Monday, January 21, 2013

Colaneri 2009 "Visione" Syrah (Ontario)

In a Twitter discussion with Colaneri I mentioned that I would be drinking a bottle of their wine tonight ... it's too early to call this a Taste it Again review - seeing as I only reviewed this wine a little over a year ago - but I can give you my impressions of the wine a year later ... heck, it's still very good (I gave it 4.5 stars back in November 2011).  The nose still has a strong aromas of smoked meat, adds dried and smoked cherries to the mix with hints of blackberry.  The palate comes off as sour black cherry and pomegranate to start, then comes the Montreal smoked meat with extra white pepper rub, then there's also a nice spiced-smoked-cherry on the finish.  The wine is holding up nicely and has managed to smooth out a bit, but still enticingly delicious.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Masi 2004 Campofiorin (Italy)

My love affair with Masi continues as I pull out a bottle of 2004 Campofiorin to give it a go.  Not one of the 5-star vintages that Masi touts on their label (under the year), but definitely it was a good one.  For those that don't know Campofiorin is the Ripasso wine from Masi and is consistently a good wine and great value - especially if you consider I was holding this one for 6-7 years and it is 8 years old.  The layers and complexity of this wine were amazing as each sip delivered something new ot the tongue - while the nose only gave out little bits and pieces:  Aromas of black cherry, kirsch and creme de cacao were all that were present through the hour and a half I drank the wine - but the palate was anything buy coy.  Plum, mocha, celery seed, cedar, fruit leather, cigar box and a slight bite from the tannins all made an appearance at one time or another ... my final few sips proved to be smooth with black cherry and cigar box notes - and those are the flavours I took away.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Two South American Bottles 2003 & 2010 (Argentina / Chile)

Dined on prime rib Saturday night, and I was in charge of the wine ... hate to say it, it was never actually said that I was in charge but I put myself in that position.  I pulled out two very different bottles one from Chile the other from Argentina ... one brand new (2010) the other nine years old (2003).  Started with the older wine: Clos de los Siete 2003 from Argentina, a wine that proudly states on the front label Michel Rolland's name.Turns out about 6 months ago I opened a bottle of the 2006 version of this wine and thought out loud in that post about what the 2003 would taste like.  As it turns out the 2003 was not as exciting as the 2006 but was still a decent wine.  Earthy nose was the mainstay of aromas, while the palate was dried of fruit with earthiness mixed in - the wine had definitely crested the hill and was on its way down the other side; but I still had a glass and a half to see how it progressed over the course of an hour or so - it never got better, but it didn't get worse either, so that was a plus in its favour.  The second bottle was the one I popped the cork on for dinner:  Valdivieso 2010 Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Cruz) - now this was typically Chilean, but typical in a good way: the wine was laced with mint chocolate, dark berries and a luscious mouthfeel.  Two wines with very different stories to tell and both told them in their own way, and I was glad to be there to listen (so to speak).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bodegas Castano 2005 Hecula (Spain)

Last week I posted a piece on the Ottawa Life blog about the new 2009 Hecula that's in the LCBO now ... I mentioned that it was a great buy for what you get ... then I looked into my own cellar and noticed I have a bottle dating back to 2003, but that's not the one I decided to open on this night (give me a week or two and curiosity will get the better of me) instead it was the 2005 Hecula that caught my attention first (probably because I have a back up bottle).  At first sniff and sip I found the wine a little tight (still?) or maybe it had just become all wooden in character:  there were signs of dark berry (blackberry) and hints of cedar and roasted coffee beans ... that cedar seemed to intensify in the first half hour until it was all you could smell ... but the palate didn't show these signs, instead in had licorice, spice and cassis flowing freely on the tongue.  Now here's where things turned wonky.  After about half an hour in things started to turn on their head: the nose was much better adding sweet black licorice, cinnamon and cardamom all mixing well with the blackberry; the cedar started to dissipate and the coffee notes became pleasant hints ... but now the cedar seemed to be moving to the palate, masking the original flavours.  Fast forward another half hour and voila this wine finally found its way, the nose had lost much of the cedar (it was now just a whiff in the background, and the palate had also shucked it's wooden flavours turning them to black tea and graphite, plus the licorice, spice and cassis were back in full force ... it was also smooth as silk as it glided over the tongue.  Advice here would be to open and decant, or if you have the patience: open, pour a bit out to give it some air and let it breathe an hour or so - this is one delicious wine after that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bellevue Estate 2002 Tumara Titan (South Africa)

