Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Thirty Bench Winemakers 2005 Small Lot Chardonnay - $30.00

Oh Thirty Bench, what a difference ownership makes – I know I keep saying it but it’s true; from a winery I barely even walked into, to a winery making some really interesting and unique wines, not that Chardonnay is particularly unique, but still… Speaking as a Chardonnay-aphobe, I would have to say opening this bottle filled me with questions I dread the answers to: would it be too oaky? Too buttery? Too something? As many Chardonnays have become. My fears were for not because this 14 month French oaked Chard is terrific; the oaking is done lightly with a deft touch. The nose has a hint of butteryness but mostly its apples, pears and some delicate melon aromas. The palate shows the same kind of finesse with tropical fruits such as papaya and pineapple core, cantaloup also shows up and a tasty vanilla finish lingers pleasantly in the mouth. There’s some good acidity in here that makes for a crisp, zingy and lip-smackingly good finish.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tawse 2006 Echos Bistro White - $22.00

The Cabernet Franc Challenge is over, but the memories and tastes still linger. At the start of each night I poured a white wine from a non-participating winery; a kind of “rinse-bouche” if you will. On the night of December 11th I pulled the cork on a very special treat from Tawse, their 2006 Echos White … This wine runs along the same path as their Echos Red (read reviews 2005 and 2006), so named because the wines echo the making of their premium wines but somewhere along the way they get de-classified or down-graded; me, I’ll take these remnants any day. This wine’s nose is what first reels you in - it has a kind of sniff-all-dayedness to it … lots of vanilla, caramel and butterscotch. On the palate the vanilla continues, but the best part is yet to come. The vanilla is replaced mid-palate by caramel covered green apple and carries right through to the end … smooth and creamy with enough balancing acidity and touch of tartness – and then there’s that extremely long finish – this is a beauty for sure. I may not be a fan of their pricing structure, but this one’s good value at $22.00, it’s memorable, and that’s what good wine should be.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Stratus 2006 Red Icewine - $39.00

Whoa Nelly … here’s a real sweetie that’s just to-die-for, as long as you like your fruits red and sweet. This stunning version of red icewine blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah together and keeps your palate on its proverbial toes; there are plenty of surprises on this path to icewine Nirvana; and here’s why: The nose is very simple, honeyed-strawberries with a hint of apricot, but then you get it into your mouth and there’s an absolute explosion of flavours. Initially, you’ll get candy, in the form of a cherry drop, then raspberry and strawberry show up. You’ll assume that’s it, then you’ll take another sip. The flavours ramp-up to another level as candy apple races through the mouth and you smack your lips, delicious. Now that your mouth is coated with this lavish nectar, another sip kicks it up another notch delivering cinnamon-caramel-apple with a touch of something spicy. Finally, you’re nearing the end of your small glassful and you think, there’s nothing left to get out of this wine right? Wrong. The wine unleashes a red plum/cranberry-like tartness felt mainly in the roof of the mouth. Wow … there’s just so much going on here. Best of all, this sweetie foregoes the usual thick and syrupy; instead imagine smooth sweet red candied enjoyment, plus a whole lot more. What are you waiting for … stop reading … go get some.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Peller Estates Winery 2006 Private Reserve Sauvignon Blanc … $18.95

Sauvignon Blancs has been totally taken over by New Zealand, to such an extent that when you mention Sauvignon Blanc the first thing that they think about is New Zealand. Winemakers are aware of this fact and that’s why they are now trying to copy the Kiwis in style. I was poured this one at the Peller tasting bar and was told quite plainly by the staff member, “just like in New Zealand we held back 5% of the wine to age in barrel.” This wine had the racy citrus tones to it, lots of grapefruit and gooseberry, a little hay and some melon to tickle the nose. In the mouth, its dry with the grapefruit popping out all over the palate and leaving a lengthy finish behind, very refreshing, quite bracing, so very New Zealand – and right here in Ontario.