In my last post I gave you my list of favourite white and sparkling wines that I tasted in 2012. Hopefully, you can buy a bottle or two for one of your holiday soirees. My follow-up to that article is my favourite red wines. With a special request from my friend Kalpna, I have a section for Pinot Noir, but you can enjoy it too!
My Favourite Pinot Noir for 2012
Schug Carneros Estate Winery Pinot Noir, Carneros, 2009. My favorite Pinot Noir of the tasting. Light cherry colour. Vanilla and cherry aromas. Nutmeg and cherry flavours. Dry with light body.
- Penner-Ash ‘Pas de Nom’ Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon, 2009. We all know that Oregon is recognized as a premium Pinot Noir region of the world. Pas de Nom is a blend of their best barrels in the cellar. The grapes coming from 5 different vineyards. The wine had nice violets and some strawberry aromas on the nose. High prickly acidity with a very pretty violet flavour. There was also some cinnamon and sweet spices to complement the violets, and then had cherry and strawberry fruit flavours on the finish. Light body with medium length. I really enjoyed this wine.
- Archery Summit Red Hills Estate Pinot Noir 2009, Oregon ($115. Coming soon.) Deep ruby in the glass. Juicy raspberry nose. Full body, spicy, with raspberries and red cherry flavours throughout the length, and nutmeg showing up mid-late on your palate. The flavours of this wine are very intense. A wonderful wine.
- Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot Noir 2008, Oregon ($49.99). A wine 5 years old already, and I think has many more years of enjoyment. It is light to medium garnet in the glass. Light vanilla and red cherry aromas. Medium body, with raspberries and vanilla, leading to dark cherry flavours. Dry. Very nice. Another favourite wine for me.
- Haywire Pinot Noir 2010, BC. Light garnet in the glass. Orange pekoe tea, nutmeg, violets, and raspberry aromas with a bit of match stick later on. Quite a complex nose. Round, dry with red cherries, red berries, violets, some sweet spices and a streak of minerality. Medium length. Subtle tannins, which pick up on the finish. Excellent.
My Favourite Syrahs for 2012
As I went through my tasting notes this year, I noted that there were many Syrahs, so I’m giving them their separate section here.
- Cote Bonneville Syrah, 2010, Yakima Valley, Washington. This was one of my wow wines during the tasting. This syrah was dark ruby in colour. Interesting nose with dark fruit and some meatiness. Dense flavour, very intense with dark fruit, violets and pencil leads. Peppery too.
- Robert Ramsay Cellars Syrah, 2009, Boushey, Yakima Valley, Washington. You may notice Syrah showing up for many of my recommended wines. I think WA state is putting out some excellent Syrah, and people should take notice. This one is a blend of 95% Syrah co-fermented with 5% Viognier. Deep garnet in colour with blueberry aromas. Dry, but so fruity, with blueberries and cassis, you would guess that it is off-dry. You also get flowers and spice on the palate with soft tannins to give a bit of structure. This is an excellent wine.
Family Vineyards Stonessence Syrah 2009, Washington. This is 100% Syrah. Light translucent garnet. Smoky, sausage, and minerality on the nose. I enjoyed these aromas a lot. Full body, dry with soft tannins. Smoky, cocoa, coffee and dark fruit, with spice on the mid palate. A very complex and very tasty wine. This wine knocked me over.
- Tyrrell’s Vat 9 Shiraz 2010, Australia was light, bright, translucent ruby in colour. On the nose there was purple fruit and bramble berries, along with minerality and a hint of smokiness. Medium body, dry with firm tannins. Ripe berry fruit, and vanilla flavours with spice on the mid palate.
- Le Vieux Pin Equinoxe Syrah 2009, BC. This Syrah comes from 2 vineyards, both different from the 2008 vintage. The two vineyards for this wine are sandy, which gives good drainage and tends to produce silky wines with a flowery component. This wine was medium ruby in the glass. Bay leaf (I think…), black pepper, ripe dark fruit, with a hint of cinnamon and meatiness on the nose. Medium plus body, round with a light mouth feel. White pepper, ripe blueberries, cherries and cranberry came through on the palate. After a bit of time airing in the glass, nutmeg flavour shows up. I always like to try a wine a few times to see if new aromas and flavours appear with more air. Quite dry finish with medium plus length.
My Other Favourite Reds for 2012
Fort Berens Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2010, BC ($24.99). Deep garnet in colour with light cedar and ripe cherry aromas. Dry, medium plus body with cedar, oak and ripe black fruit flavours. Ripe fruit and vanilla on the finish. This wine won a Double Gold Medal at the All Canadian Wine Championships.
- Chateau des Aveylans Rouge, Costieres de Nimes, France ($18) – This is possibly my overall favorite red wine of the evening. This is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah. Very nice aromas. Full body, dry, meaty, black fruit flavours. You can drink this one on it’s own or enjoy with some cheddar or a grilled chop or steak.
