Monday, September 03, 2012

September 2012 Wines: 20 Tasted of 20

Medellin, Colombia Sept 6 '12
This month's collection of wines are from various sources.

So far: Two reds are Vintages Wines of the Month. Another two (TA) are from Tony Aspler's list of ten recommended wines from Vintages September 1st Release . Of these ten, 8 were unfortunately above my budget of $25. The Rutherglen Petit Sirah was recommended in a tweet (T), three are from @cono_sur 's picks (marked with a 'J' for Jason). The remainder are random choices.

A digression:

The following diatribe addresses a concern developing over the last year and becoming more focussed as a result of recent, I'd say the last 4 months, tasting of Ontario wines. Because of this focus one may wrongly assume that local winemaking has suffered a setback from a more liberal use of synthetic approaches to winemaking. Actually I believe the opposite is true: The purity used in the production of recent vintages, 08 thru 11, by a growing number of wineries separates their approach from the recipe based wines produced by a shrinking minority.

A question I have mulled over the past few days when it forced itself into my conscious is which Ontario wineries use non-indigenous yeasts, which ones use flavour and aroma enhancers to produce the generic collection of whites and reds typical of a segment of today's wines? In fact, when did using other than natural components become foisted on the public consumer? But 'when' is not relevant. What is relevant is how can the consumer tell without buying a bottle of the doctored wine?

If you have sniffed a powder puff perfumed Vidal, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc or Viognier you know what I mean. If you've tasted flavours full of candy floss or a flatness on the nose with a lemon drop attack in that first sip, you've been there. When did winemaking, an obsession of many proud vineyard owner, turn into a broadly accepted con on the consuming public? Today a winery whether big or small can produce whatever they think will find a market based on the chemical wizardry of volume based, process driven suppliers. They have become driven by whatever can be put in a bottle, labelled with an appropriate marketing focus and delivered if not by the LCBO by blending among legitimate wineries. You've been there. I know I have as well.  Whenever there's an opportunity please support fuller content declaration on every wine label.

I should add this does not advocate regulating 'recipe wineries' out of existence. It does advocate providing enough content information so consumers can decide. 

Salut, Ww  

THE LINEUP - grouped by reds, whites, rosés, bubblies and other:

  • Oscar's Estate Shiraz/Viognier 2008, 92-3  --  V,  Barossa Valley, Australia,  #287961  $17.00
  • Château de Galifay Cairanne Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2010,  92-3  --  V, Rhône, France,  #290080 $17.00  (J)
  • (WOM)Domaine Grandy Vacqueyras 2010,  92-2  --  V, Côtes du Rhône, France, #287532 $18.95
  • Château d'Anglès La Clape Grand Vin 2007,  92-2  --  V,  Midi, France, #286492 $19.95
  • The Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier 2010, 91-2  --  V, McLaren Vale, Australia, #066738 $17.95
  • Casa de la Ermita Idilico Crianza Seleccion 2006, 91a-2 --  V, Jumilla, Spain, #286161 $19.95 (TA) 
  • Château d'Anglès La Clape Classique Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre 2007,  90-2  --  V, Midi, France, #286484 $14.95  
  • (WOM)Evans & Tate Metricup Road Shiraz 2009, 90a-2  --  V, Margaret River, Australia, #606905  $19.95
  • Jean-Luc Baldès Triguedina la Chapelle du Clos Malbec Cahors 2008,  89-1  --  V, Cahors, France,  #276253 $16.95 
  • Rutherglen Estates Single Vineyard Petit Sirah 2008,  86a  --  V, Victoria, Australia, #179127 $20.95 (T)
  • Domaine Parent Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2010,  85a  --  V,  Cote-D'Or, France,  #597971  $19.95 
  • (WOM)Barba I Vasari Old Vines Montepulciano d'Abruuzo 2008, 75  --  V, Abruzzo, Italy,  #289991 $18.95 
  • André Blanck & ses Fils Rosenbourg Pinot Blanc 2011,  87-1  --  V,  Alsace, France,  #626606  $13.95 (J)
  • Stoneleigh Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 86  --  G, Marlborough, NZ, #293043 $15.45
  • Daniel Lenko Chardonngay 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  86  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario,  #260398  $19.95
  • Vineland Estates Winery Elevation 'St. Urban Vineyard' Riesling 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 84  --  V, Vineland, Ontario,  #038117  $19.95

  • Château de Manissy Tavel Rosé 2011,  87-1  --  V, Rhône, France, #276469  $15.95 (J) (TA) 
  • Stoneleigh Marlborough Pinot Noir Rosé,  84  --  G, Marlborough, NZ, #122275 $16.95

  • Jean Geiler Rosé Brut Crémant d'Alsace NV,  84  --  V,  Haut-Rhin, France, #047191  $18.95

  •  Joseph Cattin Gewurztraminer Hatschbourg Grand Cru 2009, 90-1  --  V, Haut-Rhin, France,  #259770  $19.95

(WOM - Wine of the Month, V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


WOMs  for August/September 2012 - two were released on August 18th and a third, the Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, on September 15, 2012.

