Sunday, October 26, 2014

Report from ... Cono Sur Dinner, Tasting and New Wine Launch - October 21, 2014

It started out on the ground floor of the new Wildfire Steakhouse and Wine Bar at the Cosmopolitan Hotel (8 Colborne in Toronto) and then moved upstairs where we met the winemaker, drank some of Cono Sur's newest wines and ate great food.

The dinner was hosted by Authentic Wine and Spirits Merchant (agent) and Cono Sur's winemaker Matias Rios and featured some iconic wines from Cono Sur:  20 Barrels, Ocio and their newest baby, Silencio, a Cabernet Sauvignon of the highest quality and limited availability; but before we get there let's take a look at what came before ...

Evening starts with a glass of one of the best value sparkling wine - and it keeps getting better.
The Rose is 100% Pinot Noir; while the Crut has dropped the Riesling from the blend and is now
92% Chardonnay and 8% Pinot Noir

The Icon Wines and Dinner ...

Grilled Salmon
with a light sweet and spicy glaze
Paired with the 2013 version ('12 shown) of the Reserve Especial Chardonnay ($12.95) ...
a two estate blend from El Centinela, for its mineral character, and El Marco, for its
fruitiness.  Only 15% of the wine sees barrel.

Nose is white fruit dominated with peach along with lemon pith and vanilla; palate is
crisp with mineral, hint of vanilla, apple and a medium-length finish with good acidity (****+)
Results of the pairing:  2013 Chardonnay was too light, but the 2012 (which was also poured) - comes from a hotter vintage and the wine is fuller, oakier and more butterscotch, which paired well with the salmon - the 2013 just seemed to get lost - but I would prefer sipping the 2013 over the '12.

Ahi Tuna
with mango salsa
Ocio 2012 Pinot Noir
Another dual vineyard selection.  85% are grapes taken from 35+ year old vines from the
El Triangulo estate aged 14 months in barrel - all new French.

Nose is black cherry and cranberry cocktail; taste is lovely with acidity that helps to power
through all that fruit, and there is plenty of dark fruit here;  cassis, black cherry,
a little graphite, anise and gentle spice (****)
The Ocio Pinot Noir is not very Pinot-esque, but it is a good wine and very food friendly ... but it is more Merlot than Pinot.

Rack of Lamb
with roasted sweet potato puree
20 Barrel 2012 Syrah
First made in 1996 (it was a Pinot Noir) and was a real 20 barrel selection (2012 Syrah
was a 43 barrel selection).  Syrah was the last of the six wines that are now made in the
20 Barrels line (in order of being made: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon,
Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah)

Nose is cassis, white pepper, smoke, bacon fat, black cherry and raspberry.  Palate is
juicy, delicate and elegant with great acid balance - very flavourful with chalky tannins
and shows awesome age-ability - dark fruit dominated with raspberry, black cherry,
cassis and smoked vanilla.  Absolutely delicious (**** 1/2)
(The Anything-But-Petite) Petite Filet Mignon
with mushroom ragu, rosemary roasted potatoes, seasonal vegetable
Silencio 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
This Cabernet Sauvignon comes from 4 vineyards, plus there is 2% Carmenere from another
vineyard ... vine age tops out at 50 years.  Grapes are from the Maipo Alta (high Maipo),
and is best barrel selection from the vineyards used.  Picked ripe and then aged 22 months
in new medium-toast French barrels.  A 13-barrel selection for this year's vintage (the first).
Name of the wine comes from the want/need to let the wine speak itself, without shouting.

Nose is raspberry, cassis and sweet blueberry; palate is quite complex with pepper, mocha,
chalky tannins but with good acidity and a long finish.  Balanced, delicate and elegant -
it's not an over the top Cab, but one that keeps giving:  spiced raspberry, cherry, and
balsamic strawberries ... with more to come. (**** 1/2+)
Berry Stack
layered cake, mixed berries, whipped citrus custard
Consecha Noble 2012 Late Riesling
Has that sweetness you find with a late harvest wine, but it's the weakest of the night;
hey, we live in Ontario and sweet wine (ice and late harvest) are a specialty ...
this one is sweet and pretty and good for dessert (*** 1/2)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Report from ... A Toast to Free Assemblage – June 26, 2014

A mid-morning tasting with winemaker JL Groux followed up by lunch.  All wines are new in the Stratus line-up and some were intriguing, especially when you think it was made at an Ontario winery with Ontario grown grapes ... it's amazing to see a winery taking this kind of risk and succeeding.

