Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ravines Wine Cellars 2006 Riesling (New York)

A number of years ago I went down to see how a real wine festival was run when I attended the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in New York state ... being from a province with an all powerful monopoly and alcohol rules that date back to prohibition era, it was nice to see how things could run if you trusted your populace with the booze they consume and your organizers to get it right ... but I digress.  While there I found a winemaker who was doing the right thing in a sweet wine loving state - and that was making serious dry wines.  The next day I went out to his property in Hammondsport on Keuka Lake and was further impressed by the wines he was making.  So impressed in fact that I bought two bottles from him, a Cabernet Franc, which I recently reviewed, and this bottle of Riesling - which I opened tonight with some Chinese food that the wife and I thought would be a nice romantic dinner before I headed off to Germany for a week of wine tasting.  This bottle has stood up very nicely: citrus rind, lemon / lime pith, peach pit and hints of petrol (and I do mean only a hint) on the nose.  The palate pulls things off a little better.  Where the Nose seemed to be aging the palate still seemed young and vibrant: peach pit, lime acidity and a nice chalkiness with a dry finish.  Wonderfully complex and deliciously satisfying ... I do still hope they are making them this way at Ravines.

Friday, May 25, 2012

World Tour on a Friday Night (France / Australia / Ontario)

Friends from Toronto came over in the evening (9:23pm) and the wine started following - as well some game meat sliders hit the BBQ (wild boar and kangaroo) ... so the big reds seemed to be the ones to bring out.  In honour of the kangaroo the 2008 Stalking Horse Shiraz seemed the good option, plummy, chocolate and dark fruited, big alcohol, really full in the mouth.  For no apparent reason I also opted to open a beauty of a French wine from the Languedoc, Domaine de Bachellery 2007 Grenache Fut de Chene.  The dark fruit shines on this one with touches of vanilla and spice; a seemingly delicate wine that proved to be delicious with both burgers, but still showed power and boldness once you got a few sips in.  The evening ended a few hours later with a bottle of Peninsula Ridge 2010 AJ Lepp Vineyard Merlot (; which proved to be the best wine of the evening (and I'm not just saying that because I live in Ontario) - it was delicate with mocha and coffee notes on the nose, and proved to be a complete opposite to the big-and-bold-ness of the French and Aussie wines.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Kaiken 2008 Malbec (Argentina)

On the menu tonight was bison steak and so I needed something to stand up to that smoky meat flavour ... out came this bottle of Kaiken - I have been a fan of these wines since they arrived on our shores (Ontario) and have put a few away to see how they age, both from the regular and the ultra line.  This one is some 4 years old and still drinking beautifully. Aromas of blackberry, black raspberry, cassis, cherry and hints of kirsch (which is where the alcohol comes into play).  The taste is also quite lovely with cherry, blackberry, mocha, raspberry liqueur along with spice and peppery notes - but there don't seem to be many of those.  All-in-all a great BBQ wine with little to get in the way of that big fruitiness.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ravines Wine Cellars 2006 Cabernet Franc (New York)

"I drink alone ... oh ya, with nobody else ..."

Tonight I am reminded of that George Thorogood song, "I drink alone", because the wife has a touch of that stomach flu that is going around and went to bed early ... I decided to come down to the basement and do some work - and open a bottle of wine.  This is a bottle I bought from a very serious wine producer in the Finger Lakes, Ravines.  Usually when you go to the Lakes you get a lot of sweet whites and crazy named sweet reds, but the guy at Ravines, Morten Hallgren, is making serious wines, I recommend swinging by if they haven't corrupted him into making the sweet stuff already.  This wine obviously has a little age on it, but is still drinking quite well.  The color is almost a deep rosé or maybe more along the lines of a Pinot Noir.  The nose has strawberry, raspberry and smoky notes, it also seems to be opening up quite nicely the longer it sits in glass.  The palate follows along the Pinot analogy with it's cranberry, raspberry and smoky qualities with hints of spice and really good acidity, which runs clean through the mouth.  There was a drawback at first, as the resulting linger of the wine on the tongue seemed to possess a little dirty dishrag quality ... but now, half an hour in, this wine seems to linger with a little strawberry and wood smoke ... good job Morten, you've made a might fine wine.  Now if you'll excuse me I must get back to work ...

"... and when I drink alone I prefer to be by myself."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Familia Zuccardi 2007 FuZion (Argentina)

So honestly, I was ready to lambast this wine for being past its prime, after-all you wanna find fault with one of the most popular wines in the world.  Bought for a cheap $7.45 a number of years ago, I pounced on a case the moment it hit the Ontario market - so this bottle is from the first batch that arrived on our doorstep ... and I must be honest, I can't find a fault with it - couldn't then, can't now.  It's exactly what you want in an $8 bottle of wine that is made up primarily of Malbec (70%) with a dollop of Shiraz (30%).  Now 5 years from vintage date it is still showing wonderfully well.  The nose is black cherry with mocha notes, while the palate shows some real complexity with a plethora of black fruits: blackberry, black raspberry, black cherry along with mocha and a touch of white pepper on the finish ... the wine is smooth and still really supple.  I still have a few bottles so I'm gonna hold on just a little bit longer and see what happens ... heck that's another thing you can do with an under $8 wine: cellar aging tests without feeling you broke the bank to do so.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Penmara 2001 Five Families Shiraz (Australia)

This was the last of my selected 2001 trial bottles and boy was this one a disappointment ... let's start where this wine went wrong ... the closure: a plastic cork (which were big in the early part of the 2000's) this nasty-ass closure should be banned - and anybody who is still using it should either mark that you are using it on your label (preferably in  BIG BOLD print), or close your doors ... this "cork" is ruining your wine.  This wine was oxidized beyond belief to the point of it being a sweet sherry, brick coloured with lots of sediment in the bottle - this tells me there was some real potential in the bottle, but has turned so nasty and I can honestly tell you I have tasted vinegar with better depth of flavour.  What an absolute waste of what could have been a beauty of a bottle.  Yuck.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Domaine des Salices 2001 Syrah (France)

Well, back again for more 2001 bottles of hooch ... I think I'm stuck in 2001 because I am re-arranging my wine cellar and I'm transferring data from my current software system (Cellar!) to CellarTracker - so I don't want to get too involved with the movement of the cellar until the transfer is done ... anyway that's just a little about what's going on here, I'll keep you posted.  Anyway back to the wine.  Last night I tried another '01 wine from France, this time a Vins du Pays from J &; F Lurton's Domaine des Salices.  This Syrah was an interesting wine, though I only made it through one glass because the more it sat the smokier, the woodsier and the more tannin dryness it left on the tongue.  The nose was smoky, mushroomy with dried raspberry and cedar ... it also had a fun little minty quality about 30 minutes in.  The taste kept the smoky, added earthy and cranberry notes along with dried cherry, cedar-vanilla notes and gentle spice ... but then between 30-45 minutes in the glass the subtle changes that were happening became more pronounced and intensified turning more woodsy than fruity quickly (even the dried fruit seemed to disappear); the wine got gritty and just started drying out the tongue.  I probably missed the sweet-spot of this wine by about 3 years.  Oh, well, it's all a learning experience.