Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 2010 Wines: 23 Tasted of 23

This is the lineup for this month.  You may notice several 2009 vintage reds from the south of France. Suppose to be a good year - if so, the price is right. Find a bottle and taste along with me - then let me know what you think.  Also you may notice a new parameter added to Ww Ratings. V1/2/3 represents Value level and is defined in the Side Panel.  Cheers, Ww

Comments: the Southwest France reds -- with prices close to or below the $10 level on the most part it's difficult not to value these very presentable wines. No flash, no bling or otherwise 'attitude' - just a reasonable return for your purchase. The 2007 Chakana Malbec has been an excellent value - developing depth while retaining balance as a sipper and meal red. How can countries without weather favourable to reds ever compete at $13.95?  ... and tasty Niagara grapes are now at Longos market.  Ww
  • Chakana ‘Andean Wines’ Malbec 2007, 92-3  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #003509  $13.95 
  • Collin-Bourisset les Terres Bleues Côte de Brouilly 2009, 91-2  --  V, Burgundy, France, #590521  $15.95
  • Domaine de la Madone le Perréon Beaujolais-Villages 2009,  89-2  --  V, Burgundy, France, #981175  $13.95
  • J.P. Chenet Vin de Pays d’Oc Cabernet Syrah 2009, 88-2  --  G, Languedoc, France, #090472 $9.95
  • Fielding Estate ‘Red Conception’ 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  88*-1  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #189183 $18.95
  • Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir 2009, 87-1  --  G, Languedoc, France, #628289 $11.95
  • Yvon Mau Merlot 2009, 85-1  --  G, Languedoc, France, #336743 $8.95  
  • Montresor Amarone Della Valpolicella 2006,  85   --  G, Verona, Italy, #240416  $28.40
  • J.P. Chenet Limited Release Pinot Noir 2008,  84  --  G, Languedoc, France, #142406 $11.95 
  • Pisse-Dru ‘Noémie Vernaux’ Beaujolais 2008,  83  --  G, Beaune, France, #002881 $11.50
  • Pasqua ‘Villa Borghetti’ Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2007,  83  --  G, Verona, Italy, #602342 $17.05 
  • Philippe de Rothschild Merlot 2009, 82  --  G, Languedoc, France, #407544  $10.95 
  • Cave la Romaine Côtes de Rhône Villages Grenache-Syrah 2009, 81  --  G, Rhône, France, #028779 $12.00
  • Farnese Casale Vecchio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2009,  80 Cellar  --  G,  Abruzzo, Italy, #612788 $9.85   

  • William Fèvre Sauvignon Saint-Bris 2008,  90-2  --  V, Burgundy, France, #626523  $16.95
  • Concilio Pinot Grigio 2009,  89-2  --  G, Trentino, Italy, #637595 $12.40  
  • Peninsula Ridge Viognier 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 88-1  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario,  #662601 $12.95
  • Homegrown ‘Vineyard 4379’ Riesling 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  87-1 --  G, Vineland, Ontario, #183061 $13.00  
  • Pascual Toso Chardonnay 2010, 83  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #162636 $12.00* 

  • Zenato Bardolino Chiaretto 2007, 88-2 -- V, Veneto, Italy, #045203 $12.95

  • Domaine de Vaugondy Brut Vouvray NV,  90-2  --  V, Loire, France, #154567  $15.95
  • Katnook ‘Founder’s Block’ Sparkling Shiraz Coonawarra 2004,  87  --  V, South Australia, #053330 $19.95 
  • Val d'Oca Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut 2009, 83  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #340570 $14.10
(G - General Listing, V - Vintages, V1,2,3 - Value levels)


VAL D'OCA  PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE BRUT 2009, Veneto, Italy (Map It!), 11.0% D, #340570 $14.10  (Tasted September 5, 2010)  CS
A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Pale yellow colour; up front floral aromas with spicy, Muscat notes; fruity, spicy flavours with a tangy finish. Serve as an aperitif or with light seafood.”  My notes: The last vintage tasted was a 2004 in Dec 2005. The 2009 has a same faint blond colour with lots of bubbles on pouring and a sharp carbon dioxide tinged birthday cake aroma. There’s a creamy texture along with a refreshingly dry tartness - great with oysters, fresh or Rockefeller, or wrapped scallops. The prominence of green fruit flavour and a mineral finish makes this a less interesting brut so sipping or toasting is out for me. Should be great with a plate of beer-battered fish and chips or gravy soaked poutine. A drink now. 83

