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 

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

March 2017 wines - 12 tasted of 12

March 2017 wines – 12 tasted of 12

A family community - Port Credit, Mississauga

LINEUP: Reds, Whites and Bubblies

  • Wakefield Clare Valley + McLaren Vale Jaraman Shiraz 2014, 93-2 -- V, Auburn, South Australia, #377036 $24.95
  • Cavino Deus Mavrodaphne of Patras NV, 91-2(Sweet) -- V, Aigio, Greece, #452060 $13.95
  • The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2015, 91-2 -- V, McLaren Vale, South Australia, #066738 $18.95
  • Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 87 -- V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #322586 $17.95
  • Montes Limited Selection Carmenère 2014, 84a -- V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #256685 $14.95

  • Wakefield Estate Chardonnay 2015, 91-2 -- V, Clare Valley, Australia, #711556 $15.95
  • Franklin Tate Estates Chardonnay 2015, 87-1 -- V, Western Australia, #453373 $17.95
  • Susana Balboa Crios Torrontés 2016, 86-1 -- V, 2016, Mendoza, Argentina #001834 $13.95
  • Tyrrell’s Lost Block Semillon 2015, 85 -- V, Hunter Valley, Australia, #933200 $17.95
  • Cave Spring Estate Riesling 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, 84 -- G, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, #286377 $18.95
  • Hesketh Bright Young Things Sauvignon Blanc 2015, 83 -- V, South Australia, #447086 $14.95

  • Astoria Prosecco NV, 82 -- G, Astoria, Italy, #593855 $15.05

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


MONTES ALPHA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.0%  XD  9g/L,  #322586  $17.95   (Tasted March 1, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016.  My notes: Decanting for 20 minutes or aerating before serving is recommended – sipping or with a meal. In either case there’s a slightly rough feel on first sip and a mild acid. This has a rich ruby colour, usually a regal setting but, in this case made sombre by a hint of charcoal.  Texture is flat and the body is medium with a short spell of warmth combined with a blackberry flavour. Except for a latent fruity edge not quite a sipper and lacks body and acid for an ideal meal companion. Not a cellar candidate. 87
HESKETH BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS SAUVIGNON BLANC 2015,  South Australia, 13.0%  XD  4g/L, #447086  $14.95   (Tasted January 23, 2017)

Released by Vintages on July 23, 2016.  My notes: The film thins from a fragmented rim until a laciness decorates the glass. The colour is a delicate lime showing some yellow in shadowed light. Aromas are less defined starting with a grassy pineapple and lime then trailing off to a neutral lemon; bright, thin, dry, long.  The finish paired nicely with delicate sweet buttery popcorn fed to a social crowd. Rated 3 ½ of 5 by an Australian taster, Tony Love of The Advertiser (November 27, 2015) the year put in bottle. 83  

FRANKLIN TATE ESTATES CHARDONNAY 2015, Western Australia, 12.8%  XD 2g/L, #453373   $17.95    (Tasted February 25, 2017)

Released by Vintages on July 9, 2016.  My notes: The film following a swirl indicates a silky touch and a crystal view. The nose is light with a young grapefruit aroma and a penetrating tang. Second sips confirm a refreshing brightness lasting through a long finish. Coconut shrimp, grilled whitefish with tomato sauces, or smoked salmon pizza could partner well. A touch of lime catches your breath at an extra dry  end. A no frills seafood or chicken white. Cellaring may flatten a bright personality if left too long. Drink now.  87
TYRRELL'S LOST BLOCK SEMILLON 2015, Hunter Valley, Australia, 11.0%  XD  6g/L,  #933200   $17.95  (Tasted February 26, 2017 )

Released by Vintages on October 29, 2016. My notes:   A bright grapefruit yellow with the fruit and aroma to match. The tart of lemon, the subtle edge of lime blending together and lasting finally fading to a refreshing dryness. Missing the fullness and silk of an unoaked chard but close.  A thin film releases several fast tears as the nose fades from presence. Quaff to revive a partner for salty and/or cheesy crackers or have with smoked salmon pizza slices. Should keep well in a cool cellar – possibly several years. 85 

