Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hamilton Food&DrinkFest 2008

The Hamilton Food&DrinkFest was a good opportunity to sample cuisine and cocktails from Hamilton environs and wines and beers from southern Ontario. I showed up on Sunday, the last day (Mar30th), at 2pm and Happy Hour was well underway when I was leaving at 4pm. Music seemed non-stop as well as aromas of herb and spice combined with seared meats and syruped pancakes. Yes, it was crowded but with everyone convivially meandering with no rush to an appointment. Almost like a 'block party'. For a late lunch I had fired telapia from The Saucy Diner and a slice of pecan pie from Dyments Farm Market. Between nibbles visits to several winery booths kept my sample glass flowing:
  • Coyote Run Black Paw Pinot Noir 2006 VQA, (85) - St. David's, #Winery $36.00
  • Reif Estate Pinot Noir 2006 VQA Ontario, (81) - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, #TBA $14.95
  • Strewn 'Terroir' Chardonnay 2006 VQA North Lakeshore, (85) - Canada, #012773 $20.15
  • Concho y Toro Trio Sauvignon Blanc 2007, (82) - Casablanca, Chile, #433920 $14.85
  • Beringer Founder's Estate Pinot Gris 2006, (82) - California, USA, #045641 $17.95 
  • Silver Leaf Chardonnay PET, (73) - South Australia, #064873 1000mL, $14.95
  • Colio Chardonnay 2007, (79) - Harrow, #Boutique $8.25 
(r-v - Rating-Value)


    REIF ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2006 VQA Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, xx.x% D, # $14.95 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    The winery describes the Pinot Noir as "A fruit forward wine with fresh cherry fruit with a hint of pepper. The tannins are moderate with a firm acidity. Pair with lamb, small game and veal or serve slightly chilled with salmon steaks." Rick VanSickle, March 12, 2008, of the St. Catherine paper says "Lots of cherry-rhubarb aromas with raspberry-cherry flavours that follow on the palate. A pinch of earth on the finish. An easy going and flavourful wine." My notes: This could be an interesting Pinot Noir if it weren't so thin. A light strawberry/rasp colour with red cherry and faint spice aromas. Light-bodied, dry with fine tannin and a mild cherry stone flavour finishing dry on the palate. Suitable for a hot summer on the deck well chilled or with tapas, sliced cold chicken breast and salad. A drink-now - to be available shortly at the LCBO. 81

    SILVER LEAF CHARDONNAY PET, South Australia, 13.5% D, 1000mL #064873 $14.95 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    Described as 'Fragrant, soft and supple, Silver Leaf wines are the perfect companions for any occasion. Bottled in Canada, so only the wine is shipped from Australia... 33% more wine in recyclable PET bottles. The chardonnay has "lively, fresh citrus and melon flavours." My notes: Shown at the Inniskillin booth this appears to be a Vincor product now listed in Ontario. Having tasted the chardonnay I opted not to taste the shiraz (image shown) and cabernet-merlot labels. A commercial beverage made for the 'highest volume but slowest price band' according to the promotional literature - competition for XOXO or perhaps Coors Lite. A pale blond colour with a soft eating-grape nose, perfumey. A slight citrus and innocuous melon flavour, light-bodied, a slight bite and slightly sweet drink-now. A quaffer rather than a food wine. 73

    COLIO CHARDONNAY 2007, Harrow, Canada, 12.5% D, #Winery $8.25 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    The winery describes this as a light straw colour, a bouquet of fresh lemon/lime and peach notes, taste that is zippy citrus essence and green apple with a clean refreshing finish. Serve at 8º - 10º C with turkey, seafood, fish or lightly flavoured, chicken or mild cheeses. My notes: Vineyards are located on the north shore of Lake Erie near Harrow although this is a non VQA wine, grapes or juices could be from elsewhere. Has a light straw colour and a floral spice nose. Non-oaked and I guess a SC of 2, with the freshness of young fruit, a thin bodied quaffer or with scallops or grilled white fish entrees. The finish has a slight mineral edge, dry on the palate. 79

    CONCHO Y TORO TRIO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007, Casablanca, Chile, 13.2% D, #433920 $14.85 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    Evidently won a Silver at the 2008 Toronto Wine & Cheese show and rated 4 Stars by David Lawrason (Toronto Life) "lovely proportion and integration among the citrus, the tree fruit and herbal elements. It's mid weight, fresh, bright and rounded for wasy drinking, with very good length.... " The website notes the colour as pale, greenish-yellow, a nose that is very expressive, mineral with green note, passion fruit, citric and pomell and a palate that is fresh, well balanced with a crisp acidity and a juicy limey finish. My notes: Has a sweetness balanced with a grapefruit and mineral essence and a light blond colour, didn't get the 'greenish' (given the lighting conditions at the Convention Centre). A lightish medium-bodied with flavours of soft apple, grapefruit and a light fruit sweetness. Finishes moderate with slight fruit and a light tang. A commercial drink-now. 82

    BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE PINOT GRIS 2006, California, USA, 13.4% D, #045641 $17.95 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    A General listing described as "showcases layers of citrus and tropical flavours and has a smooth mouth feel and body, as well as a long finish. Without being too austere or flinty, it carries just a hint of minerality and a bite of citrus to balance the core fruit." My notes: A light floral and spice nose and a light straw colour, crisp and clean, sweet, lightish medium-body with an apple pear fruitiness. Finishes fruity with a slight tang. A drink-now for light seafood dishes, veal or mild pork entrees. A drink-now. 82

    STREWN 'TERROIR' CHARDONNAY 2006 VQA NORTH LAKESHORE, Canada, 13.3% D, #012773 $20.15 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    A Vintages release described as " 'Terroir' is Strewn's super-premium range of wines. This Niagara- on-the-Lake winery is famous for its focus on the marriage of wine and food with an on-site cooking school and gourmet restaurant. This full-bodied, complex and toasty Chardonnay would be a great complement to veal tenderloin or pork loin chops." The winemaker's notes include "sweet coconut and lavender aromas leads to vanilla and citrus on a rich, full palate with a long, ripe, velvety finish... " My notes: A light straw colour and an unusual nose of blossoms and almonds - I could go with 'coconut and lavender'. Medium-bodied, a light butter and apple pear flavours, a long soft finish with floral, nutty and lemon seed leanings, dry on the palate. Cellaring two years may develop textures hidden by its youthfulness. 85

    COYOTE RUN BLACK PAW PINOT NOIR 2006 VQA, St. David's, Canada, #Winery $36.00 (Tasted March 30, 2008)

    The website describes this as "Black cherry, and mulling spices on the nose with ripe, sweet red berry fruit and soft silky tannins on the palate." My notes: A raspberry colour and a faint nose of red cherries. Light-bodied, nicely balanced acid and fine tannins with a black- and rasp-berry flavour blend. Has a long berry finish, silky, dry on the palate. A social sipper for any crowd. Cellar for two years for a light but integrated pinot noir. 85

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