The Demystified Vine

Taking the mystery out of wine exploration!

Bottle Photos Courtesy of Champagne Gremillet

Champagne Gremillet is located in the southern part of the Champagne region. The family is mainly making Champagne out of Pinot Noir. Founded in 1979, the Gremillet family business is still in its youth.

Photo Courtesy of Champagne Gremillet

Photo Courtesy of Champagne Gremillet

 

Their estate is located in an area of Champagne called Côte des Bars. Here, 75% of the vines are Pinot Noir and are grounded in limestone-clay soil.

At VinExpo 2015, I had a chance to talk with Anne Gremillet, daughter of Jean-Michel Gremillet, who grew up amongst the vines of what is now a strong family business. Champagne Gremillet is producing approximately half a million bottles per year. Anne informed me that since their family’s Champagne house is so young, they spent a good portion of time giving priority to the vines throughout the years. As their beautiful brochure states, “Our House is above all a family House”, obviously implying that what is part of their house is what they take care of.

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“We are always looking for freshness; the Champagne has to be easy to drink. This is what we think.”

Of their 2014 harvest, Anne says that they had “lots of grapes”. As she was talking, her hands gestured to reveal just how large the harvest was. There was a “very big quanity [of grapes], and the quality was good”. I inquired about how the growing season is showing itself at this time. Anne said it was difficult to tell how things will work out; there is always threat of hail in Champagne.

Champagne Gremillet supplies bubbles for all of the French Embassies all over the world. Of her family, Anne said, “I’ve always seen my family working hard to make what we have today. We are very lucky.”

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Anne kindly opened up a magnum of their Sélection BRUT to start off the interview.

The Sélection BRUT is composed of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. It was quite clean with notes of almond skin, citrus, great acidity, and an extremely nice mousse.

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Up next I had the pleasure of trying the Blanc de Blancs BRUT. Blanc de Blanc is always made form 100% Chardonnay. This is required by law in Champagne. The Blanc de Blancs had a light intensity and garnered lemon peel, lime zest, and a frank mineral-driven finish that reminded me of the terroir from which the grapes came.

Champagne Gremillet is also making vintage bubbly. Their 2009 “Le Millésimé” BRUT was developing nicely, and was charmingly clean with notes of brioche, toast, freshly squeezed lemon, and finished with a chalky minerality.

One of the most intriguing Champagne’s I tried at VinExpo was Gremillet’s Cuvée Évidence BRUT. A gastronomic Champagne, according to Anne, this libation was a clear lemon-green colour. It was only oaked during malolactic fermentation for 3-4 weeks. Green fruits, toast, and fresh bread & butter all coincided beautifully together in the glass. The little bit of oaking on this Champagne made a different investment in the final product.

Moving forward, I also had the opportunity to try the BRUT Nature Zéro Dosage. “This is a wine for a targeted [market]; for people who want this kind of Champagne.” Anne poured a sample into my flute glass, and I began evaluating it. There is always something about wines that have not had the dosage added; they envelop a certain characteristic that is definitely for certain tastes.

This Champagne had a very elegant mousse, and notes of green apples, almond, and wet stones rounded out the sharp acidity and light body. “Only 0-3 grams of sugar per litre are allowed for BRUT Nature wines in Champagne”, Anne informed me.

Bottle Photos Courtesy of Champagne Gremillet

Bottle Photos Courtesy of Champagne Gremillet

We finished off with a bang, as they say. The Rosé D’Assemblage BRUT was saved for the final pour. Made with 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, this alluring salmon-coloured wine was pushing traditional boundaries in how the bouquet and palate were showing themselves. Upon initial pour, the bouquet was not fruit driven. With that much Pinot Noir in the blend, I was expecting to smell strawberry fields and cherry groves off the bat. However, what I found was that there was a reversal in the characteristic of this wine. What I was getting first and foremost was the earthiness that one expects from Pinot Noir and then the fruit came forward to play. Of course, with some swirling and aeration, these notes seemed to flip again, and a more traditional Champagne ensued. Regardless, I was enjoying the experience of examining the red-berry fruits of the Pinot swimming alongside the citrus-driven Chardonnay in the blend.

What a journey.
A kind thank you to Anne Gremillet. I look forward to seeing you in Champagne in the future!

Cheers!

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VinExpo 2015 has come and gone, and I really have no other way of explaining what the experience was like other than by using the word “gongshow” with a positive connotation.

One can spend the entire five days (9am-5pm)  of the expo trying wine, doing business, attending seminars, etc., and no one would never fit it all in.

The expo, which took place in Bordeaux from June 14-18th, 2015, was held at the exhibition centre. There was a full kilometer (yes, 1,000 meters) of wine booths to explore. See, gongshow, right?

As I was carefully making my way through the expo the first day, I was flabberghasted at the amount of moulah that goes into these booths.

I decided that by the end of the show, I was going to have a “top list” of neat booths that went that little extra mile in order to portray themselves. That is what the purpose of this blog is about.

On that note, let’s take a look, ladies and gentleman, at some of the most finely-detailed booths at VinExpo 2015.

Number 8 – Piccini

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Piccini booth took on a nite-lounge feel with its dark colours and simple decor.

Number 7 – Catalan Vignerons

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Catalan Vignerons booth was bright and inviting. You know you have balls when you make the carpet the colour of sunshine, your theme shape is circular, and the lights remind you of the big fireball in the sky.

