Monday, July 23, 2012

July 21st 2012, Wild Chardonnays at Rosewood

The candid photos and brief timeline below try to capture the casual atmosphere of Wild for Chardonnay at Rosewood Estates. This was just one of many events but the only one I attended with friends on Saturday, July 21st as part of #i4c2012 in Niagara, Ontario.  

Advertised as "The 'WILD for Chardonnay': An Exclusive Luncheon at Rosewood Estates Winery" the tasting experience began at 11am with vineyard tours, a wine fair, then a 4 course luncheon featuring many Chardonnays.  Chef Michael Pasto of Good Earth Winery designed the tasting menu to pair with the exclusive lineup of Chardonnays.

On the way to a gourmet 4 course Lunch

Eugene Roman starts the Luncheon


Setting up Tasting 'stations'

More 'stations'

@TheSpitter sets the venue

Winemakers' row

Go for the Glasses

Passed the Tanks

Table Talk

Jean Francois Bourdy Hosts our Table

A Good Time for All

The weather cooled for this visit and the shade of the pavilion included a welcoming breeze. To add, a pouring of Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine was a refreshing start.  Renown editor, taster and writer Anthony Gismondi expanded on the term 'WILD' then introduced the winemakers representing the wines to be featured. He then guided each winemaker through a short Q&A on the differences to be looked for in their wines.

We, the guests, were given time to blind taste wines #1 through #9 set out on barrels and small tables around the pavilion. Each guest was given a score card on which the country of origin and a YES or NO, whether a clone was used in the fermentation or if the grapes were left to their devices, ie. a WILD (indigenous) yeast either cultured or allowed to start fermentation 'naturally'.

There was a crowd of about 70 paying guests and we had the opportunity to mingle with the winemakers: Norm Hardie of Prince Edward County, Sebastien Jacquey of Le Clos Jordanne, Matt Mavety of Blue Mountain Vineyards, Jean Francois Bourdy of Jura, France, Natalie Spytkowsky (image 3 of 8) of Rosewood Estates, Fintan du Fresne of Chamisal California , Shauna White(?) of Ravine Vineyards , Bryan Croft of Oregon, Cristina Cifuentes (Export Manager) of Chile. 
Then on to the 4 course luncheon served in the winery ... and more chardonnays. Evidently the LCBO had a retail centre nearby so guests could purchase many of the wines. For a link to chardonnays listed, not necessarily available, at the LCBO click here

We thank everyone that made this event such a success... We had a great time!!!  Ww
WINES PRESENTED DURING THE EVENT (Check for availability here):

  • Blue Mountain Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine 2006 VQA Okanagan Valley,  British Columbia -  #238196  $35.00
  • Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay 2008 VQA Twenty Mile Bench,  Niagara - #056929 $40.00
  • Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench,  Niagara - #033936 $30.00
  • Norman Hardie County Chardonnay 2010 VQA Prince Edward County, PEC - #149054 #149054 $35.00
  • Norman Hardie Cuvee L Unfiltered Chardonnay 2008 VQA Prince Edward County,  PEC - #184432 $49.00
  • Blue Mountain Stripe Label Reserve Chardonnay 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia - #287946 $26.00
  • Chamisal Unoaked Stainless Chardonnay 2011,  California - #289322 $25.9
  • Chamisal Califa Unoaked Stainless Chardonnay 2011,  California - #289330 $49.00
  • Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes de Jura White 2007,  France - #286427 $24.95
  • Caves Jean Bourdy Cotes de Jura White 2006,  France - #286427 $29.00
  • Rosewood Estates Reserve Chardonnay 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara - #266676 $28.00
  • Ravine Vineyard Chardonnay 2010 VQA,  Niagara - #173337 $24.00
  • Ravine Vineyard Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2010 VQA, Niagara - #306902 $40.00
  • Firesteed Cellars Citation W3 (Walla Walla and Willamette) Chardonnay 2008,  Oregon - #287896 $36.00
  • Firesteed Cellars Citation W3 (Walla Walla and Willamette) Chardonnay 2009,  Oregon - #287904 $36.00
  • Vina Haras de Pirque Equus Chardonnay 2010, Maipo Valley, Chile  - #287557 $13.00

Thursday, July 19, 2012

July 2012 Whites+: 19 Tasted of 19

Whites+ (whites, rosés, sparkling and other) have been separated from THE LINEUP for this month. To view Reds click on Reds.

