Saturday, November 01, 2008

November 2008 Wines: 15 Tasted of 15

These are wines picked up on the way home or while shopping, found in the cellar or brought to the house by generous guests. The ones marked V25 are from Vintages release of October 25th. As before, when tasted the wine will appear in bold. Cheers, Ww
(G - General listing, V – Vintages, O - Other, RP - Rod Phillips, NR - Not Rated)

  • d'Arenberg ‘The Galvo Garage’ 2006, Ww96 -- V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #907584 $27.95
  • Zonin Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2006, Ww94 -- V25, Veneto, Italy, #084798 $19.95
  • Tezza Ma Roat Valpolicella Ripasso 2005, Ww89 -- V25, Veneto, Italy, #084053 $17.95
  • Errazuriz Estate Carmenère 2007, RP90-93, Ww88 -- G, Aconcagua, Chile, #016238 $13.80
  • Santi Sortelese Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio 2007, Ww85 -- G, Trentino, Italy, #637603 $12.95
  • Leyda Classic Reserve Carmenère 2006, Ww85 -- V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #066845 $13.95
  • Yalumba ‘The Y Series’ Shiraz Viognier 2007, Ww84 -- G, South Australia, #624494 $15.95
  • Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay 2007, Ww84 -- V25, Marlborough, NZ, #991950 $19.95
  • Mountain Road Wine Company Botrytis Affected Riesling 2005 VQA Beamsville Bench, Ww82 -- O, Niagara,Canada, #Winery, 375 ml $9.95*
  • Familia Zuccardi Fuzion Shiraz Malbec 2007, Ww80 -- G, Mendoza, Argentina, #083188 $7.45
  • Santa Ema Reserve Merlot 2005, Ww79 -- V11, Maipo Valley, Chile, #642538 $14.95
  • Malivoire Old Vines Foch 2005 VQA Ontario, Ww78 -- O, Beamsville, Canada, #551036 $25.00
  • Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2007, Ww77 -- V25, Marlborough, NZ, #626390 $19.95
  • Mike Weir Estate Pinot Grigio 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ww75 -- Niagara, Canada, #043364 $15.15
  • JeanJean Syrah Primeur 2008, WwNR -- G, Languedoc, France, #899948 $9.95

D'ARENBERG ‘THE GALVO GARAGE’ 2006, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.5% D, #907584 $27.95 (Tasted tbd)

A Vintages release on November 22, 2008 described as “This blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 18% Petit Verdot and 6% Cabernet Franc won a Gold Medal at the Korea Wine Challenge 2008... Full of dusty, cedary, tarry flavour. Sweet, soft heart. Firm dry tannins… Drink 2011-2017, (92/100, Campbell Mattinson, March 17, 2008)” My notes: A Bordeaux inspired blend giving a purple tint to the deep ruby colour and a nose of black cherry, black berry touched by vanilla and cedar scents after letting air briefly in a wide bowl. Nicely balanced tannins and acid gives a slight nip and dry texture to flavours of a ripe blackberry currant mix with a long cedar wrapped finish - scrumptious. An excellent before dinner, after dinner, through dinner sipper by itself or would accompany prime rib, steaks, beef bourguignon, lamb shashlik or any richly sauced entrées. Cellaring several years should be OK - a tad young now but drinking very well. Ww96

MALIVOIRE OLD VINES FOCH 2005, Ontario, Canada, 12.5% D, #551036 $25.00 (Tasted October 31, 2008)
From the Malivoire website: “This is a vintage for those who love this wine for its assertive characteristics… dark and brooding in the glass, the wine displays dried currant, tobacco, leather, whetstone and vanilla on the nose. Smoke and mineral flavours in your mouth open to an intense, mouth-filling display of plum preserve, sultana raisin and hazelnut. The finish will intrigue you; is that chili pepper, bacon or a little of both?… ” My notes: *No longer listed by Vintages. The nose is milder than previous vintages, a hazelnut fragrance with some smoke and vanilla overtones, ripasso like. The colour is an opaque carmen with a light film leading to quick legs on the bowl. Full-bodied and, although a smooth sipper, the brightness wakens the taste buds while flavours of hazelnut, mild tobacco and black cherries add interest. Less foch-ness and a milder nip makes this more appealing than previous vintages at the same stage until the finish. Partner with prime rib or a ground beef casserole. Cellaring should lessen the tang and increase the velvet - say, up to eight years - but, to me, not a popular flavour profile and far too acerbic for casual imbibing. Ww78

