Monday, May 01, 2017

May 2017 wines

May 2017 wines – 15 tasted of 15

The following is an assortment of wines randomly chosen from  local LCBO stock, both General and Vintages listings.  The date on which tastings were recorded is as shown. Prices were at time of purchase.  Cheers, Ww
West Coast predator

LINEUP: Reds,  Whites & Bubblies:

  • Luis Felipe Edwards Reserva Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2015,  91a-2  --  G, Colchagua, Chile, #308189  $12.95
  • J.P. Chenet Premier de Cuvée Merlot-Cabernet Pays d’Oc 2015, 90-2 – G, #621995 $12.45
  • KWV Cathedral Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 88a-1 -- V, Paarl, South Africa, #328567 $16.15
  • Las Mulas Merlot Reserva Organic 2015, 87-1 -- G, Central, Valley, #454868 $12.95
  • Patrizi Passo Del Bricco Piemonte Rosso 2014,  87-1  --  V,  Piemonte, Italy, #475491 $13.95
  • J.P. Chenet Cabernet- Syrah Pays d’Oc 2015, 86-2 -- G, Pays d’Oc, France, #090472 $11.95
  • Diabolica Red Wine 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, 85 -- G, Oliver, BC, #373001 $14.95
  • Montecillo Crianza Rioja Tempranillo 2011, 84 -- G, Rioja, Spain, #144493 $11.95
April Gnats at the Leash-Free
  • Barone Montalto Collezione di Famiglia Viognier 2015, 91-2 -- V, Sicily, Italy, #435479  $15.95
  • Le Fils des Gras Moutons Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine sur lie 2015, 90-2 -- V, Loire, France, #363150 $14.95
  • Abruzzo Sentieri Pecorino 2015, 88-1 -- V, Abruzzo, Italy,#477752 $15.95
  • Penmara The White Ribbon Sémillon 2016,  86c  --  Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia, #474031 $14.95
  • Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2016, 85 -- V, Marlborough, New Zealand, #620054 $13.95*
  • J.P. Chenet Chardonnay Reserve Pays d'Oc 2015, 83 -- G, France, #255885 $13.95

  • Stellina Di Notte Prosecco DOC NV,  88-1  --  G,  Veneto, Italy,  #485359  $15.95 

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


J.P. CHENET CABERNET-SYRAH PAYS D'OC 2015 , Pays d’Oc, France, 12.5% XD 2g/L, #090472 $11.95 (Tasted April 18, 2017)

A General listing: My notes: A charcoal cherry colour blending to a lighter ruby nearer the meniscus. The film clings to the wall wrinkling a few lengths before receding as it thins. A refreshing tang fills the first sniff and a mellow crushed cherry aroma adds interest. Well balanced combined with a subtle texture and polite tannins and acid makes this a candidate for social sipping. Light enough for ham steak or a bacon littered spinach quiche, grilled lamb burger yet sufficiently full for a lightly spiced steak. Fermented to be flexible socially with an extra dry finish that starts full before flattening. 86

J.P. CHENET PREMIER DE CUVÉE MERLOT -  CABERNET PAYS D'OC 2015, 13.5% D 5g/L, #621995 $12.45 (Tasted April 27, 2017)

A General listing. Price reduced from $13.95 until March 26, 2017.  My notes: There’s a regal glow to the deep ruby on pouring. The nose is drying with aromas of softened grape skins for a base then a ripe plum adding depth. Sip then swirl to show a smooth coating on the glass flowing long slow legs. Forgiving the lightness of body and limited definition of fruit this has excellent balance for a very satisfying social red. Pair with The Keg rubbed grilled beef, savoury stews, rum soaked fruit cake or stewed prunes with a dark chocolate sauce. A value red to satisfy anyone’s imagination. 90

BABICH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0% XD 2g/L, #620054 $13.95 (Tasted April 23, 2017)

A General listing. Price down from $15.95 until March 26, 2017. My notes: Produced using ‘sustainable’ winemaking methods.  A light lemon colour that swirls a thin film running a crinkled rim and leaving a spattered pattern. Aromas of a faint southern fruit give the sipper an interesting intro to a different Sauvignon Blanc, one with the same intensity but less fullness and younger fruit, shying away from the traditional 'cat's pee' and prominent gooseberry. Pair with shellfish and entrées with mild fish sauces. A drink now and substitute for an European dry white retaining a long finish and acidic intensity. Enjoy now.  85

DIABOLICA RED WINE 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, Oliver, BC, 13.5% D 18g/L, #373001 $14.15 (Tasted April 18, 2017)

