Saturday, August 18, 2012

Winebow 2011 Clean Slate Riesling (Germany)

These days it takes a greater education to read a back label than it does a German front label - both can be extremely confusing and sometimes you just never seem to get to the bottom of anything.  I was studying the back label of this bottle and still to this moment have no idea who the producer is ... a quick check of the LCBO website and I see its Moselland (but I have caught them with errors in the past) ... Winebow seems to be who ordered up this wine to be made, so for the moment let's go with that.  This is quite the pleasant German Riesling from the Mosel region.  The nose was full of peach, green apple with hints of lime and nice mineral notes.  When cold the wine is crisp and minerally, has a green apple mixed with delicious apple undertones and all is wrapped with a hint of sweetness and good acidic balance.  I noticed that as the wine warmed to a "cool" temperature the wine lost a little of the bracing acidty and green apple and instead went all peach and delicious apple- easier to drink for those that don't dig on acid.  Well priced here in Ontario at $12.95.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maycas del Limari 2008 Reserva Especial Syrah (Chile)

Back in October of 2011 I got a taste of the great Maycas wines line-up, I was super impressed by the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Syrah - which I assumed was the current release of both wines.  So how in the heck did the LCBO (Ontario's liquor monopoly) get their hands on the 2008 Syrah and, even more head scratchingly, finally get it to market in June of 2012 ... Not that the wine suffered from the ageing but I still would have liked to put my hands on the wine I tried (maybe they'll release that one in 2014).  As for this 2008 version, I was still impressed, just not as impressed as the '09 - which, if you can find some in your area, is a fantastic wine and I recommend it highly.  The 2008 Syrah starts off as a very violet wine, both on the nose and in colour, it has aromas of blackberry, black pepper, cassis and black cherry along with hints of smoked meat lingering in the background.  The taste is peppery, smoky and spicy, reminding one of roasted game, yes there's dark fruit in there but all paired with those peppery/spicy attributes: peppered-cassis in the mid-palate with a smoked raspberry finish.  I would give this one a four+ if I were rating it, just below the 2009 ... but neither wine disappoints on any level.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Allegrini 2001 Valpolicella Classico (Italy)

If I told you that I opened this wine and said it tasted like an old Italian wine, would you know what I mean?  Some would and but most wouldn't - if statistics are correct - most of you have no idea what I'm talking about (95% of all wine purchased is drank within 48 hours).  So to have an 11 year old Italian wine is a rarity these days, and too bad cause it really is an educational experience, as well as a tasty one, if you like old wine.  Not sure I should be doing it regularly with Valpolicella's though (known more for being light and fruity than age-worthy).  There was plenty of dried fruit on this one with smoky notes and a light cedary playfulness about it.  The dried fruit was cranberry and sour cherry and it really was quite enjoyable on the palate.  The palate was smooth with dried fruit and only hints of wood interuption, but as it crossed the mid-palate and moved to the back oak and cedar took over and lingered - though still pleasantly - nothing was over the top or took over, it all just melded together pleasantly.  About 30 minutes into the experience the wine took on three new aromas and flavours:  licorice, forest floor and dried leaves.  I was thrilled with the way this wine stood up

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Smoking Loon 2009 Old Vines Zinfandel (California)

With no mention as to how "old" the Old Vines are I can't verify that statement, but I can tell you that this $15 wine (just coming into Ontario on the general list) is a full-flavoured and red fruited gem that will have you sipping and savoring the night away.  I pulled this one out for burger night when my in-laws were in town and heard nary a complaint from my usually vocal father-in-law; truth is this was the only wine I pulled out that I had no idea about before I poured it ... dangerous when trying to impress those around you ... but being that I was using the BBQ and burgers, salads and slaws were on the table, Zinfandel seemed to be a perfect match.  Recommended and Father-in-Law Approved.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Van Ruitten Vineyards 2004 'Old Vine' Zinfandel (California)

