Tuesday, November 01, 2016

November 2016 - 8 Tasted of 11

Fall Colours, Erin, Ontario

Cheers, Ww

LINEUP: Reds, Whites and Bubblies

    Wakefield Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2013,  91-1  --  V, Clare + Coonawarra Valleys, #142398  $24.95
  • Sledgehammer Zinfandel 2014, 90-2  --  G, California, USA,  #230466  $16.95
  • Heirloom The Velvet Fog Pinot Noir 2015, 87  --  V, Adelaide Hills, South Australia,  #464693  $24.95
  • ZIG ZAG ZIN Zinfandel 2013, 86  --  V, Ukiah, California, #039982   $22.95
  • de Bortoli GS. Pinot Noir 2015,  r-v  --  V,  Yarra Valley, Australia, #015511  $19.95
  • Montecillo Crianza Tempranillo 2011,  r-v  --  G, Rioja, Spain, #144493   *$13.10                                    

  • Famiglia Bianchi Chardonnay 2015, 86  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #001461  $17.95
  • Mount Brown Estates Pinot Gris 2015, 86  --  V,  Waipara, New Zealand, #466037  $18.95
  • La Cala Vermentina di Sardegna 2015, 85  --  V,  Sardinia, Italy, #627067  $15.95
  • Jean-Michel Sorbe Quincy 2014, r-v  --  V,  Loire, France,  #608877  $17.25  

  • Bohigas Reserva Brut Cava NV, 86  --  V,  Penedes, Spain, #401216  $17.95               

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

HEIRLOOM THE VELVET FOG PINOT NOIR 2015 , Adelaide Hills, South Australia, 13.5%  XD  2g/L,  #464693  $24.95  (Tasted November 2, 2016)

Released by Vintages on September 17, 2016.  My notes:  Swirling lays a moderate film that sheds a curtain of swollen tears. The first sip combines mild aromas of fresh earth, sour cherries and stewed rhubarb. Sharp on the tongue and tangy from sip to swallow this needs a buffet: cheeses, sliced Italian meats and roasted mushrooms, rather than tasting solo. Quaff to balance brightness with fruit. Also pair with roast lamb, pork or a savoury stew. Those preferring a prominent tartness would enjoy this red. I suggest decanting, aerating or opening a day ahead. 87

JEAN-MICHEL SORBE QUINCY 2014  , Loire, France, 12.5%  D  4g/L,  #608877  $17.25  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on April 30, 2016.  My notes:

FAMIGLIA BIANCHI CHARDONNAY 2015, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% D  9g/L, #001461  $17.95  (Tasted November 3, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 14, 2016. My notes: Mid yellow and a thin film flowing delayed tears introduces this delicate chard. Chilled to 11oC a frigid nose releases a refreshing aroma partly hiding a fragile orange blossom and passion fruit scent.  Medium-bodied, tangy, youthful flavours stretches a verbal interpretation. Character builds with each sip. A partner to green salads or strawberry, white grapes, mango and egg custard combos. Serve with grilled trout or black cod. A dry drink now - keep below 14oC.  86

WAKEFIELD JARAMAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013  , Clare + Coonawarra Valleys, 14.5%  D  6g/L,  #142398  $24.95  (Tasted November 6, 2016)

Released by Vintages on October 1, 2016. My notes:  A deep ruby, cherry & charcoal hued expressing the density of the crushed grape. A moderate film covers the glass, sticks then accumulates sufficient volume to round a rim and drop a veil of tears. The bite of blackberry balances the freshness of the fruit. A pronounced bite comes on the first sip... as well as a lasting layer of tannin as a finish. Primarily a rare beef red especially for those that enjoy excitement mellowed by their prime rib.  91

ZIG ZAG ZIN ZINFANDEL 2013, Ukiah, California, 14.5%  D  10g/L,  #039982   $22.95  (Tasted November 7, 2016)

Released by Vintages on August 6, 2016.  My notes:    A tinge of purple changes the ruby to a more regal tint.  The film rapidly coats the glass dropping a sheet followed by columns of tears. An appealing smooth silk touch from the first sip, extra dry and warm on the initial swallow with 'staying power'. A purple plum and earth-edged  aroma with sociable acid to balance a latent freshness. Have with a buffet of seared appetizers, bacon wrapped petit potatoes or stuffed mushrooms or well done to rare prime rib.
Aeration flattens body and finish so is not recommended. Past it? 86

SLEDGEHAMMER ZINFANDEL 2014, California, USA,  14.9%  D  13g/L, #230466  $16.95  (Tasted November 10, 2016)

A General listing:  My notes:  'Big, bold and persistent' according to the label.  The smoothness is illustrated by a firm film and rounded buildup on the glass. Tears are slow to form clinging together then separating as single columns. Colour is a deep ruby and flavours of blackberry, raspberry and ripe cherries blend together evenly. A clean tartness is balanced by a touch of sugar and ripe fullness. A swallow washes then coats the palate with a light chalk. The sweetness is noticeable - one that encourages nibbling and discussion although suits pairing with meaty entrees: grilled ribs back or side, prime rib and savoury flank steak. Consume soon after purchase - may cellar several years. 90

MOUNT BROWN ESTATES PINOT GRIS 2015, Waipara, New Zealand, 13.5%  D  4g/L,  #466037  $18.95  (Tasted November 2, 2016)

Released by Vintages on October 15, 2016.  Rated 91 by Sam Kim   (November 2015).  My notes: A slightly tarnished mid yellow that leaves a thin film hanging from a fragmenting rim. Aromas of pear with a hint of fresh caramel gives this a distinct character - something to get used to. Multiple sips form a silk lining, adds a warm finish and prolongs the first flavours. Pinot Gris sippers will take a moment to sense each not-so-subtle difference - or pair with grilled scallops or shrimp and cheesy pastas. Sweet and succulent now with potential to develop more intensity over several years. 86

DE BORTOLI G.S. PINOT NOIR 2015, Yarra Valley, Australia, 13.5% XD  2g/L,  #015511  $19.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 15, 2016.  My notes: 

MONTECILLO CRIANZA  TEMPRANILLO 2011, Rioja, Spain, 13.5% D  6g/L,  #144493   *$13.10  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing reduced from $15.10 until November 6, 2016.  My notes:  A blend of native Rioja grapes.

