upon a time there was a wine I liked. In fact
I raved about it on the last
release. It was not a cheap wine, but I felt it was worth every
penny. In fact I said, “simply put, this is my favourite wine of the day
and I need to buy some!”
Well, simply put, I would have loved to, but I couldn’t. Not a single
bottle made its way down the highway to London, except the one
shipped for the pre release tasting. The very same bottle I liked so
much, I told my friends, who told their friends, who told their friends;
well you know the theory here.
So I went on line to see if any stores in the area had acquired any.
After all I was willing to drive over hill and dale to find me some of
Well it turned out, the bulk of this wine (it was the
Alexandre Syrah from Casa Lapostolle
in case you are wondering) went to Ottawa with the remainder distributed
through the GTA. Did the collapse of Paul Martin’s government recently
warrant such a wine to soften the blow of his caucus’s defeat? Maybe
Jack Layton and Stephen Harper are both thinking about stocking up for
victory celebrations once our Christmas election is complete.
I tried contacting stores that listed
stock in Toronto to see if I could get some shipped to London, but no
one I spoke to was willing to part with a single bottle. I even offered
to use my credit card, so the particular store would get the cash sale,
a practice I have employed on other occasions, yet it proved fruitless.
“Can’t do that, consultant is not here right now, I don’t think we are
allowed to do that” were a few of the responses I received.
Finally I found a consultant in
Ottawa nice enough to part with some and the Syrah in question is now
finally in my possession.
These notes are from the last release of 2005.
Happy holidays to all!
VEUVE CLICQUOT-PONSARDIN ROSÉ RÉSERVE BRUT CHAMPAGNE, $87.95
A nice degree of foam, it shows a spicy nose of red currant, rhubarb,
strawberry and toast with amazing balance and good structure. Personally
I would shy away from the board's suggestion of serving this “perfectly
wonderful libation with roast leg of lamb or roast beef.” Instead I
would opt to go with more traditional fare.
596973 GOSSET GRANDE MILLÉSIME CHAMPAGNE 1999 $84.95
This is a delicious combination of roasted almond, creamy toffee, tart
au citron and lime zest. It is a blend of 56% Chardonnay and 44% Pinot.
More importantly, it is drinking wonderfully.
642470 DUVAL-LEROY 'CUVÉE DESIGN PARIS' BRUT CHAMPAGNE $57.95
Here is an interesting blend of mandarin, nectarine and apple with
subtle notes of ginger and cake spice. It offers excellent structure on
the palate and delivers a nice toasty finish.
POL ROGER 'EXTRA CUVÉE DE RÉSERVE' CHAMPAGNE 1996 $69.95
A touch sweeter on the palate, and again I note that roasted almond
along with a deeper note of nutshell. Apples, honey butter and citrus
make up the palate on this lighter style of bubbly.
264879 SUMAC RIDGE 'STELLAR'S JAY' BRUT 2001, Méthode Classique,
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia $19.95
BC terrior comes to the surface of this well rounded bubbly. It has
earthy, yeasty and straw aromas that lead to rotting apple, cherry and
red berry flavours on the palate. I liked this.
301655 DOMAINE CARNEROS BRUT 2000, Methode Champenoise, Napa Valley
Another wine showing earthy and bread dough aromas along with notes of
honeydew, vanilla, baked pear and apple. A rich ripe and creamy palate and
a well balanced finish. It too is very tasty.
349688 KRUG 'GRANDE CUVÉE' CHAMPAGNE BRUT $214.95
The little drop left in the bottle is enough to show me what this wine
is all about. It is ripe, elegant and full of honey, white peach,
vanilla, ginger and nectarine. It fills the palate with its depth of
concentration. The acidity is clearly detectable in the finish. I would
like to find this in my stocking on Christmas morning.
145169 BOLLINGER 'LA GRANDE ANNÉE' CHAMPAGNE 1997 $129.95
A lovely wine showing notes of baked apple, a trace of caramel, ginger
crème brulee, pea shoots, geranium and toast. The palate show finesse
and the finish is long.