Number 6 – V.D.G. Vignerons

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The V.D.G. Vignerons booth expressed a futuristic-classy feel. Clean lines, curvy shapes, and fun-globular chairs.

Number 5 – Corsica

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My initial reaction to all the pink was “whoa”. However, after walking past the Corsica booth a few times over the course of the expo, it grew on me. Any wine region that can successfully pull off a pink display can have my vote. It wasn’t tacky, and I didn’t feel like I was at a Barbie convention. Nicely done.

Number 4 – Vins de Provence

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vins de Provence did a nifty job of creating a two-part display at VinExpo. One part was a tasting booth open for folks to try a variety of rose wines. The second part was focused for those individual wineries to do business in their own little “plotted” sections. Well-thought out.

Number 3 – Famille Quiot

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t think I have to say much more than “glass floor” and “Famille Quiot brought their own local dirt”. ‘Spose I could add that their display was just plain classy.

Number 2 – L.D. Vins

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L.D. Vins deals with some of the top Chateau in Bordeaux. We’re talking Chateau d’Yquem and Lafite Rothschild. So, now that that is said, I absolutely adored the fact that they stayed clean with their display by simply mirroring the wooden oak panels that help to age the lovely wines of Bordeaux. Feel me? Not to mention the fact that they had large-format bottles just stuck in the wall.

Number 1 – Crus et Domaines de France

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any winery, region reps, or merchants that go to the effort of bringing in a “cellar” with barriques will definitely go under the “we put in the effort” category. Not only did they bring in barrels (as seen in the photo), but they also had amazing cieling art, walls with bottles tactfully hanging out, and engagement rooms made out of walls of glass with wine bottles in them. Need I say more?

Honestly, it was so much fun to try wines and talk to people at VinExpo, but being someone who appreciates decor, I was excited to share some of the best displays with you.

Hope you enjoyed the post!

Cheers!

Remember to “Like” The Demystified Vine on Facebook for memes, fun facts, and articles!

 

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Nandi Hills ‘Grover’ Shiraz Rosé 2014

It isn’t likely that you’ll be able to find any Indian wine on the Canadian market. In fact, I dare you to try.

It is true, however, that India is making wine, and they are making a selection of wine that fits onto the international market’s buying stage, too. By that I mean that they are making wine from popular varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.

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Photo Copyright © Valerie Stride 2015

Years ago, while doing my WSET wine certification courses, I had the chance to try a Cabernet Sauvignon and Viognier from India. To continue to be honest, I didn’t like either of them. There was something unattractive on the palate that made me think, “funky”, and not in a 1970s musical sort of way.

While in Paris a few weeks ago, I had the chance to try the 2014 Nandi Hills “Grover” Shiraz Rosé. I was at the Indian Resto on the rooftop of the Gallerie Lafayette, and I was completely intrigued by the fact that they had a few Indian wines on their vino list.

My partner and I asked for a sample, as we didn’t want to commit to a glass (or, at least, I didn’t want to) at ordering time. When the sample arrived, of course I was excited to try this wine. It was a hot one in Paris that day, and almost anything cold and light was the way to go.

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The waitress was kind enough to bring two samples over. So, I tried it. It was lighter than Provence rosé, and as such, it was extremely difficult to extract any information about the bouquet or the palate from the wine. The bouquet was of lightest intensity; I’ll be nice and say it was soft and delicate with a raspberry blush and a minute hint of spice. The wine itself was dry, had good acidity, was light bodied, and had minimal fruit notes. I detected a bit of raspberry and dried strawberry on the palate with a slight side of dust. However, above all, I couldn’t get past that “funky” again.

Maybe this ‘characteristic’ is simply part of how wine shows itself from this area of the planet. I’m really not quite sure what it is, but now I have had the chance to try 3 different varietials from India, and sadly, I have yet to be impressed. As a side note, I also get that “3” isn’t a big number, but when you consider how many Indian varietals are around…

I get it though. I also understand they are a ‘new’ wine industry with a lot to learn in the wine making department. They also have varying climates and terroirs.

Honestly, I do hope that I get a chance to try more Indian wine in the future; it is so very exciting to try new wines from unusual wine making regions. I’m simply still searching for one that I can boast about.

In the end, while I am glad that I had the opportunity to put another notch on my Indian wine belt, I have no regrets with not actually getting the glass. The white Alsatian blend was definitely the way to go instead.

Cheers!

The Demystified Vine Explores the Sparkling Wine Booth at VinExpo 2015

June 23, 2015


Hello wine lovers! I had a great time tasting wine at VinExpo in Bordeaux last week. I came across some very interesting ways of tasting, or rather, having wine dispensed to be tasted! Check out this one minute video of me trying the Beaumont des Crayères Grand Reserve Champagne from the automated tasting machines; a new discovery for me!

Cheers!

The Demystified Vine is on Facebook! Check out the page for “Did You Know” facts, fun memes, articles, and events.

A Wine Shopper’s Guide: Facts & Quick Tips

June 9, 2015

If you are headed to your local wine store to purchase some vino and you’re feeling a bit intimidated, check out these facts & quick tips.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good starting point to help you feel more confident with your purchasing power.

Remember to try new things, explore, and be open to picking up that bottle that you have always deemed “must not be good”; you never know if it will surprise you. My personal suggestion: avoid buying big producers all of the time. You can often find a wine of much better quality for only a wee bit more coin.

Cheers!

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