Archive for October, 2013

Whole Cluster Goodness From Old Mission Peninsula

Our good friend and colleague, Alan Kerr aka Canadian Zinfan, contacted me recently and asked if I would procure a bottle of the 2012 Chateau Grand Traverse Old Mission Peninsula Whole Cluster Riesling for him. It seems that he had tried one a few nights prior and was quite impressed with this fine representative of Michigan Riesling, especially at the Costco price of $10.99. I was pleased that Chef Kerr so enjoyed this little gem, as he has no shortage of fine Riesling available to him right in his proverbial back yard on the Niagara Peninsula, and, of course, we’ve been fans of all of Sean O’Keefe’s specialty projects for some years now.

I was happy to honor Alan’s request, and was reminded that we’ve had both the 2012 Whole Cluster and its predecessor in the last few months, and I needed to transcribe my notes and put them online. Both are listed as “medium dry” on the dry-to-sweet scale on the back label. Here are my impressions of each.
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Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s October 26th Release – Tasting Notes

October 26th sees the first of the 2010 Bordeaux wines to come through Vintages. Naturally once again, 2010 is being heralded as one of the greatest vintages from Bordeaux in living memory. Gee, when have I heard that statement before? Given what I was able to taste, there was little that really impressed me. However, those people that read through my notes, hello mum, know there is always one or two wines on the release that warrant the trip to the LCBO on Saturday worthwhile. (click images to enlarge)

641555 CHÂTEAU LAMOTHE DE HAUX 2010 Côtes de Bordeaux $16.95
A bright wine full of blackcurrant, Ribena, Cassis, cherry and cedar with decent structure on the ripe and chewy palate, very new world styled wine, tannins are discernible, but non offensive. Find this wine

206631 CHÂTEAU CASTAING 2010 Côtes de Bourg $17.95
Dusty, with aromas of dried mushroom, cedar, plum and dried thyme. There is a good core of red and black fruit on the palate, acidity seems low, and some iron and mineral flavours surface on the finish. Find this wine

297945 CHÂTEAU LAROSE TRINTAUDON 2010 Haut-Médoc $26.95
Blending 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot has created a tasty wine that boasts aromas of hay, dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, blackberry, currant and dried Chinese mushroom. The rich and chewy fruit driven palate is ripe and tasty, a little low in acidity, but nonetheless it finishes long and the tannins are gentle. Find this wine

355891 CHÂTEAU LES TOURS DE PEYRAT VIEILLES VIGNES 2010 Côtes de Bordeaux – Blaye $18.95
Mix of blackcurrant, raspberry, mineral and lead pencil lead to a gutsy palate of red berries, big tannins and good acidity. Tasty, albeit tannic, but should only get better with time. Find this wine

199091 CHÂTEAU LACOMBE NOAILLAC 2010 Médoc $18.95
A meaty smoky almost bacon like note gives way to layers of dark fruit, cedar and a whack of oak. Its palate is creamy, showing some nice dark fruit, some sweetness and dusty tannin. Find this wine

171249 CHÂTEAU ROBIN 2010 Lussac-Saint-Émilion $17.95
Closed nose, struggles to show fruit, some earthy aromas come through, palate is thin, finish is lame and overall not a wine worth holding. Find this wine

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George’s Interview on WNMC in Traverse City

Today I’m in Traverse City, and I’m really excited to be performing at Left Foot Charley Winery again, from 6-8:30 PM. I’ve been a big fan of LFC since before the doors of the winery/tasting room were even opened, and I had a great time playing there in June, so I’m really looking forward to doing this again! Fabulous Michigan wine and cider and homegrown Michigan music make a great pairing, so come on out and invite your friends!  I completed a fun interview on WNMC, 90.7 FM. Here’s a stream of the interview on WNMC. Kim clipped the very beginning – sorry, and added a second stream of our pledge to the station (it’s pledge drive) at the end.  It’s a fun listen so she added it.  Hope you enjoy it.

