Archive for the Alan Kerr Category
2009, another vintage of the century in Bordeaux, is the October 27th’s feature release. For the most part, what I tasted I liked and I believe the hype is justified. Please read on.
966473 CHÂTEAU DE CRUZEAU 2009 Pessac-Léognan $27.95
Very tight wine, only showing teasing whiffs of dried fruit, plum and balsa. A smoky and spicy palate shows good concentration of fruit, massive tannins and vibrant acidity. Great length, red currant and black fruit on the finish, but do keep in mind the tannins suggest time. Find this wine
303859 CHÂTEAU LALANDE MAUSSE 2009 Fronsac $16.95
Aromas of slate, wet earth and dried leaves with dark fruit, blackcurrant and shitake mushr9om. Light on the palate, but it delivers plum and currant flavours, some tannins, good acidity and certainly well worth the seventeen dollar asking price. Find this wine
303875 CHÂTEAU CHEVAL BRUN 2009 St-Émilion Grand Cru $24.95
Brimming with aromas of blackcurrant, dark fruit, black licorice, sea air/iodine and earthy mineral. Very good concentration, pumping with flavours of black raspberry and blackcurrant on the palate, a creamy texture, fine tannins and has the potential to be nice and stinky in its older years. Find this wine
196469 CHÂTEAU DE FONBEL 2009 St-Émilion Grand Cru $37.85
Floral aromas combine with lavender, Bassets licorice all sorts, charcoal and dried blueberry. Palate is tight, but the layers of dark fruit do their best to show, quite spicy and decent length. Find this wine
It has been a while since I was able to shoot back to London and scribe a few thoughts on Vintages next release, but I did it. A few nice wines out there and I hope you find the notes to be useful. Wines of Australia are the feature of the Oct 13th release.
149914 PAXTON JONES BLOCK SHIRAZ 2009 Single Vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia $32.95
The wine spent twenty months in an equal mix of French and American oak with half of that being new. It is big and fleshy, showing notes of cake spice, lavender and floral aromas. A spicy and sweet texture on the palate exhibiting lots of pure sweet dark fruit, low level of acidity, some chocolate tannins and a cloying finish. Find this wine
284141 SPINIFEX BÊTE NOIR SHIRAZ 2010 Barossa, South Australia $49.95
Dark and alluring, very concentrated, brimming with aromas of mocha, lavender, Moroccan spice, plum and blackberry. It is a mouthful, laden with fruit and mineral, a peppery note and perfect balance. The finish is long, dry and bloody tasty. Find this wine
285205 SPINIFEX PAPILLON GRENACHE/CINSAULT/ CARIGNAN/SHIRAZ 2010 Barossa Valley, South Australia $29.95
Lovely aromas of red licorice, black toffee, tar and freshly baked strawberry muffins. There is plenty of fruit on the palate, the right amount of acidity, a chalky texture and good length. Find this wine
283077 FRASER GALLOP CABERNET/MERLOT 2010 Margaret River, Western Australia $29.95
An Ozzie Meritage mix of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The plum and currant aromas are supported by layers of leather, wet animal fur, mocha, lead pencil and a spoonful of medicinal notes. It has a focused palate, great structure, along with plenty of tight tannins that suggest, given time, this will reward those with the patience to let it slumber. Find this wine
Just a few notes this week on the release for April 14th as the board was a bit stingy with the wines shipped to taste. One or two do stand out as being stellar and are priced under twenty bucks. Please read on.
149302 FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY 2010 Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $21.95
Plenty of sweet spice, a touch of butterscotch, apple, pear and mineral aromas on the nose, the palate shows excellent balance with a nice sweet toasty note on the finish. Find this wine
235051 CAVE SPRING MERLOT 2008 Niagara Escarpment $17.95
An interesting blend of fennel seed, dill, red fruit, plum, tobacco and mocha stays true on the palate that has great texture, enough fruit and decent length. Find this wine
660704 STRATUS WHITE 2008 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario $44.20
J.L Groux’s mystical blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Gewürztraminer and Viognier, is simply stunning. It is abound with aromas of peach, nectarine, linalool, pear and mandarin. It has an amazing texture, a pleasing streak of acidity and lots of plump tree fruit flavours. Tasty now, but it will only get better. Find this wine
It has been a while since I was able to venture to London to sample some of the liquid goods soon to arrive at your local vintages store, but the wine gods were with me and I was able, and willing to sip a few of the wines slotted for release on the 31st of the month. Here is my take on a few of them.
