30 Jul 2014

Wine Review - 2013 Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Exclamation Point: Crisp White For Hot Weather (P)

This wine was another of the wines provided to us recently.  We have tried a couple of Verdicchios in the last couple of months and this one is Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.  According to Wikipedia, Castelli di Jesi, located around the commune of Jesi in the Ancona province, is the larger of the two areas for Verdicchio and tends to produce a higher volume of wine.

When you know more about where a wine comes from it gives context to the tasting and we like context.

This wine has a straw colour to it and has relatively slow legs in the glass.  That said, it is a very clear wine and looks like it should be a crisp wine when you hold it up to the light.  Does that hold up on that palate? We shall see.

The nose is strong with apples and quince with a subtle citrus peel undercurrent.  We really like that.  The nose certainly stands out on this wine.  The apple and quince notes are fantastic which give it a New World smell.  If you told us it was Unoaked Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio we would buy into that on the nose.

The structure of the wine is somewhat thin and guess what, tart/crisp.  It does not start sweet but has a hint of sugar on the mid-palate with more of that quince flavour.  On top of that, layer in honey with a little flint and you have a pretty solid wine.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Straw coloured and clear and looks like it should be crisp on the palate. 4.0
Smell (0-5) Strong apple and quince nose with citrus notes. Lovely. 4.25
Taste (0-10) Thin and tart/crisp with a slightly sweet mid-palate showing more quince and honey with a flinty finish. 8.0
  Total: 16.25 / 20 (81.25%)

So, yet again at $14 locally this comes to the table with a strong Quality to Price ratio.  That alone makes this a worthwhile purchase.  Hot weather and cold wine makes a magical combination and this wine would hold up to picnic food or a planked salmon from the grill.  Very nice.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

25 Jul 2014

Wine Review - 2012 McManis Petit Sirah: The Smell Of Cali In A Glass

2012 McManis Petit Sirah
McManis Vineyards Petit Sirah
We were upsold this wine at our local Liquor Store by a staffer who seems to really know his stuff as being "the best $20 wine in the store". When you use that kind of language with us, it's like waving a red flag in front of a bull. We'll just see about that.

Challenge accepted!

Little did he know we have a soft spot for good California wine and we waited a little while before opening this one.  When we did, let's just say our skeptic minds were in full effect.

Long story short....okay, he was right.

The look of this wine like a Malbec when you pour it.  Very deep purple colour with a Welch's look to it and though it is that dark, it doesn't look thick.  The legs are speedy and it has a much more medium bodied look to it.  The colour makes it look interesting and we like that.

Where this comes alive is the awesome nose as it smells like California.  That rural and floral nose transports us to Northern California.  We get big violets on the nose combined with orange blossom honey with little vanilla bean mixed in with some raisins.  Complex and bold...it just rocks.

This wine has round tannins that are mouth-watering and though it's slightly thin on the tongue, it has a nice mouth feel and great structure with a tart finish.  Full marks on the residual sugars which do not overwhelm that palate and allows the fruit to come to the surface.  On that level we get plums and bing cherries which make this a delicious wine.  Awesome tasting experience.  Top drawer stuff.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Very purple wine, very reminiscent of Malbec 4.25
Smell (0-5) Amazing nose that smells of California with violets, honey, vanilla, and raisins 4.75
Taste (0-10) Round with a tart finish and great structure. Plums and bing cherries dominate on this delicious wine 9.0
  Total: 18.0 / 20 (90%)

This is really a great wine at $20 maybe the best in the store.  At $30 it would still be worth it.  Great selection and challenge complete.  Well played...

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

23 Jul 2014

Wine Review - 2011 Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Red: Local Luscious Red Wine

Phone Box Red
Luckett Vineyards Phone Box Red
We were able to pick this wine up at Pete's Frootique in Wolfville last summer when they received permission from the NSLC to sell some of the Luckett Vineyards stock in store.

We have had the wine before but it was interesting to see the value of hanging on it for an extra year.  The wine has a mixture of the following grapes Lucie Kuhlmann, Marechal Foch, Leon Millot, and Triomphe. The label speaks of having some dried grapes in the mix of this blend wine which is a fantastic idea for wines here in Nova Scotia.  We do not to a lot of vinifera grapes (i.e. Cab Sauv, Merlot, and the like) so our cool climate hybrid red grapes tend to suffer from thinness and astringency at times.  Some are really great but when you treat them to a bit of the appassimento treatment (think Amarone) you get a bit more richness and bodied from concentrating the juice and the flavours.  In proper balance and economic value it really could work for our cool climate as a marketable way to give our red wines the boost they sometimes need.

When you pour the wine it show immediately of a deep and dark red colour which truly makes it a nice looking wine.  On the swirl it shows as medium bodied which makes sense with the style of the wine.  Overall a nice looking at wine and darker than we might have otherwise expected.

The nose is strong with vanilla which confirms the fact that this wine spent some time in American oak.  It is really nice to have that familiar and pungent scent of oak on the wine.  Beyond that the fruit speaks of cranberry juice and tart cherries and maybe even a hint of spicy cayenne in there.  Very nice.

The wine has a tangy nature as part of mouthfeel.  It's more than tart but not at all bitter.  The beauty of the wine is that there are some sweet notes in there that really round out the taste.  We'd call it a combination of balsamic vinegar and sugar plums.  Nice especially that it comes from Nova Scotia where we are more known for our Sparkling wines and off-dry crisp acidic whites.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Deep and dark wine with a medium body on the swirl 4.0
Smell (0-5) Great nose of vanilla and cherries with a touch of cayenne 4.25
Taste (0-10) Tangy on the palate to the point of having balsamic vinegar notes wrapped around sugar plums. Nice. 8.0
  Total: 16.5 / 20 (81.25%)

At $20 this comes in at a typical price point for a Nova Scotia wine and it doesn't disappoint.  If you have never been to the winery itself we highly recommend a visit as it has a spectacular view of the Gaspereau Valley down to the Minas Basin.  We also have the Phone Box white we will be trying shortly so stay tuned for that as well.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon