Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Jackson Triggs 2006 Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay - $19.95

Despite all the bad-mouthing Chardonnay gets it still retains the title of the number one selling white wine in the world – and the most widely planted. The ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement started as a backlash to those overly oaky wines from both Australia and the U.S. – but it really is hard to find fault with a well made, gently oaked beauty of a Chardonnay, because, in truth, those are the things about it that made this grape and its wines so popular. Which brings us to this Jackson Triggs Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay. Some say the Delaine Vineyard may be the best in Ontario, I’ll leave that debate in others hands; though I have to admit, I rarely if ever taste a bad bottle of wine with the Delaine designation on it – this Chard is no exception. This is Chardonnay elegance personified with delicious fruit and a great lingering finish. There’s a fantastic citrus component here along with a deft hand in the use of soft oak. One of the nicest Chardonnays I’ve had in a while.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Henry of Pelham 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir - $24.95

Finicky, fickle, fine and fragrant – all defining words for Pinot Noir. This beauty starts with the use of older blocks of vines and the thinning of the crop to 2 tons per acre. Then it is aged for 9 months in 30% new wood. Ron Giesbrecht (winemaker) has really put something special into this bottle of Pinot, bringing out the best fragrances from this fine, finicky and fickle grape. The nose has such sweet raspberries, strawberries and beet root smells; while on the palate you’ll find that telltale-Pinot earthiness followed by sweet oak and a great finish – like raspberries plucked straight from the vine. Good acidity and balanced tannins round this one out perfectly and set it up for a 3-6 year aging potential.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Vineland 2007 Elevation Chardonnay - $25.00

I’m looking down the barrel, so to speak, at a $25 unoaked Chardonnay, huh? I have never criticizes Vineland’s pricing policy. I find their pricing to be fair, with a good range of wines in all categories and price ranges, and their $25 Elevation 2005 Cabernet-Merlot is a delicious age-worthy stunner that would be a steal at double the price. The Elevation series of wines are made with the grapes found at the pinnacle of the Vineland property. The story goes that winemaker Brian Schmidt was walking the vineyard one day, stopped, looked around and realized he was at the highest point in the vineyard – thus the name elevation was born. This wine is delicious both for the olfactory and palate-factory. The smells are apple, pear, peach and tangerine blossom; while in the mouth its beautifully smooth and clean with a sweetish note of apples and pears along with a good finish of desirable length. So why the $25 price tag if its unoaked? I guess it takes more manpower to get the grapes off the mountain – that’s my supposition anyway. Great wine – funny price … but I can’t fault Vineland, heck they make a stellar 2007 Cabernet Franc for $12.95 – guess they gotta make up the price somewhere … buy them as a pair and split the difference.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Vineland 2007 Rieslings - Dry ($13.75); Elevation ($25.00); St. Urban ($20.00)

This is the tale of 3 Rieslings, each with its own story to tell, and each with a different status in life.

Take the seemingly-lowly $13.75 general list Dry Riesling, who’s grapes make-up and origin could be considered as bastardized; its floral, citrus and honeydew melon nose is followed by melon and candied orange-rind flavours. A fantastic wine for the price – throw in that racy acidity along with that fruitiness and you’ve got yourself one fine Riesling.

The single vineyard St. Urban Riesling is made from some of the oldest vines in Niagara and have a celebrity-storied past. More mineral-driven with lime and peach on the nose, big citrus, big acidity and a touch of peachy sweetness in the mouth.

Finally, we move from the past to the future: the Elevation Riesling is the newest addition to the Vineland family. These vines grow at the highest point on the Vineland property, hence the Elevation name. The nose smells of talc and lemonade sweetness; there’s a big tart bite on the tongue, that’s when the green apple tartness come in along with peach and some emerging petrol notes – sweeter than the other two Rieslings, but what do you expect from the baby of the clan.