Sunday, July 01, 2012

July 2012 Reds: 16 Tasted of 16

Burnaby Mountain birds, May 25 '12
A tweet from Daenna Van Mulligen aka @TheWineDiva, a certified Sommelier and author of the WineDiva™ blog  as well as a contributor to several wine publications, led me to a list of forty reds as possible selections for Father's Day. For the full list view Her Newsletter - Get Grillin.  Nine of the forty were available in Ontario and, leaving out the $34.95 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz-Cabernet, eight were purchased for tasting this month.

The Raymond Classic Cabernet Sauvignon and Hunter's Sauvignon Blanc (
see WHITES+ ) were gifts for Father's Day. I'm continually surprised after years of eco-centric encouragement how many overweight bottles are still being distributed. The empty  Raymond Classic Cabernet Sauvignon bottle came in at 1.25 lbs. Still, this is well under the 2.2 lbs of the Santa Carolina Reserva Carmenère 2007 (no longer available) bottle of December 2009 tastings.

...two Vintages Wines of the Month (July) , a Spanish Cava and an organic white blend from Chile are included.

Click on WHITES+  for whites, rosés, bubblies and other for July.
Salut, Ww


  • Vistalba Corte B 2008, 92-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #024919 $19.95 
  • Fontanafredda Briccontondo Barbera 2010,  90a-2  --  V,  Piedmont, Italy,  #072348 $15.95 (WD)
  • Raymond Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 90-2  --  G,  St. Helena, California,  #269761 $18.95 
  • Masi Campofiorin Rosso Del Veronese IGT 2008, 89-1  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #155051 $18.45  (WD)  
  • Trivento Colección Fincas No. 2 'Los Ponchas' Syrah 2007,  88-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina,  #269217  $16.95 
  • Sledgehammer Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, 88-1  --  G, Napa, California,  #238733  $19.95
  • Trivento Fair Trade Malbec 2010,  87-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #160994 $10.95 
  • Sledgehammer Zinfandel 2010,  87-1  --  G, Napa, California, #230466 $17.95 (WD) 
  • Sandhill Estate Cabernet Merlot 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, 87a  --  G, Kelowna, BC,  #269795  $20.05  (WD)
  • Osborne Solaz Shiraz Tempranillo 2009,  86a-1  --  G, Rueda, Spain, #620922 $10.95 (WD)
  • Sella & Mosca Riserva Cannonau di Sardegna 2008, 86  --  V, Alghero, Italy,  #425488 $15.95    
  • Bodegas Bilbainas Vina Zaco Tempranilla Rioja 2008, 85a  --  G,  Haro, Spain, #243097  $14.95  (WD) 
  • The Seeker Malbec 2009, 83  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #271213 $18.95  
  • KWV Roodeberg 2010, 80a  --  V, Western Cape, South Africa, #007187  $11.95 (WD)
  • Santa Rita Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, 80  --  G, Maipo Valley, Chile, #253872  $13.95 (WD) 
  • (WOM) Château des Capucins 'Lalande de Pomerol' 2009,  72  --  V, Bordeaux, France, #279992 $19.95 

(WOM - Wine of the Month, WD - a WineDiva™ Father's Day selection, V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


WOMs  for July 2012 - both were released by Vintages on June 23, 2012

CHÂTEAU DES CAPUCINS 'LALANDE DE POMEROL' 2009, Bordeaux, France, 13.0% XD  4g/L, #279992  $19.95  (Tasted July 1, 2012)  CS
My notes: Colour is deep ruby and aroma is of mild black cherry with vanilla and herbal overtones - didn't get BRETT. A thick film sticks to the glass and flows long slow tears. Initial sip is high acid, heavy tannins, bitter flavours that gradually dominate a long bitter aftertaste - like licking dry aged leather. Not drinkable. Aerated: A sip has the same composition of bitter acid, mild fruit and a short and shallow, dry, bitter finish.  Not close to being palatable. Not cellar-able, not sip-able, and would not complement a meal. 73 -- Returned to the LCBO.


