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Wine Blogging Wednesday #22 – “Lite” Reds

June 13, 2006

For the twenty-second edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday (hosted by the fine folks at Winecast), the focus is on “lite” alcohol reds. Specifically, red wines with 12.5% ABV (alcohol by volume) or less. Given our less-than-perfect climate, Canada (especially Ontario) is home to a lot of good light reds. I chose to go with an Ontario wine – the Konzelmann Estate Pinot Noir (VQA – 2004 vintage).

Konzelmann is a boutique winery in Ontario which is best known for their Germanic-style wines. Not surprising, given that the owner comes from a winemaking family from Stuttgart. They do a very nice range of Rieslings, an neat Zwiegelt and some nice icewines, including (in good years only) a Riesling-Traminer icewine and a Cabernet Sauvignon icewine. Interestingly enough, they also label wines with both the German and English names. So as you can see by the label, my bottle proudly flew the Spatburgunder flag high.

Enough rambling. Let’s talk about the Konzelmann Estate Pinot Noir. This wine is only 12% alcohol, so fits in perfectly with the theme of this month’s tasting. It’s in the general listing at the MLCC, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. And it’s well-priced, you can pick up a bottle for $12.30 (CDN) plus tax.

In the glass, it showed a darker colour than I expected, with a strong sour cherry nose and plenty of Pinot Noir funkiness. And beets. For the first time ever, I actually smelled beets in the glass!

Moving past the beets with some difficulty, I found (not surprisingly) sour cherries in the mouth. They were joined by strawberries, more of that gloriously nasty Pinot funk and some very well-balanced tannins with a long finish. This is a tasty, well-priced Pinot that shows what Niagara can do. It’s not the most accessible Pinot Noir (try the Saint Clair from an earlier post), but with some age and the right food pairing, it would be excellent. And longtime readers will know that I do love those nasty funky Pinots.

I’d recommend leaving this one to settle for a few years. I think this is a wine that will improve with some age. If you’d like to drink it now, pair it with food – try some lean wild salmon, duck or even a big plate of sushi. And if you’re going to serve it in the heat of the summer, chill it for ten or fifteen minutes to make sure the Pinot funk shines.

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