Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sandbanks Estate Winery 2005 Baco Noir - $19.95

Before we begin the Baco Noir Challenge I thought we should look at a Baco Noir wine, one that has not been entered for the Crown. Sandbanks is a new winery located in Prince Edward County run by Catherine Langlois out of what I can only assume is the basement of her home; a home which is surrounded by acres of vineyards (see newsletter #38 for a full winery review). She admitted to me that this wine also contained 10% Geisenheim (a white grape variety) which adds to the smoothness of this wine, but is not listed on the label. The nose has smoky, woodsy, earthy and black cherry notes, while inside the mouth a black cherry beginning ends with a tart raspberry finish. Smooth, easy texture with a hint of sweetness, but still clocks in at a zero. How her wine does during the challenge we shall soon see. Available at the winery only.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Southbrook Winery 2003 Cabernet - $14.95

If it is at all possible for a wine to be a meal this is it. There’s a hint of iodine on the nose but it intermingles with the black fruit and vanilla beautifully, so it’s not off-putting or detracting, it just makes up part of the whole. A definite smoky oak presence rounds off the nose. On the palate there’s more smoky tones especially in the finish, it’s like you’re eating a nice corned beef (read: smoked meat) sandwich with green peppers and onions (maybe my mind put the last one there). Mouth-filling and not too tannic. A very pleasant drink for anytime – but especially when you’re hungry … very satisfying. Available at the winery only.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sanson Estates Winery 2002 Shiraz

Purchased during one of my visits to the Lake Erie North Shore region in the past two years. At the time of initial tasting in the tasting room, I thought it just might be one of the best Shiraz’s made in Ontario. About a year after opening the bottle and consuming the contents I am still of that opinion. Strangely enough Dennis has never entered this beauty into competition – deciding instead to take a modest approach by saying “it’s not bad”. Well his “not bad” means great value and a great wine for you – made in the French Rhone-style of Syrah, than the jammy, rich fruit bombs of Australian Shiraz … this wine currently shows a robust nose of green pepper, black cherry, asparagus and black current … the taste is a blend of spicy-peppery-ness with black fruit backbone. This still has time to rest for a few years, but it is drinking well right now. Currently sold out, so if you are holding a few in the cellar, judge consumption time accordingly.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rosehall Run 2005 Sullyzwicker (74% Riesling/26% Ehrenfelser) - $14.95

I have, since I was a lad, enjoyed apple juice. Unfortunately these days the only time I take comfort in apple juice is when I am under-the-weather, laid up in bed with a sore throat and aches and pains. Apple juice has come to signify wellness and feeling better to me, it is my “comfort food”. Also because of my love for apple juice I have an affinity for well-made apple wine. After that preamble let me say that Sullyzwicker is not an apple wine, it’s 76% Riesling and 26% Ehrenfelser, but it tastes and smalls exactly like a macintosh-based apple juice with a kick. I swear to the good Lord above that 1) there are no apples used in the making of this wine and 2) it tastes like there should be. So let’s recap: love apple juice, love apple wine, Sullyzwicker tastes like apple wine, therefore if you are like me you should love this wine. If you can make the same leap of logic that I just did my suggestion is buy it, drink it, love it. Enjoy with a light snack of cheese and crackers on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or on its own, the low alcohol will make sure you’ll be clearheaded and coherent come dinner time. Available at the winery only.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Rush Creek Wines Decadence - $10.50

Let’s start off the new year with something interesting and unique (though in the fruit wine world it is taking off like gangbusters): fruit wine and chocolate. This wine is a slam-dunk for your sniffer as chocolate wafts right out of the glass, grabs you by the lapel and gives your whole body a shake. As the wine warms up the strawberries start to assert themselves, but never more than the chocolate which seems to last and last and last. There is no secret that this wine is made with strawberry wine and cocoa – so that is why those two smells are there. You’d expect a wine that smells this way to be super-sweet, but you’d be wrong. In the glass it looks strawberry in colour and tastes chocolaty in the mouth right up to the finish where tart, almost sour, strawberry kicks back, leaving you with a drier than expected finish … but wait Decadence isn’t finish with you yet. As the finish lingers on, the sour-strawberry dissipates and the sweet chocolate returns. Making for a pleasurable drinking experience. Not a wine you could have a full glass of, but a fun and interesting half-glass-way to end off a relaxing evening with friends. Available at the winery only.