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Winery Visits

April 26, 2009

Has spring finally stuck?? I hope so as the weather looks great this morning. Yesterday we had a great time visiting Aleksander and Muscedere with our good friends, the Killops. Gary and Wanda have the Essex Wine Report which is a great website and just love local wine.

Aleksander Estates is a great little place in Ruthven. Actually it isn't that little as I have toured the back and it is substantial. They have a rather low profile, but make some great wine. New is a wonderful Pinot Noir (tasted at the bar, but I have some for review) and a Rose. This is where it gets interesting. Its based on Baco Noir. That to me is an odd choice but this rose is brilliant. Its just different and distinct.

If you haven't been there lately go soon. The quality of their wine has risen greatly over the last couple of years. It wasn't bad before but now it is very good. I am waiting eagerly for the new Chardonnay which is to be released on Mother's Day.

Then it was to Kingsville for lunch at Mephistos. Very nice place. It came well recommended and the food and service were great.

Then to Muscedere for their new release party. We went through the whole line and I'll give you the highlights of the new releases.

Riesling: good as usual….fresh and tasty

Pinot Grigio: fresh and crisp

Rose: dry and nice….are we turning into a Rose area as there are many good ones and they are all so different

Cabernet Franc: the workhorse grape here and this one is very good. This one is very fruity and is important because is doesn't have the “green pepper” taste that ruins many Cabernet Francs.

Pinot Noir: wonderful. I think it will be better than the 06. Only problem is that Like Aleksander's the supply is very limited. Great secondary tastes, this one is very nice.

Syrah: again a great wine. Reminds me of a nice Rhone rather than an Aussie. Smooth and tasty. Again very limited quantities.

Cabernet Sauvignon: rich and luscious. A beautiful wine. Again not much.

We stayed too long, drank too much, bought too much, but hey, in my defence, they are great people who make great wine.

A wise man, who changed my life, once said “get to know your butcher”. I truly agree, but add to this is get to know your winemaker. Make friends, find out where they are coming from and then buy from whom you like. It just makes life better.

Just go up to Rob Muscedere and say this “they say that you can't grow Pinot here” and watch the fun begin. I do it every time and its just good old fun. They grow proper grapes away from the lake, in clay, in Essex County and make great wine out of it. Per the “book” they can't do this but they do and they succeed.

What I am seeing is a general improvement in the quality of local wine. As the grapes mature and the winemakers get a better understanding of the terroir, the quality is improving. Aleksander”s Baco Noir was so fruity, it just was unlike those dark cobwebby types I remember. Other's are doing this too. I used to hate Baco, but now it is quite palatable. The Chardonnays are fresh and fruity, and now the Pinots. They are just great. Our economy may suck but we may be living in a heavenly place.

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