So I read a bit about this wine through folks who had reviewed it on CellarTracker - a service I subscribe to for keeping track of my wine collection.  Only one person (out of four) enjoyed the wine, and that was back in 2009, the rest dissed the wine as having a "manure/barnyard factor" (2010), or "herbaceous - tar" (2005); those who drank it in 2009 were split: one liked it very much that other guy said his wife liked it better than he did.    So I opened this bottle with some trepidation, but keeping in mind it was South African wine - a country known for quite a bit of stink in their reds especially, in the past I have likened it to road tar ... but I have also found that given a healthy amount of time that nuance can dissipate and become more of a asset instead of a detriment.  The first problem I had was not in the nose or taste, it was the cork, which decided it did not want to budge - I ended up getting half the cork out and drilling a hole down the middle to pour the wine out - I then had to get the bottle pouring and then put my glass under it (like a constantly running fountain) to avoid getting to many cork pieces in my glass.  As for the wine itself: the nose was earth based with lots of forest floor and mushroom notes ... there was a hint of smoky-tar but nothing too off-putting as it would have been when it was young.  The palate had a definite aged flavour, mostly teriary notes, definitely no fresh fruit - I don't think I found any dried fruit either.  Earthy and coffee flavours dominated, but it was fairly smooth, still showed good acidity with just enough tannin grip to keep it interesting.  Not sure I agree with three of my CellarTracker co-horts, but then again I knew what I was getting into, if you've never experience that "South Africa Stink" in a bottle of their wine it can be quite off-putting.  By the way, the wine was a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 10% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc - so a true Bordeaux blend using all five grapes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Rosemount 2006 Show Reserve GSM (Australia)

I had a lot of luck with a 2006 wine last time - so once again I'm going back to the well of 2006 and trying another ... this time I'm going all the way around the world to grab something out of the cellar from Australia - a Rosemount Show Reserve GSM (Grenache / Shiraz / Mourvedre) ... this is a pretty standard blend from Australia, because they can get all three grapes to ripen in their kind of heat.  While the blend is standard this wine was far from your average every day sip.  What I really liked about this wine, in its present state, is the menthol that rises up from the glass - some could mistake it for alcohol heat, but it is most definitely a menthol note that seems to envelop itself around the other aromas of cassis, blackberry and mocha.  Sip after sip it revealed more and more flavours, most dark fruited, with spicy character, some licorice (a cross between both red and black) along with some of that menthol on the finish.  This wine is ageing very well and hopefully will continue to do so over the next 5 years or so.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bodegas Lan 2006 Crianza (Spain)

This is a wine traditionally made with Tempranillo and is aged 12 months in oak.  It comes from the Rioja region of Spain (the most famous of Spain's regions) and from a prestigious producer of the area - LAN.  Now that the preliminaries are out of the way its time to get down to those brass tacks people talk about ... the wine itself.  As mentioned in a previous post, I'm doing my typical winter wander through my cellar and picking out old bottles to taste.  This wine is only 6 years old - so not the oldest I'll subject my taste-buds to, but it might turn out to be one of the best.  This was an absolutely stellar wine that kept getting better and better the more it sat open in the glass.  The nose was earthy (at first - this dissipated with an hour in the glass) along with plum, cedar and some strawberry aromas, which seem to struggle to get through, but did eventually make it.  That earthy note that was on the nose was no where to be seen on the palate: plum, blackberry, sour cherry, and smoky ... but wait, near the finish it (the earthiness) did pop in to play with some cassis that lingers on.  At about the hour-and-a-half mark it hit its stride and showed black cherry and cocoa from mid-palate to finish (and into the long linger).  Simply lovely.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

McKinley Springs 2007 Bombing Range Red (Washington)

It's been just over a year since I cracked the cap of my last bottle of Bombing Range Red (November 2011), enjoyed it then and was planning to enjoy it now ... and I did, a little after the fact ... Upon first pour I thought it a bit too acidic, had the fruit really disappeared in such a short period of time?  I'm happy to report, no.  It took about a half hour in the glass but that lovely rich fruit managed to show itself and then stayed front and center for the rest of the drinking.  Dark berries dominate, a little smokiness with hints of cranberry and plum take a backseat but are most definitely there.  Still a very tasty bottle.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Marchigue 2004 Reserve Cabernet Franc/Petiti Verdot (Chile)

It's winter, and that means it's time to dig deep into the cellar to see what kind of finds we can locate to warm up our cockles; hibernation does that kind of thing to a person.  This evening I opened up an odd Chilean blend of Cabernet Franc (80%) and Petit Verdot (20%) - not a combination of grapes you usually see standing on their own.  Upon opening it was a little harsh, both on the nose and the palate - so I decided to give it a little time and a little aeration.  With a pour through my VinOair I was able to achieve something closer to what I was hoping for:  the nose had smoky tobacco notes along with some cedar and cinnamon ... and it continued to get pleasant the more it opened.  The palate had an ebb and flow of interesting fruit flavours - dried and sweet - that reoccurred after each two or three sips, it materialized between the cedar and cinnamon notes that seemed to be ever-present.  The finish was enticing with licorice and mocha which was very tasty almost made the wine worth every sip ... the only drawback was the dry cigarette ash linger which left a little something to be desired, but it meant you had to keep sipping to keep those pleasant flavours going - that way it was only the last sip you had to endure the ashtray on.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Finca El Retiro 2001 Syrah (Argentina)

