Inception A Red Blend from South Africa: My Review

I received a bottle of Inception 2012, a red blend of 81% Shiraz, 10% Petit Verdot, and 9% Mourvedre. This wine I was told is being released first in Canada before the rest of the world. It is produced in South Africa, a country that has its feet in both the Old World and the New World of wine making style. Wines that I have tasted in the past from South Africa, tended to be enjoyed with meals more than on their own.

From the information provided with this wine, it appears that quite a bit of care was taken to hand pick the grapes, then ferment each grape variety separately in stainless steel tanks. followed by a full malolactic fermentation (to make the wine smoother and rounder), followed by aging in oak barrels for 12-14 months and blending.

Inception 2012 bottle and glass of wine

Inception 2012 bottle and glass of wine

My Tasting Notes for Inception 2012

The wine is deep ruby in colour.  It has a pronounced nose, with primary aromas of red fruit, smoke and meatiness, followed secondarily with raspberry, vanilla, leather and chocolate.  It has a bit of sweetness to it, at 17.2 g/l of residual sugar.  Quite soft, round and smooth on the palate, but overall has a very light mouth feel.  Mainly red fruit and chocolate flavours, with lesser amouhts of red cherry and black currant.  The sweetness is the first sensation you get on the palate and continues to the finish.  On the finish you get mouth watering acidity and pepperiness.  The tannins are very light on this wine, and I think would help to bring a bit more structure to the wine.  This wine will be a hit for those of you who like Apothic Red or Yellowtail wines.  I think people who do not like tannic wines and just want something to sip at a party would enjoy this wine.  The price is nice.  In BC $14.99 a bottle.

Bordeaux 2007 Release Preview. What to Expect?

Today the Cambie Street BC Liquor Store had a pre-release showing of six red Bordeaux wines from the 2007 vintage. As expected, the tasting area was packed full of people wanting to get a taste of what to expect with the BCLDB releases all their 2007 Bordeaux inventory on September 25, 2010.

The 2007 vintage I was told at this tasting was a cool year. So do not expect, big, full-bodied reds. Expect a leaner, lighter style. Also expect the blend to change, as it does every year. Cabernet Sauvignon loves heat, while Merlot does very well with cooler temperatures, so for this cooler vintage, expect to see a greater percentage of Merlot in the blends.

The first three wines I tasted were:
Chateau Belle Vue, Haut-Medoc AOC 2007
– Chateau Puy Blanquet, St Emilion Grand Cru AOC 2007
– Chateau Sainte Colombe, Côtes de Castillon AOC 2007

The Chateau Belle Vue is a 70% Merlot / 20% Cabernet Franc / 10% Cabernet Sauvignon blend. Deep garnet in the glass. A very nice colour. Quite smoky aromas, along with black berries and cherries. Firm tannins with bright cherry fruit and a medium length. Good to drink now.

I do like the wines from the St. Emilion region and was looking forward to trying the Chateau Puy Blanquet . It was light garnet in colour with aromas of red cherries and a bit of vanilla. Soft mouthfeel with red cherries flavours. The tannins built as you kept the wine in your mouth longer. Thin body and short length. I was hoping for more.

Chateau Sainte Colombe is a blend of 70% Merlot / 20% Cabernet Franc / 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium garnet colour. Closed nose, but I was able to pull out some capsicum, vanilla and cherries. On the palate, it was quite round, with cassis, red cherries and oak flavours. Medium tannins and medium length. Not bad. Maybe with a bit of time exposed to the air, the nose would have opened up more.

