Friday, July 26, 2013

4 Wines - 1 Friends - 1 Big Headache (California / Rhone / British Columbia / Portugal)

Tonight we had some friends come over whom we see at least once a year, but thankfully speak to more often ... turns out it was the first time they have visited in the summer so we finally got a chance to sit out on the deck with them.  One of our friends just got her Canadian citizenship so we decided to kick things off with a little Canadian bubbly; but instead of hitting up Ontario for a bottle we picked something from the west coast, British Columbia: Steller's Jay 2007 Brut from Sumac Ridge ... to tell you it was a great starter is an understatement, it was delightful, delicious and a real winner, I think the whole bottle was gone in 3 minutes (poured out) and most, if not all of the glasses were consumed within 15 ... a real tribute to a wine when it's polished off that quickly.  We moved on to try a bottle of one of Ontario's soon to be wineries, Brickyard, and their 2012 Riesling - I will not be reviewing that here but it will appear on my website before too long.

Dinner was steak so red wine seemed in order.  One of our friends is a Pinot Noir fan, so he had a glass of Cattail 2010 Pinot Noir, another wine that will be reviewed on the website in short order.  He also mentioned that he was a fan of Zinfandel, one of my faovurites too ... but more on that in a minute.  The rest of us shared a bottle of Perrin & Fils 2008 Rasteau L'Andeol from the Rhone ... this was a lovely steak pairing wine that had plenty of raspberry and peppery goodness, old enough be smoothing out in all the right places, yet still has enough umph to pair with the smoky, char-grilled steak.  With that bottle down the hatch, and our Pinot-friend finished his glass out from the cellar came a bottle of Ravenswood 2004 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel, a bottle that is courtesy of my wife and her American roots.  At nine years of age this was a beauty of a Zin that has kept its plum and spice nature while developing other real robust flavours that made it more than a pleasure to drink - at 14.5% it is no shrinking violet of a wine ... it too was consumed with gusto.

Finally, our friends are big Port fans, and so it was decided a bottle must be cracked open so that we could have a glass ... there was some hemming and hawing over a Late Bottled Vintage, but when I said it was a 2000 Late Bottled Vintage suddenly it became a curiosity: Sandeman 2000 LBV - dark chocolate dominated with hints of cherry, spice and a beautiful baked raisin finish.  One glass turned into two, turned into three and then suddenly the bottle was gone.  And we realized that our Pinot-Zin lover had been secreting glasses while we were all engaged in conversation ... we were not aware of this fact till the next morning when our slow moving, hung over friend, heard every pin drop as if it were an a hammer on an anvil.  A good night was had by all - it's just the morning that wasn't as good for one.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sister's Run 2008 Gomersol Cabernet Sauvignon

A Thursday night with the BBQ on, what in the world to drink is the main question ... we're doing a simple supper of burgers (flame grilled to perfection) and I'm in the mood for something rich from Australia.  I have also recently finished my Vintages Release report and remember a wine from a winery called Sister's Run, I'm pretty sure I still have something from them left in the cellar, and so the choice is made.  The difficult part will be to find it.  Thankfully it's an easy one to locate because of the red screw cap closure.  I have to admit I thought I had a Shiraz in the cellar but it turned out to be a Cabernet, was I disappointed?  Only for a minute, because once I got a whiff and a taste of this wine, the smile on my face went ear to ear.  What a delightfully silky smooth wine with plum, cassis, vanilla, chocolate and a delight of a raspberry finish ... looking through my inventory I am sad to report I have not a single bottle left of this delicious wine (as the French say, "c'est dommage") - guess I'm just gonna have to buy something else from these guys.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cono Sur NV Brut (Chile)

This is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling that I have had languishing in my cellar for I don't know how long.  It was a hot day here in Niagara, the humidex said it was around 40 between the temperature and the humidity - so when my little lady got home it seemed the best time to pop the cork on a bottle of this Brut (sparkling).  The nose was of dried tropical fruit and apple skin with hints of biscuitiness; the palate was similar to the nose adding apricot and pear to the pineapple and apple notes.  Wish I had marked on the bottle how long this bottle has been in the cellar, cause it seems every time we open a bottle of this wine it gets better.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Masi 2006 Campofiorin (Italy)

Before I even begin I have to come clean, I am a fan of Masi's Campofiorin ... I am also a big fan of well-made Ripasso, hence now you know why I enjoy Campofiorin, still one of the best made in the style.  This one is from a Masi-declared 5-star vintage, of which their have been very few, I believe it's something like five over the past 80 years (checking back with my notes on the subject it's 8 since 1942).  I have been sitting on this bottle for probably the last 4 years and still have a few more in my cellar so I can watch the development of this wine.  Tonight we had my brother and his family over for dinner and after some aperitifs of Rose and Sauvignon Blanc I BBQed up some sausages and had to find a wine that would go.  Now it's 30 degrees in the shade (that's ~ 90F) on this lovely Saturday and the thought of a hot and heavy red did not seem like a good plan ... but this wine fridge dweller seemed like it just might do the trick.  The wine was silky with enough acidity and tannins to keep it on pace with the smokiness and flavour profile of an array sausages (honey mustard, cheese and onion, medium, etc).  The fruit was also very nice with cherry and plum taking center stage followed up by spices and some smoky character; all finished off with a lovely bit of chocolate.  This wine stood up extremely well and still has plenty of life left in it, in fact it barely showed any of its 7 year age.  I can't wait to open my next bottle, which could be in a few months or in a few years, but I have no doubt that it will be another exciting and tasty experience with Masi.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Starry Night 2011 Zinfandel (California)

A friend of mine in Michigan recommended this bottle of Zinfandel, and so after sitting on it for all of 3 months I finally figured it was time to open it ... it was rib night after all and what goes better with a plate of back ribs than a lush and fruity Zinfandel.  Great honey garlic bbq ribs and this Zin was a match made in heaven:  the nose and palate matched right up with lots of plum, black cherry, vanilla and smoke - there was also a lovely hint of cocoa that lingered on the finish.