Once Upon a Wine

Once Upon a Wine

The APVSA is a Montreal based company, which helps European wine producers find new markets in Canada and the United States. Their most recent tour was titled ‘Once Upon a Wine’ and featured affordable wines from France and Spain, many of which were organic and vegan wines.

Producers included Arriezu Vineyards and Etedaria from Spain and from France, Champagne Paul Laurent, Chateau Haut Blanville, Domaine de Poulvarel, Ricardelle de Lautrec, Vignobles Chasson, Chateau la Calisse, Domaine Baumann-Zirgel, Earl Paris–Simoneau, Domaine de Joy and Saint Aubin.

Here are notes on some of the best wines I sampled:

Arriezu Vineyards
“Arriezu Vineyards is a young winery which produces white wine from Rueda (Verdejo) and red wine from Rioja (Tempranillo). All our production comes from our own grapes and is 100% organic.”

J.F. Arriezu Organic White 2016/2017
A pronounced nose, juicy mouth-watering fruit, clean on the palate with a medium-plus finish.


Arriezu Vineyards E de Esperanza Organic White 2016
Six months in French oak. Wow! Spice and smoky notes add a lot to this wine. Complex nose and palate.


J.F. Arriezu Organic Red 2016
This 100% Rioja spent six months in French oak. Good structure, good balance, lots of fruit on the palate, delicate and layered.


“Edetaria, a 4th generation family estate, produces Mediterranean fresh and mineral garnatax (grenache) wines speaking of terroir, pure pleasure. . .”   I enjoyed speaking with Nani who was pouring some delicious wines.

Edetaria DO Terra Alta – Via Terra White 2016
An excellent food wine. Well balanced, good mouthfeel, with flavours lingering on the finish.


Edetaria DO Terra Alta – Via Edetana White 2016
Delicate and inviting nose. Elegant with a medium-long finish.


Edetaria DO Terra Alta –Seleccio White 2015
Made from 100% Garnacha Blanca. This impressive wine is rich and inviting with enticing smokiness and a medium-long finish.


Edetaria DO Terra Alta – Seleccio Red 2015
Rich, complex and layered. A wonderful enticing nose.


Chateau Haut-Blanville
“Bernard decided in the early 90’s to craft great wines based on the identification of unique vineyard sites, to produce single parcel wine called Clos ‘from vine to bottle’ at a time when most of the local wineries produced volume and bulk wine.”

Chateau Haut-Blanville – IGP Pays d’Oc – Solal Vermentino – Vegan – White 2016
Vermentino from France? Who’d have thunk? This is a delightful, clean and crisp food wine with a medium-plus finish.


Chateau Haut-Blanville – IGP Pays d’Oc – Vegan – Solal Rosé 2017
A blend of grenache gris and cinsault with no maceration. Delicate salmon colour, just what you’d expect from a French rosé, bright, a clean and crisp palate cleanser, which makes it an ideal luncheon wine.


Chateau Haut-Blanville – AOP Gres de Montpellier – Clos 1955 – Vegan – Red 2013
Rich, layered and complex with cherry, bramble, blackberry, cola, aromas and flavours. Elegant and impressive.


Domaine de Poulvarek
“Family-owned Estate, cultivated with passion for several generations.”

Domaine de Poulvarel – AOP Costieres de Nîmes – Les Perrottes – HVE Level III – Red 2015
A big nose with lots of flavour on the palate followed by a medium-long finish. Delightful.


Ricardelle de Lautrec
“Our organic wines of the Pays d’Oc perfectly reflect the genuine and typical character of the Mediterranean terroir.”

Ricardelle de Lautrec – IGP OC – Chardonnay R – Organic – White 2017
Peach, honeysuckle, citrus and vanilla with a medium-long finish. Well done chardonnay.


Ricardelle de Lautrec – IGP OC Sauvignon R – Organic White 2017
Very impressive. Mouth-watering with harmony and elegance from beginning to its long lingering finish.


Vignoble Chasson
“Our vines bloom in the protected and sunny wild nature of the Luberon Regional Nature Park. The mild Mediterranean climate, combines with the fresh temperatures on the slopes of the Ventoux and the Luberon, provide exceptional terriors for full bodied red wines as well as fruity and fresh rosé and whites.”

Vignoble Chasson – IGP Vaucluse – Sirmonde – Rosé – 2016
From a 1800 metre site with iron rich soil. This blend of grenache, Cinsault and syrah is clean and crisp refreshing rosé with a medium-long finish, typical of better French rosés.


Domaine Baumann – Zirgel
“From generation to generation, the guiding principles of our philosophy have been passion with precision.”

Baumann – Zirgel – AOC Alsace – Pinot Gris – Organic White – 2016
Big and round in the mouth with a creamy texture. Stone and tropical fruit. This ‘big and fat’ pinot gris is unlike others. I recommend it.

Baumann – Zirgel – AOC Alsace – Riesling – Organic White – 2016
An inviting nose of citrus, apple and floral notes with none of the ‘diesel’ notes often associated with rieslings from this region. Good body and a creamy texture followed by a medium-long finish.

Baumann – Zirgel – AOC Alsace – Gewürztraminer – Organic White – 2016
This wine shows classic gewürztraminer character including peach and rose petal. It is well integrated and well balanced with just enough residual sugar to accentuate the fruit and give it a lovely unctuous body.


Earl Paris – Simoneau
“. . . .good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people.” (attributed to William Shakespeare)

Earl Paris – Simoneau – Touraine – Sauvignon Blanc
Wow! One of my favourite wines of the day. An amazing example of the wines from this region. Complex and layered on the nose and palate. Tons of flavour and mouth-watering fruit. Perfectly balanced with a long, lingering finish. Finesse and elegance.


Domaine de Joy
“Domaine de Joy is a well-known family estate located in Gascony in th south west of France for four generations. Our estate has been certified ‘sustainable farming’ since 2005. The wines are fruity and crisp; the armagnacs elegant and delicate.”

Domaine de Joy – Armagnac – XO – 8 years
Their description of this delightful brandy is understated. “Supple Armagnac with woody and vanilla notes. Spicy and smooth on the palate with a pleasant and soft woody aftertaste.” Wow! It is indeed all this and so much more.

Domaine de Joy – Armagnac – XO – Premium 25 years
Double Wow! Amazing. I could sniff this brandy for hours trying to discover all its complexity. Everything is there. “Nice amber colour, almost brown. It reveals notes of cinnamon, cacao, orange, grilled nut. Smooth and fluid on the palate, the finale reveals mentholated notes and keep(s) a pleasant freshness. It’s a delight with a cigar.”


Unfortunately, by this time it was too late to sample the selection of rums from Saint Aubin 1819, which others mentioned were splendid.

Thank you Pascal Fernand and the team at APVSA for bringing these wonderful wines to Vancouver. Thanks also to the management and staff of the Wedgewood Hotel for their attentive hospitality.


(All photos – Sam Hauck)


Leave a Comment