Friday, October 20, 2017

November 2017 wines

November 2017 wines: 10 Tasted of 15 

To the Top, June 23 2016

Cheers, Ww

LINEUP: Reds, Whites, Rosés and Bubblies

  • Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2015, 91a-2 -- V, California, USA, #678698 $17.95
  • Gnarly Head Pinot Noir 2015, 88-1 -- G, California, USA, #358911 $15.95   
  • Root: 1 Carmenère Colchagua 2015, 85 -- G, Colchagua, Chile, #350546 $10.95*
  • Antiche Terre Venete Ripasso Valpolicella 2014, r-v -- V, Veneto, Italy, #178459 $16.95
  • Thorn-Clarke Barossa Grenache Shiraz 2016, r-v -- G, Barossa Valley, Australia, 14.5% XD 2g/L, #499616 $17.95
  • Don’t Hesitate Shiraz 2015, r-v -- V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #434159 $17.95
  • Brazin (B) Old Vine Zinfandel 2014, r-v -- V, Lodi, California, #256750 $18.75

  • Goss Creek Chenin Blanc 2015, 85 -- V, Napa, California, #512715 $15.95
  • Spier Signature Chardonnay 2017, 84 -- G, Stellenbosch, South Africa, #487181 $11.95
  • William Cole Mirador Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2016, 83 -- V, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #093948 $14.95
  • Bliss Sauvignon Blanc 2015,  83  --  V, California, USA, #512772   $18.95
  • Susana Balboa Crios Torrontés 2016, 82 -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #001834 $13.95
  • The Landings Map Series Sauvignon Blanc 2016, r-v  -- V, Adelaide Hills, Australia, #490680 $15.95

  • Tessellae Rosé 2016, 84 -- V, Roussillon, France, #450817 $15.95

  • Foss Marai Etxra Dry NV,  90-1  -- V, Veneto, Italy,  #729392  $19.95

 (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar,  
NR - Not Recommended)


THORN-CLARKE BAROSSA GRENACHE SHIRAZ 2016, Barossa Valley, Australia, 14.5% XD 2g/L, #499616 $17.95 (Tasted tbd)

A General listing. My notes:
TESSELLAE ROSÉ 2016, Roussillon, France, 12.0% XD 5g/L, #450817 $15.95 (Tasted October 19, 2017)

A Vintages release on September 30, 2017.  My notes: A delicate pink grapefruit colour with lasting dryness from the rind and cream from a soft pulp. Serve chilled and sip slowly to relish the faint citric nuances or pair with crisp tempura veggie pieces and stretched Tiger shrimp drizzled with lemon/lime squeezes. Swirling shows a film that runs quickly fragmenting as it drops from a thin rim. Buy in to relish a meal with complimenting textures and flavours – in our case, halibut on buttered rice. A drink now.  84

WILLIAM COLE MIRADOR SELECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 12.5% XD 2g/L, #093948 $14.95 (Tasted October 13, 2017)

Released by Vintages on August 5, 2017. My notes: A pale yellow colour spreads from a rim that wrinkles spontaneously from the first swirl. Serving well chilled to allows a delicate freshness introduce the wine. Sharp, dry & grassy, a balanced citrus without distinct fruit. Quaffing gives a fuller expression of how this white will complement roast chicken, grilled shrimp, scallops or Thai. A different sauvignon blanc to be tried a few times to find its place. 83

GOSS CREEK CHENIN BLANC 2015, Napa, California, 12.1% D 8g/L, #512715 $15.95 (Tasted October 11, 2017)

Released by Vintages on August 19, 2017. My notes: From the Seghesio Wineries of Napa.  A pale blond in the glass to be served chilled (10oC) to enjoy the mild Bosc and lime tang. A swirl leaves a thin film with micro wrinkles around the rim. A luscious first sip wakens the buds from tip of tongue and gives a warming finish on the throat. A different white to be added to a flight possibly to test the breadth of guest tasters. My favoured sipping temp (14oC) is when the chill drops and the flavour and body becomes sufficient to balance a chalky dryness. A wine that matched our entrée of seared Tiger shrimp and creamy sauce on linguine with asparagus, diced shallots and red pepper slices. A drink now. 85

