Saturday, January 24, 2015

Report from ... Mark Anthony 2nd Annual Portfolio Tasting - November 5, 2014

Below is a look at some of the best wines poured at the Mark Anthony Portfolio Tasting listed by country.

Canada ...

Mission Hill 2010 Quatrain ($45.95)
40% Merlot / 20% Cabernet Sauvignon / 20% Cabernet Franc / 20% Syrah
12 months new French oak - fruit from Southern Okanagan
blueberry, cocoa, vanilla backed by black cherry and touch of spice (****)
Mission Hill 2010 Compendium ($45.95)
41% Cabernet Sauvignon / 38% Merlot / 21% Cabernet Franc
13 months new French oak - fruit from Black Sage and Osoyoos vineyards
sweet black cherry, vanilla, creamy smooth with a silkyness that contains
cocoa and a touch of smoke (**** 1/2)

Mission Hill 2010 Oculus ($80.95)
51% Merlot / 26% Cabernet Sauvignon / 23% Cabernet Franc
14 months new French oak - the wine is always Merlot dominated
chocolate and black cherry with an element of spice that tickles
and plays across the tongue (****)

Argentina ...
Dona Paula 2012 1100 Elevation ($19.95)
60% Malbec / 30% Cabernet Sauvignon / 10% Syrah
single vineyard wine made from the Uco Valley
smooth, raspberry, cherry, chocolate and peppery notes that really punch
on the finish ... very enticing. (****)

France ...

Louis Latour 2008 Volnay 1er Cru "En Chevret" ($70.21)
A nice blend of cherry and spice but with a smooth palate that shows
acidity and cranberry cocktail. (****)
Lanson 2006 Tsarine Blanc de Blanc ($59.95)
This is a mineral dominated 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru sparkler with
big green apple and lemon that's mouth-puckering with good acidity. (****+)

Italy ...

Eugenio Collavini 2012 More ($16.95)
blend of 40% Refosco and 60% Merlot - aged 12 months in oak
Blackberry and rich cassis with blueberry and black cherry;
smooth and quite supple (****)

Spain ...

Vivanco 2007 Crianza ($27.30)
100% Tempranillo aged 16 months in most American oak
lots of nice spicy notes but all backed by vanilla and spiced cherry (*** 1/2+)

South Africa ...

Nederburg 2011 Motorcycle Marvel ($24.95)
Grenache / Carignan / Syrah / Mourvedre / Cinsault
Smoky dark fruit and elegant spice (*** 1/2+)
Nederburg 2011 Manor House Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.95)
Cocoa, smoke, vanilla, blackberry, cassis and black pepper (*** 1/2+)

United States ...
Davis Bynum 2012 Jane's Vineyard Pinot Noir ($36.95)
Sweet cran-cherry with raspberry, strawberry,
nice spice and good acidity (*** 1/2+)
Rodney Strong 2010 Brothers Ridge Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($99.95)
100% Cabernet Sauvignon from 1200 foot elevation with 21 months in French oak
Juicy with vanilla and smoke backing; black cherry and blackberry are the fruits -
this one is most definitely smooth, sultry and sexy. (**** 1/2)
Rodney Strong 2011 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($27.95)
91% Cabernet Sauvignon with Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot also in here
Nice cherry and black cherry with sweet cherry and vanilla (****)
Rodney Strong 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve ($59.95)
100% Cabernet Sauvignon - 21 months French oak
Smooth, almost creamy upon entry with a hint of spice on the finish,
all wrapped around lovely black and blue fruit (****+)

New Zealand ...
Sacred Hill 2013 "Halo" Pinot Noir ($22.95)
Pinot Noir made from 9 year old vines - aged in new and 1 year old oak
Great fruit with a cherry-cranberry cocktail; nice tannins, good acidity,
touch smoky with great red fruit. (**** 1/2)

Australia ...
Tyrrell's 2011 Winemaker Selection Vat 8 Hunter Shiraz-Cabernet ($17.08)
Rich in fruit touched by white pepper (*** 1/2+)
Tyrrell's 2012 Lost Block Shiraz ($17.08)
Chocolate and white pepper with plenty of blackberry and black cherry (****)

Portugal ...
Cockburn's 2000 Quinta dos Cannais Vintage Port ($39.95)
Already aged and ready to buy and drink now ... chocolate, black cherry, spice,
sexy and smooth with enough acidity and spice to keep you coming back for more (****+)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Report from ... Umbria: Tenuta le Velette - November 4, 2014

Tenuta le Venette, from Umbria, came to town lined-up their wines in an ante-room at Grano restaurant in Toronto.  Of the close to a dozen wines here's a look at some of my favourites ...

