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Monday, 27 February 2012

Bordeaux No No

Cash has been pretty tight lately but that hasn’t put a damper on my intrepid enthusiasm for wine. However, I have had to limit my allowance to a paltry $10 to $15. So the other day I could not pass up the chance to buy a Bordeaux for only $10.95! Chateau De Courteillac was the winery and I will keep that in mind the next time I select a bottle of wine. 
I was a little skeptical of its quality as I have seen more than my fair share of Bordeaux for upwards of $30. On account of the price I was not expecting anything spectacular but still a decent tasting wine. No doubt I finished the bottle off but it was not all that enjoyable. The back label suggested that it be served chilled but I've always been an advocate of drinking red wine at room temperature. My scientific background kicked in and I decided to preform an experiment.
After tasting the wine at both room and fridge temperatures I was still undecided as to which state I preferred. The room temperature glass definitely held much more flavour, had a longer finish and was dry. The chilled glass was more fruity but no flavours lingered on the tongue which is my favourite part of drinking a great wine. Looking back on it after a couple days I could not even describe the flavour to you. It was not memorable. If not for my tasting notes I could not give a proper review of this wine.
All in all it wasn't a horrible wine, however, I don't see myself buying it again any time soon. I think it was the fact that I had such high expectations for the wine on account that it was a Bordeaux which made it so disappointing when the flavours just didn't hold up.
This small mishap has by no means turned me off Bordeaux or French wine but has just opened my eyes to the lesser quality vintages that are out there. I will no doubt be looking for a better Bordeaux but still at a decent price. 
If you've tried this wine before and had a different experience, by all means let me know. Also, I would be more than happy to learn about other Bordeaux that you have tried that are worth trying. Cheers!



Sunday, 26 February 2012

Rieslings

Up until a few weeks ago I would have considered myself primarily a red wine drinker. It's not that I'm opposed to trying new things and new wines but if I had to pick a favourite it would more than likely be a red. That being said, I have recently discovered two wineries that may put red wine drinkers loyalty to the test. Both wines hail from the Niagara region and can be found at most LCBO and Wine Rack locations for $12.95 and sometimes as low as $10.20. 
The first one I'd like to present is Inniskillin's Late Autumn Riesling. It has a beautiful Straw colour and yields intense floral, fruit, honey, and apricot aromas. On the tongue it is off-dry with flavours of honey, lemon, apricot, and other fruits, balanced well with some acidity. It finishes with a long lasting flavour and thirst for more. As its alcohol percentage is only 10% it is dangerously easy to drink. On account of its fruity, almost juicy quality it can pair well with almost any dish and works very well on its own.
The second Riesling is produced by the Megalomaniac winery. It is very similar to the Late Autumn Riesling in that it is gorgeous clear, pale straw colour. However, it is superior in that way that it exudes floral and peach aromas with a touch of lemon to excite the nostrils. It is slightly dry; medium bodied and flavours of peach, apple and hints of honey relish on the tongue. The acidic, clean finish balances this wine expertly. It is simple magical how it seems to get better and more flavourful with each sip. Enjoy on its own or with a seafood dish such as grilled scallops. 
If you're a white drinker or a Riesling lover I highly suggest you give these two a try. I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy them as I do. Even you red drinkers should give them a go. Enjoy!   



                                        

Thursday, 23 February 2012

J'aime mon Pinot Noir

As I have become quite the wine fanatic this year I thought it would be fun to watch a movie that involved or revolved around wine and pair it with a good bottle. First on the list was Sideways. Elizabeth had never seen it and I had only seen it a couple times but it is truly a classic. My favourite quote from the movie is right before the double date dinner when Paul Giamatti exclaims, "if anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!". It's hard to contain myself just reading it. If you didn't already know, Paul's character Myles is in love with Pinot Noir so I thought it would be nice to do a little Pinot sampler in light of the occasion. Below I have listed the four Pinot's that we tasted that night and the nights following. They are listed in order of price which also happens to be the order in which I rank them. I hate going against my mantra that expensive wine isn't always better but in this case it was true. As you can see there is a slight range in price but from my experience the diversity of flavour is profound. Either of these bottles are ready to please it just depends on your palate and what you enjoy.  

Inniskillin – Pinot Noir ($14.75):
When the wine is first poured you will be overcome by an aroma of bubble gum and fresh berries. The scent will dilute in a matter of minutes leaving gentle floral notes with a hint of raspberry. On the palate there is enough tannins balanced with strong fruity flavours with a pleasant sourness on the finish.

Hob Nob – Pinot Noir ($11.95):
This wine erupts with a bouquet of cherries, red fruits. On the palate, this wine is very light and well structured. Mild tannins balanced with just enough fruit. It is somewhat acidic and leaves a pleasant dryness on the back of the tongue. The finish is shorter I’d prefer but overall a pleasing experience.

Philip de Rothschild – Pinot Noir ($11.95):
This dry cherry-red coloured wine features medium floral, fruity and vegetal scents and offers a slender texture as well as smooth tannins.

Cono Sur – Pinot Noir ($10.95):
This wine looks like a Pinot, and tastes like juice. If you love cherries this is the wine for you. Unlike the soft, fruity bouquet and taste you expect when buying a Pinot, Cono Sur’s exhibits a vibrant nose and bold taste of cherries, finishing with hints of exotic spices. Plenty of tannins that smooth out given some time. Easy to drink but there are better Pinot’s for the price, so don’t let the bottle fool you.   

I hope these little snippets of information might help you pick a Pinot. If anyone has a Pinot they would like to recommend please do!


               


                                  

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Shampagne

When it comes to champagne… I can’t afford it. So I must resort to sparkling wine, and for me there is one name that always comes to mind that is also in my price range. Henkel Trocken. Having tried a handful of different sparkling wines I discovered that I enjoyed dry ones with mild sweetness and Henkel fit the bill. So on Valentine’s Day when Elizabeth and I were visiting the LCBO, we were more than excited when we discovered that Henkel produced a Rosé and what better day to stumble upon it than on this special occasion?
I have only had the pleasure of enjoying a couple Rosés in my drinking career and never a sparkling Rosé but I didn’t let that deter me from trying something new. Better yet, it was a dollar cheaper than Henkell Trocken, our usual buy.
I was thoroughly please with this purchase. It was a total delight. It had a gorgeous pink hue that glimmered in our cute flutes. The texture and taste was quite similar to Trokken but with a sweeter fruity finish. About a half hour later I was wishing I had bought two bottles. For only $12.65, with an alcohol percentage just as high, Henkell Rosé is a great choice for Valentine’s Day or any other special occasion or date night. 


PKNT is right for me!

I have recently discovered a winery that is new to my knowledge and without a doubt it has been the best surprise of the new year so I simply must tell you about it. The other week my girlfriend and I were at the LCBO perusing the aisles for something new and that is when we stumbled upon it. We had already picked up a bottle of Philip de Rothschild Pinot Noir and Coyote’s Run Unoaked Chardonnay and exuberantly thought we should get a third bottle. We usually stick to what we know but this day we were adventurous.
Whilst in the Chilean section, I saw my old friends, Cono Sur and Frontera, however there was another bottle that caught the eye. This certain bottle had a vibrant pink label and a large Chili pepper on it. My girlfriend had called me over and introduced me to it. I thought she had just been drawn in by the colourful label because I certainly was. “It’s called PKNT!” she exclaimed “my friend who works for Wine Access reviewed this”. This made me rethink the wine and give it a second chance.
The varietal was Carmenere, one of my more preferred grapes, especially when it comes to Chilean wine. It had won an award in 2011 and it is worth mentioning that it was also only $10.95! At first I was skeptical because the other bottles in my hands were $13 to $15. After reading the back label I learned that it is apparently pronounced pecan tea. I still don’t understand the meaning behind it but having read the description I was eager to taste it.
Upon returning home, Elizabeth and I readied our glasses and opened the bottle. The wine was a beautiful deep red, almost purple colour and smelled amazing. I was astounded that such a flavourful and elegant wine could be under $11 and it just so happened to be a perfect pair to our spicy chili dinner.
After that I was on a Carmenere kick. I purchased a couple other brands also from Chile but still PKNT was superior. Unfortunately, the closest LCBO for us doesn’t carry the Carmenere but they did have their Cabernet Sauvignon. Recently it has been on sale for $9.95, which is a great price for what you get. PKNT does produce many other varietals from Shiraz to Pinot Noir to Merlot, which I have yet to try but if they are as good as the Carmenere or Cabernet Sauvignon then I’m sure they will be superb. I definitely suggest giving PKNT a try.






Wine Rack Tasting

So I went to a Jackson-Triggs tasting at my local Wine Rack last Sunday. It was the first time I had been to a tasting event not at a winery and needless to say it was an experience. I arrived on time as I usually do, thinking that it would be the best way to get first pick of the wine. Other than being able to meet the winemaker himself, Marco Piccoli, I wasn’t quite sure what else to expect. I was nervous and thrilled by the fact that I would be drinking in public with people I didn’t know. 
As I approached the store I was greeted by one of the staff and the manager himself even welcomed me and eagerly asked if I’d like a drink. I happily obliged. To my surprise I was handed a glass! Not just a plastic Dixie cup and not only that but there was a good 2 to 3 ounces in it. This was by far the most impressive part of the visit. With my glass in hand, I sauntered around the store sipping at my white Meritage, vintage 2010. The store is not that large but with 10 or so people filling its single aisle it seemed very cramped.
To my knowledge this was the first time I had drunk a Meritage blend and to be frank it wasn’t all that memorable. It was crisp, cold, and fruity on the tongue and around the mouth. The finish was smooth, short and not overly sweet. I’m not sure if a second glass was permitted but either way I was more eager to try the red. Trying not to seem too much like I needed a drink, I asked the winemaker himself for a glass of the red. It was a 2009 red Meritage, a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. I have had both frustrating and pleasant experiences with each of the 3 varietals but never had the opportunity of trying a blend like this. I enjoyed the wine at the time but once I left the store I couldn’t tell you much about it. If it was either one of the 3 grapes I would have been happy but having the mix confused my taste buds.
Once I finished my glass I was ready to get out of there. I considered what it would look like to the manager or staff if they had seen me come in only to drink and then hit the road. So having pictured that in my mind I thought up a few questions to ask Marco. By the end of the conversation I found out that he preferred his Merlot in comparison to the other varietals and that I should contact him by email for a tour of the winery if I were back home in Niagara.
Having left the store I noticed that the Meritage taste was gone from my mouth but left me craving something greater, something familiar...with body. 

                          

Welcome!

As this is my inaugural post, I would like dedicate this blog to all the young oenophiles out there. I have always considered myself an oenophile in the literal sense of the word as I have always enjoyed a good bottle of wine. I've even drunk my fair share of bad wine for that matter. I first took a liking to wine as a means to a drunken end, but over the many years and bottles, the passion has grown and developed into a great appreciation and love for this remarkable elixir. As there are hundreds of options when it comes to buying a bottle of wine, it is so intriguing to me, and I’m sure it is too you, that the same grape and same vineyard can produce such different and distinct flavours year after year. It has also occurred to me that most of my experiences with wine include the same varietals and vineyards so I have been yearning for something new. As I veer away from the less than savoury homemade wines and plunge towards the myriad vintages the world has to offer, I am eager to discover the most delicious wines for the most reasonable prices. My goal is to travel the world from bottle to bottle, to discover, taste, and blog about all the world has to offer...to Canadians. As my girlfriend and I embark on this journey I invite you to join us and enjoy the stories, reviews, and hopefully some humour. Cheers!