Saturday, February 07, 2009

Red Wines 101, 2009: LCBO Promo

Educate your senses: Between the glossy folded in with my G&M this morning and the spiral booklet available at the LCBO Outlets there are forty-five reds in the current Red Wine 101 promotion. I decided to 'educate my senses', admittedly differently and very analytically than that intended, by looking at two aspects:

1. How many wines made it to Rod Phillips’ book titled 500 Best-Value Wines in the LCBO, 2009? and 2. Have I tasted any of these wines in the past?

1. Twenty-two of the 45 reds were included in Rod’s book. I have not listed them here not wanting to duplicate the author’s efforts but a breakdown of Rod’s ratings for the twenty-two is: None at 5 Star (94-100), eight 4 ½ Star (90-93), ten 4 Star (87-89), three 3 1/2 (85-86) and one 3 Star (82-84).

2. Of the 45 reds thirteen were previously tasted and archived in this blog and are listed below. Shown in parentheses is the date of my tasting, a rating when available and the vintage and price if either differs from that shown in the promos. My past notes are repeated below for convenience and because a rating doesn't tell the whole story. I thought the format and the information of both glossies was exceptional. Cheers, Ww

  • Wyndham Estate Shiraz Bin 555 2005, South Eastern Australia, #189415 $16.15 (Tasted December 08, 2007, Retasted June 18, 2008 -- 91-2)
  • MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2007, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #619205 $11.95 (Tasted November 27, 2008 -- 90-2, $10.85)
  • Pascual Toso Malbec 2007, Maipu, Argentina, #035170 $12.95 (2005 Vintage Tasted October 08, 2007 -- 90-2)
  • Chapoutier Côtes Du Rhône Villages Rasteau 2006, Rhône, France, #321539 $17.15 (Tasted March 4, 2008 -- 88-1)
  • Stoneleigh 'Marlborough' Pinot Noir 2007, Marlborough, NZ, #054353 $19.95 (Retasted February 26, 2009 -- 86)
  • De Bertoli Deen Vat 10 Pinot Noir 2006, South Eastern Australia, #061622 $15.95 (Tasted February 12, 2008 - 86)
  • Campo Viejo Reserva Rioja 2003, Rioja, Spain, #137810 $18.45 (2002 Vintage Tasted May 15, 2008 - 86)
  • Montecillo Crianza La Rioja 2005, Rioja, Spain, #144493 $14.75 (Tasted April 19, 2009 -- 83)
  • Château Puyfromage 2006, Bordeaux, France, #033605 $16.80 (Tasted October 1, 2008 -- 81, $15.95)
  • Trius Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, #587956 $14.95 (Tasted September 30, 2008 -- 80, $12.95)
  • Cono Sur Pinot Noir 2007, Central Valley, Chile, #341602 $10.10 (Tasted September 04, 2007 -- Ww79, 2005 Vintage Tasted March 16, 2006 - Not rated, $9.95)
  • Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir 2006 VQA Ontario, Niagara, Canada, #013904 $17.95 (2004 Vintage Tasted September 28, 2006 -- Not rated, $16.95)
  • Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Carmenere 2007, Central Valley, Chile, #620666 $12.95 (2005 Vintage Tasted August 3, 2006 -- Not rated, $11.85)
 (r-v - Rating-Value)


MONTGRAS CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVA 2007, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.0% D, #619205 $10.85 (Tasted November 27, 2008).

My notes: A deep violet tinged ruby with slight spicy currant and blackberry aromas and slow legs. An attractive mint with noticeable tannin trails off to a bright black currant flavour that’s smooth and full of spice. The finish is long ending with a tasty currant and blackberry making this a surprisingly bold sipper by itself. Better with finger foods from bacon stuffed mushroom caps to shaved proscuitto and strong cheeses or with pepperoni pizza, rack of lamb or grilled steaks. If you like medium-bodied with a bite this is a real value that may improve with a few years in the cellar. Serve with discretion. 90

PASCUAL TOSO MALBEC 2005, Maipu, Argentina, 13.4% D, #035170 $12.95 (Tasted October 08, 2007)