ANTICHE TERRE VENETE RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA 2014, Veneto, Italy, 13.5% D 9g/L, #178459 $16.95 (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on September 30, 2017. My notes:

THE LANDINGS MAP SERIES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 12.9% XD 2g/L, #490680 $15.95 (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on July 8, 2017. My notes: Produced by Atkins Family Vineyards

SPIER SIGNATURE CHARDONNAY 2017, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 13.0% XD 4g/L, #487181 $11.95 (Tasted October 7, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: A pale yellow that swirls a firm ragged film dropping slow tears. Serve chilled for its delicate doughy scent building to a mild apricot at 14oC. A touch of caramel and a hint of sweet pea opens up to a surprising tang quickly subsiding leaving a lemon/lime flavour, chalk dry with noticeable fullness. Have with Asian sweet and sour chicken with pineapple chunks or shrimp tempura bento . Enjoyable as a casual sipper for its long finish. 84

ROOT: 1 CARMENÈRE COLCHAGUA 2015, Colchagua, Chile, 13.5% XD 5g/L, #350546 $10.95* (Tasted October 2, 2017)

A General listing *priced until October 8, 2017 - regular price $12.95. My notes: A black plum shade that lays a gripping film eventually dropping several slow tears. A sniff senses an initial blackberry slowly building into a lighter version releasing sharp jabs and for a short time. A quaff lines the mouth with dry berry paired with a warm brightness with some appeal. Fruit is reserved slow to develop making this a snack red: pepperoni stick/pizza or balance with Texas chili. Sipped beforehand it could put focus on following fuller and softer reds. Cellaring would be optimistic although price could encourage laying down a case. 85

SUSANA BALBO CRIOS TORRONTÉS 2016, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.0% XD 2g/L, #001834 $13.95 (Tasted October 9, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 3, 2017. My notes: A pale blond that leaves a light film and a wrinkled meniscus that shrinks to nothing. Nary a scent to tempt the nostrils and dry as chalk on the palate. A concentration of delicate fumes form a moderate finish. The serving temperature and a balance of light citrus leaves a favourable impression. Save for the summer patio – possibly adding a squirt of lime, lemon or cranberry. 82

DON'T HESITATE SHIRAZ 2015, McLaren Vale, Australia, 15% XD 2g/L, #434159 $17.95 (Tasted tbd)
Released by Vintages on August 19, 2017. My notes:

GNARLY HEAD PINOT NOIR 2015, California, USA, 13.5% D 8g/L, #358911 $15.95 (Tasted October 5, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: From Delicato Vineyards. A light, smoke scented red cherry is apparent on initial sniff. A swirl leaves a silky layer flowing a ring of fast tears. I suggest quaffing for a concentration of a balanced fruit, smoke and tender body – much to be appreciated rather than analyzing immediately. Pair with veal, pork tenderloin, ham steak or duck/turkey. Aerating may mellow increase body at the expense of overall flavour. Taste now for its enjoyable sharpness and length then serve an alternate with the meal although we served with our Thanksgiving dinner buying ahead to take advantage of the current value.  88 

BRAZIN (B)OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2014, Lodi, California, 14.5% XD 4g/L, #256750 $18.75  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on May 13, 2017 from Delicato Vineyards.  My notes:

GNARLY HEAD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2015, California, USA,  14.5%  D 7g/L,  #678698  $17.95   (Tasted October 19, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 3, 2017. Produced by Delicato Vineyards.  
My notes: A deep blackberry colour, smooth with a furry texture, immediately warming that follows the throat for a long finish. A bright tang holds the palate’s attention start to end. Sip solo for its balanced blends of berries, herbal spice and drying fullness then follow on with a mains of sirloin steak, liver and onions or standing rib. Cellar several years to soften sharpness or aerate before serving. An expressive red deserving separate focus.  91a

BLISS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, California, USA,  13.5%  XD  5g/L, #512772   $18.95   (Tasted October 19, 2017

Released by Vintages on August 19, 2017.  A product of Wineteam, Inc and rated 90 by Jim Gordon, Wine 
Enthusiast, April 1, 2017.  My notes: A swirl leaves a thin film hanging from a finely wrinkled rim. A fine grassy citrus aroma is noticeable when offchill (14oC). Continued sipping builds a creamy layer, with a sumptuous sweetness and polite tang both cracker and hummus/dip ready. The finish builds then maintains a prominent chalk touch. Enjoyable for its bright and dry contrast. 83

