Another meeting of the Pinot geeks. This time we are told that we would be sampling some older vintages. As always, all wines, but one, with be from BC. The only difference from previous sessions is that this time our host, Brent, used a Coravin to pour the wines.
A Coravin is an expensive (around $300 plus depending on the model) wine opener. It uses a needle which is inserted into a cork, so the cork remains in the bottle. The needle allows wine to be poured into a glass while the resulting space in the bottle is replaced with argon, an inert gas. This device is popular in bars and restaurants that want to offer their guests a wide range of wines by the glass. The idea is that the gas in the bottle prevents oxidation and that the last glass should be every bit as fresh as the first.
At the last meeting, we compared one wine served in a regular wine glass to the same wine served in a variety specific expensive Zalto wine glass. Because the wine in the second glass was noticeably improved, we did this comparison with each wine this time.
Then the blind tasting began.
When we had all finished, the bottles were unwrapped and their identities revealed. There were quite a few surprises. As it turned out, all were from the same vintage (2008) and came from a variety of regions.
Here are the results:
Eau Vivre 2008 13.3 %
Similkameen Valley, Cawston
Garnet red tinged with orange, leaning towards brick, with medium-minus intensity. The nose shows aromas of dried fruit – cherry, strawberry, orange peel, straw and smoke. Good balance, though slightly thin. Flavours slightly faded with a hint of oxidation followed by a medium, slightly hot finish. This wine has peaked and is on the downside, though still very drinkable.
In the Zalto – some minor improvement, highlighting all its positive qualities.
Stoneboat 2008 13.6 %
Garnet red tinged with brick, medium intensity. The nose is layered and inviting with well-integrated fruit, butter, kirsch and toffee. Very good balance with good mouthfeel. Flavours linger on the finish. A well-aged wine.
Zalto – The nose is even richer, as though the volume was turned up, with enhanced savoury notes, though a slightly shorter finish.
Very good +
Meyer Family McLean Creek 2008 13.5 %
A darker colour than the previous wines. It looks stylistically different or perhaps younger. Garnet red with medium-plus intensity and slight cloudiness. Dried fruit, savoury, game, vanilla, spice, tobacco and cocoa powder. Good balance. The aromas are reflected on the palate followed by a medium-long, dry finish.
Zalto – less noticeable improvement, slightly shorter finish.
Howling Bluff Summa Quies 2008 13.2 %
Naramata Bench, Penticton
Beautiful appearance. Garnet/brick colour with medium intensity. The nose is rich and layered. There is no mistaking this wine with its symphony of varietal character – fruit, game, savoury, spicy . . .. all the right notes and all well integrated. Well balanced, though still some drying tannins. Mouthwatering fruit on the palate along with toffee notes. A medium-long finish with lots of lingering flavour.
Zalto – Wow! The nose is even better. Love the savoury character of this wine.
Quails’ Gate Dijon Clone 2008 14.0 %
Garnet/red with medium-plus intensity. (Possibly younger than the others?). The nose opens with lots of vanilla, followed by ripe fruit, juicy black cherries, stewed rhubarb, jasmine tea, raspberries and spice. Good balance with some drying tannins. Some pleasing fruit on the palate followed by a slightly hot finish.
Zalto – Noticeable improvement, vanilla character downplayed.
Rustico 2008 13.0 %
Oliver (no longer in business – now the site of Rust Wines)
Brick coloured with medium-intensity. An inviting nose with aromas of dried red fruit toffee, spice and a hint of perfume. Very good balance, good mouthfeel, silky texture. Pleasing on the palate followed by a medium-long finish with hints of menthol.
Zalto – a bigger nose, improved wine
Roederer Estate 2008 12.7 %
Alexander Valley, California
Note – half the valley burned in 2008. When first opened shortly after purchase, the wine smelled and tasted of cigarette ash. Very unpleasant. Now, ten years later there was no trace.
A feminine appearance, elegant, garnet/brick with medium-minus intensity. Sweet, dried fruit, savoury and a hint of leather on the nose. Well balanced. The palate shines here – a chorus of flavour, layered and complex. Elegant. A medium-plus finish.
Zalto – Wow nose with the addition of cocoa and spice notes.
*Prices at the time of purchase ranged from approximately $20 to $40.