Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Still around – sort of

July 26, 2011

Looks like it’s been nearly two years since my last post. Yeesh! In my own defence, I’m spending most of my time (and energy) on Twitter these days. You’ll find wine reviews & commentary there, just look for @alecstuart

But the 140-character limit is a bit frustrating, so I may return here for the occasional longer post.  And I’m also doing some writing for, so you can watch for me there too.

Happy summer!




August 20, 2009

I recently added a Twitter feed to the sidebar. You’ll find a few wine reviews in there mixed in with the usual nonsensical Twitter stuff.


Don David Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

April 30, 2008

In the lead-up to the Winnipeg Wine Festival, I thought I’d share some recent favourites. I hope to actually start posting again in the next few weeks, but this will have to do for now.  First up is a gem of an Argentinian Cabernet Sauvignon from the Michel Torino winery.

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Holiday Wines

December 19, 2007

It’s been awhile, but I’m going to slide in a few brief recommendations for the holidays. Time permitting, I’ll post a few more this weekend. And if not, enjoy your holidays and I hope to be back a little more frequently in the New Year.

Most of these wines will show up at my house during the holiday season. Some are wines that I’ve enjoyed before, but haven’t had a chance to review yet. And for my own Christmas table, I’ve got a bottle of the Mission Hill SLC Chardonnay (2004 vintage) and a great California Pinot Noir (Inman Family’s Olivet Grange Vineyard 2004) as well. I will be sure to post my thoughts after I enjoy these.

 On to the wines:

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Happy New Year

January 2, 2007

The holidays came and went without a single post. Quel surprise. It was a busy time with much good cheer (and a few dozen too many of my sister’s decadent English Toffee Squares).  We enjoyed lots of good wine and over the next few days I’ll post some notes on my favourite wines of the 2006 holiday season.

Since our New Year’s Eve dinner was delayed (thanks to the 30 centimetres of snow that blocked our front street and back lane), some of the best wines are yet to come. Including my wine find of the season, a bottle of the Hawthorne Mountain “See Ya Later” Brut ($20 at the Madison Square MLCC).

And a happy New Year to all of my readers!


South Africa takes on Washington – and wins!

August 24, 2006

There has been plenty of wine lately. I brought back some great bottles from BC (and I have a rant about the BC retail market too). But time is in short supply as my day job gets busier and busier. These tasting notes should (ahem) ‘wet’ your appetites for more – which will follow soon.

Franschhoek Vineyards ‘Anvil’ Sauvignon Blanc (South Africa, 2005)

Wow. Tasting notes for a South African Sauvignon Blanc. Who woulda thunk it? This is a well-priced and very tasty wine from a company apparently in the midst of reinventing itself. This wine didn’t appear on their website, but I’m sure it’s just their regular Sauvignon Blanc packaged for the North American market. If I’m wrong, feel free to correct me.

And as for the wine itself, it’s your typical South African Sauvignon Blanc. Lots of acidity, lots of fruit and a nice mineral wash in the background. This is the reason why South Africa is a better choice than New Zealand in the under $15 category (and the $15-20 category too). Before you ask, no, it wasn’t as good as Fish Hoek is. But I loved it anyways. It was great on its own, great with a fresh salad and just as good with the brutally hot chipolte-fuelled BBQ burritos that we concocted on Monday.

For $11ish, you could do a lot worse than this. More information is available from their Canadian distributor. And I’m sure that I’d make good wine too if I got to work in a place as beautiful as Franschhoek (check out that scenery).

It’s available at the Kenaston Wine Market. I’m not sure if it’s exclusive to them or if other private stores carry it too.

Snoqualmie Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley, 2004)

This wine was a bit disappointing. I tried the Snoqualmie Syrah at the Winnipeg Wine Festival and loved it. So when I saw this wine on the shelf at the Kenaston Wine Market (not sure if it’s available elsewhere), I had to pick it up. At $14.95, it seemed like a good deal for a Washington State wine, and I’m always ready to try a new Sauvignon Blanc.

Not sure, but I do believe that Snoqualmie is owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle, although their website doesn’t advertise it. My Spidey sense tells me that CSM is involved, due to the web address on this tasting sheet.

Enough conspiracy theories. How was the wine? I guess disappointing would be the nicest way to put it. It’s well-made but the taste and texture was more in line with some of the bigger, riper Sauvignon Blancs coming out of California. It was aged on its lees, which gave it a creamier texture and riper taste than I expected.

The nose was full and ripe, and I swear I could pick out peaches in there. In the mouth, it was rich and creamy without too much acidity. More fruit (cantaloupe?), but no crispness. It was good, but not for me. I own my bias here. I really do prefer crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blancs and this didn’t fit the bill at all. If anything, it reminded me of a good (if light) Pinot Gris.

So I’ll pass on this in the future. But if you’re a Chardonnay fan looking for something different without straying too far afield, this would be a nice wine to try.


Bleasdale ‘Langhorne Crossing’ Dry White

August 1, 2006

The Langhorne Crossing Dry White (2004 vintage) is a blend of Chardonnay, Riesling and Verdhelo from the Langhorne Creek region of Australia. I’ve always thought their Cabernet/Shiraz blend was a great value, so I was happy to find this one on the shelf at my local MLCC.

The nose didn’t show off a lot of character, with nothing more than some vague melon aromas. But in the mouth, it had a nice crisp edge with lots of pears (and more melons) and a very long finish. It was a little higher in alcohol than I expected (13.5%), but it didn’t taste hot. And it was perfect with the hot and humid weather we faced last weekend. If we’d had the courage to face spicy foods in the heat, I think it would be a good match with some curry.

Interestingly enough, the blend seems to change from vintage to vintage. This vintage had a touch of Riesling to it, which the last two didn’t have. According to the tasting notes on the Bleasdale website, the 2003 vintage was composed of Verdhelo, Chardonnay and Semillon, while 2002 brought a Verdhelo/Chardonnay blend.

So is this wine as good as the similar (and excellent) Rosemount Jigsaw dry white? Not really, but for $11.39 (almost $2.50 less than the Rosemount), it’s a good deal for a very nice crisp dry white wine. And there’s nothing wrong with that.