On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Tripping Through the Vineyards of Ancenis (Loire)

12 Jan 2023

Galloires(April 27, 2022) … Aboard a bus we travelled to Domaine de Galloires, where we unloaded and had lunch overlooking the vineyards – afterward we traipse through the vineyards (over hill and dale in some cases) to taste more wines and have some tasty treats (namely cheese and dessert) at different stops along the way – these are the wines we tried that afternoon:

Domaine Des Galloires 2021 Les Chailloux
Fresh, lively, good acidity, lemon/lime, bright, hint of melon - stony/salty quality, perfect with oysters.  (****)The wagon

Domaine Du Champ Chapron 2020    
Middling kinda wine with pith and lemon notes. (*** ½+)

Vignoble Marchais 2020 Vignoble de Thouaré
Quite citrusy, but with an underlying bitterness and heft on the palate - nice mineral and stony quality.  (*** ½+)

Domaine De La Cambuse 2021 Rosé
Nice raspberry-lemon with hints of lime on the finish.  (*** ½+)

ParcelleDomaine Merceron Martin 2019 Parcelles Rouge
100% Gamay … Lovely red berry fruit, lively acidity, subtle shake of pepper, black and boysenberry finish - 1 week carbonic (any longer and you take away the fruitiness and risk bitterness) - needs 2-3 years to meld and come together.  (****+)

Domaine Romain Moreau 2021 Rouge
Has depth with plenty of red berry fruit.  (*** ½)

Domaine Des Clerambaults 2021 Rouge Pretty with floral, subtle smoke and red fruit.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Du Haut Fresne 2021 Rouge
Red cherries and white pepper dominate.  (*** ½)

Domaine Des Galloires 2016 Champtoceaux
Fresh lemon zest and honeycomb notes.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Du Moulin Giron 2018 Champtoceaux
Shows an intensity of fruit: namely apple, nectarine and a little beeswax on the finish.  (*** ½)

Domaine Romain Moreau 2021 Malvoisie
A little on the sweet side, but with a good fruit core: peach and white peach with nice hint of minerality ... the name has been around for over a century, denotes Pinot Gris harvested late and with some sweetness – so this is bang on what it should be.  (****)


Dinner at Barco Vino …        

“Dinner” tonight was finger foods aboard a docked boat, a floating wine and food tasting would be the best way to describe it … and here are the wines that impressed. On Board

Domaine Aux Moines 2019 Roche Aux Moines
Nice structure and flavour, with beeswax, honeycomb and floral notes most noticeable.  (*** ½)

Manoir de la Tête Rouge 2018 Enchantoir
Vines planted in 1959. Nice earthy character with cassis and black raspberry. Interesting to note that this wine was also aged in amphora.  (*** ½+)

Les Sables Verts 2020 Les Poyeux
Floral, namely violets, with smoky-black fruit, along with a fresh, mineral note; elegant with subtle spice. Aged twelve months in vat … a very tasty wine.  (****)

Les Sables Verts 2020 Les Rouères Blanc    
Honeycomb and beeswax, a little bitter, but still nice. They grow 16 hectares - 10 go to the co-op while they keep 6hectares for their own use.  (*** ½)

Le Facteur Su’l Vélo 2021 Le Facteur Su’L Vélo 
A six hectare estate, this wine is aged and fermented in oak barrels. Nice and crisp with easy drinking appeal; the 10% new oak barely registers here and that is probably the point as it just adds weight and texture, but little in the way of flavour.  (****)

Le Facteur Su’l Vélo 2019 Bénasse
A one hectare vineyard of flint and limestone; the wine is aged 12 months in oak barrels, and produced a nice richness in the mouth, very pleasant.  (*** ½)

Domaine Grosbois 2019 Clos Du Noyer
Still has those green notes, but the fruit is there as well, subtly smoky and earthy; good acidity but still comes across a little lean.  (*** ½)

