Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bubbly Recommendations?

Michelle posted this to "Make a Suggestion," but I thought it deserved its own thread:

"Anyone doing a sparkling wine or champagne review for the BIG night? I had Christmas Eve a Jacobs Creek Chardonnay/Pinot Noir Brut Cuvee. Nice, easy drinking bubbly. Not in the least bit dry. I do enjoy a nice prosecco or occasional champagne too..but who doesn't! anyone have a recommendation for, say, under $50?"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Finca Antigua Petit Verdot 2006

Peanutman posted this in the Make a Suggestion thread, but I think it deserves a separate post, even though it’s no longer in stock.  As it happens, Kelly and I just had an excellent Australian Petit Verdot last night, though not the one that is currently available at ANBL.  This seems to be a grape worth looking out for.  Anyone else had a Petit Verdot recently?  Anyone have more comments on the de Bortoli Vat 4 that ANBL carries?

— Peanutman’s Review —

Just wondering if anyone bought the Finca Antigua Petit Verdot 2006 at the Wine Festival. I had my first bottle tonight. Too bad NBLC doesn't have any in stock. Wow. what a good wine. Very blackberry ish and smooth to boot. A little tannic but not much. Probably perfect time to drink it. I don't remember what I paid, probably around $20. Smell is simply beautifully fruity, like something you would want to have on your toast in the morning. I would give it a 4.5 out of 5 and I would say that it was better than the Australian Petit Verdot available at NBLC. Simply enjoyable.

Value 4.5/5
UPC: No longer available.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Warwick Trilogy 2004

Even though this wine isn't available any more, it's always interesting to find out what a few years of age will do to a wine, especially for the next time you're thinking of buying this style.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Opened this with a South African neighbor. Popped and drank. Beautiful cork.

Nose- Cassis, stewed cherries, vanilla, oak, coconut and anise. Some aromas of green coffee beans. It really smelled great- that 'fine wine smell'- long deep nose.

Taste- Loads of Oaky vanilla, white chocolate and Coconut lathered over a cherry stew. Nice mineral or green apple acidity and abundant chewy tannins. And pithy green peppers. Some astringent coffee notes latte on the palate. The finish went on forever.

Overall- A really special wine that was drank far, far too early- reminded me of an earlier version of Don Melchor, before it became an over extracted Parker wine. If anyone still has these, please hide them for at least another 3-5 yrs.

Price: Sale wine 2-3 yrs ago- about $40Value: 4/5
Score: 93
Region: South Africa- Stellenbosch
Grape: 55% Cabernet, 34% Cab Franc, 10% Merlot
Alcoho: 14.5%
UPC: No longer available

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sumac Ridge Private Reserve Gewürztraminer 2006

A friend brought this over recently for Norman's 48 3/4 birthday. It's a great find. The nose is particularly lovely and full, with citrus - particularly grapefruit - as well as apricot, spices,

and minerals. The wine is viscous on the palate, and very slightly sweet, and crisp and very long. The only negative is that there's a noticeable bitterness throughout. The blurb on the label advertises "full grapefruit flavours," and in fact it does taste quite a lot like grapefruit, right down to that characteristic bitter edge.

Decent Gewürztraminer isn't so easy to find at any price, and this one is great value at $16.99. Also, I patriotically like its Canadian origin; it's from the Okanagan.

Price: $16.99
Value: 4/5
Score: 89
Alcohol: 13%
Region: Canada
UPC: 778876128936

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Torrelongares Tinto Garnacha 2008

This is the other half of Iron Chef’s twofer Grenache review. This is more like what I’d expect for the price.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Nose- Dried herbs, like a greenish tobacco. Some woody popsicle notes. Hot cherries with some plasticine aromas.
Taste- Chalky sour cherries- like drywall plaster. Some green pepper veggies tastes late on the finish.
Overall- not my favourite style of wine, but it was good to try opposite the Borsao.

Price: $12.99
Score: 81
Value: 1/5
Region: Spain, Carinena
Alcohol: 13%
UPC #8424659010067

Friday, December 11, 2009

Stag's Hollow Renaissance Meritage 2005

This review bends the rule that this blog is about NB wines – but it doesn’t quite break it. This wine is available to New Brunswickers, but not from ANBL. You have to order it directly from the winery, with a one case (mixed) minimum order. I got this bottle from friends who did that - it was their last bottle, but they were moving and couldn’t take it with them.

