Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Monks might be Gray but the food and wine are Gold

Four about-to-be-very-happy diners
This was our fourth, maybe fifth, trip to The Grapevine Restaurant at Gray Monk, and it has shown to be universally excellent. This was actually, by far, my least favorite meal there, but that is not a reflection of the quality of the food, it was due to the idiot who ordered himself the wrong thing, mistakenly ordering Tuna which I don't much like. Can't blame the restaurant because one of the diners is a moron.

Anyway, before lunch we enjoyed a tasting of their portfolio of wines. It was busy and we were being helped by a friendly young gentleman who, by his own admission, didn't know anything about wine. He was filling in, and didn't usually work the tasting room! Aye, carumba. Anyway, he did his best.

We have been huge fans of a few Gray Monk wines, particularly their sweet whites: Kerner, and a Muscat called "Reflection", as well as their tasty Pinot Auxerrois.  I don't remember if they were tasting these but we didn't taste them as we are already very familiar. On to the wines!

Prices exclude taxes, and this visit was made before last week's huge announcement about the purchase of this winery by Andrew Peller.

Gray Monk Odyssey White Meritage ($16.49)

At the winery we were told this was a blend of Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay, which I knew couldn't possibly be right. A White Meritage (which rhymes with "heritage", BTW), by definition, is the same as a White Bordeaux: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon (sometimes, not in this case, also Muscadelle). Notes of white flowers, tropical fruit, gooseberry and grass. Gooseberry, lemongrass and a hint of grapefruit on the palate. 86.

Gray Monk 2015 Pinot Gris ($16.99)

The nose is dominated by citrus with some herbaceous notes hanging around. Peach, pear and apple with a hint of spice on the finish. 88.

Gray Monk 2015 Riesling ($14.99)

Intense aromas of green apple, pineapple and a slight hint of petrol. Flavors include green apple, pineapple and key lime pie. A good bargain at this price. 89.

Gray Monk L50 Rosé ($12.99)

Aromas and flavors of raspberry and strawberry. A touch of cranberry comes through on the palate as well. This isn't going to make anyone's "top 10" list, but hey, it's $13, and it's perfectly drinkable for the price. 87.

Gray Monk 2016 Ehrenfelser ($17.39)

Elderflower and citrus on the nose. Palate is almost oily, with pronounced flavors of banana, apricot and tropical fruit. Off dry and really tasty. 89.

Gray Monk 2016 Siegerrebe ($16.59)

Beautiful aromas of white flowers, orchard fruit and lychee. The palate doesn't quite compare. Gooseberry, tangarine and a touch of grapefruit. Slightly off-dry. 87.

Gray Monk 2014 Odyssey Pinot Noir ($23.49)

Aromas of earth, smoke, leather and red cherry. The palate seems slightly underripe and flabby, with very light flavors of plum, raspberry and red cherry. 85.

Gray Monk 2013 Odyssey Meritage ($30.49)

48% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot

Aromas of black cherry, vanilla and mocha. Flavors are juicy and intense, red cherry, mocha, vanilla and a touch of spice. 88.

Gray Monk 2013 Cabernet Merlot ($17.39)

Light, almost imperceptible nose of mint and mocha. The palate shows up where the nose does not, black cherry, dark chocolate and oak. Nice finish, a decent bargain. 88.

Gray Monk 2012 Odyssey Merlot ($20.89)

Aromas of red cherry and a touch of earth. Cherry and earth notes on the palate, finishes well with a touch of spice. Tannins are firm, suggesting this needs a bit more time to open up. 88-89.

So that's it for today. This tasting confirmed for me what I already expected; this is a good winery, with a wide selection of varietals, but nothing that really knocks me over. Kind of a "jack of all trades, master of none" situation.

Up next on the tour, an enjoyable seated tasting just up the road, at Ex Nihilo!

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