Looking for some whites under $25 I used my 'Buying Strategy' to select the Mosel Riesling Kabinett (TA90) from Tony Aspler's review of Vintages' June 23rd Release and, from Margaret Swaine's Summer Sippers  in the National Post, the Lucien Albrecht Pinot Gris (MS89) and Domaine de la Tourlaudiere Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (MS89). 

Six of the whites are from what I'll call a 'Featured Winery'. They are from Cave Spring Cellars . All but one is from a designated sub-appellation of Niagara.  I refrain from purchasing VQA Ontario and, except on specific occasions this being one, VQA Niagara Peninsula as well. These by their nature are a 'mongrel' mix of terroirs. This isn't derogatory since mixed breeds can make adorable and faithful pets however that's not what I look for in a wine. VQA Ontario changes 'somewhereness' into 'anywhereness'.

I've found wines from Cave Spring Cellars both realistically priced and able to showcase terroirs well. Two, not included but tasted previously, are their  Chardonnay Dolomite 2010 and Riesling Dolomite 2007 labels. So far these two are available only from the winery and 
'Dolomite' must appear on the label. They present nicely the terroir of the Niagara Escarpment.

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

...three Chardonnays - 1 Oregon, 2 Jordan - anticipate the i4C2012 (Cool Chardonnay) event in Niagara July 20-22. 

Salut, Ww

PS: Backgrounder for German Rieslings

THE LINEUP - grouped by whites, rosés and other:   
  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Gewurztraminer 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench,  92-3  --  V,  Jordan, Ontario,  #302059  $17.95
  • Emiliana Signos de Origen 'La Vinilla' Chardonnay/Viognier/Marsanne/Roussanne 2010, 92-2  -- V,  Casablanca Valley, Chile, #063909 $19.95
  • (WOM) Astrolabe Province Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 92-2  --  V,  Marlborough, New Zealand,  #010421 $21.95
  • Cave Spring Chardonnay 2010 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 90-2  --  G,   Jordan, Ontario, #228551  $14.95
  • Hunter's 'Jane Hunter' Sauvignon Blanc 2011,  90-1  --  V, Marlborough, NZ,  #280271 $19.95
  • Flat Rock Chardonnay 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench,  89-1 --  V, Jordan, Ontario, #286278 $16.95 
  • Cave Spring Sauvignon Blanc 2010 VQA Niagara Escarpment,  88-1  --  G,  Jordan, Ontario, #529933 $15.95
  • Mt. Boucherie 'Estate Collection' Semillon 2008 VQA Okanagan Valley, 87  --  V,  BC, Canada, #279364 $19.95
  • Ponzi Reserve Chardonnay 2009,  86  --  V, Willamette Valley, Oregon, #236208 $38.95
  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Riesling 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench, 85  --  V,  Jordan, Ontario,  #286377 $17.95 
  • Cave Spring Dry Riesling 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  84  --  G,   Jordan, Ontario,  #233635  $14.95
  • Lucien Albrecht Réserve Pinot Gris 2010,  83  --  V, Alsace, France, #281394    $15.95
  • Babich Family Estates Individual Vineyard 'Fernhill' Viognier 2010,  83  --  V, Hawkes Bay, NZ, #269282  $16.95 
  • Domaine de la Tourlaudière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2010,  82  --  V, #171694 $13.95 
  • Gray Monk Riesling 2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, 82  --  V, Okanagan, BC,  #273466  $18.95      

