Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Lailey Vineyard 2005 Riesling - $13.95

For the second time Lailey appears in our weekly wine notes – not because I don’t think they deserve a newsletter spotlight – but because they make wine in limited quantity and I want to alert you to some great wines that you’d otherwise probably miss out on if I slotted them into one of the next available spots in a newsletter. Whatever my reasoning, you’ll thank me once I tell you about this one. Great acidity and mouth-filling are two words I could use to describe this wine – but there is so much more to it than just that. Derek Barnett (winemaker of Lailey) really knows how to make a Riesling that is both dry but tastes sweet – this one is truly an experience. Deep rich flavours, mouth-coating feel ... apples, peach, lime and mango on the nose and it follows right through on the taste - best part of all, it stays there - lick your cheeks and you taste it again, lick your lips and yup, it's still there ... absolutely scrumptious. Available at the winery only.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Pelee Island Winery 2005 Cabernet Franc - $10.95

Cheap and cheerful, that’s the best way to describe this red – especially the way it was served to me. When I visited Pelee Island this summer they served it slightly chilled to demonstrate how some reds could be drunk that way. “We chill our younger reds,” retail manager Melissa told me, “because it softens their tannins and makes them easier to drink in the heat of summer.” This wine has a great fruit forward taste, because it wa chilled the usual green pepper taste and smell you find in Franc had dissipated - though I seem to enjoy those usual flavours in my Cab Franc, I find them as comforting as a warm blanket. Returning to room temperature, the pepper returns on the nose. Chilled or at room temperature there is some cedar and the taste has lots of berry flavours … as for those youthful tannins, they begin to show through as the wine warms up. Available at the winery and the LCBO.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Mountain Road Wine Company NV Riesling Winter Wine Blend #4 - $17.95

Not a late harvest, not an icewine – a sweet “winter wine”, the back of the bottle says: “This unique blend of 2002 dry Riesling and 1999 Riesling Pure Winter Wine is aimed to please the palate of wine lovers who find traditional dessert wine too sweet.” And yes, at 7.7 on the sugar code it is less than half of most late harvests and about one-quarter that of icewine … so how does it stack up against those two popular sweeties? A complex nose of honey, cinnamon, caramel apple, candied orange peel and cantaloupe. The taste is similarly sweet but with less of that cloying sweetness you’ll find in those previously mentioned dessert wines; instead this one is crisp and refreshing - palate cleansing in a way. Sweetness of apples, honey and dried candied apricots. There might be the faintest hint of oxidation, probably from the percentage of 1999 Dry Riesling used, but it’s ever so slight that it’s barely detectable; heck I shouldn’t even mention it. I wouldn’t hold this one much longer, but it’ll make for a perfect dessert wine for the holidays ahead – drink up now and enjoy. Available at the winery only.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Harbour Estates 2004 Petit Verdot - $24.95

Here’s a wine I tried very recently at Harbour Estates. I have been looking forward to this straight varietal ever since I found out they were growing and making it. It first came onto my radar in a Cabernet-Petit Verdot blend, which I reviewed along with the winery in Newsletter #27), since that time I have been keeping my eyes open for this release, and finally it is here. The nose is sweet with raspberries, cherries, vanilla and spice, while the taste retains hints of that sweetness with a white pepper and cherry core along with more of that spicy-goodness. There’s very little in the way of tannins here, so it’s very smooth and ready to drink now. And there’s a wonderful lengthy fruit finish that sticks around pleasantly in the mouth long after the final swallow. You don’t find much Petit Verdot in Canada, and you rarely, if ever, are going to see it on it’s own (it’s more commonly used as a blending grape), so this truly is a treat; a rarity and in very limited supply. This is something unique, not only to Ontario, but, for the moment, to Harbour Estates … and the price reflects it. I would recommend picking up a bottle, and if you’re looking for a reason (other than the ones I’ve already given) to spend that kind of money … call it the curiosity factor. Available at the winery only.