EVANS & TATE METRICUP ROAD SHIRAZ 2009, Margaret River, Australia, 14.5%  D  xg/L,  #606905  $19.95  (Tasted September 6, 2012)  CS

Rated 90 by Lisa Perroti-Brown, MW,  (August 2011).  My notes:  More than a bit of BRETT  on opening so let air for 30 minutes - a tad still there along with mild liquorice and blackberries but aerating eliminates the BRETT.  The colour is a fresh ruby opaque in the glass and leaves a continuous rim that tears quickly. Nicely smooth with ripe fruit, a pleasant tang and fine tannin making the first sip welcome. The finish is long ending dry on the palate, surprisingly no heat just warmth. Have with any grilled or bbq'd meats or sip, sip.  Likely at peak, perhaps cellaring a year at a time will prove me wrong.  Very nice when aerated. 90a

DOMAINE GRANDY VACQUEYRAS 2010,  Côtes du Rhône, France, 13.5%  XD  xg/L,  #287532  $18.95   (Tasted September 5, 2012)  CS

This classic blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre won a Gold Medal at the Concours des Vins Orange in 2011.  My notes: A dense purple hued red depositing a firm film with a continuous rim that recedes slowly following long legs. The nose is soft and full of ripe berries with a subdued white pepper and caramel aromas. Silky smooth, dry on the tongue, light berry flavours and near full-bodied giving a profile easily sipped and equally partnered with roast prime rib, T-bone or beef medallions. This could easily cellar several years but no need - drinking well now. The flavours grow lighter over a long finish then end drying the palate.  92

BARBA  I  VASARI OLD VINES MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2008, Abruzzo, Italy,  13.5% XD  5g/L,  #289991 $18.95  (Tasted September 17, 2012)  CS

My notes:  Vintages says "The 2012 edition of Gambero Rosso Italian Wines rated this show-stopping Montepulciano 3 Glasses (out of 3)". (3 Glasses = the Traffic Light system or NoGo, Use Caution and Go). On first sniff and sip I decided to aerate this full-bodied red. I agree this is a show-stopper - I can't see anyone being able to sip or pair with any meal this 'Old Vines Montepulciano'. The colour, nose and viscosity are normal if not impressive. Then a metallic acid bites the tongue, etches the teeth and overrides any anticipation of a velvety condensed blend of black berries. Aerating definitely removes 50% of the bite allowing some black fruit, anise, drying tannin and cranberry to show - but not enough. Cellaring several years may soften but not to be expected. Perhaps airing overnight may soften. No, it didn't.  I took it back for a refund.  The Vintages Panel has earned my skepticism.  75


STONELEIGH MARLBOROUGH PINOT NOIR ROSÉ 2011,  Marlborough, NZ, 13.0%  D  8g/L, #122275  $16.95  (Tasted September 23, 2012)  CS

A commercial wine made by Pernod Ricard Pacific Pty Ltd.   My notes: A deep salmon colour with aromas of crushed strawberries more acid than sweet altho' both are present. The film sticks to the glass before running slow tears and leaving a lacy pattern. The first sip has a pronounced sweetness with fresh fruit, white cherries, watermelon and berries. The texture is silky and with the flavours lasts through a long finish making this a pleasant offdry sipper. Went well with bbq'd chicken, legs or white meat. Should also go with Thai or a Chinese buffet. A drink now - perhaps too fruity to be 'true'.  84

CHÂTEAU DE MANISSY TAVEL 2011, Rhône, France, 13.5%  XD  2g/L, #276469  $15.95  (Tasted September 29, 2012) CS

