A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 721: Tasting CheckMate Chardonnays

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All 2015 – the hottest year on record in BC. But winemaker Philip McGahan managed to maintain balancing acidity by picking early.

CheckMate Capture Chardonnay 2015: Bright straw colour; peachy-pineapple nose with oak spice and vanilla notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, butterscotch and pineapple flavours with lively acidity. (92)

CheckMate Queen Taken Chardonnay 2015: Minerally, lightly toasty, apple and citrus nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, apple and lemon flavours with a firm, nutty finish. (90)

CheckMate Queen’s Advantage Chardonnay 2015: Minerally, apple with a touch of undergrowth on the nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, very Burgundian, elegant, richly extracted, apple and tangerine flavours; lovely mouth-feel, great balance, great length. (93)

CheckMate Little Pawn Chardonnay 2015: Minerally, spicy, toasty, apple and lemon bouquet with a floral grace note; medium to full-bodied, dry, rich and full on the palate, beautifully balanced, apple, green pineapple and orange flavours. Great length. (94)

CheckMate Knight’s Challenge Chardonnay 2015: Wet stone and citrus nose with a light floral note; medium to full-bodied, dry, leaner on the palate, apple and lemon flavours with crunchy acidity. Great length and balance. (92)

CheckMate Fool’s Mate Chardonnay 2015: A blend of all five vineyards – earthy, leesy, toasty, vanilla nose; medium to full-bodied, powerful, apple and lemon flavours. Good long finish with an intriguing hint of bitterness on the finish. (91)

CheckMate Attack Chardonnay 2015: Minerally, vanilla, spicy, lemon peel and starfruit with a toasty oak note; medium to full-bodied, richly extracted, green mango and citrus. Great mouth feel and a long finish. Beautifully balanced, lovely mouth-feel. (94)

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Wines of the Week for June 6, 2019

Arterra Special Edition Pinot Noir 2016 ($29.95, available at Wine Rack stores)
Deep ruby colour; spicy, smoky, tarry nose of black raspberry with vanilla oak notes; medium-bodied, vanilla, black plum and black raspberry flavours; mellow tannins ending on a charred oak note. (89)

Peter Lehmann The Barossan Shiraz 2017 (Barossa Valley, Australia ($21.95, Vintages #522235)
Dense purple-ruby in colour; smoky, slightly tarry nose of blackberries with oak spice; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted flavours of plum, blackberry and dark chocolate carried on lively acidity and ending on a savoury-herbal note.

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 720: Piemonte Tour

Thursday, May 16th: Our Air Canada flight to Milan was scheduled to leave at 8:10 pm. Because of refueling issues we spent 3 hours on the tarmac before take-off.

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Turin fountain

Friday, May 17th: A bus took our group to the Grand Hotel Sitea in the heart of Turin, where a plentiful spread of hors d’oeuvres had been set out for us with copious bottles of Martini Prosecco.

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Grand Hotel Sitea hors d’oeuvres

Our group of 22 gathered in the lobby to walk over to dinner (in a light rain) to Ristorante Consorzio, via Monte de Pietra n.23. The menu: chicken liver mousse amuse gueule; Scotch egg in a cream sauce on a bed of spinach topped with grilled pancetta; marrow bone with flakes of cod with small ravioli stuff with veal, pork and rabbit; grilled beef and potatoes; a dessert of chocolate sauce with cauliflower (!), baked, salted capers (!!), hazelnuts and ice cream. Delicious! The wines: La Morella Cortese 2017 and Cascina Roccalini Barbaresco Roccalini 2015.

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Turin by night

Saturday, May 18th: After breakfast, a walking tour of Turin conducted (in the rain) by our small but exquisite guide, Monica Gnocchi. She explained that Turin was the first capital of the reunited Italy. It boasts the largest outdoor market in Europe. Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Dairy, part 719: Thirty Bench Tasting

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Thirty Bench Winery

Thirty Bench Tasting, May 30, 2019: Continue reading

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Wines of the Week for May 16, 2019

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Cálem Curva Tinto 2016 (Douro, Portugal)
Many of the Douro’s port houses are making table wines from the same grapes they use to produce Port. This is an example from Cálem. An equal blend of four of the primary port grapes – Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca – the wine is dense purple in colour with a cedary, plum nose; it’s medium-bodied, dry, with a flavour of mulberries tinged with oak spice, ending on a firm note of tannin and freshened with lively acidity. It would make a great partner for barbecued ribs, steak or hamburgers. Attractive label too. ($15.95, Vintages #631499)

Rustenberg Petit Verdot Rose 2018 (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Bright light pink in colour, it shows an attractive, spicy, gently honeyed, fresh strawberry-winter melon nose with a light honeyed note. It’s dry, light to medium-bodied with a fresh, tangy flavour of ripe strawberries and a lingering, bright finish. This versatile, well-balanced crowd-pleaser offers great value. Pour it while the barbecue heats up – or with a platter of charcuterie. ($13.95 Vintages #451773)

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