Select Wines & Icon Vins Fins Exceptional Finds Spring Edition – Part I

Earlier this month I had the opportunity to join wine buyers and sommeliers to taste the newest spring releases from Select Wines and Icon Vins Fins wine importers held at Chambar Restaurant.

This is a unique opportunity to taste wines as they first become available on the wholesale and soon to be retail market. An offering of spring wines, whites, rosés, sparkling, champagne and lighter reds.

As the previous Fall 2023 Icon Vins Fins Exceptionals Finds the wines we were tasting are truly excellent. Wines were tasted in the following order:


BRUNO PAILLARD Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV

Made exclusively from the chardonnay grape variety, this wine was once nicknamed the «lace» of Champagne because of its fine and persistent white mousse…

First pressing chardonnay, sourced exclusively from Grands Crus «Côte des Blancs» vineyards. Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is composed of reserve wines: 25 vintages, going back to 1985.

A very old winemaking method is used where fermentation in the bottle is less powerful than traditional Champagne.

Ageing of four years sur lie, then ten months further ageing after disgorgement. Like in all of our Champagnes, the dosage is very low and it is an Extra-Brut (5 g/l).


Appearance: Very pale and shiny with green tints. The effervescence is lighter than in the other Champagnes thanks to a less powerful bottle fermentation.

Nose: First aromas are citrus – lime and grapefruit – followed by white flowers. While opening in the glass, a touch of almond and toast appears.

Palate: After a lively attack, this wine reveals complex notes ranging from citrus to white flesh fruits, marked by the distinctive minerality of the chalk. Fresh and lingering finish.

Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru matches beautifully with shellfish, especially oysters. It can also accompany fish or an entire meal if there aren’t any particularly spicy or sweet dishes.

This is a delightful, light sparkler with a slight aroma and taste of pleasant oakiness. Dry with excellent acidity. A beautiful wine.

Retail about $126.00

BRUNO PAILLARD Rosé Première Cuvée NV

A hymn to the bright delicacy of pinot noir, the Première Cuvée Rosé is named on account of its composition of only the first pressing.

The Multi Vintage rosé, made with pinot noir, is created in two ways: white wine from pinot noir: after a quick pressing, and a fast separation of the skins, the juice is very pale and can be vinified as a white wine ; red wine from pinot noir is obtained by a prolonged maceration of the juice on the skins.
First pressings of mainly pinot noir with some chardonnay, the amount of which remains a secret. The blend is composed of reserve wines, 25 vintages, going back to 1985.

Three years on the lees, then a minimum of a further five months after disgorgement. Extra-Brut, very low dosage, less than 6g/l. A very pure wine.


Appearance: The pink copper colour with a hint of raspberry when young evolves to salmon while ageing. The fine bubbles are due to a strict selection of the best grapes, perfectly controlled temperature in the cellar and very long ageing.

Nose: The initial aromas of redcurrant and red fruits evolve to morello cherry, wild strawberry and violet while breathing in the glass. A touch of lemon denotes the discrete presence of chardonnay. With age, aromas tend towards dark fruits like dark cherry, fig and blackberry.

Palate: Reveals red fruit captured at their full freshness. The finish is bright and long.

The Rose Première Cuvée is a great match to fine italian charcuterie, sushi, poultry or red fruit salad.

The senses were stimulated with this lively Rosé sparkler. Spices predominately cloves, nutmeg with brown sugar and hints of brandy and port. An interesting acidity with light effervesence and medium body.

Retail about $145.00


Blanc d’Eulalie is made from our best chardonnays coming from the place called “L’Epicéa”, the sunniest parcel of our domain, planted more than 50 years ago. Approximately 40% of the wines are fermented and matured in demi-Muids Bourguignons and are offered with a very low dosage in order to keep all their quintessence.

100% Chardonnay

10°C in a slender, curved glass

Cold cuts, Lobster, Red mullet, Monkfish, Shrimps, Sea bass, Cottage cheese

Tasting Notes

The dress
This Champagne has a luminous lemon yellow color. It is animated by fine bubbles that feed a persistent cordon. The visual sensation announces a fresh and nuanced wine.