The next three wines I would rank at a higher level of wine making. These wines are more structured with more length and interesting flavours and aromas. The three wines are:

Alter Ego de Palmer, Margaux AOC 2007
– Chateau de Gironville, Haut-Medoc AOC 2007
– Chateau Moulin Haut-Laroque, Fronsac AOC 2007

The Alter Ego de Palmer, is the second label for the well-regarded Chateau Palmer winery. This wine was a blend of 60% Merlot / 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was deep purple coloured in the glass. Meaty, dark cherry, cassis, and vanilla aromas. Full bodied, with ripe cherries, vanilla, and medium fine tanning. It had a very nice cherry finish and a long length. Overall my favorite of all six wines, but comes with a $59 price tag. Clearly not the most expensive of the upcoming Bordeaux releases (which can be easily $600+), but I think would be a special occasion wine for many people.

The Chateau de Gironville is a blend of 45% Merlot / 45% Cabernet Sauvignon / 10% Petit Verdot. Opaque purple in the glass (courtesy of the Petit Verdot). A very aromatic nose. Lots of coffee of black cherry. On the palate you get firm tannins, with black cherry, coffee, and vanilla flavours. Full body with long length. I personally purchased a bottle of this wine. A nice price point at $22.99.

The final wine was the Chateau Moulin Haut-Laroque. Opaque purple/garnet in the glass. It had a chemical / woody nose that I did not particularly enjoy. Medium body, with cassis and cherry flavours. Round mouthfeel but an astringent finish. Maybe this wine needs a few years to evolve in the bottle?

I’d advise those of you going to buy the 2007 red Bordeaux’s to do some research online to find out what other professional reviewers have said about the wines. Do not forget that there will also be white Bordeaux being released. With the cooler temperature of the 2007 growing season, this gives the semillon and sauvignon blanc grapes plenty of time to mature on the vine and to keep their fresh fruitiness and good acidity. It also I am told was very good for Sauternes. Be sure to line up early at the Cambie St specialty wine store on September 25, 2010! Enjoy.

Celebrate Argentina Wines 2009

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} catch(err) {}Having both the Wines of Chile and the Wines of Argentina in the same week have been taxing, but very fulfilling. I tried many new wines from many new wineries this week, and I look forward to seeing these new wines in our government and private wine shops. On this post I focus on the Argentina event.

Argentina has been making wines over the last 300 years, with most of the consumption within the country. Over the past 20 years exports of Argentinean wine has grown. Canada is now starting to get many more Argentinean wines.

For this tasting, there was of course many bottles of Malbec to taste, but also now a wide range of other varietals such as Semillon, Pinot Noir, Torrontes (the signature white grape of Argentina) and Petit Verdot! I was particularly suprised to see the Pinot Noir as it is such a finicky grape and loves cool climate, while the major wine region of Argentina, Mendoza, is quite hot and Malbec thrives there. I also enjoyed watching the Argentinean tango being danced at the event.

So what were some of the highlight wines that I came across at this evening’s event?

Urraca Chardonnay 2008. This wine had a nice oaky, earthy nose. Round in the mouth with nice lemon flavour and a long finish. Not overly oaked. This winery needs an agent so we can see their wines.
Juana del Sol Chardonnay 2009. This wine has understated elegance. Pale lemon in colour with a light oak nose. Round. Vanilla and stone fruit flavours. They also need an agent.
Sur de los Andes Torrontes 2008. Medium lemon coloured. Light pine needle aroma. FULL flavour. Pine needles and apples with a grapefruit finish. Maybe try instead of a Sauvignon Blanc sometime.
Filus Reserva Malbec 2007. Deep purple in the glass. Ripe sweet red fruit with cherry liquor flavours. Vanilla, red fruit and plum on the nose. Tannic finish, but not unpleasant. This winery needs an agent.
Aconcagua Malbec 2008. Deep purple coloured. Very aromatic. Smoky, herbal, cherry aromas. Smoky, earthy and dark fruit flavours with a cherry finish. Nice round mouth feel. One of my favorites, and should be around $15 when it comes to BC.
Sottano Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. Medium garnet in the glass. Classic cassis nose. Cassis and cherry on the palate. Lots of fruit flavour and low tannins.

