Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bernardus Chardonnay and Musar Jeune (California / Lebanon)

Bit of a double whammy tonight in the wine department.  A friend showed up with dinner and dessert under their arm, they also had a bottle of 2000 Baco Noir Reserve from Henry of Pelham.  Now back in June, the Wine Writers' Circle did a tasting of nine Henry Reserve Bacos, one of my least favourites was the 2000 ... but we cracked it and tried it anyway.  My opinion did not change, and our friend asked for something else ... "do you have anything?"  Now I am never at a loss for wine in the house so I grabbed a bottle of Chardonnay out of the fridge that I picked up on my tour of Monterey, California:  Bernardus 2009 Sierra Mar Vineyard.  Now, if memory serves correctly these vines are in their first year of producing viable fruit, and the guy who let me taste it in the tasting room said they were expecting great things from this vineyard in the future.  While I think it has great things going for it now.  The nose is buttery caramel and honeyed-hazelnuts along with peach pit and candied almonds.  The palate isn't as candied as the nose giving off both fruit and sweet sensations on the tongue: vanilla-butter, apple, peach with a slightly nutty-spicy finish ... my friend remarked that it tasted older than one would expect from a 2009 wine.  I have to wonder what sitting in the belly of a plane did to the wine, but it was still a delight to drink. 

Dinner was awhile in the oven, who knew that a lasagna would take 2 hours to cook (okay so it was frozen, but still), so when we finally sat down we had to open another bottle, and this time it was a Chateau Musar 2008 Musar Jeune from Lebanon.  This is a blend of Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, from the old old world.  Musar (at least the bottles I have had) never have that fresh fruit flavour so it is an acquired taste.  The nose is dried leaves along with herbs and spice; palate-wise there was cran-cherry and spice with a touch of herbal notes. I enjoyed it very much and seemed to match with the noodles, cheese and meat very well.  Then again it was also good on its own.

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