96) August 23, 2017
2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Venue: Characters Fine Dining
Synopsis: California's Napa Valley has produced a string of extremely successful Cabernet vintages since 2007, with only 2011 being a challenging year. Many critics think that 2013 is the best of them all, about as near to a perfect vintage one can imagine.
In truly great vintages, not only do the top producers shine, but quality should be evenly high across the spectrum. This event will showcase six 2013 Napa Cabernets that span the price range from $30 to $150 a bottle. Served blind, of course.
As balanced as the wines are, they're still very young and tannic. The antidote for ferocious young tannins? Protein rich foods and assertive seasoning. For example, a juicy steak! Nice and simple this time, everyone will order off the menu.
Louis M. Martini Napa Valley $30
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley $30
Clos du Val Napa Valley $50
Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon $80
Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon One Point Five $150
Signorello Napa Valley Cabenet $150
The surprise wine of the night with 8 votes: Louis M. Martini! Second place with 5 votes: Shafer. 2 votes for Clos du Val.
97) September 22, 2017
The Judgment of Edmonton: France vs South Africa
Venue: private home
Synopsis: This event was inspired by the famed 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting that pitted California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon against the best white Burgundies and red Bordeaux from France. This time it's South Africa that gets the chance to square up against the French standards Wines will be presented blind in five flights.
Flight one: Chenin Blanc. This grape calls France's Loire Valley home, but also has a long history of quality winemaking in South Africa.
Flight two: Chardonnay. A grape that is ubiquitous around the world and widely grown in South Africa, but Burgundy in France is its ancestral home.
Flight three: Syrah. It hails from the Northern Rhone Valley of France, but there is a long tradition of excellent Syrah from South Africa.
Flight four: Meritage (Bordeaux) Blend. Originally from Bordeaux in France, blends made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc are also ubiquitous around the wine growing world. South African Bordeaux-style blends are among the more "classic" interpretations of the grape
Flight five: Dessert! Two sweet Chenin Blancs, one from the Loire and one from South Africa.
The wines revealed and results (crowd favourite in bold):
Flight One: Chenin Blanc
-Ken Forrester FMC 2015
-Domaine du Closel Savennieres Les Caillardieres 2013
Flight Two: Chardonnay
-Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2014
-Chateau Fuisse Pouilly-Fuisse Tete de Cru 2014
Flight Three: Syrah
-Les Vins de Vienne Crozes Hermitage 2014
-Mullineux Syrah 2013
Flight Four: Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends
-2012 Kanonkop Paul Sauer
-2012 Chateau Haut Bergey
-Mullineux 2013 Straw Wine, Swartland
-Chateau Prince 2013 Couteaux L’Aubance late harvest Chenin, Loire
98) October 25, 2017
The “Somm: Into the Bottle Tasting”
Venue: Ampersand 27
Synopsis: SOMM, and its sequel SOMM: Into the Bottle, are two of the best wine documentaries ever made. In particular, the second movie appeals to any audience with an interest in wine. It profiles a number of iconic wineries and wine experts from around the world and describes the passion, people, and places that make the world's greatest wines.
When watching Into the Bottle, one wishes that one could sample the liquid treasure that is being savoured on the screen. Well, some wishes can come true. We'll be screening the movie and tasting some of the famous wines featured in the movie throughout this dinner tasting event.
Matthiasson 2015 Chardonnay: showed brilliantly, well balanced.
Ruinart 1993 Champagne Brut: just barely hanging in there, lots of oxidative and caramel notes.
Trimbach 2006 Clos Ste Hune Riesling: still an infant, paired well with the halibut and popcorn sauce! Pairing of the night!
Jean-Louis Chave 2012 Hermitage: even at such a youthful stage the most complex and seductive wine of the evening.
Robert Mondavi 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: fully mature, at a perfect spot for drinking.
Elio Altare 2007 Barolo: still too young! Tannins are a force!
Penfolds 1996 Grange: somewhat of a let-down. Nothing off about the bottle but an underwhelming bottle.
Pellegrino Fine Marsala (paired with chocolate chip cookies)!
99) November 18, 2017
Does Size Matter?
Venue: private home
Synopsis: In theory, the size of a wine bottle will influence how quickly the wine ages. Oxygen is important for the wine's evolution in the bottle and its eventual transformation into vinegar. The greater the air to liquid ratio, the quicker the wine ages. Or so the theory goes...
