Monday, June 28, 2010

Sonoran Estates, Summerland, BC


Sonoran estate wineries ( http://www.sonoranestate.com/ ) was a welcome stop on our week long stay in the Okanagan last August. It was over 30C and Mrs Astudentofwine and I had been driving all day, tasting more then a little wine, and needing some respite from the road.

Then we found this brilliant winery in the low hills above Summerland; the patio faces the lake with un-interrupted views and constant breezes. The interior of the wineshop is cool, warmed by the inviting staff, and host to a horde of inexpensive and delicious wines. Now they have a chef, cooking classes, a modest b&b... we have a bottle of their Kerner Icewine that we savored at the end of a long evening of barbeque with family and Belgian chocolate.

A sommeliers natural habitat: finding the perfect wine to balance fine food and great company.

2005 Sonoran Estate "Full Moon" Kerner Icewine
13.6%, $16 (approximately) **Excellent Value**
  • soft golden hues
  • vibrant, fully intense nose of Solera system sherry; lots of raisins, dried apricot, dried apples & butter
  • moderate++ acids balance the 4 sweetness, moderate+ intense palate that mimics the nose almost completely... with a long finish of wild roses not found on the nose
  • full bodied, moderate alcohol, very very good structure
This is a beautiful wine that is still developing (IMHO). Don't serve with sweet desserts! Think of it with a savory appetiser like foie gras (yes - like Sauternes but not $100 a bottle). After dinner? Perhaps with a ricotta cannoli, pumpkin ricotta cheesecake, or just some brilliant cheeses! I drank it a year ago, and since then it has grown new layers if memory serves. I look forward to trying more from this decidedly undervalued winery.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mt. Boucherie, West Kelowna





Finally the summer heat has started to arrive: 25C this afternoon in downtown Vancouver, but, unfortunately, no sun. But still... even with the grey skies, the warmth was a welcome reprieve. What a perfect day for a carbonara risotto & a glass of riesling!

How fortunate then, that Mrs Astudentofwine and I stopped at Mt Boucherie, West Kelowna last August. We were welcomed by friendly and generous staff, and sampled several wines... this was the one we took home, just because one day I knew it would come in handy.

Today was that day.




2007 Estate Collection Riesling, Mt Boucherie (West Kelowna, BC)
13%, $15 **excellent value**
**Silver @ 2009 Canadian Wine Access Awards
  • very pale straw-gold color
  • full- intense nose of pineapple, golden apples, Anjou pear
  • 0 dryness, moderate++ acids (well balanced and long structure), moderately intense flavors of young peach, crabapple, pear (orchard fruit) - even a touch of floral at the end of the palate
This crisp and vibrant wine has alot of acid, but well balanced acids (as I said). Pairs excellently with the mildly creamy risotto we had tonight. It would be excellent just sipping on a hot afternoon with fresh bread and brie, or after dinner with a rich gelato croissant (if you've never had one - you've missed out). Brilliant wine for the money!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Errazuriz (wines) Strike Back!



I've preached about the wonders of Errazuriz before; honestly one of - if not the best value Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc I've ever bought was from them, and it was only $14 CAN. So my younger brother and his long-time sweetheart came into town for dinner with Mrs Astudentofwine and I, and imagine my surprise when we walked into our local BCLCB specialty store & saw an entire shelf of Errazuriz wines! http://www.errazuriz.com/

First on our plate (literally) was the Sauvignon Blanc with boursin cheese, rice crackers (for me the celiac) and a vegetarian antipasto.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, 13.5%, 91 Points by Wine & Spirits Magazine
$14 CAN **excellent value**
  • vibrant lemony gold color, moderate++ intense bouquet of exotic fruits, wild flowers & mild citrus notes
  • moderate+ acids, phenomenal balance for such a modestly priced wine! palate matches the nose exactly
  • serve as I did with your first course: the acids are enough to wake the palate, yet not so much as to make difficult to sip on it's own. I also paired with main course of Meaux mustard, maple and garlic grilled pork tenderloin & it was divine


Then we moved onto the Max Reserva Syrah. Little did I know that Errazuriz has gone green by decreasing the weight of their wine bottles by 14%! Every little step we all make is making a positive step - right?

Anyways - the Syrah is hand picked, and aged for 12 months in new French oak. It also won the Grand M├ędaille d’Or at the SAQ in April 2010. The world is starting to talk about this family that is celebrating 140 years of continuous wine making in Chile.

