Saturday, February 26, 2011

Medeival Mead Reserve

"Mead" is a word that conjures up times of old - medieval knights pounding the table, heartily emptying mugs topped up with an ancient brew to celebrate another glorious victory. These images in mind, I just couldn't resist grabbing this weighty, ceramic bottle (sealed with wax) and delivering it to my brother in law as a gag gift.

While the cashier at the SAQ nodded approvingly and went out of his way to let me know that this Mead was amazing, I still didn't know what to expect from the Médiéval Mead Reserve, a product of Québec's Intermiel. Yes I know it is made from honey, but I just couldn't picture those battle-hardened knights sipping something sweet, so in my mind it should have tasted something like beer (Belgian perhaps). Well, it wasn't very beer like - dark, thick and heavy (ummm, medieval?), with an (obvious!) nose of honey and earthy oak ... very smooth, very flavourful, but unexpectedly sweet. A very nice product, but I just don't know when, or why, or with what, I would open another bottle of mead!
cork. 16% alcohol
Cost: C$25.30 (SAQ)

(PS - Mead, or honey wine, comes from many different recipes and is probably more heterogeneous than wine)

Monday, February 07, 2011

Friday Night with Lloyd

I cannot say that my infrequent updates of this site are directly related to the decreasing frequency of our wine group meetings, but it is hard to ignore the fact that two of my favourite pastimes are falling by the wayside. This is partly due to the increasingly complex logistics of organizing 14 people and six wines for a blinded tasting, so I decided to schedule some smaller events and bring in some newbies for a smaller event, like this one at Lloyd's...

To kick things off Lloyd taunted us with a 1997 Castell'n Villa Reserva, suggesting that this 'starter' wine (to 'awaken' our palates, of course) could be the best of the night, and he wasn't far off - notes of flint and smokey dark cherries, lavender soap, and cocoa powder - surprisingly dense for an older sangiovese, with a long finish and beautiful fuzzy tannins - a wine that I mistakenly thought would not last this long so I drank mine years ago (arrgh). Score: 17.5/20

The theme of the night was "super-Tuscan", and featured some big wines:

On my left was a 2001 Flaccianello, a wine that ranks amongst my favourites of all time, but this particular bottle of wine has not aged well - pruney, cooked fruit and caramel on the nose, just old and tired. Velvety tannins and pruney compote greet the palate - signs of excitement, but this bottle was past its prime - I doubt this bottle is representative, and I have another to prove it someday. Score: 16.5/20

The next bottle on offer was a 1999 Paleo, but it was corked so Lloyd secretly replaced it with a 2003 Flaccianello that I brought to replenish his cellar. The most amazing nose, with fresh and vibrant cherries, signature tobacco notes ... crisp, rich and elegant on the palate with a very lengthy finish - such elegance, poise, I thought it was a Sassicaia. Score: 18/20

Next up was wine from that obscure Tuscan appellation of ... Pomerol? Ok, so the a 1989 Chateau le Gay was not a SuperT, but let me come back to that...

On my far right was a 2005 Sassicaia, another beautiful wine compliments of my buddy Cosme. Rather different on the nose - funky cheesey notes at first (in a good way), load of truffles and black fruit, every whiff a different aroma. Sooooo incredibly silky smooth on the palate that you are surprised when the finish lasts soooo long, it will be very interesting to see how this one develops over time. Score: 18/20

Well, you can't have a wine tasting without dessert, and after Lloyd had raved about this 2007 Konzelmann Vidal Ice Wine my expectations were high for this finisher. Dark goldent amber, with over-ripe apples, pears and hints of orange, caramel and vanilla - very intriguing. Soft, sweet, and luxurious, but not too sticky - a terrific wine, but perhaps lacking some of the crispness and minerality of the German wines that I like. Score: 17/20

Oops, I almost forgot about that 1989 Pomerol - meant to be a "ringer" in a group of SuperT wines, it stood out for a different reason - two of our party, including yours truly, felt the bottle to be corked, while the others disagreed and raved about its merits. I never score a wine that I feel to be corked, but my peers - two of the most respected palates I know - respectfully disagreed, and for what it's worth they LOVED this wine - guys, if you have some notes on this one I'm happy to publish them.