Vignoble De L'Orpailleur2005 Cuvée Spéciale - Vin Gris
Wow, what a rare treat this wine from Quebec is! Tasted blind, this unassuming little wine provides a thrill ride with wonderful surprises at each turn.
From its appearance, you immediately assume you’re about to be treated to a well aged dessert wine, due to its odd, orange-brown, almost copper tone color, reminiscent of an old Tokaji. But a noticeable pétillance, characteristic of younger wines, doesn’t make sense with this color – is this old or is it new?
Upon nosing the wine, you’re instantly transported to the tropics (for me, it’s Hawaii, where I spent much of my youth) – guava, mango and ginger flower blossom leap from the glass. But this totally tropical aromatic profile only serves to dupe you a second time. Everything up to this point suggests an unctuous sticky. What a surprise to your palate to find that this is NOT a sweet wine. While there is a good degree of residual sugar, I would classify this as off-dry at best (though the label indicates “semi-sweet”). The flavours are somewhat ripe and mature and every bit as delightful as the aromas. My only knock is that the wine hollows out just a bit in the middle. But it finishes strong with great acid pucker and a touch of tannin with the flavours picking up again and lingering a good spell after swallowing.
The wine is a blend of hybrids Seyval Blanc and New York Muscat, and German vinifera cross Geisenheim. I believe the dominant characteristics of this wine – the deep color, the intense aromatics, and the mild tannic grip – can be attributed to the New York Muscat component, a pink skinned wildly aromatic cool climate variety popular in eastern Canada.
Wines like this are what keep the game interesting. It’s the perfect ringer to pour for anyone who appreciates aromatic wines. I myself would drink this every day – I just love it! Many thanks to my friend Jeff Pinhey for bringing this vinous treasure back from la belle province.
Reviewed March 12, 2008 by Adam Dial.
Brought up in a family with winery ventures in both California and Canada, Adam Dial seeks and appreciates diversity and individuality in wines. He is a Sommelier with more than two decades of experience in the hospitality and service industry, and is a respected wine educator, judge and industry advisor. In 2003 Adam Dial co-founded Appellation America.