History to echo the chronicle of my colleague Nadia, here are three excellent white wines readily available at the SAQ today.
Drink less. Drink better.
Domaine Luneau-Papin, Vera Cruz 2018, Muscadet-Sèvre and Maine, France
I really like the Froggy cuvée from the couple Pierre Luneau and Monique Papin who, in the early 1990s, pooled each other’s family vineyards. There is a heritage of old vines that are cultivated organically and biodynamically.
The estate’s wines are recognized for their potential for development over time and this Vera Cruz cuvée is proof of that. Forty-year-old burgundy melon vines facing south. Aging for ten months on lees. A 2018 vintage of great quality. And you can feel it in the glass. On restraint at the opening, the wine lets out aromas of apricot, citrus fruit and sea grass that could make you think of a Riesling. The palate is delicate, of fairly good density and detailed with fine and vibrant acidity. Salivating and saline finish reminiscent of oysters. A wine that can be drunk with disconcerting ease, but which can evolve with grace for a good ten years, or even more. A remarkable quality / price ratio.
★★★ 1⁄2 $$ 1⁄2
Albet i Noya, Xarel-Lo El Fanio 2019, Penedès, Spain
One of the best quality / price ratio in white around $ 20 at the SAQ.
Made from old vines of xarel-lo (pronounce cha-rel-lo), a grape variety mainly used for cava, grown organically and coming from a single piece of land located in the Penedès. A small production which turns around 6000 bottles in good years. This is the case for this 2019 (better than the 2018) which offers open and charming scents of pear, melon, grass and sea spray.
The slightly strict, although rich, material gains in detail as the wine rises in temperature. Everything revolves around a fine acidity. Sapid finish on beautiful bitters. A lot of pleasure!
Rotem & Mounir Saouma, Inopia Blanc 2018, Côtes du Rhône Villages, France
It is a Rhone project of Lucien Le Moine, the Burgundy wine merchant which has been on the rise for several years. But don’t look for the winemaker Lucien Le Moine, he doesn’t exist. Or, at least, not quite. It is rather Mounir and Rotem Saouma, a Lebanese couple as passionate as they are talented. We are talking about a white typical of the south: predominantly white grenache complemented by marsanne, roussanne, clairette, bourboulenc and viognier.
Pressed mechanically, the juices will ferment in 500-liter barrels and in 1,600-liter concrete eggs where they will rest on the lees without intervention for 18 months. The result is a wine that is a little on the reserve at the opening, but which in contact with the air, will multiply tenfold in aromas and evolve in texture.
Notes of fresh citrus, lavender, orange blossom and iodine. The palate is full-bodied while showing an energetic acidity which maintains the whole in a remarkable balance. Long tasty finish marked by a noble bitterness. Nice evolution over the opening 24 hours, which suggests an interesting aging potential.
★★★ 1⁄2 $$$
★★★ Very good
More stars than dollars: well worth the price.
As many stars as dollars: worth the price.
Fewer stars than dollars: wine is expensive.