2008 Herdade do Peso Alentejo "Colheita"

Colheita, when referring to port, indicates a port from a single vintage, but it is not a "Vintage Port". So what does this mean when referring to a dry red Portuguese wine? Well, I had to find out...

Actually "colheita" simply means "harvest", so this added word has no official meaning, but in this case it refers to Sogrape's "premium quality" wine from the Herdade do Peso line "produced only in exceptional years" in the Alentejo region of Portugal.

The 2008 Herdade do Peso "Colheita" certainly reflects its hot, southern climate - rich and meaty with smokey tobacco and dark berry notes. Smooth, rich and easy drinking, incredibly balanced and surprisingly interesting at this price point. A wine to be enjoyed today, but still drinking nicely after three hours in the decanter.
Score: 16.5/20
Price: C$21.15 (SAQ)

Riesling two ways

New world and old world, Rieslings a world apart...

On my left the
2008 Trimbach Alsace Riesling was softer, more subtle - honey and hints of petrol on the nose. Soft, but not too soft, very flavorful. Score: 17/20

The 2007 Grosset Polish Hill Reisling was a treasure from my cellar, a recommendation from my good friend Ed. Powerful classic notes of petrol and citrus. Incredibly crisp and tightly wound, a minerally grapefruit finish that only softened slightly over the evening. Score: 17.5/20

Terrific wines, the Trimbach more versatile, but the Grosset a better wine and should be terrific with white fish or shellfish.

A picture worth a thousand wine words

It's hard not to post when the wines are this good (and I needed an excuse to try my iPhone Blogger app), another outstanding flight supplied by the group for a night at La Colombe.

Standout of the night was Lloyd's 90 Sociando Mallet, a reminder why patience is a virtue when it comes to cellaring. My 89 Lopez de Heredia white Rioja was certainly the most intriguing and polarizing, with only a few of us appreciating its charms (note - do not serve this at 4 Celsius, it needs to be warmer, say 10-12C). So many other great wines...That Corton one of my all time faves, but needs some cellar time...Lloyd's Calera drinking beautifully and one of the most compelling wines of the night, disproving my views about the ageworthiness of California Pinot Noir...poor Chris brought a lovely Barbaresco that we opened after we were all ... lacking in palate? Peter's S. African Pinot Noir the first I've tasted from this country - very nice, but what is that gamey smell in virtually all SAfr reds? Not a bad smell, but very distinctive. Peter also supplied an 01 Ghiaie delle Furba, another fave you will find elsewhere on this site. Cam's Ribera del Duero a spectacular wine, and big enough for the heavy food on offer. Pramod's 01 Command unsurprisingly spectacular, and still has many good years ahead. Finally, my 06 Nicholas Catena Zapata silky, smooth, but perhaps a little too polished?

A Bevy of Great Wines at À L’Os

Our tasting group got spring off to a great start, raiding our cellars for some great stuff to pair with MY favourite Montreal BYO, À L'Os.

Waiting for the entire crowd to arrive, Mark and I served up some 2007 Pio Cesare Langhe "Oltre" to whet our palates (a surprisingly fruity and accessible Piedmont blend from a terrific winemaker).

Ahh, so many wines tonight so we went with three flights - two Brunellos, then two Bolgheris, then two Nebbiolos...

It was nearly impossible to choose a favourite between Mark's 2000 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova and my 1999 Banfi Poggio all'Oro Riserva. The Casanova di Neri was compote and cedar, with spicy liquorice and flint on the nose - very dry and more awkward on the palate than the Poggio all'Oro, but surreal evolution over the evening - very, very complex and could be a stunner in a few more years... Score: 18+/20. The Poggio all'Oro sported a more 'classic' nose - flint, cherries and chocolate, old leather and dried tobacco leaves - gorgeous, soft velvety tannins and a very, very long tobacco finish, impeccable balance, Score: 18+/20

After those two gems I was worried that the Bolgheris might disappoint, but then I spotted the Ornellaia label (and there was much rejoicing). Pramod's 1999 Ornellaia met my lofty expectations - aromas of green pepper, violets and blackberry, with a dash of oregano, grenadine, meaty white pepper. Minerally and reserved on the palate, beautiful balance and a long, silky finish Score: 18/20. Where Ornellaia sticks to the Bordeaux plot line, Lloyd's 2000 Enrico Santini Montepergoli had a different take on Bolgheri - Merlot, Cab. Sauv, Syrah and Sangiovese. A beautiful nose, with distinctive musty and mushroomy notes, some mint and basil. Bold, crisp cherries with silky tannins holding it together for a decent finish, very drinkable today Score 17.5/20.

