March 20, 2013

Thirty Bench 2007 Red

(Re-Tasted March 2013) ... Last night I went back to a 2005 vintage wine and was very impressed, tonight I step up two years to another great Ontario vintage, 2007, to re-taste a wine from 30 Bench.  This mainly Cabernets blend (Franc and Sauvignon make up a whopping 95%) has no intention, and shows no sign, of letting go of its dark fruit aromas and flavours any time soon.  From from first sniff to last sip it still has lots of it.  The nose is black raspberry, blackberry and spiced cherry, while the palate shows off a little more complexity: blueberry, blackberry and spice are the mainstays, followed up by hints of oak, anise and white pepper, there also seems to be a slight mocha note that appears on the finish.  But there is always that dark fruit just waiting in the wings to push all the others aside and assert its dominance.  This wine is still very, very good.

March 19, 2013

Vineland Estates 2005 Elevation Cabernet-Merlot

(Re-Tasted March 2013) ... This was a beauty of a wine when it was released and now that is it 8 years old its even better.  First let me say how nice it is to open a bottle of 2005 wine and find a real cork stopping up the bottle, I have found so many plastic POS corks in 2005 wines that I was starting to expect those nasty pieces of plastic every time I open a 2005.  Now onto the wine.  I would like to say that the nose was overwhelmingly wonderful, but in truth it was pretty simplistic: spice, dark fruit, cinnamon and oak ... there was also something smoky to it, but that didn't show up till a little later.  Those who focus on the aromas too much are going to miss the best part of this wine though - and that's the palate - which just keeps on giving and giving and getting better and better with each passing 10 minute-block.  It started off slowly: spiced-cassis and blackberry along with vanilla-cinnamon-oak.  Then came a hint of blueberry skin. Wait a little longer in glass, the wine smooths out and you can find some licorice notes ... wait again and smokiness appears, then some chocolate ... but it wasn't just one note at a time, they all seem to meld one into another to a point where the wine was absolutely delicious combining all those flavours into each mouthful.  I do believe this wine has hit its sweet-spot, the question remains, how long will it stay there.

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March 13, 2013

Hillebrand 2009 Trius Sauvignon Blanc

(Re-Tasted March 2013) ... I have to admit that I can't believe I still have bottles of Sauvignon Blanc in my wine cellar - truth be told the Hillebrand Trius 2009 are the only bottles of older Sauv Blanc I have, but I seem to have quite a few.  I know that when it came out it quite possibly could have been one of the best Savvy B's to come out of Ontario - it had great flavour and the acidity was just a powerhouse.  So it is no surprise I bought a bunch to serve, but it does come as a surprise that I have some left.  So the other day I was teaching a class on Sauvignon Blanc and thought it an opportunity to educate on the ageability (or lack thereof) of the grape ... the common held view is the Sauvignon Blanc does not age and should be drunk young and fresh - those were my thoughts too.  Four years from vintage date and 3 years from release is not the time most people think about opening a bottle of Savvy B ... but in this case I was pleasantly surprised.  The nose has changed from fresh and lively to more complex notes of grapefruit zest and pith, peach pit with hints of grassy, a touch of beeswax and some floral notes.  The palate is still rather zippy still retaining that lively acidity while still adding in a light touch of peach, some lemon and grapefruit - but always sitting in the back is that zip and zing of acidity which has managed to keep the electricity in this wine.  I am totally amazed by how well it has stood up, and also thrilled because, as I mentioned early on, I still have quite a few left.  Congratulations to winemaker Darryl Brooker for this lovely last and (so far) lasting contribution to Ontario wines.