Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Inside Story: LCBO Promo 2009

Fourteen wines are featured in the LCBO glossy, The INSIDE STORY, received with this morning‘s G&M. The current promotion started March 1st and runs through to March 31st and recognizes the individual winemakers of the wines being featured.
Also, ‘Meet the Maker’ cards picturing many of the winemakers, their wineries and more of their wines are posted in the Outlets, usually where the wines are.
I’ve listed the fourteen wines giving the vintage that was illustrated in the promo. Wines that have been tasted will be shown in bold with its rating and, since a rating doesn’t tell the whole story, a tasting note will be added. Ten of the wines were found in Rod Phillips’ The 500 Best Value Wines in the LCBO 2009 and his Star rating (out of 5) is shown for each of these. The 2007 vintage for the Niagara region is said to be the best in many years and I would expect wines from this vintage to rate higher than previous years. All are on the General shelves with four of the fourteen 'sale' priced (>). Hope this is useful in some way. Cheers, Ww
  • #040501 Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc 2007, RP3½, $11.95
  • #026278 Folonari Valpolicella Classico 2007 (1500ml) $17.45>
  • #028530 Terra d’Aligi Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2005, RP4½, $12.00 (84)
  • #580183 Giovello Pinot Grigio 2007 $11.80> (89-2)
  • #066266 Inniskillin Chardonnay 2006 VQA, RP3, $9.45>
  • #283291 Henry of Pelham Reserve Riesling 2007 VQA, RP3½, $14.95 (88-1)
  • #052274 Mouton Cadet Réserve Medoc 2006, RP4, $16.95
  • #665406 Bouchard Aîné & Fils Pinot Noir 2006, RP4, $15.95>
  • #554378 Hillebrand Artist Series Gewurztraminer 2007 VQA, RP4, $10.95 (77)
  • #587907 Trius Merlot 2007 VQA, RP4, $14.95
  • #582825 Peller Estates Heritage Chardonnay 2007 VQA, $10.95
  • #665471 Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz 2006, RP4, $17.45 (81)
  • #285544 Penfolds 'Koonunga Hill' Shiraz/Cabernet 2006, RP4, $16.45 (89-1)
  • #079327 Mezzomondo Sangiovese Merlot Daunia 2007, $9.85 (88-2)
(r-v - Rating-Value)


TERRA D'ALIGI MONTE D'ABRUZZO 2005, Abruzzo, Italy, 13.0% D, #028530 $11.85 (Tasted June 9, 2008) 

My notes: Terra D'Aligi, owned by the Spinelli family, produces this red which is 100% Montepulciano d'Abruzzo aged 12 months in Slavonia barrels. A black cherry skin colour with aromas of delicate blackberries, a soft bramble and a whiff of earth. There’s a brightness in the first sip followed by a well balanced combination of fine tannin, mild acidity and red berries leaving predominantly a dry red berry then a light woody ending. Very acceptable as a house red leaving most refreshed but waiting for hors d’oeuvres of sausage pieces, shaved meats or bruscetta. Quaff with red sauced pasta dishes or triple cheese pizzas. A drink-now. 84

GIOVELLO PINOT GRIGIO 2007, Veneto, Italy, 11.5% XD, #580183 $11.80 (Tasted March 9, 2009)

A General listing described as “Pale straw colour; mineral, spice, pineapple, pear, green apple aromas; light- to medium-bodied with crisp, mineral flavours; dry, zesty finish. Serve as an aperitif, or with raw oysters, veggie dishes. My notes: A floral and spice nose and a light golden colour in the glass makes this appealing to the initial senses. Then a nicely nippy flavour takes over with a pear, suspicion of pineapple and apple and leaves a long flavour blending with a bright mineral ending. An interesting extra dry sipper to pair with fresh oysters, chicken wings, chorizo sausage pieces in a tomato sauce or varied pasta dishes. Cellaring may mellow, accentuate the spicy side and integrate the whole - I’d try a year at a time. A bargain for a dry 'fish white'. 89

HENRY OF PELHAM RESERVE RIESLING 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara, Canada, 12.0% D, #283291 $14.95 (Tasted March 12, 2009)