WILLIAM FÈVRE (View It!) SAUVIGNON SAINT-BRIS 2008, Burgundy, France (Map It!), 12.0% XD, #626523  $16.95  (Tasted September 21, 2010)  CS

Released by Vintages on Deptember 4, 2010 with a general description by David Schildknecht (Wine Spectator) "... the best growers farming this appellation [St Bris] ... render among the most fascinating and delicious Sauvignons on the planet."  My notes: A crystal light golden with a green tint and aromas verging on faint gooseberry - let air a few minutes for an added herbal scent. Swirling leaves a firm film to recede slowly. A suspicion of sweetness on a firm acid seam and a silky roundness broaden the platform for delicate gooseberry fruit. Finishes long and tangy carrying the fruit to a dry end and making this is an interesting sipper - perhaps not for a gathering where 'Pop' may be the norm. Better with fresh oysters, a mixed seafood platter, steamed lobster with lemon rice - disappointing with grilled arctic char tho‘. Cellaring a few years should mellow some of the tang and develop more depth but drinking well now.  90

DOMAINE DE VAUGONDY (View It!) BRUT VOUVRAY NV, Loire, France (Map It!), 12.0% XD, #154567  $15.95  (Tasted September 18, 2010)  CS
A Vintages release on September 4, 2010 rated 90 and described by Wine & Spirits (April 2009) as "This is classic and assertive chenin blanc, with notes of wool, hay, citrus oils and baked pear. Its intense personality requires you to be a devotee of the variety, but if you are, this is so deliciously satisfying, it's not to be missed."  My notes:  100% Chenin Blanc gives this bubbly a clean and clear light golden colour and an aroma of fresh straw and citrus with flavours of apple and citrus, any sweetness there may have been is restrained by firm acids. Large bubbles and quickly subsiding mousse give some excitement on opening and leaves streams to tickle the palate. Have as a toasting sparkler, with fresh oysters or with a buffet table of stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, proscuitto wrapped asparagus, mild cheeses or a meal of beer battered fish and chips. (To cut the XD add a few drops of Cointreau or Grand Marnier.) Keeping for several years may give more cream but it is smooth as a full-bodied drink now.  90

COLLIN-BOURISSET LES TERRES BLEUES CÔTE DE BROUILLY 2009, Burgundy, France (Map It!), 13.0% D, #590521  $15.95  (Tasted September 10, 2010) CS

A Vintages release on July 10, 2010 described by the Vintages panel (May 2010) as "This wine hails from the Côte de Brouilly, home to many of Beaujolais' highest-altitude Cru vineyard sites. Deep, bright purple in the glass, with tightly packed aromas of blueberry preserves, boysenberry pie, tilled earth, lilac and lavender. Dry, round, and wonderfully concentrated with layers of fruit and smooth, ripe tannins. Vibrant acidity brings fine balance. A fledgling wine just beginning to give a glimpse of its full potential, this has the stuff to provide enjoyment over 3-5 years… "  My notes:A blueberry-raspberry and faint floral scent along with a purple tinted garnet ruby and a swirl leaves a firm film with lots of slow tears. There’s a light tannin dryness in the first sip, medium-bodied with acid supporting a smooth texture and, almost as second thought, soft boysenberry flavours. An elegant, delicate sipper lacking prominence for many grilled entrees but otherwise a very flexible red - fowl, pork, tuna, creamy salmon pastas, gnudis. Still young and cellaring for several years is likely but I’d try a year at a time. If I had room I’d buy a case.  91

DOMAINE DE LA MADONE LE PERRÉON BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES 2009, Le Perréon, France (Map It!), 13.0% D, #981175  $13.95  (Tasted September 8, 2010)  CS

A Vintages release on August 7, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as "Always a great value, this Gamay shows deep colour, with rich black cherry, juicy strawberry and earthy characteristics leading to a long, crisp finish. It's simply perfect when served, slightly chilled, alongside planked salmon or barbecued chicken breast."  My notes: On pouring this has a definite blue hue to a dense ruby… a thin film receding without tears to speak of… and an aroma of strawberries and beets, light on the beets, all making this interesting for starters. The first sip displays a brightness to waken the buds and rich flavours reflecting the nose followed by a light tannin that accumulates and an acid level that carries through to a long dry end. ‘Demoiselle’ comes to mind… young and fresh of spirit. This may keep for a few years retaining its lightness while adding some elegance. Have with roast chicken with crackle skin, or gnudis with porcini mushrooms.  89

