August 24, 2013

Muscedere Vineyards 2005 Canadian Oaked Chardonnay

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... The boys at Muscedere have a lot to be proud of ... over the past decade they have successfully built one of the premier go-to wineries in the Lake Erie North Shore, complete with some of the best reds and a great little back deck with pizza oven.  Yup, the Muscedere boys have a lot to be proud of ... but this wine is not one of them.  I was really looking forward to opening and (re)trying this wine: a Canadian oaked Chardonnay from a hot vintage at only 8 years of age should still have some interesting things going for it.  I would like to be sitting here telling you about the lovely baked fruit, the tropical notes, the mild oak flavouring (from only 4 months in oak) and how it has all come together in its maturity; but 2005 was the year of the fake cork (some call them synthetic) and Muscedere was swept into the vortex.  While synthetics may be fine on drink-now style wines (2-3 years) aging is not their forte.  This wine started off badly and just kept getting worse - after only 5 minutes it was completely undrinkable:  oxidative and cabbagey notes started it off followed by apple cider vinegar and rancid coconut - an absolutely horrible wine to smell or taste, it was literally undrinkable.  Sorry boys this might not have been fully your fault but you did pick the closure.

August 23, 2013

Cornerstone Estate 2006 Riesling Reserve

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... If Jerry Kopanski has ever wondered why Cornerstone winery isn't a more widely known winery it's because of nasty pieces of business like this - and poor winemaking decisions.  Now before I go on let me say I have met Jerry (owner of Cornerstone) and like him very much - he's genuinely a nice guy - in fact I wrote his winery up in my early days (see here).  Of course we all know where nice guys end up , and being nice gets you nowhere when shady winemakers are looking to ply their "craft" on unsuspecting owners, and then you have the guys selling you things that will "make your wine better" (ie: closure).  This Reserve Riesling was sweetened with "ice wine quality" juice - it was decent in its prime and showed potential to be interesting when it matured - but here we
are 7 years on and it is attrocious.  The main reason is the cork: plastic ... I touched the corkscrew to the cork and it began to sink into the bottle - it took a concerted effort to grab it and keep it from going further in.  It was loose and it did not need any effort to remove it, there was also little to no pop, more like a simple slide and out.  The wine itself was orange in colour, literally orange!  (I hope the picture does it justice)  Being the consummate professional I am I gave it a taste: oxidized apple juice with some tin can linger - one is the result of the cork, the other from the winemaking.  So both contributed to the downfall of this wine.  On a positive note for Cornerstone, with the hiring of Andrzej Lipinski (a bona fide winemaker) as the new winemaker, Jerry Kopanski and Cornerstone are finally taking steps in the right direction, and hopefully putting the past behind them. 

NB:  I have one bottle left of this wine - I will give it another try, just in case.  But I hold no hope out that it will be - maybe I'll be surprised.

Lailey 2007 Niagara Peninsula Riesling

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... The '07 Niagara River was surprisingly vibrant and gave me hope for this bottle - but the Niagara Peninsula left me a little cold, and I'm not just talking about the temperature of the wine.  There were hints of lime throughout, and they kept reappearing on the nose, palate and finish - but the acidity was lackluster and because due to that fact, diminished the complete experience of the wine.  There were hints of lemon zest and Vaseline on the nose; in the mouth the best part was the sweet mid-palate that turned into a lime cordial-like finish; but alas there really was no acidity to speak of to prop the whole thing up - thus the wine eventually tasted flat and sweet by the middle of the first glass.  But it was much better than the next wine we opened ... comparatively this one was a treat (I guess it really is all about perspective).

August 22, 2013

Tawse 2007 Sketches of Niagara Riesling

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... There is a review in here somewhere, just bear with me ... It's been a long couple of days, my wife (a nurse) had some new software installed at her work place and they are going thru the growing pains of learning it correctly (this is not an easy process it seems, she has been on the phone more in the last two days then she has in the three years we've been married).  Anyway the call came to me downstairs at about 5:00pm - "I need a drink" ... she wanted something fruity, so I was about to pull out a Riesling (her favourite) when she said, "I need something stronger - can you make something with Vodka".  So that I didn't get yelled at (like the people on the other end of the phone) I dutifully went off and created something using frozen berries, coconut water and, yes, Vodka.  I then quietly opened this bottle of Sketches for myself.  Hints of petrol greeted the nose, but nothing that was overpowering, they were subtle and mixed with lemon peel.  The palate was also filled with lemony goodness along with sweet peach and some lemon drop candy on the finish - I found the wine to be incredibly quaffable and smooth.  The acidity seemed to be lacking, but it was still a highly drinkable wine.  If you have any in your cellar this is a perfect time to drink it.

