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@ClosdesFous (Grillos Cantores) Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Chile) 14%

I tasted the Clos de Fous, Cabernet Sauvignon the other day during a girl’s night. My friend explained to me that the bottle had been gifted to her. Jumping on the occasion to try this wine, I read the tasting notes behind the bottle.

I was surprised to read that this type of wine hadn’t been aged in a wood based barrel. Which brought about the question, but how does one age wine if it’s not in a barrel.

No mystery goes unsolved with Google; we quickly sought out an answer. We weren’t disappointed.
Aging wine in cement tanks has been a process that goes back as far as Ancient Rome. A lot of modern wine makers have stopped making their wines in barrels, opting for these cement vats.

This vineyard ages their wine in cement containers. This technique obliterates any oaky flavours – which to tell you the truth completely blew my mind. How can a wine not have any woody taste/tones? (You can ask my friend, this was a topic that I had trouble distancing myself from – even after we discovered the aging process and vineyards opt for it.)

In essence this technique is very organic. Some say it allows the wine a more pure and porous aging process, allowing it to have a more mineral base.
On that note…

Clos des Fous (Grillos Cantores) Cabernet Sauvignon  2011 (Chile) 14% SAQ $20.25

Clos des Fous (Grillos Cantores) Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 (Chile) 14%
SAQ $20.25

The Clos de fous, Cabernet Sauvignon has a very lovely colour, an almost purple-y ruby.
Right off the bat your nose will know there’s something completely different. I’m not going to lie, I could distinctly decipher the scent of an old cellar or crawl space; a basement; or even an old house came to mind. I really had to push through beyond that smell. (This is the first time I had tried a wine that had been aged this way. I’m sure the more I try, the less overwhelming the smell will be.)

If you get past the strong first smell, your taste buds will not be disappointed. It’s odd not tasting the smoky and woody scents you’re used to with reds. I think the grape is nearly at its purest. There’s something there that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to taste normally. It’s almost as if you can taste the earth, the vine and the climate the grape was grown in. It was odd to say.

It’s a distinctive colour, smell and taste. If you’re willing to try something new, I definitely
recommend this bottle.


Return to Saturday Night Wine Girl…

It has been a few months… years since I updated my blog.

Let me explain… So much happens in everyday life that you don’t necessarily have the time to update as often as you’d like. I would love to say I’ve been busy with something completely amazing, but that would be a lie. Life happened.

I didn’t realize exactly how many people read my blog. A lot of people in my entourage mentioned that they continued to read it, even though it had been a while since a new post had been put up. Such possitive feedback and reinforcement made me really it back and try to figure why I hadn’t taken the time to continue something that I had really enjoyed doing.

So, after much coercion from my friends and loved ones, here I am back and ready to write again.

I love writing my blog. I love sharing my non-snobby reviews of wine – a topic I really, really have a passion for. I love my readers and the fact that they are spread out all over the world.

The wine world can be such a pompous and arrogant one. I enjoy that I can cut through that and offer my readers something a little more laid-back and fun.

Wine is fun AND drinking wine is meant to be fun.

So many occasions start off by opening a bottle of wine. Be it around friends or family. From the time and dedication it takes choosing the bottle… bringing home the bottle, opening it, decanting it, pouring it into your glass and slowly being seduced by its colours. Savouring its smell and finally taking that first sip and falling in love. And then sharing stories and memories. A glass of wine is comforting and a little moment in my life where I get to be completely selfish with.

Let’s start again on this journey together. I look forward to introducing new contributors to the blog who share in my eclectic way of wine tasting. I also want to introduce my readers to new ways of wine making. There are so many techniques out there that go well and way beyond the standard aging in an oak barrel.


@juliawine offers convenience to even the most discerning sommelier

About three weeks ago Julia Wine announced that they would be stocking ‘upscale’ wines in convenience stores in the eastern part of the province of Quebec. For readers unfamiliar with the distribution of wine in my home province, here’s a brief overview. Wine is purchased through the alcohol commission throughout the province. Wines purchased there are imported from all around the world and their bottles’ are identified with key information such as the type of wine, the winery its’ from and its year of fabrication.

However, one can also purchase wines from their local supermarket, convenience store or Costco. The only difference is those bottles can’t be identified in terms of what kind of wine is inside the bottle, which winery it originates from or the year it was produced.

