grapesandvinyl

My Thoughts And Photographs Of Wine, Terroir, Spirits, Food And Music - I Am Erik Mercier

Located in Northern Italy, Piemonte is a region of legendary wines. Barolo and Barbaresco, made from Nebbiolo grapes, have been known to age decades, slowly morphing into succulent, smokey wines with tantalizing notes of wild herbs, dried cherry and spices. Although their proximity to the source would suggest Italians drink more of these awe-inspiring wines than your average north-american, they often opt for something a little more modest.

Dolcetto and Barbera grapes seem to be planted in every nook and cranny Nebbiolo won’t thrive. When it comes to enjoyable, yet interesting table wines, northern Italy has slipped the radar. These two varieties may not have the structure and ageablility of Nebbiolo, and they seldom obtain the level of finesse, but they are intriguing and lovely in their own right. Enzo Boglietti has even taken it upon himself to introduce his Dolcettos to oak, adding an extra vanillin oomph and further rounding out the already sweet tannins. Single vineyard expressions may be hard to find, but when you stumble across one like this, it certainly shows that even the underdog can express terroir when treated respectfully.

The wine is practically opaque in the glass, a deep ruby with slightly violet edges. The nose is rich and sensuous with notes of blackberry and currant, walnut, curry powder and black licorice. The palate is full and round but not heavy. Although Dolcetto is renowned for having low acidity, Enzo Boglietti has managed to retain it and enhance it through the use of oak tannin. The tannins are silky and well integrated. Notes of charcoal and plum come through on the finish giving it even more character.

The warmth and approachable attitude in this wine can be felt in Cass McCombs’ Jonesy Boy. Neither are high energy but there is a sense of momentum. The friendly nature of a toasty tube amp mingling with the simple instrumentation of a real piano, cozy bass and minimalist kit often say more than over-raucous wannabe symphonies ever will. These are modest pieces, they are unassuming and grateful to be heard. Less flash and more substance.

Continued From The Henschke Lenswood Croft Chardonnay and Alex Gambal Fixin Posts

While deciding which regions would be included in our Chardonnay tasting, we selfishly divided Burgundy into several distinct regions. Although wonderful Chardonnay can be made throughout the world, this compact nook in France maintains supremacy. Their wines are the benchmark of quality. Other regions either try to emulate or are measured against them, sometimes coming close but never surpassing the legends. No one will deny how enjoyable new world expressions of this noble grape can be, but when it comes to longevity and complexity, solid wine making and friendly climates are no replacement for history and precise terroir.

Jean et Sebastien Dauvissat Chablis Grand Cru: 1st Place

A Chardonnay lover whose sole exposure to the grape has been of Californian origin would probably find themselves stupefied by Chablis. The differences are so staggering that doubting whether or not the two are made from the same grape would not be unreasonable. Located on an outcropping north of Burgundy proper in North-Western France, vines truly struggle to survive in this extremely cool climate. Limestone and chalk-like soils are said to give the wines their distinctive steeliness which, when supported by the incredibly high acid often obtained, make Chablis an entirely different wine than their plush southern counterparts.

The nose screams mineral characteristics like chalk, river stone, hot spring, gunpowder and brine. Additional flavors like tangerine, under-ripe cantaloup, fresh laundry, jasmine tea and nutmeg support the balance of freshness and earthiness. The palate almost contradicts itself with a wonderfully lush and silky texture followed by stinging acidity; Both reinforcing the flavors through texture and mouth-feel. The finish has no end. Notes of caramelized peach and honey return gently long after the final sip.

This strange symmetry between organic and non-organic flavors is reflected in The Other Day by Blue Hawaii. A background of programed instruments implies warmth while chilled vocals waft effortlessly over and through the track. Normally, conventional instruments are used to give warmth to the non-emoting computer world, but in this case their rolls are reversed. This switch tricks you into finding comfort in the chaos and, because it is foreign, you have to step back to appreciate it as a whole. They both act upon you in a way you can’t pin down.

Continued From The Henschke Lenswood Croft Chardonnay Post

With a series of nine incredible wines sitting in front of us, it was a true challenge focusing on just a few at a time. Although the table started off inwardly focused, each person methodically working through the gauntlet of spectacular Chardonnay, within a few minutes chatter began to envelop us. We were so excited by the balance and complexity achieved in several of the wines, we just had to share and pick each others’ brains.

