Thursday, September 15, 2005

More Reds(9): Italy Chianti (2), Australia Cav Sauv, Australia Shir/Gren/Mourv, Canada Meritage(2), Canada Merlot, USA Zinfandel, Spain Crianza

RICASOLI BROLIO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2002, Tuscany, Italy, 13.5% D, #003962 $23.85 (Tasted September 15, 2005)

The LCBO says: "Deep ruby/garnet; floral, blackcherry, spice and earth/truffle nose with hints of coffee and plum; extra-dry, medium to full-bodied with medium tannins and flavours of ripe cherry, leather, plum, spice, anise and coffee; fairly long complex finish. Serve with rich meat pastas; hearty stews; roasted meats; grilled lamb chops." The Paterna website says: "Hints of violets and ripe blackberries On the palate, the wine displays a pleasant harmony, balanced tannins and good length. " A General listing. My notes: A Beppi recommendation February, 2004 purchased and cellared June, 2004. Now a dark see-through ruby colour with a soft ripe cherry and oak (French) nose. Tannins are very evident on top of a medium-bodied warm plum, dark cherry flavour with a vanilla and leather edge. Acid level is well balanced with fruit for a long, almost smooth, drying finish. If you like dry it's a sipper but better with any strong-flavoured cheeses and good with lightly spiced back ribs, savoury stews or meaty pastas. Likely can cellar for a few more years.

ANTINORI 'PÈPPOLI' CHIANTI CLASSICO 2002, Tuscany, Italy, 13.0% XD, #606541 $19.95 (Tasted September 18, 2005)

Vintages says: "The Pèppoli estate is 100 ha in size and is located 5 km northeast of Tignanello. The vineyards are located in a small valley which holds heat well, and where the soil is stony and rich in minerals, ideal for growing Sangiovese. Wine was first made here in the Middle Ages by Vallombrosian monks. Owned today by the Antinori clan, Pèppoli, a previous Vintages Wine of the Month, is a modern Chianti, stressing fruit above all." Tony Aspler comments "A very elegant Chianti at a bargain price. Dense purple colour; spicy plum and tobacco leaf nose; medium-bodied. Richly extracted flavours of black licorice, plum and violets; well balanced, firmly structured with great length." and rates 5 stars. The Antinori website says: "Rich in aromas of mature fruit (Sangiovese) and hints of vanilla. On the palate, the wine is well-balanced, with a good structure and a good length with a fruity ending. Pèppoli is made with a view to being enjoyed fairly young, when all its fruity nuances are at their maximum." A Vintages release September 17, 2005. My notes: In nose and flavour emphasis is on blending, ageing and process than on fruit. Colour is a deep garnet and the nose is cigar box with warm stewed plums. Flavours are a smooth blend of tobacco, prunes with a spicy edge and possibly a black cherry note, a long finish also smooth on the lips. A full-bodied red sipper better paired with spicy tomato sauce pastas, Italian meatballs or sausage, gorganzola or asiago crumbs on broiled bruschetta and portabello mushrooms. A drink-now wine.

GRANT BURGE 'CAMERON VALE' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002, South Australia, 14.5% XD, #937276 $19.95 (Tasted September 19, 2005)

