Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Henry of Pelham 2006 Gamay - $14.95

Gamay is such an under-rated grape … in fact it just might be the Rodney Dangerfield of grapes … it gets no respect at all. Most people think of it as a light, fruity, simple wine for drinking now thru the end of next week. But that’s not always the case, especially for those who decide to make a serious Gamay wine. I have tasted some wonderful Beaujolais-Village from France and Gamays from Ontario that have shown potential for longevity and also had real depth and character. Speaking of depth and character this Henry of Pelhem Gamay seems to have plenty of both, in fact my notes say “intense” on both the nose and taste. Earthy-strawberry on the nose; pleasant earthy raspberry-strawberry mixture in the mouth, all culminate in a black licorice finish. For added enjoyment I would suggest chilling this one down in the fridge for half or even a full hour … you’ll end up making a completely different wine out of it, and I bet you find yourself liking it both ways.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pillitteri Estates 2007 Pinot Grigio - $15.00

To me “Grigio” should be light, refreshing, crisp and citrus-like … this grigio doesn’t have all those characteristics, but it just might be one of the nicest Gris/Grigio’s you’ll try this season – at a very reasonable price. The nose is simply delightful, delivering up peach, pear, apricot and pineapple … the palate has less fruit than the nose suggests, but I believe that keeps your tongue from being over-taxed with an overload of fruitiness. In the mouth, you’ll get the peachiness and on the finish you’ll pick up some refreshing lemon zest. In my opinion it’s too tropical to be Grigio, but too good to pass up on a technicality – in one word this one wonderful ... now go find a patio and enjoy.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Southbrook Vineyard 2006 Whimsy Syrah (Lot 19) - $32.75

This is a barrel selection wine, meaning that during a routine tasting of the barrels the folks at Southbrook found this wine to be different, more unique or special in some way over the other barrels – thus they decided it needed a special bottling so you too could experience its uniqueness. Black raspberry, strawberry and pepper greet the nose, whilst in the mouth you’ll find a good tannins backbone holding up the black pepper and black fruit notes … good longevity for a 2006, you should be enjoying this one for the next 5-7 years.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Coyote’s Run 2006 Red / Black Paw Cabernet Franc - $20.00

Two Cabernet Francs, vinted the exact same way, just one grows on red clay soil the other on black, the difference this subtlety makes will astound you. I speak of course about the Coyote’s Run red and black science experiment they did, rather successfully, with Pinot Noir – now they turn their attention to Cabernet Franc. You find that smells are similarly red fruit dominated: the “black” is soft red fruit, while the “red” has earthy and cherry tobacco, which mixes in with the red fruit. Colour-wise the black paw is lighter that the red. And taste-wise, “red” is earthy, raspberry, strawberry and herby with fine tannins; “black” is softer, more supple with juicy berry sweetness along with herbs and red fruit, nice spice and a fantastic finish. Whether you like the red soiled or black soiled wine is completely up to your personal taste – but a side by side tasting is a must, hence a visit to Coyote’s Run should be on your list for your next visit to Niagara.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lailey Vineyard 2007 Vidal - $12.00

“Really Michael, I don’t want to be known for making the best Vidal, I just wanted you to try this.” Winemaker Derek Barnett began pleading with me when he saw my eyes light up after my first sip of this wine. “Not another Riesling?” I inquired; Derek has so far made two outstanding versions in ’07 – Niagara Peninsula and Niagara River. “No,” he said, “it’s Vidal … I’d really like to be known for the Rieslings.”

“It’s wonderful,” I said totally ignoring him, “juicy, delicious. How much?” He told me, my eyes lit up again, “Best I’ve ever tasted,” I said … which is the point when he started pleading with me. “Besides,” he said, “It’ll be gone in a few weeks, I only made 110 cases, of which only 80 are left … and I just released it yesterday.”

My lovely blonde companion, whose eyes were also aglow over this wine, leaned over to me as we left the winery (with our own 6 bottle-allotment tucked comfortably under my arm) and said, “You have to let people know about this one, it’s so lovely, it reminded me of the Romeo Peach festival in Michigan – taking a bit of a fresh juicy peach with the juices dripping down your chin … it’s heaven.” She said it with such passion.

Okay, so now you know … Derek didn’t want you to, Erica did, Erica was more convincing than Derek, so she wins. So now what you do with this information is completely up to you.

Update: 07/02/2008 - Only 25 cases left ... told you this wine was too good to be true - soon all that will be left is this review, the podcast and summer memories.