Monday, December 30, 2013

Marynissen Estates 2002 Cabernet Franc

Found December 2013

This is a dichotomy of a wine, and right from the get go I was not sure whether I liked it or not.  The aromas were not pleasant, nor did they really come around, a cross between Buckley's cough syrup, rotting leaves and dried tobacco, by the two hour mark some black licorice materialized and that added a little pleasantness to the smells (a very little pleasantness) - otherwise it was not a wine I liked dipping my nose into.  And what's worse, if you just let it sit in the glass it filled the room with those oddball smells (aerating it created the better aromas of what I mentioned earlier).  But that is only have the story.  The palate more than made up for the nose, and what's even more exciting are the changes that occurred, over the two hours in was in my glass, were in direct opposition of the aromas.  The tastes started out with lots of tobacco; what made it easy to drink was the smooth nature of the wine, but it still had good acidity backing it up and all with a pleasant mouthfeel.  Over the course of the first hour it developed some dried-raspberry, along with hints of cinnamon, a delicate white-smokiness and some anise notes.  By hour two there were a definite pleasant smokiness, dried red berries, tobacco, clove, and burnt cedar.  Considering the age and the aromas eminating from the glass this is some pretty awesome stuff - I found some real pleasure in drinking it ... The wine is definitely past its peak but still mighty drinkable, if you can just get passed the smell.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jackson-Triggs 2004 Delaine Vineyard Syrah

Found November 2013

This past Saturday we had a friend over and I decided to pull out some older wines, well two.  One was a bottle of Hillebrand Wild Ferment Chardonnay from 2006, which turned out to be quite a beauty - the other was even older and even more amazing, because if you think of the vintage in Ontario that particular year (2004), and consider the grape variety of this wine, you'll think it pretty amazing indeed that this wine survived as long, and as well, as it did.  Upon opening there was an earthy nuance that came from the wine but it settled down quickly and things started to happen, both on the nose and the palate.  Blueberry and white pepper emerged, then some time later there were elements of smoky dried fruit then it turned into definitive aromas (and the occasion taste) of Montreal smoked meats with just a touch of thyme (there was an herbal quality that took us a while to put our collective fingers on - or should I say our noses around, but this is what we all agreed upon in the end).  An amazing find in the cellar and a wine filled with so much complexity.  If you have this in the cellar I think it's time to pull out this bottle of 9-year-old Syrah and enjoy.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

Monday, October 28, 2013

Inniskillin 2006 Reserve Series Pinot Noir

This was a surprise of a wine.  Not that I didn't think it would age, but that it aged so well.  2006 was a year that Pinot Noir would have thrived as it was not an incredible vintage for big heavy reds, but the lighter ones would have done quite well and the acidity would have been good for things like Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay and, of course, Pinot Noir - wines that really need the acidity to make them sing in the glass and helps them age well.  The Inniskillin 2006 Reserve Series Pinot Noir has a gold label, as you can see from the picture, and it truly deserves the gold status is gave itself.  Dried strawberry, earthy and smooth right from the get go and throughout the time I drank it; it was a delightfully tasty wine with a med long finish and something else that showed was a seam of strawberry that appeared in many facets and stages thru the course of the drinking.  The above noted flavours and smells were always there but there was also a myriad of others that came and went over the course of the couple of hours I sipped on it: things like vanilla, cedar, clove and cinnamon all managed to make and appearance and add to the enjoyment of this wine.  If you have some of this in the cellar it is now time to drink.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lailey Vineyard 2008 Zweigelt

Found October 2013

It causes me great pains to write such a review - because I am usually a fan of wines from Lailey - but at Thanksgiving I decided to open a few older bottles with the family.   Now I have to take some responsibility for this bottle, after all I was the one who waited this long to open it; but how else do we learn about older wine unless we store them away and open them on a rainy day.  Now I know Zweigelt isn't known for it's robust and fresh fruit character but this one was pure badness:  leathery, pencil shavings, band-aid along with caraway seed, and even more band-aid.  There was not one person who could find a redeeming feature about it ... chalk this one up to experience - thankfully we had some other excellent bottles that night.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maleta Vineyards 2001 Meritage

Found October 2013

Shhh, don't tell my wife, but I kinda enjoy when she leaves town to visit her family for a few days.  I have nothing to hide but if she saw the amount of time I spend in my wine cellar that weekend she would have flipped (why was I not cleaning other parts of the house?)  Now, I did not spend 24 hours or anything silly like that, I just took a few hours to re-arrange and move stuff around and also make some discoveries, like this 2001 Maleta Meritage.  I was really looking forward to this one as it had been a silver medal winner (as the sticker on the bottle proudly proclaimed) and 2001 was a pretty good year for reds in Ontario.  Except for one little spotted creature it would have been a perfect year ... and alas the Asian Lady Beetle had infected this wine as well.  Back when this wine won its award I am sure it was not as pronounced, but today it's all rancid peanut on the nose that just keeps getting stronger the longer it stays open ... sadly, you could make out that lovely fruit that would have been there if not for that off putting nose (especially on the palate) - flavours were muted, but another surprise was that the fruit and acidity still seem to be very much intact ... it's really just the off-putting nose, and the muting of the fruit that stands in its way.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Magnotta 2002 Cabernet Franc, Limited Edition

Found August 2013

Funny that this should be a Lost and Found bottle, I have three in the cellar, well two now.  Not quite sure why I was lying this down so long, and especially on my, what I call, "Drink Now" rack - I guess the now never came, until ... well ... now.  The original thought for tonight was to have this bottle with chicken Parmesan, but due to a heavier than expected lunch we decided on a lighter scallop and peas meal - but there is no need to miss out on trying a wine just because you've changed the menu, fact is I drank a glass while cooking and another half glass after dinner.  That should mean I found the wine to be delicious, right?  Well I wouldn't go that far.  It was definitely drinkable, the nose was smoke with lots of black raspberry notes; the palate started off smoky and stayed that way ... other elements kept coming in and out but smoky always stayed ... there was also plenty of oak and some dried fruit, but above all it was oaky and smoky with wood tannins taking over near the end (two hours after opening).  Those other two bottles will have to be consumed rather quickly before the wood and smoke fully over-take.  Might be a nice pairing with some burgers on the charcoal grill ... that'll be my next experiment.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable +

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cave Spring Cellars 2005 La Penna

Found June 2013

It's not that I have never tried this wine before, but this is a wine that upon released was so big it was hard to gauge where it was going to be.  This was one of the first Amarone-style wines that was made in Ontario and it only figures that long-time Cave Spring winemaker Angelo Pavan would give it ago.  Now, with some years under the cork I decided it was time to give this wine another go ... and it was delicious.  A nose of cherry, chocolate and sweet vanilla lured you in for a taste and what a taste it was.  Nice cherry and spice with cocoa and vanilla all lending a part to the long finish.  As it sat in the glass a spiced cocoa sensation took over the finish and the mid-palate had lots of big lush fruit like cherry and blackberry.  This wine felt and tasted fresh in the mouth, was lively and it also had a decent amount of acidity to keep it from being cloying or thick.  With 14% alcohol it was a heavy-weight without the heavy-weight feel.  I do believe this wine still have another 5-7 years with ease.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Rockway Glen 2006 RIesling

Found June 2013

Here's a 2006 I found in a box in my cellar from what was once a dodgy producer ... the reason I said "once was" because Rockway Glen now has recently taken on a new name, new identity and new lease-on-life.  Now called Rockway Vineyards the winery is starting to produce a very good small lot line-up of wines under their new winemaker David Stasiuk ... but this wine is from back in the day when the winery was a golf course first and a winery played a very minor second fiddle to that enterprise.  The nose has aromas of lime cordial with a drop of petrol ... the palate is dried apricot and lemon peel, there's also some decent acidity and a bruised apple sweetness to balance it off.  It all ends with a sort of bitter dried lemon peel / pith finish.  It's not the best aged Riesling I've ever tried but it certainly isn't the worst, which is why I am giving it the Lost & Found rating you see at the end of this review, and yes that is a minus sign.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable -

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Niagara College 2009 Sauvignon Blanc - Kevin Watson Vineyard

