TASTING NOTES: Sense of place

Rothschild Mouton Cadet 2010 Réserve Médoc  - Submitted
Rothschild Mouton Cadet 2010 Réserve Médoc
— image credit: Submitted

I often get asked if I have a favourite wine. The answer, simply, is that I don’t.

Sure, there are grape varieties that I often find myself gravitating towards, like Riesling, Pinot Noir and Gamay, but I usually move the goalposts of the query a bit, explaining that my favourite wines are the ones that share a sense of place.

Any wine suggesting hints of the soil it came from, or shares the long, sunny days or cool mountaintop air of its home is the kind of wine that floats my boat.

“Terroir” is the most common word that gets thrown around in these discussions, although to many that term isn’t just about soil or climate, but can also refer to the style of wine and how it perfectly suits the cuisine of its region.

This week, a few recently-tried wines offering a good dose of terroir, or sense of place.

I’ve been able to find most of these at Legacy Liquor Stores in Vancouver or Everything Wine on the North Shore.

La Chablisienne 2011 1er Cru Fourchaume | Chablis, France | $50-ish | Private Wine Stores
The region’s limestone-heavy Kimmeridgian soil also harbours fossilized shellfish (hence oysters being a no-brainer with Chablis) brings some chalky, lemony delight.

Casa Lapostolle 2011 ‘Casa’ Chardonnay | Casablanca, Chile | $25-ish | Private Wine Stores
The breezy, coastal region is as dreamy as it sounds, notable for bright and well-structured Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, Rosés and Pinot Noirs. When you’re close to the ocean, you’re probably eating a lot of fish, and this Chardonnay will certainly treat fish well.

Coldstream Hills 2011 Pinot Noir | Yarra Valley, Australia | $35-ish | Private Wine Stores
The cool-climate Yarra Valley in Victoria is turning a lot of heads for good reason lately. Breezes flowing up from Antarctica over the Great Southern Ocean moderate temperatures well, providing lovely acidity in the area’s wines. This splendid Pinot has oodles of truffles on the nose, as perfumed cherries and raspberries swarm the palate. Fresh, clean and lovely.

Rothschild Mouton Cadet 2010 Réserve Médoc | Bordeaux, France | $25-ish | Private Wine Stores
Textbook ‘Left Bank’ Bordeaux. Cabernet-heavy, a handful of gravel from the soil, pencil shavings on the nose, currants, violets, blackberries and more.

Costes du Chateau Féret-Lambert 2010 | Bordeaux, France | $23-ish | Private Wine Stores
Textbook ‘Right Bank’ Bordeaux. Merlot-dominated, a subtler texture from the finer clay soils, plus round, dark berry fruit and a strip of black licorice with a good grip of tannin.

Need a hand finding one of these wines?

Drop me a line via or Tweet me @KurtisKolt



Kurtis Kolt teams up with Loblaw’s City Market

It’s a new year and Outlook wine columnist Kurtis Kolt is hunting the aisles of North Van’s Loblaw’s City Market in search of the perfect pairings to go along with his weekly wine picks.

Now, let’s get pairing:

You know, I just can’t pass by that wall of cheese in the store without taking advantage of its breadth. Fortunately, the first couple of wines mentioned in this week’s column, the La Chablisienne 2011 1er Cru Fourchaume or Casa Lapostolle 2011 ‘Casa’ Chardonnay, are tailor-made for enjoying with cheese. Moonstruck Organic Cheese’s Tomme d’Or is a raw cow’s milk cheese that has some nutty notes and a slightly buttery texture; fantastic with the creamy, custardy aspects of the Chablis. The Alexis de Portneuf Caprano, a rich goat milk cheese, has a depth of citrus flavor and none of the bitterness some may associate with goat cheese. With our Chilean Chardonnay, it’s as if you’re adding a tropical fruit compote, giving things a nice contrast.

Coldstream Hills 2011 Pinot Noir, with its abundant berry fruit, truffle and mushroom characteristics and cheery quaffability will lap up something like President’s Choice Easy Cook Porchetta with ease. The salty, juiciness of the pork along with the spice will be perfectly balanced out.

Finally, with big reds like Rothschild Mouton Cadet 2010 Réserve Médoc or the Costes du Chateau Féret-Lambert 2010, I always get a hankering for red meat. AAA Beef Tenderloin Roast, anyone? Feel free to do it peppercorn-crusted, the minerality of the wines will latch onto those peppery notes well.


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