27 Apr 2015

Wine Review - 2010 Borsao Crianza: Mmmmm Espresso

We had this wine many years ago when we lived in the US and we remember enjoying it.  From Bodegas Borsao and the Campo de Borja region, this is a 60% Garnacha, 20% Tempranillo, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon blend which has been aged in oak for at least 8 months and then bottle aged for an additional 14 months.  It is this patience before going to market that makes this such a good wine.

A medium bodied wine with deep purple colouring it certainly is showing it's age with some nice mahogany edges.  It looks really great and cascades down the glass in a sheet.  Extremely nice looking wine especially after a swirl.

Chocolate AND vanilla bean hit you immediately when you stick your nose right in there.  That is quickly followed by plums and some toasty oak notes. A solid bouquet that makes one think the wine is earthier than it is but very nice.

There are cherries and a recurrence of the chocolate on the palate but this time there is a nuttiness in the wine as opposed to vanilla notes from the nose.  This wine is very close to having a great balance but the mid-point tannins are a touch bitter.  That said there is a nice strong espresso finish that lingers on the tongue.  Nice drinking wine and without the bitter mid-palate it would have pushed it from being a good to a great wine.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Medium bodied and dark purple with mahogany edges. 4.25
Smell (0-5) Chocolate and vanilla with plums and toasted oak notes. 4.0
Taste (0-10) Cherries and chocolate come through with a nuttiness on the tongue. Bitter mid-palate transitions into an espresso finish. 8.5
  Total: 16.5 / 20 (82.5%)

This is a $18.50 wine locally and that feels like a good price point.  We're no wine makers but if that bitterness was toned down just a bit this wine would have been fantastic.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon

22 Apr 2015

SOMM The Movie - We FINALLY Watched It!

Courtesy IMDB.com
This movie has been on our radar for a long time.  It originally came out in 2012 on the festival circuit in the US.  Nearly immediately it gained a cult following from wine enthusiasts for a couple of reasons.  First, there are few really strong documentaries about tasting wine out there.  Second, the reputation and mystery surrounding the Court of Master Sommelier exam and how hard it actually is.

If you've never heard of this exam this movie will get you up to speed fast and it delivers a strong explanation of the requirements to take the tests and what it means to truly prepare for all aspects but especially the dreaded/beloved Tasting Exam.  The shear volume of information that needs to be consumed and remembered is astounding.  The theory test covers wine, spirits, beers, and cigars from around the World. There is the tasting exam and finally a formal dinner service to go through.

If you have an interest in tasting wine and have ever tried doing a true blind tasting where you need to determine the wine down to the most specific detail, this will be an interesting watch.  The MS's that put the candidates through their paces are tough but they know what it is like to complete the journey.  You can only take the test once a year so if you fail (and the vast majority do) you need to begin your preparations for the next test immediately.  It's a full time job unto itself.  Unbelievable!

There have been 219 Master Sommeliers since its inception and it is considered one of the hardest tests there is.  The worst part in the tasting exam is that they never tell you what the wines were so you go through it and it is pass/fail,  Terrible.  The pressure leading up to the test must be immense and watching the different personalities go through the process is super cool to watch.

We found the film was able to balance the overview of the test and the drama around it with the discussion of the people taking the test.  There is an element of education that the film had to do for those uninformed about the test but it is reasonable and we found it extremely fascinating as wine people.  Definitely a good watch.

The characters of the test takers was all over the road from Ian the 'A' type personality, to Dustin the 'jock', to Dlynn the 'gentleman'.  They were thick as thieves but each person brought a unique spin on their motivation and preparation for the test.  More curious was the spouses who have to put up with marathon quiz sessions and wine tastings with the requisite spit buckets left behind.  Really very interesting.

The bottom line is if you are interested in wine as a hobby (or as a profession) this movie will entertain.  We're sorry it took us so long to watch it and have heard a follow up is in the works which we would love to watch.  We give it two thumbs up!

Keep on tasting,

Chris & Shannon

9 Apr 2015

Wine Review - 2012 Benjamin Bridge Nova 7: Last Year's Wine This Year

2012 Benjamin Bridge Nova 7
Benjamin Bridge just launched the 2013 vintage of their Nova 7 and we thought it was time we get this review out.  The popularity and hype around Nova 7 is well deserved as it is a great wine year after year.  It certainly isn't for everyone but it does have a wide appeal with its slight effervescence and off-dry nature.  It's the aromatics of the Muscat that make this wine stand out.  It is a great cool climate white wine and is consistently a well made wine.

The 2012 has a very reddish golden hue and it starts bordering on Rose in terms of colour.  As expected it has a slight sparkle to it and feels a little bit syrupy on the swirl.  Quite interesting in the glass.

That all too familiar lychee fruit nose stands out but has some other notes under the covers as well.  Pears, peaches, and even mint make an appearance which is wonderful.  Another stand out smelling Nova 7.

While not our normal style of wine or preference you cannot deny that this wine is good.  The lower alcohol (7%) and sugar make this a great drinking wine and would pair well with planked salmon or grilled shrimp.  It has a crisp pear start and a very honeyed finish.  The quality shines through with the good amount of acid has comes through on the mid-palate.  We'd call it more off-dry than sweet and it certainly has a Riesling quality to it.  Mixed in there is a hint of candied lemon peel and maybe a touch of that mint again.

   Tasting Notes: Score:
Sight (0-5) Reddish golden colour with slight effervescence and a touch syrupy 4.25
Smell (0-5) Lychee, pears, peaches overlaid with mint  4.25
Taste (0-10) Crispy pears, candied lemon peel with a honeyed finish 8.25
  Total: 16.75 / 20 (83.75%)

The market has accepted that Nova 7 is a $25 wine and really we can't argue.  We simply need more nice weather to make us go out and get the 2013,  Congrats on the new vintage Benjamin Bridge.

Keep on tasting!

Chris & Shannon