Wednesday, June 01, 2011

June 2011 Reds: 15 Tasted of 15

A Sawyer's Afternoon...
To start the month of June there are eleven leftovers from May and I've added more based on some noted recommendations or the 'manliness' of the label (Ahhh comeon, I'm kidding!).   More recent choices for wines are from Beppi Crosariol’s (BC) column ‘Breadth in Venice’  in Saturday's Globe&Mail. 

I've separated reds from other June wines - click here for Whites+ .
Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP - grouped by reds, whites, rosés, sparkles and other:
  • Thorn-Clarke  Terra Barossa Merlot 2009,  94-3  --  G, Barossa, Australia, #218826  $15.00
  • Les Vignerons d’Estézargues Vieilles Vignes la Granacha Signargues 2009,  93-3  --  V,  Rhône, France, #082560 $17.95 
  • Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Quartage 2008, 93-2  --  V, Barossa, Australia, #024091 $21.95
  • d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2007,  93-2  --  V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #984021 $22.95 
  • Mayu Reserva Estate Bottled Carmenère 2007,  91-2  --  V, Elqui Valley, Chile, #090035 $14.95  
  • Piovene Porto Godi ‘Fra’I Broli’ Merlot 2008, 91-2  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #222661 $23.95 
  • Valdivieso Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008,  90-2 --  V, Maipo Valley, Chile, #032110  $16.95
  • Zeni Marogne Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2008,  90-2  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #220830 $17.95
  • Fog Head Highlands Series Reserve Pinot Noir 2008,  88-1 --  V, Monterey, California, #212944  $19.95
  • Domaine de Peyanne Saumur 2009,  87-1  --  V, St Cyr en Bourg, France, #197038 $13.95
  • Fuzion Alta Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, 86-1  --  G,  Mendoza, Argentina, #207357 $9.95
  • Tedeschi Corasco 2008, 84  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #216440 $15.95  
  • Zuccardi Q Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, 83 --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #140855  $18.95
  • Fuzion Alta Reserva Malbec 2009,  80  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #135475 $9.95
  • Masi Serego Alighieri Poderi del Bello Ovile 2007,  80  --  G, Tuscany, Italy, #073106 $16.45

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


    ZUCCARDI Q CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% D, #140855  $18.95  (Tasted June 12, 2011)  CS
    Release by Vintages on May 29, 2010 rated 90 and described by Jay Miller  (August 2009) as ‘… spent 12 months in new French oak. Purple-coloured, it exhibits an excellent perfume of damp earth, mineral, tobacco, spice box, and black currant. Medium-bodied, it has layered flavours, plenty of succulence, good balance, and a lengthy finish…’  My notes: On the rusty side of black as in black cherry and the nose is an earthy black cherry.  A heavy film with long slow legs coats the glass and the first sip is full in the mouth, silky with velvet tannins. Drink when opened as the acid level shifts into high in a few hours hiding an initial soft texture. Old world, earthy, light tobacco, moderate spice, woody and mild black currant for flavours and forming the dry finish. Interesting, not enjoyable, as a sipper. Pair with prime rib and other grilled meats. Past peak?  83

    VALDIVIESO RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008, Maipo Valley, Chile, 14.0% XD, #032110   $16.95  (Tasted June 2, 2011)  CS
    Released by Vintages on April 16, 2011.  The back label says ’only the finest hand picked grapes are used to produce our reserve wines… full-bodied, aged in oak barrels for 12 months”.  My notes: There’s a bright cherry to the deep ruby when pouring and the nose is an evenly matched combination of black currants and blackberries. The film is firm clinging to the glass for some time before shedding slow tears. The first sip is smooth, spicy, with tannins that build with each sip and a flavour that is true to the nose. Finishing dry on the mouth and layering the palate with the skins of black currants letting the fruit burst then fade slowly. Not quite full-bodied this fell short paired with a Barbarian spiced grilling steak - would do well with prime rib or bbq’d pork ribs. Makes an interesting social sipper. Cellaring for several years would be OK and may bring out some velvet.  90

