Sunday, November 16, 2008

Report from ... Stem Wine Group Tasting - October 28, 2008

The beautiful confines of the Eglinton Grand Theater was the home to the Stem Wine Group tasting. Over half of these wines come from Italy with a few other countries like the U.S., Spain, Greece, Argentina, Australia and France thrown in for good measure.

Best wine of the tasting ...
With all the Italian stuff I was surprised to find my favorite wines were actually at the lone American table, where seven producers showcased fifteen wines. The most impressive white of the afternoon was the Y3 Chardonnay ($33.95 - #67264) from Jax Vineyard, nice flavors and smells that leapt from the glass onto your tongue and down your throat, leaving behind a great long finish with crisp acidity: white fruit, spiced vanilla, tropical pineapple, caramel and brown sugar all combined in this smooth and balanced beauty.

My favorite red was also on this U.S. table, from a winery called Bishops Peak. Their 2005 Rock Solid Red ($20.99), a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Sirah, created a luscious sweet vanilla, plum, chocolate concoction - and that was just on the nose; the palate had juicy blackberry, black cherry and a smooth palate with a pleasing finish ... great price for a wine you can happily drink all night.

Best Portfolio ...
From the $14.99 2006 Tempranillo (great red fruit driven nose and flavors), to the $39.99 2002 Seleccion (88% Tempranillo, 8% Grenache, 4% Mazuelo – dried fruits, blackberries and quite juicy) the Bodegas Darien line really impressed - especially at the price points. The 2004 Crianza ($19.99 – drier with blacker fruits, as compared to the ‘06 Tempranillo above) and the $26.99 2002 Reserva (cinnamon, vanilla, blackberry and toasted caramel - made with the same grapes as the Seleccion) all offered value for the money from this Rioja (Spain) winery. Ole.

Not Just Wine ...
An Italian brewery called Birra Bruton was also on hand sampling seven different kinds of beer which came in 750ml bottles, now that's a civilized way to sell beer. There was the Momus with its caramel, coffee, latte notes; the Stoner, which was white fruit dominated; the Lilith, with its sweet nose, citrus palate and touch of bitters on the finish; along with seasonal beers like the 10% Dieci (barley wine style) which was simply delicious and the St. Renna, their Christmas beer, that has caramel added and a Christmas spice nose. All beer was $16.99 for 750 millions.

Notable values ...
Az. Agr. Collemattoni 2006 Adone ($19.95) – ripe and juicy, with cinnamon, spice and black fruit.
Vinicola Tombaco 2007 Ca’del Doge Primitivo ($12.99) – ripe and jammy, sweet fruit with plum on the mid-palate. Very dry finish.
Vinicola Tombaco 2007 Syrah “Terra Nuova” ($12.99) – more Zin-like than the Zin-like Primitivo, if you know what I mean: plum, raspberry, cola nut and vanilla.

Woolshed 2006 Shiraz/Cabernet ($14.99) – peppery, jammy and chocolate … nice price too.

Other Wines that were nice with a “fine” price …
Boroli 2003 Barolo ($79.99) – herbs and spice, cherry bite and dried sweet cranberry.

Ca’del Baio 2005 Barbaresco ‘Asili’ (part of 9 wine box for $500) – ripe red fruit, cherry, strawberry – drier, more straight forward than the other 2 bottles in this collection of wines.

Delibori Vignetti e Cantine
2000 Villabella, Amarone della Valpolicella ($59.95) – 2001 Villabella ($65.95)
the 2000 is perfect with its liqueur cherry taste, while the 2001 is getting there … both have the rich robust chocolate, cherry jam, raspberry, strawberry with an oak derived spiciness.

Tenuta Monteti 2005 Monteti ($59.99) – blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc … ripe red fruit with funky herb notes, beautiful nose – nice juicy blackberry-blueberry taste.

Az. Agr. Masciarelli 2006 ‘Marina Cvetic’ Trebbiano d’Abruzzo ($49.99) – unusual spiced pumpkin seed nose, and a nice taste … good Halloween wine.

Merry Edwards Wines 2006 Sonoma Coast and Russian River Pinot Noirs ($63.99/$74.99)
Sonoma has the sweeter fruit here; Russian adds the complexity of herbs, vanilla, cinnamon with a long finish.

Maison Camille Giroud 2003 Chambertin Grand Cru ($249 - #76620) – only 40 cases came in from Burgundy and some bottles still reside in the Classics catalogue … dried cherry on the nose; dried fruit and a nice smoothness on the tongue, combine with the 13.5% alcohol to give it a sweet flavour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Burgundy wine
(French: Bourgogne or Vin de Bourgogne) is wine made in the Burgundy region in eastern France.[1] The most famous wines produced here - those commonly referred to as Burgundies - are red wines made from Pinot Noir grapes or white wines made from Chardonnay grapes. Red and white wines are also made from other grape varieties, such as Gamay and Aligoté respectively. Small amounts of rosé and sparkling wine are also produced in the region. Chardonnay-dominated Chablis and Gamay-dominated Beaujolais are formally part of Burgundy wine region, but wines from those subregions are usually referred to by their own names rather than as "Burgundy wines".

Burgundy has a higher number of Appellation d'origine contrôlées (AOCs) than any other French region, and is often seen as the most terroir-conscious of the French wine regions. The various Burgundy AOCs are classified from carefully delineated Grand Cru vineyards down to more non-specific regional appellations. The practice of delineating vineyards by their terroir in Burgundy go back to Medieval times, when various monasteries played a key role in developing the Burgundy wine industry. The appellations of Burgundy (not including Chablis).

Overview in the middle, the southern part to the left, and the northern part to the right. The Burgundy region runs from Auxerre in the north down to Mâcon in the south, or down to Lyon if the Beaujolais area is included as part of Burgundy. Chablis, a white wine made from Chardonnay grapes, is produced in the area around Auxerre. Other smaller appellations near to Chablis include Irancy, which produces red wines and Saint-Bris, which produces white wines from Sauvignon Blanc. Some way south of Chablis is the Côte d'Or, where Burgundy's most famous and most expensive wines originate, and where all Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy (except for Chablis Grand Cru) are situated. The Côte d'Or itself is split into two parts: the Côte de Nuits which starts just south of Dijon and runs till Corgoloin, a few kilometers south of the town of Nuits-Saint-Georges, and the Côte de Beaune which starts at Ladoix and ends at Dezize-les-Maranges. The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres (25 mi) long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) wide. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. T

he best wines - from "Grand Cru" vineyards - of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages. The Côte de Nuits contains 24 out of the 25 red Grand Cru appellations in Burgundy, while all of the region's white Grand Crus are located in the Côte de Beaune. This is explained by the presence of different soils, which favour Pinot Noir and Chardonnay respectively. Further south is the Côte Chalonnaise, where again a mix of mostly red and white wines are produced, although the appellations found here such as Mercurey, Rully and Givry are less well known than their counterparts in the Côte d'Or. Below the Côte Chalonnaise is the Mâconnais region, known for producing large quantities of easy-drinking and more affordable white wine. Further south again is the Beaujolais region, famous for fruity red wines made from Gamay. Burgundy experiences a continental climate characterized by very cold winters and hot summers. The weather is very unpredictable with rains, hail, and frost all possible around harvest time. Because of this climate, there is a lot of variation between vintages from Burgundy.
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