August 31, 2012

Chateau des Charmes 2005 St. David’s Bench Cabernet Franc

Found August 2012

Not all of us are lucky enough to try decade old wines ... nor are we all lucky enough to have such a creature in our own cellars (if you have one at all).  I have been collecting wine now for over 15 years, and Ontario wine for just as long (if not longer), so I have some pretty interesting (and I'm sure expired) stuff down there.  Thankfully, this Chateau des Charmes decade old Cabernet Franc was far from the expired list, in fact it showed well from start to finish.  The nose kicked things off with dried cherry, dried blackberry and hints of vanilla-cedar.  The plate proved just as inviting with mocha, dried cherry and some cedary notes.  I was worried the cedar would start to take over but they seemed to be happy to linger in the background ... as the evening wore on things started to happen in the glass and especially on the palate:  a dry smoky finish began to dominate; and there was some dried tobacco leaf notes (like picking bits off your tongue while smoking an unfiltered cigarette) ... the final analysis on my last sip, some 2 hours after opening, was this: tobacco, dried blackberry and black currants with a nice, relatively smooth, finish.  This wine is showing exceptionally well for its age.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

August 29, 2012

Lailey Vineyard 2005 Canadian Oak Cabernet Franc

Found August 2012

There aren't many using Canadian oak to age their wines, so seeing it on the label is fairly unique; but winemaker Derek Barnett of Lailey has been using it since his days making wine at Southbrook - when it was located in Richmond Hill - so he has a pretty good handle on it.  This wine, now some 7 years from vintage date, showed a little of its age, but also showed that it had some life left in it too.  The nose started out with dried raspberry, and the palate was oaky, cedary and tomato stem-ish ... not a great start, but as I like to tell people, "you get locked in a bottle for X-number of years and see how you feel the moment you get out" ... so this wine needed a little time to reset itself.  In so doing - about half and hour later - the nose showed signs of black currant and smoky-toasty oak.  The palate also seemed to turn itself around and had dried blackberry, hints of coffee with a woody finish - most remarkably is that it did show quite a bit of fruit on the mid-palate before doling out the mostly woody finish.  If you have some in the cellar, I think now is the time to drink it.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable +

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August 21, 2012

Thirty Bench 2005 Cabernet Franc - Small Lot

(Re-Tasted August 2012) ... "Hello sweetheart," is how I should have greeted this bottle, had I known the wonders of its contents, but instead it was just another pull of a cork.  But this 7 year old Cabernet Franc was a spectacular find in my cellar.  The fruit was truly amazing: dark and spicy ... and the nose kept giving up more and intriguing aromas that the palate seemed to match note for note.  At first there was that dark fruit with hints of cedar, pipe tobacco and anise; then as the night wore on it developed peppered/spiced cranberry notes and vanilla-licorice.  This beauty of a bottle still has plenty of time to develop, though I suspect the wood is going to intensify and the fruit character will diminish - will it happen tomorrow or in the next week - I doubt it, it might not happen for a few more years, but what I can tell you for certain is that this wine, right now, has the perfect mix of fruit, oak and character - the more I drank the more awesome this wine became.

EastDell Estates 2005 Cabernet Franc Reserve

Found August 2012

Here we go again, another wine that has been ruined by a producer's decision to cheap-out and use plastic to seal a bottle that has no business being under the worst closure known to man - heck I think you'd do better if you shoved a kerosene soaked rag in the top of the bottle, then at least I could use the wine for something other than drain cleaner.  The shame of it is this wine had such potential and you can mainly taste it rather than smell it.  The nose is laced with Madeira/Sherry notes and the taste is oxidative in nature and just getting worse the more air you swirl through the glass. - you can just make out the dark fruit and spice that would have be absolutely killer if it wasn't for the off-putting nature that already defines this wine.  I can't say it enough, if you are even thinking of closing your wines with a plastic cork, you aren't really thinking at all.  Now to find out the next bottle I opened and what this EastDell wine had the potential to be, read this review - from the same night. Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

August 15, 2012

Cattail Creek 2008 Chardonnay - No Oak

Found August 2012

Ever wonder what happens to an unoaked Chardonnay if left a little too long?  I wonder no more.  I know there are some out there who love age on their Chardonnays (and others that don't) - but I can tell you, at least from some limited experience, make sure they are oaked before you lie them down, or you'll end up like this Cattail number.  There was nothing horribly wrong with it, it was just tired, flabby, flat, uneventful and seemed almost slightly oxidized.  The fruit had dried out of this once lovely wine - it must have been lovely I had three bottles of it.  But now it isn't even good for the stew.  Oh well, you win some you lose some, this bottle and the two others I have, are definitely destined for the drain.  Lost & Found Rating: Trash

Chateau des Charmes 2006 St. David’s Bench Viognier

Click here to read the original review from April 8, 2008 Weekly Wine Note

(Re-Tasted August 2012) ...  A few weeks ago I popped this wine into the fridge for some guests we had coming over ... sadly we never got around to popping the cork and so there is it sat in the fridge for a few weeks until last night, when I finally spied the bottle and decided that I would pull the cork to pair with some fish we were having for dinner.  I remember this wine being more tropical in its youth, but now it has developed more like a Chardonnay ... it's not surprising they call Viognier "the alternative to Chardonnay".  The nose is quite appealing with apricot and pear, but seems to have some smoky notes that also appear.  The palate still has good acidity and a lovely lingering long finish, but as I said (on the palate) I probably could not differentiate this from an oaked Chardonnay.  The taste is buttery and toasty with peach pit and apricot pit notes, it also develops a little poached pear as it sits in the glass.  Still very pleasant ... if I want Chardonnay without it saying Chardonnay on the bottle.

August 1, 2012

Niagara College Teaching Winery 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

Found July 2012

Mama done told me lots of things:  My momma told me there'd be days like these.  Momma told me not to chew with my mouth full.  Momma also said, "if you ain't got anything nice to say, don't say it at all" (she also said that 'ain't ain't in the dictionary'), so maybe I heard that one wrong ... but I ain't got much to say positive about this wine so I'll be brief, cause momma also told me not to lie.  The nose is highly unappealing, not corked but just all wood and not much else (and that's being kind).  Being the researcher that I am I had to also taste the wine: it was like licking cardboard though again it was not corked - just overtly like sandpaper on the tongue and in the throat, so much so that one did not want to swallow.  This is an absolutely awful wine seven years from vintage date - too bad because it had such good pedigree being from the 2005 vintage, but over manipulation and over oaking has killed it in its twilight years (which means it would be good for vampires if you added enough garlic).  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash +

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