My notes: This is more of a violet colour with a ruby tint making a lovely intro to aromas of blackberry and cherry. A mellow softness with flavours of mint, mulberry, peach with fine tannins and mild tartness. The finish is quite long mostly of peach fuzz and bright mulberry. A well balanced sipper, full-bodied but not assertive. Cellaring for a few years should be OK... longer is questionable. A value go-anywhere fruit driven red - 'Old world'? don't think so!. 'Barnyard'? not this bottle. Pair with turkey with fixings, roast chicken, veal schnitzel and spaztle, mushroom and beef pastas, prime rib or beef Wellington. 90

CHAPOUTIER CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES RASTEAU 2006, Rhône, France, 14.0% D, #321539 $17.15 (Tasted March 4, 2008)

My notes: An opaque (unfiltered) violet ruby with aromas of black cherries and a slight floral strawberry. Air at least an hour before serving. There is a strong bite on the first sip with a long tart spiciness and firm tannin masking a dark fruit finish, full-bodied and bold. I found it rough and raw... too young for my sipping and recommend *cellaring four years. Pair with seared savoury steak, bbq'd ribs, likely roast game - not roast chicken. Surprising to me (Yes! I'm naive) the General listing doesn't indicate cellaring. 88

DE BORTOLI DEEN VAT 10 PINOT NOIR 2006, South Eastern Australia, 13.5% D, #061622 $15.95 (Tasted February 12, 2008)

My notes: Produced for the export market, this has a see-thru ruby colour with a strawberry tint and aromas of crushed strawberries and soft smoke that slowly fill the bowl. Light-bodied, bright first sip, minty, with flavours of new berries mostly straw- with some red cherry. The finish is long, dry leaving some bright fruit remnants to savour. A lightly flavoured quaffer for pre-dinner sipping with or without cheese twists or veggie flatbread nibbles. Pair with planked salmon, cold turkey pieces and lingonberry, grilled pineapple and ham slices. This could be cellared for a few years perhaps acquiring a silky texture and more prominent spice - perhaps wishful thinking. Suitable for family and friends at any time of the day. 86

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

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

TRIUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, 13.0% D, #587956 $12.95 (Tasted September 30, 2008).

My notes: Discounted $2 from a regular price of $14.95, a Hillebrand label and an Andres Wines Ltd. Winery. This has a garnet cast deep ruby colour and, on swirling, a viscous film shows on the glass with aromas of faint oaky sweet cherry. Medium-bodied with a grainy texture and flavour a combination of cherries, red currants and minerals. The finish tapers off gradually and is well balanced acid, fine tannin with a layer of ‘dried fruit'. Have with pepperoni pizza, ribs or chili con carne. Even discounted it's not recommended. A drink now. 80

CONO SUR PINOT NOIR 2007, Central Valley, Chile, 14.0% D, #341602 $10.10 (Tasted September 04, 2007)

My notes: A light to mid ruby colour with aromas as on the label... pretty accurate but faint. Flavours are not immediately apparent but build into an inkling of crushed cherries and red berries, crisp on the palate. The finish is warm with just a touch of natural sweetness that softly recedes to a mineral edge. Have with roast chicken breast pieces on greens, planked salmon topped with crushed walnuts, a ham slice with honeyed yams or a wild mushroom and three cheese pizza. A drink-now and OK if you're looking for a dry lite. 79

CONO SUR PINOT NOIR 'VARIETAL RANGE' 2005, Rapel Valley, Chile, 14.0% XD, #341602 $9.95 (Tasted March 16, 2006)

My notes: The colour is a light ruby with a rose tinge. The nose is light medicinal with no apparent fruit type. Flavours are mineral with slight tannins and an uninteresting finish. Not a sipper and too light in body and flavour for pairing with foods. Best to skip the 'Range' tier from Cono Sur imho.

CONCHA y TORO CASILLERO DEL DIABLO CARMENÈRE 2005, Central Valley, Chile, 13.5% D, #620666 $11.85 (Tasted August 3, 2006)

My notes: Very light aromas of plums and tobacco, and a deep ruby colour. Flavours are of plum, berry and vanilla with some nice acid and light tannin to balance. The finish develops with berries and tar sitting smoothly on the palate. Should complement both mild and flavourful cheeses, sausage pieces or beef kebobs - and, if you like dry reds, it's a sipper. A red for spicy pizzas, hamburgers, ribs, etc. I don't think cellaring will develop this wine further - more of an economical drink-now.

