Saturday, November 05, 2005

November Reds (6): Italy Syrah, Italy 'Chianti', Chile Cab Sauv, Canada Pinot Noir, Australia Cab Merlot, USA Syrah

FEUDO ARANCIO SYRAH 2002 SICILIA, Sicily, Italy, 13.5% D, #621730 $11.95 (Tasted November 4, 2005)

Gordon Stemmell rates this 88 saying: "Sicily keeps raising the bar on quality. This newcomer to the shelves is a keeper, with lingonberry, blackberry, ripe plum and red licorice aromas and fairly full-bodied flavours of blackberry and black summer plums. Spicy cedar and black cherry fruit linger on the finish in this shiraz-style syrah. Food suggestion is mushroom risotto." The label pairs this Syrah with "vegetable and seasoned risotto, broiled and grilled red meats, smoked and herb cheeses." The Vinography website said in December , 2004: "This is it. I've discovered by far the best wine for under ten bucks (Aus) I've ever had. You think Yellowtail Syrah is a good value? In a street fight, this scrappy Sicilian is going to send Australia packing. Fortunately for us they're probably going to stay far under the radar of most consumers. ... Feudo Arancio is a new winery project started in 2001 by Gruppo Mezzacorona, one of Italy’s largest and most powerful wine producers. etc." Beppi says: "Medium full-bodied, silky and ripe, it shows nuances of blackberry, cherry and vanilla, ending in a dry, peppery, licorice-like finish. A bonafide bargain, it's ideal for sipping on its own." My notes: Clear ruby colour with a soft aroma of ripe plums and lingonberries. The flavour is fruit-forward of blueberries and lingonberries with light tannin and a bright edge. The finish is long with lingering lingon's. A medium-bodied dry sipper but better with burgers, braised ribs or pepperoni and tomato sauce pizzas. A drink-now but could cellar for a couple of years.

ALTESINO 'ROSSO DI ALTESINO' 2002, Tuscany, Italy, 13.0% XD, #658369 $18.95 (Tasted November 12, 2005)

Vintages writes: "This blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon exhibit a nose that recalls blackberry, cocoa, juniper and vanilla. It is dry with the fruit currently waiting patiently under the tannin. Give this one 3-5 years in a cellar and you will be amply rewarded (Vintages panel, Feb. 2005)." Tony Asper gives it 3 1/2 stars (out of 5) saying: "A blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Purple colour; earthy, dried cherry nose; medium-bodied, firm structure, lovely balance of fruit, oak and acidity with a finish of cocoa. Drinking well now." Beppi Crosariol's pick-of-the-week writing "... This red from Italy's Tuscany region combines the bright-cherry and earthy nuances of the classic local sangiovese grape with the power and density of cabernet sauvignon and merlot. It hails from the southern Montalcino zone and is what collectors would playfully call a "baby supertuscan" because it's made in a fruity, modern style and breaks with the 100-per-cent-sangiovese formula of the traditional Tuscan wine of the area, etc. .... this wine should have the stuffing to improve with five to seven years in the cellar. Medium full-bodied, it's brimming with blackberry and plum flavours and hints of cocoa and mushrooms. etc. " A Vintages release November 12, 2005. My notes: Ruby with a purple hue and a nose of red cherries and spice. Light- to medium-bodied with a sour cherry predominance over a light plum and nice tannin - a Chianti with a plum twist A sipper for some but not for me - perhaps it's the merlot addition to sangiovese. Long and smooth with a cherry finish. Should go well with hamburgers, red italian sausage pasta, prime rib or rack of lamb. Cellaring should help integrate and provide some complexity. OK as a drink-now but try it first before cellaring a bunch.

PÉREZ CRUZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVA 2004, Maipo Valley, Spain, 14.5% XD, #694208 $13.95 (Tasted November 12, 2005)

The winery website says of their 2003 vintage: Produced and bottled in own state, Fundo Liguai, Huelquen, Paine, Maipo Valley. Fermented in stainless steel tanks and aged in barrels for 12 months, and 4 months in bottle. Deep burgundy red, with aromas of ripe red berries and spices, highlighted by touches of dried fruit and vanilla. A very well structured wine with mature tannins and a smooth finish. Natalie MacLean notes for the 2003 vintage that: "for a couple bucks more than Yellow Tail, you can get even more ripeness and mouth-watering flavor. Very plummy and purply. Score: 85/100" A Vintages release. My notes: A clear deep ruby with a soft blackberry and black plum nose. The flavours of plums, berries and licorice are nicely balanced with tannins and a touch of acid. Smooth on the palate with a long plum and interesting spice finish. A dry sipper, no harshness and with a light tannin, the alcohol warmth builds in the mouth along with cedar and fruit. Appropriate with a tray of tasty cheeses or nutty crackers with a cheese dip. Should go with almost any meat dish, non-vegetarian pizza, red pastas, or lamb shanks and beef stews. A value house red. Cellaring for two to five years should integrate further and introduce additional fullness although this is a drink-now medium-bodied Cab Sauvignon.

MALIVOIRE MOIRA VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2000, Beamsville, Canada, 13.5% XD, Winery $35.95 (Retasted November 15, 2005)

My notes: Cellared in December 2001 and last tasted March 2005. Letting breathe for twenty minutes lessened the initial 'closed closet' aroma revealing an interesting savoury vanilla and smoke nose. Has an artificial cork. A clear ruby medium- to light-bodied dry red with well balanced red cherry and raspberry fruit, tannin and acid - less fruitiness than when purchased, now more of a wine than an alcoholic fruit drink. A pleasant and different sipper for dry red sipping. Pair with lighter game meats, duck, turkey, cold greens layered with strips of rare prime beef, a wedge of Balderson aged cheddar, etc. Cellaring further isnt needed but I will anyway.

WOLF BLASS SOUTH AUSTRALIA CABERNET MERLOT 1999, Nuriootpa, Australia, 13.0% XD, #611483 $16.95 (Retasted November 15, 2005)

My notes: Cellared July 17, 2002 and last tasted June, 2005. After twenty minutes breathing the initial sharpness in the nose settles down and a fragrant toasted red cherry and vanilla predominate. Still a dark crimson this is a medium-bodied dry red, with a clean sharp edge and flavours building toward the red cherry. Since the last tasting it has rounded nicely and a soft fruit finish with a slight berry twist lingers moderately - drinking well now. The label says: "will develop over three to five years" and it has (with my preference being six) integrating nose, body and flavours more each year. Cellaring another year or two should be OK. Pair with roasts, game meats, stews or triple decker burgers.

HARVEST NAPA VALLEY SYRAH 1998, California, USA, 14.1% XD, SO39-2646 $22.17 (Tasted November 7, 2005)

Opimian writes: ".. unfiltered... a lovely colour and a bouquet of soft.. vanilla with hints of coffee, leather and mint. .... acidity underpins the well structured fruit with highlighted berries and a slightly tarry finish. Medium-bodied. Cellar one to two years." My notes: Cellared April, 2004. A Syrah with 11% Cabernet Sauvignon having a deep ruby colour with a slight purple tinge. The nose is full of vanilla beans, coffee and savoury berries in equal proportions. The flavour is nondescript cherry-berry and the finish is a nondescript cherry-berry and light oak -perhaps going through a 'dumb' period. OK with grilled New York steaks covered with white cap mushrooms. An uninteresting sipper with a sharp edge. Will cellar for a few more years.

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