Wednesday, May 23, 2012

REVIEW - Raats 'Original' Chenin Blanc

REVIEW - Raats 'Original' Chenin BLANC
Stellenbosch, South Africa 2009

SKU: 721651  
Origin: South Africa
Agent: Marram Fine Wines Ltd.

 like the colour of straw, with a faint greenish hue. But I was in a room with industrial lighting so that may be off a bit.

In the Glass - This wine is a clear pale yellow,

On the Nose - It has a medium intensity, with clear creamy, tasty, nutty notes. Stone fruit like peach and pear. Some blanket citrus (apple, pineapple). Nice minerals , and a earthy wet wool smell that is a really common descriptor for Chenin Blanc or Semillon.

On the Palate - This dry wine has a strong medium acidity to it. With predominate flavors of apple pie, cooking spice, orange blossom and peel, peaches, apricot and blanket stone fruit. It has a creamy nature to it due to the fact that this wine is aged on its lees for 6 months prior to bottling. With a medium sized body, it has a good balance and a medium length finish. I find
For food pairings with this one i would go with any seafood and cream sauce, or a deep fried calamari. You can lay this one down for some age if you want, maybe 2 years at most, but she's good to go now, and for about $25 you really can't go wrong

Chenin Blancs to have a sort of viscosity to it, so when I tasted this wine blind it was relatively easy to feel that it wasn't a chardonnay, even though the tasting note i have here very much look like a chardonnay.

Chenin Blanc, known locally as Steen, has been a specialty of South African winemakers for over three hundred years. Chenin Blanc is an interesting little grape that South Africa has developed into its own creation. Known locally as "Steen", it originally started as a French varietal,  Traditionally coming out of the Loire, and predominantly being marketed on the grapes high acid content and age ability. Over all South Africa has had a real run of it when it comes to joining the global wine market, back in the 80's it was removed from the market, and after that they tried to market SA wine to a black only community, which obviously had huge political back lash. Racism what? But now they have a decent and ever growing global following and have even developed a grape all of their own called Pintoage, its a clone of Pinot Noir and Cinsault.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

REVIEW - Lake Breeze Meritage, Okanagan, BC 2008

REVIEW - Lake Breeze Meritage, Okanagan, BC 2008 

SKU: 129270  
Origin: Canada  |  British Columbia
Agent: Harvest Vintage Imports Ltd.

In the glass  - deep ruby/garnet right to the rim

On the Nose -  This wine has a medium intensity with a blatant purple Welch's grape juice on the front. Accented with strawberry, jam and a cooking sherry smell. And if left to sit it develops into a leathery tobacco.

On the Palate – This dry wine has less then medium acidity and about medium tannin, giving it over all good body and length. I noticed that i could feel the alcohol on this wine, it was hot on my gums, and dried out my mouth. And with persistent tannins to compound that I found it a bit distracting. There is some good jammy fruit in the background of this wine but i need to get past that initial heat blast. Specific flavors I found were sour cherry moving into a black cherry, blackberry, spice. wonderfully structured oak in this wine that is the last thing left on the palate after its medium finish.

I actually visited the Lake Breeze winey last summer in my flying trip through the bench last year. I visited over12 wineries in under 9 hours. All by my lonesome. it was a great experience but I can hardly wait to go back again and give each winery the time and attention it deserves.

Over all this Bordeaux blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon is one I would call a good wine, and for less than $30 it really makes a wonderful Canadian addition to the cellar. I believe this wine will continue to improve over the next 2 years as well.


Friday, May 18, 2012

REVIEW - 2009 Balland Chapuis Sancerre Le Vallon

REVIEW - 2009 BAlland Chapuis Sancerre Le Vallon 
SKU: 1090247  
Origin: France  |  Loire Valley
Agent: Nobilis Wine Importers Ltd.

In the Glass – This wine has a pale to medium lemon colour

On the Nose – This clean, medium intensity wine is fresh. With lots of citrus, specifically green apple, lemon zest, grass and hay. It has undertones of mushroom, with a stony/steely minerality.

On the Palate – This dry wine has a medium body with strong medium acidity. It sits on your palate with flavors of mint, pungent green pepper, and oyster minerals. Finishing long and with a grassy quality. Over all its well balanced and has a great "ocean breeze" quality to it. This comes from the chalky soils its grown in. I would call this wine very good. Especially to those out there who can appreciate the acidity.

