Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Report from ... Hobbs & Co. Agent Tasting - April 25, 2013

The annual Hobbs & Co. tasting was held at Berkeley Church in Toronto.  14 winery principals from a variety of wineries from as close as Ontario to as far away as Australia poured their wines of which there were more than 90 to taste.  I believe I tasted most, but I'm sure some slipped through the cracks.  Here are my top selections:

Plume 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($35.00) - California
big vanilla, chocolate and cherry
Boomtown 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($26.00) - Washington
nice easy drinking Cab with good fruit and a touch of spice

Gauchezco 2008 Oro ($53.00) - Argentina
made from 80+ year old Malbec vines
sexy, smooth with chocolate-spiciness
Hartenberg 2007 Shiraz ($28.95) - South Africa
lovely spice with smooth palate of dark fruit
and hints of vanilla with a long spiced finish

Campbells Rutherglen Muscat NV ($26.00) - Australia
a cross between Christmas spice and creme brulee
(**** 1/2)
Alpha Zeta 2012 Chardonnay ($16.00) - Italy
pineapple and apple skin along with some lime zest
and vanilla backing
(*** 1/2+)
Alpha Zeta 2010 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso ($24.00) - Italy
cocoa, cherry and blackberry
Empordalia Verdera Negre 2011 ($13.50) - Spain
nice fruit with cherry and blackberry tones
nice length to the finish and great value

Domaine de Grand Garant 2011 Fleurie Le Vivier ($23.00) - Beaujolais
pretty floral along with some sour cherry; nice little Gamay here
(*** 1/2+)
Domaine Lafond 2011 Tavel Rose ($24.50) - Tavel
a seven grape blend that has nice fruit on the palate
but ends with a dry, strawberry finish
(*** 1/2+)

Leitz 2012 Dragonstone ($23.00) - Germany
floral with sweet mineral and lovely balance
(*** 1/2+)
Leitz 2012 Kaisersteinfels ($46.00) - Germany
40-80 year old vines with great minerality and
delicious apple as the main fruit

Coto de Hayas 2011 Garnacha Centenaria ($17.00) - Spain
sexy wine with chocolate and blackberry on the nose
cassis, cherry and cocoa on the palate
drinks exceptionally well now but will also age quite well

Wines Not Pictured ...
Quails' Gate 2010 Chardonnay ($20.00) - British Columbia - creamy smooth with good fruit, peach and caramel along with buttery and oak notes. (****)
Chateau Gaudrelle Touraine Brut Rose NV ($26.00) - Loire Valley - tasty little buble with red berries and good acidity. (*** 1/2+)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Report from ... Wines of Portugal: A World of Difference Tasting - April 29, 2013

Time for the annual Portuguese wine tasting ... and once again they show that Port is not all  they've got - below some pictures of the best bottles and, in some cases, best values you're bound to find ...

Quinta ds Apegadas 2009 Apegadas D60
lovely chocolate and spice with good red and black fruit
Quinta ds Apegadas 2009 Velha (#314435)
fruit forward and great spice - pleasant palate
(*** 1/2+)

Esporao 2010 Red Reserve (#606590)
full fruit, spice and herbal notes
good ageworthiness - new label every year
Churchill's Estates 2009 Grande Reserva
red and black fruit with hints of smooth chocolate

Churchill's 2005 Late Bottled Vintage
(**** 1/2)
Catedral 2008 Reserve Dao Red (#219816)
dark fruit and licorice notes
(*** 1/2+)
Topazio 2009 Douro Red (#324566)
chocolate, dark berries, rich and succulent
really juicy - should be in LCBO within 60 days

Sogevinus 2010 Veedha Douro (#255851)
juicy dark berries and red berries, nice and easy on the palate
still great value ... nice tannin structure
Dacosta 10 Year Old Port (Tawny)
nice marmalade and dried cherry

Burmester 2007 Late Bottled Vintage
spicy anddark of fruit - delicious
coming soon to Vintages

Taylor Fladgate 2007 Late Bottled Vintage Port (#46946)
sweet cherry, chocolate with good spice on the finish
this is stunningly good for under $20
(**** 1/2)

Quartetto 2010 (#253880)
nice red berries and subtle spice - but the berries stand out
Wines Not Pictured ...
Ramos Pinto 2010 Duas Quintas (#399893) - generous fruit, good sipper that's light on the palate. (*** 1/2)
Alianca 2011 Terra Boa (#590364) - smooth and easy almost sexy. (*** 1/2)

Report from ... Malbec World Day Tasting at RTH - April 16, 2013

World Malbec Day focuses on the all-star grape of Argentina, Malbec ... at this tasting 28 producers showed off a minimum of one wine, but no more than 3, and not all of them was a Malbec, and that's good because Argentina is making more than just really good Malbec.  Pictured below are my top twelve wines of the tasting (in no particular order) ...

