November 28, 2013
From Drinks International News
28th November, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
Laura Catena’s great-grandfather founded the winery in Mendoza in 1902 after emigrating from Italy and her father, Nicolas Catena Zapata, helped to facilitate the ascent of Argentine Malbec onto the world stage. Born in Mendoza, Laura graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University and has a Medical Doctor degree from Stanford University. She is currently managing director of Bodega Catena Zapata and her own Luca Wines in Mendoza, as well as a practicing emergency medicine physician in San Francisco.
1. Why have you decided to lend your support to the IWSC* as its 2014 President?
*International Wine & Spirit Competition
Thirty years ago my father, Nicolas Catena Zapata, had the vision to make Argentine wines that could stand with the best of the world. He was inspired by great pioneers such as Robert Mondavi, who dared to challenge the Old World hegemony on fine wine.
Today, the great international wines and spirits compete for the minds and palates of drinkers and collectors around the globe. It is a healthy battle and a constant challenge that keeps the passion of our ancient industry alive. It is this constant challenge that led my father and me to plant vines at extreme altitudes near the Andes, where nobody thought that they would ripen. It is this constant challenge that inspires younger generations to experiment with new methodologies and to rediscover the artisanship of their forefathers.
Thanks to fair and well-run competitions such as the IWSC, the world’s wine and spirits leaders receive international recognition from their peers. It is an honor to be named President of this 45-year-old institution.
2. How do you plan to use your own wine industry experience and perspective in this role?
Wine and spirits are an example of what is good about globalization. Globalization has encouraged each country and each region to champion what is unique and different about it rather than standardize approaches to winemaking. Wine drinkers prize the Malbec from Argentina, Shiraz from Australia, Pinot Noir from Burgundy, Nebbiolo from Piemonte, and Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa among others. They look for Scotch single malt, French Cognac, and Mexican Tequila. Social media and the ease of travel have opened the world’s eyes to the most remote vineyards and regions. Yet to many consumers, the complexity of wine varieties, appellations, and thousands of producers and brands have become daunting.
I started my professional life as a physician and have had the fortune of sharing my winemaking career with teaching medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. I believe that wine education is a key to the survival of the wonderful diversity in our industry. Our greatest challenge today is to help consumers understand this diversity so that they can enjoy discovering new experiences in wine and spirits throughout their lifetimes.
I hope to use my time as IWSC President to champion consumer education, diversity, and quality in our industry.
3. As a winemaker yourself, how important are these wine competitions?
Humans are competitive by nature; we all remember the first medal earned in sports and our first academic honor. Awards play an important role in motivating us to do our best and to never rest on our laurels.
4. How well do you feel Argentina’s wines compete on an international stage?
Argentina’s winemaking started in the 16th century, but the exponential growth of our industry dates back to the mid-19th century following the influx of six million European immigrants, mostly from Italy and Spain. The new immigrants wanted to keep their Old World culinary traditions alive, of which wine was an essential component.
Today, Argentina is the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. Although Malbec is our most famous variety, there are also outstanding examples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Bonarda, Torrontes, and red and white blends. There are over 100 geographical wine regions throughout the country that stretch 1,250 miles from Salta in the north to Patagonia in the far south. Mendoza is where 70% of the country’s wines are made.
The double-digit growth of Argentine wine exports over the last five years, mostly in the ultra-premium price segment, is indicative of our extraordinarily diverse and privileged mountain terroirs. Naturally low yields, ripe and concentrated tannins, and moderate alcohol levels lead to elegant and age-worthy wines that are appreciated around the world.
5. What projects or ambitions are you currently working towards at Catena Zapata?
Our family has been making wine in Argentina for over a century. I am a member of the fourth generation. My father pioneered Argentina’s Malbec revolution and discovered a new wine terroir at high altitude, our Adrianna vineyard in Gualtallary, Mendoza. The Catena Institute of Wine works tirelessly to understand the intricacies of our unique high altitude region and its jewel “Malbec” as well as to make Argentine wines that can compete with the best of the world. Our family’s goal is to advance our region as a whole and to continue our trajectory as a pioneering wine family for another 100 years.