Found May 2013

Sadly I am going to give this wine a very poor write up and it's really not it's fault; I blame myself completely for this fiasco of a wine.  When we bought this wine a few years back is was lovely and fresh with great citrus quality - unfortunately the review never made it to the website (  But I found this bottle while looking for something refreshing and fun to drink and with the date of 2009 I thought it just might have survived due to the high acidity that year brought to the wines - alas that was not to be.  I am to blame as I socked this one away instead of putting it in the forefront of my wine cellar.  But here is how it tastes now:  The nose was hay with some freshly mowed lawn thrown in, there was also some grapefruit rind added to the mix. But it wasn't the nose that was the problem, it was the palate, which had lost all elements of Sauvignon Blanc, it tasted rancid and bitter with a real unpleasant after-taste.  This wine was inadvertently lost and sometimes when that happens you can never get them back ... no matter how hard you look and pray that they'll come back.  It's true in life as it is in wine.  In the end the nose was passable but the palate was something you just couldn't get passed.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Featherstone 2003 Cabernet Franc - Estate Bottled

Found May 2013

I visited Featherstone earlier in the week and made the decision to try my oldest bottle of Featherstone wine, which just happened to be this 2003 Cabernet Franc.  I want to tell you it was lovely.  I want to tell you it held up so well that I was shocked.  I want to tell you that 2003 is a better year than we give it credit for ... but unfortunately I can't say any of that.  The wine isn't horrible - that's the best thing I can say ... in fact it's not bad and tolerable, but it lacks any depth or elegance, it's a one note pony (to steal from a few phrases).  It's leafy and herbaceous with some smoky dried tobacco leaf on the nose.  Palate has some bitter coffee notes from the get go, goes to dry and smoky tobacco leaf and settles into something leafy with a little tannin.  It's not a great wine, it's definitely drinkable but it's not going to be your favourite old wine and by the two hour mark it's very nondescript and not very appealing.  Lost & Found Rating:  Tolerable

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Inniskillin 2006 Pinot Noir - Reserve Series

Found April 2013

Here's another happy but surprising find in my cellar.  Not sure how I missed this one the first time through but am I glad I waited on this one, because I would say it's a perfect Pinot experience - but not for those who like em young and fresh, you're gonna have to like the aged character of wine here.  The nose is earthy and smoky with some balsamic-raspberry notes on both the nose and taste; that's how the palate kicks off before segueing into eathy-strawberry with more balsamic.  As it sits in the glass the balsamic continues to intensify all the while throwing in dried fruits and earthy character ... the finish is dry and slightly oaky with little hits of vanilla that appear here and there.  A lovely seven year old Pinot that's a delicious wine right now.  Lost & Found Rating:  Treasure

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pillitteri Estates 2007 Exclamation Reserve Merlot

Found February 2013

This is a disappointing bottle of wine and for so many reasons.  The year was one of the best Ontario had seen to date and the grapes would have been perfect for making a great bottle of Merlot - but there was just something very off and very funky about this bottle.  The best thing I can say about it is that there is some (stress on the word some) fruit in here and it's sweet and dried ... but other than that look out.  There is volatile acidity running rampant (that's a smell of nail polish remover) and it never seems to let up.  The packaging on this wine is quite striking, with it's metal plate front label and silver back label, but that's the only thing that is striking about this bottle - except maybe the fact that it strikes out ... only 6 years old and the fruit has faded and every seems over oaked, oxidized and, well, not very good.  I expected so much more from this bottle and it let me down.  If you have some let me know your thoughts but my bottle just didn't stand up.  Lost & Found Rating:  Trash

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tawse 2004 Chardonnay (Beamsville Bench)

Found January 2013

Here's a wine I was glad to have lost in my cellar, but the truth is I didn't really lose it I was waiting on it ... but finally, last night the waiting gave in to "gotta try it".  I was suppose to be joining some fellow writers for dinner, but alas the weather did me no favours and I had to beg off - so I decided to open one of the bottles I had planned to open with them, and it just so happened to be this bottle of 2004 Chardonnay from Tawse.  This is kind of a historical bottle, as it is one of the first Chardonnay's that was made chez Tawse, and if you are lucky enough to have one kicking around your cellar I would tell you that it might be the time to drink it.  The nose started off very oaky and buttery, then turned a little funky with tomato stalk and asparagus notes - there was also the hint of tinned creamed corn.  The palate followed up on some of what was on the nose, like the creamed corn, adding vanilla, butter, oak, hints of the stalky-vegginess (on occasion) - but for the most part the wine was creamy on the palate and well worth drinking.  Lost & Found Rating: Treasure