Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Saturday June 21, 2008 - Vintages Release

In an effort to streamline the bulging Vintages reports I am attempting a new leaner format. It just seems to be the right time to try this because there are 35 wines to recommend this time round with some really good reds, whites and rosés to choose from; there are even quite a few Canadian wines of note, in honour of the Canada Day focus. The other focus for this release is Wine Rivers of Europe, the pictures in the mag are beautiful, and so are some of the wines. I also find my first real proof of gouging by the liquor monopoly … more on that when we get to Cahors. As usual, Ontario reviews can be found in their entirety on my website (www.ontariowinereview.com). I would also be interested in your feedback as to which format of the report you prefer, please feel free to leave them below.

Wine Rivers …

Starting off with a Manoel D. Pocas Junior Coheita Port 1991 ($32.95 - #0581140), cherries and almonds with a slight bite on the finish from those still remaining tannins. Next we move to Germany, where the Mosel River flows, helping to make the Zilliken 2002 Riesling Kabinett ($19.95 - #0071241) the peachy, petrolly, apple, apricot beauty that it is today, there’s also a touch of citrus on the lasting finish. Into Spain we go to get the Martin Codax Albarino 2007 ($17.95 - #0984906) with its sweet nose that leads to some refreshing lemon, apple and pear on the palate.

France is our next port of call, with this red from Bordeaux: Chateau D’Agassac 2005 ($54.95 - #0075721), stunning with its big chocolate, red fruit along with blackberries and cassis - holdability to spare here. Staying in France, where we get screwed in Cahors (pardon my French) … this bottle of Chateau Haut-Montplaisir Tradition Cahors 2005 ($16.95 - #0673590) came out last year at $13.95, and now with our stronger dollar we’re paying three bucks more, go figure – but don’t punish this wine for the LCBO’s greed, it’s still a nice wine for the price with its big black fruit, leather, spice, black cherry and tobacco … but come on, three bucks? How long will we allow the LCBO to get away with this kind of price gouging?

Portugal and the Douro region bring Quinta Dos Aciprestes 2004 ($18.95 - #0703561) to the table: smooth chocolate and plum with a nice tannin grip on the finish. Spain adds two reds, both from the Rioja region (Spain’s most famous red wine area). Bodegas Lan 2001 Reserva ($20.95 - #0042929), cherry and vanilla on the taste, with plenty of tannins to keep this one in the cellar a few years. There’s also Ontanon Crianza 2005 ($14.95 - #0976910) spicy and herby with some tannin bite-back, an excellent price for such a tasty, cellarable wine.

Turning to rosé in this hot weather ahead is usually something most of us do and there are two of interest as part of this release. From the Loire (France) there’s the Domaine Les Grandes Vignes Cabernet D’Anjou 2007 ($13.95 - #00710076) slightly sweetish like a bowl of red berries, but with a touch of tart fruit on the finish - yummy in the mouth. Last pink is the Zenato Bardolino Chiaretto 2007 ($12.95 - #0045203) – good price for this strawberry, raspberry blend with a nice easy finish … cool and refreshing on a hot summer’s day – and dig that cherry-raspberry finish.

Canada Day …

Oh Canada, our home and native land, – makers of fine wines and beers – no beers this release folks, but there are some very nice wines. I’ll start with the ones from B.C., Quebec and Prince Edward Island, then link you up to my Ontario picks.

Prince Edward Island … Wine from PEI? Seriously? Yup, the land of Green Gables brings us Rossignol Estate Iced Liberty Blossom 2006 ($22.95 - #0069476 – 375ml) a fairly low acidity apple icewine with good sweetness that makes this one very shippable, though in very small amounts.

Quebec … Looking for more acidity in your apple wine? La Face Cachee de la Pomme Neige Ice Cider ($29.95 - #0039305 – 375ml) from Quebec has fresh Mac-Apple taste along with hints of Granny Smith’s tart acidity.

