Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ravenswood 2004 Vintners Blend Zinfandel (California)

Decided to try an aged Zinfandel for a Saturday treat ... now I have had aged Zins before so I know that the good ones can go a few years, and of course, when it comes to Zin, I trust the Ravenswood name.  This one had some black cherry, plum and a slight leafy quality on the nose; on the palate there was some woodsy-vanilla character, hints of dried plum (but not pruney) some cassis and tea leaves and a tad earthy.  The wine still had decent tannins and spice on the drying finish.  Not exactly a great wine but one sufficiently good enough for a second glass, if only for "educational" purposes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Quinta da Boavista 2000 Palha-Canas (Portugal)

Here's a wine that was just plain mean ... old and mean.  An 11-year-old Portuguese wine that started off like it was going to be a pleasant surprise, a nose that was still plummy and slightly chocolatey with hints of dried leaves ... but in the mouth the taste did not live up to the nose:  it became slightly thin and lean, alcohol dominated the flavours, on the finish it was dried and woodsy with a touch of something vinegary.  Such promise ... such disappointment.  Is the wine mean for not being good or was I mean to keep it this long and let it die?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Boscaini 1998 Santo Stefano de la Cane - Ripasso (Italy)

There are some promises you make as an aside to people you rarely see: "let's get together for dinner sometime" or "we must get together soon".  Then there are those you make to those close to you, and no matter how minor it seems at the time or in hindsight, you stick to it.  Such was the case with this bottle of Boscaini wine. About 4 years ago I opened a bottle of this for my mother's birthday ... we enjoyed it but felt it still could use some time to mature.  So down it went into a box of wines to age for a long upside down nap; at the time I promised mom we'd try it again when it awoke from its nap - and that time has finally come.  Actually the time came a few months ago, but because mom and I live in separate cities and both her and I were traveling at different times we just couldn't get to the bottle, so it sat some more.  Tonight I found myself in Toronto overnight and so I packed the bottle in a special temperature controlled carrier and took it with me.  There are plenty of more details about how this wine finally made its way into our glass - including a very tight and temperamental cork ... but let's get to the wine already.  The wine barely showed its age in colour, with very little browning or oranging around the rim, while a fine sheen of sediment coated the glass after the initial swirl.  It started out with a pruney smell then moved to dried figs and marochino cherries before finally settling on sundried tomatoes.  The palate was full of sweet dried fruit character and as the wine opened up in the glass the acidity and spice began to shine through and continued till the end.  My mother, who likes her wines a little fresher of fruit was not as impressed as I, who thought the wine retained its elegance and finesse even at 14 years of age; sure it's crested the hill, but it had no intention of going out quietly - still a wonderful wine.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bodega Emina 2003 Emina 12 Months (Spain)

My Spanish is a little rusty ... okay it's a lot rusty ... to be perfectly honest it's non-existent, but here I am staring at a bottle of Bodega Emina 2003 Emina "12 meses en barrica" and from what I can garner from the back label, this wine is aged 12 months in French and American oaks, but no mention of the grape varieties used in the making of the wine.  A quick check of the website leads me really nowhere about this wine, but then again why should it, this bottle is already 9 years old - but it did lead me to amend the title of this post and add the "12 months" moniker.  Well enough about trying to learn the make up of this wine, let's look at the way the wines tastes now that it has had so much time in bottle.  The nose is red licorice laced with a touch of herbal ... the longer it sat in glass the more the 13.5% alcohol started to show (which in truth isn't an over the top amount) to the point where the wine smelled like alcohol soaked raspberries - but in a good way.  The taste started out as dried black fruit, on the sweeter side, and added herbal, menthol and cocoa-raspberries as the night wore on.  I was genuinely impressed with this wine, I thought it has hit its sweet spot with lots of great fruit (more dried than fresh) still showing through and there was very little evidence of the wood used, except for a bit of a smoky finish with a cherry-chalky linger ... plus the tannins are quite smooth, but you can tell they were once there, and quite robust.  Really liked this wine.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Foxglove 2009 Chardonnay (California)

Well I finally got to a wine last night that I have been looking at trying for some time and truth be known now I am wondering what all the hype in my mind was about.  Don't get me wrong, this is a highly drinkable Chardonnay, there is nothing wrong with it ... there's just nothing very exciting about it either.  It drank fairly nicely on its own, paired well with the shrimp, peas and rice mixture that was dinner; but it was uneventful.  It didn't wow, it had no excitement - but on the good side it didn't disappoint, deflate or otherwise ruin my opinion of Chardonnay - as I wrote down in my notes "it was just there and it was just Chardonnay".