SUSANA BALBO CRIOS TORRONTÉS 2016, Mendoza, Argentina  13.0% XD 4g/L, #001834  $13.95  (Tasted January 20, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. My notes: Several vintages of Susan Balboa’s Torrontés have been tasted: 2015(84), 2014(84 ), 2013(91) and 2009(93). A trend may go one way or the other - this tasting may show which. A pale yellow lays a thin film with small tears falling from a rim that disintegrates on the glass. Perfumed with delicate honeysuckle and introducing a tangy edged grapefruit and lime  with a warm touch to the palate. This carries into a long dry finish. Pair with soft cheeses or sliced Italian meats. Keep chilled to maintain the early burst of flavour – loses character quickly above 15oC. A sociable drink now.  86

THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2015, McLaren Vale, South Australia, 14.5%  XD  16g/L, #066738  $18.95  (Tasted March 4, 2017)

Released by Vintages on January 21, 2017.  My notes: A North Rhône style of Shiraz blended with Padthaway grapes and fermented with white Viognier. Aged leather comes to mind on the first sniff. The steaming warmth of a riding stable tempers the black currant and crushed blackberries completing the introduction. A viscous film drops dozens of tears framing a bright edge – a subtle roundness stays on the lips. Airing twenty minutes or decant, then quaff to overcome a background country aroma and, unless the terroir is familiar, share with grainy crackers, soft cheeses and patés - also welcomed with a savoury beef stew or Osso buco. A young red that may cellar well – try several years sampling often. 91   

CAVE SPRING ESTATE RIESLING 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, 11.0%  D  9g/L,  #286377   $18.95  (Tasted March 1, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. My notes:A multitude of fine bubblies appear spontaneously on opening. The colour is a delicate grapefruit with a hint of metallic. The nose has a mild pie dough resemblance touched by lemon. Serve in chilled glasses with an ice bucket nearby otherwise it’s difficult to avoid a creeping flatness. A swirl leaves a finely wrinkled film that slides to the meniscus. A long finish pleasingly sweet balancing a pleasing acid. A flexible social sipper and a reasonable partner with light fish plates: halibut, tilapia, shrimp and scallops or have with toasted cheddar cheese sandwiches. 84  

MONTES LIMITED SELECTION CARMENÈRE 2014, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 13.5%  D  4g/L, #256685  $14.95  (Tasted March 13, 2017)

Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016.  My notes: A dense ruby, charcoal hued. A sniff of an aerated and non-aerated sample reveals the former has a background sharpness, not unappealing unless lacking an alternative for those wanting softness. A swirl lays a thin film and long legs, a chalk dry finish with bright young cherry/cranberry before then minimum fruit and a just noticeable metal edge after the swallow. Have with herb flavoured grilled centre cut pork chops or veal scaloppini and roasted parsnip/carrots, ie. a vegetable mix. Not a solo sipper- pair with eg. bacon wrapped asparagus -  nor is it a cellar candidate – try an open bar? where a choice can be made. 84

WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY MCLAREN VALE JARAMAN SHIRAZ 2014, Auburn, South Australia, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #377036  $24.95  (Tasted February 12, 2017)
Released by Vintages on November 12, 2016. My notes: Winner of Gold medals in Germany and Spain, Silver in the UK. Fresh berry fruit springs from the glass on first pour. A sniff intensifies the fruit and a charcoal hue to the deep ruby colour gives some maturity. A swirl spreads a set film, wrinkles at the rim then dropping a dozen+ tears. Blackberries, as if warmed by the Auburn sun greets the palate, tangy yet velvety. A long finish extends sipping pleasure – no need for pairing. Could reward a diner of beef Wellington, savoury pork tenderloin or well marinated flank steak. In the bottle now four years and could do another four. A Shiraz worth purchasing in cases imho. 93

