solid build of a Saint-Estèphe, still others prefer the balance of a Saint-Julien. The popularity of Médoc’s big-name chateaux is off the charts – the problem being that so are most of their prices. But wines from the generic Haut-Médoc appellation are delivering increasingly impressive qualities at much more moderate prices.
Many châteaux stand out, with some developing a cult standing. Sociando-Mallet, held in high esteem by Quebecers, is a good example. Capable of aging with great elegance and distinction, its wine has been described as “a revelation” by Robert Parker – the kind of appraisal that instantly establishes a reputation.
Many think that Haut-Médoc, a fairly large appellation, offers some of the best quality-price ratios in all of Bordeaux. Not to mention an opportunity to daydream about what it would be like to uncork one of Bordeaux’s biggest names... THEIRONFIST FRANCE 2025 CHÂTEAU BELGRAVE GRAND CRU CLASSÉ 2010, HAUT-MÉDOC $48.50 11571546, 750 ML, 14% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 249 A neighbour of Châteaux Lagrange and La Tour Carnet, and separated from the Saint-Julien AOC by a stream, this cru is nevertheless a Cinquième Cru (Fifth Growth) under the 1855 classification system.
GRAPES: MERLOT, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CABERNET FRANC, PETIT VERDOT HAUT-MÉDOCREVELATION In 1969, young wine merchant Jean Gautreau fell in love with and purchased Sociando-Mallet, then in a pitiful state.
Ever since, he has been improving and expanding the estate so as to produce wines capable of long aging. FROMTHESAMEAPPELLATION BUTMOREAFFORDABLE... PHOTOS: JEAN-LUC BARDE/SCOPE-IMAGE (SOCIANDO-MALLET); RECIPE: HANS LAURENDEAU/SHOOT STUDIO, PHOTOGRAPHER. FOOD STYLING: JOHANNE DEPELTEAU. ACCESSORIES STYLING: CAROLINE SIMON. MÉDOC SEPTEMBER 4 I AROMAS BLACKCURRANT, PLUM, COCOA, DAMP EARTH, OAK BODY – FULL PALATE – STRUCTURED WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY RVF 17 WA 89 WS 91 September 2014 26 IN STORES SEPTEMBER 4 AND 18
FRANCE 2018 CHÂTEAU LARRIVAUX 2010, HAUT-MÉDOC $25.45 12258851, 750 ML, 14% ABV NUMBER OF CASES: 300 Rare for Médoc, Château Larrivaux has been in the same family for more than 300 years – and always run by women, from the Marquise de la Barre de Larrivaux to Mme Carlsberg today. GRAPES: MERLOT, CABERNET SAUVIGNON, CABERNET FRANC, PETIT VERDOT INFUSEDWITHFLAVOUR I like the way the classic pairing of game and a Médoc wine can be revisited simply with the subtle addition of an ingredient like Labrador tea. The somewhat “wild” flavour of the venison is delicious with Château Larrivaux, which conveys aromas typical of Médoc on Bordeaux’s left bank.
It’s a very elegant wine, with expressive fruit and discreet wood. This is a food-wine match that marries long-standing Bordeaux tradition with the untamed nature of Quebec forests. The wine’s berry and blackcurrant aromas find their counterpart in the berries and Labrador tea in the recipe. The accompanying wild mushrooms maintain the forested tone, while the addition of spruce jelly brings out the aromatic conifer note often found in this type of wine.
Hélène Dion, Sommelier EASY GOURMET Venison With Labrador Tea RECIPE AT SAQ.COM SEPTEMBER 4 AROMAS TART BERRY FRUIT, BLACKCURRANT, PLUM, VIOLETS, WOOD BODY – MEDIUM PALATE – GENEROUS WOOD – SUBTLE ACIDITY – MODERATE SUGAR LEVEL – DRY September 2014 27
- PHOTO: MAUDE CHAUVIN. Les Blancs Coteaux was nearly 20 years old when Alfonso Gagliano bought it in 2008 and renamed it after his family. The 35-hectare property in the Dunham Valley includes 10 hectares of vines. Vignoble Gagliano makes 14 different wines, several of which have won awards. New parcels are being readied and another 10,000 vines will be added to the current 25,000.
- Backstory Born in Sicily, Gagliano came to Canada at the age of 16. After a career in politics he took up viticulture in the Eastern Townships, a region he fell in love with the minute he set foot there. Like many Italian-Quebecers, he actually planted his first vines years earlier in his backyard in Saint-Léonard.
- Family business In 2008, Gagliano persuaded his wife, son and daughter-in-law to buy the winery. They handle sales, administration and public relations, leaving him free to devote himself to the vineyard and winemaking. “I have consultants,” he says, “but I’m the only winemaker and I find it very rewarding.”
- Top spot for Tinello “When I started making wine, everyone said I was crazy to want to compete with the Europeans. But at a blind tasting, our Tinello 2011 took first prize over several Italian wines. It’s similar in many ways to a Burgundian Pinot Noir. Our problem in Quebec is we run up against prejudice.”
- Philosophy “I like to think I’ve managed to blend tradition and modernity. For instance, we have a plot that requires extra protection against the cold. The trickiest part is removing the protection in spring. Every year I’d see that vines were being uprooted in the process. So now I use a geotextile cover – a modern tool – on a small area of 2,000 vines, and I’m getting better results. Wines are like human beings: It takes work to raise them, but if you provide them with enough attention, they’ll give back a great deal.” In southern Italy, tinello means “dinette,” or informal eating area, a notion that inspired the winemaker in Gagliano: “You drink Tinello with friends. It’s an unpretentious wine.” ATAGLANCE ITALIAN-SAUSAGE PIZZA Limited quantities. Vintages may vary from store to store.
QUÉBEC GAGLIANO, TINELLO 2013 $20.60 11398270, 750 ML, 13.5% ABV GRAPES: FRONTENAC NOIR, SABREVOIS AROMAS CANDIED CHERRY, COCOA, VANILLA BODY – LIGHT PALATE – DELICATE WOOD – EVIDENT ACIDITY – LIVELY SUGAR LEVEL – DRY Discover the world of Origine Québec products at the SAQ at www.saq.com/originequebec-en ALFONSOGAGLIANO VIGNOBLEGAGLIANO