Ask Chuck

Location: Whitby, Ontario, Canada

Born in Malta but in Canada since age 5. Has written three books and presently does several columns about wine and food for various magazines.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Exciting Wine At Recent Tasting

 Winedom Never Has A Problem Impressing Me!
They just keep coming and coming! If I live to be over a hundred years (which I won't) in age, I will never taste all that there is in the world of wine. That is unless some idiot wanting to protect the public good manages to rekindle the "alcohol is bad for you" scenario. They've tried that once and look how that turned out! However that is another story for another blog. 
I recently tasted a number of wines which blew my socks off. They were top notch but there are many great wines around. What got me was the price ---which nowadays is very important due to the high price of almost everything!
Frankland Estate Rocky Gully Shiraz  2019 Frankland River, Australia    $17.95     93/100 points
Vintages #33371
Colour:  Red, clear
Nose: Plum, cherry, currant, strawberry with pepper spice 
Palate: Dry, medium body,  easy drinking, nice sugar/acid balance , smooth tannin, enjoyable lasting finish.
Comment: Definitely a wine for fowl such as turkey, duck or even wild game fowl. Think Christmas!
This is a family operation with owned by Barrie Smith and Jodi Cullen. Barrie has a great deal vineyard/farming/production experience who has great respect for the land and who minimizes any impact on the ecology of the land. Barrie and Jodi's children live and work on the estate also..  
Gran Passione Rosso  2022 IGT  Merlot/Corvina  Veneto, Italy $17.95   vintages:  94/100 points 
Vintages #410704
Colour: Red-very clear
Nose: Ripe red and dark fruit, vanilla wood, licorice, chocolate spice
Palate: Full bodied, soft pleasant tannin, nice balance/structure, long finish
Comment: Lovely wine! A blend of Corvina and Merlot, this wine is made from vines whose berries are left  on the vine for an extended period of time. The result is a concentrated wine with a lovely softness and a resultant ten grams of sugar per litre on completion. The wine does have a beautiful sweet fruit on the palate which makes it very approachable. A great wine for those who love rabbit,  grilled Portuguese chicken or some wild turkey!   
Doudet-Naudin Pinot Noir 2020  Vin de France  Burgundy/Languedoc  $18.05   93/100 points
LCBO #31055
Colour: Red
Nose: Ripe cherry, strawberry, raspberry
Palate: Medium body, well balanced, approachable tannin, pleasant sweet fruit finish. 
Comment: Excellent price/quality ration. Company is from Burgundy but this Vin de France wine developed on Languedoc soil. (Aude Valley).  Company founded in Burgundy in 1849.  Try with Chicken Stew, Porchetta, meat pie, Beef Stroganoff. 
Les Cotilles Pinot Noir 2021   Vin de France Southern France $19.40  95/100 points
LCBO. #583088
Colour: Red
Nose: Black cherry, raspberry, blackberry, coffee, earth,  smoke
Palate: Full Bodied, smooth tannin structure, balanced, nice concentrated finish
Comment: My score reasons the appeal of this particular wine to me. I loved the concentration, expressive fruit and very reasonable price. Some may argue the score but in this case, my taste buds stand by it! Have it with duck, wild turkey, game fowl. Made by Roux Pere et Fils!  
Zensa Primitivo 2021 IGP Puglia (Salento), Italy  $15.95                      94/100 points
LCBO #31803
Colour: Dark Red
Nose: Ripe Dark cherry, blackberry, vanilla wood spice, nuances of chocolate, fig
Palate: full body, soft tannin, integrated and balanced, wild berry flavours and pleasant sweet finish. 
Comments: Wine has concentrated flavours of sweet fruit yet can be described as dry even with 14 grams of sugar per litre. It is a delicious wine that can be used as a "way to end the day" wine relaxing on an easy chair or as a food wine paired with porcini pasta, lamb, beef or beef stew. Wine is organic.
Zensa Nero d'Avola Appassimento 2021  DOC Sicily, Italy   $15.95                   94/100 points 
LCBO #31801  
Colour:  Dark red
Nose: Dark fruit, smoke, forest floor, earthy chocolate, blueberry, blackberry, vanilla wood, spice
Palate; Full bodied, powerful, wild berry flavours, dark chocolate and sweet nuances on the finish.
Comments: Expressive and well made! Owned by Orion Wines, this company carries a large number of brands which are reasonably priced and high in quality. Like its predecessor, Zensa Nero d'Avola is an organic certified wine. In fact, the name Zensa comes from the Italian "Sensa" meaning "without"! This basically means that no artificial methods and chemicals are used on the vines or grapes and the wine made is totally organic. The grapes are partially dehydrated before fermentation to increase the concentration and flavour. This wine would be excellent with  beef or lamb stew, roast beef, and grilled steak. One can also have it alone or while puffing on a cigar!
Chateau L'Esparrou Prestige 2021 AOP Cotes de Roussillon,  France $17.95  94/100 points
Vintages# 31691 
Colour: Dark Red
Nose: Dark and red fruit, coffee, vanilla, pepper spice, earth 
Palate: Full Body, sweet mouth feel, red fruit, balanced with a pleasant spice finish 
Comment: A very nice priced wine with generous fruit that would complement the Thanksgiving or Christmas Turkey or Ham!