BOHIGAS RESERVA BRUT CAVA NV, Penedes, Spain, 12.0%  XD  4g/L, #401216  $17.95  (Tasted October 23, 2016)

Released by Vintages (unknown).  My notes:  On pouring, foam rises with a lively effervescence. An aroma of mild grasses and slight Bosc pear rises from a crystal mid yellow, a playground for continuous streams of fine bubbles. Quaffing compresses the spritz bursting and forcing bubbles into a tangy frenzy then swallowing heightens the dryness, parching the throat to start a short finish. Keep chilled (10oC).  Serve with a party buffet - plates of garlic shrimp, Italian meats, bacon wrapped asparagus or scallops, hard cheeses. crackers and hummus. Shockingly dry for a toasting bubbly. Bottle weight is 1.75lbs.  Drink now.  86

LA CALA VERMENTINO DI SARDEGNA 2015, Sardinia, Italy, 14.0% XD 2g/L, #627067  $15.95  (Tasted November 14, 2016)

Released by Vintages on October 15, 2016.  My notes: Produced from 100% Vermentino grapes. Produced from 100% Vermentino grapes. A bold lemon presence brightens and broadens a straw and apple scent - delay the sniff for a delicate floral note. The first sip says lemon balancing a tart crabapple to prolong a sharp extra dry finish. An added mineral accent suits a variety of shellfish done in a buttery sauce; scallops, shrimp or mussels - also grilled sole, cod, pistachio crusted trout and clam chowder. Not quite a solo social sipper but satisfying with a mixed buffet of hard cheeses, Italian meat 'coins or cubes' and greens. 85


Saturday, October 01, 2016

October 2016 Wines - 12 Tasted of 12

Roadside colours: Erin, Ontario

LINEUP: Reds, Whites and Bubblies
  • Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 92-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #223206  $19.95
  • Catena Malbec 2014, 91-2  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #478727  $17.95*
  • Corte Majoli Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2013, 89-1  --  V, Verona, Italy, #084061  $16.25
  • Edge Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 88  --  V, Napa Valley, USA, #034223  $37.95
  • Marchesi de' Frescobaldi Tenuta di Castiglioni 2013, 86  --  V, Tuscany, Italy, #145920  *$19.95   
  • Monte Zovo Sa' Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2014, 81  --  V, Verona, Italy, #650713  $17.95 

  • La Cappuccina Soave 2014, 92-3  --  V, Verona, Italy, #081489  $15.95
  • Willow Bridge Estate Dragonfly Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015, 92-2 -- V,  Dardanup, Western Australia, #418368   $16.95
  • Southbrook Triomphe Organic Chardonnay 2014 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 91-2  --  V, Ontario, Canada, #172338  *$18.40  
  • Thornbury Sauvignon Blanc 2015, 90-2  --  V,  Marlborough, New Zealand, #734798  $18.95 
  • Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc 2015, 90-2*  --  V,  Aconcuaga Costa, Chile,  #462614  $19.95  

    • Château d'Avrillé Crémant de Loire NV, 86  --  V,  Loire, France, #460808  $17.95
       (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


    ERRAZURIZ ACONCAGUA COSTA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Aconcagua Costa, Chile, 13.5%  XD  3g/L,  #462614  $19.95  (Tasted October 19, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on September 3, 2016 and rated 90 by Luis Gutierrez   (December 2015).  My notes:  In it's first year for serving 2016 brings a freshness found in the terroir, chilled crushing and minimal barrel treatment. A swirl shows a light viscosity leaving a fragmented film running a few slow tears. Served at 9oC there's a grassy but bright nose with delicate pear and Granny Smith accents. A mild acidity leaves the palate extra dry, almost chalky, and just a touch tingly. Paired with seafood, fin or shell, the combination has a unique tasting treat. Nine to 14oC is a range for sipping to pairing. 90  *(if you prefer scrumptious, add 2 more for Flavour&Finish)

    EDGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 , Napa Valley, USA, 14.1% D 8g/L, #034223  $37.95*  (Tasted October 30, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on September 17, 2016.  My notes: This comes in a classic tapered bottle deeply dimpled, opaque with a uniquely styled label and fonts. Perfect for a dimly lit ambience and a wine sipping crowd. But that's only my view having lived in the under $20 market so long. Labelled Cabernet Sauvignon this is a blend of 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot. According to the winery, 'a cutting edge wine' without 'a cutting edge price'. Robert Parker gives it an 89 (October 20, 2015) saying it's meant to be sold at ~$25US* which Vintages translates to $38C. With supply limited it's a windfall for a Canadian retailer, in our case, a monopoly.

