2015 Quails’ Gate Dry Riesling

Quails’ Gate is one of the premier wineries of the Okanagan Valley wine region in British Columbia (Canada) and while I’ve always known Quails’ gate for its Pinot Noir, they also make a variety of other wines including this “Dry” Riesling. I use the word dry in air quotes because the wine is definitely flirting with off-dry. From what I’ve read and tasted about the wine it appears to be showing a little more ripeness of the fruit and a little less acidity likely due to the heat that was seen during the 2015 vintage. Nevertheless, this wine still maintains a certain mouthwatering freshness as the acidity is still elevated.

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The nose is ripe and floral with notes of elderflower, citrus blossom, pear and peach. A wet stone minerality is present and an ever so faint kerosene note is starting to show. Given the acidity and R/S present in the wine I see this character improving over the next 3-5 years. This won’t be a riesling to lay down forever but it should develop positively past the 3-5 year mark. Thought this was quite delicious and fairly priced. Not an amazing value but a tasty wine to be sure. My only problem with the wine is the fact it says dry on the bottle when this is a definite point of contention. This wine would be great with a strawberry spinach salad during the summer months or perhaps lighter pork and chicken dishes.

Have a favourite Canadian wine from the Okanagan? I’d love to hear about it!

Cheers,
Ben

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2016 Pago de Valdoneje Mencia

Bierzo is a tiny region in northern Spain that has started producing some really nice wine over the last twenty years. While it’s small and a massive amount of the stuff hasn’t made it to the global markets it’s definitely up their with Jumilla as the maker of some of my favourite red wines. Wines that are are an incredible value and showcase some of the excellent indigenous Spanish varieties. Mencia is the most popular red grape with roughly 70% of all vineyards planted with the varietal, while Godello is the major white varietal of the region. Garnacha (Grenache) is also popular and further plantings of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and other international varietals are popping up. Many other small plantings of indigenous varieties are planted and added to Mencia wines in small quantities. This is supposed to smooth out the wine and make it more pleasant to drink.

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The regions vineyards are a sight to behold. Picturesque, often on steep slopes. The vines are also quite old and produce small yields of wine with concentrated fruit characteristics. This wine has notes of blackberries, black and red plums, slate, scorched earth, pepper and anise. A pleasant wine with more or less a medium flavour profile across the board. I hesitate to say this is a very good wine because the finish just isn’t coming through that way but it’s damn close and delivers far more than I would expect from a $15 wine (prices in Canadian, cheaper again in most other markets). A definite savoury component on this wine, could see this pairing beautifully with lamb shank or rack of lamb. If you haven’t already, give this delicious grape a try.

This is a great value but if you’re looking for something truly special some of the Descendientes de J. Palacios Mencia wines are phenomenal. This  famed family makes wines all over Spain but Alvaro Palacios has put a particular focus on this region of late and has also been a serious force in reviving the excellent wines of Priorat.

Have a favourite Spanish wine? Would love to hear about it.

Cheers,
Ben

 

 

2014 Villa Ponciago La Reserve Fleurie

This Villa Ponciago from the 2014 vintage is different in many respects that a lot of other Fleurie Beaujolais Cru that I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying. It’s a deeper and richer wine with not only red strawberry and raspberry fruit but also cherry and blueberry notes showing through. A portion of the wine is aged in 20-30% 1-4 year old oak barrels and this seems to help round out this rather concentrated, by Beaujolais standards, red. I was also struck by the wet stone minerality and pronounced violet notes the wine displayed. High acidity, medium tannins, medium-medium + finish and intensity.IMG_1979

Technically speaking I think the acidity may throw this wine a little bit out of balance, it’s quite elevated. As a personal preference I would consider myself an acid head, when it comes to wine of course, and so I don’t mind and even enjoy wines that may be just a little bit overly acidic. For those familiar with Beaujolais this characteristic will likely come as no surprise. Concentration and structure is in line with many other wines from the excellent 2014 vintage, it has been compared to the fantastic 2005 and 2010 vintages. I’d serve this wine for a Christmas turkey dinner or with Cod done on the grill.

Beaujolais can be a pretty divisive but versatile wine. Definitely a style of wine that I’m drawn to. Yes or no to Beaujolais? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Have a great day everyone!

