Cellers Sant Rafel’s Joana. New to WineCollective and Canada!

On a wine tour of Spain last fall, Amber visited almost every region, except Montsant. For no other reason than a lack of time, Montsant was bypassed for its neighbouring region, Priorat. Although sharing a border within a very small area, the two wine regions have many micro-climates between them.

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Xavier Peñas, General Manager of Gran Clos and owner of Celler Sant Rafel, explaining the unique slate soils of Priorat.

Hosted at Gran Clos del Priorat by General Manager, Xavier Peñas, we were treated to a vineyard tour of steep, slate covered hills (llicorella soils), barrel tasting in the tiny cellar and sampling of the vintages that never made it to Canada. The very limited production and distribution of Gran Clos have appeared on Tannic and sold out instantly (stay tuned for a limited release of large format bottles)! Priorat is known for its beauty and structured wines and we were not disappointed.

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Barrel room in the cellar of Gran Clos (above). Rolling hills of Priorat, from a Gran Clos vineyard (below).

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Once back in Calgary, we received samples of Xavier’s own wines, Cellers Sant Rafel, which he produces from vineyards in Montsant. Montsant is west of Tarragona city and the region was formerly a sub-region of the Tarragona wine region (since 2001 has been recognized as its own DO). Montsant almost entirely wraps around the region of Priorat, with vineyards of both Priorat and Montsant sometimes just meters apart. Wine has been produced here for centuries, although only within the last decade has it made international markets pay attention.

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Map of Priorat and Montsant from Decanter.com

Montsant is similar to Priorat in that they both are characterized by rolling hills, slate soils and grow mainly Grenache anad Carignan.

Notes on Priorat from Decanter:

  • 17,629ha in area (1,887ha are under vine)
  • 600 growers
  • 99 registered wineries
  • Red varietals 1,800ha, of which: Garnacha 710ha; Cariñena 483ha; Cabernet Sauvignon. 250ha; Syrah 224ha; Merlot 105ha
  • White varietals 99ha, of which Garnacha Blanca represents more than half
  • Total production (2014) whites, 341,306kg; reds, 5,618,658kg

Notes on Montsant:

  • 57 growers
  • 44 wineries
  • 1,900ha of vineyard
  • Grenache and Carignan are the main vatietals, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah newly planted

Similar to other re-discovered Spanish wine regions, like Bierzo, the ancient vines and wine making history of Montsant, and firstly Priorat, have been awakened. International wine makers and solid and consistent vintages attracting critics, have brought the spotlight.

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Ironically, after traveling to Spain in search of new, exciting wines, Celler Sant Rafel was only discovered once back in Canada. The Joana line, named after Xavier and Pilar’s daughter, consists of the fresh and addicting Joana and structured and spiced, Joana Selecció. Both wines are brand new to Canada, and are being exclusively featured in all September WineCollective packages.

Join WineCollective by August 31 to make the cutoff for September’s delivery and you will receive one of our new Joana selections!

 

The limited remaining inventory of Joana will be available in the WineCollective online store September 15th! Use the coupon code: MONTSANT5 for $5 off your store order of Joana wines!

Don’t leave your meat hanging…

Support it with wine!

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Keep an eye out for your Charcuterie & Wine pairing card in August packs!

Charcuterie and wine can be a difficult pairing if you over think it. Though there is a wide variety of flavours and dishes, avoid trying to make a match for each meat. Opt for a Sparkling or a Rosé which will be best suited to almost everything on your cutting board.