    Now for tasting: The colour is a royal ruby, dark with a charcoal hue. A swirl lays a moderate film slow to accumulate tears that flow as columns. Dry, a tart bite and warmth carry flavours of sour cherry for a long finish ending with a a woody texture. An acerbic sipper and more of a meal red, went well with a rib steak and likely a T-bone or a savoury beef stew with gravy for depth and sweet yams for variety. Decant an hour before serving and cellar several years to possibly mellow the bite.  88

    LAMADRID SINGLE VINEYARD RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, 14.0%  XD  4g/L, #223206  $19.95  (Tasted October 5, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on September 17, 2016 and rated 90 by Michael Schachner Wine Enthusiast, (October 2015).  My notes:  The colour is a charcoal ruby and there's sufficient viscosity to leave columns of firm tears. An aroma of Herb de Province on blackberry soothes the nostrils and carries with it a moderate acid, a light layer of liquorice and a soothing warmth. Sipping slowly lets the flavours penetrate to envelop the experience. Uncork up to a day previous to settle out what could be a dominant chalkiness. Pair with crusted tenderloin, t-bone or savoury stews.  92

    CORTE MAJOLI RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2013, Verona, Italy, 14.0%  D  7g/L, #084061  $16.25  (Tasted October 16, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on April 2, 2016.  My notes:  Crushed blackberries combined with a smaller portion of raspberries gives this the warm freshness of ripe fruit. The film slowly collects then drops as a sheet with a few tears - once wetted columns of tears cover the glass. Surprisingly a first sip has considerable tang and adds a dusty covering balanced by a sharp edge. Have with an Italian buffet or better, pair with a T-bone steak medium rare or a beef roast sliced to show pink. This may cellar several more years hopefully revealing the fruit - but then process may have pushed this to the background. 89
    WILLOW BRIDGE ESTATE DRAGONFLY SAUVIGNON BLANC (66%) SEMILLON (34%) 2015, Dardanup, Western Australia, 12.8% XD 2g/L, #418368   $16.95  (Tasted October 6, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on Oct 1, 2016. My notes: A crystal clear yellow that leaves a fragmenting, thin film when swirled. A blend of lime pith and fragrance of apple blossom slowly fills the glass. Pour at 12oC and allow to develop with the ambient warmth - 16oC. Succulent without sweetness - a cool, acidic silk fills the senses as each swallow persists with a lasting dryness. Its intensity carries well to pair with a broad selection of seafood and an attractive price (although Clarkson LCBO) has increased the price $2) adds value as a house white. 92

    LA CAPPUCCINA SOAVE 2014, Verona, Italy, 12.0%  D  8g/L,  #081489  $15.95  (Tasted October 21, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on August 20, 2016. My notes: Served at 10oC the mid yellow colour shines clean and bright. It's well polished and shows a firm film that suggests the silky texture to come. From the first pour there's a pleasing aroma of banana and apple with a tenable tang and matching flavour. The film soon fragments forming sheets edged with rounded globules that recede - a tilt produces long columns. Well balanced and flexible enough to pair with sliced chicken breast or a variety of seafood. Drink now or cellar several years. 92
    SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE ORGANIC CHARDONNAY 2014 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, 13.2%  XD  2g/L, #172338  *$22.95 reduced to $18.40  (Tasted October 15, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on October 1, 2016.  My notes:  Michel Godel  (March 10, 2016) gave this a 90 and recommends delaying until 2017 for a taste. The colour is a steely mid yellow, clean and bright. A touch of vanilla to a delicate lemon is pleasing and is an introduction to a long refreshing journey from XD to moderately grassy and full. As the temperature builds there's a lingering soft allure. Chardonnay lovers could sway either side of this organic but the value is right - if the critic's prediction for ageing holds true. 91
    MONTE ZOVO SA' SOLIN RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA 2014, Verona, Italy, 14.5%  D  16g/L,  #650713  $17.95  (Tasted October 12, 2016 )

      Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016:   My notes: My impression of a ripasso process is of one that develops a soft fullness with a warm cherry depth,  pleasing to sip and a good companion with savoury Italian pastas, lamb and pork. The 2011 tasted in October 2011 was rated 88, same price. We enjoyed several bottles bought for casual dinners. The 2014 has a light viscosity leaving a modest film and running moderate tears. The nose is woody with a spicy edge showing an unripe cherry and purple plum character. The first sips were sharp and penetrating with a long biting finish, not pleasing as a sipper.  Serve with spicy ribs, chorizo & tomato spaghetti, or full flavoured Osso Buco.  81  

    MARCHESI DE' FRESCOBALDI TENUTA DI CASTIGLIONI 2013 , Tuscany, Italy, 13.0% D 8g/L,  #145920  $19.95*  (Tasted October 17, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016.  My notes: *reduced from $21.95 until Nov 6.  There's a royal dark cherry hue on opening. A thin film sheds several tears then quickly fragments. A sharp tang accompanies a warm plum and cherry scent with a touch of vanilla for refinement. A sip confirms a light to medium-bodied sipper, no velvet but a restrained bite. The finish is also reserved as a woody texture settles in for a long dry finish. Sip or quaff, pleasing now but is likely at end of cellaring. Went well with a prime rib roast, mashed squash and potato casserole. Try with spicy Polish, Italian sausage or a saucy beef stew. 86

    THORNBURY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015 , Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.5%  XD  5g/L,  #734798  $18.95  (Tasted October 14, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on August 20, 2016.  My notes:  A product of Villa Maria Estates Ltd. and rated 89 by Bob Campbell MW, (October 30, 2015). The nose puts a pleasing frame around a refreshing combo of soft fruit and a blend of lime, pineapple and mango. A different Sauvignon Blanc having a burst of flavour that penetrates followed by a fullness that quickly starts as a luscious finish, delicate and then drying. Drinking well now and can cellar several years. Serve well chilled - have on hand for midday appetizers continuing with a mains of pistachio crusted salmon or buttery shrimp and toasted dipping breads. 90

