Thursday, February 18. 2016
I am in Montreal at the moment, staying in the Latin Quarter, just off St. Denis. It is some years since I have spent much time here and I am enjoying catching up on the current scene.
Despite some terrible weather, the streets are always lively, swarming with students from the nearby Univerité de Quebec à Montreàl. St. Denis Street is full of restaurants, featuring every cuisine you can imagine. Those between Sherbrooke and Ste. Catherine Streets, are typically less expensive, catering largely to the student crowd. North of Sherbrooke, there are a few more up-market places, though still quite reasonably priced for what they have to offer. I had lunch yesterday at l”Express, a classic old-fashioned Paris style Bistro. The food is excellent, with a very fine wine list to match. Service is prompt, friendly and efficient.
Also nearby is Prince Arthur Street, which runs from St. Denis, westward, almost to McGill University. It has become a pedestrian mall, again chock full of restaurants, many of which are “Bring Your Own Wine” establishments. Like St. Denis, it is full of life and has plenty of charm. Here, I dined at “Les Deux Gamins,” another charming French Bistro, also with very high standard hearty French Bistro cooking.
I am looking forward to exploring more of the charms of Montreal in the next couple of days before returning to Halifax on Saturday.
Below are my current reviews. All are available on the NSLC General List and several wines are specially priced until February 21st.
Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand $16.99 NSLC General List. Piquant aromatic green fruit intensity on the nose showing grassy herbal notes, gooseberry and a whiff of asparagus. Green gooseberry flavour, with lightly smoky and mineral notes in the mouth comes with characteristic bracing acidity and a touch of passion fruit on the finish. ***
Bouchard Père et Fils 2014, Macon-Lugny Saint-Pierre AC, France $23.99 NSLC General List. Unfolds fragrant floral and green apple scents with a whiff of hazelnut. Pure apple flavour is delivered in a smooth lightly creamy texture tempered by mineral, crisp acidity and citrus notes on the finish. ***
Norton Barrel Select Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Mendoza, Argentina 12.5% $13.99 (special price $2 off) NSLC General List. Fermented in French oak, this one offers mellow-ripe scented yellow fruits, including tropical fruit and a light splash of vanilla. Succulent citrus and tropical fruit flavours are enhanced with subtle vanilla and spicy notes on the crisp, clean finish. ****
Lindeman’s Bin 65 Chardonnay 2015, Southeastern Australia 13.5% $12.99 NSLC General List. Lively fresh grapefruit and apple scents give way to lemon citrus and tropical fruit on the palate. Gentle fruity notes and crisp acidity produce a refreshingly light finish. ***
Wolf Blass Red Label Unwooded Chardonnay 2014, Southeastern Australia 13% $11.99 (special price $3 off) NSLC General List. Opens with fresh citrus and floral scents with zesty ripe pear and citrus flavours, balanced acidity and drying grip on the finish. Serve as an aperitif or with simply prepared sea foods. ***
Les Dauphins 2013, Côte du Rhone Resèrve AC, France $14.99 NSLC General List. Opens with warmly scented ripe raspberry and peppery spice and succulent raspberry and blackberry flavours in the mouth. Supported by good tannic grip and food-friendly acidity this is a hearty, classic Southern Rhone red and great value for money. ****
Illuminati Riparossa 2014, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC, Italy 13.5% $12.99 ($2 off) NSLC General List. Deeply scented ripe plum and lightly spicy and herbal scents, with bitter cherry and plum flavours wrapped in velvety tannins on the palate. Finishes very dry, with pronounced acidity and a splash of dark chocolate. ***
Uncle Leo’s Brewery, Lyon’s Brook, Nova Scotia, Red Ale 5% $5.61 NSLC Reddish brown in colour with soft fruity malt aromas and quite rich dried fruit flavours backed by toasted chocolate malt giving dark chocolate character to the finish. A concentrated, full-flavoured brew. ***
Uncle Leo’s Brewery, Lyon’s Brook, Nova Scotia, Jam Session American Pale Ale 5% $5.61 NSLC. Light amber coloured, showing clean citrus and green hoppy aromas with background nutty malt. Fruity and malty flavours quickly give way to persistent, dry hoppy character on the finish. ***
*Acceptable ordinary quality
**Good quality, everyday standard
** Very good quality in its price range
**** Exceptional quality, top 15% - 20%
**** The finest possible, top 5% - 10%