2007 Max Reserva Syrah, 14.5% $20 **excellent value**
D.O. Valle de Aconcagua
  • deep violet and bruised plum color
  • bouquet of hot alcohol, violets, leathery oak, blood, gamey meat, chalky soil
  • moderate++ acids, full tannins, fully intense palate that matches the nose brilliantly
  • This was a fantastic wine that will only get better! Buy it now - buy a case, then pull out a new bottle every 3 months to watch it develop. Great structure already, and a fully satisfying balance, there are enough tannins and acids to see this drinking well for another 3 to 5 years easily (IMHO)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sainte Roseline, Provence




I love this time of year! Summer is the season to grill meats, sit under the sun, and have long talks over cold drinks. That is, unless you live in Vancouver. Today's daytime high? 12C. Wow - I've seen warmer in January, seriously.

So instead of the usual summer fair, we ended up with a roaring fire in the fireplace, and red wine as we watched an old movie. Molasses barbequed chicken, garlicky potatoes & basil-balsamic marinated grilled asparagus & portobello mushrooms. I would like to say that I cooked like this because it was a special occassion - but then - every night with my wife is a special occassion...

Celebrate yours.


2006 Roseline "Prestige" rouge (Syrah, Cabernat Sauvignon, Carignan)
by Chateau Sainte-Roseline, 13.5%, $15 **excellent value**
  • fully intense nose, with leathery oak, cigar box & pencil shavings, gamey bloody notes throughout
  • moderate++ acids balanced by full tannins, flavors match the nose, with the oak showing through quite strongly
  • pair this with food! Strong acids and tannins make me crave a little fat with this wine... at first I wanted to pair it with grilled meats, but more and more I came to the notion of the perfect marriage: a grilled bacon, tomato & aged cheddar sandwich. Great wine with a very good structure for the money, long developed palate and decent balance. But really, decant for an hour & serve with food or it can be a bit much.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Alban Vineyards, a viognier to remember

Just a few months ago, there was a wonderful wine tasting for media & industry at Marquis Wine Cellar (http://www.marquis-wines.com/ ). I was fortunate enough to be invite by John Clerides, owner & patron saint, and still remember with fondness several of the delightful wines sampled that evening.

One in particular was the Alban vineyards Viognier (http://www.albanvineyards.com/ ). Now this varietal has quite a story, from being of one the most widely planted in the Rhone region of France to being virtually extinct only 20 years ago. One man, a mister John Alban, literally doubled the amount of Viognier being planted worldwide by himself. A dramatic raise from 50 acres to over 100 acres if my research is correct.

So John Alban. Rhone style varietals grown and blended by a master-craftsman in the Central Coast AVA in California, and by Californian standards, at very reasonable rates. Consider this little gem...



2007 Alban Vineyards "Central Coast" Viognier
by John Alban, winemaker, 14.9%, $38 CAN **very good value
  • moderately intense notes of honeysuckle, floral citrus, melon & orchard fruit
  • moderate++ acids, well balanced by an exceedingly long structure comparing admirably to the nose. A touch more citrus on the palate, and far less exotic fruit and floral than is found in the "Estate" Viognier for $70 CAN
  • this wine softens at the end of the palate, allow more buttery notes to come forward. Expect papaya, tangerine, rich Gala apples to appear after the acids have calmed down. Pair this with fish that have some fat to them such as grilled salmon. Absolutely natural marriage. Also consider veal with roasted chestnuts and cream reduction - seems odd, but both would bring brilliant notes from this richly structured wine.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Macon white wines

Oh what a web we weave, when at first we start studying wine... a new wine and a new region for me, at least, so I thought. Maconnais, Burgundy produces the most prolific white wines in France. 42 villages all producing excellent table wines; and some of them I already know! Such as.... Pouilly Fuisse; a 100% Chardonnay barrel aged for one year then aged in bottle for another two years. I like me the Pouilly Fuisse!

     So when I walked into my local speciality BCLDB and the product consultant there told me I should try some Macon with our dinner of pasta carbonara, I thought: "Ok. He's a pretty savvy wine-guy."