    CHÂTEAU D'AVRILLÉ CRÉMANT DE LOIRE NV, Loire, France, 12.0% D  11g/L,  #460808  $17.95  (Tasted November 6, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on September 3, 2016.  My notes:  A faint lemon effervesces to a rising then moderate foam in a flute glass. Steady streams of bubbles rise until a lively spritz lays CO2 droplets. A delicate lemon apple flavour adds to the aroma and is a welcomed refreshment. Quaffing bites then cleanses the palate leaving a mild grassy lemon, drying and pleasurable. Have with an eggy morning quiche varied from bacon, spinach, mixed sliced & seared peppers/mushrooms, etc. whatever is a timely favourite. Also an economical aperitif for a crowded event.  Keep on ice and quaff.  86 

    CATENA MALBEC 2014, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  D  4g/L,  #478727  $17.95*  (Tasted October 26, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. *Price reduced from $19.95 until November 6th.  My notes: A forward blackberry, a blueberry smoothness and a blend of earthy spice gives this much sip appeal. A swirl coats the glass with a wall of tears starting quickly then a swollen rainbow. Bright flavours fade into a delicate ending. Pleasing to sip and flexible to pair. try pork, lamb, cheesy ground beef lasagna, Polish or Chorizo sausage pieces all would benefit from this red. 91

    Thursday, September 01, 2016

    Niagara Trip - 15 Tasted of 15

    Eighty is a significant age during a period of any number of man-made and natural catastrophes - so I'm fortunate and double fortunate having a family that celebrates special days. So came a gift certificate that included, in chronological order:
      • Wine tastings:  Peninsula Ridge, Rosewood Estate, Organized Crime, Cave Spring, Foreign Affair
      • Sumptuous dinner:  Cave Spring (with wines) 
      • Overnight stay:  Inn on the Twenty
      • Breakfast buffet:  Cave Spring
      • Lunch:   August Restaurant
      • Wine tasting:   Pillitteri Estates

    If I listed all of the superlatives during our trip I would be falsely accused of exaggeration. I am also grateful to have a spouse that shares an appreciation for all things oenological.Our destination, located in Jordan and just an hour's drive away, we set off at 9:30am stopping to drop off our loving little Shih-Tsu, Jessie, at our niece's in Burlington on August 14th to be picked on the 15th.

    Cheers, Ww 

    Note: A few wines have been added to plush out my selections.


    • Organized Crime 2012 Chardonnay VQA Beamsville Bench,  91-2  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #n/a $23.20
    • Organized Crime 2010 Fumé Blanc VQA Beamsville Bench,  90-1  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #n/a  $22.20 
    • Cave Spring Riesling 2014 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86-1  --  O, Jordan, Ontario, #n/a  $15.95
    • Cave Spring Chardonnay Musqué 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, 86  --  O,  Beamsville, Ontario, #n/a  $16.95 
    • Peninsula Ridge Estates Beal Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2009 VQA Beamsville Bench, 86  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #n/a  $24.95 
    • Pillitteri Estates Winery Sauvignon Blanc 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 84  --  O, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #n/a  $19.50
    • Peninsula Ridge Estates AJ Lepp Vineyard Pinot Grigio 2015 VQA Niagara Lakeshore, 83 --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #n/a  $14.95
    • Pillitteri Estates Winery Viognier 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  81  --  O,  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #n/a  $19.50


    • Josef Chromy Pepik Chardonnay 2014,  91-2  --  V,  Tasmania, Australia, #378240  $18.25
    • Josef Chromy Pepik Sekt NV,  90-1  --  V, Tasmania, Australia, #429704  $22.95
    •  Josef Chromy Pepik Pinot Noir 2014, 81  --  V,  Tasmania, Australia, #162990   $21.95
    • Wits End Luna Shiraz 2014, 92-2  --  V,  McLaren Vale, Australia, #311258  $17.00

    • Willm Réserve Riesling 2015, 86  --  V,  Alsace, France, #011452  $15.95
    • Château de Tréviac 2014, 83  --  V, Midi, France,  #438747,  $17.95 

    •  MIMI en Provence Grande Réserve Rosé 2015,  92-2  --  V, France, #452573 $18.95
    (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


    PILLITTERI ESTATES WINERY  VIOGNIER 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 13.0%  D  xg/L, #n/a,  $19.50  (Tasted September 1, 2016)

    Purchased from the winery.  My notes:  A mid yellow with a delicate peach hue and swirling gives a thin film with a rim dropping a curtain of small fast tears. Serve with crushed ice on a summer patio - perhaps with a maraschino or two. Also serve chilled for a tart, refreshing taste of a lemon pulp scent and flavour to match and balanced body. A meal white suitable for shrimp, scallops or a soft cheese and cracker platter. The finish continues to dry the palate leaving a nondescript scent, is limited to pair having been too long in LCBO warehouses.   81

    PILLITTERI ESTATES WINERY  SAUVIGNON BLANC  2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 13.0%  D  xg/L, #n/a,  $19.50   (Tasted September 1, 2016)

     Purchased from the winery.  My notes: Served at 10oC a glistening mid yellow invites the first sip. Tingling in the throat and lightly flavoured, a touch of butterscotch adds interest to a faint tangy lemon and pear. Extra dry increasing as wine flows down the gullet. A fish white or have with crisp side bacon atop Maple syrup soaked wheat waffles. This has developed to its fullest. An expression of 'local terroir or winemaker preference'   84 

    CAVE SPRING CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ  2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, Beamsville, Ontario.  13.0%  XD  4g/L, #n/a,  $16.95, (Tasted September 16, 2016) 

