May 30, 2009

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

(Re-Tasted May 2009) ... Here's a winery I have been impressed with since the get go, so I was excited to see a bottle of their wine come up in my Taste it Again program. If you haven't heard of Colchester Ridge then you haven't been anywhere near the Lake Erie North Shore region (outside Windsor) and you're missing out on one the unsung and up-and-coming wineries of Ontario; year-in and year-out this "new" (est. 2001) winery brings out wine that are as good or better than anyone in the region, and great examples of the vintage in Southern Ontario. The Lake Erie region has a longer growing season than Niagara or Prince Edward County and even in "bad" years they take advantage of this extra growing time. 2004 is far from the best year we've had this decade, but in this wine you'd never guess it. Upon opening there's wood, lot's of wood (which in some cases is used to mask problem years),but thankfully it's not overpowering, though it was certainly enough to cause some initial concern. Twenty-minutes later all that changed. The woodsy started to settle down and revealed herbs and spices, there's a smoothness to the palate and hints of dark, slightly dried fruit began to emerge. Forty-minutes on and its herbs and subtle green pepper notes that take center stage, still with that nice easy smoothness. After almost two hours the wine has reverted back to the start with lots of wood and some herbal notes. If you've got some in your cellar now's the time to drink this wine, but let it sit open for half an hour before drinking, and then drink over the next two.

May 29, 2009

Mountain Road Wine Company 2002 Cabernet Franc

(Re-Tasted May 2009) ... I have been sitting on a mountain of 2002 wines from Ontario (no pun intended, I swear). It would be safe to say that I have at least 40 different bottles of 2002 just waiting for me to try them (either again or that have become "lost") - this number also doesn't cover the amount of multiple bottles I have, just the number of different wines. You see, 2002 was the first big vintage of the new millennium, some might argue 2001 was pretty good too, but 2002 was a year to crow about, and many wineries did. Since then we have seen good years in 2005 (although short cropped) and the monster 2007 (from which wines are still coming onto shelves). In my inventory I noticed I had a few different bottles from Mountain Road, I'll get into the reserves I little later in the week (which I had not previously reviewed), but I thought I would start looking back right here, with this 2002 Cabernet Franc.

This is a wine I would call a "window wine", that's because it drinks in a certain window; let me explain. I opened the bottle and was immediately struck by a peppery smell, then the green pepper materialized, I expected that because it was in my original note. But instead of fresh green pepper it was more of a roasted green pepper, with toasty charred-like notes. The flavours revealed littled, just lots of dry woodsy flavours. So out came the decanter and the trials began.

With quite a bit of air the wine's nose soften even more, still on the roasted green pepper side but soft and fairly aromatic (if you like the smell of green pepper that is). With air the palate produced more black pepper and spicy tastes along with biting tannins and plenty of acidity. The fruit has almost completed dropped out of this wine and the flavours have become mostly secondary characteristics (barrel notes - woods and spices). The longer it remained opened and the more air the more bitter the finish became, so the "window of drinking" is somewhere within 30 minutes to an hour of opening, or swirl it around in the decanter for about a minute or two.

This wine is rough around the edges and the finish is a little on the bitter side, so not one for drinking on its own. What I did find quite appealing was how well it did go with food. I decided on chicken tonight and with each bite and sip I took together I noticed the wine added a nice smokiness to the food - bbq'ed flavour without the grill.

May 20, 2009

Mastronardi 2005 Brianje Riesling

Found May 2009

Considering that many of the 2005 Rieslings I have tried have been loaded with an over abundance of petrol (more than they should for a 4-5 year old wine) I approached this wine with a little trepidation as to how it had stood up. Before going on allow me to tell you how this bottle ends up lost, and found. My fiancee is a buyer of wine (not much, but enough) and less of a consumer - she refuses to open a bottle when she is by herself; which usually means I have wine to drink when I am visiting her place in Michigan. Until recently though, most of her wine has been stored in boxes, when she moved into her new place I made sure she had some wine racks and I organized her cellar (about 40 bottles). Much to my surprise I found lots of Ontario whites and a few oddball reds (a 2001 Chianti, a 2003 Cab and an 2004 Zinfandel) amongst them. I also got her a glass rack that holds four bottles for her kitchen - to remind her that 1) It's okay to drink alone; 2) You have wine at your disposal; and 3) I'm going to make it easy on you to fulfill 1 and 2 ... alas she still doesn't drink alone - so it must be me who's the alcoholic (wink). Anyway, I pulled this Riesling off the rack (and chilled it in the fridge) on a day where the Michigan sun was high in the sky and the temp had topped at a quite balmy (and breezy) 17 degrees (Celsius). The aromas on this wine were muted melon, mac apple, some orange rind and just a hint of petrol kicking around in the background. The tastes were perfect for the breezy-balmy day we found ourselves part of, more pronounce melon and apple, subtle notes of rindy-petrol and a sweet tangerine finish. Lovely, and so was the hour we found ourselves sipping it over. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure