Monday, November 30, 2009

Michelino Veglio Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba 2007

It's not so often now that we have a varietal that hasn't yet made an appearance on this blog, but this Dolcetto is one. Dolcetto is the third grape of Piedmont, after Nebbiolo and Barbera. It is meant to make wines for early drinking, soft, with flavours of cherry. Unfortunately this example had a nose of Ozonol (phenol) and a sour finish. I suppose you might imagine the finish was sour cherries, but cherries or not, it wasn’t particularly appealing. An interesting contrast with the Nebbiolo d’Alba from the same producer.

Price: $15.49
Value: 2/5
Score: 83
Region: Italy, Piedmont
Grape: Dolcetto
UPC: 877559000702

Friday, November 27, 2009

Don David Malbec 2007

While the rest of us are finally back to red wine, we haven't forgotten Iron Chef. I've noticed this wine on the shelves, but haven't tried it yet. Iron Chef liked it, but I must say that from the description it doesn't sound like my style.

BTW, anyone try any more of the Wine Expo wines? There are still some around, though they seem to be disappearing fast. Let's hear your views on these wines before they're gone!

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose- Deep aromas of extracted cherries and cassis. The oak smelled wonderful also. Great Opening to this wine.
Taste- Dark fruit, cherries mixed in with a warm wood palate. Reminded me of a good Aussie Shiraz- some Cherry Cola mixed in with a Cherry Blossom chocolate bar. Long rich finish.
Overall- Very thick and complex fruit forward bomb. A bottle from Kelly at the Blue Door.

Price: $16.99
Score: 90
Value: 4.5/5
Region: Argentina, Cafayate Valley
Alcohol: 14%
UPC: 7790189001129

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cantele Alticelli 2008

Oz Clarke calls Fiano an "extremely interesting" southern Italian grape that at its best is weighty and honeyed with flowers and spice. I'm afraid I didn't get much of that. I had this at the same party as the Cister da Ribera, which was a hands down favourite over Alticelli. Again, the notes are sketchy, but this came across as a fairly nondescript white wine with a bit of a sour finish. Drinkable, but not more.

Price: $21.29
Value 2/5
Score: 85
Region: Italy, Salento
Grape: Fiano
UPC: 8009015040508

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Quinta do Ventozelo Cister da Ribeira 2008

Had this wine at a party, so these notes are sketchy, but everyone who tried it agreed that it was a real winner. It was well balanced - good acidity without being sharp or sour - and bursting with a bundle of fruit. You could taste the grapey Muscat, but there was plenty of other stuff going on. A steal at the price. A Wine Expo product and not much left.

Price: $ 13.49
Value 5/5
Score: 89
Region: Portugal, Douro
Grape: 30% Muscat, 20% Viosinho, 20% Arinto, 20% Fernao Pires, 10% Gouveio (Verdelho)
UPC: 5601109213107

Monday, November 23, 2009

Loredona Pinot Grigio 2007

It's not really white wine season any more, but this sounds like a good one. If I can just convince Kelly to make sushi for me this weekend, this sounds like a perfect match.

--- Michelle's Review ---

Loredona Pinot Grigio - Monteray, CA $21.79

I had to review a white. This time of year our thoughts turn to the warm spicy, cockle warming reds. So before we turn ourselves over to the reds, I am going to review my pick for WHITE OF THE YEAR. I do not give accolades that easily. I need to be swayed and wooed. This wine swayed and wooed me to the top of the list. Who would have thought California could produce anything white that wasn't a Chardonnay! Ok maybe I am being to hard on Cali but like most of us, I got tired of that scene long ago. So here it is a Pinot Grigio. I find sometimes a pinot grigio is non descript. Chilled too much and it loses any kind of structure or flavor. Hmm..tastes like water. So this one being premo-chilled had amazing nose and palette. I felt transported to a warm spring night with everything in bloom. Clean and floral. The taste of crisp apples and orange blossoms with a finish of ginger and vanilla. Nothing was overpowering but subtle and clean. What a wonderful Pinot Grigio! This was fantastic. Have this with mussels in a light cream sauce perhaps good sushi or a lobster roll!

Dear Santa: I have been a good girl this year. My only wish is that you help Don build me a wine cellar in the basement or at least a wine fridge. I will take the fridge actually. Preferably with separate climate controlled sections for white and red. Thank you, Santa. I will leave your typical glass of Chianti Classico Reserve and chocolate truffle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mazzei Poggio Alla Badiola 2006

For me, this is another value pick. The nose is full of ripe, dark berries, violets, cloves, juniper, and licorice on. All of that follows on the palate, which is clear and long and characterized by puckering tannins from mid to finish. Its character is distinctly Italian. Even at only 30%, the Merlot really seems to round out the Sanviovese, which I find can be a bit thin and acidic.

