• Date publishedSaturday, March 31, 2012

Eclipse Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2007 (Italy) - Wine Review

Ordering a glass of house wine at a restaurant? Almost unheard of for me, and rarely would I recommend it. However, I really enjoyed a glass of this red wine recently at Mideastro in Vaughan.

ECLIPSE MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2007 - DOC, Abruzzo, Italy - $8/glass

Tasting Note:
Aromas of black cherry, fig, pepper and earth. Ripe, dark fruits on the palate with juicy, ripe tannins. Light bodied red wine. It wasn't the ideal to be enjoyed with Panko-crusted Chilean Sea Bass, but wasn't entirely over-bearing either. It did pair well with the double-cut Lamb Chops. Definitely a very good house wine, and the restaurant is top-notch! Wasn't my first time there, and won't be my last.

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  • Date publishedMonday, March 26, 2012

Mar. 31 Wine Picks: Food-Friendly Easter Feasts Wines

The next release of wines from LCBO Vintages is on the and the main feature in this release is on food-friendly wines that go well with feasts.

Among these wines, the Auntsfield Sauvignon Blanc will pair nicely with seafood and light salads, while the off-dry Riesling Spätlese will pair nicely with spicy Asian dishes.

In reds, there are three French wines that are worth a look, with the Grenache-blended Hecht & Bannier that offers impeccable value and is my top pick from the entire release. Also from France, we have two Bordeaux blends - from the great 2009 vintage is the Haut-Surget, and the 2008 La Bourrée. From Australia, we have the Salmagundi which is blended with more than half Shiraz, followed by 4 other grapes.

If you're looking for something sweet, then you will enjoy the Elysium Muscat from California. Want to pop something sweet for a celebration? Go for the sweet Moscato d'Asti, which typically goes over quite well in my circles. A very nice summer patio sipper is the Rosé from our local Tawse Winery. Enjoy my picks for the week!

Red Wine:
  • ZUCCARDI Q MALBEC 2009 - Mendoza, Argentina (#723478) (XD) - $19.95
  • HECHT & BANNIER CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2008 - AC, Midi, France (#142802) (XD) - $22.95
  • GOTHAM OLD VINE SALMAGUNDI 2008 - Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia (#265942) (XD) - $29.95
  • GÉRARD BERTRAND MINERVOIS SYRAH/GRENACHE 2009 - AP, Midi, France (#952804) (XD) - $15.95
  • CHÂTEAU HAUT-SURGET 2009 - AC Lalande-de-Pomerol, Bordeaux, France (#268680) (XD) - $24.95
  • CHÂTEAU LA BOURRÉE 2008 - AC Côtes de Bordeaux, Castillon, Bordeaux, France (#138800) (D) - $17.95
  • TYRRELL’S RUFUS STONE SHIRAZ 2009 - Heathcote, Victoria, Australia (#091488) (D) - $19.95

White Wine:
  • PETER LEHMANN LAYERS WHITE 2010 - Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (#167171) (XD) - $15.95
  • STUDERT-PRÜM WEHLENER SONNENUHR RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2007 - Prädikatswein, Mosel, Germany (#114777) (M) - $17.95
  • JOSEPH CATTIN GEWURZTRAMINER HATSCHBOURG 2009 - AC Alsace Grand Cru, France (#259770) (D) - $19.95
  • VINTAGE INK RITE OF PASSAGE CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#245712) (D) - $16.95
  • AUNTSFIELD ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 - Southern Valleys, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#663286) (XD) - $19.95

Rosé Wine:
  • TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA ROSÉ 2011 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#172643) (D) - $15.95

Dessert Wine:
  • QUADY ELYSIUM BLACK MUSCAT 2010 - California, USA (#276840) (S) (375 mL) - $14.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • BOERI RIBOTA MOSCATO D’ASTI 2010 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#184978) (S) - $15.95
  • CAVE SPRING CSV BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT Méthode Traditionnelle 2004 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#237198) (XD) - $39.95

All the wines from this release can be found here.

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  • Date publishedTuesday, March 20, 2012

Anne Boecklin Pinot Gris Réserve 2008 (Alsace) - Wine Review

Purchased this white wine from the Holiday Cheer release back in December as I am big fan of Alsatian Pinot Gris, which is typically made in an off-dry style.