A General listing price down from $16.95 until March 26, 2017. My notes: Produced by Mark Anthony Cellars. Sweetness is in the number 18. At 18g/L it performs well for an appreciative audience - as well as with a suitable entrée. An interesting blend of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Shiraz. A light viscosity is highlighted by the light film that sticks then leaves a slowly fragmenting rim. At first sniff the sugar isn’t noticeable. Some strawberry shows through an otherwise herbal scent – subtle though it is. The first sip shows the sweetness, a surprise then growing to a crescendo. Sip with a coffee caramel treat or have with crab or lobster dip spread on a cracker assortment. Also a meat lovers pizza or Polish weiner on a bun might do. Drink while fresh or cellaring four years may up the rating. 85

ABRUZZO SENTIERI PECORINO 2015, Abruzzo, Italy, 13.0% XD 2g/L, #477752 $15.95 (Tasted April 30, 2017) 

Release by Vintages on February 18, 2017. My notes: A biodynamic wine that has a delicate grapefruit showing in colour, flavour and fragrance. The rim gracefully hangs loops of film that slowly fragment and drain. A tender tang and warmth builds with continuing sips while the tongue coats with thin chalk. Maintain close to the serving chill, for a refreshing sipper or as a companion with shell- and fish entrées, Halibut or cod over spicy Chilean rice with seared cherry tomatoes and capers. At the price, a dry white to cellar several years.  88

MONTECILLO CRIANZA RIOJA TEMPRANILLO 2011, Rioja, Spain, 13.5% XD 2g/L, #144493 $11.95 (Tasted March 16, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: The colour of black cherries and a warm aroma of crushed cherry pits washed and drained with a light cider vinegar - a common red combination for sipping but more for a beef or pork meal. A swirl casts a medium film draining a thin rim through a ring of fast tears. Light on the tongue without a trace of sweet ending extra dry. Fruit fades while chalk lasts. Quaff for an interesting zap of cranberry - then savour the fading intensity. Already cellared six years this will likely continue another six at the current level. Drink now with grilled appetizers or spice rubbed ribs. 84

J.P. CHENET CHARDONNAY RESERVE PAYS D'DOC 2015, France, 12.5% XD 4g/L, #255885 $13.95 (Tasted March 27, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: A crystal mid yellow in the glass with a simulated sweet and soft vanilla citrus touch to the nose. A swirl leaves a crinkly edged rim quickly fragmenting. Chilled to 10oC the first sip is slippery soft with a bright follow through leading to a long flat finish closer to 14oC. Keep an ice bucket close by for a refreshing sipper or pair with grilled cod on risotto, tilapia or mussels in garlic sauce. A drink now. 83

PENMARA THE WHITE RIBBON SÉMILLON 2016, Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia, 10.5% XD 2g/L, #474031 $14.95 (Tasted May 2, 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 18, 2017. Rated 93 by James Halliday (July 27, 2014). My notes: There’s a crystal clarity and a filtered grapefruit colouring on serving at 10oC. Its penetration is unrelenting from the first sip of mainly a dry mineral flavour - not a hint of sweetness. Fill the mouth and swirl to bring out its full intensity and a lengthy finish. Sipped solo this polishes the teeth or restrain by pairing with salt crackers and hummus. For guests offer alternate whites with seafood, roast chicken breast or pineapple pizza. It may evolve over the next few years for a softer version.   86c

LUIS FELIPE EDWARDS RESERVA SHIRAZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, Colchagua, Chile, 14.0% XD xg/L, #308189 $12.95 (Tasted April 30, 2017)

A General listing. My notes:The viscosity is noticeable on pouring as the blackberry darkness highlights a backdrop of full tears. A subtle aroma fills the nostrils and buds with a polite acid. A crunch of blackberries offers tannins to dry the mouth. A natural alcohol warms the throat and fruit mellows the natural character of this red. Aerating did the trick for me smoothing some youthful rawness. Pair with anything savoury or offer from a free bar with beefy finger food. A few years in the cellar could be worthwhile. A value. 91a  (this has since been discontinued priced at $8.95 for remaining inventory).