CHAKANA MALBEC 2007, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% D, #003509 $13.95 (Tasted September 26, 2010)  CS

My notes: The 2008 vintage was tasted in June 2009 noting ‘The flavour as well has a distinct chemical taint with a sharp acid seam, as though the fruit hadn’t developed fully on the vine’ - I felt it a vintage to avoid. The 2007, tasted at the same time, had shown a noticeable tartness but was still rated 90/100, down slightly from its purchase in July 2008. Cellaring for four more years was suggested. This is now tasting full of black fruit without being distinct with a nose also muted although filling the nostrils with earthy vapours. Not surprisingly the film leaves long slow legs and the first sip includes some dark chocolate and a spicy nip quickly subsiding to a tang on the roof of the mouth. Enjoyable as a full-bodied sipper and equally suitable for flavourful stews, seasoned T-bones or rack of lamb. Cellaring a few more years could bring other changes as acids decline a shade and adding depth to an already substantial character. 92

KATNOOK 'FOUNDERS BLOCK' SPARKLING SHIRAZ 2004, South Australia (Map It!), 13.0% D, #053330  $19.95 (Tasted September 25, 2010) CS

My notes: Seldom available from Vintages and one of only a few sparkling reds - another being Wyndham’s Sparkling Shiraz, #065391 (when avail) - it’s worth a purchase for the novelty if not the fresh fruit and festive brightness. Cellared since Vintages’ release in December 2007 there should be some differences to look for. Last tasted in October 2008 with the note ‘LSL - Lip smacking luscious’. No change to the deep ruby nor the amount and size of bubbles. There’s a slight froth and the nose lacks blackberry fruit being mostly the mineral tang of carbon dioxide with possibly some red cherries. The first sip is muted blackberry, minerally bright without any of the original leasiness, dry as a bone and leaving the palate as refreshed and satisfied as a brut could. Quaff as a summer refresher or have with salmon burgers, seasoned turkey wings, liver and onions or meatballs en crockpot. Ever changing since 2007 this has gone it’s full cycle and should be enjoyed now before it declines. 87

HOMEGROWN 'VINEYARD 4379' RIESLING 2006 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland, Ontario, 10.5% S, #183061 $13.00  (Tasted September 9, 2010)  CS
A VQA from 'John Howard Cellars of Distinction' a 'megalomaniac' wine described as "clear, pale straw colour; floral and peach aromas with a touch of lemon; dry, medium body; peach, apple and a hint of honey in flavour with balanced acidity for a clean finish."   My notes: The route to the winery meanders from Niagara's scenic Wine Route (View It!) - latitude 43, longitude 79 (approx.)  A 2006 - will it have some petrol by now? Crystal clear straw with a green tint gives this an intriguing start. An evenly receding film and a scent of apricot and lemon building as the chill goes off adds interest. The first sip is tangy balanced with a touch of sweetness rounding flavours of apple and light lime. There’s some petrol in the distance - more noticeable in the long dry finish. A perfect companion for friends or paired with grilled fish or creamy mushroom sauce. Simple now but cellaring for a few more years could give this more depth. 87 
FIELDING ESTATE ‘RED CONCEPTION’ 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario (Map It!), 13.0% XD, #189183  $18.95  (*Tasted September 8, 2010) CS


A Vintages release  on August 21, 2010 given 4 of 5 (87-89/100) by Rod Phillips (June 22, 2010) and described as "This blend is about half merlot, with roughly equal contributions from syrah, pinot noir, cabernet franc and cabernet sauvignon. They add up to a nicely paced red that shows solid flavours from start to finish, decent complexity, and a texture that's refreshing and balanced. It's versatile for food, and goes as well with chicken and pork as with tomato-based pasta. It's ready to drink now and over the next two or three years."   My notes: I quite enjoyed White Conception in May 2009 - tasted the Red thinking it needed more time in the bottle. Has it been long enough? This now has a well established film with long legs suggesting a smooth texture. The ruby colour has a slight granite hue and the aroma is a combination of strawberry and beetroot. A sting on the lips then a smoothness, a cleansing wash of the bicuspids then a burst of tangy strawberry are first impressions. The finish remains bright leaving a tangy seam to the end. Should be OK with bbq’d ribs, rack of lamb or T-bone but too sharp to sip. The acids will likely remain but might try cellaring up to four years. Needs munchies.  80   *PS. Sept 10, 2010: After the second day left open very interesting nose and flavours evolved with a much lower acid level - a well balanced fruit and nut medley. A unique sipper. Add 8 points for 88. 

