Monday, February 17: Wrote my 680News wine reviews and then worked on my Lexpert column for April on Rudolph Steiner and biodynamic winemaking. In the evening, tasted the following wines:
- Atlantis Niagara Cabernet Sauvignon 2012: tawny salmon pink colour; candied raspberry nose; sweet and unctuous with a thickness on the palate; nicely balanced with acidity. (86)
- Atlantis Niagara Razzamatazz Cabernet Franc 2012: pale ruby colour; honeyed redcurrant nose; sweet and unctuous red berry flavour with a note of rose petals. Good length. (87)
- Atlantis Niagara Cabernet Franc 2011: pale amber colour; botrytis note, honey and cherry nose; full-bodied, hefty, semi-sweet cherry flavour; short finish. A bit disjointed. (84)
- Atlantis Niagara Sassafrazz Vidal 2012: straw colour; honeyed peach nose; sweet and full on the palate with a honeyed peach flavour and a nutty finish. Sweet with a tangerine acidity. (86)
- Atlantis Niagara Gewurztraminer 2012: golden colour; aromatic, lychee, pine needle nose; full-bodied, thick on the palate, off-dry, honey, lychee herbal flavour. (85)
- Atlantis Niagara Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine 2012: light ruby colour; raspberry, burnt sugar nose; cloyingly sweet candied raspberry flavour, fills the mouth. Could do with more acidity for balance. (86)
Tuesday, February 18: Recorded my 680News wine reviews. Opened two wines from Blue Mountain in BC. Blue Mountain Chardonnay 2012 (straw coloured with a green tint; a minerally nose with aromas of pear and lemon; medium-bodied, dry, well balanced with a tangerine note on the finish. (90)). Blue Mountain Pinot Noir 2012 (ruby colour; a bouquet of raspberries overlaid with vanilla oak; medium-bodied, firmly structured with a silky mouth feel, (90)). In the evening, dropped into Sip Wine Bar with my son Guy to chat with their sommelier Andrew. Had a pizza and a bottle of Lungarotti Rubesco 2010.
Wednesday, February 19: A Treasury Wines tasting of four of the company’s winemakers: Margo Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean, John Priest of Etude, Laurie Hook of Beringer and Christophe Paubert of Stag’s Leap Winery.
Christophe Paubert, Margo Van Staaveren, John Priest and Laurie Hook
- Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Chardonnay 2010: straw colour; spicy, barnyard and tropical fruit on then nose with a floral top note; rich and full on the palate – spicy, caramel flavour with a nutty finish. Well structured. Bold and brassy. (91)
- Etude Carneros Estate Chardonnay 2011: light straw colour; apple and vanilla oak nose; more Burgundian in style; lovely texture, white peach flavour with lively acidity. Great mouth feel; a fennel tone on the finish. (92)
- Stag’s Leap Napa Valle Chardonnay 2012: straw colour; minerally, apple and pear bouquet; elegantm pear and white peach flavours carried on racy acidity; good length. (90)
- Beringer Vineyard Luminus Chardonnay 2012 (the first bottling of this wine): straw colour; a nose of spicy oak and pineapple with a reductive note; broad on the palate, rich and ripe and mouth-filing with lively acidity. (90)
- Etude Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense purple colour; a nose of cedar, licorice, vanilla oak and ripe black fruits; rich and full on the palate with sweet blackcurrant and blackberry flavours; well-structured with chalky tannins on the finish. (92)
- Stag’s Leap Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense purple colour; savour nose of blackcurrants with a floral grace note; dry, claret style, well-structured with evident tannins. Needs time. (91)
- Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cépages 2009: 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot. Deep purple-ruby colour; cedar, plum and vanilla oak on the nose with hints of licorice, lilac and leather; lovely mouth feel, blackcurrant and mocha flavours. Firm structure. (92)
- Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense purple colour; inky, vanilla and black fruits on the nose; well extracted flavours of blackberry and dark chocolate, chunky mouth-feel; full-bodied and earthy. (90)
- Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cépages 2002: deep ruby colour; vanilla, licorice nose; elegant, lovely mouth-feel, great balance and great length. A super wine. (93)
- Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1992: dense ruby with a mature rim; cedar, blackcurrant nose with a floral note; richly extracted and full on the palate. Claret style with lively acidity and great length. A joy to drink. (94)
- Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2011: straw coloured; spicy, buttery, pineapple bouquet; full-bodied, sweet pineapple flavour. (89)
- Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2011: deep ruby colour; minerally, black cherry and vanilla oak on the nose; fruit forward, some sweetness in mid palate with a whisper of oak. (89)
- Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir 2011: ruby colour; high toned, cherry and vanilla oak nose; earthy, strawberry flavour with a firm tannic finish. (90)
- Etude Carneros Estate Pinot Noir 2008: ruby colour with a tawny rim; mature nose of cherries and forest floor; elegant yet powerful with herbal, cherry flavours. (91)
- Beringer Napa Valley Quantum 2010 (the first release of this wine): 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Sirah, 3% Petit Verdot. Dense purple colour; cedar and blackcurrant nose with a lilac note; rich and full in the mouth, spicy and dense. (91)
- Stag’s Leap Winery Napa Valley Petite Sirah 2010: dense purple colour; floral, spicy, plum nose; ripe blueberry flavour, dry and a little austere, firmly structured and still tight. Needs time. (89–91)
- Stag’s Leap Winery Ne Cede Malis Petite Sirah 2009: dense purple colour; a bouquet of coconut, vanilla, blackberry with a herbal note; medium-bodied, dry, earthy, savoury flavour with a firmly structured, tannic, smoky finish. (90)
- Beringer Napa Valley Nightingale 2007: Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Amber colour; a nose of marmalade and barley sugar; semi-sweet, elegant with great length. (92)
Wine of the tasting
A meeting with Andrew Smith at The Wine Conservatory on Lombard Street to discuss this venue for wine tastings. For dinner with roast chicken, Atalon Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: dense ruby colour; a nose of cedar, blackcurrant and vanilla oak; full-bodied, lush and fruity; chunky mouth-feel and a firm, tannic finish. (89)
Thursday, February 20: Did some tasting after lunch.
- Kittling Ridge Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2012 (Niagara Peninsula – $16.95): straw-coloured; toasty, spicy, apple nose; orange, peach and apple flavours nicely melded with oak. A touch bitter on the finish. (87)
- Quinta das Marias Encruzado 2011 (Dao, Portugal – $16.95): pale lemon colour; minerally, Meyer lemon with a floral note on the nose; full-bodied, dry, soft on the palate with a dry honey note, reminiscent of Viognier and a struck flint nuance on the finish. (90)
- G. Marquis The Silver Line Pinot Noir 2012 (Ontario – $19.95): ruby colour; cherry, beetroot with a light floral note on the nose; dry, medium-bodied, cherry and cranberry flavour with supple tannins and an energetic spine of acidity. (88)
- Château Pey La Tour 2009 (Bordeaux Superieur – $19.95): deep purple-ruby colour; cedar, red and blackcurrant bouquet; dry, medium-bodied, red berry and dark chocolate flavours, good texture in the mouth with a firm finish. (87+)
- Delaforce Douro Tinto 2011 (Portugal – $13.15): dense purple colour; spicy blackberry nose with a whiff of vanilla oak; dry, full on the palate with well extracted black fruit flavours heightened by a floral note; rustic mid palate with chalky tannins on the finish. Good value. (87+)
- Pierres Dorées Châteauneuf du Pape ($49.95): deep ruby colour; blackberry, savoury herbal notes with a lavender top note; full-bodied, elegant with a lovely mouth-feel, firmly structured blackberry and black cherry flavours. (91)
- Pirramimma McLaren Vale Petit Verdot 2010 (Australia – $24.95): dense purple-ruby colour; cedar, blackberry with a toasted herb note on the nose; minty-eucalyptus and blackberry with fresh acidity and a tannic lift on the finish. (89)
Sheila Swerling Puritt came to dinner. We were asked by Leo Chan to select nominees for the Cambridge Wine and Food Society’s annual awards. Opened a bottle of Balestri Valdo Soave Classico 2012 (straw colour; stony nose of sweet lemons with a floral grace note; soft mouth feel, peachy flavour with a hint of fennel on the finish (87)).
Friday, February 21: A Vintages release tasting this morning.