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.

Report from - Lake Erie North Shore Vintage Tasting 2007 – August 11, 2007

22 Aug 2007

For the last few years I have been telling you to get yourself down to the Lake Erie North Shore area.  I don’t know how many of you are actually listening or paying attention, but seriously the time in nigh.  On August 11th, I trundled my way down there again (was there for a brief tour in July) to check out what’s happening at the (New) Vintage Tasting at Erie Shore Vineyard (on County Road 50 in Harrow) … last year you may remember the event was held at Viewpointe Estate (read review of the 2005 Tasting) and next year I’ll be attending the same event at Mastronardi Estates.  If you’re paying attention you’ll notice this is a roving event held annually, which means each winery gets a chance to host it, and therefore the opportunity to sell their wine – the rest you have to visit directly, and all 13 wineries attend the event. 

Erie Shore put on a wonderful event – the tasting of both food and wine was held under the big top, with a complimentary horse and buggy tour of the vineyard if you so desired, pair that with the proper glass of wine and you have yourself a romantic little 11 minutes – the length of the tour – for two; and being at the Vintage Tasting in the Lake Erie North Shore, the “right glass of wine” is not far away.  Many of the wineries were showcasing their ’06 whites and their rich and ripe ’05 reds.  Some wineries like Sanson and D’Angelo, paraded out some great back vintages from 2002 – a Bird Dog Red blend and Cab Franc respectively; while Mastronardi had something bottled just for the event (a’Dorah), and Pelee, had 3 wines put in bottle just in time (3 Vinedresser wines:  Shiraz, Cab Sauv and Pinot Noir).  The food was also very tasty and plentiful, and there was something to tempt everyone’s craving for a nibbly, there was a food station for each corner of the tent.  I shied away from the frog’s legs, but relished in a marinated pork tenderloin and Asian coleslaw made by Jim and Judy (more on that later).

If you weren’t at the event you missed out … big time … so for those of you who weren’t in attendance I am going to give you the highlights of the afternoon.  I tried to keep my notes brief and stick to one wine per producer – some producers I visited in July and reviews appeared in my most recent newsletter, namely Colchester, Viewpointe and Sprucewood, so they will not be included here ... (Read more with pictures)

To check out the On the Road With the Grape Guy blog and all the other feature articles click here.

Report from - Wines of Spain on the General List Tasting – August 9, 2007

21 Aug 2007

Of late I have been extolling the virtues of Spanish wine in my Vintages Release reports and tasting notes:  the value, the ageability, the flavours and aromas and most importantly (to me lately) real wine aging laws.  Spain is one of the few countries with the word “Reserve” canonized into their wine laws with minimum aging lengths and acceptable terminology.  To use these words you have to follow certain regulations (see my rant in Newsletter #58).  If the word “Crianza” appears on the label of a bottle of Spanish wine it means the wine has been aged a minimum of 2 years (24 months) from harvest date and at least 6 of those months in oak.  “Reserva” is a minimum of three years, with a year in oak; and “Gran Reserva” is wine that’s a minimum of 5 years old with 2 years in oak and three years in bottle.  You’d think with all this waiting time, minimum oaking requirements and tied up capital that Spanish wine would be expensive, but surprisingly they offer some of the best wine deals on the general list at the LCBO and some of the best aged wines (that you can still age longer).  On Thursday August 9th, I got a chance to try almost all of the general list wines from Spain – which means most of these are readily available at an LCBO near you.  26 of a potential 33 wines were on display – here are the best of a good lot (there are 7 and none will break the bank; best of all, they will leave you smiling and wanting more) ... (Read more)

To check out the On the Road With the Grape Guy blog and all the other feature articles click here.

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