Tag: Wine

Wine: Vina Laguna Terra Rossa 2016

Vina Laguna Terra Rossa 2016

Today’s wine selection is the last of a series of obscure wines I purchased at the end of last year, some of which I have featured in past posts already. This one is a little special as it is Croatian (and I have never had a wine from Croatia as yet), and also because the dominant grape in the blend is Teran, a new varietal to me. The other grapes in the blend are the familiar Merlot, and Borgonja, which, I believe, is just another name for Gamay. In any event, the blend works very nicely indeed…

The wine is a very dark ruby, and it is medium bodied with a silky mouthfeel. It is pretty dry, with bright acidity, smooth tannins and a finish that persists somewhat but weakens quite quickly. The nose is quite rich with dark berries and plum jam at the front, and there is dusty wood and some floral highlights over a faint forest floor quality, and some barnyard notes underneath.

The palate has plum, cherry and blackcurrant, with just a little citrus, and there some fairly aromatic floral notes and a little bit of wood and leather. This isn’t a hugely complex wine but, at $17.50, I thought it pretty good value for the price.

Wine: Disznókö Furmint Tokaji Dry 2016

Disznókö Furmint Tokaji Dry 2016

Way back in my college days, I used to buy the same two wines over and over again, and both were Hungarian reds. It is somewhat funny, then, that in the last 5 or ten years during which I’ve been keeping notes, I don’t seem to have bought a single bottle of Hungarian wine until I bought this dry white Hungarian during the past Christmas break.

The ‘Furmint’ in the name here refers to the grape used, and ‘Tokaji’ is the protected designation of origin (PDO) region where the wine is produced. Some of you may recognize the region name in connection with ‘Tokay’, which is an Anglicization and refers to a very sweet white wine from that area. Today’s selection, however, is, as the name indicates, a very dry wine. The Furmint grape, which accounts for about 60% or so of all wine production in the region, is also grown in Austria, Slovenia and Croatia. There has also been plantings of it in the USA in recent years and some suggest that, though still relatively unknown outside of its traditional regions, it may see an increase in popularity in the future.

In any event, this particular product is very nice indeed. It is medium-light bodied, fairly dry, and has a very bright, crisp acidity from start to finish. The nose is very muted, but carries golden apple with a backdrop of dusty straw and some faint aromatic floral notes. On the palate, one finds gold and sour green apple with a dash of mild citrus, some green vegetal highlights, and cedar with notes of resin and toasted sawdust. The slightly resinous quality may limit the appeal for some but I liked it very much and I think that this makes a very decent sipping wine and should do nicely with seafood, especially smoked salmon and smoked oysters.

Wine: Château Ksara Blanc de l’Observatoire 2016

château ksara blanc de l'observatoire 2016

For a while now, I have been doing something of a virtual tour of France by trying to sample my way through the huge number of wine AOC’s one by one. Just before Christmas, however, I took a little break and purchased a dozen or so bottles from the more obscure, or at least lesser known, wine regions of the world. I had just finished reading a book by a fellow who did an actual tour of some of these places and it really sparked my interest.

Now, Lebanon, I have to say, is one of those places that I have never ever associated with wine production, but, in fact, they have been at it over there for quite a spell now and wines from the region were being exported to Egypt some 4000 years ago. Today’s selection, is actually a good representative of the region as it is produced by Château Ksara, which is in the Beqaa Valley and is, I believe, the second oldest wine outfit in the region, having started production back in 1857.

This bottle cost me $15.00 from SAQ in Quebec and is a blend consisting of Sauvignon Blanc grapes, at 90%, with 5% each of Muscat and Clairette. I wasn’t expecting to be especially crazy about this choice as I am not usually terribly keen on Sauvignon Blanc wines, but this turned out to be very pleasant and interesting.

It is quite a dry wine, with very crisp acidity and the texture has a rather hard mineral quality. The nose, I have to say, is beautifully complex and very aromatic with golden apple with a little pear, banana, lychee and toffee. There are a few floral notes, a lovely underlying herbaceous quality, and just a hint of fennel pollen.

On the palate, you don’t get quite the same complexity as the nose, but there are some components to the overall profile that mark this as quite a bit different from other Sauvignon Blancs. The fruit is mostly sour apple with some highlights of tropical fruit, but there are also notes of straw and wood, and, most interestingly, hints of fresh tar and camphor. Those last two may sound a bit off-putting to some, but they actually give the overall wine a wonderful character and reminded me a little of some Greek wines. In any event, at this price you really are getting a very decent sipping wine and I recommend giving it a try.