Our Kind of Chardonnay From Louis/Dressner

Last week, Kim and I, along with our good friend Ken Hebenstreit, were most pleased to attend a Louis/Dressner tasting at the West Bloomfield Plum Market. We really like what Madeline Triffon MS has done with Plum’s wine program, and we’ve been big fans of the Louis/Dressner for many years. The event also gave us the opportunity to renew acquaintances with LD National Sales Manager Josefa Concannon. I was not really surprised to see that I have at one point or another reviewed every one of the wines being poured. As Josefa remarked, “Yup, these are all our best sellers here in this market.”

Every selection was excellent, but after tasting through them all, there was one that really stood out for us, and it was, perhaps surprisingly, a Chardonnay, different vintages of which I’ve reviewed on at least three previous occasions.
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Recent Red Rhônes for Red Wings and Other Delights

It’s no secret that many of our favorite wines come from France’s Rhône valley; we enjoy them all year round, winter, spring, summer and fall. I’ve been compiling various notes on what we’ve been trying over the past few months in an effort to catch up on my reports, and these six jumped right out at me. They’re all really good; some are more ready to drink than others, and a couple of them really want some time. If you see any of them out there, my recommendation is to buy, buy, buy. ‘Nuff said; read on, McDuff. (Click images to enlarge.)

2010 Font-Sane Ventoux Vieilles Vignes, 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 13.5% alc., $12.99: We’ve enjoyed this fine producer’s Gigondas last June, and also back in 2010, and while this isn’t the first time we’ve had their Ventoux VV, it is the first time I’ve reviewed it. With clean, dark color, it offers up dog fur and earthy, leathery black fruit that sets the tone for the wine’s personality in both flavor and aroma in a way that I find appealing; it also has a slightly sunbaked quality to it that I like. Full bodied and structured for some years in the cellar, this is a solid, more-than-just-serviceable red. Give it some air and it pleases now; give it another three-to-five years in the cellar and it should be even better. Excellent QPR (quality-price-ratio) here. Find this wine

Imported by AHD Vintners, Ltd., Warren, MI
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Revisiting Orion

It had been a few years since we last tried anything from our stash of Sean Thackrey Orion, so I decided it was time again, and found two opportunities to do so recently. It’s hard to find better California reds than Orion, and once in a while, you just have to mine some data points, right? It wasn’t a conscious decision to open the same two we tried that last time and see how they’d progressed; I just wanted to open something good, and these are the ones that jumped out at me down in “the cellar from hell.”

Kim and I decided to open the ’05 one night, just because we could; actually, there may have been a celebration of some kind involved. Whatever the case, it has definitely gone through some changes since 2011. (Click on images to enlarge.)

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Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s October 12th Release – Tasting Notes

Some big guns are taking centre spot on the USA sections of Vintages stores on October 12th. The feature this release has picked several wines from the Napa Valley and the nice folks at the LCBO head office sent pretty well all the reds on the release. Tasting brought back many great memories for me as I still have a passion for these wines, albeit they are mostly out of my price range. If you want to see what is tasty and worth picking up, then you have to read on.


126607 NAPA CELLARS ZINFANDEL 2011 Napa Valley, California $21.95
Lots of dark berry and underbrush aromas, coupled with sweet plum and a touch of cedar. Palate is solid, not overly sweet, has clean acids, a decent finish and is drinking very well right now. Find this wine

344416 CASTELGREVE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2009 Tuscany, Italy $19.95
Layers of dark chocolate and blackcurrant are enhanced by a tease of Turkish Delight candy and a touch of mocha. It carries some pleasing sweet fruit on the palate, a touch of blackberry and raspberry. Not a long finish, but a flavoursome wine. Find this wine


333328 CORISON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 Napa Valley $113.95
A wine that immediately peaks at that “Oh my god” factor from the first swirl of the glass to the finish. Its nose is laden with dried blueberry, cassis, dark chocolate, black raspberry, slate and mineral. It is full bodied, carrying flavours of Asian spice, purest dark fruits and impeccable balance. The degree of oak is perfect, tannins are integrating and the finish is brilliant. Find this wine

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