Sunday, November 11, 2012

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  • Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rosewood Estates Tasting at The Chef's House



Rosewood Estates Winery logo
A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending the Rosewood Estates Winery Portfolio tasting hosted at The Chef's House in downtown Toronto. Rosewood is a family-operated winery and meadery based in Beamsville Bench.

Leading the Sales & Marketing for Rosewood and presenting the afternoon's event was Krystina Roman. Given Rosewood's family roots in beekeeping, everyone who works at winery is "blessed" with a bee nickname - Krystina is known as the "Social Bee". Also in attendance was then-winemaker Natalie Spytkowsky, who is doing a great job making naturally fermented table wine and mead.

I was very excited to be invited to this event as this was my very first time tasting mead (i.e. honey wine). This was also my first time tasting anything from Rosewood, and I came away quite impressed! I went into the tasting expecting mead to taste very much like Icewine, but much to my surprise, mead is not THAT sweet. It is still quite good, but is an acquired taste.

The tasting consisted of 10 mead and table wines paired with 4 tasting plates, plus a palate-cleansing mead cocktail after the 3rd tasting plate. The following are my reviews of the food & wine pairings:

Amuse Bouche: Chicken Tikka with Mango Chutney

ROSEWOOD HARVEST GOLD 2011 - Niagara Escarpment (#346767) (MD) - $15.00
Fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks. Raw, dry honey aromas. Off-dry on the palate with light floral and honey notes. Natural acidity takes over at mid-palate, while the finish is medium-long. This wine did pair well and was nicely balanced with the Chicken Tikka with Mango Chutney.

Tasting Plate #1: The Whites with White Fish Ceviche

ROSEWOOD SÉMILLON 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench (D) - $18.00
Clean and refreshing lime with hints of citrus aromas. Very bright acidity with aroma replays on the off-dry palate. Medium-length finish. Mouth was bursting of sweet lemons when paired with the White Fish Ceviche. Score: 87-88 pts

ROSEWOOD MIMA'S BLOCK RIESLING 2011 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench (D) - $18.00
Made from the Alsatian Riesling Clone 49 varietal (rare for Ontario) and named after their late Aunt Mima. Nose a bit closed, but nice aromas of white peach, apricot and lime. Lively acidity with more peach and tart lime on the palate. Off-dry with a medium-length finish. One of my favourites of the afternoon. It paired well with the fish as the acidity really cut into the lemon in the Ceviche. Score: 88-89 pts

ROSEWOOD SÜSSRESERVE RIESLING 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula (MD) - $15.00
Made using the more traditional (for Ontario) Weis 21B Riesling varietal. Relatively closed nose with aromas of lime, mineral, petrol and honey. Medium-dry on the palate with lots of minerality and some petrol and honey notes. Good acidity, and very-well balanced. Finish is sweet (but not too sweet or cloying) and long. The flavours and acidity balanced really well with strong lemon flavours from the Ceviche. Score: 88 pts

Tasting Plate #2: Pinot with Crispy Fried Mushroom Arancini

ROSEWOOD PINOT NOIR RESERVE 2009 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench (XD) - $40.00
Naturally fermented. Made in an old-world style with intense aromas of smoke, red fruits, earth and cedar. Light-to-medium bodied and bright acidity with ripe red fruits, sour red cherries and beet root on the palate. Has grippy tannins and a short finish. My kind of Pinot! Score: 90 pts

ROSEWOOD PINOT NOIR RESERVE 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench (XD) - $40.00
Smooth, pure red fruit aromas and lightly oaked/spice aromas & flavours. Medium-bodied palate also has forest floor and mushroom flavours. Very lively acidity and a medium-length finish. Score: 88 pts

It was a treat to taste both the '09 and '10 Pinot's side-by-side. While the 2010 was a great vintage for Niagara, I thought the 2009 expressed the varietal better - perhaps the natural fermentation of the '09 had something to do with it. The complex flavours of the '09 lent itself to be paired quite well with the Crispy Fried Mushroom Arancini.

Tasting Plate #3: Big, Bold & Beautiful with Braised Lamb Shank Tortellini

ROSEWOOD CABERNET FRANC 2010 - VQA Beamsville Bench (XD) - $22.00
Very nice and intense herbal, dark fruit and jammy aromas. Full-bodied with gobs of dark fruits on the palate. Slightly herbaceous as well. Quite well-balanced with mouth-watering acidity and integrated tannins. Very smooth and finishing long, this red wine is food-friendly, but can be enjoyed by itself as well. Yum! Score: 90 pts

ROSEWOOD MERLOT 2010 - VQA Niagara Escarpment (#211896) (XD) - $22.00
Sweet core of fruit aromas along with mulberry and hints of cocoa. Bright acidity with raspberry, cocoa on the palate. Tannins are very well-integrated and has a delicious, long finish. Score: 89 pts

ROSEWOOD MERLOT RESERVE 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench (XD) - $36.00
Naturally fermented for 3-1/2 weeks, this wine has aromas of sweet vanillan, oak, and a juicy core of raspberry with very nice replays on palate. Well-integrated tannins have some grip that should reward with 1-2 years ageing. Score: 90 pts

All of three of these wines tasted great on their own, and paired really well with the Braised Lamb Shank Tortellini. The best pairing of the three was the Merlot Reserve - it was beautiful - as the tannins were cut by the gamey flavours of the lamb, bringing fruit to the fore and balancing the flavours from the dish.

Tasting Plate #4: Mead with Thunder Oak Aged Gouda

ROSEWOOD MEAD ROYALE 2008 - Select Barrel Aged (#296178) (M) (500 mL) - $15.00
Elegant springflower and honeysuckle aromas. Medium-bodied and well-balanced with honeysuckle and mead notes on palate. Nice acidity. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel on a medium-length finish. Paired well with the Thunder Oak Aged Gouda served with fresh honeycomb. This honey wine is a good introduction to mead and was released in the Nov. 10 Vintages release.


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