October 6, 2009

Southbrook 1999 Triomphe Merlot - Lailey Vineyard

Found October 2009

To say I enjoyed this wine is an understatement. Heck, to say I really enjoyed this wine would also be an understatement ... this was a fantastic wine. I found this 10 year old Merlot in my wine cellar while doing some re-arranging (I do that every so often, it re-familiarizes me with what I have, let's me see bottles I never knew I had - and some I wish I didn't). Those who have followed my Lost and Found column know that when I first really got into wine Southbrook was my "local" winery; they started out in the Richmond Hill area (only 30 minutes north of Toronto - 20 if you drove quickly). So I seem to have a treasure trove of old Southbrook bottles in my collection. The reason for that is that both Bill Redelmeier (owner) and then winemaker, Derek Barnett, who were often found manning the wine store counter, would always talk about the age-ability of their wines. And they weren't just whistling Dixie with this one. There is so much going on in this wine at this age it really is hard to describe completely. There's still fruit, most of it dried, and hints of green pepper; one moment your tasting the dried fruit and the green pepper pokes in for a sip, then there's some oak influence that takes over, then a spicy character comes through with his friend herb, and near the end of the glass (some 2 hours later) I could have sworn I had chocolate, black cherry and butterscotch caramel in my mouth. Now granted there was some dustiness to those flavours, but they were there, dry and smooth as silk. Anybody who doubts the age-worthiness of Ontario wine should really check out what Southbrook was making in the late 90's, then come back to me and we'll talk. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure +

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