Normally these wines are ‘bottom of the barrels’ that are sold off and then combined to make the wines we find outside of the alcohol commission. As I regular wine drinker of these products, it sometimes happens that no matter how many bottles of the same wine you try, it tends to vary, but not dramatically.

Enter Julia Wine. They have a twist to this whole situation and it comes with mixed reviews. I tend to be on the pro-side.

As it so happens, I was driving up to Mont Tremblant with my husband when Julia Wines launched their campaign of fancy-ing up dépanneur wines back at the end of August. My husband was listening to a Quebecois radio show hosted by Denis Arcand. He had one of the distributors’ representatives on his show that morning.

One question that struck me as relevant was the following. Why would someone purchase a bottle of $65 wine at a convenience store without knowing exactly what it was? But they have a found a way to accommodate the client, through their website. With a quick click you have the power to determine what you’re paying for. Even cleverer, most bottles have a box on them that can be scanned with your cellphone with a simple download of an application. Once clicked, it will take you directly to the bottle’s information card.

A sidenote. Most acclaimed wineries around the world only produce a controlled amount of their batches of wine. Classic supply and demand. By limiting what they put out, there’s a constant demand and higher pricing. Julia Wine buys off the excess wine that these wine makers have. Thus the quality of the wine is far superior.

I can only see what Julia Wine has done as a positive action for everyone. They have made quality wine affordable and easily available. This can and will benefit the wine community.


@CupcakeVineyards ’ Cabernet Sauvignon (2010) $14.95 LCBO

*** A Saturday Night Wine Girl’s FAVORITE ***

As a wine aficionado I enjoy visiting the LCBO. The LCBO is the equivalent of my candy store. As a resident of the Province of Quebec, beer is extremely inexpensive; however wine on the other hand is pretty pricey.

When I walk into my local alcohol commission, due to budget restraints, I can’t really go wild when it comes to tasting wines on the pricier end of the tag.

This is why I go wild at the LCBO – what with Ontario Discovery Series and the opportunity to finally taste different (quality) wines that are adequately priced.

The first bottle I picked up was a Cabernet Sauvignon by Cupcake – a winery based out of California. Californian wines are quite expensive in Quebec. I really don’t have to opportunity to truly appreciate them, because I’ll opt for something from Europe in the same price range before I buy anything from the States.

Cupcake Vineyards' Cabernet Sauvignon - Simply a delight!

Cupcake Vineyards’ Cabernet Sauvignon – Simply a delight!

Cupcake didn’t let me down. Its bottle design in the first thing that caught my eye – its decorative blue tag was a fun detail. The bottle wasn’t the only interesting point to this well bodied red – as soon as I poured the wine into my glass I knew I was in for a treat. It had such a pleasant red colour – a bright ruby red. It released its secrets almost immediately, its subtle scent of berries – I just couldn’t resist and took my first taste. It was such a smooth, unaggressive red – the first taste revealed cherry and blackberries. I find some Cabernets pretty oaky, but not Cupcake – the oak was there, but not overwhelming. Its flavours and smells blended so well together.

I was so sad to have only purchased one bottle of what is now one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons. This wine truly needs to be savoured. There are so many different aspects to be discovered with each sip. I highly recommend Cupcake’s Cab to everyone.

Just writing this has made me want to go out splurge on a bottle tonight!!


Les Jamelles Pinot Noir (SAQ $14.35)

I was introduced to Les Jamelles’ Pinot Noir a few years back by one of my good friends. During a night out for supper at a local bring-your-own-wine (BYOW) joint we stopped by the local alcohol commission to pick up some wine. I’m pretty much up for anything (except Chardonnay) so I let her pick. She mentioned she had a lot of trouble finding this particular wine. After talking to a store associate we managed to get our hands on two bottles – to my friend’s great delight.

I have to say the wine paired very well with our meal at the Italian restaurant we had chosen.

Les Jamelles, as I discovered writing this review, has been bottling wines from the South of France (Languedoc-Roussillon) since 1991. I’ve sampled their Sauvignon Blanc regularly and enjoy it a lot. I find their collection brings together quality French wines at an affordable price. It’s no different with their Pinot Noir.