    Purchased from the winery.  My notes:  My notes:  A mid yellow with smoothness shown by the viscosity on the glass: long, fast legs with one swirl. The nose has a delicate grassy edged soft citrus - no distinguishable floral, no butter nor caramel.  More grass and an aggressive tang, refreshing as a solo sipper parching the palate and enduring for an extra dry finish. Serve chilled and maintain at 10-12oC throughout. Pair with a buffet or grilled seafood. 86

    CAVE SPRING RIESLING 2014 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 12.0%  D  17g/L, #286377,  $15.95 (Tasted September 13, 2016) 

    Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016.  My notes:  A mixed greens scent from a delicate blond colour - a sip leaves a chalk dry touch to the palate going into a bright, served at 11oC, light-bodied, refreshing, sweet edged quaffer that spreads a thin film dropping evenly from a krinkled rim. A favourite when relatives visit with (or without) a buffet of wrapped asparagus, a mix of stuffed mushrooms, hard cheeses, ham & pineapple or Italian meat slices. Always available and best at a recent vintage. Try serving with a lime wedge.  86-1
    PENINSULA RIDGE ESTATES AJ Lepp VINEYARD PINOT GRIGIO 2015 VQA Niagara Lakeshore, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  6g/L, #n/a,  $14.95, (Tasted September 11, 2016) 

    Purchased from the winery.  My notes:  There's an attractive peach hue to a crystal covering against the glass. The film recedes slowly with no tears forming from a just perceptible viscosity. At 10oC the nose has a cooling whiff of apple-pear, enough for a mildly interesting sipper. Also, there's a bold lemon showing - sufficient to partner with a cheese tray and salt crackers. Finishes with a long chalk and mineral edge. Pair with a seafood platter: grilled mussels, seared shrimp/scallops or tilapia on creamy risotto. More of a sipper for a social event. 83
    PENINSULA RIDGE ESTATES BEAL VINEYARDS RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2009 VQA Beamsville Bench, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.5%  XD  xg/L, #n/a,  $24.95, (Tasted September 26, 2016)

    Purchased from the winery.  My notes:  A crystal clear yellow when poured at 10oC. This seven year old has an aroma of citrus and slight pear but doesn't offer it willingly. A first sip grabs the throat politely then goes on to a dry finish.  A swirl leaves a wrinkled rim of small tears that grab the film until only a few beads remain. The scent opens up at 12oC with some light cream. A bite and noticeable fullness are an attraction at 14oC and adds a refreshing note with grilled seafood: lobster, crab, scallops or halibut. Prices vary from $~18 to Vintages' $24.95   At the end of cellaring. 86 

    ORGANIZED CRIME CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench, Beamsville, Ontario, 14.5%  XD  xg/L, #n/a,  $23.20, (Tasted September 19, 2016) 

    Purchased from the winery and 100% Chardonnay, aged 10 months in French oak.   My notes:  My notes: The honey tint adds visual interest to the mid yellow of this extra dry Chardonnay. The film is thin gradually fragmenting leaving only a few nodules on the glass, sometimes a few tears. Sipping at 11oC starts out extra dry, tangy on the tongue, luscious and full of evolving flavours: caramel, tea, lime and pear. My preference is to sniff and ogle changes on the way to 14oC. Now four years under cork and could go another four possibly softening fruit and adding some silk. Pair with hard cheeses and Italian meats.  91

    Beamsville Bench, Beamsville, Ontario, 14.5%  XD  xg/L, #n/a,  $22.20, (Tasted September 23, 2016) 

    Purchased from the wineryMy notes: A rich golden poured at 10oC with a delicate flint and orange pith scent. The film sticks hanging from a wrinkled rim - a few tears struggle to drop then quickly fragments into a thousand nodules. Fumé  flavours excite the palate, staying then adding warmth with each dry sip. Pair with hard cheeses, Italian meats, finely diced proscuitto/ground pork/onions/stewed tomato/thyme and oregano patties brushed with oil and grilled. Cellar several more years to continue current development or drink now. 90  

    JOSEF CHROMY PEPIK SEKT NV , Tasmania, Australia, 10.0%  D  10g/L, #429704  $22.95  (Tasted September 16, 2016)

    A vintages release on November 28, 2015.  Rated 90 by Tyson Stelzer  (February 27, 2015).  My notes: Found at the retail price in an LCBO 'bargain bin' . A burst of large bubbles backed by a fleury of medium. The colour is a grapefruit yellow and matches delicate aroma touched by whiff of nutmeg. A refreshing tang adds to a fading grapefruit influence waking the olefactories. With the citric zest and succulence this is well balanced for a celebration. A dry chalk adds flexibility as an hors d'oeuvres partner: chilled oysters, stuffed mushrooms, prosciutto wrapped asparagus, or shrimp and kale salad. Keep chilled. 90

    JOSEF CHROMY PEPIK CHARDONNAY 2014,  Tasmania, Australia, 13.0%  XD  8g/L,  #378240 $18.25  (Tasted September 7, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on April 30, 2016. Rated 92 by James HallidayMy notes: On first glance a pale yellow - on second, more of a pale leaf green. An energetic attack  full of green grapefruit wakes the buds, bright and luscious with a long finish that slows the second sip. The nose settles to a grassy floral - pleasing.  A tooth cleaner takes over and a careful swallow avoids a full awakening. Serve well chilled then note changes as it reaches an amenable 14oC. Pair with lightly buttered scallops, shrimps or grilled whitefish. For chard lovers ready for a difference. 91
    JOSEF CHROMY PEPIK PINOT NOIR 2014, Tasmania, Australia, 13.0%  XD  5g/L,  #162990   $21.95  (Tasted September 14, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on August 6, 2016.  My notes:  A charcoal adobe tints a deep cherry laying a smooth film swelling at the rim and draining all liquid. The nose on opening is rancid with little anticipation of dissipating. The first sip has a bright burn, a silky feel with main flavours of black cherry and earth - extra dry. Pair with savoury stews or Montreal smoked meat and sauerkraut. An unusually strong ascetic bite that aerating only helps a tad. Air 30 minutes before serving - not recommended. 81