Vintages says: "This deeply delicious wine is made from fruit sourced from vines that are over 30 years old. While the grapes' pedigree runs deep, the winemaker's history runs deeper. Grant is the fifth generation winemaker in the Burge family and the most successful to date. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the family's winemaking history. The maturity and experience of the winemaker and his vines shows well in this complex, full bodied Cab. Look for layered aromas of eucalyptus, black licorice, dark chocolate and vanilla oak and juicy, dark fruit flavours integrated with toasty oak notes and silky tannins on the palate. Enjoy with roast beef with all the trimmings or a leg of lamb with rosemary and garlic." Natalie MacClean describes it as: "Excellent value. Menthol coolness with ripe red fruit. Delicious for food on the barby (cue). Score: 91/100." The Grant Burge website highlights 'mint, violets, chocolate and cherry oak' in this red noting that "Petit Verdot (5%) was added for complexity.. and.. twenty-two percent was left on skins for thirty days. Fermentation was completed in 33% French oak, and the rest in one and two year old French hogshead for twenty months. Deep crimson with purple hues, nose of eucalypt, boiled aniseed lollies, mint dark chocolate and vanillin oak. The palate is a fleshy, juicy mixture of dark berry fruits, savoury soy characters, and full fruit tannins integrated with fine grained French oak, and excellent weight and persistence." A Vintages release September 17, 2005. My notes: Colour is a deep but not opaque ruby. Nose is a round plum and soft cedar, some spice and faint licorice. Flavours are delayed but burst on the tongue into a sharp edged blackberry, dark chocolate and plum blend with well integrated tannins - lots of fruit and well balanced. Finish is long and drying. A dry Cab Sauv sipper and better paired with prime beef, beef Wellington or rich stews. Went well with bbq'd lamb chops coated with a fig and balsamic sauce. Should cellar well for several years.

LANGMEIL 'THREE GARDENS' SHIRAZ/GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE 2003, Barossa, Australia, 14.5% XD, #644047 $21.95 (Tasted September 20, 2005)

Vintages says: "An excellent southern Rhône-style blend, with medium-full body, soft tannins, a pleasing degree of density, and subtle spice and meaty characters. It's quite fleshy and supple in the mouth and drinks well already. Score - 93 (Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine, June/July 2005)." The label says: "The blend of Shiraz (47%), Grenache (45%) and Mourvedre (8%) shows good balance and integrated structure. It has full, ripe fruit supported by firm but fine tannins. Flavours of cherries, blackberries with a hint of cloves and cinnamon.... (cellar) up to five years." A Vintages release September 17, 2005. My notes: A complex nose that develops in the glass: cedar, soft oak, mint, black cherries and blackberries from a deep black cherry skin colour. It seems the mourvedre provides a soft, chalky base for the grenache and shiraz -complex, integrated and well balanced. Should be wonderful with game meats, prime rib, beef Wellington, ... or just sipping. Drink now or for several years to come.

JACKSON-TRIGGS PROPRIETORS GRAND RESERVE MERITAGE 2001, Jordan, Canada, 13.1% XD, #594002 $23.95 (Tasted September 21, 2005)

This is a Vintages wine. The 2001 label says (and the J-T website describes the 2002 in the same terms): "... a unique blend of Cab Sauv (40%) Merlot (40%) and Cab Franc(20%). ... aged in premium new French and American oak barrels for eighteen months ... has a nose dominated by aromas of ripe blackberries, plums and vanilla underscored with layers of chocolate and spicy black pepper. ... concentrated fruit flavours of berries, chocolate and coffee .... with firm leather tannins providing an elegant prolonged finish. Ideal with beef tenderloin in a peppercorn sauce, grilled rack of lamb, stuffed pork or hardy aged cheeses. " My notes: The 2001 vintage was purchased from the winery February, 2004 Medium- to light-bodied with a clear ruby colour and a warm plum, cinnamon and pepper nose. Red cherry and red currant flavours are well integrated including the sharpness of fresh currant juices or a slight chokecherry-ness. Fine tannins are still apparent on a medium finish. A sipper if you like crisp - but decanting may help here. Pair with spicy pastas, seasoned steaks.... went nicely with a mellow fruit cake (Laura Secord's) and somewhat with chips and salsa. Will likely benefit from another year in the cellar.

