A week after the LCBO showed you their softer side by giving you the Smart Buys break, they now have you looking deeper into your wallet, staring at the dusty bunnies within and pulling out the pocket lint you have left, to see if they can ring more money out of you with yet another Vintages release. Yes it’s that odd time of year where the releases come fast and furious (after all, the LCBO’s Vintages department has been quiet for almost a month - since December 6th - so they have to validate their existence). This time out they celebrate Robbie Burns Day - not being a Scotch fan I will let others advise you there … I will however help you through the Argentinean release and the other wines from around the world. We’ll start off in Argentina then move into selections from the rest of the world … as is often the case full reviews for Ontario wines can be found on my website (www.ontariowinereview.com) - just click on the link. Time to dig deep into that stash of money grandma gave you for Christmas; nobody said your wine obsession was gonna come cheap.
I love Argentinean wine. One reason is that they have taken over the value void vacated by some Chilean wines that have raised their price because of popularity. Argentina makes great wine at affordable prices - though in this LCBO release I did not find many wines that really turned me on, there seemed to be a lot of sameness, it’s as if the LCBO buyer found one type of wine and bought all he could find in that profile. I was able to put five on my list of must gets that give you a little something special; here they are (in no particular order): J&F Lurton Flor de Torrontes 2007 ($13.95 - #0055475) which was refreshing and floral, very Gewurztraminer like. One of my perennial favourites, Clos de los Siete, 2007 ($23.95 - #0622571), black fruit grips the nose along with an appealing spiciness, plum and black cherry grab the tongue and hang on for a long ride on the finish. Las Moras 2005 Black Label Shiraz ($15.95 - #0081125) is nicely jammy with spices, blackberries and herbs. Luna Benegas 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.95 - #0107730) is a lovely drink now wine with minty undertones, black and red cherries, dark chocolate, blueberries, herbs and spices and some real bite on the tongue … be sure to notice that dark colour too. Finally, there’s the Santa Ana 2006 La Mascota Malbec ($15.95 - #0093880) smells juicy and tastes the same; lots of fruit, namely black cherry and blackberry along with some spices and herbs - interesting and ultimately appealing.
Ontario … Red …
Angels Gate 2006 Pinot Noir ($18.95 - #0090779)
Australia … Red …
Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz 2006 ($18.95 - #0090266) - juicy blackberry along with the bite of pepper - good flavour nice easy finish.
McPherson Basilisk Cabernet Balzac 2005 ($17.95 - #0077859) - eucalyptus and red berry on the nose, black fruit flavours, spices and herbs, good price for this very easy going wine; but watch out, it packs a punch at 14.5% alcohol.
Mount Langi Ghiran 2005 Billi Billi Shiraz ($17.95 - #0719575) - chocolate, blackberry and pepper, very ready now though can sit a few years.
Australia … White …
X&Y Chardonnay ($17.95 - #0048561) - vanilla, honeysuckle, a touch of honeydew melon and a splash of citrus - sound good? It is.
France … Red …
Domaine Pardon Fleurie 2006 ($20.95 - #0085001) - great colour, bright ripe cherries in the forefront, raspberry mid-palate and a strawberry finish; this is a red fruit bowl with a sprinkled pepper finish.
Chateau la Chandelliere 2005 ($26.95 - #0091314) - big spice, herbs and black fruit all rolled into one, full tannin compliment here so you’ll want to sit it for a bit.
Domaine Latour-Giraud Maranges la Fussiere 2005 ($30.95 - #0086967) - mainly cherry with big tannins, great holding potential here, and there’s a lovely cinnamon finish.
Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure Beaune 2006 ($34.95 - #0091082) - sour cherry and rhubarb which follows through on the palate along with some cinnamon and spice; the finish is strawberry, earthy, and very long.
Chateau de Treviac 2007 ($16.95 - #0670505) - this one’s got it all, big red fruit, spices, mocha, strawberries and cinnamon; good price too.
Perrin & Fils Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2006 ($18.95 - #0566844) - this one is very intense in the mouth, yet manages to be quite smooth. Black fruit dominates with herbs and cinnamon spice; there’s an easy drink ability but still with plenty of tannins for holding-power.
France … Sparkling …
Bailly-Lapierre Cremant de Bourgogne 2005 Chardonnay ($21.95 - #0680686) - nose is soft apple and citrus, crisp and clean in the mouth with a nice peachy-apple taste.
Germany … White …
Bernhard Mehrlein Riesling Kabinett Feinherb 2007 ($17.95- #0089581) - racy, fruity (read: peachy), citrus, tart green apple with a hint of sweetness.
Italy … Red …
Castello di Nieve Barbaresco 2005 ($23.95 - #0674044) - sour cherry nose, sweet dried cherries on the palate, nice.
Angio Archeo Primitivo 2006 ($12.95 - #0101410) - this one’s not going to set the world on fire but it is a wonderful quaffing wine at a good price. Plums and light red fruit dominate.
Castiglioni 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese ($23.95 - #0974394) - lively dried fruit, cherry, chocolate nuances and good acidity.
Italy … White …
Patrizi 2007 Moscato D’Asti ($14.95 - #0101766) - nice to see this style of wine at an affordable price. Very typical, grapy and peachy, no surprises here.
New Zealand … White …
Fairhall Downs 2008 Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($19.95 - #0990580) - good price for this quality; big on grapefruit and grass, nice follow through on the palate, this is a summery wine, now all we need is the warm sunshine.
South Africa …. Red …
Bergwater Vineyards 2005 Reserve Merlot ($16.95 - #0079475) - sweet herbs, nice black fruit, plums and chocolate … quite a nice wine.
Spain … Red …
Bodegas Victoria Pardina 2005 ($17.95 - #0082453) - fresh black fruit and spice, peppery pleasing palate, very boring label but a lovely wine.
USA … Red …
Chalone Vineyard 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($18.95 - #0104190) - nice balance and plenty of fruit, blackberry leads the way in this appealing wine.
Liberty School 2006 Zinfandel ($17.95 - #0041095) - jammy and plumy with rum and cherry, herbs and cola notes; alcohol is under control at 13.5%.
USA … White …
Paul Dolan 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($18.95 - #0046334) - lime and lemon with tropical and apple notes backing it up, refreshing, tasty and good acidity on the finish.
Ports and Sherries …
Sandeman Armada Rich Cream Oloroso Sherry ($18.95 - #0962126) - spices and almonds on the nose, marmalade, spices and a nuttiness on the palate; the finish has considerable length with almond being the dominant remaining flavour.
Baraode Vilar Colheita Port 1998 ($31.95 - #0087510) - big wood tannins, high acidity and big cherry flavour.
Cockburn 2003 Late Bottled Vintage Port ($16.95 - #0088278) - best value in an LBV in a long time. Cherries, chocolate, spice, great flavour, good acidity, long finish with some cinnamon sweetness.
Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on January 17, 2009:
Cockburn 2003 Late Bottled Vintage Port ($16.95 - #0088278) - Portugal
Clos de los Siete 2007 ($23.95 - #0622571) - Argentina
Bodegas Victoria Pardina 2005 ($17.95 - #0082453) – Spain