Calanco 2009 - ($35.00)
60% Sangiovese / 40% Cabernet Sauvignon
Nose: blackberry, black cherry, and touch of red berry
Taste: elegant and seductive with its fruit-tannin mix;
it's quite aggressive
Score: ****
Accordo 2009 - ($20.00)
100% Sangiovese
Nose: fruit driven aromas that are all dark: cassis and black cherry with touch of smoke
Taste: black cherry, blackberry, smoky, cocoa, and decent tannins
Score: ****
Rosso di Spicca 2012 - ($16.00)
85% Sangiovese / 15% Canaiolo
Nose: plenty of red fruit aromas
Taste: rustic and bitter yet shows spices, blackberry and cassis;
it's definitely a pizza, pasta kinda wine
Score: *** 1/2+
Sole Uve 2011 - ($22.00)
100% Grechetto
an every day drinking wine that has notes of pineapple,
green apple, spice and a slight bitterness to the finish
Score: *** 1/2

Berganorio 2013 - ($16.00)
30% Trebbiano / 40% Grechetto / 10% Malvasia / 10% Verdello / 5% Drupeggio / 5% Others
floral, melon, pineapple, also with a slight bitterness to the finish
Score: *** 1/2

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Report from ... Joseph Carr Wine Tasting & Dinner - August 27, 2014

This evening we meet with one Joseph Carr, the man who started the very popular Josh Cellars, which was named after his father -  the nickname that was given to him during his stock car racing days.  From the press release, "Growers that I call friends all helped craft our first vintage of Josh Cellars, a 'winemaker's wine' we first made for each other.  Now sourcing from vineyards across the Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Mendocino County and the Central Coast of California, we make wines for your friends and family that honour that first vintage, rich and complex, but always approachable."  Tonight we see if Joseph Carr can live up to his mission statement all while having a lovely dinner at Biff's Bistro and listening to the man tell his stories.

Joseph Carr ...
At 18 years of age he became a wine steward at a fine French restaurant
he went home and told his father, "Dad, I'm a sommelier!"; to which his
father replied, "Don't talk like that in front of your mother."
He was a restaurant sommelier for about ten years (from age 20-30),
became a Master Sommelier (level 2) at age 23
He then began to work for Wolf Blass is Australia and started from the bottom,
by 39 he had become the president of Wolf Blass and helped start the Greg Norman brand ...
then he quit at age 42, moved back to California and began making wine at Freemark Abbey.

The Wines ... from Josh Cellars to Joseph Carr eponymous label

Established his Joseph Carr line of wines in 2005.  Started up the Josh line in 2007 and released the first wines under the Josh label in 2009.  Today they sell some 500,000 cases of the Cabernet Sauvignon alone, making it the number one Cabernet in the USA (just three years after starting).  The Joseph Carr wines seem to be the more serious of the wines, the Josh are all about enjoyment.

Josh Cellars 2012 Chardonnay ($17.95)
A basic Chardonnay that shows a creaminess and
more than a decent bit of fruit (*** 1/2)
Josh Cellars 2012 Pinot Noir ($21.95)
Lots and lots of cherry especially on the nose, but then
it shows earthy character on the finish with black cherry
and hints of cranberry also lending a hand (*** 1/2+)
Josh Cellars 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95)
Smooth and easy with lots of cherry and blackberry (*** 1/2+)

Josh Cellars 2012 Legacy ($21.95)
A blend of Merlot, Zinfandel Syrah and Petite Sirah.
A kitchen sink blend of wines not put into other programs.
Easy drinking with a sweet mid-palate, plum, vanilla, black cherry,
and raspberry - pure pleasure on the palate (****)
Joseph Carr 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (36,000 cases)
96% Cabernet Sauvignon - 4% Merlot
Nose ... cassis, black cherry, chocolate, vanilla and anise
Taste ... juicy with cassis and blackberry; fruity yet with dryness
and acidity that makes the wine a pure joy to drink (**** 1/2)
Joseph Carr 2012 Merlot (8,000 cases)
96% Merlot - 2% Cabernet Sauvignon - 2% Cabernet Franc
Nose ... blueberry, raspberry, cocoa and anise
Taste ... smooth, clean, hint of smoky-vanilla, blueberry,
cassis with a touch of a cigarette finish (****+)

Joseph Carr 2012 Chardonnay (4,000 cases)
100% Chardonnay - aged in neutral new French oak
Nose ... mineral, apple, hint of butter along with vanilla and pineapple
Taste ... mineral, apple seed, lemon zest; there's a real nice delicacy here
that's very pleasant along with a palate that has quite a bit of weight (****)
It was one of those evenings - no tie required ...
Here we have a picture of Joseph Carr without his tie,
which he was a little leery to remove; this is rather a big deal,
will stock prices take a tumble? Time will tell.

The Dinner ... at Biff's Bistro

Smoked Trout
w/ pumpernickel croutons, herb creme fraiche, apple & fennel
Filet Mignon
w/ smoked eggplant puree, sarladaise potatoes & red wine jus
Chocolate Tart
w/ peanuts & vanilla chantilly