Friday, September 12, 2008

September 13, 2008 Picks: 7 Tasted of 7

Vintages staff picked six of these wines, marked VS, for tasting, all are from the September 13th Release. Ratings from Winepointer #15 are included where available. As before, when tasted the wine will appear in bold. 
Cheers, Ww 

  • VS, Apollonio Valle Cupa Salento Rosso 2001, 94-3 -- V, Puglia, Italy, #084046 $20.95
  • VS, Guardian Peak ‘The Kalahari Lion’ SMG 2005, 90-1 -- V, Stellenbosch, South Africa, #083972 $22.95
  • VS, Santa Carolina Barrica Selection Merlot 2006, RP87-89, 87-1 -- V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #027276 $14.95
  • VS, Jackson-Triggs Delaine Vineyard Chardonnay 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, RP87-89, 90-2 -- V, Niagara, Canada, #623454 $19.95
  • VS, Thirty Bench Riesling 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, 88-1 -- V, Niagara Peninsula, Canada, #024133 $18.20
  • Mike Weir Estate Pinot Grigio 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, RP87-89, 85 -- V, Niagara, Canada, #043364 $15.15
  • VS, Zenato Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio 2007, RP85-86, 81 -- V, Veneto, Italy, #037648 $16.95
(V – Vintages, VS – Vintages pick, RP – Rod Phillips, r-v - Rating-Value)

MIKE WEIR ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara, Canada, 12.5% D, #043364 $15.15 (Tasted September 19, 2008)

Vintages describes this as “Weir follows up the success of his 2006 P.G. with this impressive 2007. Dry and racy, it features juicy citrus, peach and apricot flavours along with floral and a slight spiciness. Richly flavoured with a medium body, it's great as an aperitif or serve with pasta in a cream sauce.” My notes: A light golden colour with a suspicion of peach, the fragrance is of faint straw, peach stone and green apple - stronger suspicions. On the dry side and light-bodied with a mild tang and flavours of butterscotch and apple then fading to a mineral finish. Throughout there is an unusual (for PG) buttery mouth feel with an overriding tang. A sipper if you add some nibbles, a few mild chicken wings, Asian sweet and sour or a bento box of tempura shrimp and vegetables. A drink now. 85
GUARDIAN PEAK ‘THE KALAHARI LION’ SMG 2005, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 14.% D, #083972 $22.95 (Tasted September 22, 2008)

Vintages describes this as “After a slight dip in 04, 05 back on form: shiraz-led (63%) blend with 29% mourvèdre, peppery grenache builds character. Already smooth, but plenty to give. French/American oak, all new. (4 out of 5, Angela Lloyd, John Platter South African Wines, 2008).” My notes: Produced by Engelbrecht Els Vineyards. Shows a deep ruby colour and a fragrance of black cherries, blackberries and white pepper. Fine tears form on the large bowl when swirled, flavours of black cherries and red currants provide interest until the finish gives more of the red currants having a brightness overshadowing a slight pepper in the long finish. An interesting sipper both flavourful and tangy, medium-bodied with light tannins and approaching silk. Should be great with strong pates, prime rib (hold the horse radish), veal or lamb. Still has some youthfulness to develop if cellared a few years. 90
APOLLONIO VALLE CUPA SALENTO ROSSO 2001, Puglia, Italy, 14.5% XD, #84046 $20.95 (Tasted October 1, 2008)

Vintages describes this as “Rich and opulent but with a rugged personality, you can taste the heat of southern Italy. A 50/50 blend of Negroamaro and Primitivo, it is crammed with dark, brambly fruits and earthy character. The palate is truly mouthfilling with a slightly gamey edge, and the toasty oak brings a touch of vanilla. Up to 5 years. (4 out of 5, Decanter, Nov. 2007).” My notes: This has a deep ruby with a garnet cast and a viscous film that forms then recedes slowly on the glass. The nose is unique: smoky, earthy, of ripe black fruit with a slight vanilla and just perceptible. The texture is soft and full with flavours that are a medley of earth and that same ripe black fruit, perhaps figs and plums. The finish consists mainly of a softness then a warmth then a fine tannin that lingers. A sipper that evolves in the glass, an elegant old world red that is ‘experienced‘ rather than ‘tasted‘. Pair with osso buco or braised lamb shank and risotto alla Milanese. Perhaps has a few more years to cellar. 94
SANTA CAROLINA BARRICA SELECTION MERLOT 2006, Rapel Valley, Chile, 14.5% XD, #027276 $14.95 (Tasted September 17, 2008)

