Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two by Pierre Laplace (France)

Pierre Laplace disappoints and then impresses, all in one day.  I opened a bottle of Laplace's Chateau D'Aydie 2001 Ode D'Aydie and I was suspect of the wine right from the get go.  This is a blend of 80% Tannat, 10% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Madiran region - the wine smelled off right from the pop of the cork (although there was a good seal and no seepage up the side.  Smell was non-descript but once it was in the mouth there was no mistaking that taste - cork ... oh yuck ... too bad, this wine had such potential and I love a good Tannat.  

I looked through my cellar and found an even older bottle of Laplace, this time a 2000 Aramis, a blend of Tannat and Cabernets (no percentages were given) from the Cotes de Gascogne.  There was certainly nothing fresh about this wine, but there wasn't anything corky about it either.  Plenty of sediment and a light brick in colour.  The nose was forest floor and old fruit, dried and sweet with a bit of spice to keep it all together.  The palate followed on the heals of the nose with spice and a bit of wood; there was also fruit in here, but it was fruit that had been dried on cedar planks and seasoned with pepper ... this one's quite good if you keep in mind its age.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Step Rd. Winery 2007 First Step Merlot (Australia)

This is gonna be short and sweet:  this was an easy drinking simple and fruity Merlot - it didn't last the evening because it was so smooth and easy to drink, it was there and then it was gone, but I remember it was a pleasure.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sister's Run 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)

Wine on the road tastes better than the same wine at home.  It's a funny little particularity that we wine travellers find out the hard way.  That great tasting white is spectacular under the Tuscan sun, but in the heat and humidity of Ontario lacks luster.  I know I was playing with fire when I brought back a bottle of Sister's Run Cab from my whirlwind Alberta weekend.  Thankfully, everything turned out fine - the fruit, the finesse and even the chocolate notes all came through loud and clear - a delicious bottle of easy to drinking Cabernet from Down Under by way of the Prairies ... and it paired well with the steak that was dinner.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Three Aussies: a Pinot, a Shiraz and a Cabernet (Australia)

For those who  think Australian wine is dying, don't tell that to Albertans - from what I see there, Aussie wine is alive and well.  After the Oilmen's Glassware tasting I retreated back to my room at the Jasper Park Lodge with my cohorts from Schott Zwiesel and Tannin Fine Wines for a tasting of three amazing products - again not available in Ontario.  I am not going to get into the evils of monopoly versus free enterprise systems here - I'll save that for another time.

First wine tried was from a producer with a rather funny name: Ten Minutes by Tractor and their 2007 10x Pinot Noir (their entry level product).  This is a wild ferment, let-the-fruit-and-the-land-do-the-talking kinda Pinot from a South Australian region just across from Melbourne.  The nose mirrored the palate with plummy, red cherry and wild raspberry aromas and flavours - smooth and fresh with a good tannin to acid ratio.  I rarely give scores on this blog but since these are new and currently available wines, we'll make an exception: **** (out of 5 stars).

My next two wines were also from Australia, both from the Sister Run winery: the Sister's Run 2008 Shiraz is made from fruit sourced from 110 year old vines, it's all concrete fermented with no oak influence (well, maybe just a little - I am told - two months worth of oak chips for seasoning).  The grapes are sourced from the God's Hill Vineyard in the Barossa Valley.  A ballsy brute with 14.5% alcohol - a nose full of cardamom, white pepper, violets and white chocolate lead to a palate showing off raspberry, white pepper, plum, spice and the aforementioned white chocolate - a pretty wine loaded with flavour - not typical Aussie Shiraz, but very good. (****)

But the real bang for the buck was the Sister's Run 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon that blew me off my chair.  Fruit sourced from the Gomersol Vineyard in the Barossa Valley and with a minimum age of 85 years; again no oak except for maybe the minimalism of oak chips for a couple of months (same concrete fermenting regiment as the Shiraz above).  This wine proved to be creamy smooth in the mouth with red cherry, raspberry and milk chocolate, which caressed the tongue with boatloads of flavour sip after sip.  My palate, and the palates of my colleagues were very much taken by this wine in our glass.  (****1/2)