A General listing described as “Mid-yellow/straw colour; melon, apple and grapefruit with a hint of spice; grapefruit, apple and spice on the palate; intense yet refreshing acidity followed by a clean finish. Serve with shellfish; smoked salmon; creamy pasta.” My notes: I found the 2006 vintage tasted in January 2008 ‘uninteresting’ with ’insufficient fruit, acid or body’ rating it Ww78. By comparison, the 2007 vintage has a light golden colour with distant stone fruit aromas. It’s light-bodied, dry, with grapefruit, melon or pear tainted flavour carried by a mildly rounded texture and finishing with a balanced fruit and touch of spice. I’d call this a somewhat shy riesling - no kerosene taint but an approachable white suitable for shellfish, halibut, sole, freshwater pickerel or just sipping on a warm day. A drink now to be served to anyone. 88

HILLEBRAND ARTIST SERIES GEWURZTRAMINER 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada, 12.5% D, #554378 $10.95 (Tasted September 27, 2008)

My notes: Andres Wine Ltd. produces this brand which has a scent of grapefruit and faint stagnant pond, perhaps the ‘spice’ in the gewurz, not distressing, just noticeable. The first sip is round with a fresh nip and a blend of mild honeydew and spice. The flavours fade further as the finish becomes drier with a light steely edge through to the end. I could not enjoy this as a straight sipper. I’d put it in the category of a ’recipe’ wine with a seam of acid, spice and a ‘rounding agent’ adding a touch of fruit - perhaps I’m not familiar with the terroir. Have with a buffet of dips and spreads or with freshwater fish, grilled sole or haddock. A drink now. 77

JACOB'S CREEK RESERVE SHIRAZ 2006, South Australia, 14.0% D, #665471 $17.45 (Tasted March 11, 2009)

A General listing described as “Opaque dark red; aromas of cedar, anice, black fruit; black fruit flavours with a toasty medium-long finish. Serve with BBQ meats or vegetables. My notes: A Wyndham Estates brand. The 2004 vintage tasted in May 2008 was found to be ‘too tart and chalky dry to be sipper’ and ’Gets high marks for nose then falls off on what counts’ rated Ww79. The 2006 vintage is an opaque violet tinged ruby with a thin film and fast legs. Decant and let stand for twenty minutes minimum. There’s a mild sting in the nose as a fragrance of dark berries and light shellac meet the senses. Prominent chalky tannin, acid and anise remain in the long finish as the initial surge of blackberries, chocolate and liquorice - evenly portioned - provides some interest then shifts. My interest shifted as well with successive sips finding the combination of flavours and finish too assertive to be a sipper. This could be a good companion with a pepper steak, grilled back ribs or strongly seasoned stews. A ‘serve with discretion’ shiraz that’s not likely to mellow with cellaring. 81 

PENFOLDS 'KOONUNGA HILL' SHIRAZ/CABERNET 2006, South Australia, 13.5% D, #285544 $16.45 (Tasted March 12, 2009)
A General listing described as “Purple/red colour; cassis, eucalyptus, mint and herb aromas; dry, full bodied with smooth, rich, plummy flavours and a long, spicy finish. Serve with grilled lamb, pepper steak or roasted meats.” My notes: The 2004 vintage was tasted in July 2007 with the comment ‘… flavours of plums and black cherry but a lingering oak … and a balanced nip to a velvety texture.’ and ‘A commercial red that comes across as authentic varietal… a value.’ The 2006 vintage has a slate tinge to the deep ruby and there are slow tears to a light film on the bowl. Peppery blackberries make up a warm aroma and the first sip is very bright with leather and blackberry flavours ending with consistent bright fruit and spice. Leaves the palate dry but not masking the fruit making this a balanced sipper. Would be great with flavourful mushroom caps, bacon wrapped asparagus spears or a gorgonzola spread. Pair with grilled portabello mushrooms, roast beef or lamb dishes to complement the chef’s work. Cellaring for up to four years should mellow some youthful rawness. 88

MEZZOMONDO SANGIOVESE MERLOT DAUNIA 2007, Puglia, Italy, 13.5% D, #079327 $9.85 (Tasted March 9, 2009)

A General listing described as “Medium ruby red colour; candied berry aromas with red fruit notes; dry, with a burst of fruit flavour and notes of herb. Serve with vegetarian focaccia sandwiches or veal on a bun.” My notes: The nose has a pleasing fragrance of sweet cherries and new leather as soon as the cork is pulled. There’s a sharpness, steady and almost aggressive, masking flavours of wild red berries that have dried in the sun. The tartness and tannin then fruit carry through to a lingering light licorice - would have been harsh without the merlot. Suitably paired with seasoned ground beef and rice rolled in limp cabbage leaves and slowly simmered in a spicy tomato and onion sauce. Not a sipper - a drink now and priced so there’s no need to skimp on the pourings. 88

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