Released by Vintages on September 1, 2012 and winner of Medialle d'Or Paris 2012 Concours General Agricole.   My notes: Rated 89 by Tony Aspler.  A blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre and Bourboulenc grapes.  A bright red cherry red and a slight aroma of crushed white cherries, not convincing. A sip delivers a silky textured subtle white cherry flavour and a suspicion of sweetness, a light tannin and a soft finish that is dry waiting for a second sip. An appealing sipper and would be OK with grilled seafood or chicken breast done in a creamy sauce. Serve well chilled. A drink now.  87

CASA DE LA ERMITA IDÍLICO CRIANZA SELECCIÓN 2006, Jumilla, Spain, 14.0% XD 5g/L, #286161  $19.95  (Tasted September 20, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 1, 2012 and rated 90 by Jay Miller (June 2009).   My notes:  A blend of 60% Monastrell (vines older than 70 years) and 40% Petit Verdot. The cork crumbled on opening so I aerated to a decanter to remove bits.A superlative aroma of crushed berries, red currant, floral and vanilla. Deep ruby in the glass and a thin film shedding fast tears left by a quick swirl. The first sip layers tannins and sharp acid that complement the full taste of berries. The intense aroma fills the senses as the finish carries the fullness to a dry flavourful ending. A pleasing sipper and a full-bodied red for simmered red wine sauced meats. Was great with beef stroganoff. Cellaring for several years more should be OK - may be at peak now.  91

RUTHERGLEN ESTATES PETIT SIRAH 2008, Victoria, Australia, 14.5% XD  6g/L, #179127  $20.95  (Tasted September 4, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on July 21, 2012 and rated 91 by Lisa Perroti-Brown, MW  (June 2011).  My notes:The colour is a deep ruby and a swirl leaves a continuous rim the sheds slow tears then slowly fragments. There's a spicy warm scent of crushed red currants and raspberries without any sweetness - aerating relieves some sharpness. The first sip is smooth with a delayed tartness that immediately layers the throat with dry tannins and the warm fruit blend. Flavours and textures slowly decline leaving a parching dryness. Overall, a warm sipper with interesting fruit, fullness and having a 'hot' finish somewhat rough. Pair with grilled red meats - was great with Mom's Meatloaf and steamed parsnips fried with a sprinkle of grated parmesan.  Cellar a few years - perhaps.  86a

ANDRÉ BLANCK & SES FILS ROSENBOURG PINOT BLANC 2011, Alsace, France, 12.5% D  3g/L, #626606  $13.95  (Tasted September 15, 2012)  CS
Release by Vintages on September 1, 2012.  My notes: There's a greenish hue to the light straw and the aroma has some apple and pear but marginally so. Perhaps as it goes off chill more will come (nope). A thin film swirls a lacy rim then drops quickly to small nodules. A mild nip, a delicate flavour of apple and Bosc pear at first then a chalky dryness as the flavours slowly subside. Some may prefer sipping - on a warm day and social stand around occasion. Also pair with white fish grilled or with a cream sauce.  A drink now.  87

DANIEL LENKO CHARDONNGAY 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  Beamsville, Ontario, 14.0% D 6g/L,  #260398  $19.95  (Tasted September 14, 2012) CS

A General listing. Celebrates 'Canada's diverse Gay culture'.  My notes: A light golden with a faint floral verging on pineapple scent and a rim that fragments easily into long streams ending in lacy globules. The first sip has a minimum sweetness as well as a bright acid and a lemon accent to apple pear flavours. The finish takes advantage of the fullness, definitely not on the light side, in the mouth carrying the flavour then ending nicely dry. This is a social pleaser to compete with mid tier imports - one to sip all evening - better with fresh oysters or a Chinese buffet/Bento box. A drink now.  86

JEAN GEILER ROSÉ BRUT CRÉMANT D'ALSACE NV, Haut-Rhin, France, 12.0% XD 12g/L, #047191  $18.95  (Tasted October 8, 2012) CS
Released by Vintages on September 1, 2012.  My notes: 100% Pinot Noir with a mid salmon colour, no pink. An aroma of freshly crushed white cherries and there's a lacy rim left by a gentle swirl that recedes slowly following a burst of fine bubbles, not frothy, on pouring. The first sip is extra tangy with a steely apple berry flavour that refreshes the palate with each sip. An extra dry finish leaves tart flavour trails along with a touch of grassiness. Pairing with a trio of Mandarin Gardens entrées: Pork Chow Mein, Shrimp Fried Fice and Moo Goo Gai Pan, a lively spritz cleansed each mouthful. A drink now.  84