On the weekend we tried a new recipe: pulled chicken, it was delicious - I would say it was fall off the bone, but it was made with boneless chicken breast, so there was no bone to begin with..  On Monday we decided to eat the left overs and I thought it time to pull out an old Zinfandel to see if the wine would go with faux-BBQ (already know it's great with pulled pork, ribs, etc, done the real way - this was a crock-pot make your own sauce kinda deal).  This wine was made with 50+ year old Zin, which I suspect is good enough to call it "old vines", aged 24 months in American oak.  Most grapes would find themselves so inundated with oak after 24 months that you could barely tell if it had fruit, but this 14.5% Zin held up well and I think now it's starting to show good fruit character even within its cocoon of spice.  The nose is cherry, raspberry, cola and white pepper and as the wine opened up in the glass there were signs of spiced-vanilla that lured you into just smelling the wine, but don't stop there.  The palate proved to be pretty smooth, it would almost seem syrupy if it wasn't for the spice and pepper notes that plowed through.  Within about 20 minutes the spice and pepper backed off to reveal a pleasant cinnamon-cherry-cola flavour that carried through to the finish.

Clos de los Siete 2006 - Michel Rolland (Argentina)

If ever a wine was perfect for a meal this was the wine and steak and potatoes was the meal ... Seems like a simple meal to pair, but the wine found a harmony with what was on the plate.  The nose was leathery, spicy with cassis and blackberry notes ... the palate overwhelmed at first but then toned itself back (within 15 minutes) and began offering up exactly what was needed.  Started with a big spice and hits of pepper but then turned into a lovely smooth wine that brought out the dark fruit and cocoa all lined with just the right amount of spice ... this was a very enjoyable wine with great flavours.  Through all the bad publicity he gets Michel Rolland seems to know what he is doing.  I also see I have a bottle of the 2003 vintage of this wine, I'll have to try it in the next few weeks to see if it too has got the stuffing or if it's falling apart.  For now, this 2006 is the bomb - a great wine that has hit it's stride for a big meaty meal.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mt. Boucherie 2005 Summit Reserve Merlot (British Columbia)

It's been a few years since I have been in British Columbia, but I still have wines from my trip in my wine cellar, so I decided tonight, with my parents in attendance for dinner, that I would dig deep and find something recognizable (to my mother anyway - she came with on the trip).  This Mt. Boucherie seemed like the perfect thing to pull out.  The nose was slightly spiced and dark fruited, while the palate was not exactly juicy (as one would expect from a Merlot), but it wasn't too wooden either (as one might think a Merlot would take on) ... it was, as Goldilocks would say, "just right": darker fruit, spiced wood character that was very easy to drink, especially when aerated.  I would not say this wine is at it's peak I would say it's just on the other side of it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mionetto NV "MO" Prosecco Extra Dry (Italy)

It's funny that nobody talks about bubbly as a late night snack.  Oh, sure you hear about it as a before dinner drink, or maybe a during dinner beverage.  You might hear people talk about having it to toast a special occasion, or maybe outdoors on the patio on a hot day.  Yes it's a great thing to mix with orange juice on a Sunday morning, or pour in a little cassis to make a kirsch after dinner ... but I have never heard of somebody saying it makes a great after everything beverage.  Which is exactly what we did last night with this bottle of Prosecco.  It was after dinner, after dessert and I was sitting in front of the TV with my wife watching some Olympic sporting event recap when I suddenly heard myself say: "Want a glass of bubbly?"  Even more surprising was the answer I got, "Sure".  And off I went to the fridge for a bottle of what was there, this MO Prosecco.  I had received the bottle earlier in the week and thought I must try what is considered the "Number one Prosecco brand in America".  The wine had nice bubbles with floral, and lemonade-like sweetness, wild flower honey and sweet apple notes - it was pleasant and easy drinking, so much so that it was almost swiggable.  Interesting to note that it was so popular in America that it is now in Ontario, proving that you have to make it in the States before you can even be thought of here in Canada.