Price: $ 19.79
Value 4/5
Score: 90
Region: Italy, Tuscany
Grape: Sangiovese, Merlot
UPC: 8016118241053

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Concha y Toro - Winemakers Lot 148 & Lot 54

A two-for-one review from Michelle.

--- Michelle's Review ---

Concha y Toro - Winemakers Lot 148 Carmenere - Chile $19.79

A two for one review! Since they were both from Concha y Toro, I thought I would do them together. First, the Carmenere. For some reason I get a certain thrill out of a beautiful violet, inky colored wine being poured into my glass. It gives a possible introduction to the nose and the palette will be. This one did not disappoint. My boyfriend, who will tell you right off the bat that he has no palate for this type of thing, said it was a "nice wine". Nice indeed! Beautiful on the nose with violets and chocolate. It had a deep dark fruit, coffee and balanced out with almost a fruit cake finish. Not last year's fruit cake but one that's warm and just out of the oven and topped in a butterscotch sauce. I really enjoyed this one. I am going to Dieppe to get some more before its gone. The price is definitely doesn't justify such a great wine. For $19.79 I suggest you pick up a few more. For dinner, I braised the roast beef in this wine with some chicken stock, garlic, onions and thyme. After the roast was done, I then added some sautéed mushrooms and lots of black pepper to make a reduction. WOW! Maybe it was the beef, maybe it was the wine, but the combination was dead on.

Concha y Toro Winemakers Lot 54 Syrah - Chile $19.79

Now the Syrah. I wouldn't say this was a typical syrah. It seems the Chilean's have a different idea on what that should be. Again, I was impressed. Of course the nose had the pepper and anise of a syrah. But on the palette it has a wonderful structure. Beautifully balanced chocolate, coffee, ending in a strawberry/plum finish. Again, an excellent price for a really great wine. Now to pick up more….

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thirty Bench Red 2007

I grew up in southern Ontario with no idea that there was anything in Beamsville but a few cows. So imagine my surprise to discover that the area can also produce a pretty decent Bordeaux type blend. The nose is mostly blackberries, cedar, and wood smoke. These follow through on the palate, which is full and smooth and finishes with tannins that are firm but not obtrusive. We had it with squash gnocchi with tomato sauce and spicy Mexican beef stew, and it definitely paired much better with the gnocchi. Great value.

Price: $22.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 88
Alcohol: 13.4 %
Region: Canada
Grape: 55% Cabernet Franc; 40% Cabernet Sauvignon; 5% Merlot
UPC: 048162011724

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Michelino Veglio Nebbiolo d‘Alba 2005

The most interesting wines on Iron Chef’s list don’t seem to be available in F’ton, but a selection from the Wine Expo has made its way here. This Nebbiolo d’Alba looked interesting, so I picked it up for a dinner party last night. I can only give general impressions, since I was drinking it at a party, but I was very pleased with what it delivered. The nose was delightful - distinctly floral (it would be traditional to say roses, knowing it is a Nebbiolo, but I will just leave it at ‘floral’) with bright fruit - cherries. Recognizably Nebbiolo. The structure was very clean and drinkable - the tannins were subdued and enough acidity to make it crisp without being too sharp. It didn’t have the leather / tar and richer floral notes that are associated with a good Barolo. Maybe those will come with age - or not. In any event, it’s not a Barolo, and it's not priced like one, so you can’t ask too much. This is distinctive, well made and reasonably priced. I think I’ll get a few more bottles for everyday drinking.

Price: $18.79
Value 4/5
Score: 88
Region: Italy, Piedmont
Grape: Nebbiolo
UPC: 877559000405

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wine Expo

I wasn't able to attend the Wine Expo last week, as I was away. Anyone spot any winners? (or losers?)

Count on Iron Chef to have something to say - here are his brief notes on the Wine Expo:

--- Iron Chef's Notes ---

Pierre Sparr Extrem - Table 3
I think this was the Riesling- highlighter on the label, fresh crisp minerals and tropical fruits- very nice

Pierre Sparr Sublima- Table 3
Very nice Gewurztraminer- mango and passion fruit, balanced acidity surprisingly.

Sandhill Syrah- Table 4
Had all the bombastic fruit flavors, but there was some old world leather tastes that where nice.

Peller Estates Ice Cuvee- Table 4
Fun sweeter bubbles.

