Grilled Steak and Bordeaux with the Toronto Cru

Posted on June 25th, 2015 by Chris

On June 5, 2015 VinT offered to have a few people over and fire up the grill. Several people made some generous offers to bring some great bottles. As you can see in the picture, we had some Cumbrae’s Tenderloin, a 60+ day dry aged rig steak to compare, Ontario asparagus and some mash.



This was another great night and a few bottles showed exceptionally well.

  • 2008 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Heimbourg – France, Alsace
    (Tasted Blind) Everyone agreed, definitely Riesling. Very clean and good weight. The nose is expressive of florals, honey, key lime pie, slate and hints of petrol. Classic, very correct. The palate comes across as notably off dry, which seemed to give a hint about it’s origins. Most of us were headed to Germany or Ontario, but Alsace did enter the equation. There was excellent cut on the palate with elevated green fruited acid (apples, grapes, lime, kiwi) and a medium plus honeyed finish. Excellent. (92 points)
  • 2007 Ambullneo Vineyards Chardonnay Big Paw – USA, California, Central Coast, Santa Maria Valley
    (Tasted Blind) This comes across quite White Bordeaux like. The nose is of wax, herbs, soil, moderate oak, waxed lemon, pine, gravel, sap and honeydew melon. The palate seems to reaffirm the semillion to me replaying the gravel, pine, wax and sap. Medium acid. I was surprised to see this was chardonnay as I wasn’t finding much typicity, however I was impressed that this was so restrained and balanced considering how far south the growing region is. (91 points)
  • 2006 Domaine Philippe Gilbert Menetou-Salon – France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Menetou-Salon
    This pours a moderate straw yellow. The nose is of matchstick, flint, stone, light honey, lemon and lime. The palate come across totally dry replaying honey, melon, citrus and stone. With good lemon/lime laden acid keeping things fresh. Didn’t have a lot of Sauvignon Blanc typicity, I figured it was Chenin Blanc until I wrote up my notes. (91 points)
  • 2000 Philipponnat Champagne Brut Clos des Goisses – France, Champagne
    This is an excellent young pinot driven Champagne. It pours moderate straw yellow. I haven’t had a champagne this autolytic in a while. Loads of bread dough and yeast dominate the nose, followed by white currants, hints of cherries and fresh strawberries, a touch of sawdust and toffee round out the aromatic profile. The palate features solid elevated acid, good dosage (feels like 8 g/l) and a medium plus finish. Really liked this. (93 points)
  • NV Krug Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée – France, Champagne
    The Best Krug Grande Cuvée I’ve ever had, but this is certainly not for the faint of heart. Super rich, oxidative and fully mature. This bottle is the previous generation without a lot number on the label (didn’t check the cork), meaning it could be anywhere from 3 – 11 years after disgorgement. Given the cork was fully compressed, the dark colour and mature aromatics we figured this must be on the later side of that range, perhaps 8 – 10 years of bottle age. This pours a deep gold with impressively abundant effervescence. The nose is massive of brown sugar, caramel, mint, juniper, brioche, pastry, espresso, charcoal, lemon curd, lacquered wood, melon and pear. Just gorgeous. The palate is plenty effervescent with great, elevated acid keeping this heavyweight fresh. The dosage comes across in the 9 g/l ballpark. Just a fantastic champagne if you like them rich. 96 is probably a conservative score on this. (96 points)
  • 1991 Hillebrand Trius Red – Canada, Ontario, Niagara Peninsula, Niagara Peninsula VQA
    (Tasted Blind) heavy bricking on this. Clearly an old wine with many guesses in the 80′s or early 90′s. The nose is of old sweet cedar, herbs, seasoned old leather, green bell pepper, spice, black raspberries, perfume and celery seed. Evidently a lean wine. The palate really does show the leanness, but is still alive and is driven on black raspberry, tart cherries, herbs and green bell pepper. the finish isn’t terribly long. I didn’t get an official guess in but would have landed on an off-year Bordeaux like ’93 or ’97. This had some guessing Dunn, Dominus or Bordeaux. Impressive that this Niagara red held up. I’ve had other older Trius reds that haven’t held up so well so I think this was just an exceptional vintage. The person who purchased it on release (Darcy) indicated that it was great on release. Well done! (91 points)
