Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thirty Bench Wine Makers 2006 Family of Rieslings ... $18.00 - $32.00

Thirty Bench is at it again. They did this same experiment last year with great success, so again this year they are making four different Rieslings, each with its own specific flavour profile … 3 are single vineyard versions and one is a 3-vineyard blend. ‘Triangle Vineyard’ ($32) has a bright minerality, lemon drop and petrol nose; with wet stone, lemon peel, white peach and minerally in the mouth and a lingering Granny Smith finish. ‘Steel Post’ ($28) limeade and white peach aromas; mineral, peachy, appley tastes culminates in a medium finish. ‘Wood Post’ ($28) a sweeter version with its apple, peach smells, Germanic style, tropical fruit slightly sweet flavours (2) – an easy sipper with a short finish. And finally, the ‘Riesling’ ($18) a blend of all three vineyard’s grapes (those not selected for the top tier single vineyard versions), a little bit of everything from everybody: peach, lemon, lime, minerality and a crisp citrus finish. Depending on your palate and your budget. One of these 4 bottles is for you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lakeview Cellars 2005 Reserve Syrah - $29.95

Talk about running a tight ship, head winemaker Tom Green of Lakeview (amongst other wineries under the Diamond Estates flag) has crafted a Syrah that has a little Canadians in it, besides just the grapes I mean. Sure you'll get black fruit, pepper and chocolate on the nose and tastes of white pepper, dark fruit and spices ... but it's the wood that makes this one good. And that’s my first reference to a ship (wood) – the second is in reference to the tightness of this wine, it’s a prom queen (circa 1950’s or 60’s) because there's tannin, plenty of woodsy-cedary-like tannins, so this one should sit a few years before drinking; but before lying this one down, make a note somewhere on your bottle that the wine was aged thirteen months in new French and Canadian oak - then when you open it in a few years see if you can spot some Canadian flavours. In wines I’ve tried coconut seems to be a trademark of Canadian wood – strange but true.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lailey Vineyard 2006 Merlot - $24.95

I have a friend that travels around to the wineries with me, and although she isn’t much into the reds she does love a good Riesling. I just seem to have a hard time convincing her about the deliciousness of reds, but in those Rieslings she can pick out white peach, green apple or citrus like there’s nobody’s business. So, while I’m tasting the reds she sips on her Riesling or wanders about the winery. During a recent visit to Lailey she hung around during my red sampling (I have a sneaking suspicions it’s due to winemaker Derek Barnett’s English brogue – or whatever you call it – chicks dig those accents). She wasn’t interested in the Pinot or the Syrah he poured but she did want to try this Merlot which Derek sheepishly placed on the counter. I was immediately suspicious because Derek isn’t sheepish about anything, “just wanted you to try this,’ he said quietly. I did, then I said “wow, that‘s really good” (to hear our conversation click here). For now know that this wine has a wonderful black fruit nose with black raspberries and gentle wondsiness eminating coming from the glass. On the palate there’s a soft, fruity mouthfeel, red fruit forwardness, sweet vanilla oak with great sippability.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Konzelmann Estate 2006 Riesling - $11.00

I tasted this one during my visit around the time of the Icewine festival … I wanted to compare it to Konzelmann’s newest Riesling addition “The White Moose”, a $15 riesling that is said to undergo better treatment: hand-harvesting and such. I guess you could say it’s a reserve (if you want to use that terminology). But I wasn’t convinced about the $4 jump – the White Moose was .5 higher in residual sugar and lacked the complexity of the regular 11 dollar Riesling. My server informed me that the winery wanted to raise the price, but because it is an LCBO general list product the boys at the Lick-Bo said “no” (score one for the government monopoly) … when asked why my server told me point-blank “because we’ll sell it no matter what the price, so why not get a few more dollars out of it.” Not exactly the answer I thought I’d get, but there is something to be said for honesty. So why pick the $11 Riesling over the $15, besides the price … simple: a nose of peach, apple, tropical fruit and lemon drop proves to be more than just a little inviting – it’s downright delicious smelling – as for the palate, you’ll find a tart apple middle with a lemon crisp finish – and that’s downright delicious in the mouth … as it turns out the 11 dollar Riesling is very appealing to both your sense of taste and smell, as well as to your sense of frugality.