    MASI SEREGO ALIGHIERI PODERI DEL BELLO OVILE 2007, Tuscany, Italy, 13.0% D, #073106  $16.45  (Tasted June 4, 2011)  CS

    A General listing. My notes:This matched well a thin crust chicken, cheese and black olive pizza adding a piquant and slight plum flavour to each bite. The colour is a sombre ruby without much excitement. The nose is a mild plum with a slight earthy spice. The first sip has little depth with mild tannins and acid then finishing with a clean, red currant, a touch of liquorice flavour with a warm mouth feel not lasting long. There’s nothing to complain nor ooh-aah about as a sipper. Past peak, if there was one, with little fruit or texture. Have with vegetarian pizza, a buffet spread of party sausage, pigs-in-a-blanket or cheeses.  A drink now - much improved the next day(83).  80

    DOMAINE DE PEYANNE SAUMUR  2009, St Cyr en Bourg, France, 13.0% XD, #197038  $13.95  (Tasted June 26, 2011)  CS

    Released by Vintages on February 5, 2011. This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc and won a Gold Medal at the Concours Général Agricole in Paris in 2010.  My notes: A new world influence is noticeable in this light-weight cabernet franc.  The colour is a  rich carbon hued ruby and the nose has a subtle floral accent to aromas of crushed berries. Tears run freely from a moderate film. Red cherry flavours have a definite slate accent, losing the fruit quickly and ending extra dry with a mineral edge. A chalk dry sipper unless nibbles are nearby. Pair with a grilled veal entrée - also went well with Ontario lamb chops grilled without seasoning and served without the customary mint sauce. A drink now.   87   

    FOG HEAD HIGHLANDS SERIES RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2008, Monterey, California, 13.5%  XD, #212944   $19.95  (Tasted June 1, 2011)  CS
    A Vintages release on April 2, 2011.  My notes: By Delicato Vineyards.  A carbon hued deep ruby with a BRETT-like nose tinged with strawberry/raspberry.  A swirl leaves a lacy rim and long legs. The nose changes slowly prompting me to decant the remainder of the bottle and wait twenty minutes. The nose is now settled - still can’t be called fruity, somewhat spicy earth with light jammy fruit on the side - interesting. The first sip is soft, bright and leaves a long, smooth finish. Well into the tasting a flavour of earthy raspberry/strawberry comes forward. Have with grilled salmon, turkey burgers, tuna steak or ginger-orange beef stew.  Enjoyable as a sipper but if not decanted, the earthiness won’t be for everyone. Cellaring could focus the fruit and improve it substantially  - a year at a time.  88  

    LES VIGNERONS D'ESTÉZARGUES VIEILLES VIGNES LA GRANACHA SIGNARGUES 2009, Rhône, France, 14.5% D, #082560  $17.95  (Tasted June 6, 2011)  CS
    Released by Vintages on May 14, 2011, rated 90 and described by Robert Parker Jr.  (August 2010) as “…made from 100% old vine Grenache (some parcels are nearly 100 years old) ... precise, fresh, lively kirsch liqueur notes intermixed with tobacco leaf, loamy soil, and forest floor characteristics. This delicious, deep ruby/plum-coloured, round, generous, glycerin-filled wine can be enjoyed over the next several years.”  My notes: Perhaps I have a weakness for bold labels. This wine is unfiltered. A conservative nose of earthy plum and spicy cherry. I started to air but doesn’t need any time before serving. The colour is a deep ruby plum and a swirl sheds long slow tears from a firm film. The first impression is of ’lively kirsch liqueur’ with a mild tobacco taint. The finish lasts well into next week with insistent flavours and tannin balanced with mild acid - warm but not hot. A ’by the log fire’ smooth red with an aged aspect that would match most rare red meats. Cellaring for several years should be OK but drinking well now.  93 
    FUZION ALTA RESERVA MALBEC 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5% D, #135475  $9.95  (Tasted June 5, 2011)  CS
    A General listing made by Familia Zuccardi from 100% Malbec grapes. My notes: The 2008 vintage didn’t cellar well being rated 83 in August 21, 2010 down from 90 when purchased in October 2009.  This has a deep ruby colour with a faint nose of spicy black cherry and raspberry. The film is firm shedding many fast tears. The first sip has a peppery tang coating the palate with tannic dryness masking flavours of brambly black cherry then quickly finishing hot and dry - from young vines? Overall has a rough character passable as a social sipper, raw, light- bodied - and passable with roast prime rib and veggies. A drink now. 80   
    FUZION ALTA RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.0% D, #207357  $9.95  (Tasted June 18, 2011)  CS

