I am not an expert, just a discerning wine lover or amateur de vin (as the French say), but everyone has a different palate, likes and dislikes so it must be understood that any of my recommendations are personal. I just hope that you find them useful or at the very least - interesting. I also hope you enjoy my photos. It is more fun sharing then keeping them backed up on a hard drive.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zinful Pleasures

This may be my last post for a couple of weeks, but it will be Zinfully Delicious and I will be back with even more great wine to talk about.

One of my graduation wines was Zinfandel (no not white). I was very early twenties and had really started moving away from anything sweet and cheap post 21 (19 is Ontario's drinking age before you get any troubling ideas). So it was not literally a wine for my graduation but a wine that helped me move into grown up wines.

I drank very good Zinz from Ridge: Howell Mountain. Storybook Mountain, Rosenblum etc. They broke the bank but it was a luxury and less expensive versions just weren't around then (Ontario, some unmentionable number of years ago). The wines were fruit forward but also had fabulous structure and complexity.

The market is pretty flooded now so you don't always see this, sometimes they are just jammy, but not the ones below, they are lovely and excellent value and my 23 year-old self would have been very jealous of the options at these price-points.

Kunde Family Estate - Sonoma Valley - 2007 Zinfandel $16.95
Classic Zin & one of the few wines I have had that matched the description on the back: Boysenberry, cloves, anise, black pepper - good acid blance. Great price!


Alexander Valley Vineyards - Redemption 2007 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma $21.00
Dark berry & clove. Beautiful full mouth with a long pepper finish.

V. Sattui Winery - Crow Ridge Old Vine - 2008 Zinfandel, Napa Valley $35.00
Cherry jam and pepper on the nose, lovely dry briarberry palate with a hint of pepper. A beaut!

Jessup Cellars - 2006 Zinfandel, Napa Valley - $39.00
Mature nose, bumbleberry, dried plum - spicy, juicy red fruit - rich mouthfeel. Beautifully complex, long finish.

White Oak Winery - 2008 Alexander Valley Zinfandel, Sonoma $40.00
Cherry, cranberry and a toastiness on the nose. Fresh red fruit palate with a hint of nutmeg. Nice balance.


Sausel Winery - 2008 Century Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma - $40.00
Very elegant, fresh cherry and spice with a hint a vanilla. Lovely wine.


Michel-Schlumberger - Le Bon Cochon - 2009 Zinfandel/Syrah blend, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma $40.00
I love Syrah, I love Zin - I could not be happier with the blend - Very ripe black and red fruit with all-spice, complex, rich & velvety - drinking beautifully. Makes me want to go open a bottle...


Sunday, September 25, 2011

QPR wines from France

Sometimes life overwhelms, between work and school I was finding time to taste but not to write, so much of what I write about over the next few months will be what I judge to be the QPR wines of what I taste in school. That means it will be broken down by territory. This time France! Happily, for those in Ontario, available at the LBCO.

Domaine du Bois-Malinge - Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2009, Loire - $13.95
White blossom, pear, lemon & apricot. Long lemon-lime finish. Slightly briny & minerally. Fresh.


Henry Fessy - Moulin-A-Vent - Gamay 2009, Beaujolais - $21.95
Candied cassis, red flower, toastiness on nose, raspberry, cherry & clove on the palate


Pierre Gaillard - Syrah 2007, St. Joseph, Rhone  - $22.00
I loved this wine but it hits one of my style sweet-spots. Wonderfully made, incredible for the price! Smoky, blackberry, spiciness with savoury elements.


Monday, September 19, 2011

LCBO Go Local: Ontario QPR Wines

If you live in Ontario you have seen the ads encouraging people to drink local wine. This is a good step forward on the LCBO's part since Ontario is one of the few regions of the world where the local wines do not dominate the market. We, instead are importers and that is marvellous because we get incredible exposure to so many of the world's wonderful wines, but it also means that many Ontarians don't focus on trying the great wines in our own backyard. I have heard lots of excuses as to why (which I won't drone on about here) but one of the common themes is that we do not make affordable, quality wines, but if that was ever true, it certainly has changed, as proven below...

Lailey Unoaked Chardonnay - 2010, Niagara Peninsula - $16.00
Vibrant nose of elderflower, green apple and pear that come through on palate. Pleasing clean, mineral finish.


Sandbanks Estate Winery - Riesling - 2009, Prince Edward County - $14.95
Honeysuckle, peach and mineral on the nose. Beautiful lemon - lime, honeyed finish. Off dry.


Sandbanks Estate Winery - Shoreline White - 2010, Prince Edward County - $13.95
Enticing perfumed nose with lemon zest apple and pear, white flower. Pleasing, palate with slightly spicy finish



Vintage Ink - Mark of Passion - Merlot/Cabernet - 2009, Niagara-On-The Lake - $17.95
Spicy, black cherry, blackberry. Palate follows through but with hint of mocha and chocolate.


Pelee Island Winery -  Vinedresser Cabernet Sauvignon - 2008, Pelee Island - $16.35
Plum, black fruit, cherry and wood smoke on the nose. Spicy fruit on palate. Youthful tannins.



Friday, September 2, 2011

A Cabernet A Day...

#CabernetDay on Twitter inspired me to write about some of the wonderful Cabs or Cab blends I had in California. Here are a few ready to drink or that make great special occasion & cellar wines:

White Oak Winery - Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 -$30.00
Cherry & Vanilla on nose, cherry and currant on palate. Lovely wine, great value!


Cornerstone - Howell Mountain - Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley - $79.00
Tasted in a vertical, all were lovely but '06 stood out - nose of licorice, eucalyptus, earthy, dark fruit. Followed through in lovely balance of dark berry with minty herbal notes.

http://www.cornerstonecellars.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showList&startrow=11&ProductCategoryID=833c9146-cc6d-96f2-2efd-239639427f87&WineryID=5E800F22-1CC4-FBB6-23EF-492F62A42EA8&WineTypeID=&ProductType=&wineVarietalID=&wineRegionID=&vintage=&lowprice=&highPrice=&WineBrandID=&WineAppellationID=&lowletter=&highletter=&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder Asc, P.ProductName ASC&ShippingState=CA

Benziger Family Winery- Tribute - Cabernet Sauvignon blend 2007, Sonoma Mountain - $80.00
Cherry, blueberry, cocoa & spice. Beautifully integrated blend, silky and smooth

 http://www.benziger.com/index.cfm?method=storeproducts.showDrilldown&productid=a79eb9f2-ac43-e136-cf82-7d2a3d09a233&ProductCategoryID=918e4b24-a05d-b628-d199-aa1488f6e42c&WineryID=D2ECB7C6-B5F3-9136-183A-E48D70E26589&WineTypeID=&ProductType=&wineVarietalID=&wineRegionID=&vintage=&lowprice=&highPrice=&WineBrandID=&WineAppellationID=&lowletter=&highletter=&OrderBy=PXPC.DisplayOrder Asc, P.ProductName ASC&ShippingState=CA

Pine Ridge Winery - Stag's Leap - Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley - $80.00
Cigar box, extracted cassis - beautifully integrated - complex.


Flora Springs - Rennie Reserve - Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley - $100.00
Super-extracted fruit - cherry, raspberry - hint of mocha. Velvety Cab with long fresh, finish.