The Nose
The nose evokes smoky and iodized limestone smells, typical of our subsoils, mixed with lemon and white peach notes. The aeration of the Champagne reveals notes of cashew nut compote, butter, almond, with aniseed accents.

The Palace
The first contact in the palate is soft and fresh with a creamy effervescence. The Champagne develops a pulpy fruity matter, which confers volume, iodine salinity and length to the palate.

The Ensemble
The whole, both refined and fruity, expresses the character and elegance of ripe grapes from these emblematic terroirs. The finish is harmonious, melting and tasty.

Aromas of delicate lightly scented rose dusting powder mixed with tropical stonefruit. Light but very tasty with good flavour and fruit notes. Medium acidity with medium body.

Retail about $102.00



The Sancerre appellation is situated on porous limestone and hard flint soil near the head of the country’s longest river, the Loire. It’s right in the middle of France, really. Domaine Vacheron is just a ten minute stroll from the centre of town. This is a family winery in the truest sense – it’s also widely recognized as a pioneering, elite producer of Sancerre. The original five hectares established by Jean-Louis Vacheron in 1968 have grown to 43 hectares, and the Domaine comprises some of the finest sites in the central vineyards of the Loire Valley. Today cousins Jean-Dominque and Jean-Laurent Vacheron run the Domaine.

Much of the Domaine is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, but there are about 12 hectares of Pinot Noir planted for the production of red Sancerre (an unusually high proportion for the appellation and a wine the domaine is particularly noted for). Keep an eye out for its release. The Domaine continues to hand-harvest their vineyards even as many Sancerrois growers have introduced mechanical harvesting. Vineyards are Certified Organic and biodynamic, and no synthetic chemicals are introduced. Traditional winemaking techniques are employed, with white wines fermented in small stainless steel tanks or old open-top wood vessels, always by native yeast. Red wines undergo malolactic fermentation in barriques.

Look to Vacheron, consistently one of the region’s notable domaines, for intense, beautifully-layered Sancerre. The soil in this hill-top estate in the eastern part of Sancerre are largely hard and flinty bringing a notable minerality to the finished wine. Fruit is hand-harvested and the wine was fermented by native yeast, then bottled unfined and unfiltered.

This Sancerre is renowned for its intense aroma of green fruit and freshly-cut grass. The first taste is dominated by the intensity of the gooseberry fruit until the dense mineral core and subtle vanilla creep in, giving the wine impressive presence. Candied citrus and berry aromas and flavours are accented by toasted grain and pencil shavings. Simply delicious, it lingers nicely on the finish.

Note: these last two paragraphs are from the 2023 vintage courtesy of the winery website.

Opening with delicious scents of stonefruit with predominately peach aromas along with dusty rose and violets. Very tasty with notes of citrus and subtle tropical fruits with light acidity. A lighter wine but at the same time very flavourful.

Retail about $60.00

CHATEAU DE  SANCERRE Terre de Silex 2020

To make this white Sancerre, we blend the three characteristic terroirs of the Appellation. Each has its own characteristics: flint brings aging potential, structure, freshness and minerality; the white earths of roundness and aromas of white flowers (lily and acacia) and exotic fruits (lychee and pineapple); the Caillottes (hard limestone) and the Griottes (soft limestone), freshness, intense floral and citrus aromas. The blend of these terroirs produces a fine, elegant and complex vintage.


Sparkling light yellow.


Intense, with notes of white flowers, yellow fruits, pear, vine peach, pineapple.


Nice balance between minerality and roundness. Long aromatic persistence with a fresh finish.

Food and wine pairings

Ideal as an aperitif or with seafood, fish and goat cheese.

Our vineyard is located in several municipalities in the Appellation zone: Sancerre, Bué, Crézancy, Thauvenay and Ménétreol. The soil of the vines is worked to promote the nutrition of the plant and obtain perfectly ripe and healthy grapes.

