Thursday, February 25, 2010

Report from … 75 Estate Wines by the Foster’s Group – February 18, 2010

Foster’s came to town with a whole bunch of wine from some pretty reputable houses – producers like Mutua (New Zealand), Rosemount, Wold Blass and Penfolds (Australia), Stags’ Leap, Beringer and Chateau St. Jean (USA) – these and 11 more filled the Fermentation Cellar in Toronto’s Distillery District to pour 75 wines.  I picked out my top ten … here they are in no particular order.

Matua (New Zealand) 2008 Shingle Peak Pinot Noir ($29.95) – nice earthy raspberry and sour cherry notes … supple and tasty with a hint of earthiness on the finish. (****½)

Rosemount Estate (Australia) 2006 Show Reserve GSM ($34.95) – GSM is Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre, and this is a good one: vanilla and cherry take the lead with hints of mocha and spiced pepper on the finish. (****)

Rosemount Estate (Australia) 2005 Show Reserve ‘Traditional’ ($34.95) – Traditional to Rosemount means Cabernet Sauvigon, Merlot and Petit Verdot; this one’s all blackberry, chocolate, blueberry and white pepper – delicious. (****½)

Saltram (Australia) 2006 No. 1 Shiraz ($49.95) – not your typical big fruit bomb from Aussie-land; this one shows some elegant sippability with smooth blackberry, black cherry and luscious chocolate notes.  The only thing typical here is the high Aussie alcohol – 14.5%. (****½)

Wolf Blass (Australia) 2006 Gold Label Shiraz-Viognier ($27.95) – violets and pepper take over the nose, while white pepper, black fruit and pretty violet notes take over the palate – lovely. (****)

Stags’ Leap Winery (USA) 2006 Petite Syrah ($44.95) – of 21 wineries in this California AVA only the Stag makes Petite Syrah, this wine has a silky elegance that would be hard to match; it also has a little Viognier (white) along with Carignane and Grenache (red) mixed into the blend – quite peppery with elegant black fruit and spiced-up finish.  (****)

TAZ (USA) 2007 Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara ($30.00) – this was one terrific Pinot at a very down to earth price – for Cali-Pinot that is.  Nice red fruit, cherry and cranberry with a goodly spiced nuance, there’s also a hint of vanilla and a bit of earthiness.  The tannins and acidity, found mid-palate and on the finish, brought the wine together in one deliciously complete package. (****½)

Cellar No.8 (USA) 2007 Zinfandel ($15.95) – this might have been the best value wine at the show.  A classically styled Zin with vanilla, plum and cherry-cola flavours, not earth shattering but very tasty, a real crowd pleaser for those summer BBQs to come. (****)

Meridian Vineyards (USA) 2007 California Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.95) – another good value Cali-wine, this one won’t set the world on fire either, but it’ll win you over with blue and black berries, sweet cherries and its easy drinkability.  Another favourite for around the campfire (re: BBQ).  (****)

Beringer Vineyards (USA) 2005 Napa Valley Merlot ($29.95) – supple and easy drinking, this really is the essence of California Merlot, nice black cherry and chocolate, lip smackingly good.

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