RAYMOND CLASSIC CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010, St. Helena, California, 13.5% XD 6g/L, #269761  $18.95  (Tasted July 23, 2012)  CS 

A General listing.  My notes:  A purple colour with rich, ripe black currant aromas on pouring - nose shifts to a soft phenolic. A light film drops quickly fragmenting at the rim and leaving only droplets on the glass.  The first sip has a soft lining, a metallic edge, fine tannins with a cleansing acid and flavours of currants, dry on the palate. A sipper interesting for its bright start then a long dry fruity finish - intense when quaffed. Have with rich beef stews, steaks or beef tenderloin - was great with Stracotto al Vino Rosso on orecchiette (tomatos substituted for potatoes)  Has another two years to cellar.  90

SLEDGEHAMMER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009, Napa, California, 14.5% XD 6g/L, #238733   $19.95  (Tasted July 8, 2012)  CS 

A General listing. My notes:  A partner to the Sledgehammer Zinfandel. This has a firm film with two or three tears appearing then gliding slowly down the glass. Airing doesn't  hurt but basically a drink now. The nose has a soft aroma of currants tempered with smoke of a warm hearth and a mild chocolate. The first sip is also softly textured with fine tannins and an that acid creeps onto the palate leaving enough for a long finish balanced with flavour remnants.  A lovely sipping profile and should complement anything beefy: a buffet table of bacon infused nibbles, pre-dinner soups; beef & barley or French onion, followed by prime rib, beef Wellington or slow cooked ribs. Take a few bottles - one for you and one for the home brewers - to the neighbourhood bbq or keep a year or two if cellared.  88
SLEDGEHAMMER ZINFANDEL 2010, Napa, California, 14.5%  XD 7g/L, #230466   $17.95  (Tasted July 7, 2012)  CS
  A General listing.   My notes: A WineDiva™ selection.  The film quickly sheds slow tears before receding down the glass from a continuous rim. The nose settles quickly then has the scent of smoky purple plums and the colour is a charcoal hued ruby.  Full-bodied, warm, silky to the lips with a delicate blueberry cherry fruit and soft acid to match leading into a long finish ending with a layer of fruit and dryness. Not quite Ooohs and Aaaws but a pleasing social sipper or dinner offering.  Have with bbq fare or a spicy Thai shrimp and basil stir fry.  Keep a few on standby, not over a year, for unexpected company. 87
  KWV ROODEBERG  2010, Western Cape, South Africa, 14.5%  XD 5g/L, #007187   $11.95  (Tasted July 2, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A WineDiva™  selection.  A deep ruby somewhat murky colour with a fragrant  aroma scented with lavender and soft plum. A swirl leaves a lacy rim then flows slow tears. The first sip bites with a warm tang masking a thin cherry and red currant that fades slowly leaving a extra dry, warm, woody finish. Doesn't have crowd appeal as a sipper but could be a partner with spicy pastas or a spice rubbed, T-bone right off the grill. Could cellar for several years but not return any improvement.  The same nose after aerating but a tad softer bite giving minor prominence to flavours. The warmth and dry woody finish remains. Aerating is recommended.  80  Cellar
Blending 1.  Not being satisfied with a red wine rated 80 I added about 8 ozs. of Cave Spring Sauvignon Blanc (didn't have a viognier on hand). This mellowed the alcohol and acids giving the red a more appealing roundness. There's a, I can't say fruity, brightness in the taste followed through with a smoothing of the previously dry, woody finish.  Try it if you have a leftover white and this red. $11.95 can't be wasted. Salut, Ww

VISTALBA CORTE B 2008, Mendoza, Argentina, 15.0% XD 7g/L, #024919  $19.95  (Tasted July 11, 2012)  CS  

A Vintages release on March 31, 2012 and a blend of 55% Malbec, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 16%  Bonarda.  Rated 90 by Jay Miller  (Dec. 2011) .  My notes:  This is a substitute for the Vistalba 'Corte C' label from the WineDiva™'s list not available in Ontario.  The colour says it's weighted to Malbec. The density and tannins show Cabernet Sauvignon.  The aroma and flavour has a red cherry edge of Bonarda . The alcohol comes forward well after the initial sip first showing fine tannins of a soft, full-bodied red.  Flavours, a touch of sweet and tartness carry well into a long not quite hot finish then decline evenly balanced. Full of character this is very pleasing as a sipper and well styled for Argentinan beef recipes.  Have with a rack of lamb, beef tenderloin or any well seasoned steak. Cellaring for another four years should be OK.  92

