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Paul B.

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WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Paul B. » Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:46 pm

Henry of Pelham Family Estate Winery is Niagara's Baco Noir specialist. Not only are they a consistent producer of quality varietal Baco in the region—they actually produce three distinct releases of the varietal wine, all with slightly different oak aging regimens and fruit sourced from vines of different ages.

In reserve for today's New Year tasting is the Speck Family Reserve. It's the only one that I hadn't tasted up to now. It retails for $25 at Vintages and is available at select stores only.

This wine hails from the winery's original planting of Baco, dating back to 1984. That's interesting, because it means that the vines predate the whole VQA system under which the wine bears a "VQA Ontario" designation. Even though the wine technically hails from the Short Hills Bench appellation, VQA does not deem hybrids worthy of appellation-specific nomenclature—an absurdity, as wine writer David Lawrason rightly pointed out in his write-up on the wine.

The bottle is closed with an elegant, solid, top quality natural cork. The cork showed deep purple-black staining once pulled out, though only where it had been in contact with the wine, indicating a good seal.

The wine poured with a gorgeous, saturated black, cherry-mahogany hue which, in the glass, morphs into a weathered-sumac hue at the meniscus. At 13.5% alc./vol., good tear development can be seen along the inside of the glass (and is even visible in the picture at right).

The nose is deeply oaky, with big, bold, black-cherry fruit and prominent wood vanillins from the American oak. There is lengthy integration of bold oak and fruit. On the palate, lithe, bright acidity leads the way; the texture is dry and cleansing along the mid-palate and energetically lively into the finish. The flavours finish out with beets, red currants, a hint of dried tomatoes and just a tap of oak at the end.

Very well done, but bold and oaky in style. If you prefer less oak, try the winery's Old Vines release.

Happy New Year!
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by David M. Bueker » Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:51 pm

Happy new year Paul!

I thought about you over the holidays, when I had a quite tasty Chambourcin from Virginia.
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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Paul B. » Tue Jan 02, 2018 10:53 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:[...] when I had a quite tasty Chambourcin from Virginia.

I have found Chambourcin from the mid-Atlantic region to really shine best. We had a couple of wineries in Ontario which gave it a shot, but it was routinely sour and thin; I think it needs the longer growing season. Foch did fabulously in Ontario, however.
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Peter May

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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Peter May » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:56 am

I had this very wine at Ruth's Chris in Toronto on 25th Oct . It was gorgeous and perfectly complemented the filet mignon
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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Paul B. » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:30 am

Hi Peter,

Glad you liked it. Let me just say that I'm *not* liking what has happened to Pinotage in recent years. Coffee flavoured this, coffee flavoured that. It is no longer recognizable to me as Pinotage. I did have a light one from the Ken Forrester winery recently (in the States), and while it wasn't in that style, it was a very light wine. Nothing like Libertas or Zonnebloem of the early 2000s, which were my favourites.
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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:11 pm

Nice note Paul. I too avoid Pinotage, not on my horizon at all.
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Peter May

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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Peter May » Wed Jan 03, 2018 3:31 pm

Paul B. wrote:Hi Peter,

I'm *not* liking what has happened to Pinotage in recent years. Coffee flavoured .... .


Your view of 'what's happened' to Pinotage is skewed because you are unfortunately not free to buy what you like.

Your government monopoly has deemed that you want coffee-flavoured Pinotage and that's what they stock in LCBO.

Out of the nine Pinotages listed on the LCBO website, five -- more than half -- are the coffee style.

I can assure you that outside of the LCBO coffee-style Pinotages are a very small part of Pinotage and yet the brands stocked by LCBO make up most of them, I couldn't name another off the cuff but there may be one or two other brands.

Three of LCBO's coffee Pinotage brands were originally crafted by one man, Bertus 'Starbucks' Fourie who invented it when winemaker at Diemersfontein, then headhunted to make KWVs Cafe Culture, then went of to make his own Barista.

I should imagine you'd like KWVs Cathedral Cellar, ... but isn't there an organisation agitating to do away with LCBO's monopoly you could join?

Also, Del Gatto in PE County make a darn good Pinotage...
see http://www.pinotage.org/2017/11/visitin ... tario.html
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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Paul B. » Thu Jan 04, 2018 1:57 am

Peter May wrote:Your government monopoly has deemed that you want coffee-flavoured Pinotage and that's what they stock in LCBO.

Out of the nine Pinotages listed on the LCBO website, five -- more than half -- are the coffee style.

It seems that some letters to the buying panel advocating balanced sourcing are in order.

That's the dreadful aspect of a government monopoly: some unelected panel decides what you *may* buy. :x
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Peter May

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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Peter May » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:12 pm

Paul B. wrote:
VQA does not deem hybrids worthy of appellation-specific nomenclature—an absurdity, as wine writer David Lawrason rightly pointed out in his write-up on the wine.


Are you sure on this, Paul?

I have just bought three Pilliteri Ice Wines; Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Vidal. All three have the same appellation - Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA
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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Paul B. » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:18 pm

Peter May wrote:Are you sure on this, Paul?

I have just bought three Pilliteri Ice Wines; Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling and Vidal. All three have the same appellation - Niagara-on-the-Lake VQA

Yes. The VQA authors made an exception for ice wine (go figure; I see that as cynical...but not surprising).

Table wines made from hybrids are denied appellation-specific designation under VQA. Here's Lawrason's write-up, quoted on the LCBO's page (he didn't distinguish table wines from ice wines, but his comment is correct for all but the former): http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo/product/henry-of-pelham-speck-family-reserve-baco-noir-2015/461699
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Re: WTN: 2015 Henry of Pelham Speck Family Reserve Baco Noir

by Peter May » Mon Jan 08, 2018 8:19 am

THanks for the explanation. As I understand only a few hybrids are allowed VQA status, and if they are considered suitable exceptions then they should get all the VQA benefits, IMO.

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