March 18, 2010

Inniskillin 2004 Brae Burn Vineyard Shiraz


(Re-Tasted March 2010) ... Still in a Syrah / Shiraz mood and still wanting to go Ontario I looked further into my cellar inventory and found this Inniskillin 2004 version.  It's a single vineyard wine from the Brae Burn vineyard, from a year that is thought to be pretty dodgy.  Pouring the wine into the glass I noticed that it was still pretty red in colour with little signs of its age.  The nose gave little in the way of positive smells but the palate still had elements of spice and cassis.  The finish is where things got interesting, it was kind of a sour-butterscotch seasoned with white pepper, sounds odd and not very appealing but in a strange way it was quite drinkable and enjoyable.  Then there was the lingering finish which dropped the butterscotch note and left behind the pepper and some wood characteristics.  For the record, decanting striped this wine of any flavour or character so I poured straight from the bottle.


Peninsula Ridge 2005 Syrah

(Re-Tasted March 2010) ... I, in general, find winemakers to be a conservative lot when discussing the longevity potential of their wines.  I remember Jean-Pierre Colas telling us that he expected this to be a 2-year lived wine and that was about it.  The pedigree of the wine should have deemed it to last longer:  2005 was a good growing season and an experienced winemaker - should be enough to gain at least another year or two ... and it was - it was the 5 years that killed it.

Recently I was asked to try the 2007 version of the Reserve Syrah being released by Peninsula Ridge, and that reminded me that I still had a bottle of the 2005 edition (though not the reserve).  So tonight I cracked it open to give it a go, wanting to see if Jean-Pierre was wrong in his assessment.  The last time I tried this wine was back in January of 2008, it took some time to open, and needed to be decanted, and it finally did revealing a nice raspberry earthiness.  Today I was not that lucky.  The nose started out with lots of green pepper with a faint flutter of raspberry in the background and then things turned south quickly, the smell became very paint thinner-like.  Remembering the need to decant I did ... though it did little to help the wine, it brought out a little more of the fruit and dulled the paint thinner aspect, but it still was hard on the palate and the pleasure of the fruit was short-lived itself.  This wine needed a lot of work to make it drinkable (15 minutes of shaking and stirring the decanter) and I am not sure most people would have worked this hard to try and get a drinkable wine out of it.  In the end I came to the conclusion that it was not a horrible wine, it just wasn't very good anymore.  If this were the last bottle in my house and the stores were all closed I could have drunk this wine, but since I have other stuff to chose from it did not make the cut.  Turns out Jean-Pierre was right, though he was off by at least a year.  I moved on to another wine.

March 5, 2010

Flat Rock Cellars 2005 Riesling

(Re-Tasted March 2010) ... Even when on the road I carry my own glasses, I also occasionally carry my own wine. Take for example right now:  I am on a train back to Toronto, I am carrying two Californian, a Spanish and an Australian - if this train breaks down I am ready for the long haul.  That's why in a La Quinta Hotel in Calhoun, Georgia, I'm sipping away on a 2005 Flat Rock Cellars Riesling.  It's not the kind of summer weather you expect when you thing of Georgia, in fact it's pretty chilly in the state this time of year.  Now I'm a Canadian, so that means I am ready to throw on some shorts in this 64F (12C) degree weather, but others are dressed as we would at home for below zero temps.  In the hotel, I popped this bottle of Flat Rock Riesling into a garbage can of ice and waited an hour or so for it to chill.  I then brought out my traveling Schott Zwiesel glasses and I was ready, all I needed was a balcony to sit on to enjoy, unfortunately there was not to be found.  The nose didn't seem to want to give much up in the way of smells revealing only lemon rind and hints of petrol. The palate was willing to show a little more: petrol, lemon curd, a touch sour, a bit of tartness and a decent amount of acidity.  This was once voted as the best white wine in Canada, it didn't exactly live up to that rating today ... but it just goes to show that there is so many factors at plays when tasting wine: it had been a long day on the road (13 hours) and we were quite tired; the wine was not (tired), but I think we were too tired to appreciate and enjoy it. Though it was nice to have a taste of home so far from it.

March 4, 2010

Thirty Bench Winemakers 2005 Riesling

(Re-Tasted March 2010) ... When it is perceived that Riesling is all you do then you'd better do it really really well.  Now I know that Thirty Bench makes more than just Riesling, but every year they put out four Rieslings, three vineyard specific versions (Steel, Wood and Triangle) and the other a blend of those three.  They've gotten so good at it that most people consider them a Riesling producer above any other grape variety.  Now those of you who follow this sporadic column know that I have been talking about the premature petrol in hot vintage Rieslings, namely 2005 (I have a feeling 2007 will follow in '05s footsteps).  I found that this wine suffered from it too, but surprisingly, not to the extent of some others and, for the most part, primarily on the nose.  Smells were very petrol and peach pit -esque, but the palate delivered lemon-limey-ness and green apple acidity.  It certainly wasn't fresh, it had aged Riesling notes all over it, but it wasn't as loaded with gas as many other 2005 have been apt to be.