OSBORNE SOLAZ SHIRAZ TEMPRANILLO 2009, Rueda, Spain, 13.5%  XD 5g/L, #620922  $10.95  (Tasted July 30, 2012)  CS
A General listing.  My notes: A WineDiva™ selection.  On first sniff I decided aerating was needed to lessen a lacquer nose. Ahhh! the nose no longer has that dominant scent although a subtle reminder remains in the background. The colour has a purple tinge and a swirl leaves a firm film and long slow tears.  Aerating also has reduced a rawness, now a silkiness shows more, a sharp acid is retained needed for rich tomato sauces as well as a penetrating, deep throat, tang and warmth to carry seasoned meat dishes.  Fine tannins put some fur on the tongue and accumulate with each sip. An everyday red to have with full flavoured meals.  Could keep for awhile but not benefit. Extra dry and full-bodied.  86

SANDHILL ESTATE CABERNET MERLOT 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, Kelowna, BC. 14.0%  D  9g/L,  #269795   $20.05  (Tasted July 2, 2012)  CS  

A General listing.  My notes:  A WineDiva™ selection.  Aerate and let air a minimum of thirty minutes. There's a purple cast to a raspberry hue and an aroma with a distinctive cranberry accent to red currant and an alcoholic warmth. The film is smooth showing a continuous rim and tears fall gracefully. Light-bodied and tart, hot with fine tannins and a mild acid brighten a background sweetness. The finish is extra dry with smooth red currants leaving some oil on the lips.  More of a meal red: a ham steak with sweet potato fries, roasted chicken or Cornish hens. I'd try cellaring this for up to four years - perhaps more depth will develop and the heat may be subdued. Aerating improves the first sip by mellowing both the acid and heat consequently the softened nose and initial flavour blend has more appeal. There's a significant smoothing of the finish. 87

BODEGAS BILBAINAS VINA ZACO TEMPRANILLO RIOJA 2008,  Haro, Spain, 14.0%  XD  6g/L, #243097   $14.95  (Tasted July 14, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: A WineDiva™ selection.  The natural cork was a tad dry floating bits on opening. The colour is a charcoal toned ruby and the film sticks forming long slow legs. Air an hour before serving or aerate. A strong warmth is part of a black cherry and liquorice nose and the first sip is silky, full-bodied, has a pronounced tang, velvet tannins then warms the mouth as dark cherry and chocolate slowly fade retaining a lining of velvet. There's a background accent hinting red currant that adds interest to sipping. Better as a meal red able to tame spicy sauces or well seasoned grilled meats. Likely close to peak so a drink now. Aerating subdues the initial tang while maintaining flavour and finish and is recommended.  85a

FONTANAFREDDA BRICCOTONDO BARBERA  2010, Piedmont, Italy, 13.5% XD 8g/L, #072348  $15.95  (Tasted July 6, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on April 18, 2012.  My notes:  A WineDiva™ selection.  The 2006 and 2007 vintages were tasted May 2008 and October 2008 with 87 and 92 ratings respectively.  There's a deep, ripe black cherry colour and a blueberry and spicy currant aroma. Decant an hour, aerate or cellar a few years to allow sharpness to settle. The brightness and warm spice carries red currant and blueberry leftovers though a long finish. Medium-bodied with fine tannins and prominent acid has appeal as an old world sipper. Better with pepperoni/chorizo and cheese pizzas, tomato/oregano pastas, osso bucco or pulled pork. Aerating smoothes the initial texture and delays the tang.  90a

MASI CAMPOFIORIN ROSSO DEL VERONESE IGT 2008, Veneto, Italy,  13.0% XD 6g/L, #155051  $18.45  (Tasted tbd)  CS  
A General listing.  My notes: A WineDiva™ selection. The 2006 and 2007 vintages were tasted in November 2009 and December 2010 resp., both rated 88. The colour of the 2008 has a deep ripe black cherry hue with a nose that reflects the colour. The film breaks into a dynamic lace pattern quickly leaving the glass covered with tiny nodules. The first sip is a tasty combination of red currants, cherries, subtle earthy notes and equal fine tannins and acid.  Smooth but not round, a lasting, extra dry finish gives a generous layer of tannin without being furry. Perfect for anything Italian, meal and occasion. At or near peak.  89

