Wines

We finally came to the end of our Circa(tm)-style-binding wine notebook, conveniently just before we left for Hong Kong. So a new year, a new wine journal.

Highlights:

Chateau de Cruzeau 2004, AOC Pessac-Leognan, 12.5%, $22.75. A very nice white Bordeaux from a Vintages release last fall, pretty much sold out in Toronto Central but a few bottles left at Queen and Coxwell (somehow the Beach is Toronto Central by courtesy I suppose…). Nose: yeasty, minerality, lemon, “smoke” (i.e., oak), hint of lanolin and oily undertone. Dry palate, med+ acid and body, good body, avg+ finish. Pineapple and minerals, lanolin, almost tropical. Smooth but with enough acidity to make it interesting. Not heavy, elegant. (“Paradocically lean yet unctious”, J. writes.) The nose isn’t particularly intense (maybe due to lower alcohol), but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Kruger-Rumpf 2004 M√ľnsterer Rheinberg Riesling Kabinett, Nahe, 10%, $16.85. A somewhat more practical Vintages buy from a more recent release; lots of bottles left at Summerhill and Queens Quay. Nose: Citrus-lime, “honey-dipped rocks”, limestone; medium intensity. Palate off-dry to medium dry, med+ acid, med- body — a bit of a spritz which together with acid offsets sugar. Lemony palate plus limestone when aerated. Good balance and finish. “A elegant, precise wine” (I.); rather delicate in style, better with a lightly-sauced stirfry (e.g. cantonese) than with strong Thai. Would also be very pleasant on its own. Low-ish alcohol which is nice for practical purposes.

In the same release was the Featherstone Old Vines Riesling (VQA Niagara), at the same price, which we thought wasn’t nearly as nice (though in a different, drier style in any event)–pleasant but not worth the extra $$ compared to the usual $14 Niagara Rieslings. We also weren’t thrilled with the Kacaba 2003 Sur Lie Riesling (VQA Niagara), despite its silver medal and all — has the corn syrup nose of unoaked Chardonnay left too long in the bottle. It puzzles me that they are releasing 2003 unoaked Chard in 2007-2008.

d’Arenburg “The Stump Jump” 2006 GSM Blend, McLaren Vale, 14.5%, $13.85. Another recent Vintages release, still widely available though not at Summerhill. Typical GSM nose–toast, oak, spice, rasbberry; dry (thank god), med+ acid, med tannin, full body. Avg balance and finish. Good value, especially for Australia. Watch the alcohol.

Roccolo di Mizzole 2005 Valpolicella Superiore, 13%, $16.85. Recent Vintages release, still widely available. I am a big fan of good Valpo–hard to find when so much of the non-ripasso Valpo out there is thin and smells of banana. (Not that I have anything against ripasso but not all Valpo should be ripasso…) Nose: sour cherry, spice, earth. wood, oak. Dry palate, med+ acid and body, med tannin, avg balance and finish. Good value, “focused”–what you see on the nose is what you get on the palate, not bait-and-switch. J. mistook it for Cab Sauv–characteristic oak/tannin. Food friendly.

Shorter notes: the 2006 $7 Farnese wines both very pleasant (Sanv in red, M d’A in blue); the M d’A is the more interesting bottle though it needs air to show this. Prestige Rasteau a perennial favourite (“Thank God there’s Rasteau” says J.).