Monday, March 16, 2009

Saturday April 11, 2009 - Vintages Release

This LCBO’s Vintages release focuses on Easter Entertaining and Eco-Friendly wines. I understand how you get the “Eco” designation but there does not seem to be rhyme or reason as to how you get on the Easter list. As an aside to this release, there is a plug for the Somewhereness event that happens in the Spring - that’s where some of Ontario high-end, eco-friendly wineries get together for a tasting (Norman Hardie, Flat Rock Cellars, Stratus, Malivoire and Tawse) … unfortunately the LCBO tasting lab did not have these wines out for sampling so you’ll just have to wait for my Somewhereness report in the coming months. This year Somewhereness is taking place at Artscape Wychwood Barns (on Christie Street in Toronto), April 21, 2009.

And now let’s roll out the wines for April … Starting with those Eco-Friendly numbers, then the Easter hunt for good wine is on. From there is on to Ontario, where I’ll give you the links back to my website ( for full reviews of those chosen wines. The rest of the world follows in alphabetical order.

You’ll notice I have gone to a stars rating system at the end of each review. Top score for an outstanding wine is 5-stars, followed by excellent (4.5), very good (4), good (3.5) and average (3). As always I am looking for good values and I’m not afraid to give or take away a half mark for it.

Eco-Friendly Wines …
There has been so much written about Eco-Friendly, Organic and Bio-Dynamic wines that I will forego the pre-amble here and just get right into the wines you should buy, but I will say this: just because it says Eco-Friendly doesn’t mean it’s better, in fact some folks can’t stomach these wines, myself, I look at them like Kosher wines - many are god-awful but when you find one that’s good, it’s incredibly good, which makes me think that done right these wines have a good future - some of the best I have tried have come from France who has been using these techniques for longer than most. Enough … I said no pre-amble and now I’m preaching … let’s get to the wine:

Natura 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($15.95 - #0093914) - green apple, citrus and lots of grassy-grapefruit on the palate, big mouthfeel with a long persistent finish (****).
Domaine du Pre Baron Sauvignon Touraine 2007 ($15.95 - #0107128) - subtle flavours and smells, hints of grapefruit, gooseberry, and grass; great long finish … pleasant and all at a good price (*****).
Bonterra 2007 Zinfandel ($18.95 - #0530139) - cherry, vanilla, plum, cola, vanilla bean and all with a subtle sweetness from the 14.5% alcohol, though it finishes quite dry (****½).
Temple Bruer Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot 2001 ($23.95 - #0090316) - eucalyptus, blackberry on the nose, big juicy palate with blackberry, blueberry and chocolate (****½).
Domaine de la Sauveuse Cuvee Carolle Rosé 2008 ($17.95 - #0117341) - beautiful raspberry/strawberry nose that follows on the palate with just the merest hint of sweetness because of all that fruit, but there is no doubt this one’s dry. Great red fruit finish (****½).

Easter Entertaining …
I once had a friend explain Easter to me thusly: Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, his followers took his body off the cross and put it in a cave, and then on Easter Sunday he arose and emerged from the cave … and if he saw his shadow there would be six more weeks of winter. Now, I think he was pulling my leg with that one, but if you’re looking for some fun come Easter time you could tell that story or serve these wines - on the other hand, if enough wine is consumed that story just might make sense. Anyway, here’s what the LCBO deems as Easter-type wines:

Dufouleur Pere & Fils Cremant de Bourgogne Brut 2005 ($21.95 - #0047421) - yeasty, toasty apples, lots of fizz with peach, melon and citrus … a great way to kick off the party (****).
Konzelmann 2006 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal ($19.95 - #0409474 - 375ml) - a great wine to end the evening with.

Now here’s what to serve in-between:
Ironstone Vineyards 2007 Obsession Symphony ($14.95 - #0355784) - this makes for a nice light aperitif wine with its sweet floral and honeyed nose, this follows on the taste, if you’re a fan of Catawba wines or Muscat wines you’ll enjoy this one. This is one that plenty of women have swooned over. As a wine it rates 3-stars, but as panty remover (as a buddy of mine called it) it’s a 4-star wine … you decide what to do with it.
Stella Bella 2007 Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc ($18.95 - #0048546) - lots of grapefruit and gooseberry with hints of vanilla that linger on the finish; there’s even a little honeydew here (***½).
Kaiken 2007 Malbec ($14.95 - #0058339) - this wine has so much going for it, blueberry, black raspberry, spices galore, chocolate, sweet fruit, touch of oak - delicious. A 4½-star wine that’s a 5-star value.
Mastroleo Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva 2004 ($15.95 - #0121632) - a nose of cranberry, sour cherry and herbs; dried red fruit appears on the tongue, an easy sipper with sweet herbs on the finish (***½).
Malivoire 2008 Ladybug Rosé ($15.95 - #0559088)
Domaine Maby 2008 La Forcadiere Tavel ($18.95 - #0701318) - dried sour cherry on the nose, cranberry, sour cherry and a nice dry finish. This is one of those rosés that people site as one of the best, not the sweet syrupy mess you usually think of when you see pink (****).

