Thursday, June 21, 2007

RSVP Tasting: What our agent had in the cupboard

Wine Concannon Limited Release Central Coast Pinot Noir 2004
From Livermore, California
Alcohol Content 13.2%
Wine is 15% Syrah, which possibly accounts for the slightly gamy nose. Classic pre-steroid era modestly-priced California Pinot taste: sweet-yet-dry, seductive, but not really educated. The nose may be the high point.

Wine Lehman Wildcard Unoaked Chardonnay 2006
From Australia
Price $15.44 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 13%
Light, easygoing, a little faceless. No oak means it actually tastes like the grape, with the added virtue that it doesn’t taste like the caricature Aussie chard either. Doesn’t taste like anywhere in particular, actually—which was probably the point. Nice, generic chard.

Wine Gehrenger Estate Classic Dry Riesling
From British Columbia
Price $13.99 (BC Liquor Stores)
Alcohol Content 12.5%
Floral notes on the nose according to one taster; a punch-in-the-face style hobbled a tiny bit by some greenness on the palate; but helped by acid freshly in balance. Fearless Leader: “Not bad—but why isn’t it in a Riesling bottle…?” Producer trying to sneak this one in under the searchlights?

Wine Orofino Gew├╝rztraminer 2006
From British Columbia
Price $19.22 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 13.6%
Big lychee nose! Rich, fruity, unctuous gewurz flavors, in the beat-you-up style favored by this winemaker. A nice definition of the grape, aged in Ontario (!) oak. This wine caused the lead taster to resort even to Southern-Hemispheric complements: “ripper, eh?”

Wine Orofino Riesling 2006
From British Columbia
Price $19.22 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 13.8%
Big nose is soft and pleasant; leading to a user-friendly (i.e., acid-muted) attack and bigger-than-usual Ries flavors. This is in line with the style of the house: made to beat you up but keep you smiling. Perhaps tries a little too hard to make you smile, but manages its strength admirably.

Wine Marques de Gelida Brut Exclusive
From A.O. Penedes, Spain
Price $22.99 (Distributor List)
Sparkling Cava is a mix of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Paradella and Chardonnay. No nose to speak of; very clean attack. A agreeable, non-geographic flavor builds to a mild crescendo and slowly fades. Decent fruit; not too brutal (not cloying either); has a sense of universality in its aspirations; very pleasant.

Wine Lehman Wildcard Shiraz 2005
From Australia
Price $16.58 (Spinnakers, BC)
Alcohol Content 14.5%
Big alcohol on the nose! Tastes as planned as a Soviet-era housing development—cloying candy notes lead to an alarming, tannic finish. (Why didn’t they strip that out as well?) So fruity-sweet and alcoholic that it feels like they’re going after the Gallo Thunderbird market. A sumo wrestler on the cricket pitch.

Wine Cave de Tain St Joseph ‘Esprit de Granit’ 2003
From Rhone Valley, France
Price $33.99 (BC Liquor Stores)
Alcohol Content13.5%
Peppery nose; subtle but strong. After a handful of new-world pretenders, this comes on like Serge Gainsbourg proposing to Bridget Bardot. Plenty of happy oohs and ahhs around the table; but there’s skepticism from our expatriate Southern Hemisphere taster: “But is this twice as good as the Lehman…?” Everybody else, as with one voice: “YES!

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