A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 436: Burgundy 2011

Bill Redelmeier, proprietor, Southbrook Vineyards
Bill Redelmeier, proprietor, Southbrook Vineyards

Monday, March 11: Wrote my Lexpert column on Ontario wines and how they’ve come of age in the 37 years I’ve been following and recording them. Lunch with Lindsay Groves at Grano to catch up on her Master of Wine studies. Worked on the novel, which I hope to finish in a week or two. For dinner, lamb chops with Rosewood Merlot Reserve 2010 (dense ruby purple-colour; oaky, sandalwood nose; dry, cherry flavour with a creamy mid-palate, finishing firm and savoury (87+)).

Tuesday, March 12: Deborah went down to Brown Brothers, the butchers in St. Lawrence Market, put put a deposit on out order of lamb for “Baah! The Great Lamby Cook-Off,” which happens on March 21st at The Imperial Room.

I went to the RCYC for Bouchard Père & Fils’ annual Burgundy tasting. One of my favourite tastings of the year. Luc Bouchard, was there, as always. The 2011, I found, is lighter than the 2010 and the highly extractive 2009. What Burgundians call a “classic” vintage. I particularly liked the Bouchard Père & Fils Volnay Caillerets 2011 and the Beaune Grèves Vigne de L’Enfant Jésus 2011. Of the whites my favourites were Bouchard Père & Fils Beaune Clos Saint-Landry and Bouchard Père & Fils Corton-Charlemagne 2011 – not that I’ll be able to afford these wines, but great to have the opportunity to taste them. The 9 William Fèvre Chablis 2011 range were taut and not showing much complexity yet, though Les Clos even in average vintages seems to shine.

Came home and worked on the wine book (final edits). For dinner, braised beef with Huff Estates South Bay vineyards Merlot 2010 (ruby colour; red berry nose; light cherry and cranberry flavours. (87)).

Wednesday, March 13: A wasted day. I had scheduled to record my 680 News wine reviews at 11 am and when I got to the studio my producer wasn’t there (he was called away). Nobody else was available for me to record with so I went to the Reference Library to drop off a copy of Travels With My Corkscrew for the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. One of the chapters is about beverage alcohol in the Sherlock Holmes canon. I had a scheduled appointment with my doctor at 1 pm and it turns out the nurse had made a mistake and it should have been noon. So I got home at 3 pm and Pinot T. Wonderdog wanted to go out for a walk. She lets me know by barking furiously.

Worked on Grapes for Humanity’s “Baah! The Great Lamby Cook-Off” (March 21st at The Imperial Room, Fairmont Royal York) and then got down to some tasting.

  • Faustino VII Tempranillo (Spain – $12.65): deep ruby colour; cherry pit nose with a candied raspberry note; dry, medium-bodied, lean on the palate with a raspberry flavour and lively acidity; warm alcoholic finish. (87)
  • Portia Ebeia Roble Tempranillo 2010 (Ribera del Duero – $14.95): funky, earthy, leathery, oaky nose; gamey, red berry flavour with a floral note; full on the palate with soft tannins. (88)
  • Pepperwood Grove Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 (California – $13.85): ruby colour; plum, tobacco and leather nose; spicy, smoky plum flavour with a clove finish; medium-bodied with fresh acidity. (88+)
  • Anvers Brabo Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2010 (South Australia – $19.95): dense ruby-purple colour; a nose of cedar, blackcurrant with a note of charcoal; minty, fleshy and firm, flavours of blackcurrant and blackberry; dense on the palate with chalky tannins. (87)
  • Rosewood Estates Long Rows White 2011 (Ontario – $13.20): Riesling, Semillon, Chardonnay. pale straw colour; restrained nose of green apple and citrus fruits; dry and crisp with mouth-watering acidity; crab apple flavour with a floral note. A touch hard on the finish. (87)
  • Rosewood Estates Riesling 2011 (Ontario – $16.20): pale straw colour; petrol, grapefruit rind with a honeyed note on the nose; dry, white honey and lime flavours with a floral note; tart, citrus finish, good length. (88+)
  • Rosewood Estates Semillon 2011 (Ontario – $18): pale straw colour with a nose of lanolin and pear; well extracted sweet pear flavour with balancing acidity; good length. (88+)
  • Rosewood Estates Natalie’s Süssreserve Riesling 2010 (Ontario – $15.20): straw with a green tint; a nose of honey and citrus fruits; off-dry, light on the palate; fresh and lively with honey and grapefruit flavours that sustain well on the palate. Good balance of sweetness and acidity. (88)

For dinner, Chicken ravioli with Henschke Croft Chardonnay Lenswood 2010 (straw with a green tint; tropical fruit nose with a touch of undergrowth; rich pineapple and melon flavours; full and fleshy but well balanced with a lively strain of apple-like acidity. (90)).

Thursday, March 14: Spent the day working on the wine murder mystery. A pleasure to disappear into that world. For dinner, the remainder of the braised beef with a bottle of Clos des Batuts Cahors Rouge 2009 (dense purple colour; spicy, oak, licorice and vanilla nose; dry and firm with a cherry flavour. Good value at $14.95 (88)).

Friday, March 15: Went down to St. Lawrence Market to pay the rest of bill for the lamb. Then Deborah dropped me at the LCBO, where Bill Redelmeier was putting on a tasting of 17 vintages of Southbrook wines for the Wine Writers’ Circle. There were 32 wines in all.

