Thursday, April 1, 2010

Saturday May 1, 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 the 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.

Sprits and Cocktail seem to be one of the focuses this time out, plus there is a look at some New Zealand wine and Zinfandel/Primitivo … not being a mixed drink kinda guy (outside of a Caesar every now and then) I will stick with reviewing the wines, but I do make comment on one of the spirits:

Cocktails …
Taboo Genuine Absinthe ($59.95 / 500ml - #0162099) – this is a Absinthe from British Columbia, Canada, and this drink might be trying to kill you, big 60% alcohol and plenty of herbs throughout.

New Zealand …
This country is most known for it’s Sauvignon Blanc and it’s Pinot Noirs, but they produce so much more, take a look:
White …
Greywacke Vineyards 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($21.95 - #0164228) – this wine is partially barrel fermented which gives it a bit of a different mouth feel than what you usually find in Kiwi Sauv Blancs, though there’s still a good crispness, lemon, lime and grapefruit throughout. (****)
Millton Opou Vineyard 2007 Chardonnay ($22.95 - #0092478) – appealing nose that lures you in, then it zaps you with fruit and butterscotch; a little bit tropical with hits of vanilla. (****½)
Momo 2008 Pinot Gris ($18.95 - #0163535) – crisp on the palate, almost Gewurztraminer-like on the front palate, apple and floral with a nice length of finish. (****)
Mount Nelson 2008 Sauvignon Blanc ($17.95 - #0694752) – a decent price for a more than decent Sauvignon Blanc, not over the top in any way showing restraint on the usual citrus and grassy notes.  Melon and pear join the usual grapefruit, lemon zest and grass. (****½)
Red …
Framingham 2008 Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #0699322) – this is a really good example of what New Zealand can do with Pinot Noir:  mineral and currants on the nose; blackberry, cassis, black cherry in the mouth with nice tannins - good flavours. (****½)
Lake Chalice 2008 Pinot Noir ($19.95 - #0163964) – this one is a little more fruit forward than the Pinot above, there’s more red fruit and more black fruit present. (****)
Wild Rock 2007 Gravel Pit Red ($16.95 - #0163600) – not your typical New Zealand blend, Merlot and Malbec, along with the father/son combo of Cabernets: Sauvignon and Franc; it has a good fruit forward style with enough spice to keep it interesting, good acidity and well balanced tannins. (****)

Zinfandel / Primitivo …
These two grapes are kissing cousins, one comes from Italy the other the United States.  I have an affinity for both, but I think this time out the Zins beat the Prims by a long shot, in fact no Primitivo made the cut, I’ve tasted much better go through the Board.
Cline 2008 Ancient Vines Zinfandel ($17.95 - #0719211) – this is the quintessential Zin of the release, it has everything the Zin fan looks for, including an under $20 price tag.  Made from 80-100 year old vines it shows great elegance: vanilla, cherry, red raspberry fruit, touch of white pepper, lots of chocolate and if it had sat in my glass longer I’m sure I would have more to say.  Price meets quality in a rare show of superior value for an outstanding wine. (*****)
Ironstone 2008 Old Vines Zinfandel ($17.95 - #0951889) – plum, vanilla, cola, blackberry all very sweet and juicy. (****)
Truchard 2007 Zinfandel ($21.95 - #0054858) – this is a tasty little Zin with lots of fruit. (****)
Zig Zag Zin 2007 Zinfandel ($18.95 - #0039982) – nice fruit flavours of cherry and strawberry, there’s also vanilla and cola notes in this one.  The best Zig Zag I’ve tasted to date. (****½)

Argentina …
Renacer Punto Final Malbec 2008 ($13.95 - #0146373) – chocolate leads the way with juicy blackberry and nice black cherry. (****)

Australia …
Two Hands 2008 Gnarly Dudes Shiraz ($24.95 - #0660043) – there’s just so much going on here: spices and smoked meat with some blueberry and black fruit on the nose; the palate has a hint of sweetness, mineral, herbs, chocolate and dark fruit. (****½)

