A Wine Lover’s Dairy, part 701: Great Tasting Week

Monday, July 9th: Tasted CedarCreek Meritage 2015 from the Okanagan: dense purple in colour with a cedary, blackcurrant and blueberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, fruity, blueberry flavour with a light floral note; beautifully balanced and long on finish.

Tuesday, July 10th: John Maxwell and Billy Munnelly’s annual Men in Pink event – a celebration of Ontario rosé at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen.

Wednesday, July 11th: At Michael Vaughan’s house I tasted Torres Mas La Plana 2001, which he drew off from a magnum. What a magnificent wine! It tased like Musigny. Deborah made a spicy shrimp dish served on a bed of rice. I opened a bottle of Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc Reserve 2013 – which turned to be the finest Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted from California. (97) It reminded me of a richly concentrated version of Château La Louvière. Right up there in quality is the bottle of Black Hills Estate Alibi 2017 from the Okanagan I tasted with grilled salmon. It’s a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. (93)

Thursday, July 12th: Dropped in on Thirty Bench for a tasting with winemaker Emma Garner:

  • Thirty Bench Sparkling Riesling (Steel Post dosage – $38.95): pale straw in colour; honeyed grapefruit nose; light to medium-bodied, fresh and lively, lime and grapefruit flavours with an engaging note of bitterness on the finish to give more interest to the wine. (91)
  • Thirty Bench Winemaker’s Blend Riesling 2016 ($22.95): bright, pale straw colour; minerally, honey, grapefruit with a floral note on the nose with a light petrol note; light to medium-bodied, honey, grapefruit and lime flavours; beautifully balanced with grapefruit and nectarine flavours. (90)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Steel Post Vineyard Riesling 2016 ($29.95): pale straw colour; minerally, grapefruit, orange nose with a light floral note; light to medium-bodied, lovely mouth-feel with great tension between honeyed sweetness and grapefruit-lime acidity. (92)
  •  Thirty Bench Small Lot Wood Post Vineyard Riesling 2016 ($29.95): pale straw colour; minerally, honeyed grapefruit nose with a light floral note on the nose; light to medium-bodied, honeyed grapefruit and nectarine flavour with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (90)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Wild Cask Riesling 2016 ($29.95): pale straw colour; minerally, pink grapefruit with a floral note on the nose; light to medium-bodied, off-dry, grapefruit and green peach with a resiny finish. (88)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Gewürztraminer 2016 ($29.95): bright straw colour; lychee, musky rose bouquet; medium-bodied, lychee and rose water flavours, good length. (89.5)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Chardonnay 2015 ($34.95): bright, medium straw colour, toasty, spicy, apple with well-integrated oak; medium-bodied, apple and lemony flavours, beautifully balanced, great mouth feel, long lingering finish. (92)
  • Thirty Bench Rosé 2017 ($29.95 – 50% Cabernet Franc, 32% Pinot Meunier, 9% Pinot Noir, 9% Merlot): salmon pink in colour; medium-bodied, dry, watermelon, raspberry and orange flavours; well-balanced with a long, clean finish. (90)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Pinot Noir 2016 ($36.95): medium ruby colour; violets, cherry bouquet with a note of oak spice and a note of rust; medium-bodied, dry, raspberry and red plum flavours with evident tannins giving a bitter finish. (88)
  • Thirty Bench Winemaker’s Blend Red 2015 ($24.95, 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot); deep ruby colour; vanilla oak, plum with an earthy note; medium-bodied, blackcurrant and plum flavours; well-balanced with firm but ripe tannins. (89)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Merlot 2015 ($48.95): deep ruby in colour; warm blueberry pie nose; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured, juicy blueberry and plum flavours with a light jacket of tannins. (92)
  • Thirty Bench Small Lot Cabernet Franc 2015 ($75): deep ruby colour; cedary, blackcurrant and plum bouquet with spicy oak notes; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured, juicy, black fruit flavours with fresh acidity and ripe, mellow tannins. (93)
  • Thirty Bench Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($48.95): deep ruby-purple in colour; cedary, cigar box nose of plum, blackcurrant and oak spice; medium-bodied, St. Julien style, dry, harmonious and firm with a mocha chocolate note on the finish. Long on the palate (91)

Picked up six bottles of the Thirty Bench Cabernet Franc 2015, which was voted Best Red Wine in show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (our panel gave it a unanimous gold medal when we judged it blind in May).

In the evening, down to Port Dalhousie for the annual Summer White Night celebration in Lakeside Park. Everyone wore white. It looked like a huge wedding.

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