Tasting notes: Le Clos Jordanne, Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard 2006 chardonnay and pinot noir, Twenty Mile Bench

I’ve been a fan of Le Clos Jordanne wines since their first release, the 2004 vintage, two years ago. Made from young vines, they may not have had the depth of great wines, but they certainly showed the promise. It was terrific to taste pinot noir that from the Niagara that had such a clear sense of place and such a remarkable balance and restraint.

This certainly has a lot to do with…

To read the rest of this review, go to winecase.ca, the new home for The Wine Case blog. New updates are now all on winecase.ca.

Advertisements

Tasting note: Masi Campofiorin 2005, Rosso del Veronese IGT

It’s always interesting – and often fun – to re-taste wines you enjoyed often, a while back, but had somewhat set aside and forgotten.

That’s what happened to me when a good friend of mine brought me a bottle of Masi Campofiorin, a unique wine from the Veneto, in Northern Italy. When I first started drinking wine seriously, in the early 90s…

The rest of this tasting note is now on this blog’s new address, winecase.ca. Click here to read it in its new location.

Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 9:30 am  Comments (5)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Pinot chocolat? Won’t those New Zealanders stop at anything?

For a guy like me who loves the most natural wines, New Zealand is often a disappointment, with wines that are pure products of modern oenology.

But I never thought the doctoring would go as far as this: Kim Crawford’s Pinot Chocolat, for which cocoa bean extract was added to the tank at the moment of fermentation. That, for me, completely takes the cake. I mean, what is wine coming to?

The only thing I don’t get about this whole operation, is why Kim Crawford didn’t think of using the USBWine network to allow us to taste the Pinot Chocolat. Instead, they’ve used a virtual tasting system that is clearly not as effective. 

The pinot chocolat, released on April 1, is a great match for a traditional English dessert called a… fool.

If you find a bottle, let me know.

And in the meantime, if you’d like a wine that’s less of a joke, why not try the 2007 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay, a modern wine, yes, but one where citrus flavors, peach notes and a little caramel on the nose combine in a fresh, quaffable drink. A very decent bottle, and a good match with grilled fish or hard cheeses. 

Full disclosure: I received the chardonnay as a press sample. But not the pinot chocolat.

The California Wine Fair is back already

A year can sure go by fast. It’s spring in Canada, and time for the California Wine Fair again. I even missed the Western Canada dates (sorry guys), and barely caught up with it on time for the East Coast part of the tour.

It’s no April Fool joke. Ottawa gets its turn this Wednesday, April 1, at the Westin Hotel, just a stone’s throw from Parliament Hill. Montreal is next on the list on April 2nd, and the event is as a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, while Quebec City’s Fair, on Friday, April 3rd, will benefit the Fondation Cardinal-Villeneuve, which seeks to help people with physical handicaps.

After that, it’s Toronto on April 6 and Halifax on April 8.

You can get the full details right here. As well as the list of participating wineries for each city. The list varies, but includes the likes of Heitz Cellars, Calera, Seghesio, Ravenswood, Bonny Doon, Bonterra, Kenwood, Hahn Estates, L’Aventure, Hess Collection, Jordan, to name only a few. 

While I’m at it, I should mention that the New Zealand Wine Fair will also come to Canada this spring. A first event took place on March 24 in Edmonton (sorry again), but the others will be in late May in Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver. The list of participating producers is not out yet, so we’ll come back to this closer to the event date.

Tasting Note: Two viogniers from the North

If you’ve had wines made from the viognier grape, there is a very good chance that they came from warm, if not hot climates, and exploded with aromas and flavors of tropical fruit, over a rich, luscious mouthfeel. Acidity, crispness, freshness? Not so much.

Yet there is another way to make viognier. A more northerly way, like the direction pointed to by Peay Vineyards, one of my favorite vineyards, who make a tiny bit of it in their cool Sonoma Coast vineyards. Syrah is picked as late as the last week of October, at the Peay vineyards, and without the high sugar and high alcohol that you normally see in California syrah.

What would be the perfect place to test the possibilities of cool-climate viognier? Canada, I would say.

