May 30, 2013

Chateau des Charmes 2007 Gamay Noir ‘Droit’

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... With the release of the 2010 version of the Gamay Noir Droit coming out (my review will appear in the next couple of weeks at I thought it would be interesting to check out an older version, like the last time a hot vintage version of this wine came out.  Back in June 2008 I proclaimed the 2007 Droit a "kick ass wine" ... today it's more of an interesting discovery.  I chilled the bottle in the fridge for about 45 minutes, because Gamay deserve one.  It had plenty of anise and smoky character with dried cherry and strawberry character.  As the wine warmed the dried became drier, darker and drier to be exact, with a kind of delicious port-like quality to it.  Is it as 'kick ass' as it was in 2008?  Nope.  But it's still a delicious and fun wine to drink ... if you're like me and picked up a few bottles back when it was released, and still have some in the cellar, it's time to drink up ... before that fruit gets too dried out.

May 26, 2013

Colio Estate 2011 CEV Sauvignon Blanc

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... It really has not been that long since I tasted this wine, but over the past couple of days I have tried a number of Sauvignon Blancs and I have come to the conclusion that these wines have got to be drunk early.  And so without further ado I grabbed a bottle of this Colio CEV Sauvignon Blanc and gave it a try.  The freshness of the wine has left the bottle and has given way to a more complex aromas and flavours: lanolin and beeswax take charge on the nose and palate, while there are hints of lemon and lime rind also to be had.  This is a wine I will be drinking my cellar dry of this summer as it has lovely food pairing capability - but know that it will all be gone by summer's end as I am not sure I will enjoy it in another year, as that lemon-lime-ness might be completely gone.

Niagara College 2009 Sauvignon Blanc - Kevin Watson Vineyard

Found May 2013

Sadly I am going to give this wine a very poor write up and it's really not it's fault; I blame myself completely for this fiasco of a wine.  When we bought this wine a few years back is was lovely and fresh with great citrus quality - unfortunately the review never made it to the website (  But I found this bottle while looking for something refreshing and fun to drink and with the date of 2009 I thought it just might have survived due to the high acidity that year brought to the wines - alas that was not to be.  I am to blame as I socked this one away instead of putting it in the forefront of my wine cellar.  But here is how it tastes now:  The nose was hay with some freshly mowed lawn thrown in, there was also some grapefruit rind added to the mix. But it wasn't the nose that was the problem, it was the palate, which had lost all elements of Sauvignon Blanc, it tasted rancid and bitter with a real unpleasant after-taste.  This wine was inadvertently lost and sometimes when that happens you can never get them back ... no matter how hard you look and pray that they'll come back.  It's true in life as it is in wine.  In the end the nose was passable but the palate was something you just couldn't get passed.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

May 24, 2013

Lailey Vineyard 2009 Sauvignon Blanc

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... It seems that the original podcast I made for this wine is lost, but I gave it 4-stars, so that has to mean something, doesn't it?  The other day while looking for something white and interesting in my cellar (besides myself) I came across this bottle of Lailey Sauvignon Blanc from 2009 - I sent an email over to winemaker Derek Barnett asking what he thought its chances of still being good were and he responded: "Drink it!!! From that vintage it should still be fresh, might have evolved with more intense green on the finish."  He wasn't far off, but I must say it is still a really enjoyable wine for those interested in how wine evolve - especially whites like Sauvignon Blanc.  It is also interesting to note that this wine did see some oak, so what happens with this wine might not be equivalent to those done without oak.  2009 was a great year for acidity and it seems to have preserved the wine it very intense way.  The wine is quite grassy but with really pleasant hints of creamy-vanilla (from the oak) and the citrus has turned more grapefruit rind than fresh juice giving it a slightly bitter-ish finish.  Intense for sure, but in a good way.  With all this praise I will also say that this might be the last summer to drag this one out and really enjoy it.

May 13, 2013

Cave Spring 2005 Cabernet Franc Estate Bottled

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... What an awful night.  I don't want to get into the details but let's suffice it to say our restaurant experience tonight for the All Canadian Wine Championships was a real bustEnded up back in my room ordering a room service steak and a salad ... and of course, unlike at the restaurant, I opened my own bottle of wine, this 2005 Cabernet Franc from Cave Spring - which I am told is drinking beautifully right now.  So into the big glass it goes and here we go.  The nose is smoky with dried dark fruit a little cedar and a little spice.  The palate follows the nose pretty well, it's smooth and supple, holds the cedar and spice well and adds elements of pipe tobacco and more dried black fruit.  There's sediment in the bottom of the glass which indicates a wine that was unfiltered, or lightly filtered, which adds depth to the flavour and longevity to the wine.  The linger on the finish was smoky with hints of vanilla and dried black cherry.  But the one flavour (and smell) that keeps coming to mind is smoky, and this wine has it in spades and in a real good way.  If you have some don't hold it much longer as this wine is at it's peak.