In any event, it was very curious for a Meritage, but delicious. It is medium to light bodied, with a striking floral / potpourri nose. Well balanced with excellent complexity and good length. I can’t help but compare it with the Osoyoos Larose because they are both Bordeaux blends from the Okanagan. I actually like the Stag’s Hollow better than the more famous the Osoyoos Larose – but it’s not really a good comparison because the wines are so different. Given that they’re roughly the same blend, I would love to know more about the wine making techniques involved - I would never guess that they are the same grape if I tasted them blind.

On a related note, we hardly ever review Bordeaux wines on this blog. For me, it’s because the few that I’ve tried seem very overpriced. I’d appreciate it if anyone could give me a tip on a good Bordeaux at a reasonable price that is available at ANBL.

Price: $30
Value: 5/5
Score: 93
Grape: 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc
Region: BC

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Borsao Joven 2008

A 91 score for $13!? I'm going to have to try one and see for myself. Luckily, there are about a billion bottles of this left in the province.

BTW, Chef sent this to me as part of a twofer, but I'm going to post the other review separately.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Nose- Dried Herbs, Cloves, sage, spearmint and tobacco. An interesting smell of grape seeds. Lots of candy apples from the Frex.
Taste- Hot Chocolate and cherries. Some grenadine but good balance of acidity /tannins and sweetness. Very clean finish, a little short.
Overall- Certainly the better of the two Garnachas. I really enjoyed the Borsao. I will be adding a number of these to the cellar for the holidays.

Price: $13.29
Score: 91
Value: 5/5
Region: Spain, Campo de Borja
Alcohol: 13.5%
Grape: 70% Garnacha, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Tempranillo
UPC: 8412423120036

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Undurraga Sibaris Carmenere Reserva Especial 2007

The back label says this wine is dedicated to the citizens of Sibaris “an ancient city recognized for the refinement of its residents.” Well, they’ll be turning over in their 2500 year old graves if they can hear their names used to endorse this wine, which is overwhelming characterized by what Kelly simply calls “that cheap wine smell.” This stuff is truly terrible. The Partager from Barton & Guestier ($11/litre) that I’ve been using for cooking after it has been sitting opened on my kitchen counter for a week is better than the Sibaris. I’m not kidding. I gave them both to Kelly to taste blind and she agreed. I wouldn’t use the Sibaris for cooking. In fact, I didn’t. The sauce I was making needed red wine, but I wasn’t going to poison it with this stuff. Maybe it will improve with age – I’ll never know, because I won’t let any of it pass my lips again. This is a Wine Expo wine, and luckily for everyone, there’s hardly any left. Blech.

Price: $20.29
Value: 0/5
Score: 75
Grape: Carménère
Region: Chile, Colchagua Valley
UPC: 7804315001997

Friday, December 4, 2009

Te Ata Po Malbec Reserve 2008

According to this article, Sonia Carpenter and David Craw are local winemakers (Motts Landing Vineyard) who made this particular wine while wintering in New Zealand. Here’s what Iron Chef’s had to say about it.

— Iron Chef’s Review —

A local -ish wine that I just had to try.

Nose- Gamey like duck or partridge. Blueberry compote, cedar and butterscotch and vanilla aromas. Complex.

Taste- Great acidy for a red- a food wine. Mineral quality that I have come to expect from NZ wines. Medium tannins. Very drying finish. Some medicinal and herbal notes. Good dark blueberry fruit.

Overall Sonia Carpenter and David Craw of local winery, Motts Landing have produced an exciting wine that is very complex and multi-layered. I will be a regular buyer of this wine. Just Super.

Price: $19.99
Value 5/5
Score: 92
Price: New Zealand- Gisborne
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 400008150194

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sandalford Cabernet Sauvignon 2004

Australian wines generally are known for being "big." That can be a good thing, depending on your tastes, but sometimes it just gets overdone, and they end up with "big" but lose everything else.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Smell- Very deep and complex. Herbs of ground cloves, dried sage and mint. Nice coconut aromas mixed in with the oak and densely extracted cherry stew.
Taste- Compared to nose, it was a little disappointing and almost boring. Cassis and cherry brandy. Loads of dark fruit. Palate numbing heaviness.
Overall- it started great, but the palate was too thick without much more than cherry brandy.

Price: $32.48
Score: 83
Value: 1/5
Region: Australia, Margaret River
Alcohol: 14.5%
UPC: 9312175008011