Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 2011 S'mores: 14 Tasted of 14

Crystalline Spruce...
Back to playing guessing games with mostly the Shopping Lists from Vintages  although I've had good results being in the high 80's and even the 90's a long as I use a smidgeon of thought.

I’ve enjoyed Anakena Viognier: a super 2007 tasted in April last year and, since a tasting in September 2010, the 2009 has been decorated with a Best in Class award. The Pasión 4 Merlot 2007 tasted and rated 90-2 in 2009 so curiosity made me pick up the similarly priced Pasión 4 Malbec from the January 8th Release.   Also I’ve referred to my last notices from WineAlign , tweets from Anthony Gismondi (aka @thespitter) and the WineoftheWeekend.

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by reds, whites, sparkles and other:

and our...
  • Domaine de la Bastide les Figues Côtes de Rhône 2009, 92-3  --  V, Rhône, France,  #194852  $13.95
  • Majella the Musician Cabernet/Shiraz 2008,  92-2  --  V, Coonawara, Australia, #142018  $19.95
  • Arboleda Syrah 2007,  90-2  --  V, Aconcagua valley, Chile, #172247 $18.95
  • R. J. Vinedos Pasión 4 Malbec 2008,  88-2  --  V, Valle de Uco, Argentina, #194399 $11.95
  • Tolloy `Vigneti delle Dolomiti`Pinot Noir 2008,  86  --  V, Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, #193441  $15.95   
  • Flying Kiwi South Island Pinot Noir 2009, 85  --  G, Christchurch, NZ, #184572 $15.95 
  • D'Arenburg ‘The Stump Jump’ Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2009,  82  --  G, McLaren Vale, Australia,  #173294  $14.05   

    ...feathered friends.
  • Domino del Plata Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontés 2009, 93-3  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #001834 $11.95 
  • Anakena Single Vineyard Viognier 2009, Rapel Valley,  91-2   --  V, Chile, #045138  $13.95
  • Domaine du Vieux Chai Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine sur lie 2009,  89-2 -- V, Loire, France, #200048  $13.95
  • Les Costières de Pomerol Beauvignac Viognier 2009,  84  --  V,  Pays d’Oc, France, #525295  $12.95
  • Le Meridiane Pinot Grigio Vendemmia 2009,  84  --  V, Trentino, Italy, #627042 $15.95 
  • Clay Station Unoaked Viognier 2008, 83  --  V, Lodi, California, #025411  $16.95 

  •  François Lurton Mas Janeil Maury 2005, 88  --  V, Roussillon, France, #175224 $15.70 (375mL)

(G - General Listing, V - Vintages, r-v - Rating-Value)

TOLLOY ‘VIGNETI DELLE DOLOMITI’ PINOT NOIR 2008,  Alto Adige/Trentino, Italy, 12.5% D, #193441  $15.95  (Tasted January 15, 2011) CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described anonymously (undated) as “… Alto Adige has proven to be one of the best-suited Italian regions for this temperamental variety. There are lots of blackberry notes here, some peppercorn spice and some lovely earthy tones too. The palate is dry, medium bodied and engagingly fruity. The tannins are soft and well integrated… ”  My notes:  A WineoftheWeekend selection. A deep see thru’ ruby with the scent sniffed when walking through wild raspberry brambles on a hot day.  A polite sipper with fine tannins, light flavours of crushed blackberries, some cherries along with a touch of earth tones. A swirl brings a thin film with lots of fast tears showing some of the silk in the first bright sip. Reserved acids come midway through the finish. A flavour of crushed cherries and a dryness ends the sip. Overall an interesting sipper and a companion for a honeyed ham slice or honey and vinegar slopped pork ribs. Too polite for cellaring - a drink now.  86

R J VIÑEDOS PASIÓN 4 MALBEC 2008,  Valle de Uco, Argentina, 14.0% D, #194399 $11.95  (Tasted January 16, 2011)   CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described by the Vintages panel (March 2010) as “Raúl Jofré and his 4 daughters have been crafting high-quality wines in the Uco Valley since 1998. A rich plum is the lead aroma of this Malbec, followed by blackberry, blueberry, vanilla and herbs. There are many lovely replays on the palate, followed by a smooth, lightly spicy finish with good length… ”  My notes:The Pasión 4 Merlot 2007 (#059287, $11.95) tasted in September 2009 was a ‘delicious sipper’ rated 90-2. The Malbec has a deep ruby colour and a firm film with many slow tears. A soft aroma of plums and berries with a slight spice and touch of wood in the nose then full in the first sip along with polite tang. Well balanced, medium-bodied, noticeable tannins and modest fruit provide interest as a sipper as well as the long finish blending herbs with berries. Deep enough for rack of lamb or a stuffed loin pork braised and roasted. Cellar for a few years or drink now - very nice.  88

ANAKENA (Terroirs) SINGLE VINEYARD VIOGNIER 2009, Rapel Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD, #045138  $13.95  (Tasted January 12, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 rated 89 by Tony Aspler (Who He?)  and described (Sept 14, 2009) as “Very pale with a green tint; peach and honeysuckle nose; sweet peachy fruit, lively acidity. Full-bodied.”  My notes: First tasted when released in January 2010 and rated 89-2. Now there’s a Best In Class medallion on the side of the label. Will this repeat the 93-2 of the 2007 tasted in April last year?  Opening the ‘envelope’ we have the answer… This has the perfumed scent of clover honey adding a suspicion of spice. Sweet on the lips but a tart fruit flavoured taste: pear, lime zest and straw edged. The fruit fades slowly leaving a prominent herbaceous ending. Interesting as a sipper - may need another sip, an hors d’oeuvre or bruschetta piece to pair with the ending. Have with cold or hot seafood dishes, vegetarian pizza or a bowl of curried mussels. Cellaring a year or two may pull everything together but drinking well now.  91

MAJELLA ‘THE MUSICIAN’ CABERNET/SHIRAZ 2008, Coonawara, Australia, 14.5% XD, #142018  $19.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 rated 94 by James Halliday  (Who He?)  (July 2009) and described as “Good hue; delivers as much as ever, with an abundance of blackcurrant and blackberry fruit supported by ripe tannins that give excellent balance. Drink [until] 2015. Special Value.”  My notes:A firm film with long legs that run slowly then stick to the sides of the bowl, a royal ruby colour and aromas of peppery blackberries, dense and warm. Firm tannins combine with an immediate penetrating tang giving memory to the first sip then continue through a long, hot, cedary finish - no subtlety. By itself this could be the wine for Scotch drinkers … or have with a 3 meat pizza with chili peppers, Texas chili, a marinated sirloin or a rare Barbarian rubbed T-bone. Soft in texture but having substantial roughness to carry the acid.  Cellar for several years for a depth suiting its current breadth.  92 (Cellar)

