On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

New Zealand Tasting in TO 2022

26 Jan 2023


(May 2022) … It’s the annual New Zealand wine tasting, and it was a free pour event – walk around and pour your own – they even had an app that helped collect notes. So without further ado, I present my edited notes from three-and-a-half star wines up to the four star wines.

Ata Rangi 2016 Pinot Noir - Martinborough    … *** ½+
Pretty floral notes, primarily violet with black raspberry, hints of smoke, a little black licorice; tannins are silky.

Babich Wines 2021 Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough*** ½
Has the goods for a good price: typical grapefruit pith, lemon and grassy with balancing good acidity.

Te HengaBabich Wines 2021 Te Henga Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough*** ½+
This is really good value, at 13 95 at the LCBO and  on the general list (readily available). Delivers everything you want it Savvy B. plus it’s refreshing and pretty on both the nose and palate. I don't usually judge on price but this over delivers.

Dry River Wines 2019 Dry River Riesling 'Craighall' – Martinborough*** ½
Notes of floral with nice acidity, hint of grapefruit and talc.

Eradus 2021 Eradus Sauvignon Blanc - Marlborough *** ½+
Grassy, grapefruit, and cat’s pee; all the essentials in New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Kumeu River Wines 2020 Kumeu River Estate Chardonnay – Auckland*** ½
Generous mouth feel, with bruised apple and peach pit.

Loveblock 2018 Gewürztraminer, Loveblock Estate – Marlborough*** ½+
Very lovely and not over the top notes are floral, lychee and peachy.

Loveblock 2020 Pinot Gris, Loveblock Estate – Marlborough*** ½
A little thick in the mouth, and lacks the acidity I'm looking for, but it does have nice texture and some nice grapefruit / lemon character.

Loveblock 2020 Sauvignon Blanc, Loveblock Estate – Marlborough*** ½+
It's so chalked with texture and very tasty. It's like licking a fresh grapefruit with all of its pulp included; all with just a hint of grassiness.

Luna Estate 2020 Luna Estate Pinot Noir – Martinborough*** ½+
Loaded with red fruit, slightly earthy, gentle smokiness, black raspberry and hints of coffee bean.

Misha's Vineyard Wines 2019 The High Note Pinot Noir - Central Otago*** ½
Decent version of Pinot Noir: sour cherry, cranberry, with good acidity and a little bit of smoke.

Nautilus 2021 Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough*** ½+
Plenty of grapefruit with some texture on the palate, it comes across as bitterness, almost like lime zest, but it also has a touch of grassiness; could be very refreshing on a hot day.

No.1 Family Estate Cuvee No.1 Chardonnay – Marlborough*** ½
Good acidic bubbly. Crisp, clean, with lemon apple.

Peregrine 2021 Sauvignon Blanc - Central Otago*** ½
Nice yellow grapefruit, along with some lemon, a little grassy, and a great mouth feel.

Rabbit Ranch 2020 Rabbit Ranch Pinot Noir - Central Otago*** ½+
“Nothing wrong with that.” Decent sour and black cherry black raspberry and hint of smoke.

Saint Clair Family Estate 2020 Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough*** ½
Simple and easy. Nothing too complicated. Lots of grapefruit and lemon with some grassiness.

Seifried Estate 2021 Grüner Veltliner – Nelson*** ½
Pretty bang on, there's some peapod and some green notes, along with decent acidity.

The Hunting Lodge 2019 Seasonal Albarino – Marlborough *** ½+
Nice version of Albarino with it’s lemon, grapefruit and beeswax notes.

The Landing 2020 Chardonnay - Northland*** ½+
Yeasty, apple, peach, and even a slight smokiness.

Wild Rock Estate 2017 Pinot Grigio – Marlborough*** ½
Another wine with good texture, but it lacks acidity; which is made up for through the length of its finish.

Matawhero Wines 2020 Single Vineyard Chardonnay – Gisborne*** ½
Pretty basic Chardonnay apple, pear, peach with other pretty white fruit notes. Slight hint of vanilla on the finish.

Matawhero Wines 2020 Single Vineyard Pinot Gris – Gisborne*** ½
Nice freshness with peach, apple, and lemon.

Auntsfield 2010 Single Vineyard Pinot Noir - Marlborough****
Floral and smoky, black cherry, blackberry, earthy, plenty of cranberry, but also lots of smoky notes.

Burn Cottage 2017 Pinot Noir, Estate Vineyard - Central Otago**** ½ Burn Cottage
Nice oak integration. Good black fruit: black cherry, black raspberry, and a little  smoked-sour-cherry I could drink this all the time. Well-balance, a really good drinking wine.

Ceres Wines 2017 Bannockburn Composition Pinot Noir - Central Otago****
Solid Pinot Noir with smoky-cherry, smoky-cranberry and well-integrated oak. Quite tasty.

Craggy Range 2019 Le Sol Syrah - Hawke's Bay****+
White pepper, smoky cassis, black raspberry, black pepper on the finish and there’s even some cigarette ash and tobacco.

