Monday, April 26, 2010

Report from ... Vincor Exposé Tasting – April 26, 2010

Amazing how a reputation precedes you.  I’m not sure how many people asked me, jokingly I hope, “how did you get in the door?” – I think I lost count at about half a dozen.  My battle with Vincor is well documented and seems to run long and deep (like the new gash on my leg I got from a wood box of wine), but I left that battle at the door today, as I was there to see what was being offered by Canada’s largest foreign owned winemaker.

The tasting was held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in the Baillie Court (3rd Floor), where I am finding a lot of tastings are being held these days … Vincor had separated the wines into a variety of art themes: Masters, Classics, Pop Art and Realism.  The Pop Art section was where you could find the coolers and other assorted summer fizzy drinks – I stuck with the tried and true table wines.

Masters:  “Our winemakers revel in the utmost splendor of their craft to create these award winning estate wines …”

I’ll start off by telling you that the Canadian wines, be they from B.C. or Ontario, really stood out amongst all these other international brands, and I mean that in a good way.  I’m not just saying that with some kind of jingoistic pride about my country, Canada really did shine alongside the Hogues, Mondavis, Hardys, Kim Crawfords and other well-known and scarcely known wines of the world.  Here are my Masters section selections; wine fans should recognize all of my recommendations:

Jackson-Triggs Niagara 2007 Delaine Vineyard Syrah ($32.95) – what an elegant Syrah this is; violets, white pepper, smoky, long finish, soft and smooth across the palate, yet with a grippy finish with all those tannins – iron fist in a velvet glove comes to mind here.  Aged 17 moths in 50% new French and American oak … one of my top three wines of the tasting. (****½)

Ravenswood 2007 Vintner’s Blend Petit Syrah
($17.95) – white pepper, red fruit with some plums and violet notes. (****)

Ravenswood 2007 Lodi Zinfandel ($19.95) – plumy, vanilla and very juicy … this is a Zin lovers Zin. (****½)

Robert Mondavi Winery 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($35.95) – blackberry and chocolate, black cherry and vanilla, soft and juicy with silky supple tannins … another one of my top three selections. (****½)

Toasted Head 2008 Chardonnay ($17.95) – toasty, vanilla and butterscotch ruled the roost here with just enough fruit to keep it interesting – this wine was served ice cold, so I suspect the fruit wasn’t as fruit forward as it could have been. (****)

Classics:  “… the depth and breadth of this collection showcases wines that are an inspiration for every table and every occasion.”

Argentina … Marcus James 2009 Malbec ($9.45) – blackberry, black fruit, cocoa and cassis – very juicy and easy drinking. (****)

Australia … Hardys Stamp of Australia 2009 Riesling-Gewurztraminer ($8.95) – great value summer white; a fruity peachy, peary number that is very playful on the tongue. (****)

Canada … Jackson-Triggs Sauvignon Blanc comparison:  2008 Proprietors’ Reserve (Niagara) vs. 2007 Proprietors’ Reserve (Okanagan) – the B.C. wine was all tropical fruit while the Ontario version is crisp and citrusy … it’s your choice here, buy both and taste the difference for yourself.

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan 2007 Proprietors’ Reserve Merlot ($14.95) – chocolate/mocha greets the tongue with plum and nutmeg as backing. (****)

Italy … Mezzomondo 2008 Negroamaro ($8.95) – the black and bitter grape lives up to its name in this wine, it’s a black fruited tannic number that should be great for the BBQ this summer. (****)

Realism: “These wines are exclusive and unique …”

Jackson-Triggs Okanagan 2007 Sun Rock Shiraz ($34.95) – this is a real beauty of a ballsy Shiraz: spicy, plumy with chocolate and vanilla, black fruit, cassis, robust and full in the mouth – there’s lots going on here, which is why it too made my top three wines. (****½)

NK’MP 2007 Qwem Qwmt Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.95) – big black fruit and spice on both the nose and palate, good spice and slightly herbal on the finish. (****)

See Ya Later Ranch 2007 Ping ($24.95) – a Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend that has lots of blackberry, cassis, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla nuances; ultimately this one is very sippable and enjoyable. (****)

Sumac Ridge 2005 Pinnacle ($49.95) – this is a pretty exciting wine made from four grapes, mainly Merlot (56%), Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc make up another 39% of the blend and then there’s a dollop (5%) of Syrah.  Very complex and ageworthy with spicy, herbal black fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and other spices, wrapped up with good tannins on the finish. (****½)

Kim Crawford 2009 Marlborough Pinot Gris ($19.95) – herbal and fruity with refreshing pear and white peach – quite nice and very sippable. (****)

Hogue 2008 Genesis Riesling ($16.95) – nice peach and pear notes with a slight hint of limeade. (***½)

1 comment:

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