- Antinori Peppoli Chianti Classico DOCG 2008, Italy ($26.99). Here is another light bodied wine that I noted as a tasting favorite! This is a wine made from the Sangiovese grape. This wine was medium garnet in colour with a light strawberry nose. Light body with strawberries and red cherry flavours. Lower tannins. A hint of licorice on the mid-palate.
- Domaine Font de Michelle, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 2010, France ($49.99 SPEC). I seem to be having a love affair with CDP lately, or agents are just bringing over really excellent ones that have caught my eye. Medium ruby colour. This has a wow nose with a big bouquet of roses. Medium body. Firm dry tannins. Dark fruit and flowers on the palate. A real special wine. My overall favourite wine of the tasting.
- Michael David Winery Petite Petit,California ($36) – This is a blend of 85% Petite Sirah and 15% Petit Verdot. My second favourite red wine of the event. A big red. Deep purple colour. Ripe black fruit, charcoal and oak on the nose, while on the palate it was full body but soft in your mouth. Ripe black fruit, smoky and spicy. A wow wine.
- Brotte CNP Domaine Barville 2008, France ($49.99). This is one of my favourite wines of the tasting. It is a Southern Rhone blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Dark garnet in the glass with a ripe cherry nose. Full body with medium acidity. Licorice, spice and dark cherries with a dry finish.
- Pedroncelli Mother Clone Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, 2010 ($23). These vines were originally planted in 1904, so you get to try wines from vines that are more than 100 years old! This wine had spicy, jammy raspberry, vanilla, licorice, and oak on the nose. Full body, round mouth feel, with juicy raspberries and raspberry leaf up front, followed by red cherries and vanilla. Pickering finish. Enjoy this big wine with any bbq’d meat or a tomato-based pasta sauce.
Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel 2009, California ($45.99 SPEC). This is a single vineyard wine but as with the other old vineyards has a field blend planting. This vineyard is made of Zinfandel, Carignan, and Petite Sirah. The three varieties are fermented separately then blended to taste. The fermentation is done with native yeast and aged in small French oak barrels. The Teldeschi vineyard is located in the Dry Creek Valley, which is in the north end of the Sonoma Valley. Opaque ruby in the glass with nice flowery and dark juicy berry nose. Full body, fine tannins, vanilla and super juicy berry fruit flavours. Dry with a long length. This is quite a sophisticated wine.
- Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Crianza, 2008, Spain ($22.49). This wine was selected by Wine Spectator as one of the top 100 wines in 2011. The Dinastia Vivanco Crianza 2008 is a wine made exclusively from Tempranillo grapes selected from their vineyards across the Rioja region. The wine aged for 16 months in French and American oak barrels, and for more than a year in bottle, before being released. It is medium-plus garnet in the glass. Nice aromas with currants, red cherries and spice. Medium body, dry, soft tannins, with cherries and cloves and cinnamon on the palate.
- Cantina Negrar La Casetta Ripasso, 2009, Italy ($33.99). Ripasso is a special style of wine produced in Italy. The Valpolicella region produces Ripasso wines. They are more complex than regular Valpolicella wines as these wines are re-fermented on the pre-fermented, tannin-rich skins of grapes used to make the area’s dried-grape passito wines, giving extra flavour and colour to the wine. The grapes for Valpolicella come from the Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara varieties. The wine did have a deep ruby colour. The nose was quite interesting with violets, cherry and chocolate. Medium minus body with cherry, dark chocolate and nutmeg flavours. Dry with low tannins.
Domaine Font de Michelle, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, 2010, France ($49.99 SPEC). I seem to be having a love affair with CDP lately, or agents are just bringing over really excellent ones that have caught my eye. Medium ruby colour. This has a wow nose with a big bouquet of roses. Medium body. Firm dry tannins. Dark fruit and flowers on the palate. A real special wine.
- Bodegas Nekeas, El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa, 2010, Spain ($23.91). This is an old vine Garnacha (Grenache) wine. It had a nice juicy red fruit nose along with some meaty tones. LOTS of flavour, with ripe juicy black fruit, a sausage note, vanilla, and medium spice on the palate. Very tasty.
- Le Petit Haut Lafitte, 2009, France ($59.99 SPEC). Yes this one is pricy, but it is well worth it, and would be nice to take to a special occasion. This is a Bordeaux blend made from 45% Merlot and 55% Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium garnet in colour. Light intensity on the nose, with aromas of dark fruit and a hint of smoke (may have come from the nearby bbq). Light body that floats in your mouth. Dry with medium acidity and soft tannins. Ripe plums and cherries along with some black pepper.
- Edgebaston The Pepper Pot 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($22.90). This is a spicy blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Tannat. It was opaque garnet in the glass. Gamey, leather, and sausage aromas. Full body, dry with nice minerality. Spicy, dark fruit, ripe cherries, and some dark chocolate. Tasty.