    MIMI EN PROVENCE  GRANDE RÉSERVE ROSÉ 2015, France, 13.5%  XD 2g/L, #452573 $18.95  (Tasted September 5, 2016) 

    Released by Vintages on September 3, 2016. Rate 90 by Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast (July 2016).  My notes: Comes with a glass stopper sealed in clear plastic, annoying as I don't open that many to have found an easy way. Otherwise a delicate pink enhancing a coquettish bottle with a distinct floral rose to the nose. The first sip swells with a soft allure, silky and full of apricots warming the throat while taking its time on the way to an extra dry finish - both luscious and intrusive. Perfect for a summer patio sipper. Sufficient body and flavour for a little crushed ice. Pair with mussels in a white wine sauce no garlic or a chilled shrimp tray.  92

    WITS END LUNA SHIRAZ 2014, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.5%  XD  2g/L,  #311258  $17.00  (Tasted September 12, 2016)

     Released by Vintages on September 3, 2016.  My notes: Rated 90 and up by several accredited wine professionals , including Sara D'Amato winealign.com (Jan 20, September). I'm interested in how it compares with several reds recently rated in this blog.  Aerating attempts to temper the astringency in the first sniff and mellows a sharpness that continues as a very warm, extra dry sipper. Rich, bold and full- there's no compromise to flavours of deep blueberry blackberry and a touch of crankcase. Swirling shows a firm viscosity via a complete ring of quick tears and smooth texture. Save for cigar chomping brandy sippers or have a backup. Pair with beef tenderloin or long ribs rubbed or brushed with a Barbarian mix. Cellaring several years should mellow putting more emphasis on warmth.  92

    WILLM RÉSERVE RIESLING 2015, Alsace, France, 12.0%  XD  4g/L,  #011452  $15.95  (Tasted September 30, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016.  My notes: A light yellow swirling a thin film then showing a fragmented residual and a few fast tears. An aroma of green banana and papaya blended so neither dominates.  A smooth texture, brightly ascetic but not biting, with a hint of lime  - an appealing sipper with few highlights. Always available for a social get together of those expecting some dryness in their riesling. Pair with a seafood tray and hard cheeses. The complementing flavours of grilled scallops would be my preference. 86

    CHÂTEAU DE TRÉVIAC 2014, Midi, France,  13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #438747,  $17.95  (Tasted September 29, 2016

    Released by Vintages on April 30, 2016.  My notes: A combination of faint lime and Granny Smith apple with a powder puff softness that slowly develops in the glass. Serve at 10oC for broadest range of textures as it heads to 14oC. A swirl leaves a wrinkled edge that slowly shows a few swelling points from a  thin film. The first sip wakes the palate with its chalky spread and brightness. The finish continues as dryly ascetic with some warmth. This would benefit with baked fruit and pastry: apple, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, etc. Should be OK with seafood.  A drink now - not recommended. 83

    Monday, August 01, 2016

    August 2016 Wines - 16 Tasted of 16

    Arbutus Ridge, Vancouver Island

    Our first BC home is third from end of second row setback from the channel on a street aptly named Saltspring View.

    Cheers, Ww

    LINEUP:  Reds, Whites and Bubblies:

    • Balzac Cafe, July 30 '16
      Undurraga Sibaris Gran Reserva Syrah 2013, 94-3  --  V, Cachapaol, Chile, #443556  $16.95
    • Domaine Santa Duc Roaix les Crottes 2010,  93-3  --  V, Côtes du Rhône Villages, France, #437491  $17.25  
    • Tapiz Alta Collection Malbec 2013, 93-3  --  V, Uco Valley, Argentina, #450155  $19.95
    • Santa Duc les Vieilles Vignes Côtes du Rhône, 90-2  --  V,  Rhone, France, #101543  $16.95
    • Chateau Peyros Madiran Tannat/Cabernet Franc 2010,  85  --  V, Corbere Aberes, France,  #208249  $15.95 
    • Alamos Seleccion Malbec 2013, 84 --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #322800  $16.95  
    • Susana Balbo CRIOS Cabernet Sauvignon 2013,  83  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #640979  $12.75
    • Ortas Cave de Rasteau la Domelière Rasteau 2014, 82  --  V, Côtes du Rhône, France, #222927  $16.95  


    Caribana Crowd coming our way, July 30 '16
    • Mount Riley Limited Release Sauvignon Blanc 2015, 93-3  --  V, Marlborough, New Zealand,  #447425  $18.95
    • Peninsula Ridge Barrel Aged Chardonnay 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, 89-2  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #211490  $15.95
    • See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Gris 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, 89-1  --  V, British Columbia, Canada, #263699   $17.95
    • Susana Balbo CRIOS Torrontés 2015, 84  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #001834  $13.95
    • Zuccardi Serie A Torrontés 2014, 84  --  V, Salta, Argentina, #389262   $15.95   
    • Finca El Origen Estate Reserva Torrontés 2015, 84  --  V, Uco Valley, Argentina, #262089  $15.95
    • Riverlore Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2015, 83  --  G, Marlborough, New Zealand, #417600,  $15.95   
    • Aurora Sparkling White Brut Pinot Noir , 89-2 --  V,  Serra Gaúcha, Brazil, #412536  $12.80*
                   (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