Las Moras 2011 Reserve Chardonnay ($12.95 - #270025)
pleasant buttery notes with peach and spice backing ... (****)

Alamos 2010 Seleccion Pinot Noir ($16.95 - #143172)
soft and juicy raspberry nose and taste ... (*** 1/2+)

Las Moras 2010 Black Label Bonarda ($15.95 - #260901)
cassis, blackberry and black-raspberry ... (****)

La Posta 2011 Cocina Tinto Blend ($12.75 - #269860)
juicy blend of red berries and tasty spices ... (****)

Alamos 2011 Alamos Malbec ($13.95 - #295139)
Spiced cherry and raspberry with hints of strawberry ... (****+)

Graffigna 2010 Grand Reserve Malbec ($17.95 - #162149)
layered with chocolate, raspberry and spice ... (****+)

Dante Robino 2009 Reserve Malbec ($19.95 - #301473)
smooth, silky and dark chocolate oriented with plenty of cassis and spice ... (****+)

Domaine Jean Bousquet 2010 Grande Reserve Malbec ($21.95 - #303701)
chocolate and raspberry through and through ... (****)

Catena 2010 High Mountain Vines Malbec ($19.95 - #478727)
nice black cherry and chocolate with balancing acidty and tannins ... (**** 1/2)

Luca 2010 Laborde Double Select Syrah ($22.95 - #167346)
raspberry, white pepper nose adding a meaty, smokiness to the palate; mixes Syrah with Shiraz ... (****)

Santa Julia 2011 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.00 - #242370)
sweet red frit with cherry and raspberry, very juicy ... (****)

Trapiche 2007 Fincas Las Palmas Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.75 - #143206)
complexity within the fruit: chocolate, blueberry -
really excellent value in a 6 year old wine; great tannin balance and length of finish ... (**** 1/2+)
Wine Not Pictured ...
Chakana Estate 2011 Selection Malbec ($19.95 - #219261) - clean, smooth, silky and sexy. (**** 1/2)

Report from ... 30.50 Imports (Agent) Tasting - April 29, 2013

30.50 Imports (3050imports.com) is one of the many agents in Ontario and today in the bowels of Barbarian Restaurant, or more precisely, from the wine cellar of Barbarian Restaurant they had much of their portfolio on for tasting ... here are my favourites of the wines I tasted:

Fattoria Casabianca 2009 Chianti Colli Senesi Riserva - $19.95 (Italy)
great value in a delicious Chianti

Peter Zemmer 2011 Pinot Bianco - $16.95 (Italy)
think not Alsace, this one is dry and mineral driven
(*** 1/2)
Peter Zemmer 2011 Muller Thurgau - $18.95 (Italy)
nice grapefruit and mineral character

Mt Rosa Estate 2009 Pinot Gris - $25.95 (New Zealand)
NZ Pinot Grises are coming on strong and this is no exception
white peach and mac apple dominate
(*** 1/2)
Skillogalee 2009 Take Two Shiraz Cabernet - $23.95 (Australia)
this Shiraz-Cab blended is well-balanced and food friendly
cocoa and eucalyptus play a big part along with good acidity on finish
Castello di Verduno 2010 Barbera D'Alba - $24.95 (Italy)
great red licorice notes amongst the fruit
(*** 1/2)

Castello di Verduno 2007 Barbaresco 'Faset' - $49.95 (Italy)
plenty of cherry and spice in this one
Domaine Michel Mallard & Fils 2009 Ladoix 'Le Clos Royer' - $49.95 (France)
fruit forward Pinot with floral notes; well balanced with a long pleasing finish
Chateau Barrejat 2010 Seduction - $19.95 (France)
this is a well priced madiran wine that's well named
it seduces the palate with lovely dark fruit; very tasty, great value

Sivipa 2010 Moscatel de Setubal - $14.95 (Portugal)
simply lovely with gentle fruit bordering on tropical with
candied orange peel notes and great spice and acidity on the finish
(**** 1/2)

