Tag: Review

Niagara Estate Iniskillin 2014

Niagara Estate Iniskillin 2014

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.

Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Errazuriz Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is another selection from the wine and beer store recently opened here in Iqaluit (and the very first in the whole territory). The range of wines available isn’t huge but, some of them, as is the case with this one, are pretty decent…

  • Winery: Vina Errazuriz SA
  • Price: $13.55 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Sugar: 2.4 g/L

This wine is a very dark almost inky ruby in color and has a vibrantly fruity nose with strong raspberry up front, along with a faint hint of vanilla. It is off-dry with mild acidity and smooth tannins that only become pronounced at the end. The fruit is less vibrant in the mouth than on the nose and there is a vegetal quality and some peppery spice. Plum comes through more strongly than the raspberry and there are oaky notes just near the end. The beginning is very nice but it does not round out as well as expected and the finish is a bit short. Of note, though I sampled this a second time the following day with a supper of spicy squid rings. The wine did not overwhelm the squid at all and the squid allowed for a very interesting blackcurrant component to come through that was not apparent before.It isn’t exactly a great wine but still worth buying to have on hand for those who like robust, rather rustic reds.

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2007

E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2007

Just after purchasing this, I saw that the price for the 2016 vintage in Quebec was a little over $19, which made the $17 price tag for the 2007 here in Iqaluit a little suspect. My first thought was that 2007 must have been a particularly bad year and it was being sold off cheaply but, happily, I turned out to be wrong…

  • Winery: E. Guigal
  • Price: $16.97 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: 2 g/L

The primary grape in this Cotes du Rhone is Viognier, but it is blended with the Roussanne, Marsanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc varietals. The color is a darkish amber but, it can have a slight greenish cast in certain light. There is rich fall fruit and some wood on the nose with a hint of banana and honey. It is quite full bodied, with a very smooth, very nearly buttery texture, and is off-dry with a pleasing acidity that falls just short of being crisp. Rich honey and slightly tart golden apple dominate, and there are floral and woody notes along with a very pleasing background note of sweet fennel. It is a very well balanced wine and excellent value. I bought six additional bottles after my first but now, sadly, there is no more to be had. Shame …

Mission Hill 5 Vineyards 2014

Mission Hill 5 Vineyards 2014

This Pinot Noir is produced in the Okanagan Valley VQA (Vintner’s Quality Alliance), which is the British Columbia appelation of origin regime. It means that 100% of the grape within the wine in question is grown where indicated on the label. Ontario also has a similar VQA naming system as well. I purchased this bottle at the recently opened wine and beer store here in Iqaluit and was generally pleased with it.

  • Winery:  Mission Hill Vineyards Inc.
  • Price: $17.95 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • Sugar: 5 g/L

The color of this Pinot Noir is a rather washed out cherry with a slightly less than 100% clarity. The nose is dominated by bright red fruit with an almost jam-like, candied quality, but there is slightly earthy and vegetal undercurrent plus a faint spicy highlight. The body is medium with a smooth texture and the effect is quite dry. The acidity is medium, the tannins understated, and the balance is pretty well-rounded. Red fruit, slightly tart, provide the carrier, and there are notes of jam, leather, and  grass. Overall, it is just a bit rough, but still eminently drinkable.

Domaine Chasselay Fleurie La Chapelle des Bois 2013

Domaine Chasselay Fleurie La Chapelle des Bois 2013

Today’s post features one of the ‘Crus de Beaujolais’, this one, more specifically, from the Fleurie AOC. It isn’t spectacular, by any means, but it is still very good, and, in particular, it presents a good illustration of the slight banana aroma and taste that can arise from the carbonic maceration method of fermentation employed in the production of Beaujolais reds.

  • Winery: Claire et Fabien Chasselay
  • Price: $25.95 CDN
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Sugar: 2.2 g/L

This particular Beaujolais is a very dark, almost opaque, purplish-ruby. The nose is rich with cherry, along with some floral notes and a faint hint of banana. It is fairly dry with moderately strong acidity and moderate tannins developing more fully towards the end. It has a sour red fruit base in the mouth, with perfume and woody flavors, a little tobacco, and a slight earthiness at the finish. It is a bit tart, but still with a well-rounded effect.  Overall it is a pleasant little wine.

Domaine Billard Père et Fils Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2015

Domaine Billard Père et Fils Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune 2015

Today’s choice is Burgundy from the Bourgogne Hautes-Côtes de Beaune AOC. It is a little pricey, and rather unusual, but still very good.

  • Winery: Domaine Billard Père et Fils
  • Price: $25.15 CDN
  • Alcohol: 12%
  • Sugar: 2.1 g/L

This wine has a pale ruby color and I noted a very slight effervescence on decanting. There is dark berry on the nose, along with a woody, earthy quality and faint notes of flowers and spice. It has a medium body, with a pleasantly smooth texture, and the tannins and acidity both in the low-moderate range. The latter is very indistinct at the start but develops more fully towards the end. A slightly tart base of red berry is overlaid with a definite taste of orange blossom and tea, and there is also a mild spiciness with a hint of leather. Overall, the combination of flavors is quite offbeat but very pleasing.

Coste Della Plaie Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2012

Coste Della Plaie Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2012

The Italian Montepulciano d’Abruzzo DOC lies in the Abruzzi region and features wines produced using the Montepulciano varietal. One should be careful not to confuse them with those of the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG in Tuscany which are Sangiovese based.

