|Hello & Happy Friday!
Things will be back to normal around here next week as Craig returns from his adventures in Italy. So we will be open on Mondays again!
This week’s feature arrived a few weeks ago. As is often the case, I went to the back room, which sometimes I also like to call chaos alley, to familiarize myself with the new arrivals. Amongst the cases I found some compelling looking wines from a producer called Pearl Morissette, located in Canada’s Niagara Peninsula. I was curious about tasting the wines and had just begun to write the winery with questions when in came the distributor of the wines with a compact French looking man who turned out to be none other than François Morrisette, the winemaker! So I was able to get some very good inside information, straight from the horse’s mouth, as they like to say.
Onto the feature!
Have a Glorious Weekend!
Craig (in Italy) & Sheb (home base)
Pearl Morissette winery is located in a sub-region of the awkwardly named Niagara Escarpment, called Twenty Mile Bench. When I asked François about this, he called it marketing, although the Niagara Escarpment is considered geologically significant and runs through Michigan and down into our state, Illinois. Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Riesling are grown.
I asked François about his winemaking experience, and he casually mentioned that he had been the assistant winemaker at Domaine Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier. WHAT?He suddenly had my attention. The Chambolle produced at Domaine Mugnier are among the finest and most sought after red Burgundies in the world. Although he had handled a bit of Chardonnay before (from the holdings in Clos de la Maréchale), Cabernet Franc was new to him when he started. We were able to taste several vintages at the shop and the wines are seriously impressive. We suspect these wines will gain in popularity in the next few years, so do not miss your opportunity to get on the boat early!
2010 Pearl Morissette Chardonnay “Cuvée Dix-Neuvième”
As a self-proclaimed non-interventionist, François produces a stylish yet not overwrought Chardonnay with ripeness and delicacy. The acidity is fresh but not overwhelming, and while I hesitate to call it Burgundian (because only Burgundy is really Burgundy), it certainly does have an old-world sensibility to it.
And while it may not appeal to the maxi-dress clad, toned and tanned Orange County crowd, it will appeal to a broad range of Chardonnay lovers. All aging takes place in used barrels, with extended lees contact. This wine exhibits winning flavors of fresh apples and pear, lacy minerality and medium weight.
758 cases produced
$37.99/ BTL.-$227.94/CASE OF 6
2010 Pearl Morissette Cabernet Franc “Cuvée Madeline”
Cabernet Franc lovers, unite and take over. For me, I love all expressions of this ancient grape equally, from the rare unicorn called Cheval Blanc, to elegant Chinons, rustic Bourgueils and everything in between.
Pearl Morissette’s version has a spot-on nose of damson plums and bell pepper, the hallmarks of any great Cabernet Franc. There is a lush ripeness in the palate, and a tenderness in its weight that beckons to Pinot Noir. It’s simply a little pleasure bomb.
Again, as with the Chardonnay, neutral barrel aging is employed along with extended lees contact, which imparts gorgeous richness and texture.
618 cases produced
$42.99/ BTL.-$257.94/CASE OF 6