Sparkling wine tasting
Monday, September 21st: A Wine Writers Circle tasting this morning of 89 sparkling wines. In the afternoon I wrote my 680 NEWS wine reviews. For dinner, lightly curried chicken with a bottle of Hillebrand Showcase Clean Slate Wild Ferment Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (very Bordeaux in style – grassy, green plum nose with well integrated oak; medium-bodied, passionfruit, lemon and smoke flavours. A seamless wine (91)).
Tuesday, September 22nd: Wrote a column for Grapevine magazine on sparkling wine. Dinner at Donatella with German Berra, the winemaker from Finca Flichman in Argentina. He told me that Flichman introduced Syrah to Argentina in the 1920s. During the meal we tasted the following wines:
- Finca Flichman Misterio Malbec 2014 ($8.95): deep ruby colour; savoury-herbal nose with a touch of oak and a floral top note; medium-bodied, dry and savoury with good acidity. Good value. (87+)
- Finca Flichman Misterio Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($8.95): deep ruby colour; savoury nose with evident oak; medium-bodied, dry, ripe blackcurrant and plum flavours; soft on the palate. Good value. (88)
- Finca Flichman Espesiones Reserve Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($15.95): deep ruby colour; floral, black fruit nose with herbal notes and vanilla oak; full-bodied, richly extracted sweet fruit tinged with toasted herbs and a dark chocolate note. Good mouth feel and good value. (89)
- Finca Flichman Paisaje de Barrancas 2013 (Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon – $17.95): dense purple colour; spicy blackberry, cigar leaf nose with a floral note and a thread of minerality; rich and full on the palate, full-bodied, beautifully balanced with a fruity sweetness. (90)
- Finca Flichman Paisaje de Tupungato 2013 (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot – $17.95): dense purple colour; cedar, pencil lead, spicy black fruits on the nose with a floral grace note; lean and sinewy, firmly structured with lively acidity and an apple peel note on the finish. (89)
- Finca Flichman Dedicado 2012 (Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah – $29.95): dense purple colour; vanilla oak, cocoa, blackberry and blackcurrant nose; lovely mouth-feel, full-bodied, sweet and succulent, lively acidity and a firm finish. A seamless wine. (92)
Finca Flichman Dedicato 2012
Wednesday, September 23rd: After recoding my 680 NEWS wine reviews I went to Cibo to lunch with Antonio Zaccheo Jr. from Carpineto. In a private room our table of wine writers shared a glass of Farnito Chardonnay Brut, an easy-drinking sparkler with an off-dry apple flavour (88).
- Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Bianco 2014 (Chardonnay, Grechetto and Sauvignon Blanc – $15.95): straw colour; fruity, grassy, aromatic nose; apple flavour, soft on the palate with lively acidity and a chalky finish. (88)
- Carpineto Dogajolo Toscana Rosso 2014 (Sangiovese with 30% Cabernet and other varieties – $16.05): ruby colour; fruity, cherry and vanilla oak nose; medium-bodied, dry, easy drinking with a firm structure and a tannic finish. A versatile food wine. (88+)
- Carpineto Chianti Cassico 2013 ($19.95): ruby colour; vanilla oak, tobacco, cherry nose with a floral note; medium-bodied, dry, cherry flavour with ripe tannins and good acidity. A well-structured wine. (89)
- Carpineto Chianti Cassico Riserva 2010 (Sangiovese with 20% Canaiolo – $29.95): deep ruby colour; a nose of red cherries, tobacco and vanilla oak; lovely mouth-feel, firmly structured, dry, cherry flavour with ripe taninns and a note of forest floor on the finish. A seamless wine. (90–92).
- Carpineto Chianti Cassico Riserva 1995 (~$80): rich and full in the mouth with cherry and tobacco flavours, mouth-filling and beautifully balanced, A pleasure to drink. (92)
- Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2010 ($29.95): deep ruby colour; earthy, black cherry, mushroom and vanilla on the nose; dry and fruity, firmly structured but tight. Needs time. (89–91)
- Carpineto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 1988 (~$150): mature ruby colour; a nose of tobacco, cedar, cherries and truffles; dry, elegant, beautifully balanced; silky mouth-feel and firmly structured. Still youthful. (92)
- Carpineto Brunello di Montalcino 2010 ($59.95): deep ruby colour; chocolate, vanilla oak and tobacco nose; flavours of fresh blackcurrants and black cherries; firmly structured, elegant and beautifully balanced, lovely mouth-feel. Drinking well now but will last another decade. (92–94)
Antonio Zaccheo Jr.
With the lunch we tasted the following wines:
- Carpineto Farnito Chardonnay 2014 ($25): straw yellow colour; spicy, floral, apple nose; dry, full-bodied, nicely oaked and well balanced. (89)
- Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon 2010: ruby colour; spicy blackcurrant and vanilla oak nose; dry, medium-bodied and well-structured. (88+)
- Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon 2000: dense ruby-purple colour; tobacco, cigar box, blackcurrant nose with vanilla oak and a floral top note; sweet blackcurrant fruit with an iodine note, great balance. Reminiscent of Château Montrose. (93)
- Carpineto Farnito Vinsanto del Chianti 1996 (500 mL bottle): deep amber colour; a nose of molasses and prunes with a touch of oak; off-dry, flavours of dried fig and nuts. Great balance and great length. (94).
Carpineto Farnito Cabernet Sauvignon 2000
Thursday, September 24th: Wrote my Post City column on Beaujolais and spent the rest of day inputting Vintages release tasting notes. Tasted a couple of wines:
- San Raffaele Monte Tabor Organic Pinot Grigio 2014 (Veneto, $13.95): straw coloured with a nose of citrus and peach pit; medium-bodied, crisply dry with white peach and lime flavours. Good value. (89)
- Dominio de Tares Cepas Viejas Mencia 2011 (Bierzo, $29.95): deep ruby-purple colour; spicy, earthy blackberry nose; full-bodied, well-extracted fruit with a chunky mouth feel. (89).
At 5:30 pm down to a tasting of Virginian wines and then on to the theatre to see Motown. Great show.
Friday, September 25th: A Vintages release tasting. 146 wines. On the way home I stopped into New York Fries for a bag of French fries. Perfect after a big tasting. For dinner, lamb chops with Beronia Tempranillo 2012 (Rioja): deep ruby colour with a minerally, cedar, cherry and blackcurrant nose; medium-bodied, dry, blackcurrant and strawberry flavours with mellow tannins and balancing acidity. (88+)
Saturday, September 26th: Today, the annual Ontario Wine Awards’ sponsors’ tour to Niagara. We stopped at Two Sisters winery and Domaine Queylus.