Today, I visited The Spoke Club (but not the one I knew in my youth) to taste what Woodman Wine and Spirits were offering up; a decent little tasting of 18 wines – the perfect amount for an afternoon tipple. Woodman is the agent for the Ontario winery Angels Gate in Niagara; I’ll have a separate review of their 2007 Gewurztraminer in an upcoming newsletter in the next little while. Right now let's focus our attention on the other wines from around the world Woodman brings in. I came up with my ‘top of the crop’ list for the tasting, this time it seemed a little tougher than usual, but I finally managed to cull it down to a top five. The good news is some are even LCBO bound or already there. In no particular order here are my top five:
2005 First Drop 2% Shiraz ($33.00 - 107599 – Vintages, April 11) … the 2% mentioned in this Shiraz is not the Shiraz itself, it refers to the 2% Albarino (white grape) they throw into the blends to give it a little pep. There's no doubt on the nose or palate that this is an Australian Shiraz with its blackberries, pepper, black raspberries and smooth chocolate … the finish has a bit of tenet bite - but it's worth the nip.
2005 Artesa Chardonnay ($24.95 – Consignment) … a very pleasing Chardonnay for under $25.00 - there's lots of wood notes here, and plenty of barrel flavour: buttery, vanilla, caramel - but the fruit also plays a good role here with melon and apple being the two key fruits. It's when the vanilla and melon join or the caramel and apple commingle that this one truly sings on the palate.
2007 Bouchard Pere & Fils La Vignee Pinot Noir ($17.95 - 605667 – LCBO now) … an affordable Pinot with all the bells and whistles you expect: cranberry, cherry, earth and good acidity - a pleasure to drink on its own or with your favorite poultry dish.
2007 Palacios Remondo La Vendimia ($15.95 – 674564 – Vintage, March 28) … from Spain comes this excellent bargain and taste sensation - big black fruit, hints of mint, raspberry, chocolate along with black-berries/raspberries dance across the tongue … delicious and a great finish.
Gonzalez Byass Nectar P. X. Sherry ($18.95 – 87577 – Vintages, March 28) … what is there really to say about Pedro Ximenez Sherry except "holy cow" … thick and luscious, like raisin pie or pecan pie filling – sometimes it even has the taste of pecans, caramel and chocolate (oooo, I love turtles) - this is dessert all on its own.