October 21, 2013
One of Burgundy's important players is expanding its holdings in the Côtes de Nuits. Domaine Faiveley has sealed an agreement to purchase Domaine Dupont-Tisserandot of Gevrey-Chambertin. The acquisition adds an additional 50 acres to Faiveley’s 25 acres in the commune of Gevrey, including parts of the grands crus Charmes-Chambertin, Mazis-Chambertin and Corton Rognet as well as premiers crus Lavaux St.-Jacques, Les Cazetiers and La Petite Chapelle.
Faiveley now holds a total of 346 acres of vineyards throughout Burgundy’s Côte d’Or and Côte Chalonnaise. “This acquisition is a major move for us and will strengthen our holdings in the Côte de Nuits,” said president Erwan Faiveley in a statement announcing the deal.
Faiveley will retain the Dupont-Tisserandot label as well as the current team to manage the domaine. Dupont-Tisserandot has been run by sisters Patricia Chevillon and Marie-Françoise Guillard, who took over from their father in 1990. The wines have been vinified by Patricia’s husband Didier Chevillon since 1995.
October 21, 2013
Francis Ford Coppola Winery is now a certified member of the Sonoma Green Business Program! To achieve certification, we must be in compliance with all environmental regulations for conserving resources, preventing pollution, and minimizing waste. Running our entire business in an environmentally responsible way is very important to us and we are honored to be participants of this program.
October 21, 2013
On October 6th, Team Trialto Wine Group BC joined thousands of other people from all over the lower mainland to walk or run, the ‘Run for the Cure’ in support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.
‘Run for the Cure’ is an annual event that Trialto has supported for 7 years. This year we had a team of 16, our biggest team to date, and we raised a total of $5005.00. Trialto proudly matched dollar for dollar our Trialto employee personal donations as well as providing prizes for the raffle. The team also personally donated prizes to the raffle.
Two of the Trialto Wine Group core values are ‘create a culture that is passionate, creative and fun’ and ‘Always strive for personal and team growth’. As a company we take pride in that fact that we can achieve great things together while having fun and growing as a team, especially when it comes to developing social awareness for such an important cause.
We look forward to participating in the ‘Run for the Cure’ next year. We are always proud to support charitable events in our communities across Canada.
September 26, 2013
DeMorgenzon chosen as one of
Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries of the Year 2013
DeMorgenzon has been chosen as one of the Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 International Wineries of 2014. Alongside wineries such as Krug (Champagne), E. Guigal and Château de Beaucastel (Rhone), Felton Road (New Zealand) & Dr Loosen (Mosel), DeMorgenzon is the only South African winery to be awarded such an honour.
Wendy Appelbaum, Owner of DeMorgenzon, is delighted at the news and at the recognition that DeMorgenzon is achieving.
Wine & Spirits’ Top 100 “Wineries of the Year” are chosen as the producers that delivered the best overall performances in the magazine’s tastings conducted during the past twelve months. Founded in 1982, Wine & Spirits Magazine is published eight times a year and read by over 200,000 members of America’s wine community and has many International followers too. Consumers and wine professionals read the magazine for information on established and up-and-coming regions and producers, the art and science of viticulture, restaurant and industry happenings, and food and wine pairing. Leading the wine magazine category, Wine & Spirits has earned the most James Beard awards for excellence in wine writing.
Wine and Spirits is America's practical guide to the straightforward, enlightened enjoyment of fine wine and premium spirits. “We have served customers and marketers alike with a lively mix of wine reviews, features, profiles, food and wine pairings, new product introductions, travel pieces, history, opinion and wine business news. Editorial is focused on serving the needs of the customer, but we are well aware that this same information will also be vital to wine marketers, producers, retailers and restaurateurs” cites Joshua Greene, Editor & Publisher of Wine & Spirits Magazine.
Each year the panels and critics taste over 12,000 wines to select these 100 Wineries. Wine & Spirits tastings are a two-step process. First, all wines submitted or purchased are tasted by screening panels, who are asked to determine which wines stand out as being better than average for their variety and appellation. These panels, conducted by W&S staff, are composed of retailers, sommeliers, winemakers and other wine professionals. The goal is to draw on a broad universe of tasters to help decide which wines are worth recommending, and to avoid the prejudices any one critic might exercise, consciously or not, which might prevent certain styles or classes of wine from being considered.
