A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 872: My Alsace Week

Monday, February 27th: In December I got to choose seven Alsace wineries whose wines I was interested in tasting. They arrived a week ago in boxes with miniature bottles that contained a 1 oz pour. Before I got to taste them, I registered for a seminar put on by Salon Millésimes Alsace – DigiTasting: a virtual masterclass, titled “So Trendy,” based around four themes: “So Fresh,” “So Terroir,” “So Sweet” and “So Red.”

Wine personnel from 41 countries participated in Alsace’s virtual wine fair, which featured 74 wineries. The Masterclass was led by Thierry Fritsch, the head oenologist and chief wine educator of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins d’Alsace, accompanied by Jenni Wagoner, global head of wine for Zuma restaurants, based in London; Yves Beck, Swiss wine journalist; and Manuel Peyrondet, the Best Sommelier in France (2008).

These are the wines we tasted together: Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 871: Tender Hope Winery

Tender Hope Wines

Deb Murray on her website Year In Wine writes:

It has been a while since I enjoyed a Cabernet Sauvignon as much as I enjoyed the 2018 Phinny Hill Cabernet Sauvignon from Tender Hope Winery. This wine is made in BC but the grapes are from Phinny Hill Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Washington.

Tender Hope Winery is relatively new to the BC wine scene. The wine industry however is not new for owner and winemaker, Ephraim Perel, who has more than twenty-five years experience as grower, cellar hand and winemaker.

Ephraim was born in Israel and he fell in love with wine twenty-seven years ago while he was living in Spain. His passion for wine has taken him around the globe, but now he and his family have settled in the Okanagan Valley. Prior to starting his own winery in 2016, Ephraim worked at Summerhill Pyramid Winery, Nagging Doubt Winery and 1st R.O.W. Estate Winery.

Tender Hope Winery is named after Ephraim’s daughter, Rou Xi, which when translated from Chinese means tender hope. This small winery was born from the desire to create special wines with the hope that people would enjoy them while gathered with friends and family.

With the rising cost of real estate in BC, it is cost prohibitive to own vineyards, especially for young wineries just starting out. So Tender Hope currently works with eight vineyards located in the Okanagan and the Columbia Valley. Ephraim works with growers whom he feels a connection to – those that share the same philosophy for growing as he has.

Ephraim believes that good grapes and special vineyards create the best wines. When making wine, he strives to let the fruit shine, using traditional winemaking methods with minimal intervention. He states, “the way I look at it is that the fruit is the painting and the oak and tannins are the frame holding it up.”

Tender Hope Tender Summer 2021 (Okanagan Valley)
69% Riesling, 27% Chardonnay, 4% Sauvignon Blanc. Bright straw colour; honey, citrus nose of lime and grapefruit with a kiss of oak; medium-bodied, crisply dry, green apple and grapefruit flavours; long in the mouth with a racy citrus finish. (90) Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 870: Kacaba’s New Releases and Leaning Post Wines, Plus the BEST Sauvignon Blanc I’ve Tasted This Year

Kacaba red wines

Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Reserve Cabernet Franc 2020 (Niagara Escarpment, $60.15)
Dense purple-black in colour; cedary, spicy nose of blueberries, blackberries, toast, and white pepper with vanilla oak notes; full-bodied (14.9% alc.); dry, richly extracted black cherry and blueberry flavours with an inflection of dried herbs; beautifully balanced with a caressing mouth-feel. (93)

Kacaba Vineyards & Winery Reserve Meritage 2020 (Niagara Escarpment, $60.15)
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Cabernet Franc, 25% Merlot. Dense purple in colour; cedary, blackcurrant, black plum with oak spice on the nose; full-bodied (14.8% alc.), dry, firmly structured; with well-extracted blackcurrant, blackberry and black plum flavours carried on lively acidity. A beautifully balanced wine. (90) Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 869: Sunshine in Sarasota

Where we stayed in Longboat Key

Saturday, January 28th: Deborah and I left our car in EZ Airport Parking at Pearson to fly to Sarasota. Our friends Arlene and Michael had invited us down to stay for a week with them in their condo in the Longboat Key Club. Michael picked us up at the airport and told us that the previous week the sky had been overcast. We arrived in bright sunshine, which stayed with us virtually for the week. Continue reading

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A Wine Lover’s Diary, part 868: Flat Rock’s Yeast Experiment

Flat Rock experimental Chardonnays

Flat Rock Chardonnay 2021 (Niagara Peninsula, limited time offer $2.00 off, Jan. 29–February 25, $19.95)
Straw colour; lightly toasty, yellow apple bouquet with oak spice and a hint of apple blossom; medium-bodied, dry, crisp, apple flavour with lemony acidity. Mouth-watering acidity. (90)

Flat Rock Cellars “explores the effect of two different yeast strains on a parcel of Chardonnay grapes picked on September 30th from the North Block of the Flat Rock Vineyard. Neutral French of barrels were inoculated with either VL2 or Delta and underwent barrel fermentation… The familiar VL2 yeast strain, isolated in the caves of Burgundy, is a staple in Flat Rock Chardonnays. While the Delta strain is more common in aromatic whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, and is completely new to us.”

Flat Rock Delta Chardonnay 2021 (Twenty Mile Bench, $34.95)
A shade deeper straw colour than the previous Chardonnay; toasty, minerally nose of apple with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, unctuous, orange and peach flavours; well-integrated oak. Lovely mouth-feel. Long lemony finish. (91)

Flat Rock VL2 Chardonnay 2021 (Twenty Mile Bench, $34.95)
Medium straw colour; minerally, apple and hay nose; developing barnyard notes like a fine Burgundy; medium-bodied, dry, beautifully balanced, apple and pear flavours; elegant and refined. (92) Continue reading

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