LAS MULAS MERLOT RESERVA ORGANIC 2015, Central, Valley, 14.0% D 7g/L, #454868 $12.95 (Tasted March 26, 2017)

A General listing. My notes
: The viscosity shows immediately with a swirl of the glass, a full rim with long legs. In normal light the colour is a deep carbon the meniscus being the only indication of a deep ruby. A penetrating cranberry gives off an element of fruit that slowly fades. A sip shows a mild balance, a strong acid, some drying tannin and a freshness which carries through a long finish. The mouth puckers as fruit wanes. A meal wine for putting a pleasant edge to wild fowl, rubbed ribs or BBQ’d steaks. I’d say a tad shallow for more spicy stews and Texas chilli – and a  clouded cellaring outcome. 87

LE FILS DES GRAS MOUTONS MUSCADET SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2015, Loire, France, 12.0% XD 2g/L, #363150 $14.95 (Tasted April 11, 2017)

Released by Vintages on March 18, 2017. My notes : From the Melon de Bourgogne grape (Muscadet). A light honey colour in the glass with aromas of clover honey and ripe clementine. A swirl lays a light film that fragments from the rim leaving a spotted veil. Extra dry and cooling served at a temperature of 10oC quenching the mouth both a brief warming then brightening the olfactory. A quaff saturates from start to finish ending lip smacking dry. A must have with a seafood buffet or mains of cod, halibut, crab, shrimp… 90

BARONE MONTALTO COLLEZIONE DI FAMIGLIA VIOGNIER 2015, Sicily, Italy, 12.5%  D  12g/L,  #435479  $15.95   (Tasted April 23, 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 4, 2017.  My notes: 
Scrubbed so it glistens in the glass and with a delicate aroma of pie dough or a slice of apple dumpling warmed by the Sicilian sun. This will whet anyone’s appetite. Served cooled would be my choice to savour the round texture. Slowly swallow for the perfumed essence of natural fruit at first full then with a dry tannin that creeps in for a long finish. The crossover is around 15oC when fullness heads to flatulent – best to serve at bubbly level to experience the range. Sip socially with cheese on salt crackers or an icy shrimp ring and tartar. My preference is with grilled cod on buttered rice. 91

KWV CATHEDRAL CELLAR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, Paarl, South Africa, 13.5% XD, 6g/L, #328567 $16.15 (Tasted May 2, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 3, 2017 . My notes: The initial sip offers bright fruit, penetrating acid, a drying mix of smoky blackberry and herb de province – not your usual balanced social sipper but a South African fermentation for full bodied boldness. A swirl leaves a rim of tears. The aroma matches the taste blend, daringly forward – I preferred decanting or airing well before serving. Without hesitation the differences surge forward becoming less likely to encourage quick sips unless one intends to add this terroir to their repertoire. Have with strong flavoured game, Texas chili, or Argentinian stews. Cellaring several years could lead to a less intrusive finish.  Empty bottle weight is 1.5lbs.  88a

PATRIZI PASSO DEL BRICCO PIEMONTE ROSSO 2014, Piemonte, Italy, 13.0% XD 14g/L, #475491 $13.95 (Tasted April 28, 2017) 

Released by Vintages on January 7, 2017. My notes: There’s a crushed raspberry to the ruby colour and the fragrance is a fresh pepper edged berry. The flavours show themselves from the first sip, full of fruit, medium-bodied and lasting moderately long. An appealing sipper having a touch of sweet on top of the acid for near lusciousness. A casual sipper or have with spaghetti & meatballs, chorizo pieces with melted mozzarella on focaccia , ie. for casual repas and to round out the meal. 87

STELLINA DI NOTTE PROSECCO DOC NV, Veneto, Italy, 11.0% D 16g/L, #485359 $15.95 (Tasted May 5, 2017)

A General listing. My notes:  A shallow green tainted by corn cob yellow pours a soft foam into the glass. Quaff and enjoy creamy softness and a bright acid – very cleansing as a social/toasting sipper. Immediate guest reaction to be expected “This is lovely” followed by “is there more?” For a festive occasion buy assuming demands for repeats. Initial cream persists serving from 10o to 12oC - if longer plan for ice buckets. Flavour is a lightful grapefruit with peach fuzz highlights. Has a long tapered finish.  88

Saturday, April 01, 2017

April 2017 wines

April 2017 wines – 12 tasted of 12

Alaska Travels

LINEUP  Reds, Whites and Rosés:
  • Shoofly Pinot Noir 2015, 91-2 -- V, Victoria, South Australia, #477067 $16.95
  • Luccarelli Primitivo Puglia IGT 2015, 90a-3 -- G, Puglia, Italy, #253856 $10.95
  • Dramatis Personae Selecto Reserva 2010, 89-2 -- V, San Rafael, Argentina, #450650 $14.95
  • Dandelion Lioness of McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014, 87  --  V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #357475 $18.95 
  • La Posta Pizzella Malbec 2015, 85a -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #166298 $15.95
  • Wakefield Promised Land Shiraz 2015, 84 -- G, Auburn, South Australia, #441543 $14.95
  • Carmen Reserva 1850 Premier Carmenère, 84 -- G, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #169052 $10.95  

