The best Torrontes I’ve tasted
Monday, October 5th: Had to pick up the Gaja wines for Grapes for Humanity’s dinner on October 26. The venue has been moved from a private house to the Chef’s House at George Brown College.
A tasting at Doug Towers’s with David Lawrason for www.winerytohome.com. For dinner, lamb chops with Buried Hope Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (North Coast, California – $19.95): dense purple colour; spicy, oaky, blackcurrant bouquet; full-bodied and fruity on the palate, lovely mouth-feel finishing firmly. (89+)
Tuesday, October 6th: Worked on my presentation at the Vitinord Conference in Nebraska City next month. The session is 40 minutes. My theme is “Nova Scotia as a model for wine industry growth in cold and cool climate regions.” At 4 pm met with Doris Miculan Bradley to work on final page edits for Grapes for Humanity’s new website.
Wednesday. October 7th: Spent the day working on the Vitinord address, then got down to some tasting.
- KWV Cathedral Cellars Chardonnay 2013 (Western Cape, South Africa – $15.95): pale lemon colour; earthy, apple nose; dry, intense lemony acidity and bruised apple flavours; a touch hard on the finish. (86)
- CedarCreek Gewurztraminer 2014 (Okanagan Valley): light straw colour; spicy, lychee and rose petal bouquet; medium-bodied, off-dry, Turkish delight flavour of cardamom, lychee and rosewater; unctuous on the palate with an orange note on the finish. (89+)
- Château Rahoul Graves Rouge 2010 (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot – $24.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant and blueberry with well integrated oak; full-bodied, rich on the palate with a velvety mouth-feel; medium-bodied, dry, with sweet fruit and a mineral note. Great balance. (90)
- Château Barril Lamarzelle Figeac 2008 (Saint Emilion – $39.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, red and blackcurrant bouquet with evident oak; dry, medium-bodied, lean and sinewy; fruit beginning to dry out. (88)
- Clos de los Siete 2012 (Mendoza – $21.95) (57% Malbec, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot): dense ruby colour; cedar, vanilla oak, blackberry and chocolate on the nose with a peppery, pencil lead note; full-bodied, dry, savoury, black fruit flavours with powdery tannins. The Syrah comes singing through even at 9%. Lively acidic finish. (89)
- KWV Cathedral Cellars Shiraz 2013 (Western Cape, South Africa – $15.95): deep ruby colour; smoky, blackberry and black cherry with oak spice and a note of leather. Medium-bodied, dry with exuberant acidity, pencil lead and black fruit flavours with a tannic note on the finish. (87)
Thursday, October 8th: Another morning of working on the Vitinord address. Then a late lunch at Nota Bene with Aurelio Montes Jr. to taste his wines from the Kaiken Winery in Mendoza.
- Kaiken Torrontes 2015: pale straw colour; aromatic nose of cardamom and ginger; fresh and tangy on the palate with tangerine, melon and honeysuckle flavours carried on vibrant acidity. The most exciting Torrontes I have tasted! (90)
- Kaiken Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (grown at 1600 metres): pale straw colour; herbaceous, tropical fruit nose; fresh and lively on the palate with green plum and kiwi flavours; good length. (89)
- Kaiken Chardonnay 2013: pale straw colour; spicy oak, minerally, apple and anise bouquet; rich mouth-feel, full-bodied, well-integrated oak with an intriguing bitterness on the finish. (90)
- Kaiken Malbec Reserve 2013: deep purple-ruby colour; smoky, meaty nose of vanilla oak, blackberry and leather; full-bodied, dry and savoury with lively acidity. (89)
- Kaiken Terroir Series Malbec Bonarda Petit Verdot Reserva 2013: dense purple colour; spicy black fruits on the nose with tobacco and floral notes; sweet black fruit flavours (lots of extract here), beautifully balanced with a firm tannic finish. (90)
- Kaiken Terroir Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (with 15% Malbec and 10% Petit Verdot): dense purple colour that stains the glass; smoky, tarry, blackcurrant nose; rich and full on the palate, succulent, sweet blackcurrant flavour with ripe tannins; great mouth feel and a long finish. (91+)
- Kaiken Ultra Malbec 2013: dense purple colour; rich nose of cassis and vanilla oak; full-bodied, elegant, fruity with flavours of black cherries, mulberries and tobacco leaf carried on fresh acidity; well integrated oak and ripe tannins, Great mouth-feel. (92)
- Kaiken Ultra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013: dense purple-ruby colour; cedar and savoury blackcurrant nose with vanilla oak; mouth-filling blackcurrant and plum flavours yet elegant and firmly structured with a tannic lift on the finish. A well-balanced wine. (90)
- Kaiken Obertura Cabernet Franc 2013: dense ruby colour; vanilla oak, coffee bean, earthy red and blackcurrant aromas with a leafy note; medium to full-bodied, well-balanced with a firm finish. Reminiscent of Bourgueil in a warm year. A great first effort. (90)
Straight from lunch down to George Brown College to meet with Joan Culliton of the Ottawa Wine & Food Festival and Michael Fagan, who is consulting to the college on their wine and beverage business management program. We toured the stunning new tasting rooms in the Chef’s House. Disappointed by the Jays’ loss to Texas. Commiserated over a bottle of Fattoria di Piazzano Chinati Piazzano 2013 with pasta (deep ruby-purple colour; cherry, cedar and vanilla oak nose with a floral top note; medium-bodied, dry, cherry flavour. Well-structured and good value at $14.95 (88)).