 HENRY OF PELHAM PINOT NOIR 2004, Niagara, Canada, 13.0% XD, #013904 $16.95 (Tasted September 28, 2006)

My notes: The LCBO website (as of writing) lists the HofP Pinot Noir (nonReserve*) as a case of 12x62mL - it was shelved correctly. A medium ruby colour with faint aromas of spice and tobacco evenly balancing a light berry fruit. Flavours as well are balanced finely producing a light- to medium-bodied hint of raspberry and tobacco with a nondescript juice, perhaps the beetroot. The finish 'verges on silky' with a soft tannin and a spice note. A clean pinot but an uninteresting sipper, more of a food wine - with mushroom risotto, cold or open face chicken sandwiches - a hard wine to pair with meals.... I'd skip this vintage.

'MARLBOROUGH' PINOT NOIR 2007, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% D, #054353 $19.95 (Retasted February 26, 2009)

My notes: Last tasted April 20, 2008 this bottle was purchased this week from the General shelves. About the same comments as last: ‘a dusty ruby with a strawberry hue’ and ‘aroma of dark plums and wild strawberries’ perhaps now with an earthier accent. There’s a touch of silk in the texture and delicate flavours of wild strawberry and stringent cranberry with light tannins and a complementing acid. Still young it may improve with cellaring, maybe two more years, although the fruit isn‘t as prominent so I‘d call it more of an extra dry drink now. The finish is long, smooth and bright with persistent flavours., a light tannin and acid, OK as a sole sipper - better with rack of lamb, sliced turkey with lingonberries, prime rib au jus, or a mild cheese tray. 86

MONTECILLO CRIANZA LA RIOJA 2001 , Rioja, Spain, 13.0% XD, #144493 $14.95 (Tasted April 19, 2009)

My notes: An Osborne label - the 2001 vintage was previously purchased for $14.95 in December 2005 This has a deep ruby and an aroma of stewed cherries tinged with light oak. - not much though. A swirl brings a thin film and slow tears. Then a sip shows some finesse combining soft berries with fine tannins, a mild spice and acid, all nicely balanced, light- to medium-bodied and smooth when aired thirty minutes. The finish is fairly short starting with meagre flavours and declining from there ending cleanly. An ambiguous dry sipper - take it or leave it. Would pair well with tomato side dishes and sliced beef or, better, pork tenderloin with a smooth gravy. Not for cellaring - a drink now. 83

CAMPO VIEJO RESERVA RIOJA 2002, Rioja, Spain, 13.0% D, #137810 $18.00 (Tasted May 15, 2008)

My notes: A mid ruby colour and delicate fragrances of smoky plum, red cherry and cinnamon. Its brightness combined with a smooth texture makes this an interesting sipper; flavours of minty cherry and a crisp edge gives it a long finish ending on a mineral note. A rioja, in this case, blending 75% tempranillo with 15% graciano and 10% mazuelo the white giving a bright red even more life as well as adding a spicy fragrance. Likely at peak now and if the occasion is a pasta night it would fit in well or serve with tapas, tomato bruschetta, or pizzas, veal parmigiana. 86

WYNDHAM ESTATE SHIRAZ BIN 555 2005, South Eastern Australia, 14.5% D, #189415 $16.15 (Retasted June 18, 2008)

My notes: This is a General listing last tasted in December 2007 and rated Ww91. (The 2004 vintage was tasted at the same time with a Ww90 rating). This has a deep red plum hue with aromas of rich blackberry tinged with smoky cherry. Medium-bodied to full-, a velvety texture with a burst of blackberry then a mintiness that brightens the palate with layers of flavour. The finish is extended by a firm tartness until the flavours and brightness slowly fade making this an interesting sipper - a new world fruitiness and edge of spice. Sip or pair with beef bourguignon, a well seasoned rack of lamb, burger patties with grilled portabello mushrooms. Cellaring for several years is possible… tho’ not likely to improve over today’s tasting. 91

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