Friday, July 31, 2009

Saturday August 1, 2009 - Vintages Release

Now I will be totally honest with you: I missed the tasting of these wines. But tonight (Friday) I zipped over to the LCBO to see if they had stocked any of the upcoming releases - I wanted to see if they had any Domaine de Grand Retour 2007 Plan de Dieu. They did, so I was not disappointed ... furthermore I opened a bottle tonight and was blown away. This $11.95 beauty is worth every penny and then some. My review of this wine can be found here ... If you are going to be in Vintages this weekend search out this bottle and buy as many as you can.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Saturday July 18, 2009 - Vintages Release

In this release we are heading over to Europe to check out what going on in Italy and Germany. But this is a very specific tour, in Italy we are checking out the regions of Campania, Sicily and Puglia; while in Germany we’ll taste some wines from a single vineyard made by four different winemakers, it makes for an interesting tasting, and some interesting buying.

I have gone to a stars rating system which appears at the end of each review; here’s how those stars break down:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good … 3 = Average
I’m always looking for good values and I’m not afraid to give or take away a half mark for it – I’ll let you know when I’ve done so.

Southern Italy – Campania, Sicily & Puglia …
We take you now to the South of Italy where we find a number of delicious wines to keep you sipping deep into the summer. Let’s start you off with the white wine I feel is well worth your time and effort to search out this Saturday, the Vinosia 2007 Essenza di Malvasia ($15.95 - #0122341) a wine with a pretty floral and candied nose with melon, citrus and mac apple dominating the flavour – the finish contains hints of floral and spice (****). Now it’s time to steer you in the direction of the reds, there are lots coming out but to my taste buds only 4 are worth the dough. Zin fans will get a kick out of the Gladiator 2006 Primitivo di Manduria ($14.95 - #0023119), light in style with cherry, plum, vanilla and sweet cinnamon, tasty and very quaffable (****). The Menhir No. Zero Negroamara 2006 ($14.95 - #0123364) is a simple yet enjoyable wine at a good price. It’s a great cherry, plum and vanilla concoction that’ll go great with ribs (****). Tharru Cannonau de Sardegna 2006 ($14.95 - #0121053) has ripe cherry, sage, dried herbs and floral notes, smooth and pleasant (****). Finally, the Fondo Antico Nero D’Avola 2007 ($16.95 - #0121079) with it’s black cherry, touch of plum, sweet black pepper and good finish is a good acquisition for your night around the BBQ (****½).

Germany’s Single Vineyard …
All of the wines being released here come from the Wehlener Sonnenuhr vineyard in the Mosel – one vineyard very different tastes. The one I was most impressed with was the Studert-Prum 2007 Riesling Spatlese ($24.95 - #0114777) with its nice tart citrus backbone intermingled with peach sweetness and touch of minerality; nice mouth feel and quite tasty with a long finish (****).

Ontario … full reviews can be found on my website (
White … Flat Rock Cellars 2008 Riesling ($16.95 - #0043281)

Australia – Red …
Katnook 2005 Founder’s Block Shiraz ($17.95 - #0108167) – nothing tricky here just a good black fruit, chocolate and white pepper Shiraz, delivered at a good price. (****)

Chile – White …
Carmen 2007 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 - #0031096) – a nice citrus, lemon-lime with herbaceous notes on the nose. Pleasant and a good price for one of summer’s favourite companions. (****)
William Cole Vineyards 2008 Alto Vuelo Reserve Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 - #0126888) – another tasty treat in a Savvy B. Minerals and wet stone surround the citrus in this one giving it more subtle flavours. This one is not as in your face but is still very tasty. (****)

France – Red …
Chateau Cote Montpezat 2003 ($21.95 - #0045658) – this wine is black fruit dominated with herbs and spice, a bit of cedar and some coffee notes – this is pleasant now and will age nicely for a couple more years. (****)
Clos Puy Arnaud 2005 ($45.00 - #0500686) – sweet black fruit, with mineral notes and red licorice, but don’t be fooled, there are still plenty of tannins here to help in the ageing process. (****)
Chateau Haut-Montplaisir Tradition 2006 ($16.95 - #0673590) – good Cahors wines will age forever, this one has sweet black fruit and lot of spice. There are herbs, black licorice and graphite - you’ll even find some tobacco notes. (****½)

Italy – Red …
Terre da Vino Essenze 2004 Barolo ($44.95 - #0092460) – big on cherry with nice spiced plum and herbs on the nose, similar on the palate, quite smooth with a touch of dried leaves on the finish. (****)

New Zealand – White …
Kim Crawford 2007 Pinot Gris ($19.95 - #0680983) – pleasant and slightly sweet with peach and apple; you’ll also find a pear-apricot combo on the finish. (****)

South Africa – White …
Man Vintners 2008 Chenin Blanc ($13.95 - #0126847) – a staple in South Africa, and a wine we see so little of here – but this one is so summery it must be tried; better yet it is so inexpensive it must be bought. Apple, lemon and floral smells lead to a light, crisp and easy taste on the palate – great lime finish takes you to the end. (****½)

Spain – Dessert …
Torres Floralis Moscatel Oro ($16.95 - #0642173 – 500ml) – a nose and taste that will draw you in for multiple tastes and smells: orange peel, spices, melon rind, dried apricot and peaches along with cinnamon/nutmeg. There’s a little bite at the end but this just adds to the enjoyment. (****½)

Spain – White …
Gramona 2007 Gessami ($19.95 - #0115782) – Spanish whites don’t usually thrill me, but this one had something that made me stand up and take notice. Pleasant fruity, grapey and spiced pear notes on the nose; good mouth feel with some sweet, some floral and some baked pear. Great summer sipper. (****½)

Spain – Red …
Can Bonastre Crianza 2006 ($18.95 - #0115733) – black currant and black cherry with lots of tannins and a brawny mouth feel, this one has at least 5 years ahead of it. (****½)
Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 ($9.95 - #0071712 – 375ml) – keep your eyes on the prize here, looks like a great deal but it’s a half bottled; other than that this is a delicious tipple with blackberry and other black fruits, herbs, wood, coffee and mocha flavouring. Yum. (****)

United States – Red …
Cartlidge & Browne 2007 Pinot Noir ($22.95 - #0101824) – deep rich cherry nose and black cherry flavours with an earthy, sour cherry finish. This is one good Cali-Pinot at a decent price. (****½)
Ravenswood 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel ($22.95 - #0942599) – lively raspberry and blackberry with some mineral notes, cinnamon, vanilla and spice; there’s also some nice herb character here too. (****)

Hogue 2007 Riesling ($13.95 - #0363291) – The price is what makes this one just as exciting as the taste. A slightly sweet palate with peach and apple on the mid-palate finishing with apricot, pear and a hint of minerality. (****½)

Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on July 18, 2009:
Flat Rock Cellars 2008 Riesling ($16.95 - #0043281) – Canada
Fondo Antico Nero D’Avola 2007 ($16.95 - #0121079) – Italy
Man Vintners 2008 Chenin Blanc ($13.95 - #0126847)) – South AfricaHappy Shopping.

Happy Shopping.