Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Angels Gate 2005 Rose - $11.95

Summer is officially over – so it’s only my luck that I should now find the rose of the year. This lovely pink blend is made up of Pinot Noir (45%), Gamay Noir (38%), Cabernet Franc (9%) and Gewurztraminer (8%); (I am told the Gewerzt was added in to bring the colour to roses status). And calling it pink is a misnomer because the wine appears to be more pinky-orange or a rusty-orange; but let’s not get all hung up on the colour, it’s the smell and taste that should get you. First, the nose is strawberry, cherry, raspberry, apples, peaches, rose petals and some cinnamon. Then, of course, there’s the taste. A citrus tang hits you upon its entry into the mouth, with a wonderful bit of mid-weight sweetness on the finish. There’s the taste of delicious red ripe fruit, carried along nicely through the mouth by some red licorice and/or cotton candy (this is depending on your taste buds0 and remains lingering about in the throat. There’s also some good acidity to the wine, that helps balance it off nicely, and keeps it hanging around in the mouth for a nice period of time. Delicious doesn’t quite sum it up – I’d like to find a better word but it’ll have to do for now. Pick some up for the holidays, as gifts, or get some for yourself for next summer – you just can’t go wrong with this beauty. Available at the winery and the LCBO.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Reif Estates 2004 Shiraz - $16.95

Reif has two Shiraz’s currently available, but don’t be fooled, they are radically different. The cellared in Ontario version is also a 2004 vintage wine, but 70% of the grapes come from Australia – and is available only at the winery. The VQA, 100% Ontario grape version, is available exclusively at the LCBO through Vintages. That’s right, according to the winery “the LCBO took it all.” And why? Because it’s a mighty fine wine. Cloves and white pepper on the nose, while on the taste you’ll find pepper and black raspberry. The relatively low tannins and easy drinking nature of the wine makes it perfect for just sitting around and sipping; while the medium finish will keep you coming back for more. Stock up, it’s in very limited supply. Available at the winery only.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Southbrook Winery 2002 Triomphe Cabernet Franc - $24.95

Triomphe is Southbrook’s reserve line of wines. These wines sit in barrel from anywhere between 12 to 18 months, so they can take on more complex flavours than those that sit in barrel for 6 months or less. They also have great longevity, thus making them wonderful cellar candidates … this Franc is no different. Made by the now defunct wine making team of Colin Campbell and Steve Byfield, this wine has plenty of spicy notes on the nose along with black pepper, vanilla and oak. There’s also some green pepper that comes along for the ride up your olfactory lobes, with some berry fruit including blackberry, cassis and cherries. This wine has not finished developing yet and will not smooth out for some time (say 5-7 years), right now it’s still heavily influenced by the oak but there’s licorice, blackberries and white pepper showing up, so far, on the palate, with maybe a hint of cocoa playing around in the background. A fantastic wine that’s only gonna get better with age. Drink now, or hold for a while, but definitely enjoy it. Available at the winery only.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Birchwood Estate Wines 2003 Gamay Noir - $9.95

We opened this one late at night, thinking a light Beaujolais-style wine would be okay for this time of day (don’t want something heavy before bed) … we were right about it being good, but not about it being light. As seems to be the case these days Ontario is experimenting with the Gamay grape, and instead of light and fruity Beaujolais, we’re trying for more fuller, rounder, even ageable styles. A nose of blackberry, raspberry, and cherry with some sweet oak and vanilla. When the cork was initially pulled we found tartaric crystals, which usually signifies a finely crafted wine, some sediment also appeared in the bottom of our glasses, and in the bottle. On the initial taste, there was plenty of tannin backbone, almost aggressive; but once the wine sat open and was allowed to breathe, for about half an hour, the flavours really shone through … black current and cherries and a nice structure. This is not the first time I have been surprised by a fuller-bodied Gamay, and I know it won’t be the last. If this it the wave of the future for Ontario Gamay then I am all for it. Finally, as a late night snack we paired the wine with an old cheddar, nuts and dried berries – rustic for sure, but very delicious. Available at the winery only.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Kacaba Vineyards 2001 Gypsy Red - $10.00

2001 was a great year for grapes, the growing season was good, the harvest was plentiful and the fruit was fully ripened – damn thing is we had these little pests called Asian Ladybugs that spoiled the whole thing and tainted much of the vintage. Which is why I find myself a little apprehensive about 2001 wines, and I’m not alone. Kacaba’s Gyspy Red, a blend of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, might have the faintest smell of the pyrazine taint, but thankfully, in the mouth, it’s not present. Once you get past that though, you’ll find there are also smells of red fruit like raspberries and cherries, which do, thankfully, follow through in the mouth. Gypsy Red makes for a good food wine, which also helps nullifies any appearance of the taint and it quaffs quite well. Try with pasta and meat sauce or strong cheese and you won’t be disappointed. And the price is right too. Don’t hold on to this one – drink up and enjoy now. Available at the winery only.