According to their website Balland-Chapui has been owned by Guy Saget and his family since 1998, and it remains a historic name in Sancerre. Domaine Balland-Chapuis name has existed in Sancerre since the 17th Century.

With a Sancerre what you need to know is that this isn't a Sauvignon Blanc that is full of tropical new world fruit. Its grown in the Loire River, which, while being the longest river in France, is full of very stony limestone soils, known as “caillottes”, and chalk soils. It's easy to see why this wine pulls all that minerality.  

The Saget family boasts that they stick to "excellent vine growing and wine making principals using older vines, cropping at lower yields and letting nature speak for itself". Very much a "if it aint broke don't fix it" king of thing. This is a ideology that I think many producers who have come into winemaking with a preexisting and  historic label tend to leave behind because they are eager to make a unique name for themselves.  Dont get me wrong, I'm sure Saget family has made some changes to the way Domaine Balland-Chapuis was crafted prior to 1998 but they still stick to the same tried and true methods. And really, you're in the Loire, making Sancerre. What can you really do to change it?  

Now, it's been said that the 2010 vintage was the best they have produced yet but this is still one fine wine. I would pair this with any fish or a dish with goats cheese in it. The high acid will go with salt, other acid (as it will mitigate) and will also cuts through fat and oil. Over all fruit goes with spice so it would be great with wasabi peas too. This one will run less than $35 in most liquor stores


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Just a quick interuption...

We interrupt our regularly scheduled wine reviews for this quick service announcement.

Because sometimes it's just beer weather. And even the Arbiter will do what it takes to get the job done. Even team up with Storm Troopers. Apparently.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


 REVIEW - 2008 Riesling Paul Zinck Grand Cru Pfersigberg

Alsace, France
SKU: 722356  
Origin: France  |  Alsace
Crush Imports

I've become more than just a little familiar with this wine but I came across it again not too long ago and was startled to be reminded just how much I liked it. It's done up by the same makers of the Pink Zinck Cremant (I know, who would have guessed right?) and that was my "go to" bubbly for an entire summer a few years back. Now, I'm not a huge Riesling fan, but this is definitely one that makes me think twice about blanket statementing a varietal.

In the glass – It is clear medium lemon with just a hint of green around the rim, but it may have been the office lighting.

On the nose - This wine has a medium intensity, with key notes of smoky petrol, orange and lime peel. With clear over all stone fruit, floral, and honey.

On the Palate – dry, and just a smidge less then high acid. Yes, that's a technical term. It had great flavors of fresh green fruit, pears, kiwi, pine apple. Just lots of warmer citrus fruit all around. It really reminded me of the canned fruit salad that you had as a kid. It's fine fruit was complimented with  a smooth minerality, and a touch of petrol. Over all this wine had a medium body, medium finish with a 12.5% alcohol

 This wine is, and has been for a while, very good in my books, and will probably be very good for at least another 5 years. It should run you less than $35 in a store

For me this would go with any kind of seafood, and spice. Like sushi. Also it would be great with English style fish and chips.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there!

I may not be able to speak to all the mothers out there but mine has taught me the finest lessons in life. With her guiding words and loving nature, she has helped me become the woman I am today. I love her with my whole heart and one day when I grow up I hope I am just like her.

"I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you're going to lie, lie for a friend. If you're going to steal, steal a heart. If your're going to cheat, cheat death. And if you're going to drink, drink with me."

Happy Mothers Day to one and all.


Thursday, May 10, 2012


 REVIEW - Château Thieuley Bordeaux Blanc 2009

SKU: 726194  
Origin: France  |  Bordeaux
Agent: Beverage International Distributor

Well holy smokes guys, I'm finally back on the wagon.. the writing wagon that is. Over the last month I've had the chance to try a lot of different stuff so let's kick this off with some white Bordeaux. This is the 2009  blend from Château Thieuley is 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon. 

In the glass - this wine is a clear, pale lemon colour with just a hint of green round the rim

On the nose - it has a medium intensity floral aroma to it, I could pick out notes of honey suckle passion fruit, guava, melon, lemon zest, peach. I noted that  even though its half sauvignon blanc it had no vegetal or herb quality to it. Just fresh and fruity

On the palate – It was dry, with medium acid. It had a medium body to it; this I found a bit surprising as I didn't expect it to be quite that big, but the two grapes together worked very well together. It had clear green lemon flavors, moving into a tart grapefruit, and  ripe citrus fruit, this was all held together with a fantastic light honey flavor.

