Monday, May 30th: This is the 600th edition of the blog! Pause for vinous refreshment.
Had breakfast with my sister Shirley, who is in town from Montreal; then came home to write my 680 NEWS wine reviews.
Chianti Classico tasting at the Four Seasons. Twenty-six producers from the Classico zone showing their Annata, Riserva and Gran Selezione mostly from the 2013 or 2014 vintages, although there were some older vintages as well. I didn’t get around to tasting 70-odd wines, but my top scoring wines (90+) were:
- Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia 2012
- Fontodi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Vigna del Sorbo 2012
- Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Riserva Ser Lapo 2013
- Lanciola Chianti Classico Riserva Le Masse di Greve 2011
- Tenuta de Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva Strada al Sasso 2009
Giancarlo Guarnieri with his 2011 Chianti Classico
Best value: Castello Vicchiomaggio Chianti Classico San Jacopo 2014 ($19.95).
For dinner, a bottle of Quails’ Gate Pinot Noir 2014 (deep ruby colour; spicy, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, red plum and cherry flavours with a smoky note and lively acidity (89)).
Tuesday, May 31st: Spent the day catching up on emails, evaluating wines for Grand Cru and making last-minute preparations for tomorrow’s Ontario Wine Awards presentations at Niagara College.
- Quails’ Gate Rosé 2015 (Okanagan): pale pink in colour; fresh, floral, cranberry and watermelon nose; light and elegant on the palate, crisply dry. A delicious rosé. (89)
- Quails’ Gate Chasselas Pinot Blanc Pinot Gris 2015 (Okanagan): very pale in colour; minerally, grapefruit skin nose; medium-bodied, dry, citrus and apple flavours with a fresh acidic spine. Easy drinking. (88)
- Quails’ Gate Chenin Blanc 2015: pale straw, pear skin nose with a mineral note; medium-bodied, dry and fresh with a pear and lemon flavour. Well made, good length. A versatile food wine. (89)
- Quails’ Gate Gewurztraminer 2015 (Okanagan): very pale colour; spicy, aromatic nose; medium-bodied, off-dry with lychee and grapefruit flavours and a light rosewater note. (88.5)
- Black Hill Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan – $26.00): light straw colour; yellow apple nose with vanilla oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, apple and caramel flavours. (89)
- Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Alexander Valley – $24.95): dense purple colour; creamy, cedary, plum nose with a lilac note; rich and round on the palate with sweet blackcurrant and plum flavours; full-bodied with ripe tannins with a pencil lead finish. (89)
- Black Hills Cellar Hand Punch Down Red 2014 (Okanagan): dense ruby colour; plum and prune nose with a mineral note; full-bodied and thick on the palate. (87)
- Black Hills Carmenère 2014 (Okanagan – $49.50): dense purple colour; peppery Syrah-like nose of black fruits; medium to full-bodied, fruity and dry with blackberry, mulberry and plum flavours backed by fresh acidity. A juicy wine. (91)
- Black Hills Syrah 2013 (Okanagan – $32.09): dense purple colour; cedary, black berry nose; dry, full-bodied, thick on the palate, savoury with a light floral note contrasting with the earthy black fruit flavours. Medicinal note on the finish. (90)
- La Stella Fortissimo 2014 (Okanagan – 57% Merlot, 21% Sangiovese, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc; $29): deep ruby colour; spicy cherry and cedar nose; well-extracted blackcurrant and black plum flavours; mouth-filling, dry, earthy with nicely integrated oak; firmly structured with powdery tannins and good length. (90)
- La Stella Maestoso “Solo” Merlot 2013 (Okanagan – $89.90): deep ruby colour; spicy-cedary nose of blueberry pie crust; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted blueberry flavours with vanilla oak notes, beautifully balanced with perfectly resolved tannins; lingers long on the palate. (92)
Wednesday, June 1st: Drove down to Niagara College with Deborah and Michael Vaughan. Michael Bonacini was the host and did an excellent job presenting the winning wineries with their medals (see results at ontariowineawards.ca). The wineries seem to have enjoyed the new format – rather than a dinner, an afternoon event with finger-food prepared by the students at Niagara College and served in their Benchmark Restaurant.
The Spinosas with The White Wine of the Year award:
Exultet “The Blessed” Chardonnay 2013
Winemaker Rob Power with the Red Wine of the Year award:
Creekside Broken Press Syrah Reserve 2012
Thursday, June 2nd: Recorded my 680 NEWS wine reviews. Then got down to some tasting since the samples have been accumulating.
- Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris 2015 (Okanagan – $17.49): pale straw colour; white peach nose with a citrus and mineral note; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted peach and citrus flavours; good length. (90)
- Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Chardonnay 2014 (Okanagan – $34.99): pale straw with a lime tint; oak spice currently dominating the nose of apple and apple peel; full-bodied, rich and full on the palate with spicy, clove, toasty oak, apple and orange peel flavours. (91)
- Tinhorn Creek Gewürztraminer 2015 (Okanagan – $15.99): pale straw colour; spicy, aromatic, lychee and grapefruit nose; medium-bodied, off-dry, lychee, rose water and ginger flavours. Well balanced with good length. (89.5)
- Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Rosé 2015 (Okanagan – $19.99): pale pink; pomegranate nose with a light floral note; fruity, yellow cherry with a touch of sweetness in mid-palate. Easy drinking. (88)
- Château des Charmes Gamay Noir 2014 (Niagara – $13.95): ruby colour; earthy, cherry nose; light-bodied, dry and fruity; cherry flavour with a peppery note and lively, fresh acidity. (88)
- Château des Charmes Pinot Noir Old Vines 2011 (Niagara – $18.95): mature ruby with a brick rim; beetroot and red berry nose with wood spice; medium-bodied, dry, savoury, herbal flavours of cherry and cherry pits finishing with grainy tannins. (88)
- Henry of Pelham Baco Noir Old Vines 2014 (Ontario – $19.95): deep ruby colour; cedary, smoky, blackberry nose; medium-bodied, juicy, sweet blackberry flavour with vanilla oak notes; lovely mouth-feel with blackberry and violet notes. (89)
- Tinhorn Creek Pinot Noir 2013 (Okanagan – $19.99): light ruby with a tawny tint; red berry and orange peel nose with an earthy note; medium-bodied, dry; mouth-filling plum and sour cherry flavours tinged with toasted herbs. (89.5)
- Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series Pinot Noir 2012 (Okanagan – $31.99): light ruby colour with a tawny rim; terroir-driven nose of red berries with a light floral note; medium-bodied, dry, strawberry flavour, firmly structured with great acidity; well-balanced with ripe tannins. (90)
- Magnotta Shiraz 2013 (Niagara): deep ruby colour; cedary, meaty, red berry nose; good concentration of black fruit flavour, full-bodied, savoury, blackberry on the palate. Well integrated oak with good length. (89)
- Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Colchagua Valley, Chile – $18.20): deep ruby colour; leafy, blackcurrant and elderberry nose; full-bodied, dry, fresh and lively blackcurrant and plum flavours with lively acidity. (88.5)
Friday, June 3rd: A Winerytohome tasting at Doug Towers, with David Lawrason.