Friday, January 01, 2010

January 2010 Wines: 17 Tasted of 17

The five wines asterisked in the lists below are from Ww Recommendations for the Holidays blogged last month (25 Top LCBO Picks). The remaining wines were gifts from family and friends who know of my addiction - interventions are welcome if you bring some wine. Others were picked by chance. When tasted wines will be in bold with a rating.
Cheers, Ww

  • Ortas Tradition Rasteau 2008, 90-2 -- V, Rhone, France, #998716 $15.00
  • Jeanneret Grace & Favour 2005, 90-1 -- O, Clare Valley, Australia, #B&W Wines, $22.46
  • *Konzelmann Pinot Noir Spaetburgunder 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 88-1 -- G, Niagara -on-the-Lake, Ontario, #200584 $12.70
  • J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, 87 -- V, Paso Robles, California, #656561 $21.95
  • Kleine Zalze ‘Vineyard Selection’ Shiraz 2006, 86 -- V, Stellenbosch, S.A., #906081 $21.95
  • *Cave Spring Gamay 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 85 -- G, Jordan, Ontario, #228569 $12.95 
  • *No. 99 Wayne Gretzky Estates Merlot 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 84 -- G, Vineland, Ontario, #063966 $15.95
  • Beringer Founders’ Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, 84 -- G, California, USA, #534263 $19.95
  • MontGras Quatro 2007, 80 -- V, Colchagua Valley, Chile,  #050641 $15.95

  • Wente ‘Morning Fog’ Chardonnay 2008, 92-3 -- G, Livermore Valley, California, #175430 $16.45 
  • Lammershoek Barrique Chenin Blanc 2007, 91-2 -- V, Swartland, South Africa, #058206 $18.95
  • *Konzelmann Pinot Blanc Weissburgunder 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 87-1 -- G, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #219279 $10.95 
  • Loredona Pinot Grigio 2008, 87 -- V, Monterey, California, #059188 $16.95 
  • Sileni Cellar Selection Pinot Gris 2008, 85 -- V, Hawke's Bay, NZ, #032292 $15.75
  • *Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery ‘The Census Count’ Chardonnay 2006 VQA, 84 -- G, Okanagan Valley, Canada, #092296 $14.95 
  • Lailey Vidal 2008 VQA Ontario, 83 -- O, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #Winery $12.20
  • Mike Weir Sauvignon Blanc 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 80 -- G, Beamsville, Ontario, #686972 $15.95
(V - Vintages, G - General listing, O - Other r-v - Rating-Value)


BERINGER ( Map It! ) FOUNDERS’ ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007, California, USA, 13.5% D, #534263 $19.95 (Tasted January 15, 2010) CS
A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Ruby red colour; forward cassis and spice in the nose that follows through to the palate; dry and medium-bodied with ripe fruit mid-palate and fruity, oaky vanillin notes in finish. Serve with grilled or roasted red meats, spicy chicken dishes and medium cheese.” My notes: A Foster’S label. The thin film recedes quickly leaving mostly scalloped edges rather than tears. The colour is ruby and nose is earthy, blackberry with a touch of dry liquorice. Silky edged to a lightish medium-bodied, bright flavour of berries, white pepper and old vines lead to a long, dry berry skin finish. The brightness, even a sweet edge, that comes with a sip gives this extra interest as a sipper. The body, tannins and soft spice would pair well with grilled beef. Not much to cellar - a commercial drink now.  84

*CAVE SPRING ( Map It! ) GAMAY 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Jordan, Ontario, 12.5% D, #228569 $12.95 (Tasted January 8, 2010) CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Light ruby red colour; lots of fresh red and black cherry aromas with hints of smoked meat and spice on the nose; dry, medium bodied, with round, ripe berry fruit flavour and crisp finish. Quite versatile; roast turkey and cranberry sauce; grilled salmon steaks; roast pork, pizza; cold meats.” My notes: Previously tasted in May this year and rated Ww90 saying "a delicate first sip that builds on the roof with warmth and spicy berries and leaving a velvet fuzz… should cellar well". This has a deep strawberry colour with a garnet cast and a pink meniscus. Aromas are an earthy blend of cherries and strawberry bubble gum - a touch of white pepper. A few tears flow as the thin film quickly recedes. There’s a brightness that comes before flavours of almost ripe strawberries along with an unexpected tart ending. The finish goes to a bramble edge, dry and velvety. Not a sipper but a meal red to pair with turkey breast and apple stuffing, grilled salmon, veal cutlet or parmigiana. Not likely to improve with cellaring - possibly becoming more acidic.  85

