Monthly blind tasting lunch notes
2004 Duck Pond Pinot Gris –I’ve been less than impressed with some of the output of this Oregon winery, but this was juast dandy – minerals and some acid in nose, clean, dry and a good match with the albacore tartare and seared albacore with crème fraiche.
2002 Renaissance Viognier Sierra Foothills – I identified this as Viognier but couldn’t see it as a California wine. Tangerine nose, full mouth feel and just enough acidity for good balance.
1999 Patrick Javillier Meursault Les Tillets Cuvee Speciale – there was an initial lanolin element in the nose that blew off, leaving an indistinct non-varietal nose. It was a bit flabby in the middle and although it had decent terminal acidity, the wine lacked charm and interest. I wanted to like this one, but it was not to be.
1998 Panther Creek Pinot Noir – A nose that cried out pinot noir and an initial restraint that found me looking to France, yet the wine just kept opening and growing as it had time in the glass, until it could have been nothing but new world.. Some rubber in nose, but not objectionably, and good fruit, big in the mouth and good length. I’m sorry I didn’t peruse the bottle and note the details of this – the person that brought it said it had been $85 Can., so it must have been one of the cuvees that sell in the $0s in the US, not the basic pinot but one of the reserves or single vineyard wines.
1997 Thirty Bench Reserve Blend – bit of cocoa and mint in the nose, and dark fruit, a little sweaty horse, ridden hard and put away wet, lots of extract, and a green note near the end that I correctly deduced must mean a cab franc component. This big 14.5% alcohol Bordeaux blend was quite good and there was no way we were able to place it in Ontario. Perhaps the best showing of any Ontario wine I’ve tasted.
1997 Finca Valpiedra Rioja Reserva – a single vineyard Rioja from Martinez Bujanda, this a leathery nose (suede, I think and good acidity. There were a fair bit of tannins yet, but soft and it drinks well now. Not sure how long it will hold.
1998 Cuvee Mythique – this Vin de Pays d’Oc is a blend of the usual grapes, Syrah etc., and is usually quite good, but this one was the exception. Medium coloured with a hint of plum in the nose, but not a lot happening, dill in the mouth, lean on palate and slightly bitter at the end. A bad bottle or just a wine that is too old?
1982 La Lagune – instant recognition of the Bordeaux nose, the wine is elegant but has sufficient stuffing to carry it quiet a few years. It shows good fruit and ends softly. It is definitely time to find the case of this I have stashed somewhere and start getting into it – drinking beautifully now.
2003 Abeja Cabernet – a Washington State offering I was not familiar with. down in the Columbia Valley, operated with technical assistance from Zelma Long. Sweet bright fruit in the nose, and juicy fruit in the mouth, a ‘very berry’ sort of cab that needs some time.
1993 Leonetti Merlot – the colour on this one is medium garnet with a nose of sweet cassis and cocoa. The wine was quite balanced and harmonious and finished with soft tannin and a slight bit of heat. I don’t think this will improve and should be drunk over the next 2-3 years.
1997 St. Francis Merlot Reserve – I used to drink a fair bit of this winery’s zin, but you always had to be in the mood for a ‘woodie’ as they tend to favour oak in the mix. This wine had a bizarre nose that is hard to describe – a sort of men’s locker room after the game sort of thing that was decidedly off-putting and fortunately blew away after awhile. The wine had a good entry but tailed off a little quickly, was full bodied and ripe.
Quinta do Valle Donna Maria Reserve Port Lot 01 – single vineyard wine bottled one year short of being entitled to call itself a crusted Port, the wine was close to black – you really had a hard time seeing through it. The nose was sweet and hot with some pepper and jam and in the mouth it was only medium sweet, which I thought a definite advantage, and not as heavy as a vintage Port can be. Nice weight for a luncheon Port or a dinner one when you don’t need anything too heavy duty. Well done Cristiano and at a good price!