2002 Babich Irongate Cabernet/Merlot/Franc

When just taking a browse around the liquor store last night I saw this 2002 New Zealand blend sitting all by itself with no others like it around. At around $20 I thought what the hell. Babich, a well-known New Zealand brand makes some great wines but I wasn’t sure how well a 15 year old blend from the warm 2002 vintage would hold up. In many respects this warmth likely helped the wine as the thick-skinned Cabernet needs warmth to ripen. IMG_1878

I’m thinking this wine was definitely a return but I’m wondering why anyone would choose to return it without at least trying it first? If they did I’m sure they would be splendidly surprised at how fresh this wine is. Cassis and blackberry notes for the dark fruit with some red plum showing as well. Cedar, chocolate, tobacco, leather round out the secondary and tertiary notes. Medium + acidity, tannin, body, intensity and finish. Remarkably tasty wine that shows the potential of some of these Cabernet and friends (Merlot, Cab Franc) wines coming out of the new world. Really interesting wine and well worth the price. Sometimes when you take a chance on a wine it pays off!

Now it’s time to go trick-or-treating with the kiddos. Let’s see what wine I can pair with all of their treats. Have a great Halloween everyone!

Cheers,
Ben

 

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2014 Clos Mogador Priorat

Sometimes after a long week you just need to have a big beautiful glass of wine to calm your nerves and show you that there’s still lots of beauty and magic left in this world. With an opening sentence like that it’s not hard to tell that I’ve had and will continue to have a big, what feels like never-ending week. I’m not one to talk in quotes but I find myself thinking about an Edison quote I saw on a quote of the day piece in a local newspaper. That is that the three great essentials to achieve anything worthwhile are, first, hard work; second, stick-to-itiveness; third, common sense. IMG_1862

I often get asked what I love about wine and what makes me say things like having a big glass of wine is akin to there still being lots of beauty and magic in the world. The truth is perhaps a litter harder to explain than wine just being an intoxicating beverage. For me it’s not the complexity of the wines I drink, the history of where they came from and all the blood, sweat and tears endured to make them it’s really all these things and more that keep me coming back. I’m sure every person who has gone down the path of wine expertise has a reason of their own.

This is one of the first Priorat wines I’ve ever had and I have to say that it really is a masterpiece of a wine. The kind of wine that shows you how truly excellent and inspiring a good wine can be. The hard work, stick-to-itiveness and common sense of Rene Barbier are certainly not in question. Producing wines in this region is not easy and with their vine yields being so low it’s no wonder the wines are so expensive, yet still so worth it.

Great notes of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, raspberry, graphite, violets, cedar starting to come in now and a killer minerality through and through. High acidity, beautiful fine-grained tannins and an amazing finish. What a wine!

Love this Priorat! Ever had a wine from this region? What was it and how is it? I’d love to hear about it.

Cheers,
Ben

2009 Martin Tesch Laubenheimer Karthauser Riesling

Just a quick post for this evening as I’m doing some wine study. I happened upon this bottle of Riesling at a wine store I don’t usually frequent and it was the last one on the shelf. It was also at the alarmingly good price of $13, so I had to pick it up. Knowing the producer and having thoroughly enjoyed Tesch’s Deep Blue offering, which is a white wine made from Pinot Noir (red fruit) it was an easy choice. All Tesch’s Rieslings are dry instead of sweet and have been this way for 15 years, his decision to do this in the Nahe at the time was radical. Tesch has seemingly gone against the grain and this has definitely worked for him. These wines are delicious, complex and affordable. The fact this wine is from the 2009 vintage is also something to be excited about as this was anexcellent vintage for Germany and it shows in the wine. IMG_1823

This wine has delicious citrus blossom, lemon and a wet stale minerality. A petrol quality is also starting to show itself but is faint at this time (the wine was fairly chilled and showed itself a bit more once reaching a higher temperature). The lemon and minerality is once again what hits you on the palate but there’s also quince, peach and an effervescent quality that act to make this wine even more refreshing. Medium intensity with pale lemon moving to gold at the edges. This wine is developing but still has life left it is dry, has medium + acidity, medium alcohol, medium body, medium + flavour intensity and a medium to medium + finish. It’s certainly ready to drink now but further aging for a few more years may provide more complexity as the high acidity in this wine, ensures that even at this stage there’s still lots of life left. If you’re a Riesling fan I would definitely encourage you to check out Martin Tesch’s wines. Truly delicious and contemplative.

Enjoyed a good Riesling lately? I’d love to know what Riesling’s you like to drink!

Cheers,
Ben

 

2014 Dubreuil-Fontaine La Chapelle Notre-Dame Bourgogne

For wine lovers like myself there’s no better treat than a nice glass of aged Burgundy from an excellent producer. Unfortunately, the cost of these wines, in most cases, have far surpassed something that’s affordable for the average hardworking individual to drink on a daily or evenly weekly basis. Even for those that want to find an outstanding bottle, particularly one with some age, it’s very hard to do unless you live in a major global hub. Indeed, many of the great bottles are snatched up by Michelin starred restaurants, vastly wealthy collectors, Fortune 500 CEO’s. It’s also not uncommon to have to buy several other lesser quality wines from a producer just to receive that special bottle that you want. All this to say that many of the best wines in the world are highly sought after and not always available in our little slice of land in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. That being said we do have several hard-working and dedicated people who regularly go about navigating the often frustrating federal and provincial legislation surrounding wine and spirits in this country to bring us some very exciting and even sought after wines.

