What is a Portfolio Tasting? If you have never been before, it is a wine tasting held by a wine agent of all, or many of, the wines that they represent. It is a great place to taste many different wines, typically from different countries, and learn a bit about the style of wines that they carry. Are they focused on Old World style wines, full bodied wines, obscure varietal wines, etc.
Recently I was invited to attend the Select Wines & Spirits Portfolio tasting in Vancouver, and it did not disappoint. There were the wines of course, and a wine super-star in attendance to meet with the attendees and give us some of his hard earned wine making insights. This person is Dr. Ernst Loosen. He is the owner of the wine producer Weingut Dr. Loosen in the Mosel region of Germany. He is very well-known for his Riesling wines. In 2005, Dr. Loosen was selected as Decanter‘s “Man of the Year”.
Let me cover a few of the wines that I really enjoyed at this tasting. Maybe one or two will pique your interest!
Do you like spicy wines? If so, two from Argentina fit the bill:
- Amado Sur 2009, Argentina ($15.99). This wine is a blend of Malbec, Bonarda, and Syrah. Deep purple in the glass. Vanilla, plum and cherry aromas. Very silky with vanilla, cherries and lots of spice.
- Trivento Golden Reserve Malbec 2008, Argentina ($22.99). Another deep purple wine (typical of the Malbec grape IMHO). Light oak and dark fruit nose. Medium body with medium spiciness, Kirsch cherry and dark fruit flavours. Round with a long length. A very nice wine.
Do you like wines that have surprising flavours and aromas in the glass? Then try the:
- Palo Alto 2009, Chile ($14.99). This wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Syrah. It won Judge’s Choice at the Wine Access Value Wine Awards in 2010 and Gold in the Selections Mondiales del Vins 2011, and it is a very reasonable price. Medium purple colour. Smoky, fried onions aromas. Medium body with smoky, fat sausage, and cherry flavours. Soft tannins, medium acidity and some spice. An interesting wine. Try pairing it with some bbq’d sausages or any smoked meat.
My favourite red wine of the night:
- Ogier Crozes Hermitage, Les Brunnelles 2008, France ($25.99). This is a Rhone Valley wine. The Rhone Valley produces some fabulous Syrah, and this is one of them. I really liked the aromas of this wine of cassis and plums. Full body with cassis, raspberry, cherry and oak flavours. Low tannins helped make this wine very approachable.
My favourite white wine of the night:
- a 1981 Spatlese Riesling from Dr. Loosen. I don’t have the exact name or any pricing on this wine. This is one of the special wines that Dr. Loosen brought with him and shared with a few of us. This is a 20 year old Riesling and by conventional wisdom should have a very pronounced “petrol” aroma that many wine lovers expect. I was told that this petrol effect can be controlled by the wine maker both in the field during the growing season, as well as during the vinification process. This wine was medium lemon in colour, showing it’s age. But on the nose there was NO petrol aroma, instead I was greeted with woody and citrus aromas. Light body on the palate, round . Woody, citrus and apple flavours with just a bit of petrol. An excellent wine and hope that more people could try it.
Do you like big, juicy wines? You might want to try a Zinfandel or Petite Syrah from California.
- Project Paso Old Vine Zinfandel 2009, Paso Robles, California ($18.99). Medium garnet. Cinnamon, plum and dark fruit nose. Very complex. Full body with high acid and some spice. Dark fruit and jammy flavours with a dry finish.
- Sivas – Sonoma Old Vine Zinfandel 2009, Sonoma, California ($21.99). My alternate favourite wine of the evening. Medium garnet in colour. Lots of jammy raspberries on the nose. Full body, fairly spicy, with jammy raspberries and cherries, and a hint of vanilla. A very big wine.
- The Crusher Petite Syrah 2009, Clarskburg, California ($19.99). Almost opaque purple in the glass. Dark fruit with some currant aromas. Full body, rich mouthfeel. Vanilla and dark fruit flavours, with even more vanilla building as it lingers in your mouth. Dry finish.
Do you like New Zealand Pinot Gris? You were probably thinking I would say Sauvignon Blanc, but Pinot Gris is becoming more well-known around the world. Here is a nice one from Wither Hills.
- Wither Hills Pinot Gris 2010, New Zealand ($18.99). Pale lemon in colour. Restrained citrus and peach nose. Round and creamy mouth feel with medium acidity, and spice showing up mid-palate. Apples and citrus flavours. Medium plus length. A nice, understated wine.
There were many other wines which I did not have a chance to try at the portfolio tasting. If you have a chance, you may want to try one of these wines, which I am sure will please you and your family:
- St. Hallet, the Reward Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Australia ($34.99)
- Don Melchor 2001, Chile ($199.99 for 1.5 l)
- Don Melchor 2005, Chile ($180.99 for 1.5 l)
- Ogier Chateauneuf du Pape Les Choregies du Clos de l’Oratoire 2007, France ($83.99)
- Bodegas Portia Triennia 2008, Spain ($107.99 for a 2 pack)
You can find out about these wines, and other wines and spirits carried by Select Wines & Spirits on their website.