Best Bets for the Weekend Splurge

4 Jan

Carabella2008In the New World of pinot noir, there’s Oregon and New Zealand, and then there’s everybody else. The 2008 Carabella Pinot Noir (#180125 $37.95) is a great example of an Oregon pinot made a little more like Burgundy than California. Slight but powerful, acidic but velvety. This is great stuff for food. Long finish. I got a few of these from the last vintage, loved it, and this vintage, I believe, is even better.

Much is made of “Dijon Clones”. Quoting my good friend, Judy Collins, “Bring on the Clones”, but don’t expect Burgundy wines from them if they’re planted in California. Exam material: The history of suitcase clones is that California growers stealthily cut vines from prestigious vineyards in Burgundy and smuggled them home in suitcases to propagate in California. Regardless, perhaps, if the vines for this wine were smuggled out of France in a suitcase in the dark of night par Jacques Voleur, the 2011 Scott Family Estate Dijon Clone Chardonnay (#099051 $23.95) is true to where it’s grown more than what DNA it has. It’s full-blown California chardonnay without the mineral vein that you usually find in Burgundy. A mineral vein BTW is the most common reason given by winemakers in Chablis for wearing support hose.

Keenan2008One of my favourite small producers from California is Keenan. They make mountain grown wines that are structured, built to last, and are not over-extracted. That should build a solid justification for me to buy, ya think? I’m talkin’ to the Caymus crowd out there. Caymus is very good, no doubt. But, if you want to try something a little less sweet, less predictable (and, cheaper), pick up the 2008 Keenan Cabernet Sauvignon (#685685 $60.95). This is great stuff! And, as a bonus selection, if you live and love in London – the Masonville LCBO has the Keenan Mailbox Vineyard Merlot – which is spectacular IMHO!

CoyotesRunI was traveling in Niagara before year end and stopped at Coyote Run to see how things have progressed since the last time I was there. I was pleasantly surprised to see how well their reds and chardonnays have developed. This week, there’s the 2010 Coyote’s Run Black Paw Vineyard Cabernet Franc (#040450 $24.95). I need to warn those of you out there that find a little herbal, green peppery thing in Niagara non-pinot reds and don’t like it. This does have a little of that. But what’s the problem, it’s what this area brings to their wines and this is a great representation of Niagara-on-the-Lake cab franc. It’s very nice. No, that’s too wishy-washy – it’s very good. In my complex and opaque scoring system, this wine scores 37 fishes. Not bad, uh?

One Response to “Best Bets for the Weekend Splurge”


  1. I Heart the Caymus « Duff's Wines - January 18, 2013

    […] Culpa! I received some serious feedback on this post. None can be published without censorship. It stems from my characterization of a Keenan cabernet […]


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