ASTORIA PROSECCO NV, Astoria, Italy, 11.0% D 11g/L, #593855 $15.05 (Tasted February 21, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: The first sip is tart with the ripple of spritz across the palate. The sensation fades quickly to an unexpected smoothness and a quiet finish. A delicate blend of pie dough, Granny Smith apple and mild melon settles quickly leaving behind a refreshing sensation. A brilliant pale yellow is attractive to view. Went well with Boursin cheese, basil and chives flavour with a mildness that balanced the bubbly’s tartness. Have in for visitors for a make-do green salad and cheese spread on the patio. Use flute glasses to emphasize both flavour and nose. Weight of bottle is 1.5lbs. 82

WAKEFIELD ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2015, Clare Valley, Australia, 13.0% XD 2g/L, #711556 $15.95 (Tasted January 23, 2017)

Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016. Rated 4 of 5 by Rod Phillips Winepointer Newsletter, November 2016. My notes: An excellent parsing of flavours from Rod Phillips (November 2016.) and a playful yellow, bright and bouncy from serving to finish – keep chilled below 14oC . There’s a crisp edge that not quite bites the palate while the texture smooths its way over a long finish to balance the fullness. A mild acid would be an enjoyable touch to seafood & risotto or scallopini dishes. Both body and fruit could cellar a few more years adding value. 91
CAVINO DEUS MAVRODAPHNE OF PATRAS NV, Aigio, Greece, 15.0% 136g/L S, #452060 $13.95 (Tasted March 6, 2017)

Released by Vintages on August 6, 2016.
My notes: I believe this is the first red dessert wine I've tasted. The rated it 90 in August 2014. A see-through black cherry – a blend of Mavrodaphne 70% and Black Corinth 30% . A red that spreads an even film falling gracefully to leave a clean glass. The aroma is a young white cherry and the first sip lives up to the sweetness level balanced with a mild acid and silky mouthfeel. The finish alone is worth a try – don’t be put off by the number (136g/L) just expect something special and enjoy. Aerating not recommended – chilling slightly adds dimension. Pair with a Enoki mushroom and cheese salad, apple ginger crumble cake, a nutty fruit cake infused with B&B or just sip solo for dessert. Long term cellaring could be interesting.  91

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

February 2017 wines - 12 tasted of 12

Foggy Niagara Town
Cutting the Cable…

There continues to be a discussion about streaming data -- Movies, TV Shows, News, Sports,... possibly every recording from the start of celluloid --  directly from the Internet without using the services of a Cable Company. One term coined for this is ‘Cutting the Cable’  . The following is one person’s point of view…

Some users have questioned the value of Cable TV providers although these same Companies have invested heavily leading to many advances in the private and commercial use of the Internet. I’m thinking of the miles of high bandwidth fibre and satellite towers that bring Cable customers faster and higher quality viewing. The big negative to this however has been the accompanying assumption that access and any revenues it brings belong to the few Cable Companies – i.e. other ‘solutions’ should butt out. ‘Cutting the Cable’ shouldn’t prevent Internet users from benefitting from the technical advancements contributed by other technology leaders. In fact, by including options such as OnDemand and Speciality channels Cable TV is packaging user friendly interfaces to ‘sell’  recorded and live events. What’s the problem then?

I have a Basic Cable package totalling, including one purchased channel, just over twenty channels. The price, including tax, is a little over $100 and includes Internet access. The TV portion of the price includes the usual News and Public service channels: BBC (+$4), WNED, CBC, CHUM, TVO. YesTV and CHCH. We frequent, more or less, eleven channels for local and international news. The Public service channels offer some interesting dramas and most episodes are Ad-free except for five to ten minutes when, at certain times of the year, they solicit donations. The remaining channels we seldom find of interest. Other, I’d call them ‘obligatory channels’ in our package contain commercials to an extreme. Ads tend to coincide across Channels so they’re difficult to avoid.

