Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wakefield 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Australia)

My wife has got me on a low-carb diet and during induction to said South Beach diet I am not allowed to partake of any wine (I know I was as shocked to hear this as you) so I had a few glasses before this crazy diet began and I will be doling them out a glass at a time over the next couple of weeks so that I can seem like I am drinking a glass of wine and reporting on it when in actual fact I am not, sigh.  The good news is I am allow a glass (or two) a day after induction ... as you can see I am looking forward to that day and going through a little withdrawal at the same time.  The Saturday before D-Day (that's diet day) I opened a beauty of an Aussie, a Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon that just screamed Australia in my ear and in my mouth.  It was a fruity thing from nose to palate and was big on raspberry jam ... not delicate, just delicious - I am salivating right now remembering it ... it's the kind of wine I needed to lead me to my first step along my weight loss path ... something memorable and delicious.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Ravenswood 2004 Vintner's Blend Zinfandel (California)

Another Zinfandel this week ... love this grape.  I just grabbed a bottle quickly off the wine rack in my dining room and saw that it was a Zin, then I thought about what was for dinner (mini-korean bbq steakettes) and thought it might be a good match. The nose was full of cassis, black plum, and blackberry with vanilla-cedar backing; the palate was spiced plum and black raspberry - all slightly dried yet with a certain kind of juiciness that was pleasant on the tongue.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cono Sur 2010 Reserva Carmenere Rosé (Chile)

A buddy came over in the afternoon to help with some much needed fixing up in the backyard (you know, man type work, not planting and such); afterward we started pulling some corks to see what floated our boat.  We started with an Ontario Gewurztraminer that was slightly oxidized, I was surprised by that because it was still quite young.  So that went down the sink.  Next an Organized Crime 2009 Fume Blanc that proved to be very delicious ... we finished that bottle within a couple of hours.  I figured, as we started making some dinner, that we would move into the reds, but instead my buddy thought a nice rosé would go with the chicken dish he pulled out of his head from 15 years ago (feta and onion stuffed chicken with a garlic-honey-mustard glaze) ... my job was to find the right rosé.  I found this bottle of Cono Sur 2010 Carmenere Rosé, and what a find it was, it drank more red than pink.  A blend of 85% Carmenere and 15% Syrah it retained qualities from both grapes:  dark strawberries flavour with a hint of spice, very food friendly, but I would not call this one a quaffer ... it was not your typical back-deck-hot-and-sunny-day type rosé; it was a grab-something-with-substance-and-eat-it-along-side type of rosé.  After dinner we watched a few uncensored episodes of the Family Guy ... Geoff, if you're reading this, the words "Tikka Masala" should get you laughing again.

Long Point Winery 2004 Zinfandel (New York)

I love a wine with a story to tell, and this one definitely has one, not about the wine in the bottle but about the purchaser, me.  I bought this one at the Finger Lake Wine Festival, it was the year I realized what a civilized folk New Yorkers are about wine and how antiquated Ontario's laws regarding wine festivals really are.  I actually bought this wine from the guy manning the booth (after trying the wine) and speaking to him about growing Zinfandel in New York.  Turns out he doesn't actually grow Zin in NY he brings it in from California, but hey ... So now, some years later, I sit here with corkscrew in hand ready to pop the cork on this 7 year old Zin.  I can definitely say I waited too long with this one, it has an old Zinfandel smell: prunish with vanilla, hints of cinnamon and spiced cedar.  The taste followed the nose with plumy-pruneyness, vanilla, a touch of cinnamon but a slightly bitter finish from the overly hot-tannic-cedar laced finish, which I find surprising since the bottle is only 13.8%.  Perfect example of nostalgia getting in the way of drinking a bottle, I kept waiting for the right time and now it's too late.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Reh Kendermann 2008 Carl Reh Riesling Kabinett (Germany)

On the Victoria Day long-weekend we spent our time roaming from winery to winery in the Niagara-on-the-Lake region (Wine and Herb festival); so by the time we got home (after 12 wineries a day) there was no room left for more ... in fact next weekend we are going back to finish off the two we could not fit into our schedule ... but I digress.  On the holiday Monday we found ourselves in the garden sprucing up the outside of the house in-between some afternoon showers.  When it was all done, the flowers and veggies were planted, the grass was mowed, and the weeds plucked we sat down on the deck for 15-minutes to admire our handy-work and enjoy this wonderful bottle of thirst quenching Riesling in the late day sun.  With only 8.5% alcohol this baby went down too quick, what with all that wonderful peach and lime with just a hint of easy-going sweetness and nice balancing acidity to keep the sugar in check ... it truly was a hot weather gulpper wine and I believe we admired the flowers for 5 minutes and the wine the other 10, by then the bottle was done and it was time to head in for dinner. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Hillebrand NV Trius Brut (Ontario)

It's the first long-weekend of "summer" (and the rapture is coming) so there was no better time to celebrate, and while looking through the wine cellar I put my hands on a bottle of Hillebrand Trius Brut.  It seems that I am developing a pattern of kicking off the weekends with a little bubbly, and why not, with two days of weekend ahead can you think of something better to celebrate ... and now with three ahead, oh boy, bubbly is definitely in the cards.  I have written about the Trius Brut before but it deserves saying again, this is a really nice bottle of sparkling that is good for any and all occasions, and as a kick off to your weekend (which is an occasion all its own) nothing could set the mood better.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vinifera Wine Co. 2009 "The Pier" Zinfandel (California)