    A General listing made by Familia Zuccardi from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. My notes:  A moderate film leaves a lacy edge with slow tears and there’s a light aroma of a black currant and blackberry blend. The colour is deep blackberry juice with a slight purple cast. The first sip has a feel of soft tannins, a mildly penetrating tang and flavour of blackberries leading to an assumption of a pleasing sipper until the finish starts with declining fruit changing the focus to tobacco, tar and acid. Sipping has some raw edges - pairing with grilled meats is preferred. Full-bodied and dry overall. Cellaring may not mellow the boldness.  86

    THORN-CLARKE  TERRA BAROSSA MERLOT 2009, Barossa, Australia, 14.5% D,  #218826  $15.00  (Tasted June 8, 2011)  CS


    A General listing made by family owned estate and vigneron David B. Clarke. My notes: A firm film with many slow tears from a lacy rim reveals a smoothness perhaps even velvet to look forward to depending on the tannins. The colour is a deep purple and the nose is a rich spicy blackberry.  The first sip carries through the theme of ripened blackberries, peppery edged, very smooth until the complete package fills the palate then slowly fades to a spice and a touch of tobacco. A ‘ripasso’ fullness,  deeply textured with dense fruit. Have with rare game: venison, bison, moose - a Moroccan flank steak would work. Cellaring for several years possible but may not improve as it’s drinking well now. A bit hot? No, just warm.  94
    THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE QUARTAGE 2008, Barossa, Australia, 14.5% D, #024091  $21.95  (Tasted June 9, 2011) CS
    A Vintages release on April 16, 2011.  Scored 89 points at the Wine Access 2010 International Value Wine Awards. My notes: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The film suggests a very smooth texture - the aroma has woody earth of oak treatment blended with dark berries each variety contributing to the nose. A dense granite hued ruby, full-bodied, noticeable tannins and mild acids with plums, currants and black cherries for flavour components making this an interesting sipper. Black currants wash the back becoming more noticeable in the finish along with a bright edge framed by drying tannins. Pair this with grilled red meats: a T-bone or back ribs dusted with Barbarian Rub, a beef stew or just sip. Drinking well now but could also cellar for several years changing ‘smooth’ to ‘velvet’ and adding depth to an already complex character.  93 


    ZENI MAROGNE RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2008, Veneto, Italy, 14.0% XD, #220830  $17.95  (Tasted June 13, 2011)  CS
    A Vintages release on June 11, 2011. My notes: BC  says ‘…has a green, herbaceous tingle … not what I look for in ripasso…’ .  Colour is a dense and dark ruby, ie. a ripasso, with a film that stays clinging to the glass while shedding lots of long tears. The balance of black berries and damp earth aroma speaks to an old world ferment appealing for those not looking for distinct fruit. The first sip is full-bodied, flavoured with soft black plums and the brightness of red cherries. If you prefer a rounded earthy texture with a touch of fruit this could be it.  The long finish ends with subdued flavours smooth on the lips. Have with tomato pasta dishes, meat lovers pizzas or bbq’d ribs, stewing beef in a onion and wine sauce. This could wait a year or two in the cellar but likely at peak now. Nice.  90
    TEDESCHI CORASCO 2008, Veneto, Italy, 14.0% XD, #216440  $15.95  (Tasted tbd)  CS

