My 2010 Wine Picks on MyWinePal.com

In an earlier blog article, I listed my favourite 2010 wines that I had previously posted. I also promised to provide a list of my favourite 2010 wines from the main MyWinePal.com website.

This list has a range of wines from all over the world, and includes red, white, and sparkling wines. Quite a mix of wines. But which was my overall favorite? Read on!

Meyer Family Vineyards Micro Cuvee, Old Main Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2009 (BC) This wine is a deep lemon colour. Medium intensity aromas that show some developing characteristics. Tropical fruit, apple, yeast, oak, vanilla, butter and honey aromas. It is dry on the palate with medium plus level of acidity. Very pronounced flavours and quite full bodied. Citrus, tropical fruit, dried fruit, oak, vanilla, butter, honey and some minerality. Lots roundness in the mouth, but has that higher level of acidity to balance it out. There is a tiny hint of spice. The oak is very integrated with the wine. It’s there in the background. I rate this as an outstanding wine and can be aged for further complexity.

The D’Angelo Sette Coppa 2005 (BC) is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Malbec. It is primarily Cabernet Franc and Merlot, with lesser amounts of the other grape varieties. From my tasting of this wine at the Simply Red event, I had the following notes: “Light garnet in the glass. Tarry, cassis and black cherry aromas. Cassis, cherry, chocolate and vanilla on the palate with some spiciness. Medium length with firm tannins kicking in on the finish. Enjoy with some grilled meat.” What did I note in my latest tasting? This wine is deep garnet in colour. Pronounced aromas in the glass of dried fruit, black fruit, red cherry, a hint of cedar, sweet spice and vanilla. This wine has firm yet soft tannins. Dry on the palate with medium to full body. Flavours of black fruit, black cherry, strawberry, sweet spice, vanilla, and a hint of chocolate. This wine is ready to drink now, but could age a year to let the tannins soften a bit more.

The Bodegas Salentein Primum Malbec (Argentina) was outstanding. Opaque purple in the glass. Reserved vanilla and plum nose. Ripe plum and cassis flavour with some spice and firm tannins. A very high quality Malbec.

The Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 comes from the Dierberg Family of wines (California). Opaque garnet in the glass. Vanilla and juicy red cherry nose. Cherry and plum flavours. Round mouthfeel and firm tannins. Their Dierberg Pinot Noir 2006 was also outstanding.

The Mount Riley Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (New Zealand) is pale lemon colour in the glass. Light gooseberry nose. High acid with some minerality and lemon rind. Herbal finish. Elegant.

The Alto Rouge 2007 (South Africa) was light/medium garnet in the glass. Capsicum and cherry nose. Cherry, meaty and spicy flavours. Their Alto Shiraz 2006 was deep purple coloured. Sweet black fruit aromas. Firm tannins and bursting with blueberry flavours. Very full bodied.

The Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2005 (France) may have been my overall favorite white wine of the festival. This wine was very elegant and intense. Medium lemon in colour, with peach and honey on the nose. Medium body, with peach and flowery flavours. Round with refreshing acidity to balance the fruit.

Another fantastic wine was the Dopff & Irion Traditional Gewurztraminer 2008 (France). Lychee and honey on the nose. Good acidity with peach and lychee flavour. Very refreshing.

Church & States Wines Chardonnay 2007 (BC). 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.

Mission Hill Family Estate Quatrain 2006 (BC). This is a Syrah, Merlot, Cab Sauvignon, and Cabernet 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.

Villa Rinaldi Rose di Barriciaia 1998 (Italy). This is a Pinot Noir based sparkling wine that has some oak aging. Peachy, orange colour in the glass. Nutty, lemony and creamy / lees on the palate. Very small, fine bubbles.

The Vina Cobos Bramare Malbec Lujan de Cuyo 2007 (Argentina) has a vanilla, cedary, cherry nose. Ripe black fruit, cassis and black cherry flavours, with medium tannins. I marked a star beside this wine in my notes.

The Villa Maria Estate Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Noir (New Zealand) was medium garnet in the glass. A very pretty raspberry and plum nose. Raspberry, leafy, cherry flavours. Slightly spicy. Silky on the palate. Very nice!