Alex Gambal Fixin: 2nd Place

Located in the extreme north of Burgundy’s Cote de Nuits, Fixin produces exponentially more red wine than they do white. Although famous regions like Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanee are located only a short commute south, the terroir in this miniscule sub-region never achieved an equivalent level of fame. Something as miniscule as slope and orientation to the sun can take a vineyard from exceptional to pedestrian without a second guess. That being said, this leaves consumers with a excellent opportunity to snatch up underpriced wines with character and finesse worthy of everyday.

Like most burgundian producers, Alex Gambal is a little obsessed with his grapes. He employs minimal intervention techniques like native yeasts during fermentation, allowing his wine to be transfered to barrel by gravity instead of pump, and never filtering his wine as to not strip it of any of it’s character. This specific chardonnay undergoes fermentation in 40% new oak which imparts a delicate texture and hints of vanilla and butter.

In the glass the wine is deceivingly pale; clear lemon with a silver tinge. The nose has a lovely mix of lemon zest, chalk, carrot cake, fried yams , flint and pressed flowers. Everyone agreed that although there was a more awe-inspiring expression, if we had to choose one to sip daily, this would be it. The texture on the palate was silky from front to back leaving you with the gentle prickle of well integrated acidity. Notes of toasted walnut and clarified butter rose from the finish giving it a grounding earthy quality. I personally ranked this wine second in the grand scheme of things. 

Released this year, Frightened Rabbit’s new album Pedestrian Verse contains many of the same traits I observed in the wine. It is one of those creations that could find it’s niche in the background of conversation between two friends or be the centre piece of an afternoon’s worth of active listening and reflection. Slightly rustic, masterfully orchestrated and heart wrenching when focused upon, each song brings it’s own gentle twist to the indie-folk genre some have tucked it into. It is an album that asks as much of you as you do of everything else. 

GAV FEB 13 PLAYLIST

I’d like to thank everyone who started following GAV this month. I’ve been really trying to solidify how I want the site to read and what content I should and shouldn’t include. Hopefully I’ve explained all the wines and music justly. If anything was ever left out, feel free to leave questions in the comments; I’ll get to them the second I have a free moment.

To make tracking down some of the songs I’ve referenced on the site easier, I’ve put together a playlist of everything included in this months posts. Feel free to download it and share with friends. If you happen to have the funds necessary to support the artists, I’m sure they’d be thrilled. We all enjoy monetary compensation for the time, thought and heart we put into the things we love.

Download here: http://www.mediafire.com/?523v3040kb9mhg2

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Bat For Lashes - All Your Gold

Everything-Everything-Arc

Everything Everything - Kemosabe

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The Richmond Sluts - Drive Me Wild

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Real Estate - It’s Real

The Constantines - Nighttime Anytime (It’s Alright)

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The Beta Band - Gone

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Allo Darlin’ - Northern Lights

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Wild Nothing - Only Heather

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Madvillain - Raid

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Slugabed - Travel Sweets

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Wolf Parade - Ghost Pressure

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Destroyer - Kaputt

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Future Islands - Balance

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Grimes - Be A Body (侘寂)

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Washed Out - Within And Without

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Parlovr - Sleeping Horses

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Free Energy - True Love

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Tanlines - Nonesuch

The quantity of top notch Ginger Beer available on the market is by no means overwhelming. In fact, they are few and far between and seldom hit the mark when it comes to quality and intensity. Crabbie’s Ginger is a much different story. With a two hundred year history backing them up, they have maintained a beautiful tradition of superb products. By steeping their ginger for a whopping eight weeks they extract a huge amount of spice from the famed root. Combined with their other top secret ingredients, this ginger beverage is sure to take your tastebuds on a ride they won’t soon forget.

The nose is heady with wafting notes of spices and herbs. The ginger adds a beautiful earthiness while orange contributes to freshness. The palate is focused and creamy with the spice coming through primarily in the finish. Although it has a touch of sweetness it avoids being cloying or syrupy.

Mirroring the energy and range of expression in every sip, Kemosabe byEverything Everything is equal parts vocal tour-de-force and glitchy percussion. Although Crabbie’s orange has a strong mid-palate, the song is all highs and lows with a deceptive space in the middle. There’s no better way to complete the puzzle than adding a bottle of something delicious.