The third flight, nebbiolo, was the heaviest - just as palate fatigue was beginning to set in. But a Conteissa?! I must be in heaven... Cam's 2007 La Spinetta Monferrato Rosso "Pin" gave up notes of roses, tar and white cherries. Very crisp, dry, and lengthy, but less polished than the other wines tonight (it was also the youngest), it should soften up with some more time in the cellar Score: 16.5/20. Chris' 1999 Gaja "la Conteissa" was the highlight of this tasting for me...cola, or maybe a Dr. Pepper smell, with fresh cherries and ink. Pretty, complex, with soft silky cherries dancing across the palate - incredibly lengthy but not overbearing, and so super polished (I wouldn't expect less from Gaja) Score 18.5/20.

After so many great wines we should have been finished, but Lloyd had a Quintarelli waiting in the wings. WOW. The 1999 Quintarelli Valpolicella was hot, with a nose of almondy liquer and ripe, raisin fruit, some woodsy and peppery notes. Despite the hot raisins up front, this was a polished offering.

OK, so Chris had a Tokaji for dessert but I'm done writing notes...look at the bottle, it tasted good.

Cheers!

Another Friday Night with Lloyd

My buddy Lloyd and I have shared so many good bottles together, he has such a good cellar, and we have bought so many wines together, that when we get together I really have to rack my brain to come up with something (a) good and (b) something he has not already had. Perhaps Catena's top Malbec bottling?

The 2006 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino left me a little flat at first - some cooked meat on the nose, then ripe, dark blackberries, sweet cocoa, black earth and liquorice - simple at first, but opening nicely as the evening progressed (I am afraid we "sipped" rather hastily...). A very long finish - well over a minute of soft crushed velvet and rich cocoa - rich, complex and beautifully textured - clearly needed more time to show its stuff
Cork. 14.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5+/20
Price: C$ 85 (SAQ...

Another Friday Night with Lloyd

My buddy Lloyd and I have shared so many good bottles together, he has such a good cellar, and we have bought so many wines together, that when we get together I really have to rack my brain to come up with something (a) good and (b) something he has not already had. Perhaps Catena's top Malbec bottling?

The 2006 Catena Zapata Malbec Argentino left me a little flat at first - some cooked meat on the nose, then ripe, dark blackberries, sweet cocoa, black earth and liquorice - simple at first, but opening nicely as the evening progressed (I am afraid we "sipped" rather hastily...). A very long finish - well over a minute of soft crushed velvet and rich cocoa - rich, complex and beautifully textured - clearly needed more time to show its stuff
Cork. 14.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5+/20
Price: C$ 85 (SAQ)

Lloyd had no similar difficulty in impressing me, fielding a half-bottle of exquisite Bolgheri (details to follow). Smokey crisp cherries, lead pencil, rose and sandalwood, old oak and tobacco...very impressive nose. So crisp, with silky tannins and surprising length - made me think of really good Chianti bottlings. Gorgeous!
Cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 18/20

2000 Feudi di San Gregorio "Serpico"

This Aglianico bottling ranks among my favourite wines of all time - always a treat to open one of these, and it was especially enjoyable to try this blind on some of my wine buds.

The 2000 Feudi di San Gregorio "Serpico" was very minerally on the nose, cooked dark berries, meaty and inky, later some hints of lavender - reminiscent of my prior Serpico tastings it coughs up its olfactory secrets slowly, but your patience is well rewarded.

Very, very, very, dry, tongue puckering dry, gobs of silky, silky, tannins ... such an incredibly long finish. Opened for some after dinner sipping, but it merited a pairing of roast meat (rack of lamb, perhaps?).
Cork. 14% alcohol
Score: 18/20
Price: C$89 (SAQ)