The content obtained from the Cable Company’s OnDemand and Speciality channels has a price tag, from ~$3 an episode to ~$40+ a season and I’ve heard that Sports events are at a premium. A crime series, part of the Basic, I had planned to follow was front ended with so many Ads then followed by a synopsis of previous episodes and character profiles followed by another group of Ads before resuming the normal sequence of main story segments and Ads. I not only lost interest in the episode I had intended to view I gave up on the series. Call me impatient, call me stubborn… call me a candidate for ‘Cutting the Cable’.  Today’s Cable is not so much offering entertainment but manipulating the viewer into watching to excess (my view) Ads. Forgetting the repetition , the banality and irrelevance, the viewing content has entertainment value for the right audience. Unfortunately we're not into horror, gratuitous sex, survivor, baking, game shows, talk shows nor do we have young children to view the inventive cartoons - we’re just the wrong audience!

A few months ago Commercial flashes started appearing in the corners of the screen. My viewing partner occasionally interrupts “Hey Hon! Did you see that… a 60inch TV for $850” Yep! Being distracted I missed the tying score in overtime and Nope! We’re not in the market for a TV.

Back to ‘Cutting’

As I said at the beginning: Technical gurus worldwide have assembled libraries of streaming sources.  These libraries have been implemented such they can be accessed by any Internet user that installs the necessary core software ... as well as a few AddOns for ‘Searching’, ‘Sorting’, retrieving Story line and Casting info, Movie trailers, lists of TV seasons and episodes. I believe it's time for Cable TV to give more of what enjoys and less of what annoys. It's more than annoying when Ads make one (with some technical patience) consider 'cutting the cord'. Perhaps it's time to at least supplement the cord? My opinion, Ww 

PS> . I should note - the resolution upgrade offered by Bell Fibe is excellent!

Now back to tasting...

LINEUP: Reds, whites and bubblies:

  • Trivento Amado sur Malbec/Bonardi/Syrah 2014,  92-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #037036    $16.95
  • Maycas del Limari Reserva Especial Pinot Noir 2014, 90-1  --  V,  Limari Valley, Chile, #469213  $19.95
  • L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah 2013,  88-2  --  V,  Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, #983742 $12.95
  • Smoking Loon Old Vine Zinfandel 2014,  86  --  G,  California, USA, #272393  $14.95
  • G. Marquis The Red Line Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 VQA Niagara Peninsula 2015,  84 --  G, Niagara, Ontario,  #473090  $11.95*

  • Elephant Hill Reserve Sauvignon Blanc 2013,  91-2  --  V, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, #361238  $18.25   
  • Yalumba Y Series Unwooded Chardonnay 2015,  89  --  V,  Angaston, South Australia, #460972 $16.95
  • Zenato San Benedetto Lugana 2015,  88-1 --  V, Veneto, Italy, #707158   $17.95
  • Frogpond Farm Organic Vidal 2014 VQA Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake,  86  --  V, Ontario, #469429  $14.00 
  • Cupcake Vineyards Chardonnay 2016, 84  --  G,  California, USA,  #230821  $13.10*
  • Hogue Gewurztraminer 2014, 83  --  V, Washington, USA, #461137  $14.95

  • Fantinel One and Only Single Vineyard Brut Prosecco 2015, 84  --  V, Fruili, Italy, #390617 $18.95

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


L.A. CETTO PETITE SIRAH 2013, Guadalupe Vally, Baja California, 14.5%  D  2g/L, #983742  $12.95    (Tasted February 4, 2017)

Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016.  My notes: A slight whiff of barnyard that dissipates quickly on opening the cork - air 30 minutes or aerate. An attractive deep regal ruby with a bright tang to the nose and swirling a firm film slowly collecting ample to run long turtle paced tears. Dry tannins parch the palate while a medium-bodied velvet and deep warmth attracts attention. Excellent with grilled beef or Italian chorizo slices on a tomato and olive pizza. Rather than sip solo pair with buffet nibbles. Likely past cellaring but still a bargain. PS. Beautiful with herb marinated pork tenderlon!  86 - add 2 for an 88.