SANTA RITA RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009, Maipo Valley, Chile, 13.5%  XD 6g/L, #253872   $13.95  (Tasted July 26, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A WineDiva™ selection. The colour is a flat, dense ruby. The aroma is a lacquer tinted blackberry, sharp but subtle.  The film sticks to the glass and runs long tears from a continuous rim. the first sip has a flavour of liquorice, blackberries with a sharp tang and fine tannins. Sipping has a strong presence on the palate with a persistent acid and drying mouth feel for a long finish. Fruit is hidden by process bringing out a dominant acid and brooding flavours.  A commercial drink now. Have with bbq'd beef steaks or rack of lamb, well seasoned.  80
  THE SEEKER MALBEC 2009, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #271213  $18.95  (Tasted July 25, 2012)  CS
A Vintages release on June 23, 2012.  My notes: From Kobrand Wines that pairs five grapes with five countries from around the globe for The Seeker brand. This wine was highlighted by Wine Lovers Page (July 3, 2012) of California. A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Bonarda similar to Vistalba Corte 2008, #024919 $19.95 (notes above).  Priced at $10.99 in the US the LCBO is squeezing Ontarians hard on this one. The more I try to find out about The Seeker wines the more marketing blurb I see and less about the wine. Tasting is the test. The colour is a typical malbec purple and there's an aroma of blackberries with a tart edge almost briny. The film is thick with a continuous rim and many slow legs. The first sip is drying with crushed berry seed tannins and texture, young fruit that trails off slowly leaving mostly a dry and smooth finish - not as hot as expected. Rough as a sipper - better with braised stew beef with a wine sauce. A drink now.  83

SELLA & MOSCA RISERVA CANNONAU DI SARDEGNA 2008 , Alghero, Italy, 14.0%  XD  6g/L,  #425488  $15.95   (Tasted July 16, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on April 18, 2012.  The Sardinian grape Cannonau is also known as Alicante, Cannonau, Garnacha and Grenache noir.   My notes: Planned to have this with bbq'd marinated pork chunks seared and partially cooked on the grill then merged with a sweet and sour mix of green, red peppers, onions, carrots cooked in a sauce - a variation of Sweet and Sour Pork .  The film lines the glass lightly then recedes quickly leaving tiny islands. The colour is a sombre ruby with an aroma of old world oak and possibly ripasso treatment giving more body/colour to grenache. The first sip is light bodied with a balanced tang and flavour, earthy red cherry. The sip continues with a long finish ending very dry with light tannins and cherry pit flavoured. An XD red with some appeal as a sipper. Better with a meat entrée or nibbles of stuffed mushrooms, meat lovers pizzas or crockpot stews.  Don't recommend cellaring unless short term.  86


Seven wines of  37 on the Trivento website were listed but only three available. Of the 37 I could not find the label however, I did find an explanation of the 'Colección' wines.

Trivento's 'numbered' labels represent the current collection of
"terroirs consisting of eight vineyards distributed across the principal winegrowing regions of Mendoza. The varieties cultivated in each (region) reveal expressions distinct to their location. The wines of Colección Fincas intend to join the best each terroir has to offer, representing the finest pieces of land and making them ideal for collecting."

TRIVENTO COLECCIÓN FINCAS NO. 2 'LOS PONCHOS' SYRAH 2007, Mendoza, Argentina,  14.0% XD  3g/L, #269217   $16.95  (Tasted July 19, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on July 25, 2012.  My notes: Before Decanter switched to 100 point ratings, this had 3 stars out of 5 (not dated).  The Syrah shows in the rich sombre ruby and rich blackberry combined with a approachable spice on the nose. The film shrinks slowly and leaves isolated lacy islands.  Smooth, tart and a bright edged berry meet the palate on the first sip. Warmth followed by silk and obvious spice forms a long finish. A pleasing sipper for a family crowd and excellent paired with Mom's Meatloaf  matching spice and fruit with sweet sauces and broiled meats.  Cellar for several years or drink now.  88

TRIVENTO FAIR TRADE MALBEC 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.0% D  8g/L, #160994  $10.95  (Tasted July 20, 2012)  CS

A General listing and a Fair Trade product as well as being Eco friendly with a lighter bottle and small carbon footprint.  My notes:  Has the purple glow and warm blackberry scent of Malbec - attractive at first glance/sniff. The film is thinnish with laciness showing immediately on pouring - thinnish medium-bodied. Silky smooth with fine tannins and sugar to moderate the acids, coat the palate and finally warm with freshly crushed fruit as a finish. A super sipper for a thirsty crowd - perhaps too sweet for serious red imbibers -  and an adequate complement to finger foods of the beefy nature. Pair with burgers, meat lovers pizzas, bbq'd ribs or steaks. Take a sixpack to the neighbourhood (adults) block party. A drink now.  87

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