At Toledo Wines and Vines, we taste wine all the time. But there are tastings and then there are GRAND tastings…
A Wine Blow Out
In the rush of the work-a-day world, it’s difficult to get the entire Toledo Wines and Vines team together for a tasting. But when it happens we like to celebrate with a Grand Tasting.
What’s a Toledo Wines and Vines Grand Tasting like? Each team member brings a bottle or two of outstanding wine plus a dish. The hosts – this year it was Glorious T and the Cabinator – have to put up with a noisy clamor and dozens of dirty wine glasses.
A Chilly Start
After a laborious day of playing tennis and flying my drone, Green Dragon and I cooked up some tomato bacon squares and Tuscan Parmesean Shrimp. Normally, when I say “we cooked” something, that means Green Dragon did it – but this time I actually prepared and cooked the shrimp. Yeah me!
We opened up with a pair of single vineylard Finger Lake Rieslings. Sax Man and Wine Chick had brought the 2011 Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling and we began with that chilled beauty. The Argetsinger Vineyard is on the east side of Seneca Lake and is one of the oldest in the region.
This is a crisp and elegant Riesling and almost bone dry. There is a nice mix of citrus and minerality.
From our cellar I brought one of my favorite Rieslings, the 2009 Hermann J. Wiemer Magdelena Vineyard Riesling. This is a beautiful white wine that is capable of aging.
In the glass the Magdelena had a deeper golden color than the Ravines. It is amazingly expressive Riesling with flavor notes of apricot and apple. This has a hint of sweetness (1.4% residual sugar) that is expertly balanced by the acidity. I would have enjoyed several more glasses of this!
The whites were expertly paired with Glorious T’s crab cheese cake and you-know-who’s delicious shrimp.
Reds Begin To Flow
The Cabinator was orchestrating the progression of wines and next up was the DeLoach 2012 OFS Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley from the host’s cellar. This Pinot is a show stopper.
The wine gushes with rapsberry and cherry flavors with a hint of more savory notes. It worked quite well with the mushrooms prepared by Sax Man.
As I snapped the photo of the Pinot Noir, Dr. J and Casey photobombed it.
The group toured downstairs to see the wine room painstakingly completed by the Cabinator. Then, after noodling with technology, the crowd was enthralled by three videos I had shot from my drone I got for Christmas. Here’s one of the videos for you to enjoy.
We next paid a visit to Napa Valley with the 2004 Peju Province Cabernet Franc. This Cab Franc had a slight brick red hue in the glass and a unique licorice flavor to go with the red berry and leather notes. Quite a complex wine that has evolved in the bottle.
Leaving the US shores, we then ventured to France for a Bordeaux blend. I had purchased the 1999 Chateau Simard Saint-Emilion when the Zinful wine bar in Waterville had closed. (They have since opened a tasting room in downtown Perrysburg, but that’s another story.)
Chateau Simard wines typically aren’t released until they age in the bottle for 10 years. So, although grapes were havested in 1999, it was bottled in 2001 and wasn’t released until 2011. This is a Merlot driven blend with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a smooth experience with plum and earth and a silky finish.
An Epic Finish
Dr. J was batting clean-up with his two wines. The first was the 2011 Cairdean Vineyards Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon. Dr. J had shrewdly scooped this up during a special sale on Invino.
I had planned on buying a bottle or two, but the Green Dragon shut me down, claiming I “already had too much wine.” After I decided she was mistaken I went back to the online site, but it was too late – the Cairdean was sold out.
Atlas Peak is the highest elevation region in Napa Valley. This is a stylish wine and lush with the flavor of blueberry and dark fruit. This is a powerful and moving wine. Paired with Wine Chick’s chocolate fudge and some truffles, this was divine.
Dr. J then worked a magic trick, producing the 2012 Sleight of Hand Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley. Sleight of Hand should be at the top of your list of Washington State producers. The Illusionist is rich with expressive fruit. The flavors are complex yet highly drinkable.
The Illusionist is 92% Cabernet Sauvignon with 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. A heavenly mix that explode in a flavorful burst in your mouth. This was accompanied by Casey’s red velvet cake.
The tasting was winding down and Glorious T decided we need to come in for a landing. She pulled a 375 ml bottle of 2012 Clos Du Val Cabernet Sauvignon, and that provided the perfect ending to the Grand Tasting.