Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Report from ... Churchill Cellars Portfolio Tasting - May 12, 2014

Churchill's never seems to bring out their big guns, it's an assortment of general list and a few vintages products ... call it a tasting for the masses. But it's still interesting to taste the newest vintages of some old favourites, new to market labels and some facelifts on well worn products ... These were the highlights of the Churchill tasting:

Alpine Valley 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 - #241810)
big and bright with grassy and grapefruit, full of typical flavours
(*** 1/2+)
Deakin Estate 2013 Shiraz ($9.95 - #560821)
chocolate, raspberry and white pepper - a great value for what you get
(*** 1/2+)
Segura Viudas Reserva (Cava) - $14.95
"New look, same great taste"; actually I think it tastes even better:
fresh, clean, apple, lemon, big acidity, food friendly and very refreshing
(****)
Willm 2012 Gewurztraminer Reserve ($15.95 - #269852)
soapy, floral and orange pith
(*** 1/2+)

Fresita, Sparkling Wine with strawberries ($13.95 - #56697)
it gives you exactly what you expect: strawberry infused sparkling wine;
always delicious (****)
Chateau de Gourgazaud 2011 Minervois ($12.95 - #22384)
good fruit-tannin mix with smoked cherry and mineral notes
(****)

Chateau Donissan 2010 Listrac-Medoc ($17.95 - #365874)
mocha and oak, fruit shows lots of cassis and blackberry with touch of smoke
(****)
Chivite 2007 Gran Feudo Reserva ($16.95 - #479014)
nice and easy drinking with cherry and strawberry fruit
(*** 1/2+)

Delicato 2011 Handcraft Petite Sirah ($17.95 - #361907)
fun on both the nose and palate: meaty bacon and blueberry with mocha,
smoky vanilla and coffee on the finish
(****)
First Press 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($22.95 - #188110)
smooth and sexy Cabernet, silky, mouth-filling, full of red and black fruit
(*** 1/2+)
Michael David 2011 7 Deadly Zins ($24.95 - #59311)
love the smoked meatiness that seems to be creeping into this wine,
nicely peppered vanilla, black cherry and plum
(****)
Domaine Pinnacle 2012 Ice Cider ($24.95 - #94094)
apple and apple peal in all it's sweet glory - this is a party in the mouth
for apple lovers - and for the rest of you, just call it "sex in a glass"
(****+)
Vodka Mudshake, Chocolate ($12.45 - #5280)
yes there are 3 different kinds: vanilla, caramel and chocolate ...
but the chocolate one seems to rule them all
Crazy Uncle Uber Caesar ($18.95 - #370650)
crazy good

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Report from ... Montefalco: a Journey of Sagrantino, Day 4 - June 25, 2014

Roberto and I took a quick little early morning sojourn to visit BEA Winery (Paolo Bea Winery), met with Giampiero Bea (Paolo's son) to talk natural winemaking in a bunker of a winery that Roberto referred to as "a lair in a 007 film" ... let's take a look:

My usual last day breakfast room pic - where we picked up our morning starters
And could have our coffee or tea overlooking the pool and surrounding gardens
As for Paolo Bea Winery ... we start out in the vineyard
Here Giampiero discusses leaf plucking and shoot thinning in the vineyard
A look through the vineyard

The catwalk over the tank room
Drying grapes for the Passito
"The bunker" - otherwise known as the barrel room

For the first time this trip we actually tasted Sagrantino straight out of a barrel
The BEA tasting room - it's true what your friends tell you, it really is a
rickety old table in a converted kitchen
Three vintage of Pagliaro (Sagrantino) 2005 - 2007
The '05 & '07 were lovely garnering 4-stars each;
while the '06 seemed funky and gamey
Newest Wine: 2007 Cerreto (Reserve) -
1 year in steel, 4 years in oak and released after 8 years
dark fruit and spice with rhubarb, strawberry, blackberry and cassis (****+)

And that's it ... 5 hours later we were all on a plane back to Canada ... Goodbye Montefalco - it was a quick whirlwind trip but one I would return to do again in a heartbeat.