Vendanges 2006 Terra Incognita
Macon Villages, 13%, $24 **good value**

  • fully intense buttery oak on the nose, candied banana, pineapple, a floral like daffodils or maybe peonies

  • moderate acids, moderate+ body, moderate+ intense flavors of meyer lemon, pineapple tartness, orchard fruit

  • so a decent little wine... much better value in London @ about $15 (CAN). It's a table wine, and a good one at that. The nose doesn't match the palate, which is a shame, but it shows good structure and fine balance - a worthwhile contender for summer afternoons on the deck
2006 Macon-Villages Chardonnay
by Georges DuBoeuf, 12.5%, $16 **EXCELLENT VALUE**

  • fully intense bouquet; dandelions & summer flowers, Anjou pears, golden apples, more buttery oakiness, soft-rich-meyer lemon forever

  • moderate acids (start very soft and develop on the palate), moderate flavors that duplicate the nose. Are you reading this DJ? **grin** Excellent craftsmanship

  • wonderful wine. Perhaps the palate isn't as developed as one would want, but in an under $20 wine I find it brilliant value. Long structure becomes a tad bitter at the end... try this wine with your afternoon brie & baguette. Some apricot compote will bring more richness from the wine.

     And so ends a small tasting of the wines of Macconais. With value like this, I'm looking forward to the next tasting!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alamos, wines of Catena

Oh for one brief shining moment of Summer... and then it's here! Last night the rain cleared off about dinner time and, as we had friends over, we decided to light the outside fireplace and have a barbeque. Well one thing led to another and before we knew it, we had been outside for 5 hours and more then one bottle of wine.

But the first bottle of wine, the wine that started the beautiful evening was a lovely little chardonnay. Simple, easy drinking, and full of enough layers and structure that it was a pleasure to drink on its own or with some simple appetizers.




2008 Alamos Chardonnay $13 **excellent value**
Mendoza, Argentina

  • rich golden hues - think light amber

  • fully intense nose filled with pear, melon, slight minerality, vanilla from the oaking - which is significant but doesn't overwhelm the fruit (on the nose)

  • moderate++ acids kick off a young stonefruit palate, rife with lemony citrus notes. The oaking once again is quite evident, but as I love fume blanc, I love this wine. People who don't like oak should probably take a pass on this one.
     So - moderate 10% cream body, 13.5% alcohol that is warm on the palate, but in a pleasant way. Good structure for $13 - actually I take that back. EXCELLENT structure for $13! I just tasted a room full of $20 wines that didn't have this kind of craftsmanship. It's a shame that the oak hides the fruit a bit on the palate, but - like I said - if you like a fume blanc....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Silk Scarf


Oh to find good wine... what a lucky man is he who discovers a new winemaker making wine in his or her own inimitable way. With joy. With passion. With the true love of the craft. How lucky to find that winemaker before your friends do, and then buy that wine for far far less then you know it deserves to be sold for!


I was so lucky, but then I blew it. I told everyone I knew about this brilliant winery in Summerland, BC: Silk Scarf. Their Pinot Noir? Lord in Heaven - one of the best I've ever had from BC.


But today is a day for Viognier. The sun soared over Vancouver with bright, fluffy little clouds skirting hither and thither. I made a fire in the outside fireplace, lit a Cohiba Esplendido, read a little and watched the world pass me by. Then my wife and I opened the Silk Scarf Viognier with a salade Nicoise and, for a moment, were at peace.


2008 Silk Scarf Viognier $23 **BUY THIS NOW**



  • full, absolutely full bouquet of melons, pineapple, guava, orchard fruit... giving way to soft rich florals like Tiger Lilies gone wild... layered, buttery. I wonder, can I buy a potpourri like this?


  • moderate++ acids are balanced by a buttery, 10% cream kind of texture, with layers of flavor: crisp pineapple open followed by the citrusy-lemony-grapefruity acids washing the palate. The come lush orchard fruit; I just bite into an Anjou pear, and then a compote of Gala apples, and now at the end I'm left with the barest whisper of that floral.


  • Time to drink it again.

Well we served it with a Salade Nicoise, but it has enough acid to balance it against butter poached seafood. I could serve it with Coquilles St Jacques, steamed spot prawns, the possibilities don't end. That's the relationship between wine and food that I adore: great wine inspires great food. And vice versa.


Cin-cin! Slainte!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rogue WetBar Opens!







So tonight was the opening of a new watering hole: Rogue Wetbar. Situated in arguably the most central location of Vancouver, it's a classy joint in a classy building.














These guys were finishing up just as we walked in the door. Wow - I've been through opening days before and it's nerve-wracking. Hats off to them though, they pulled it off and apparently without a hitch.












Incredibly friendly staff - very attentive. There was a line-up for the 5:00pm opening and it seems as though the rebranding is going to be a success if the attention of the locals is anything to judge by.












