Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Saturday March 20, 2010 - Vintages Release

I am now using a 5-star 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 Easter Entertaining and Ontario wines (mostly whites) – too find out more about Ontario wine visit my website, www.OntarioWineReview.com, as for your wines for Easter read on:

Easter Entertaining …
Don’t take these wines as the gospel for Easter entertaining, there are plenty of wines that go with whatever your serving, so feel free to experiment; but according to the LCBO this is what they suggest and here’swhat I recommend from those suggestions:  We’ll start with this Italian offering, Caposaldo 2008 Pinot Grigio ($13.95 - #0159608), full of fruit with some Pinot Blanc-like sweetness, good acidity makes this one a very nice pre-dinner sipper (****).  Riesling fans will enjoy this Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler 2008 Riesling ($13.95 - #0596601) from Germany: apple blossom, honey, peach and a titch of citrus, very nice, sippable and all at a good price (****).  You’ll also find another nice white from Italy in the form of this Batasiolo Bosc DLA Rei Moscato D’asti ($16.95 - #0028175) this is one of my favourite Italian wine styles.  Moscato has a bit of fizz and loads of grapefruit / ginger ale flavours, you’ll also find apple, peach and other fruity notes – a great starter (****).  Red wine fans take note; we kick off entertaining with red sipping on this Calera 2007 Pinot Noir ($31.95 - #0933044) it has a red fruit nose and black fruit flavours, there’s just a titch of earth here and a real smoothness in the mouth.  Merlot fans will rejoice in the Clos La Chance 2006 Hummingbird Series Violet-Crowned Merlot ($19.95 - #0161307), black cherry, cocoa, cassis and a touch of spice (****).  There’s more California wine for pleasing the coming crowds: Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines 2007 Zinfandel ($19.95 - #0434605), a nose that’s fully recognizable to Zin fans and the flavours are also there: chocolate, cherry, plum, cola, vanilla, it’s all there (****½).  You’ll also want to catch a Cab for the holiday table and the Rodney Strong 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.95 - #0050427) will do the trick nicely.  Juicy red raspberry, cherry notes, plum and lovely red fruit palate (****½).  One cannot entertain with wine without a stop in France, that’s why I’ll recommend this Bouchard Pere & Fils Cote de Beaune-Villages 2006 ($24.95 - #0714998), black cherry, raspberry, good acidity, tannins and earthiness rounding it all out nice.  A little more robust wine would be the Domaine Croze-Granier Cuvee Reserve Cote du Rhone 2007 ($14.95 - #0736371), fabulous value with its minty, spicy, blackberry sweetness, sweet cherries and vanilla – interesting and involving on the palate, this one is to savour with or without food (****½). There’s the Renzo Massi Erta E China 2007 ($14.95 - #0132308) with chocolate, blackberry, black cherry, coffee and nice tannins (****).  And finally, for those that want to put a little pink action into their Easter celebration, Chateau Bellevue la Foret Rosé 2009 ($13.95 - #0219840), dry and cherry with a raspberry finish (****).

Argentina – Red …
Zuccardi Serie A 2008 Syrah ($16.95 - #041317) – follows in the very easy drinking style of other Zuccardi wines.  Nice white pepper, black and red fruit mix with a white peppered-raspberry finish. (****)

Australia – Red …
D’Arenberg 2008 The Stump Jump Shiraz ($14.95 - #0158238) – what a great price for this easy drinking red from down under.  Sweet red fruit, lots of plum, cherry and chocolate. (****½)

Chile – Red …
Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #0684597) – minty black fruit with graphite (pencil) and lots of chocolate, the glass bottle is worth $15 all on its own, this thing’s a door stop when empty. (****)

France – Red …
Chateau Grand Village 2006 ($17.00 - #0565317) – black cherry, blackberry smells with a juicy palate loaded with black fruit and cocoa. (****)
Domaine des Chanssaud 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($36.95 - #0959833) – mild palate and nose, licorice and floral smells, easy blackberry smoothness on the juicy mid-palate. (****) 
Guyot le Millepertuis Crozes-Hermitage 2007 ($22.95 - #0073890) – nice blackberry and coffee / mocha notes, there’s red berries on the palate that add both a sweet and tart flavouring. (****)

France – White …
Domaine Chene Cuvee Prestige Macon-la Roche Vineuse 2008 ($17.95 - #0159715) – nice sweet apple with pear and citrus notes. (****)
Domaine Serge Laloue Sancerre 2008 ($22.95 - #0744086) – nice citrus with mild grapefruit, good acidity and a clean finish. (****)

Italy – Red …
Feudi di San Marzano 2008 Primitivo ($12.95 - #0120915) – plumy, blueberry and lots of other juicy fruit, great value for such a palate pleaser; I’ll give an extra half mark for that. (****½)
Tenuta di Castelgiocondo Lamaione 2006 ($63.95 - #739979) – beautifully sniffable with its spicy blackberry nose, ripe and ready black fruit and nice heft from the tannins. (****)
Sartori Amarone della Valpolicella 2005 ($37.95 - #0085217) – a nose that is chocolate, herbaceous and spiced, a palate with dark fruit, spice, vanilla and cherry. (****½)
Terre di Verona 2006 Ripasso Valpolicella ($17.95 - #0117127) – nice fruit in this wine, blackberry, plum, black cherry and hints of chocolate. (****½)

Portugal – After Dinner …
Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port ($15.95 - #0979898) – still one of the best values in Ruby Port around, and one of the tastiest, think chocolate covered cherries, this is a beauty Ruby … I still have about 4 bottles left from the last time this was released but you’d better believe I’m buying more, one for all Port fans. (*****)

Portugal – Red …
Casa do Lago 2006 ($11.95) – the nose is red berries, cherries and leathery, while the palate is supple and red fruited; another good buy in this release. (****)
Redondo Latitude West 2008 ($11.95 - #0162305) – big red fruit, think the sweet red jujube kind, the taste follows suit, more good value from Portugal. (****)

United States – Red …
Cline 2007 Ancient Vines Mourvedre ($17.95 - #0066084) – big plum and blackberry with chocolate cherry notes, big 15% alcohol with watch-out flavour: watch-out or the bottle will be gone before you know it and that alcohol will sneak up on you. (****½)
Z-52 Zinfandel 2006 ($17.95 - #0161588) – nice lush plum and raspberry, hints of vanilla, cherry and chocolate. (****)

Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on March 20, 2010:
Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port ($15.95 - #0979898) – Portugal
Rancho Zabaco Sonoma Heritage Vines 2007 Zinfandel ($19.95 - #0434605) – United States
D’Arenberg 2008 The Stump Jump Shiraz ($14.95 - #0158238)  – Australia
Bonus: Domaine Croze-Granier Cuvee Reserve Cote du Rhone 2007 ($14.95 - #0736371) - France

Happy Shopping.

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