Described by Vintages as “This is a well-made 100% Merlot that you can drink now or hold another four or five years. It's well-balanced, with intense and layered flavours that mesh with a medium-plus body, smooth texture, and moderate tannic dryness. Drink it with rich pasta dishes or with red meats. (4 out of 5, Rod Phillips, June 19, 2008).” My notes: A dusty aroma of ripe black cherries with a colour to match. Plum and cherry flavours are delivered smoothly then, on reaching the back of the throat, come alive along with woody tannins. Flavours linger awhile on the palate ending on an earthy note, dry as clay. Pair with grilled meats not too spicy, prime rib or veal cutlet seared and drenched in a merlot influenced sauce. Should be OK to cellar for a few years - I’d try one year at a time. 87

THIRTY BENCH RIESLING 2007 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Canada, 11.0% D, #024133 $18.20 (Tasted September 16, 2008)

Described by Vintages as “Winemaker Natalie Reynolds stressed the importance of picking Riesling early in the warm, dry 2007 growing season. It was a case of picking on acidity as much as looking for flavour ripeness. That logic led to Thirty Bench's best yet $18 Riesling, the core production bottling that includes parcels from the Beamsville estate's three distinct vineyard blocks. The ripe, floral fruit stands out in this mildly tropical and minerally white, which is fresh, balanced and downright delicious. (4 out of 5, Christopher Waters, June 20, 2008).” My notes: A light fragrance of citrus and stone fruit and a crisp blond colour. The flavour is very bright, a denture cleaner, with a smooth texture and some green apple in with the lemon. Finishes long and dry with the tartness ebbing so the fruit flavours remain for awhile then fade to crushed lemon seeds. Have with fresh oysters, spicy mussels, smoked or planked salmon , battered fish and chips, chicken breast on greens. Cellaring for two years is suggested as a means of taming the acids - try a year at a time. 88

ZENATO DELLE VENEZIE PINOT GRIGIO 2007, Veneto, Italy, 12.5% XD, #037648 $16.95 (Tasted tbd)

Previously released on June 21, 2008 now a dollar less and described by Vintages as “Citrus and floral on the nose, expect a supremely crisp, refreshing and racy white wine that also offers some very ripe fruit flavours. You'll find sweet ripe fruit - peach, nectarine and guava - along with a zingy splash of lemon-lime tang. Light to medium bodied and well-balanced, this pairs beautifully with steamed mussels or clams. (3½ out of 5, Vic Harradine, June 21, 2008).” My notes: I didn’t think much of this in July rating it Ww80 but wanted to give it a second look based on VS picks and VH’s rating (between ‘Wines worth trying’ and ‘Wines of Excellence‘ - 5 being ‘Nirvana‘). This has a perfumed aroma of orange blossoms and field flowers and a light blond colour in a tulip glass. The first sip is a reversal of the nose and of the smooth roundness being a bright, dry combination of clay, crushed lemon seeds and distant tree fruit: peach or apricot. The finish is a prolonged minerally, pithy reminder. I would not offer this as a sipping wine it being more of a Mediterranean fish white. Have with seafood dishes where the oils and fleshy textures would complement its distinct flavours. It’s not for me. 81

JACKSON-TRIGGS ‘DELAINE VINEYARD’ CHARDONNAY 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara, Canada, 13.1% D, #623454 $19.95 (Tasted September 16, 2008)

Described by Vintages as “Quite charismatic, this expresses finesse and elegance on its firm and focused medium-bodied frame. It's well structured and medium textured with Granny Smith apple and white grapefruit flavours on the palate. The finish is well balanced with nuances of well integrated French oak along with a lovely clean and refreshing hit of racy citrus and honeydew melon. Pour alongside Chicken Kiev. (4½ out of 5, Vic Harradine, June 7, 2008).” My notes: A light golden colour with aromas of straw, lemon, lime and a taste of tart apple, almond and a smidgeon of melon. The flavours taper off to a herbaceous tang and very smooth cream. The cream is nicely balanced with the tartness and fruit and persists to the end. Great with grilled turbot and vegetable rice. Cellaring for two years should give creamier textures but it’s drinking well now. 90

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