    ZUCCARDI SERIE A TORRONTÉS 2014, Salta, Argentina, 14.5% XD 5g/L, #389262   $15.95  (Tasted August 21, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on July 7, 2016.  My notes: Rated 90 by James Parker of The Wine Advocate and 92 by James Suckling  (June 23, 2015).  Poured at 10oC the film sticks then separates and falls quickly.  A crisp and clear pale yellow, lemon scented, salt edged and nutty belying any tropical fruit that could be expected. The nose builds slightly as temperature rises (14oC) and is preferred. The first sip sucks away thoughts of sweet leaving the throat through a long, arid, unique finish. Pair with a seafood platter - or mains of grilled wild cod or tilapia on mounded lemon risotto. A drink now.  84 

    SEE YA LATER RANCH PINOT GRIS 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada 13.0%  D  8g/L, #263699   $17.95  (Tasted August 5, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on February 20, 2016. A Constellation Brands Inc. winery.  My notes: A mid yellow spreading a viscous film enough to slowly form a few tears gradually dropping from a jagged rim. Served at 10oC the nose is pleasantly acidic balanced between green fruit and a mineral depth. The first sip confirms a youthful harvest possibly crushed with stems. A sipper with flavour to match a stir fry of cherry tomatoes, onions and caper/anchovy sauce over crusted veal or pork. Has staying power, extra dry and warm. The empty bottle weighs in just under 1.5 pounds.  Keep chilled. 89
    TAPIZ ALTA COLLECTION MALBEC 2013, Uco Valley, Argentina, 14.2%  XD  5g/L,  #450155   $19.95  (Tasted July 18, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on June 25, 2016. Rated 95 by James Suckling (June 2, 2015).  My notes: There's a bite of spice added to the soft freshness of Malbec. A balanced fermentation retains the varietal's place over three years in the bottle. The colour is a deep ruby with a swirl laying a fragmenting film falling under a lacy rim.  Full-bodied, the first sip offers up more tang, a dryness and warmth - very assertive. A quaff intensifies the warmth with a slosh (is that a word?) and a firm swallow. The finish is on the woody side with little fresh fruit being retained. Pair with savoury stews or beef tenderloin rubbed with salt/pepper and left five minutes to tenderize. Aerating is worth the extra step - it mellows an acid edge. 93

    CHÂTEAU PEYROS MADIRAN TANNAT/CABERNET 2010, Corbere Aberes, France,  14.0%  XD  4g/L,  #208249  $15.95  (Tasted August 2, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on February 6, 2016. Rated 91 and a Best Buy by Roger Voss Wine Enthusiast  (March 2015).  My notes: A blend of 80% Tannat and 20% Cabernet Franc.  A swirl starts tiny tears that run slowly from a lightly rounded rim. A sip releases a penetrating bite and a powdery presence combines with a light bramble texture, a purple plum scent and cranberry bitterness. A lightish body with a warmth that's slow to build along with a chalk ending.  Pair with savoury stews - ours was with Osso Buco  . Tannat dominates this blend. A drink now. 85   

    FINCA EL ORIGEN ESTATE RESERVA TORRONTÉS 2015, Uco Valley, Argentina, 14.3%  XD 4g/L,  #262089  $15.95  (Tasted August 6, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on May 28, 2016.  My notes:  A mid yellow showing a viscous film motionless while building volume then slowly draining the sides. The nose has a soft pear scent that fades quickly in contrast to the first sip that bites the palate finishing bright, extra dry and a notion of warm pear. Medium-bodied, well balanced with a firm structure - a partner for any seafood and saucy vegetable stir fry or serve chilled as a social drink-now.   84

    SUSANA BALBO CRIOS TORRONTÉS 2015, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  D  4g/L, #001834  $13.95  (Tasted August 2, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. Reduced to $11.95 until July 17, 2016.  My notes: The 2014 vintage was tasted on August 1st and rated 84. The colour of this vintage is a lighter yellow with a green tint. Served at 11oC there's a soft edge of chilled unripe grapefruit - interesting but not appealing. The film sticks and descends en masse from a crinkled rim. The first sip has an unripe citrus tartness quickly fading to a mineral tang and chalk dry ending. Have with a mixed buffet rather than solo. Flavours fade ending with green apple bias. Try cellaring a few years to mellow existing youthfulness or serve with halibut/sole/cod with risotto/rice/mashed Yukon Gold or blended cauliflower.  84

    SUSANA BALBO CRIOS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  7g/L,  #640979  $12.75  (Tasted August 7, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on February 6, 2016.  My notes:  There are no significant changes from aerating - the nose and flavours remain the same. A mild plum softens a rough edge of a blackberry scent and the flavours of the first sip. A ruby colour has a slight charcoal hue. Medium-bodied, extra dry with a finish that gradually loses intensity changing to woody berry with a just noticeable warmth and herby tang. A thin film is quick to release a cascade of tears. Have with grilled or baked beef - is especially suited to grilled servings: barbecued steaks, ribs, burgers or stews.  83

    PENINSULA RIDGE BARREL AGED CHARDONNAY 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  4g/L, #211490  $15.95  (Tasted August 9, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on March 5, 2016. My notes:  Crystal clear, mid yellow and showing a light film that clings then forms tears leaving a glistening rim. Served at 9oC there`s a delicate scent of pear, apple and butter combines with a slight byte and dry texture carrying into a long finish. Flexible as a drink now as well as a seafood complement. We sipped waiting for flattened Cornish game hens in a thyme/lemon/lime marinade to bake. A puréed parsnip cauliflower completed the medley. 89