SANTA EMA RESERVE MERLOT 2005, Maipo Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #642538 $14.95 (Tasted October 28, 2008)
Released by Vintages on October 11, 2008 described as “Lush oaky nose, plums and mint. Rich, full bodied, opulent with ripe tannins and acidity, long, peppery finish. Drink up to 2012. (” My notes: A lovely deep ruby with a violet twist and aromas that take a good sniff to grasp, vanilla and black berries. The first sip has a combination of black berries, black currants and firm oak all edged with a fine tannin and moderate acid. However, the fruit is overwhelmed by smoky oak making this a bold earthy sipper - ripe Chilean fruit adulterated by an old world process. Have with pepper steak, pepperoni pizza or a spicy ground round casserole. Cellaring for up to four years may improve but I don’t think so. Ww79

LEYDA CLASSIC RESERVE CARMENÈRE 2006, Rapel Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD, #066845 $13.95 (Tasted November 1, 2008)
A Vintages release on August 02, 2008 described as “... from specific vineyards in higher elevation areas of Rapel Valley. For the grapes, higher elevation means the intense heat of the day is balanced by cool temperatures at night, allowing the fruit to ripen slowly and achieve balance. Featuring aromas of plum, cedar, vanilla and smoke, this Carmenère is an excellent choice for grilled steak or even liver and onions.” My notes: The colour is clear ruby with a hint of violet and a thin film with fast legs. Fragrances are of cherries tinged with bramble or crushed stems and a bit of barnyard (not in a bad sense). Clean and bright on the first sip and fairly light-bodied full of red cherries and a slight mint finishing light on the palate with fine tannins and a crisp acidity. An OK sipper that improves with each sip and better with stuffed mushroom caps or paté on crisps. Pair with lightly seasoned entrées: lamb shank, beef Wellington, crockpot stews. A drink now and a good value for a house red. Ww85
MOUNTAIN ROAD WINE COMPANY BOTRYTIS AFFECTED RIESLING 2005 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Canada, 11.0% MS, #Winery, 375ml $9.95* (Tasted November 5, 2008)

My notes: Regularly priced $19.95 so how could anyone go wrong? A light blond in colour and delicate fragrance of clover honey - needs a tulip bowl to focus its nose. There’s a light honey sweetness to a delicate apricot flavour, I‘d say a sweetness of 2 - 4, which continues into the finish as flavours slowly fade and a tartness takes over. An OK sipper without too much of interest going on. Paired with mandarin orange and/or pineapple wedges it may provide a balance of sweet and tart or have with Thai or a box of tempura shrimp and veggies. Cellaring for several years could introduce some caramel - at the reduced price it’s worth a try. Ww82


KIM CRAWFORD UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2007, Marlborough, NZ, 12.5% D, #991950 $19.95 (Tasted Ocotber 26, 2008)

A Vintages release on October 25, 2008 described as “This pure, no-nonsense Chard is remarkably versatile and food-friendly. Give it a try with anything from roast chicken, to quiche, to rich seafood dishes. The 2007 Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay has a lovely floral nose with hints of mango and guava, the palate simple and straightforward, clean and focused with a touch of honeysuckle towards the finish. (88/100, Neal Martin, April 2008). My notes: Green apples and stagnant pond meet the nose followed by flavours of tart green apple and mango with a crisp mouthfeel. Medium-bodied, finishing with a stone fruit dryness. It seemed to me the varietal was lost somewhere in the process, however, an OK sipper. Should go well with mild seafood dishes. A drink now although could be cellared a short time but not likely to improve. Generally, I’ve been disappointed in the direction Kim Crawford wines have headed since selling to a conglomerate. Perhaps it’s a vintage thing and will turn around. Ww84