  • Apothic White Winemakers Blend 2015, 88-1 -- G, Modesto. California, #419978 $14.95*
  • Alamos Chardonnay 2014, 87-1 -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #448761 $14.95
  • End of Days
  • Wakefield Promised Land Unwooded Chardonnay 2015, 87-1 -- G, Auburn, South Australia, #441550 $14.95
  • Matua Hawkes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2016, 86 -- G, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 12.5% XD 5g/L, #619452 $14.95

  • Gérard Bertrand Côte des Rosés 2015, 86 -- V, Languedoc, France, #373985 $18.95
  (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar,
NR - Not Recommended)


ALAMOS CHARDONNAY 2014, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5% XD 4g/L, #448761 $14.95 (Tasted March 30, 2017)

Released by Vintages on May 28, 2016. Rated 88 by Luis Guitierrez August 2015 . My notes: A mid yellow with a crinkled edge slowly forming a fragmented covering on the bowl. The nose is a light vanilla tainted grapefruit pleasing as a lite sniffer with an appealing fullness. Serve at 10oC and allow to warm ‘til 14oC to observe changes, then chill.\. A grassy edge layers a slight tang. A medium-bodied blend of fruit and texture offers some interest as a solo sipper especially when a long warm finish adds a delicate tang. We had with salmon filet and greens. Pair with natural flavours of salmon trout or chicken breast. Not for cellaring. 87

APOTHIC WHITE WINEMAKERS BLEND 2015, Modesto. California, 12.5% D 13g/L, #419978 $14.95* (Tasted April 9, 2017)

Reduced from $16.95 until March 26, 2017.
My notes:An E. & J. Gallo wine. At 9oC this white is slightly viscous with a peach fuzz aroma.  An E. & J. Gallo . At 9oC this white is slightly viscous with a peach fuzz aroma . A swirl coats the glass and quickly forms
a crinkled rim. The colour is crystal crisp making it appealing on the dining table or served socially. The taste has a sweet edge leaving a roundness on the tongue. The flavour isn’t distinct fruit but a blend of unoaked Chardonnay, Riesling and Muscato. The label refers to this as ‘a truly unique wine experience’. Once acquired may come to be a patio white for summer sipping. I would prefer to partner it with white fish – halibut, cod or tilapia – and shellfish to balance its noticeable sugar. A drink now. 88

GÉRARD BERTRAND CÔTE DES ROSES Rosé 2015, Languedoc, France, 12.5% D 2g/L, #373985 $18.95 (Tasted April 5, 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 4, 2017.  My notes: Put the bottle in a bag and a rosé easily becomes a wine with a broad appeal. This blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah modestly this fills the spectrum. Beppi Crosariol at release rated this an 89 and Rod Philips in his column (Winepointer Newsletter, November 2016) a rating of 4 of 5. A peach blush glistens in the glass adding delicacy to a table set with grilled rainbow trout or chicken breast on risotto. At 10-15oC the nose does lack a strong presence offering some grass and mild apricot. Quaff to increase a faint lemon honey and an acerbic touch to balance a delicate silkiness. More of a drink now than a meal companion.  86 

WAKEFIELD PROMISED LAND UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2015, South Australia, 13.0% XD 2g/L, #441550 $14.95 (Tasted April 2, 2017)

A General listing. My notes:  Is it my imagination or is that a touch of sweet in the first sip? The colour is a faint straw and a delicate film wrinkles the rim then quickly vanishes. A crisp edge with lemon/lime, grapefruit and a balanced pineapple carries through to a lip drying finish. Pair with salty popcorn or have with cod on rice or chicken cordon bleu, grilled scallops or mussels in a white wine sauce. Quaff for a fuller focus on fruit that fades slowly with a smooth centre. A social starter.   87

CARMEN RESERVA 1850 PREMIER CARMENERE, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 13.5% D 8g/L, #169052  $10.95  (Tasted April 20, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: A deep purple lightens with a tilt of the glass. The softness of a plum nose entices the first sip while a subtle bite brightens cherry cranberry fruit. A bold tannin spreads each element over a long finish. Quaff or sip the effect is the same: penetrating, flavourful and young. We served before the mains as a contrast with peppery grilled west coast salmon served with an Alsace Riesling. Bridging the contrast was a green salad, topped with slivers of carrot and cucumber in a balsamic dressing. May show more depth with a few years cellaring. 84    

LUCCARELLI PRIMITIVO PUGLIA IGT 2015, Puglia, Italy, 13.5% D 10g/L, #253856 $10.95 (Tasted April 2, 2017)

