Sunday, December 9, 2012

From Beer to Sweet Wine the Holidays Officially Get Underway (Ontario, France, Lebanon)

Tonight there were eight different bottles opened, well nine actually, but one was corked, as friends came over to kick off the holiday season.  The first thing to be cracked was a bottle of beer, we had made a trip to Oast Brewery in Niagara-on-the-Lake on Saturday afternoon and walked away with a 6-pack of beers (two different) to start our evening off for those who wanted suds with their pigskin (total blowouts the 4pm games were).  Those who wanted to start their evening off with wine chose the Colio 2011 CEV Sauvignon Blanc or the Tawse 2011 Quarry Road Riesling (linked to full reviews on my website).  As we plowed our way through appetizers and on to the main course (pot roast, mashed potatoes, creamed corn, roasted cauliflower, and fresh homemade cast-iron skillet bread - all lovingly prepared by my kitchen maven wife); I offered up dinner wines.  Cave Spring 2011 Dolomite Chardonnay (reviewed on site) was the white of choice but it was the next four wines that proved very interesting and the ones I had not tried in quite some time (if ever).  Kicking off with a Chateau Lagrezette 2000 Cahors (France) ... this was old school Cahors Malbec, before they started making them all drink now, a la Argentina, this needed time - and we gave it 12 years - and it still needed an hour in the decanter to mellow and give it that smooth, lush, black fruit quality with barely a hint of those robust tannins it once had in its youth.  Next up a Lailey Vineyard 2007 Niagara Peninsula Pinot Noir (the first bottle we opened was corked, rats!), this proved to be quite a lovely wine that still has plenty of time in front of it.  An hour and a half in decanter could not subdue the tannins and rough around the edges spices, but the fruit was coming out quite nicely and seem to be holding the middle ground defiantly against the tannins and spice on either side.  This one still needs time and I have a few bottles left so I am quite prepared to give it what it needs ... let's see what happens in two years or so ... my guess and hope is that as the tannins subside that rising fruit quality we found tonight will advance further. The surprise of the night was the Chateau Musar 2008 Musar Jeune (Lebanon), this wine had a sweet fruit edge, middle and core and a youthfulness to boot - it was the wine most asked for seconds of, I only had the one bottle open, I'm sure I could have gone through two or three.  Lastly, with the multitude of desserts served I took a flyer on a non-vintage sweetie out of France: Croix-Milhas Maury - Mute Sur Grains, Vin Doux Naturel ... not sure how this one went over as many did not finish their glass - that should tell me something - so I can only speak for myself here: the wine was drier than expected, with a spicy edge to it that might have been a turn off for some ... when you think sweet you rarely think about a spiciness to go along with it.  Then again with all the wines consumed previous, maybe it was just one too many bottles in a fantastic evening of food, wine and friendship.  Thank you all for coming and let's do it all again next year - with different wines of course.


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