Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Darting 2006 Riesling Spatlese - Ungsteiner Herrenberg (Germany)

Riesling doesn't get anymore chuggable than this one on a hot day ... this Darting 2006 Spatlese was just the ticket as the sun beat down.  Now Spatlese can be somewhat of a gamble in the heat (or anytime), too sweet and it's syrupy, too dry and ... let's just go with the sweet part, dry Riesling is good anytime.  This Darting is a delight at 7 years of age, the nose has peach and apricots rolled in with a lick of honey and lemon.  Taste follows the nose to a tee and still with enough acidity to cleanse the palate leaving enough sweetness behind for a long finish that gets you craving the next sip - quite delicious.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One with Friends - One for Us (California / France)

Beautiful (almost) summer evening on the back deck.  Some friends came over for an impromptu drink and I open a bottle of something I picked up in Michigan this past weekend, Greystone Cellars 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from California ... this is an almost perfect deck wine as it is big on fruit, low on tannin and nothing to get in the way of the fruity nature of this wine on the palate; had I chilled this wine for about 20 minutes it would have been perfect: fruit forward, lots of plum and cherry with no complications.

Then they went off to make dinner for their respective families and we were left to deal with own dinner plans (tonight we are breaking in the new wok): a stir-fry of shrimp and veggies, it seemed only fitting to open something to enjoy.  Bouchard Pere & Fils 2010 Mâcon-Lugny Saint-Pierre was the Chardonnay of choice for this seafood dish.  Peach (pit), apple and butter on the nose with a hint of vanilla (bordering on butterscotch) hanging out in the background; the palate follows pretty close to the nose with a really good acid backbone that makes it so easy to take another sip ... there's also a hit of citrus pith on the long finish that lingers pleasantly.  Great for sipping before, during and even after the meal.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

J. Lohr 2005 Bay Mist Riesling (California)

In the midst of an Ontario Riesling extravaganza, which included a 2006 Rockway, 2007 Calamus and a 2012 Jackson-Triggs I found myself with a bottle of this J. Lohr from Monterey, California ... also funny to note that it was the oldest wine in our line-up today.  I'm not usually a California Riesling kinda guy, so I'm not sure how this wine managed to find it's way into my cellar (obviously I bought it, but when?).  I think I was most impressed by the initial subtlety of this wine and its under-expressive nose upon opening ... it's closing statement was one filled with fun and intrigue ... let me explain.  When the nose finally started to come around there were aromas of lemon seed, yellow apple and a touch of pear ... the palate also took a little time to coax, at first it was mostly the sweetness of apple and pear and there also seemed to be a lack of bracing acidity, in fact there was almost no acidity at all.  By the time the nose came on line and the palate started to show itself to have a rather pleasant sweet white fruit seam with (and this is where it got interesting) a funky / fun  vanilla coconut finish - not flavours I readily relate to Riesling but it definitely added another dimension to this wine.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Kaesler 2005 Stonehorse Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre (Australia)

I have to tell you that I have been eyeing up this bottle of wine for the past week or so and why I did not open it sooner was because of antiquated wisdom.  First, this is a big red from Oz with huge alcohol (15%) and over the past week we were having some nice fish dishes for dinner, and the thought of trying to force this wine to match with shrimp, salmon, or cod was a bit of a hard pill to swallow (or wine to drink) ... I know I always say to drink what you want with what you like to eat and throw out the old white with fish / red with meat guide book our parents all preached from; but there are times when that old book comes in handy and a big Aussie blend is not for the feint of heart (or the delicate of fish).  And I have to say that I am glad I waited for Saturday's dinner of London Broil because the pairing of the pork and steak mix with the ballsyness of this wine went quite well together.  The first thing I noticed upon opening this 8 year old wine was that the inside of the screwcap looked like the business end of the paint can lid ... the bottle was also stained with sediment and inside the neck there was also a caking of sediment.  Of course none of that will kill you so time to move on.  The nose was very raspberry, mostly of the jam variety, with sweet spices and some sweet cherry, as time in glass passed I swear I could smell red jujubes ... and that's not a bad thing.  The palate was also very interesting.  The raspberry and spice ported over from the nose adding in a touch of vanilla and a little cedar, but always with plenty of spice.  As the night wore on other flavours appeared, like blackberry, cassis and dark cocoa.  This was an amazingly delicious wine and I can't wait to polish off the remaining bottles in my cellar over the next couple of years.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hartley-Ostini 2009 Hitching Post Pinot Noir Hometown (California)