ANNE BOECKLIN PINOT GRIS RÉSERVE 2008 - AC Alsace, France (#106831) (D) - $18.95

Tasting Note:
Cork aromas of orange marmalade and honey. In the glass, more lovely aromas of orange marmalade, plus peach, earth and honey. Lots of peach and honey notes on the palate, with a slight spicy finish. Starts off-dry, but the sweetness dies off at mid-palate and finishes dry with some bitterness. Good acidity. Will pair nicely with the chili chicken and steamed white rice that's on the menu tonight.

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  • Date publishedSaturday, March 17, 2012

Two Oceans Shiraz 2010 (South Africa) - Wine Review

Received this red wine in a gift pack along with the Sauvignon Blanc back in December and I am quite impressed with the high QPR (Quality-to-Price Ratio) of this Shiraz from South Africa. From the LCBO general list, this is always available.

TWO OCEANS SHIRAZ 2010 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#699249) (D) - $9.95

Label photo of 2010 Two Oceans Shiraz from South Africa
Tasting Note:
Screw cap. Nose seems closed with ripe red fruits, pepper and oak with more of the same on the palate. Some sweet overtones. Medium-full bodied with crunchy, ripe tannins. Quite nice. A great value at $9.95 and a notch higher than the Yellow Tail Shiraz. Would go well with lamb chops or BBQ chicken with mint chutney.

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  • Date publishedFriday, March 16, 2012

Minerality in Wine

I Tried 3 Rocks So That You Don’t Have To.

Today I understand minerality in wine by going directly to the source. What does chalk, river stone and slate actually taste like? Learn the definition of minerality in wine and see if wine sommeliers and wine experts are full of... chalk.

That Rock Looks Delicious from Madeline Puckette on Vimeo.

Slate Minerality in Wine

Slate is commonly associated with riesling and I feel this to be very true when actually licking a slate rock. I encourage you all to lick slate, it’s delicious! Be sure to boil it to remove all the dangerous microbes. I don’t recommend making yourself sick.

Chalk Minerality in Wine

Chalk is feels like licking a hard sponge that sucks all the moisture out of your mouth. The flavor of chalk reminds me mildly of a very dry Champagne or Brut Zero (a Champagne with no added dosage..aka sugar). However the drying sensation reminds me more of Italian Wines with very strong tannins such as Barolo, Barbaresco and Chianti.

River Stone Minerality in Wine

River stone is supposed to remind people of chenin blanc, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot noir. The flavor of a river stone is so gross and offensive I don’t feel comfortable talking about it. Please don’t make me try it again. Oh! And! In case you’re curious... You too can buy a bag of rocks for only $6 on amazon.com.

Getting Serious About the Definition of Minerality in Wine

Minerality is neither a single compound or the vines ability to “suck the minerals out of the soil.” It is in fact a combination of all of many different aspects including esters, trace minerals, acidity level and a wines’ alcohol level. To define minerality is like trying to define why someone is tall, there’s too many genes at play that affect someone’s height. So, when wine writers write “Minerality” they are trying to put a name on a multi-faceted characteristic that science doesn’t have a definition for. Instead, as a wine drinker focus more on what you like about a wine in particular and observe the following list of wines that are known for their mineral-like character.

  • Riesling from Germany as “Flinty or Slatey”
  • Chardonnay from Chablis as “Chalky”
  • Sangiovese from Italy (aka Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo) as “Clay” or “Brick”
  • Assyrtiko from Greece as “Gritty” or “Concrete”
  • Red Bordeaux from France as “Gravelly”
  • Pinot Noir from Burgundy as “Rustic” “Barnyard” or “Forest-floor”

Author of this post: Madeline Puckette of WineFolly

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  • Date publishedTuesday, March 13, 2012

Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz 2009 (Australia) - Wine Review

This red wine was my first purchase of 2012. Acquired from the 'Smart Buys' release in January, this multi-award winner offers great value.

JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ 2009 - Padthaway, South Australia, Australia (#673897) (D) - $16.95

Label photo of 2009 Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz from Australia
Tasting Note:
Screw top. Ripe red fruits, blackberry and currants aromas with touch of barnyard. Uncomplicated and quite straightforward with currant and blackberry flavours on the palate. Fresh tasting with very nicely integrated oak, not your typical big Aussie Shiraz. Doesn't have the legs to stand up to spicy goat curry, but would work well mildly-spiced rack of lamb. A good, everyday, house-style of Shiraz.