Delicious aromas of tropical fruits, pineapple, coconut and crème brúlée, quite heavenly. A perfect body. Notes of citrus and a hint of tartness, with a finish of grapefruit and Meyer lemon.

This was one of my favourite wines tasted.

Retail about $65.00

Sancerre Blanc Cuvée du Connétable 2021

Louis de Sancerre is one of the great men of French history: he was both a comrade-in-arms of Du Guesclin and a friend of King Charles V. In recognition of his merit and talent, he was named Marshal of France in 1368 then Connétable in 1397. This vintage pays homage to this emblematic character of the city of Sancerre. This vintage has a marked character, like the Connétable: lively, frank, fine and complex.


Bright golden color.


Expressive, with aromas of pomelo, citrus, lime blossom.


Fruity with aromas of apricot, yellow peach, and very blended wood. End of mouth with notes of brioche, butter, and grapefruit zest.


Gold Medalist Mundus Vini

Food and wine pairings

Ideal with seafood, white meats, white-fleshed fish or even goat cheese.


Our vineyard is located in several municipalities in the Appellation zone: Sancerre, Bué, Crézancy, Thauvenay and Ménétreol. The three characteristic terroirs of the Sancerre Appellation are therefore represented: Terres Blanches, Silex and Caillottes.

Note: 2021 notes were unavailable, 2022 notes are from the Chateau de Sancerres website.

Starting aromas of light cinnamon with stonefruits and a touch of citrus, some hard candy and floral. A perfect tasting of a blend of stone fruits and citrus. The wine is outstanding. Smooth with mild acidity and medium body.

My other favourite of the tasting.

Retail about $75.00

BERNARD DEFAIX Chablis Grand Cru Vaudésir 2021/2022

Chardonnay 100%

Located between Valmur and Preuses, next to Grenouilles, the grand cru Vaudésir spreads over almost 15 hectares . Vaudesir is characterized by a more sloping land, a less calcareous and a bit lighter soil than the other grands crus. The vinification and ageing are carried on as for the Bougros. Round, fat and seducing, Vaudesir has also a great fineness.


The maturity took time to achieve so we had to be patient. We have started the harvest on the 21st of September in Rully as in Chablis and the whole work was done within 5 days…

In the cellar, the vinification of vintage 2021 went off smoothly. The alcoholic and malolactic fermentations were easy and calm (much more quiet compared to the 2 previous vintages). After the malolactic, the wines have improved in fineness and complexity.

On the Chablis’, we are back to the great classics with a lot of deepness and minerality.


After the very difficult season 2021, we all hoped a more serene and generous year.Our wishes were fulfilled…

This year again, the winter was quite mild with very few real days of frost. And, once again, the budburst started early.

The harvests started at the end of August in Rully and early September in Chablis. So, it is still a very early vintage. Thanks to the excellent sanitary state of the vineyard, we were able to wait for the perfect maturity for each parcel. In general, in 2022, we are back to normal volumes without excess.

Enticing aromas of ripe peach and cantaloupe with some citrus and delicate spice. A delicious wine with excellent acidity and a smooth finish.

CHÂTEAU DES SARRINS Blanc de Rolle 2020

100% Rolle. It is a qualitative grape variety with irregular maturity. Known in Italy under the name “Vermentino”, it is used especially in Bellet or Corsica.

Cultivation methods:

Since its acquisition in 1995, the vineyard has been cultivated organically: no weedkiller, but plowing and natural pest control methods.

The vineyard is certified “Organic Agriculture”.

The tasting :

To the eye, the wine presents a pale yellow colour with light gold reflections, limpid.

The nose is fine and expressive, mixing aromas of white fruits (grapes, peach) with mineral notes then

a discreet and refined hint of vanilla provided by partial aging in barrels.

The Mouth is harmoniously balanced between liveliness and roundness.

The wine offers good length on freshness.

General impression: well-balanced wine between an expressive and fine nose, on the fruit, and a palate harmonious combining roundness and freshness, with a beautiful aromatic persistence.