KLEINE ZALZE ( Map It! ) ‘VINEYARD SELECTION’ SHIRAZ 2006, Stellenbosch, S.A., 14.5% XD, #906081 $21.95 (Tasted January 11, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on June 6, 2009 winner of a Silver Medal (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2008) described as “A baked fruit pie and cedar nose. Ripe, open, juicy. Integrated tannins. Sleek and sweet. Zesty, appealing. Fine, creamy tannins.” My notes: A rich ruby deep enough to be opaque in the bowl, a firm film and fast tears makes this attractive on the first pour. Left for twenty minutes to air the nose comes slowly: stewed, spicy edged black cherries and equal mahogany. A strong but smooth nip, full in the mouth and soft oak and black cherries finely laid with noticeable tannins. Finishes dry, long with an aftertaste like chewing on a Cuban cigar - but not quite. Could leave to cellar a few years but drinking well now if you enjoy fully processed European reds.  86

MONTGRAS ( Map It! ) QUATRO 2007, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.5% D, #050641 $15.95 (Tasted January 18, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on January 9, 2010 rated 89+/100 and described by Jay Miller (Oct 2008) as “The 2007 Quatro is a blend of 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Malbec, 25% Carmenère, and 15% Syrah. Purple-coloured, it has a complex bouquet of cedar, spice box, black currant, blackberry, and a hint of blueberry in the background. This is followed by a layered wine with good depth and concentration with enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years. Drink this excellent value from 2009 to 2015. “ My notes: A dense ruby with a purple tinge and delicate aromas of berries, currant and cedar blended equally. Let this air forty minutes minimum before serving. A swirl shows a firm film that recedes slowly forming just a few slow tears then a sip finds fine tannins and a herbal berry flavour that leaves a long medicinal, anise tinged ending - not a favourite note as a sipper. Have with grilled meats brushed with a smoky glaze or with a beef bourguignon, something heavy, even sweet. Cellar two years for foreground flavours to mellow or skip - not a drink now, maybe not then for most. 80

J. LOHR ( Map It! ) SEVEN OAKS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007, Paso Robles, California, 13.5% XD, #656561 $21.95 (Tasted January 1, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on October 10, 2009 described anonymously (undated) as “… Aged in oak for more than a year, this densely coloured red is packed with intense aromas of black cherry, blackcurrant, cedar, vanilla, and spices. Full-bodied and sweet-centred, this Cabernet will beautifully complement braised beef with a mildly spicy sauce.” My notes: A Vintages Essential and $2 more than the 2005 (Ww86) tasted in January 2008 and the 2003 (NR) in June 2006. This is a blend of 80.6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Petite Sirah, 4.0% Petit Verdot, 2.7% Syrah, 1.4% Merlot and 1% Malbec and 1.8% other reds. Air twenty minutes or so. The colour is a violet ruby, deep and luxuriant in the bowl. The nose is a berry blend with a currant or two added. A firm film with tears taking a moment to form… full-bodied, an excellent balance of fruit, acids, fine tannins, oak and leaving a dry, ripe berry compote that lasts a long while ending earthy - a commercial sipper likely to please a crowd. Have with any grilled beef or full flavoured stew. A drink now that could cellar a few years.  87 

*No. 99 WAYNE GRETZKY ( Map It! ) MERLOT 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.7% D, #063966 $13.95 (Tasted January 1, 2010) CS
A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Medium ruby in colour with aromas of red cherry plus hints of vanilla. It is medium-bodied, slightly austere with flavours of red cherry ending with tart acidity. Serve with steak, burgers.” My notes: Previously rated Ww89 on January 24th 2009 noting “… the first sip has a softness mixed with bright fruit quite pleasing to the palate… ”. The colour of ripe black cherries and a nose of raspberries touched by cinnamon. The thin film recedes slowly fragmenting into fast tears and the first sip is a fresh black- raspberry blend, finishing dry and steely edged with a moderate tang. Doesn’t have the softness as a sipper as a year ago. A lightish medium-bodied meal red. Have with cheesy pastas and pizzas… or with rack of lamb or lamb shank. 84

*KONZELMANN ( Map It! ) PINOT NOIR SPAETBURGUNDER 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, NOTL, Ontario, 12.0% D, #200584 $12.70 (Tasted January 6, 2010) CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Ruby red colour; aromas of light berry, black cherry, red liquorice, a touch of spice/oak & earth; dry, med-bodied with good acidity, light earthy/mineral notes, ripe strawberry & raspberry fruit flavours; quite smooth with soft tannins & a fruity finish. Serve with grilled or poached salmon steaks; vegetable kebabs; pizza; pork; ham; poultry.” My notes: Tasted in October 2009 rating it Ww88 with the note, “… long finish is flavourful right to an ending that has a mineral twinge”. This has a soft floral nose with a slight beet and berry scent. A swirl brings a firm film with a few slow legs and a sip has a tobacco tinge to a bright ripe berry mix. The brightness follows through a long finish ending on a mineral note. Strikes me there’s some sweetness with a balanced fruit, earth, fine tannins and acids. A meal red to have with a ham steak, pork cutlets or sliced turkey breast. - hmmm wondering about sipping with milk chocolates perhaps.  88