A General listing produced by Farnese. My notes: Last tasted on August 31, 2014 and rated 89a at the same price. A charcoal ruby, dense with a patterned fringe separating quickly on the glass. Blackberry aroma blended with plum and currant with a noticeable sting to the olfactory system. I recommend aerating. Smooth and a touch silky on first sip shifting swiftly into a drying tannin a bright fruit and a long finish. From Beppi’s part of Italy where sipping would be a given or pairing with anything barbecued, chili sauce hot or anchovy/caper/tomato sauce focussed. 90a

DANDELION LIONESS OF MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ 2014, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.5% XD 2g/L, #357475 $18.95 (Tasted April 13, 2017)

Release by Vintages on February 18, 2017. My notes: Rated 91 by Josh Raynolds  March 2016… also labeled with several Medals awarded 91 to 95 points. There’s a light aroma of plum and raspberry with an earthy brightness added. An initial swirl tops the film with a ring of tears showing a pleasing viscosity. Dark raspberry in colour, drying to the palate with a modest bite at first sustained then building a long warm finish. Missing some freshness that may have been in earlier vintages. A full flavoured quaffer. Medium- bodied and extra dry as a sipper. Pair with beef Wellington, liver & onions and rich stews. Empty bottle weight is 1.5lbs. 87  

MATUA HAWKE'S BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2016, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 12.5% XD 5g/L, #619452 $14.95 (Tasted April 6, 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 18, 2017.  My notes:There’s a green pea edge to the straight gooseberry scent of Hawke’s Bay. Without food the intensity shines as a tart layer wakens the buds like a brass band in a silent church. Quaff to savour its warm, long brightness as flavours assert themselves. Serve chilled (10oC) then, as the nose fades and the fullness builds, pair with hard cheeses, fresh crab or lobster pieces, cooled quiche or grilled side bacon. Beautifully long, dry and intense but not sharp. Enjoy now. 85

WAKEFIELD PROMISED LAND SHIRAZ 2015, Auburn, South Australia 14.0% XD 2g/L, #441543 $14.95 (Tasted April 8, 2017)

A General listing. My notes:The colour is a charcoal ruby, deep but clear against a strong light. The nose bites with a sharp shiraz intro to a cautious sipper, woody with blackberry notes. A warm layer envelops the fruit carrying its berry blend to an extra dry flat finish. Pairing with savoury roasts or juicy rubbed ribs would reward a guest. Hold over for a cooler afternoon beside a fresh pool. Cellaring a year or two may mellow ‘the beast within’ otherwise still youthfully coarse with moderate tannin.  84

SHOOFLY PINOT NOIR 2015, Victoria, Australia, 13.5% XD 2g/L, #477067 $16.95 (Tasted March 31, 2017)

Released by Vintages on February 18, 2017. My notes: This is a clean clear ruby with an inviting warmth of wood and cherries. The film casts a rim that immediately drops a screen populated with shrinking islands. A tilted swirl runs a pleasing arch.  XD for sure with a soft acid and there’s a slight silk and long unexaggerated herbal edge. Easy to quaff as well as a polite complement with smoked salmon pizza or crab cakes - modest and balanced. Fruit is there, partly masked by a natural spice. Overall a pleasing sipper possibly to be served with a slight chill. 91

LA POSTA PIZZELLA MALBEC 2015, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5% XD 2g/L, #166298 $15.95 (Tasted April 6, 2017)

Released by Vintages on November 12, 2016. My notes: A black cherry/berry blend that tickles the nose with a soft touch although there’s a noticeable sharp thread until aerated (recommended). A swallow may slow the first sip until a woody intensity settles. The colour is a deep ruby forming a rim that swells then recedes. Somewhat coarse with enough acid to overpower the fruit then coating for an extra dry finish. Match with seasonal fruit cake injected with Pusser’s rum and Courvosier (40/60). Cellar two years to allow some mellowing (hopefully). A meal red to be aerated. 85a

DRAMATIS PERSONAE SELECTO 2010, San Rafael, Argentina, 14.2% XD 4g/L, #450650  $14.95 (Tasted April 14, 2017)

Released by Vintages on June 11, 2016. My notes: The Wine Enthusiast Importer Connection rated 90 on October 15, 2012. A deep charcoal ruby, some purple at the meniscus. The film is moderate crackling at the rim and leaving a few long slow tears each side of a clean arch. A burnt ember aroma softened by a silky sweetness that shows itself before ending each swallow. A long smoke envelops the black- blueberry fruit for an enjoyable solo sip. Full enough for pairing with bbq ribs, chili con carne or rich mushroom soup. Seven years in the cellar has given this balance to this blend (40% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah) producing a smooth, full meal red. Enjoy! 89