July 21, 2014

Taste it Again / Lost & Found are Going Home

The Taste it Again / Lost & Found blog has found a new home on the new MichaelPinkusWineReview.com website

It’s finally here:  now updated and released the NEW Michael Pinkus Wine Review website (formerly OntarioWineReview); has a sleek new look, cool design, and mobile functionality and so we've decided to bring a few of the blogs back into the fold ... this being one of them - be sure to check us out there.

Thanks for reading and we'll see you on the new site.

Michael Pinkus
Grape Guy

April 4, 2014

The Story of Two 2002 Cabernet Francs

Thomas & Vaughan 2002 Cabernet Franc:  Not previously reviewed
Peninsula Ridge 2002 Cabernet Franc:  read the original review from May 2005

This is the story of two bottles of wine ... both from the Bench area of Niagara, both made from the same grape and both made in the same year ... but with serious differences in smell and taste, for one simple reason - let's take a look:

(Tasted March 2014) - I located this bottle in my wine cellar and immediately became excited, Thomas & Vaughan made some very interesting and exciting wines in their time and even had some older vines, especially of Cabernet Franc, and so this seemed a great bottle to open and reminisce about a long lost piece of Ontario wine history.  I knew I was into for a rude awakening the moment I removed the capsule and saw the plastic cork.  Crap!  But I was determined to give it a fair shake.  No too long ago I opened a 6-year-old bottle sealed with a plastic corked that was actually drinkable (not drinkable for long, but drinkable), the problem is this one was double that.  It didn't take long for me to realize I was not going to be as lucky.  The Thomas & Vaughan had such great promise but was oxidized (slightly at first, but still evident) as time wore on (no more than 30 minutes) it was fully oxidized and undrinkable.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

(Re-Tasted March 2014) - While I waited on the T&V wine to see what would happen to it I thought I'd pull out a "back-up" and found this bottle of Peninsula Ridge 2002 Cabernet Franc, sealed with a natural cork.  I broke the cork halfway through the opening so I struggled a little to get the remaining piece out and managed to remove it with a minimal amount of cork bits getting into the wine.  This was a marked improvement from the T&V wine right out of the bottle:  smoky with dried blackberry and cassis, sweet dried raspberry, tobacco leaf, and a long smoky finish with a certain smoothness as the tannins have mellowed.  It continued to evolve through the evening, and as the Thomas & Vaughan was dying a slow cruel death this one was rising like a pheonix to take over the void on my palate the T&V was leaving behind.


March 28, 2014

Couple of Wines from the Cellar: Henry of Pelham & Thirty Bench

Henry of Pelham:  Not previously reviewed

(Tasted March 2014) ... Tonight I pulled a couple of wines out of the cellar from a couple of cooler vintages.  Started off with the Henry of Pelham 2004 Off-Dry Riesling, which proved it still had plenty of life left in it.  Nose of peach, apricot and apple seed (with no sign of petrol what-so-ever).  Palate was a show of balance between the sweet and the acidity:  apricot, peach pit, touch of green apple along with a bit of Mac, there was even some lilac and honey notes that came into play ... What impressed me the most about this wine was that it kept its sweetness but with good acidity to keeping it from being cloying plus it had a long dried apricot linger to the finish.  Obviously, 2004 was a great vintage for Riesling.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

(Re-Tasted March 2014) ... After that enjoyable feast of the senses I decided to move along to another cool vintage, but this time a little more recent, with a bottle of Thirty Bench 2009 Red.  In no sense of the imagination would anyone call the 2009 vintage in Ontario a great red vintage, but Thirty Bench managed to coax something special into their Red.  Now, some 5 years from vintage and 2 years from my last tasting of the wine I found the nose to be lacking of fruit but still appealing with its anise, oak, vanilla and spice; this continues on the palate, lots of vanilla and spice, but adds a hint of cassis to the background.  The wine is smoothing out nicely with silky tannins and sweet oak, but should not be held too much longer as fruit will start to fade even further.  Right now it is a real pleasant drinker for BBQ fare.

March 23, 2014

Chateau des Charmes 2006 Chardonnay Musque

(Re-Tasted March 2014) ... Buoyed by the finding of a Fielding Chardonnay Musque from the same year, I decided to open this bottle of Chateau des Charmes Musque to see how it had fared.  Alas, not too well.  I have to admit I really didn't expect much from it, it was a wine that literally had gotten misplaced in my cellar and I was surprised to find it.  But considering the Fielding had turned out so well I thought it a great opportunity to see how a wine from a different part of Niagara turned out.  Chardonnay Musque is an unoaked wine and not really known for it longevity, so the fact that it was even drinkable at all is testament to the wine maker.   The nose was very Musqu-esque with floral and perfumed apple notes, but the palate had a bitter mid and finish and an odd, almost sour, aftertaste ... not very appealing at all.  So the moral of this bottle is that if you think that a wine is not meant to age put it somewhere where you will remember to drink it sooner.

March 20, 2014

Coyote’s Run 2005 Cabernet Franc

(Re-Tasted March 2014) ... I make no bones about it, I am a fan of Cabernet Franc, and some of these older ones from Ontario are really beginning to impress.  Coyote's Run is known for making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but they also grow some Cabernet Franc on the property - and henceforth they make it into a single varietal wine.  2005 was a hot year in Ontario and so I had high hopes for this one when I opened the bottle.  Nose had definite sour cherry, raspberry and white pepper notes while the palate had hints of anise and white smoke from the get go.  Left open in the glass and aerated it began to develop those typical Cab Franc characteristics of tobacco (on the light side) along with some dried cherry.  The pepper from the nose came in on the finish and managed to wrangled it's way in between the dried fruit and the good acidity.  Turns out that those high hopes I had for this wine were not misplaced.  For those of you with a few bottles left, now would be the time start thinking of drinking, though there's no real rush, this should keep another few years.

March 17, 2014

Angels Gate 2008 Gamay

(Re-Tasted March 2014) ... When I first tried this wine is was already 3 years from vintage date, now another three years have passed, how would this light fruity Gamay be?  I found a bottle down in the cellar and decided to give it an hour worth of chill and enjoy it with a nice piece of salmon.  I can safely report that this wine is still holding its own ... the big berry bowl of fruit is gone, but there is still quite a bit of sour black cherry on the palate, a gentle spice that carries through to the finish and some good acidity that acts as backbone ... I can't complain one bit about this one, it's still a delicious wine.  This is my last bottle, but I think if you have some in your cellar you still have a couple of years to enjoy it.

March 14, 2014

Del-Gatto 2007 Bella Vigne Leon Millot / Foch

Found February 2014

Talk about an odd find in the cellar ... I had no idea it was down there or how it got there.  I hate to say it, it was probably a wine that was sent to me by the winemaker and by the time it got into the rotation it was sold out; so I lay it down to see what happened.  The last one I have a notes of is the 2006 which made my Weekly Wine Note back in January 2008.  After finding this wine I decided to take it into my wine class to see what they thought of this aged hybrids blend from this Prince Edward County winery.  Here I think they got more than they bargained for as this wine seemed to go against every convention.  First on the nose there's a blood orange aroma which seems to mix with tomato and / or clamato juice, plus there's an herbal sensation.  Moving on to the palate that herbal and orange mixture comes across and adds a spiced rum cola note that is very very interesting ... all told it was a much better sip than expected, some even asked for seconds.  Lost and Found Rating:  Tolerable