Monday, January 16, 2012

January 2012 Reds: 13 Tasted of 13

Van Island Snowfall '96
A collection of Reds from under our Christmas tree. For Whites+ click here. 

Salut, Ww

  • Domaine Santa Duc Le Blovac Rasteau 2009, 93a-3  --  V, Gigondas, Rhône, France, #234641 $14.90
  • Koyle Alto Colchagua Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, 91-3  --  V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #256073 $15.95
  • Angel’s Gate Cabernet Merlot 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 88-1  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario,  #620096 $12.95
  • Valpantena Torre del Falasco Ripasso Valpolicella 2009, 87-1  --  V, Verona, Italy, #642421  $16.95
  • McManis Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2010,  87*  --  V, Ripon, California, #256735 $18.95 
  • Ellena Dolcetto d‘Alba 2009, 87  --  WOL, Piedmont, Italy, Case#476340  $22.95
  • Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2010, Swartland, South Africa, 86-1  --  V, #595280 $14.95
  • The Hedonist Shiraz 2008, 86  --  V, South Australia, #090191  $23.95    
  • Monte Zovo Sa’ Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2008, 85  --  V,  Veneto, Italy, #650713  $17.95 
  • Trivento Amado Sur Malbec/Bonarda/Syrah 2009, 84  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #037036 $15.00
  • Angel’s Gate Merlot 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 82  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario, #107722 $13.95 
  • Cascina Ballarin Tre Ciabot Barolo 2006, 82  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #213058  $37.80
  • Louis Jadot Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2009, 79  --  G, Burgundy, France, #162073 $20.70          
(G - General Listing, V - Vintages,  r-v - Rating-Value, WOL - WineOnLine)
LOUIS JADOT BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR 2009,  Burgundy, France, 13.0% XD, #162073  $20.70  (Tasted January 16, 2012)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  No aeration: A clear see-through ruby and no apparent aroma. Has some silk, a light tannin to compliment subtle acid. The finish comes quickly ending with a light chalky dryness following flavours of delicate red cherries and light oak.  Not much interest as a sipper and light-bodied combined with being lightly flavoured it would be difficult to pair. Also, not much there to cellar. Drink now or avoid. 79   Aeration: I preferred aerating, however, there is minimal change and no change in rating. 79

KOYLE ALTO COLCHAGUA RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.0% XD, #256073  $15.95  (Tasted January 23, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on January 7, 2012. Rated 90 by Jay Miller  (December 2010).  My notes:  No aeration: A deep purple tinged ruby showing a thick film with a solid rim and long slow legs. The nose is a concentration of earthy forest floor and spicy rich black cherry juice.  Fine tannins and a moderate acid frame flavours of smoky blackberries. Sipping, based on a balance of sensual aspects, is appealing but could be short lived due to some dullness at a dry end. Full-bodied to have with prime rib, beef tenderloin and T-bones - the beef family of entrées. Cellaring for another three years could bring out more subtleties. 89   Aeration:  Possibly less ‘forest floor’ while retaining the smoky fruit, a cherry/berry in the nose and a smoother balance of textures, acids and flavours. There’s a tad increase in tannin presence, fruitier starting a long finish and leading to the same dry end. Overall slightly tamer and more appealing as a sipper and meal complement. Excellent paired with a spicy Chinese pork tenderloin, brussels and basmati rice. 91

MCMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS ZINFANDEL 2010, Ripon, California,  13.5% D, #256735  $18.95  (Tasted January 12, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on January 7, 2012.  My notes:  I’ll try first aerating then not. No aeration: Sparse on nose for a Californian Zinfandel but with a clean and clear ruby colour. A swirl leaves a rim that rapidly drops fast legs then disappears. There’s a definite sweetness to the first sip and a blend of blackberries and straw- for fruit, a touch of liquorice and a complementing acid and tannic dryness then a woody dryness. On the mild side to be sipped then taken to a table of grilled beef or chorizo pieces in a tomato pasta. Not for cellaring - a drink now. 84  Aeration: More smoothness from the first sip which was a better balance with the acid, blackberry fruit and tannins. My preference is to not aerate this Zinfandel. 87

DOMAINE SANTA DUC LES BLOVAC RASTEAU 2009, Gigondas, Rhône, France, 15.0% XD, #234641  $14.90  (Tasted January 25, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on August 20, 2011.  My notes: I had a previous Gigondas which was delicious so I decided to go for it. No aeration: This is a purple ruby colour, quite dense in the glass and a slosh brings long moderately slow legs from a smooth, firm rim. The first sip has blackberry, cedar, tar and a spicy, process driven richness of textures and flavours. Airing for twenty minutes gives a sweet fruit touch to the palate carried into a long finish slowly subsiding, smooth and dry. Pair with savoury or spicy pot roast, a lamb shank with red wine gravy or a grilled sirloin with Barbarian steak rub. ‘Smoky and raw’ for some, 'challenging' for others, broad and deep with interesting complexities. Cellar up to ten years or enjoy now. 90  Aeration: The mild nose has evaporated to a faint blackberry and cedar. Softer with the first sip, nicely blended and more distinct black fruit and light tar - delectable. The same richness of textures now with a balanced, subdued spice, full-bodied. My preference is for aerating however, some may enjoy the raw nature of before aerating. The finish twins before except 'no more raw'. 93