DOMINIO DEL PLATA CRIOS DE SUSANA BALBO TORRONTÉS 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  D, #001834   $11.95  (Tasted January 14, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 rated 90 by Jay Miller  (Who He?)  (Aug 2009) and described as “The 2009 Torrontés remains one of Argentina's benchmarks for this variety. Sourced from 31-year-old vines in Cafayate (where the finest Torrontés grows), it displays a fragrant bouquet of spring flowers, honey, and tropical aromas. Medium-bodied and dry on the palate, it has ample fruit backed by vibrant acidity leading to a lengthy finish. Drink it over the next 2 years. My notes: A selection from Anthony Gismondi A light golden colour with a perfumed scent of wildflowers, grapefruit zest and light honey. A full-bodied first sip, honey smooth and flavoured, but not overly sweet, some peach and melon carried along a dry, tart seam. The dryness gradually fades to a mild citrus and chalk. An intriguing sipper with enough brightness for flexible pairing: sole and risotto, roasted chicken breast sliced with scalloped potatoes.  Stock up! 93
LES COSTIÈRES DE POMEROLS BEAUVIGNAC VIOGNIER 2009,  Pays d’Oc, France, 12.5% XD, #525295   $12.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described by their Panel (April 2010) as “… There are lovely peach, honey-suckle, ripe apple and citrus notes, as well as pretty florals that give the nose a delightful and delicate complexity. The palate is dry and medium bodied, with a balanced acidity. The aroma replays on the palate are wonderful and leave you with a soft honeyed note on the medium-long finish… ”  My notes: A clean mid gold colour and a film cascading a lacy edge and level of scent not arousing my sensor. The first buttery sip has a well established tang. Flavours of mild citrus and melon come behind and lead to a long smooth finish of lighter citrus and some lanolin. Interesting for its difference but without a substantial Viognier floral and flavour profile. A dry, medium-bodied social mixer for a buffet table of cheeses, hummus and crackers, seafood snacks or bacon stuffed mushrooms.  A drink now.  84

DOMAINE DU VIEUX CHAI MUSCADET DE SÈVRE-ET-MAINE SUR LIE 2009,  Loire, France, 12.0%  D, #200048   $13.95  (Tasted January 29, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described by their Panel (May 2010) as “Aromas of poached pear, binned apple, citrus and mineral with a nice additional complexity provided by the lees treatment (hence, Sur Lie). The palate is dry and round, with consistent aroma replays, with lime really coming to the fore. The lees ageing adds a nuanced texture that works beautifully in harmony with the crisp acidity. A flavourful, medium-long finish closes out the refreshing experience.”  My notes: A light gold with a delicate but noticeable spritz accumulating on the glass. A delicate cream and a cleansing tang in the first sip. Flavours of pineapple, apple and lime blend together so not one is prominent. The finish is long, light and dry ending with luscious citrus. This is a medium-bodied and crisp sipper suitable for any selection from a seafood menu. Have with fresh oysters, mussels grilled or steamed with sweet curry or chicken pot pie with pearl onions and veggies.  Cellar for a year or two but a bright white now.  89

ARBOLEDA SYRAH 2007, Aconcagua valley, Chile, 14.5%  D, #172247  $18.95  (Tasted January 19, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on July 10, 2010 rated 89 and described by Jay Miller  (June 2009) as “… The 2007 Syrah is from cool-climate Aconcagua. It offers up an enticing nose of black raspberry, blueberry, and gamy/smoky notes. Smooth-textured, balanced, and long, it closely resembles a top quality Crozes-Hermitage.”  My notes:  A deep purple tinted ruby and aromas of a mellow blackberry-blueberry blend plus an earthy pungency.  A swirl brings a firm film with many fast legs suggesting the smooth richness of the first sip. Soft blackberry, a deep satin texture, hot, full tannins and balanced acid in an ebb and flow of character makes this an interesting sipper.  The finish sets in quickly with a mineral component as the spicy fruit fades. A full-bodied starter or a red to pair with broiled beef, bbq’d ribs or prime rib.  Drinking well now and could cellar four to six years.  90 

CLAY STATION UNOAKED VIOGNIER 2008, Lodi, California, 13.5% D, #025411  $16.95 (Tasted January 25, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on July 24, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “Clay Station is dedicated to producing wines from grape varieties that are somewhat untraditional for California - like this fragrant Viognier. Many Cali producers add a touch of oak to Viognier, but Clay Station avoids the wood in order to allow the grape's wonderful aromatics to come to the fore. As this full-bodied, floral- and ripe peach-scented wine shows, their decision was wise.  My notes: A Delicato Vineyards wine with a light blond colour.  There’s a floral in the glass perhaps ‘peach scented’ but hard to determine for its lightness. A well balanced tang and smoothness with the texture thinning quickly leaving the tang and a touch of lime and chalk.  Personally, for such a light Viognier ’a touch of oak’ would have been welcome. A medium body and delicate almost null flavour gives this white a gentile citrus personality. Pair with grilled white fish, shrimp, scallops or a veal cutlet - OK as a sipper. A drink now. 83
LE MERIDIANE PINOT GRIGIO VENDEMMIA 2009,  Trentino, Italy, 13.5% XD, #627042  $15.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 described by the Vintages panel (Feb 2010) as “The Le Meridiane Pinot Grigio offers an ethereal nose with pear and melon most apparent, accompanied by an underlying minerality that adds a nice complexity. Dry, medium bodied and silky on the palate with nice fruit and mineral replays, leading to a crisp and refreshing medium-long finish.”  My notes: There’s a just perceptible tawny edge to the light golden suggesting a touch of peach and a suspicion of kiwi and tart apple on the nose. Scalloped edges recede showing slow tears and lacework on the glass. Creamy smooth, medium-bodied, combine with acid to waken the buds and brighten subtle flavours of Granny Smith apple. As the cream lightens apple turns to an ‘ethereal’ mineral note, still quite tangy. Interest fades as a sipper unless accompanied by mixed mild cheeses, warmed canapés or bruschetta. A drink now.  84

