Monday, October 26, 2009

Southbrook Winery 1998 Riesling Icewine

Found October 2009

Tonight a bottle of 11 year old Southbrook Riesling Icewine was opened in my presence, and whenever an interesting bottle is opened in my presence I feel I must report on it. The cork glided out of the bottle with barely a whimper and a quick inspection of the cork showed a caking of tartaric crystals, I assured everyone that this was an okay thing. The smell was of burnt caramel nut clusters while the taste was sweet candied dried fruit with pecans in a caramel toffee sauce ... the aftertaste, following the swallowe, produced a rusty apple on the rather long finish. To put this wine into a context you might be able to understand, the wine was similar in consistency and colour of a Pedro Ximenez based cream sherry (thick and syrupy), and just as dark. An intersting piece of Ontario's, and Southbrook's, history. Lost & Found Rating: Tolerable, but in very small amounts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Southbrook 1999 Triomphe Merlot - Lailey Vineyard

Found October 2009

To say I enjoyed this wine is an understatement. Heck, to say I really enjoyed this wine would also be an understatement ... this was a fantastic wine. I found this 10 year old Merlot in my wine cellar while doing some re-arranging (I do that every so often, it re-familiarizes me with what I have, let's me see bottles I never knew I had - and some I wish I didn't). Those who have followed my Lost and Found column know that when I first really got into wine Southbrook was my "local" winery; they started out in the Richmond Hill area (only 30 minutes north of Toronto - 20 if you drove quickly). So I seem to have a treasure trove of old Southbrook bottles in my collection. The reason for that is that both Bill Redelmeier (owner) and then winemaker, Derek Barnett, who were often found manning the wine store counter, would always talk about the age-ability of their wines. And they weren't just whistling Dixie with this one. There is so much going on in this wine at this age it really is hard to describe completely. There's still fruit, most of it dried, and hints of green pepper; one moment your tasting the dried fruit and the green pepper pokes in for a sip, then there's some oak influence that takes over, then a spicy character comes through with his friend herb, and near the end of the glass (some 2 hours later) I could have sworn I had chocolate, black cherry and butterscotch caramel in my mouth. Now granted there was some dustiness to those flavours, but they were there, dry and smooth as silk. Anybody who doubts the age-worthiness of Ontario wine should really check out what Southbrook was making in the late 90's, then come back to me and we'll talk. Lost & Found Rating: Treasure +

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Moutain Road Wine Company 2002 Reserves: Cabernet and Cabernet Franc

Found October 2009

Tonight it was a two-fer finding, two Mountain Road Reserves from the great 2002 vintage. It didn't start out to be a two-fer evening, granted I found both bottles at the same time, but I figured I'd try one tonight and one tomorrow. I opened the 2002 Cabernet Franc Reserve first, and good thing I did. There was a funny smell emanating from the glass, then it hit me, volatile (nail polish) mingled with green pepper. I tried to decant the wine, and then I waited a bit, hoping it would blow off, but it never did - even 4 hours later it still hung on in the glass that I left on the counter. And just because I am "that kind of guy" I tasted it and received a mouthful of green pepper shellacked in nail polish. Not as nice as it sounds, trust me.

Therefore, it was with a little trepidation that I opened the next bottle, the 2002 Cabernet Reserve. I can only assume this is a blend of Cabs, Sauvignon and Franc, because there is nothing written on the label as to the make up of the wine or the percentages. This one showed a touch of volatility, but the red berries, sweet vanilla oak and chocolate liqueur over took that. Decanting helped to rid the wine of its minor fault. Tasting proved it to be sweet in the mouth with cranberry cocktail flavours on the mid-palate. The wine still tasted fresh, had lively acidity and a long pleasant finish, which had a bit of raisiny sweetness to it. The colour was good too: red with the barest hint of browning. Delightful, and it got better as the night wore on. Lost & Found Rating: Cabernet Reserve - Treasure; Cabernet Franc Reserve - Trash