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.

Loire Valley – Day 2 (3 Events)

26 Jan 2024


(April 27, 2023) ... There were three event today - and ...


Morning: Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley, 2000 years of history (Masterclass)

Today, we dove deep into the realm of Cabernet Franc – these are some point form notes about the class and tasting.

- Cabernet Fran’s presumed origin is in Northern Spain and there it takes its name “Biturica”; the name comes from the people who inhabited the land “Bituriges” who controlled Northern France (including the Loire) …Another name for the grape is Breton, which appears in Anjou and Tourain.

- Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot and Carmenere are all descendents of the grape (this was proved positive in 2012).
CF ... presumed origin Northern Spain - originally called "Biturica" ... C.S. / Merlot / Carmenere are all descendants of the grape (testing proved in 2012) - Bituriges people controlled Nothern France including Loire ... Cabernet Franc was called Breton in Anjou and Touraine.

All wines are 100% Cabernet Franc

Château de Passavant 2021 Anjou Rouge (Anjou)
Light and earthy - nice acidity - playful dark fruit with tobacco notes

Domaine des Rochelles 2019 Breton (Brissac)
Nice fruit and floral, along with hints of mocha and a long lingering finish.
DemoisDomaine Fabien Demois 2020 Domaine de Doulaye (Chinon)
Tobacco and spice dominate the palate with subtle smoke and medium dark fruit; Notes of herbal on the finish.
Domaine du Mortier 2020 Dyonisos (St Nicolas De Bourgueil)
Rich texture and mouthfeel; new world in style: plum, blackberry with subtle white pepper; high-toned and a tobacco finish – there is a kind of paint thinner note I found really distracting and detracting.

Domaine des Sanzay 2020 Vieilles Vignes (Saumur Champigny)
Fresh and fruit driven, nice minerality - red fruits dominated by currant and cherry.
Domaine Saint Landor 2019 L'Oblige (Saumur Puy Notre Dame)
Smoked-cherry, hints of oak, blackberry, cassis and tobacco.
Domaine de la Paleine 2020 Saumur Rouge Paleine (Saumur Rouge) Paleine
Herbal-tobacco nose ... with raspberry, black cherry and woodsy notes linger to the finish - nose goes one way, palate goes another - palate wins for favourability.

Maison Nau 2021 Bourgueil (Bourgueil)
More red fruit expression with some chalky, mineral components, good acidity and a Pinot Noir like finish.


Muscadet RocksTheme: Fresh & Fruity
Feature: Different Muscadet Cru wines, IGP Val de Loire Chardonnay wines

Bedouet Vigneron 2020 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Le Pallet - (100% Melon Blanc)
Domaine de la Renne 2021 IGP Val de Loire - (100% Melon Blanc)
Domaine de L'Epinay 2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Clisson - (100% Melon Blanc)
Domaine des Hautes Ouches 2020 Chardonnay Fût de Chêne IGP Val de Loire - (100% Melon Blanc)
Domaine Henri Poiron et Fils 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Monnières St Fiacre - (100% Melon Blanc)
Fief de la Brie 2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Gorges - (100% Melon Blanc)
Vignoble Cogné 2022 Chardonnay IGP Val de Loire - (100% Chardonnay)
Vignoble de la Patelière Chardonnay IGP Val de Loire - (100% Chardonnay)

Château Briace 2014 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Goulaine - (100% Melon Blanc)
Château du Cleray 2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Vallet - (100% Melon Blanc)
Domaine de Chaintré Chardonnay IGP Val de Loire - (100% Chardonnay) Chaintre
Domaine de la Bougrie 2022 Val du Lys  IGP Val de Loire - (100% Chardonnay)
Domaine du Moulin Chardonnay Sensation IGP Val de Loire - (100% Chardonnay)
Domaine du Petit Clocher Chardonnnay IGP Val de Loire - (100% Chardonnay)
La Tour Gallus 2015 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Gorges - (100% Melon Blanc)
Vignoble Delaunay 2018 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Goulaine - (100% Melon Blanc)

An Evening with Vouvray
From still to sparkling, a diverse and interesting grape leaves its mark.

Fine Bulles (Bubbles)

Domaine Champalou Brut
Domaine Damien Pinon Le Brut 2019
Domaine de Beauclair Brut
Domaine de la Robinière Extra Brut
Domaine des Aubuisières Fines Bulles Brut - Méthode traditionnelle
Domaine Sylvain Gaudron Blanc de Chenin - Brut
Maison Darragon Cuvée Antique - Brut
Maison Darragon Brut
Vignoble Alain Robert Fines Bulles - Extra Brut

Château de Valmer Fines Bulles Brut - Méthode traditionnelle
Domaine d'Orfeuilles Feuilles d'Or 2013 Brut non dosée
Domaine Yves et Denis Breussin Extra Bulles - Extra Brut non dosé

