Alan’s January Vintages Release Tasting Notes

Release dates January 10 & 24, 2004

Kerr is a wanker!First and foremost, I'd like to wish you all a happy 2004! If you're like me, it's time to buckle down again after having enjoyed many great wines over the holidays. In January, few wines released are particularly brilliant, which is no big deal since cash is surely tight for most of us after all the holiday cheer. The good news is that there were several surprisingly good wines that fell into the QPR capacity, which should help fill a few empty cellar spaces. Once again time was tight, but as I am getting used to power tasting, all went well! In case you have not seen the latest gang feature entitled "Homage" to Mr. Ridge Lytton Spring Zinfandel, then check it out.  It contains pretty everything on what you need to know about this world class wine. Kim, Bree and  geo did wonders putting it all together, and I am honoured to have played a part. 

January 10 Release 

919340 VINTAGE PORT 1987 $ 44.95, H. & C. J. Feist. 
This was really difficult to evaluate at 9:45am, especially since it was one of the last tastings of the day. It is pleasant, but nothing exceptional. There are aromas of dark chocolate, red fruit and cough lozenges. It is nice not to denote an excessive amount of alcohol, and I would say that it is in its prime for current drinking. 

980698 VINTAGE PORT 1982 $ 69.95, A.A. Ferreira, S.A. 
Now this is a wine with the oomph one expects from Port. Its texture is thicker than the latter. It's flavour possesses accents of classic prune, licorice, black fruit and chocolate. There is much more tannin on the finish, which would suggest opening this one on it's thirtieth birthday. 

557165 OFF-DRY RIESLING 2002 $ 14.95, Niagara Peninsula, Henry of Pelham. 
Although the label declares this to be an off dry wine, I found it to be relatively dry, particularly in the finish. The main flavour denotes hues of pear, tree fruit, apple and citrus. The finish is quite low in its level of acidity, possibly resulting from the 2002 growing season, which was touted as being stellar. 

923227 CHARDONNAY 2001 $ 35.95, Anden Vineyard, Dijon Clone, Willamette Valley, St. Innocent Winery. 
The nose comes across as being closed down and tight. On the palate however, things are different, as it offers a flavour of pure clean Chardonnay fruit. The crisp finish echoes lovely ripe apple, pear, licorice and Middle Eastern spice. 

922203 'THE STUMP JUMP' 2002 $ 12.95, Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc/Marsanne, McLaren Vale, South Australia, d'Arenberg. 
This one had me stumped! What on earth was it I wondered? There were aromas of hazelnut and of honeydew melon, but in the background there lurked a nasty musty aroma. Incidentally, no one described the wine as being corked. The fruit that was present on the palate was dull and flat. This was the first d'Arenburg wine I have tasted that was truly a disappointment. 

917906 CHARDONNAY 2001 $ 13.95, Cookoothama, Darlington Point, 'Southeastern' Australia, Nugan Estate. 
This bold and somewhat racy nose subsides only to reveal flavours of tropical fruit, ripe apples and vanilla. A pleasant quaffer.

918102 PINOT GRIS 2001 $ 33.95, Alsace, (M) 750 mL, Domaine Zind-Humbrecht. 
This wine is a lovely yellow/ gold colour, possessing aromas of mineral, baked cloves, apple and over ripe pears. The mid palate turns into a lovely sweet toffee flavour, which carries through to a lengthy yet refreshing finish.

958462 GEWURZTRAMINER 2000 $ 23.95, Alsace, F.E. Trimbach. 
This one possesses a lovely, big spicy nose, revealing hues of canned lychee fruit, citrus peel and white peach. The palate comes across as being slightly soft, yet quite tasty nonetheless. It's finish is excellently balanced.

729178 POUILLY-FUMÉ , 2001, $20.95, 'La Moynerie', Michel Redde et Fils.
This wine denotes hues of nastursium leaves, nettles and candied lime. The mid palate delivers little fruit flavour. The fruit that can be tasted is slightly green and metallic. 

Red wines from the January 10 Release
915256 MERITAGE 2001 $ 19.95, Niagara Peninsula, Magnotta Winery. 
This displays some uneven notes on the nose. It reveals the flavour of nice red cherry and blackcurrant fruits, as well as wild mushrooms. There are, however, overpowering smoke and leather components to this wine. The mid palate is better, and hints at a stronger fruit flavour. It is still quite tannic. 

573212 MERITAGE 2000 $ 15.95, Niagara Peninsula, Lakeview Cellars. 
I found this one to be mostly vegetable-flavoured on the nose, accompanied by hints of smoked bacon, grilled Portobello mushroom and coffee. Ok I know it sounds like breakfast, but there is a decent level of sweet red fruit on the palate. Overall it is on the lighter side… mind you so is the price. 

996777 PINOT NOIR 2002 $ 25.95, Niagara Peninsula, Malivoire. 
The scents of sweet cherry, strawberry plum are almost jammy in character. It is medium bodied on the palate, repeating all the flavours from the nose while adding hints of spicy clove and cinnamon. It will need to rest for a while due to the noticeable tannin on the finish. Good stuff. 