May 11, 2013

Cave Spring 2006 Riesling “Dolomite”

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... It has not been long since my last tasting of this wine, in fact it's only been 3 months since I popped the cork on the last bottle of the Dolimite Riesling (circa 2006) ... The minerality is still quite good on both the nose and palate, there's a hint of petrol on the nose and palate as well but it's more prominent on the nose; the palate takes on more of a dried lemon-lime characteristic with slight green apple nuances especially on the finish.  You'll also find touches of dried apricot and peach along with good acidity.  The wine is still holding up quite well and makes for a great evening sipper as aperitif.

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May 7, 2013

Maleta 2007 VIEW Chardonnay

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... It's a lovely spring Saturday and a Chardonnay-loving friend is coming over for dinner - now we started with a half glass of Rose (Chateau des Charmes 2012) and moved quickly on to the main white (this Maleta Chardonnay).  Now granted, my first review is just shy of 2 years ago, and it was released less than 3 years ago, but this was a hot vintage Chardonnay - so it's interesting to see its quick evolution.  Truth is it is drinking perfectly now, as long as you like bigger flavours in your Chardonnay:  anise and butter do appear along with some rather pleasing toffee notes.  Those looking for fruit will find it in the form of baked peach and apple crumble along with its accompanying spiced nuances and characteristics.  For a 6 year old hot vintage Chardonnay this is rather tasty - but as our Chardonnay lover pointed out, "I wouldn't hold this much longer"; I happen to agree, so I'm glad to report that was my last bottle, and we drank it just in time.

May 5, 2013

Malivoire 2009 M2 Gamay - Small Lot

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... A stunning Sunday night and the new charcoal BBQ is heating up awaiting the freshly purchased sausages ... temperature is in the mid-20's and I can't believe it's only May ... but such weather requires a chilled Gamay and I pulled out a previous 5-star favourite from the 2009 vintage.  '09 was great for acidity, Pinto Noirs and Rieslings benefited, but so did this absolutely scrumptious Gamay.  This Small Lot M2 first saw the shelves of Malivoire this year and was their third Gamay in their wine line-up.  They have kept the line and expanded it but nothing 9yet) has matched this exquisite 2009 and now only 4 years later I think it's even better than it was when I reviewed it back in June of 2010.  Loaded with fruit like cherry hints of raspberry, red licorice and all lightly sprinkled with white pepper ... with absolutely no sign of giving up those great smells and flavours.  Gamay doesn't get much better than this and nor do the days on which to drink it ... and the photo here reflects it.

May 4, 2013

Featherstone 2009 Gamay

Click here to read the original review from August 2011

(Re-Tasted May 2013) ... I guess I should not be surprised at a wine that I tasted and reviewed less than two years ago but let me tell you I think this wine is now even better now than it was back then.  When I spoke with winery co-owner Louise Engel she told me, "Our inspiration is the great Gamays produced at 13th Street" and here in Ontario those are pretty lofty standards to aspire.  Last night I opened the wine with a flick of the wrist (screwcap thank you very much) and poured the wine into a Burgundy style glass ... an explosion of fruit (cherry) hit my nose almost instantly ... the palate was also front loaded with cherry both of the sour and fresh/sweet variety).  The wine itself is fresh, enjoyable and incredibly easy drinking.  It's quaffable and thirst quenching, especially because it had just a touch of a wine-fridge chill on it.  The fruit has meshed together, the acidity is in perfect balance, there's little in the way of tannin to get in the way ... it truly is stunningly delicious and paired incredible well with my stuffed-chicken breast dinner.  Sadly, I have recently learned that Featherstone will no longer be making Gamay and there are but 8 cases left of 2010 and that's all that they have.  I'm not sure I'll be able to get over this quickly - but at least I have a few bottle of the '09 and a couple of '10s to remind me of the great Gamay Featherstone used to produce.

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May 2, 2013

Featherstone 2003 Cabernet Franc - Estate Bottled

Found May 2013

I visited Featherstone earlier in the week and made the decision to try my oldest bottle of Featherstone wine, which just happened to be this 2003 Cabernet Franc.  I want to tell you it was lovely.  I want to tell you it held up so well that I was shocked.  I want to tell you that 2003 is a better year than we give it credit for ... but unfortunately I can't say any of that.  The wine isn't horrible - that's the best thing I can say ... in fact it's not bad and tolerable, but it lacks any depth or elegance, it's a one note pony (to steal from a few phrases).  It's leafy and herbaceous with some smoky dried tobacco leaf on the nose.  Palate has some bitter coffee notes from the get go, goes to dry and smoky tobacco leaf and settles into something leafy with a little tannin.  It's not a great wine, it's definitely drinkable but it's not going to be your favourite old wine and by the two hour mark it's very nondescript and not very appealing.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable