Hello everyone, we are happy to announce the April edition of Vine Arts Wine Club. We hope you’re all well and staying safe during this difficult time. Although most of the city is in lock-down, we’re determined to keep the wine flowing. To make your social distancing a little more enjoyable, we’ve put together a great lineup of wines for you. Cheers!

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DOMAINE HENRI MAIRE CÔTES DU JURA GRAND MINERAL SAVAGNIN – JURA, FRANCE $28.00

Where

The Jura is one of the smallest and least known wine regions in France. Positioned between Burgundy and Switzerland, it has only 2,000 hectares of vineyards. Prior to the disruption of phylloxera at the turn of the 20th century, it had 10 times this amount. The vineyards occupy a small strip of land between the flat-lands east of Burgundy and the Jura mountains. The main soil type is Jurassic limestone. The Jurassic geological period actually gets its name from the Jura, where the limestone strata from this period were first identified. The climate is similar to that of Burgundy. Winters are long and cold, while summers are hot with more rain than the Côte-d’Or. The landscape is lush and green with wooded and rocky hillsides.

What

The Jura is home to an exciting array of local grape varieties. Chardonnay accounts for around 45% of all plantings, but was only introduced to the area along with Pinot Noir during the Middle Ages. The three traditional varieties of the Jura are Poulsard, Trousseau, and Savagnin. Known locally as Nature, Savagnin is an ancient variety related to the green-skinned Traminer variety of northern Italy. The grape is most known for its exclusive use in Vin Jaune, a distinctive Jura wine that is aged in barrels under a layer of naturally occurring flor yeast.

This wine is a departure from the oxidative examples of Savignin that Jura is often known for. To preserve the wine’s minerality, it was fermented in temperature controlled vats and aged in stainless steel tanks for 2 to 3 months on fine lees. The lees add texture as well as help preserve the wines aromatic freshness.

Who

Domaine Henri Maire was founded by the Maire family over 300 years ago in 1632. Passed down through the generations, the 2.6 hectare estate was inherited by Henri Marie in 1939. Acquired by the Burgundian Boisset family, the winery today has 280 hectares of vines spread across Arbois, Pupullin, Château-Chalon, and L’Etoile. The Boisset Collection of wineries consists of 24 estates that are overseen by Jean-Charles Boisset. His father Jean-Claude and mother Claudine founded the family winery in Burgundy in 1961.

Taste

Pale straw in colour, the Grand Mineral Savignin has aromas of citrus peel, wet grass, and orange blossoms. Medium bodied with bright acidity, the palate has crisp flavours of green apples, salty lemons, and grapefruit. The finish is brisk with bracing dryness. This wine is an excellent alternative for Chablis or Sancerre. Jura is home to a spectacular selection of distinguished cheeses. Crisp Savignin is an excellent match with Jura’s flagship cheese, the world renowned and earthy Comté.

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CLINE FARMHOUSE NATURAL WHITE WINE – CALIFORNIA, USA $22.00

Where

California is the juggernaut of American wine. By far the largest and most prolific wine region in the United States, the state has over 200 years of winemaking history. Geologically and climatically, California is hugely diverse. Areas near the coastline are generally cooler, benefitting from cooling fog and moisture. In places the fog can travel as far as 160 km inland. Further from the coast the climate becomes significantly hotter and drier. Temperatures in the state’s enormous Central Valley can surpass a scorching 45 °C. Currently there are 139 recognized American Viticultural areas or AVAs.

What

Altogether there are around 90 different grapes varieties planted in California. That’s a lot of different colours that Californian winemakers can paint with. Take for instance the Farmhouse White blend. This wine is a unique cuvée of Pinot Gris, Muscat Canelli, Palomino, Chardonnay, and Viognier. Nowhere else on the planet will you find these grapes being blended together. Grown across California, the grapes were farmed naturally without the use of pesticides or herbicides. The wine was cold-fermented in stainless steel tanks and underwent slight filtering before bottling.

Who

The Farmhouse wine project was created by Sonoma’s Cline Cellars. The name of the project derives from the Petaluma farmhouse called Green String, where clean farming techniques are taught to Cline’s interns by winemaker Charlie Tsegeletos. The story of Cline Cellars started with Fred Cline in 1982. The grandson of one of the brothers who invented the Jacuzzi whirlpool bath, Valeriano Jacuzzi, Fred was one of the first Californian winemakers to specialize in Zinfandel and Rhône-style wines. The winery has built a reputation for wines made from ancient vines that reach 120 years old. The winery is dedicated to non-interventionist farming and is Certified California Sustainable. It is also the second largest winery in California to be fully solar powered.

Taste

Straw gold in colour, this white wine blend has floral aromas of passion fruit, mangos, and lilly. Medium bodied and fruit forward, the palate has snappy flavours of limes, nectarines, and lychee. The finish is a touch sweet with crisp acidity. This wine pairs well with spicy sweet and sour dishes such as Thai Chili Lime Chicken.

