Friday, March 14, 2014

A Night of Old Vines Wines (Ontario / Australia)

What a fabulous night of wine.  Three Ontario and one Australian.  A dinner at a friend's house that proved to be just as tasty with food as it did with the wine.  But it's the wine that always impresses me and so that is where our focus will be.

We started the night with a Lailey 2010 Brickyard Chardonnay, it was one of the Brickyard vintages that was not already in my cellar, and a trip to the winery the weekend before revealed that they had only one case left, they had also decided to taste a bottle while we were there ... needless to say we bought a few as it was delicious:  rich and buttery, with lovely grilled peach notes.  A hot vintage Chardonnay that seems to blend the big buttery flavours of California and the acid balance of Ontario.

Next on the list was an Angels Gate 2005 Old Vines Chardonnay ... this one was a real surprise to all of us, though I am sure I tasted it back in its younger days.  The age of the wine and the age of the vines work in harmony to give a lovely balance of complexity:  Toffee, caramel, hint of toasted marshmallow, rich and mouth-feeling with creamy vanilla and spiced pineapple puree, plus there was a real beauty of a long finish.  This was one that was the pleasant surprise of the night and one I wish I had more of because the creamy smoothness and complexity of this wine was amazing; best of all it still retained an element of acidity that kept it in balance.  This was a sipping Chardonnay that we polished off before dinner ... so two bottles down and two more to go.  The first two were a perfect match to the crab dip (see I do remember some of the food).

Our host was thrilled to provide and open the next bottle, because she has been waiting to open it for a very long time, a Reif 2007 First Growth Pinot Noir ... made with the oldest vines on the Reif property; and I would have to say it has held up extremely well.  The nose is full of earthy, cranberry, and black cherry notes; this all follows onto the palate while adding white pepper, currants and toasted oak ... there's also some beautiful acidity that acts as a backbone and keeps this wine upright and refreshing, not overbearing.  Another hot vintage wine that is standing the test of time.

The final bottle was a Torbreck 2005 GSM out of Australia, but not just any GSM, an old vines Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre ... and from what I have read this wine is suppose to be a nasty piece of business (according to the folks on CellarTracker) ... but in truth I think the wine just needed more time to finally come into its own.  The nose has nice tobacco notes with a cassis syrup aroma or sorts mixed with black-peppered-raspberries.  The palate was loaded with sweet plum, black cherry, and more of that raspberry-pepper combination.  A delicious end to the evening.

As you can see, if you were a fan of old vines wine this was the night for you ... and since I am this was a great night.

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