Monday, March 2: Spent the morning inputting wine notes for the March 7th Vintages release. After lunch, down to Scrivener Square for a Montes tasting conducted by Aurelio Montes Jr.
Aurelio Montes Jr.
He told us about Montes’s decision to start dry farming to preserve water. Zero irrigation for Alpha brand, resulting in less yield, smaller berries, better quality. Now they’re getting half a bottle production per vine as opposed to a bottle
- Montes Outer Limits Sauvignon Blanc 2013 ($19.95) (six months to a year lees contact): bright, pale straw colour; fresh, green plum and green bean nose with a floral note; crisply dry, sweetish gooseberry with lemony-lime acidity. (89)
- Montes Outer Limits Cinsault 2014: purple-ruby colour; floral, spicy, black raspberry nose; richly extracted, full-bodied, sweetish raspberry jam; simple fruit, ripe and easy drinking; succulent and soft tannins. (88)
- Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 1999: deep ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant with vanilla oak notes, Bordelais-style nose; elegant, medium-bodied, blackcurrant with a savoury-herbal note, ground coffee and bitter chocolate finish. (91)
- Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2011: dense purple colour; spicy, blackcurrant nose with leather notes; richly extracted sweet fruit with a smoky-savoury note carried on fresh acidity. Firm finish with a bitter chocolate note. (88+)
- Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (not irrigated): dense ruby-purple; floral, spicy, blackcurrant, vanilla oak; sweet curranty fruit, richly extracted with a tannic lift on the finish. Needs time (89–91)
- Montes Purple Angel Camenère 2012 (8% Petit Verdot – 18 months French and American oak; $62.95): dense purple-black colour; floral, white pepper, vanilla oak, blackcurrant and tobacco leaf nose; richly extracted, fruity, tobacco and cassis flavours. Lovely mouth-feel, beautifully balanced, ripe tannins. (92)
- Montes Taita 2007 (85% Cabernet Sauvignon with Syrah and Carmenère): dense purple-black colour; cedar, minty, vanilla oak, black fruits on the nose with a truffle note; richly extracted, sweet, porty flavour, dark chocolate and cassis flavours. Beautifully balanced, chalk tannins. (95)
Montes Taita 2007
A late meeting at Edo to discuss the Cambridge Food & Wine Society’s dinner to honour Miguel Torres on April 21st at the Chef’s House, George Brown College.
Tuesday, March 3: Wrote my “On The Go” column and then down to Canoe for a lunch tasting with Bill Hardy of Hardy’s.
We figured out that we’ve known each other for 35 years. Bill told us that Hardy’s is the largest producer in Australia and gave us the company’s 162-year history in three minutes.
- Hardy’s William Hardy Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (Adelaide Hills) This is an “homage”line of varieties celebrating Bill’s 40 years with the family company. Light straw colour with a bouquet of green plum and citrus fruit; medium-bodied, fresh and lively on the palate with the merest hint of oak. (89)
- Eileen Hardy Chardonnay 2013: straw colour; toasty, spicy, tropical fruit nose with a touch of barnyard; mouth-filling flavours of spicy pineapple, orange and lemon with a thread of minerality. (91)
- Hardy’s Stamp of Australia Cabernet Merlot 2013: deep ruby colour; pencil lead, cedar, currants on the nose; plum and redcurrant flavour rounded out with oak and carried on lively acidity. (87)
- Hardy’s Chronicles Butcher’s Gold Shiraz Sangiovese 2012 (80% Shiraz): dense purple colour; savoury, cedar, bitter chocolate and black cherry nose; dry, medium-bodied, cherry, plum and vanilla oak flavours with ripe tannins and lively acidity. (88)
- Eileen Hardy Shiraz 2010: dense purple colour with a smoky, blackberry and licorice nose with a herbal note; full-bodied, dry, spicy blackberry and chocolate flavours with balancing oak and acidity. A great wine. (93)
- Hardy’s Winemakers Rare Release Handpicked Shiraz 2008 (McLaren Vale and Clare fruit): dense purple-ruby colour; Northern Rhône style – savoury, herbal nose of black plums, licorice, dark chocolate, pencil lead and pepper; full-bodied, beautifully structured, lovely mouth-feel. A joy to drink. (94)
A fabulous wine
For dinner, grilled tilapia with a bottle of Sumac Ridge Black Sage Reserve Meritage 2006. I found this wine tucked away in a corner of the cellar and opened it with trepidation. While it had begun to maderize, it tasted remarkably like a Vin Jaune and was most enjoyable.
Wednesday, March 4: A conference call with Chef Massimo Capra’s agent to discuss the possibility of Massimo associating himself with Grapes for Humanity as his charity of choice. Then a meeting at Freshii with Tim and Eva Andrews, who will be doing the redesign for Grapes for Humanity’s website.
Thursday, March 5: Finished inputting the wine reviews for Vintages’ Saturday release. In the afternoon Rakesh Mehre of Contraband sparkling wine came to the condo with two of his products. Rakesh began his winemaking experiments at his friend’s garage in Montreal. He studied analytical wine tasting and winemaking degree called DUAD in Bordeaux. Upon returning to Canada to finish his Honours Degree in Œnology and Viticulture, he was determined to make sparkling wine accessible to everyone, and not just on special occasions. He came up with the concept of bars and restaurants offering sparkling wine on tap. While this idea didn’t really catch on, he concentrated on bottling his wine, which he packages under crown caps.
- Contraband Extra Dry Charmat Method (100% Riesling – $18.95): pale straw, active mousse; apple and citrus nose; sweetish crab apple flavour, soft on the palate with yeasty note that dries the finish to a cidery end. Prosecco-like. (87)
- Contraband Rosé Charmat Method (Riesling, Gewurz and Pinot Noir – $19.95): pale salmon colour; earthy, cherry pit nose; light-bodied, perfumed, cherry flavour, fresh and lively with a clean finish. (89)
Later, Deborah and I tasted these wines with the Indian food we ordered in. They worked very well.
Friday, March 6: Another Vintages release tasting for March 21. Best value wine: Dr. Hermann Erdener Treppchen Riesling Kabinett 2010 for $17.95. Dinner at Fieramosca with friends who obligingly brought along a magnum of Sassicaia 1993. What a way to end the working week!
Best value wine of March 21 Vintages release