PENINSULA RIDGE VIOGNIER 2008 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D,  #662601  $12.95  (Tasted September 7, 2010) CS
My notes:  Last tasted in June after a visit to ‘Graze the Bench'. A golden blond colour with a citrus scent edged with Niagara floral. The film is firm with slow tears and a smoothness to the first sip comes before flavours of grapefruit and apple kick in. The finish is long with fading flavours then ending dryly. From chilled to off- this is a delightful sipper. Also paired nicely with rotisserie chicken pieces and should with most grilled seafood or creamy pastas. Cellar for a year or two, not longer, and I'd expect some interesting changes.  88

FARNESE ‘CASALE VECCHIO’ MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2009,  Abruzzo, Italy, 13.5% D, #612788  $9.85  (Tasted September 23, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Deep ruby colour; earth, spice, cherry, olive and berry aromas; dry medium to full bodied, with ripe plum, spice and fruity flavours, firm tannin, good length. Serve with canneloni, tapanade."   My notes: I tried the 2008 in February this year with a rating of 88 - will the 2009 be any different? Now 10 cents less than previously!  The colour is a dense ruby. A thick film takes awhile to start dropping slow tears. The nose is of spicy overripe cherries and has a touch of Brett. Needs to air for thirty minutes - perhaps better next day? A silk lining with a penetrating tartness fills the mouth along with muddied black cherries, stewed prunes and firm tannins then quickly subsiding to a soft woody finish. A meal red for a never ending pasta table. Could cellar up to four years and improve marginally.  80  (Cellar)

PASQUA 'VILLA BORGHETTI' VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSO 2007,  Verona, Italy, 13.5% D, #602342  $17.05  (Tasted September 22, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Bright medium-deep ruby red; aromas of sweet dried fruits, oregano, ripe black cherry, damson plum and date; dry, med-full bodied, rich and ripe, balanced acidity, smooth velvety texture, with flavours of fig, cherry fruit, plum and chocolate notes."   My notes: I tasted the 2002 in June of 2005, before ratings, and found it aromatic, balanced with a ‘velvet mouthfeel’. The 2006 Metodo Appassimento (#097568, $18.95) was thought to be ‘past peak although still a pleasing sipper’ at 85 and the 2007 ‘Villa Borghetti’ Metodo Passimento (#141952, $13.10) was rated 88, both were tasted this July. There is a prune hue to the ruby edge and aromas of red cherries and dried prunes of this 2009 Ripasso. Tears form quickly and fall slowly from a firm film. Nippy, full-bodied, lasting warmth with a flavour of red cherries and stewed prunes. Firm tannins and acid carry through to a long, dry finish. There’s enough acid to counter meatballs and spaghetti squash in a seasoned tomato sauce - should do OK with meaty pizzas. A meal red not for cellaring.  83

MONTRESOR AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2006, Verona, Italy, 15.0% D, #240416  $28.40  (Tasted September 21, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Dark ruby-red colour; spice, floral, dried fruit ( fig and date), cherry, chocolate and leather aromas and flavours; dry, full bodied, with balanced acidity, ripe tannins and good length. Serve with hard cheese, pasta in meat-sauce or grilled lamb chops."   My notes: Tasted the Montresor Soave Classico (#531673n/a, $12.85) in February 2007 and thought it ‘worth the price’. I was prompted recently to look at the Amarone style compared with Ripasso and (Ap)passimento. This has a dense walnut edged ruby colour with an aroma of fresh cherries and vanilla that opens if left to develop. A swirl leaves a firm film developing fast legs and accentuating the fullness of the first sip. Velvet edged with a tang and a moderate flavour of black cherry and dark chocolate. The finish shows solid tannins, a seam of mild acid and flat flavour remnants - becomes duller if left in the open bottle. With the fullness and high alcohol I expected more depth or intensity - where did it go? Sipping is an acquired taste, or have with a meaty pasta or lamb shank. Cellaring for another year could be OK but longer, go yearly. 85  
PISSE-DRU 'NOÉMIE VERNAUX' BEAUJOLAIS 2008, Beaune, France, 12.0% D, #002881  $11.50*  (Tasted September 14, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Young purple/red colour; fresh berry aroma; berry & plum flavours; light-body; balanced & dry. Serve with grilled salmon, tuna, poultry, salads."   My notes: Reduced a loonie until Sep 12th. A beauty of a deep ruby, crystalline in the glass. Let air or decant thirty minutes minimum. The nose has a damp forest floor scent with a touch of blackberry and fronts a first sip, tangy and dry, of muted berries. The finish starts out bright, dry on the lips and carries woody berries before ending slightly brambly. Medium-bodied with just enough of interest as a sipper for an inquisitive crowd of wine drinkers anticipating the next label. A meal red to be paired with roast chicken, salmon or cold ham sliced thin with salad. Not for cellaring. 83