Les Jamelles' Charming Pinot Noir

Les Jamelles’ Charming Pinot Noir

There’s nothing more seductive to me than a sexy tinted red wine. It’s the perfect ruby colour, a balance between a deep, dark red – bordering a bright red. I really don’t enjoy reds that reds bordering transparent. Having this delightfully coloured liquid swish around it my glass makes me want to taste it immediately, but I don’t. I let the aromas make their way to my nose, slowly discovering what this wine has in store for me. It has a subtle fruity aroma mixed alongside a slightly floral scent. I can finally take a sip of this ruby gem. There is no mistaking this wine is charming. A mix of berries and oak gives this wine the total package. I don’t like my wines aggressive, but there seems to be a balance with Les Jamelles Pinot Noir, it packs a punch but doesn’t knock you out.

It’s definitely a wine that should be savoured to be properly enjoyed. Take your time to get acquainted with what I’m certain will surely become one of your new favourite reds.


@TwoOceansWine Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (SAQ $12.65)

*** A Saturday Night Girl’s FAVORITE ***

Sorry readers… I’ve slacking off in the review section of this blog lately. Well, after a lengthy absence here we go…

I’ve been having one those lacklustre kinds of weeks. I needed something out-of-the-ordinary… something new. Obviously I went to my local Alcohol Commission and tried my hand at wine roulette.

I wanted a white. I hadn’t had any Sauvignon Blanc in a REALLY long time. That helped narrow things down quite well. Then it was trying to pick something not too costly, but that was going to pack a flavour/scent punch.

That’s when my eyes fell upon the Two Oceans bottle. This is a South African winery that I’ve had good results with in the past, but in terms of their reds. I picked up their 2012 bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

I enjoy a white wine that is really chilled – ice cold, like my heart. Since I also have zero patience, I put the bottle in the freezer for an hour checking intermittently the temperature.

A light and pleasant surprise

A light and pleasant surprise

I was pleasantly surprised. The colour was pleasant, transparent with a subtle yellow to it. I swirled it around my glass and almost immediately it released a light, pleasant fruity aroma, nothing that would overpower. It was a preview to my tasting. I believe Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc was to be a light pleasant and fruity surprise. I wasn’t wrong. Its taste was refreshing, the fruits a delicate and welcomed change to what I’ve been used to tasting lately, which has mostly been Australian, Argentinean and Chilean wines.

I can see how it could be paired quite well with poultry, pork and fish. Its taste and aroma are subtle and refreshing.

It’s renewed my love for Sauvignon Blanc. I look forward to trying Two Oceans’ Sauvignon Blanc again the near future and pairing it with a great dinner. I’ll be able to discover its hidden secrets all over again with food.

I’ve also discovered they bottle a Pinot Grigio – looking forward to tasting that one in the near future.

In terms of price vs. value, I would recommend trying the wine. It’s a great choice for someone who doesn’t like a busy or even aggressive wine.


Wine boxes – classy or trashy?

I’ve been met time and time again with either drastically positive or negative feedback when I bring up the wine box question. From the most educated sommelier to average wine drinkers, it just seems that the wine box has gotten a bad wrap over the years. I, on the other hand, find that the wine box is a brilliant and economical invention. BUT, it depends where you buy it.

I don’t understand how someone who enjoys wine, can’t also be a smart shopper? Wine boxes have come long way…

The Alcohol Commission in Quebec doesn’t believe in more for less. Their pricing always comes down to what it would cost for one bottle. Therefore, if you’re trying to buy in bulk in terms of cases, it’ll still cost the same per bottle. Which is the same concept with the wine box – if the box contains the equivalent of three bottles, then you’re going to be charged for three bottles. Sure the wine’s quality is a little better in the boxes sold at the commission, but why buy a box when you can get three bottles for the same price, right?

You need to get savvy if you want to save money with the box – which in all honesty is the main reason I buy wine boxes. My husband has a rather large family, so it makes more sense to get boxes for our family functions.

More wine for less

More wine for less

Do your research. How much would you normally pay for a bottle? Normally it will contain 4 litres – the equivalent of about 5.5 standard bottles of wine. In Quebec, we can purchase wine at the convenience store, supermarket and even Costco. There’s some really great brands available in box format. Most boxes will vary between $30-$40. Keep an eye out for sales or rebates, the better wines are always around the $40 mark – you can get them for $30-$35 on sale most of the time.

As many of you have already read in my previous posts, I’m partial to Wallaroo Trail wines, as well as the Toro Loco brand. Due to the vacuum sealed bag, I find the wine doesn’t ‘go bad.’

Come on…. Wine boxes aren’t that bad.