Monday, August 2, 2010

Saturday August 21, 2010 - Vintages Release

I am 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.

We’ve got “Signature Wines” and German wines on the menu this week at Vintages, let’s take a taste …

Signature Wines …
Not sure what constitutes a “signature” wine in this release – if they mean the wine you are most noted for I think they are off the mark with this first offering from Ontario: Wildass 2008 Riesling ($19.95 - #0129700), Wildass is brought to you by Stratus and this certainly isn’t their signature wine, it’s very good but definitely not signature.  From the U.S. comes Hess Estate 2008 Chardonnay ($19.95 - #0181578) a nice mix of fruit and oak, butter, toffee, with some under-ripe apple and peach; creamy in the mouth (****).  This makes more sense in the signature department, Mount Riley 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($14.95 - #0981670), this one is mellow for a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, though it still has nice flavours: grapefruit and passionfruit lead the charge here with a long pleasing finish, price makes this one a steal (****½).  Going to California means Zinfandel, and Howling Moon 2007 Old Vines Zinfandel ($18.95 - #0057356) is a pretty good rendition of what this grape can do, plum-cherry smoothness with some vanilla adding charm (****).  From Australia is the Woop Woop 2008 Shiraz ($14.95 - #0180174) good blue and black berry with peppery chocolate undertones (****).  South Africa started their own signature grape with Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, not a wine that’s popular with everyone but this version just might change a few minds: Lammershoek 2007 Pinotage ($18.95 - #0954594).  Full of flavour with coffee and mocha notes, cherry, plum and smooth tannins, I was rightfully impressed here (****½).

German Wines …
Becker-Steinhauer 2008 Riesling Kabinett ($15.95 - #0161786) – fresh and lively Riesling with good acidity, mineral and apple-peach fruit notes (****).   
Balthasar Ress 1997 Riesling Spatlese ($21.95 - #0160762) – another week and another wine from the ‘look what we found’ department.  This is a 13 year old sweet Riesling that has stood the test of time: petrol, honey, violets, dried pear and mineral all make up this damn fine wine. (****)

Argentina – Red …
Alamos 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($13.95 - #0467944) – juicy blackberry and cherry with a satisfyingly pepper and spice finish – great price for this wine. (****) 

Argentina – White …
Accuro 2009 Torrentes ($14.95 - #0179416) – if you haven’t tried Argentina’s signature white wine, it’s time. This has a pretty Gewurztraminer-like nose with the g-wine like flavours; there’s a hint of sweetness and lovely fruit; give it a try and be ready to be impressed. (****)

Australia – Red …
Heartland 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #0058099) – supple, rich and black; I know some women who are looking for that combination … of course I meant in their wine. (****)
Two Hands 2008 Brave Face Shiraz/Grenache/Mataro ($24.95 - #0660035) – this is always a wine with face melting alcohol (15.3%) but it’s lovely and quaffable at the same time: plum, coffee, blackberry are all in plentiful supply, there is also some very nice spice on the finish. (****½) 

Canada – White …
- Click on wine name for full review

Chile – Red …
Los Rosales 2008 Chapel Vineyard Reserva Carmenere ($12.95 - #0169490) – black currant and blackberry lead the way, plum and black raspberry follow; good acidity and nice spice round it all off. (****)

France – Red …
Chateau Roquetaillade La Grange Vieilles Vignes 2006 ($21.95 - #0125666) – this one’s got the goods: good black fruit, good cedar, good spice and good backbone. (****)
Chateau Auzias Petits Messieurs Cabardes 2008 ($14.95 - #0177592) – nice black fruit, spice, licorice root, vanilla and plum; there’s some holding power here so buy some for the cellar too. (****)
Chateau de Beaucastel 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($84.95 - #0711317) – chocolate, lovely sweet fruit, this wine is absolutely delicious – and it’s priced like it knows that. (****½)
Le Ferme du Mont 2007 Le Ponnant Cotes du Rhone-Villages ($17.95 - #0171371) – funny wine here, tried two bottles, one was brilliant that other barely passable, look for the one with the winery name stacked on the label, not the words all in a row. Juicy and intense with lots of black fruit and licorice. (****)
Perrin & Fils 2007 L’Andeol Rasteau ($19.95 - #0976845) – this one is just what the doctored ordered for BBQ night: juicy red fruit, mineral, pepper, good tannins backbone, nice acidity along with a cocoa laced cherry finish. (****½) 

France – Sparkling …
Domaine Alimant-Laugner Brut Cremant d’Alsace ($17.95 - #0030593) – pleasant creamy lemon and apple flavour with a touch of sweetness. (****)
Louis Bouillot Perle D’Ivoire Brut Blanc de Blancs ($18.95 - #0048801) – a charming little bubbly with crisp apple and a nice limeade note. (****)

Italy – Red …
Rendola 2004 Brunello di Montalcino ($36.95 - #0181412) – earthy, smoky and dried plum with good acidity; the label is a direct Penfolds knock off, and it’s tasty too. (****)
A Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 ($31.95 - #0179366) – plumy, chocolaty, good acidity and well-priced for an amarone. (****)
Antiche Terre Ripasso Valpolicella 2008 ($14.95 - #0178459) – chocolate and black cherry, a hint of sundried tomato with good spice, this is a steal at that price. (****½)

Italy – Sparkling …
Banfi 2009 Rosa Regale Acqui ($14.95 / 375ml - #0179358) – lovely strawberry-raspberry bubbly along the lines of a Moscato with its 7% alcohol, light floral note makes this a delicate, feminine and delicious dessert sipper. (****)

Italy – White …
Clivus Soave 2009 Classico ($13.95 - #0181180) – light and refreshing with lemon peel and juicy mac apple. (****)

New Zealand – Red …
Babich 2008 Pinot Noir ($19.95 - #0000216) – nice bit of Pinot wine making here with sour black cherry, spice, pepper and just the right amount of acidity on the finish. (****)

Portugal – Dessert …
H.M. Borges Medium Sweet Aged 3 Years Madeira ($17.95 - #0169482) – a fine Madeira my dear with orange spice, caramel and orange peel through and through. (****)
Vinzelo Ruby Port ($12.95 - #0169623) – this is a real beauty of a ruby: ripe cherry, chocolate, spice, really delicious; with and attractive label and an attractive taste, this is the complete package. (****½)

Spain – Red …
Etim 2007 Seleccion ($15.00 - #0681346) – a value priced red with red fruit, mineral, a hint of black fruit and a little chocolate thrown in for good measure. (****)

Ukraine – Dessert …
Massandra South Coast Red Dessert Wine 2005 ($14.95 - #0013920) – looking for something different to serve after the meal, this might just do the trick; enjoyably spicy with red plums; for port fans looking to expand their horizons. (****)

Grape Guy Top 3 … what I’ll be lining up for on August 21, 2010:
Vinzelo Ruby Port ($12.95 - #0169623) – Portugal 
Heartland 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #0058099) – Australia
Lammershoek 2007 Pinotage ($18.95 - #0954594) – South Africa

Happy Shopping.

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