As for my wife, she finished off her drink in record time and heard my glass hit the counter while I was making dinner - she immediately wanted to know what I was drinking ... when I told her Riesling she wanted a glass of that too.  This software is tougher than I thought ... but my wife is tougher still, she will overcome ... and if not then we have enough booze to numb the pain.  More Riesling, STAT.

August 2, 2013

The Tale of Two Lailey Wines - 2008 & 2009

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... Friday night turned out to be Chardonnay Night in My Backyard - we had a friend over and she's a big Chardonnay fan, and recently we have been drinking, or at least tasting, quite of bit of the grape.  We had tried quite a few good one's and my wife decided we should have our friend over to taste some of our favourites ... but then something happened on the way from concept to execution - I changed the program.  Instead of pouring a number of recent Chardonnays I dug a little deeper into the cellar
and pulled out two older bottles.  Now, not being a big Chardonnay fan from way back, my cellar does not run deep in older vintages of Chardonnay - ask me for a Zinfandel or a Cabernet Franc and I am sure I've got something from the late 90's but a Chardonnay, my last of the 2004's were consumed earlier this year and after that I might have something from 2007 and onward. 

The plan was to start new and work back - the first was from Closson Chase, then I pulled two more out, and as it turned out both were from Lailey (one of the wines was not in the original plan).  The 2009 Canadian Oak was a four star wine, when I rated it back in June of 2011, and today it shows the acidity of the vintage, it still has lovely Chardonnay character but the acidity is the thing most noticeable - sipping it on its own it was a little harsh, but when paired with appetizers it held up really well.  The other wine was the 2008 Brickyard, back in 2010 I gave it a rare 5-star rating, and I think it still deserves it.  The wine was smooth and buttery with vanilla notes, but it was the fruit that was still vibrant and ever-present riding the wave of butter and vanilla - it's as if the wine has barely aged a day - it's still wildly drinkable, paired great with the rosemary salmon, and had just a light dusting of caramel for something sweet on the finish. 

August 1, 2013

Magnotta 2002 Cabernet Franc, Limited Edition

Found August 2013

Funny that this should be a Lost and Found bottle, I have three in the cellar, well two now.  Not quite sure why I was lying this down so long, and especially on my, what I call, "Drink Now" rack - I guess the now never came, until ... well ... now.  The original thought for tonight was to have this bottle with chicken Parmesan, but due to a heavier than expected lunch we decided on a lighter scallop and peas meal - but there is no need to miss out on trying a wine just because you've changed the menu, fact is I drank a glass while cooking and another half glass after dinner.  That should mean I found the wine to be delicious, right?  Well I wouldn't go that far.  It was definitely drinkable, the nose was smoke with lots of black raspberry notes; the palate started off smoky and stayed that way ... other elements kept coming in and out but smoky always stayed ... there was also plenty of oak and some dried fruit, but above all it was oaky and smoky with wood tannins taking over near the end (two hours after opening).  Those other two bottles will have to be consumed rather quickly before the wood and smoke fully over-take.  Might be a nice pairing with some burgers on the charcoal grill ... that'll be my next experiment.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable +

Norman Hardie 2005 Riesling

(Re-Tasted August 2013) ... It would seem I go back to this wine every four years, it's a 2005 and I have tried it in 2009 and now in 2013, at this rate I guess my last bottle is scheduled to be re-tasted sometime in 2017.  The "problem" last time was the premature petrol that had taken over the bottle and I would have to say it is even more prevalent and even more omnipresent than it was back in 2009.  The petrol never does blow off, as it did in 2009, but there is a pleasant backdrop of lemon pith and zest that still makes it a very drinkable wine as long as you can get passed the gas (and yes, I did say 'pass the gas').  If you have some left in your cellar it's time to drink up, on the other hand, I might wait another 4 years just as an experiment - after all, I've waited this long.  Funny to note that I was one of the first to purchase this wine from Norm, the date is actually handwritten, done before he got the proper officially dated labels in.