My inner chef came out tonight as I made a pea pasta and bay scallop dinner ... sounds odd but it tasted delicious.  The wine I chose to pair with it was a Hitching Post Hometown Pinot Noir - as a big fan of the movie Sideways it only seemed  fitting that I have a few bottles of this wine in my cellar ... I had planned to sip on it while watching the movie but the urge to drink it tonight came over me and I thought it might go well with the pea sauce and the scallops.  It did.  The nose is full of ripe black cherry - it really smells sweet fruited and lures you into the glass along with some cinnamon and vanilla backing ... the palate isn't sweet but it really is juicy with cherry and good acidity on the finish.  I also find a little spice here that really helps bring the whole wine together.  Acidity, spice and lots of fruit, what a pretty glass ... and now empty bottle ... of wine.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Montes 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Aged (Chile)

It's Montes week here at Casa de Pinkus ... yesterday I opened a bottle of 2006 Limited Selection Red Blend ... tonight I went for the single variety: Cabernet Sauvignon, but this time I've gone back 2 more years, to 2004.  I opened this bottle a little early because tonight's dinner is cedar plant salmon Provencale, and as much as I am into trying different wines with different kinds of food, the Cab Sauv / Salmon pairing is not one that (from my experience) works very well.  So I will have a glass now and maybe one after I finish dinner ... though as a glutton for punishment I will most likely still try it with the fish.  Tonight's wine is hugely better than last night's so-so affair ... this 2004 still has weight and structure, the tannins aren't big in-your-face bruisers and the oak is well-balanced and delicate on the tongue.  There's an an element of fruit that still seems lively and vibrant right down the heart of this wine.  Sure there's a touch of dried fruit here but it is counter-balanced with a nice baker's cocoa that comes through, and while the tannins are most definitely present they do not interfere with what the cocoa and the fruit have going on ... in fact it seems to add just the right amount of a drying effect along with a lovely smokiness to make me want to take sip after sip after sip - and the finish lingers with a delicacy that seems to say "take another sip, I won't disappoint."  This bottle shows an elegance and finesse that last night's bottle could only dream about ... and it's 2 years older.  This is one you could still hold a few more years, but it's drinking very well right now.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Montes 2006 Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere (Chile)

At times I get in a little hot water for this column (and my other two aged wine columns: Taste it Again / Lost & Found) for waiting too long to enjoy some of these bottles I review.  Comments and emails from winemakers that tell me it wasn't fair to write about it because the wine was "past its prime", "too old", "never meant to age this long", etc. etc. etc.  But that's the nature of both the business and people - you don't always get to a bottle on time within its peak period, especially if you collect bottles of fermented grapes.  The purpose of this column is to discover wines at various stages of their lifespan:  some have over-shot their mark, some are too early in their life and other are exactly where they need to be (reached their fullest potential).  If you want to enjoy wine you have to be willing to accept the good with the bad.  All this is preamble to a so-so bottle of Montes 2006 Limited Selection Cabernet Sauvignon/Carmenere, a 70/30 blend from Chile.  I have tasted this wine at better stages in its life ... now some 7 years from vintage date things are a little drier than the fruit forward wine I remember.  The nose is dried mint with clove and dried blackberries.  The palate is all over the place, in both good and bad ways.  Dried mint shows, as it does on the nose, along with the dried blackberries, cassis and saliva-sucking tannins ... the finish is an interesting blend of cassis, mint, cedar, and pencil shavings with some clove and anise thrown in for seasoning.  Missed the sweet spot of this wine?  For sure, but it's an interesting older wine that deserved to be discovered in this state.