Erasmo 2005 Chile- Table 9
I had heard a lot about this, and it was ok, but for $29, I thought it needed more depth of taste.

Nearco Sant Antimo IGT 2004- Table 9
Wow, this had what you would expect for $47, dark fruit, mushrooms, leather, and tannins. This was really great.

Diemersfontein Pinotage 2008, $29
Aromas of burnt rubber and tasted like elastics.

Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc- Table 13
I like Chenins, but this one was flabby even for them.

Ardhuy La Cabotte Garance 2005 $26.79- Table 14
Great favours, ripe fruit, some tannins and great oak.

Ardhuy La Cabotte Gabriel 2006, $34
A bit more in your face than the Garance, more Grenadine sweetness.

Ardhuy Savigny Aux Clous 2006 $46
Wonderful Pinot Noir, deep tastes and aromas, more milk chocolate than I would have guessed.

Ardhuy Corton Renardes 2006, $116
Compared to a rich wine like the Savigny, this was an absolute monster, the finish lasted for 15 miinutes.

Beringer Knights Valley Alluvium Rouge 2005 $54 - Table 17
I was interested to try this, quite sweet with surprisingly like structure.

Mezzacorona Riserva Teroldego Rotaliano $19- Table 19
First time I had a Teroldego - smelled very pungent almost acrid, good fruit. I liked it.

Torres Mas La Plana 2005, $46
Highly structured, dusty tannins- enjoyed it.

Ventisquero Pangea 2006, $52- Table 21
Highly extracted, syrupy, great aromas, maybe too heavy.

Oreno IGT 2006 $81- Table 24
Very nice wine, deep aromas and long finish.

Saia IGT 2006, $36
Never had good success with Nero d'Avola, I always found them too acidity, chewing on an old style foil potato chip bag. This one was no different

Parducci Zinfandel- Table 26
Really nice Zin, tobacco and dry herbs favors.

Pio Cesare Altro Chardonnay Table 29
Great Chardonnay- lemony buttery fruit

Pio Cesare Langhe Nebbiolo 2006 $46
Very approachable Nebbiolo, good tannins but not astringent. Dried Roses and black tea.

Pio Cesare Barolo DOCG 2003, $85
Again very approachable as a young wine, maybe to much. Has the price on this stuff just takeoff ?

Poggio al Tufo Rompicollo 2007, $20.49- Table 34
One of the best wines of the show for me. Beautiful red fruit, nice tannins and great aromas of fresh herbs and coffee. 60% Sangiovese, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and aged for one year in oak barrels

Poggio al Tufo Alicante 2007, $27.79
Made from Alicante Bouschet grapes- beautiful colour, some bubble gum flavors and mocha coffee. Just loved this stuff.

Donnafugata Mille una Notte 2006, $75- Table 35
Again, had a tough time with the acidity of this wine. Just didn't enjoy it.

Winemakers Lot 115 Cabernet- Table 39
Solid wine. Good Cab like mint and chocolate.

Winemakers Lot 148 Carmenere
Peppery and fun, good rich oak also.

Winemakers Lot 54 Syrah
Very flavorful and some gamey aromas.

d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie 2007, $29- Table 52
Full on Coke Cola taste with an interesting aromas - very impressed with this

Valdivieso Single Vineyard Cabernet Franc- Table 54
Looking forward to a Cab Franc, but this was so dominated by Green Peppers.

Valdivieso Caballo Loco $66
Didn't really think much of it, flat, somewhat boring.

Rivetto Ce Vanin Barbaresco 2006, $54- table 57
Great aromas of Dried flowers and dark oak. Still really tight. Lots of Tannins.

Rivetto Leon Barolo 2005, $81
Really tight, loads of drying tannins- Young Barolo, but my favorite Barolo of the show.

Finca Antigua Petit Verdot- Table 58
Beautiful Purple colour - great taste of red liquorish.

Travaglini Coste Sesia 2007, $24- Table 61
Very approachable nebbiolo, dry herbs and back tea. Tannins were there in force but manageable.

Travaglini Gattinara 2004 $37
Classy wine, deep cassis and the tell-tale favors of that region. Just Super

Travaglini TreVigne Gattinara 2004, $57
This was tight, and tannic. But also rich like cocao powder- this would be really interesting in 10+ years.

Clos Triguedina Petit Clos 2006 $23- Table 65
One of the surprises of the show was how good the little Probus was. Medicinal favors mixed in with Black bart chewing gum.

Clos Triguedina Probus 2005 $57
Dark Fruit, Black liquorish, strong tannins. Super Cahors.