Thursday was a beautiful day for a walk to Taylorwood, where they were pouring wines from Road 13. Having enjoyed a sample of their Sparkling Chenin Blanc – a dry, tropical citric affair – at the winery’s It’s All About The Beer dinner, it was fun to finally try their recently released Old Vines Chenin. I’m here to tell you it’s lovely. A lush, full mouthfeel carries a wave of unctuous tropical fruit and flowers through to a clean, lively finish. Made from botrytis-affected vines that are 40 years “Old” in the Okanagan – middle aged to the rest of the world – the acidity is gently lifted by a touch of saugvinon blanc. A perfect breakfast wine.
The 2007 Riesling had a petrol note on the nose that I didn’t remember from before. Though I’m not a big petrol fan, it was hardly off putting. The citric aromas rose up and enveloped the crisp, juicy palate and left me smacking my lips. Good minerality and balance, and a nice touch with that addition of orange muscat.
The 2006 Merlot was my least favorite. I found the mouthfeel hard and the fruit flavors green. Tasting notes mention early picking and maybe this is the result. I can’t stop thinking about what Joel Peterson said about the unripeness of BC reds, but now I notice it all the time. This merlot is a well-built wine with good concentration, but that green taste is noticeable.
On the other wine stained hand, the 2007 Syrah deserves the raves it’s been getting. It’s an elegant syrah with a lot of brawn, full with pepper, plums and bramble wood and some fig and road tar notes. The finish is dry and peppery, with just the barest hint of that greenness I noticed in the merlot. Still, it is an impressive syrah, probably the best in BC.
In other wine notes, the Zaca Mesa 2005 Syrah Santa Ynes Valley (central California coast) we drank last Saturday floored us! Drinking it made watching the Canuck’s final loss to Chicago almost palatable, but not entirely digestible. Talk about a full bodied, complex, satisfying wine, this syrah had it all. Fleshiness, earth, tar, plums, blackberries, sweet oak, and at 14.5% alcohol, a real kick. This was one of the bottles I brought home from Southern California, purchased at Costco for about $18 USD.
Another was the Irony Pinot Noir 2008 Monterey County. I grabbed it in Ralph’s supermarket the night before leaving, attracted, ironically enough, by the name. Otherwise never heard of it, but what a pleasant surprise. Made well enough to taste delicious after being open for three days. On the second day, I noted a nose of earthy red fruit and salt air, with warm black cherry, mushrooms, chocolate, coffee in a soft mouth and a long choco-cherry finish. A find for only $16.
My other traveling bottle was my new chardonnay crush, Edna Valley’s Paragon Chardonnay. I fell for it on a pass through Seattle last Christmas and drank two bottles on my April trip. I don’t usually lug home white wines, but when I saw it in Costco for $9, I said, get me more. This is my favorite style: heavy on the tropical fruit, a tiny bit of oak and butterscotch, clean lively acidity, even a tad mineral. I want it all, all at once, but in the right balance.
The fourth bottle I brought home is the Rosenblum Zinfandel from Paso Robles (central California coast), my new favorite region for elegant zin. I buy this bottle whenever I’m in California. Purchased at Ralph’s for $13, this is the only one I brought that’s available in Canada, at Everything Wine for – gulp – $36.99. Curse you, Liquor Board!
Go Red Wings!