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SAVIAN LA VITA E BELLA MALBECH – VENETO, ITALY $20.50

Where

The Veneto is one of Italy’s most important wine regions. Located in the northeastern part of the country, it is the bridge between the more Romanized south and the Germanic influenced north. The area was once controlled by the powerful Venetian Republic, which existed from the 7th to 18th century. The 8th largest wine region in Italy, it is bordered to the west by Lombardy and to the south by Emilia-Romagna. Home to some 28 DOC’s and 14 DOCG’s, it produces some of Italy’s most famous wines – such as Valpolicella, Amarone, Soave, and Prosseco.

What

The most successful red grape varieties in the Veneto are those that comprise the classic Valpolicella blend: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and to a lesser degree, Molinara. Even so, international grape varieties have proven popular as well. Amongst plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot you will also find sizable plantings of Malbec. More often associated with Argentina, it is mostly planted in the central part of the Veneto. Here it is also known as Malbech or Malbeck.

This 100% Malbec was made from grapes harvested from 65 year old vines that have been farmed by the Savian family for three generations.

Who

Savian Wines was founded by Marco Savian in 1929 at a place called Podere Bainsizza. Named after a famous battle, the estate began with only 4 hectares of land. Situated between the Livenza and Tagliamento rivers, this area was previously known as Bandita, due to the oak woods that provided hiding for bandits. The estate has grown to include 42 hectares of vineyards spread across four vineyard plots. All of the vines are farmed according to organic principles. Today the winery is managed by winemaker William Savian.

Taste

Purple red in colour, the La Vita E Bella Malbech has energetic aromas of red plums, blackberries, with a touch of capsicum. Medium bodied with delicate tannins, the palate has flavours black cherries, wild raspberries, and cranberries. This is much lighter than your typical Argentine Malbec. It is a great match for the red sauce classic, Chicken Parm.

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NELEMAN TEMPRANILLO MONASTRELL – VALENCIA, SPAIN $19.00

Where

Located a few hours south of Barcelona in sunny southeastern Spain, you’ll find the wine region of Valencia. Surrounding the city of Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, this area is also known as the Levant. Although only officially recognized in 1957, Valencia has a thousand years of winemaking history. There are 13,000 hectares of vineyards spread over two distinct areas, which are split into four subzones: Valentino, Alto Turia, Moscatel, and Clariano. Valencia is dually influenced by the Mediterannean Sea and the arid high plains of the Meseta. There is much variation in climate between inland vineyards and areas closer to the sea.

What

For much of its recent history, Valencia was the source of pretty basic wines. Phylloxera arrived late in the region, so it was a popular source of grapes for neighbouring wine regions. Sturdy Valencian wines brought colour and depth to blends. The shift came in the 1980’s when small independent wineries began to emerge. They made the most of the region’s rich identity and local grape varieties. The most widely planted grape variety is Monastrell. Indegenous to Spain and also known as Mourvèdre and Mataro, it excels in Valencia’s hot and arid climate.

This red wine is a blend of 65% Tempranillo and 35% Monastrell. The grapes were harvested from organically grown vines planted in a rocky and mountainous area scarred by deep ravines. Grown 700 meters above sea level, the grapes retain freshness and acidity. The fruit was harvested at night to avoid the hot temperatures of the day. Once in the winery, the grapes are cooled down to 10°C and left to macerate for 3 days. After a short temperature controlled fermentation, it was left to settle and then bottled. It is certified vegan.

Who

Neleman Wines was created by Dutch born winemaker Derrick Neleman. A student of biodynamic farming techniques, Neleman created his winery with an eye to make “good wine to save the world”. In addition to being organic and vegan, the wines are also CPC (carbon proof) certified. The Dutch bicycle on the colourful label represents not only Nelemans Dutch heritage, but also how he transports his grapes to the winery by bicycle. Going beyond what is in the bottle, he is also concerned about how his wines are packaged. He advocates boxed wines as they have less of a carbon footprint, and his bottled wines are sealed with a unique screw NDTech cork. Using cork has less impact on the environment and helps curb forest fires.

Taste

Bright crimson in colour, this red wine has vibrant aromas of freshly picked strawberries, blackberries and violets. Medium bodied with silky tannins, the palate has fleshy flavours of ripe cherries, red plums, and black pepper. The round finish is harmoniously balanced with good acidity. It is an ideal match for Spanish Sobrassada spread on crunchy rustic bread.

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DOMAINE GARDIES CLOS DES VIGNES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON VILLAGES TAUTAVEL – ROUSSILLON, FRANCE $50.00

Where

Domaine Gardies is located in the southeastern French wine region of Roussillon. Bordering Spain, this area was part of the Principality of Catalonia until the 17th century. The still distinct Catalan flavour of the Roussillon differentiates it from neighbouring Languedoc, although the two regions are often grouped together. The Côtes du Roussillon wine appellation encompasses an area of land stretching from the foothills of the Pyrenees to the coastal plains bordered by the Mediteranean Sea. The summers in Roussillon are typically sunny and dry, and the winters tend to be fairly mild. The dry and low-lying scrubland known as garrique, covers much of the landscape.

What

As in Languedoc and the southern Rhône, the dominant grape varieties in Roussillon are Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. In addition to these primary grapes, the Clos des Vignes Côtes du Roussillon Villages Tautavel includes a large percentage of Carignan. The grapes were harvested from 60 to 70 year old vineyards planted near the village of Tautavel. The Côtes du Roussillon Villages appellation covers the hillier northern parts of Roussillon. The designation was created for wines of higher quality above the standard Côtes du Roussillon wines. Carignan in particular has always played a leading role in Tautavel. Produced from hand harvested grapes, this wine was aged for 12 months in a combination of small and large oak barrels.

Who

Domaine Gardies is run by winemaker Jean Gardiés, who inherited the family estate in the early 1990’s. His roughly 35 hectares of vineyards are near the villages of Vingrau and Tautavel. The red varieties are planted on south and east facing slopes, while white varieties are planted on the cooler north facing exposures. Some of the Carignan vines reach 110 years in age. The most easterly of the villages that carry the Côtes du Roussillon Villages label, Tautavel sits atop a granitic outcrop that overlooks the coastal plain of the Roussillon. In addition to Domaine Gardies, Jean also owns an estate with younger vines just outside of Espira de l’Agly called Mas Las Cabes.

Taste

Cherry red in colour, this wine has perfumed aromas of stewed red currants, wild Mediterranean herbs, and rose petals. Medium bodied with silky tannins, the palate has flavours of black raspberries, lingonberries, and bayleaf. The finish is complex and well balanced. This wine is in a great place right now, with just the right amount of age. The fruit is still lively, and the tannins have softened nicely. We suggest decanting this wine to fully bring out its many layers. A wonderful regional pairing for this wine is Boles de Picolat, a traditional Catalan dish in which meatballs and olives are simmered in a rich sauce.

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BODEGA LAGARDE GUARDA CABERNET FRANC – PERDRIEL/MENDOZA, ARGENTINA $32.50

Where

Pedriel is a small winemaking zone located within the Mendoza subregion of Luján de Cuyo. Situated 20 kilometres south of the city of Mendoza itself, Pedriel is where you’ll find the region’s oldest vineyards. A beneficial rain shadow caused by the Andes Mountains results in a mostly sunny and rain free climate. The high altitude landscape (Piedriel sits 950 meters above sea level) is semi-arid. Pedriel vineyards are highly dependent on snowmelt for irrigation. The region’s poor soils force vine roots to work deep down in search of water. At night the vines are cooled by cold breezes that cascade down from the mountain slopes.

What

Mendoza is undoubtedly best known for Malbec. Almost half of the vineyards in the region are planted to this deeply coloured and robust grape variety. Although much less common, Cabernet Franc is on the rise in Mendoza. In the last decade plantings of this grape variety have doubled. Still, this only adds up to 1% of all vines planted or just over 1000 hectares. Surprisingly the grape has been present in Argentina since the 1800’s. Centurion Cabernet Franc vines in Mendoza are rare, but they exist. Winemakers appreciate how the varieties savoury character is juxtaposed with Malbec’s generously fruity qualities.

This 100% Cabernet Franc is made from grapes harvested from the La Jacintana estate in Perdriel. The oldest vines on the property were planted all the way back in 1906. The vines are tended and harvested entirely by hand. Once the fruit was brought into the winery, the grapes were vinified in stainless steel tanks. Following fermentation, the wine was moved to 300 litre French Tonneau to age for 1 year.

Who

Bodega Lagarde is the second oldest winery in Argentina. The winery was founded in Luján de Cuyo in 1897 by Artillery Capitan Don Jose Angel Pereira. The area was brought to his attention while he was in Mendoza on a military campaign. The first varieties he planted were Malbec and Cabernet Franc. The winery passed to a new family in 1969 when the great-grandchild of Don Jose had no heir to cede the property to. He chose to give Bodega Lagarde to the Pescarmona family. Under their ownership the estate expanded to include 4 additional vineyards. Today the 230 hectares estate is managed by sisters Sofia and Lucila Pescarmona.

Taste

Ruby-violet in colour, the Guarda Cabernet Franc has aromas of cherry jam, thyme, and green peppers. Full bodied with fine spicy tannins, the palate has flavours of sweet blackberries and mint. The finish is lingering with a green character. Although not as light, this reminds us of Cabernet Franc from France’s Loire Valley. When serving this wine with food, it’s time to light up the barbecue! It’s a great match for grilled chorizo and steak.