Review of the Trialto Wine Group Fall Tour 2010 Tasting

This week I was invited to the Trialto Wine Group’s fall tour tasting of wines. There were winery representatives from 18 different wines around the world. I tried to taste wines from as many as possible, but ended up a few wineries short. The wineries that I did get to try wines were:
– Argiano Cantina Dal 1580 (Tuscany, Italy)
– Bodega Noemia (Patagonia, Argentina)
– Brokenwood (Hunter Valley, Australia)
– Chono (Chile)
– Delta Vineyards (Marlborough, New Zealand)
– Dog Point Vineyard (Marlborough, New Zealand)
– L’Ecole No 41 (Washington State)
– Pares Balta 1790 (Spain)
– Quinta Do Vale Meao (Portugal)
– Sperling Vineyards (Okanagan, BC)
– Zardetto (Prosecco, Italy)

A few of the highlights from these wineries for me were:

1. Argiano Brunello Di Montalcino D.O.C.G. 2005 ($58.99). This wine is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. A very nice Old World style wine. Light cherry in colour. Cherry, sausage and vanilla on the nose. Medium body, red cherry flavour and drying tannins.

2. Bodega Noemia J Alberto 2008 ($58). This is a single vineyard Malbec. The vineyard and winery is certified biodynamic. This wine is deep purple in the glass. A very interesting nose with aromas of cassis, tar and cherries. Full bodied with a smooth round mouthfeel. Cassis, black plum, black cherry and quite spicy on the palate.

3. Brokenwood Shiraz 2009 (no pricing available). I spoke with the winemaker, Iain Riggs about this wine. He did mention that it was a cool year. Typically a cool year would make a more Old World style of Syrah, rather than a typical full-fruit Aussie Shiraz. When I tasted it, it had a bit of Old and New World blended together. It was quite full bodied, but did have some structure to it. Smoke, cherry and oak on the nose. Blueberries and vanilla on the palate with a red cherry finish. Medium acidity with medium tannins.

4. Delta Vineyards Hatter’s Hill Pinot Noir 2007 ($34.99). This wine was bursting with raspberry aroma and flavour. There was also some smokiness on the nose. Medium body, round mouthfeel and low tannins. There was also some cherry flavours to complement the raspberry flavour. I’d love to enjoy this wine with duck breast.

5. Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir 2005 ($55). I really like Pinot Noir wines. This one was in a classic New World style. One thing in particular about this wine that is interesting is that it is 100% fermented with indigenous yeasts from the vineyard (no cultured yeast was added). This is always a risk for the winemaker, but maybe it really helps to bring out the terroir of the vineyard. This wine was light cherry coloured. Earthy and violet aromas on the nose. Light body, a bit of spice, strawberries, cherries and violet flavours. Delicious.

6. L’Ecole No 41 Pepper Bridge Apogee 2007 ($69.99). This wine is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, and lesser amounts of Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, from the Walla Walla Valley in Washington state. Deep purple colour in the glass. Plum, vanilla and some cedar on the nose. Quite drying tannins up front. Cedar and cherry flavour that lasted for a long time in your mouth. Very structured with a good fruit / tannin balance.

7. Sperling Vineyards Pinot Gris 2008 ($19.99). This is a new winery in Kelowna, BC. No tasting room yet, but they are located near the Tantalus winery. Pale lemon in colour. A very nice nose with grapefruit and flowers. Medium body, high acidity, with flavours of lemon rind, flowers and some spice. I look forward to visiting them when the tasting room opens.

That’s all for now. There were many more wines, but I’m trying to keep this brief, and not a novel. I will be entering in tasting notes for all the wines I tried on I hope you have a chance to try some of these wines.

Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair – Day 3

Yesterday was my last day at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Fair. I tried many wines from the theme countries of New Zealand and Argentina, and gave you my picks. Today I’ll give you some of my picks for the rest of the world.

If you like Italian wines, Altesino is a nice coice. I particularly liked their Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2004 and their Alte d’Altesi “Super Tuscan” IGT 2003. The Brunello was pale reddish orange. Light strawberry and woody nose. Light body with strawberry and oaky flavours. Medium tannins. The Alte d’Altesi was fuller bodied. Medium garnet. Smoky, earthy, oaky nose. Cherry flavour with very firm tannins.

A South African winery I had not tried before but will now look around for is Alto. South African wines tend to have a different aromatic profile than other New World wines. There is something earthy about many of their wines. Alto’s Rouge 2007 and Shiraz 2006 were wonderful. I was told their Fine Old Vintage Port 2006 was really good, but never got around to trying it. The Rouge 2007 was light/medium garnet in the glass. Capsicum and cherry nose. Cherry, meaty and spicy flavours. Their Shiraz 2006 was deep purple coloured. Sweet black fruit aromas. Firm tannins and bursting with blueberry flavours. Very full bodied. Nice!

Back here in Canada, a must try is Cedar Creek Estate winery’s Platinum Malbec 2007 and their Platinum Syrah 2007. The Platinum Malbec 2007 is their first single varietal release. Medium purple colour. Plum and dark fruit aromas. Rip, black cherries with some green stemminess. Very smooth. Vanilla and medium spice. The Platinum Syrah 2007 had nice blueberries and plum aromas. Quite spicy on the palate with black cherry flavour. Medium tanning and long length.

Another BC wine to try is the Chardonnay 2007 from Church & States Wines. The Chardonnay 2007 is medium lemon colour. Nice apricot nose. Vanilla, sweet spice, pineapple and apricot flavours, with a bit of spice. Lots of flavours coming out the glass the more you swirled it around in your mouth.

If you like biodynamic wines, there is the Cadenizia 2008 from Gemtree Vineyards in Australia. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, and Shiraz). Medium garnet. Nice nose with butterscotch, cherry and vanilla. Lots of cassis flavour with black cherry and spiciness. Firm yet fine tannins.

My third recommended BC wine is the Mission Hill Family Estate Quatrain 2006. This is a Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, and Cab Franc blend from the Black Sage area of the Okanagan. Deep purple coloured. Blueberry and plum nose. Cherry and plum flavour, peppery with firm tannins.

If you are a Pinot Noir lover, try the Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2006 from Panther Creek in Oregon. The Freedom Hill Pinot Noir 2006 is light cherry coloured. Smoky, strawberry aromas. Earthy, cherry flavours, with a bit of spiciness and low tannins.

There are many more wines for me to write about for you. That will be happening over the next week. Hopefully you would have tried some of these wines and/or purchased some. Enjoy!