Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rosehall Run 2006 Pinot Noir (Rosehall Vineyard) - $29.95

Dan Sullivan, owner and winemaker of Rosehall Run in Prince Edward County, continues his impressive run as a pioneering winemaker in the county. I found this Pinot to be pure heaven, from the snout clean on down to the gullet; even the light red colour is enticing. Beautiful smoky-vanilla-red fruit greet the nose – nothing overpowering, just sweet and subtle. In the mouth there are cherries of all varieties (black, red, sweet, sour) and they just kick right in, there’s also a slight tart cranberry background and a steady seam of vanilla oak. I shouldn’t fail to mention the sour cherry finish that lingers for quite a-piece after you swallow; and the just-right amount of tannins; no shaving your tongue after this one. I’d say it’s one of my favourite Pinots I’ve ever had, it had great throw-your-head-backability as you take sip after sip, and drink glass after glass.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stoney Ridge 2004 Forte - $14.95 (375ml)

The buzz over at the Ridge, besides the new winemaker I mean, is that they have made a “Port”. Now before ya’ll go running out to Stoney Ridge to buy Canadian “port” let me quickly point out that what they are calling ‘port’ is a bit of a misnomer – it’s a fortified; and as we all know, not all fortified wine is Port. Port is usually dense, very sweet and very luscious … this wine lacks the density and a high sweetness level (I’d say it is about a 4 or a 5), the luscious is up to you. What I can tell you is that the smells are plumy, pruney and raisiny, while in the mouth it’s sweet black cherry, very smooth with a little tannin bite on the finish … there’s even a kick from some spices. It’s a wine made from Baco Noir and Cabernet Franc – as a quick aside, when I was in New York State this past summer I had the pleasure of trying a 100% Baco Noir port that had all the port-like characteristics; but this effort from Stoney Ridge is not “port” in the traditional sense. Don’t get me wrong, this fortified wine (19% alcohol) is very tasty, well made and great for dessert (especially for those not into the intensity or sweetness of icewine or real port) and I can say without a doubt it is priced very well. But I can’t stress enough: it is not “Port”, which is Portuguese for sweet and luscious. But the name of this wine, if taken literally, says it all – it’s “Forte” (French for “strong”), which rhymes with “Porte” – French for “carry” – meaning you’ll want to take some with you once you try it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Konzelmann Estate Winery 2006 Shiraz - $12.95

If you haven’t been to Konzelmann lately might I suggest you get out there this summer. They have been very busy over the last little while with the building and now completion of their new look wine store, a huge step up from its predecessor. Because of this their wines have to reflect their more modern surroundings, and they do … starting with this beauty right here. A nose that has pepper, black cherry and spice, and when sipped produces the same tastes in the mouth; but it’s not just the smell and taste that’ll get you – check out that $12.95 price tag – now that’s something to celebrate, so grab a glass and start pouring.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Chateau des Charmes 2006 St. David’s Bench Viognier - $25.00

Viognier seems to be the grape of the day everywhere … you look high and you look low and you’ll find yourself a Viognier – they say it’s the perfect substitute for Chardonnay – and furthermore the names of the grapes rhyme, what more could you want.? I think many are picking up this grape in the hopes it becomes the next big thing. Chateau des Charmes can’t be considered bandwagon jumpers on this one, they have been making Viognier for about 13 years or more. This 2006 edition has a wonderfully ripe nose of green apple and peach. The taste follows the nose, but adds traces of citrus and tart pineapple core to this delicate unoaked wine. Best described as steely with a good mouthfilling finish, this wine will see Vintages shelves shortly, if it’s not already there … or you could trek down to the winery and pick yourself up some for summer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Hillebrand Winery 2006 Artist Series Pinot Gris, Limited Edition - $16.95

Here’s a complex summer sipper that also has a softer more simple side to it. It’s a wine that’ll make you long for a patio, pool, or lake … a wine that makes you think of summertime the moment you put it to your lips; but first let’s take a sniff, a lively nose of green apple and citrus. Then there’s the mouth watering, thirst quenching taste that follows from the nose with the added bonus of a dry finish and a seemingly butter-toffee aftertaste that shows up and lingers long after you swallow. A touch of sweetness shows up mid-palate and you’ll notice a deeper golden hue, which suggests a little bit of extended skin contact. That’s why I say, it’s a simple sipper that can be something more complex … but only if you want it to be, otherwise it’s a pleasant, thirst quenching white made for the heat of summer.