Recent Drinks

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I’ve been incredibly busy lately, so this bevy of recent beverages will have to substitute for my usual in-depth articles for now:

I had this 10 year old Bordeaux when I visited my parents in Toronto at Christmas. It was, in fact, the first expensive ageable bottle of wine I ever bought and it was fascinating to open it now, after years of exploration in wine. I’m not sure I would have appreciated this wine as much when I bought it as I do now – classic Bordeaux from a classic vintage. Very fresh with clean dark berry fruit, graphite and great length. This has the acidity of a “classic” vintage, but it is nicely ripe and a great middle tier wine from Bordeaux.

Pascal Jolivet is easily criticized for making mass produced machine-harvested Sancerre. But this, one of his higher end, hand picked, etc. wines, was truly outstanding. Explosive aromatics and wonderful ripeness in the fruit, this was extremely complex and impressive wine. Highly recommended if you are into high end Sauvignon Blanc from France.

A goody brought back from my time living in California. This is nicely proportioned pinot noir that is unmistakably Californian but possesses greater interest and complexity than many Pinots from that state. Enjoyable but nothing to wax poetic about.

I’ve moved away from Chilean wines in the past few years, including the high end stuff. I’m glad, however, that I had this bottle left over from when I was exploring the country’s wines a few years ago. Perhaps the best Cabernet I’ve had from Chile, this 2005 vintage Domus Aurea is also very reasonably priced (something like $40). The wine is far more balanced than most Chilean wines and its fruit is pretty much the essence of cassis. So if you like blackcurrant, you will love the purity of fruit in this wine.

This is rich and huge California chardonnay, but it is undeniably extremely complex. I’m not sure that this is so much about the purity of Chardonnay or its majesty. Rather, it is a winemaker’s mastery of the tools available to manipulate its flavours that makes this wine what it is. Delicious, but not necessarily easy to love. Gets better with decanting.

What a wine. Dessert or not, this has tremendous depth and richness. It’s like drinking liquid meyer lemons, apricots, peaches and saffron. It is also ‘light’ with 10% alcohol, but the flavour intensity is over the top while being perfectly balanced. I love this wine and can very highly recommend it. Part of the Nouvelle Vague series from Kracher (Austria’s greatest dessert wine maker).

I had this with a group of friends last weekend. It was magnificent. Betz continue to be amongst the best winemakers in Washington State. Everything he touches ends up extremely delicious and always meticulously well made. Betz is a master of wine so he has a great palate and is very familiar with a large variety of international wine (unlike many many winemakers, particular those in BC). This experience perhaps explains why this wine is very Bordeaux like, though with a balanced richness that could only come from Washington.

Extremely delicious Rhone style syrah from Foxen in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County. This had brine, violets, rich dark fruit, and all sorts of Northern Rhone like flavours and aromas, but with greater ripeness. I really enjoyed this wine and it has developed very well since I last tasted it two years ago. If you at all like French style syrah, check this out.

Posted in: Tastings


  1. Brad
    January 23, 2011

    Hey Shea,

    Where did you p/u the Foxen Syrah? Sounds great, but I haven’t found it on the Marquis or Everything Wine websites.


  2. Shea
    January 23, 2011

    I got it at the vineyard in Santa Barbara county. K&L in SF/LA has it sometimes.

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