Taste it Again / Lost & Found

Taste it Again / Lost & Found: A Boatload of Pinot & More

15 Dec 2015

(August 26, 2015) ... Many years back I held a Pinot Noir challenge, where I invited wine lovers to come try and rate Pinots and we'd find the people's choice for the best. These challenges proved to be quite popular and led to some interesting observations about Pinot Noir in Ontario - you can read those here.

Anyway, the remaining, unopened bottles found their way into a case and was laid down in my cellar for a spell - today I invited a well-known Pinot maker and lover of the grape over for dinner to taste seven older Ontario Pinots, and to get his impressions on how these bottles were fairing (and yes, as it turned out some of his wines were in the mix as well):

We kicked things off with a Legends 2003 Pinot Noir, Maria Felt ... Sweet flavours and seemingly high alcohol, the wine is super smooth with an easy drink-ability, but it also has a kind of sacramental wine feel and taste, no tannins, and very little acidity - best descriptor: "over-ripe strawberries". A decent wine but uneventful, easily consumable if you dig the style.

Bottle two: Niagara College Teaching Winery 2007 Dean's List Pinot Noir ... Another wine where sweet fruit kicks things off (results of a hot vintage?) with plenty of raspberry notes then in sweeps a little beet root, but it still comes across candied and confected; finish brings about a little smoky-cranberry, vanilla and red fruit - not sure of its origins or oak regiment - "there's a definite hit of American oak here ... That sweet at such a "young" age is the giveaway".

Bottle three: Lailey 2007 Canadian Oak Pinot Noir ... Austere yet with fresh sour cherry, nice acidity and good tannins that might still be a tad on the aggressive side. So far one of the fresher of the Pinots tried with red fruit emerging the longer it sits in the glass.

Bottle four: The Grange 2007 Diana's Block Pinot Noir ... From the look of this label it might have been a barrel sample, it was a sticker produced with a dot-matrix - but no matter the wine is overtly oaky, smoky and aggressive to the point of being un-enjoyable, was it better cleaned up? I'll never know, but the bottle I presented was a tough one to get through.

Bottle five: Legends 2002 Pinot Noir Reserve ... Not sure why the two Legends bottles were so old, must have been what they submitted at the time. Sadly this one was dead and gone: notes of burnt licorice and stewed green tomatoes were the most prevalent and was the impression we were left with as we could not get passed even the first few minutes with this one.

Bottle six: Lailey 2007 Pinot Noir, Niagara River ... There's a little bit of volatile acidity here (nail polish remover aromas), but not enough to get in the way of the wine, and it only seemed noticeable on the first and second sips (it blew off). Good fruit, still quite fresh, lively with balanced tannins and acidity and a real pleasant strawberry seam that runs right down the middle - this was my favourite of the night.

Bottle seven: Norman Hardie 2007 Pinot Noir ... No designation here other than "Ontario" so this is probably a mix of fruit:  earthy, sour cherry, strawberry and raspberry, there's  also some dark cherry in here and the more you let it breathe the more it begins to emerge - it's still well-balanced but definitely has a heavy oak influence, unlike the more refined, laid-back style Norman does now.

As for the "more" alluded to in the title, click here to see what we tasted next ...


You can also check out my original reviews for the following wines:

Niagara College 2007 Dean's List Pinot Noir
Lailey 2007 Canadian Oak Pinot Noir

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