Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cline 2005 Cashmere (California)

It's Oscar night and being a big fan of movies I decided to celebrate the big night by opening something that befit the evening: Cashmere, a California blend from Cline that fits the Rhone model of Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache (come to think of it this is the second day in a row I have pop the top on a Grenache based wine).  This was an interesting wine, especially aged.  In its youth I remember it having the feel of Cashmere on the tongue, you know silky smooth softness - but its time in bottle has given it some interesting character.  The nose is dried raspberry with cocoa liqueur and a mix of dried herbs.  The first thing I noticed about the flavour was the heavy coffee/mocha linger on the aftertaste.  It started off with dried fruit and earthy flavours but within an hour the wine had become more sweet on the tongue and almost Port-like in flavour.

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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Las Rocas 2009 Garnacha (Spain)

Many years ago I learned about Las Rocas wines while visiting my favourite wine shop in Michigan (Champane's Wine Cellars in Warren), my contact Dave said it was an underpriced gem, and he was right.  Now it seems this wine is coming to the general list of Ontario's LCBO - it's about time.  This really is a gem of a wine with blackberry, casis, spice and red raspberry on the nose; the aromas follow through on the palate while adding licorice all-sorts and cedar to the finish.  Smooth with lots of juicy fruit.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Silver Ridge 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon (California)

I find myself delving deeper into my cellar these days looking at all the old wines and wondering if now is the time to be drinking some of them.  According to the vintage chart I have hanging in the cellar the 2000 California cabs should be drinking quite well now, though I have to admit I did not consult it till after I had picked out the bottle.  This is one of these wines that I happen to have in my cellar, I know that I must have bought it sometime in the past but have no recollection as to why or what prompted me to pick it up and lay it down ... My only answer might be the price was right and I forgot about it.  But I am glad I found it tonight as it was just what the doctor ordered.  I did not want anything too heavy and this fit the bill.  With 12 years from vintage date the wine was first and foremost smooth and easy drinking - it had some forest-floorish aromas along with herbal notes and some beet root nuances.  On the palate it proved interesting with a dried fruit sweetness and a finish that was dried cherry in nature.  I would say this wine held up quite nicely.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Codorniu Bubbles and Tapestry Red (Spain / Australia)

It's the night before I jet off to Portugal and we have friends coming over, so that means I have to pull out some of the interesting stuff from the cellar - that usually means some of the newer stuff, I hate serving the old stuff if it's too old (if you know what I mean).  Our guest bring a couple of bottles but those don't appeal to me as much as what is in my head for the night's festivities.  We start with a bottle of bubbly from Spain, a Cava by Codorniu called Seleccion Raventos - the wine has a story about it being a family reserve enjoyed only by the members of the Codorniu / Raventos family and a sticker proclaiming it's the 150 anniversary of the wine - but you can forget all that if you just remember the Raventos part of it, and to go get a few bottles.  This is one lovely bubble with exotic flavours, some grapefruit pith and citrus notes throughout, it's also got a fantastic finish and for under $15 it is an absolute steal - guests will think it the real stuff from you know where - just don't show them the bottle.  

Next up was a bottle of Tapestry 2009 BG & V Shiraz from Australia ... another bottle with a bit of a story - the majority of the fruit comes from the Baker's Gully Vineyard - and I find this is a Shiraz with some real finesse.  There's blackberry and spice, which is pretty typical for Shiraz, there's also chocolate and black pepper with hints of vanilla - again not uncommon; there's also some raspberry notes that seem to dominate the nose.  But what makes this really good is its seam of acidity that keeps this wine feeling more refreshing than the usual heavy and alcoholic Shirazes from this part of the world.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hecht & Bannier 2007 Minervois (France)

There was no real reason for pulling out this bottle tonight ... it wasn't that it was going to pair particularly well with what we were eating, the label didn't grab me by the throat and compel me to drink it, nor did I feel like a Syrah-Grenache blend ... it was just a bottle of wine that I pulled out of a "save it" case and its time was up.  Dinner was homemade beef pie and salad, so you can see dinner played no part in what I was serving with it.  This wine revealed itself in stages and by the end I can tell you that I am glad to have another bottle stocked in my cellar because this wine has yet to resolve itself, but I think it will for the better ... let me explain.  From the get go the wine smelled smoky with a whole lotta black fruit and spice - the palate followed this to the letter, though it had a roughness that made it a little tough to drink ... too much smoke.  45 minutes later I got the very distinct and perceivable smell of black raspberry and spice, a step above just general black fruit ... on the palate it was peppery with a touch of wood.  Another 45 minutes passed and now I could smell blackberry and nutmeg, but the palate had started to layer itself: with a cornucopia a flavours:  cocoa, nutmeg, cassis, spice with a peppery-wood smoke finish ... and an aftertaste that possessed a bit of a charring effect.  All said and done I wrote down on a slip of paper: "lots of fruit ... tannins ... wood ... and spice - but will it resolve itself?"  And I say yes, a few more years and I think the fruit will blossom and finally push that wood away - we'll check back in 2015 to make sure.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Boutari 2000 Naoussa (Greece)

Marinated some chicken in a "Greek" marinade and thought it only right to raid my wine cellar of something from Greece ... Turns out I am not a big Greek wine collector - I have some bottles of Mavrodaphne de Patras, some Assyrtiko and some Agiorgitko, and a bottle or two of Xinomavro and that's about it.  So it didn't take me long to settle on this 12 year old bottle of Boutari.  Now according to my records I paid a paltry $9.10 for this bottle - which now seems like a steal.  The colour of the wine was an orangy-brown; I usually don't take note of the colour unless it is unusual, not that a 12 year old wine being orangy-brown is unusual, but it was interesting to note.  The nose had lots of dried fruit and crunchy leaves smells - there was nothing fresh about the aromas, but it wasn't off-putting either - put it this way: I wasn't afraid to try it.  The taste was of real interest and it kept changing through the night, but in a good way.  Started off as forest floor with pencil lead notes, then dried cherry and dried blackberry took over followed by black currant and dried raspberry fruit leather ... the wine seems to have retained some great acidity with a touch of dried herbs on the finish ... a couple hours later there seemed to be some wood kicking around that wasn't there before.  All in all a pretty good find for under $10, and to hold it this long and still be able to drink it with pleasure I can't complain one bit.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dr. Loosen 2010 Riesling Kabinett, Blue Slate (Germany)

Seems like it has been awhile since I have written in this forum, but if you have been following my On the Road exploits you will know I was just in Italy tasting a whack of Amarone and Veneto wines ... hard to tell you what I am drinking in a night, when every night it's another 5 or so wines.  But tonight it was back to one bottle.  In Hamilton to see Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy as the last gift from my wife's Christmas presents - oh wait, I think there is one more coming up in June ... but that's neither here or there.  We decided to stay the night so we got a room at a Holiday Inn and made a romantic evening of it ... she loves Riesling so it only made sense to bring one along.  This is a real beauty by one of my favourite Mosel houses, and it was just released in Ontario earlier today.  The nose is full of that mineral quality you expect in a Riesling with lovely lemon and white fruits; there's even a zing to the nose that really lures you in for that first sip.  The palate is really something exciting as well, as the mineral comes roaring through along with sweet pear, apple and lemon notes ... there also seems to be a slight fizzante that grabs at the tongue - then again maybe it's a tingle from that mineral-acid combination ... great end to a really funny evening.

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