JACKSON-TRIGGS PROPRIETORS GRAND RESERVE MERITAGE 2002, Jordan, Canada, 13.1% XD, #594002 $19.95 (Tasted September 22, 2005)

Part of Vintages release September 17, 2005 and describes it as a "Merlot-dominant blend that includes Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, this is plush, concentrated and elegant. There's an aroma of ripe raspberries even as you pour the wine into the glass, and sniffing it uncovers plum and coffee. Score - **** 1/2 (out of 5) (Rod Phillips,, Dec. 2004)". Natalie describes the 2002 vintage as "Robust aromas of cassis, black plums and coffee. Strong all-round red that needs aging. Drink 2006-2009. Score: 89.5/100." My notes: A touch of garnet in the clear ruby and, after breathing a bit, a richer same nose as the 2001 and less pepper. Medium-bodied with flavours of black cherry plum, red currant, and an anise edge without the chokecherry this vintage - tannins and acid are nicely balanced. Finish is moderate to long vanishing into a soft woody touch. Should be cellared a year for sipping - OK now with meat pizzas, grilled steaks, bbq'd sausage spicy or sweet, rack of lamb or savoury stews.

JACKSON-TRIGGS PROPRIETORS GRAND RESERVE MERLOT 2001, Jordan, Canada, 13.5% XD, #563197 $21.95 (Tasted September 24, 2005)

This is a Vintages wine. The label says: "... underwent extended maceration to extract a deep garnet red colour and concentrated fruit flavours. Aged in premium new French and American oak barrels for eighteen months ... for a goergeous bouquet of ripe backberries, vanilla and sweet plum aromas layered with notes of mint and spicy oak. Bold flavours of cherries and blackberry supported by mellow tannins etc. ... ideal with rack of lamb, beef Wellington.... and aged cheeses." My notes: Purchased from the winery February, 2004. A beautiful ruby colour with a nose initially reminiscent of an 'Elastoplast' bandage. Decanting or letting air for ten minutes softened the medicinal to a faint violet - and light plum (if you closed your eyes). Medium-bodied with flavours of light blackberries mixed with soft tannin and well balanced acids. Finish is short, warm and dry. Should be OK with lightly flavoured meats: turkey breast, ham steak and roasted potatoes, prime rib and Yorkshire pudding.

RANCHO ZABACO ZINFANDEL 2001, SONOMA HERITAGE WINES, Sonoma, USA, 13.3% XD, #434605^ $19.95 (Tasted September 25, 2005)

The label says: "balances juicy ripe blackberry with boysenberry fruit flavours with an underlying hint of pepper. ... pairs with dishes ranging from simple grilled meats and roast chicken or turkey with sage or more exotically spiced Mediterranean dishes." This is a Vintages release. My notes: Purchased March, 2004 (recommended by Beppi). No longer listed under the LCBO number above this has a warm, light blackberry nose to match the rich ruby colour (fruit has lessened since purchase). Blackberry flavours have softened integrating with fine tannins and well balanced acid to produce a pleasing smooth dry sipper. The finish is warm and long coating the mouth with a smooth blackberry aftertaste. Cellaring further likely couldn't improve this excellent Zin. Food pairing as described on the label is likely.... went well with bbq'd pork tenderloin with Patagonia sauce.

CAMPO DE BORJA ARAGONIA CRIANZA 2001, Fuendejaron, Spain, 13.5% XD, CP151-2664 (Opimian) $13.42 (Tasted September 27, 2005)

Opimian says: "This is a blend of Garnacha, Tempranilla, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, impressive fruit including figs and opulent prunes with a beautiful fragrant, sweet fruit and musky, suave oak bouquet. The palate is rich with fruit and a gentle touch of spice and herbs that gradually give way to swelling tannins to provide the wine with a quiet, but assertive structure and sinstance. etc." The label lists the blend as 60% Grenache and 40% Tempranilla. My notes: Purchased from the Opimian Wine Society and cellared February, 2004. Has improved since last tasted May, 2005. The Opimian description is closer than I could come.... a soft cedar, raspberry and dark plum nose from a rich clear, ruby colour with long legs. Flavour is a rich, full fruit integrated with soft tannins and a mild spice. Finish is very long with lots of ripe berry fruit and smooth complex texture. A beautiful sipper and paired with any meat, game meats, duck, red pastas or pizza should enhance the meal.

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