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.

MezzaCorona and More (Podcast Tie-in)

23 Oct 2023


(May 2023) … Another podcast tie-in article. You can listen to our conversation with Matteo Appolonio from the company here, but also see and read the wine notes below.

These wines all come from an Italian co-op winery based in northern Italy’s - Trento-Alto Adige region. Briefly, they have 3000 hectares between 1480 families, that’s a mean of 1.5 hectares per family. These are more hobby farmers than those capable of creating their own label - more on this within the podcast. The company / co-op has been in existence for 120 years, create 220 million bottles per annum and would be Italy's number 9 winery in terms of sales. These days they have branched out from their roots in the north and have created something special in the south: Sicily.

The Wines

Rotari 2016 Blossom Label Rosé Rotari 2016 Rose
A Chardonnay / Pinot Noir blend (30% Pinot Noir) that's made in the traditional method and offers bang for the buck. Pretty floral, crisp, pleasant raspberry fruit notes ... All tingle and tickle the tongue and thrill the palate.

MezzaCorona 2021 Pinot Grigio
Referred to by our guest as the "shiest grape in the Pinot family", and traditionally one of the most boring when left to its own devices. This version has something a little extra that raises it from the bland and banal: yellow apple, lemon zest, subtle floral and nice texture.

I will pass on commenting on the MezzaCorona Naturally Light Pinot Grigio - all I needed to say was in the podcast.

Feudo Arancio 2020 Cab SauvFeudo Arancio 2020 Cabernet Sauvignon
Launched September 2023 - #31795 - $15.95
This comes from the aforementioned Sicilian project ... A wonderful Cab from Sicily that's silky on the palate with notes of chocolate, red cherry and black cherry plus subtle tannins... Hidden behind that fruit our notes of vanilla and molasses. Only 10% new oak keeps the fruit fresh and forward ... A steal in Ontario at $15.95.  (****+)

Thanks to Woodman Wines.

To link to the PODCAST ... click here.



Irish Whisky A Go-Go

02 Oct 2023

With my favourite Irish Whiskey back in the market, I thought it was time to share some of my whiskey reviews with you.

First, what you need to understand about me is that I am not a spirits drinker, especially whiskey (whisky). My cousin tried to get me into Scotch years ago and I just never took to the stuff. In one podcast, my co-host told me I had the “whisky taste of a 15-year-old girl”, after I went gaga over a butterscotch flavoured whisky made by the Sazerac company.

But a couple of years ago, I tasted an Irish whisky that shifted my thinking: maybe I like the Irish stuff over the Scottish stuff. I endeavoured to find out by tasting a number of Irish spirits – these are a handful of my favourites. I’m usually a stars-guy for my reviews, but considering we have whiskey here, let’s try shot glasses out of three.

Bushmills Malt 10 Year Old Irish Whiskey Bushmill
($56.95 - #131870)
The aromas here are reminiscent of summer fruits: raspberry, strawberry, ripe golden plums, floral and golden raspberries - I was surprised as anybody to smell these - it's whiskey after all, the last thing I expected were fruit notes. The palate is creamy, warm, mellow and silky with little to no "burn” - in fact there seems to be a marshmallow-like smoothness: warm and soothing with toasted notes that grab a white peach roasts it, grills it and then pops it in your mouth.
Rating: 3 Shots (out of 3)

Glendalough Double Barrel Irish Whiskey
($49.95 - #516096)
The Whiskey has some routes in Kentucky as it is aged in bourbon barrels. It’s smooth and clean and really a delicious sip. The mid-palate shows some fruit notes, while the finish delves into the range of vanilla, caramel and spice. It leans silky smooth on the finish with a hint of sweetness; but you’ll get over that quick.
Rating: 2 Shots (out of 3)

Jameson Black Barrel
($55.20 - #292615)
Clean and smooth with notes of vanilla, peach and tropical fruit … it fills the mouth with flavour and forgoes the burn for a nice, well-rounded woodsy finish. This is going to be one of my go-to’s on whisky nights.
Rating: 2½ shots (out of 3)

Proper Twelve
($39.50 - #11945)
The nose of the Irish Whiskey was all about fruit, namely peaches: spiced vanilla overripe peaches and some baked fruit ... The first sip brought the alcohol heat, but by sip two there was more to be found: spicy apricot-mango, that upfront "burn" was mellowed on the finish with a creamy linger and some vanilla and cherry blossom ... I could quite easily get into this one on a cold winter's night.
Rating: 2½ shots (out of 3)

BuskerThe Busker Triple Cask Triple Smooth Irish Whiskey
($38.20 - #30645)
It all starts with a great fruity nose, which leads to a smooth palate – they say “triple smooth” on the label, and I tend to agree. Sure, there’s a little heat (burn), but there’s also fruit, smoke and vanilla, which goes all the way to the finish. Notes of yellow plum, lemon zest, grilled peaches and cream on the mid-palate leads to strawberries and cream on the finish. Yowza - delicious. This is only the second time I have truly fallen for the Irish-stuff – the first is below.
Rating: 3 shots (out of 3)

The Dead Rabbit Irish Whisky Dead Rabbit
($59.85 - #631887)
This is the Irish whiskey that kicked off my journey of discovery. It's a complex beverage that doles out both fruit notes as well as "others". The fruit is apricot, peach and dried raisins along with a malty, floral and even a mothball quality (I am told that is a good thing, by one of the persons I tasted this with). The "burn” here is pleasant. It hits upon entry, but then melts into cinnamon candies, spiced-apricot and dried fruits, there's even a booze-soaked fruit cake note; it brings a coziness to the finish and in the pit of your stomach. It’s a real punch in the mouth of flavor and a punch in the gut of warmth.
Rating: 3 shots (out of 3)

The Sexton Single Malt
($49.95 - #541607)
There's some fruit on the nose here, like fig and dried apricot along with some overripe peach skins. The entry is smooth and silky, almost creamy, with little “hurt” (from now on we’ll call that “the burn”). This one has nice warmth, and while there is a hint of a burn on the aftertaste this one proved to be almost cozy and comforting ... The bottle shape is quite unique as well.
Rating: 2 shots (out of 3)


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