Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pasqua Pinot Grigio 2008

With the first bit of sun in ages (we had this on Wednesday), I wanted a crisp light wine to go with my bbq’d salmon. This fit the bill. It was well made and fresh with a critrusy nose. A little flabby, so we preferred it quite cold - I popped in an ice cube and it was nicely refreshing.

Price: $12.79
Score: 85
Value: 3/5
Region: Italy
Alcohol: 12%
UPC: 8007880542509

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pierre André Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru Aux Clous 2005

Here's one that not-so-much value priced. It's hard to give a value rating to the more expensive wines. I loved the Pierre Sparr Gewurz I had a week ago, but when I think about it, I'm not sure it was really a 4/5 for value. I gave it a 92, but isn't that what you'd want (maybe not what you'd expect) from a $50 wine? And value is relative to the style. If you're someone who likes Aus Shiraz you'll be paying less than someone who likes Burgundy. Speaking of which . . .

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

A good friend brought over this Pinot Noir from the Premier Cru vineyard of Aux Clous in the north of Burgundy where as Robert Parker says, "Savigny's finest, richest, most intense and ageworthy wines are produced". My expertise with Burgundy is scarce, but Premier Cru wines are always welcome especially from a near perfect vintage (WS 95pts for Beaune, 98pts for Nuits).
Nose- White Pepper, Deep + robust strawberry, Resiny wood and a hint of Peaches. Just a bunch of stuff going on.
Taste: Tannic and grippy, crisp apple skin acidity. Stewed Strawberries with rhubarb and a remarkable milk chocolate finish that travelled forever. Very deep and complex taste. Sometimes hollow in the middle of your tongue. Lightly textured- not heavy on the palate.
Overall: Wow- this is really different experience- class + structure+ highly refined. This was young, it hasn't developed the earthy mushroom elements that I had expected- but it will. I am always too nervous to buy Burgs as I don't know enough to make educated purchases and everything seems soo expensive. I will be buying more of this and giving it ten yrs in the cellar. Fantastic- I will remember this for a long time.

Price: $49.99
Score- 95
Value- for Burgs ????- Recession, what recession.
Region: France-Burgundy
Alcohol: 13%
UPC: 3193411640037

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Undurraga Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Welcome back Chris! We haven't had a review from you in a while. This wine sounds like a perfect inexpensive summer patio wine - if the sun ever comes out again, I'll try a bottle.

--- CMacdonald's Review ---

Light straw in color. Mild to moderate pleasant aromas of lemon and lime. Nice mild taste that gets better with every sip. The wine is dry with just enough acidity to make your mouth water.

I want to try this wine again with some goat cheese.

Price: $11.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 87
Alcohol: 13%
Region: Chile, D.O Central Valley
Tasted: June 2009
UPC: 7804315010012

Monday, June 22, 2009

Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino 2007

This review takes us back to the value priced summer wines.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Gord Stemmell recommended this from his column with the Toronto Star: http://www.thestar.com/comment/columnists/article/648102
Nose: Very fragrant- Hay+ Melon+ Kiwi. Nice nose.
Palate: Tropical fruits and wet stone. Great taste. Feels somewhat Fizzy on the palate. Has more acidity that expected.
Overall: Fun wine for summer. Good with food. One of the better examples of this grape I have had. I really liked it. I like the frizzy acidity also.

Price: $13.79
Score: 89+
Value: 4/5
Region: Italy
Alcohol: 12.5%
UPC: 8004305000088

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Osborne Solaz Shiraz Tempranillo 2005

Summer is white wine weather, but with this rainy weather it seems like fall, so a red wine review seems appropriate.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Smell: Dried Raisins, Cloves, Dried Flowers and warm oak- Great Spanish Nose - wood and dried fruit- exactly what I look for in Spanish wine.
Taste: More Dried Fruit- Prunes and raisins. Good Structure- tannins in the palate. Loads of toasty Wood. Some cherry extract, but not too sweet. There is something to this wine that makes it very enjoyable to drink.
Overall: Nice wine, especially with food that needs structure- Beef on the BBQ, but not Ribeye class- maybe Striploin Ribeye would demand at least a Montecillo. Has the elements that I seek in a wine, Dried Fruit, good wood and a little something extra. Decanted+ good cork.

Price: $13.79
Score: 88
Value: 4/5
Region: Spain
Alcohol 13.5%
UPC #022851804019

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Marrenon Rosé de Syrah 2007

I was asking for more on rosé, and Michelle has obliged.

--- Michelle's Review --

Summer lovin' it happened so fast. Summer lovin', I was having a glass..or two. Oh the joys of finding a nice summer sipper. I find that this time of year, my usual hardy reads are shelved until the chill of late summer or even early fall set in. For me its beer or crisp white wine season OR what has trilled me with this review, rose season!