*KONZELMANN ( Map It! )  PINOT BLANC WEISSBURGUNDER 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, NOTL, Ontario, 12.5% D, #219279 $10.95 (Tasted January 19, 2010) CS
A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Straw yellow colour; floral, fruity peach & melon nutty tone in aroma; medium body and fruit flavour fresh finish, good food wine. Serve chilled with pasta or vegetarian dishes.” My notes: Previously tasted in October 2009 and has kept flavours and textures well. A light golden with aromas of stone fruit and apple. Smooth with a bit of chalk on the first sip, well balanced leaving a slight tang and dryness with the stone fruit carrying through the finish - a twinge of sweetness. Flavours build as a sipper - on the delicate side for a meal white… would go well with scallops with lemon vodka sauce and risotto, other seafoods or Japanese fare. Cellaring a year at a time may develop roundness further improving value but primarily a drink now.  87 

*GANTON & LARSEN PROSPECT WINERY ‘THE CENSUS COUNT’ CHARDONNAY 2006 VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, Canada, 13.0% D, #092296 $14.95 (Tasted January 14, 2010) CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Deep straw colour; notes of citrus, lime, and butter; medium bodied, crisp, yet round in the mouth with flavours of tropical fruit and balanced oak. A delicious match with pasta in cream sauce.” My notes: From the Artisan Winery in Oliver, BC. Rated Ww86 when tasted in January 2009 with the recommendation to sip off chill. A golden colour in the bowl with a healthy butter, ripe banana and grass aroma. An oaked chardonnay one you’d expect from California full of sunshine and flavours. A reasonable film with long fast legs, medium-bodied, and a first sip that has more grass masking pear and light apple, a soft texture for a finish that fades slowly. A pleasant sniffer and the creaminess makes this an interesting not outstanding sipper. A drink now to have with whitefishes or creamy pastas - was great with minestrone.  84

MIKE WEIR ( Map It! )  SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5% XD, #686972 $15.95 (Tasted January 2, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on November 21, 2009 described anonymously (undated) as “This homegrown Savvy features concentrated aromas of mineral, lemon, and grapefruit with clean grassy notes. Refreshing, with hints of ripe tropical and citrus fruit flavours and a racy, crisp finish. Enjoy it as an aperitif or pair it with fish pan-fried in lemon butter.” My notes: The 2006 purchased in April 2007 was thought to be “unusually NZ-like…” but didn’t age well rated Ww81 when tasted in April 2008. The 2008 vintage has a nose of gooseberries and dry grass, both equally faint. The film recedes slowly leading to a few slow tears against a light straw colour and the first sip has a predominant chalk and grass flavouring overriding minimal lime and gooseberry. The texture and soft acids would have provided an interesting sipper except for the flavours carried into a moderate finish. Not a sipper and did not go well with asparagus and cilantro soup with grilled cheese on multigrain. A drink now - not a value imho. 80

LOREDONA( Map It! ) PINOT GRIGIO 2008, Monterey, California, 13.5% D, #059188 $16.95 (Tasted January 5, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on November 21, 2009 described anonymously (undated) as “Fresh and elegant, … an exceptional sipping wine that's perfect for Sunday brunches. Bursting with tangerine, lemon and other citrus fruit flavours, it will also match grilled white fish with lemon and fresh herbs.” My notes: From Delicato Vineyards. There’s a faint peach to a crystal light gold for this Italian style Pinot Grigio. There’s negligible nose when chilled and a faint apple apricot and soft floral when off chill. Extra dry for cleansing the palate right from the first sip along with blended flavours of pear and peach discernible when slightly off chill. An aperitif with raw oysters, grilled mussels paprika aioli, stuffed mushrooms or bacon wrapped scallops. The finish is refreshingly tart with some late chalk layering the palate. Not a sipper. Have with creamy pastas, lemon chicken and white rice or sushi/sashimi rolls. Cellaring for a few years should be OK.  87 .

WENTE( Map It! ) MORNING FOG CHARDONNAY 2008, Livermore Valley, California, 13.5% D, #175430 $16.45 (Tasted January 3, 2010) CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Pale straw colour; apple and pear aromas with mineral and oaky notes; round fruit flavours with a citrusy finish. Serve with pasta in a cream sauce or with finger foods. The Wente website says “Enjoy aromas and flavours of green apple and tropical fruits, balanced by subtle oak, cinnamon and vanilla from barrel aging. With a mouth-filling body and balanced acidity, this wine delivers a medium-long, refreshing finish” My notes: Rated Ww86 on August 11, 2008 the 2006 vintage was described as ‘a leesy butter and minimal mandarin as it comes off chill.’ The 2005 on June 9, 2007 was ‘easily forgettable as a sipper’. The 2008 is a mid gold, crystal clear in the bowl and has a clean light scent of butterscotch. Flavours of lemon and faint orange with balanced acid and a sweet edge makes this an elegant white. A smooth butter starts then a clean tang takes over for a long finish. Serve chilled and it’s a super aperitif. Let go off chill and the smoothness makes sipping interesting and refreshing. Have with grilled whitefish, crab cakes or creamy lobster pieces on thins. Should cellar a few years. A good value imho.  92

