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Tasting Notes for Canoehead

(576 notes on 425 wines)

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Red
2014 McGuigan The Philosophy South Australia Cabernet-Shiraz Blend, Red Blend (view label images)
2/2/2023 - Canoehead Does not like this wine:
85 points
This is on the cusp of faulty but it’s just overpriced plonk. We bought it on sale for CAD53 when at home it retailed for AUD150. That discounted price should have been a warning. I can’t believe this is flagship worthy. Getting past the obvious wasteful packaging of heavy bottle (imagine the “cost” of shipping these to the other side of the world - to its main markets of the USA and UK?) and it’s ridiculous waxed cap. When cork is revealed it is a stubby DIAM meant for ready to drink Malbecs not for a complex, cellar-worthy cab-shiraz. The nose and palate are dominated by sour blackberry and vegetal mint. Yes, it’s full-bodied but it is hot, anchored by oak and it’s fundamentally unpleasant. There is a massive gap between preconceived marketing and the product in the glass. Something went wrong here.
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Red - Fortified
1/28/2023 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Decanted 2+ hours prior to vintage port tasting. Still evolving; not fully tertiary yet. Rich, balanced dark red and black fruits. Black cherry compote and fig paste. Good acidity and smooth tannins. Paired well with an array of Bleu cheeses. The Warre’s 1985 was the standout of the evening.
Red
2015 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
1/23/2023 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Very consistent to previous TNs. Do recommend a 30-45 min decant.
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Red
1/11/2023 - Canoehead wrote:
89 points
Ben C is spot on with his initial TNs. There’s good fruit here that heavy-handed oak treatment has tampered with and the MLF created a mocha milkshake out of the mid-palate.
Red
2013 Antinori Tignanello Toscana IGT SuperTuscan Blend (view label images)
1/7/2023 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Decanted 60-90 minutes. Needed the time to open up. Precise nose of tart yet sweet cherry jelly. Liquorice and balsamic undertones. There’s a slight dusty tannic and dried herb finish. A bit acidic/sour but meant for food - confit duck wings and steak frites. This is a voice-cracking, awkward teenager with a learner’s permit. Needs time to build confidence and depth of character. 3-5 years and thus will be a star.
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Red
1/7/2023 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Two hour decant. Opaque, thick purple garnet pour into the decanter. Massive sweet nose of rich black cherry and crème de cassis. A bit unctuous and sweet with a cola core but there is a savoury black cherry exit to this wine. Tannins and acid provide lift. Old world meets new world. Excellent with confit duck wings.
Red
1/4/2023 - Canoehead Does not like this wine:
86 points
This wine is out of balance. Heady aromatics but a bit of nail polish remover on the nose. Highly acidic and “crunchy” red & blue fruits. Very bitter finish. Possibly flawed but I can’t place it.
Red
1/1/2023 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Inky garnet black. Decanted 30+ minutes. Definitely tertiary evolution of the fruit and savouries - rich, stewed black cherry and dried dates, plus tapenade and dark chocolate. Medium plus body and finish. Well-balanced. Very pleasant. Wouldn't have guessed Cab/Syrah blend - more like a Carinena/Garnacha mix from Priorat with some age on it. Paired with roast ham dinner.
Red
A tale of two bottles opened for holiday dinner. First bottle was corked and second bottle (with a damaged cork - see uploaded photo of both bottles) was closed off for hours. Even with some passable aromatics of red fruits it was not an enjoyable wine. Out of balance, acidic & tannic. By then we had moved on to a couple of dependable Napa Cabs.
Red
12/29/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
If this were 100US I’d give it an 87-88. If it were 60US I’d give it an 88-89. But sub$40 this is pretty damn good. Splash decant it for 30-40 minutes. Make cocktails for everyone and then get to the dinner table and enjoy this with anything that is beef protein, tomato ragu or cheese and cured meats. Had ours with short ribs, Bleu cheese mash and braised cabbage. Perfect. There’s a little depth and complexity here. Case buy category.