In this after-dinner tasting event, we shall test this theory by blind tasting wines from the same producer and vintage but from different size bottle formats. All the wines will have a number of years of bottle age on them, and with similar storage histories.
Flight One: Rombauer Chardonnay 2013 (California)
375 mL vs 1500 mL
Flight Two: Chateau de Beaucastel 2005 (Chateauneuf du Pape)
375 mL vs 750 mL
Flight Three: Ornellaia 2007 (Tuscany)
375 mL vs 750 mL
Flight Four: Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2007 (Australia)
750 mL vs 1500 mL
Flight Five: Chateau Coutet 2001 (Barsac/Sauternes)
375 mL vs 750 mL
The verdict: The smaller format bottles do age faster and the samples here did show a bit more maturity, but because we chose such age-worthy wines for this event the difference in just a decade or so was quite small. This bodes well if you spot a small format bottle of a great wine for a good price in a store, you could probably buy with confidence!
100) January 26, 2018
Celebrating our 100th Tasting with 100-point Wines!
Venue: Edmonton Country Club
Synopsis: Now into our eleventh year, the Noble Rot Society is celebrating a milestone: our 100th tasting event! There are many tasting groups across Canada that have yet to reach such a milestone. Indeed, some clubs have come and gone. So, this certainly is an occasion worthy of a big celebration!
The 100 point system for scoring and rating wine was popularized by the American wine critic and writer, Robert Parker, publisher of The Wine Advocate. Later, other publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast also adopted the system. Points are a controversial aspect of the wine world. Retailers love points because points sell a lot of wine. Some collectors "chase" points, others eschew them. Most sommeliers consider points just an arbitrary number that fails to reflect the full story behind that particular wine. Nevertheless, when experienced and influential wine experts assign a perfect 100 point score to a wine, in other words without fault, it's hard not to take notice.
On this evening we will truly indulge in decadance by sampling a selection of 8 wines that received a perfect 100 point score from at least one major critic. Two of these wines were named wine of the year by Wine Spectator magazine. The wines will be thoughtfully paired with five courses from Chef Brian and his culinary staff at Edmonton Country Club.
2001 Chateau d’Yquem (Sauternes, France): 100 pts James Suckling, 100 pts Robert Parker, 20/20 Jancis Robinson
-2002 Joseph Phelps Insignia (Napa Valley, California): 100 pts Robert Parker, Wine Spectator Wine of the Year
-2007 Verite "La Muse" (Sonoma County, California): 100 pts Robert Parker, 100 pts Wine Enthusiast Magazine
-2005 M. Chapoutier Ermitage "Le Pavillon" (Rhone Valley, France): 100 pts Robert Parker
-2008 Penfolds Grange (Australia): 100 pts Robert Parker, 100 pts Wine Spectator
-2009 Chateau Pontet Canet (Pauillac, Bordeaux, France): 100 pts Robert Parker
-2009 Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte (Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France): 100 pts Robert Parker
-Taylor Fladgate 1994 Vintage Port: 100 pts James Suckling, 100 pts Robert Parker, Wine Spectator Wine of the Year.
101) February 17, 2018
V is for Vino Blanco!
Venue: Private home
Synopsis: Over the last eleven years, Noble Rot has only done a few events to feature exclusively white wines. We've also never used a letter of the alphabet as the theme! In honour of a belated Valentine's Day, we'll be focusing on white wines that begin with the letter V, either in the grape name, region name, or producer name.
Along with the evening's ten wines, we'll also be enjoying catered small plates from CafeRista.
Without further ado, here are the wines we'll be tasting:
1) Sparkling Flight
-2016 Quinta do Ameal Loureiro (Vinho Verde, Portugal)
-NV Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne
-NV Chai du Grand Vaudasniere Cremant de Vouvray (Loire Valley, France)
2) Light flight:
-2015 Le Rote Vernaccia di San Gimignano (Tuscany, Italy)
-2016 Lunae Colli di Luni Blanco Vermentino (Liguria, Italy)
-2016 Belisario Terre di Valbona Verdicchio di Metelica (Marches, Italy)
3) Fuller flight:
- 2013 Dominio de Verderrubi Atypique Verdejo (Rueda, Spain)
- 2004 Lopez de Heredia Vino Blanco Gravonia Viura (Rioja Spain)
- 2015 Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu Viognier (Condrieu, France)
2015 Vineland Estates Vidal Icewine, Niagara
102) March 14, 2018
Spotlight on Nebbiolo: Produttori del Barbaresco
Venue: Vivo Ristorante
Although the occasional Barolo or Langhe Nebbiolo has appeared in previous Noble Rot tastings, we have not yet focused an entire evening on this noble grape from the northern Italian region of Piemonte (Piedmont). Nebbiolo is a fascinating grape, a late-ripening grape that somehow thrives in a northern extreme continental climate. The wines made from Nebbiolo in the Barbaresco and Barolo regions are some of the most complex and age-worthy wines in the world.