Charcuterie is dominated by fats, spice and salt. These are all components that are important to think about when selecting a wine. High acid wines cut through the richness in fatty foods, which would otherwise leave your palate oily. Skip high alcohol wines with spicy foods, instead select wines that have more sweetness to balance the heat. Salty foods can make a wine seem flabby, another reason to look for wines with higher acid levels.
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With so much going on, on the plate keep the wines simple and light to medium bodied. You do not want your wine to fight for your attention. Your selection should help cleanse your palate and support your charcuterie.
KEY TIPS
  • Low alcohol wines
  • Pick red wines with lower tannins (Pinot).
  • Avoid wines heavily oaked wines.
  • No pickled acutrements (unless you are serving Sherry or Beer).
  • Not the time for your Shiraz or Napa Cabs.
  • Look for regional pairings: Spanish wine & Iberico ham.
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TRY THESE WINES
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Check out Carnivore Club for the best selection of cured meats, delivered!  Use the promo code WINECOLLECTIVE to get 15% off your first box.
Partnered with your WineCollective package, the combinations are endless! New to WineCollective? Give us a try! Receive $15 off your first purchase using the code: MEATANDWINE15

Evolution of WineCollective Tasting Cards

If you have been a WineCollective member for more than a month, you would have un-boxed July’s package to a surprise! WineCollective Tasting Cards are better than ever – we hope you agree!

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Since our inception, almost seven years ago, WineCollective members have experienced 4 versions of tasting card designs.

In 2010, WineCollective President, David Gluzman, spent many hours printing AND folding each and every card. At that time, our volume was apparently not enough to please the printers (we showed them)! With every crease, David says he remembers thinking, “I hope this will be worth it someday.”

Well… today, with the help of Little Rock, we print over 5,000 cards each and every month. One card for every bottle ordered!

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Our second version was as tall as the bottle itself. While this version was excellent for viewing details, they were not paper friendly. We quickly learned our lesson and moved on to our next design, which stayed with us for 4 years!

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Did You Know?

WineCollective staff completes every part of the Tasting Card from start to finish! Inside HQ, we have a small photo studio, where every bottle is photographed. From there, we taste and create our reviews and notes before our designer, Chris, pieces all the parts together!

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2016 Tasting Cards

  • We’ve expanded our review to include more information on the winery, vineyards, regions and grape varieties.
  • Check out the map! Our new cards contain a map of the region from which the wine was created. We hope this new visual inspires you to visit these regions!
  • Your personal tasting note section has been removed. Instead, tell us your thoughts online! Login to your WineCollective account to view, rate and comment on all of the wines that you receive!

We’ve heard your request! WineCollective will soon introduce a keepsake binder for your tasting cards. Stay tuned!

We would love to hear what you think about WineCollective’s newest Tasting Cards. Leave a comment below!

Uncork New York… at home!

This month WineCollective featured a wine from New York, a very under-represented wine region. There is only a handful of producers to be found here in Alberta. First, here is a crash-course in all things New York wine.

  • 5 AVA’s: Long Island, Finger Lakes, Hudson River, Niagara Escarpment and Lake Erie.
  • Over 400 wineries between all regions
  • 17 dominant varietals, from Cabernet Franc and Merlot, to ones we have never heard before, Catawba and Seyval Blanc
New York Map
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Long Island has been a registered AVA for 40 years. Sandy soils and moderate climate produce mostly red wines in Bordeaux style, or Meritage. 66 wineries with over 2,000 acres of vines.

Finger Lakes region specializes in sparkling wines and ice wine from Pinot Noir and Riesling. Almost double Long Island, there is 119 wineries and over 9,000 acres of vineyards.

The Hudson River is the grand-dad of New York wine production. Varietals here are the vinifera and American species. Commonly found are, Seyval, Chardonnay, red blends and fruit-based wines, with just 200 acres of vines.

Niagara Escarpment, only receiving AVA status in 2005, also boasts some of the warmest climate. Varying soils create unique micro-climates among the 883 acres of vineyards, from dolomitic limestone, to gravel along the lakeshore.

Lake Erie is the second largest grape producer in the US, with California being first. The majority, about 95% is Concord grapes for juice production.

WineCollective attended a seminar on the cooler climates of the Finger Lakes region. Here, the wines are predominately white and are similar to the varietals that you will find from Canadian wineries. From Riesling to Cabernet Franc, tonnes of character and diversity can be found in the Finger Lakes.

Here is a quick way to find out what Finger Lakes wine is right for you!

