On September 8th at 6:45pm, Chateau des Charmes launched its new Generation Seven wines, a white and a red. Clearly aimed at a younger market with simultaneous launches in Toronto and Ottawa, tweets and Facebook, the launch sought to take advantage of the buzz that can be created in minutes.
I initially thought that the name “Gen7” was a bit obvious, playing on the GenX, GenY, GenPDQ (or whatever the next one will be) idea. But a look at the label reveals that it is so named as the Bosc family is now in its seventh generation in the wine business. Still, I am sure it was no coincidence.
The mix of “hip” name and eco-consciousness (the bottles use 25% less glass), together with a donation to charity for every bottle, and $13.95 price target a particular market: those who are in favour of Kyoto, clean and return their empty wine bottles (I confess that I hang on to mine until I “coincidentally” spot my neighbour heading off to the Beer Store with his…..lazy, yes, but I let him keep the change!), and think about eating and drinking local. The Generation Seven website includes information about sustainability and includes a link to “mealexchange”, an anti-hunger student-led charity to which these wines are associated.
(Small note: one of the nicest things about being close to one’s neighbours is that it’s OK for the 9 year old to be only one not drinking – no worries about who has to be designated driver. You are therefore likely to hear that many of my tastings involve one group of neighbours or another….which is not to say that I live on a street of over-imbibers….just Italians and Brits!)
This evening, we gathered at a neighbour’s for BBQ English bangers and to try the new Generation Seven wines.
As suggested on the bottle, we opened the white to drink as we prepared dinner (well, one actually did the BBQ work, the others stayed inside, out of the rain). It is a blend of Gewurtztraminer, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc…this piqued my interest and I was interested to see how the fruitier grapes would balance out the drier Sauvignon Blanc.
The white was a pale yellow in colour, slightly viscous on the glass (likely due to the Gewurtztraminer) and quite lovely on the nose. The traditional aromas of Riesling and Gewurtztraminer predominated: lichee and flowers, but with some green apple and citrus from the Sauvignon Blanc were also present.
“I don’t normally sniff the wine; I normally just drink it.”, was one comment!
It was equally lovely on the palate: the crispness of the Sauvignon Blanc nicely balanced out the floral and fruitiness, preventing it from being treacly. (It did remind me a bit of a muscat in the finish). It had a long, lingering finish with a slight honey quality.
Declared a hit, we felt that the white would be lovely with a green salad or white fish with citrus, by itself or even with a tart lemon curd for dessert. Generation Seven White it a bottle I would happily drink again.
Two of us moved on to the red with our Bangers and salad. Generation Seven Red is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Gamay Noir. I was excited to try this one as Chateau Des Charmes’s Gamay Nouveau is a consistent favourite of mine.
The wine was a deep, claret colour, very attractive in the glass. However, we found it to be limited in notes on the nose, with tannin and wood prevailing. The same was found in the taste: very prevalent alcohol, little fruit and no depth. The self-proclaimed red wine drinker declared that, as a red wine drinker he preferred the white. I let mine breathe, hoping aeration would attenuate the tannins and alcohol which softened it a bit but, lacking in fruit at the start, time could not compensate.
To be fair, the white was such a yummy hit that the red might have suffered in comparison…Chateau des Charmes being a house that deserves a second chance, I would try the red again before passing final judgment.
Next up: wines of Puglia, Italy!