December 29, 2010

Featherstone 2006 Old Vines Riesling

(Re-Tasted December 2010) ... Holy Hanna, is this a mouth puckering wine or what?  Obviously a rhetorical question.  Tonight we opened a 4 year old bottle of Featherstone's Old Vines Riesling, made from, at the time, 30 year old vines, some of the oldest in Niagara.  The nose doled out a citrus stoniness while the palate was big on lemon and mineral and nice balancing acidity. The finish reminded me of sucking on an apple core - there's flavour there but there are all the pits; but by no means is that to insinuate this wine is the pits, in fact it is it's polar opposite ... still delightful and a wonderful pairing with fish.

Aleksander Estate 2003 Riesling

Found December 2010

Now here is something unusual, or something that is becoming unusual, a wine that I have not previously reviewed that got lost in my cellar.  It used to be a more regular occurrence, which is why I started this blog in the first place, but as my record keeping got better it almost seemed redundant to have this site ... but thankfully it is still alive and well so I can tell you about one of my most recent finds.  While rejiggering my cellar I found a 7 year old bottle of Riesling from Aleksander Estate, located in the Lake Erie North Shore.  Since the winery started in 2005 this must be one of their very first efforts, and it is a decent effort at that.  Colour is golden with a nose hinting at mac apple with the merest hint of petrol.  The taste became a little more problematic, while the acidity was still good and the wine was aging nicely without faults, it seemed to be losing flavour, the petrol is faint-faint-faint on the tongue but other flavours don`t seem to be driving this wine at all, it has become `just a white wine, it`s simple yet sippable with no distinguishing characteristics on the palate. Lost & Found Rating:  Minor Treasure

December 28, 2010

Maleta Estate Winery 2005 Cabernets

(Re-Tasted December 2010) ... Well I was right 3 years ago when I predicted this would be a blockbuster of a wine to lie down and that it would need 2-3 years of bottle age to mellow; ha-za for me.  A blend of the obvious Cabernets:  Sauvignon and Franc, though I can not seem to find a percentage in any of the records I have of this wine (let me check one more place) ... well digging a little deeper shows that it might be a titch Franc heavy (by about 6%).  This is truly one of the best re-tasted reds I have tried because it shows so little signs of aging, the fruit is big and in-your-face, on the nose it has lovely black fruit, some definite black cherry and a delectable chocolate raspberry smell develops with some time open.  The taste is also very fruit forward: cassis, blackberry, black cherry with hints of tobacco notes in the background.  Tannins are smoothing but are still relevant and most definitely there. This wine could still use a few more years without much degradation, it'll peak in the next few years but is delicious to drink right now, especially with some kind of meat or pasta dish.

December 23, 2010

Thirty Bench Winemakers 2005 Red

(Re-Tasted December 2010) ... There are those I am sure who question my choice of pairing, me being one of them, but I enjoy seeing what might or might not go with what, and I invite everyone to experiment with the foods they eat and the wines they drink (more on that in a minute).  Tonight I opened a bottle of 2005 Thirty Bench Red, a primarily Cabernet Franc blend (65%) from the very decent vintage of 2005 (compared to what has come after in Ontario: 2007 and 2010 - "very decent" is an apt description to this year).  The nose was very shy upon opening and stayed that way for the better part of an hour, mostly everything just smelled smokey.  The palate was tucked away inside itself too ... this just required some time and I gave it some, but I refrained from pulling out the decanter, instead I allowed it to do it on its own in glass and bottle.  About an hour later the nose started to develop blackberry, black raspberry and that smoke turned more tobacco-ish.  The palate took a bit longer and between the one and two hour mark it really began to blossom.  Spicy black fruit with a touch of dried tobacco leaf, the smokiness remained and there was also some good drying tannins that started to come about.  

If I had to do it over I think I would have decanted, but it was nice to see the evolution of this wine on its own.  Still a lovely wine and with a few years left, though spice dominates the fruit and will probably continue to do so as it ages - wait too long and you'll just have a spicy tannic mess ... 3-4 years max.  As for the food I finally paired it with: maple-soy salmon, both food and wine held up well to each other.


December 6, 2010

Henry of Pelham 2003 Reserve Riesling

Found December 2010

Well, I combed through my records and could find nothing about me having tried this bottle before.  I have one bottle in my collection and that is all, so I must have been saving it for a special occasion and that occasion was tonight.  After a long weekend and long day we decided to relax and open something interesting, and what could be more interesting than a seven year old bottle of Riesling.  The nose was shy at first, we barely got any smell and even the flavour was a little muted.  We set our glasses aside and waited 15 minutes ... what a difference:  petrol mixed with green apple and lime skin.  The palate was similar yet different, the petrol wasn't apparent it gave up completely to the green apple, while the lime gave way to more lemony-citrus ... good acidity balanced everything nicely and there was a lovely mouth-coating lingering finish.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

December 5, 2010

Jackson Triggs 2004 Late Harvest Riesling


(Re-Tasted December 2010) ... Had some friends visit on the weekend, some non-wine-drinking American friends; obviously they were closer to my wife than they were to me.  The question is how do you get non-wine drinkers interested in wine.  I poured a few different wines on the Saturday night to very little affirmative reaction, until I poured this six year old sweetie from Jackson-Triggs, I turned my head to see if this one was being enjoyed and found an empty glass staring back at me, hurray.  I was not surprised to see the glass empty because this was a very tasty older Late Harvest Riesling with a wonderful blend of apricot, baked apple, along with honeyed peach and pear notes.  The colour was a pretty golden yellow and hints of petrol crept up the nose, but nothing could deter one from those other wonderful flavours taking over the tongue and winning you over.  Not sure how much time this bottle has left, I would say a year, maybe two - but it is a delicious mature sweetie right now, so if you have some it would be a perfect pour for the season we find ourselves in, especially when those non-wine drinking Americans come to visit.

December 2, 2010

Jackson Triggs Proprietors' Grand Reserve 2006 White Meritage


(Re-Tasted December 2010) ... The question here is:  when does a White Meritage get too old?  Now granted this is only 4 years from vintage date, but it's still a blend of Sauvignon Blanc (87%), which is considered a "drink now" kinda wine and Semillon (13%), a grape (at the time) still relatively new to the Ontario climate.  

The first thing I noticed about this wine is the colour, more golden then yellow; as white wines get older they tend to darken, where as red wines lighten.  The nose was a mish-mash of aromas: Bartlett pear, over-ripe pineapple, a slight hint of grassiness, honey notes and some strange ash-like smells too, that weren't off-putting just funny to be found there.  Thankfully about 20-25 minutes later there was a really nice smell of white grapefruit that started to emerge.  The palate was hit and miss with some of that over-ripe pineapple coming out, grass and peach pit notes.  It also seemed that the acidity was playing possum, sometimes it was there and in subsequent sips it was not.  Strange wine after all this time, but I still managed to finish the glass, and enjoyed it.