The Date and Time: Wednesday September 6, 2017 12:30 – 2:30 PM
The Event: Master Wine tasting lunch with Franklin Tate, principal of Miles from Nowhere winery, Margaret River Australia.
The Venue: Biff's Bistro
The Target Audience: wine writer Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
The Availability/Catalogue: all wines have been currently submitted to the LCBO for future purchase consideration by David Litner of www.winemoves.com, but the Miles from Nowehere Cabernet Merlot 2015 is now being released at LCBO Vintages on October 28). Wine Moves uses Vintages and Private Orders to allow consumers to access wine markets, but do not do Consignment.
The Quote/Background: Franklin Tate was once associated with the well-established Evans and Tate labels, but has since moved on to his own winery, Miles from Nowhere (a reference to his ancestry and his vineyard locations in Western Australia's Margaret River region) which was set up in 2007. He's got 18K cases a year, from 46.9 hectares (2 vineyards are 20 years old). Www.milesfromnowhere.com.au. We don't see many wines from Margaret River in Ontario, so these are welcome additions. His largest market in North America is Florida. He has two ranges: an Estate series of 6 varietals (line priced in Ontario at $18.50) and a Best Blocks reserve series of 4 varietals ($34.95 Ontario line priced). Margaret River is loaded with micro-climates and different soils, so he really concentrates on the art of blending. His best stuff goes into the Best Blocks, of course; it is not made every year. Twist tops only are used, as well as nifty but clean and clear wine labeling.
The Wines: The intent of the lunch was to show off the Estate series of wines. Franklin also brought along some Best Blocks, specifically Best Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 as a comparison to the CM (same year, same ABV, 80% new French oak, 18 months in barrel, malo-lactic) since only the best barrels were selected for the cuvee blend. With more Cabernet there was also more dark fruit notes, mocha tones, some mint and dusty herbs, More tannins too, along with a longer finish. Rated 92, $34.95 private order. The white was a Best Blocks Chardonnay 2016 for which I had no Estate series comparison. He only exports a bit of it. Its ABV is 13.2%, and some it was BF; all of it was BA in new French oak for six months before final blending. It is everything you would want from a balanced chardonnay with some citrus, orchard fruit, toast, nutty, caramel, biscuit, and that important rich mouth feel. Rated 93, $34.95 private order.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Miles from Nowhere Margaret River Rose 2017, $18.50: 12.7%ABV, all syrah/shiraz grapes. Done up in Provencal style (pale salmon). Cool fermentation followed by fining and filtration. Full of red fruits and some candy floss on mid-palate. Best with almost anything.
-Miles from Nowhere Margaret River Cabernet Merlot 2015, $18.50: 14.5% ABV. A steal at this price, winner of 9 gold medals which is impressive. 56% cabernet sauvignon, 39% merlot, 3% petit verdot, 2% shiraz, matured in French oak. Very Bordeaux-like in style, with promises of dark fruit (plums, blackberries) and spicing. Firm tannins suggest a few more years would benefit the wine. Best with lamb. Available Oct 28 at Vintages.
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Miles from Nowhere Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2017, $18.50: 12.4% ABV, grassy with high tropical notes, more minerally than expected, savoury but also off-dry citric finish. Best as aperitif, or sipper, but also with goat cheese.
-Miles from Nowhere Margaret River Shiraz 2016: 14.7% ABV, with a combo of French and US oaks for a year's maturation. It is deep, dark and delicious – a dark cherry-berry delight with a whiff of cherry chocolates. A chewy wine.
The Food: we ordered off the menu – I chose the liver options (chicken liver "parfait" and grilled calf's liver), plus assorted breads and sparkling water. I find that liver goes with a variety of wines, not just Chianti.
The Downside: I had to rush in from another meeting at 11 AM.
The Upside: great one-on-one discussions on Australian wines and the export markets. Franklin is a master talker.
The Contact Person: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 93.