The first tasting notes of 2006

January 10, 2006

Lots of interesting wines have crossed my path lately. On New Year’s Eve, we were lucky enough to have friends with good taste visiting. They brought a beautiful old Burgundy and a Canadian Bordeaux-style blend. I’ll post my notes on the Burgundy later, but here’s what I thought of the Canadian wine they brought.

Osoyoos Larose 2002 (BC VQA)

This wine results from a partnership between Canada’s Vincor and France’s Groupe Taillan. It’s a classic Bordeaux blend, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. I don’t have the bottle in front of me, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find some Malbec or Petit Verdot in the blend as well.

Lots of licorice and cherry on the nose, along with a hint of smoke. In the mouth, it softens up a little bit, and shows off layers of cherries, plum, chocolate and tobacco all wrapped in dense tannins. It was a bit tight, and would have benefited from being decanted. This is an amazing (if somewhat old-fashioned) wine and further proof (as if I needed more) that BC can make world-class wines. It went perfectly with the beautiful prime rib our friends brought over on New Year’s Eve.

Osoyoos Larose is not available in Manitoba yet, but the MLCC is considering bringing it in. If they do, expect a price in the range of $40, which I would say is a good value. Buy a case of six and age this one. Try opening one every six months to see how it’s developed.

Vincor is also producing a super-premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in partnership with Burgundy’s Boisset. The wines will be called Le Clos Jordan, although I don’t know when it’s supposed to be released. Frank Gehry designed the winery building, which is located on (big surprise) the Jordan Bench near Lincoln, Ontario.

Little Penguin Pinot Noir: (Australia) $11.99

Following their success with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz, the folks at Little Penguin are trying their luck with Pinot Noir. While the wine isn’t a classic Pinot Noir, it’s still pretty good – especially for the price. There was a hint of Pinot funk on the nose. In the mouth, it was all cherry, all the time. In your mouth, it will show off lots of very light fruit with just a hint of tannins. Like the other Little Penguin wines, this is a great crowd-pleaser. Try chilling it in the summertime. But if you want real Pinot Noir, go for the Cono Sur (Chile), which is available at private stores for $11-$12 instead.

I wonder what LP will do next. They’ve also released a dry rose, so I can only imagine that Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling are their next targets. Either that or they’ll start doing blends, although the market seems saturated with Cabernet-Shiraz blends.


That will teach me to post without the facts in front of me. We actually had the 2003 Osoyoos Larose. And it’s 75% Merlot, 11% Cab Sauv, 5% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec and 4% Petit Verdot.

One comment

  1. Just sampled the Little Penguin Pinot Noir. I agree with your assessment – very fruity with cherry predominating. Not a typical Pinot Noir, but a pleasant wine and a good choice for diverse entertaining.–>

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