PORCUPINE RIDGE SYRAH 2010, Swartland, South Africa, 14.5%  XD, #595280  $14.95  (Tasted January 17, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on January 7, 2012 produced by the Boekenhoutskloof Winery.  My notes: No aeration: The film sticks to the glass then gradually recedes through slow stubby tears. The colour is a dense ruby. There’s an objectionable brine tang on the nose I now refer to as the 'terroir' of some entry level South African reds and whites. The aroma has a sour plum, not unpleasant for some, but very evident with a texture that‘s smoother than silk, like a plush chamois or velveteen and flavours of mild overripe black cherries. The flavours fade slowly leaving smooth salt as a finish. A unique sipper. Pair with a chorizo and tomato pasta dish or an asparagus, leek and bacon bits soup. 80  Aeration: Half of the brine has gone from the nose, likely would also with an hour airing. Also the first sip retains the chamois smoothness but the salty tang balances with the acid and gives more prominence to a soft ripe cherry flavour - a nudge of liquorice shows. Finishes with a oily touch to the lips and a bland ripe cherry. To see if flavour or salt wins cellaring is an option - five years minimum? Aerating is a must if serving now. Pair with Denninger’s Chili Con Carne, loaded hamburgers or a rubbed T-bone.  86

ANGEL'S GATE WINERY SELECT VQA GIFT PACK (4x375mL),  Beamsville, Ontario, #189969  $34.95  CS
Overall I was impressed with the wines in this package when tasted December 3, 2010 - same mix and same vintages as this year with average 750mL price of $17.50. If my calculations are correct that's approx $8 for packaging. I also wonder if leftover packages have been langishing in an LCBO warehouse since last year?  The following includes prices for 750mL bottles currently on the LCBO website. For Angel's Gate Whites+ click here.  Conclusion: I'm no longer impressed.

ANGEL'S GATE MERLOT 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 13.0% D, #107722  $13.95 (Tasted January 11, 2012)   CS

A General listing.  My notes: Rated 89 in 2010. No aeration: The colour is a light ruby and aroma is a thin berry. The film sticks and slowly sheds small tears. A strong tang hits the roof while fine tannins line the mouth which is left with a faint impression of berries. The finish is long, dry with some brambly fruit retained. Surprising at first sip for its tang but with a narrow taste and depth to want a refill. Have with veal parmigiana or chicken breast with steamed veggies. Not cellarable - a drink now. 81   Aeration: The tang of the initial sip is tolerable balancing better with the soft texture, fine tannins and thin flavours.  Not cellarable - an uninteresting drink now. 82

ANGEL'S GATE CABERNET MERLOT 2007 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  13.0% D  #620096  $12.95 (Tasted January 10, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:   Rated 89 in 2010. Aerating with Vinturi added some polish to lasting aromas or freshly crushed red currants, black cherries and some raspberries. The colour is a vivid purple tinged ruby, very clean in the glass. Light-bodied, silky smooth, a good bite and pleasing fine tannins that build, all round out full flavours that track the nose. If an Aussie red is preferred this is not it. Went well with leftover prime rib sliced thin, pan fried veggies with basmati rice and soy sauce. Perhaps it’s a terroir that adds a whiff of ‘lacquer’ making this unique. A long finish dries the mouth until ending on a mineral note.  Cellaring well so far and should for another few years.  88

ELLENA DOLCETTO D’ALBA 2009, Piedmont, Italy, 13.5% XD, Case#476340  $22.95  (Tasted January 5, 2012)

My notes:  Received from WineOnLine to fulfill a sambadays Global Wines Gift purchase. The LCBO product number shown is for a case of six 750mL bottles. A mild aroma of freshly crushed cherries and berries with a subtle tang. A deep black cherry colour and a swirl leaves a film with a solid rim falling as slow tears. The first sip is bone dry, silky and a combination of mint, berry and sweet tinged red currant. There`s a slight liquorice touch to a moderately long finish - tannins accumulate to a furry level. On the light side of medium-bodied with mild flavours, matched acids and tannins makes this a pleasing sipper - also good with a pork and turkey tourtière. A drink now. 87.

