Saturday, May 15, 2010

May 2010 Wines: 14 Tasted of 14

When tasted, wines will be sequenced by rating and value (r-v), reds then whites, rosés then sparklers followed by Icewines and Late Harvests. Cheers, Ww 


  • Sartori Vigneti di Valdimezzo Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2007, 93-3  --  V, Negrar, Italy, #160374 $16.95
  • Errazuriz Max Reserva Shiraz 2006, 92-2  --  G, Chile, #614750 $17.75 
  • St. Hallett ‘Faith’ Shiraz 2007, 90-2  --  V, New South Wales, Australia, #980631 $19.95
  • Gemtree Bloodstone Shiraz/Viognier 2008,  89-1  --  V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #022111 $18.95
  • Z-52 Lodi Zinfandel 2006,  88-1  --  V, Morgan Hill, California, #161588  $17.95
  • Chakana Malbec 2007, 87-1 -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #003509 $13.95 
  •  Stoney Ridge ‘Warren Classic’ Pinot Noir 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 87-1  --  G, Vineland, Ontario, #156125 $12.00*
  • De Bortoli ‘dB Selection’ Petite Syrah 2007, 85  --  V, Barossa, Australia, #694802 $14.95 
  • Terra d'Aligi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2007, 83  --  G,  Abruzzo, Italy, #028530 $11.85  
  • Kilikanoon ‘Killerman’s Run’ Shiraz 2006, 82  --  V, South Australia, #925453 $18.45*

  • Gérard Bertrand Réserve Spéciale Viognier 2008,  88-1  --  V, Languedoc, France, #147975  $16.95
  • Highfield Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008, 82 -- V, Marlborough, NZ, #012674  $19.95

  • Santa Julia Extra Brut ‘Sustainable by Nature’ NV, 85  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #142042 $14.95

  • NCT Winery Late Harvest Vidal 2002 VQA Ontario, 84  --  O, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, #Winery $21.95 (375mL)  
(V - Vintages, g - General listing, O - Other,  r-v - Rating-Value)

TERRA D'ALIGI MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2007, Abruzzo, Italy, (Map it!) 13.0% D, #028530 $11.85 (Tasted May 21, 2010) CS

My notes: The 2005 vintage was tasted in June 2008 with an 84 rating. A quaffer then and now with the 2007 vintage. This has a black cherry colour in the glass and leaves long fast legs when swirled. The first sip is light-bodied, bright with acid and has a light flavour of red cherries with a long and dry, earthy finish. A reasonable house wine, drinkable, even somewhat enjoyable - one to wash down tomato pastas, meatballs or cheesy lasagnas. A drink now.  83
ERRAZURIZ MAX RESERVA SHIRAZ 2006, Aconcagua, Chile, (Map it!) 14.5% D, #614750 $17.75 (Tasted May 18, 2010) CS
My notes: Last tasted in November 2008 with a Ww95 rating and suggesting it would make an excellent cellar staple. For nose it’s an appealing smoky raspberry. There’s a tang in the first sip enticing several follow-on sips. Smooth, minty, fruity with black currant and raspberry, a tad savoury with a long finish of all of the above makes this a social sipper for every occasion. It’s keeping well and should for several more years perhaps softening some tang in exchange for a mellower, deeper texture. Maintains a presence paired with any grilled beef meal - not a shirker by any means.  92  
NCT WINERY LATE HARVEST VIDAL 2002 VQA Ontario, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, (Map It!) 10.0% ~SC8, #Winery $21.95 375mL  (Tasted May 24, 2010)
My notes: Cellared in June 2006 and last tasted in August 2007. There’s an aroma of sultanas and light honey and a colour a rich golden. Silky smooth, sweet with a touch of tart to balance an apricot and pear blend. The finish carries the flavours along a delicate acid seam. Not as intense as previous tasting maintaining only a portion of the zip in 2007. Sip by itself, have with a cheese tray or chill and mix with shaved ice as a cooler.  84

GÉRARD BERTRAND RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE VIOGNIER 2008, Languedoc, France, (Map It!) 13.0% D, #147975  $16.95  (Tasted May 16, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on December 5, 2009 described by the Vintage panel (July 2009) as “This ripe and round Viognier is truly a gem worth discovering. Gorgeous aromas of peach pie and apricot nectar, with an exotic hint of cinnamon stick. In the mouth, the wine is rich, flavourful and full bodied, with a voluptuous, almost creamy texture; ripe apricot takes centre stage, with cinnamon spice emerging on the tasty, dry, lip-smacking finish. This will make a fine partner for roast chicken with peach salsa.”  My notes:Starting with a pale gold in the glass, a firm film from a swirl leading to slow tears followed by slight aromas of crushed citrus seeds. The first sip is full, tart without a sting, grassy, flavours of unripe white grapefruit tinged with peach stone. Not an aromatic new world Viognier but an old world meal white. Have with grilled halibut, browned chicken breast with a fruit sauce, a creamy mushroom soup with bacon pieces. Excellent texture and body throughout - both flavour and finish need time to build to a warm delicate apricot. Cellaring for several years should be OK.  88

KILIKANOON KILLERMAN'S RUN SHIRAZ 2006, South Australia, (Map It!) 14.5% D, #925453 $18.45*   (Tasted May 9, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on October 10, 2009 described anonymously (undated) as “Look no further for your favourite Aussie red! Since 2001, this wine has been awarded scores of 90 and up in Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. By sourcing grapes from prime South Australian vineyards and ageing the wine for up to two years in small French and American oak barrels, Kilikanoon crafts a fruit-driven Shiraz that is densely flavoured with smoky black fruit, spices and toasted oak. Serve this rich red with roasted game bird, spicy beef dishes or grilled goose.”  My notes: The 2002 vintage was first tasted after its Vintages release in April 2006 then two years later in 2008 with a rating of 84/100. ‘A bold, warm sipper’ the 2006 continues to be that. A deep ruby with a violet glow and smoky peppery aromas on blackberry, not too pronounced. The first sip is smooth with a sharp bite setting in quickly. The finish is a warm berry cordial with the bite resting squarely on the palate. Too boisterous to be sociable and too hot to be quaffed, pair with spicy pastas, rich gravies over grilled/roasted beef or with a lamb shank crockpot. Cellaring will not likely soften the acids - a drink now.  82
Z-52 LODI ZINFANDEL 2006, Morgan Hill, California, (Map It!) 14.5% D, #161588  $17.95 (Tasted May 8, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on March 20, 2010 described by ‘The Wine Buzz’ (Jan/Feb 2009) as “Light garnet color with a whiff of smoke and vanilla on the nose; light in body but quite flavorful, with pleasant notes of cracked black pepper and licorice.”  My notes: An ‘Anders-Lane Artisan Wine’ and a bold expression of Zinfandel. The nose has a strong stewed prune accent with lots of smoke along with soft vanilla. Ruby with a distinct terracotta shade, medium-bodied, a smooth light berry flavour, fine tannins and a penetrating warmth both at the back and through the long finish building with each sip. An attention getter for its heat - pair with grilled beef or spicy pasta dishes. A drink now.  88
SANTA JULIA EXTRA BRUT ‘SUSTAINABLE BY NATURE’ NV, Mendoza, Argentina, 12.5% XD, #142042  $14.95  (Tasted May 5, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on March 20, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “… a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 10% Viognier. While the Viognier brings a lovely aromatic lift to the blend as well as a richness and honeyed fruit character, the wine finishes lip-smackingly crisp. A fine sipper, or pair it with veggie tempura or roast honey-mustard chicken.”  My notes: A Familia Zuccardi product that has a light straw colour and lots of large to intermediate size bubbles then a straggly set of large as the effervescence settles. A light fragrance of grassy yeast with a touch of floral and a first taste of delicate honey flavoured pear-apple, just enough to be interesting. The texture is smooth and sufficient if not medium-bodied. An interesting sipper and the finish continues with the flavours for a good while. Have with fresh oysters or by itself or mixed with orange or mango juices for a morning delight. A toast bubbly for a ’church crowd’. Brut is the level of this bubbly.  85
STONEY RIDGE ‘WARREN CLASSIC’ PINOT NOIR 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  Vineland, Ontario, (Map It!) 13.4%  D, #156125  $12.00*  (Tasted May 4, 2010) CS
A General listing reduced from $14.95 and not described. My notes:  Mr. Warren, a Niagara icon, attended the Canadian Club dinner on April 15th so reminded me that I haven’t tried a ‘Stoney Ridge’ since visiting the winery two years ago when he was the feature speaker.  This is a 25th Anniversary release and a Silver Medal winner at the ACWC. A soft floral and plum nose appealing, delicate and the colour is a clear ruby with a swirl leaving a quickly receding film. Light-bodied and drying on the first sip with red cherry flavours, a bramble edge and a balanced acid lining. Light enough to be quaffed while accumulating an interesting chalk dry, red cherry layer. There’s also an appealing smoothness as a sipper. Not the usual strawberry scented new world nor a straight ’burgundian’ - a Niagara unique and a drink now. 87
ST. HALLETT ‘FAITH’ BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2007, Barossa, Australia, (Map It!) 14.5% D, #980631  $19.95  (Tasted May 2, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on March 20, 2010 rated 89/100 and described by Australian critic James Halliday (Feb 2009) as “Bright crimson; some spicy savoury elements among the main driver of red and black fruits; good tannins. Drink [until] 2015.”  My notes: A violet glow to a dense ruby and aromas of earthy black cherry with white pepper apparent. The film is firm and recedes gradually showing slow tears. The first sip greets intense berry, fine tannins and penetrating acid, balanced, making this a full-bodied, tangy sipper. A warm finish slowly gives up its fruit for a savoury ending. An interesting sipper, young with some roughness - better to pair with a pepper steak or Barbarian rubbed rib-eye or best to cellar - limit to three years to avoid predominant acid is my guess. 90    

DE BORTOLI ‘dB SELECTION’ PETITE SIRAH 2007, New South Wales, Australia, (Map It!) 14.0% D, # 694802  $14.95  (Tasted May 2, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on April 3, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “Riverina is a region that consistently produces easy-drinking wines that offer great value. This Petite Sirah is certainly no exception. It's round, ripe and juicy with spice, sweet oak and mocha tones coming through. An ideal match for marinated red meats or moderately spiced bean dishes”.  My notes:The violet glow accents the ruby. A swirl shows a moderate film with tears falling slowly. Floral, spice and red cherry scent a delicate nose and the first sip has a medium-bodied red cherry flavour with some mint. Drying tannins start and end the finish along with fruit allowing a bramble to show. An enjoyable quaffer for a social occasion - better with rack of lamb or a marinated beef stir-fry. Cellar a short while but primarily a drink now.  85
HIGHFIELD ESTATE MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2008, Marlborough, NZ, (Map It!) 12.5% D, #012674 $19.95   (Tasted May 1, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on March 20, 2010 rated 89/100 and described by Neal Martin (Sept. 2009) as “The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc has a lovely pear drop scented nose with orange-blossom and nectarine. The palate is medium-bodied, racy acidity complemented by pear drop and green lemon and an elegant finish. A well-crafted Sauvignon Blanc.”  My notes: Having stayed several days at Highfield I was curious to taste how their Sauvignon Blanc had evolved. This has a characteristic light blond colour with a scent of crushed gooseberries complete with grassy edge.  Light- to medium-bodied and a combination of acerbic sharpness and suspected sugar for a first sip that comes away as luscious citrus. The finish carries the acids with green gooseberry flavours and ends chalk dry. A sipper for those accustomed to biting into a lemon slice - not me. Went nicely with a turkey breast Sub and would with most seafoods. Not for cellaring.  82

SARTORI VIGNETI DI VALDIMEZZO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2007, Negrar, Italy, (Map It!) 13.5% D, #160374  $16.95  (Tasted May 11, 2010) CS

Release by Vintages on April 17, 2010 and described by the Vintages panel (Sept 2009) as “A blend of 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella. Deep ruby. Intriguingly complex aromas of black plums, figs, cloves, tar, leather, coffee and a touch of cocoa. Dry, with a pleasing roundness to the texture. Deliciously pure, spicy fruit is supported by ripe, balanced tannins. Good length, and the interplay of flavours show impressive persistence…”  My notes:A true ruby colour with earthy plum and cherry scents gives this allure in the glass. A firm film with slow legs and a first sip a balance between rich fruit and process with a good dollop of fine tannins and acid. This is a medium-bodied sipper to relish between main courses or to complement chorizo sausage pieces in a rich red pasta as a sweet edged finish persists - an excellent expression of the ripasso method. Cellar up to five years. 93

GEMTREE BLOODSTONE (View It!) SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2008, McLaren Vale, Australia, (Map It!) 14.5% D, #022111  $18.95  (Tasted May 12, 2010) CS
A Vintages release on April 17, 2010 rated 88/100 and described by Jay Miller (Dec 2009) as “… purple-colored 2008 Bloodstone Shiraz-Viognier (5%) aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Floral notes, plum, and boysenberry aromas are followed by a sweetly-fruited, savory, well-balanced wine with good length and plenty of immediate appeal.” My notes:  Purple coloured with a light floral scent in the centre and spicy edges. The first sip is smooth, bright, a blend of blackberry, limon, muted pepper followed by sweet liquorice going into a long berry finish. Has considerable warmth as a medium-bodied full flavoured shiraz with an interesting Viognier influence. Pair with grilled meats or tomato pastas. Cellaring for a few years may bring out a velvet texture or roundness.  89

CHAKANA MALBEC 2007, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% D, #003509 $13.95 (Tasted May 28, 2010)  CS

My notes: First tasted in July 2008 after a Vintages release and rated 91 then again in June 2009 with 90. The nose has settled losing much of the chocolate and black cherry aromas. Now I’d say the nose is reluctant to express any fruit - some cherry left - and little chocolate if any. A swirl shows a firm film with lots of slow legs and the first sip is smooth, brightly edged and softer berry flavours, fine tannins backing a dry texture. The finish is very dry carrying the subtle berry along an acid seam and slight bramble. Interesting enough as a sipper but better paired with grilled beef or rack of lamb. Still enjoyable but not likely to improve with cellaring.  87

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