Red
12/28/2022 - Canoehead wrote:
89 points
the only consistent thing about this wine is it is underwhelming for the price and expectation. There is very little distinction here to a $25 Cotes du Rhone. Similar to previous TN.
Red
2015 Black Hills Estate Nota Bene Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/26/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Similar to previous TN. No decant this time. Primal at first but quickly took a seat at front of the class. Rich but elegant. Oak is in check. Acid is refreshing. Great wine for grazing (olives, cheese and charcuterie).
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Red
12/25/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Two bottles opened consecutively. Brief ~30 min decants. Ripe red berries, subtle herbaceousness in a good way and dried mushroom. Juicy but not jammy on the palate. Nice balance of acidity, alcohol and fine tannins. Medium + finish. Well received alongside roast turkey and the classic sides. Went very well a tad later with a triple crème on the cheese tray.
Red
12/21/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Needed about a 1hr decant to smooth out. Lovely peppery smoked meat and dried berries on the nose. Vibrant juice on the palate. Medium to medium plus body. Great with black bean turkey tacos.
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Red
2008 Bodegas Muga Rioja Reserva Tempranillo Blend, Tempranillo (view label images)
12/17/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Used Durand to remove cork. Cork was in pristine condition. Decanted for 30-40 minutes. Lovely dried cherry, sage and floral bouquet. Silky, medium body. Very well-balanced and elegant. lingering finish. Favoured over a '08 Pesquera served alongside. Accompanied two versions of Quebecois tourtiere at dinner party - classic beef/pork mix and a moose meat version. The latter was excellent.
Red
12/17/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Cork broke away 2/3 of the way down. Durand extracted the bottom piece effortlessly. I will use the Durand for every wine over 10 years year old from now on. Wine was decanted for about 15-20 minutes. Blew off a bit of stale funk from the opening. Lovely maturing dark red fruit aromas plus tapenade and dried dates. Medium-plus bodied. A bit rustic at first. Improved and smoothed out in the second hour. Served at tourtiere party. Went extremely well with the moose version.
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Red
2015 Château Grand Mayne St. Émilion Grand Cru Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/16/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
This definitely needed 2-3 hours of aeration in a wide base decanter. Very closed off at first with drying tannic finish. However, the dark red and blue fruit emerged in hour 2 and the savoury layers of olive, mint and cocoa added complexity. Good balance and paired well with roast chicken, mash and sautéed green beans.
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Red
12/11/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
94 points
Seriously delicious, well-made wine. Opened a magnum for six over dinner. Splash decanted just to get any funk off the top. Medium plus body. All the classic Syrah components are here. Blackberry coulis, cured meat, black pepper. Concentrated but lithe on its feet. Well done, Howard!
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): A bit of genius here on the part of the owner to throw this ubiquitous plonk in the mix of double-decanted blind tasting of 2012 Cabernets. Was still quite fresh out of the glass. Savoury nose; one picked up hay. Fruit had evolved into dried cherries and currants. A bit of a tannic grip on the finish but not in a bad way. This was a revelation. Finished six of eight.
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): Lovely dark garnet with a purple core. Complex bouquet or as one reacted – “that’s a punch in the face!”. Lots of spice and wood on the nose – cedar, vanilla, nutmeg, roasted nuts. Others picked up a distinct bubble gum aroma. Classic Cabernet dark red fruits carried through on the tongue. A bit sweet-ish. Acid seemed low. A bit sour on the finish. Finished fifth overall.
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): Second wine tasted out of eight 2012 Cabernets so it was a material improvement over the faulty Cakebread VHR. Bright dark garnet. Rich extracted dark red fruits – cassis, Amarena cherry, baked plum and roasted fig. Great depth and concentration. Medium plus finish. Only placed fourth but there were some other outstanding wines in the mix.
