Below you will find reviews of some wines that got "lost" in my wine cellar - some have turned into golden Treasures, others supreme Trash - then there are those that fall somewhere in-between (Tolerable). Let's take a taste ...
I visited Featherstone earlier in the week and made the decision to try my oldest bottle of Featherstone wine, which just happened to be this 2003 Cabernet Franc. I want to tell you it was lovely. I want to tell you it held up so well that I was shocked. I want to tell you that 2003 is a better year than we give it credit for ... but unfortunately I can't say any of that. The wine isn't horrible - that's the best thing I can say ... in fact it's not bad and tolerable, but it lacks any depth or elegance, it's a one note pony (to steal from a few phrases). It's leafy and herbaceous with some smoky dried tobacco leaf on the nose. Palate has some bitter coffee notes from the get go, goes to dry and smoky tobacco leaf and settles into something leafy with a little tannin. It's not a great wine, it's definitely drinkable but it's not going to be your favourite old wine and by the two hour mark it's very nondescript and not very appealing. Lost & Found Rating: Tolerable
Here's another happy but surprising find in my cellar. Not sure how I missed this one the first time through but am I glad I waited on this one, because I would say it's a perfect Pinot experience - but not for those who like em young and fresh, you're gonna have to like the aged character of wine here. The nose is earthy and smoky with some balsamic-raspberry notes on both the nose and taste; that's how the palate kicks off before segueing into eathy-strawberry with more balsamic. As it sits in the glass the balsamic continues to intensify all the while throwing in dried fruits and earthy character ... the finish is dry and slightly oaky with little hits of vanilla that appear here and there. A lovely seven year old Pinot that's a delicious wine right now. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure
This is a disappointing bottle of wine and for so many reasons. The year was one of the best Ontario had seen to date and the grapes would have been perfect for making a great bottle of Merlot - but there was just something very off and very funky about this bottle. The best thing I can say about it is that there is some (stress on the word some) fruit in here and it's sweet and dried ... but other than that look out. There is volatile acidity running rampant (that's a smell of nail polish remover) and it never seems to let up. The packaging on this wine is quite striking, with it's metal plate front label and silver back label, but that's the only thing that is striking about this bottle - except maybe the fact that it strikes out ... only 6 years old and the fruit has faded and every seems over oaked, oxidized and, well, not very good. I expected so much more from this bottle and it let me down. If you have some let me know your thoughts but my bottle just didn't stand up. Lost & Found Rating: Trash
Here's a wine I was glad to have lost in my cellar, but the truth is I didn't really lose it I was waiting on it ... but finally, last night the waiting gave in to "gotta try it". I was suppose to be joining some fellow writers for dinner, but alas the weather did me no favours and I had to beg off - so I decided to open one of the bottles I had planned to open with them, and it just so happened to be this bottle of 2004 Chardonnay from Tawse. This is kind of a historical bottle, as it is one of the first Chardonnay's that was made chez Tawse, and if you are lucky enough to have one kicking around your cellar I would tell you that it might be the time to drink it. The nose started off very oaky and buttery, then turned a little funky with tomato stalk and asparagus notes - there was also the hint of tinned creamed corn. The palate followed up on some of what was on the nose, like the creamed corn, adding vanilla, butter, oak, hints of the stalky-vegginess (on occasion) - but for the most part the wine was creamy on the palate and well worth drinking. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure
Not sure how a bottle of 13th Street Riesling got lost in the cellar, let alone a bottle of 2004, but it did and now I find myself popping the cork on a snowy Saturday in late December. Not exactly the wine you would associate with pizza for dinner - but as it turns out the wine was picked before dinner was fully established ... as it turned out we decided to make a pizza delivery guy work (and drive in the snow) than moving ourselves to the kitchen and doing some work ourselves. As for the wine: I have to admit I was a little leery of the bottle because it had a super-saturated cork (at least three-quarters of the way up and was leaking - or at least the foil capsule was tough to pry off the top of the bottle. We deemed it okay to drink and then the fun started. There were hints of petrol on the nose and the finish was quite dry - even though the bottle declared it to be a semi-dry wine. The flavours were the most telling with citrus, in the form of lime, poached pears, honeyed peaches and apricots which all make an appearance on the mid-palate before the sweet and sour sensation of bruised green apple took over the finish. This was a lovely wine and showed great longevity (8 years) - especially for a wine with a leaky cork. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure
Every so often I come across a bottle that I am sure I have tasted before, but as I go through my website and notes I find that I have never put pen to paper about a specific bottle and I wonder what I did with the original notes. Most wines that end up in my wine cellar (especially if they are of Canadian origin) I have tasted before and thought they would be good candidates to lie down for a spell. But some do slip between the cracks ... This must have been one of those. But in truth I'm glad I "lost" this one because it made for an interesting tasting. This Meritage is from the hot 2002 vintage, which was a good one for reds here in Ontario. The blend, according to the back label is Merlot dominant at 42% - with the Cabernets: Sauvignon and Franc clocking in at 38 and 20 respectively. I also admit to aiding this one a little by using my VinOair aerator ... the result was a wine that exhibited cedar and earthy tones from the get go, but as one dove deeper into the wine we found that underneath its cedary-earthy exterior lay dried cherry and blackberry. Now, with some time in glass (about 45 minutes) the fruit that started off as dry had now proven to come alive with some cassis and black cherry notes. I also found some smoky bits that played on both the nose and palate, and then as more time passed cedar began to reassert itself back into the picture - but there was a certain sweet spot to this wine that came at about the one-hour mark and lasted for about an hour where everything was just right in the world with it ... by the end of the evening the wine showed its slow steady decline to the realm from whence it came: earthy and cedary ... but in the interim it had that period where it really showed its beauty. Now I can't wait to break int the 2005 version of the same wine, which seems to have reared it's head in the same place as the 2002 - which is why I figure this bottle got lost, it thought it was a 2005 (it can't be my fault after all. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure
Not all of us are lucky enough to try decade old wines ... nor are we all lucky enough to have such a creature in our own cellars (if you have one at all). I have been collecting wine now for over 15 years, and Ontario wine for just as long (if not longer), so I have some pretty interesting (and I'm sure expired) stuff down there. Thankfully, this Chateau des Charmes decade old Cabernet Franc was far from the expired list, in fact it showed well from start to finish. The nose kicked things off with dried cherry, dried blackberry and hints of vanilla-cedar. The plate proved just as inviting with mocha, dried cherry and some cedary notes. I was worried the cedar would start to take over but they seemed to be happy to linger in the background ... as the evening wore on things started to happen in the glass and especially on the palate: a dry smoky finish began to dominate; and there was some dried tobacco leaf notes (like picking bits off your tongue while smoking an unfiltered cigarette) ... the final analysis on my last sip, some 2 hours after opening, was this: tobacco, dried blackberry and black currants with a nice, relatively smooth, finish. This wine is showing exceptionally well for its age. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure