Friday, January 22, 2010

Partners In Crime

Ah, this weeks sampling of vino. Good or bad? Lets start with the good. Head to head went the Spanish giant Torres, Grand Coronas, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2005 with the Italian minnow Lamborghini, Trescone, Umbria, 2004. Yup, that Lamborghini - except it's the daughter of the maestro carmaker who runs this winery, not the (now dead) carmaker himself. This was an interesting comparison because it was like six of one, half a dozen of another. The Lambo yielded a nose of pretty floral notes over (not unpleasant) unripened cheese. Medium bodied, elegant, balanced, smooth with cranberries and plums and hints of tobacco. An excellent white meat wine, it went well with a post Christmas turkey scoff (I love turkey dinners!!). Good wine, $19. The Torres was slightly darker and deeper than the Lambo. Plummy nose, medium-full bodied, also well balanced. Mild black fruit supported by smooth, already mature tannins. 30 second finish. Good wine, $19 also.
Right, lets get the Port out of the way, because that's where it belongs. Messias is a minor Port House with a spotty track record, so I shouldn't have been too surprised. Their 2004 LBV is supposedly the "Late Bottled Vintage" style - wine from a poor or relatively poor year is casked in wood for about 4 years instead of the 2 years that wine from a good (a so called "Vintage") year to smooth it out more. The wine is then bottled and sold for immediate consumption. This one is a very sweet style, initially rough and non-descript - it actually tasted like what it is, a cheap fortified wine. The next day it softened, became a little richer with some figgy raisin notes, but still too sweet and rough around the edges. "OK" wine. $16 - I said it was cheap!! Would not buy again.
Alkoomi's 2007 Shiraz from Frankland River in Western Australia is, well I might as well say it right away, not a very good wine. I was very disappointed, as the local Ontario wine critic gave it 4.5 stars out of 5. What the f$@#%!! is wrong with this guy? His palate is driving me nuts. This is light coloured, dusty nose (NO fruit), light to medium bodied, sour cherries, cranberries with a little green veggie action going on. Short finish. This stuff is a struggle to drink. Waste of money at $15. This is a $5.95 wine.
Speaking of cheap wines, the Toronto Life Magazine released their top 10 wine value list recently. I'll report on them as I pick them up and force myself to drink them. First up is the respectable Spanish winery from Yecla, Bodegas Castano. I like these guys and I like visiting this region. Very hot and unpretentious. Their La Casona 2007 Monastrell Old Vines comes conveniently screwcapped. Medium depth on the colour chart. Cherry pie nose. Spicy, soft, good acidity, very quaffable but candied fruit is a drawback. Reasonable finish. "OK" wine (hey, it made the cheapo top 10 list, not the best of the year) and at $8.95 it's reasonably priced. But I won't be buying any more.


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