Bodegas Tradicion NV Pedro Ximenez, 20 Year Old - $105.00 (Spain)
I'm a sucker for PX Sherry and this one is creamy and sexy
(**** 1/2)
Wine not pictured:
Roots Run Deep Winery 2009 Pinot Noir, Educated Guess - $29.95 (California)
black fruit oriented with sweet licorice and red cherry backing (****)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Report from ... Ontario Wine Awards 2013 – May 10, 2013

The 19th Annual Ontario Wine Awards were held Friday night at the Queen's Landing Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake hosted by celebrity TV chef Christine Cushing.
Tony Aspler kicks off the night
Big winners this evening were Malivoire, winning three Golds for Chardonnay, Gamay and Merlot along with 3 other awards for a total of six.  Tawse took two Golds (Riesling and Cabernet Sauvignon) on their way to collecting five medals.  While Inniskillin with 5 awards (including two in the Vidal Icewine category) and sister winery Jackson-Triggs took four medals for a haul of 9 for Vincor.  Chateau des Charmes and Angels Gate took home 4 medals each. 

White Wine of the Year was won by 3 time winner (in a row) in the Chardonnay category Exultet for their ‘The Blessed’. Red Wine of the Year was taken by Pillitteri for their Exclamation Cabernet Franc

There were no Golds handed out in the Gewurztraminer, Red Hybrid, Syrah/Shiraz and Blended White categories.  No surprise that a Creekside property took the Blended red Award, that’s their fifth year in a row.  There were also 5 categories that saw ties for top spot.

Winemaker of the Year went to Marlize Beyers of Hidden Bench, obviously caught totally off-guard, and by surprise, her acceptance speech was about how proud she was to be part of the Ontario wine community and to be a winemaker. 

And the Gold Medal winning wines are …
The rest of the winners, in the silver and bronze categories, can be found at www.ontariowineawards.ca.

Sparkling Wine –
13th Street 2008 Premier Cuvee
Huff Estates 2007 Cuvee Peter F Huff

Dry Riesling –
Flat Rock Cellars 2010 Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling
Daniel Lenko Estate 2009 Reserve Riesling

Semi-Dry Riesling –
Tawse 2010 Carly’s Block Riesling

Dry White Varietal –
Inniskillin 2012 Reserve Viognier

Gewurztraminer –
No Gold Awarded

Pinot Blanc / Pinot Gris –
Stoney Ridge Cellars 2011 Pinot Gris Excellence

Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon –
Angels Gate 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

Oaked Chardonnay (under $20) -
Rockway Vineyards 2011 Small Lot Reserve Chardonnay

Oaked Chardonnay (over $20) -
Exultet Estates 2011 The Blessed Chardonnay*
*Exultet has won in this category 3 years in a row
*winner of the White Wine of the Year Award
Stoney Ridge Cellars 2010 Chardonnay Excellence

Unoaked Chardonnay –
Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Musque Spritz

Rosé / Blanc de Noir -
Southbrook Vineyards 2011 Triomphe Cabernet Franc Rosé

Gamay –
Malivoire Wine Company 2012 Gamay

Pinot Noir –
Willow Springs 2010 Testa Pinot Noir

Red Hybrid –
No Gold Awarded

Cabernet Sauvignon –
Tawse 2010 Redstone Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Franc –
Pillitteri Estates 2010 Exclamation Cabernet Franc Reserve*
*winner of the Red Wine of the Year Award
Hillebrand Estates 2010 Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc ‘Clark Farm Vineyard’

Merlot –
Malivoire Wine Company 2010 Stouck Merlot
Peller Estates 2010 Signature Series Merlot

Syrah/Shiraz –
No Gold Awarded

Meritage and Cabernet/Merlot Blends –
Jackson-Triggs 2010 Delaine Cabernet Merlot

Late Harvest –
Konzelmann Estate 2011 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal
*second year in a row Konzelmann has won this category

Vidal Icewine –
Jackson-Triggs 2008 Proprietors’ Reserve Vidal Icewine

Vinifera Icewine –
Chateau des Charmes 2009 Riesling Icewine, Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard

Blended Red Award –
Creekside Estate 2007 Lost Barrel Red
*fifth year in a row a Creekside property has won this award

Blended White Award –
No Gold Awarded

Best Label Design Award –
Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserve

Winemaker of the Year -
Marlize Beyers – Hidden Bench Vineyards and Winery

Wine Journalism Award -
Stephen Elphick