Sunday, April 27, 2008

Report from ... Fielding’s Ultimate Insider Pre-Tasting – April 26, 2008

An unsettled Saturday was host to the 3rd Annual Fielding pre-tasting: one minute it was sunny, the next a few drops fell from the sky and a call of thunderstorms was being threatened for in the forecast. But that didn’t stop the Fielding folks and fans from enjoying their annual preview event. Seven wines were let out of their tanks and/or barrels to be paraded in front of the followers of Fielding to be judged; there was also an advance chance to take some home before their general release … for current or later enjoyment. Five whites and 2 reds – including a barrel sample of the 2006 Syrah – and at least 2 wines wouldn’t see the inside of the retail store till August of 2008.

Of the wines released today, the must have wine of the summer from Fielding is the 2007 Pinot Gris ($18.00) – this one’s a pure sipper and poolside wine with a hint of sweetness (2) and it’s fruity peach and pear nose gives way to even more pleasing mature peach and mango flavours in the mouth. Sure it has a short finish, but that just gives you more reason to go back to the well (so to speak) for another sip or better yet glassful. Planning anything out of doors this summer, make sure you have plenty to go around.

Over the years Fielding has made their name with Riesling – a dry and a semi-dry, usually both were released simultaneously at this event. This time there was only the pre-releasing of the 2007 Rielsing ($18.00), with a reserve slated for release later this year. After only a few days in bottle this wine’s aromas haven’t recovered from the shock of the move to a smaller home (read: the bottle) because the nose is quite muted; but the flavours were definitely there. Grapefruit cocktail and Granny Smith apple, this one was simple yet light and refreshing – an easy reccommend – but not set for release in the retail store till August 2008.

Fielding has crafted an oddball red that is definitely worth trying: Red Conception 2006 ($18.00) – a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Aglianico … yep, the grape usually found in Italy has made its way to Ontario, aided by some adventurous grower. The nose is peppery, black fruited and red berried. The taste is soft and cedary at first, but develops herbs, cinnamon, white pepper, sour cherry and red currants as it opens up – the finish is lengthy and quite herby. Kudos to Fielding for giving this grape a chance and finding a blend that works.

Then there is the 2006 Syrah, which was “futures priced” for this day only (which means priced for early purchasers at a lesser price then when it gets officially launched to the general public in-store … basically you’re buying on the promise of the wine’s future, not it’s finished-bottled-state) … this wine has great potential to be an early consuming (3-5 years) sleeper – so I picked up a few bottles to monitor it’s development. Currently, the nose is spicy, red berry, red fruit, peppery and smoky. In the mouth, it had a big pepper taste, with smoked meat and toasty notes – there was also a certain amount of tartness to the acidity. Only 12 barrels were made and its predicted for release in late fall or early winter. I’ll keep you posted on this puppy.

I can’t fail to mention the marvelous cheese trays with an abundance of delicious cheese and those great garlic herb chips – could’ve made a meal out of them, but I didn’t, had to at least leave some for others.

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