Sunday, January 24, 2010

Saturday February 20, 2010 - Vintages Release

I have gone to a stars rating system which appears at the end of each review; here’s the key to those stars:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good … 3 = Average
I’m always looking for good value 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.

The two focuses for this release are Kosher wines and the Southern Rhone:

I hope this is Kosher with you …
Late last year I found myself at a kosher wine tasting and discovered that kosher wines have made definite leaps from where they once were. It seems the LCBO does an annual look at kosher wines, and that means I do too, here are the wines I would select from this release, if I were buying kosher: Looking to celebrate kosher-style then check out the Elvi Wines Cava Adar ($17.95 - #0156737) dry, crisp and minerally with yeasty and citrus notes, nice little bubbly (****). We have a crossover wine here, this one is from the Southern Rhone and falls into the Kosher category: Vignobles David le Mourre de L‘isle Cotes du Rhone 2007 ($17.95 - #0128124), nice dark fruit, touch of chocolate, juicy fruit on the tongue and a tasty finish (****½). We’ll end our look at kosher wines with this Five Stones 2009 Shiraz/Cabernet Rosé ($21.95 - #0120006), a raspberry and strawberry nose with sweet berries, especially cherries, on the palate; good for summer sipping with a side of salad, tabuli, chick pea or even falafel (****).

The Southern Rhone …
From the land of multiple varietal reds and unbelievable pricing comes this look at the South of France. Starting off with the Domaine La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2007 ($22.95 - #0156380) with its good black fruit, spice and herbs, this one is easy drinking (****). Added complexity can be found in the Domaine Saint-Pierre Vacqueyras 2006 ($25.95 - #0130013), it adds dark jammy fruit with hints of blackberry, cassis and chocolate, there’s also a nice sweet spice on the tongue (****). Ending my recommends from the South of France is the Ortas Gigondas 2007 ($23.95 - #0155440), mocha, black fruit, cassis and black cherry (****½).

Argentina – Red …
Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #0143206) – a wine that delivers in spades. Nice blackberry, vanilla, cassis, coffee, toffee and so much more, and that’s just the nose. The palate is loaded with sweet fruit, chocolate, cherry and blackberry. Delicious and well balanced. (*****)

Australia – Red …
Maxwell Silver Hammer Shiraz 2008 ($19.95 - #0089599) – this one is filled with bang-bang chocolate and black fruit, quite tasty. (****)
Thorn-Clarke 2008 Terra Barossa Shiraz ($15.95 - #0595306) – cherry, spice and sweet fruit; mouthfillingly good with red licorice, cherries and chocolate; smooth and enjoyable … I am torn between this one and the one below, side-by-side I find them an interesting comparison. (****½)
Two Hands 2008 Angels’ Share Shiraz ($24.95 - #0009480) – this one has a nose you can just fall into: licorice, blackberry and black cherry. Palate is a mix of red and black fruit, deep, dark and fruity as more airs gets into it. Don’t linger here just drink. (****½)

Australia – White …
St. Hallett 2009 Poacher’s Semillon / Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 - #0057687) – bright and zesty fruit flavours, the citrusy of the Sauv Blanc is calmed with the addition of the Semillon with a nice green apple finish and good acidity. (****)

Austria – White …
Domane Wachau 2008 Terraves Gruner Veltliner ($15.95 - #0155812) – tropical nose with kiwi and melon leading the way, palate has a fruity sweetness with a citrus tinge. (****)

Canada – Dessert …
Chateau des Charmes 2007 Late Harvest Riesling ($21.95 / 375ml - #0432930)

Canada – White …
Trius 2008 White ($19.95 - #0054957)
(British Columbia)
Peller Estates 2007 Private Reserve Chardonnay ($17.95 - #0618298) – nose of apple and pear puree leads to a slightly tropical taste on the palate with melon and citrus backing, there’s a nice sweet fruit finish of medium length. (****)

Chile – Red …
Vina La Rosa La Capitana 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.95 - #0068429) – minty, blackberry, cassis and coffee/mocha, well priced for what it delivers. (****)

France – White …
Croix de Montceau St-Veran 2009 ($21.95 - #0159046) – this Chardonnay has a nose of pear, green apple and citrus; while on the palate it’s creamy vanilla, lemon curd and mac apple. (****)

Germany – White …
Domdechant Werner Riesling Kabinett 2007 ($19.95 - #0722413) – nice talc along with some peach-pear sweetness, this is a pretty Riesling. (****)

Italy – Red …
Ascheri Fontanelle Barbera D’Alba 2008 ($17.95 - #0982462) – nice red fruit, a little earthy and leathery, mid-palate is where the fruit is with hints of vanilla mixed in. (****½)
Feudi di San Marzano 2008 Negromaro ($11.95 - #0159442) – value seekers should check out this wine with its black and juicy fruits, plum, blueberry and sweet chocolate. (****)
Castello di Querceto 2006 Chianti Classico Riserva ($29.95 - #0650754) – big black fruit with juicy hints of blackberry and cassis, there’s also some low percentage dark chocolate notes (say 65%) and smoky flavours in the mouth. (****)
La Pieve 2007 Chianti ($15.95 - #061851) – sweet fruit entry with herbs and licorice mid-palate to finish, very tasty. (****)
Rocca delle Macie 2005 Chianti Classico Riserva ($21.95 - #0930966) – sweet red cherries on the nose, juicy red fruit on the palate, here you’ll also find some herbs and toasty oak. (****½)

Italy – White …
Colli Argento 2008 Pinot Grigio ($12.95 - #0159814) – excellent value for this white loaded with pear, mineral, melon, green apple and a long lingering finish. (****½)

South Africa – Red …
Lomond Estate 2008 Syrah ($19.95 - #0146464) – I loved the 2007 so I really was looking forward to trying this one; plums, black fruit and pepper with a hint of licorice and mocha, sit on it to gain more complexity … not as good as the 2007, but still tasty and worth buying. (****½)

Spain – Red …
Marques de Val Carlos 2005 Crianza ($13.95 - #0146191) – another value wine in this release; juicy black fruit, nice spice, a touch woody and a good finish. (****)
Raimat 2005 Tempranilo/Syrah ($12.95 - #0014696) – Sweet both on the nose and in the mouth, ripe black fruit with spicy nuances, great price for something this tasty.

Spain – White …
Agnusdei 2008 Albarino ($17.95 - #0146241) – light and crisp with citrus and melon; very good mineral note here too. (****)

United States – Red …
Dominus 2006 ($124.95 - #0105890) – those who are going to buy this wine are going to buy it with or without my recommendation … it’s a good one though. (****)
McManis Family Vineyards 2008 Syrah ($18.95 - #0658104) – this is a tasty little number that has a bit of Petite Sirah in it too. Juicy and delicious with white pepper, black fruit and chocolate; sippable as well as totally gulpable … though beware of the 14.5% alcohol. (****½)
Toasted Head 2006 Shiraz ($19.95 - #0042937) – another pleasure model from the States. Toasty, peppery and very enjoyable. (****)
Van Ruitan Old Vines Zinfandel ($18.95 - #0058685) – Zin fans rejoice, this is a blockbuster from the 15.5% alcohol to the big plum, cherry cola and raspberry pie notes. (****½)

Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on February 20, 2010:
McManis Family Vineyards 2008 Syrah ($18.95 - #0658104) – United States
Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #0143206) – Argentina
Thorn-Clarke 2008 Terra Barossa Shiraz ($15.95 - #0595306) – Australia

Happy Shopping.

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