Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Monday, March 31, 2008

Another down, two more to go

New World Wine Regions wrapped up tonight with the final exam. Another course completed on the road to “getting my pin”. Two more courses and I’ll be a certified smart-ass about wine.

Before I wax poetic about the gorgeous samples from class … can I just say how much I h-a-t-e studying for exams? (At least this time around I had the sense to have a glass of wine on hand while I was doing it. Never thought of that for my Intro to the Sociology of Religion … might have helped.) I crammed as much as I could into my brain, then did the mental equivalent of throwing up on a page. All done. How that tests my intelligence, I’ll never know.

So ends my rant. Here are some more of my favourites from the latter half of the course:

Kim Crawford 2006 Dry Riesling (New Zealand)
I don’t like Chardonnay, but I like Riesling even less. A wine that smells like gasoline? No thanks. Still, this time around, the subtle “petrol” aromas blended well with peach, pineapple and floral notes, followed up with flavours of citrus, honey, apricot, alcohol and fresh herbs. Medium bodied, well balanced, with a nice, smooth mouth feel. (Denise didn’t like this, calling it her “definition of a bad wine”. Huh? Whatever …)

Newton Johnson 2006 Pinot Noir (South Africa)
Hailing from the Elgin Region, which is famous for its p.noirs, this one has all kinds of cherries, dark chocolate, earth and tobacco on the nose. Very sweet taste of cherries, alcohol, with high acid and low tannins. Not as musty or barnyard-y as most p.noirs, quite pleasant, actually.

Craggy Range 2002 Merlot (Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand)
To taste and smell this wine, you’d never believe it was a Merlot. Thick, almost black in the glass, exploding with jammy red fruit, dark chocolate, red licorice and cloves. Pretty intense tannins, but the fruit – almost port-like in nature – is what steals the show. Long, spicy, black cherry finish. Because it’s from Gimblett Gravels , a tiny, all-about-the-terroir area where the wineries need to be certified and every last detail is audited, the price is a steep $40. Worth it? Yup.

Elderton Command 2003 Single Vineyard Shiraz (South Australia)
Thought 40 bucks was pricey? How about this one: everything you’d expect from an Aussie shiraz, all for the bargain-basement price of $75. We’re bordering on port with this gem – rich chocolate, sweet spice, “Christmas cake” aromas and flavours. Every sniff’s a different experience. Tannins are well structured, nice on the mouth, and the finish is long, slightly sweet-tart and delightful.

Next class: Old World Wine Regions in September.

Schoooooool’s out for sum-mer …

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