Case in point, (more…)

Wine Blogging Wednesday 55: North vs South – a bipolar roundup

It’s always fascinating to see the many ways people can interpret a proposition. So what did the participants in the 55th Wine Blogging Wednesday make of this idea of confronting North vs South?

From Michigan Riesling to Tasmania Pinot Noir, from Spanish Garnacha to Tennessee Chambourcin, there sure were a lot of possible pairings (and threesomes, and foursomes) put together by the 33 participants who took up the challenge. Three of those, I’m happy to say, were first timers in the world of Wine Blogging Wednesday (this one, this one and this one), showing how the concept is still going strong and breaking new ground. (more…)

The sweeter side of things: check out The Tawny Times

While I’m waiting for the latecomers to Wine Blogging Wednesday 55 to send in their posts, so I can prepare my round-up, I rummaged through my tasting notes from the Salon des vins de Québec, and decided to put a bit of them online… on another blog.

But Rémy, you may ask, don’t you have enough already with The Wine Case and that French blog of yours? In fact, yes, but when you get a really sweet offer…

The sweet offer in question (more…)

WBW 55 Trial Run: North vs South in Radio-Coteau pinots

Periodically, I’m grabbed by the urge to pull a bottle out of the cellar, unplanned and by itself, not for a meal or special occasion. That’s how I wound up pulling out a 2005 Savoy pinot noir by Radio-Coteau, Eric Sussman‘s winemaking operation in Forestville, California.

Sussman, who started Radio-Coteau in 2002, learned the trade in Washington State before heading to Bordeaux and especially to Burgundy in the mid-1990s. After four years at Dehlinger, he started collecting 90+ scores from just about every wine writer of influence. Descriptions got me so excited that I even ordered a case for myself all the way out to Quebec. A costly proposition, just counting the import taxes. But it was worth it, especially for the La Neblina, which remains one of the finest, most subtle and well-focused California  pinots I’ve had.

Beyond providing a satisfying drink, the Savoy, sourced from a vineyard in Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley, also provided a clear example of what I’m aiming for with the theme for Wine Blogging Wednesday 55: North vs South.

The Neblina and the Savoy I’ve had are two wines from the same vintage, same variety and the same producer, the only difference being vineyard location – and perhaps the farming practices in each vineyard – single vineyard for the Savoy, two different ones for the Neblina, one in Annapolis, and the other one along Gravenstein Highway, west of Sebastopol.

A quick look at a map (more…)

Tasting Note: See Ya Later Ranch Ping 2006, Okanagan Valley VQA

Fruit, fruit, fruit, and also a bit more fruit. That was certainly my first impression of this Bordeaux blend made by See Ya Later Ranch, a Vincor-owned estate located about mid-way between Lake Okanagan and Lake Osoyoos in the Okanagan Valley. Named after the estate’s historical owner’s way of signing off letters, the ranch was originally planted with grapes some 60 years ago, although its current vineyards and estate were established in 1995 by Harry McWatters, a virtual legend of BC’s wine industry.

There was all kinds of fruit in there, from strawberry jam to raspberries, cherries and blackberries, all very attractive. With 57% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Cabernet Franc, this particular blend certainly had the means to be fruit-forward, although as it opened up, it did show more spice and vanilla (from 18 months in oak, no doubt), and eventually coffee notes, with a fair amount of tannins on the finish.

The alcohol level, however, (more…)

Wine Blogging Wednesday 54: How do I love Piedmont? Let me count the ways

There are so many good things about Piedmont that I could hardly have been more excited about the 54th edition of the Wine Blogging Wednesday. David McDuff’s theme, A Passion for Piedmont, was really my kind of thing.

I love just about everything about Piedmont, in every color and style. Recently, I wrote about Moscato, this Northern Italian region’s sweet little treasure, which I can’t get enough of. I keep going back to barbera, with its refreshing acidity and bright fruit that makes it such a terrific food wine. And the Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo from the 1998 vintage remains one of my best wine tasting memories ever: incredible depth, intensity, yet subtlety and softness as well.

Just last week, (more…)