Something new, something old
Here is a question to ask your partner on this Valentine’s weekend: how would you like to try a glass of Picpoul de Pinet?
You can tell them that it is a refreshing dry, white wine that originates in a vineyard that borders the Mediterranean Sea in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. If they are curious to know who made it, you can say that Gerard Bertrand, known locally as the “king” of Languedoc, is responsible. You can add, that although this grape is not a household name, it was considered one of the best in this area as far back as 1618.
As you taste the 2019 Gerard Bertrand Picpoul de Pinet you will experience rich and enticing aromas of citrus and hawthorn that lead to a zesty palate of lemony flavours and a lively acidity that keeps your taste buds tingling through its invigorating finish.
A review on the Natalie MacLean Canadian website reads: “91/100. This is an expressive wine. Bold aromas of crisp apple, grapefruit and tangerine tinged with floral and minerality leapt from the glass. The palate offered oodles of refreshing acidity and dashes of green apple and citrus flavours marked by traces of lies ageing. From a terroir perspective, the wine’s grapes were harvested from limestone soil vineyards in France’s Picpoul de Pinet appellation where the climate is influenced by the Mediterranean Sea. If you have never tasted a wine crafted from 100 per cent Picpoul grapes, I encourage you to experience this delicious wine. Enjoy.” A bottle can be yours for $24.90 (Stock #7256).
If you do wish to experience the talents of Gerard Bertrand but prefer to try a more traditional grape variety, then you are in luck, as we have also just landed 2019 Gerard Bertrand Domaine de L’Aigle Chardonnay. The Domaine de l’Aigle is located in the foothills of the Pyrenees and it is one of the highest vineyards in the Languedoc. Chardonnay vines thrive in climatic conditions similar to those of Burgundy, where the grape originated; it is an oceanic climate with continental influences, frequent rainfall and a wide temperature range. The Domaine de l’Aigle estate produces Languedoc-Roussillon wines with a surprising freshness and an exceptional minerality. The estate began its conversion to biodynamic methods in 2014 and is now fully certified.
This chardonnay has a golden green colour with silver-grey reflections and an expressive nose with fruity notes of white peach and aromatic flowers, opening to notes of marzipan and pastry. Nuts, toasty tones and a lovely creamy texture follow. The palate is fresh, mineral, light and supple. $32 (Stock #7253).
If you want to cover all the bases and maybe bring home some chardonnay, malvasia, picolit, ribolla gialla and sauvignon blanc then all you need to do is purchase a bottle of 2015 Jermann Vintage Tunina from the Italian family in Northern Italy that have a cult following for their amazing whites. This remarkable blend is straw yellow, vivid and bright but also with soft golden tones. The nose is intense, complex and fascinating. It is warm, soft, full bodied, very harmonious and showing wildflowers, honey, vanilla, tropical fruit, peach and citrus.
Wine Enthusiast and James Suckling both rate it 94/100, with the latter commenting: “The nose of this white is extremely refined, offering up green apples, thyme, preserved lemons, pine needles, dried citrus rind and beeswax. The palate digs deep with beautiful phenolic texture, a fine line of acidity, layers of fruit and a long finish.” $72.50 (Stock #9054).
Adventures off the beaten path in whites are all well and good, but I do know that the traditional bottle of bubbly rosé might well be appreciated this weekend. Our Nicolas Feuillatte Non Vintage Reserve Rosé Champagne is supplied to us by the champagne firm that can safely say that their bubbles are the most asked for in French wine stores and restaurants. This is a blend of the three grapes allowed in champagne – 60 per cent pinot noir, 30 per cent pinot meunier and 10 per cent chardonnay – and together they give it an appealing salmon colour.
Delicious and quite dry, it offers all the usual suspects, crisp citrus, lemon peel, tart cherry, strawberry and raspberry. Truly a lovely Sunday brunch treat! $51.85 (Stock #7007).
Once again, and with recent memories of driving up to purchase a bottle at our Harbour Road Paget shop on New Year’s Eve, I must mention the benchmark of them all, Laurent Perrier Brut Rosé Champagne. This 100 per cent pinot noir is elegant, with colour changing naturally from a pretty, raspberry hue to salmon pink. A precise nose of extraordinary freshness and a wide range of red fruits: raspberry, redcurrant, strawberry and black cherry, also a fresh and sharp attack for this supple and rounded wine. On the palate, it offers the sensation of plunging into a basket of freshly picked red berries. The common method of making rosé champagne today is to blend the red and white grapes to achieve the desired effect.
Laurent Perrier uses the older process known as “saigneé” where they leave the skins in contact with the juice for about three days. French law stipulates that a wine like this must be at least 15 months old before release. Laurent Perrier assure only the finest by keeping their rosé for a minimum of five years as it develops complexity.
Here is what Robert Parker has to say: “The latest iteration of Laurent-Perrier's NV Brut Cuvée Rosé is showing brilliantly, bursting from the glass with notes of smoky red berry fruit, apples, blood orange, pomegranate and warm biscuits. On the palate, the wine is medium to full-bodied, broad and vinous, with a delicate mousse, good depth at the core and ripe acids, concluding with a sapid, gently phenolic finish. This is a sophisticated, gastronomic rosé that would work well at table.” $98 (Stock #7168).
This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. Contact Michael Robinson at firstname.lastname@example.org. Burrows Lightbourn have stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554) and Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355). Visit www.wineonline.bm