September 24, 2013

Tawse 2004 Dry Riesling

(Re-Tasted September 2013) ... I really want to give this bottle the benefit of the doubt - but I can't.  I want to say that maybe it was something I did - but I can't believe that to be true.  We opened this bottle while on an overnight trip to Stratford, I thought it would be interesting to taste this 2004 Dry versus the newer 2012 Quarry Road Riesling, so I brought a bottle of each.  I chilled them both the same length of time in our room fridge, and even waited till after dinner to give them an extra hour of chill time.  Excited I opened the 2004 first, the cork broke in half, but I can live with that - but what was in the bottle I could not live with.  It was absolutely beyond words how bad this was, and my wife, a Riesling devotee, had nothing positive to say about this wine:  she could barely choke down the first sip and a second sip she spit back into the glass - if you know my wife she does not spit wine ... ever.  The nose was off-putting and the flavours were not much better, in fact they were non-existent.  Alas I thought this wine would last a good 10 years but instead it was probably dead long ago ... if I said it was too dry and had no sweetness to balance it for the long haul does that make sense?  If somebody had a recent encounter with this bottle that was better than mine please do let me know.  By the way, the 2012 Quarry Road Riesling was stunning (as usual).

September 21, 2013

Inniskillin 2004 Montague Vineyard Merlot

(Re-Tasted September 2013) ... I have often said that Ontario Merlot takes time to come around, maybe not this much time, but time none-the-less.  Here we are 9 years from vintage date and I am opening a bottle from a year not known for its red wine.  I was inspired to do so by a recent trip to the Great Estates of Niagara wineries (Jackson-Triggs, Le Clos Jordanne and, yes, Inniskillin) on which we stopped off to see the grapes hanging in the Montague vineyard.  I was a fan of the reserve single vineyard reds that came out of the winery this year (2004), which included a Shiraz and a Pinot Noir from such vineyards as Brae Burn and Klose.  Not sure why the Merlot was the one that caught my eye tonight, I still have all three wines in the cellar, but maybe it was the homemade chili we were having with dinner.  This was a very interesting wine when first poured and then as the hour progressed:  mocha / coffee was the first thing I smelled, then came licorice, a hint of smoke and oaky notes ... these all pretty much followed onto the palate ... what was lacking was an element of fruit - that came a little later.  About the 45 minute mark there was some definite smoked-dried-cherry that seemed to hang around pleasantly from mid-palate onward.  I am not sure how long that stayed as I finished the glass on that high.  You have to like mainly secondary and tertiary flavours on your wine to still be enjoying this one - or at least be intrigued by older Ontario Merlot.

September 20, 2013

Tawse 2009 Spark Rosé

(Re-Tasted September 2013) ... Friday night, I can't think of a better reason to pour a glass of bubbly - it's a personal celebration of getting through another week.  Tonight I felt like a Rose in the bubbly department and also decided not to dive very deep into the cellar as I picked out this rather recent release from Tawse.  It's still a pretty (in colour) and delicate bottle, but the nose has definitely changed over the past two years since first I tried it.  The aromas have become very sweet in nature: apple, raspberry and lemonade - quite inviting.  But the palate is far from sweet, in fact it is downright mouth puckering, sure there's a hint of fresh raspberry mixed in for added flavour, but what really stood out is the great lemon / citrus which brings with it a massive hit of cleansing acidity ... for those who like to smell 'em sweet but taste 'em dry this has turned into something you can really dig in to.

September 1, 2013

Hillebrand 2005 Collectors' Choice Cabernet/Merlot

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... This wine is from the very good 2005 vintage and should have some longevity in the bottle - and whether it does or does not depends on how you like your wine.  At first the wine was all smoky and very dry showing no fruit ... so I put a Vinoair single glass aerator on the bottle and poured myself a glass: suddenly we had fruit on the nose in the form of dried blackberry, dried cherry with oak spice.  The palate was dried dark fruit with smoky notes along with cinnamon and clove but still with lots of oak notes.  It took about 30 minutes for the oak to take over making the wine harsh and chalky ... I then poured another glass without the aerator and got another 30 minutes of drinking before the oak took over again.  So it's going to depend on whether you like those strong oaky notes or not ... or how fast you're willing to drink it - by the hour mark no matter what I did it was mostly chalky with lots of oak spice.