Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jackson Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2005

"Very typical" summed up our response to this Jackson Estate 2005 Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc: grapefruit on the nose and grapefruit on the palate, with some grassiness and lime. It's a solid Sauvignon Blanc, but nothing special: well worth drinking, but not a "Wow!"

Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir 2006

This Henry of Pelham 2006 Pinot Noir was quite pale, almost a dark salmon in colour--closer to cranberry cocktail than anything else. It had a nice berry/cherry nose, quite light, and also tasted of cherry and raspberry.

It went very well with fresh basil.

We wouldn't call it a classic Pinot Noir, but we enjoyed it: it's pleasant, not profound.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

German Wine Society at the Seven Oaks

Saturday night the German Wine Society gathered at the Seven Oaks Best Western to enjoy a very fine dinner with some very fine wines. And here are our notes:

2005 Gustaf Adolf Schmitt Niersteiner Kabinett - Rheinhessen
  • A little sweeter than we expected;
  • Very nice;
  • Would be good with Asian food, we suspect.
Appetizer: Chicken vol-u-vent with cream sauce
2003 Martinshof Muller-Thurgau Halbtrocken - Pfalz
  • A very typical Muller-Thurgau;
  • Seemed extremely robust and flavorful after the light reception Riesling;
  • Nice acidity;
  • Well matched with the chicken appetizer (which our six-year-old daughter loved; we liked it, too!).
Soup: Consommé profiterole
2003 Martinshof Gewürztraminer Spatlese - Pfalz
The soup left us cold, partly because it was cold--or, at least, not very hot. It had crunchy noodle things floating in it which some people disliked. Ed didn't mind those, but hated the gritty bits of parsley, which were just annoying. Most people at our table didn't finish it.
As for the wine:
  • Extra honeyness;
  • Lots of lychee flavour;
  • Very, very nice.

Entrée: Bison tenderloin with sun-dried tomato sauce, potato au gratin and seasonal vegetables
2003 Black Tower Pinot Noir/Dornfelder - Pfalz
2002 Selbach Riesling Spätlese - MSR

We may not have liked the soup, but we loved this fabulous entrée: tender, delicious, wonderful. Also very, very large.

As for the wine, first, the red:

  • Light bouquet;
  • Dark red in colour;
  • Fruity;
  • Good tannin;
  • Went very well with the bison.
The white:
  • Also very nice;
  • Went better with the sun-dried tomato glaze and vegetables than the bison.
Dessert: Peach and apple strudel in phylo pastry, garnished with white chocolate
2000 Dienhard Beerensauslese - Rheinhessen

The dessert was absolutely delicious; way too big after the giant appetizer and huge entree, but somehow we managed to choke it down.

As for the wine:

  • Ed loved it;
  • Margaret Anne said "I've had better";
  • Burnt orange and honey flavours;
  • As usual, we preferred the wine by itself rather as a match for the dessert.
And that's that! As the rural correspondents for the Weyburn Review used to write when Ed was editor there, "A good time was had by all."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Laughing Kangaroo Shiraz 2002

This 2002 Laughing Kangaroo Shiraz was a very, very dark purplish red, almost black, with a red berries and a little pepper on the nose. I thought I detected some of the clove that would be varietally appropriate, but Margaret Anne didn't get it.

Very dry and not as peppery as some Shirazes, but it's hard to say much more about it because the extremely high alcohol content, 14.5 percent, meant that mostly it just tasted hot: the alcohol simply wiped out whatever nuance we might otherwise have noticed.

Not bad, but probably wouldn't buy it again because of the alcohol content.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Les Fondettes Sancerre 2006

We really enjoyed this 2006 Les Fondettes Sancerre. We found melon, apricot and floral notes on the nose, and the flavour reflected that. Lots of tart green apple as well and citrus, but more lemon than grapefruit. On the lingering finish, a bit of grassiness comes through. Recommended!