After our in-room tasting it was time for dinner - and the call of the wild was upon us, and only a big hunk of meat would satisfy - must be the meat-friendly wines we were tasting.  We wondered over to the Moose's Nook in the Jasper Park Lodge main chalet where our threesome feasted on scallops and boar belly appetizers and three proteins: lamb, bison and beef - all Alberta raised ... exquisite.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sunnybrook Farms 2009 Bosc Pear (Ontario)

Summertime ... and the living is easy.  With blue skies overhead and most of the days work completed, thoughts turn to liquid refreshment. Something summery and tasty.  Instead of grabbing for something that tasted fruity I wanted something that actually was fruity - a fruit wine made from pears.  I tried this wine back during the Niagara-on-the-Lake Wine and Herb festival in May and found it very appealing.  I also love Bosc Pears, but Bosc's don't always make a good wine - this beauty defies that wisdom.  The nose is pear, no doubt, and the palate is lively with lots and lots of pear aromas.  Better yet, send a little air through the mouth and you get the complete package of Bosc pear, skin and everything, the sensation is amazing - pear in pure liquid form.  This is one of the best Bosc wines I have ever tasted ... what a way to end the afternoon, now I have to think about dinner, but first I think I'll sit and enjoy this for a few more minutes.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Agricola Falset-Marca 2006 Etim Seleccion (Spain)

From the Montsant region of Spain comes this beauty of a full-bodied blend.  The label says it is primarily Grenache, but there is some bits of Carignan and Syrah in the mix.  Whatever is in here it is dang good I'll tell you that.  The fruit is black and that fruit is spiced with pepper with a finish that has a little cocoa to round it off nicely - very tasty.  I really do believe that Spain offers up some of the best wine values, and this wine was no different selling for $15.00 a bottle.  

Monday, August 23, 2010

A to Z WineWorks 2006 Chemin de Terre (Oregon)

I have written about this wine a few times, I tried it during a Schott Zwiesel glassware tasting and was blown away by it ... needless to say I bought a few bottles on the spot (I shared the case with a friend).  Last night I once again opened a bottle and poured it slow (into a Schoot Zwiesel of course) and drank it slower ... by hour two the wine had this absolutely beautiful raspberry-vanilla-pepper nose and a taste to match ... the reason I tell you this is because I don't think this wine has remained in my glass for that length of time ever, so it was quite the revelation.  Tomorrow I'll try something new, I promise.  Cheers.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

6 Wines this evening: Ontario, Argentina, France and Portugal

Had a few friends over for dinner to see if we make good hosts in the new place ... the new house is two-thirds ready, just the upstairs needs some work - we also wanted to test out the new BBQ.  We started with a bottle of Applewood Mac Meade, a perennial double gold winner at the All Canadian Wine Championships ... the bad news is that I think I have held this bottle a little too long, the usual fizzy nature of the wine had gone flat, but it is still a very tasty beverage.  Next, a bottle of 2009 Nyarai Cellars Sauvignon Blanc - this is the flagship wine of a virtual winery in the Niagara region of Ontario.  The nose is wonderful - I have had this wine a few times in the past few months and with each passing month the smell gets better.  The palate is a little short when first opened, but I know from experience this wine needs time to really explode on the palate - funny to say about a white, but you should open this wine a day before you need it, stick it in the fridge and let it breathe the chilly air.  Next up a Malivoire 2007 Moira Vineyard Chardonnay, a delicious drink now Chard with plenty of wood - I can't see this one getting much better than it is drinking right now - and right now it drinks beautifully.  For dinner I poured a Trivento 2007 Golden Reserve Malbec: lots of juicy fruit and some great tannins, plummy, cherry and chocolate all meld together in this one.  Finally, a bottle of Sauvion 2008 Les Bousquets, a medium dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire that has great balance and acidity - hard to tell this one was sweet in any way.  As a nightcap before sending people into the rainy night I opened a Vinzelo Ruby Port, you can't go wrong with Port ...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Loosen Bros 2005 Dr. L Riesling (Germany)

