Sunday, September 28, 2014

Report from ... Marques de Casa Concha with Marcelo Papas - May 28, 2014

I have met Marcelo Papas on a number of occasions when he swings through Toronto ... his wines are always worth trying:  the whites yes, but especially the reds - which the Marques line excels at ... their age-ability at the price point they offer these wines at is extraordinary and past tastings have proven this time and time again.

Today we taste through 8 wines - most are current, but there are one or two surprises along the way ...

The multi-award winning winemaker of Concha y Toro, Marcelo Papas,
who took over the Marques line in 1999 - and has never looked back.
As Marcelo talks, a bottle of 2012 Chardonnay was decanted ...
we try both the bottles and decanted version.
2012 Chardonnay ($19.95)
Grapes are grown in the Limari Valley (in red clay loam and limestone soils), preferrably
for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and aged in classic Burgundian barrels
Bottle: closed but with potential - Decanted:  opens up ot be quite enjoyable

Final Analysis: aromas of butter and baked apple; palate is creamy yet with a nice balancing
acidity ... peach compote, hints of vanilla, and an interesting spiciness - round and pleasant
with a long finish. (****)
2013 Pinot Noir ($19.95)
Another Limari Valley grown wine

Final Analysis: black cherry and black raspberry fills the nose; palate is fruit forward with
nice spice along with violets, cassis and sweet cranberry tannins ... well balanced finish. (*** 1/2+)
2011 Merlot ($19.95)
from the Peumo Vineyard in the Cachapoal Valley
wine has between 7-12% Cabernet Sauvignon added every year

Final Analysis: this is what Chilean Merlot is all about ... minted blackberry aromas with
a juicy palate loaded with blackberry, raspberry, mocha and spice ... finish has silky tannins
with blueberry skin notes and a lovely linger. (****+)
Carmenere 2012 and 2008
Another grape grown at the Peumo Vineyard which has perfect soils for both Merlot and Carmenere ...
this wine always contains 15% Cabernet Sauvignon - the 2008 and 2012 vintages were similar
according to Marcelo - so we tasted them side by side.
2012 Carmenere ($19.95)
quite a spicy wine with blueberry and raspberry notes; juicy, rich and full with big tannins

2008 Carmenere (N/A)
soft and supple with a juiciness that gives layers of flavour to the palate
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($21.95)
Fruit taken from the Puento Alto Vineyard in the Maipo Valley

Final Analysis: this is a real beauty from nose to back of the tongue ... Aromas are alluringly
full with raspberry, cherry, cassis and so much more; juicy palate shows off blackberry, raspberry
chocolate, and spiced cherry - this one keeps making you wanna go back for more. (**** 1/2)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Report from ... Alto Vino Portfolio Tasting - March 5, 2014

A tasting put on by wine agent Alto Vino made up primarily of Australian wine, (with some New Zealand) and a Champagne house (a very good Champagne house) thrown in for good measure.  The tasting took place at the new Iron Gate Wine Management event centre, let's take a look at both the wines and the venue ...

The outside of the new Iron Gate Private Wine Management office and event space
The room to the right of the door is a small anteroom, where Alto Vino has set up a nice nibblies table
Through the curtain to the main room
The main room is poshly decorated and makes for a relaxing place to taste
A look from the other side of the room
The Champagne bar pouring wines by Dumangin - and manned by Gilles Dumangin
(more on his wines in a moment)
The Wines ... 
starting with the Champagne:

Dumangin Le Rose 1er Cru ($57.60)
50% of the production of this house is Rose - 47% Chardonnay / 37% Pinot Noir / 16% Pinot Meunier
4 years on lees, "this is my signature wine" - Gilles Dumangin ... raspberry, lemon, nice acidity,
easy drinking, shows great finesse with a raspberry finish.  (**** 1/2)
Dumangin 2004 Le Vintage ($79.90)
54% Chardonnay / 46% Pinot Noir, 9 years in bottle; shows the complexity of an older vintage
great biscuity/brioche notes.  Gilles calls this a "Great year" (****+)
Dumangin L'Extra Brut 1er Cru ($61.45)
"I created this wine for me because of Thai food and oysters, foods I like to eat" - Gilles
5 years in bottle ... big acidity, big minerality, long finish (****)
Dumangin Le Cuvee 17 ($48.90)
One-third of each grape:  Pinot Meunier / Chardonnay / Pinot Noir
earthy yet fresh and fruity with a nice mineral note. (****)

GillesDumangin - with his "Signature Wine"
The Wines ...
Australia and New Zealand:

Fromm 2010 La Strada Pinot Noir ($49.70) - New Zealand
Great red berries and fruit, very apporachable even with those earthy tannins;
this one is quite easy and gentle to drink (****+)
Dry River 2009 Pinot Noir ($120.75) - New Zealand
Raspberry and violets with a lovely chalky acidity (****)
By Farr 2011 Sangreal Pinot Noir ($83.60) - Australia
Very Pinot-esque with an earthy cranberry and good acidity (****)
JJ Hahn 2010 Reginald Shiraz / Cabernet ($21.95) - Australia
Chocolate, strawberry, white pepper; juicy but with restraint ...
Good fruit, well-balanced: this wine was the best value at the show (****+)
Maxwell 2010 Lime Cave Cabernet ($53.50) - Australia
Great mouthfeel with cocoa, earhty and raspberry notes;
great balance of acidity and tannins. (****+)

Jasper Hill 2009 La Pleiade Shiraz ($93.30) - Australia
Nice spicy cherry which holds this wine together with balance and acidity (****)
Kalleske 2012 Pirathon Shiraz ($29.95) - Australia
A beauty of a cherry nose leads to a powerful cherry palate seasoned with white pepper;
It has great balance of tannins and acidity - Another good value wine for under $30 - this one's alluring (****+)

Kalleske 2009 Greenock Shiraz ($54.40) - Australia
Raspberry jam on both the nose and palate; rich and delicious (****+)
Kay Bros. 2008 Block 6 Shiraz ($94.20) - Australia
Chocolate, raspberry and vanilla dominated - this one's big, rich and full (****+)