DOMAINE DE LA BASTIDE LES FIGUES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2009, Cotes du Rhone, France, 14.0%  XD, #194852  $13.95  (Tasted January 24, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on January 22, 2011 described by their Panel (April 2010) as “60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% Carignan. A fresh raspberry jam nose makes way for sweet and spicy flavours of fig, plum, dried prune, redcurrant and black pepper. There's a stony minerality here, but with a sweet core, and a delightfully fruity finish… ”  My notes:  Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concourse des Grands Vins France, Macon, 2010.  A deep purple ruby colour with a well established film and tiny slow tears on the bowl hint of the smoothness to come. Pepper, plums and redcurrants, develop gradually and accompany a full-bodied, full flavoured unexpected burst of fruit and delicate tar. Flavours fade on an anise note ending with an interesting dry liquorice - tannins leave the palate chalk dry and mild acids brighten faint dried fig remnants. Cellar up to four years.  92

D'ARENBERG THE STUMP JUMP GRENACHE SHIRAZ MOURVÈDRE 2009, McLaren Vale, Australia,  14.0% D, #173294   $14.05  (Tasted January 26, 2011)  CS

A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “clear ruby colour; red cherry, berry and oak spice aromas; dry, medium body; ripe fruit flavour and fine tannins, medium finish.”  My notes:This has a see through ruby colour with a pinkish hue at the rim, an edge of nail polish, nicely sharp, full blackberry and plum aromas and a firm film with short slow tears. The smoothness is separated from an acid bite with the fruit, blackberry and red currant, coming up the middle. The nail polish returns to accent a smooth red currant finish. A thinnish medium-bodied, dry red with soft tannins having appeal as a sipper although chemical aspects may detract. Have as a buffet sipper or pair with grilled beef, pepperoni pizza or leg of lamb. A drink now.  82

FRANÇOIS LURTON MAS JANEIL MAURY 2005,  Roussillon, France, 15.5% MS,  #175224 (375mL)  $15.70  (Tasted January 27, 2011)  CS

A Vintages release on July 24, 2010 described by the Panel (January 2010) as “Mas Janeil's Maury is a Vin Doux Naturel. It's a vibrant, sweet, grapey wine with aromas and flavours of raisins, cherry, spice, and coconut, with hints of chocolate.”  My notes: Made from old black Grenache vines and has an appealing roughness when served off chill. A clear black cherry skin colour and clean aromas of black plums. The sweetness is restrained, balanced by mild tannins, light acid and fresh fruit. A smooth sipper for a summer day paired with vanilla sorbet or solo relaxing in the shade. A straightforward drink now or cellar two - may not have longer - years for a deeper character.  88   

FLYING KIWI SOUTH ISLAND PINOT NOIR 2009, Christchurch, NZ, 13.0% D, #184572  $15.95  (Tasted January 27, 2011)  CS

A General listing for which the back label claims “rich cherry and raspberry aromas with ripe plum and toasted oak on the palate to produce this elegant wine with a long lingering finish…” My notes:  A St Helena Wine Estate product from winemaker Alan McCorkindale. A see through black cherry skin colour and aromas of beet root and crushed strawberries. A thin film with fast flowing legs and a silky smooth first sip light on tannin and acids showing flavours of matchstick, a touch of raspberry and of cherry leading to a finish that fades into a soft musk. An unusual combination of flavours limiting general appeal. I‘d guess, half will and half won’t enjoy this as a sipper. A lightish bodied pinot to pair with roasted salmon filet, petit pois and white rice. A drink now.  85


Saturday, January 01, 2011

January Wines 2011: 20 Tasted of 20

A Foggy Day in Niagara Town
Now the tree is gone, packed away until next December when, Bacchus willing, I’ll still be sniffing, sipping and slurping.  

Some of the following were gifts from visiting family. Most were from under the tree Christmas morning - Santa was good to me.  Ah So! My universe is in balance once more. 

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by reds, whites, sparkles and other:
  • Tatone Terra d’Aligi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2006,  93-3  --  V, Abruzzo, Italy, #994616 $15.95
  • Antinori Pèppoli Chianti Classico 2008,  92-2  --  V, Tuscany, Italy, #606541  $19.95 
  • Santa Ema AMPLUS Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, 91-2  --  V, Peumo, Chile, #076307  $19.95 
  • Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2007,  91-2  --  V, Paso Robles, California, #738823 $18.95
  • Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages Combe aux Jacques 2009, 87-1 -- G, France, #365924  $15.95
  • Prospect Winery ‘Fats Johnson’ Pinot Noir 2007 VQA Okanagan Valley,  87-1  --  G, BC, #092304  $15.95  
  • Campillo Rioja Reserva 2004,  86  --  V, Rioja, Spain, #094870 $21.95
  • Jacob’s Creek Shiraz Cab Sauvignon 2008, 83  --  G, Australia, #106377 $9.95
  • Domaine Autrand Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2007,  82  --  V, Rhone, France, #200030  $14.95
  • Pelee Island Shiraz Cabernet 2009, 80 -- G, Kingsville, Ontario,  #637199  $9.95
  • Château Divon Saint Georges Saint Émilion 2006, 78  --  V, Bordeaux, France, #190926 $23.95    

  • Wither Hills ‘Wairau Valley’ Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 92-2  --  V, Marlborough, NZ, #919514   $17.95
  • Alamos ‘The Wines of Catena’ Torrontés 2009, 88-1  --  V, Argentina, #081539  $13.95
  • Château Ste. Michelle Chardonnay 2008, 88-1  --  V, Columbia Valley, Washington, #232439  $17.95 
  • Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc 2008 VQA Okanagan Valley,  86  --  G, Okanagan, BC, #145094  $14.95  
  • Jean-Pierre Teissèdre Pouilly-Fuissé 2009, 85  --  V, Burgundy, France, #183483 $22.95 
  • Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay 2008, 82  --  G, France,  #933077  $18.95
  • Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2009, 82 --  G, Marlborough, NZ, #293043  $14.95* 
  • [yellow tail]* Chardonnay 2009, 61  --  G, South Eastern Australia, #627802 $10.95

  •  Henry of Pelham Special Select Late Harvest Vidal 2008 VQA Ontario, 86  -- G, St. Catharines, Ontario, #395228  (375mL)  $17.95* 
      (G - General Listing, V - Vintages,  Rating-Value levels -  r-v)


