10 Sep 2014

Wine Review - 2008 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Fumé Blanc: Complex Oaked Sauv Blanc (P)

2008 Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc
So let's the get the apologies out of the way right off the top. We were provided this wine nearly two years ago. The small matter of our Shannon being pregnant and subsequent birth of our son caused a 'slight' delay in us tasting a couple of offerings from Robert Mondavi that we were given on the 100th Birthday Celebration in 2013. That's right 2013. So, Olivier thanks so much for the wines, our apologies for the delay, and here are our thoughts on the Fumé Blanc.

To take all the surprise out of this review we frickin' loved this wine. There is a lot going on with in the glass and for a wine that retails in the $20's it is totally worth it. It is 94% Sauvignon Blanc and 6% Semillon that was hand harvested and barrel fermented as well as aged in oak for five months.

In the glass the wine is straw coloured and clear. The legs are very fast on the swirl and it is almost a watery look. Bottom line, it looks very nice and does look as though the wine has spent some time in oak which it has.

The nose is surprisingly mild and notes of butterscotch and dried apricots but very attractive and really draws you into the wine. There is also some saline smells which reminds one of the ocean twisted up with some minerals.

The flavours are where this wine really shines. It is a round and mellow wine that has great balance but finishes with a nice tart undercurrent. Just awesome. The finale also provide that great minerality and really tastes of New Zealand almost.  Great wine!

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Straw coloured yellow which has fast legs and gives a  watery sensation. 4.0
Smell (0-5) Mild nose with butterscotch, dried apricots, minerals and notes of the ocean. 4.25
Taste (0-10) Round and mellow with great balance and has a nice tart finish. Minerality continues. 9.0
  Total: 17.25 / 20 (86.25%)

We are very sorry it took so long for us to taste this wine but we are now fully on team Fumé Blanc. Happy Birthday Mr. Mondavi and Mondavi Wines, the legacy carries on. Thanks again Olivier, better late than never.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

3 Sep 2014

Wine Review - 2012 Bera Barbera D'Alba: Smokey & Balanced Italian Red (P)

Bera Barbera D'Alba
Barbera D'Alba is pretty good even when it's mediocre.  Most times we think of it as Pizza Wine, so how bad can it be?!  You can get cheaper versions of this wine (it's $19.49 locally) but really the quality of this wine really makes it stand out.

The wine is a very dark purple with almost tiny bubbles in the bottom of the glass.  Very interesting.  On the swirl it looks like a medium bodied wine and the legs are extremely quick to come down the sides of the glass.

There is a very mild nose on this wine which combines a smokey, toasted oak notes with a black current and berries.  It is a nice subtle bouquet that makes you want to taste the wine and that to us is the job of the smells that a wine produces.  If the nose encourages you to drink that is a super, duper win.

We felt as though this wine was on the thin side of medium bodied.  It has a very structured mouth feel which is tart but balanced.  Layer over that some plum / stone fruit and you get a very attractive wine.  What started on the nose gets backed up on the tongue.  It is just a nice drinking wine.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Dark purple with bubbles in the glass and quick legs 4.0
Smell (0-5) Very attractive nose which combines toasted oak and black currents. It draws you in and makes you want to drink the wine 4.5
Taste (0-10) Medium bodied and balance with good structure and lots of plums / stone fruit. 8.5
  Total: 17.0 / 20 (85%)

At under $20 it is a buy recommendation and worth much more than a pairing with Pizza, though there's nothing wrong with that.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

25 Aug 2014

Rum Tasting On Vacation: A Delicious Change Of Pace

We are definitely Rum lovers when it comes to our preferred spirits and so we were very excited to be invited to a Rum Tasting a few weeks ago by Celinda from Mer et Soleil at the Noble (Halifax's Secret Speakeasy below the Middle Spoon).  We had never attended a formal spirits tasting before but we thrilled to check it out.  Upon arrival the owner led us downstairs (without asking for the secret password mind you) and through the kitchen, to an industrial door that opened into an amazing space of intimate lighting and shelves of old books.  Just beautiful.  We had heard of the place but never been, so it was great to finally check it out.

Upon arrival we were introduced to Nicolas Villalon the Brugal Rum Brand Ambassador who offered up one of of three handmade cocktail choices; a Rum & Fever-Tree Tonic, a Rum Manhattan, and a Traditional Rum Daiquiri.

Shannon had the Rum & Tonic and I tried the Manhattan.  Both handmade and both delicious.  In fact, I went back to Nicolas to try the Daiquiri and again awesome.

Craft Cocktails by Nicolas Villalon and Brugal Rum
Craft Cocktails made by Nicolas
We mingled with some other local Food Bloggers and were able to enjoy our cocktails and the space while nibbling on some nibbles from the Middle Spoon kitchen like Pulled Pork Sliders which were delicious.  After our cocktail tasting we were moved to the tables to try the Rums in a more traditional Rum tasting.  Each table was adorned with four tasting glasses for each chair and a sharing plate of meats, cheeses, nuts, and popcorn to try with the Rum.

Nicolas then gave us the rundown on the process that Brugal uses to make their Rum in the Dominican Republic.  He gave us some great details on the process and how it is different from what we might consider more high volume Rum producers.

He then taught us the difference between tasting spirits and tasting wine.  I clumsily stuck my nose in the glass and got blasted by nothing but alcohol.  Rookie...

We were told about holding your nose close to the glass but breathing in through your mouth and nose to allow for the alcohol to dissipate slightly so you can literally taste the smell of the Rum.  It was advice that worked perfectly.  We then proceeded to sample the following:

The Especial Extra Dry  (White Rum that isn't really white.  It's barrel aged and then charcoal filtered three times which removes the colour)

The Anejo (A blend of aged Rums up to 5 years)

The Extra Viejo (XV has additional aging from 8 years and beyond)

The 1888 (This rum is aged in American oak then further aged in Sherry casks - the best one that we could afford at $71) 

We were then treated to the following Special Rum:

Singlo De Oro (Special aged Rum that comes in at $130) - really, really nice but surprisingly we liked the 1888 better. 

Nicolas then told us about an even more special Rum - The Brugal Family Grand Especial Private Stock (The BEST of the BEST from the Brugal Family stocks, only 500 bottles produced TOTAL - NS gets 3 at $1500.00 a bottle)

Such a cool experience in a really awesome atmosphere.  Thanks again Celinda!

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon