July 10, 2013
(Re-Tasted July 2013) ... This should be the last of the Hillebrand re-tastes for some time, it's interesting to see what comes out of some of these blind boxes as to what I'll be tasting again ... over the past month there have been a lot of Hillebrand wines. This so happened to be the first vintage of the "white" which was introduced to the winery by winemaker Darryl Brooker and released July 1, 2007 - it is a blend of Gewurztraminer and Riesling with some oaked Gris and unoaked Chardonnay added for good measure. My original notes say it was meant as a drink now wine (which was probably told to me by Darryl), but here we are 7 years later and it seems to still have quite a bit of stuffing left. The nose is zesty with grapefruit, a cross of mac and green apple and some peach pit. The palate is still front loaded with citrus and orange peel along with a grapefruit pith kinda finish. After about 45 minutes after opening the wine seemed to get tired, so that's probably what Darryl meant when he said "drink now", he meant open and drink now not that particular year, because this wine has aged quite nicely, guess I should have gotten some clarification on his statement. If you have some in the cellar bring it out and enjoy it.
July 8, 2013
(Re-Tasted July 2013) ... People are going to start to believe I have stock in Hillebrand with the amount of wines I have reviewed lately in this column ... but as it turns our it is just their turn to get picked on as their wines have come up in the run. I noticed that one of the wines had an original review published at the time of its release, the other has a note some 5 years later in the Lost and Found column, both are linked above. Let's start with the 2007 wine, which is the one that failed to garner an original review and languished until I tried it last year around this time. Turns out that last year it was merely tolerable, a year later it is almost undrinkable (unless you have nothing else about the house and are dying for a drink). The 2007 is fat, flat and uninspiring ... the nose is much better than the palate as it delivers grapefruit, lemon and lanolin notes; also noted was that the citrus fruit is zest based and not fresh. The acidity on the palate is practically non-existent and the wine comes off as thick and sweet but with a bitter and unpleasant finish. In 2012 I said "the wine gained more of an apple juice character", now I would say it's apple juice that has gone sour. The 2006 is a completely different story, one year older this wine still comes off as fresh and lively: pear, peach and apple rule the nose, with pear being the most prominent ... the palate retains a healthy dose of acidity and it appears on the tip of the tongue as well as lingers on the finish. Mid-palate comes off a tad sweet with all that great white fruit character, but the finish forgoes any notion of sweetness for a mix of green apple and peach with hints of limeade ... okay so maybe sweet and mouth pucker fight it out, but very pleasantly ... the big winner here is the 2006 ... by a landslide.
July 6, 2013
(Re-Tasted July 2013) ... Now most people wouldn't waste their time with a four year old Pinot Blanc, but knowing that the year in Ontario was known for big acidity this wine was intriguing to me. To show my confidence in it I brought it along to an afternoon shindig (but I'm not totally off my nut, I did bring a backup). I'll tip my hat here when I tell you I have to say I was rightfully impressed with this wine, it started off with a nose of grapefruit pith but then turned into some real pleasant pear and melon notes - both are aromas I am used to in Pinot Blanc. The grapefruit was also present on the palate, more so than the nose, and it seemed to stick around. Bosc pear and green apple showed up mid-palate and fought it out all the way to the finish. I think the most impressive part was the acidity, it still managed to hold this wine together. Now I know some will argue the closure played a part in keeping this wine fresh (screwcap) - but I would say the weather from that season played an even bigger part giving it all that acidity to keep it fresh and lively, even at the improbable age of 4 ... if you are still holding onto a bottle or two of this wine and are wondering whether to put it in a sauce or drink it my advice is to drink and enjoy, it's a delight.