      SANTA EMA AMPLUS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007, Peumo, Chile, 14.0% XD, #076307 $19.95  (Tasted January 2, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 rated 91 and described by James Molesworth (Who He?) (April 30, 2010) as “ Polished and very focused, with a terrific beam of red and black currant fruit, fig cake and melted licorice notes that glide over seamless structure. A tangy iron hint and fresh acidity lengthen the finish.”  My notes: The purple tint adds nobility to the deep ruby and a scent of cedar with blackberry adds background to the first sniff as the nose develops in the bowl. An even film sheds fast tears and a bright, minty flavour of red currant refreshes the palate. The flavour persists through a long finish before fading to a metallic ending. A medium-bodied combination of fruit and minerals, a firm tannin and noticeable acid makes this an interesting sipper but better paired with grilled beef, preferably rare, or a beef stew. Cellaring for a few years may introduce more velvet mellowing some of the ‘brightness’. 91

      ANTINORI PÈPPOLI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2008, Tuscany, Italy, 13.0% XD, #606541  $19.95  (Tasted January 28, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on May 15, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “Light ruby in colour, this refreshing Chianti has a lovely strawberry-scented nose. On the palate there's good structure and balance, with redcurrant, strawberry and fresh cherry flavours. Silky smooth tannins make this red extremely quaffable… “   My notes: The nose develops beautifully in the glass with warm berries shifting to a currant edge then a spice enveloping all. Made me linger. Medium-bodied, silky smooth with red currant and soft cherry blend finishing on a slight wood and fresh minty note. Nicely balanced for easy quaffing before a sitdown session with serious spaghetti and meatballs - add some chorizo sausage or have bacon crusted tomato bruschetta. Ageing for several years should be OK but drinking well now.  92

      CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE CHARDONNAY 2008, Columbia Valley, Washington, 13.5% XD, #232439  $17.95  (Tasted January 5, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 rated 90 and described by Harvey Steiman (Who He?) (Feb 28, 2010) as “Bright and jazzy, with pretty pineapple, grapefruit, elderflower and spice flavours that linger on the finish without excess weight. This just floats on for a while. Drink now through 2012.” My notes: A golden blond with a delicate scent of pineapple and grapefruit... and a scalloped rim with slow tears sets this off as a delightful summer sniffer. Fresh pineapple and grapefruit, no sweetness, dry to the tongue including a long fresh tangy fruit finish then add full-bodied, a light caramel cream - not obviously oaked - makes an interesting sipper. Pair with grilled chicken, seafood or warmed stuff mushrooms. Cellar for a few years or drink now.  88 
      LOUIS JADOT BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES COMBE AUX JACQUES 2009, Beaujolais, France, 13.0% XD, #365924  $15.95  (January 1, 2011)  CS

      The back label says “A medium-bodied, vivid red wine with cherry fruit and subtle spicy flavours etc. … can be served chilled.”    My notes:  The 2006 vintage was tasted in May 2008 and rated 80 with the comment “A lightly oaked red with scant fruit… boring after a few sips.” A bouquet of fresh berries and a deep purple tinged ruby is an inviting intro to the 2009 vintage. A firm film and a silky first sip, a sharp lasting dryness and flavours of blackberries and cherries continue the invitation when the tang and leftovers turn into a mineral edged berry. No longer ‘boring’ this is a pleasant sipper, medium-bodied with a long finish to accompany broiled sausage or beef patties or pair with T-bone, tenderloin or tenderized sirloin. Cellaring for a few years should develop smoother textures and subtler tones.  87

      LOUIS JADOT BOURGOGNE CHARDONNAY 2008, Bourgogne, France, 12.5% XD, #933077  $18.95  (Tasted January 3, 2011)  CS

      The back label says “A deliciously dry chardonnay with enchanting fresh fruit flavours, a hint of vanilla and a clean crisp finish.”  My notes: There’s a green tint to a mid gold colour and a light scent on the pithy side of a citrus zest. A tilt brings lots of fast tears following a scalloped edge and the first sip is smooth with a middle of soft lemon, and a herbaceous tart acid edge. Intensity increases as subtle young fruit develops along the acid seam. The finish is long, clean and simple. A meal white to pair with creamed or grilled chicken, fish or shellfish and a drink now. Did not contribute much to seared scallops with bacon risotto. 82

      [YELLOW TAIL]* CHARDONNAY 2009, South Eastern Australia, 13.0% D, #627802  $10.95  (Tasted January 6, 2011)  CS

      A General listing and a Casella Wine described anonymously (undated) as “Deep yellow; Aromas of butterscotch, vanilla and baked apple fruit; Dry, medium to full bodied, with tropical notes, apple, pear fruit flavours; Medium length on crisp finish. Serve with fish dishes; seafood; poultry.”  My notes: The 2006 vintage was discarded and the 2008 tasted in July 2009 was rated 80 saying ’… a unique taste neither oak influenced nor the crisp and clean of stainless.” The colour of the 2009 is a mid-gold, and has a clean nose needing time to develop in the glass then is a blend of apple strudel and vanilla. The firm film recedes slowly with just a few broad legs. The first sip has a smooth flavour of vanilla cream, almond and lemon shifting quickly to a nondescript acid then a dull vanilla cream leftover. Not a sipper, although quaffing quickly with a buffet assortment could mask its objectionable side. Of 37 chardonnays tasted in 2010 none has matched this. The bottle was discarded.  61

      STONELEIGH MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% D, #293043   $14.95* ($16.95)  (Tasted January 13, 2011)  CS

      A General listing and a Pernod etc. company wine described anonymously (undated) as “Pale straw colour; gooseberry, herbs and a hint of tropical fruit on the nose; dry and medium-bodied with a crisp finish. Serve with smoked salmon, asparagus risotto or herbed chicken.”  My notes:The 2007 vintage was tasted in May 2008 and rated 82 with the comment “An OK sipper starting with an infusion of aromas and flavours that subside quickly.” Reduced a toonie for the holiday season this 2009 has a perfumed aroma of kiwi fruit and orange blossom, lightly sweetened. The film is thin with fast tears and a sip has a crisp, tangy flavour of mostly lemon zest, melon and small part orange.  A long flavourful finish carries the fruit to a dry tangy end. A social sipper which would also pair nicely with fried squid and most seafood dishes - herbed chicken too. A straightforward beverage to please a crowd.  82