LAMMERSHOEK ( Map It! ) BARRIQUE CHENIN BLANC 2007, Swartland, South Africa, 14.5% XD, #058206 $18.95 (Retasted January 21, 2010) CS

My notes: Last tasted in June 2008 and rated Ww92. A rich golden in the glass with aromas of melon, stone fruit and straw after a few minutes de-chilling. A swirl brings many tears from a light, scalloped film and a first sip is fully rounded with an interesting blend of nearly ripe melon, apricot, honey and slight pear. Medium-bodied with flavours that continue into the long finish mellowing into an appealing tangy blend. This has cellared well developing a slight smoky edge and will likely go another few years. It was great with roast salmon fillet and dill sauce.  91

ORTAS ( Map It! ) TRADITION RASTEAU 2008, Rhone, France, 14.0% XD, #998716 $15.00 (Tasted January 22, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on January 9, 2010 described (Aug 2009) by their Panel as “This blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre displays an attractive nose of wild berries, black fruit, pepper and a hint of tar. This dry, soft-textured, medium-bodied wine features juicy black fruit and hints of leather and pepper. Very pleasant match indeed for comfort foods like lamb stew, shepherd's pie or beef casserole.” My notes: There’s a gold medallion on the label from the 2009 Concours des Grands Vins de France in Mâcon. Previous vintages tasted were the 2007 (Ww92, Dec 2008) and 2006 (Ww90, June 2008) so I had to try their 2008. A mid ruby bright in the bowl and a swirl brings a think film and long fast tears. A nose of sweet blackberry, slight pepper, floral and rough hewn cedar from twenty feet, ie. a tad. The first sip has a level acid, brighter than the 2006, and fine tannins carrying berry, woody vine and leather flavours. This was good with a tomato lasagna and tangy greens - better with a beef stew or prime rib. Cellaring potential is high for a lightish medium-bodied sipper or meal red in two years.  90

JEANNERET ( Map It! ) GRACE & FAVOUR 2005, Clare Valley, Australia, 15.0% XD, #B&W Wines $22.46 (Retasted January 23, 2010)

My notes: Last tasted in June 2008 and rated Ww94, this is rich ruby, pink at the rim with faint aromas of berries and charred earth. The film is thin but firm with tears showing after a few seconds. Less fruit forward than first tasted in Sept 2006 but with increased depth now showing. The first swallow is smooth quickly followed by a brightness that wakes up the buds and a lingering acid to fill in a long berry, slight liquorice, lip smacking finish. This has cellared well adding character that changes during sipping but likely nearing decline. Was good with penne in an arabatta sauce with sausage and shrimp and would be good paired with most grilled meats. 90

SILENI ( Map It! ) CELLAR SELECTION PINOT GRIS 2008, Hawke's Bay, NZ, 14.0% MD, #032292 $15.75 (Retasted January 24, 2010) CS

Released by Vintages on January 10, 2009 with the suggestion to ‘drink it young or keep 3-4 years. My notes: Last tasted in January 2009 and rated Ww80. The colour is a light golden and the nose needs time and slight warming to appear then it’s a just perceptible honey and stone fruit. A thin film with fast legs leads to a nicely rounded light-bodied blend of melon, citrus and grass. A lighter flavour than last year and the finish carries mostly green melon, a touch of lime and fades to a grassy tinge. Definitely D rather than MD, a white for white fishes, lobster or crab, green lipped mussels or grilled chicken breast. Was excellent with scallop pieces in a creamy white wine sauced farfelle casserole. Has kept well during the year altho’ losing some fruit but gaining charm. No harm in keeping another year - likely will keep its freshness. 85

LAILEY ( Map It! ) VIDAL 2008 VQA Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 11.5% D, #Winery $12.20 (Retasted January 27, 2010)

My notes: Last tasted after purchase from Lailey in April 2009 and rated Ww92. The colour has shifted to a light blond and the nose just a touch of citrus. Lots of spritz when pouring and on the first sip. Very dry, very much like a sparkling white, and full of fresh grapefruit, lemon, lime blended so not one is distinct. A surprise with grilled salmon and cauliflower but went well. A long finish of the same flavourings. An Ok sipper and should improve with fresh oysters or crab cakes. As an aperitif it’s adequate, also as a meal white. The remaining in the cellar will need attention soon. 83

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