    MOUNT RILEY LIMITED RELEASE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand,  13.0%  XD  5g/L,  #447425  $18.95  (Tasted August 12, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on July 9, 2016.  Rated 95 by Bob Campbell  (Feb 11, 2015).  My notes:  My notes: The aroma of a cool gooseberry cluster in your hand and delicate pear, nicely herbal. The colour is a traditional mid yellow and a spin creates a thin film with crinkled rim. The flavour of Meyer lemons bright with a pithy smoothness staying 'til the unctuous state with each swallow. Sip straight in the shade of a canopy or pair with seared garlic scallops wrapped in side bacon. Have on crushed ice and vodka if inclined (pls no lemon slice unless it's Meyer's). Other shellfish in garlic and white wine broth - make a meal of it adding toasty ciabatta (biga) slices. 93

    AURORA SPARKLING WHITE BRUT PINOT NOIR NV, Serra Gaúcha, Brazil,  12.0%  D  12g/L, #412536  $12.80*  (Tasted August 10, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on June 27, 2015.  *reduced from $19.95 for a limited time.  My notes: Bursts when opened to settle with a half inch of froth then continue with a display of all-size bubbles. A mid yellow colour with an interesting aroma of orange zest blended with lemon pith. Finishes extra dry with flavours following the aroma and mellowing slightly as acid adds freshness and smoothness adds appeal. I suggest tasting before the initial serving as flavours may have specific appeal. Pair with mussels in wine and garlic sauce. Mine went well with Panko crumb coated garlic shrimp seared in white wine, mashed garlic and sprinkled with fresh parsley. 89

    SANTA DUC LES VIEILLES VIGNES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2009,  Rhone, France, 14.0%  D  8g/L,  #101543  $16.95  (Tasted September 2, 2016) 

    Released by Vintages on May 28, 2016.  Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast, rated this wine 90 (July 2012).  My Notes:  The colour and scent of ripe black cherries full bodied and balanced for savoury meals. A swirl leaves a syrupy wash offloading its viscosity through streaming tears. The nose builds and a sip brings a an intense tang and a metallic brush across the teeth. Enjoy for its long finish starting on a high note continuing to grab attention with its intensity. A early nose suggests sweetness but this is stone dry.  90

    ORTAS CAVE DE RASTEAU LA DOMELIÈRE RASTEAU 2014, Cotes du Rhone, France,  14.0%  XD 4g/L, #222927  $16.95  (Tasted September 9, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on June 25, 2016.  My notes: Combine raspberries, black cherries and a mild herb to replicate the nose. Darken the same mix for colour. Successive sips sting the mouth and leaves a parched dryness to  start a long extra dry finish. Young and rough and not that pleasing as a sipper nor as a complement to a meal. Try it with a savoury meal: a full flavoured stew or grilled tenderloin slices with red wine gravy. Decanting thirty minutes before serving may soften but not likely. 82
    ALAMOS SELECCIÓN MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  5g/L, #322800  $16.95  (Tasted September 8, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on June 25, 2016. Rated 91 by Luis Gutierrez, (August 2015).  My notes:  The colour is a dense black cherry and carries a scent rich in burnt charcoal and dark chocolate with a bright  tartness. A swirl washes the side with a medium viscosity covering then running long legs before separating into a fragmented veil. Penetrating at first, stinging at second, warm and tingly on the tongue then flat and extra dry for a long finish. More bland than grand in flavours and texture. Better as a companion red with savoury stews and grilled/roasted beef or game. A drink now and approaching the downside of cellaring. Aerating introduced a mineral element.  84     

    DOMAINE SANTA DUC ROAIX LES CROTTES 2010, Cotes du Rhone Villages, France, 15%  XD 13g/L,  #437491  $17.25  (Tasted August 19, 2016)

    Released by Vintages on Apr 16, 2016.  Rated 88-90 by Robert Parker Jr   (October 2011).  My notes:  Velvet smooth with a thick film on the glass that quickly runs full legs. A charcoal hue to a clean ruby, an intense sting and concentration gives the impression of a cigar companion - but it's fleeting (those days have long gone). Full-bodied and a smoky pepper on ripe plum lingers narrows this as a client sipper. Pair with wild game, a savoury tenderloin or rich Montreal smoked meat. Six years since picking and may go another six if it's your style. Soften by aerating.  93   

    UNDURRAGA SIBARIS GRAN RESERVA SYRAH 2013, Cachapaol Valley, Chile, 14%  XD  6g/L,  #443556  $16.95  (Tasted September 5, 2016)

    Release by Vintages on July 9, 2016.  My notes:Pours a deep black cherries. A sniff carries the steamy warmth of crushed fruit and a swirl shows a slow viscosity with tears idling downward. There's a balance to the fruit, the texture, full-bodied treat that comes with sipping. A suspicion of sugar may be included although the finish is long and dry. Toast the occasion or pair with beef tenderloin, stews, gamey recipes but don't overdo the savoury of this red.  Still a lot of longevity to put away several cases. Why spend wordage on geography when there's so much to say about this wine.  94    

    RIVERLORE SAUVIGNON BLANC MARLBOROUGH 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0%  XD  2g/L,  #417600,  $15.95  (Tasted August 18, 2016)

    A General listing and a product of Wairau River Wines Ltd. .  My notes: A pale yellow with a green tint, a clear and crisp sipper. Extra dry leaving the tongue with tingling sparkles. A thin film on the glass hangs from a crackled rim each edge quickly shrinking. Flavours include young gooseberry, tart crab apple and hints of pineapple core and mango. The finish is long fading to extra dry. Pair with seared mussels in a garlic and butter sauce or boarded Atlantic Salmon flamed. Perhaps will soften in several years. Try aerating.  83