Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hillebrand 2007 Trius Dry Riesling

Found July 2012

It's time for Hillebrand to redeem themselves in this column ... after finding a dreadful 2004 Riesling I thought I'd give them another chance with something from a much hotter vintage (a little unfair, especially when dealing with a Riesling).  This one fared much better.  The nose had developed a lot of petrol (usual in a hot year) with peach and lemon pith backing.  The taste had lime zest and pith, apple sauce and a little paraffin.  As the wine began to warm in the glass - as it is apt to do on a hot day - the wine gained more of an apple juice character.  Drinkable and fairly good, not great but good.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lailey Vineyard 2005 Cabernet Franc

Found July 2012

I find it surprising that in the 51 wine reviews I have done of Lailey wines over the years that I never got around to putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) for this one.  One, because I love Cabernet Franc and am a proponent of it being Ontario;s red grape - and two, winemaker Derek Barnett seems to know how to handle the grape quite well, especially if you look back at some of his Southbrook wines from the later 90's and early 2000's.  But all that, as they say, is water under the bridge.  2005 was a good vintage in ONtario and the longevity of the reds should be quite substantial, this one is now 7 years form vintage date and is starting to show that age, most by what it lacks instead of what it has.  The nose is dried cherry and tobacco; while the palate has lots of dried red fruit, most notably cranberry, well spiced and a touch on the woody side .. then we get to the finish, here we find a lack of any fruit at all and instead get a sweet wooden sensation on the tongue ... not exactly what I was looking for but then again, not totally unwelcome.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hillebrand 2004 Vineyard Select Riesling

Found July 2012

Of all the Lost and Found wines I have tried over the past few days I am the most shocked about this one ... it was a hot summer day and we were sitting on the back deck that`s when I had the thought "why not open up an older Riesling" ... what I got instead was a disjointed mess of a wine that had prematurely oxidize into something undrinkable.  The colour was deep and dark, like a rancid apple juice, and the smell was not much better.  This wine had developed a sickeningly sweet character that permeated the entire wine, there was a hint of apricot and pear if you dove deep enough, but that got enveloped so quickly by that sweetness that it ruined the entire experience of drinking this wine.  Four sips and I was done ... the wife took three less - I guess I`m just a glutton for punishment.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

Friday, July 6, 2012

Colchester Ridge Estate Winery 2005 Cabernet Franc

Found July 2012

This was the tale of two wines ... the wine we opened and the wine we ended up drinking, let me explain.  When first we popped the cork it showed some dark fruit but there was also a waft of underlying volatile acidity (VA), and it kept rising the more aeration we gave the wine, this characteristic also found its way onto the palate.  The second problem we discovered was that although the wine had a mediocre 12.9% alcohol level you could actually smell and taste it - the wine was hot.  10 minutes later a transformation occurred and the wine that we initially took for undrinkable hooch turned into something rather pleasant.  The dark fruit started to rise above the VA and took over as the dominant smell and taste, spice joined it and the alcohol seemed to settle so that it was not a hot mess. We also found dried cherry and a nice bit of tobacco from the mid-palate to the finish.  In the end we sat and sipped on a glass because there was some nice spiced-dark fruit on this well-balanced wine.  I knew we`d find a good one today.   Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable+

Kacaba Vineyards 2003 Cabernet Franc

Found July 2012

As you can see it was a big tasting day at my house in July (see two previous posts - Caroline and Riverview) ... I actually had a former employee of Kacaba over for a small tasting and we opened a few bottles of older Ontario wines to see how they were aging.  He was very excited to break into this bottle because he was working for the company at the time and was "quite familiar" with this bottle.  Upon opening the wine was just loaded with VA (volatile acidity = nail polish remover), and this did not seem to blow off as we had hoped.  In the spirit of tasting every wine, even the ones that show poorly on the nose, we took a few sips.  We found the wine to be too heavy in the oak department and very heavily spiced but it also lacked any kind of fruit characteristics what-so-ever ... it was all barrel all the time.  I did a few experiments to see if it was just time in bottle that had closed it up but it never did seem to open up ... what I did find was that a quick sip of the wine followed by a quick swallow made the wine almost palatable, but if you held it in your mouth for any length of time, or tried to aerate it it just ruined any pleasure you would derive from the wine.  Over the course of half an hour the wine turned sour and nasty, especially on the finish. In the end the wine lacked depth beyond its dry and woody flavours.  Hate to say it, but if you have this wine sitting around the house it's a mess, with no hope of getting better.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

Riverview Cellars 2004 Cabernet-Merlot

Found July 2012

After the horrible Caroline Cellars 2005 Franc debacle I had to open something else and this Riverview 2004 Cabernet-Merlot got the nod.  The nose is quite inviting with white pepper, dried cherries and some warming wood spice.  The palate is also holding up quite well, especially for a wine made in a less desirable year, with dried raspberries and strawberries taking charge on the mid-palate and flowing pleasantly across the tongue; the finish shows just a touch of wood spice.  It has become rather light in colour, but the fruit seems to be holding its own (if not a little on the drier side) and it drinks well now, but I would not wait too much long to enjoy it.     Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable 

Caroline Cellars 2005 Cabernet Franc

Found July 2012

Sometimes when I "find" a bottle in my cellar I think to myself, "I really hope this one is good" - this was the case when I found this bottle of '05 Franc from Caroline Cellars, I wanted so much for this wine to be good.  The problem is that it was sealed with a plastic cork and thus did not stand a snowball's chance in hell of aging - how I wish producer would put a warning on the label when they use such a closure.  Back in its day it was a bronze medal winner at the Toronto Wine and Cheese Show; and looking back at the vintage 2005 was a great year for red, which means it had good pedigree; but this wine was oxidized all to hell and had a nasty smell and taste reminiscent of paint thinner.  The bottle showed great promise as it was stained purple on the inside, but the colour in the glass came closer to tawny port than it did red wine ... just wished it had tasted more like tawny than what it did taste like.  If you are unfortunate enough to have any of this in your cellar might I suggest another use for this wine, like as drain or toilet cleaner.  Sorry Caroline Cellars, you get my lowest rating in this column and all because you decided to use plastic instead of real cork.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash