Sunday, September 29, 2013

Celler Acustic 2008 Acustic (Spain)

A real lazy Sunday ... I wrote up a couple of wine tastings and the wife caught up on some of her paperwork - then we watched Black Rain (with Michael Douglas) - I was shocked to learn my wife had never seen it (where has she been?).  Then we made an special early Sunday dinner of nachos ... I had already picked out my wine for tonight on Friday (it was my back up bottle in case a certain synthetic closed wine turned out to be faulty) ... a bottle of Acustic: a Spanish blend made with Garnacha and Samso (aka Carignan) from the Montsant region and "Vinyes Velles Nobles" - now my Spanish is very rudimentary but I read that is 'old noble vines'.  The last bottle I had of this was back in 2010, and I enjoyed it then but I probably enjoyed it more tonight.  Back in 2010 it was one bottle out of 6 poured on an evening with friends and some real hit and miss wines ... tonight it was all by its lonesome and paired with a delightful plate of corn chips, cheese, ground chicken, onions, peppers, salsa and sour cream.  Rich and plummy with an elegant hint of spice on the nose; the palate delivered black cherry, hints of vanilla, blackberry and a dusting of pepper and clove.  It finished with some mocha and licorice on the last sip, about an hour and a half later.  10 years ago it was all fruit, but now it had developed into something much more enjoyable.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bodegas Juan Gil 2008 Wrongo Dongo (Spain)

I'm a big fan of Juan Gil winesThis is one I found while I was in Florida, and unbeknownst to me this was a Juan Gil wine - I found that out when I got home and was logging the wine into my CellarTracker account ... it's what made me realize (and solidify) I was a fan of Gil wines.  Anyway it's a beautiful early-fall evening here and we put on the charcoal BBQ to make some steaks for dinner (nothing beats a charcoal grilled steak for flavour).  I went into the cellar and pulled out two Spanish wines (I noticed this was a synthetic closure so I wanted a back-up).  Hazzah, the wine turned out to be fine (thankfully it wasn't too old), not as fresh as I would have liked but it definitely had character.  Dried black cherry and blackberry on the nose, a palate that was also filled with black fruit and a little spice, along the lines of white pepper ... there was also some oak tannins on the finish that seem to want to take over, it makes me think there isn't much time left for this wine to be enjoyable - had I waited another year (or two) I would have had some serious problems with this one - for now it is tasty and drinkable and should pair well with dinner.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Laura Hartwig 2001 Reserva Merlot (Chile)

Not sure what prompted me to pull this bottle out of the cellar; I was in there re-arranging a few bottles and one of the ones I put my hands on was this Merlot from Laura Hartwig.  An interesting wine to say the least and a nice little pairing with my homemade burger (dinner).  It was smoky with licorice notes, spiced-dried-cherry, cinnamon-cocoa and some foresty floor notes that emerged fully after about an hour of being open ... there was a certain kind of sweetness on the finish that mixed well with that smoky-licorice and spice, most likely from the 15% alcohol.  Definitely not for those looking for fresh fruit in their Merlot because this one is showing its age, but for those who like age on their wines this one sure delivers.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Family and Five Bottles of Wine (Ontario / France / California / Australia)

It's always fun to gather family around the table, it's even more fun to ply them with alcohol and find out just what you can get people to try ... now it's not like I was pouring strange wines, in fact this might possibly one of the best array of wines I have poured for a group in a long time, starting with the Collin Bourisset 2011 Brouilly 'Les Terres Bleues', something new to hit the LCBO shelves here in Ontario.  This is a lovely wine from the Beaujolais region of France and one I just couldn't wait to try again.  I put a touch of a chill on this bottle and it just sang from the glass with lovely ripe cherry with a hint of white pepper on the finish and the freshness of acidity to keep it lively on the tongue.  I could have had two more bottles myself, but instead we moved on.  The EastDell 2010 Gamay Noir was a perfect follow up to the Collin Bourisset - a little more darker in the cherry department; my full review can be found here (video and written review).  Moving on ... for dinner of fresh pulled pork and some left over ribs from our feast a couple nights before at Ravine Vineyard, I pulled the cork on a Villa Mt Eden 2008 Antique Vines Zinfandel ... what a pure Zinfandel delight this is - there was smoky plum, hints of cocoa, dried cherry and red licorice, touches of spice, all melding together and pairing so well with the pulled pork and ribs; yum.

After dinner you had your choice of sweeties:  2008 Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Franc Icewine (opened specifically for my mother-in-law who has a sweet-tooth that makes mine look like a minor itch) and an Australian Tawny Port-style wine from Dutschke called Old Codger (which three people partook of) ... The Codger is a wine I've had in my cellar for quite some time and has no date on it: spiced orange and cherry on the nose with a smoother than expected mouthfeel of dried cherry and spice along with the 18.8% alcohol heat ... it was a cool night (6 Celsius) so the warmth of this liquid was quite welcome.  As for the Icewine, mother polished off a good 3/4 of the bottle, which was just simply a lovely version:  strawberry, raspberry and cherry mingling together with a honeyed sweetness and near perfect acidity to keep it from being cloyingly sweet, there was just enough left in the bottle for me to get a little taste and make this note.  Congrats to the Chateau on this beauty - if I were to score it (which it turns out I never did on my website, I'd give it 4.5 stars)

It is my understanding that everyone had a great time - and ate well - and of course, we drank well too.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Nieto Senetiner 2001 Don Nicanor Fine Red Wine (Argentina)

After my experience with my last Don Nicanor wine and my discovery that I had an even older red blend from the same buried in my cellar, I decided that tonight I would give it a try ... it's Sunday evening and there's no rush, so if the bottle turns out to be less than adequate I'll move on.  This is a 12 year old wine made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merlot aged 12 months in French oak barrels - all this information was listed on the back label, but no cellaring recommendations beyond 16 Celsius or lower, and that the wine was made unfiltered (which really means there could be sediment).  Not sure what I was expecting but here's what I got ... nose started out with cocoa powder, spice, clove and oak; palate was also spiced and dried fruit, mainly of the dark berry varieties.  The label did recommend opening 30 minutes before drinking, had I done that I would have missed out on all of the above, and instead had the following:  (~30 minutes) opened to reveal the definite smells of spiced raspberry on the nose and a palate that showed off surprising complexity of raspberry, cassis and blackberry (more dried than fresh, but there was an element of freshness there) though everything was still a tad on the oaky side.  After an hour the wine smoothed out dramatically (seemingly between sips) but the profile of dried dark fruit and oak still remained.  I would have to say I was very impressed with this wine, sometimes it's good to come to a wine with no expectations.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Nieto Senetiner 2008 Don Nicanor Malbec (Argentina)

A little family dinner and it came after a large Gallo tasting I had in downtown Toronto ... one of my rules of thumb after a tasting is that I want to get as far away from the tasting country as possible.  With lots of different wines in the Gallo portfolio it is hard to figure out where to go, but I figured Argentina might be a good place to start ... and this Nicanor is always a good wine (in fact I have a 2001 in my cellar that I might be trying sooner rather than later).  This aged Malbec really delivered the goods with blackberry, cassis and spice on the nose followed up with black raspberry and black pepper on the palate, quite a delight.  The wine was dark and brooding with a delicious peppered-cocoa powder finish.  Checking my cellar inventory I see I still have a bottle of this beauty left, might leave it a couple more years to see where it goes - on the other hand, maybe I won't, it really waits to be seen.