  • 1996 Château Montrose – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    There is already moderate bricking on this pristine bottle. Right off the bat there is that classic, awesome exotic Montrose nose. Wow! Aromas of black cherry, exotic spice, animal, cedar, grilled meat, game and red currants waft from the glass. The palate reveals that this is still a classically styled Bordeaux with some slightly green and lean edges along with some elevated red fruited acid (think cranberry and red currant). The tannin is fairly resolved, only around medium minus in presence. Overall a very nice bordeaux from a very nice vintage executed in a classic style. Drinking well now and will undoubtedly live a while longer yet. (94 points)
  • 1987 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace – USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain
    This wine pours with only a touch of bricking, still quite dark to the core. The nose is of of black fruit: black currants, blackberry, tar, prunes and eucalyptus. This wine is coming across a little too large scaled for me today. The palate is dark and ripe with high alcohol, high tannin and low acid. This is certainly aging at a snails pace. Blind I’m sure I wouldn’t guess a wine of this age. The alcohol is noted on the nose and palate despite the fact that it is listed at only 12.5%. (90 points)
  • 1990 Château Cos d’Estournel – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    This Cos features a great mature nose of tomato leaf, spice box, tobacco, green bell pepper, dark cherry, lush plum and black currants. The fruit does show the ripeness of the vintage in it’s lushness and just a bit of heat on the backend, but at the same time this provides a polished and seamless feel. The palate is fairly low in tannin at this stage with moderate acid and a long finish. Excellent wine. (94 points)
  • 1990 Château Lagrange (St. Julien) – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    This is showing even a touch darker and more primary than the Cos poured previously. The nose is of plum, dark cherry, cassis, blackberry, alcohol, tar, smoked meat, stewed vegetables and leather. The palate is low in perceived tannin, medium minus in acid and comes across just a touch bitter. Still quite a nice drink overall. (91 points)
  • 1998 Clos du Marquis – France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    This pours fairly dark with little bricking. The nose is clearly ripe and fruit forward of dark cherry, plum, herbs, a touch if green bean and hints of smoked meat. The palate reveals dark red plummy and dark cherry fruit. Moderate tannin/acid. Well made and correct if lacking somewhat in excitement. (90 points)
  • 1996 Dehlinger Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    This pours fairly deep and inky. The nose is of vanilla, coconut, blueberry compote, blackberry jam, licorice and blue cotton candy. not overdone but heavy on the fruit and oak, still not totally integrated and really lacking he savoury edge I look for in Cabernet. Others have had better showings of this wine. (88 points)
  • 2011 Burrowing Owl Syrah – Canada, British Columbia, Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley VQA
    Isn’t this a pleasant surprise? I’ll be honest that my expectations were low for this wine. The nose promises a real Rhone inspired wine with bacon, smoke, capers, green olive, creosote, blueberry sauce and blackberry. The palate doesnt quite deliver, coming across straightforward with blueberry and smoke on the medium minus finish. Medium tannin and medium acid. An impressive wine nonetheless. (91 points)
  • 2003 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape
    Here is another wine I had low expectations for. I’ve found so many wines in the Southern Rhone hot and stewed, I figured if you add the hot vintage this must be overdone, right? I’ve also never really had a Guigal CdP I’ve loved. This was actually quite good! It pours translucent with a ruby core and moderate bricking with orange flecks toward the rim. The nose is fully mature with leather, farmyard, nutshells, old wet hay, forest undergrowth, cigar, strawberry jam, optimally ripe raspberries and quite lot of mixed brown spices. Evidently there is a touch of brett here that I am digging. The palate features medium minus tannin and medium acid. Fairly balanced, with only slightly elevated alcohol noted. Quite good, if a tad rustic. (92 points)
  • 2008 Sine Qua Non Syrah B 20 – USA, California, Central Coast
    This pours inky dark. One of the darkest, most glass staining wines I’ve ever seen. Nose is of smoke, bacon, machine oil, light rubber, blueberry pie filling, blackberry coulis, alcohol, powdered sugar, vanilla extract and sawdust. The palate is structured with opulent ripe sweet tannin and medium minus acid. Clearly polished and immaculately built, but ripe wines like this are difficult for me to rate.

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