Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Friends Picks

This may be hard to believe but with so much variety of wines, sherries, ports, etc on the market, it's sometimes difficult to find one that I want to write about on my blog. It's easy to go for the low hanging fruit of a mass produced Aussie or Chilean red wine but I promised myself that I would really try to find exceptional wines at a good value. There's no sense in reviewing an incredible Bordeaux if it's financially repugnant to most of my readers or a mass produced Australian Shiraz that virtually everyone has tried. I spend a lot of my time in the LCBO looking for special wines that I think would appeal to most of the wine drinking population and at a good value.
Occasionally, one of my friends asks me to try a wine that they recently purchased or brought back from another country. So as a change of pace, this weeks blog is not about the wine I selected. It's about wines referred to me by a friend .... and no ... it's not about me being too cheap to buy wine this week.

 A friend down the street invited me to a bonfire in his backyard a couple of weeks ago. Dave has a penchant for good wine like myself is always looking for that great undiscovered wine. He was raving about a Shiraz that he had recently purchased and liked it so much that he bought an entire case. Dave declared that this would be the wine of the summer for 2011 and he may be right. Dave you definitely picked a winner!

Dave's pick is a 2009 Shiraz called Dandelion Vineyards Lionheart of the Barossa.

 The Shiraz is definitely fruit forward with flavours of blackberry with some spice and dark chocolate. I was expecting those big bold Aussie tannin's but these were more rounded and refined. Not the grippy texture I'm used to and it was a welcome surprise. It's a dark red wine with a bit of a purple hue around the water line. An impressive Shiraz from the Barossa region of Australia. This full bodied Shiraz has a 14% alcohol level which means the long fruit finish doesn't leave you with a hot sensation like some powerful Shiraz's. The vintner used a combination of new (25%) and old french oak which explains some of the more refined tannin levels. They also racked the wine without any filtration or fining agents to preserve the complexity of the wine.

Total Acidity - 6.4g/l
Residual sugar - 2.1 g/l
Ph - 3.48

I tried to find this in the LCBO or Vintages but unfortunately there is no listing for it at this time.

The second recommendation is from my old high school buddy Paul who recently made a trip to the central coast region of California with his wife to visit friends and a few vineyards in the Paso Robles area. Before I start talking about the port, I have to give Paul credit for his diligence and out of pocket expense in bringing this port back to Canada. The airline made him jump through some hoops in order to get the additional "luggage" through customs and on the plane. In this case perseverance paid off nicely.

Paul's pick is a Zinfandel Port from Alapay Cellars, Paso Robles California

 I'm a bit of a Zinfandel fan so when I saw him bring out a bottle of Zinfandel port, I knew it was going to be a special evening. As luck would have it, my wife had prepared a blueberry cheesecake for dessert which paired nicely with the port.
 From the aroma and first taste you could easily tell that this port was from the Zinfandel family. Dark fruit, sweet spice and a slight peppery taste gave the port a rich full bodied flavour that was not too hot considering it had 19.5% alcohol. The finish was long and smooth with raspberry and spice on the palate. Well done Paul !

This port is only available through US shipping or in the Paso Robles area of California.

There you have it. If you have a wine you'd like me to try, send me an email and I'll review it.  If I like it as much as you do, I'll put it down as your recommendation on my blog.

Cheers !!