Generally, these wines are very moderately priced. They are, in large measure, somewhat rustic in a rough and ready sort of way, but mostly pretty good sipping wines that stand up well to hearty foods. This particular selection, though a bit more expensive than many, is a decent representative of the type…

The pertinent details are:

  • Winery: Podere Castorani SRL
  • Price: $21.55 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13.5%
  • Sugar: 4.3 g/L

The color here is a dark cherry red that is very attractive but, unfortunately, of teeth-staining strength,. It has a medium nose with red berry, candied fruit and a bit of spice, while the body is full with a velvety texture. It is off dry with some residual sweetness, moderate acidity and smooth tannins that develop into a nice astringency near the end.  Slightly tart red fruit forms the base and there are strong notes of pepper and an earthy, vegetal quality. The finish is a bit short but ends with a really nice tobacco note. All in all, it is pleasing and eminently drinkable.

Château De Chamirey Mercurey 2014

Château De Chamirey Mercurey 2014

Burgundy is world known for excellent wines but, quite often, one finds the quality to be hit or miss. Expensive ones can be disappointing, and the cheaper ones can sometimes surprise. Today’s selection is not especially expensive, but it is one of the AOC wines above the basic ‘Bourgogne’ designation and that tends to give a certain expectation of quality. It is not a bad wine by any means, but not particularly noteworthy either …

The pertinent details are as follows:

  • Winery: Marquis de Jouennes d’Herville
  • Region: Burgundy, Cote Chalonnaise , Mercurey AOC
  • Price: $27.60 CDN
  • Alcohol: 12.8%
  • Sugar: 2.7 g/L

The color is not especially attractive: It is a pale, rather watery ruby and faintly turbid. The nose is indistinct with a vague red berry base with some floral and vegetal notes and not very pleasant meaty quality. It is medium to light bodied and fairly dry with moderate acidity and medium strength tannins, both of which complement each other quite well and carry on through a decently long finish. The overall effect is not especially interesting. Slightly sour red fruit is overlaid with a somewhat earthy, forest floor quality and a hint of  butcher-shop. There is a little spiciness and some floral notes but not enough to to provide any good highlights. Overall, it is not bad but not really worth the price.

Luis Felipe Edwards Shiraz 2015

Luis Felipe Edwards Shiraz

A while ago, I sampled the 2014 vintage of this particular wine and I was sufficiently impressed to order some more. I didn’t notice, however, that I was actually purchasing the 2015 vintage but, as it happened, this year turned out to be every bit as good as the 2014…

The pertinent details for this selection are as follows:

  • Winery: Vina Luis Felipe Edwards
  • Region: Valle Central,  (Colchagua Subregion)
  • Price: $12.90 CDN
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Sugar: 2.4 g/L

The color of the wine is a very dark, cherry red, and it is fairly full bodied with an almost crisp mouthfeel. It is quite dry, somewhat north of moderately acidic and it has robust, yet smooth tannins that last well into the nice long finish. The nose is very aromatic with vibrant red berries and there is a faint grassy note lurking in the background. Dark plum and blackcurrant dominates in the mouth, and there is a peppery spiciness with woody notes and a definite empyreumatic quality.

Sadly, I am now on my last bottle and I will have to decide whether I will order more. I am tempted, as this is a terrific wine to have on hand, given the price, but doing so will mean I have to forego the opportunity to try other wines. I do very much like this one, though, it is a ‘big’ wine, of the sort I favor, and is not only great for sipping, but stands up well to rich, hearty dishes. It well deserves the five stars I gave it.

Anita Kuhnel Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2015

Anita Kuhnel Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes 2015

Today’s selection is a Beaujolais. As you can see, it was good enough to rate three stars but, given the price, and my expectations, it was actually a bit disappointing…

By way of a brief primer, the Beaujolais wine region of south-eastern France is sometimes lumped in with the much larger Burgundy region. This doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, however, as the reds of Burgundy are almost exclusively Pinot Noirs, while the Beaujolais reds are produced using the varietal known as Gamay, or Gamay Noir. Under the French name-control regime (AOC), the basic level grouping for this region is the plain Beaujolais AOC. Above this, both in terms of price and (usually) quality, are the wines produced in certain villages, and which are entitled to carry the ‘Beaujolais-Villages AOC’ designation on their labels (there are 39 such villages at last count). Beyond these, again in terms of price and quality, are the wines from 10 specific communes, all of which rate their own individual AOC, and which are collectively referred to as the ‘Crus de Beaujolais’.  Moulin-à-Vent is one of these…

This particular Moulin-à-Vent cost me $26.40 Canadian from the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ). It has an alcohol content of 13% and the sugar quotient rates in at 1.8 g/L. Thus far, the best Beaujolais I have tasted was from the Moulin-à-Vent AOC but, sadly, this one did not measure up.

The color of this particular Beaujolais is a very dark, slightly purplish red. The nose was quite muted and the aroma of dark, ripe berries is overshadowed by an earthy, somewhat vegetal quality that is reminiscent of dried mushroom. I also got a slight hint of jam but this was ephemeral and fleeting.

It is medium to light bodied and fairly dry, with low moderate acidity and tannins to match except for a slight astringency at the end. As with the nose, the fruitiness is very understated and there is the same earthiness, but with a few herbaceous highlights and a touch or pepper. On my second glass, I also detected a note of cherry that was a bit medicinal and not very pleasant.The finish was very short and, on the whole, the effect was not well-rounded. For one of the Crus de Beaujolais, it wasn’t especially good and I won’t purchase this particular vintage again.