Tonight, I cracked open (because it was under screwcap) this beautiful Dr. L Riesling ... five years from vintage date and it is showing beautifully - I am trying to use another desciptor besides "beautiful" but this wine makes it hard not to use that word.  The nose is lime, peach and just the merest hint of petrol ... pretty, but wait till it hits the mouth, it was a flavour explosion wrapped up in great acidity.  Spiked canned peaches (when I say "spiked" it was almost like there was a spicy zest to the wine), lime cordial and Barlett pear skin caressing the tongue.  Smooth and easy going down - we finished the bottle with Chinese food and it overshadowed the whole meal.  All that is left to say is, you guessed it, beautiful, and at 8.5% alcohol I could have easily opened another bottle, the only problem, I didn't have another one chilled.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hardys 2003 Bankside Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)

I hate to say it, sometimes a wine is just a wine.  A couple of days ago I was speaking with a colleague and he told me that the new Hardy Bankside Shiraz is lovely ... I thought to myself, "I have some Bankside somewhere, I should give an older vintage a try."  Tonight, I easily located the Bankside Cab instead of the Shiraz (which I know I have a bottle of somewhere) and decided to open it and see how the wine has progressed in its evolution.  Still with delicious sweet fruit, but instead of lovely and lively it is more dried in nature, with hints of pepper and the faintest bit of tannins left.  The wine was just that, a wine, nothing to wow, but nothing to disappoint.  It has aged nicely, but I wouldn't have waited much longer, now I'm thinking, "I really have to find that Shiraz."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Vignoble Guillaume 2002 Pinot Noir (France)

Here's a bottle that didn't even show up in my inventory.  While moving my wine cellar from one house to another I found this bottle lost in a part of the cellar it did not belong.  I set it aside to move it to the proper spot and tonight, while thinking about doing so, I just decided to pop the cork and drink it instead.  The label designates this as a "Vin de Pays de Franche-Comte" - without my books (still packed), I am flying a little blind here, and most of the stuff I found on the web was in French - so that was not very helpful ... I think I found out that the Franche-Comte is in Eastern France, after that I am at a bit of a loss to tell you much more. The wine on the other hand was still full of interesting flavours - there was an earthy sensation mixed with toasted black fruit and a hint of mocha or coffee on the finish. This was a pleasant drinking wine and I am glad I did not throw it on the rack to get lost for a few more year - this was drinkign well right now.

Digging a little deeper and employing the "Translate" feature on google I was able to learn this:  Franche-Comte includes about 10 producers around the Jura, Doubs and Haut-Saone area ... grapes are usually Pinot Noir or Gamay and whites are Auxerrois and Chardonnay.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vina Cobos Chardonnay and Tarapaca Carmenere (Argentina / Chile)

The new house is starting to feel like home, the wine room is almost done and the furniture is here.  Yesterday I stained the deck and built the BBQ - that took up most of the day.  By the time I made my way indoors a beer was the thing to have (Rickard's Dark - tasted oh so good and went down quick).  But today was a different story.  Mid-way through the afternoon I wanted a nice white, I found a Vina Cobos 2009 Felino Chardonnay, I had about a glass and a half and with each sip I became more and more disillusioned with this wine:  fat and flabby, everything you don't like in Chardonnay - think I'm turned off of Chard ... for a few weeks anyway.  