FOSS MARAI EXTRA DRY NV, Veneto, Italy, 11.5%  D  14g/L,  #729392  $19.95  (Tasted October 21, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 3, 2017.  
My notes: ‘Exuberance’ comes to mind when popping the cork. Large, small with extreme volume in rapidly rising bubbles – from tiny to large rushing to the rim in Granny Smith effervescence. Colour is a clear almond. Sipping brings an aroma and fruit flavour quickly to the palate laying down a fresh tartness to quench while pairing with a complete cheese and salty cracker range. Clink glasses and adlib a blessing as the lively spritz partners with nibbles - stuffed mushrooms, cheddar and bacon wrapped asparagus, also seared garlic shrimp. Entertainment value is tops while you gulp the last mouthful. 90

Sunday, October 01, 2017

October 2017 wines

October wines: 14 tasted of 15

Exposed strata, Chile
Cheers, Ww

LINEUP: Reds, Whites, Rosés and Bubblies:

  • Sur de los Andes Premium Blend Malbec/ Cabernet Sauvignon 2010,  92-3  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #411298  $15.95
  • McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015,  90-2  --  V,  California, USA, #212126  $19.95
  • Oscar’s Estate Vineyard Shiraz/Viognier2013,  89a-1  --  V, Barossa Valley, Australia, #287961  $18.95
  • Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2016, 87-1 -- V, Boekenhoutskloof, South Africa, #595280 $15.95
  • Woodwork Pinot Noir 2015, 83a  --  G,  Sonoma, California,  #428839  $17.45
  • Marco Zunino Expresion Reserva Malbec 2014, 82  --  V,Mendoza, Argentina,  #494575  $17.95

  • De Wetshof Limestone Hill Unwooded Chardonnay 2016, 91-2 -- V, Robertson, South Africa, #419622 $16.95
  • J. Lohr Riverstone Arroyo Seco Monterey Chardonnay 2016,  91-2  --  Monterey, California,  #258699   $19.95
  • Château de Nages Vieilles Vignes Costières de Nîmes 2014, 90-1 -- V, Rhône, France, #479659 $19.95
  • Root: 1 Sauvignon Blanc 2016, 89-2 -- G, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #445882 $12.95
  • Beringer Founder' Estate Chardonnay 2015, 87-1 -- G, California, USA, #534230 $17.95
  • Pierre-Luc Bouchard Muscadet Sèvre & Maine sur Lie 2015, 80 -- V, Loire, France, #082461 $14.95
  • Chloe Chardonnay 2015,  r-v  --   G,  Sonoma County, California,  #392597  $19.95  

  • Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut Cava NR, 91-2 -- V, Penèdes, Spain, #392548 $19.9519.95
  • Martini & Rossi Asti NV,  85 --  G, Italy, #361790  (200gm)$4.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


CHÂTEAU DE NAGES VIEILLES VIGNES COSTIÈRES DE NÎMES 2014, Rhône, France, 13.0% XD 5g/L, #479659 $19.95 (Tasted August 17. 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 18, 2017. Rated 91 by Jeb Dunnuck, ( March 3, 2016. My notes: A gold brick yellow. A judicious blend of 40% Roussanne, 30% Grenache Blanc and 15% Clairette. The rest is Viognier and Bourboulenc. Tears cluster around ripples in the rim slowly forming then dropping. The first sip has an appealing quince cleansing the palate with a slight acid. Paired well with rigatoni and chicken slices buried in a creamy Monterey Jack sauce. Additional flavours of broccoli flowers and chunks of asparagus complemented a good sprinkling of grated parmesan as a topping. Some warmth could be sensed from a moderate alcohol level. Serve chilled then allow to build expression. 90

PIERRE-LUC BOUCHAUD MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE SUR LIE 2015, Loire, France, 12% XD 2g/L, #082461 $14.95 (Tasted August 21, 2017)

Release by Vintages on July 22, 2017 and Rated 89 by Michael Godel( November 30, 2016. My notes: A faded grassy-green-yellow tainted with little aroma poured from the bottle. Nicely tart with slight lime and predominant chalk for a first impression. Served chilled there is hope for more… there’s a short finish ending with a mineral base and a bright touch. A flexible ‘seafood’ white or hot patio sipper. Add an ice bucket and a slice of lime if you’re slow on the sip. 80

ELYSSIA GRAN CUVÉE BRUT CAVA, Penedes, Spain, 12.0% XD  11g/L, #392548  $19.95  (Tasted August 15, 2017)

Released by Vintages on August 5, 2017. My notes: From large to micro bubbles playfully jostle on opening making this a pleasure to share with a crowd. Also pleasant for its delicate almond and pear scent with bountiful bubbles adding to the brightness. The colour has a true golden gleam conveying a sense of richness. The first sip builds expanding flavour and textures for a unique start to a long finish. Suitable for a toasty beginning of a special occasion, as a cooling sipper on a summer patio or a morning wakeup with a slice of warm buttered rye or grapefruit.  91

MARTINI & ROSSI ASTI  NV, Italy, 7%  S  82g/L,  #361790 (200gm)  $4.95  (Tasted September 19, 2017

A General listing. My notes: Mainly large bubbles bursting on opening settling quickly to a sparse effervescence. A modest nose with a healthy dose of sweetener. Difficult to recognize any accompanying fruit neither at first sip nor as nominal ’flavour’ builds. Finish is short lacking boldness and length. A toaster for small events, potable and easily portable but not to impress. Sip slowly and solo. 85 

DE WETSHOF LIMESTONE HILL UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2016, Robertson, South Africa, 14.0% XD 4g/L, #419622 $16.95 (Tasted September 5, 2017)

Released by Vintages on August 19, 2017. My notes: Rated 91 by James Molesworth (December 15, 2016). A delicate lemon shade with a moderate film wrinkled at the rim and receding slowly. The fragrance is appealing with a tender sweet pea showing off against a fragile mineral. The first sip has some sweetness - enough to accentuate a tangy residue forming an extra dry finish. Extra body comes forward as temperature rises to 15oC. A luscious solo sipper and excellent companion to seared scallops or Tiger shrimp. 91

PORCUPINE RIDGE SYRAH 2016, Boekenhoutskloof, South Africa, 14.5% XD 2g/L, #595280   (Tasted September 3, 2017)

Released by Vintages - date not recorded.  My notes: The 2015 vintage was tasted in July this year with a rating of 91. This vintage retains the warm centre but with less defined fruit and balance. The colour is a deep ruby and flavour is edged with black/blue berries. A swirl lays a thin film that spreads quickly etching rugged islands. The first sip bites deeply carrying flavours of berry bramble. The bite continues until only warmth and bramble remain. Could be a solo sipper unless there’s a mis-swallow then the bite may have an unwelcomed penetration. Better with nippy cheddar or bacon on garlic bread. Aerating is recommended. 88a

J. LOHR RIVERSTONE CHARDONNAY 2016, Monterey, California, 13.5% XD 3g/L, #258699 $19.95 (Tasted September 4, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 3, 2017. My notes: A touch of butter along with whiffs of mango, lemon and pineapple. Extra dry with a medium viscosity that spreads around the glass leaving broken traces. The first sip includes nosy flavours and a texture that adds a cleansing freshness that would give life to cheddar crisps and stuffed mushrooms. Also pair with salmon burgers or garlic shrimps seared to perfection. The last arch of a moderate film separates slowly. Blended to age. 91

SUR DE LOS ANDES PREMIUM BLEND MALBEC/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  3g/L, #411298  $15.95  (Tasted September 5, 2017)
Released by Vintages on August 19, 2017. My notes: Rated 91 by Michael Schachner Wine Enthusiast (May 2014). The black of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with the added density of ripe Malbec juices gives advance notice of a full sipper. A swirl sticks a tight film on the glass that, given a dozen seconds, releases streams of tears. The soft aroma of pressed berries adds to the senses and continues with each sniff. Sharp, chalk dry and warm gives backbone to a long extra dry finish - no sweetness here. Have with rare prime beef or Moroccan marinade sirloin tip - horse radish sauce on the side. Age for subtle changes but consume when opened. . 92

WOODWORK PINOT NOIR 2015, Sonoma, California, 13.5% D 7g/L, #428839 $17.45 (Tasted August 18, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: A swirl leaves a lightly scented arch that fragments quickly on the glass. There’s a woody accent of dried raspberry stems for a floral fragrance. A tart bite edges a smooth berry blend while aerating mellows a persistent sharpness. A light bodied pinot with a sustained aftertaste. Although modest in most aspects this could have initial appeal to a general crowd. We served with sliced chicken and rigatoni in a cream sauce. Did not pair well with grilled lab chops – perhaps the chops?  83a

MCMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, California, USA, 13.5% XD 2g/L, #212126 $19.95 (Tasted September 21, 2017)
Release by Vintages on April 3, 2017. My notes:A black cherry red that swirls a moderate film with a well padded rim. Several tears drop before fragmenting into islands. A light fragrance of cherry and moist earth pleases from the first sip. Stone dry suggests pairing with a savoury stew or a juicy rib portion – there’s a hint of sweetness building on top of youthful warmth. Missing the spice of shiraz but lots of fruit to enjoy. Cellar 5-8 years. 90-2

CHLOE CHARDONNAY 2015, Sonoma County, California, 13.5% XD 4g.L, #392597 $19.95 (Tasted tbd)

A General listing. My notes:

BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015, California, USA, 13.9% D 9g/L, #534230 $17.95 (Tasted September 28, 2017)
A General listing.  My notes:  A touch of sweet with sharpness and chalk sets a different direction when picking a pairing for this chardonnay. A mid yellow colour hangs a ring of slow tears illustrating a substantial viscosity. The second and third sip sets up a noticeable cloying not my meal preference although of interest when comparing several samples – cross country, elevations or commercial grades. Sip then enjoy a prolonged finish. Perhaps some caramel will develop if cellared several years. Serve then observe. 87

ROOT: 1 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 12.0% XD 2g/L, #445882 $12.95 (Tasted September 27, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: A chilled Root:1 bottle frosted and newly opened to pair with strips of marinated chicken breast or grilled garlic shrimp over warmed bruschetta -  perfect to welcome guests. A mid yellow showing off a mellow banana scent touched by the tang of crushed lemon. Medium bodied and smooth, with enough brightness between sips to carry through to a clean pleasing finish. A complement for a garden event accompanied with a choice of Carmenère, Pinot Noir and chilled Spring rosés. Without the gooseberry of a kiwi sauvignon blanc but a citrus leaning Chilean version. Put down a case to see how it ages. 89A General listing.  My notes:

MARCO ZUNINO EXPRESIÓN RESERVA MALBEC 2014, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.2% XD 2g/L, #494575 $17.95 (Tasted September 19, 2017)

Released by Vintages on September 2, 2017. My notes: Rated 92 by James Suckling (, May 20, 2016. A nose hinting of peppermint with black cherries and a colour matching charcoal stained weathered adobe - or mahogamy. The first sniff predicts a long dry finish with an acrid edge. A swirl runs a firm film with rounded arch and pronounced tears. Raw to the taste buds needing a tray of pepperoni sticks or bacon wrapped anchovies for balance. Aerating shifts focus to a smoother texture retaining the prior rawness. Pair with Moroccan strip sirloin or savoury ribs. Past cellaring. 82

OSCAR'S ESTATE VINEYARD SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2013, Barossa Valley, Australia, 15.0% XD 2g/L, #287961 $18.95 (Tasted October 15, 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 18, 2017. My notes: A product of Small Gully Wines. Rated 92 by James Suckling,( May 20, 2016 and 89 by David Lawrason ( June 10 2015. The colour is a blackened ruby. A sniff receives a soft cherry highlighted by a woody berry blend, pleasing and well balanced. A swirl brings a thin veil fragmenting at the rim and covering the glass. Airing twenty minutes the second swallow dries the palate leaving a mixed berry bramble flavour. Replenish with a quaff for a sipper with enough body to pair with a broiled roast or T-bone. Aerating/airing is prerequisite for full enjoyment of this red - sip or pair. Nearing the end of cellaring. 89a