Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Report from ... Lifford's Blogger Tasting - February 11, 2009 (7:00pm)

Lifford Wine Agency had one of those notions that I've never heard of before - I think they call that "an innovative idea": invite bloggers to an evening tasting. Greeted at the door with a hearty handshake, one of the reps in attendance said to me, "it's nice to have writers here who'll actually write something." With less than twenty people in attendance plus (what seemed like), one agent for every attendee, Lifford paraded out twelve wines (1 Champagne, 4 whites, 7 reds) all now available, or soon to be available, at the LCBO. Liffords owner made a brief speech before the tasting began. His key phrase, that I am sure he wanted us all to remember, "we sell enjoyment", which he must have repeated three times; all he needed was the Casino Rama tagline, "big time", and I think he just might have a slogan for his next print ad. Anyway, here are my top selections from this evening's offerings:

Both Australian’s Cockfighter’s Ghost wines were excellent. The 2006 Un-Wooded Chardonnay ($19.95 - February 14 Vintages) has fresh apples and lemons ... while the 2006 Tasmania Pinot Noir Reserve ($33.95 - May 2 Vintages) was all you'd expect from good Pinot. From the get go you find some earthiness, sour cherry, nice tannins and a drying finish, as you delve deeper into the glass, raspberry and strawberry also emerges - lovely.

The assembled crowd, of mostly men, though two or three women did show up to this sausage party, (included my friend Kerri Henman – if you’re going to have any class in the room you should always start by bringing your own). They all seemed to adore the Ironstone Symphony Obsession ($14.95 – April 11 Vintages); this perennial favorite is a sweet, grapy number that smells and tastes like a cross between Muscat and Catawba grapes - it sells well because it appeals to everyone, but in truth neophytes and the ladies love it.

Finally, my two favorites where the following big reds: Italy’s Il Borro 2005 ($59.75 - February 28 Vintages) - this monster is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot; it has lots of red fruit and spice on the nose; followed by a textured palate that was complex and dry with lots of black fruit and spiced cedar. I located a decanter in the Fine Wine Reserve’s glass cabinet and converted a few tasters to this wine by opening it up a little (I was surprised the agents hadn’t thought of this because this wine really needed it). My other favourite was the Joseph Phelps 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($73.95 – Vintages currently) - deep cherry, rich fruit, lots of spice on the palate … this is a big wine with a big price tag. I ended my evening by pouring myself a full glass of this one, then I lounged in a chair while talking with a few of my colleagues about wine – some of whom don't even blog on the subject, nor have they ever been to a tasting ... interesting.


Dean Tudor said...

Your description makes it sound exactly as I had thought it would be, thus validating my pass of the evening.

Michael Pinkus - Grape Guy said...

It wasn't a bad evening at all - the wines were pleasant and I got to meet some very interesting people ... though to me I still enjoyed my glass of Phelps and the Il Borro was amazing, once it opened up.