CHATEAU PERRIN MERLOT 1998 CUVEE BARRIQUES, Cotes de Castillon, France, 12.0% XD, CP143-2207 $15.58 (Tasted October 28, 2005)
Opimian writes: "... this gem. .... hand picked only fully ripened bunches from the steepest slopes above Dordogne. Fermentation was long and slow, in refrigerated stainless steel tanks before maturation in new American oak casks on the fine lees. .... showing refined and soft vanilla flavours, the oak has added tannic characters marrying sympathetically with the hearty fruit that wells up like a wave of succulent blackcurrant. .... made to last and mature. Lay down two or several years." My notes: Ordered in May and cellared October of 2002. A soft magenta? hue and a soft nose of blackcurrant, black cherries and mint. Medium-bodied with flavours of black cherries, blue berries and a short, drying finish - just enough acid to avoid being flabby. Pair with mild meat dishes, lamb or turkey. Drink now.
ST. HALLETT BAROSSA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1999, Barossa, Australia, 14.0% XD, #744458* $14.90 (Tasted October 28, 2005)
My notes: *No longer listed by the LCBO, was a General release. Cellared February 2002 and has a colour of dense ruby with a slight brick edge. Velvet rich nose with some cedar but full plum/prunes and a bit of peppery spice, medium-bodied well integrated with slight tannin and acid and a full flavour of blackberry, black olive and mint. The finish is long and smooth. Although quite dry can be a sipper, likely better with full flavoured meat dishes, stews, pepperoni pizza or red sauced pastas. Could cellar a few more years.
ST HALLETT ‘GST' GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/TOURIGA 2004, Barossa, Australia, 15.0% XD, #660910 $23.95 (Tasted October 30, 2005)
Vintages says: "Here's a GST you won't mind paying for, this extremely tasty wine is a blend of 50% Grenache, 45% Shiraz and 5% Touriga Nacional. The inclusion of the classic Portugese Port variety Touriga Nacional enhances the unique flavour profile. Expect ripe and juicy berry fruits to mingle with rich flavours of raisin, dried figs, spice and meat in this distinctive, medium-bodied blend." The St Hallett website says: "...St Hallett GST is a blend of old vine Barossa Valley grenache, shiraz and the lesser known Portuguese variety touriga nacional, varieties historically used in the production of fine ports and fortifieds by St Hallett and other Barossa winemakers. This medium-bodied wine encompasses luscious juicy fruit and game flavours of a typical Grenache Shiraz blend; whilst the exciting new element of Touriga enhances the wine with distinctive, yet subtle, lifted floral and spice characters. Savoury complexity and softness on the palate is the result of storage on secondary lees and maturation in 2–3 year old French oak for eight months." A Vintages release October 29, 2005. My notes: A rich, dark ruby with aromas of a fruit cupboard, unctious and integrated berry/cherry/plum with an edge of savoury figs. A medium-to full-bodied flavour of ripe plums, figs and cherries balanced with soft tannins and a light spicy edge like a cross between a ripasso and a port. A great sit-by-the-fire-and-sip wine. The finish carries well into the next sip or forkful - pair with zippy cheeses, full flavoured stews, game meats, lamb shank, or grilled T-bones. Ready now but should be able to cellar this for several years.. five to eight is my guess.
KATNOOK “FOUNDER'S BLOCK” CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002, Coonawara, Australia, 13.5% XD, #660332 $17.95 (Tasted October 29, 2005)
Vintages says: "Master winemaker Wayne Stehbens creates the ‘Founders Block' range of wines in a ready-to-drink, mellow style that is fruit-forward and bursting with Coonawarra character. You can expect aromas of red berry fruit and a touch of mint in the medium-bodied, supple Cabernet. With its generous fruit flavours and long finish, you will discover for yourself what makes Coonawarra so special." A Vintages release October 29, 2005. The label says: "fragrant with regional aromas of red berries, violets and mint with some whole mocha and vanilla oak. .. drink now or cellar for five to eight years for further depth and complexity." My notes: Has a convenient screw top. A deep purple-red, dense with rich aromas of berries, vanilla, and light peppery spices. Flavour is full, smooth, with ripe berries, plums and dark chocolate. The finish is equally stunning; soft, round on the tongue and full of blackberries. A pleasing sipper or pair with any braised ribs, grilled steaks, full-flavoured stews, etc. A value Cabernet Sauvignon, now or for cellaring.