Elephant Hill Winery 2017 Syrah - Hawke's Bay ****
Typically good Elephant Hill syrah: black raspberry, smoked-black pepper. There's a lot going on here.

Felton Road 2019 Calvert Pinot Noir - Central Otago****
Very nice... it’s what I expect from Felton Road: pretty cranberry, red raspberry, black cherry and slightly smoky. Everything is very well integrated.

Felton Road 2018 Chardonnay Bannockburn - Central Otago****
Well-integrated oak. Plenty of white fruit along with a notes of vanilla and burnt butter. There’s also just a touch of popcorn on the mid-palate. Plenty to get excited about here.

Hans Herzog Estate 2016 Hans Family Estate Pinot Noir – Marlborough****+
Lovely version of Pinot. It starts off with lots of fruit, ends with quite a bit of tannin with a nice smoky middle, and black raspberry dominates on the finish.

Mahi 2019 Pinot Noir – Marlborough****
Earthy, smoky and blackberry ... Notes of cassis white pepper and smoky.

Bone LineThe Boneline 2018 Amphitheatre Cabernet Franc - Canterbury / Waipara****+
This is a pretty good Cabernet Franc. Shows a smokiness tobacco, black fruit, cassis black raspberry really tasty. Didn't expect that from New Zealand.

The Elder Pinot 2016 Pinot Noir – Martinborough****+
This wine packs a dark punch with its blackberry, black cherry, and black raspberry. Which leads into vanilla and cinnamon on the finish. Well-aged easy-drinking and very tasty.

Trinity Hill 2020 Syrah - Hawke's Bay****
Smoky white pepper, silky black fruit: cassis and black raspberry. Really easy drinking Syrah.

Villa Maria 2020 Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Sauvignon Blanc – Marlborough****
Lovely smoky-black cherry, earthy, cranberry ... Touched by pepper, but that smokiness really comes through.


Loire Wines: Touraine - Saumur-Champigny - Sparkling

19 Jan 2023

(April 28, 2022) … Two thematic tastings under one roof with a look at Touraine and Saumur wines.

Some quick facts about Touraine
-    5000 hectares stretch out both sides of the Cher and Loire rivers
-    Encompasses 139 towns
-    500 winemakers
-    Making 28,000,000 bottles annually
-    59% white wines – 22% red wines – 8% rosé – 11% sparkling
-    Top white varieties: Sauvignon Blanc 43%, followed by Chenin (7%) and Chardonnay (3%)
-    Top red varieties: Gamay 21%, followed by Cabernet Franc (10%) and Cot (Malbec 8%)
-    Only 20% of the wine is exported; and while 80% remains in France – 50% are direct sales to the consumer
-    Top export markets are the UK (36%), USA (21%), Netherlands (16%), Belgium (7%) and Canada (5%)
-     Touraine has 5 geographical denominations:
      -Amboise / -Azay-le-Rideau / -Chenonceaux / -Mesland et -Oisly

And now, here are the wines from both tastings …
(because of the quantity of wines on offer during this tasting I used my Good / Good+ approach for scoring, I also where available, list the varieties that make up the wine – and a few of the really good(+) ones  even got some notes)

Maison Laudacius Jardin Des Rois Fb Rosé ... Good
40% Cabernet Franc, 5% Grolleau, 40% Gamay, 15% Pinot Noir

Domaine Mérieau 2018 J'ose Les Fines Bulles - Blanc ... Good
60% Menu Pineau, 10% Chenin, 30% Chardonnay

Domaine De La Renaudie 2021 Touraine Sauvignon - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon        

Domaine Jacky Marteau 2021 Touraine Sauvignon – Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon        

Domaine Chainier 2021 Château De La Roche - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

Domaine Des Echardières 2021 Touraine Sauvignon - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

Domaine Pascal Gibault 2021 Touraine Sauvignon - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

Le SauvignonChâteau De Fontenay 2021 Le Sauvignon - Blanc     
100% Sauvignon - Guava and grapefruit with a supple palate and long finish ... Good+

Vins Beaujardin 2021 Moulin Des Aigremonts - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

RousselyClos Roussely 2020 Le Clos - Blanc
100% Sauvignon - Floral and yellow grapefruit cocktail ... Good+

Domaine Sauvète 2021 Méli Mélo - Rosé ... Good
50% Pineau D'aunis, 50% Cabernet Franc        

Domaine Sauvète 2020 Les Gravouilles - Rouge ... Good
100% Gamay

Domaine De Fontenay 2019 La Réserve De Jean - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc, Côt


White Saumur and Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame: Two Facets of Saumur Wines  

Domaine Des Garennes 2020 Empreinte - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Du Moulin De L’horizon 2020 Mélodie - Blanc ... Good+ L'horizon
Chenin 100%

Château De Targé 2019 Les Fresnettes - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Arnaud Lambert 2018 Coulée De Saint Cyr - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Arnaud Lambert 2018 Clos De La Rue - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Du Vieux Pressoir 2019 Origine - Rouge Origine
Cabernet Franc 100% - Structured and smoky, with earthy, black cherry, subtle woodsy notes, and mild flavour of coffee powder on the finish ... Good+

Domaine Saint Landor 2019 L'Obligé - Rouge
Cabernet Franc 100% - Fruit forward with lots of red berries: strawberry, raspberry, and hints of mocha - silky mouthfeel with an elegant finish ... Good+ L'Oblige

Domaine Du Moulin De L’horizon 2019 Virtuose - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Mélaric 2018 Clos De La Cerisaie - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Manoir De Tête Rouge 2018 Enchentoir - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Domaine De L'enchantoir 2018 Pied À L'etrier - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Domaine De L'enchantoir 2017 Clos Du Petit Chavannes - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Immersion: Saumur-Champigny Saumur Champigny

Another walking tour … this time it’s a partial walk along the VVR Route (Vignes Vins Randos) as we check out some of the vineyards around Saumur and taste a number of wines at stops along the way. We find a wine producer who has built their prodcution area right in the rocks; and here is where I also taste one of the best Cabernet Franc’s I taste throughout the whole trip – hint: it has something to do with wolves.

Langlois-Chateau 2020 Domaine
Fruit driven due to the stainless steel, along with subtle herbal characteristics(*** ½)

Château De Chaintres 2020 Vieilles Vignes
Gentle spice and black fruit; notes of vanilla, black cherry and black raspberry on the mid-palate - complex and tasty.  (****)

BressiereDomaine De La Bessiere 2018 XL
Light, fresh, and easy drinking: big red fruit with a medium-light spiciness.  (*** ½)

Alliance Loire - Robert & Marcel 2019 Les Vignoles
VignolesSmooth and silky; blackberry and cassis, along with subtle pepper and round tannins which prove to be non-aggressive on the finish.  (*** ½+)

Domaine De La Perruche 2020 Terroir de Craie
PerrucheSteel tanks were used in the making of this wine - fresh dark fruit oriented, nice complexity.  (*** ½+)

Domaine De Rocheville 2019 Le Prince
Herbal and red cherry; a nice expression.  (*** ½)

NerleuxDomaine De Nerleux 2018 Les Loups Noirs
Vines planted back in 1997, 70% of the wine spends 18 months in oak, 10% new, the other 30% remains in stainless steel and is then back-blended into the wine to create a fruitier character; the result is a wine of wonderful depth and character: dark berry fruit, nicely spiced with hints of vanilla. The dark fruit comes across as cassis and blackberry – this wine just sings in the mouth.  (**** ½)

Gatien Deze 2020 Les 2 Vents
Light and airy with gentle herbaceousness, done all in stainless - pretty floral notes on both the nose and palate.  (*** ½+)

Château De Targé 2020 Le Clos Saint Pere
Light and fresh - with a chill this would give rosé a run for its money: cherry and decent acidity; chill and enjoy.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Ratron - Clos Des Cordeliers 2018 Cuvee Prestige
Mineral, blackberry and black cherry, pleasant across the palate.  (*** ½+)

Château De Villeneuve 2020 Domaine
Light with red berry freshness, plus it had some black cherry and black raspberry backing it up on the finish.  (*** ½+)

La Seigneurie 2018 Vielles Vignes a Pierrot
Vines were planted in 1963 at 110m ASL, highest level in the region, and less than 1 km from Castle Saumur: plenty of cassis and blackberry.  (*** ½+)

Sparkling Wine Evening
A walk around tasting of sparkling wine; dinner was al fresco in the backyard of the winery / event space; and ended with a fireworks display: bubbles, “BBQ” and big bangs – what more could you ask for.

Here I used my Good / Good+ system to rate the wines; and in some instances the make up of the cuvee was provided (so I included that as well):

Orchidees Ackerman (Brut) ... Good
Orchidees Royal 2017 (Brut) ... Good+ Royal
Loire Propriete Dunmacus Vignerons (Brut Rose) ... Good    
Loire Propriete Dunmacus Vignerons (Brut) ... Good
Grenelle 2013 3/7.7.4 (Brut Nature) ... Good
cuvee: Pinot Noir, Pineau D'aunis, Cabernet Franc
Alliance Loire De Chanceny Rose (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Alliance Loire 2015 De Chanceny Impetus (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Chanceny Alliance Loire 2015 De Chanceny (Brut Nature) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Langlois Langlois Blanc (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Langlois Langlois Rose (Brut) ... Good+ Langlois
cuvee: Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir
Langlois 2016 Quadrille (Extra Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Bouvet Ladubay 2018 Tresor (Brut) ... Good+
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay
Bouvet Ladubay Excellence Rose (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Lacheteau Lacheteau Tete De Cuvee (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Lacheteau Château De Montgueret ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay
Lacheteau Château De Chanteloup ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay
Lacheteau Château De Chanteloup Rosé ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Gratien Meyer Flamme Rosé ... Good    
Gratien Meyer Diadème Rosé ... Good



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