Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Uncorked / What I'm Drinking Tonight is Going Home

The What I'm Drinking Tonight blog is going home and taking on a new name:  "Uncorked Tonight" ... 

With the update and release of the NEW Michael Pinkus Wine Review website (formerly OntarioWineReview); with its sleek new look, cool design, and mobile functionality we've decided to bring a few of the blogs back into the fold ... this being one of them - be sure to check us out there.

Thanks for reading and we'll see you on the new site.

Michael Pinkus
Grape Guy

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Jackson-Triggs 2005 Meritage, Sun Rock Vineyard (British Columbia)

Far too many years have past since my last trip to British Columbia to check out the Okanagan Valley and drink their wines ... as I sit here reminiscing with a glass in my hand of this award winner (Best Red, All Canadian Wine Championships) ... I am remembering the day spent with the folks of Vincor and the tour of their properties, the lunch and dinner, the driving up and down (and back up) the Valley ... what a day.  They say you can never bring back those memories by opening the bottle, you have to create new ones, but with this wine in my hand it's hard not to thing back of those 10 days of summer - especially on this miserable April day.  Here we have a blend of 50% Merlot,  30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc ... and it is drinking absolutely fabulously ... in fact the longer it sits in glass the better it becomes.  Aromas of pepper, smoke, dried cassis, coffee and anise seem to lull the olfactories ... Palate starts off slow with plenty of wood on both the front, mid and back, but once air has done its magic (after an hour) it reveals itself to be a super pleasing combination full of mocha, blackberry, spiced-strawberry, anise, and cassis.  Everything has mellowed and has becomes silky smooth all the way to the finish.  This wine still has great life left in the bottle and after an hour smoothed our for the next 2, by then we had drank the whole thing.  So glad I held on to it, but now I have a typical wine buyer's lament:  wish I had gotten more.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Nepenthe 2004 Tryst (Australia)

Tryst is a blend of three grapes, and an odd triple blend at that, especially if you consider the country of origin (Australia):  Cabernet, Tempranillo, and Zinfandel ... As a Zinfandel fan I was positive I would like this even though zin was low man on the totem pole to Cab and Tempranillo ... I also decided a little time would do it some good and I wasn't wrong on either count.  The nose if full of plum, blackberry, vanilla and baking spice.  The palate also had much to give and the tannins still put up a fight with the tongue, but it also allowed the spiced-plum, cinnamon, dark chocolate and coffee to come through unimpeded.  A real taste treat after all these years - so glad I held onto this one.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ca'Momi 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley (California)

A find is a find is a find ... not sure if that was ever a saying but I think I would like to coin that one now.  I discovered this wine during a Vintages tasting in late December 2013 during the Ontario Wine Board's annual crap-a-thon that they call "Smart Buys" (a virtual dumping ground of low-priced, low end wines that they can't figure out where else to put them throughout the year).  But on occasion there is a stellar bottle that sneaks through the cracks and this was one of them ... so much so that I just had to buy a bottle the moment it hit shelves (okay, so I bought three).  What made this wine so good is that is wasn't your same-old, same old typical low priced Cali-Cab it had everything that a higher priced bottle should have, and then some:  Nose was loaded with plum, smoked cherry, Christmas cake spice, black currant, anise, and coffee bean while the palate takes all of that in and adds black cherry, white smoke, touches of smoked meat and mocha wrapping it all with a long, luxurious finish.  Pure yum.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Delaine Syrah - Coyote Franc - 7 Deadly (Ontario / California)

So I won't bore you with too many of the details ... tonight we had some folks over for dinner and I think it tied in with March break some-way some-how.  Anyway, it's a Thursday night and I pulled out three bottles of wine for the masses.  Two were from Ontario: an one new and an old one, plus a little something from California.

We kicked things off with something I was really interested in trying, a Coyote's Run 2005 Cabernet Franc ... and thankfully it did not disappoint.  I reviewed it in full as part of my Taste it Again blog and it can be found here.  The other bottle from Ontario was a beauty of a Syrah from the Delaine Vineyard, part of Jackson-Triggs, it's too young to have a Taste it Again written about it so you can read my original review from November 2013 here.

So the focus of this What I'm Drinking is a 7 Deadly Zins from Michael David out of California ... this one is probably one of the most recognized names in Zin, no matter where I have gone and say I love Zinfandel inevitably someone will say to me, "Have you tried that Seven Deadly one?"  The answer is, many times.  The last one I had was showing some Syrah like qualities of smoked meat, this particular night it was an older 2009 version and while it was very tasty it was also quite typical of Zin:  smoked raspberry and cherry with a seam of vanilla running through it.  Delicious and just what I expected, but nothing earth shattering, I would have to say that the 7 Deadly is getting better than this standard version they put out in 2009.

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.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cedarville 2005 Zinfandel, El Dorado (California)

It's been a real long time since last I tried a bottle of this ... but the real story behind this wine isn't how long its been since I've had one, but instead how I acquired bottles of this.  A friend I was taking WSET classes with was also a wine agent and learned that I was a big Zinfandel fan.  I got a call late one evening from said friend who informed me she had an open bottle and was inviting a few folks over to try it, wondered if I were interested (knowing my love for the grape) ... I jumped at the opportunity to taste a Zinfandel I have never heard of; so needless to say I loved the wine and shared the purchase of a case with another Zin lover who was there that night.  This alas is my last bottle and I'm sad to say it is drinking even nicer today than it did when I tasted before, and it has gotten better each time after, and it is maturing gracefully.  The nose is pure black pepper with nicely spiced plum, hints of vanilla and a touch of dark cocoa.  The palate is full of  cocoa, spiced-vanilla, plum, and black raspberry.  The alcohol gives this one a warming effect in the belly but it's balanced and the wine bites back with all those spice notes.