302059 CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2010 Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Cave Spring Vineyard $17.95
Great typicity, exuding pleasing whiffs of almond cookie, lychee, a soothing layer of honey and some floral aromas. It carries the perfect amount of sweetness, gentle acidity and shows good length on the finish. Find this wine
256834 CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES PINOT NOIR 2007 Niagara-on-the-Lake
This Pinot has some nice plumy and red fruit notes, a touch of mineral and dried herb, but the tannins are so overpowering, the fruit struggles to surface on the palate. Find this wine
250209 VINTAGE INK MARK OF PASSION MERLOT/CABERNET 2009 Niagara Peninsula $17.95
A blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon showing good ripeness, nice brambly currant, cedar and wet soil aromas with a nice balance of sweetness and acidity on the palate. There are hints of chocolate and mocha on the finish. Find this wine
273482 CEDARCREEK PINOT NOIR 2008 Okanagan Valley $31.95
A perfumed, complex and enticing nose, showing cigar leaf, chocolate, pure dark fruit and layers of plum, black cherry and sweet spice. The texture is silky, it has a little bite, but the balance is spot on. Find this wine
272641 SODARO FELICITY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 Napa Valley $43.95
Rich and viscous, with notes of blood, blackcurrant, mocha, mineral and iron that lead to a palate of dark fruit, spice and a chewy texture. Find this wine
My good friend Marty Freitas has long carried a love of Bordeaux’s magic nectar, and on a blustery weekend in February, there really is no better time to crack a bottle or two, pop some lamb in the oven and enjoy the pleasures the two together can deliver.
Marty had stood bottles of Cos d’Estournel from the vintages of 86, 88, 89 and 93. I had a couple of fresh Ontario lamb racks to complete the mix. Click images to enlarge.
Pascal Marchand, a Canadian from Montreal, has been making wine in Burgundy since the mid 1980’s, learning his art at such highly esteemed properties as Domaines Bruno Clair, Comte Armand and Domaine de la Vougeraie.
Marchand’s has also consulted with producers in Australia, Argentina, Greece, the United States and Ontario. His tenure here in Niagara has been spent working with mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while consulting with Tawse Winery.
He is presently the winemaker for Domaine Jean Féry in Burgundy while his own portfolio of Burgundies, under Pascal Marchand label, debuted in 2006. These wines are soon to be available, thanks to a project with winery owner and life long friend Maury Tawse.
Marchand’s wines in 2006 were from seven different appellations in the Cote de Nuit and totaled a mere 1000 cases. Currently, production is up to 6000 cases from thirty six sites including some whites from the Cote de Beaune. All Marchand’s wines are produced from vineyards with a minimum of 35 years of age, most of which are certified organic.
Toronto’s Le Select Bistro recently played host to a tasting of several of Marchand’s 2009 Burgundies. The vintage, once again, is being touted as one of the best in recent memory. I tried and tasted and I was impressed, the only downside being the prices are high and the wines are only available in six packs. On the upside, these are bloody tasty wines with impeccable balance, and although enjoyable now, they are built to last.
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The wines of Sonoma take centre stage in the release slotted for Saturday October 29th. I don’t have a lot of notes as so few wines were shipped, but those I tasted were, for the most part very good.
Once again congratulations are in order for the team at Tawse winery, which has, for the second year in a row, been bestowed as the Canadian winery of the year. This is a combination of an owner who strives for the best, a deftly skilled winemaker and a team that truly believes they have a wining formula. Well done.
Wines of Sonoma.
