Thursday, March 10, 2005

4 Reds: Italy, NZ, Canada, Australia

MACULAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002, Veneto, Italy, 13.0%, #987701 $15.95

Gambero Rosso Italian Wines says: "... even with his entry level wines.... he (winemaker Fausto Maculan, photo) neither fines nor filters the final product, believing that this will preserve the flavour of the finished wine." My notes: A beautiful ruby red, soft smoky cherry/vanilla nose, medium-bodied with dry tannins and an off-acid or pepper flavour but very little supporting fruit. A long, dry woody finish. The wine faded with a bbq'd ribeye and salad - no robustness. Vintages release March 5, 2005. Stemmell rates a 90 - I dont think so.

TWIN ISLANDS WINERY PINOT NOIR 2003, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0%, #597682 $19.95

The vintner writes: "Bright ruby-red with a vibrant, aromatic raspberry and plum nose with hints of savoury characters adding complexity. Medium bodied with fine, soft tannins, sweet cherry fruit and a warm finish." My notes: I would describe as light-bodied with a see thru' ruby-red. Nose conveys a light French oak rather than fruit. The vintner uses a gravity process to avoid handling the tender Pinot grapes, also a screwtop. . Perhaps leaving on the lees and ageing in oak has added something lacking in the fruit. If you prefer a light red it deserves a taste but will need two to three years to develop any of the 'complexity' claimed. Vintages release March 5, 2005.

MALIVOIRE PINOT NOIR MOIRA VINEYARD 2000, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.5%, Winery $35.95

The Malivoire winery is pump-free located at the base of the Beamsville Bench in their gravity winemaking process. Malivoire describes their current vintage as: "Vibrant red cherry on the nose followed by flavours of raspberry preserves and smoke. Smooth tannins result in a silky mouthfeel with medium+ weight that carries 14% alcohol well.... Drinking well now for fuller fruitiness, but will increase in complexity and deepen to advantage in the next three to five years." My notes: I haven't tried the 2003 but the 2000 was similar when cellared November 2001, went through a 'dumb' period and in the last year has developed 'complexity'. Deep ruby in the glass, smoky with black cherry nose, smoothe cedar and vanilla softened by ripe cherry flavours. If I can stop sipping I'd try with prime rib, turkey with cranberries or salmon steaks. 2003 Vintage is still available at the winery ($26).

LINDEMANS BIN 99 PINOT NOIR 2004, South Eastern Australia, 13.5%, #458661 $11.95

The LCBO claims the 99 refers to Wayne Gretsky's sweater number. "Garnet colour; berry/cherry fruit with earthy/mushroom notes; light- bodied with berry fruit and vanilla on the palate; delicate spicy notes in the finish". My notes: A socializer .... beautiful ruby colour, light berry/cherry nose with a light spice and a hint of shellac - I didn't get the earthy mushroom notes. Not for cellaring. Have with finger food (not cheeses), duck, roast chicken; vegetarian dishes, mushroom risotto. This is a General listing.

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