Argentina - White …
Viniterra Terra 2008 Viognier ($14.95 - #0057919) - vanilla and very tropical, great mouthfeel. (****)

Australia – Red …
Bremerton Matilda Plains 2007 Cabernet/Shiraz ($14.95 - #0020515) – juicy cherry, blackberry, vanilla, sweet spices on the nose with a great cherry-vanilla-cola in the mouth t an amazing price. (****½)

Australia – White …
Wakefield 2007 Chardonnay ($15.95 - #0711556) - creamy oak, caramel, vanilla and butter are the smells and what you’ll taste; there’s also tropical fruit that takes it from over-oaked to very pleasant.. (***½)

Chile - Red …
G7 Gran Reserve 2005 ($18.95 - #0094136) – great juicy blackberries and cherries; mint and lots of fruit with silky tannins, simply lovely, good with food or on its own. This is a BBQ season wine. (*****)

Chile - White …
Gracia de Chile 2007 Reserve Chardonnay ($14.95 - #0093765) - nice citrus and tropical nose with delicate notes of apple, citrus, tropical fruit and melon. (****)

France – Red …
Clos Saint Jean Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2006 ($49.95 - #0070888) – a nose loaded with pepper, herbs, spices and black cherry; the spices and herbs follow in the mouth with a mix of red and black fruit and a very long finish with tough tannins. This is a big wine. (****½)

France – Sparkling …
Jacquart Extra Brut Champagne ($49.95 - #0092817) - baked and toasted apple on the nose, hints of sweet apple on the palate with a crisp citrus lingering finish. (****½)

France - White …
Andre Blanck et ses Fils Clos Schwendi Pinot Gris 2007 ($19.95 - #0686311) - a sweet entry to the mouth leads to melon rind and a long finish. (****)
Domaine Roger Luquet Terroir Pouilly-Fuisse 2007 ($29.95 - #0907931) - nice mineral, citrus and fresh fruit with a minimalist use of wood which adds a dusting of vanilla on the finish … full of elegance and finesse. (****½)
Domaine de Gourgazaud 2007 Viognier ($15.95 - #0734533) - nice crisp white with vanilla, tropical notes and a slight butteryness. (****)

Italy - Red …
La Vigna Vecchia Barbera D’Asti 2005 ($15.95 - #0106278) – herbs and spices run throughout this one, the finish delivers plums and cherries; wonderful flavour at a wonderful price, a half star added for value. (*****)
Castellani Vignetti di Campomaggio Rosso 2003 ($22.95 - #0072371) – smells of berries and black pepper; a peppery palate loaded with cherry, berries and plums. The aftertaste left a long spicy tannic finish. (****½)
Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2004 ($26.95 - #0930966) – dried fruit, spiced plum, hot cocoa, herbs with an undertone of prunes and plums; sweet spice makes up the finish. (****½)

New Zealand – Red …
Brancott 2006 Reserve Pinot Noir ($29.95 - #0093708) – earthy, sour cherry, cinnamon, vanilla with a good mix of herbs and spices. (****½)

Portugal – Red …
Burmester Red Douro 2006 ($16.95 - #0114413) – aromas of blackberry, blueberry and chocolate with the same flavours in the mouth; delicious and silky smooth. (****)
Cortes de Cima Chamine 2007 ($16.95 - #0650291) – sweet mouthfeel, plums, chocolate and juicy cherry. (****)

United States - Red …
Tangley Oaks 2005 Merlot ($21.95 - #0068155) – a cherry-mocha-spice nose which found its way onto the palate … very tasty. (****½)

United States - White …
Calera 2006 Viognier ($26.95 - #0090217) - apple and pear on the nose, great sweet taste in the mouth comes from all that fruitiness. Tropical, vanilla and those apples and pears from the nose. (****½)
Jocelyn Lonen 2006 Chardonnay ($39.95 - #0090076) - this one’s all wood with caramel, vanilla, toffee on both the nose and taste; there’s very little fruit at this time but I liked this full-bodied beauty. (****)

Take a Chance on Me …
Here’s a wine from Moldova, I know not exactly the wine capital of the world, but this one was very good. Bostavan 2005 Pinot Noir ($13.95 - #0109041) with earth, sour and black cherry, the price is good so that taking a risk doesn’t break the bank. And it’s an easy to spot bottle – you’ll see what I mean.

Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on April 11, 2009:
Domaine de la Sauveuse Cuvee Carolle Rose 2008 ($17.95 - #0117341) - France
G7 Gran Reserve 2005 ($18.95 - #0094136) - Chile
La Vigna Vecchia Barbera D’Asti 2005 ($15.95 - #0106278) - Italy

Happy Shopping.


Blizzard093 said...

Love your reviews. Thanks Michael. Are you planning on putting your podcasts on iTunes?

José Eduardo said...
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