Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

November 4th MWG tasting: report

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Notes on 15 wines from the November 4th Cellier release. Prices are in Canadian dollars and include sales taxes.


Mosel 2008, Riesling, Mönchhof ($17.45, 11334920)
Light breezy nose of white flowers, lime and minerals. Off-dry and a little spritzy. Medium acidity, pure fruit, rainwater finish. Pleasant though more grip would be welcome. Vin terrasse. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Pinot Gris 2008, Acrobat, Oregon, King Estate ($17.95, 11333767)
Wax and pear with dried herb and lactic notes. Fluid but unctuous with just-noticeable residual sugar. A little facile, though a mildly mineral/bitter/astringent substrate hints at deeper things. Enough acidity to keep things fresh. Fair finish. (Buy again? Probably not.)

Columbia Valley 2009, Riesling, Evergreen Vineyard, Efesté Wine ($21.50, 11334760)
7-Up and minerals on the nose. Lemon-lime, minerals and herbs on the palate. Nearly dry and what sugar there is is counterbalanced by acidity. Fruity finish. Requires vigorous chewing to show any depth. (Buy again? Probably not when Germans offer more bang for the buck.)

Central Otago 2009, Riesling, Target Gully, Mt. Difficulty ($25.60, 11334778)
Petrol, lime, tarragon and a hint of BO. A mouthful of minerals and yellow citrus with a dollop of residual sugar. Fair length. Could use more oomph, especially more acid, but clearly the most complete and dimensional wine in the flight. (Buy again? Probably not when Germans offer more bang for the buck.)


Chehalem Mountains 2006, Pinot Noir, Carabella Vineyard ($27.65, 11333791)
Sweet red berries, hints of forest floor. Sweet fruity attack, oaky mid-palate and bitter-edged finish. Bright acid. Lacks depth. Not unpleasant but unexceptional. (Buy again? Not when you can find better Burgundies for the same price.)

Willamette Valley 2007, Pinot Noir, 3 Vineyard, Chehalem Wines ($32.75, 11333783)
Not particularly appealing nose of spice, beet and oak. Medium-bodied. Oak-heavy choco-cherry with some herby mid-palate nuance. Hot finish. Yuk! (Buy again? No way.)

Langhe 2007, Nebbiolo, La Spinetta ($28.90, 11337979)
Ink, raspberry, cherry, minerals, tar, Asian spice. Dense but not heavy fruit, mineral underlay. Tight tannins. Fluid texture. Lingering bitter-edged finish. Needs a few years to knit together and smooth out. (Buy again? If looking for a modern-style Nebbiolo, yep.)

Barolo 2005, Albe, G. D. Vajra ($35.25, 11337944)
Nail polish, shoe leather, dried roses. Fluid but rich. Pure fruit and background oak. Tight tannins and bright acid. Earthy finish. Seems ready to go. Despite the wine’s interesting qualities, several of us wondered whether our bottle wasn’t defective (ethyl acetate), a disappointment as I’d been looking forward to tasting this bottling from a producer whose other wines I’ve often enjoyed. (Buy again? Another bottle to see if ours was off.)


Etna 2006, Rosso di Verzella, Benanti ($20.65, 11348459)
A blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio given about ten months in small casks. Wafting nose of dried black cherry, baked earth, rosemary. Round, smooth and savoury. Medium-bodied. Lively acid gives freshness. Round tannins provide structure. Soft, long finish. A charmer. (Buy again? If only I could…)

Valpolicella Superiore Classico 2007, Ripasso, Pojega, Guerrieri Rizzardi ($22.65, 11331681)
Blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella  and Molinara. Roasted red peppers, spice. Sweet plummy fruit enlivened by acid, underpinned by fine tannins. Rich, smooth and harmonious with a long, savoury finish and lingering impression of warmth (not heat).  A winner. (Buy again? Yes.)

Monferrato 2007, Pin, La Spinetta ($49.75, 11337987)
Blend of barrel-aged Nebbiolo (65%) and Barbera (35%). Exuberant nose of spice, leaf mould, wood and black cherry with a floral note. Pure fruit. Dense and plush. Good acid. Quite tannic. Long astringent finish. Needs time. Modern but in a good way. (Buy again? Price is the only thing holding me back.)


Valle de Colchagua 2008, Quatro, MontGras ($17.95, 11331737)
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Carmenère (20%), Malbec  (20%) and Syrah (15%). Spent 11 months in casks, 30% new. Nose of bacon, Keds, dried herbs and telltale tomato vine. Smooth on the palate, with ripe fruit and noticeable oak. Cocoa finish. Straightforward, balanced and pleasant if a little facile. Good QPR. (Buy again? Sure, if you like the style.)

Columbia Valley 2007, River’s Red, Three Rivers Winery ($19.90, 11336466)
A dog’s breakfast blend of Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenère and Trempranillo. Fresh nose: cassis, herbs, green pepper, spice. Clean if somewhat candied fruit, smooth tannins, oaky finish. Simple but fun. (Buy again? Sure, if you like the style.)

Columbia Valley 2007, Cabernet Sauvignon, L’École N° 41 ($37.75, 10707093)
100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Spent 22 months in oak barrels, a third of them new. Cheese grains, cassis. Rich fruit, touch of residual sugar, oak in background. Good acid, light tannins that become more prominent with aeration. Shorter than expected for a wine in this price bracket. In fact, the wine overall seemed a bit one-dimensional and a little disjointed. Needs time? (Buy again? Only out of curiosity to see how it might develop.)

Yakima Valley 2006, Boushey Vineyard, Fidélitas Wines ($58.75, 11335421)
Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Cabernet Franc. Spent 24 months in casks, half of them new. Cassis, black raspberry and fresh dill. Sweet fruit buttressed by rich tannins, freshened by acidity. Plush texture. Layers of flavour. Long. A complete wine. Quite impressive in its style. (Buy again? If in the market for a full-bore West Coast Bordeaux blend, sure.)

Written by carswell

November 28, 2010 at 16:37

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  1. […] beguiling than last year’s 2006 (or maybe it’s the 2008′s relative youth), the same description applies: “A blend of Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio given about ten months in small […]

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