JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

JULIAN'S FINE WINE BLOG

Group tasting at the Fine Wine Reserve

Posted by hitnerwine on December 15, 2011 at 2:15 PM

Sometimes, the best group tastings are those with just a few people and several bottles of wine. That way, you can really get to know each wine as best as possible, as well as everyone’s opinion on it. Much more effective than tasting too many wines with too many people. Just another way of looking at it, I suppose.

*

Yesterday, a few friends and I got together at the Fine Wine Reserve in downtown Toronto to do just that—to enjoy three bottles of excellent wine, albeit with one past its prime, in one of the nicest tasting rooms in the city.

*

The wines? 1990 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, 2001 Quintessa, and 1990 Simi ‘Centennial Edition’ Cabernet Sauvignon. The participants, other than my self? Jeffrey Silver and Manol Manolov, both serious fine wine collectors. Collector Venc Smitkov later joined us at dinner (more on our dinner wines in a moment).

*

Now, since I will be typing up formal notes on all of these wines in just a few weeks, there would be no point in my talking too much about them at present. Suffice it to say, the Ducru was incredible; Jeffrey was initially concerned that it might have been past its prime, but such concerns were quickly assuaged: a long-distance runner with so much life, even youthful vitality, left. One of the best, most reliable non-First Growths of the vintage, in my opinion.

*

The Quintessa: a silk-glove wine with an amazing velvety grip and possessor of excellent power; a Cabernet-blend, maturing very slowly, unbelievably tempting now. Manol’s contribution, and an enormous hit!

*

The Simi: out of breath, it conducted itself like an old warhorse, still standing up, indulgently cedary, or ‘seasoned’ as would seem more appropriate, yet having clearly seen better days behind it. My personal contribution, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend.

*

After our tasting, we headed to Zucca for dinner, a great Italian restaurant a few blocks of Yonge and Eglinton in midtown Toronto. Still thirsty, Jeffrey grabbed two bottles from his cellar collection at the Reserve: 2000s Château d’Armailhac and Clos du Marquis—wines of the same vintage yet of clearly different identifiability. Combined with Venc’s contribution of a ‘95 Château Petit Village, there was no shortage of dialogue on how different these wines were.

*

The Clos du Marquis (first opened): ‘chunky’ and ‘enigmatic’ were words that seemed to come to mind, perhaps slightly closed, yet unmistakably delicious, brilliantly structured, and sophisticated. A wine with many years of life ahead of it, though perhaps entering a ‘dumb’ phase.

*

The d’Armailhac: textbook Pauillac aromas and texture, the most accessible of the three dinner clarets, and slightly less profound. Still an excellent wine, mind you, one with plenty of life left. From my favourite appellation in Bordeaux.

*

The Petit Village: now at its peak, with all the hallmarks of proper, mid-weight Pomerol; no hard edges at all, full of elegance and clear signs of pedigree. It could probably stay for another ten years, though I don’t think it’ll improve any further.

*

And so, there we have it: six very different wines sampled over the course of just about six hours. Topics for conversation while tasting? Why, all about wine of course: great vintages, trends, personal favourites, and ideas on what wines to open up at future tastings. I do believe an evening of single malt Scotch was also put on the table—so much to decide …

Categories: None

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

0 Comments