Tuesday, 20 August 2013

To Oak or Not To Oak

To Oak or Not To Oak: That is the question.

At least when it comes to a varietal popular around the globe: Chardonnay. This week’s Wine Wednesday concentrates on a pair: an unoaked beauty – Domaine Laroche Chablis Saint Martin 2011 from France—and a lightly oaked value pick –Wyndham Estate Bin 222 Chardonnay 2011 from Australia—each an unmistakeable chardonnay yet each with a profile that caters well to any occasion that won’t require the wine lover to extend their home equity line of credit.

Domaine Laroche’s approach to cultivating the chardonnay grape can be summed in one word: terroir -- The quality of the soil from the kimmeridgian geological layer contains just the right amount of clay to bring the mineral character, and the substratum clay to preserve enough water and finally, a good orientation towards to the sun in a region that seldom suffers from excess heat. All the right conditions are met for the production of great Chardonnay. (Source: Domaine Laroche)

While for Wyndham Estate the 2011 vintage provided the perfect platform: The 2011 vintage was a remarkable one for many reasons. Following what had been one of the driest spells in Australia’s grape growing history, the 2011 growing season was one of its wettest and coolest. Slow ripening and complexity in the vineyard meant that the growers needed to pay close attention to the fruit and health of the vines. The luxury of sourcing the fruit from several of South Australia’s best grape growing regions meant that only fruit showing ripe, varietal characters were selected for the Bin 222 blend (Source: Wyndham Estate)

Tale of the Tape:

LCBO 289124 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 21.95
Made in: Burgundy, France
By: S & D Adams, Prop.
Wine, White Wine
12.5% Alcohol/Vol.
Style: Light & Crisp
Varietal: Chardonnay
Sugar Content: 2 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry
LCBO 93401 | 750 mL bottle
Price $ 12.95
Made in: South Eastern Australia
By: Wyndham Estate Wines Ltd.
Wine, White Wine
13.2% Alcohol/Vol.
Style: Full-bodied & Rich
Varietal: Chardonnay
Sugar Content: 5 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry
Luminescent golden hue with a fresh nose that reminds one of a fruit orchard.  Classic Chablis on the palette: mineral, touch of creamery butter and nuts ending with a long finish balanced with a subtle feel in the mouth. (We didn’t get the gunpowder that the winery noted but then perhaps the bhel puri that accompanied the wine was an unorthodox food pairing).
Straw colour with more yellow tinge than say a Sauvignon Blanc. For the bouquet, the winery’s description is perfect:  Fresh aromas of stone fruit and melon enhanced with toasty charry oak, melded with a nutty complexity.  Light oak and cream on the palate with nectarine and orange and touch of spice on the finish. Can’t miss pairing this with traditional grilled chicken, pork chops or baked salmon. Wyndham Estate suggest chicken teriyaki or barbeque salmon filet.

Serve at 10°C-11°C/50-52F
Serve at 10°C-12°C/50-54F
4.3 Sukasa Stars
4.2 Sukasa Stars
Quality-Price Ratio: Medium
Quality-Price Ratio: Good

Blog post by Arijit Banik for SukasaStyle

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Aging well: Pietranera’s 2006 Brunello di Montalcino

Today’s Wine Wednesday recommendation is POGGIOTONDO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2006 (Vintages 276576), which costs $34.95 at the LCBO (price in Italy is around 25 today).
Note: Go here for information on “Tenuta Pietranera”
The Winery: Agricola Centolani is a world-famous wine estate located in the heart of Montalcino. The Peluso Centolani family owns two major wine estates in Montalcino: Tenuta Friggiali, and Tenuta Pietranera (who made this wine).

       ORIGINAL LABEL                                                            LABEL IN ONTARIO



It was released on June 8, 2013 but Sukasa Style was fortunate enough to taste it last year as friends had purchased it from Tuscany a few years prior and testament that the company you keep should keep you in good stead.

In his review, Antonio Galloni anticipated maturity from 2014-2026. Having had a well decanted version last year, we know that it will pair well red meat, polenta, or risotto but (if decanted well) is delicious by itself although the 14% alcohol may not be to the liking of some old world puritans. In addition, for those with a palate preference for austerity –where the tannins are harsher -- this wine may be a touch ripe.

To see what the winery suggests in terms of food pairing click on this link (if you can read Italian).

We suggest buying more than one bottle if you can: to drink now and cellar for later.

Tasting Note (Antionio Galloni)
The 2006 Brunello di Montalcino Poggiotondo is a big, broad-shouldered wine that bursts onto the palate with layers of generous fruit. Despite its size and richness the wine shows gorgeous inner perfume, superb nuance and fabulous overall balance. All of those qualities resonate beautifully on the round, polished finish where hints of smoke, tar and incense add the final layers of complexity. This is a jewel of a wine from Pietranera. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026. Score - 93. (Antonio Galloni, erobertparker.com, May 2011)

Sukasa Stars: 4.5
Quality – Price ratio: Medium (keeping in mind that Brunellos are always expensive)

Blog post by Arijit Banik for SukasaStyle

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wine Wednesday Recommendation

What is the Wine Wednesday recommendation?
Heba Sangiovese, Morellino di Scansano (vintage year 2008)

How much will it cost?

While it was available in late 2012/early 2013, it retailed at the LCBO for $27.95.
The cost for a bottle at REDS in Toronto is $60 but it can go north of $80 if you want the privilege of dining at a Charles Kabbouth establishment or some such place of that ilk. American mark-ups, as is the case for all things, are lower and you could grab a bottle at a restaurant for about $45.

Where was it tasted?

How is the blend?
85% Sangiovese, 15% Syrah for 2008 but this varies from year to year.
In Scansano, the Sangiovese grape is known as Morellino and the area has a reputation for producing wines that are arguably more “New World” in style. We at Sukasa Style are big on QPR (quality to price ratio) and believe that this should be on your radar.

Why should you try it?
2008 was considered a ‘meh’ or satisfactory vintage for Tuscany so if you aren’t religiously inclined to spending a lot of dollars and cents towards the beloved region’s prized “Super Tuscans” then at least try this entry level DOC option as an enticing reminder as to why it remains high in the pantheon of Old World Wine.
There is berry sweetness upfront following a promising nose but it is not one dimensional or overpowering and doesn’t linger as the mid palate density reveals itself. You realize that there is more to this wine’s identity than that of a crowd pleasing superficial quaffer. Some herbaceous notes balanced by leather and spice made it a nice accompaniment for both steak frites and roasted porkloin chop. This isn’t a muscular Malbec or strapping Cabernet Sauvignon that demands dry aged beef; it can bring out the best in a variety of meats and pasta dishes with its balance of acidity, tannins and a smooth, soft finish.

4.4 Sukasa Stars
High on Quality Price Ratio

Blog post by Arijit Banik for SukasaStyle