    A Vintages release on June 11, 2011. Uses 80% Corvina with 10% each of Refosco and Raboso Partially dried in a traditional Veronese manner. Rated 89 by Anthony Gismondi & Stuart Tobe  (July 14, 2010) and described as “... Spicy, peppery, black liquorice, olives, dried flowers, sausage, orange, chocolate aromas. Ripe, round, supple and full but elegant and fresh. Chocolate, plum, smoky, savoury, tobacco, cedar, rooty, plum and cassis flavours etc. “.  My notes: BC says ‘ …medium-bodied, with a complex profile of strawberry, plum and herbs…’.  A dark plum shade with a film that sticks to the glass and sheds lots of slow tears. Decant or open an hour before serving. The nose is a blend of light oils, moist earth and spicy black cherry. Sipping has an initial appeal for its smoothness and black cherry flavour that quickly changes to a savoury blend of herbs, liquorice and black fruits. The fruits yield to dark chocolate, minerals, tobacco, moist earth and soft spice well balanced with acids and tannins. Unless you enjoy process oriented reds a sipper it is not. Cellarable for several years retaining earthy side gaining some velvet while losing fruit. If this is your thing it could be a good match with anything Italian.  84

    PIOVENE PORTO GODI FRA I BROLI MERLOT 2008, Veneto, Italy, 15.5% XD, #222661  $23.95  (Tasted June 15, 2011)  CS

    A Vintages release on June 11, 2011. My notes: BC says ‘…concentrated, fruity and juicy, … delivers a silky texture … It’s a bargain.’  A granite hued deep ruby, a firm film with many long slow legs and a nose with a spicy edge to dark berry aromas, all give an impression of a full-bodied, complex red. The first sip has mild tannins, balanced acids, a soft texture and blackberry, earthy mild chocolate flavours. This is a mellow sipper finishing with warm fruit and quite dry. A drink now for cool nights or have with a cheese tray, grilled red meats or beef bourgignon. Cellaring for a few years should be OK but likely at peak now.  91

    MAYU RESERVA ESTATE BOTTLED CARMENÈRE 2007, Elqui Valley, Chile, 15.0% XD, #090035  $14.95  (Tasted June 17, 2011)  CS
    A Vintages release on May 14, 2011. Tim Atkin MW rated this 91 (November 24, 2010) saying “Unusually alcoholic for a red from cool climate Elqui, this fascinating Chilean red was made from late-picked, lightly raisined fruit. Spice, pepper and savoury tannins with a lovely sweet, raisin and raspberry core…”  My notes: Located in London Tim Atkin (@Timatkin)  tweets on a broad range of subjects wine related. The colour is a dense raisined fruit and initially there is a medicinal nose and flavour accent needing decanting or airing 30 minutes before serving. Both nose and taste settle to a liquorice and earth accented blackberry. Tannins are mild not interfering with a moderate fruit and acid. The film is firm leaving the glass with long slow legs and the first sip is full-bodied, mouth filling smooth and warm on the palate. The fruit is subdued and finishes mild on the tongue but warm at the back. An interesting sipper as long as it’s allowed to vent initially. Have with grilled red meats or enjoy as a slow sipper.  91

    D'ARENBERG THE FOOTBOLT SHIRAZ 2007, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.5% XD, #984021  $22.95  (Tasted June 28, 2011) CS

    A Vintages release on March 5, 2011, rated 90+ by Jay Miller  (Dec. 2009).  My notes: No fining or filtering used so care pouring the last glass may be needed to avoid sediment. A small image says ‘Foot Trod Basket Pressed’ - if it’s on the label it must be true. The colour is a deep carbon hued ruby and a swirl leaves a thick film with long slow legs. A modest aroma of spicy blackberries. The first sip is on the way to full-bodied and has some silk half hidden by warmth, spice and satisfying tannins. Flavours are of mossy earth and black berries which combined is interesting and enjoyable as a sipper. The warmth carries into a long balanced finish. Have with grilled meats or beefy stews or soups. Cellaring for several years is likely.   93

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