A beautiful line-up of wines, ready for tasting
The wine list included (click on wine name for full review):

2012 Chardonnay - ($48.00)

Plus these extremely interesting and intriguing over the top wines:

2010 Cabernet Franc ($38.00)
2010 Tannat ($42.00)
2010 Sangiovese ($42.00)
And then there was lunch ...

Three Dishes for lunch all prepared by Chef/Proprietor of Treadwell ‘farm to table’ Cuisine, Stephen Treadwell.  Each dish fell under a special heading: Fresh, Savoury and Sweet - here's what was on the menu ...

Seared whitefish with creamed cabbage,
oven dried tomato and soft poached egg

“Cumbrae Farms” slow cooked lamb shoulder,
pomme puree and summer vegetables
Alas I had no time for dessert (obviously the SWEET part of the menu) ... but it was described as: 
Treadwell strawberry “mess”, vanilla bean whipped cream and crunchy meringue

Monday, October 13, 2014

Report from ... Generation Riesling, German Wine Tasting - May 20, 2014

Sure it's called "Generation Riesling" but Germany makes more than just Riesling - thing is it's the Rieslings that stand up ... so let's take a look at what happened on this day of lunch, German wine pairing and a whole boat-load of Riesling.

Riesling - Join the Movement ...
if you need to be convinced to drink Riesling,
I'm really not sure what to say here

Starting with Lunch ...

The line-up of wines scheduled for lunch - reviews later
Scallop Crudo
with sunflower and lemon balm
Poached Hen's Egg
with duPuy Lentils and Smoked Bacon
Grilled Salmon
with broiled asparagus and onion soubise

Thyme and Roasted Garlic Braised Beef Short Rib
with braised cabbage and marinated beans
Nosey Goat Camelot and Comfort Cream
with walnut and cherry compote and artisan chocolate

The Generation Riesling Tasting ...
Entering the Riesling Room
Top Lunch Wine:
Weingut Runkel 2011 Bechtheimer Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir)
pretty violet, sour black cherry with cran-vanilla, anise and cinnamon
this complex wine has nice balance of fruit and acidity (****)
Top Lunch Wine:
Prinz von Hessen 2012 Riesling Dachsfilet
sweet smell of apple, apricot and lime; palate turns out to be dry
with lime zest and mineral (*** 1/2+)
Double Shot from Weingut Bollig-Lehnert
2012 Fire Dragon Riesling: fresh and fruity; gentle, delicate and fun
2013 Flagfish Riesling: touch of sweetness with nice acid/mineral balance
Both wines *** 1/2+
Weingut Willems & Hofmann/Fritz Muller
2013 Hofmann Riesling "vom Muschelkalk" trocken

chalky, minerally with hints of lime - great acidity and so much mineral (****)
Weingut Willems & Hofmann/Fritz Muller
2013 Willems-Willems Riesling "Auf der Lauer" feinherb

fresh green apple, lemon-lime, peach pit and mineral (****+)
Weingut Klumpp 2013 Riesling QbA trocken
easy drinking style with nice acidity, dry pith and zesty citrus (*** 1/2+)
Reh Kendermann 2012 Riesling Roter Hang
nice fruit, good mineral, long finish (*** 1/2+)
Domanenweingut Schloss Schonborn 2008 Erbach Marcobrunn Riesling kabinett
nicely aged with good sweetness, white fruit and lovely mineral quality (****+)
Domanenweingut Schloss Schonborn 2013 Riesling QbA trocken
mineral intensity, lots of acid, dry and food friendly (*** 1/2+)
Weingut St. Urbanshof 2012 Leiwener Laurentiuslay Riesling GG
dry with the bitterness of citrus pith and green apple skin (*** 1/2+)
Weingut St. Urbanshof 2012 Wiltinger Alte Reben Riesling
dry, delicate and delicious - so sippable with lots of mineral/talc
with apple, lemon and lime (****+)

Weingut St. Urbanshof 2013 St. Urbanshof Riesling
silky white fruit; balanced acid with sweetness then adds
pear, peach and apple - this is very pretty (****)
Weingut Walter 2012 Riesling Kabinett
an elegant sweetness to the wine with all its
apple, talc and pear notes along with a pretty finish (*** 1/2+)