Fun at Enoteca Ascari, Toronto

Svetlana Atcheva of Enoteca Ascari at work on a Cotat wax capsule.

Monday evening in Toronto. A fun gathering of wine people at Enoteca Ascari.  You can’t capture an evening like this is a blog post, but there are some wines that I’d like to mention, because they were so good.

Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett, winemaker at Lailey Vineyard, was there with his amazingly floral, vivid Malbec. Derek is a Brit who has lived in Canada for 40 years, working at Southbank winery from 1973-2001. Steven Campbell of Lifford had brought along a bottle of the 1998 Southbank Cabernet Merlot, which Derek made. This was pretty cool.

Lailey Vineyard Malbec 2011 Niagara River VQA, Canada
This has an amazingly open, aromatic nose of sweet cherries and berries, with some blackcurrant/Ribena characters in the mouth. Bright, juicy, floral and pure, and quite delicious. 93/100

Southbrook Cabernet Merlot Triomphe 1998 Niagara, Canada
Lovely open nose of gravel and spicy, with a hint of earth under the ripe black fruits. Lovely ripe fruit on the palate: bright and with some nice grippy tannins adding structure. A tiny bit drying on the finish, but so impressive. 93/100

Ruud Maasdam of Staete Landt was also there, with a few of his wines, of which the Syrah was the stand-out for me. Just 110 cases made, one bottle per vine.

Staete Landt Syrah 2009 Marlborough, New Zealand
Lovely precision here with elegant, peppery, black cherry fruit. There’s some silkiness to the texture of this precise Syrah, with a bit of grip. A lovely cool climate expression of Syrah. 93/100

It’s not every day you get to try a Cotat. This is such an interesting expression of Sauvignon.

Pascal Cotat Sancerre La Grande Cote 2011 Loire, France
Mineral, taut and slightly reductive nose of citrus pith and herbs. The palate is concentrated, bold and sweetly fruited with nice mineral notes and real complexity. 93/100

Old Alsace? Yes please.

Zind Humbrecht Clos Windsbuhl Gewurztraminer 1989 Alsace, France
Subtle mushroom edge to the nose. Rich textured, still fresh with crystalline fruits. Lovely texture and depth – so interesting. 93/100

Irakli Nikolashvili is a Georgian, resident in Toronto, and he had some of his Georgian wines with him. This was fabulous: made in 1500 litre clay amphorae (qvevri) with no added sulphur dioxide.

Nikolashvili ‘Givi’s Qvevri’ Rkatsiteli 2011 Kakheti, Georgia
A skin-contact white wine made in clay qvevri and without any sulphur dioxide additions. Wonderfully aromatic nose: floral pear and peach notes. Lovely palate is a bit grippy with pure fruit and lovely finesse and freshness. So complex and fresh. 94/100

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