KIM CRAWFORD PINOT NOIR 2007, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% D, #626390 $19.95 (Tasted October 25, 2008)

A Vintages release on October 25, 2008 described as “Since 1996, Kim Crawford has consistently made fresh and clean wines that can equally be enjoyed on their own or with a variety of food. Pinot Noir is the second most cultivated variety in Marlborough. This medium-bodied and lively red offers aromas and flavours of red cherry, currant and hints of oak. Enjoy with pork chops or roasted chicken.” My notes: A deep ruby colour with aromas that elude my sniffer, perhaps smoky dried raspberries. Medium-bodied, velvety smooth and a flavour consisting of licorice tainted black berries and a long finish of woody stems, nicely balanced acid and tannins. A somewhat unenticing sipper with good texture but lacking natural fruit or herbs. Did not go with rack of lamb and I can’t recommend any other entrée. For me, not a drink now, not for cellaring and not a value. Ww77
TEZZA MA ROAT VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO 2005, Veneto, Italy, 13.0% D, #084053 $17.95 (Tasted October 30, 2008)
A Vintages release on October 25, 2008 described as “Ma Roat, which means Red Moon in the local dialect, is one of Veneto's best kept secrets. Bloggers and wine critics were, well, over the moon, about the 2004 vintage, kiddingly accusing Tezza of 'holding back the good stuff' from the public until now. This ripe and round wine is made to be matched with a fresh wild mushroom ravioli or gnocchi and mushrooms in a butter sauce.” My notes: A deep garnet ruby with smoky black cherry aromas and a film on the bowl that’s slow to drain. Medium- to full-bodied and silky smooth, fine tannins with a bright flavour of red cherries. The long finish retains the fruit and adds dryness. Ripasso makes this a different sipper - it should go well with Rosenberg Bella Blu and herby pita chips… with shaved Italian meats or grilled panini sandwiches. Pair with any tomato pasta dish or portabella burgers. Ww89

ZONIN VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSO 2006, Veneto, Italy, 13.0% D, #084798 $19.95 (Tasted November 4, 2008)
A Vintages release on October 25, 2008 described as “Deep ruby red colour with a wide array of aromas, including cherry, plum, fig, chocolate and spice. Dry with a sweet, ripe fruit centre. Soft and round and deeply delicious. A good match for a rich, braised meat dish or meat-based pastas. (Vintages panel, March 2008).“ My notes: A deep purple, thick film with slow tears and a fragrance of sultana raisins and light smoke. Full-bodied with a touch of natural sweetness, very smooth from the first sip and finishing with fine tannins and a bright lining. A balanced combination of fruit and ripasso overtones makes this an excellent sipper for a social crowd, with appetizers or paired with veal parmigiana, a meat lasagna or traditional steaks and roasts. OK to cellar for several years but drinking very well now. Ww94

ERRAZURIZ ESTATE CARMENÈRE 2007, Aconcagua, Chile, 14.0% D, #016238 $13.80 (Tasted November 7, 2008).

A General listing described as “Deep ruby coloured with aromas of ripe blackberry and smoke. Full-bodied and round with smoky flavours of spicy blackberry. Serve with roast beef.” My notes: The colour of black cherry skins and a modest aroma of ripe blackberries. Best to let air twenty minutes. A nip on the first taste with a flavour of almost ripe cherries then leaving a slight metallic tinge on a long finish of bramble berries. Perhaps young vines or less pruning gives this a greener aspect to flavours and finish representing its price versus their Max Reserva label. An OK, on the light side of medium-bodied, sipper if accompanied with appetizers. Pair with grilled back ribs or pepperoni pizzas. A drink now. Ww88
FAMILIA ZUCCARDI FUZION SHIRAZ MALBEC 2007, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5% D, #083188 $7.45 (Tasted November 6, 2008)
A General listing described as “Delicious with pasta, steak and casseroles.” My notes: A violet tinged ruby and plum aromas that are slow to show. Slow tears on the bowl and a first sip that is clean with slight acid and fine tannins. Flavours show a faint plum with a cedar wrap, a thinnish medium-bodied sipper, finishing soft and dry. Nothing objectionable just 'nothing' making this an uninteresting sipper and I can’t imagine it adding a pairing element for a meal. Price makes this a possible cash bar red - at $5 a glass this is a real opportunity. Have in for uninvited guests or take to a drop-in where no one takes wine seriously. Ww80