“DeMorgenzon has a unique terroir for Chenin Blanc in that it offers high levels of morning sunlight intensity. This ‘gentle’ sunlight allows for an elegant yet ripe expression of Chenin Blanc where white fruit and floral aromas are expressed with a brisk acidity. This makes for wines which are opulent and generous in flavour yet retaining a refreshing crispness. We have a lot of fun crafting Chenin Blanc, picking the grapes at a number of different ripeness levels and fermenting and maturing the batches separately, before a final blending that produces the most balanced wine” explains Carl van der Merwe, Winemaker & General Manager of DeMorgenzon.
Wine and Spirits is distinctly different from other wine magazines in that the focus is more on the substance of wine rather than on style alone. Focus is directed towards ways in which wine might fit into a normal life, well-lived. The philosophy being rather than soothing readers with assurances that they've arrived, W & S arm readers with the knowledge they'll need to get there.
September 9, 2013
Lesley Brown joins the Trialto team as of September 9th, 2013.
Lesley brings with her over 12 years’ experience in the BC wine industry. Over the past year and a half she has been working as the Corporate Accounts Manager for Mark Anthony Brands, prior to that she was the Fine Wine Territory Manager on Vancouver Island for Mark Anthony. She is an ISG certified Sommelier, and has been an instructor for the Guild for the past 9 years. Lesley has also completed a Tourism Management Diploma from Camosun College.
Lesley is highly regarded and respected in our industry as a hardworking, humble wine expert, with an unmatchable personality. She is a strong coach and mentor, and exudes positive energy wherever she goes. We are thrilled to have her join the Trialto Team.
August 26, 2013
Sperling Vineyards, along with some neighboring orchards and vineyards have sustained one of the worst hailstorms in recent memory. Our vines have been damaged and our crop severely reduced, to the point that we will have to manage through the effects of this storm for several years.
As a family winery we use only our own grapes. While farming our land for over 125 years we have learned that mother nature is not always predictable, so our long term business plan will enable us to roll with this punch. But, having said that, at this stressful time, we are comforted by the warm response we've had from local Kelowna wineries with their offers of support and help.
With this generous assistance from our friends, and our careful inventory management to date, we are encouraged to report that all but a few of our Sperling wines will remain available for purchase over the coming year. More than ever, we appreciate your ongoing patronage, and look forward to greeting everyone in our winery store.
August 23, 2013
21st August, 2013 by Gabriel Savage
Erwan Faiveley, the seventh generation of his family to head Burgundy’s Domaine Faiveley, on the importance of clay for making great Chardonnay and why we should keep an eye on Germany.
What factors in your view make a Chardonnay great?
Terroir, weather conditions and of course winemaking skills. Chardonnay – just like Merlot and Cabernet – seems to be produced in so many regions, only a few places really outperform. You need clay and moderate temperature for really excellent interpretations. We are very lucky at Domaine Faiveley to have some wonderful sites that really give the wine so much personality such as Clos Rochette, our distinctive monopole in Mercurey, and of course we are very lucky to have an amazing piece of Corton-Charlemagne, very well situated with old vines. I think that the people we have here at the winery, especially my cellar master, are very gifted. Corton-Charlemagne is one of the greatest white wines in Burgundy, maybe in the world.
Which regions of the world, other than your own, have the potential to produce high quality and distinctive Chardonnay?
The most interesting regions are those with a cool climate such as Russian River in California and New Zealand. Considering the impressive work that Germany has done with Pinot Noir, which needs more or less the same conditions as Chardonnay, I guess we can expect some good surprises to come from that country too.
What is it about Chardonnay that means it has such lasting global appeal?
I guess Chardonnay has distinctive aromas that appeal to everyone: it’s a fresh blend of a fruity core – peach, apricot, pear, citrus – with hints of spices – vanilla, liquorice – that evolves over time to more nutty characteristics. When it’s not overpowered nor excessive, it can be the most delicious glass of white wine!
Is there a winemaker or wine whose expression of Chardonnay inspires you?
From the Côte de Beaune area, I am very fond of Pierre-Yves Collin’s wines: he is making wines from great (and often underrated) terroirs that are expressive with a hint of reduction. Moving a little more north, I also really appreciate Raveneau’s expression of Chablis, a blend of precision, purity and volume.
In a more modern and New World style, I really enjoy Chardonnay by David Ramey: juicy, big but still elegant with some finesse.