Still Wines

GOODStatue with a Secret
Château de Valmer 2016 Demi-Sec
Château de Valmer 2016 Moelleux
Domaine de la Croix des Vainqueurs Le Bouchet 2018 Moelleux
Domaine des Lauriers Sec 2021
Domaine du Margelleau Demi-Sec 2021
Domaine Sébastien Brunet Les Pentes de la Folie
Domaine Vincent Carême Le Peu Morier 2021 Sec
François et Julien Pinon Les Trois Argiles 2020 Demi-Sec
Le Capitaine Florian Les Aumônes 2021 Sec
Vignoble Alain Robert Les Charmes 2021 Sec
Vignoble Alain Robert Les Charmes 2021 Sec
Vignoble Brisebarre Sec 2021

Château de Valmer 2020 Sec
Château Gaudrelle Le Sec 2021
Christophe Gaudron Cuvée Elisée 2011 Moelleux
Clos de la Meslerie Tendre 2018 Demi-Sec
Domaine Aubert Sec 2021
Domaine de la Chataigneraie Argilex 2022 Sec
Domaine Denis Meunier Inattendu du Clos Franc
Domaine des Aubuisières Silex 2022
Domaine Huet Le Haut Lieu 2020 Demi-Sec
Domaine Sébastien Brunet Renaissance
Pierre Champion 2018 Moelleux


Round Table Tasting - Two Italian Producers

24 Jan 2024


(October 2023) ... Sometimes, when you can't go to Italy, Italy must come to you. During a recent visit to Toronto, a rep from Cottonwood Agency tied me down to a date and time because she had two winemakers, winery principles, to sit around a dining room table with me and taste their wines. Both wineries were Tuscan in nature, but with very different backstories and motives.

Starting with the more traditional winery: Poggio Borgoni. This is a classical Chianti producer. The family bought 15 hectares of land in 1999 and had replanted everything byBorgoni Girl 2004. They are located approximately 20 km outside of Florence. The plantings they have are 10 hectares worth of Sangiovese. They produce three wines: Chianti Classico, Classico Reserva, and an IGT.

Today they wanted to show the age-ability of Chianti Classico, which I had experienced a few years ago during the Antiprema Toscana - but it is always nice to be reminded about how well these wines can age. It was also nice to try wines from two wildly different vintages - the tough 2013 and the amazing 2012.

Borgoni Wines2013 Borromeo Riserva - Chianti Classico
The name for this wine comes from a street near the house, that is part of the winery. It is 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot ... The usual makeup of the wine. It's silky and structured with dried strawberry nuances. Elegant, but definitely showing its age.

2012 Borromeo Riserva - Chianti Classico
The riper of the two vintages tasted; the makeup of the wine is the same as above, but that is where the similarities end. The aromas lure one into the glass and deliver on the palate. The fruit here is still bright and alive, while the tannins are firm. Black fruit, spiced-plum and smoke all take a turn at center stage; there is plenty of life left in this bottle.


Winery Two: Fattoria Fibbiano Fabiano Guy

The focus here is on indigenous varieties. They bought a pre-phyloxera vineyard in 1997. That was an old seabed full of sandy soils. In 2000, they began to map the vineyard to see what they had. They then started to replant the vines using the DNA from the old vines fruit. They replanted using North American rootstocks. The goal is an organic, self-sustainable vineyard with full production capped at ~160,000 bottles from their 100-hectare property of which today they have 25 hectares planted and subdivided into 7 plots. The varieties they currently have are Sangiovese (in a variety of clones), Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo, Colorino and Foliotonda (all red varieties).

2018 L'Aspetto
Name for one of the seven plots. It is a 50/50 Sangiovese / Canaiolo blend. Spends 2 years in concrete and two more in Slovenian oak. The acid takes the stage here and never relinquishes. Red cherry, raspberry, strawberry all make for pleasant, drinkable and lovely flavours. This is juicy with delicate tannins.

Fabiano Wines2017 Sanforte, Costa Toscana IGT
This is made using the oldest known variety of Sangiovese, which had small berries and naturally low yield. It also produced wine with naturally high alcohol. Thru the year this clone was removed and replanted with more vigorous varieties of Sangiovese. But it was rediscovered in the vineyard during the DNA testing. The first vintage using this variety as a standalone grape was in 2014 ... from vines planted between 2002 and 2005. It is grown in a 1.2 hectare plot, spends one year in concrete, one to two more in Slovenian oak and another two in bottle before release. Only 6,000 bottles are produced. The wine jumps into the dark fruit realm, almost immediately; there's also a delicate smokiness on the nose. There's a richness on the palate where tannins meet cassis, black, plum and smoke. This is a powerhouse wine, but also shows a real elegance.

2015 Cappatella
Primarily a Sangiovese wine, but a more apt description would be a field blend - named after the plot from where it came. This two hectare vineyard produces 2000 bottles a year and is the fruit from the The recouped 1894 vineyard. It's a fun historical wine that has high toned fruit and a little VA. Juicy, with cherry nibs across the palate. 2 years in concrete. 2 years Slavonian oak. 2 to 3 years in bottle - depending on aging and vintage conditions.


winery websites :  Poggio Borgoni  -  Fattoria Fibbiano

All wines available through Cottonwood Agency.


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