Monday, September 01, 2008

September 2008 Wines: 7 Tasted of 7

Some wines picked up on the way home, while out shopping or brought to the house by generous guests. As before, when tasted the wine will appear in bold
Cheers, Ww 
  • Beronia Tempranillo “Elaboración Especial’ 2006, 86 -- V, Rioja, Spain, #723643 $18.95
  • Wolf Blass Red Label Cabernet Merlot 2006, 82 -- G, South Australia, #611483 $14.95
  • Hardys Nottage Hill Shiraz PET 2006, 81 -- G, Australia, #086405 250ml, $5.45
  • Chateau Puyfromage Cotes de Francs 2006, 81 -- G, Bordeaux, France, #033605 $15.95
  • L'Avenir Chenin Blanc 2007, 88-1 -- V, Stellenbosch, South Africa, #072645 $19.95
  • Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio Trentino Riserva 2006, 84 -- G, Trentino, Italy, #032714 $15.95
  • Wolf Blass Yellow Label Sauvignon Blanc 2007, 79 -- G, South Australia, #611475 $16.00
(G - General listing, V – Vintages, r-v - Rating-Value)


CHÂTEAU PUYFROMAGE 2006, Bordeaux, France, 12.0% D,#033605 $15.95 (Tasted October 1, 2008)

A General listing described as “Ruby red colour; raspberry, cassis fruit with, plum, lightly oaked character and spice; dry and medium-bodied, well balance with ripe fruit on the medium finish. Serve with roast beef, grilled steak, strong cheese or lamb chops.” My notes: I had to try this Bordeaux after reading Margaret Swaine's account of having it with duck: “Puyfromage happens to be one of the most popular Bordeaux wines in Ontario, selling over 6,000 cases last year. Others besides me therefore obviously agree with his (frugal brother’s) taste.” The LCBO likely sells as many cases of French Cross... so what?! This Bordeaux has a dull ruby glow in a broad bowl and a faint aroma of red cherries if you sniff hard. A film and slight tears form and the flavour is of bramble berries and fine tannin, bright on the palate. The finish is quite drying and smooth with a persisting light oak. A lightish medium-bodied meal red with good texture. Have with nibbles or a pork roast, turkey breast or a crockpot stew. A drink now to four years. 81

WOLF BLASS YELLOW LABEL SAUVIGNON BLANC 2007, South Australia, 12.0% D, #611475 $16.00 (Tasted September 1, 2008)

My notes: The 2003 had a “lip-smacking tartness” that had appeal. The 2005 vintage was considered “… not a value.” Both were priced at $14.95. Now at $16 could the 2007 vintage be much different? The Wolf Blass website hasn’t changed either not being too informative about their wines although this sauvignon blanc is now listed and is described as for the US market. The 2007 vintage has an aroma of melon and sweet apples and a light golden colour. The flavour is light apple, melon with citrus giving it a mild tang that balances a tinge of sweetness, then finishes somewhat oily on the lips. Is passable with seafood or roast fowl. A commercial house white without a distinct varietal character makes this a church social sipper and a drink now. Perhaps the next production run will be different. 79

WOLF BLASS RED LABEL CABERNET MERLOT 2006, South Australia, 13.5% D, #611483 $14.95 (Tasted September 4, 2008)

The LCBO describes this as “Deep ruby; mint, cassis and chocolate aromas; big toasty fruit flavours, well balanced. Serve with roast prime rib of beef.” My notes: The 1999 vintage was retasted last month and rated Ww89. A change in label colour - an indication of brand tiering - and a $2 lower price made me curious to see if the wine had changed much. (Searching on the SKU# will find previous notes). This has a bright ruby colour with light legs and aromas of smoky red cherries and candy floss. A lightish medium-body and some sweetness on the first sip with flavours of red cherries tinged with a light pepper. The finish carries the cherries and spice a short while to a dry sweet edge. My biased opinion is this has less ’trueness’ or typicity than the 1999 but is a well balanced drink-now for a casual crowd. Have with sausage pieces, hamburgers or pepperoni pizzas. 82

MEZZACORONA PINOT GRIGIO TRENTINO RISERVA 2006, Trentino, Italy, 13.0% D, #032714 $15.95 (Tasted September 4, 2008) 