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  • Date publishedMonday, March 12, 2012

Mar. 17 Wine Picks: Spanish Wine + Bubbly

Cover of March 17 LCBO Vintages Magazine
The next Vintages wine release is on and is titled "Flavour Fiesta", featuring Spanish wines. I am a big fan of Spanish wines and four of them made my list of wine picks.

The first is the Monastrell (with 10% Garnacha) at $13.95 offers great value and will pair nicely with chicken or lamb curry dishes. Second pick is the dry white Verdejo, known for it's aromatics and bright acidity, this will pair nicely with seafood dishes and tomato-based dishes. Third pick is also a dry white, the Peciña is made with the Viura grape (a.k.a. Macabeo) and reminds me of a Chardonnay, but with more floral notes. This one can be aged a few years. The fourth and final pick from Spain is the Adoremus Tinta de Toro, made with the classic Spanish grape - Tempranillo. A great wine that will pair nicely with rack of lamb.

I'm not a big fan of Sparkling wines, or "bubbly" as it's sometimes called, and the secondary feature in this release was not terribly interesting for me. However, the Brut Rosé sparkler from Burgundy is intriguing.

From the rest of the release, the 2009 St. Hallett Shiraz (#535104) is a standout, but will set you back $29.95. Also, if you like sweet wine, try the Sauternes 2005 Le Dauphin de Guiraud (#190496, $24.95) or the Botrytis Semillon (below) - I think you will enjoy it!

Here are the rest of my picks from this release. Cheers!

Red Wine:
  • COLUMBIA CREST H3 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 - Horse Heaven Hills, Washington, USA (#210047) (XD) - $19.95
  • OLIVARES ALTOS DE LA HOYA MONASTRELL 2009 - DO Jumilla, Spain (#163154) (XD) - $13.95
  • WAKEFIELD SHIRAZ 2009 - Clare Valley, South Australia (#943787) (XD) - $17.95
  • MAS D’AUZIERÈS LES ÉCLATS 2009 - AC Coteaux du Languedoc, Midi, France (#271742) (XD) - $16.95
  • VEGA SAUCO ADOREMUS TINTA DE TORO 2004 - DO Toro, Spain (#268813) (XD) - $19.95
  • XUMEK SINGLE VINEYARD SYRAH 2009 - Zonda Valley, San Juan, Argentina (#265223) (XD) - $15.95

White Wine:
  • ALKOOMI RIESLING 2009 - Frankland River, Western Australia, Australia (#269290) (XD) - $16.95
  • SEÑORIO DE P. PECIÑA CHOBEO DE PECIÑA 2009 - DOCa Rioja, Spain (#266866) (XD) - $17.95
  • CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY 2010 - WO Western Cape, South Africa (#328559) (XD) - $14.95
  • FLAT ROCK THE RUSTY SHED CHARDONNAY 2010 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#001552) (XD) - $24.95
  • VEGA MURILLO VERDEJO 2010 - DO Rueda, Spain (#268797) (XD) - $15.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • LEFÈVRE RÉMONDET BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE - AC, Burgundy, France (#265306) (D) - $15.95

Dessert Wine:
  • DE BORTOLI NOBLE ONE BOTRYTIS SEMILLON 2008 - New South Wales, Australia (#917252) (S) (375 mL) - $29.95

The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.

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  • Date publishedSunday, March 4, 2012

Château Ampélia 2005 (Bordeaux) - Bottle 2 of 3 Wine Review

Ordered this red wine back in February 2006, in lots of 3 bottles from the Vintages Bordeaux Futures program and arrived at my doorstep in March of 2008. The intent was to experience the evolution of a wine at various stages as it ages in the bottle. The 2005 Bordeaux's were remarked as possibly greatest vintage ever!

The first bottle was, ironically, opened on my wife's birthday in June of 2010 and based on my notes it looks like I did enjoy it. The second bottle was opened this evening, and here is my review...

CHÂTEAU AMPÉLIA 2005 - Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France (#500330) (XD) - $20

Photo of Chateau Ampelia Bordeaux 2005
Tasting Note:
Some oak resin aromas from cork. Earthy, cedar, dark fruit, and some plum aromas. Fairly straightforward on the palate with dark and red fruits, finishing with pepper and some mocha notes. Full bodied wine. Tannins integrating nicely, but still need more time. This should drink well for at least another 4-5 years. Will be enjoying this with homemade Chicken Enchiladas.

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