Tasting Notes from the Port of Wines

The annual NSLC Port of Wines Festival is eagerly awaited each year.  With three hours and more than 300 wines to try, the challenge is to develop a strategy to ensure you get to sample the wines you don’t want to miss.  This year we started with a few sparkling wines of interest, then old world wine countries, then new world (all with a focus on the award winners, Wine Spectator scores and wines that had the potential to be good value wines)

Here are my three favourites from this year’s festival:

1. (Italy) 2007 Ottoventi Nerello Mascalese:  This was the award winner for top Italian table wine at the festival.  I found it had a pleasant woody finish.

2. (South Africa) 2008 Beyerskloof Faith.  Simply the smoothest wine I tasted.  Nice smokiness to this one that wasn’t as overpowering as you can sometimes get from South African wines.  This was probably my favourite of the show.

3. (France) 2007 Gevrey Chambertin 1er Cru Estournelles St. Jacques.  A wonderfully smooth French wine.   Not a festival award winner, but is a 91pt Wine Spectator selection.  Tried this one very early in the show (mind was clean, but wasn’t taking notes so well then)

Of course, many (many, many) more wines were tried.  Some loved, some liked, a few didn’t get a second sip.   Here are the wines we purchased to take home:

Left to right:

Mumm Napa Rose (sparkling, California) – 93pt Wine Spectator and from a winery we visited (and loved) in ‘08

2009 Trivento Amado Sur Malbec (Argentina) – A $17 90pt wine.  Great value.

2007 Nino Negri Mazer Valtellina Superiore DOCG (Italy) – A very nice Italian, a bit pricier than what we’d normally pick up, but one that will suit a Saturday night of trip thinking sometime over the fall/winter.

Beyerskloof Synergy (South African) – Similar enough to one of my 3 favourites, but about $55 less.  This will be a nice, unique bottle for a cold winter night ahead.

2009 Dama de Toro (Spain) – Exceptional quality for under $16

2009 Pascual Toso Merlot (Argentina) – The top scoring Merlot at the festival for $18.  Chocolate and coffee like, this is a great value wine.

The last bottle is a free Australian Cab being given away for each purchase.  Two of these now sit in our wine rack.

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