Australia …
Yalumba 2008 The Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay ($15.95 - #0625103) – nose of apple, melon and pear, the palate shows nice structure with a pleasant tropicality, all at a good price. (****)

Austria …
Salomon Undhof 2009 Salomon Groovey Gruner Veltliner ($12.95 - #0669606) – here’s your chance to try a groovy Gruner and enhance your summer at the same time; pear and apricot on the nose, crisp pear, and peach on the palate.  Tasty and deliciously crisp.  This one is well priced, especially for those who want to familiarize themselves with the grape … extra half mark for value. (****½)

France …
Heimberger 2008 Les Origines Vieilles Vignes Riesling ($17.95 - #0168955) – complex Riesling from 30+ year old vines; mineral, apple, peel, citrus rind and an unusual baking spice, decent acidity brings it all together. (****)
Domaine du Pre Baron 2009 Sauvigon Blanc ($14.95 - #0107128) – nice grapefruit zestiness along with a good grassiness and a nice lengthy finish. (****½)
Cuvee du Vatican 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($36.95 - #0719120) – lush fruit of red and black with nice sweet flavours, big 15% alcohol, this one drinks well now but will also age nicely going forward. (****½)
Domaine Montmartel Visan 2007 ($15.95 - #0130062) – rosy and blueberry with cherry liqueur notes, almost 15% alcohol (14.9), some spice and a long finish. (****)
Perrin & Fils Tavel Ros̩ 2009 ($19.95 - #0680801) Рelectricity in pink from the Rhone; dry raspberry-cherry combination, dry yet fruity. (****)

Greece …
Kir-Yianni Paranga 2008 ($13.95 - #0062596) – very pretty nose of black fruit, namely black cherry; the palate is supple and smooth full of red and black fruit, good structure, with some chocolate and hints of licorice, both red and black mixed together.  Great value, buy a few. (****½)

Italy …
Candido Riserva Salice Salentino 2005 ($12.95 - #0529487) – a sweet sipper full of red cherries some spice and enough tannin structure to drink during the meat course. (****)
Castellani 2005 Chianti Riserva ($14.95 - #0970707) – herbs and spice with a touch of red fruit, nice tannins all at a good price. (****)

Portugal …
Montinho Sao Miguel 2008 ($12.95 - #0114405) – tons of fruit on the nose, lovely big fruit palate, almost sweet, this is an easy recommend for around the BBQ this summer. Another well priced wine. (****)
South Africa …
Paradyskloof 2008 Pinot Noir ($23.95 - #0106119) – the earthiness of South African wines works here and is not over-powering, sour cherry, good structure that should have this wine developing nicely over the next few years. (****)

Spain …
El Maestro Sierra Pedro Ximenez Sherry ($19.95 - #0069534) – orange peel, caramel, toffee … extra thick and delicious. (****)
Burgo Viejo Reserva 2001 ($19.95 - #0168823) – strawberry and oak meet in the glass, hints of fruit, hints of wood on the nose; with 9 years under its belt this wine shows nicely: smoky, meaty, spicy and herby. (****)
Mustiguillo Mestizaje 2007 ($16.95 - #0168302) – deep dark colour, heavy on the dark fruit with a perfumed finish which makes it interesting and enjoyable. (****)
Codorniu Seleccion Raventos Brut Cava ($14.95 - #0521773) – nice fruit of lemon and apple, crisp acidity and freshness, nice bubbly at a good price. (****)

United States …
White Oaks 2007 Syrah ($17.95 - #0161315) – delicious and decently priced, blackberry, cherry and slightly smoky. (****)
La Crema 2007 Chardonnay ($29.95 - #0158683) – a well made Chardonnay that has plenty of toasty buttery notes with vanilla, pineapple core and crisp pear; it’s a nice mix of wood and fruit. (****½)

Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on May 1, 2010:
Cline 2008 Ancient Vines Zinfandel ($17.95 - #0719211) – United States
Framingham 2008 Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #0699322) – New Zealand
Kir-Yianni Paranga 2008 ($13.95 - #0062596) – Greece

Happy Shopping.