Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RSVP Zanatta Winery tasting, April 23 at the Mansion on Mary

Seven offerings this week from Zanatta winery, located in the Cowachan Valley, Vancouver Island. Zanatta has 30 acres under vine and concentrates on Ortega, Cayuga, Auxerrois, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Nero and Madeleine X Sylvaner. Zanatta has been producing since 1990, and their wines can be found in better wine stores throughout Vancouver Island and the lower Mainland.

Wine Zanatta Ortega 2005
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $15.87 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 12.5%

Smells a lot like a baby Riesling, with what one taster thought ‘a petrol-like nose’. Flavor a bit Riesling-like as well; light, a tiny bit of carbonation, and a mildly congested, acidic finish. A typical wine to open a tasting: it sets up a benchmark for the rest but you don’t really miss anything by showing up late.

Wine Zanatta Pinot Grigio 2005
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $17.84 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 12.5%

More nose than the Ortega, though not distinct—a hint of green apple, maybe. Definite notes of apple on the attack, but the middle drops out on the palate completely, leaving one sampler to overstate the case somewhat: “there’s no fruit in that at all.” Some flavor returns for a mild finish; smoked salmon helped it along.

Wine Zanatta Damasco
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $14.47 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 11.0%

Very characterful, and wears its Bride-of Frankenstein lineage well: Four kinds of grapes (New York Muscat, Ortega, Auxerrois, and Madeleine X Sylvaner) from two different vintages go into this, and something like an olfactory tornado emerges. Insane nose—trying to identify nuances is like being pounded by a gang of bikers: identifying where the individual blows are coming from is a chore you’re uninclined to take up. An outrageous fruit-cocktail on the palate could probably tame a curry made by the natives of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. A great party-trick wine; not for people who mind getting their elbows dirty.

Wine Zanatta Glenora Fantasia Brut
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $27.83 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 11.0%

Nonvintage bubbly from Cayuga grapes, left sur lees for 3 years. Winemaker claims of green-apple bouquet was neither contested nor really confirmed, so fleeting was the nose. Fine bubble action, acid not too brut-al; no huge fruit; easygoing in all respects. (But perhaps too pricey for easygoing.)

Wine Zanatta Allegria Brut Rose 2003
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $30.33 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 12%

Sparkling Pinot Noir and Auxerrios combination left sur lees 2 years. Winemaker claims of kiwi and raspberry not easily detected; less fruit on the palate than the Fantasia, although it reacted better to the oysters it accompanied. But ultimately, pretty hollow—the unkindest one of us referred to it as ‘empty fizz.” Price also just not up to the competition.

Wine Zanatta Fatima 1996
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $30.10 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 11.0%

Pinot Gris meets method champagnoise; 10 years sur lees. Indistinct attack; acid middle. Fruit is largely gone; 10 years on the lees is too long—the wine is as exhausted as its tasters by this time.

Wine Zanatta Pinot Nero 2004
From Cowichan Valley, BC
Price $21.80 (Spinnakers, Victoria)
Alcohol Content 12.0%

Aged in a combination of new and not-new oak. Mild, indistinct nose opened up after half-an-hour. Oak is nicely balanced on the palate; perhaps pleasantly dominant with notes of vanilla. There is a sense of a sort of cotton-candy sweetness to the customary pinot flavors—which is usually a sign that the wine has been de-acidified; in this case it doesn’t hurt, although purists may find it disconcerting. A plush, soft, creamy finish. User-friendly in a way best appreciated by the neophyte with no expectations from the varietal. Along with the Damasco, the consensus favorite of the wines offered.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pounder is a great name, I like to drink my wines!