I would say that this is a good wine, especially because it retails for around $21 in most retail shops. I would Drink this with any kind of spicy tomato sauce, or some New Orleans style gumbo

If you go to the Château Thieuley website you can read al labout the story of how this very cool family vineyard got started but let me sum it up for you.

In 1950, André Courselle bought Château Thieuley In the 1950's In 1972 His son took it over and started buying more land, they went from 4 to 30 hectares over 3 properties. They are known as Château Thieuley, Clos St Anne, and Château St Genes .  Today it is run today by the founders granddaughters, Marie and Sylvie. Together  they have split the tasks of running a winery, Marie has the technical aspects of winemaking, and Sylvie looks after commercial side. togewther they produce about 550,000 bottlesa year. It's an inspiring little story of family, and tradition in a slightly untraditional way.


Friday, May 4, 2012

REVIEW - 2007 Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, California

 2007 Sequoia Grove Cabernet sauvignon Napa Valley, California

SKU: 740382  
Origin: United States  |  California
Agent: Charton-Hobbs Inc.

This wine is done by winemaker Michael Trujillo who had taken over production at Sequoia Grove in 2002. He used estate grown fruit in this bottling along with fruit from the Tonella Vineyard that they recently bought. He also buys grapes from Morisoli and Beckstoffer in Rutherford, Stagecoach in Atlas Peak, Lamoreaux in the Oak Knoll District and Healy in St. Helena It's a 50 acre prime property in Rutherford. Sequoia Grove is named after one of the last remaining Redwood groves in the Napa Valley and they also boast about being environmentally friendly and sustainable practices, but I couldn't find anything on them actually being organic or biodynamic.

In the Glass – this wine is medium to deep purple, with purple deposits of colour on the legs in the glass

On the nose – It was nicely aromatic, with notes of oak and vanilla, red cherry, fruit jam with lots of cherry, black currant, toasty spice that reminded me of medicinal tobacco,  there was also a back ground of charcoal and chocolate.

On the Palate – This is a dry, medium acid Cabernet. It had good and persistent tannins, with full body, and flavors of cherry, vanilla and iron; like dark green leaf spinach. Coupled with a long finish, it was balanced and delicious. Easily quaffable.

Over all this wine was good, but it didn't blow me out of the water. I would look forward to trying some of their reserves and getting a more focused picture on what Sequoia Grove is trying make with their label

The blend on this is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, the remainder being Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. As far as location percentage it is all Napa Valley (49% Rutherford, 19% Atlas Peak, 14% Oak Knoll, 12% St. Helena, 3% Yountville, 3% Napa Valley). Clearly a Bordeaux-style wine made in the heart of Rutherford, and a alcohol content of 14.2%, i  would pair this with any red meat, especially grilled with veggies


Thursday, May 3, 2012

REVIEW - Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2011

REVIEW - Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2011

SKU: 738965  
Origin: New Zealand

Agent: Pacific Wine & Spirits
So some back story on this little brainchild wine. It is the solo product of Kevin Judd, a leading and widely renowned NZ wine maker that got his start and his name from doing 25  years with Cloudy Bay and is attributed with putting NZ on the map for their wines. In Mr. Judds spare time he has also made a name for himself as one of NZ finest wine photographers and has published a book of his country's wine industry

In the glass – this wine is pale, like SUPER pale,  with just a hint of lemon and green

On the Nose - it is clean and  pronounced, with fruit flower, fresh cut grass, asparagus, and green pepper.

On the palate – it was dry, with medium acidity. It was medium body, I think this was due to its higher alcohol content, a whopping 13.5%. The flavors were clearly  those of a  hotter climate vineyard with big fruity tropical notes, great acidity that let it stand up against others in the sauvignon blanc flight I was doing. It has a medium finish

Normally I don't do ratings or post ratings but this one deserves it. It was rated by Jancis Robinson, leading UK wine critic, as the top Marlborough Sauvignon of the 2011 vintage. 

This wine would was very good in my opinion. There is a lot of NZ SB out there and I find that they all tend to blend together but this one has a solid minerality structure to its acidity and will hold up in a cellar for a few years, but why bother? Its ready to drink right now. It retails at around $28 and is pretty easy to find

I would pair this with any white meat with heavy sauces. And Spice, it will do very well with spicy foods too.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

We moved and we had a Baby!

Hey there folks, we will be returning to our regularly scheduled entry's very soon, but i thought you would all like to see what's been keeping me from talking to you.