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead wrote:
89 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): The only BC Cab in the mix of eight double-decanted blind tasting of 2012 Cabernets. Dark Purple. Rich pronounced nose. Dutch, salty licorice. Tart plum and crunchy black cherry on the palate. Out of balance. Acidic, bitter and a very short finish. Not that iconic. Seventh out of Eight.
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Red
2012 Dominus Napanook Red Napa Valley Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): Fantastic on the eyes - opaque dark garnet, black core with a touch of crimson on the rim. Pronounced savoury complex nose. Saturate dark red fruits with vanilla spice, tobacco and cocoa powder. This was unctuous on the palate – full-bodied, massive ripe red fruit core with liquorice and mocha. Some evoked blasphemous terms. A bit grippy still but it would pair well with quality protein and a bit of fat. Won the bronze but great effort.
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead wrote:
flawed
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): First out of the gate for a double-decanted blind tasting of 2012 Cabernets and the colour of the wine pouring into the glass was promising. Super dark garnet/purple ink almost black obsidian. However, there was definitely a fault on the nose. Some speculated it was corked but it had been decanted for over an hour and most of that potential condition seemed to have blown off and was now kinda soapy and simply sour. “Dirty Dish Rag” and “Feta Cheese” were descriptors. One dimensional note on the palate a well. Med. plus body. Stale and bitter. When this was revealed it was one very stunned group. This is the VHR! This should be magical. Storage conditions were pristine according to the generous owner. Least favourite of the group by far.
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
94 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): This was pleasing in appearance (bright shiny crimson garnet) and so delightfully complex on the nose. Mixed berry and cherry compote smothered on cinnamon toast. Great concentration on the palate without smothering. There was a vibrant energy to this wine. Someone had quality fruit to work with and didn’t dress it up with too much oak or extraction. Well-balanced. Barely missed out on the top of the podium, finished second. Four out of eight tasters had this as their favourite. Sincere thanks to the Roses for picking a spectacular wedding wine for their special day eight years ago and serving this to their friends and family. We’re on our second last bottle. Delish!
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
95 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): Lustrous black and purple in the glass. Massive nose ranging from initial barn floor to fig paste and raspberry chocolate torte and leather and cigar box. The depth of this wine was spectacular with all the layers of fruit plus black olive, dark chocolate, espresso. This had a finish of over 30 seconds. Integrated, Concentrated and a joy to savour and sniff the empty bowl later. It was a photo finish first place nudging out the Pine Ridge. Four out of eight tasters had this as their favourite. One bottle left in the cellar.
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Red
12/10/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
Ten Years On - 2012 Cabernet Sauvignons (Canoehead Central): This was used as calibration wine ahead of a double-decanted blind tasting of eight 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Has the colour, aroma profile and classic dark red flavours of a Cabernet. Obviously lacked the aged factor of the 2012s but a good baseline. Good utility shortstop. Weeknight warrior.
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Red
11/29/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Decanted to pour off of residue in bottle. Ready to go. Massive nose of sweet stewed cherries and blackcurrants. Mint and espresso as well. Terrific drink on its own. Food definitely muted it. We had smoky bbq brisket and all the sides and that swamped this wine. Moved over to a Pilsner for rest of the meal and then savoured the rest of this wine afterwards all evening long.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
11/27/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Briefly decanted tableside @ Little Jumbo. Lovely complex nose of dried cherries, black olive, mint, pipe tobacco. Medium plus body. Dried cherries and black fig on the palate. Very dry finish. Acid is a little muted. Paired well with the winter fare of gnocchi, lamb and tagliatelle.
Red
11/16/2022 - Canoehead wrote:
88 points
Needed about an hour after opening to really smooth out. Bit of acidic bite at first but then it settled down. Not a typically rich and lush Amarone. Just as well it may have overewhelmed the dinner. Was a good pairing with roast chicken and rice pilaf with green olives. Medium-plus finish.
