A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 715: The Foreign Affair


The greeter outside The Foreign Affair

Visited The Foreign Affair winery to taste the portfolio with winemaker Barclay Robinson.

2017 The Foreign Affair Enchanted ($17.95, 69% Sauvignon, 31% Riesling, with ripasso): bright, pale straw; slightly grassy, green plum with a hint of floral notes; medium-bodied, crisply dry, grapefruit and green plum flavours with just an engaging touch of bitterness on the finish. (89)

2017 The Foreign Affair Viognier ($23.95, 86% Viognier, 14% Sauvignon Blanc; Appassimento): bright, pale straw; floral, peachy nose; medium-bodied, dry and crisp, honeyed white peach and lemon flavours; crisp, lovely mouth-feel. (89)

2017 The Foreign Affair Barrel-Fermented Chardonnay ($26.95; 15% Appassimento – 9 months in barrel, 228 L): bright, golden straw; spicy, lightly oaked, apple with toasty notes; medium to full-bodied, richly extracted, pineapple and apple flavours, nicely balanced and firm with well-integrated oak with some bitterness on the finish. (88.5)

2018 The Foreign Affair Amarosé ($18.95, 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay; 5% Appassimento): pale ruby with orange reflections; strawberry-cherry puree nose; medium-bodied, dry, floral, cherry flavour; fine mouth-feel with a light tannic uptick on the finish. Versatile food wine. (90)

2016 The Foreign Affair The Conspiracy ($19.95, 62% Cabernet Franc, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot; ripasso): deep ruby-purple colour; cedary, blackcurrant nose with ok spice; richly extracted, St. Emilion style, firmly structured with expressive sweet currant and plum fruit controlled by tannins. Hold 3–4 years. (89 – 91)

2015 The Foreign Affair Cabernet Sauvignon (18 months French and American oak; 20% Appassimento – $39.95): dense purple colour; cedary, cigar box nose with a floral note, oak spice and black plum; medium-bodied, dry, firmly structured, blackcurrant flavour. Hold two years. (90–92)

2016 The Foreign Affair Dream (45% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc 6% Petit Verdot; 17% Appassimento – $29.95) deep purple-ruby colour; earthy, spicy, plum and currant nose; full-bodied, richly extracted, firmly structured, ripe black cherry, dark chocolate and currant flavours with evident but ripe tannins. Hold 2–3 years. (91–93)

2016 The Foreign Affair Temptress (35% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot; 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Malbec; 25% Appassimento – $44.95): opaque purple-ruby colour; spicy, vanilla oak, floral, pencil lead, cedary, black plum and currant nose; full-bodied, well-balanced, mouth-filling plum and blackcurrant flavours with lively acidity and firm but pliant tannins. (92)

2016 The Foreign Affair Petit Verdot (with 11% Cabernet Franc; 22% Appassimento, 100 days drying – $54.95): opaque purple-ruby colour; cedary, lightly floral, plum with a touch of pepper on the nose; medium-bodied, well-balanced, firmly structured, elegant and juicy, black cherry and plum flavours with a ripe tannic finish. Great mouth-feel. Hold 5 years. (92)

2016 The Foreign Affair Syrah (with 14% Cabernet Sauvignon – $54.95): opaque purple-ruby in colour; cedary, spicy, black fruit bouquet; full-bodied, rich and full on the palate, well-structured, black plum and black cherry, savoury-herbal flavours. (90)

2016 The Foreign Affair Apologetic Red (100% Cabernet Franc; 50% Appassimento, French oak, 18 months in barrel – $69.95): dense purple-ruby; cedary, blackcurrant, tobacco, violets on the nose; full-bodied, richly extracted, firmly structured, broad-shouldered and rich, mouth-filling, black fruit flavours with herbal notes. (92)

2015 The Foreign Affair Marisa (100% Riesling, Appassimento – $60, 375 mL): bright, old gold colour; spicy, honeyed apple with notes of petrol; full-bodied, sweet, honeyed grapefruit and apple flavours; well-balanced, rich and unctuous on the palate. (92)


Winemaker Barclay Robinson

Miscellaneous wines tasted over the past few weeks:

Red Rooster Riesling 2017 (Okanagan Valley): bright, pale straw in colour; a nose of grapefruit and lemon with a hint of petrol; light-bodied, crisply dry, unctuous mouth-feel with flavours of lime and lemon with a suggestion of honey in mid-palate but finishes tartly dry. Very Rheinhessen in style. Drinking well now but will hold for several years. (90)

Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Pinot Gris 2017: pale straw in colour; slightly reductive peach pit and lemon zest bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, peach and pear flavours with fresh citrus acidity; good length on the palate. Drink now. (89)

Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Viognier 2017: bright, pale straw colour; minerally, white peach and lemon zest nose; medium-bodied, dry, round on the palate with peach and lemon flavours augmented by a floral note. Beautifully balanced and lingering. Delicious. Drink now through 2020. (91)

Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Gewürztraminer 2017: very pale straw in colour; lightly minerally, lychee, cardamom nose with touch of ginger; light to medium-bodied, dry, grapefruit, lychee, tangerine and rose water flavours; fine mouth-feel with a long, lingering finish. Drink now.

Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Rosé 2017 (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Gamay Noir, Syrah and four other varieties): pale salmon in colour; lightly minerally nose of wild strawberries and watermelon; medium-bodied, just off-dry with a candied raspberry flavour kept in check by fresh citrus acidity. Drink now. (89)

Red Rooster Cabernet Merlot 2016: deep ruby colour; cedary, cigar-box nose of blackcurrants with a smoky-charred note; medium-bodied, dry, savoury-herbal notes that complement the red and blackcurrant flavours carried on fresh acidity. Ripe, resolved tannins. Quite forward and juicy. Drink now or hold 2–3 years. (90)

Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Pinot Noir 2016: medium ruby colour: lightly cedary, cherry and raspberry bouquet with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, black raspberry flavour; well-balanced and true; nicely structured with a tannic lift on the finish. Very Burgundian in style. Drink now or hold 2–3 years. (92)

Red Rooster Rare Bird Series Syrah 2015: deep ruby in colour; spicy, blackberry nose with notes of cedar and new leather; medium to full-bodied, juicy and fruity with blackberry and black cherry flavours and enough tannin to give a final grip on the palate. Drinking well now but will improve with a couple of years’ cellaring. (89–91)

Buena Vista Winery Chateau Buena Vista Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 (Napa, $59.95 – 28 months in French oak, 35% new): more Bordeaux in style than Napa; deep ruby in colour; cedary, spicy, blackcurrant nose with barnyard notes; full-bodied, dry, fruity, savoury cassis flavour with grainy tannins. (90)

Buena Vista 2016

Southbrook Riesling Heather’s Home Vineyard 2017 (Niagara – $22.95): light straw in colour; minerally, lightly floral, grapefruit nose with a hint of petrol; light-bodied, just off-dry, grapefruit and lime flavours with a touch of honey. Lovely mouth-feel and good length. (90)

Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc 2017 (Napa Valley – $22.95): very pale straw in colour; grassy, grapefruit and lanolin nose with a touch of oak; medium-bodied, dry, crisp, green plum flavour with a vanilla oak note. (90)

Tinhorn Creek Chardonnay 2017 (Okanagan Valley – $20.99): bright straw colour; lightly toasty, apple bouquet with a suggestion of oak; medium to full-bodied, dry, pineapple, pear and orange flavours; beautifully balanced with well-integrated oak and a rich mouth-feel. (91)

Tinhorn Creek Rosé 2017 (Okanagan Valley – $21.99): orange-pink in colour; lightly minerally, wild strawberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, strawberry flavour with lemony acidity and a touch of sweetness on the end taste. (88.5)

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Pinot Noir 2014 (Okanagan Valley – $31.99): ruby colour with a tawny hue; lightly cedary, raspberry nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, savoury, strawberry flavour; well-balanced and firm with a lingering finish and ripe tannins. (89)

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Merlot 2016 (Okanagan Valley – $23.99): deep dark ruby colour; cedary, cigar-box nose of black plum with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, plum and orange peel flavours with fresh acidity and grainy tannins. Firmly structured. More elegant that the 2015. Hold two years for the tannins to resolve. (89–90)

Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Reserve Merlot 2015 (Okanagan Valley – $29.99): dense purple-black in colour; cedary, savoury, black fruits on the nose with oak spice notes; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted, blackberry, blueberry and dark chocolate flavours with dusty tannins on the finish. (89)

Tinhorn Creek The Creek 2015 (Okanagan Valley – 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot): dense purple-ruby in colour; cedary, spicy, black plum nose with evident oak; full-bodied, dry, richly extracted black fruit flavours with blackcurrant predominating and an engaging floral uplift on the end taste. (93)

Tinhorn Creek Innovation Series Whole Cluster Cabernet Franc 2016 (Okanagan Valley, $45): bright ruby in colour; cedary, cherry nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, richly extracted sweet black cherry flavour; velvety and rich on the palate with great mouth-feel; beautifully balanced with ripe, ripe tannins and a warm alcoholic, spicy vanilla oak finish. (92)


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