A few days ago I tried a bottle of the 2004 version of this wine (see review here) - I was impressed that an eight year old bottle of Argentinian Syrah could taste so good ... well I can now also tell you that an eleven year old bottle did not fare as well.  The 2001 Syrah was a wooden, earthy, long-gone-to-the-Yukon mess that showed little sign of what must have been a beautiful past.  Little to no fruit (actually I didn't taste a drop), the nose was wooden and earthy with forest floor running through it all the way to the finish.  The palate was like drinking pressed wood with a cedar mid and a hint of something smoky (which is the best flavour I could find in the bottle.  Not sure I'm going to let the other bottles get to be this old so I know what I'll be drinking during BBQ season this year.  Sorry Finca El Retiro Syrah - at 8 you were tasty, at 11 you were gone.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

4 Bottles from 3 Countries (Ontario / New Zealand / Portugal)

An interesting night of wine.  Started with one of my last two bottles of Stoney Ridge's inaugural Sparkling wine from 2005 ... sadly it was corked, you could smell it right off the bat, thankfully the taste was intact for the first few sips so we could see where it would have been - it was still fresh and lively with acidity, sadly the flavour was consumed with cork notes within minutes.

Next up was a bottle of Angels Gate 2005 Old Vines Chardonnay - the tasting of this wine is documented here - so there is little more to say about it.  Next up was a bottle of Marisco 2010 Marlborough Pinot Noir, which I tried last on November 14 - little has changed with this wine, it is still delicious and I expect it to get more so in the next few years, if I can just leave some bottles alone and stop showing them off.  The real surprise of the night was a bottle of Ferreira 1999 Late Bottled Vintage Port.  Now I know people say that LBV Port does not age nor does it change and needs to be drunk within a few years of purchase, but I disagree ... I think this bottle is still as delicious as the day I bought it, maybe even more so, it is smooth and delicious with chocolate and cherry's galore along with great spice and herbs on the finish.  A surprise and a real treat.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Finca El Retiro 2004 Syrah (Argentina)

I have to admit that some things in life come as a complete surprise - like finding an older vintage of a wine in your wine cellar that you had no idea you had.  That came to me the day after I had the wine mentioned in this title of this post:  Finca el Retiro 2004 Syrah - in the next few days I will be posting my notes from a bottle of 2001 I seem to have lolly-gagging in my cellar.  But let's first move on to this bottle.  There are time when I am a totally inappropriate wine drinker - that does not mean I get sloppy drunk and lounge about the house without any pants on (heck I do that second thing on a day-to-day basis) ... by inappropriate I mean I drink things that are not suppose to go together.  Take tonight's dinner: Pesto crusted Cod, and pair with it a Syrah from Argentina - I find these experiments fascinating and fly in the face of the white-with-fish, red-with-meat crowd.  Now would I recommend this pairing, not really, but I can tell you this the dinner was good and so was the wine and if that's the case you don't necessarily have to put them in your mouth together if they don't compliment one another - this one was hit and miss as far as a pairing; but this 8-year-old Syrah was very interesting and inviting right from the get-go.  Nose and palate seemed to be in unison most of the way through.  Aromas of mocha, spice, coffee with a touch of wood and/or cedar (depending on the sip) coming through.  Where the palate seem to diverge was with the fruit - while there was nothing on the nose the palate showed signs of blueberry, black cherry and dark raspberry nuances before being enveloped by the aromas that turned into flavours.  A very tasty bottle - can't wait to see how the 2001 has stacked up.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Eve 2012 (New Zealand / Ontario / France)

A quiet night at home, just the way we like it ... ordered Chinese from our favourite place (Magnolia in St. Catharines), got our favourite oriental dishes to send off the old year and bring in the new - even made us a plate of brownies to eat before the new year's diet kicks in on the 2nd ... plus a few movies sure to keep us entertained until midnight:  Barney's Version, The Gauntlet and The Expendables 2 (that should bring the New Year in with a bang).  Thing is ... we never made it to midnight, we fell asleep about an hour short, but we still had great wines, a great meal and each other to ring the whole thing in with, both the night before and the morning of ...

The wines we rang old the Old Year with were eclectic: My wife, the Riesling fan, chose a 2011 Quarry Road Riesling from Tawse (she finished the whole bottle) from right here in Ontario.  I went outside the province, the country and the continent - going all the way to New Zealand for a bottle of Akarua 2011 Rua Pinot Noir for its black cherry, cranberry, coffee and licorice nose, which leads to an earthy, cassis, black cherry and licorice palate - think I'll let my other couple of bottles sit a few more years and come back to them.  I'm sure the Riesling paired better with the Chinese than the Pinot but it was still a delicious bottle of wine.

The next morning we did what all great alcoholics do - start the day with a drink - we did not pop the cork on the Champagne the night before so it seemed only right to pop it at 6:30 the next morning (only 6 and a half hours late):  Louis Roederer Brut Premier (non-vintage) with delicious almond biscotti and crusty bread notes ... after a nice hefty glass to ring in the New Year we did the unthinkable (to some - sorry Carolyn) we made Mimosas (you know combined orange juice and sparkling wine, I would say 75-25 in favour of the wine) ... and that really got the day started right ... we also finished the last half of the Expendables 2.  Happy New Year Everyone.