Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Disappointing Trio

To accompany an early american thanksgiving turkey we tried three wines which we thought would be a treat. Fast forward a couple of hours, turns out it was an average wine night, nothing special here. In other words the anticipation turned into disappointment.
Joel really wanted to try out a wine he picked up in NYC that the owner had recommended. The Jones, L.J. Shiraz, Rutherglen 2000 is from Australia. It promised big things - nice berry nose, plush initial mouthfeel, that quite australian blend of soft vanilla with just dies off soooo quickly. And the second taste was not as good as the first; and the third deteriorated get the drift? So, I'll give it a GOOD for quality, but for value it gets a solid thumbs down at $40US (that means it will cost 60 bucks or more up here in taxland).
Next up was a lebanese wine that someone had recommended. The Tanail, Massaya, Vallee de la Bekka, 2002 was disappointing because it was so ordinary. Really nothing special. Medium bodied, lightly spicy. Gets an "OKAY". Value is poor at 20 bucks a pop.
The actual wine slated to quaff with the big bird was a real disappointment. It was a gift from my old wine drinking buddy Karl (of KJB design) back in the late 90's. It comes from a boutique vineyard in Niagara, Ontario although I understand it has been bought out by a conglomerate (Andre's...remember Baby Uck? oops, baby duck). The wine is the Thirty Bench, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 1996. These are some of the descriptors about this vineyard: “Concentrated wines made from grapes that were thinned while still growing on the vine.” “Committed winemakers.” “Artisanal methods.” “Old vines.” “Hand harvesting.” “Sustainable agriculture". And the back label on this one states "it will improve considerably with age...." I usually take these winemakers up on their offer so I waited until 10 years after the vintage date to crack it. Well, it's an OK wine but tannic & acidic, with NO fruit apparent on first sip. We decanted it for a couple of hours and it became a little more elegant. With the bird it did okay, we needed the food to soften the wine a little bit. The verdict: This tasted a bit like an austere St. Estephe without the fruit (this is a backhanded compliment...). I give it OKAY, mostly because it wasn't crap after the 10 years it spent before being drunk. Value is solid thumbs down...the equivalent wine today on their website sells for $35.


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