Brilliant room! Lots of light, exposed brick - lots of kitch, bling, pattern, color. This is a room designed (IMHO) to be fun! There are lots of floor-to-ceiling "drapes" the give the illusion of privacy at tables... even the pitcher cocktails I saw at the next table looked nicer then the $14 pricetag would inspire one to believe.












One of the coolest menus I've ever seen, bar none. I am truly impressed. Brilliant design whoever came up with that one.

Neat looking food, but I was a bit let down when I found out that there was nothing I could eat from the appetizers except for nachos (Celiac UnFriendly). I couldn't even eat the fries... too bad - they have a fry trio for $8 with (a) gorgonzola & bacon cream, (b) traditional poutine & (c) truffle oil & parmesan cheese. Oh My.





Did I mention they have 20 beers & ales on tap? And not Coors but micro-brews the lot of them... oh to be an Irishman in Rogue Wetbar.

I'm a winedrinker these days though, and so was happy to see 3-3fl oz samplers for a great price. Imagine my surprise when there was no price on the menu! Ah well, a small error I hope will me amended. (My 3 wine sampler was $16)




WINE A
Veramonte "Riserva" Chardonnay, Casablanca Valle, Chile
  • moderate intense nose of bright, fresh, buttery melon with minerality and pears
  • moderate++ acids, balanced by moderately intense flavors of melon, crabapple, lemon and lime
  • a moderate+ body with strong alcohol, these rich flavors need great food like melted brie! Raclette anyone?

WINE B

Quail's Gate Gamay Rose, West Kelowna, BC **Try this wine ASAP**

  • fully intense bouquet of strawberries, rhubarb, blackberry & rich summer flowers
  • moderate++ acids are quite crisp but not overwhelming. moderately intense flavors match the nose perfectly. Excellent craftsmanship.
  • light body - I would choose to drink this wine on it's own in the summer heat, or pair it with subtle foods such as chevre, cold poached prawns or a duck galentine

WINE C

Vina Maipo Carmenere-Cabernet Sauvignon, Valle Central, Chile

  • a moderately intense nose that needed some coaxing, but opened to plums, blackberry, chalky soil, mild leather and tobacco
  • moderate(+) acids balanced barely by moderate tannins (quite smooth from the price). Full flavors of strawberry, saskatoon, plums with a touch of jalapeno spice
  • I found the acids a bit over-the-top, and would only serve it with food. Try with the biggest, baddest, fattest burger you can get - almost like Rogue planned this?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Valle Las Acequias, the richness of Malbec

Vancouver, BC: city by the water. It's the first week of June and the winds are whipping down from the local mountains; thick with rain and cold. It feels more like October as a fire burns in our fireplace and a bottle of Valle Las Acequias, 2005 Malbec is decanting. Mrs. Astudentofwine and I settle in to watch Anthony Bourdain travel Great Britain's greatest culinary talents and, weather aside, all is good in the world.
We had this wine with a simple grilled pork, mashed potatoes, bacon & caramelized onion demi-glace and salad. Simple food for simple folks. But the wine? For the price I may never find better quality ever again. The next time I have this wine (and there will be many next times for this wine) I will make my own steak tartare and a confit of elephant garlic to smear on my foccacia crostini. Carpe diem my friends - savor your wine.

2005 Valle Las Acequias Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina 
**BUY THIS NOW @ $22**
  • the color of bruised plums: a true Malbec with the barest hint of brickish rim... looking for all the world more like a 2 year old wine rather then 5 years old
  • after decanting 2 hours, a bouquet of worn leather, ferric gamey bloody meat, deep black berries and black currants, irises, dusty earth
  • moderate++ acids (bordering on full-) well balanced by moderate+ tannins (which are still a touch green, though big-soft-mildly chewy)
  • moderate++ intense flavors that perfectly match the nose and last forever... excellent structure and though reasonably high in alcohol, never hot
A wonder. A truly brilliant wine bordering on true excellence. Similar to what I found in the Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo of 2004, this wine is showing excellent potential and has not peaked yet. Let's be honest, there is a touch of green-ness to the tannins as they are a little rough around the edges, and the acids are a tad over-the-top, but this wine is a find. Buy a case of this and savor a new bottle every month to enjoy how it develops... it's that good. Buy what you can afford, then buy a few more bottles, because let's face it - it's $100/bottle cheaper then Pio Cesare Ornato Barolo~!
Cin-cin! Slainte!
_____________________________________________________________
Thursday, 10th February 2011

So a re-visit to Las Acequias Malbec, but this time the new release: 2006 vintage~!


