WYNDHAM ESTATE BIN 999 MERLOT 2003, South Australia, 13.0% D, #336347 $16.00 (Tasted October 11, 2005)
The LCBO says: "Garnet colour; blackberry, cherry and plum aromas with light oak; ripe fruit flavours, soft tannin, oaky finish. Have with veal tenderloin, poultry. A General release. " The label says: "A medium-bodied wine with the distinct plum and cherry characters of classic Merlot. Balanced with mouth-filling softness...etc. " My notes: A commercial red with a see-through ruby colour and very light plum/cherry nose. Light- to medium-bodied with flavours of mild red cherry with pronounced sharpness and warmth in the throat. Finish starts but doesn't develop, is short and uninteresting. Not a sipper. Have with lightly flavoured cheeses, mild bruschetta and cheese/vegetarian pizza or with prime rib, ie. lightly flavoured beef.
FATTORIA LA LOGGIA TERRA DEI CAVALIERI CHIANTI CLASSICO 1997, Italy, 12.5% XD, #738146* $14.90 (Tasted October 12, 2005)
*LCBO number is no longer listed. Recommended by Beppi Crosariol and cellared February 2002. The website says: "Intense aroma of ripe grapes; the wine is balanced on the palate; it has an outstanding structure and it is extremely pleasant and harmonious. Blend of 85% Sangiovese, 5% Canaiolo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon." My notes: A see-through ruby colour with a soft aroma of plums and cherries. A light- to medium-bodied chianti with red cherries and ripe plums well integrated with noticeable acid and tannins. Tannins and tar show up moderately on the light but lengthy finish. A pleasant perhaps tart, dry sipper. Have with hors d'oeuvres: a mixed cheese, olive and proscuitto plate, or with pasta and red sauces, italian meatballs/sausage, ham or duck.
MALIVOIRE OLD VINES FOCH 2002 (Canadian Oak), Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5%, #Winery $25.00 (Tasted October 13, 2005)
My notes: Purchased from the winery and cellared November, 2003. A deep see-through ruby with a soft cedar, vanilla and blackberry nose. Medium-bodied, not too 'fochy' with flavours of black cherry, plums and licorice well integrated with soft tannins and acid. A smooth dry sipper with some acetic zip. The length is fruity, warm and long. Pair with any red meat prepared in any way but not too savoury.
BODEGAS PIQUERAS CASTILLO DE ALMANSA 'SELECCION' 2000, Spain, 13.5% D, #586719 $19.95 (Tasted October 15, 2005)
Vintages released this May 28, 2005 saying "located between La Mancha and Valencia, the Almansa DO is a red and rosé production zone. Bodegas Piqueras is considered one of the region's finest producers. Our panel found this wine to be rich, smooth and fruity." My notes: A blend of monastrell, tempranillo, sirah and garnacha tintorera. Aged twelve months in american and french oak. A rich ruby with plum and cherry nose, some spice on the side. Medium-bodied with flavours of cherries and berries with enough bite to pair with peppercorn steak, savoury tapas, and pepperoni pizza. Pleasant enough as a dry sipper a bit tart without appetizers though. Finish is long with a red cherry lightness, some soft tannins and a mineral edge. May be at peak now... could get harsh if kept longer?
ELDERTON 'FRIENDS' SHIRAZ 2003, Vineyard Series, Barossa, Australia, 14.5% XD, #660480 $19.95 (Tasted October 17, 2005)
Vintages released this October 15, 2005 saying: "While most Elderton wines are 'estate grown', for this intensely flavoured Shiraz fruit was sourced from a number of small growers across the Barossa. We are grateful that the folks at Elderton have such good 'friends'. This is a big, rich Shiraz, that has wonderful black fruit aromas and flavours. Crushed black and blueberries, plum and hints of chocolate mingle together all the way to the finish. With friends' like this, you won't have any enemies." The label says that some Matao was added for structure and it was aged in American oak for eight months. My notes: A deep berry aroma from a rich ruby colour. The berries follow through to the taste with a nice acid edge, very little tannins and some sweetness initially. "big, soft, rich and juicy" claimed by Elderton is right on.... a new world fruitiness that may detract from some entrees. Finish is dry and full of berry but passes quickly. An interesting social sipper and added a different aspect to pork roast slices (leftovers) with mashed potatoes and squash. Likely a drink-now red, perhaps cellar a year at most.
FELIX SOLIS LOS MOLINAS GRAN RESERVA 1997, Valdepenas, Spain, 13.0% XD, #620971 #13.95 (Tasted October 20, 2005)
Gord Stimmell says: "Amazing freshness, considering this is a 1997. Minty black cherry, mahogany and cedar, leather and black plum aromas get the senses going. Flavours are dominated by minty black cherry, laced with chocolate notes and vanilla bean nuances. A silky texture and spicy finish lift this wonderfully. Have with beef or game stews. Rated 90. " The label says: "Exacting Tempranillo grape selection, expert vinification and long ageing produce this deeply complex but easy to enjoy Gran Reserva. Ripe red fruits accompanied by silky tannins and a long, spicy finish etc. " This is a General listing. My notes: Has a smooth nose like inhaling a mint dish through a cedar straw but with many more side aromas. Strong tannins coat the palate along with fresh cherries and plums dissolving into a long, spicy finish. Medium-bodied although initial impression is much fuller. Have with any red meat dish, red pasta dishes, hamburgers, roasted backribs or with strongly flavoured cheeses. It's likely close to the end of cellaring - drink now.
CHATEAU LA CLOTTE-FONTANE, CUVEE MATHIEROU, 2001, Languedoc, France, 13.5% XD, CP149-2543 $19.17 (Tasted October 25, 2005)
Opimian says: "This "reserve cuvee" has masses of forward fruit that combines the juicy appeal of New World reds with those of revered old vineyards. Richly flavoured and opulent, showing powerfully deep aromas with black fruit overlaid with spicy pepper and black olive, the silky subdued tannis are never far away, their subtlety adding to the lengthy structure of a thunderingly good bottle. " My notes: Cellared December, 2003. A medium-bodied see-through ruby colour with smooth aromas of plums, bacon and black olive and flavours of black cherries balanced with soft tannins and a light clean acid. The finish is long and subtle black fruits. Likely will cellar well a few more years but good now for prime rib, Chateaubriand, lamb or even turkey. As a dry sipper have with mild cheeses or tapas.