Is Thai take-out is on your menu at least once a week?

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  • We fell in love with the variety of Riesling we tasted, from dry to off-dry, the flavours ranged from lemon, wet stone, white cranberry, to ripe melon, lime zest, and all with mounds of acidity. There are tonnes of exemplary Rieslings to choose from, try the Boundary Breaks Clone 239 from Seneca Lake vineyards.

Find yourself in the Chilean aisle of the liquor store?

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  • Brotherhood Pinot Noir is produced from the oldest winery in America, with tonnes of Chilean talent. Philip Dunsmore, Vice President, moved to New York from Chile to work at Brotherhood. Expect Burgundian style, new American oak and a brambly-smokiness.

Always looking for something new?

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  • Lemberger is a German name for an Austrian grape, Blaufränkisch. Found mostly in Washington, there is about 15 producers in New York country with plantings. The Fox Run Lemberger is bountiful with black pepper, which can indicate a cooler vintage.

These wines have never before been featured in WineCollective packages. Find them at member pricing today in the WineCollective online store!

It’s here! WineCollective Two!

From the admired vineyards of Kaesler Winery comes the highly anticipated WineCollective Two! This is the second in a series of limited edition wines featuring unique global winemakers and we could not have been more fortunate to come across this gem.

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Kaesler Winery is located in the Barossa Valley of Australia, a region known for their explosive Shiraz. The WineCollective Two is 100% Shiraz sourced from three estate vineyards, 29, 49 and 53-years-old.

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Old-vine Shiraz, Kaesler Winery. 

Initially, 2011 was not expected to be a stellar vintage, with reviewers quick to critique due to a rainy harvest. However, winemaker at Kaesler, Reid Bosward, knew something that others did not; the wine needed more time. The remainder of the vintage was secretly stowed away in the winery, with a plan to release it only when it was truly ready. The result is a wine that has surpassed all expectations of the vintage. When we traveled to Kaesler and tried the hidden wine from 2011, we knew this was the WineCollective Two.

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Fun Fact: Kaesler is also responsible for one of Barossa’s most iconic wines, Old Bastard Shiraz, with vines planted in 1893. Part of the WineCollective Two harvest is sourced from direct neighbouring vines!

We are proud to partner with the iconic Kaesler Winery. Visit WineCollective.ca/Two for more information on the wine and series!

A limited amount of the WineCollective Two is available, only 1,560 bottles were made! Keep an eye out for the WC2 in select July packages & find more in the eStore, July 15th!

Tell your friends about WineCollective!

WineCollective Referral Program allows you to share your love of wine with your friends…. and be rewarded for it!

We’ve heard you ask time again for a referral bonus & we’re thrilled to now offer a reward for both you and your wine-drinking pal.

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Anytime a friend signs up for a WineCollective subscription* and puts your full name in the referral field at checkout, you will get a $15 credit on your account. More, your referred friend will receive a $15 credit on their account too!

Credits are automatically applied to the next charge on an account, so whichever comes first; the next month’s charge, a store order, or even a gift purchased for someone else.

So, start spreading the word! Get your family, friends and co-workers in the club and let WineCollective reward you for it!

 

*Must be a personal subscription. Does not apply to gift purchases.

Join Us! Try Before You Buy!

Join WineCollective and Redback Wines for a Try Before You Buy event! Open to WineCollective members, friends, family and wine enthusiasts!

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Tickets are $20 and are available on the WineCollective Store or Eventbrite.

Gerry Thomas Gallery
(602 11th Ave SW)
Tuesday, June 28th
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

WineCollective-Two

Taste over 15 previous and upcoming WineCollective features along with Redback favourites! We will also be pouring exclusive offers like Domaine of the Bee, Hart of Gold and the new WineCollective Two!

Superb discounts on online store orders, snacks and door prizes! Tickets will also be available at the door.

Extra Bonus! Book a reservation at Chef Bar for before or after the event and enjoy $20 corkage!

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For questions about Try Before You Buy, email thecellar@winecollective.ca