LANDMARK 'OVERLOOK' CHARDONNAY, SONOMA, CALIFORNIA, 2003 $39.95
A sweet nose of canned fruit, mandarin and candied grapefruit peel. It
is toasty and full, but the finish soon pales.
933044 CALERA PINOT NOIR, CENTRAL COAST, 2001 $31.95
It has been a challenge to find decent Pinot at a reasonable price in
Vintages for a while. This is not cheap, especially when one can find it
south of the border for $15.00, but it is quite tasty. It’s full of
lively red cherry, strawberry, red fruit pie and allspice flavours. The
fruit is solid, the acids are fine, but the finish shows a touch of
719211 CLINE 'ANCIENT VINES' ZINFANDEL, CALIFORNIA 2004, $24.95
Zin has also been in short supply in vintages for the past few months
and although this too can be found across the border for much less, I
will buy a couple to satiate my fix. It is full of sweet red berry,
leafy tobacco, with a pinch of cinnamon and clove. The texture on the
palate is leathery and the finish reminds me of red berry ripple.
189795 JOSEPH PHELPS CABERNET SAUVIGNON, NAPA, CALIFORNIA, 2002
$74.95 Napa Valley
A big wine full of mint, red berry, plum, coal dust and black fruit. The
palate offers sweet ripe fruit. The oak is unresolved which should
change with time. The tannins are soft and dusty.
674531 VIRGIN VINES SHIRAZ, CALIFORNIA, 2004 $14.95
This shows lots of sweet plasticy black fruit on the nose, sweet and
globby on the palate with a bitter note on the finish.
948992 HEDGES 'CMS' CABERNET/MERLOT/SYRAH, COLUMBIA VALLEY,
WASHINGTON, 2003 $17.95
A forceful nose of spicy oak with notes of bacon, black currant and lots
of chewy stewed fruit on the palate. It is clumsy at this point, the
tannins are tight and it needs time to soften and come together. The
price is fine for something that can age for a year or two.
315176 CONCHA Y TORO ‘DON MELCHOR' CABERNET SAUVIGNON,
PUENTE ALTO, MAIPO VALLEY, CHILE, 2001 $49.95
The nose is weedy and vegetal. It is full of bell pepper, rusty iron,
candle wax, canned peas, cedar and bitter chocolate. Either I don’t get
this wine or this is a flawed bottle. I hope to taste it again.
KIM CRAWFORD SAUVIGNON BLANC. MARLBOROUGH, NEW ZEALAND 2005 $19.95
A lovely expressive wine full of grassy citrus aromas with underlying
notes of petrol, canned beans, lime leaf and tangerine. It clicks on the
plate leaving a long finish of vibrant acid, solid fruit and lime zest.
328559 CATHEDRAL CELLAR CHARDONNAY, COASTAL REGION, SOUTH AFRICA,
This might be worth trying again. It has a nose of unripe honeydew
melon, apple and baked pear. The palate shows notes of fruit and lime.
The finish shows some nut and marzipan flavours.
GUNDERLOCH RIESLING SPÄTLESE, RHEINHESSEN NACKENHEIM ROTHENBERG 2003
Wow! Sweet layers of cake spice, honey, banana chips, mango and mineral
with beautiful acidy and balance. Wow!
710657 JOSEPH DROUHIN
PULIGNY-MONTRACHET, BURGUNDY, 2002 $57.95
Another interesting nose this time featuring almond, grapefruit, pear,
wet stone and citrus. The palate is medium bodied, well balanced and
elegant. The finish is long showing fruit, candied lime peel and
TRAVAGLINI GATTINARA, TUSCANY 2000, $32.95
A funk laden nose of dried cherry, lavender, leather, cola, nutmeg and a
nice streak of high acid red fruit. The tannins are solid suggesting it
lays down for a while.
651141 PIAN DELLE VIGNE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO, ANTINORI, TUSCANY,
Earthy and leathery aromas with notes of pipe tobacco, prune, anise,
blackberry and couvature. It is medium bodied showing a nice
concentration of dark fruit, organic matter and oak.
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