Saturday, March 19

Mt. Boucherie, Quail's Gate and Mission Hill Tastings

The good, the bad and the ugly...

Mt. Boucherie - The Ugly

A sterile, square ugly tasting room welcomes (or discourages) visitors to Mt. Boucherie winery. Thankfully, I know not to judge a book by its cover. They have 175 acres of grapes, growing 100% of their grapes, one of the few wineries to do this. The owners have been growing and selling grapes since the 60s, but only opened their own winery in 2001. Italic notes are from their tasting phamplet.

Semillon '03 - very light, quite nice. This white wine displays aromas & flavours of dried apricot, guava, rose, tangerine and a slight herbal note with rich oily mouth feel & crisp finish. Pair with seafood such as grilled oysters or steamed clams, and is also a great match with sushi.

Chardonnay '03 - almost banana taste. lovely. This unoaked white wine has aromas & flavours of pears, citrus & green apple, with a rich well-balanced finish. Enjoy now or cellar for 1-3 years to further develop complexity and bottle bouquet. Pairs well with grilled seafood & seasonal salad.

Pinot Gris '03 - complex flavor. This wine has aromas & flavors of pears, apples, honey and tangerines with a crisp off-dry finish. Cellaring for 1-3 years will allow the wine to develop additional complexity. Pairs well with sushi, tapas & grilled salmon.

Gew├╝rztraminer '03 - very nice. strong start. light. Hints of citrus, sandalwood and passionfruit are followed by a clean refreshing finish. This wine was tank fermented at a cool temperature to maximize varital characteristics and aromatics. A classic match with spicier cuisine or enjoyable on its own.

Chardonnay '03 Summit Reserve - very creamy, but not buttery. so nice - mom and Aunt Chris would enjoy this wine. This dry rich wine was partially barrel fermented in premium French oak cooperage and aged 8 months sur lie for added complexity. Aromas of apple, butterscotch & pear are followed by lush flavours. Try with grilled poultry, seafoods and creamy pasta.

Gamay Noir '03 Estate Collection - light & lovely. complex nose, mild flavor. Dinner table red. This medium bodied wine has aromas & flavours of candied cherries and plum, with a hint of toasted oak. Pairs with pork tenderloin & plum sauce, pastas, pizza, barbecued salmon or assorted appetizers.

Pinot Noir '02 Summit Reserve - Vanilla. Mild tannic finish. Rich aromas of cherries, raspberries and spice. 16 months of barrel aging has softened the finish and integrated fruit flavours. Cellaring potential estimated 4-6 years. Excellent with lamb entrees, grilled salmon & vegetarian dishes.

Syrah '02 Summit Reserve - robust flavor. very mild finish. This dry, barrel aged Rhone - style Syrah has aromas & flavours of berry fruit, black pepper & cedar. The palate is complex with a velvet lingering finish. Try with ratatouille, lamb & cassoulet.

Summit '02 Summit Reserve - Mild nose; strong wine with mild tannins. Produced from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, this barrel aged red is highlighted by fresh berry aromas, soft silky tannins & an extended finish. Pair with heartier foods such as roasts, tomato-based pastas and stews.

Quail's Gate - The Good
Housed in a lovely wood house, the Quail's Gate tasting room is dark and inviting. The incredibly knowledgable woman behind the counter led us on quite a tasting tour.

At Quails gate, they've had the vineyard in production since 1961. They grow 70% of their grapes, the other 30% is by growers who grow only for QG and they have growing practice "control." The pinots are grown on-site in 15-18% acid soil. On the north side of their vineyard is volcanic soil and they grown their bordeaux reds. On the south side they have a silt and clay loam from the lake. The grow the white grapes here as the land is the closest to the lake and therefore the coolest.

Reisling '04 - Bright citrus, very acidic, but not bad.

Gew├╝rztaminer '04 - Sweet at front; acid at back.

Pinot Noir '02 - Oaky nose, cherry, hint of vanilla. Quite complex on the tongue.

Merlot '02 - Almost pine nose. Quite mild with a strong finish.

Old Vine Foch '01 - 29 year old vines (their oldest are 40 years old). Tobacco nose. Quite different, complex flavor. Short finish.

Late Harvest Rieslling '02 - Honey, pear nose. Light honey flavor.

Port Style Foch - 20% alcohol. Keeps about a month once open.

Mission Hill - The Bad

Walking up to the multi-million (20-40, we can't remember) dollar, fortress that is the Mission Hill all I could think was "money, money, money." Everything screams fancy schmancy. Then we discover that they charge for tastings even in the off season. $4 for a meager 3 wines, extra for ice wines. Bastards. Everything feels corporate. The woman behind the sales counter was friendly, but the man behind the tasting counter seemed reluctant to spend any time with us.

Pinot Blanc '03 - Light. Nice fruit finish.

Cabernet-Merlot '02 - 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 20% Pinot . Very mild, rich strong finish.

I'm sure the third wine I tried was their Shiraz, but it must not have induced me writing any tasting notes about it.

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