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.

Mission Hill Tasting (Podcast Tie-in)

26 Oct 2023


(March 2023) … Mission Hill came to Toronto for the first time in a while and they brought with them their new winemaker. It’s the first time in their history they’ve had a woman at the helm: Corrie Krehbiel. I attended this tasting and then we talked with Corrie on the podcast. I review the wines tasted below and for the rest; I suggest you listen to the podcast - link can be found here.

Mission Hill 2019 Oculus (Legacy Collection) Oculus
Merlot 52% / Cabernet Franc 30% / Cabernet Sauvignon 17% / Petit Verdot 1%    
First vintage 1997 - Beautiful fruit: blueberry, mocha, dark and red, layered and lovely; red licorice and anise seed join in mid-palate to the finish. Also has notes of tobacco, with silky and elegant tannins. Very classy wine.  (**** ½+)    

Mission Hill 2018 Quatrain (Legacy Collection)
QuatrainSyrah 47% / Cabernet Sauvignon 26% / Merlot 18% / Cabernet Franc 8%    
Quatrain was looking for an identity and it has found it - 2016 they made the change to Syrah dominant.
Smooth and silky with a peppery backbone, blue and black fruit notes includes: blueberry, blackberry, smoked-plum, all with a delightful length to the finish with spicy-tannic notes.  (**** ½)   

Mission Hill 2020 Perpetua (Legacy Collection)
Chardonnay 100%
From the Border Vista vineyard and Naramata Ranch - it has some weight to it with peach pit, apple and mineral plus some smoke, good acidity and a touch of spice - hard to beat that long finish.  (****+)

Mission Hill 2018 Compendium (Legacy Collection)
Cabernet Sauvignon 44% / Merlot 30% / Cabernet Franc 26%
Spends 18 months French oak / 30% new – Smoky-cigar box, intense, with a long finish. Fruit includes notes of blackberry and cassis, but there’s even some floral notes and some bittersweet chocolate; there were times I thought this wine was just showing off.  (****)

Mission Hill NV (2021) Exhilaration Brut (Charmat)
Pinot Noir    
This is a pretty little sparkling, rosé, with notes of citrus, with hint of pineapple and peach - 3 months of lees stirring helps create its depth of character ... long finish.  (****)    

Mission Hill 2020 Vista's Edge (Terroir Collection) Mission Hill 3
Cabernet Franc    
22% whole bunch - concrete fermented - and aged in foudre (large barrels).
This wine takes it’s beginnings from Compendium: smoky-cigar box, earthy, black raspberry, stony, with some tannin grit.  (*** ½+)

Mission Hill 2014 Quatrain (Legacy Collection)    
Merlot 44% / Syrah 28% / Cabernet Franc 14%  / Cabernet Sauvignon 14%    
While this wine was double decanted before serving, it still was pretty closed. Smooth across the palate, so the tannins have toned down, and the more you sip the fruit emerges with some pretty undertones – but there is nothing overly wonderful about this wine, yet. More time? I guess we wait and see. If you have any, open at least one to check it out for yourself.

Link to the PODCAST by clicking here.


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.



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