      PELEE ISLAND SHIRAZ CABERNET 2009, Kingsville, Ontario,  12.5% D, #637199  $9.95  (January 1, 2011)  CS

      A General listing described on the back label as “Our Shiraz (Petite Sirah) Cabernet blend reveals shades of deep purple in the sunlight and is enriched by intense tannins. …. a great partner for Cajun dishes and spicy bbqs.”  and  “…from 70% imported and 30% domestic wines”.  My notes:  Petite Sirah, some authorities say, is a term applied to ‘several different little-known varieties often planted together’ and may not be related to the better known Syrah or Shiraz . The 2007 vintage was tasted in December 2008 and rated 76 saying “an OK bar drink or companion for burgers…”. The 2009 on the label may refer to a bottling date and for this red, a sniff brings a perfumed whiff of blueberry and raspberry preserve. The colour is a deep purple ruby and a swirl leaves a firm film with etched edges with a tilt showing a rim of viscous tears. The first sip is smooth with an intense berry jam flavour with tannins balancing the acid leading to a long finish, a mix of dry, penetrating black berries with a mineral note that becomes more prominent at the end.  A full in the mouth bold sipper. Pairing with a well seasoned steak, bbq’d ribs or beefy burger could be a match. A drink now.  80

      JEAN-PIERRE TEISSÈDRE POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2009, Burgundy, France, 13.0% XD, #183483  $22.95  (Tasted January 9, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “From the top-tier appellation in the south of Burgundy comes this fresh and delicious Chardonnay with aromas of green apple, ripe pear, citrus and layers of minerality. Dry with good aroma replays, plus enough crisp acids for cellaring 3-5 years. It is also a fine candidate for a seed-encrusted Arctic char with pomegranate-infused rice, grilled pork, or even game bird.”  My notes: A clear and crisp golden colour in the bowl and scant aromas, some chalky mineral and no fruit - increases when off chill. Flavours quickly change from citrus and chalk to a light lime to a tangy mineral, none intense but an interesting and lasting end. Have with sole and creamy linguine or shrimps & scallops with spaghettini/angle hair. A meal white - will likely go flat with cellaring?  85

      CAMPILLO RIOJA RESERVA 2004, Rioja, Spain, 13.5% D, #094870  $21.95  (Tasted January 3, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on November 13, 2010 described by the Vintages panel (April 2010) as “Julio Faustino Martínez, owner of Bodegas Campillo, named the winery as a tribute to his family's first vineyard. An opaque, youthful ruby, this Rioja has a nicely intense, blackberry and spice nose. The blackberry continues in the flavours, along with rich chocolate, mocha, red fruit and bumbleberry. An elegant, medium- to full-bodied red with good structure, and tannic enough to reward cellaring for up to five years. You don't need to wait, though - enjoy this beauty tonight with your favourite pasta in savoury marinara sauce, or with veal marsala.”  My notes: There’s a garnet hue to the deep ruby and the blackberry in the nose is mostly masked by the influence of penetrating, rich oak tones. A thin metallic edge on the first sip fronts a bright red currant flavour, firm tannins and acid that lead to a long finish, dry with the metallic edge slowly returning as fruit fades. An uninteresting sipper, more of a medium-bodied red meat red, ground and grilled rare with herbs and/or spices. A drink now… most of the cellaring is past.  86

      GANTON & LARSEN PROSPECT WINERY ‘FATS JOHNSON’ PINOT NOIR 2007 VQA Okanagan Valley, BC, 13.0% D, #092304   $15.95  (Tasted January 9, 2011)  CS

      From the Artisan Wine Co. and a General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Pale ruby colour with a garnet hue; aromas of ripe strawberries, earth, and a hint of vanilla; light bodied, delicate and silky flavours of warm spice and black cherries.”  My notes: The 2006 was rated 82 when tasted in January 2009 saying “Silky soft with a delayed tang… flavour of half ripe cherries…”.  The 2007 is of the same style, mid cherry colour, light-bodied with tears that are fast to form and an aroma of vanilla tainted, earthy strawberry. Silky textured, flavours of strawberry fruit and light liquorice trending to being tart with a finish that is dry balancing fruit and ending with earthy anise tones. Decant or let breathe thirty minutes - still this style may not appeal to everyone. Have with salmon en croûte with leeks and dill or rosemary`d roast chicken. Cellaring two years may bring out more focus.  87

      LIBERTY SCHOOL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007, Paso Robles, California, 13.5% D, #738823 $18.95  (Tasted January 12, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on May 15, 2010 not rated and described anonymously (undated) as “This delicious Cabernet teaches the meaning of value. Its nose is intense with concentrated dark fruit, particularly cherry and plum, complemented by spicy and savoury notes. It's dry, dense and richly textured, with great balance and ripe tannins. For continuing education, enjoy any time over the next 2-3 years with rare roast beef or gourmet sausages.”  My notes: A perennial high scorer with the last vintage, 2006 tasted in February 2009, rated 94-2, “A delightful sipper, full of flavour, appropriately dry and building in warmth and interesting nuances.”  The 2007 has a dense purple tinged ruby with aromatics of mahogany, plums and spicy currants. A firm film with many fast flowing legs introduces a full-bodied first sip. An intense and well balanced tang and fruit makes a good first impression, perhaps not as full as the previous vintage but interesting all the same. The finish is bright with minty, smooth, long ending with an equal mineral edge. Cellaring for two, perhaps not three, years is likely. Have with roast and rare prime rib.  91

      CHÂTEAU DIVON SAINT GEORGES SAINT ÉMILION 2006, Bordeaux, France, 13.0% XD, #190926  $23.95  (Tasted January 7, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on October 30, 2010 unrated and described anonymously (undated) as “This blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc is given a full 12 months in French oak before bottling. The resulting wine, from the respected 2006 vintage, features aromas of black cherry, new leather, cassis and hints of vanilla. Dry with a nice balance between the fruit and cedary tannins. A great, inexpensive cellar starter as it is showing well now and will only improve with 3-4 years in cellar.”  My notes: Got to admit this has a different nose, flavour, and finish - different not to the benefit but something to search for. The nose is a flat plum and capsicum (made you think didn‘t I?). The initial sip is dry overcoming scarce flavours of cherry and brambly berry. The finish continues drying the palate leaving a reminder of the faint plum of the initial sip. Somewhat thin flavoured, light-bodied and lacking character. Pair with a vegetarian pizza or cold salmon filet on greens. No longer cellarable - nothing left to improve, drinkable but not interesting and not recommended - disappointing.  78

