Thursday, April 20, 2006

More April Reds (8): Canada Merlot, Spain Blend, Australia Blend, Italy Sangiov(2), Argentina Cab Sauv, France Blend, Australia Cab Sauv

DANIEL LENKO OLD VINES MERLOT 2003, Beamsville, Canada, 13.0% XD, Winery $24.95 (Tasted April 27, 2006)

The website says "Year after year the most consistent red wine we make. Aromas of blackberry and plum layer over cedar, tobacco and mint. Aged 14 months in French and American oak, a firm structure and solid concentration frame the round, creamy mid-palate. Vanilla, coconut and butterscotch lead to a long, supple finish." My notes: A mid ruby colour with a nose that is more earthy than fruity - airing in the glass a few minutes is recommended. A european style merlot, medium- to light-bodied with well balanced tannins and acid with a light red cherry flavour and light creaminess. Finish is moderate, dry, with some ripe, red cherries - didnt get the vanilla or butterscotch. Four to five years cellaring according to DL.

CAPELLANES JOVEN ROBLE RIBERA DEL DUERO 2004, Ribadeo, Spain, 13.5% D, #678177 $20.95 (Tasted April 27, 2006)

Released by Vintages February 18, 2006 saying: "Pago de Los Capellanes has embraced one of the newer Spanish ageing designations, ‘Joven Roble', for the creation of this wine. These fruit-forward wines are designed to be enjoyed within the first two to four years of vintage. Notes of toast and vanilla, but it's the bold berry and blackcurrant fruit that sings through. Add in a touch of spice, and you have a terrific, immediately enjoyable yet serious wine. Score - 91. (Simon Woods, Wine International, Sept. 2005)" The label says "[a blend of] 80% tempranillo, 10% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot". My notes: A deep purple hued ruby with a warm black cherry and soft licorice nose. Air to taste or decant. Full-bodied, tannins and acids are well balanced, and flavours are both mellow and bright with raspberry, blackberry, cherry and notes of tobacco and anise. The finish is long with initial fruit dwindling to a dry, light tobacco edge. A meal wine although devoted cab sippers may find this a dramatic but comfortable alternative. Have with full flavoured grilled meats, lamb shank and beefy stews. Cellaring up to five years then possibly extending after a taste.

LUCKY COUNTRY SHIRAZ CAB SAUV (TWO HANDS) 2004, South Australia, 15.0% XD, #642702 $15.95

A Vintages release April 15, 2006 described as "The country may be lucky but the winemaking here is pure talent. It's deep ruby in colour with aromas of smoke, blackberry, blueberry, sweet herbs and a hint of new leather. Dry, medium full-bodied with ripe fruit on the attack followed by a long lively peppery finish. The tannins balance the ripe fruit nicely. Enjoy with roast leg of lamb or stuffed pork roast. (VINTAGES panel, March 2006)." The label says "Wine Style: Full bodied, rich, big, succulent and long." My notes: A nose of overripe black cherries and berries with a smoky, ruby red colour. Both the cabernet and shiraz are equal flavours giving this a strong peppery, plum taste with drying tannins and sharp acids. Decant to avoid heavy sediment and would also help slightly with a bandaid edge that offsets the fruit. The finish is long, tannic and dry with the bandaid persisting - not a sipper except for the brave. Have with full-flavoured meats or cellar for a few years. With the tannins and acid it may turn out well.

RICASOLI BROLIO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2003 (and 2002), Tuscany, Italy, 13.5% D, #003962 $23.90 (Tasted April 23, 2006)

A General listing. The 2002 vintage was last tasted in September (see Archives) and revisited to compare with the 2003. The 2003 label says "wonderfully expressive bouquet of violets and spice, the palate is elegant and refined with a long velvety finish." The Ricasoli website says: "Bright ruby red in color with rich flavours of mature fruit. The taste is full solidly structured thanks to a good acidity and well balanced tannins. The long lasting sensation is absolutely voluptuous." My notes: Both are a dark see-through ruby colour with a soft ripe cherry and violet nose the 2002 having a sweet fruit note. Both are medium- to full-bodied with soft tannins on top of a warm plum, dark cherry flavour with a leather edge and a well balanced acid for a long, almost mellow, dry finish. The 2003 is slightly brighter with an earthiness not in 2002 and needs a few minutes to breathe. Have either with strong flavoured cheeses, grilled steaks, spareribs with savoury onion sauce, or stews. The 2002 is drinking well now... put the 2003 down for a few years for peak or just skip this vintage.

FAMIGLIA BIANCHI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% XD, #677567 $15.95 (Retasted April 21, 2006)

My notes: Tasted and cellared in September last year (see Archives) when James Molesworth gave it a rating of 91/100 and Natalie MacLean rated it 90/100 calling it "an extraordinary wine for the price". Vintages released it September 3, 2005 but doesn't list it as of today. The wine is a rich ruby and after airing twenty minutes has a soft, rich blackberry and licorice nose. The flavours are complex with ripe plum and pepper against a cushion of chocolate and truffels. The finish has velvety smooth tannins with some berry but mostly an earthy chocolate - any chalkiness has gone. Almost a sipper for me - it's considerably easier then in September - 'Big Cab' drinkers should find it interesting. But give me a grilled T-bone or saucy backribs for a real taste treat. Needs another two to four years before it'll be ready for mixed company. Still waiting for the 2003 vintage from Vintages.

CHATEAU LA CLOTTE-FONTANE MATHIEROU 2001, Languedoc, France, 13.5% XD, CP149-2543 $19.17 (Retasted April 20, 2006)

Opimian says: "...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 and subdued tannins are never far away, their subtlety adding to the lengthy structure of a thunderingly good bottle." Cellar six months to several years. My notes: Last tasted October, 2005 with the comments "..... 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.etc. " Still a rich ruby with warm aromas of black berries with a peppery edge. A smooth tannic blackberry flavour with a dry, spicy finish - even the black olives. Better paired with prime rib, tomato canelloni stuffed with seasoned chicken breast, rack of lamb.... has enough spice for fuller flavoured grilled meats. Should be able to cellar for a few more years yet.

KILIKANOON 'KILLERMAN'S RUN' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002, South Australia, 14.5% XD, #675223 $18.95 (Tasted April 20, 2006)

A Vintages release April 15, 2006 and described as "Medium ruby. Wine-class cabernet aromas of ripe cherry, redcurrant, pepper, licorice and rose petal, with a subtle minty nuance. Fleshy, supple and concentrated, with sweet flavors of red and black berries, cherry candy and sweet tobacco. A mouthfilling, velvety wine that finishes on a tangy redcurrant note. Score - 88. (Josh Reynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sept./Oct. 2005)." The label says "... what you get when combining low yielding grapes with premium vineyard areas with traditional winemaking .... Intense berry fruit flavours, subtle French oak and firm tannins etc. " My notes: A pleasing pepper, cherry and blackberry aroma from a dense ruby red. Full-bodied, smooth, ripe blackberry and licorice flavours with well balanced tannin and acid. The finish is consistent... long, smooth with soft tannins and a touch of licorice - making a great dry, lip-smacking sipper. Super with any grilled red meat, lamb kebobs, roasted lamb shank, full-flavoured stews or chili con carne, etc. Drinking well now but could cellar for several years.

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