CONCILIO PINOT GRIGIO 2009, Trentino, Italy, 13.5% D, #637595  $12.40  (Tasted September 15, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Pale straw yellow; zesty aromas of citrus, spice, and apple; dry, light to medium bodied, with quince and grapefruit flavours; balanced acidity with clean finish."  My notes: The 2008 was tasted in February this year with good results. Will the 2009 vintage be value packed as well? A pale golden in the glass and slightly off chill the nose is a faint golden apple - didn’t get floral or mineral this time. The scalloped edges give up some tears very slowly but mainly recedes evenly. Very smooth textured, tart and dry, strong melon and citrus on the back of the tongue, a suspicion of apple then finishes with a pucker and a firm touch of minerals. An interesting sipper and should pair seamlessly with seafood dishes. Cellar a short while - two years at most?  89
PASCUAL TOSO CHARDONNAY 2010, Mendoza, Argentina (Map It!), 14.0% D, #162636  $12.00*  (Tasted September 12, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Fresh concentrated aromas of pears, honey and vanilla. This Chardonnay is rich in the mouth and complemented by spicy oak flavours. Pairs well with seafood, poultry in delicate sauces, or with risotto."  My notes: The 2005 Malbec taste in October 2007 was rated highly as a ‘a value go-anywhere fruit driven red’. The Pascual Toso Sauvignon Blanc  for 2008, tasted January 2009, had a ‘chemical overtone’ which demoted it to a low rating (68). Now this year’s Chardonnay… how good a year has it been? The 2010 has a clear gold colour with a firm film that slowly recedes along a scalloped edge. A dull melon and floral scent on opening a chilled bottle.  The first sip has a soft gooseberry and apricot flavour, a buttery touch of honey then a dry flavour remnant, falling quickly and ending somewhat flat. Interesting as a sipper but I didn‘t find it appealing (My BH enjoyed it). A low acid limits pairing to milder fowl or fish dishes. Not for cellaring - a drink now.  83
J.P. CHENET VIN DE PAYS D'OC CABERNET SYRAH 2009, Languedoc, France, 13.0% D, #090472  $9.95  (Tasted September 12, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "clear, deep ruby red; cherry and cassis with vanilla, spice and pepper aromas; dry, medium bodied; ripe fruit and spice flavours, fresh acidity and a medium finish."  My notes:  Tasted the 2007 vintage in December 2008 and rated it 82.  The 2009 vintage has a deep ruby colour with a faint purple tint and aromas of plum and raspberry. A swirl brings out an evenly receding film leaving a lacy pattern with the occasional fast tears. Spice, blackberry and vanilla blend for an interesting sipping flavour. Medium-bodied and well balanced tannin and acid leaves a soft texture on the lips. A bargain and delightful red for a social get together - wouldn’t offend anyone - finishes with a touch of sweet fruit. Uncomplicated and fairly mild but should be suitable with roast turkey, prime rib or quaffing with chicken wings. A drink now value.  88

J.P. CHENET LIMITED RELEASE PINOT NOIR 2008, Languedoc, France, 12.5% D, #142406  $11.95  (Tasted September 20, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Clear ruby with hints of purple; raspberry and cherry aromas with a touch of spice; medium body, dry; red berry flavour with medium finish.”  My notes: First comes a clear deep ruby and an evenly receding film with a few fast tears. A sniff senses floral cherry and the first sip is lightish medium-bodied, pleasingly tart, firm tannins with the flavour of delicate black cherry charred slightly changing to a muted raspberry and ending with a dry touch. Finish is earthy with a light bramble rather than prominent fruit… spice wasn’t apparent to me. Have with roast turkey, grilled pork chops or quaff with a beef pie. A drink now rather than cellaring.   84
CAVE LA ROMAINE CÔTES DE RHÔNE VILLAGES VÉNUS LAURÉE  GRENACHE-SYRAH 2009, Rhône, France (Map It!), 13.5% D,  #028779  $12.00  (Tasted September 12, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Garnet red colour; plum, cherry and spice aromas with a hint of leather; dry, medium body; good fruit flavour and well balanced."  My notes:  Tasted the Gold Medal winner 2005 in February 2008 with passable results (82). This 2009 was a Silver Medal winner having a deep purpled tinted ruby colour and herbal scented raspberry aromas give this a difference with some interest. The thin film sheds lots of slow tears and a first sip meets a layer of tannin to coat the tongue and a mild acid for balance. The flavours are mild: some blackberry, some bramble, some liquorice. The flavours build gradually giving prominence to each and the finish fades slowly leaving a tannin dryness and a mineral edged black fruit. It paired nicely with baked ham with raisin sauce and may with veal chop or pork tenderloin with a fruit glaze but not outstanding. Not cellarable - not a sipper.  81 