Produttori del Barbaresco is a cooperative consisting of 51 member growers, pooling their resources and grapes to collectively vinify their Barbaresco wines. This is the only grape they grow and the only type of wine they make. Every year a standard Barbaresco is produced from grapes sourced from throughout the region, and then in very good vintages, single vineyard Barbarescos are produced from nine designated named sites.
A recent cellar library release affords us the oppotunity of a vertical tasting. Five vintages of the Barbaresco, and two vintages of the single vineyard Montefico Barbaresco will be on show this evening. These are all food wines, so we're heading to Vivo Ristorante to pair their family-style Italian dishes with the big wines!
-Pio Cesare Gavi 2016
-Vietti Roero Arneis 2016
-Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 2005, 2010, and 2012
-Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco 2007 and 2011
-Produttori del Barbaresco Montefico Barbaresco 2007 and 2011
103) April 28, 2018
Wine and Art: A Perfect Blend
Venue: Private home
Synopsis: Fine wine and fine art seem to fit together seamlessly. At least that's what a number of prominent wineries believe. This event features a collection of wineries that promote art and artists via extensive galleries within their visitor centres or on wine bottle labels that feature a new work each vintage. This will be a multimedia presentation including video and still footage from each of these properties, to be enjoyed while sipping on their vine art! Chef Matt and Simon from CafeRista catering will provide pairing dishes with each course.
Featured wineries and wines:
Reception Wine #1: Mumm Napa sparkling
Reception Wine #2: Liquidity Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley
Hess Collection Chardonnay, Napa Valley
Le Petit Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc, Bordeaux
Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1999, Bordeaux
Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Washington
Leeuwin Estate Art Series Shiraz, Margaret River, Australia
Montes Folly Syrah, Chile
Cliff Lede Landslide Fire 2010, Napa Valley
Clos Pegase Hommage Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Napa Valley
104) April 28, 2018
Petit Verdot: Who You Callin Petit?
Venue: Private home
Synopsis: In Bordeaux, Petit Verdot serves as a blending grape, making up 1-2 percent of a Cabernet-dominated blend. Wines made from 100 percent Petit Verdot are scarce, but they're cult favourites of many people including several Noble Rot members! The late ripening, tannic grape may yet figure prominently in a future wine world sure to be impacted by climate change. For the second time in our history, we're dedicating a Noble Rot event to this very special grape, with mimimal overlap between this 11th season event and the 1st season event back in 2008.
Wines to be presented:
Decero Remolinos Vineyard Petit Verdot, Argentina
Michael David Inkblot Petit Verdot, California
Toscana Ferro Dei Collazzi, Italy
Kingston Estate Petit Verdot, Australia
Sandhill Small Lots Petit Verdot, Okanagan
Glen Carlou Tannat Petit Verdot, South Africa
Tenuta Monteti, Tuscany
Each of the three flights of wine will be paired with a dish from Chef Matt Hollett from Cafe Rista. Eggplant fritters, Duck confit, Lamb osso bucco, and almond cheesecake souffle.
105) June 2, 2018
Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Vertical Tasting
Venue: Characters Fine Dining
Synopsis: The grand finale of Noble Rot's 2017-2018 season! Featured here is one of Napa Valley's oldest and most celebrated wineries: Beringer. It's the oldest continually operating winery in California, beginning with their first harvest in 1876. Today, the wine lineup from Beringer is immense. At the top of the hierarchy is the Private Reserve line which includes a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon.
This evening will kick off with the Private Reserve Chardonnay 2014 and 2015, followed by a vertical tasting of the Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The vintages to be featured:
Wines will be presented in three flights, each paired with a small plate dish from chef Shonn Oborowsky.