To end off the triple header of releases this month the LCBO is parading out the 90+ wines; those wines that have been touted by the likes of Robert Parker Jr., Jay Miller, Harvey Steinman, the duel James: Halliday and Suckling – along with plenty of other scorers that rate on the 100 point scale.
As usual full reviews for Ontario wines can be found on my website (www.ontariowinereview.com) - just click on the wine. Now it’s time to see what trouble you can get into when picking 90+ point wines … of course you can take their advice, most of the 90-pointers are pretty good … my job here is to point you in the direction of those that really deserved their score … and here they are:
It’s hard to argue with my esteemed colleagues – all these wines offer up something interesting, but when I do, my scoring I add a half-star, or take away one, for this little thing we call “value”: a wine that delivers on its price point. Here are wines that I would rank 4-stars or higher using price as one of my guiding factor … Gloria Ferrer 2005 Chardonnay ($26.95 - #083345) good fruit, but it’s the butterscotch and toffee notes that really draw you in – a long finish with lots of caramel and butter in the mouth. Edmeades 2006 Zinfandel ($21.95 - #105924), regular readers know I am a fan of this grape, this wine gives you what you are looking for, black pepper, cherry, plum, cola and vanilla. Heggies Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay ($23.95 - #903559) from Australia offers a nice apple and peach fruit profile with vanilla and a buttery-toastiness. Also from Australia is the Glaetzer 2006 Bishop Shiraz ($34.95 - #627869), which has sweet fruit, lots of pepper and big alcohol (15.8%). Those who enjoyed the red label Pillar Box might just like to make the jump to the black label 2006 Reserve Shiraz ($24.95 - #090324) with its coffee, toasty, tobacco and spice box nose and palate – though if you thought the 15.8 of the previous wine was high the 16% on this one just might kill you. Finally, from Australia, is the 3 Ring Shiraz 2006 ($23.95 - #015495), a real beauty with smooth Shiraz tastes of blackberry and pepper, there’s even a dollop of chocolate on the mid-palate. My French favourite in this category is the Clos de Sixte 2006 ($26.95 - #076349) big and rich with sweet vanilla and blackberry on the palate. Last, but certainly not least, there’s this Spanish beauty. The Spanish sure know how to deliver these days; this wine is the best value of the whole release: Las Rocas 2006 Granache ($15.95 - #095190) with spices, chocolate and the most delicious black cherries … what an amazing palate for such a little price, buy a bunch of this one and enjoy – many times, for many years to come (at least 5).
Ontario - White …
Inniskillin 2007 Winemaker’s Series Two Vineyards Riesling ($17.95 - #105387)
Chile … Red …
Errazuriz 2007 Wild Ferment Pinot Noir ($19.95 - #510396) – keep your eyes open for wild ferment wines, usually they make for some of the more exotic tipples; vanilla, cinnamon, black fruit and chalky fine tannins – it may not sound different but it is.
Chile … White …
William Cole 2008 Mirador Selection Sauvignon Blanc ($13.95 - #093948) – crisp with lots of acidity and grapefruit.
France - Red …
Perrin 2006 Rasteau L’Andeol ($19.95 - #976845) – sweet fruit with chocolate notes.
Chateau de Gaudou Cahors 2005 ($14.95 - #104935) – big smoky black fruit with tobacco nuances; there’s the typical tough tannins found in Cahors wines with blackberry and cassis – nicely ageable, 5-7 easy, at a more than affordable price.
France – White …
Jean Geiler 2007 Gewurztraminer Reserve Particuliere ($17.95 - #106864) – can’t beat a beautifully made Gewurzt; soft and rosy, nice palate, slightly perfumey nose – there’s also some awesome orange peel here. This is how Gewurzt should be made.
Italy - Red …
Bolla Amarone della Valpolicella Classico le Origini 2004 ($45.95 - #651547) – plum, chocolate, cherry, herb and spice with a little oxidization on the palate.
Pasqua Rosso Veronese Le Soraie 2005 ($18.95 - #097568) – berry, cherry, plum and chocolate nice finish with good tannins.
Spain – Red …
Juan Gil 2007 Monastrell ($14.95 - #094888) – I love Juan’s wines; this one has sweet red cherries a touch of vanilla and is very easy on the palate; there’s also the potential for a little aging here, say 3-4 years.
USA … Red …
Cline 2007 Ancient Vines Zinfandel ($19.95 - #719211) – beautiful, plum, chocolate and black fruit; a robust full flavoured Zinfandel.
Francis Coppola 2006 Diamond Collection Blue Label Malbec ($27.95 - #076133) – a nice wine that’s rare for the region, meaning you don’t see many on their own; smooth blackberry and white pepper.
Hess 2005 Allomi Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.95 - #906420) – blackberry, black cherry, chocolate on the nose, cocoa and quite fruity on the palate.
Sherries and Port …
Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown Rare Old Brown Oloroso (#11.95 - #437467) - a steal of a sherry for those sweeter-sherry-lovers, caramel, pecan pie, almond and a touch of orange peel.
Ferreira Quinta Do Porto 10-Year-Old Old Tawny Port ($29.95 - #088005) – sweet and sour cherry with some nuttiness and dried fruit.
Fonseca Bin 27 Reserve Port ($16.95 - #156877) – sweet red and black fruit, nice hint of chocolate, spices and herbs, good smoothness with a little bite on the finish.
Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on January 31, 2009:
Jean Geiler 2007 Gewurztraminer Reserve Particuliere ($17.95 - #106864) - France
Williams & Humbert Walnut Brown Rare Old Brown Oloroso (#11.95 - #437467) - Spain
Juan Gil 2007 Monastrell ($14.95 - #094888) – Spain