PHILIPPE DE ROTHSCHILD MERLOT 2009, Languedoc, France, 14.0% D, #407544  $10.95  (Tasted September 16, 2010)  CS
A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Ruby red colour; ripe cherry and red berry aroma; cherry, plum and a touch of vanilla in flavour; soft touch of tannin on finish."  My notes:  A deep ruby with a sweet berry, black cherry, spicy edged nose. A firm film with long fast legs and a first sip carrying the spice with drying tannin fronting flavours of soft berries and a liquorice follow through. The finish is dry and full of crushed berry seeds lending a prominent tannin. A light-bodied dry sipper with enough fruit to add minor interest. Not for cellaring - an  uncomplicated drink now. A sociable sipper suitable with ham and cheese pizza or cold ham. 82
PHILIPPE DE ROTHSCHILD PINOT NOIR 2009, Languedoc, France, 13.0% D, #628289  $11.95  (Tasted September 15, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Medium red violet; aromas and flavours of dried red berries, sour cherry, cranberry and spice, with a hint of vanilla; dry, medium bodied, soft yet balanced palate; good length."  My notes: In August 2007 the Chilean 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.95) was thought ’well worth a dozen or so’.  I wasn’t as enthusiastic for the Languedoc 2007 Sauvignon Blanc ($10.95) in December 2008 rating it 80. The 2009 Pinot Noir is the colour of fresh black cherries and has a noticeable scent of ripe strawberries and tart red cherries. The first sip has an appealing fresh strawberry and red currant flavour quickly followed by a crisper red currant finish. A light-bodied red, not intense but well balanced and not overly oaked. A quaffer with sliced cold ham, a salmon or chicken salad, a mixed buffet. Its lighter style with the flavour blend gives this sipper lip-smacking appeal. A drink now.  87
YVON MAU MERLOT 2009, Languedoc, France, 12.5% D, #336743  $8.95  (Tasted September 18, 2010)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as "Medium ruby colour; straightforward red cherry, fresh berry and violet aromas; dry, light to medium bodied, with grapey and juicy fruit flavours; crisp, clean, fruit driven style."  My notes: The last time I tasted YM wines was in February 2006. Both were the 2004 vintage: a Cabernet Sauvignon, ’not a bad sipper for the price’,  and a Colombard Chardonnay, ‘a disappointing sipper… flavours so muted’.  I haven’t been back since.  In the meantime the price hasn’t changed much. The 2009 Merlot is a dense ruby with a garnet cast and a swirl gives a firm film that recedes then eventually tosses a few slow tears. The aromas are suitably soft - some cherries and berries, some violet floral - all contributing to a delicate nose. The mouthfeel is this side of silky then flavours of blackberry with a tint of mint quickly shifting to a light but bright crushed seed finish. A medium-bodied sipper making an attractive first impression with noticeable black berry fruit, modest acid and tannin. Have with broiled meats, crockport stews with beefy sauces or French onion soup. A drink now suitable for any social setting.  85
ZENATO BARDOLINO CHIARETTO 2007, Veneto, Italy, 12.5% D, #045203 $12.95 (Tasted September 24, 2010)  CS

My notes: Last tasted in March this year and rated 88/100. Still with a whiff of red cherries and the same brilliant salmon pink, less pink - more salmon. A fragrance of young apricots spicy with some sweet floral meets the nose and the first sip has a distinct dry nip, light-bodied with flavours of seemingly sweet apple and red cherries that carry through a long finish. A dry social sipper with a silky approach or a match with grilled chicken and herbed risotto or telapia with crunchy asparagus on rice. I don’t see this cellaring much longer but could be surprised - mute, since it’s my last bottle.  88 

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