Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Many Joys of Tinhorn Creek (BC)

It is always a wonderful thing to be able to drink and taste fine wines at the end of a business day. How much better could it be then if tasting wine was your business day? Well... I'm not there yet, but just maybe, if I keep up the hard work...
Tinhorn Creek ( )put on a brilliant wine tasting tonight! Not only did Sandra Oldfield (winemaker) keep the atmosphere casual & exciting, but the entire staff was full of life & vibrancy. Wines full of depth, high-energy music, and a room full of people @ the CBC who wanted nothing more than to enjoy yet another glass. Well done Tinhorn Creek, you've made another convert or three.
Pinot Gris, $14.50
  • ultra pale in the glass with light legs
  • I found the nose grassy with a touch of waxiness
  • sharp palate, this has full acids with notes of lime-citrus & mildly garrigue

Vibrant - this was a brilliant way to start: it opened everyone's palates & made me excited to try more.

Chardonnay, $17

  • the color of pale straw with a hint of lemon
  • refreshing nose of floral, apricot-stonefruit & a touch of minerality
  • crisp full acids, sharp minerality came through immediately on the palate with some young stonefruit & citrus at the end

I never would have guessed Chardonnay. The winemaker has created her own zingy interpretation & what a wonderful way to start a meal. Try it like a Macon - with your richer cream based dishes & soft brie.

Oldfield Series 2-Blend White, $23

  • once again, I found this very pale in the glass
  • moderately intense nose of buttery stonefruit - which almost made me think of a Californian Chardonnay (without the oak)
  • moderately intense acids with lots of lime, young stonefruit, melon & green apple

I found myself comparing this alot to one of the predominant varietals in the blend; the Chardonnay (31%). But - then the 1-3% Muscat comes along in the nose and gives you some lush fruit & wild florals. Interesting blend with a variety of food pairing options. Grilled spot prawns anyone?

Gewurztraminer, $17

  • almost transparent in the glass
  • a full, huge Gewurztraminer nose; roses, lush stonefruit, lychee
  • moderate+ acids... very crisp with a palate of grapefruit & stonefruit. Not what I would expect, the body was light & the acids quite high

This surprised me as well. I've never had Tinhorn wines before (except the Late Harvest Kerner which is brilliant), and haven't had a Gewurztraminer that was so acidic - so sharp and aggressive. I must admit that although it's not my particular taste, I found it invigorating & once again, would see it pairing wonderfully with rich seafood. Try butter poached crab/lobster.

Pinot Noir, $19

  • moderate cherry/garnet center with moderate legs
  • moderate+/full- intense nose of PINOT NOIR! Beautifully rich cherry, strawberry & cherry blossom. Lovely layers & a joy to savor
  • moderate+ acids, moderate+ tannins - I found the tannins a bit chewy (John Schreiner advises decanting - ) a perhaps they got in the way of the fruit a bit. Notes of leather, mild cigar box, dried apples & cranberries

Cabernet Franc, $18 **Buy this Now!**

  • a moderate garnet centre with a cherry rim & moderate legs
  • moderate++ Merlot nose. Please forgive me, but that's how I explain it - it was ripe plums & blackberry and all I could think was "Merlot" - but it isn't (lol)
  • moderate acids were balanced by moderate++ tannins which were also chalky & chewy. Rich flavors of cherry, blackberry & black currant... I wanted to drink this all night

A luscious wine. Moderate+ body with a dynamically strong structure, I think this wine drinks superbly well now (decant decant decant) - or let it sit for a few years & open a treasure! This reminded me of Beni di Batasiolo Barolo... a wine for sitting and thinking.

Merlot, $18

  • deep garnet center with the slightest strawberry rim
  • moderate+ intense nose of deep earth, baie rouges & plums
  • moderate+ acids with moderate++/full- tannin (chalky/chewy). Flavors of blackberry & black currant

A moderate+ body and long structure - I felt another few years might soften the tannins enough to allow more fruit to showcase. Others have simply opened the bottle and drunk it slowly over 5 days! Well, another reason to use the decanter.

Oldfield Merlot, $28 **Excellent Value**

  • deep garnet center with a pronounced cherry/brick rim
  • soft & sophisticated dark berry nose with a touch of pepper
  • moderate+ acids with moderate++ tannin. Fully intense flavors of dark berries & a hint of spicy dark chocolate

This reminded me of full bodied Australian reds from the Barossa Valley. Perhaps that shows my lack of training, but there it is. Excellent structure, I would drink this any day of the week, and share it only with people I like (which is just about everyone - lol).

Oldfield Syrah, $35

  • deep, deep garnet center with very little rim
  • fully intense nose with lilies, plums & hot alcohol
  • full acids & moderate+ tannins.... the fully intense flavors in this wine threw me off... I noted very sharp acids, currants & cranberries

My palate failed me here I assume. No excuses - I thought it was Gamay Noir with it's high acids & light to moderate body... forgive me, but I obviously learn from mistakes. It has an excellent structure and felt completely refreshed by it, but alas - I missed all of the beauty and poetry that so many have noted in this fine example of crafts(wo)manship.

So a wonderful evening. The grand unveiling of this blind tasting was done by 7pm (online & live on Twitter!) and I was home by 8:30 to go through my notes. What a truly lovely selection of wines. Rich, vibrant reds & uniquely crafted whites, all with character, and all with reasonable price points: all of the regular wines are under $20 and the Oldfield series are $35 and under. It's value for your money & I look forward to seeing the next development where some wines will be held at the winery for an extra 12 months... when do we taste the 2008 Pinot Noir?

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