2 August, 2017
Best Wines on the APVSA Wine Not! TourComments : 2 Posted in : Champagne / Champenoise Style, Languedoc, Malvasia, Other Red Blends, Red Wine, Sparkling Wine, White Wine, Wine on by : The Gourmez
In May, the Association for the Promotion of Wines and Spirits in North America (the APVSA, based in Montreal) came to San Francisco on their spring tasting tour–the Wine Not! Tour. As a member of the new media, I was invited along to taste the wines they sampled for potential distributors, importers, and retail clients. Obligatory disclaimer: That means the wines mentioned in this post were free to me to taste.
The Wine Not! Tour offered portfolios from 20 of the APVSA’s producers. Full disclosure: I only made it to 10 tables. But of those 10 tables, I am very happy to share my favorite wines with you, and I hope to see more of them at Bay Area locations in the future. Each one earned 5/5 from me, and I sampled 33 wines in all.
Charles Clément Cuvée Tradition Brut
Based in the Champagne region, Champagne Charles Clément makes several wonderful bubblies, two of which stood out for me. The first, the Tradition Brut, made me yearn for a hayride! It offered an amazing aroma of rhubarb and berries with a deep depth of field—consider these field notes! Very fresh with tiny bubbles galore.
Charles Clément Millésime Brut 2005
The 2005 Brut Millésime from Charles Clément was a world apart from the Tradition Brut, a shift to elegance from rustic energy. It had a beautifully clean taste, especially for an aged Champagne. I found it very well-blended and thought it would be fantastic with mussels, bread, and a buttery broth.
Verum Malvasia 2016
This wine is one of a series that La Mancha’s Verum Bodegas Y Viñedos has made to profile blending grapes not often bottled on their own. I think this experimentation is doing a great service for wine lovers, as the 2016 Malvasia, made 100% from a grape usually used in the Rioja to add aroma, is a revelation. The nose transported me to lychee groves with aloe vera plants growing between the trees. The taste was the same except brighter, greener, and oh-so-soothing.
Domaine de Vénus Côtes du Roussillon 2016
This grenache, syrah, and carignan red blend comes from an estate winery in the tiny town of Saint Paul de Fenouillet, purchased by ten friends who went into the wine business together in late 2002. It offers simplicity at its most approachable, relying on cherry vanilla and pepper notes to yield a mellow wine sure to please a wide range of palates.
Château d’Agel Recolte Rouge 2014
In the Languedoc, Château d’Agel is home to a winemaker whose philosophy I love: “Make it easy to drink!” His wines are as unpretentious as that goal, which he achieves handily—the lowest I rated any Château d’Agel wine was a 3.5. But the estate red blend, simply titled after the estate, soared. My notes: A chalky nose gives way to a delightful thin berry layer that thickens like a good preserve. Pepper and mace finish it off.
Because I loved Château d’Agel’s philosophy so much, I will also offer up my second place wine of the day, coming in at 4.5/5. Yes, that means all the aforementioned wines tied for first, at least in my way of thinking. 😉
Château d’Agel Les Bonnes Rouge 2016
A splendid grenache, syrah, and mourvedre blend, the Les Bonnes red wine blend brought forth fragrant violet and drippy cherry with a woodsy nose. I loved it. If I ever end up on a visit to the Haut Minervois region, Château d’Agel will be for sure on my list.
If you’d like to see how the rest of the wines I tried on the Wine Not! tour fared, browsing my Vivino feed is your best bet. Pretty much every European wine I’ve rated since late May was from this event. Thank you to President Pascal Fernand and the AVPSA for the invitation!
Event held 26 May 2017.