Friday, October 9th: Had to miss the Vintages tasting this morning as I needed to finish off the Vitinord presentation. I leave next Thursday to conduct a wine & food tour of Champagne and Burgundy. Now devastated by the Jays’ second loss to Texas.
Saturday, October 10th: Guy and three of his friends came by to take furniture out of our storage locker (actually it’s more like a room, 18′ × 6′). Now we can actually see the junk we should have gotten rid of when we moved to the condo. Still grumpy over the Jays losing two in a row to Texas. Doesn’t augur well for moving on in the play-offs. We’ll know tomorrow night if they’re still in the running. To take my mind off it I did some tasting:
- Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2009 (92% Chardonnay “with a touch of Pinot Noir”; Niagara Peninsula – $29.95): pale straw colour; baked bread, lemon and apple on the nose; medium-bodied, crisply dry, green apple and lemon flavours with an intriguing touch of bitterness on the finish. (88+)
- Trail Estate Barrel-Aged Chardonnay 2013 (Prince Edward County – $32.00): pale straw colour; minerally, pear and citrus nose; medium-bodied, dry, green pear and lemony flavours evolving into caramel and apple flavours with some bitterness on the finish. (87)
- Flat Rock Pinot Noir 2013 (Niagara Peninsula – $19.95): ruby colour with a tawny note; high-toned, cherry bouquet with a light floral note and a touch of oak; medium-bodied, dry, good Pinot character; firm on the palate with fresh acidity. (88)
- Flat Rock Gravity Pinot Noir 2013 (Niagara Peninsula – $29.95): ruby with a tawny note; tobacco, cherry nose with a vanilla oak note; medium-bodied, dry, good intensity of flavour – cherries and moist earth; well-structured and firm. (89)
- Strewn Rogue’s Lot Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc 2012 (Niagara Peninsula – $14.95): mature ruby colour; cedar, redcurrant nose with a leafy note; more expressive on the palate with black and redcurrant flavours with a minty note carried on lively acidity with enough oak to give it a round mouth-feel. (87+)
- Bench 1775 Cabernet Franc Malbec 2013 (Okanagan – $34.50): deep ruby colour; cedar, smoke, red berries on the nose with a cedary note; medium-bodied, dry, richly extracted and savoury; well-balanced with a lively acidic spine. (89+)
- Trail Estate Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2013 (Prince Edward County – $39.00): deep ruby colour; the leafy, redcurrant tones of Cabernet Franc sing through on the nose on a cedary accent; medium-bodied, dry redcurrant and pencil lead flavours, Loire style with fresh acidity. (89)
- Burrowing Owl Cabernet Franc 2013 (Okanagan – $44.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, mocha, creamy, red berry fruit bodied, topped with vanilla oak; medium to full-bodied, dry, savoury red berry fruit flavours with a spicy oak note. Beautifully balanced and firmly structured. Great length. (90)
- Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (Okanagan): dense purple-ruby colour; cedar, blackcurrant, toasty oak nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, beautifully balanced and firmly structured, fine mouth-feel with powdery tannins. A wine to keep for five years. (90–92)
- San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Carmenère 2013 (Chile – $19.95): dense purple-ruby colour; intense nose of blackcurrant and vanilla oak with a cedary note; full-bodied, fruity but dry, concentrated plum and raspberry flavours with blackcurrant on the finish. Fleshy with a chunky mouth-feel. A massive wine. (90)
- Sunrock by Jackson Triggs Illumina Red Meritage 2012 (Okanagan – $34.95): deep purple colour; spicy, vanilla oak predominates at the moment over red and blackcurrant fruit; medium- to full-bodied, dry and savoury with a minty note on the finish; chalky tannins. All the elements are there but not melding at the moment. Give it 3–5 years. (88–90)
- Lavau Vacqueras 2012 (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre: Rhône – $24.95): deep ruby colour; cedar, mint, black raspberry with a note of dried herbs; full-bodied, dry, mouth-filling, savoury-herbal flavours of black raspberry. Full in the mouth with moderate length. (88+)