(My apology for the dreadful label photograph! Darn cellphone camera...)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Peter Lehmann Barossa Riesling 2005

This Peter Lehmann Barossa Riesling 2005 and appropriately petroleum (Rieslingy) nose. It was tart, dry and citrusy, with a lingering grapefruite aftertaste. It was an excellent accompaniment to Cambodian Chicken and Rice with Shrimp. We'd buy it again.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cairnbrae Old River Marlborough Riesling 2004

This 2004 Cairnbrae Old River Marlborough Riesling had lots of petroleum on the nose (in other words, it was very varietal). As it warmed, it opened up with a touch of grapefruit, and maybe even honey. Tart, dry, pleasant.

Vineland Estates Pinot Noir Reserve 2004

This Pinot Noir Reserve from Vineland Estates was garnet in colour, with lots of cherry and other red fruit on the nose. Even though it certainly looked mature, the tannins could still have softened a bit with additional aging. It went very well with light, curryish beef and beans baked in molasses and rum. We'd buy it again.
We're back!

Yes, I know, it's been over half a year since the last Willetts on Wine post, and things were pretty sporadic before that, but, well, life happens.

We realized we've been missing posting our wine remarks on here, not so much because we figure a lot of people are reading them but because the main reason we started this in the first place was so we could easily look back and see what we thought of various wines in the future.

So, without further ado, we begin with the annual meeting of the German Wine Society here in Regina, held at the Travelodge Hotel, and featuring, for the second year in a row, a matching of fine German wines with fine cheeses, this year from the Italian Star Deli. And to simplify things, I'll give my notes in point form:

Martinshof Heroldrebe Rose Trocken 2002

  • Lovely pale coppery colour;
  • Very dry;
  • Diesel on the nose most prominent feature;
  • After that, just sort of a generic wine;
  • We didn't like it much.

(Heroldrebe, a varietal we hadn't run across before, is a cross between Portugieser and Blaufrankisch, and one of the parents of Dornfelder, with which we're quite familiar.)

Martinshof Riesling Trocken 2000

  • Sparkling (which surprised us);
  • Diesel nose (which didn't);
  • A touch of sugar;
  • A touch of fruit;
  • Very refreshing.

Matched very successfully with Emmenthal Swiss, made from raw cow's milk, this one aged a minimum of twelve years; nutty, mild, only produced in the Emman valley in Switzerland

Martinshof Muller-Thurgau Halb-Trocken 2003

  • Rather bland;
  • No nose;
  • Well-balanced but not a lot of fruit;
  • Very generic.

Kindermanns Pinot Grigio 2003

  • Wine is fairly dark;
  • Not much nose;
  • Still fairly bland;
  • Not what we're looking for in a Pinot Grigio.

Served with Santa Lucia Pepato, creamy sheep's milk cheese with whole peppercorns in it--and once again, we thought the Riesling was the better match, cementing what we already knew: Riesling is, without a doubt, one of the most food-friendly of all wines.

Martinshof Kerner 2003 Spatlese

  • Nice nose, quite floral;
  • Nice balance;
  • Sweeter, honeyish.

It was served with Applewood Smoked White Cheddar, and this was the best wine/cheese match of the evening--but just the same, the Riesling still worked well with it, the sparkle in it helping to cut through the cheese's creaminess and honey/smokey flavours (very much like bacon and maple syrup).

Martinshof Scheurebe 2003

  • A bit more floral nose;
  • Nice balance, tilted perhaps a bit more to acidity than some wines of the evening.

Served with Guinness White Cheddar, and it matched it well enough. The Kerner was also a nice match.

Martinshof Weisserburgunder Auslese 2001

  • Nicely balanced;
  • Nice touch of sugar;
  • Lovely bouquet, a mixture of floral and honey (heavier on the honey).

It was matched with, and went well with, Onion Cheddar.

As always with the German Wine Society, it was a most pleasant evening.

And as for the photo up there...hey, if life hands you a fuzzy cellphone picture, make Impressionistic art!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

This could almost tempt us to make our own wine...

It's always been our philosophy that we'd rather let wineries make our wine for us than making it ourselves. But the WinePod almost tempts us. It's an:

...automated home winery that vinifies up to four cases of wine using traditional winemaking techniques combined with modern oenological technology, conducting the entire post-harvest process in its stainless steel chamber, cold soaking, pressing, and fermenting the grapes, and aging the wine for six to twelve months (or less, depending on personal preference).

Even if we never use it, if it improves other people's homemade wine, it will have been a worthwhile invention!