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I’m not going to try and pass this Bourgogne quality wine off as at the same level of some of the top wines of the world/Burgundy but I do think that this is a great value no matter what way you slice it. This wine has a richness to it, the fruit is soft and vibrant but the wine still maintains a strong backbone. Notes of stewed strawberry, red cherries, raspberry are complimented by a pronounced sous-bois (since I’ve been asked this a French term to describe undergrowth, mushroom or forest floor type notes in wine, usually those made in Burgundy) character on the nose and palate. This sous-bois note is something I very much enjoy in the wines of Burgundy and one that I don’t always find when enjoying a Bourgogne wine. For those not familiar with the difference between a Bourgogne wine and other classified wines from the region this diagram may prove helpful.

What are you drinking tonight? Have a favourite Bourgogne wine? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Wine Wednesday!

Cheers,
Ben

2012 Emilio Moro Finca Resalso

This is a readily available and affordable wine from Ribera Del Duero in north central Spain about two hours north of Madrid. Along with Rioja, Priorat and Rías Baixas this region produces some of the best wine in Spain. Ribera Del Duero is the home of Dominio de Pingus and Vega Sicilia two of the most iconic wines the world over. If you haven’t had a wine from here I’d definitely encourage you to check it out. Most of the regions reds, this wine included, are made from the Tempranillo grape. Many are aged in American or occasionally French oak to give the wine some depth and bite. For example, this wine was aged in new French oak for 4 months. This is exactly the kind of wine I’d bring to share with good company at a BBQ or when a nice roast is being prepared. It’s fine right out of the bottle but improves with an hour of decanting. IMG_1785

This wine is garnet moving towards purple at the rim. Blueberry, black cherry and plum are the primary fruit aromas on the nose along with light toast, vanilla and clove. These characteristics follow through on the palate with pronounced notes of creamy dark chocolate and toast. The tannins have rounded and the wine has medium acidity and alcohol. It’s fresh, affordable, good with all kinds of foods and has a creamy chocolate finish that just keeps going. This is just a solid well made wine, the kind that’s ready to drink now. If you can’t find the 2012 vintage the 2011 and 2014 vintages were also good at Emilio Moro, although I’d wait another 1-2 years if possible on the 2014.

Happy Wine Wednesday everyone!

Cheers,
Ben

 

2014 Trisaetum Williamette Valley Pinot Noir

Oregon Pinot Noir has for some years been heralded as the next great frontier for Pinot Noir outside of Burgundy. It has gotten to the point now that many Burgundian winemakers and négociants have started to plant grapes in the region and try their hand at making delicious Pinot Noir in North America. There’s definitely something magical about Oregon and the wines are certainly similar in style to Burgundy but only time will tell if any of them will have the complexity and longevity of there French counterparts. Not to put down Oregon Pinot in any way but I definitely think that Canada has the opportunity to make just as good if not better Pinot than Oregon. The climate, soil and spirit are all there. In the meantime this 2014 Trisaetum Pinot Noir from the Williamette Valley certainly is tasty.  IMG_1775

The wine in the glass is a blend of Pinot Noir from Trisaetum’s three vineyards in the Williamette Valley. I’m getting raspberries, dark cherries, anise and a touch of vanilla on the nose with further notes of light barrel toast and earth on the palate. Ruby colour, elevated acidity and rounding tannins with a medium + finish. This is a nice wine with some interesting character. I foresee a good future for this wine and some nice bottle age for at least the next 10 years, after that only time will tell. I personally have liked a lot of 2011 and 2012 from the region just a little bit better. The growing season in 2014 was quite warm and as such the wines are a little bit bigger than some others I’ve had. As well if I had to try and find a complaint with this wine I probably would have toasted the barrels slightly less. The oak note in this wine is minimal and doesn’t jut out but it’s not typically something I like in a Pinot Noir at any level. Still a great way to finish off the long weekend!

Have a favourite Pinot from Oregon? I would love to hear about it!

Cheers,
Ben

 

 

 

2016 Lightfoot and Wolfville Terroir Series Riesling

Lightfoot & Wolfville Vineyards is a certified organic biodynamic winery in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia. They’re using wild yeast fermentation and are producing some excellent wine. I’ve been following the Nova Scotia wine scene with interest and despite the fact I’m not from Nova Scotia, as a Newfoundlander I can’t help but feel some east coast pride for the quality of wine that’s being made in this cool climate corner of the world. IMG_1772

Lightfoot and Wolfville first planted ten years ago and looks to have taken some inspiration from local winery Benjamin Bridge. At least in as far as their ambition to produce high quality vinus vinifera varieties. Their further commitment to the land and the terroir shows in their non/low interventionist winemaking.

For Thanksgiving (Canadian) this year I decided this would be the perfect wine to serve with our turkey dinner. On opening the wine was to cold and therefore the flavours were muted. After letting the wine sit in the glass for about 30 minutes notes of crisp green apples and apricots are displayed along a light chalky backbone. The full range of citrus fruit and chalk tickle the palate. This wine is light and refreshing and a great accompaniment for food. With a touch of sweetness and some great acidity I think this well go very well with our turkey this evening. According the the winery some  juice was preserved as a sussreserve (meaning the addition of some unfermented grape juice) to be added. This is what gives the wine that touch of sweetness.

Thought this was a pretty tasty and unpretentious wine. Really think it will be a great addition to our meal. Excited to see what the future of Lightfoot and Wolfville brings. A traditional method sparkler perhaps?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Cheers,
Ben