Gastronomic pairings:

Wine goes very well with fish and seafood, mushrooms, cooking Mediterranean or exotic. It will ideally accompany most cheeses.

dedected a very slight scent of brett, but my nose can sometimes stear me wrong. This can add a spicey and leathery scent to the wine. Also I smelled cat urine, perhaps, according to a description from Google, “tangy, pungent, and funky, cat pee, which I also noticed,  is often used to describe the green and potent flavours in a high-quality Sauvignon Blanc. Potent and distinctive aroma most commonly found in warm climate Riesling.” so an usual descriptor but not necessarily a negative one.

Along with aromas of citrus and parsley. A very light wine with good acidity.

Retail about $45.00


Burgundy’s 2020 vintage reflects the region’s mosaic of terroirs marked by an unusually rapid cycle with premature bloom and early harvest. The white wines are fruity with beautiful aromatic complexity, while the reds are delicious and expressive, displaying intense red fruits aromas and a concentrated character.

Our Meursault 2020 charms with its golden colour and a nose that offers rich and complex aromas of white flowers, apricot and toast. The palate combines roundness and generosity with a touch of fresh minerality. This impressive Chardonnay offers a mouthwatering finish, followed by subtle notes of citrus.

Meursault’s soils are rich with limestone deposits, a perfect fit for an aromatic and balanced Chardonnay with long aging potential. Famous since the Middle Ages, the appellation carries a solid reputation around the world for high-quality, generous, yet very subtle white wines.

16 months in 25% new French oak barrels

As mentioned in my introduction the reds for the spring season will be on the lighter side and this one is no exception. I did find this wine quite light but that does not change its character as a fine wine but rather points to my personal taste for heavier, bolder reds.

The wine enjoys both scents and tastes of ripe plum with stonefruits and good acidity.

Retail about $143.00

CHÂTEAU DE POMMARD Clos Marey-Monge Monpole 2014


The nose is intense and youthful, full of violets, ripe strawberries, red plums and sweet spices such as cinnamon. The palate is well-rounded and velvety, mixing freshness, salivation, and a long finish. Behind its ruby color with deep purple tints, Clos Marey-Monge Monopole 2016 is a dense, concentrated, and very well-balanced wine, definitely age-worthy. Its floral and fruity aromas make it a pleasant wine to enjoy today, but it is worth waiting a few years to taste it at its best.


The largest monopole in Burgundy, Clos Marey-Monge benefits from a unique environment protected by a two-meter-high stone wall. Positioned at the base of the hill of Pommard, the complexity of our vineyard’s soils comes from the alluvia, sand and gravel carried by the Avant-Dheune river a thousand years ago. Our blend of the seven cuvées from the limestone and clay-rich soils of the Clos creates a deep, elegant, and sophisticated Pinot Noir.


Hand-harvested grapes, hand-sorted on a vibrating table. 100% de-stemmed, placed into stainless steel fermentation vats by gravity flow. Weeks-long maceration, minimal pumping-over and punching-down. Pressing in pneumatic press. Placed in French oak barrels for aging on fine lees. Not filtered.

Note: something to consider with these fine wines that Icon Vins Fins goes to great lengths to import the finest wines to meet their exactly standards of exceptional wines. Often, as in this case and other appearing on this page, vintages may vary from what is available in the country of origin and Canada. In the case of this wine I am using tasting notes from 2016 as that was the nearest vintage notes available on their website.

Wonderfully sensuous aromas of dark plums and ripe cherries, Jubilee plums and plum torte. Excellent clarity. The wine is slightly earthy with flavours of mushrooms. I dedected almost no tannin and the wine is quite light and delicate. Contradictorily rustic yet refined.

Retail about $266.00

Find a selection of these wines at the following wine shops:

Coal Harbour

Everything Wine Langley


Liberty Point Grey 


Sutton Place

West Coast Liquor

Find a selection of these wines at the following restaurants:


Cascadia Quadra 


Courtney Room


Union Club


With thanks to Icon Vins Fins for the invitation. Wine notes are courtesy of the wineries. My notes (in italics). Images: MyVanCity List of wine shops and restaurants courtesy of Select Wines.

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