The Woollaston Estates Tussock Nelson Pinot Noir (New Zealand) was very aromatic with strawberry and raspberry aromas. Cherry and raspberry flavours. Medium body, medium acidity. Vanilla on the finish.

The Starmont Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (California) is pale lemon colour. It has light lemon with gooseberry nose. Round mouthfeel with good acidity. Nice herbal flavour.

St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc 2009 (California) continues to deliver. There was lots of gooseberry and green herbal aromas. Herbal flavour with good acidity. A very good example of Sauvignon Blanc.

The Merryvale Pinot Noir 2008 (California) is light cherry coloured in the glass. It has a beautiful raspberry / strawberry nose. Red cherry, vanilla and raspberry flavours. Medium acidity.

So which was my 2010 Overall Wine Pick? The Pfaffenheim Steinert Grand Cru Pinot Gris 2005 (France). I still think of when I tasted this wine. I checked the BCLDB website, and this wine is still available. It retails for $33.95 a bottle.

Do you trust wine reviews?

Before the web, blogging, and micro-blogging, there were magazines and newspapers where people would read about ratings of wines. There were relatively few reviewers at that time. But now, anybody can review and rate a wine.

How do you choose a reviewer to trust? And what makes a good review?

There are well known people in the wine world, such as Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson. People have read their reviews and understand what/how they rate the wines (hopefully).

With new reviewers, and maybe even with the well-known ones, here are a few tips or ideas that might help you in your quest for a wine review you can trust.

1. Know the style of wines that a reviewer likes. Do they like fruit forward wines, or are they more into the structure of a wine and how the tannins / sugar / acid / fruit balance each other. If you are a person that likes fruit forward wines, try to find a reviewer with similar tastes.

2. Does the reviewer have any wine training / background? It’s true that there can be some people who are naturally talented and can become good wine tasters and reviewers, but I think finding someone that has been trained in how to taste and critique a wine, will give you an added level of assurance in what they say about a wine. I like my carpenter analogy here. I can build a house, but I’d trust a house built by a professional carpenter that went to Trade school, more than I would trust the house I build.

3. If you find a wine that you are considering purchasing being reviewed, check to see when that review was done. If the review is more than a year old, it is possible that the wine has since changed in the bottle (if it is a bottle with cork, not screw cap), so some of the aromas and flavours back at the original tasting, may not hold true now. One thing you can check is if that reviewer gave their opinion on how the wine will age, or how long it can age to reach it’s potential.

I did a test with 2 bottles of Altenbourg Riesling I had purchased a few years ago. I opened one up and wrote my tasting notes, then opened the other bottle a year later, and wrote my tasting notes, then compared the two tasting notes and there were differences.

4. This one is optional. But I’d recommend to find wine reviewers that specialize in different parts of the world. For example, for Australian wines, I may search the web for a wine writer in Australia that knows more than just the wine. The writer may actually go to the wineries, speak with the wine maker, and give you a more rounded picture of the wine and what the goals are of the winery. Someone from another part of the world, could give you a good review/rating of a wine, but maybe not the story surrounding the wine And sometimes that is just as interesting as the wine.

An additional thought on this is that if the reviewer doesn’t live in the region but has travelled there and spent time with wine makers, toured the vineyards, etc., they could give you a bit more insight or story around the wines that they are reviewing.  I know when I travel to Oregon and California that I have a better appreciation for the wineries and the wines, and I can offer my readers more information about the wine and winery.

5. Understand the rating scale. Most wines are rated on a 100 point scale. Hopefully a 90 point wine is rated at 90 points by a majority of professional tasters. But it might not be. There can be tasters that prefer fruit forward wines. If a wine doesn’t have that characteristic, maybe the wine will get an 88 point rating. Try to understand the wine writer’s views on how they review wines and assign points.

I personally am not the greatest fan of assigning points to wines. I’ve tried to stay away from it in my reviews and just tell people what I taste and smell, if I like it, and if I think it can cellar for a while. I think people like this kind of information, but to try to differentiate an 89 from a 90 point wine, I think is hard, and for most of the people drinking wine for their enjoyment, are not going to be able to tell either. How does that sound to you?

I’d love to hear your feedback on this article. Maybe you want me to rate wine with points. Let me know. Cheers!