It's been a long week with me being a full time house dad while Mrs. Coolpapa has been taking care of some things. 97 Ridge Montebello tonight with steaks, home fries, brussell sprouts, followed by foot rubs and a movie on the couch.
The 2002 L'Ecole No 41 Seven Hills Vineyard Merlot. This had the essence of what I find typical in wines of the Walla Walla Valley. I love the delicacy in which the fruit blends with a distinct minerality. I found this with other varietals in the Valley from producers such as Cayuse and Garrison Creek. Beautifully made and structured to last. We drank the bottle without food because our guests were delayed. It was a wonderful experience. By far, the best merlot I have tasted from an area famous for merlot. Very memorable. After a few glasses of Charles Heidseck and the merlot, I was too pissed to remember much of the Tara other than it paled compared to the overture. A punk, mouthy wine. The food, as usual, was exquisite. Our guests checked out the cellar. About 20,000 bottles. A pic of the star, too. Wonder what it tastes like? Anyone had one? 3.5Gs. Apologies for the crappy iPhone 4 flash photography.
Well, my weekend reading has paid off to answer one of my long standing questions: why do so many Ontario red wines have nasty green pepper notes? Pyrazines. These are one of the many volatile chemicals in grape skins. They lesson and/or dissipate with the proper "hang time." For whatever reason (growing season?) Ontario grapes are harvested before enough hang time is achieved to get rid of the proper amount of pyrazines. They also give the tobacco notes if in small enough quantities and this is considered desirable by many, unlike the green pepper taste, which as someone that has tasted plenty of Ontario reds, is just plain nasty.
Green pepper can be present in Bordeaux as well, although it's usually a tertiary note that's rather subtle.
In many Ontario reds, particularly Baco Noir, Pinot, and Cab. Sauv., it's a very primary note. I actually think many people in Ontario, casual wine consumers or consumers that mainly drink the local plonk, have been trained to think this is what wine should taste like.