Friday, July 15, 2011

3 Cousins – 3 Wines (Italy / France / USA)

The tale has begun on this year’s Pine Island visit, a 5-acre island in Lake Nippissing near North Bay, Ontario.  Every year I host a Saturday evening wine tasting here (this year is New Zealand and Australian wines), I also stay for a few days in the peace and quiet of island living.  First night we had some great steaks on the Bar-B cooked to perfection by my cousin Jim.  I bring a box of personal wine with each visit, somethings I want my cousin Jim to try – he’s the one who appreciates the variety of reds (in return he provides his favourite beverage, Scotch, for the Sunday afternoon tasting) … my cousin Rhonda will occasionally have a sip or a slug of white (or try the red), but that depends on her mood.  My final cousin on the island (Joel) does very little in the way of alcoholic drinking, but the boy is about to go to University, so something tells me that might change.

Wine 1 – with the steaks we consumed a Tenuta San Guido 2008 Le Difese … this is the same winery that makes the famous Super Tuscan Sassacaia, so you know I was looking forward to this one … The wine was a perfect match for the steaks with an earthy-cassis nose that delved into spice, vanilla, allspice, and black cherry pit – very complex and sniffable, but then it was palate time and that’s where this wine really took off:  black fruit, spice, vanilla-wood, earthy with big spices.  Sure it needs time to mellow but that steak with this wine was sublimely delicious.

Wine 2 – theoretically an after dinner wine is usually sweet, but I knew the night was far from over, we had catching up to do, so out came a Perrin & Fils 2009 Vinsobres “Les Cornuds” a Rhone blend that’s loaded with big red and black fruit and floral notes on the nose, while on the tongue black fruit, licorice root and lovely spices graced the palate.  Not as complex as the first, but just as delicious.

Wine 3 – Finally, we’re fireside on the beach and out comes a Trentadue 2006 Old Patch Red (a wine I have been saving for just such an occasion) – it is a blend from California and screams juicy: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan, Sangiovese and Syrah.  The nose is pure plum and vanilla soaked cherries.  The palate is just as fascinating: big fruited, vanilla, plum with just the right hint of spice and acidity that keeps the fruit in check so that it doesn’t come off as jammy – but boy is that fruit robust and delicious.

3 days, 2 nights to go … be interesting to see what wines come out next, only I know.

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