Sunday, September 14, 2008

Gaia (Greece); LA Cetto (Mexico); Apollonio (Italy)

Family dinner tonight, and as usual I am the guy in charge of the wine. Brought a few bottles, you never know what is going to go over well and what will be shot down. Tonight everyone agreed the Gaia White (2007 Thalassitis) just wasn't up to snuff. (my notes: over-ripe apple, touch of butterscotch and spice, but the wine seemed cooked, heavy and over done). The LA Cetto 2005 Zinfandel fared much better delivering up a plethora of easy drinking enjoyable flavours, mostly it was plummy and rich. Finally, with the main course I pulled out the piece-de-resistence the 2001 Apollonio Valle Cupa, a 50/50 blend of Primitivo and Negroamaro - plums and cherries greet the nose with a touch of chocolate and wood spice, still has good tannins and smoky port-like nuances on the palate. Very enjoyable. Most of the white saw the sink, but both bottles of red were drunk dry.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tamaya 2005 Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah Reserve (Chile)

It's not often that a bottle of wine that I buy gets consumed just hours after purchase, but when I buy a number of bottles of the same wine I wanna make sure that my recollection of the wine is valid - especially if I tasted a few months prior. That's what happened with this Tamaya blend. I liked it for my Vintages Report (September 13, 2008) but wondered if I would still enjoy it - and especially for it's price ($12.95) - was I just blinded by such a good price on that day? So I bought a bunch on my own recommendation and I thought it best I try it to see if I know what the heck I was talking about. Well I am thrilled to report I was dead on. With smells of blackberries and blueberries, spices and plenty of other fun for your nasal receptors, this wine totally delivers ... on the palate as well; lots of dark fruit, some oak, spices, good finish with enough longevity to remind you it was there ... decanting helped smooth it out a little as the tannins were a little rough around the edges at this point in its lifespan, but I see this wine having 5-7 years of staying power (easily) and getting better with age. This is what Chilean wine is all about: good, cheap and tasty ... excuse me, inexpensive.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gaia Wines 2007 Notios (Greece)

Most of the wines I open I have an idea of what they will (or should) taste and smell like, sometimes I am surprised (pleasantly) or disappointed (sadly) ... but tonight I pulled out a wine from my haul last night. You see last night I was at a fundraiser held by Tony Aspler for his charity of choice - Grapes for Humanity - I was a "heavy", as Tony called us; no I was not the bouncer, I was carrying boxes of wine out to people's cars. As a token of thank you Tony past those working for him a few bottles of mystery-wine and tonight I opened one of my bottles. It's from Greece, made by Gaia Wines and from the Agiorgitiko grape - sub-named "Peloponnisos Regional Wine" ... and you know what? For a bottle that I received in gratitude and gratis I have to say I am quite happy with it. Red fruit dominated with a touch of spice and herbs, beautiful colour and easy drinking - just a bit of tannins, very interesting; and as it opens up it develops red cherries and sweet vanilla. Not sure what I'm having for dinner yet but the wine it will go with is very nice. Thanks Tony.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

J. Lohr 2005 Bay Mist Riesling (California)

After a weekend of speaking and being on the road it was nice to sit back and relax ... I had brought a bottle along from home just for this moment - a J. Lohr 2005 Bay Mist Riesling, in the hopes that it was everything I remembered it to be when I tried it the first time. Thankfully this bottle did not disappoint. The nose was full of tropical, floral, lychee, and white peachy (had to go for the rhyme) - there was also a definite smell of parafin or petrol and on the tongue it was pure enjoyment, a touch sweet with just the right amount of acidity and all those smells mentioned above came across as flavours. When I think of Riesling I don't usually think California, but this one sure gives one pause, if only for a moment.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Concha y Toro 2000 Sunrise Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile)

The reason I am showing you the label of the bottle (at left) is not because this was such a super fantastic wine that you have to run out and buy yourself a bottle; it's because sometimes looks can be deceiving and price, a misnomer of quality. I bought this wine several years ago, the current vintage goes for about $10 at the LCBO and probably about $3 in the rest of the world, but I digress. Yesterday I mentioned that I have this "lost" bottle on my wine racks and was bound and determined to open it, with little hope of actually being able to drink it (note the vintage year). Again, I am not saying this was not the best bottle of wine I've ever had, but I was surprise at how well it had held up. Very little sign of bricking around the rim, smells were dark fruited while the taste was non-descript with black-fruit and a faint hint of tannins in there holding the whole thing up. What's more, over the course of the hour or so it took to consume the bottle, the tastes never faded or wained - it stayed pretty much the same. I was impressed, all hail the cheap-o wines.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Concha Y Toro 2001 Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile)

Sometimes I have no idea what goes through my head as I put a bottle I have never tried down to age ... on the other hand it is kind of fun to lose track of a few bottles just to see how they will age. I opened this bottle of 7 year old Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile with full confidence that it would either 1) over the hill or 2) on its way down the hill ... what could you expect from a $9.95 wine. Surprisingly a whole lot. I find I am having some good luck with my lay down the past few weeks (though I have little to no faith in the bottle of Concha Y Toro Sunrise Cabernet Sauvignon 2000 - I see I have still inhabiting my cellar - how's about we check that one our tomorrow?!?) But back to the Casillero del Diablo ... I was surprised at how well this wine has stood up. The fruit was still very much intact with lots of dark fruit, blueberry and dark chocolate, there was also a bit of oak flavouring especially on the finish. Jeepers creepers was that a nice wine - sad to say I only bought the one bottle.