JEAN-LUC BALDÈS TRIGUEDINA LA CHAPELLE DU CLOS MALBEC CAHORS 2008, Cahors, France, 13.5% XD  4g/L,  #276253  $16.95  (Tasted September 17, 2012) CS
Released by Vintages on September 1, 2012 and rated 90 by Kim Marcus .  My notes: Decant or aerate. There is a slight purple to the deep ruby and the nose has a subdued scent of blackberry and smoky spice. A swirl leaves a firm film shedding a string of slow tears from a continuous rim. Smoothly textured, bright acid balanced with earthy ripe berries and a drying layer of tannin on the tongue.  Everything continues on a long path gradually fading to an dusty dry mineral coating.  An oldworld red with enough fruit to make it an interesting sipper. Better as a grilled beef companion and wonderful with broiled beef along with pureed cauliflower and seared sliced mushrooms in a red wine sauce (tonight's supper). Likely past improving but should keep a few years.  89

JOSEPH CATTIN GEWURZTRAMINER HATSCHBOURG GRAND CRU 2009, Haut-Rhin, France, 13.0%  D  26g/L(?) ,  #259770  $19.95  (Tasted September 27, 2012) CS
Release by Vintages on March 31, 2012. Rated 91 by Alison Napjus  (Oct 31, 2011).   My notes: A mid gold with a honey-lemon nose, more lemon than honey. The film sticks to the glass then recedes lacily until small nodules form. A honey consistency greets the first sip, a medium sweetness with a dry tang and mineral-citrus flavour, less citrus than mineral starts a moderate finish ending sweet with a mellow mouthfeel. Might appeal to icewine sippers. Have with Thai or Chinese entrées or samples from a buffet table. Cellar for several years - try again after four. A niche/dessert wine.  90

OSCAR'S ESTATE SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2008, Barossa Valley, Australia, 15.9%  D  7g/L?,  #287961  $17.00  (Tasted September 12, 2012)  CS
Release by Vintages  on September 1, 2012. Rated 91 by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW  (Dec 2011). A blend of 96% Shiraz and 4% Viognier.  My notes:  A thick film with long legs flowing evenly down the glass and a spicy aroma of ripe crushed black cherries is the intro along with a deep ruby. Silky, rich, bright rather than tangy and tannins neither overdone but matching the flavours and textures and lasting forever (a long time). This could satisfy both occasional sippers as well oenophiles not expecting a special treat - has a touch of sweet. Have with anything grilled, bbq'd, roasted and beefy. Buy a dozen as this will cellar for many years - can't believe the alcohol level, more like 14.0%.  92
This was fantastic with bbq'd tenderloins topped with seared Upper Canada Cheese Co. Guernsey Gold, garlic butter'd cremini mushrooms, sweet potato fries and cippolini onions. (Dec 10, 2012)

DOMAINE PARENT PINOT NOIR BOURGOGNE 2010, Cote-D'Or, France, 12.5% XD  3g/L, #597971  $19.95  (Tasted September 9, 2012)  CS
Release by Vintages on September 1, 2012.  My notes:  A ruby with a charcoal hue and an aroma of ripe strawberries their freshness dried out in the sun, a sombre nose to go with the colour. The first sip is sharply tart, silky textured with dried strawberry and wet wood flavours that parch the palate dry. The cork pulled apart on opening dusting the wine with some particles appearing with a swirl. I aerated to soften the acids and remove the particles. An interesting sipper with texture and flavours leaving some warmth on the throat and consistent flavour remnants. Likely would not improve with cellaring.  85a

STONELEIGH MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011, Marlborough, NZ, 12.5% XD 5g/L,  #293043  $15.45*  (Tasted September 27, 2012)  CS

A General listing 'priced at $15.45 until September 16, 2012'.  My notes:  The 2004 vintage tasted in 2005 was priced $14.95. The 2007, in May 2008 was priced $15.95 and also rated 82. Then in 2011 the 2009 vintage was reduced to $14.95 from $16.95 and rated 82. When compared with 2004, 2005 and 2006 vintages recent years have had a higher acidity.  Serve the 2011 well chilled. A straw blond with an aroma of fresh gooseberry, tangy tho' not biting.  A swirl leaves a lacy rim shedding long slow tears. Grassy, firm tang and full of fresh gooseberries set a good mood for sipping - has a chalk dry ending.  Would be excellent with seafood dishes or Swiss Chalet chicken. A drink now.  86