YALUMBA ‘THE Y SERIES’ SHIRAZ VIOGNIER 2007, South Australia, 13.5% D, #624494 $15.95 (Tasted November 24, 2008)

A General listing described as “Deep violet colour; blueberry, plum and currant aromas with a hint of anise; fresh, juicy palate with chocolate notes. Serve with grilled bison burgers, lamb or firm cheese.” My notes: There is a violet tinge to the deep ruby colour and a fragrance of smoky blueberry. A thin film with slow tears forms on the bowl. Quite bright on the first sip and a long dry brambly finish with almost a lemon edge to an otherwise silky texture. I’d guess at least 8% Viognier - the website doesn’t give the blend - gives the shiraz a fresh body taking away some berry, pepper and usual fullness. ’Good’ but not ’great’ as a sipper. Should be ’great’ with sausage on a bun, hamburger patties or grilled back ribs. A drink now. Ww84
JEANJEAN SYRAH PRIMEUR 2008, Languedoc, France, 12.5% D, #899948 $9.95 (Tasted November 23, 2008)
A General release not described other than a Nouveau wine by Maison Jean Jean. My notes: A pinkish ruby, light-bodied and light hearted. A nouveau syrah with a perfumed aroma, roses and cream not sweet on the nose nor the palate, nicely balanced and full of cherries. Treat as a rosé altho' OK at room temp - for cold chicken breast sliced on greens, tuna or egg salad sandwiches or hors d’oeuvres of cocktail sausage or shaved ham on crisps. It provided a nice contrast with microwaved sushi (I microwave everything except salad) and should be great with (not szechuan) Asian fare. A special wine priced right and not to be rated but enjoyed. A drink now. WwNR
MIKE WEIR ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara, Canada, 12.5% D, #043364 $15.15 (Tasted November 28, 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: I tasted this vintage just two months ago and rated it Ww85. I opened a bottle fresh from the LCBO last night to have with roast breaded chicken breast, baked potato and green beans. The aromas were a pleasing blend of straw, apricot and green apple, faint but there. The colour still has a suspicion of peach but the flavours have changed. I missed the light ‘butterscotch and apple’. All that remains is the ‘mild tang’ and a mineral aspect carrying over to the short clay finish. Overall it was a bland white lacking appeal as a sipper and as a meal white did not carry well with the entrée. Perhaps an off bottle… or a later production run. Ww75

SANTI SORTESELE PINOT GRIGIO DOC TRENTINO 2007, Trentino, Italy, 13.0% D, #637603 $12.95 (Tasted November 28, 2008)

A General listing described as “Pale straw colour; apple, pear and lemon aromas and flavours; dry palate with a creamy texture, light to medium bodied with a spicy finish. Serve with shellfish, creamy pasta dishes or as a patio sipper.” My notes: The 2006 and 2004 vintages were previously tasted in April 2008 and February 2006 respectively with consistently good results. This is a pale straw colour with floral aromas and a tinge of honey… didn’t get the pear this time altho‘ there is a tart pear and soft cream in the first sip. These carry over in the finish which is quite long including the delicate cream. Dry, light-bodied but with a modest tang and citrus flavours making this an interesting sipper. It carried itself well with roasted dark chicken quarters and lima beans. Would make an OK sociable sipper with a shrimp ring or shaved ham with breads and would be a good companion to seafood and/or creamy pasta dishes. Not for cellaring, a drink now and a value. Ww85

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