Saturday, May 23, 2015

Two top BC wineries bring their wares......I like wares....

It's not as much fun as usual writing a wine blog when you have a bad cold and can't taste anything... in other words, I am writing this blog entry sans wine. Boooo.

Over the last couple weeks, I've had the opportunity to taste a variety of wines from a couple of BC's top wineries...two wineries that have something very much in common: neither of them grow their own red grapes on their estate (with one exception).

First up, Tantalus Vineyards. A very specialized winery, they basically just make three varietals: Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot Noir.

They also have some Syrah grapes planted but they have never been able to get them ripe enough to make an actual they have started using them to make a Syrah icewine!! Didn't get a chance to taste that at this tasting, but we are heading to the Okanagan in a month or so and we will definitely be stopping in to check that out.

Tantalus 2014 Rose ($19.04)

 Powerful aromas of strawberries greet the nose, followed by a touch of herbs. Apples, strawberries and just a tinge of grapefruit on the palate. Really fruity and refreshing. 88.

Tantalus 2014 Riesling ($19.91)

Lemons, oranges and slate on the nose and the palate. Pineapples join in on the palate. Bright, juicy and balanced acidity promise to allow this one to age for a decade or more. I bought one to put into the cellar for a few years. 90.

Tantalus 2012 Pinot Noir ($26.00)

Violets and raspberries on the nose. Just the slightest earthiness. Plums and black fruit on the palate. Lovely and will improve with a little "lay-down" time. 89.

Next up, Gray Monk! Always a reliable winery that usually over delivers for the price. Like Tantalus, they aren't able to grow any "warm weather" grapes on their estate; unlike Tantalus, they still make those varietals, they just have the grapes brought in from warmer locales in the Okanagan.

This will actually be the first winery we experience on our June trip, as we are heading directly from home to the winery's terrific restaurant for lunch.

Gray Monk 2014 Rotberger (Rose) ($14.79)

Raspberries,currants and just a hint of spice on the nose. Cherries dominate the palate with a touch of spice to round it out. A real bargain at this price. 88.

Gray Monk 2014 Pinot Gris ($15.69)

Citrus and herbs on the nose. Peach and lots of pear on the palate. Another example of a wine that over delivers for what it sets you back. 88.

Gray Monk 2011 Odyssey Cabernet Sauvignon ($26.99)

Bell pepper, coffee, smoke and black pepper on the nose. Some olive as well. The palate enjoys some cherries and plums, with a touch of spice. Long finish. 88.

Gray Monk 2011 Odyssey Meritage ($30.49)

Blackberry and a touch of vanilla on the nose and palate. Beautiful texture and juicy acidity, suggesting that this will even improve for many years. It's already very good. 90.

There you go! Starting to get excited about our upcoming trip that will undoubtedly bring on many, many, many more blog entries.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Huge update of some great wine!

My wife and I recently returned from a short 5 day cruise to Alaska. Scenery was gorgeous and the high-end restaurants on the Princess ship were truly amazing. The buffet absolutely sucked, but that's neither here nor there.

The best thing about the specialty restaurants was the wine. We didn't know what kind of wine list they would have so we brought 6 bottles of our own, but we didn't need to. At the Italian restaurant on our first night, we had these two beautiful wines:

The one on the right came from our cellar, my wife's favorite Cabernet Franc. I've previously reviewed it here.

The other wine was a first for us. Oh goodness it won't be the last.

Marchesi de Frescobaldi 2006 Luce della Vite 'Luce' Toscana IGT ($105 USD)

Red berries, blackberry, vanilla, chocolate and licorice will all envelope and delight the nose. Full bodied, intense, and oh so smooth. Simply one of the best red wines we have ever experienced. 96.

If I'm not mistaken I can find this wine in our local government liquor stores for abour $100, so paying $105 in a restaurant (even in USD) is quite good. But that was far from the best deal we found.

Last year on our Napa trip, we picked up a bottle of 2010 Opus One. If memory serves, we paid about $225 for it, and not long after that they raised the price to around $260. On their website, they are currently selling their 2011 vintage for $340.

We picked up a 2009 on the cruise for under $200. UNDER $200.

It was actually our intention to open it at the Cajun steakhouse on board, but my wife wasn't feeling up to it so we took it home and put it into our cellar.

The wine going into the cellar. Good bye, dear dear friend. We'll see you in a few years.

As I type this, I can't figure out why we only bought one bottle!

Anyway, we have enjoyed lots more good wine before and since the cruise, so here are some more reviews!

Freemark Abbey 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($44 USD from winery)

Aromas of oak, vanilla, forest floor and currant. Full-bodied, ripe and luscious. Blackberry, oak some herb on the palate. Finishes long. Very nice. 91.

Trapiche 2010 Gran Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99)

The first Cab Sauv I have ever tasted from Argentina, and it won't be the last. Plum, vanilla and blackberry on the nose. Cassis, blackberry, cloves and herbs on the palate. Very nice and an excellent buy at this price. 90.

Thorn-Clark 2011 Shotfire Quartage ($32.99)

Cabernet Sauvignon - 52%, Cabernet Franc 20%, Malbec 13%, Petit Verdot 15%

Blackcurrant, forest floor and violets on the nose. Blackberries and a touch of spice on the palate. Finishes long. 90.

d'Arenberg 2011 the Olive Grove Chardonnay ($32.99)

White flowers, nectarines and tropical fruit on the nose. Nutty and fruity on the palate and on the finish. 89.

Fairview Cellars 2011 The Madcap Red ($18.99)

Hints of cherry, plum and licorice on the nose and palate. Some cocoa on the long finish. 88.

Le Vieux Pin 2014 Vaila Rosé ($24.90)

Lots of strawberry and a bit of pink grapefruit. Refreshing and fruity. Dry, but not too dry. 90.

Pfaff 2012 Gewurztraminer ($19.99)

Traditional Alsatian Gewurztraminer bursting with lychee, spice and roses. Slightly off-dry. Perfect pairing with any spicy dishes. 89.

Domaine Rabasse-Charavin 2001 Cotes du Rhone Villages ($39.99)

Fragrant and peppery nose. Shows the characteristics you might expect from a 14 year old wine; some hints of smoked meat, vanilla and spice. It's not easy to find a wine this good and this old for under $40, but this is available today at several Liberty Wines locations around Vancouver. A traditional French GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre) 90.

Speaking of lovely teenage wines..........................

Faustino I 2001 Gran Reserva ($34.99)

85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo

Was named the "Best wine of 2013" from Decanter magazine.

Rich and intense notes of plum, black cherry, tobacco and spice. Well balanced acidity and a super long finish. If you are a fan of aged tempranillo, RUN out and go get some. Easy to find in most BC Liquor stores. Fabulous. 93.

Well that's it for today, that doesn't completely catch me up but it's pretty close. More to come!