Wednesday, April 29. 2015
As the month of April draws to a close, it is an opportune time to look back over a couple of stellar tasting opportunities provided by the California Wine Fair on April 15th and the Grandi Marchi Italian Win Fair on April 23rd. I will be talking more about the Italian event in an upcoming blog. In the meantime, a few comments on the California show.
Most people I spoke to felt that the show had stepped up both in quality and variety this year. There were also some interesting newcomers on hand and some lesser known regions were also represented. Prices, though, had increased for a number of products, although there were still good values to be found. I am afraid that with the Canadian/US dollar exchange rate having become quite unfavourable, it will be hard for many producers to hold the line on prices. The message is, if you like California wines, it may be a good idea to buy now, before further pricing increases take hold.
Three reasonably priced California offerings from the recent show which are currently available are included in my reviews below.
Note: A number of whiskies which were showcased at the recent Celebrate Whisky show are now available for purchase at the Port of Wines store on Doyle Street in Halifax.
Benjamin Bridge Nova 7, 2014, Nova Scotia $24.95 NSLC General List, Private Stores, Farm Markets and directly from the Winery Intense floral notes are reminiscent of white spring flowers, with a light scent of peppery spice together with tree fruits and a touch of red berry. Classic Nova Scotia stony mineral and lively acidity lead into a delicately off-dry finish. Another stellar vintage for this emblematic Nova Scotia wine. ***
Cline Family Cellars Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2013, Sonoma Coast 15% $22.99 NSLC (Wide Distribution) Deeply scented ripe red cherry, strawberry and cinnamon evolve towards dark cherry, blackberry and a touch of milk chocolate in the mouth. Supporting tannins and acid are harmoniously balanced. A very solid value. ***
Cline Family Cellars Viognier 2013, North Coast, California 14% $17.99 NSLC (Wide Distribution) A stylish California Viognier showing ripe peach and floral notes on the nose and generous apricot, peach and honeyed flavours balanced by zesty acidity with a long harmonious finish. Pair with richer seafood and white meat dishes. Another very good value. ***
Whiplash Red Wine Blend 2012, California 14.5% $22.79 NSLC (Larger Stores) An eclectic blend of 8 grape varieties, led by Syrah and Petite Sirah and 100% aged in French oak, this one offers enticing scents of wild berry, peppery spice and ripe plum. It opens up on the palate with lightly sweet blackberry and bramble berry flavours backed by firm but approachable tannins and a splash of dark chocolate on the well-integrated, satisfying finish. ***
Alvi’s Drift Viognier 2014, Wine of Origin Worcester, South Africa 13.5% $13.99 NSLC (Wide Distribution) A real steal in this price range, showing lively fresh floral, stone fruit and tropical fruit character, appetizingly crisp acidity, a touch of mineral grip and elegant, pleasing finish. It works equally well as an aperitif or paiired with a variety of sea foods, white meat dishes and even charcuterie. ***
Illuminati Riparossa 2013, Montepulciano d`Abruzzo DOC 13.5% $13.29 (Special Price $2 off) NSLC General List Dark cherry and spice on the nose are followed by ripe rounded flavours of cherry, plum and hints of blackberry finishing with harmoniously integrated fruit, spice and a splash of dark chocolate.**
* Good value in its price range
** Particularly good value in its price range
***Exceptional value in its price range