We began with wines made by Derek Barnett:

  • 1991 Southbrook Cabernet Merlot (100% Reif Vineyard fruit): ruby with a tawny rim; redcurrant with oak notes on he nose; dry, still lively and fresh acidity, showing maturity but still drinkable; elegant. (89)
  • 1992 Southbrook Cabernet Sauvignon (100% Reif Vineyard fruit): mature ruby; dry, gamey, firmly structured, medicinal note on the nose and green notes in the flavour. (87)
  • 1993 Southbrook Cabernet Sauvignon: ruby with a tawny rim; oaky, drying out and lean with redcurrant flavours and a fine acidic spine. (86)
  • 1994 Southbrook Lailey Cabernet Sauvignon: browning ruby; malty, vanilla nose; Bovril note, leather, dried out. (85)
  • 1995 Southbrook Trillium Cabernet Merlot: mature ruby; cedar, redcurrant with spicy oak notes; well balanced, elegant and feminine. (90)
  • 1995 Southbrook Lailey Merlot: good depth of colour; cedar, black currant, vanilla oak, rhubarb nose; dry, nicely balanced, firm. (88)
  • 1997 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot (First time Triomphe appeared on the label): mature ruby; green vegetal note; drying fruit, lean with dry tannic finish. (86)
  • 1998 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: ruby colour; cedar, cherry; dry, lean, firmly structured, blunt finish with drying tannins. (86)
  • 1999 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: ruby colour; cedar, red berry with a papery note; mature and elegant, well balanced. (88)
  • 2000 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby colour; lifted nose of leather and dried berries; claret-like, firmly structured, with a red apple finish. (89)
  • 2001 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby; peanut shell, redcurrant nose; dry, firm with chalky tannin. (85)
  • 2002 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby; red berry nose; nicely balanced, well structured, dry and claret-like. (89)

Colin Campbell and Steve Byfield were winemakers for the following wines:

  • 2002 Southbrook Triomphus Watson Vineyard Cabernet Franc: ruby colour; cedar, floral note, red berry; well balanced, medium-bodied, lively acidity, ripe fruit; firm finish. (90)
  • 2002 Southbrook Poetica Cabernet Merlot: mature ruby; elegant, blackcurrant, still fruity, great balance and lively on the palate. (90)
  • 2005 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: dense, tawny ruby; mature, meaty nose; well extracted plum and prune flavours, mellow tannins with a leather. (88)

Ann Sperling winemaker:

  • 2006 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot (the winery moves to Niagara): deep ruby; cedar, blackcurrant nose; well extracted currant flavours, firm structure; sweet fruit. Elegant, nicely balanced. Petit chateau style. (89+)
  • 2006 Southbrook Poetica Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby colour; cedar, mushroom note on the nose; dry, firm, red berry fruit with a tight finish. (88)
  • 2007 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby colour; cedar, milk chocolate nose; dry, lean and firm with a tannic finish, lean red berry flavour. (87)
  • 2007 Southbrook Poetica Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby colour; cedar, currants; dry, elegant, firm, red berry flavours with well-integrated oak. (88)
  • 2008 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Merlot (Certified Biodynamic): deep ruby; jammy blackcurrant nose with a cedar note; well extracted fruit with a touch of volatile acidity. (86+)
  • 2009 Southbrook Whimsy! Married Young Cabernet Merlot: deep ruby; spicy, white pepper, vanilla oak, red berry nose; sweet fruit, nicely balanced, firm with evident but soft tannins. (90)
  • 2009 Whimsy! Renewed Vows Cabernet Franc: deep ruby colour; cedar, oak spice, vanilla nose; focussed red berry fruits flavours, coffee bean; elegant but firm. (89+)
  • 2009 Southbrook Whimsy! Cabernet Merlot: dense ruby; well integrated nose of red berries and oak; sweet fruit with a lively acidic spine. (89)
  • 2010 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Sauvignon: dense ruby colour; cedar, vanilla oak, chocolate nose; rich and full, beautifully balanced, firmly structured, ripe red berry fruit. (90)
  • 2010 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc: deep ruby; vanilla, toasty oak; dry, firm with a tannic finish, needs time. (89+)
  • 2010 Southbrook Poetic Red: dense ruby; seamless nose, elegant, beautifully structured, Bordeaux style. Very elegant. (91)
  • 2011 Southbrook Triomphe Cabernet Franc: deep ruby; vanilla plum nose; well extracted, full on the palate; sweet fruit, firmly structured. Needs time. (89–90)
  • 2010 Southbrook Whimsy! Chardonnay Lot 20: pale straw colour; spicy oak, sweet peach, elegant, toasty, nutty, flavours , great balance. (91)
  • 2010 Southbrook Poetica Chardonnay: bright straw colour; undergrowth nose; soft, sweet, tropical fruit flavour; touch of bitterness on the finish. (88+)
  • 2011 Southbrook Whimsy! “Damy” Chardonnay: straw colour; rich and full, beautifully balanced; full on the palate; great length. (90)
  • 2001 Southbrook Whimsy! “Sirugue” Chardonnay: straw colour; forest floor, apple, toast nose; dry, spicy, apple and toast flavours; nutty, long finish. (91)
  • 2011 Southbrook Whimsy! Winemaker’s White (1/3 Chardonnay, 1/3 Pinot Gris, 1/3 Muscat): medium straw colour; aromatic, apple. Peach nose; off-dry, lively acidity, medium-bodied with a bitter finish. (87)
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