Just because I started a website called OntarioWineReview.com doesn't mean it's All-Ontario-All-the-Time. When I kick back at night my mood (and sometimes my curiosity) decides my wine of choice. And the title should read, "Uncorked and Un-Screwed Tonight" ... but that just sounds wrong.
It's on a night like tonight where I start feeling very scared about what's in my wine cellar, especially the stuff in there from 2005 and 2006.
I find myself having to stay in the city tonight (Toronto) so I am off to visit my parents. Because mom always enjoys a good bottle of wine I decided to pack one, the above mentioned Concha y Toro 2006 Trio (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Cabernet Franc). I have loved this wine in the past and have been looking forward to opening it all day. Upon arrival I peel the capsule off the wine and lo-and-behold staring back at me is my nemesis: the plastic cork. Undaunted I carry on - thinking that just once I would like a plastic cork not to spoil one of my aged bottles of wine ... could this be that time and could this be that bottle of wine? Almost. The wine has basically no nose what-so-ever ... and continues this way through my last sip some 30-minutes later. The palate has hints of fruit upon the first sip and onto the second, but soon loses all sense of fruit and becomes lean, acidic and lacking any kind of interesting character ... in fact it takes a mere 20 minutes to oxidize completely to a point where I can choke but two more sips down before I am forced to give up the good fight and realize I am sipping on a losing cause. Another wine ruined by the dreaded plastic cork ... sigh. Am I to find these abominations on all my bottles of 2005 and 2006 wines? I guess we'll know soon enough.
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Now my grasp of the Spanish language is not very strong ... but my limited knowledge can figure out that "Reserva Especial" is Special Reserve and that intrigues me. What intrigued me even more is that this wine is from Argentina and is made from Tempranillo, not something you see from Argentina very often - not in Ontario anyway. I had this wine in one of my 'lie-it-down' boxes and it seems the time for lying this one had come to an end, sooner or later you do have to try them and assess them as to whether or not it should continue to nap or be woken up post haste. Good news is this wine falls into both categories ... I was sure glad I woke up a bottle, but I think it could still sit a little longer with little to no ill-effect. The nose was cinnamon and vanilla oriented with blackberry, raspberry and sweet licorice notes (very appealing). On the palate it took a few sips to come around. The first taste to hit the palate was that of spiced raspberries, the last thing was a lovely cocoa finish - it was the middle that caused a lot of controversy as the flavours were not as easily identifiable. In the end I picked up hints of blueberry and spice coursing through the mid-palate. This ia a delightful and relatively unique wine (from my perspective anyway), because it remains the only bottle(s) of Tempranillo I have form Argentina - seems I have a couple more to enjoy over the next few years; right now it's drinking very well.
Seems like forever since I wrote on this blog ... probably isn't that long but I had a little bit of a scare over the past few days that has cut my wine drinking a little, something to do with kidneys ... but I'm sure I'll be back on the horse in no time - I should hope so the holidays are coming and so is get-together season, and that means a little drinking (as we all know, when it comes to some folks we need a little booze to get through). Tonight we tried a crockpot recipe for ribs ... turned out alright but I now know why I prefer back ribs to side ribs. The wine I used in the cooking and subsequently the drinking was an Artezin 2003 Zinfandel. When I poured it into the pot at 10 in the morning it had a rustic, dried fruit quality that I thought would keep the sweet BBQ sauce in check. 8 hours later, ribs ready, the wine had blossomed with spiced plum, deep balck cherry, with licorice all-sorts on the nose, dried fruit nuances and a slightly raisined note that was very pleasant to drink ... I didn't want to put the glass down ... then my wife reminded me about the kidney thing and one glass was all I was allowed ... but oh what a delicious glass it was.
Lately I am finding myself drawn more and more to New Zealand Pinots. At the recent Stem Agency tasting I fell in love once again with a wine from Marisco ... last year it was their King's Wrath Pinot, this year it was just their plain old everyday Pinot. A buddy of mine, who also attended the tasting, dropped off a few bottles of the wine for me this evening, when I texted to thank him he wrote back, "just having a glass now" ... and so my thought process was, "why should I wait". I cracked a bottle and poured myself a glass - and the wine is even better than I remembered. A very pretty nose layered with berries: raspberry, strawberry and cranberry along with hints of dried cherry, cinnamon and spice. The palate is just as enticing and loaded with fruit, spice and black cherry. The acidity is clean and bright and there is enough toastiness from the wood to enhance the flavours and keep you coming back for more. It really doesn't get much prettier than this; think I'll be having a couple more glasses before turning in ...
I'd tell you I feel like I'm flogging a dead horse here, but this horse is far from dead ... I found myself at my brother's new house for dinner tonight and decided that I would bring along one of my newest favourite wines ... why should he not enjoy what I have found, plus, over the years he has turned me on to some really good beer, so I thought I'd repay the favour with the fermented grape. I have written about this wine extensively in blog posts about Banfi tastings: in the spring and in the fall... and then a larger post for Ottawa Life magazine's blog a couple weeks ago ... so if you have not read about it yet I am going to suggest linking up to one of those pieces to see what I am fussing about, the Ottawa Life piece is probably the fullest and best of the bunch. Anyway, after tasting the wine in my own glass amongst family I can tell you that my admiration for the wine has grown even more. If you haven't yet purchased some you might be out of luck - but search around anyway, you won't be disappointed.
As my day ended I decided to walk into the cellar and grab the first bottle I saw ... it just so happened to be this very lost bottle of Shalestone Red Legend that I uncovered over the last few days by moving bottles around. I have no idea how long I've had it or when I bought it, but it has to be a few years anyway cause I haven't been to the Finger Lakes region in at least 3-4 years; and I had to have bought it there because we don't see that much New York wine up here in Ontario (even though we are neighbours - scratch head here). Red Legend, according to the website, is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, Syrah and Pinot Noir - an odd combination, but what the heck. The wine is a rather simplistic blend on the palate and the nose with an element of sweetness ... but I found out within half an hour that I had kept this too long (it was never meant to age in the first place), it began to oxidize and become real off-putting. But in that first 30 minutes it wasn't bad at all.