Saturday, March 27, 2010

Report from … Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada Bonus Tasting – March 22, 2010

Every month, or two, the Wine Writers’ Circle is suppose to get together for a tasting of wines that have been sent in. This month there were too many wine and not enough time during the early March meeting (which I missed because I was out of town); but I got in on this tail-end tasting, which featured the wines that did not get opened earlier this month; turned out to be about 35 wines, within this tasting there were some surprises, some good values and some excellent wines, one or two are available now while the others will be coming your way fairly soon.

Great Value Wines …
Chile continues its winning ways with two wines in this category, which will be coming to the LCBO’s general list this “summer” (no firm date given) and both are from the same company.  The San Pedro 2008 35 South Sauvignon Blanc ($11.95) has a very fruity nose and good palate, not too much acidity here so it’s gulpable and sippable (whichever strikes you as the way you want to drink it) – this is a good wine to enjoy for all you patio sitters and sippers (***½).  The other wine from this producer is the San Pedro 2008 35 South Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva ($11.95) another bargain for under twelve-bucks.  This one’s a real crowd pleaser, with a minty raspberry nose, lush red berry fruit and mint in the mouth … nice smooth fruity finish makes this one a fun wine for summer sipping, especially around the BBQ (****).  Another really good value wine comes to us from Italy, and is one for folks who like a little more oomph in their wines, but still rely on fruit flavours for the palatal fun.  Farnese 2008 Negroamaro ($8.95 – available now) from the Puglia region, is the kind of wine that should fly off LCBO shelves, a la FuZion.  Dark fruits like black raspberry, smooth tannin structure, full bodied mouth feel – this one is absolutely a super value (****) … I found myself spending an evening with a bottle quite recently, and enjoyed our hour together very much.

Good Wines at a Good Price …
Blackstone 2007 Merlot – Winemaker’s Select ($15.95 - #606327 – Vintages) – creamy blackberry smoothness; very easy drinking, this will satisfy your California Merlot Jones. (***½)
Angus the Bull 2007 Shiraz ($18.95 – General List - #132936) – a big red and black fruit bomb from down under; this is one your friends, family and loved ones will like when they come over to congregate around the grill. (***½)
Cusumano 2008 Nero d’Avola ($9.95 – General List - #143164) – this should be a best buy selection but it might be too rustic for the masses, big black fruit, cocoa, black raspberry and a boat load of tannins; I can see pouring this one with a steak on the side. (***½)

Something for Dessert …
Not a fan of Sherry? Get your head out of the sand, not all Sherries are created equal, and not all are that dry Fino stuff grandma used to drink.  Check out Gonzalez Byass Solera 1847 Oloroso Dulce ($16.95 – Vintages May 29, 2010).  I buy a few bottles of this every year and every year I have to buy a few bottles, it’s just that good.  I serve it as a dessert and people are both surprised and impressed, and did I mention they go ga-ga for it.  The nose is nutty and caramely with a hint of caramelized orange.  The palate is sweet and lovely with great balancing acidity that keeps that sweetness in check (****½).  Try it the next time you have people over for dinner, just pour it, but for God sake don’t tell them what it is – you’ll see a lot of surprised looks on faces and you’ll find you have emptied the bottle at the end of the night as people will most definitely ask for seconds.

Table Wine of the Tasting …
I really enjoyed the Sherry (above), but sweeties find it easy to please, table wine has it a little harder; but the wine I enjoyed most was from right here in Ontario made by Jackson-Triggs, their single vineyard offering:  2007 Delaine Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot – you can read the full review here.

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