Tuesday, February 20, 2007

2004 Quail's Gate Pinot Noir "Limited Release"

Despite my country of residence being Canada, I rarely drink Canadian wines. The reasons are simple: the SAQ (local liquor monopoly) stocks very few selections, the varietals are identical to those available elsewhere, and my limited experiences has not been very positive overall. So far, my best experiences have been in the Okanagan Valley (just north of Washington State), and Quail's Gate is one of the wineries I like.

I bought the 2004 Quail's Gate Limited Release at the winery last summer. While the winery touted a medal at some sort of contest, what I really liked was the taste. It has been many months since I last tasted this wine, and it was just as I remembered. A nice earthy, mushroomy nose, with strawberries, vanilla and green nuts. Clean, fresh. On the palate it was well balanced with good strawberry acidity, a soft mouthfeel, and good persistency. This wine is ready to drink - a good match for a pork tenderloin with a mild fruit curry sauce. A nice take on Pinot, more French/Oregonian than Californian. Score 15.5/20. At C$25, a good value for a Pinot.

(With Brooklynguy on a quest for value-priced Pinot Noir, I dedicate this post to that Grail Quest)

One final comment: Doktor Weingolb raised the issue of alcohol the other day with my post on a Chateauneuf du Pape. Despite weighing in at 14.5% alcohol, the Quail's Gate was balanced, and alcohol did not dominate the nose and palate the way the alcohol (14%) in that CdP did.


Marcus g58 said...

A big "ditto" to this post -- I actually had Canadian wine last night too, which is incredibly rare since it was the only one I had on hand, the only one I've had in many months.

And keep in mind that I am not only Canadian, but also orginally from Niagara (doesn't mean much when you're in Quebec) where several members of my family work at wineries. I should be swimming in the stuff!

I get the impression that there's a catch-22 at play: the real good stuff is not made in enough quantity to "represent" at a liquor monopoly and the stuff that SAQ does carry does not engender any interest in trying more.

Unfortunately I don't see the yields of VQA wine getting any bigger with the constant urban encroachment from Toronto.

Joe said...

So, I've found my Niagara pipeline! Agreed on the Catch 22 - something to buy when on the road, I suppose, but I would have to really research those before bringing them back by the case. Please pass on any suggestions and I will look for those when I go there.