This evening I decided to stay in South America, move a little west and head over to Chile for a Tarapaca 2006 Carmenere.  Now this is a delicious wine with mint, black currant and blackberry on the nose, this follows on the palate with some good acidity and a light bite from the tannins.  I would have liked a longer finish, but beggars can't be choosers.  Out of the two wines I loved the Carmenere, and was not a fan of the Chardonnay - sorry Cobos.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

E. Guigal 2005 Cotes du Rhone (France)

Got home tonight and felt like some E ... that would be Etienne Guigal (for those thinking I was getting into some designer drug), better known E. Guigal.  I was working in a cellar all day and the guy had quite a few bottles from Monsieur Guigal, so I figured it was only fair that I sample something I have from this Rhone based house. The last bottle of 2005 I had was fairly lean, I think it was a bad bottle because I don't remember it being that lean - and very disappointing ... the good news is that I remember it like I had it tonight.  The nose is loaded with spice, pepper and black fruit.  Palate follows suit, and this wine has fantastic acidity that would make this a perfect pairing with something protein-based (say, steak); but alas, it is too late in the evening to fire up the BBQ - in fact, the BBQ isn't even built yet - that's a weekend project at the new house this Saturday (you'll find me cursing in the garage) - for now, all I can do is sip and enjoy, and dream of a hunk of beef and taste that white pepper and spicy finish ...

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Coyote's Chardonnay Last Night - Beer Tonight (Ontario)

Last night I failed to let you all in on my vinous choice: a 2008 Black Paw Vineyard Chardonnay - awesome wine (that assessment comes from a none Chardonnay drinker).  Couldn't locate my Chardonnay glasses so I had to drink it out of a Bordeaux glass - it still tasted good.  Tonight I had a simple BBQ chicken sandwich, but I was too hot to consider a wine so I twisted the top on a Rickard's Red ... now that went down very easily too.  Tomorrow I think it's back to vino, but it sure is nice to slum it sometimes.  Cheers.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bolla 2008 Valpolicella (Italy)

First official night in the new house ... I am surrounded by boxes and thoughts of where things are going to go boggle the mind ... what is one to do?  Where does one begin?  Do I dive into those boxes head first and start unpacking?  No, I find something to eat and a bottle of wine to celebrate.  Pizza seemed the simplest thing to have, especially because there is still some left over from moving day.  Then I went fishing for a bottle, and the first thing I came up with was a bottle of Valpolicella - a perfect accompaniment.  This one has lovely fruit with hints of herbs and spice ... very nice.  Tomorrow night I think I am going to crack something Canadian - considering I live down in Niagara now it seems only fair that I pop the cork or twist a cap on something really local ... I think I will go white, it's suppose to be stinking hot ... until tomorrow, ciao.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

RH Phillips Vineyard Toasted Head 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

It's the last night in my current abode, tomorrow the move to the new place begins.  So as you can well imagine I have nothing to cook in the place, nothing good anyway.  So it was a jaunt over to my parent's place for supper.  I had left this bottle unpacked for just this occasion - not sure why I chose this, it has no significance of meaning for me it just grabbed my attention while wrapping up my bottles; so it accompanied me to dinner.  The wine proved to be a nice match to the Korean BBQ ribs my father fired on the Bar-B, but on it's own it just kind of laid there - nothing that jumped out of the glass saying "wow that's a fantastic wine", but then nothing to say "you should have drank this one years ago".  It was pleasant, accompanied the food well and it was my last unpacked bottle ... what more is there to say.  The next time I talk with you I will be surrounded by boxes that need unpacking and putting away and I will be dying for a drink - wonder what I will unpack first?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Redbank 2002 'The Fugitive' Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)

Steak was on the menu so I figured a big old Cab would do the trick, and boy did it ever.  The wine was big on pepper and plum with hints of vanilla and cinnamon, but biggest of all was the dried blackberry that appear both on the nose and the taste.  Went well with the T-bone.

Haart to Heart 2002 Riesling (Germany)

I'm sure it has been said many times many ways, the Germans sure know how to make a good Riesling; and this is just another fine example of that fact.  Here it is, an 8 year old Riesling and it has a freshness about it that makes you want to jump in.  The nose and mouth followed suit with apple, lemonade and honey smells and tastes; if you really looked for it there was some petrol but it was more like a subtle seasoning than a main component.  Interesting to note the dry finish that tasted like buckwheat honey - paired beautifully with the Chinese food we consumed this evening.