This is a simple wine, but a delightful one.  The alcohol shows restraint from the usual monsters that can be found in wines from this grape (one released this weekend at Vintages was 16%) ... Plum leads the charge on the nose with vanilla and cherry backing it up.  Those flavours are found on the palate and glide gently across the tongue.  Just a hint of spice gives the wine a little bite so that its not a syrupy plummy fruit bomb.  Very sippable.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grand Vins Villa Ponciago 2009 Fleurie, Beaujolais-Villages (France)

Although it's been said, 
Many times, 
Many ways, 
I really enjoy a
Good Beaujolais

I hope you sang along with that one ... What?  Not a fan of good Beaujolais?  Shame on you.  A good Beaujolais is worth its weight in gold, especially on a nice spring or summer afternoon - and especially when chilled.  Last night a little chicken on the bar-b and instead of yanking something out of the cellar with some heft and balls I grabbed for a light and easy drinking Beaujolais-Villages.  This wine isn't going to set the world on fire, but it won't set your throat or tummy on fire either.  The nose is pure black cherry with a hint of floral to make it really pretty to smell.  On the palate those black cherries are there with a touch of spice to round it out and keep it from being one-dimensional ... with a nice little chill (say 30 -60 minutes in the fridge) it's a real pleasure ... and the deeper the chill the more lift to the fruit (until you kill it with too much, that will deaden it altogether, stick with the hour up to a maximum of 2).

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Rosenblum 2004 Syrah (California)

The first thing I will say about this bottle of wine is that it has held up amazingly well given the circumstances of its inferior closure (plastic cork) ... I would say it might have something to do with the 15.3% alcohol.  it was luscious and delicious, just loaded with blackberry, black pepper, plum, chocolate, hints of vanilla and sweet dark fruit - incredibly sippable ... then came the piece-de-resistence, after about an hour-and-a-half open the wine developed port like nuances - so what started out as a table wine became a dessert wine in due course ... nice.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lots of Wine on a Saturday Night (New Zealand / Australia / Ontario)

On a night where 7 bottles were opened I am surprised we did not visit more countries in the process ... but looking at the list now I see we only went to three places on the world wine map. 

Two wines from Ontario kicked us off: 2009 Cattail Creek Riesling and a 2009 Between the Lines Riesling - both wines I have review in the past and are linked.  A third Ontario was opened, but it was a bubbly that was never meant to be a bubbly - a Gewurztraminer that was refermenting in the bottle - ick.  I can not forget the third Ontario wine that was the intermezzo to accompany the split pea soup:  Five Rows 2009 Sauvignon Blanc.  The dinner main was salmon and there are two wines that scream for salmon (or so I am told) Chardonnay and Pinot Noir ... well we visited New Zealand for both of them: a 2006 Two Paddocks Pinot, which I thought was amazing and delicious; and a Te Kairanga 2004 Pinot that had a plug of wine diamonds at cork level - even a knife poked through them didn't release them all and the wine ended up being filter through the ring left behind ... I thought it gave the wine a bit of a bitterish taste (not sure if you have ever tried those crystals that form on some corks and in some bottles but they can be quite bitter ... harmless but bitter.  Finally, it was time for something with some balls and power - you can always trust me to bring a wine that will not match with dinner just for a lark ... I heard salmon and my mind immediately went to Australian Cabernet Merlot, a 2005 Raw by Kingston Estate.  All in all - except for the re-fermenting Gewurzt, a great night of wine - and the food was incredible too.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finca Flichman 2000 Malbec (Argentina)

So yesterday I pulled a bottle of Flichman's 2000 Syrah off the shelf and promised myself to try the Malbec I had resting beside it the next day - well that day has arrived and here I am with the bottle in my hand.  The colour is still pretty dark for a 10 year old wine and there seems to be plenty of fine sediment in the glass and on the inside of bottle.  The nose is dried plum (almost prunish) with other dried dark berries and a hint of chocolate.  The palate shows signs of dried currants, sweet oak and a bit on the earthy-side; there's also a long finish of dried cranberry.  About an hour later the wine has solidified itself with a fruit build middle (mainly dried) with a cedary vanilla finish.  I thought I heard be told that Malbec is not a very ageable wine, so far, from what I have tasted with this bottle and a few in the past, I would beg to differ.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Finca Flichman 2000 Syrah (Argentina)

Tonight I was looking for something old and something that might be interesting, so I went to the "Year 2000" section of my cellar and yanked out a bottle of 2000 Syrah from Finca Flichman in Argentina (turns out I also have a Malbec from the same winery, same year - it was a toss up but the Syrah won the coin flip tonight).  I opened the bottle and poured the wine, excited to see very little degradation in the colour.  Smells were also fairly vibrant with strawberry and white pepper, very appealing and almost fresh considering its an eleven year old wine.  Of course the flavours might have faltered, but that was not to be either, lots of white pepper with a touch of vanilla, though very little, if any, fruit, and what there was seemed to be on the redder side of dried.  Within an hour any fruit that might have been there completely disappeared and the wine became very cedary .. oh well, that first hour was worth the open ... maybe tomorrow night it's the Malbec, but that awaits to be seen.