Wine

Bring on the Barbera…the most widey planted grape in Italy's prime wine growing region of Piedmont, this Barbera delivers black fruit and plum, hints of black pepper, notes of vanilla bean and sweet soft tannins! Balanced with fine acidity, a superb wine to enjoy with food.  We wonder what Chef Massimo will create as a partner? Fresh cured Italian meats perhaps, or his specialty wild boar raviolis? Hmm hmm… be sure to join us to enjoy!

This Barbera, Briccotondo Piedmont Barbera DOC is produced by the house of Fontanafredda, with a noble story that dates back to 1858 when Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy and his former mistress Rosa Vercellana purchased the estate (a former hunting preserve) in order to produce fine Barolo for his personal use. Today Fontanafredda is the single largest contiguous estate in Piedmont with 250 acres of land, 210 acres of hillside vineyards in the Serralunga, Barolo and Diane d'Alba communes. Since 1878 Fontanafredda has been producing authentically-styled Barbera and Barolo wines, earning a long standing admiration from wine critcs and wine afficionados alike.
Briccotondo Piemonte Barbera DOC
Wine Spectator’s 100 best wines in the world.
One of the top 100 wineries in the world
Wine and Spirits Magazine, 2008
Read more: Bring on the Barbera...Piedmont Italy's delish baby bros!

Argentina and her wines are hot, hot, hot! Ascending to the top with great wines of great value!

Say Argentina today in the world of wine and several key words automatically come to mind.... Malbec, Malbec, Malbec... and that’s just the beginning! Although the Malbec grape is to Argentina as Shiraz is to Australia, Zinfandel to California and icewine to Canada, the 5th largest wine producer in the world is commanding a great deal of attention for a variety of her wines.

The last ten to fifteen years has been a time of incredible growth and evolution for the wines of Argentina, in which the winemaking tradition of 500 years and the adoption of new technologies and know-how have been blended. Add to this the many aspects of Argentina’s unique environment; pure water snowmelt from the Andes for irrigation, high elevation vineyards, dry climate lending ease to natural and/or organic production, a land of contrasts offering great diversity of terroir and wines, and the deeply rooted wine culture, is there any wonder why so many are saying Yes or Salud to Argentine wine?

On our recent visit to Argentina, we had the opportunity to visit a number of spectacular wineries located in the two largest wine regions; Mendoza responsible for approximately 70% of the country's production and San Juan, approximately an hour to the north of Mendoza City.

We’d like to introduce you to a winery in San Juan "on the radar" as one of the best wineries in the region which is owned by Bodegas Salentein located in Mendoza. Salentein is a spectacular winery which we had the occasion to visit prior to arriving in San Juan (details on that portion of our trip is on a separate article). We are excited to share this other important region and key winery with the help of our "supreme" guide Customer Relations Manager for both, Maria Lorena Cepparo.

Our first stop in San Juan is Bodegas Callia, an incredibly impressive winery situated in the Tulum Valley nestled between the Pie de Palo hills to the north and the Zonda Valley to the south. Among the four valleys in San Juan, the Tulum Valley is the most significant and has its vineyards planted, on average  650 metres above sea-level. We are to soon learn, the significance of altitude, of terroir and of climate through our conversation in the vineyard with the very charming  and passionate Vineyard Manager Gustavo Matocq. But first, we are greeted once again by Maria Lorena Cepparo, her passion and extensive knowledge of wine, of the region and for Callia is contagious. We shortly discover that we cannot stump Lorena, she is a veritable walking encyclopedia with great personality! 

Lorena will be our guide for the day, "we will start in the vineyard where you will meet Gustavo, our vineyard manager" she says, "and then from there we will have a tour, a tasting and a little lunch". Are we ready? Absolutely!

Georgia inspects the stainless steel tanks with Ariel Cavalier, Winemaker Bodegas Callia and Maria Lorena Cepparo, Customers Relations Salentein Family of Wines.

As we walk around the property Lorena explains that the  philosophy of Bodegas Callia is to live in harmony with the Valley of Tulum landscape. "You'll notice that the bodges is painted the colour of sand and melds with the dunes typcial of the region" she tells us " every detail including the native vegetation that surrounds the winery was treated in such a way to respect and preserve the natural local landscape".  The winery itself is a marvel, home to 8000 square metres of tanks with a capacity of 9,000,000 litres, outfitted with stainless steel tanks and modern pneumatic presses this gigantim winery is a force to reckon with, particularly for the consistent terrific tasting and quality ratio wines it produces. Very impressive!

Read more: Bodegas Callia, San Juan, Argentina

In this case, all that glitters is gold!

The Armand de Brignac Dynastie Collection

The Armand de Brignac Dynastie collection and exclusively listed  at the Hakkasan Las Vegas, the new, five-level culinary and nightlife mecca at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. This collection, an unprecedented package for $500,000.00, making it the world's most extravagant bottle service experience.