British Columbia … Some great Merlots are coming out of B.C. and the Mission Hill 2004 Select Lot Collection Merlot ($39.95 - #0068353) fits the bill. A special Merlot made from ultra-premium grapes, it has a lovely nose, but very tight in the mouth, still needs time to develop, but it’s gonna be a beauty in about 3-5 years, then you’ll be able to keep it for another 5 maybe more.

Ontario …
Cave Spring 2005 Brut ($29.95 - #0049981)
Chateau Des Charmes 2006 Chardonnay Musque ($16.95 - #640516)
Henry of Pelham 2007 Off-Dry Reserve Riesling ($15.95 - #0557165)
Jackson-Triggs 2006 Delaine Vineyard Riesling ($19.95 - #0017509)
Hillebrand 2005 Collectors’ Choice Cabernet/Merlot ($16.75 - #0297275)
Malivoire 2006 Gamay ($17.00 - #0591313)

White Wine …

USA – California …
Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay 2006 ($41.95 – 0066159) – lots of oak. Clean, smooth vanilla-butterscotch notes with plenty of fruit.
Thomas Fogarty 2006 Gewurztraminer ($21.95 - #0066878) – beautiful Gewurzt-smell with a rosy taste and a touch of spice; racy and refreshing.
White Truck White 2007 ($15.95 - #0075606) – cheap and cheerful party white, melony sweet – has the same appeal as the red (truck).

Argentina …
Vinitera Terra Viognier 2006 ($12.95 - #0057919) – great alternative to Chardonnay, lots of tropical fruit with peach, apple, mango and apricot. Tasty.

New Zealand …
Waimea 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($17.95 - #0714295) – great citrus appeal, vibrant, crisp, beautiful long finish.

Italy …
Masi Colbaraca Soave Classico 2007 ($16.95 - #0724161) – clean, crisp lemon zest, and Mac apple. Lingering lemony finish with crab and Granny Smith apples in the middle.

Red Wines …

USA – California …
Camelot Merlot 2003 ($14.95 - #0658070) – smooth, uncomplicated, red fruit and chocolate, juicy, very people pleasing and well priced.
Red Truck 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.95 - #0036905) – big and jammy, easy sipper for around the bbq this summer.

Chile …
Cono Sur 2007 Vision Merlot ($15.95 - #0928291) – minty-blackfruit, smooth and enjoyable with silky tannins.

Australia …
Chain of Ponds 2004 Amadeus Cabernet Sauvignon ($27.95 - #0746046) – lots of fruit with hints of spice and chocolate, lovely and lush on the tongue.
Jim Barry 2005 The Lodge Hill Shiraz ($24.95 - #0998476) – chocolate, herbs, spice and red fruit galore.
Torbreck 2005 Old Vines Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre ($22.95 - #0010223) – too good to be true, rich and delicious, bold with sweet red fruit, plenty of herbs and a kiss of chocolate.
Torlesse 2004 Pinot Noir ($20.95 - #0699330) – sour cherry, raspberry, strawberry and cinnamon. Nice balance of acids and tannins, excellent mouthfeel.

France – Midi …
Chateau Mirausse Le Grand Penchant 2006 ($18.95 - #0061267) – dark in both colour and fruit, big wine for the price.

Italy – Veneto …
Zenato Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2004 ($52.95 - #0413179) – rich, jammy, plummy, sweet fruit. Best value Amarone of release.
Zenato Valpolicella Superiore 2006 ($17.95 - #0995704) – wonderfully fruity in the mouth, tasty sipper that’ll hold 3-5 years easy.

Portugal …
Quinta Dos Quatro Ventos 2005 ($19.95 - #0902742) – black and red fruit, nice plumminess, smooth mouthfeel and a tasty finish.

Grape Guys Top 3 …
Viniterra Terra Viognier 2006 (Argentina) - $12.95
Domaine Les Grandes Vignes Cabernet D’Anjou 2007 (France) - $13.95
Torbreck Old Vines Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre 2005 (Australia) - $22.95

Happy Shopping.

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