Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Marietta Cellars Lot No. 44 Old Vine Red (California)

This non-vintage Zinfandel based wine has long been a favorite and I usually buy it when I am in the states because it happens to be cheap as chips down there.  I guess it's just the simplicity of the wine that gets me, the fruit and spice but ultimately the plumminess.  The nose on this now well aged version (the current release is No. 58) is full of plum, vanilla, dried blackberry and spiced currants ... the taste has a juicy and plummy note with vanilla, cola with a lovely bit of spice on the finish.  If you read the tasting notes from the winemaker from when this wine was released it says, "The lush berry fruit and peppery spice are the hallmarks of the nose, and the mouth is big and lush with ample acidity and tannin for a very smooth balanced finish." ... I would have to say it still has all that and a little more.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tarapaca 2006 Reserva Carmenere (Chile)

I bought this wine a few years ago after a Chilean tasting, it was probably one of the best Carmenere's I had had to date ... so I bought about 3 or 4 and decided to find out what happened if I aged it a bit.  And I can tell you matter-of-factly that it got better, a lot better.  When first opened the nose was a lovely brambly blackberry and cassis while the palate had blackberry bite with mocha and leather ... then I did something to see if I could smooth the wine out further - I put a VinOair aerator on the bottle and poured the wine through it.  I couldn't ask for better results, the brambly blackberry and cassis on the nose turned into mocha, blueberry, and cassis with a hint of menthol.  The palate smoothed right out, gone was the leather and harsh blackberry, in came the cassis, blueberry, mocha, vanilla and yes, menthol.  I was very impressed with this wine (and the VinOair), but I think the wine deserves most of the credit, the aerator just made things happen faster.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Robert Mondavi 2005 Private Selection Vinetta

When am I ever going to learn?  Or better yet, when will wine producers ever learn?  It seems the 2005 was the year of the plastic cork - not only do I find them plugging and gumming up the works of Ontario wines, but I also find them on bottles of 2005's from around the world.  This wine was the first meritage blend Mondavi did under the "Private Selection" label - and you would have hoped they'd've use a better closure for such an occasion.  But alas they did not.  The good news is that their lack of forethought and foresight did not ruin my enjoyment completely.  The wine was still very dark when opened - the underside of the corked was stained black.  The fruit was still very dark and slightly peppered with hints of plum also present.  That lasted through while I was making dinner (about 15-20 minutes) ... then it began to show it's oxidative side very quickly and within 40 minutes of opening the wine was undrinkable and unrecognizable from my first sip.  Alas, I hope that Mondavi have fixed this error in judgement for this wine because something tells me it would age rather gracefully given the proper treatment.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Dr. Loosen 2011 Red Slate Dry Riesling

A rainy Saturday, and as we tried to figure out what to have for dinner we opened a bottle of Dr. Loosen 2011 Red Slate Dry Riesling.  I am a fan of Loosen wines, not all the time mind you but I find myself liking these wines more often then not.  This was one of those wines that I thought was quite a lot of fun and interesting when I tasted it during the Vintages media tasting here in Ontario (which is when the media gets to taste the wines prior to their release).  There seemed to be a bit of effervescence on the tongue initially, I would think that comes from the wine being under screwcap and not how the wine was intended, as the fizziness seemed to dissipated within about 15 minutes.  What it left us with was lemon, and lime peel with hints of mineral kicking in and out from sip to sip and a lovely seem of mac apple that also seemed to be dancing around those citrus zest notes.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Bogle Vineyards 2005 Old Vines Zinfandel (California)

I'll tell you, when I first got a whiff of this bottle I was scared ... and my first few tastes were tense too.  It's not like I have never been disappointed by a bottle of wine before, but this was a special bottle of Zinfandel I brought to a friend's house as my star bottle of the evening; and it is not good to have your star bottle go down in flames.  It started off kinda murky and muddled with bitter flavours and earthy aromas that were far from pleasant.  Thankfully we moved on to something else to get us through dinner and returned to this afterward - just to see ... the result was a wine that had blossomed in the interim (about an hour or so): plum, chocolate, black cherry all backed with some dried fruit nuances, but always very good, and better with each sip.  Decanting might have made it come around sooner - but it was best to have the surprise of time instead of the quick step of the pour.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Estampa 2004 Gold Assemblage (Chile)

This is a wine I picked up a few years ago for a song, a blend from Chile that highlighted Carmenere (57%) along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and only 3% Petit Verdot.  The nose was very minty with spice, cassis and dark chocolate ... the dark chocolate continued on the plate along with more interesting notes like licorice, black currant and spice.  Time had helped to mellow this wine and the longer it sat in the glass the smoother and more mellow it got.  Delicious, glad I have a couple more bottles to enjoy.