Armand de Brignac ("Ace of Spades") Champagne announced the new Armand de Brignac Dynastie: an extremely rare, one-of-a-kind collection of Armand de Brignac Brut Gold Champagne that includes every available bottle format, from the standard 750-milliliter bottle to the exclusive and world-record breaking 30-liter Midas. Collectively, the Armand de Brignac Dynastie amounts to over 100 bottles – 109 to be exact – of handmade, prestige cuvee Champagne

The Armand de Brignac Dynastie collection at Hakkasan Nightclub consists of nine different Armand de Brignac Brut Gold bottle sizes:

  • Bouteille - 750 ml (standard bottle size)
  • Magnum - 1.5 liters(equivalent to 2 standard bottles)
  • Jeroboam – 3 liters(equivalent to 4 standard bottles)
  • Rehoboam – 4.5 liters(equivalent to 6 standard bottles)
  • Methuselah – 6 liters(equivalent to 8 standard bottles)
  • Salmanazar – 9 liters(equivalent to 12 standard bottles)
  • Balthazar – 12 liters(equivalent to 16 standard bottles)
  • Nebuchadnezzar – 15 liters(equivalent to 20 standard bottles)
  • Midas – 30 liters(equivalent to 40 standard bottles)

About Armand de Brignac ChampagneArmand de Brignac Champagne, instantly identifiable by the distinctive pewter Ace of Spades insignias on its unique, paperless bottle, exemplifies unmatched winemaking expertise and a true passion for the art of Champagne. A staff of just eight people crafts each bottle of Armand de Brignac by hand at our family house, established in 1763 in Chigny-les-Roses, France.  Armand de Brignac counts among its accolades a score of 98 points from world-renowned wine critic Jose Penin and words of praise from UK critic Jancis Robinson.  Armand de Brignac's flagship Brut Gold cuvee was ranked No. 1 by Fine Champagne Magazine in their "100 Best Champagnes for 2010" blind tasting. Armand de Brignac is currently available in more than 110 countries worldwide.

 

Read more: Armand de Brignac Unveils New 'Dynastie' Collection $500,000 in Vegas

MAD ABOUT MALBEC IN MENDOZA

We are mad alright, about the amazing Malbecs we enjoyed on our recent visit to Mendoza, Argentina. A grape that was once popular in Bordeaux as one of the 5 permitted players in traditional Bordeaux blends, say Malbec today and the automatic response is “the grape of Argentina” and with good reason!

The Malbec grape is to Argentina as Shiraz is to Australia, Zinfandel to California, Pinotage to South Africa and more recently Carmenere to Chile... it has found its niche, putting this grape on the world wine map, producing amazing wines, with descriptives the likes of “floral, violets, licorice, spicy, deep red and black fruit, chocolate or coffee... and most distinctively the sweet, soft, silky, mouthfilling tannins!

Such an impact has been made with this varietal in its modern domaine that an annual tribute “Malbec World Day” will be celebrating its 3rd anniversary April 17th, 2013. The 43 countries which participated in 2012 will surely be surpassed this year! Watch for events happening in close to 100 cities, including our very own Toronto!

Although with a rich history and deep roots, Malbec was first planted in Argentina as far back as 1852 brought over by French agronomist Michel Pouget, it is only in the last couple of decades that it has begun to take centre stage, and be so deservedly appreciated around the world of wine.

While in Argentina we experienced the magic of Malbec first hand, while even more magically against the constant backdrop of the absolutely breathtaking Andes, the largest mountain range in the world, the lifeline for the Malbec vineyards and others, providing them the drink to survive and thrive. 

The Andes, Cordon del Plata peak makes a stunning backdrop for the Fabre Montmayou vineyards.

Our itinerary included visiting the two primary wine producing provinces in the country; Mendoza, responsible for 80% of all wines produced and second in production San Juan, a little further north, with differing soils and climate producing wines of its unique personality.

First stop was in Vistalba located in the “departement” of Lujan du Cuyo, in Mendoza, at a boutique winery called Fabre Montmayou.  Geographically, think of Argentina as a big set with multiple subsets. Argentina, divides into fourteen provinces, with Mendoza being the king-pin of wine production, within Mendoza there are “departments” which include Lujan de Cuyo and the Uco Valley, which we later visit, with each expressing differing characteristics, and within the department of Lujan de Cuyo is Vistalba, the home of Fabre Montmayou. 

Georgia inspects the Malbec with winemaker, owner, director Hervé Joyaux Fabre of Fabre Montmayou.

 

We speak of roots, and here at Fabre Montmayou on 15 hectares, they run deep, with the Malbec vines dating back to 1908 brought over by the first immigrants to come to Argentina. The roots, or ancestry of founder Herve Joyaux Fabre come from Bordeaux, with generations involved with the vine. In 1992 on a visit, Herve was seduced by the potential of the magnificent malbec grape in Mendoza and there was no turning back! Fabre Montmayou was born.

Read more: Mad about Malbec. Malbec World Day April 17th!The Wine Ladies in Mendoza, Argentina

Cupid's arrows of romance spread the language of love.

What better way than with the romantic gift of wine, or possibly the sumptious sensual gift of pairing wine and one of life's other greatest pleasures, chocolate and wine together! Or... now with a variety of savory and sweet handmade "with-love" bisquits created especially for red, white and sparkling wine heavenly matches!

Read more: Smack your lips tips for Valentine's Day...OH MY!

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The Wine Ladies Partners