The LCBO describes this as “Clear pale straw green colour; with aromas of mineral, lemon, lime and green apple. Light-bodied, dry, it ends with crisp citrus tones. Serve with light chicken dishes, pasta with cream sauces and salads.” My notes: This is a pinot grigio with some character - not as thin-, not as tart as traditional pgs. It has a light golden colour showing in a tulip glass, the fragrance is citrus and faint clover honey, just barely sweet in the taste. A soft nip on the palate in both flavour and finish with citrus predominating along with some pear and dry throughout. An interesting sipper or aperitif with sweet and sour riblets, teriyaki chicken wings, crab cakes or mushroom & seafood pastas. Not tart enough for planked salmon or roast chicken but close. A drink-now. 84
L'AVENIR CHENIN BLANC 2007, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 13.5% XD, #072645 $19.95 (Tasted September 9, 2008)

In Vintages release of August 2, 2008 and described as “Michel Laroche, one of Chablis' leading producers, jumped at the opportunity to invest in South Africa and purchased this estate in 2005... The 2007 is bursting with intense aromas of apples, pears, a mixed bouquet of flowers and citrus notes. It's rich and fresh with a supple texture and refreshing acidity to balance the deliciously intense fruit flavours. Enjoy with salmon steaks, grilled prawns or fresh goat cheese.” My notes: Gord Stimmell recommended a chenin blanc from South Africa in his column May 24th (Lammershoek, #058206, June 4 Tasting, Ww92). I found a few on the shelf in Hamilton along with this label of the same vintage so had to try it. The colour is a light blond and there are subtle aromas of sweet lemon grass and faint melon developing more fully as the glass goes off chill. Allowed to warm slightly the texture has a nice cream and the flavour is of stone fruit and bright apple. An interesting and different sipper to have for an impromptu crowd, more of a drink-now than for cellaring. Have as an aperitif or with a buffet luncheon of mild meats or spreads on party sandwiches or with crab cakes and cocktail shrimps. As a meal white have with lobster or crab pieces, cold or hot, on greens or with basmati rice. 88 

HARDYS NOTTAGE HILL SHIRAZ PET 2006, Australia, 13.5% D, #086405 250ml, $5.45 (Tasted September 11, 2008)

The LCBO describes this as “Deep purple colour; ripe blackberry & spice bouquet; full flavour and a soft finish. Serve with grilled meats and vegetables; game.” My notes: A beverage produced by a Constellation Wines company in an imaginative PET package. Light weight including a convenient wine glass closure I had to see if the wine is the same as last tasted (#375964, June 24, 2007). The nose has a sweet plum/cherry aroma quickly adding the odour of the ‘glass‘ but airing for a few minutes solves this distraction. The colour has retained its deep ruby with a purple hue. Flavours are of red cherries and one or two blackberries having a white pepper edge then finishing with crushed cherry pits, pepper and a tinge of sweetness. Medium-bodied but with less body than previously tasted from the standard bottle. A drink now to have with a hamburger, a red pasta dish or a slice of pizza - I‘d go with a standard bottle for a meal tho‘. A handy refundable package for summer picnics. 81

BERONIA TEMPRANILLO ELABORACIÓN ESPECIAL 2006, Rioja, Spain, 14.0% D, #723643 $18.95 (Tasted September 17, 2008)

Vintages released on July 5, 2008 describing it as “Elaboración especial (special production) refers to the barrel fermentation this wine undergoes over several months in new American oak. This ripe 100% Tempranillo boasts intense plum and liquorice notes, with smoky mocha and cigar box imparted by the unique production style. Try it with grilled or smoked meats.” My notes: Recommended to me as an interesting sipper this shows a cherry skin colour in large bowl with aromas of smoky oak balanced with cherry fruit. On the light side of medium-bodied and mild flavours that smack of bright cherries rounding on the palate as the flavours change to a dry cherry raspberry mix. I expected the American oak influence to be more distinct - didn’t get ‘liquorice’ or ‘cigar box’. This should be great with pastas, pizzas, bruscetta, or paired with lightly spiced ribs, rack of lamb or filet mignon. Cellaring could lighten and add silk to its texture, I’d guess about four years. 86

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