Friday, April 16, 2010

Report from … Hobbs & Co. Annual Portfolio Tasting – April 13, 2010

This was kind of a big day for me – I spent most of it sweating the outcome of a mortgage application which finally got approved half-way through this tasting … did such euphoria affect my judgment?  I don’t think so – I still know good wine when I taste it, and I always have an eye for value in the bottle.  I made notes on the wines I thought warranted it and left the rest (that’s usual for me), therefore it was just another day at the office (so to speak) – I just have more gray hair, a mortgage and a new home – hallelujah.

The tasting was broken down by country and I found eight wines to rave about:

Pre-Good News …
United States … Blue Moon Wines 2007 Heavyweight Red ($23.15) a blend of mainly Cabernet Sauvignon (76%) with dollops of Syrah (14%) and Zinfandel (10%).  The nose is plumy, vanilla and sweet cherry, which follows onto the palate along with rich red fruit, a touch of white pepper and hints of chocolate. (****)

Australia … What else do you expect to lead the charge from down under but a Shiraz, this one’s from Swings & Roundabouts (2007 - $22.75) – white pepper and red fruit on the nose with a full-on raspberry assault on the palate. (****)

South Africa … A Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot blend from Hartenberg Estates simply called Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2005 ($20.55) – the nose was really inviting with its chocolate and blackberry aromas – the palate had a touch of what I call South Africa-taste (an earthy-tarry note), but instead of overpowering the wine with this flavour it gave the wine a bit of character quite welcome in the glass – smooth, brambly and black fruit. (****)

France … Pinot Blanc is one of those grapes that can make really wonderful wines or really insipid bland wines; this Domaine Francois Lichtle 2009 Pinot Blanc ($20.65) is one of the former.  Fresh and fruity with pear, floral, and tropical notes with just a touch of sweetness – fantastic flavours that just explode in the mouth and wash over the palate -I could have sat and sipped on this one all afternoon.  (****½)

France … I’m a fan of Gamay Noir and well made Beaujolais wines, this Domaine Emmanuel Fellot 2009 Vieilles Vignes ($20) is definitely one.  The nose screams of lush cherries with some sweet cranberries and raspberries backing it up – the palate also screams of cherry fruit that fills and pleases the palate; this one is delicate, delicious and even chillable for added enjoyment. (****)

Post-Good News …
Italy … A couple of wines from Salcheto hit the mark.  Their Vino Rosso di Montepulciano 2007 ($22.95) was fresh, fruity and silky smooth (****) … While the more complex Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2005 ($36.95) had everything going for it.  A good mouth feel, nice spice and wood character and good ageing potential.  Speaking of ageing the wine goes through quite the treatment to get to your glass: 2 years in large oak barrels for fermenting and ageing; 30% is moved to 1-2 year old small barrel for 5 months (the rest remains in the big barrels), then reassembled the whole shooting match is aged in bottle for another year.  The result is one very good wine. (****½)

Italy … Finally there was the Alpha Zeta ‘A’ Amarone 2006 ($53.99) this wine had nice fruit and spice notes, plum, cocoa and is very smooth on the palate. (****)

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