Red
11/12/2022 - Canoehead Does not like this wine:
85 points
Possibly flawed. Wasn’t corked and wasn’t oxidized but this was sour from the outset. I don’t know why some “premium” wine producers insist on naked bottlings (read: no capsule seal over the cork). I also don’t know why these same producers insist on “hooch” style bottle forms that make cellaring a challenge due to lack of bottle conformity. Decided to decant for a couple of hours hoping for the best but this plonk remained unsalvageable. A real disappointment @ CAD80. I’ll take Skaha Merlot @ $25-30/btl everyday of the week over this pretentious ferment.
Red
2015 Tinhorn Creek The Creek Okanagan Valley VQA Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
9/30/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Last magnum served with grilled tomahawks and sauteed wild mushrooms and bleu cheese. Similar to previous TNs. Poured a bit cloudy into the large decanter and had an initial funky nose but everything dissipated and elevated in the next 45 minutes. Pronounced nose of ripe black figs, tobacco, olive and cured meat. Great depth and mouthfeel. Loads of saturated dark red fruits - black cherry and cassis. Probably in its drinking window now.
Red
9/19/2022 - Canoehead Does not like this wine:
87 points
We popped and aggressively decanted the ‘19 5th Element I bought earlier in the week @ Superstore for $49.49 Cdn plus taxes. So, first night, the wine was quite primary in fruit and sweet vanilla from the oak. Still a bit grippy in the tannin department and acid was in the mid-palate. No real alcohol heat which surprised me. Put the wine under vacuum seal overnight. Tonight it was a tad smoother but still out of balance on the acid and tannins. The fruit had got a little more acidic, like Grape Soda. As the flagship red this wine lacks complexity, concentration and balance. Nothing like the 5th Elements of 2016 or earlier. Is Von Mandl taking all the great Road 13 fruit for his Mission Hill premium price reds?
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Red
9/7/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Absolutely delicious. Similar to previous TNs. Last bottle. :-(
Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
95 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): The TUB* at the end of a Napa Cabs tasting - decanted ~30 mins
Possibly the best Cab Franc I've ever tasted. Dark garnet with crimson rim. There is a spiciness to the nose where Cab Franc has had the time to mature and lose its green pepper properties and become and savoury cherry and plum tart. Medium plus body and very well balanced. I expect acid in my CFs and this was in check with the generous fruit, alcohol and fine tannins. I want a case of this!
* TUB = Totally Unnecessary Bottle
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Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Black sheep entry for a Napa Cabs tasting double-decanted blind
Host discretion/perogative paid off with this excellent showing. It was the last official bottle poured (a Wandering Star Cab Franc showed up on the table shortly thereafter). Dark crimson with black core. Intense nose of baked cherry tart with cocoa and espresso a bit of herbs de provence. Medium plus body, well-integrated tannins for such a young Dunn effort. Very good aging potential.
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Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Part of a Napa Cabs tasting double-decanted and blind
Purple Black. Restrained nose at first eve nafter a few swirls. Indicative of a younger wine and this was young Napa on offer. On the palate it was primary, ripe dk red fruit with higher acidity and grippy tannins. Medium plus body and medium plus finish. Very good potential. Open your next in a couple of years with a long decant. Open a '13 version which is a rockstar right now.
Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
94 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Part of a Napa Cabs tasting double-decanted and blind.
Inky purple black. Intense nose that almost made one think this was a Cote Rotie with the macerated berries, roasted meat and florals. But any similarity to Syrah was quickly eradicated on the palate. This was squarely premium Cabernet with black currants, amarena cherries, baking spice (mace and vanilla?), rosemary and mint. Fullest body of any of the wines poured. 30sec+ finish. Well made. Thanks CW. Three way tie for WOTN.
Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
94 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Part of a Napa Cabs tasting double-decanted and blind
Opaque black hue. Pronounced nose of ripe black cherries, berry compote, sage and mint. The fruit and savouries carried through on the palate. Very good structure to this wine, Acid, alcohol and tannins were integrated. Medium plus body and a longer finish. Some found this a bit too tannic for its age but I had already dug into the bleu cheese and grilled filets so I had proteins and fats on my side. I was impressed with its age and level of quality. Bargain wine of the tasting. Tied for my WOTN.
Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Part of Napa Cab tasting double-decanted blind
First wine poured and definitely set a benchmark for the sitting. Dark purple, opaque. Intense nose of dark red and black fruits. Very fresh bouquet - seemed primary. We all thought this was one of the '18 vintages. Later blown away this was a 2012. Young vibrant wine with good depth. a bit of tannic grip on the finish (which went well with the cheeseboard and grilled filet slices. This could be cellared for another 10 years.
Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
94 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Part of Napa Cab tasting double-decanted blind
Possibly the darkest wine poured at the sitting. Almost squid ink with a crimson rim. Pronounced dark red fruits on the nose - creme de cassis, cherry compote and fig jam. Bouquet had some floral and warm cedar. Massive layers of fruit and secondaries on the palate. This wine is well-balanced. Acidity is present but not out of sorts. Tannins are superfine. Lingering finish. The empty bowl was super fragrant. Probably tied for my WOTN.
Red
9/3/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Napa Cab Afternoon (DV Central): Part of a Napa Cab Tasting double decanted blind
Bright Dark Red in colour. Kirsch-y cherry on the nose. Black cherry, cassis, plum jelly with sweet woods (cedar and humidor).
Acidity was a little high but great weight and freshened the palate on a long finish. Good concentration.
Red
8/25/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
92 points
Wow, has this fleshed out over the past year. A bit reductive at opening but 30 mins plus and it is dark berries and cured meat. On the palate it’s medium plus in weight and great balance of maturing fruit, acid and alcohol are integrated with the fine tannins. Really well made.
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Red
2016 Château Carignan Prima Premières Côtes de Bordeaux Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/25/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
I agree with JMabby TN from last year. This did need 30-40 mins of air but began to sing on the nose and good richness on the palate. Med+ finish. VG QPR.
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
8/23/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Two bottles @ Boom + Batten in Victoria BC. Both decanted for primary aeration and removal of any early sediment. Similar bouquets and ready to please on the first pour. This ain’t Dominus nor Les Pavots. It’s a well-balanced, large production Sonoma Cab Sauv that has versatility and pleasure at its core. Paired well with everything from Thai Curry Mussels, Roast Rack of Lamb and Steak Frites. Thanks JM.
Red
2014 Fairview Cellars The Bear Golden Mile Bench VQA Red Bordeaux Blend (view label images)
8/22/2022 - Canoehead Does not like this wine:
88 points
Meh. Underwhelming. The Bear has not been what it used to be. There was a vitality to the earlier vintages. This bottle was mid-range Chilean cab at the outset and barely improved through to the next day. I have some '15s I'm planning on opening later this year per Bill's guidance on the back label. Fingers crossed the x factor is back on that vintage.
Red
8/12/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
93 points
This is very good QPR. Needs a little airtime at the outset but 30 mins in the primary dark red fruit on the nose has evolved into a savoury, spice compendium. Seriously, good depth and structure. Very traditional in construction but accessible at this early age. Well made.
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Red
8/9/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
This has definitely put on some sparring weight. It’s medium-plus bodied now with tertiary dark red and blue fruit. Good structure with mature tannins. Acidity is present. Went well with tomato and Italian sausage penne.
Red
8/8/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
90 points
Ready to go. No decant required. Sweet dark red fruit on the nose. Tannins and alcohol in check with sweet savoury fruit. Oak treatment is a little heavy-handed. It’s a pleasant quaff if you don’t mind the perceptible vanilla spice.
Red
2016 LaStella Espressivo Okanagan Valley VQA SuperTuscan Blend (view label images)
8/5/2022 - Canoehead Likes this wine:
91 points
Definitely in it’s drinking window now. I like the unapologetic seam of acidity in this to liven up the ripe Cabs & Merlot. Very refreshing.
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  • Tasting Notes: 576 notes on 425 wines
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