I have to say that I have steered clear, for many years, of the rosé's. It could not be helped. Every time I looked at a bottle of rose, chilling in the cooler, I was immediately reminded of the teenage years. You know, getting the cheapest stuff we could find to take to the high school dances, then plugging our noses as we drank the concoction that was labeled "wine". Oh you all did it, you know you did.

But I digress. Now in my mature adult years, I am more flexible and open to trying wines outside my comfort zone. For crying out loud, I tried a Viognier a couple weeks ago, taste untried!

This particular time I was actually looking for something refreshing. A summer sipper if you will. I scanned the whites and nothing appealed to me. I then spotted the rosé's and with great trepidation I picked up this one. Bang for the buck! $12.49 and a decent drink. It was excellent. Not overly fruity, clean and crisp. I shall be picking up another bottle very soon.

Price: $12.49
Value: 4/5
UPC: 3256811113713

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Casa de Campo Reserve Shiraz 2006

I'm not drinking much red wine these days - I fact, I'm not drinking that much wine at all, and when I do it's usually white. So good thing Iron Chef is still at it.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Smelled like a Syrah- Cola scented and some wild meat favours. Green Peppers and Toasty Oak.
Palate: Herbal notes, some gamey elements. Well rounded toasted oak. Some sweet candied favours.
Overall: a normal new world wine except for the roasted wood favours that I liked. Worth a try. Not decanted.

Price: $14.29
Score 86
Value 3/5
Region: Argentina, Mendoza
Alcohol 14%
UPC #7790762050186

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pierre Sparr Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives 2002

I had dinner alone tonight (Kelly is out of town) so thank God this bottle is only 500ml. It’s so delicious I counld’t possibly have stopped before it was gone. WS talks about “litchi, rose, spice and grapefruit,” and also says it has “bright structure.” I only partially agree - maybe its because they tasted it almost four years ago. Maybe there is some lychee left - I think I would have guessed it as Gewurtz if I were tasting blind - but the lychee doesn’t jump out the way it often does in a younger Gewutz. But what does jump out is the structure. I wouldn’t call it bright - unctuous is better. Almost fatty - decadent even, but perfectly balanced. I agree with the rose and the finish of grapefruit. I suspect the differences between WS and what I taste arise because because they tasted it almost four years ago. Time has toned down the lychee and softened the brightness, but given it a mature body that is immensely appealing. WS gave it a score of 92, and I’ll agree with that. I’m tempted to go higher, but I was hungry when I opened the bottle and I know that always inflates the score. (Now I just have to hope that Kelly doesn’t check the blog when she gets home, or she’ll kill me for not having saved her some.)

Price: Approx $34 (500ml)
Score: 92
Value: 4/5
Region: Alsace, France
UPC: No longer available

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Brancott Reserve Pinot Noir 2005

We had this wine with friends about a month ago, and this review has been floating around on a scrap of paper since then. It’s a characteristic Pinot in an earthy and floral Oregon style rather than a strawberry New Zealand style. But New Zealand it is, nonetheless. Peppery on the palate, well balanced and clean on the palate with excellent structure. I was a big fan of the nose and the style, thought a touch more complexity would have bumped up the score. Kelly gave it a 90, but since I’m writing the note, I’ll go with my score which was 89. But I have to add that our friends gave it more like an 88. Very satisfying, and a couple of $ less would have made it a 4/5 for value.

Price: $25.79
Score: 89
Value: 3/5
Region: New Zealand
UPC: 852832104704

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2006 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot

I suppose it is true that we rarely review Merlot - clicking on "Merlot" under "Reds by Grape" only brings up one varietal Merlot. I think the varietal craze is overdone - some wines are best as varietals, but others are usually better in a blend; Merlot is great blended with Cab, but I have to admit that I haven't found too many varietal Merlots that I've enjoyed. In any event, here is a review of an (almost) varietal Merlot from Vasco da Gama. I'll certainly be giving this one a try.

--- Vasco's Review ---

Here is what is apparently a rare Merlot review for this Blog; the 2006 Marques de Casa Concha Merlot. I bought a couple of bottles of this wine in Halifax this past winter, and this is one of them. (These have since shown up on the shelves of NBLC).

"I looked upon the cherry tree and there did I see,
A plum growing on a cherry branch, but how could that be?
The scent of plum and cherry, and a bit of anise too.
It lured me into it's embrace, as I smelled, swished, and chewed".

This wine is another great Chilean value at $23.99...so much character, it inspires me to write. This needs a few minutes to open up, but not that long really. My first smell had a typical Chilean layer of soil and very obvious plum. As the wine aerated a bit the cherry came through and a bit of anise, but the tannins seemed to takeover the show a little too quickly. As the glass disappeared, so did the overt tannins, being replace by more licorice and dark chocolate with smoother tannins. A nice finish and a warm feeling makes me wonder why I haven't been drinking more Merlot.

