Thursday, December 3. 2015
December 3, 2015
World Leading Whisky Authority, Jim Murray’s Wild Enthusiasm for New Canadian Whisky
Jim Murray, author of the Annual “Whisky Bible,” is one of the leading, if not THE leading authority on the world’s top whiskies. His palate is broadly eclectic and his picks have by no means been confined to the most prestigious Scotch whiskies. So when Murray describes the Canadian whisky Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye ($34.99 NSLC General List) as “a masterpiece,” people sit up and take notice. In fact, I am told since the news came out, the whisky has literally been flying off the shelves.
I had the opportunity to taste it briefly, in an NSLC store but have not tasted it in a proper formal tasting. I can say confidently, though, that it is indeed a very fine example of how good well-crafted Canadian whisky can be. Add the fact that it is very inexpensive for a spirit of this quality and I can unreservedly recommend it to any whisky lover. Nonetheless, compared to the two superb Canadian whiskies from Forty Creek reviewed in my last blog (November 22, 2015), which granted, are considerably more expensive, it is not quite in their league.
For many years, Canadian whisky has been considered second rate. South of the Border, it was often derisively called “brown vodka.” Happily, those days have come to an end. Today, Canadian distillers are taking increasing pride in their product and coming up with whiskies greatly admired by leading authorities like Jim Murray.
A Selection of Good Wines Currently Available at the NSLC
Villa Sandi Pinot Grigio 2012, Veneto IGT $14.99 (Special Price $2 off) NSLC General List This cool-climate Pinot Grigio offers delicate floral and ripe green apple character, good mineral grip and crisply refreshing acidity. The clean, straightforward character makes for flexible pairing with a variety of lighter sea food, white meat and cream-based pasta dishes. ***
Garcia Carrun Antaño Crianza 2012, Rioja COC 13.5% $14.99 NSLC General List Lifted fragrant red and blackberry with a pinch of peppery spice open the way for lusciously combined red and dark berry flavours backed by lightly firm tannins and palate cleansing acidity. A fine, well-made wine and exceptional value. ***
Boira Sangiovese 2013, Marche IGT, Organic, Oak Matured Italy 13% $14.99 NSLC General List. Spicy dark plum, cherry and a whiff of minty green herb with bitter cherry flavour, firm tannins, a splash of milk chocolate and spicy herbal notes. Pair with tomato-based pastas, pizza and grilled red meats. **
Ruffino Modus 2011, Toscana IGT 14% $39.99 NSLC (Port of Wines Limited Selection) Deep, dark colour mirrors this wine’s intense dark fruit character with subtle oak and elegant spice on the nose and richly flavoured plum, dark berry and chocolate on the palate. This is a substantial wine with some earthy rustic character and still youthful tannins. Best with another 2-3 years in the cellar. ***
Marchesi di Frescobaldi Castelgiocondo 2010, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 15% $50.00 NSLC (Port of Wines Selection). Refined, powerful wine with elegant floral scents suggestive of violets together with dark cherry and plum. Still very youthful on the palate, though generous, fine cherry fruit is apparent and tannins are beginning to show velvety texture. Approachable now with food but deserves several more years in the cellar. ***
Torres Altos Ibericos Crianza 2012, Rioja DOC 13.5% $20.29 NSLC (Larger Stores). This is a stylish, well-made wine that leads off with a whiff of vanilla together with raspberry and redcurrant scents. Similar fine red fruit signatures carry through in the mouth backed by evolving velvety tannins and well-balanced acidity. ***
* Good value in its price range
** Particularly good value in its price range
***Exceptional value in its price range