      TATONE TERRA D'ALIGI MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2006, Abruzzo, Italy, 14.0% XD, #994616  $15.95  (Tasted January 4, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on November 13, 2010 and winner of a Gold Medal at Vinitaly 2009. Rated 5 out of 5 by Susan Desjardin  (Who She?)  (May, 2010) and described as “Concentrated and opaque with deep red hues, this is a richly aromatic wine with notes of licorice, ripe fruits and smoky oak. The full dark fruity flavors combine with silky slightly drying tannins and moderate acidity to produce a beautifully balanced wine with enduring impact. It has a long dazzling finish with lovely notes of sweet spice and rich caramel.”  My notes:A soft scent of earthy black fruit, spicy and warm. A garnet hued deep ruby, clear in the glass and a light film with many fast tears followed by a first sip full of tannins coating the palate a balance of black fruit flavours and mild acid that continue into a long finish. This has everything to please as a mild sipper and enough to pair with entrées from Italian tomato sauce pastas, cheesy panzerotti pizzas or a cloved ham slice. Still has a few years left in the cellar but drinking well now. 93

      ALAMOS ‘THE WINES OF CATENA’ TORRONTÉS 2009, Argentina, 13.5% XD, #081539   $13.95  (Tasted January 4, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 and described by Dennis Schaefer (Who He?)  (May, 2010) as “… has a pleasantly floral nose of orange blossom, jasmine with a bit of minerality. Peach, nectarine, citrus and orange creamsicle flavours are abundant, with a bit of almond and marzipan sneaking in too. Light and fresh on the palate, it never sacrifices flavour. Piquant and lively, it seems both elegant and angular at the same time, which provides a good contrast as the flavours and textures make their way to the finish. Crisp and clean at the end, the bright acidity shows through, setting up the taste buds for another bite of food.” My notes: A strong golden colour with a firm viscous film leading to a few slow tears. An aroma of citrus and asparagus has a tang that excites the senses and a full-bodied first sip lays a blanket of interesting flavours: peach, tart apple, a hint of almond and enough acid to waken the taste buds. A chalky dryness comes out in a long finish as flavours give way. Have with fresh oysters, oysters Rockefeller, deep fried calamari or a buffet of grilled hors d’oeuvres. Cellaring a few years could work but drinking brightly now. 88

      MISSION HILL ‘FIVE VINEYARDS’ PINOT BLANC 2008 VQA Okanagan Valley, Okanagan, BC, 12.5% D, #145094   $14.95  (Tasted January 27, 2011)  CS

      A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “clear, straw colour with green flecks; pineapple and pear with a hint of hazelnut; dry, medium body; creamy round fruit flavour with balanced acidity, medium finish with a touch of spice.”  My notes:  A clear light blond and evenly scalloped film with slow tears starts this off. A nose of ‘pineapple and pear with a hint of hazelnut’ isn’t misleading there’s just not a lot of it.  More hazelnut in the first sip along with some pear and honeydew melon. The finish is a citrus following, nicely tart with a hint of sweetness and creamy right to a mineral ending. Fuller-bodied than my expectation of a pinot blanc and an appealing drink now for an easygoing social crowd. Pair with sushi, a bento box of tempura shrimp and broccoli flowers or pineapple chicken from a Chinese buffet. A drink now.  86

      WITHER HILLS WAIRAU VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009, Marlborough, NZ, 13.0% XD, #919514  $17.95  (Tasted January 10, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on December 11, 2010 rated 4 out of 5 in Michael Cooper’s Buyer‘s Guide to NZ Wines and described as “The 2009 vintage is sweet-fruited, with strong, fresh, tropical-fruit and gently herbaceous flavours. It's an instantly appealing, finely balanced wine, vibrant, crisp and lingering.” My notes: A soft blond colour with aromas of nettles, passion fruit and lime brought forward with a delicate tang. The softness enveloped by tart acid with a filling of fresh tropical fruit makes this an intriguing sipper. The dryness and intensity of the finish delays the next sip until a long lime zest gives way to a mineral ending. Pairing with poached or grilled salmon with asparagus and portabello mushrooms done in light garlic and butter is planned. Sip or pair - either is suitable for this typical Kiwi sauvignon blanc. Drink now for its brightness or cellar two to three years for depth. 92

      HENRY OF PELHAM SPECIAL SELECT LATE HARVEST VIDAL 2008 VQA Ontario, St. Catharines, Ontario, 10.0%  S, #395228   (375mL)  $17.95*  (Tasted January 14, 2011)  CS

      A General listing and *regularly $19.95 this is described anonymously (undated) as “Bright yellow gold colour; aromas of honey, ripe peach, fig and apricot; sweet with ripe fruit flavour; well-balanced by crisp lemon acidity; rich and luscious without being too cloying.”  My notes: Not sure of the meaning of ‘Special Select’ wine since the grapes could come from anywhere in Ontario however, the colour, a bright gold, and the description of the aroma: a mix of dried figs, honey and apricot, is dead-on. A swirl coats the bowl with a brocade film and a sip follows the nose adding a smooth texture to carry it along. Tang matches the sweetness while both are moderate. The finish fades to a light lemon fairly quickly leaving a honey touch on the lips. Better serve chilled as a dessert solo or with Lindt truffles. A drink now.  86

      DOMAINE AUTRAND CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2007,  Rhone, France, 14.5%  XD, #200030  $14.95  (Tasted January 21, 2011)  CS

      A Vintages release on January 8, 2011 described (April 2010) by the Vintages panel as “… a pretty nose, featuring aromas of blueberry, black cherry, blood orange and garrigue (fresh herb scent in the air in southern France). Dry with a sweet core of fruit followed by an intense spicy, cedary finish. Beautifully textured wine with a lingering, gently spicy finish…”  My notes: A Gold medal winner at the Concours de Vins Orange 2009 and an impulse purchase. Hope the ‘garrigue’ isn’t too prominent!  Mostly earth in the nose, a very slight garrique or herb scent with a faint blueberry for fruit, if any is present, all make for an insignificant nose. The colour is a garnet tinge ruby, dense, and having a firm film with slow tears. Biting acid, velvety smooth, medium-bodied, moderate tannin, dry, black cherry flavours masked by an earthy core and finishing with more of the same. A dull sipper. Have with prime rib, T-bone, portabello burgers  or beef bourguignon. Likely not to improve with cellaring but may stay several years.  82
      JACOB'S CREEK SHIRAZ CAB SAUVIGNON 2008,  Australia, 13.5%  D, #106377  $9.95  (Tasted January 13, 2011)  CS