G. MARQUIS THE RED LINE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 13.3% XD  2g/L,  #473090  $11.95*   (February 7, 2017)

A Magnotta Winery product. Reduced in price from $13.95 until end of January 2017.  My notes: A crushed raspberry colour and a raspberry edged cranberry for aroma and flavour.  Quickly settles as an extra dry meal red - Italian style giving brightness as a complement to tomato pastas, chicken cacciatore and similar dishes. Flavours build intensity and lead to a penetrating finish. Decanting/aerating relieves some roughness expanding an already acquired taste and is recommended – two years cellaring may help as well. 84

ZENATO SAN BENEDETTO LUGANA 2015, Veneto, Italy, 13.0%  D  6g/L, #707158   $17.95  (Tasted February 6, 2017)

Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016.  My notes: Made from the Verdicchio grape and rated 89 by Kerin O’Keefe, Wine Enthusiast, July 2016. A pale yellow with a thin film gradually dropping leaving a trace of tears until halted as if by exhaustion. Still a palate brightener. Everything about this is bright until the finish, a flat chalk that continues ‘til the next sip. A clear lemon posing as sweet mellowed by a pleasing warmth and soft almond. Pair with seafood with my choice being seared scallops wrapped in bacon with a few drops of fresh lemon. With Valentine’s on the horizon grilled Lobster, or napkin sized crab, could be an alternative. Short term cellaring could take advantage of the price.  88

FROGPOND FARM ORGANIC VIDAL 2014 VQA Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 11.8%  XD 2g/L,  #469429  $14.00  (Tasted February 19, 2017)

Released by Vintages on September 3, 2016. My notes: A deep yellow with the clarity of a sapphire gemstone .  The strong scent of dried apricot or clementine peel fades slowly before leaving an extra dry and slightly herb finish. A jagged rim hangs a moderate film to drain until only beads remain. The first sip has a soft texture and a penetrating tang. The flavour hangs on to its initial citrus roots. My first experience with ‘organic Vidal’ and ‘subtle’ isn’t a word I’d use from start to finish – interesting for sure. Pair with grilled haddock lain on a bed of onions and broccolini with butter sauce, seared cherry tomatoes and capers. Cellar a few more years to see where it's going. 86 

HOGUE GEWURZTRAMINER 2014, Washington, USA, 12.5%  D  12g/L,  #461137  $14.95   (Tasted February 16, 2017)

Released by Vintages on August 6, 2016. A Constellation Corp. brand.  My notes: There’s no mention of Constellation wines on the website   but of a family centered around vineyards of the Washington State area. A clear pale blond colour is an attractive starter. The texture is smooth and comes with a sweet nuttiness and a hint of grapefruit. A swirl shows a prominent film that quickly fragments into a dozen long legged tears. The nose displays a hint of walnut surrounded by a moderate honeydew. Sipping with hard cheese slices on salty crackers could balance the prominent honey if one is looking for a summer cooler. I’d recommend adding crushed ice and a cherry or a cubed pineapple ring. Also try pairing with coconut shrimp on a lettuce bed. A style intended for a specific market.  83  

ELEPHANT HILL RESERVE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 13.0%  D  4g/L,  #361238  $18.25  (Tasted February 2, 2017)

Released by Vintages on October 17, 2015 and a Silver Medal winner at the 2014 International Wine & Spirit Competition.  My notes: A New Zealand SB with a texture twist, background acidity and a hint of Hawkes Bay herbal. The first sip has a sense of luscious settling as a chalky start to a long green gooseberry finish. The thin film quickly disperses with no observable tears. The faded yellow has a delicate green with a near lime scent to add interest. Pair with mussels in a mild tomato sauce or garlic & wine sauce with ample breads. Sip solo for inner subtleties or quaff for full tang and chalk. Short term cellaring a possibility.  91

YALUMBA Y SERIES UNWOODED CHARDONNAY 2015,  Angaston, South Australia, 13.0%  XD  2g/L, #460972  $16.95  (Tasted January 18, 2017)

Released by Vintages on September 17, 2016.   My notes: A pale yellow clear and bright, a mild sniff of butterscotch and vanilla masked with the coolness served at 12oC. A tilt of the glass immediately runs long tears against a thin film leaving it in fragments. A sip is close to bitter, sharp although having a smooth going into a long grassy edged finish needing a finny seafood complement. Its flavour and bite went well with chicken cacciatore. Cellar a few years for further development and a softer style or drink now for its near luscious brightness. 89     