This is a wine that could probably cellar for a while and get even better, but it is also fine just the way it is.

Marques de Casa Concha Syrah, CabSauv, and Merlot have all been winners. Hard to go wrong with these wines.

Price: $23.99
Value: 4/5
Rating: 90
Grape: Merlot (with a touch of Carmenere)
UPC: 7804320253480

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Cote d'Or Sauvion & Fils Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie

Melon de Bourgogne, also known as Muscadet, is a new grape for this blog. Too bad this wasn't a better wine - I always like trying something new.

--- Peanutman's Review ---

I remembered that last year Robert Noel had recommended this wine in his weekly column. Why, I have no clue. It has a nice little nose, nothing aggressive, but nothing to say wow. It is dry, light and fresh and seems to have a little bit of a lemon lime taste. Nothing to offend you, but also nothing to make you want to buy another bottle. We had it with salmon, not a good idea. The salmon overpowered this wine and made it taste as bland as water. On its own, it is ok, but for the price, I wasn't impressed. If anyone knows if the other wines from Sevre et Maine at NBLC have a little more pizzazz, please let me know as I think it could be good.

Price: $16.99
Score: 80
Value: 2 / 5
Region: France, Loire
Grape: Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet)
UPC: 3279870608532

Friday, June 5, 2009

Incognito Viognier 2004

This blog focusses on wines from ANBL, but wines purchased anywhere in the Atlantic provinces are fair game. Here’s a review from Michelle of a wine bought in Halifax, which is a nice change. The bad news is that Michelle is there because her partner Don is in the Halifax Infirmary after a nasty crash in the Halifax criterium. Looks like there will be no permanent damage (fingers crossed) but this was definitely the worst bike racing crash I’ve heard of in the 15 years that I’ve been here. Best wishes to Don and hope for a speedy recovery!

Now on to the wine...

— Michelle’s Review —

So its chilled and damn I wish I had a regular PC for this. Sorry for any strange typos..I am doing this from my blackberry. Giving u guys the low down on a 2004 Incognito Viognier (US - Lodi, CA). Bought in Halifax at Premiere Wines on Dresden.

Yes I am a V-virgin! Never tried one soley. Always blended with something.

So petrol on the nose. I admit I don't even know any typical descrips of what a V should be. Calling is V because my thumbs will be fatigued and I won't spell I right after the third time anyway.

So petrol, minerals on the nose. Yes I got gas and rocks. Sorry but my nose could be affected by "hospital" smells. So...taste..should I have had the sip before the BBQ chicken pizza? Perhaps...anyway. For some reason I get a light almost gooseberry taste with maybe a hint of...wow I am really stumped. This wine is really interesting. Although my experience in whites have only been SB's, Chard's and the occassional Pinot Grigio. This one is far different. I am really enjoying it. Not a lot of tannins..which I do not favor. Easy drinking.

I rate this, now keep in mind I have never had one before, an 88. The price was 15. Value..YES! I mean...4/5 :)
Finishing the pizza and not the bottle now. But maybe juuust one more glass.

Price: $15
Score: 88
Value: 4/5
Region: USA, California
Grape: Viognier

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Laroche L'Avenir Chenin Blanc

We're on a roll with Chenin Blanc - the Fuzion, the KWV, and now this review from Iron Chef:

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

After my first South African Chenin, I had to try another.
Nose: Pear, Kiwi, and Pineapple. Some Creamy notes with vanilla accents. Smells great.
Taste: Very smooth- Again Pear and Kiwi favours. Wet stone and nice vanilla. Somewhat Flabby- lower acidity levels. Very Textured and Creamy mouth-feel.
Overall reminded me of the Pineapple Turnover Cake my Grandmother made. This would be a fun pairing with Curry or Thai food. I like the wine- thought it had lots of character and complex tastes. I was struck with the notion that this would be fun with bubbles- a Sparkling Chenin. A tad expensive.
I think I like Chenins.

Price: $17.79
Score: 88
Value: 2/5
Region: Stellenbosch, South Africa
Alcohol: 12.5%
UPC: 6008922000645

Monday, June 1, 2009

Write a Review!

This is a reminder that NB Wines is not an exclusive club. If you've had a wine from ANBL -- good or bad -- think about writing a review to tell others what you think, whether it's "run out and get some," or "run away" or just "ok for the money."

You can e-mail your review to me at nbwines /at/ gmail /dot/ com, or if you want to remain anonymous you can post your review in the Make a Suggestion thread and I will cut and paste it into its own post. The focus of this blog is on wines purchased from ANBL, but anything purchased in NS/PEI/Nfld is fair game as well.