Wine: Masi Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012

masi costasera amarone della valpolicella classico 2012

Most people have at least heard the name ‘Valpolicella’ in connection with Italian wine before, and this is chiefly because the Valpolicella DOC ranks as only second behind the Chianti DOC in terms of total production for the entire country.  Within the general Valpolicella DOC, however, there are several smaller name-controlled areas, including the prestigious Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG.

Most of the wine from the whole Valpolicella region is typically a blend of the Corvina grape, along with Rondinella and Molinara. Today’s selection, a 2012 vintage from the Masi Costasera winery in Amarone della Valpolicella, is also one of these blends, but it is also augmented by a lesser known varietal known as Oselet. I picked up a bottle of this past October or November and I would have to say that this one of the nicest wines I tasted all year.

Amarones are known to be bold, very alcoholic, full bodied wines. This one is 15% alcohol, and actually quite dry at 11 grams of sugar per liter, while the body is indeed full, with an almost chewy texture. It is moderately acidic, thus offsetting the sweetness somewhat, with tannins that are bold, yet smooth, and last well into the finish.

On the nose, there are fresh dark berries with hints of blackberry jam, cedar, earth and musky notes of forest floor. The palate is every bit as rich and features dark plum, sweet tobacco, chocolate and woody notes with a curious, but very pleasant popcorn quality. At the very end, there are also grass and herb highlights which round out the overall effect very nicely. Generally, this is the sort of rich, robust wine that pairs well with strong, hearty dishes, but I found it to a truly lovely sipping wine all by itself…

Domaines Rouvinez Fendant Côteaux de Sierre 2017

Domaines Rouvinez Fendant Côteaux de Sierre 2017

Today’s selection is the second of two Swiss wines I sampled over the past Christmas vacation. The first was the Pinot Noir blend called Cave St-Pierre Dôle du Valais 2016, that I have already told you about, and which, like today’s wine, is produced in Switzerland’s Valais AOC. I didn’t rate this white quite as highly as the Pinot Noir blend, but it is still worth a mention as it employs a grape, most commonly known as Chassalas, that is not widely known in North America (as yet, at least), and which I had never had before. In Switzerland, Chasselas is known as Fendant, it is, apparently, the most planted variety in that country. It is raised as a table grape in some places, and is used to make wine in France, Germany, Portugal, Hungary, Romania, New Zealand and Chile. In France, it is best known for being blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the Loire wine, ‘Pouilly-sur-Loire’.

This wine cost me $21.00 at Quebec prices, and contains 12.5% alcohol and has less than 1.2 g/L of residual sugar. It is a pale yellow and my bottle had just a touch of effervescence, although this was likely not intentional.

The nose is quite muted comprising golden apple, peach and lychee, along with some honey, half-dried grass, and just a touch of fennel. It is light-bodied, very dry, and quite crisply, even sharply, acidic. On the palate, there is both gold and green apple, a little tropical fruit in the background, the same touch of honey as on the nose, as well as an additional, and very pleasant note of hazelnut.

For my own personal taste, I would preferred just a little more residual sweetness to round out the acidity but, that being said, this is a very pleasant sipping wine that should appeal to a broad range of white wine fans.

Cave St-Pierre Dôle du Valais 2016

Cave St-Pierre Dôle du Valais 2016

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.

Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny Le Clou 2015

Domaine du Clos Salomon Montagny Le Clou 2015

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.

Guilty Men (Merlot Blend) 2015

Guilty Men 2015

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.

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal Chorey-Lès-Beaune 2013

Domaine Catherine et Claude Maréchal Chorey-Lès-Beaune 2013

Burgundy, of all the wine-producing regions  France, is the most complicated. There is a dizzying number of AOC’s (more than any other region on France), and the general supposition is that there is an in increase in quality from the basic Bourgougne AOC up to the Grand Crus. In wine after wine,however, the lie is given to this general notion, and today’s selection, from the  Chorey-Lès-Beaune AOC,  is indicative of that …

  • Winery: Catherine et Claude Maréchal
  • Price: $40.75 CDN
  • Alcohol: 13%
  • Sugar: 1.7 g/L

This wine is medium ruby in color and has a muted nose of red, slightly cooked fruit, and a faint floral background. It has a medium full body with a silky texture, and is off-dry with moderate acidity and smooth tannins that get bolder at the end. The floral notes dominate over subtle, slightly sour red fruit, and there is a hint of spice as well as a touch of leather. I had some of this with a mild beef stew and it didn’t stand up well, leaving a slightly acrid taste. Interestingly, I later drank one glass with peanuts,which resulted, as a combination, in a taste of turkey. Overall, the wine was not all that bad bad but not worth the relatively high  price.

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2014

Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2014

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.