      A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Ruby red colour, cassis, berry, mint, soft vanilla aroma; fresh ripe fruit flavour, dry wine, spice & oak finish, good quality wine.”  My notes: An Orlando Pty. Ltd. Product described on the back label as “Blackberry and plum with hints of pepper, smooth tannins and subtle oak.”  A tinge of purple to a deep ruby colour and aromas of spicy blackberry, couldn’t detect vanilla. Forms a smooth film with no lacing but long fast tears that show quickly on the bowl. Minty, velvety tannins, bright raspberry and blackberry then a quick shift to a prominent acid ending dry and woody on the palate.  Retains fruit level if quaffed - alternatively sip with buffet fare of bacon bits on toasted squares, portabello mushrooms or chicken/turkey wings. A basic drink now.  83

        2010 YE Bubblies: 4 Tasted of 4

        Happy New Year to everyone!

        THE LINEUP - grouped by reds then white sparkling wines:

        • Krimsekt Semi-sweet Red Sparkling Wine 2008, 89-1  --  V, Artyomovsk, Ukraine, #141655 $19.95
        • Ca' Dei Mandorlie le Donne Dei Boschi Brachetto d’Acqui 2009,  88-1  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #030536  $17.95

        • Bellussi Belcanto Extra Dry Prosecco di Valdobbianne Superiore NV, 88-1  --  V, Valdobbianne, Italy, #053215 $16.95
        • Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Sparkling NV,  82  --  G,  Penedes, Spain, #158493  $14.55 
          (G - General Listing, V - Vintages, r-v - Rating-Value, g - gift)

        KRIMSEKT SEMI-SWEET RED SPARKLING WINE NV, Ukraine, 11.5%  MS, #141655  $19.95  (Tasted December 31, 2010)  CS
        A Vintages release date ‘N/A’, described on the back label as“ … a deep, rich blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Saperavi grapes …”  My notes: Saperavi is a Russian grape variety used to bring colour and acidity to a blend. A deep colour of blackberries and a brambly scent of crushed blackberries amidst a shower of tiny bubbles that subside quickly leaving a firm spritz. The first sip has black fruit flavours and a touch of steely mineral giving a clean, fresh impression. Any sweetness is balanced by acid so the finish has a dryness masking any carry over to a long finish. Serve chilled - this went well with a rare filet mignon and would accompany any grilled beef entrée. Cellaring for a few years should be OK.  89

        CA' DEI MANDORLI LE DONNE DEI BOSCHI BRACHETTO D'ACQUI 2009, Piedmont, Italy, 5.5%  MS, #030536   $17.95  (Tasted December 31, 2010)  CS

        A Vintages release on November 27, 2010 described anonymously (undated) as “This pretty red bubbly is bursting with aromas and flavours of ripe strawberries. A rare, red, moderately sweet sparkling wine that is an exceptional match for chocolate, particularly when made with at least 70% cacao. It even works with dishes like grilled calamari and beef carpaccio.”  My notes: A bright raspberry colour with a fine rim of foam and continuous fine bubbles and spritz. A delicate nose of crushed strawberries tinged with red berries - all together a courteous (lo alcohol) sipper meant for anyone. The first sip is mindful of fresh crushed cherries, soft on the palate and sweet edged carrying into a long finish. Sip or pair with a buffet tray of chocolates, marzipan creams, or even toasts with salsa.  88  

        BELLUSSI BELCANTO EXTRA DRY PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE NV, Valdobbianne, Italy, 11.5%  XD, #053215  $16.95  (Tasted December 31, 2010)  CS

        A Vintages release on November 27, 2010 rated 88 and described by John Szabo ( (Oct. 10, 2009) as “A pale, delicate, pear and citrus blossom-scented prosecco that's just off-dry, round, soft and creamy-textured but with lively acidity. Surprising length and depth of flavour, too. Tasty aperitif.”  My notes: A profusion of all size energetic bubbles, a touch of yeast on a faint lime and apple perfumed nose, a light straw colour and a refreshing spritzy tang on the first sip. Flavours of faint crushed lemon seed that leave a dry tanginess to a finish of mineral and citrus with staying power on the palate. This was great with Alaskan King crab legs and drawn butter and should be with any seafood. A drink now - keep only enough on hand for impromptu celebrations.   88

        SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA CAVA SPARKLING NV, Penedes, Spain, 11.5%  D, #158493  $14.55  (Tasted January 1, 2011)  CS

        A General listing described anonymously (undated) as “Straw yellow colour; Toasty, yeasty nose with nutty/cooked apple notes; Dry, rich, medium - full bodied, with flavours of nuts and biscuits; long and creamy finish on palate. Serve with roast chicken; mushroom risotto; brunch; aperitif.”  My notes:  A light straw blond with a profusion of bubbles on pouring settling into a steady stream from the bottom of the glass. A spritz softens each sip supported by a mild acid and light flavours of apple strudel. Softness starts and ends the finish with mild uninteresting flavours that fade quickly. A crowd quaffer unless they’re accustomed to extra dry bright cavas then a disappointment. OK with a chicken mushroom pizza, half side with anchovies, half side broccoli. A drink now.  82

        Pinning Down Value: Part 3 of 3

        Ive used the chart from Pinning Down Value: Part 2  for the last few months and found it a convenient method for establishing the Value of a wine given its price and rating. However, I also found when I reviewed the list of wines tasted, rated and evaluated in the 2nd Half of 2010,  from a value perspective, there were too many ‘fringe’ wines creeping into level 1 (Worth it!) and not enough deserving wines at the 2 (Buy a few more!) and 3 level (Stock up!).
        One of the oversimplifications in the chart of Part 2 was a linear relationship between price and rating from the lowest price to the highest.

