A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 716: A whole lot of tasting going on


On Tuesday, February 19th, I was awarded the Cambridge Food & Wine Society’s “Man of the Year” medal at a ceremony held at the National Club in Toronto. (Very pleased with the honour.)

Here are some of the wines I’ve tasted recently, beginning with Summerhill Pyramid Winery in the Okanagan.

Summerhill Riesling 2017: Pale straw in colour; lightly spicy and floral grapefruit nose and beginning to develop petrol notes; light to medium-bodied, great tension between Meyer lemon acidity and honeyed grapefruit flavours; beautifully balanced and lingering with an intriguing touch of bitterness on the finish for added interest. (Drink now and for the next five years) (90)

Summerhill Grüner Veltliner 2017: Golden straw colour; green pepper and citrus nose; medium-bodied, nectarine and citrus fruit flavours with white pepper notes and a tannic, bitter almond lift on the finish. A great food wine. (Drink now through 2020) (90)

Summerhill Chardonnay 2016: Bright straw colour; toasty, apple nose with forest floor and oak spice notes; full-bodied, unctuous, round and full on the palate with spicy, green pineapple and peach flavours and balancing acidity. Well-integrated oak. A wine for lobster and butter sauce. (Drink now and through 2020) (89)

Summerhill Chandra Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013: Mature ruby colour; lifted black raspberry nose with well-integrated cedar spice notes from oak-ageing; medium-bodied, dry, raspberry and red plum flavours with fresh acidity. Rich and ripe on the palate with a lovely mouth-feel; carries its 14.7% alcohol well. (Drink now or by 2020) (89)

Summerhill Winemaker’s Series Reserve Barrel Meritage 2013 (71% Cabernet Franc/18% Cabernet Sauvignon/11%Merlot): Mature ruby colour; cedary, dark chocolate, blackcurrant and plum bouquet; medium to full-bodied, dry, mouth-filling currant flavours seasoned with oak. A well-balanced, harmonious wine from a warm vintage. Ripe fruit and ripe tannins. (Drinking well now but will hold for a 3–5 years) (90)

Summerhill Spadefoot Toad Syrah 2013: Deep purple in colour; cedary, blackberry nose with light herbal and white pepper notes; medium to full-bodied, dry and savoury, blackberry flavour carried on lively acidity; broad and muscular on the palate with enough tannin to give grip and structure. Lovely mouth-feel and a warm alcoholic finish. (Drinking well now and through 2021) (91)

Summerhill Reserve Barrel Organic Merlot 2013: Deep, solid ruby colour; cedary, gently spicy, blueberry and black plum bouquet; medium-bodied, richly extracted blue berry flavour with well-integrated oak offering hints of vanilla. Lovely velvety mouth-feel with ripe cocoa-powder tannins. (Hold a year to resolve the tannins and drink through 2024) (91)

Black Hills Estate Winery Chardonnay 2017 (Okanagan, $29.90): Bright, medium straw in colour; a nose of apple and pear lifted with oak spice; medium to full-bodied, dry, pineapple and pear flavour with vanilla oak notes. Beautifully balanced and rich in the mouth (reminiscent of a Pouilly-Fuissé). (91)

Black Hills Estate Winery Pinot Noir 2017 ($39.90): Ruby colour; a bouquet of black raspberries with evident oak; medium-bodied, dry, lean and sinewy, raspberry flavour carried on lively acidity. (89)

Black Hills Estate Winery Addendum 2107 ($49.90 – 80% Merlot/10% Cabernet Franc/10% Cabernet Sauvignon): Opaque purple-black in colour with a cedary, lightly herbal nose of black fruits; full-bodied, rich and intense flavours of black plum, licorice and dark chocolate; fleshy but well-balanced with ripe tannins and a long finish thanks to its fresh acidity. (92)

Flat Rock Chardonnay 2016 (Ontario – $19.95): Bright straw in colour; pineapple, peach and lemon on the nose with well-integrated oak; medium-bodied, dry, spicy, mango and citrus flavours that linger. (90)

Drappier Brut Nature (Zero Dosage) Pinot Noir Champagne ($57.95): Bright straw in colour; bready nose with apple and lemon notes; light to medium-bodied, firmly structured, red apple flavour with lemony acidity. Great length. (93) BB

Lakeview Cellars Viognier 2017 ($18.95): Bright, pale straw in colour; lightly minerally nose of peach; medium-bodied, dry, white peach, honey and citrus flavours, fresh and lively on the palate, well-balanced. (89) BB

Lakeview Cellars Cabernet Franc Icewine 2017 ($29.95, 200 mL): Pale ruby colour; spicy, minerally, strawberry puree bouquet with a honeyed note; medium-bodied, sweet, honeyed strawberry flavour with balancing acidity; not cloying, with a tannic uptick on the finish. (91) BB