CASCINA BALLARIN TRE CIABÒT BAROLO 2006, Piedmont, Italy, 14.0% XD, #213058  $37.80  (Tasted January 30, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 17, 2011 and called ‘a powerful 100% Nebbiolo’ by the Vintages Panel (July 2010).  My notes: No aeration: A slight adobe at the rim on a mid ruby/cranberry colour and a light nose that has both brambly berries and a taint of forest floor. The film is thin but firm flowing long fast legs. Smooth on the lips, not viscous, and a lightish medium-body with fine tannins coating the palate. Fruit is a distant memory for this Barolo with dry remnants going into a long finish ending smooth and dry. Sipping is pleasing but not memorable as might be expected for the price. Past cellaring and not recommended. 82  Aeration:  Smooth matching nicely the fine tannins but missing a flavour focus. The finish is milder, perhaps dry and softer is a better description. ‘Powerful’ it is not. More like ‘timid and tame’. Paired with Veal & Italian Sausage Ragu & Porcini Pappardelle.  82  Never ask the butcher if his meat is tender is my suggestion.

THE HEDONIST  SHIRAZ 2008, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.0% XD, #090191  $23.95  (Tasted January 8, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on November 12, 2011 and rated 92 by Harvey Steiman (June 2010).  My notes: A wine from the Walter Clappis (winemaker) Wine Co. Out of the bottle this has strong cherry cough syrup aroma and a murky cherry colour. Nose is much tamer after using a Vinturi and airing twenty minutes. A solid rim is quick to form columns of tears flowing slowly down the glass. The first sip, stings the mouth then dries it with fine tannins laying a flat cherry berry peppery coating tinged by a woody, slight tar flavour. An OK sipper if you’re a Cutty Sark devotée - full-bodied, smooth and warm. Have with a savoury beef bourguignon, T-bone steak or prime rib. Likely past peak or perhaps a style from a former era.  86

VALPANTENA TORRE DEL FALASCO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA 2009, Verona, Italy, 13.5% D, #642421  $16.95  (Tasted January 13, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on December 17, 2011.  My notes: No aeration:  A slight aroma of red currants without a tart edge and a colour of deep ruby. Leaves a solid rim until slowly shedding short slow tears from the rim… lots of them. Silky first sip with a follow through of tart red raspberries, nice tannins to complement a medium-bodied sipper. Leaning toward extra dry with no sugars showing in this tasting. The finish is moderate ending with a mild fruit. Have with a pepperoni pizza or beefy grilled hamburgers. 85  Aeration: Immediately noticeable on the sip is the pleasing softness balanced by a mild acid and tannins. A light flavour of woody berries soft on the palate and fading slowly to an end that has remnants of fresh fruit. A polite sipper that would pair nicely with veal parmigiana dish, ham steak or went well with a mixed pizza. 87

TRIVENTO AMADO SUR MALBEC/BONARDA/SYRAH 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  XD,  #037036  $15.00  (Tasted January 22, 2012)  CS

Release by Vintages on January 7, 2012. Rated 90 by James Molesworth   (June 15, 2011)  My notes:  A blend of 73% Malbec, 15% Bonarda and 12% Syrah. No aeration: A carbon cast dark ruby showing a sticky film shedding the odd slow tear. The first sip is extra dry, initially smooth then covering the mouth with a furry layer. Medium-bodied, lightly floral with a prominent acid supporting earthy edged red berry flavours with Bonarda having a higher influence. The finish is long ending with dry, firm tannin and woody berry. An Italian or Spanish styled red - not a sipper, more of a tomato pasta pairing. Was OK with a three cheese and ground pork lasagna. 84    Aeration:  Still furry but with finer tannins, balanced, and with a less furry finish.  Merlot flavours add softness giving some appeal, not much, as a sipper - very dry with less prominent acids. Cellaring for several years is possible without improvement expected.  84

MONTE ZOVO SA' SOLIN RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA 2008,  Veneto, Italy, 14.5% XD, #650713  $17.95  (Tasted January 4, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on December 10, 2011.  My notes: An old favourite until the price (+$2) and alcohol level went up.. The 2003 vintage was tasted in June 2006 - no rating but I cellared a case at the time which improved nicely over several years. The 2008 has a colour of deep black cherry and the aroma is spicy raspberry with slight earthy bramble. A swirl leaves a lacy rim that fragments slowly forming islands and slow legs. The first sip is full-bodied, smooth accompanied by a strong nip then liquorice and berry flavours ending quickly with tar, tannins, faint berries and heat. For me, too much process as a sipper. Xdry with enough tang to match grilled beef, T-bones or back ribs well seasoned with Barberian's Steak Seasoning - did not go with salty crackers. Cellaring for several years should mellow some rough edges - OK now if you like nippy. 85  

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