Cheers,
Ben

 

A Quick 2014 Pinot Noir Comparison

I’ve used my Coravin to taste a lot of great wine over the past few months and in that time I’ve accrued quite a large number of perfectly sound bottles of wine that still have at least half a bottle left. So with that in mind I’ve decided that at least once or twice a week I’m going to do some side by side comparisons with some of these wines. The side-by-side I’m doing tonight is of the 2014 Trisaetum Williamette Valley Pinot Noir and the 2014 Bourgogne La Chapelle Notre-Dame. Both are exceptional wines from regions known for amazing Pinot Noir. IMG_1975

From the Trisaetum I’m getting raspberries, cranberries, dark cherries, anise, cool mint 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. The Bourgogne has lightly stewed strawberry, red cherries, raspberry, undergrowth and mushroom character on the nose and palate. The tannins are round and the acidity is moving into Medium + but lacks the acidity displayed by the Trisaetum. The colour on these wines is remarkably similar. Where the wines start to differ is on the softness of the fruit. The Bourgogne has significantly softer fruit and while both are displaying red fruit the Bourgogne has more pronounced earthy characters while the Oregon Pinot has more pronounced cool mint and anise notes.

These wines are of very good quality and I quite enjoyed both. In terms of a favourite I like the Bourgogne for near term drinking over the next 2-3 years but the Trisaetum for long term drinking. As the Trisaetum starts to age its fruit will soften and really start to shine. Their price points reflect this reality with the Bourgogne coming in at $30 and the Trisaetum coming in at $45.

What’s your favourite Pinot under $50? Would love to hear about it!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Cheers,
Ben

2013 Antinori Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano La Braccesca

FullSizeRender (7)Primary flavours of red plum, redcurrants, blackberries, violets, cinnamon and wet stones with light notes of leather and tobacco starting to develop. This wine has medium + acidity with intense yet powdery tannins and a long finish. There’s definitely a ripeness and softness to the fruit here, likely from the 10% Merlot blended with the 90% Sangiovese. I thought this was a solid wine with some nice fruit and lasting power. I definitely like this wine but it’s not my favourite style of Sangiovese. Nevertheless, another winner from Antinori.

2012 Anselmann Kabinett Riesling

My wine Wednesday pick this week is another great value Riesling. I’m not sure of the value in other markets but here it was $13 Canadian. As you may be able to tell by looking at this blog or Instagram I love Riesling. It’s easily one of my favourite grapes. It’s so versatile and can be made to be dry all the way up to incredibly sweet. I have a tendency to drink a lot of cool climate wines, a lot of which are Canadian as I like to support Canadian producers trying to make a name for themselves on the world stage. This is obviously not a Canadian wine or even one that is in a cool climate style, that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious. This Kabinett Riesling is from Pfalz, Germany and is produced in a more lush style. IMG_1929

An off-dry Riesling, gold in colour with lots of fruity and floral character. Mango, pineapple and lychee with lemon peel, elderflower and a wet wool mineral character. The wine displays medium + acidity, medium body, length, alcohol and finish. Definitely a tasty wine, the ripe tropical fruit driven style won’t be for everyone but I can see this being excellent with asian food, semi-sweet desserts or various hard cheeses.

Have a favourite Riesling? I’d love to hear about it.

Happy wine Wednesday everyone!

Cheers,
Ben

2014 Campo Alegre Toro

This wine is absolutely delicious, I wouldn’t keep this one for further aging but it should still hold for at least the next 3 years. It doesn’t have the structure or the backbone of the Campo Eliseo, it lacks the concentration and tannic structure, but it is definitely hedonistic. Francois Lurton is no stranger to winemaking and consulting, with vineyards all over France and Spain and further ventures in Argentina and Chile. The Campo Alegre is a partnership between Francois Lurton and Michel Rolland, another huge name in Bordeaux consulting and winemaking. A dream team so to speak. IMG_1898

This wine is full of ripe red and back fruit, black cherry, blackberry, red plum, vanilla, chocolate, pepper and liquorice. Typical international style Spanish Tempranillo with Medium + characteristics across the board and high alcohol. If you like the Napa Valley or ripe vintages of Bordeaux like ’03 and ’09 then this wine is for you. I definitely enjoyed this wine immensely with its voluptuous and smooth mouthfeel but it’s not my preferred style or grape. This would definitely be perfect with chocolate or even a steak. I enjoyed it with some of my kids Halloween chocolate but I’m definitely thinking about saving some for tomorrow evening to have with a steak.

Like the style, producer, wine or vice versa? Would love to hear about it!

Cheers,
Ben