From the Cellar

Just because I started a website called doesn't mean it's All-Ontario-All-the-Time. When I kick back at night my mood (and sometimes my curiosity) decides my wine of choice. And the title should read, "Uncorked and Un-Screwed Tonight" ... but that just sounds wrong.

The Great Malbec-Off (Argentina) - Old Malbec Tasting

07 May 2021

(November 8, 2020) ... A beautiful November day and my neighbour informs me he's trying to understand Malbec a little better - and so without further ado I ran down to the cellar and grabbed 3 bottles (we were joined by his Lab for the tasting) - and at the bottom of the post you will meet Sophie - but first time to taste some old Malbec:

Humberto CanaleHumberto Canale 2002 Malbec ... Here I'm looking at an almost 20-year-old bottle of Malbec from Argentina. Lots of smoky-coffee bean, licorice and forest floor with even some burnt wood notes. I am picking up a little hint of coffee as well ... But almost immediately after opening (say 10-15 minutes) it goes very lean and thin almost watery to the point of being unappealing. From a great start it diminishes, into a woodsy cedary finish that never gets better. This bottle was pretty much a dud.

Don NicanorNieto Senetiner 2008 Don Nicanor Malbec ... I will admit I had high hopes for this Don Nicanor, and it delivered. Blue and black fruit with smoky and tobacco notes, plus mocha-black cherry and cedar with hints of coffee bean on the finish. There was a big hit of cedar that interplays on the palate as it opens and the 14.5% alcohol shows its heat. The good news is it never really falls apart, it stays intact, and by the last glass it is smooth as silk and quite enjoyable.

CatalpaAtamisque 2013 Catalpa Old Vines Malbec ... This wine is a mere baby at 7 years of age (when compared with the other two) so it should be the best one on the table. Lots of dark berries cedar mocha white pepper and bittersweet cocoa ... As it opens it moves into a milk chocolate-dark chocolate / cocoa mix and while the fruit is dark it does have quite a bit of tannin punch behind it. Has it peaked? Only time would tell - but now's a good time to open this one up as it is drinking quite well right now.




La Crema 2014 Pinot Noirs (California)

15 Apr 2021

You're going to read about three La Crema wines from the same vintage but from different area of California that I drank on three different night ... 

Monterey PN La Crema(November 7, 2020) ... It all started with the 2014 Monterey. Now I loved visiting Monterey County, they talked a lot about cool climate, which is definitely nothing new for someone from Ontario - so I do have a soft spot for many wines from this part of the state. Sour cherry and red cherry along with white pepper and nice acidity plus there is a nice little tannin bite; fresh and lively with a nice dry, medium-length finish, there's even a little licorice in here.

Russian River PN La Crema(November 10, 2020) ... It was not my intention to drink another La Crema Pinot Noir on this night, nor was I going to have all three in the same month, but once you start (it's like Lay's potato chips "bet ya can't have just one") ... I was so impressed with the Monterey version that I decided to grab the Russian River Valley offering (2014). Big spicy dark fruit (a la black cherry) with good acidity and a punch of strawberry and rhubarb - I even decided to put a little chill on this one and it really got that red fruit to pop, plus it seemed to add a little tobacco into the mix ... as it opens the acidity kept everything in balance and there was just hint of white pepper which settled nicely onto the finish.

Los Carneros PN La Crema(November 15, 2020) ... It's now been a week since this experiment started and I am pulling the last bottle of La Crema Pinot 2014 from my cellar, Los Carneros - this one is black cherry, black pepper and smoke with hints of floral; the tannins and the acidity are present with the tannins being a little more dominant here than in any of the previous two wines. Probably my least favourite of the three, but they were all still pretty good as a whole.



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