Domaine Grosbois 2020 Gabare  
A little green around the edges, but there is also black cherry, black raspberry, blackberry and cassis.  (*** ½)

Domaine Amirault 2018 Le Fondis
The wine is made using fruit from 63-year-old vines. There's a mineral component here along with cranberry, plus red and black cherry notes ... barrels are rolled to mix the wine, after 5 weeks they stop the rolling; they also use 40% new oak.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Amirault 2020 Ferme Des Fontaines
Violets and dark fruit; fresh and fruity: concrete fermented and aged for 9 months.  (*** ½+)


FontanaFredda : Hello Barolo Week

21 Dec 2022

Glasses of Fredda(October 2022) ... The Italian winery FontanaFredda rolled into Toronto with its concept of “Barolo Week”; a week to promote Barolo wine (made from the Nebbiolo grape and found in Piedmont); an event they established in 2016 to advocate for this prestigious wine and promote its possibilities of by the glass pours at restaurants. The restaurant we found ourselves at was Eataly, a 42 store franchise that promotes all things Italy; especially food and wine. The shop is loaded with every kind of food-stuff from Italy you can imagine, plus wine, even in Toronto – kudos to them for embracing the bottle shop concept. This store is also surrounded by, at my count, at least three in-house restaurants. Today's lunch was shared plates to pair with the six wines poured.

FontanaFredda is a winery that dates back to 1858 and has royal blood backing, the first owner was the King of Italy. Barolo wines, or the concept of Barolo wines, were created in the 1830s, and in the 1870s is when the real commercial production of the wine begins with the first wines entering the US market in 1878. The history of these wines goes back some 60 years here in Ontario, with the first FontanaFredda wine hitting the LCBO shelves in 1962 (a 1958 vintage). FontanaFredda is a 110-hectare vineyard that's surrounds the winery.

Recent FontanaFreddaAs previously mentioned, six wines were poured for tasting, three from the current 2018 vintage; plus some back vintage: 2016, 1996 and 2010.

2018 Serralunga Organic
The first time the Serralunga designation appears on the label is in 1988. According to Alberto Frea, export manager, who led us on the tasting, 2018 was a FontanaFredda kinda vintage with a rainy June, then a more regular growing season and harvest: "This creates a more approachable wine," he says. Cranberry, leather, balsamic and coffee bean greet the nose; the palate seems a little fuller, but with good acidity, along with some sour cherry and subtle spice.  (*** ½+)

2018 Barolo Proprieta in FontanaFredda
Ripe cherry, black, raspberry and mocha, are all available to the olfactories, but the predominant thing here is red fruit. The palate brings with it spiced-cherry, peppered-strawberry, good acidity and a lovely length of finish.  (****+)

2018 Barolo Vigna La Rosa
The vineyard is named after a woman that the king's son was truly in love with and became his second wife after his first "passed away". There's a slight hint of VA here, but it does blow off, revealing plenty of cherry and cranberry. The palate is smooth and supple with nice acidity on the finish; neither the acidity nor the tannins are too aggressive, with the acidity showing up on the second sip and the tannins on the 3rd. There's a nice long finish here as well.  (****)

Older Vintages … Older FontanaFredda

2016 Barolo Vigna La Rosa
The nose far outweighs the palate here: sweet cherry, mocha and strawberry – while the palate proves to be too aggressive; still very young.

1996 Barolo Vigna La Rosa
Coffee, mocha and leather dominate with very little in the way of fruit showing, even in a dried or fruit leathery state.

2010 Barolo Riserva
Outstandingly sippable wine that has lots going for it. Approachable now and ready for primetime; it's also amazingly food friendly: plenty of mocha, cherry and spice on the nose and palate; body is well preserved, still has good acid balance and a lovely freshness while the tannins have a way of hanging on without getting in the way. If you have any, drink up or at least try one now. You will not be disappointed. Best wine of the tasting.


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