Over this past Christmas vacation, I sampled a number of wines from some of the less celebrated wine producing regions, including a couple of interesting ones from Switzerland. This one I am featuring today is a red, Pinot Noir blend from the Valais AOC. The blend includes Gamay (which is blended with Pinot Noir in other regions, including Burgundy), but it also contains a varietal I have not had before called Diolinoir. I had to look this one up, but it turns out to of Swiss origin and is a cross between a Pinot Noir and a grape called Rouge de Diolly. I have been unable to find out much about it as yet and I do not know if there are any single varietal wines made with it.
In any event, this blend has resulted in a medium full-bodied wine that has a pleasant, almost satiny texture. It is off-dry, with low-medium acidity, and has very smooth tannins, making it an easy sipping wine.
On the nose, there are muted red berries, with a touch of raspberry jam, along with notes of cedar, some spice, and a rather curious hint of buttered toast. Plum comes through on the palate, along with sour cherry, just ripened raspberries, and a hint of pepper. There is also an earthy quality, with background notes of herbaceous undergrowth and dried leaves.
Overall, this is very interesting, quite complex and decently rounded. I paid about $21.00 CDN for this (Quebec prices) and found it very good value for the money.
The Chardonnay featured today is a Burgundy from the Cote Côte Chalonnaise sub-region, and, more specifically, the Montagny AOC. Personally, I am much more of a red wine drinker, and when I do go for whites, Chardonnay is not generally my first choice. I like trying new wines of all sorts, though, and this particular one turned out to be decidedly good…
- Winery: EARL Clos Salomon
- Price: $27.70 CDN
- Alcohol: 13%
- Sugar: < 1.2 g/L
This Chardonnay has a very pale straw color with a slight greenish tint. It has green and golden apples on the nose with faint floral notes, some peach and a touch of honey. It is medium full bodied with a rich, almost buttery texture. The acidity is refreshing and the initial impact is robust with the sharp savor of green apple followed by a more mellow fruitiness. It has some floral tones, and a woody note along with a very faint hint of fennel. The overall effect is well-rounded and very nice indeed.
I was rather intrigued by the name of this wine but, after having a look on-line for an explanation, I am still in the dark as to the inspiration. The bottle simply declares it to be a blend without specifying any varietals, but the vintners website lists the composition as being Merlot 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon 41%, Pinot Noir 2%, Cabernet Franc 1%. The sugar content is quite high but, ultimately, the actual effect is not that sweet…
- Winery: The Malivoire Wine Company
- Price: $15.95 at LCBO
- Alcohol: 12.5%
- Sugar: 13 g/L
The color is a fairly dark cherry red with a faint purple tint. An aromatic nose is dominated by red fruit and ripe dark berries and there is a pleasant sawdust quality with light floral notes and just an ephemeral hint of vanilla. It is medium bodied with a fairly smooth texture and the moderate sweetness is nicely offset by a medium acidity that rises just after the beginning before the nicely smooth and moderate tannins develop. The fruitiness is more sour than is suggested on the nose, having an almost citrusy character, but there is a nice blackcurrant note right at the start. There is a bit of oakiness, and just a hint of spice coming through near the end, but the finish a little short. Still, it is not a bad sipping wine and should appeal to a broad range of tastes and do well as an aperitif.
The Shiraz varietal is the most widely used in the Australian wine industry, for reds at least… Shiraz is generally regarded as being the same as Syrah (by which name it is known in France) while some say that the grape, especially in Australia, has evolved it’s own characteristics such as to merit it being treated as a new varietal. However you look at it, Australia has done wonders with this particular grape type and the wine featured today is a very decent representative of the class…
- Winery: Wyndham Estate Winery
- Price: $16.65 CDN
- Alcohol: 14.5%
- Sugar: 6 g/L
The color is a very pretty dark cherry red with a very slight purplish tint. The nose is quite aromatic with red fruit, particularly cherry dominating, and there are some very faint notes of dusty, dried grass and flowers in the background. It is moderately full bodied with a smooth texture and surprisingly both dry and tart for the sugar quotient. The acidity is moderate to high and the tannins very robust but smooth. It is nicely fruity with dark plum and cherry, and there is a just a hint of peach, banana, and even tangerine. A vegetal quality surfaces ever so slightly in the middle and then is rounded out with a bit of pepper and spice in the decently long finish. This particular Shiraz is very reasonably priced and worth buying to have on hand.
My database of wine tasting notes includes almost no entries with a 1 star rating… that particular score is pretty much reserved for wines that are undrinkable. Two stars, in contrast, means that a wine is capable of being imbibed without too much agony, but which is not generally worth the money. I don’t give that rating very often either, as it happens, but, unfortunately, that is how I felt about today’s selection. Your mileage may vary…
- Winery: Iniskillin Wines Inc.
- Price: $16.60 CDN
- Alcohol: 13.5%
- Sugar: 3.7 g/L
The color is a medium light ruby and the nose is a muted, but still aromatic, red berry with a little oak and a faint vegetal quality underneath. It is quite light bodied, with moderate to low acidity and little in the way of tannins. The aromatic berries on the nose really don’t come through much in the mouth and there is a forest-floor effect along with a distant hint of dried flowers. The overall effect is a bit flat, except for a tease of spice at the very end, and there is a vague ‘over-cooked’ quality here and there. This would be fine for cooking but I wouldn’t buy it for drinking again.