There is a peek at a few of the wines of the evening. There were many more, and I’ll be posting them on www.mywinepal.com in the Wine Reviews section. Keep your eyes open for these wines coming soon to BC. Salud!

Pacific Breeze Winery

Many people living in New Westminster probably drive by this winery and don’t realize it is there, and that they have very good wines. Hopefully this post, plus my past tweets will help let Vancouverites know about this winery and try their wines.

Last weekend, Pacific Breeze Winery, had a Summer Launch Release of their Sangiacomo Vineyards Chardonnay 2007 and their Lake County Killer Cab 2006. The grapes for both these wines come from California. The Chardonnay was medium lemon colour, lots of vanilla, citrus and pineapple on the nose. It was medium bodied, with some smoothness (so maybe partial MLF). Vanilla, pineapple and oak flavours. A very nice chardonnay.

The Killer Cab 2006 was medium purple in the glass. Black cherry, vanilla and other black fruit aromas. On the palate I tasted cassis, sweet fruit, black cherry liquor, and some spice. Nice round mouthfeel with medium tannins and a long finish. When the weather warms up this week, I think I’ll be bbq’ing and drinking this wine.

In their backroom, they had 2 additional wines to taste; the aCURE eSTATE Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 and the aCURE eSTATE Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006. The 2005 was 81% Cab with 17% Merlot, 5% Cab Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, while the 2006 was 80% Cab with 16% Cab Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot. Both wines looked and tasted quite different. The 2005 was really dark and extracted in the glass. Vanilla, cassis, cherry and cedar aromas. Chocolate, cocoa, vanilla, and black cherry flavours. Very smooth. The 2006 was a medium garnet in colour (I thought it would be darker as it had a high percentage of Petit Verdot). Leathe, licorice, cherry, and nutmeg on the nose. Lots of cassis, black cherry and some spicy. Very tasty. Either wine is a winner.

Where is Pacific Breeze Winery? It is #6 – 320 Stewardson Way, New Westminster, BC. Hope you have a chance to visit them. Tell them Karl at MyWinePal sent you!

Dinner with Aurelio Montes

Yesterday evening was exceptional. Through the South World Wine Society and Whitehall Agencies, I and 55 other people sat down to dinner at Saltaire in West Vancouver and enjoy the wines from Aurelio Montes. Mr. Montes’ winery is the 4th largest winery in Chile. He bought to us:

Montes Leyda Sauvignon Blanc
Montes Classic Cabernet Sauvignon
Montes Limited Selection Cabernet Carmenere
Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon
Alpha Chardonnay
Alpha M cabernet sauvignon blend
Folly 100% Syrah
Purple Angel Carmenere Petit Verdot

The Alpha, Folly, and Purple Angel wines are all Premium wines from Montes. Aurelio is a tall imposing man, but when you talk to him, he is very nice and down to earth. He told us of his experience of starting the Montes winery and growing it to the point where he was able to open a winery in Argentina in 2002, and another winery in Napa Valley in 2006! All the Montes’ red wines have silky smooth tannins. Aurelio says it is because he likes to let their red grapes hang on the vine as long as possible. His Sauvignon Blanc was very much in the New World, New Zealand style. It had good acidity and a wonderful herbal nose (and paired very nicely with the chilled black tiger prawns with garlic aioli appetizer).

Our first course was a sweet curry creamed orzo which was paired with the Alpha Chardonnay. The Chardonnay comes from the Casablanca valley. It is oak fermented and aged in the barrel for one year. The lees (the dead yeast cells) are stirred in the barrel regularly to add a creamy texture/flavour to this wine. It had a wonderful pear and vanilla aroma. The creaminess of the wine and the full pear/apple/spice flavour paired nicely with the orzo.

The second course was a smoked black cod. It was paired with the Cabernet Carmenere blend and with the Alpha Cabernet blend. I thought the Alpha Cab with fuller body and firmer tannins held up well with the strong smoky flavour from the cod.

More to come for the third course and final course in my next blog.

You can visit the Montes website for more info.