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Villa Maria 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)

Spent my Sunday afternoon marveling at the weather and then after looking at the forecast for the upcoming week realized that spring might truly be here (already?) - looks like we'll see double digits all week.  So on this lazy Sunday afternoon with the windows open for the first time since October we opened a sunny kinda wine, the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc form Villa Maria.  I read somewhere that this is Villa Maria's 50th vintage of the wine, so that is a milestone as well: one of the earliest springs in Ontario paired with a 50th anniversary wine ... nice combination. But the wine would be nothing if it did not taste great and perk up the day even more - and I would have to say it did. The nose was full of grapefruit cocktail nuances while the taste was reminiscent of peach pit, grapefruit pith and unripe pear, and of course that tell-tale/hallmark New Zealand Sauv Blanc acidity.  Lovely and refreshing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan 2002 Proprietors' Reserve Merlot (British Columbia)

For all those who still think Merlot is soft and juicy you might want to reconsider that.  As the wine gets older, and made under the right conditions, it shucks the soft and juicy and develops more interesting and more complex flavours and aromas.  Tonight I yanked a wine out from the deeper part of the cellar, yet managed to stay in Canada, as a Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Merlot was the wine of choice.  The wine kept getting more interesting throughout the night, what started out earthy turned to dried leaves before settling nicely (and for the rest of the evening) into dried berries and fruit leather.  The palate seemed to have the same reaction, starting out as a very spicy and peppery number before coasting along in the latter stages with dried fruit a la blackberry and cassis ... as the night wore on the palate dried out even more to the point where there was super dry fruit and hints of wood holding it up.  This wine has held up rather well, but what really ends up coming out now is the spicy / peppery notes ... I suggest if you have some kicking about it's time to drink it up, but give it a little time in a decanter - not too much mind you - or you'll be left with too much wood and not enough fruit ... this really is a balancing act of a wine - there's a sweet spot here, you just have to have patience to find it ... forget the decanter go with a big glass and a lazy evening where you can sip and sample away.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Thorn-Clarke 2006 Shotfire Shiraz (Australia)

This particular bottle of 2006 Shiraz from Thorn-Clarke was my first experience with a Thorn-Clarke wine ... that was a few years ago now.  This bottle was bought in Michigan in late 2007 on the recommendation of my buddy Dave, with whom I have talked a lot about in blogs and a lot to about wine.  He said it was one of the best value Shirazes in the store at the time, and he was right.  So I decided to bring some home and store a bottle or two away to see if the "best value can be aged into a even better wine - and I am happy to say the answer to that question is "yes" ... The nose is peppery, plum, vanilla with a touch of anise and spiced blackberry as it sits in the glass - it got better and better as the night wore on.  The palate is even more intriguing, gone is the jammy-pepperyness that is customary in Aussie Shiraz, now we are left with some complexity and elegance.  Smoky-licorice starts things off, then deep dark blackberries soaked in dutch cocoa with a white pepper finish and black raspberry linger - but all without that drenched full-on fruitness (aka: fruit bomb) ... decadent and pleasurable all in one glass, this has aged into a real beauty; glad I have more kiking around, and from different years.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Lailey 2009 Cabernet Merlot (Ontario)

I'm not going to say too much about this wine as I reviewed it in full on my website back in November 2011 ... tonight I opened a bottle and enjoyed it with whatever dinner was that night - memory is foggy a little on what I ate.  But allow me to say this to those of you familiar with the ageable style of Lailey wines:  this one does not fall into the ageable category, what I failed to mention in my review is that it is a wine meant for enjoyment within the next 2-3 years ... so drink up and enjoy.