Marco Felluga Just Molamatta Friuli Bianco 2017 (Friuli, $21.95) (Pinot Bianco, Tocai Friulano, Ribolla Gailla): Bright, deep straw colour; yellow apple nose with a mineral thread; medium-bodied, stony, apple and lemon flavours with a mineral finish and a touch an almond nut finish. Full in the mouth and well-balanced. (89) B (Vintages #631663)

Redstone Chardonnay 2016 (Niagara, $19.95): Medium straw colour; toasty, spicy, apple and lemon zest bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, green pineapple and apple flavours rounded out with oak and a satisfyingly long citrus acid finish. (88)

Joseph Carr Chardonnay 2016 (Carneros, $29.95): Bright, lemon colour; minerally, toasty, apple with a forest floor note; medium-bodied, honeyed apple with oak spice and lemony acidity, well-balanced and nicely integrated oak, sweet apple finish. (89) T

Château des Charmes Pinot Noir Paul Bosc Vineyard 2016 ($31.75): Medium ruby colour; lifted, cherry, tobacco and light cedar notes on the nose; medium-bodied, richly extracted, earthy, beetroot and plum flavours with grainy tannins. (88.5)

Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir 2017 ($24.95): Solid ruby colour; lightly smoky, toasty, cherry nose; medium-bodied, dry, earthy, cherry flavour with fresh acidity and ripe tannins ending on a note of pencil lead shavings. (89) BB

Alvear Pedro Ximenez de Anada 2015 (Montilla Morilles, $24.95, 375 mL): Deep amber colour; raisiny, tea, honey and dried apricot nose; full-boded, unctuous, very sweet, candied orange marmalade. Well-balanced and great length. (93) T

Ridgepoint Pinot Noir 2012: Intense ruby colour; earthy, spicy, plum with cedary oak notes on the nose; medium to full-bodied, cherry flavour with zesty acidity and evident somewhat green tannins. (88)

Château des Charmes Pinot Noir 2017 ($16.95): Medium ruby colour; earthy, beetroot and cherry pit nose; medium-bodied, sweetish cherry, plum flavour with a somewhat blunt tannic finish. Needs 1–2 years. (87.5)

Château des Charmes Pinot Noir Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard 2016: Medium ruby in colour; high-toned, earthy, raspberry nose with a light note of violets and a suggestion of oak, finishing on her earthy note. (89)

Lakeview Cellars Syrah 2015 ($24.95): Deep purple colour; cedary, white pepper, vanilla oak and blackberry nose; medium to full-bodied, dry, black plum with tobacco notes; firmly structured with earthy tannins. (88.5) T

Coppi Peucetico Primitivo 2013 (Puglia – $14.95): Deep ruby-purple colour; earthy, plum nose with a note of leather; medium to full-bodied, dry, plum and licorice flavours; soft tannins with a lively acidic finish. (88)

Ravine Vineyard Small Batch Riesling 2017 (Niagara): Bright, pale straw in colour; lime and grapefruit nose with a light floral note and a thread of minerality; light-bodied, crisply dry, lime, apple and lemon flavours with just a suggestion of honey and a lingering, mouth-freshening finish. Drink now or will cellar well for several years. (89)

Ravine Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2017: Pale straw colour; spicy, grassy, grapefruit bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, grapefruit, green plum and lanolin flavours with a long lemony finish. Drink now or within 2019. (88.5)

Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2017: Pale golden straw in colour; spicy, peach and apple bouquet with well-integrated oak; medium-bodied, dry, apple and pear flavours lifted with oak spice; rich mouth-feel with a long presence on the palate. Drink now or within three years. (91)

Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2017: Deep ruby colour; cedary, vanilla oak and plum nose with a note of pencil shavings; medium-bodied, dry and savoury, blackberry and blackcurrant flavours. Well-balanced and finishing on perceptible but ripe tannins. Drinking now but can be held 3–4 years. (90)

Ravine Vineyard Merlot 2017: Ruby-purple in colour; spicy, cedary, vanilla oak and blackcurrant bouquet with a coffee bean note; medium-bodied, dry, lifted flavours of red plum and currants with a firm finish and lively acidity. Drink now or within the next two years. (89)

Ravine Vineyard Meritage 2017 ($28 – 32% Merlot, 29% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Petit Verdot): Deep purple-ruby in colour; cedary, vanilla oak and spicy plum on the nose; medium-bodied, dry, savoury-herbal flavours of blackberry and plum; lovely fruit expression carried on lively acidity.  Drinking well now but would reward cellaring for a year or two. (90)

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