SMOKING LOON  OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2014, California, USA, 14.0%  XD 5g/L,  #272393   $14.95  (Tasted January 29, 2017)

A General listing was priced down from $14.95 now back to normal.  My notes: The colour of crushed blackberries brightened by blueberries. A slight flatness highlighted by a perceptible sweetness riding on fruit makes an interesting sipper that, with or without nibbles, is enjoyable although better quaffed. A shade shy of full- this medium-bodied red avoids the overpowering attraction of cabernet but provides everything for light food pairing. The film sticks showing a rounded crescent on the glass then fragments running a rim of flowing tears. Serve cooled with breaded veal or pork, or lean beef/turkey sausage sliced with linguine in a stewed red pepper, basil and tomato sauce. May cellar several years. No longer in the 'value' zone, but close. Finish is extra dry, smooth and fruity. 86    

MAYCAS DEL LIMARI RESERVA ESPECIAL PINOT NOIR 2014, Limari Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD 2g/L,  #469213  $19.95  (Tasted February 15, 2017)

Released by Vintages on November 12, 2016.  My notes: When opened there’s a delicate floral nose akin to light raspberries and fennel. A moderate film leaves a rim that fragments into slow tears with a colour a see-thru raspberry providing the taster with an appealing package. The first sip is sharp on the swallow with flavours that add dimension - to a cheese tray, to a light pasta entrée or a buttery bowl of mussels in a lightly garlic’d sauce. An assortment of french accents combine with slight silk and subdued berries over a long finish. Serve to those ready for diversity. Short term cellaring is a possibility. 90

TRIVENTO AMADO SUR MALBEC/BONARDA/SYRAH 2014, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  2g/L, #037036   $16.95   (Tasted February 13, 2017)

Released by Vintages on  January 7, 2017. A blend of Malbec (79%), Bonarda (11%) and Syrah (10%).  Rated 93 by James Suckling  (May 20, 2016).  My notes: Gold medals in 2009, 2010, 2011 from Wine Spectator for previous vintages. Natalie MacLean rated the 2014 so let me give my opinion (8-).  This has a firm film with tears showing quickly then running slowly. The colour has the depth of raspberry touched by a charcoal ember, warmth included. Penetrating, plentiful and consistent over a long, balanced finish. Possibly there’s a hint of cedar lingering when aerated. Both end extra dry leaving a prominent chalk touch. I’d go with decanting rather than aerating for a sense of freshness in the former. Definitely a meal red when paired with lean beef cuts - salted and sat ten minutes before grilling to your liking. I’d risk cellaring several years – taste yearly. 92

CUPCAKE Cupcake Vineyards CHARDONNAY 2015,  California,  13.5% D 7g/L, #230821  $15.10  (Tasted January 16, 2017)

A General listing.  My notes: A softer shade of yellow with a swirl that leaves a moderate film sticking then releasing a dozen slow tears from a fragmenting rim. A mild sniff of pie dough and lemon, a touch of silk pleasingly tart to match a rising warmth and dryness.  The ending is soft although retaining most of its initial brightness -  enough to share with hard cheeses, sliced prosciutto/salami/pepperoni on salted crackers or could pair nicely with veal parmigiana or stuffed chicken breast. A drink now and a social mixer.  84

FANTINEL ONE AND ONLY SINGLE VINEYARD BRUT PROSECCO 2015,  Fruili, Italy, 12.0%  D  6g/L,  #390617 $18.95  (Tasted March 7, 2017)

Released by Vintages on November 26, 2016.  My notes: There’s a faint tawny cast on pouring amongst a flurry of stiff foam and spritz. A unique dusty peach aroma barely makes its presence with a chilled serving (10oC). A standard tulip glass replaces a champagne flute to focus on its delicate character.  The sharpness of fine spritz adds to the bright bite of acid against an extra dry, long finish. Pair with a minty gelato, crisp coconut shrimp appetizers or breaded halibut. Ends as a somewhat unctuous drink now. 84