CHÂTEAU DE GALIFAY CAIRANNE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2010, Rhône, France,  14.0% XD 4g/L, #290080   $17.00  (Tasted September 10, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 1, 2012 and rated 90 by James Molesworth   (February 29, 2012).  My notes: A deep purple with an aroma a blend of blackberry, black cherry and dark chocolate - nose buildup is reserved. The rim is continuous becoming lacy as legs slowly develop. The first sip shows the dusty texture of Grenache with a mild white pepper from the Syrah both coating the tongue making this an interesting sipper. It's difficult not to quaff this red occasionally for a warm addition to the sip. Cellaring for several years could develop more depth and added fullness but it's drinking very well now.  92

CHÂTEAU D'ANGLÈS LA CLAPE GRAND VIN 2007,  Midi, France, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #286492  $19.95  (Tasted September 14, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 15, 2012.  My notes: An Eric Fabre, formerly of Château La Fite Rothschild, wine. A blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Mourvèdre and 20% Grenache and unfiltered.  The colour is deep ruby with a garnet hue. The nose has the warmth of a fresh blackberry cobbler with an additional touch of spice. Swirling lays a thin film with a continuous rim that laces and sheds slow tears. The sharpness in the first sip cuts through any previous flavours, cleanses the palate then leaves a dry layer of mineral based berries. The finish carries a long dry steely edge accumulating tannins with each sip. Would pair nicely with any grilled meats or stews. Has lots for long term cellaring - a few years may smoothen some roughness but drinking well now. 92

THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2010, McLaren Vale, Australia, 14.5%  D  5g/L,  #066738  $17.95  (Tasted September 19, 2012)  CS

Release by Vintages on September 15, 2012.  Rated 90 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar (July/Aug 2011). My notes:  Seven medals on the label so how could I resist? A product of the Galvanized Wine Group and a blend of 95% Shiraz and 5% Viognier.  The colour is a black cherry skin and a sweet spicy aroma of black cherries is pleasing to the sniffer. Silky on the mouth with red currant and berries brightening the palate. A fine tannin carries the flavours a long while until a blending of flavour and warm texture remain. Appealing as a full-bodied dry sipper for its freshness and went well with Soy basted and bbq'd pork chops.  Perhaps a tad 'unrefined'  -  a drink now and keeping a few years should be OK.  91

CHÂTEAU D'ANGLÈS LA CLAPE CLASSIQUE SYRAH /GRENACHE /MOURVÈDRE 2007, Midi, France, 14.0%  XD 3g/L, #286484  $14.95  (Tasted September 16, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on August 4, 2012 and is an unfiltered classic blend of 50% Syrah 30% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre. Rated 16.5 out of 20 by Tamlyn Currin  (May 2012).   My notes: My conversion of a 20 point rating is 50+2.5xRating, in this case 16.5 becomes 91 and a bit.  This is the 4th red from Famille Fabre having previously tasted their Cabernet Sauvignon (#261891 , $14.95 91a-2), Malbec (n/a , $15.95 88-1), and Grand Vin 2007 (#286492 , $19.95 92-2). A touch of graphite, blackberry and herbs provides a soothing aroma for a rich see-through ruby. A firm film hangs heavy then drops evenly from a smooth rim. Full-bodied, silky textured with fine tannins, penetrating acid and a dry blend of earthy berries meet the palate then gradually loses most of the fruit ending warm, dry and mildly herbal.  Have with beef bourguignon or braised beef short ribs with puréed broccoli/cauliflower. Likely at peak. 90

VINELAND ESTATES WINERY ELEVATION 'ST. URBAN VINEYARD' RIESLING 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Vineland, Ontario,  9.5%  M  26g/L,  #038117  $19.95  (Tasted September 19, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 15, 2012.  My notes: An LCBO Staff pick at the Clarkson, Mississauga outlet.  2667 cases.  On first pour there's a touch of spritz on the glass and a light blond colour in the glass. The aroma is negligible, perhaps a fresh pear. A swirl leaves a lacy rim that recedes leaving island fragments.  Has a rounded texture w/ minimal sign of sweet, chalky with acid starting mild and building slowly with each sip. Flavours are of mild crabapple and pear staying for a short while before fading to a dry mineral finish.  More of a quaffer, add a slice of lime, than a meal wine - was not up to a grilled salmon with asparagus and corn.  Pairing with a grilled whitefish entrée may be a better match.  A drink now - not enough to cellar.  84

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