Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wine Expo Tickets

Michelle has reminded us that tickets for the Wine Expo November 2-7, go on sale Saturday. Apparently tickets are available at, but the event doesn't seem to be listed yet.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Montalto Nero D'Avola/Cabernet Sauvignon 2008

A nice thing about focusing on ANBL wines is that we can revisit the same wines from one year to the next. Michelle much didn’t like the 2004 vintage of this wine, but Peter says the 2008 is a solid pasta wine and good value at the price. Difference of vintage, or just a difference in taste? If you try it, let us know what you think.

— Peter’s Review —

Nose: Rather subtle nose. Offering up just a tease of floral notes and some
indistinct red fruit.

Taste: Very light body, some vibrant red fruit up front. Noteworthy pronounced acidity, that is kept completely in check and balanced. Background tannins that you get with some prolonged swishing on the palate. Not a whole lot of complexity. Disappears quickly. It paired nicely with a traditional meat lasagna and the usual sides (salad and bread). Overall nice flavor. Not a thinking (wo)man's wine, but enjoyable none-the-less. No heat detectable as in other vintages reviewed.

Commentary: There have been reviews of prior vintages of this wine and some interesting discussion in the comments on this site. One person noted that it got 4th place in the 'killer value' section of this years 'Wine Access' awards amongst hundreds of entries. A rather rare find, in that it is a lighter bodied red that doesn't taste watered down or just nasty. And rare in that it is <$15 and still is balanced and food friendly. I'd keep one around for weeknight pasta meals.

Price: $11.79
Rating: 87
Value: 5/5
Region: Sicily
UPC: 8030423000754

Friday, September 18, 2009

Firesteed Pinot Noir 2006

Pinot strikes me as a good shoulder season wine - too bad Tancred says this one is just a little over-priced to be really good value.

--- Tancred's Review---

This is an unmistakable new world pinot noir. Strawberry flavours on the nose and a fruit forward palate that marks this as new world, reminiscent of a cool climate Australian pinot. Quite dry, maybe even a bit tart on the finish. This is not a great wine, not particularly complex, but it is a well-made pinot if you're in the mood for something in this style. At $25 though, not a bargain.

Price: $24.99
Rating: 85
Value: 3/5
Region: Oregon
UPC: 753526100005

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Casillero del Diablo Reserva Privada 2007

It seems to be the shoulder season for me - too cool for white, too warm for red. Soon, Kelly and I will be back to our regular glass of red in the evening. For now, it's good to know someone out there is still drinking wine - who else but Iron Chef?

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I was intrigued to read the label describing a blend of great Chilean vineyards, Pirque for the Cab and Peumo for the Syrah.
Nose- Warm vanilla oak with lots of Mocha and dark chocolate. A really dense nose of extracted cherries and ripe fruit.
Taste- Heavy and strong. High alcohol scented. Rich dark chocolate and Toasty vanilla oak. Highly extracted dark fruit- raisins and prunes. High Octane.
Overall: Some people that we tasted this with did not care for it, "too over the top" was a common statement. But I like it for what it was, a High Octane fruit bomb, and no nuances here.

Price: $20.99
Value: 3/5
Score: 88
Region: Chile, Maipo Valley
Alcohol: 14.5%
Grape: Cabernet & Syrah Blend
UPC: 7804320272252

Monday, September 7, 2009

Henry of Pelham Reserve Riesling 2006

Peter lives on the Island now, but he does get back to ANBL once in a while. And with this great end of summer weather we’re enjoying, a value priced white.

— Peter’s Review —

I have been on a bit of a riesling kick. So, when I saw this one on sale and recalled reading somewhere it was a solid pick. I thought why not? Coincidentally, I got a winecurrent newsletter last week commenting on the '07 version of this wine. They liked it's balance, fruit and acidity. 4/5 stars.

Nose: Green apple, lemon, and a hint of minerality.

Taste: Most notable is the very dry nature of this wine. It is medium bodied with just of hint of heat. There is a bit of tart green apple fruit coming through. I think it would be likable to someone keen on really dry wine. I like a little more fruit in my wine, so it fell a little short of my expectations. It was ok with a variety of cheeses and crackers.

Price: $12.99 (on sale)
Value: 4/5
Score: 85
Region: Ontario, Canada
UPC: 779376202317

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trio Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz Cabernet Franc 2007

Here's a companion to last week's review of the Trio Merlot

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

After the success of the Merlot Trio, I was excited to try this again. Also Norman's blog of astringent Cabs was ringing in my ears.

Nose- Heady with Alcohol. Black currants, Menthol Tobacco. Burnt sugar. Some stemmy aromas.
Taste- Hot and boozy. Bell/Green Peppers, Sun dried tomatoes. Jammy Currants. Sharpe after taste- lots of tannins mixed with resiny oak. Some nice caramel notes.
Decanted for 2 hours.

Overall: I remember a number of years ago doing a Lindeman's Tasting blind- the Merlot, the Cab and even the Pinot Noir were remarkably similar, a certain house style refined the varietals characteristics into one indefinable taste. The Concha Toro wines don't seem to suffer that fate, the Merlot Trio and the Cab Trio are quite different, even though I may like one style much more than the other, I respect their differences.
The astringent qualities of the Cab blend was very evident, the palate was sharp, this was thankfully lessened with food, but present all along. A good example of this maybe Chocolate, it is often assumed that the higher cocoa percentage yields a better chocolate, but I have found that 75% or more cocoa just imparts a bitter flavour. Cabernet, like cocoa, needs other things to tone down the bitter parts, like oak or longer maceration or even Merlot.
I liked this wine, but in comparison to the Merlot Trio, it was lacking.

Retail Price: $15.79
Value: 3.5/5
Score: 86
Region: Chile- Maipo
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 7804320143958