July 29, 2013
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE 2013 HARVEST
By Roberto de la Mota, Mendel Winemaker
The 2013 harvest was characterized by a good general production, especially in the fresh zones of the center and the Uco Valley and other high altitude areas, showing a higher average yield than last year. This year’s harvest was delayed, above all in the red grapes, despite having presented advanced maturity at the beginning of the white harvest. The white wines have good aromatic intensity, medium body and good acidity; while the reds are of good color, intense aroma, fresh and even floral, with medium concentration of tannins and of medium body, with a good acidity, which confers freshness. If we had to compare to previous harvests, I would say it’s more like 2010 than 2011 or 2012.
In general the buddings of the vineyards were very good, with a calm climate, fresh mornings and sunny days, without rains, strong winds or frost. The spring continued with excellent conditions, despite some “zonda” winds (hot and dry), bringing generally good flowering and fruit setting and resulting in a good quantity of bunches per plant. These, in turn, had a good quantity of grapes.
December and January were warm, as was the first part of February, but March and April were characterized by template days and very chilly nights. Excellent conditions to assure a good quality of grapes and typical of Mendoza fall.
The warmth of the start of summer made “veraison” arrive early, and everything pointed to an early harvest. This was only true in the first white grapes, but not in those destined for tranquil wines and chilly areas (higher altitude). The first weeks of February were also warm, but not the final ones, which were chilly, as was March. In this month there were some important storms, including hail, which affected specific zones of Mendoza, Valle de Uco and also Luján de Cuyo. Although some of them caused grave damage in certain properties, the effects were not generalized enough to diminish the volumes of the harvest.
Maturity measuring devices, such as Dyostem, showed a somewhat delayed “Stop of Charge” (moment in which the plant stops accumulating sugars from photosynthesis in the berry all later increase of sugar is due to loss of water in the berry, with a higher level of potential alcohol than in 2012. This means that the qualitative potential of the grapes was generally very good. (That is to say, grapes with a good richness of components, including color and tannins.)
The white grape harvest started at the end of January, beginning of February for the warm zones and in March for chillier areas with excellent sanitation. The quality was also very good, and though it is difficult to generalize, we could say that the level of concentration and of aromatic intensity was similar or somewhat superior to 2012. Beside a very good freshness, the levels of acidity are higher and the alcohol is somewhat inferior to the last harvest. For Mendel Semillon de Altamira the 2013 was excellent, very fresh, floral with acacia notes together with dried fruits and good volume and structure in mouth, similar alcohol and more acidity than in 2012.
The reds arrived late, despite initial predictions. Depending on the vineyard, between 10 and 15 days late. Although we initially believed that good production might mean a year of less concentration in red wines, we have observed grapes of very good color, aromatic intensity and tannin quantity. Having had the opportunity to taste wines in different parts of Luján and the Uco Valley, I am sure of an excellent wine quality. Fruity and floral Malbecs, quite fresh, with well-present and sufficiently mature tannins, wines of medium to high body and perhaps less meaty than in 2012. Other varieties such as Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon also show great potential. It is possible that because of the year’s characteristics, some very productive vineyards will show some grade of dilution, but those are certainly isolated cases. Comparing this year’s harvest with previous years’, we can say that it is more similar to 2007 or 2008 than 2009 or 2011.
For Mendel it was a great year of higher than average volume, with special quality of fruit in the Malbec and Petit Verdot, similar to the year before for the Cabernet Sauvignon. It is worth mentioning that this year we produced some Merlot and Cabernet Franc for the first time and the results are promising.
July 3, 2013
Martin Dorval is the newest member of our Trialto team. Martin started with us July 2nd as the Liquid Art Specialist for Quebec.
Martin has over 15 years’ experience in the wine industry. His extensive knowledge of wine and customer service are a huge asset that we are excited to add to the team. Prior to owning his own business’s (Sélection Vinalia Wine Agency) as well as being a partner in Restaurant Les Cavistes Bistro-boutique, bar à vins, Martin was a sales rep for Rézin Selection wine agency. In addition, he has completed both a Bachelor of Political Science from the University of Montreal, and his sommelier certification from École hôtelière de Laval.
Martin is energetic, hardworking, and a strong team player, and we're excited to have him on board.