Thursday, May 19, 2005

3 Reds: Canada Foch, Australia Shiraz, Italy Valpolicella

MALIVOIRE OLD VINES FOCH 1999, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.5%, #551036 $18.95

Vintages released the 2002 vintage ($15.95) July 10, 2004 saying: "Over the years, many people have doubted the potential of hybrid grapes such as Baco Noir and Maréchal Foch. What they did not expect was talented winemakers such as Ann Sperling of Malivoire taking hold of the winery's 'Old Vines' Foch and making a deeply flavourful and complex wine that many now describe as one of the province's signature red grapes." The winery describes the 2003 ($22.00) as: "Deep cherry colour, with rich plum fruit, spicy vanilla and aromas of game on the nose. Medium-full bodied and silky on the palate, with pepper, cassis and lively acidity. Finishes long with easy tannins.....structured for ageing to 2008... Flavours match best with ... stews (beef or lentil), roasted or barbecued lamb or beef, duck.. Also.. earthy Portobellos and other flavourful mushrooms." My notes re. the 1999: purchased from the winery and cellared July, 2001. The Foch has cellared well going from a fruit-forward medium-bodied red to a well balanced blend of licorice, ripe plums, vanilla, soft tannins and acid. A violet tinged dense scarlet with a predominant gamey nose. A velvety sipper - decanting then letting breathe for a day lessened its gamey-ness leaving a soft 'foch' nose. Meal pairing as suggested is appropriate.

JEANNERET SHIRAZ 2002, Claire Valley, Australia, 14.5%, #732891 $24.95

Vintages says: "The grapes for this wine are grown using organic farming methods though no official organic wine certification system is in place yet in Australia. This Shiraz is made in a fruit-forward, crowd-pleasing style." The label says: "2002 was a stunning year... and this wine is an excellent example of the vintage. etc. " The website says: "Our Shiraz is a soft and elegant medium to full-bodied wine showing rich berry fruit and smoky oak complexity. The must is fermented in small open fermenters and hand plunged and pumped over to extract colour and flavour from the skins. Once pressed off skins the wine spends 16 to 18 months maturing in French and American oak before final blending and bottling." My notes: Cellared October, 2004. Now that the 2001 has vanished from the cellar we find 2002 is even better. Lots of blackcurrant and spice in the nose and flavour. A dense ruby running light legs on the glass. A medium-bodied balance of fruit and oak, tannin and acid. A long and tasty warm finish.... yum! Vintages release October 23, 2004.

PASQUA SAGRAMOSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2001, Verona, Italy, 13.5%, #602342 $15.05

The website says: "Ruby-red, with granite hues, this wine offers intense aromas of wild cherries, underbush and hints of toasting. A rich, full-bodied wine, round and warm on the palate. Grapes: Corvina (60%), Rondinella (20%), Corvinone (10%), Negrara (10%)" LCBO notes (2002, now $17.05): "Bright medium-deep ruby red; aromas of sweet dried fruits, oregano, ripe black cherry, damson plum and date; dry, med-full bodied, rich and ripe, balanced acidity, smooth velvety texture, with flavours of fig, cherry fruit, plum and chocolate notes." My notes: Cellared November, 2004. A rich ruby colour and a soft nose, the 'Ripasso' style increases soft pepper/plum fragrance and enhances the fruit blend: black cherry, plums, and spice. Medium-bodied, well balanced tannins and acid touches the roof of the mouth and lips. The finish is fairly long, warm and without aggressiveness - very pleasant. Great with roast beef, prime rib, red pasta dishes, pizza - great with burgers. A General listing.

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