        The approach Part 3 takes is for wines priced above $30 to have a steeper price/rating slope. Similarly, each of the slopes from $20 to $30 and from $10 to $20 is less steep. As well, in Part 2, a rating of 83 indicating that a wine was on the fringe of being ‘Enjoyable’ was eligible for a 1 Value. This is now thought to be too generous and has been shifted to 85, a solid Enjoyable.  Even a $10 wine should be Enjoyable as a minimum Value requirement.  The chart is based on the standard bottle size of 750mL, Canadian dollars and ratings using the Wine Advocate Rating system. 

        The changes in the new Chart lead to a broader area called the ‘Poor Value Zone’ which doesn’t mean a wine in this area is ‘poor’ it’s just not a reasonable return for its price. 

        Irrespective of what the wine trade may consider a fitting compensation my bias says that if the cost of producing a wine exceeds $60 it has transcended a ‘what’s in the bottle’ Value as a consumer’s purchase criteria. Other factors have come into play. For instance if someone says ‘this wine was made from grapes hand-picked from vineyards on the south-western slopes of the Gironde and only new French oak was used during….etc. ’ it could lead to justify the wine’s purchase. Or if a wine has undergone a lengthy and/or costly production process it may be a reason for a higher price and consequent purchase. In either case a higher price may not lead to Value at any level. However, other factors such as: Medal Awards, WAR/Star/Point ratings, lists of ‘Smart Buys/Top 50 Picks/Favourites’ as recognition by professional critics usually come after a wine’s release and may encourage a purchase but likely not set a higher price.  

        These slope changes put ‘knees’ in each of the Value regions at which price changes at a different rate.  The positions of the knees were chosen entirely subjectively at the $20 and $30 levels based on the belief that prices increase more steeply at these price points for only one reason: an expectation that these wines will have higher ratings and merit the higher prices.  Justifying the expectation could be the result of selection of vineyards, grape maturity, cost of the process and ageing cycles as appropriate for each product tier. However, once above the top price point, my $60, other considerations come into play such as those detailed in
        Wine Trials 2011 .

        When a WAR rating is based on ’what’s in the bottle’ it’s the job of the Chart to isolate the wine’s Value given its price. 

        A mathematician may have selected a more appropriate set of curves, however, a mathematical approach could also infer a precision level not intended or warranted. The concept of ‘Value’ is highly subjective and if this new chart comes close to addressing how value is perceived its job is done.

        Using the Chart included here I’ve re-evaluated the 186 wines listed in the
        2010 2nd Half: Reds and Whites+  and updated the previous blogs entries. This re-evaluation resulted in twenty-three reds and twenty-four whites being shifted closer to what I consider their correct Values. Still subjective but at least staying consistent wine to wine.  

        Why is a number for Value important?  Simply, it conveys recommendations for buying. Tasting notes describe the wine from which you can decide if a wine is appropriate for an occasion? Comparing all wines in contention based on Value is the next step allowing you to optimize a purchase - ie. ‘getting the best bang for your buck’.

        If any of this strikes a chord I hope it’s not dissonant.

        Cheers, Ww

        2010 2nd Half Summary: Intro

        First some numbers:  
        (to go directly to the listings click on 
        REDS or WHITES+)

        Of 186 wines tasted in the 2nd half of this year eighteen were rosés, sparklings and desserts. Of the 168 reds and whites 125 were rated 83+, my defining level of ‘fringe enjoyable, and 33 were in the 90’s or ‘outstanding‘.   The rest, 43, were from ‘drinkable’ down to ‘uninteresting’.  None were ‘unpleasant’ to ‘unacceptable’ although, to avoid being discarded  (why drink uninteresting wines?) a few 70+ were blended with a satisfactory wine to improve them. For a summary of 153 wines tasted in the 1st half of this year click on 2010 Mid Year Summary .

        Ratings are based on tastings for each wine in the month shown. Also the Values shown are based on the rationale and graph described in an earlier blog entry,
        Pinning Down Value - Part 3 .   I’ve found the graph avoids an opinionated thumbsuck for a wine’s value. Come to think of it, perhaps I’ve put all of the opinions I find pertinent in graphical form. In that case a Value based on the graph may be opinionated but at least is consistent wine to wine.  Another point: it can be argued that a Rating honed down to ’1’ point is too precise. If that’s the case referral to ranges of points (repeated here from the side panel) could be useful:

        •     96-100 Extraordinary
        •     90 - 95 Outstanding
        •     86 - 89 Interesting to Excellent
        •     80 - 85 Drinkable to Enjoyable
        •     70 - 79 Uninteresting to Simple
        •     60 - 69 Unpleasant
        •     50 - 59 Unacceptable
        Often said is that a number is not complete without tasting notes and tasting notes without a number is just colour, interesting though they may be. So the original notes can be found, the month of each tasting is listed beside the wine. To determine if inventory exists for any wine the link to the LCBO, #nnnnnn or CS, can be used.  Not all wines will be available at this point. The vintage and price shown in the addended blogs were at  time of purchase and may no longer be the same as those currently on the shelves. 

        Going off topic to express a viewpoint:
        How many times have you read the reviews for a list of wines to find only a few, often none, are available in your locale? Sometimes it’s a matter of timing - the publishing delay for a forum of wine tastings or the Top Wine Awards for a region. That’s understandable although frustrating. However a more significant factor is that in Canada it’s a crime to transport wines across Provincial borders.  Whether a cause or effect but still exacerbating, it's possible that as many as four out of five wines in Ontario aren’t sold in BC (see Price & Availability: BC & Ontario  ).

        Most of the wines described in magazines such as Wine Access, Vines, Toronto Life and in daily newsprint: G&M, Van Sun, etc. that are available in one Province are not likely available in another - nothing to do with constrained supply.  What becomes questionable, not for their own Province but for a Canadian audience,  is the usefulness of wine reviews by, for instance, Christopher Waters, John Szabo, Anthony Gismondi, David Lawrason, Tony Aspler etc.  By opening cross border wine trade, for Canadian and foreign wines, these same articles would have a greater readership, a more diverse audience for their authors and a greater demand for their opinions. Without an added kilometre of travel or dollar of expense a Provincial critic could become a National success. Other than the solitary MP or consumer website (see 
        FreeTheWine or FreeMyGrapes ) I’ve seen very few articles to reform this discriminatory practice at Provincial boundaries.  

        Back to the 2nd Half: Intro
        Click on the links below for the listings of my 2010 2nd Half:  wines. 



        Cheers, Ww