911057 'ABUNDANTLY RICH RED' 2000 $ 21.95, California, Abundance Vineyards. 
Although this has that certain "mass appeal" texture to it, I did quite like this wine. It offers aromas of caramel, plum, dark berries, lamp oil and charcoal dust. The mid palate comes across as being slightly sweet, yet the crisp acids render a harmonic finish. 

716340 ZINFANDEL 2000 $ 25.95, Twin Rivers Vineyard, El Dorado County, Clos LaChance. 
This wine is sweet and medium bodied. It denotes aromas of mint, red berry and cranberry on the nose. It's texture is creamy and fleshy. This one is okay, but nothing special. 

917930 'THE OLD MAN'S BLEND' 2001 $ 14.95, WO Coastal Region, Groote Post, South Africa. 
'Old Man's Blend' is a combination of 80% Merlot and 20% Pinot Noir matured in French oak for eight months. It has a vary high "iodine" flavor. This one is so overpowering from it's "salty" component that I could scarcely detect any other workings.

729137 CHÂTEAU FLEUR DE JEAN GUÉ RÉSERVE 2000 $ 29.95, Lalande de Pomerol. 
This wine oozes aromas of dark berry, balsa, coffee, sandalwood, blackcurrant, dark cherry and cake spice. It is very rich, chewy and tannic on the mid palate. The fruit flavours shine through. This one is a better future investment than my mutual funds right now! 

711150 SANTENAY 2001 $ 39.95, 'Clos de Malte' Domaine Louis Jadot. 
The colour resembles that of cranberry juice. It offers an aroma of tart raspberries and plums. It is quite acidic and possesses some silky chocolate-laden tannins. These should lessen after a year or two in the cellar. 

960443 POMMARD 1ER CRU 1999 $ 54.95, Le Clos des Boucherottes, Domaine Coste-Caumartin. 
This one has a total opposite profile from the Santenay. It's colour is much darker. One can detect a leathery, earthy texture on the palate. The fruit is more forward and gripping. The nose is solid, and the fruit, floral, and mineral components balance well. It needs time as it's finish left a coating on my tongue. 

926287 SYRAH 2001 $ 13.95, 'Domaine des Salices', Vieilles Vignes, Vin de Pays d'Oc, Jacques & François Lurton. 
The fullness of the nose hints at ripe dark cherry and spicy plum. However, this becomes overshadowed by a hefty dollop of toasty oak. The same can be said about the finish. The low degree of acidity accentuates the woody flavour. However, this wine could be worth chilling slightly and cracking open at the start of the barbeque season. 

910927 CHÂTEAU RASPAIL 2000 $ 28.95, Gigondas. 
This multi-dimentional, yet fruit forward wine, is simply sensational. It exudes rich buttery vanilla, blackberry, plum, thyme and licorice from the glass. It is thick, rich and chewy on the mid palate. It is perfectly balanced, with a finish that echoes all the fruit flavours, while adding a sensation of black licorice toffee.

704908 CROZES-HERMITAGE 2001 $ 26.95, E. Guigal. 
This wine shows more of the funky side of the Rhone Valley. There are "gamy" notes, combined with the aromas of blueberry and black raspberry. It is well structured, with clean acidity and tannins that suggest leaving it alone for a while.

303529 CHÂTEAU ST. DIDIER-PARNAC 2001 $ 14.95, Cahors. 
Although this intensely dark wine is incredibly tannic, it allows the blackcurrant, black salted licorice and dark cherry flavours to peek through its cloak. A long and chewy vanilla- laden finish last a while. 

975136 BAROLO ROCCHE 1998 $ 49.95, Aurelio Settimo. 
This one is a treat to awaken the taste buds. It denotes flavours of honey, lavender, caramel, sweet dark fruit, and balsa. It's amber rim and rusty colour suggests it's maturity, yet it still possesses more than an ample amount of tannins. The finish denotes hues of sweet berry, dry dusty chocolate and mocha. 

923755 PORTAL RED 1999 $ 15.95, Douro, Quinta do Portal, Portugal. 
This is full bodied, dark and quite enticing. It has layers of black cherry, damson and smoked meat. It is well balanced, and has a great length to the finish, especially considering the price. 

Red Wines, January 24 Release
911024 TERRE BLANCHE DU CHÂTEAU TOURANS 2000 $ 42.95, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru. 
This is an opaque and deeply concentrated wine. It is packed with flavours of dark fruit, sweet Asian spices, and blackberry. One can also detect a faint hint of moss. It is so hard to judge this one, as it really does need time. It should be a winner in years to come. 

952804 'LES MATINS D'AURORE' 1999 $ 15.95, Minervois, Gerard Bertrand. 
This one was possibly my wine of the day. It spreads out a wonderful nose full of morel mushrooms, plum, blackberry and chocolate. It could last a while, but this is one of those wines that if you buy it, it won't.



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