Well, as I failed to mention any of the particulars of the winery last time, I will attempt brevity:

Remarkably, the family has been in Mendoza since the 16th century, which is 3 centuries longer then the European settlement in Vancouver. The Correas family, who own the winery, have been involved in many aspects of Mendoza (and Argentinean) life including politics when Mr Juan de Dios Correas was governor of Argentina for 3 consecutive terms.

     The Correas family now produce 5 different lines of wines, and I am disheartened to say that I have only tasted one varietal from one line, the here-to mentioned Valle Las Acequias which is named for the ancient canals that bring glacial run-off down from the mountains to irrigate the arid Mendoza landscape.

     Much remains the same in Mendoza; people eat similar food to what was eaten in generations past, horses are still a common mode of transportation, and everyone enjoys their wine. What has changed is: the vast quantity of wine that can be produced now, the quality with which it can be produced, and the equipment used there-in. The Correas family is no exception and is rightfully proud of their use of innovative technology whether it be Julian Correas who has a degree in Agronomy Engineering, or their shiny new de-stemmer machine from Italy, or their warehouse of French oak barrels which can hold..... 3.7 MILLION litres of wine in total (which in 225 L barriques is approximately 16,500 barrels). Rightfully proud.

2006 Malbec from Valle Las Acequias
Estate Don Angelino, High Medrano, Mendoza, Argentina
13.8% ABV, $22 CAD    ** BUY THIS NOW ** 
100% Malbec, 70 year old vines, hand-picked late March
6 months French oak
  • visual:   clear; deep garnet core with slight cherry rim
  • nose:   clean; fully intense youthful aromas with substantial development; gamey meat, black berries, layers of cherry and red currant, slight black currant, slight garrigue, vanilla at the end with black florals... smells similar to wine from Languedoc-Rousillion in France
  • palate:    clean; dry, moderate+ to full (red currant and sour cherry) acids, moderate+ (slightly chewy) tannin, moderate+ ABV, moderate+ body, fully intense youthful flavors showing development; vanilla oak is forward with red berries, followed by some blackberry, black currant, wild savory herbs, black florals at the end with the oak again. Excellent balance. Excellent structure. Brilliant length on the palate (especially for the price).
  • conclusion:   Drink it now and drink it later! This wine is showing beautifully now and will continue to do so for several years (2011-2015). I don't predict much more development in the bottle, but it is already a significant value for the money.  
  • PAIRINGS:   Bold acids call for a bit of fat, and soft tannin mean you can use a gentler meat; consider duck! It may not be traditional to Argentina, but consider seared duck breast with cherry and caramelized onion compote... onions will brings beauty to this wine- trust me.
     And so, once again, this is one of my top value-wines for the year. I can honestly say that in the past 13 months I have tasted and made notes on over 700 wines, and this is surely, for the money, among the best.

CINCIN~!!!     SLAINTE~!!!     CHEERS~!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Marsala - lighter then Port, richer then Sherry

My much beloved wife (Mrs Astudentofwine) is from a family originally from Calabria, right next to Sicilia. Sicilia is home to the city of Marsala, from whence hails the mighty adult beverage Marsala. Lighter then Porto, and richer then Sherry (IMHO).
The origins of Marsala go back centuries. To be honest, I don't think anyone even knows when it was started. But by an odd co-incidence, these geniuses developed a system of fortification incredibly similiar to the Solera system used for Sherry production. Rich flavors, increased alcohol, and now an ability to travel long distances - when an Englishman named Woodhouse came to Marsala, he was sure he had found a new drink for the English market. He was right.
Pellegrino Marsala Superiore (meaning aged 2 years or longer) "Garibaldi Dolce"
**excellent value** BUY THIS NOW @$18
  • orangish-amber coloring, very rich
  • fully intense nose of dried raisins, hot alcohol, orange peels, vanilla
  • moderate+ acids, moderate+ tannins, fully intense flavors exactly matching the nose

This is a brilliantly rich wine that completely over-delivers. I know that standard way of serving it - room temperature with desert & dried fruit, but try it served chilled between courses with some gorgonzola & poached pear!

Barolo!

