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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2009 Baptiste Cuvelier Cuvée Del Maule

In 2009 the Cauquenes region of Chile suffered a terrible earthquake, and therein lies a tale of temblors and terroir. The earthquake wrought significant destruction there, and the winery did not go untouched. Barrels were thrown everywhere. Winemaker Baptiste Cuvelier picked from surviving barrels, and made the best blend possible from what survived, producing a startlingly good wine. All the grapes are fair trade and are grown organically. The wine is very well balanced, with good tannins and bright acids dancing together, promising significant cellar time. It is spicy, rich, and minty. The spice is black pepper and a touch of cinnamon. Richness comes from a blend of black and red fruits, blackcurrant, mulberry, and raspberry together, along with a bit of tobacco leaf and coffee. It also has a very interesting touch of mint, like the inside stripe of an Andes (get it?) mint without the chocolate. Vanilla from the wood makes an appearance on the mid-palate. Tannins are very sweet, the finish quite long. This is a surprisingly good wine, carved from a tragedy, and some of the proceeds will be returned to the region for ongoing earthquake relief. And it just tastes delicious. Highly recommended.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2007 L’Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut

Sparkling wine from Nova Scotia? There is actually some logic to it: crispness and high acidity are key to making a pleasant sparkling wine, and that is something that is easy to get when you're winegrowing on the edge as one does in this Atlantic Canadian province. Winemaker Bruce Ewert, who started his career making award-winning sparkling wines in British Columbia, is consistently producing solid bubblies in his new eastern digs. A traditional method wine that won a gold medal at the 2010 Canadian Wine Awards, this is crisp and clean, with fine, lively bubbles, lovely apple and white fruit notes, mineral accents and great length. The most surprising thing about it is that it’s made from a hybrid called L'Acadie, a hardy grape that grows well in cold climates. If I told anyone this was a blanc de blanc from 100% chardonnay, nobody would be the wiser.