Food and Wine in Canada’s Capital

Beckta menu2008 Riesling

I was in Ottawa last week and got together with 2 sommelier buddies, Astrid and Perry to try some local wine and food. Naturally I had to bring some Aussie reds to compete. We selected the Beckta dining and wine restaurant on 226 Nepean Street, Ottawa. A great restaurant with great food and friendly service. We enjoyed sharing our wines with the Beckta’s sommelier.

We started the evening with a Riesling from Ontario – a 2008 Henry of Pelham, Speck Family Reserve. The wine opened with a soft nose with some secondary kerosene characters and soft apple and citrus on the nose. The palate was broad and flavoursome without that steely backbone evident in many top Aussie Rieslings. A very enjoyable wine that complemented my Root vegetable soup. A good pairing!

Aussie CabernetsNext we tried 2 aged Aussie cabernets from my cellar: a 2004 Balnaves from the Coonawarra district in South Australia that is famous for its cabernets and a 2005 Chapel Hill from McLaren Vale in South Australia that’s probably better known for its big shiraz reds. Both wines were stunning and were tasted after one hours decanting.

Quebec Duck Magret
The Balnaves colour was a dark plum with a purple hue and the nose was redolent with blackberry and blueberry fruit, earth, and cedar. The palate was soft and mouthfilling with spicy berry fruit, cedar and tobacco leaf. The tannins were nicely integrated and the wine would easily cellar for another 5+ years. I enjoyed the wine with the Quebec Magret Duck that was cooked medium rare to perfection and the flavours worked well with the wine.
The Chapel Hill was a monster wine with bid fruit, and big tannins. Even though only a year separated the two wines the difference was palpable. My view is that the stelvin enclosure on the Chapel made the difference. The wine was young and fresh and still quite primary, with rich spicy black fruits, anise, pepper and cedar. The palate had not integrated fully and the wine definitely needs more time in the cellar! However, Perry said it worked well with his Wellington county beef striploin that was most enjoyable.

My scores: Riesling 91/100, Balnaves cabernet 95/100, Chapel Hill 93/100.
The reds cost approx $35 each when purchased.

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Clonakilla….always a delight

ClonakillaSingapore, 3 October 2013. Farewelling a special friend in Singapore, we gave him a gift of a magnum of 2008 Clonakilla Shiraz Viogner To all our surprise he insisted we open it immediately so we could share the wine. What a great gesture and what a delight! The wine opened with wonderful dark berry fruits on  the nose, a hint of perfume and dusty oak. The palate displayed lovely cherry/red fruits and great texture. It was plush on the palate, balanced and a little musky. Soft chalky tannins evident and a long lifted finish. Very young, but what a great future ahead of it! Sadly the magnum disappeared all too quickly…. Highly recommended.

95/100

Ata Rangi Rules!

2008 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir.

Tasted 28/8/13.Purchased this bottle in New Zealand from Ata Rangi’s Martinborough cellar door 3 years ago and keen to see any development. Poured a big glass. Bright cherry colour. No sign of age. And what a great sniff! Lovely lifted cherry fruit, a little forest floor and hint of earth. The palate followed through on the promise. Creamy cherry fruit, lovely soft savoriness and velvet tannins. A long finish with a good Pinot power wave.

Retasted 29/8/13. Nose has developed more secondary characters. Sappy, spicy forest floor, with less pronounced but still beautiful cherry/raspberry fruit. Long soft palate packed with flavor and long lifted finish. Great wine, great enjoyment! Didn’t leave any for a third day….. Score 95/100