There is a place, in the low hills of Piedmonte, where the Barbaresco grapes make way for the "Wine of Kings, the King of Wines: Barolo"
Barolo actually has a madly erratic history... it used to be a sweet wine until the late 1800's when the winemakers in the region hired one of the best winemakers of the time from France. You see, Nebbiolo (the grape from which Barolo springs) is picked very late in the year - October. By the time winemakers are picking Barolo, the winemakers down the valley (about 150-200 meters down) are already bottling their Barbaresco! This means that the sugars haven't had a chance to ferment to dryness, meaning a sweet wine. In comes the Frenchman who figures out a way to ferment in the cellar, and voila - now a dry Barolo.
2004 Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato, Piedmonte, Italy $120
  • rich cherry/ruby centre with a pronounced rim of orange & brick
  • deep, unctuous bouquet starting with highlights of leather, baie rouges include cherries and plum, hillside flowers (irises predominate), chalky soil with notes of minerality
  • moderate acids, full tannins, full flavors starting with the baie rouges; red currants hit the palate quickly, followed by plums, the calcareous terroir comes in mid palate and stays and stays, evolving with the depth of the tannins from the oaking and the leather that oaking gives

Wow! What to say? This wine has received from 93 to 96 points from a plethora of wine gurus. It placed 6th in the top 100 wines of Italy for 2008. But the best part - the best? This wine hasn't peaked yet. Not even close... give it 5 years the revisit & be prepared to taste a glass of divinity.

www.piocesare.it

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hester Creek at BC Uncorked!~

Sometimes I wonder if what I think I know is really real. Sound confusing? Well - it is.
Case in point, I was invited last week to the BC Uncorked! wine tasting in Port Moody, BC. Wonderfully scenic place with a warm and inviting atmosphere, Port Moody is really one of those "idyllically BC" BC towns. Really, it looks like a postcard. But this is about the wine, not the town.
So I went to the tasting, prepared to do my utmost to provide a fair and accurate depiction of the varied wines I encountered. Of course, some people began to notice that I was taking copious amounts of notes, and that I was spitting my wine rather than drinking. Ah - the bittersweet pleasure of tasting a wine, but then not consuming. At least I didn't have a hangover.
Half-way through the tasting I made it to a table representing Hester Creek. I had sampled their wines before - though not in a formal way & I don't seem to have any notes on them. So, wonderful! Something new for me & a great chance to learn. I tried several wines, and then promptly told one keen observer that the Hester Creek Cabernet Franc was one of the best value wines at the entire tasting.
Really? Who am I to putting on such assumptions? I had only tasted 1/3 of the wines at that point. I was also (arguably) one of the least trained people working the event. So really - who am I to say that?
I just discovered today, that the Hester Creek Cab Franc (the varietal is also known as Chinon in the Loire Valley of France) wins awards every year. Lots of awards. Gold awards. Every year.
So who I am to assume? Well, I'm the same as anyone else: I have tastebuds, I know what I like and I, like anyone else, deserve to have an opinion. Apparently I do have an opinion on wine, and I certainly hope you do as well... what a boring life it would be if we all thought the same way.
2008 Hester Creek Trebbiano $19
  • Trebbiano, if you aren't aware, is the second most widely planted grape in the world. It's also one of the most unremarkable tasting. It's used alot for brandy & spirits, but also for Balsamic vinegar.
  • this Trebbiano (or Ugni Blanc) has an overpoweringly rich stonefruit nose
  • moderate acids, a rich palate with long flavors of exotic fruits... much more flavor then expected

2006 Cabernet Franc $26 **Buy This Now**

  • a full & rich bouquet of violets & earthy notes
  • moderate+ acids balanced well by full- smooth tannins, rich palate and long structure, long long flavors of baies rouges especially cherry. Some notes of blackberry. Needs & deserves 1 to 2 hours of decanting
  • absolutely brilliant wine. But 6 bottles and try a new bottle every 6 months for 3 years. You will consider it money well spent.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon - Merlot Blend $16

  • lots of floral notes in the nose with a dash of pepper at the end
  • moderate++ acids, moderate+ tannins, moderate body - this wine has a decent structure but I found the acids getting in the way of the fruit. Decanting will help, as will another year in the bottle i think - beyond that, perhaps the balance has been designed in this way? Or - if the room you are in is very hot (as it was) - it can throw off the balance of a wine.

Hester Creek has shown enough good (and great) value that I am inspired to visit their winery as early as possible. Brilliant work with one of my favorite reds - the Cab Franc if bought now will last for years (or perhaps only hours if you invite your friends and family over).

CinCin! Slainte!