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.

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