February 15, 2014

Chateau des Charmes 2006 Gewurztraminer

(Re-Tasted February 2014) ... After a wacky experiment with a Fielding Musque that turned out to be a pleasant surprise, I approached this Chateau des Charmes '06 Gewurzt with a little more respect and hopefulness.  Gewurztraminer, although un-oaked, has the ability to surprise when aged ... but which side of the surprise line would this particular wine fall is the real question.  The nose had touches of toffee along with subtle lavender ... interesting perfumed notes and a fruity / floral combination that lured one into the glass.  The palate also had interesting nuances, like the coriander-pineapple mid-palate and the intense spice on the finish that seemed to play off the hint of sweetness leading to a drier than expected finish ... any sweetness the nose led you to believe was there dissipated in the end on the tongue.  This wine proved to be mainly dry and its only drawback was the short (there-and-its-gone) finish.  Another nice bottle of un-oaked white that makes one question their belief system about what can and can't mature when oak is not present.

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Fielding Estate 2006 Chardonnay Musque

Found February 2014

thanks to K. Selezen for taking the pic
I put little to no faith in un-oaked wines being age-able (except Riesling) - and I've done plenty of tests to come to that conclusion (knowingly and unknowingly).  This year alone I've opened a 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, a 2008 Un-oaked Chardonnay and a 2007 Gamay each with no oak and each had its problems.  So when I found a bottle of Fielding 2006 Chardonnay Musque in a box of "to hold" wines in my cellar I had to question myself: "What was I thinking?"  Now Chardonnay Musque is traditionally an un-oaked, flowery, fruity version of Chardonnay made from a clone of the Chardonnay grape that has musky aromas to it - which is where the "musque" name comes from.  I popped the cork, poured the wine into a glass, and took a deep sniff, totally prepared to be disappointed and walk away ... but wait, it's non-offensive:  honey, melon and floral aromas greet the nose ... it's actually downright pleasant and most importantly it continues to be thus over the next hour.  Surely the palate is where this wine will fall apart (I think to myself) - but no: tropically tinged fruit, mainly pineapple, greet the buds, followed by over-ripe peach backed by wildflower honey aspects ... sweet fruit with an interesting medium length finish that keeps you coming back for more.  Surprisingly drinkable and pleasantly so, if you have some in your cellar I suspect now is the time to drink up and truly enjoy this find.  [I also served this during one of my wine classes and of the 7 wines poured this received top marks and raves from everyone].   Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

February 11, 2014

Lailey 2009 Chardonnay - Niagara Peninsula

(Re-Tasted February 2014) ... When I first reviewed this wine less than 3 years ago I gave it four-and-a-half stars, and today I think I might just give it a little bit higher because it has turned into one spectacular wine.  The nose is so alluring with aromas of rich buttery-toffee along with peach and vanilla; on the palate there's a vanilla butter sensation that mixes so well with the fruit of citrus, peach and mac apple, almost to the point of being a puree it's so creamy; but then comes the finish:  there's a hint of spice that lingers lovingly on the tongue bringing everything all together and there's that great acidity, the 2009 vintage was known for, that keeps everything from being cloying or too sweet ... sure there's a sweet fruit entry, but that is backed up by that spicy dry finish and that's what makes this wine such a beauty.  Oh, and did I mention the peach pit essence that appears on both the nose and palate as it sits in glass.  If you have one of these in your cellar it'll hold for another few years, and if you have a few bottles I would recommend grabbing one out now and giving it a shot - it's a little piece of heaven.

February 8, 2014

Hillebrand 2004 Late Harvest Vidal

(Re-Tasted February 2014) ... I have two of these bottles in my cellar and reading my original review again I have to admit I have no idea what I was waiting for to drink them because they sound like they were amazing back in 2008 ... the funny thing is, as good as they were back then they might be even better today, and that is really unexpected.  This is now a 10 year old bottle of Late Harvest Vidal, and those who question whether icewine can reach this maturity would be even more impressed at this wine.  I poured this as kind of a lark for my "niece" and her boyfriend after a dinner at Hillebrand, and I was enthralled by what I found in the glass: toffeed apricot, honeyed pear, nice acidity on the finish while the mid-palate proved to be creamy and luxurious, this wine has held up extremely well, in fact I would go so far as to say it is a stellar bottle; and aside from the color it would be hard to tell its age.  I am not going to wait any longer for the second bottle, it will be a dessert sometime this summer.