944843 KENWOOD JACK LONDON VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007
Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma Valley, California $34.95
Rich and chewy, lots of sweet, but balanced dark fruit, black licorice, dried herbs and plenty of spice. It rolls over the palate boasting a core of blackcurrant, anise and despite the hefty tannins, it is one big juicy and enjoyable wine. Find this wine
Thanks to one of my colleagues switching classes with me, I was able to get to London and taste a little of what we, the wine loving public, can expect to find on the shelves this Saturday and two weeks down the road. Although the focus this release is on some very good wines from Tuscany and Piedmont, I surprised myself as I was more impressed with the wines from Argentina, that although not cheap, were in fact exceedingly tasty.
Wines of Piedmont.
225227 LA QUERCIOLA CHICCHIVELLO LANGHE ROSSO 2008 $13.95
Lots of tar, spice, clove, black ground pepper and black fruit that runs across the palate with the right amount of acidity and oomph. Its finish displays the black fruit and adds a note of sweet red berry and dusty tannin. Nice wine, well priced and very quaffable. Find this wine
232454 PODERI DI LUIGI EINAUDI DOLCETTO DI DOGLIANI 2009 $18.95
This wine has layers of fresh berry coulis, cherry and black raspberry with floral notes, dried herb and mineral. It is fleshy on the palate, blueberry joins the fruit mix, it carries some weight, but at this point in its evolution it is a little chunky. Find this wine
233890 GUASTI CLEMENTE & FIGLI FONDA S. NICOLAO BARBERA D’ASTI SUPERIORE 2005 $21.95
A pretty wine, showing fresh cut flowers, damson cherry cola, mocha and maturing fruit, excellent balance, nice texture, gentle tannins and a touch of mineral on the finish. Find this wine
233908 GUASTI CLEMENTE & FIGLI RISERVA BARBARESCO 2005 $35.95 DOCG
As with the Barbera, this wine carries the maturing fruit and mocha notes plus a whiff or two of dried herb, game and meat. However, the palate is dry, has excessive tannins and a note of heat. Find this wine
Unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, getting to the next several Vintages tastings will be problematic for me. Therefore in the interim period, I intend to scribe about some of the foods I like to play around with and talk about how some of the wines I’ve had worked particularly well with the finished dish. CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
I change my approach to cooking often. I read a book that allures me and I am off to wherever to procure the ingredients required. Which I might add is part of the fun! Right now, Korean food rocks my world, or at least it impacts a lot of what I do in my kitchen. Reading David Chang’s insightful cookbook Momofuku has clearly had an impact on me. I love flavour balance, and Chang has a masterful ability to blend flavours with the precision of an alchemist.
A few weeks ago on now quite frequent trips to a certain New York State supermarket I came across a well aged prime grade hanger steak. Ask for this cut in a Canadian store and one mostly gets a look of complete non comprehension.
The usual treatment of such a prized protein is to pop it in a marinade, sear it on the grill and slice it rare. Nothing wrong sticking to the tried and true, but I wanted to play around and do something different. Having used a heat circulator at school, I decided to construct one at home, saving the thousand dollars plus price tag on the real McCoy. My ghetto sous vide machine was composed of a large pot of water, an extremely low setting on my stove, Styrofoam and a digital thermometer. With a quick stir now and then, the water temperature remained constant within two degrees for the forty five minute cooking time. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s that time of the year again when the LCBO boffins come out full tilt with the critically acclaimed big boys, otherwise known as the “Top Marks 90+ Wines”. Vintages has assembled a few liquid treats from around the wine world that have been blessed and highly touted by some of the most influential wine gurus, applying a score of 90 points or more. Some are worth their high degree of hype and some are clearly not!
Do you like Sauvignon Blanc? Good, I do too and there are a couple I particularly enjoyed, so best read on.
TOP MARKS 90+ WINES
927582 KILIKANOON PRODIGAL GRENACHE 2007 Clare Valley, South Australia $29.95
One of two excellent Grenache wines from down under, this one spending time in both French and American oak, flaunting aromas of chocolate, black fruit, mineral, slate and lavender. Its palate is ripe, but balanced, showing layers of blackberry and currant, some Asian spice flavours and perfect acidity to complement the fruit. Find this wine
Jay Miller, erobertparker.com, 90 points
Yours truly, Gangofpour.com 91 points
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