  • Cave Spring Dry Rosé 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment,  86  --  G,   Jordan, Ontario,  #295006  $14.95
  • Sogrape Mateus Rosé NV, NR  --  G, Portugal, #000166 $8.95  

  • Codorniu Pinot Noir Brut Rosé Cava NV,  86  --  V,  Penedès, Spain, #665372 $17.95 

  • Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Ockfener Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2008, 92-3  --  V, Mosel, Germany,  #606202  $16.95
(WOM - Wine of the Month, 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
ASTROLABE PROVINCE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.5%  XD  3.3g/L, #010421  $21.95  (Tasted July 1, 2012)  CS
Rated 91 by MaryAnn Worobie   (June 15, 2012).  My notes: I was beginning to believe that WOMs only came in red this being the first white since last February when I first started featuring WOMs.  The colour is a soft straw and the aroma has the distinctive NZ  freshly crushed gooseberry scent, nicely tangy and inviting. The film leaves a lacy rim that gradually slides down the glass. The first sip has the refreshing bite of a lemon or red currant with the right balance of tart, fruit and chalky dryness. Flavours intensify then slowly fade for a long finish leaving a silky texture on the lips. Perfect for a wide range of seafood entrées, spiny crab to New Brunswick lobster, scallops to curried mussels, and grilled chicken breast or with a creamy pasta.  Cellaring a few years should be OK but not longer - meant as a drink now.  92


CAVE SPRING SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 13.0%  XD  4g/L, #529933  $15.95  (Tasted July 1, 2012)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  A blend of grapes 76% from the Cave Spring Vineyard in Beamsville Bench and 24%, the Twenty Mile Bench. Has a tart, sweet edged lemon seed with a slightly floral scent. The colour is a faint straw and has a film that recedes in slow tears and lacy islands. Has a chalk seam, is fresh in the mouth, cleansing and extra dry and having some interest as a light-bodied sipper. More of a supper sipper with broiled chicken wings, battered and deep fried fish or a Thai stir-fry.  Not flush with fruit but enough to complement prominent acids and terroir. Not for cellaring - a drink now.  88

CAVE SPRING DRY RIESLING 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Jordan, Ontario,  12.0%  XD  7g/L,  #233635   $14.95  (Tasted July 9, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: The 2006 vintage, a blend of grapes from Twenty Mile Bench (36%), Beamsville Bench (23%), Lincoln Lakeshore (24%) and Creek Shores (10%), was previously tasted in November 2007 with a rating of 80.  The 2010 vintage is a blend of Rieslings from (64%) Twenty Mile Bench; (26%) Lincoln Lakeshore and (10%) Beamsville Bench. Both are VQA Niagara Peninsula. A mid golden with a slight tint of green and a faint aroma of green pea, apple and grapefruit. The film is full and recedes quickly following a lacy rim. Flavours are a blend of mineral, lime and apple changing to a long and luscious, tart apple. A suitable complement with fresh oysters or stuffed mushrooms - and with creamy pastas, tame chicken wings or a Bento Box.  84 

CAVE SPRING CHARDONNAY 2010 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 13.5%  XD  2g/L,  #228551   $14.95  (Tasted July 16, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A blend of grapes from Beamsville Bench (63%) and Twenty Mile Bench (37%). This is well in the comfort zone either chilled or offchill. The nose, a slight apple blossom, becomes more pronounced when off chill and melon and lime flavours come forward lasting awhile before ending on the soft & dry mineral side. Swirling leaves a smooth film slowly receding intact.  The chardonnays complement each other to offer a balanced fullness and an acid level making sipping refreshing as well as a complement to creamy to light pastas or grilled to baked shell- and finny fish. Cellaring for several years is likely.  90   

CAVE SPRING DRY ROSÉ 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  6g/L,  #295006   $14.95  (Tasted July 5, 2012)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  The 2006 and 2007 vintages, each having the VQA of Niagara Peninsula, were tasted with up and down ratings. The 2009 vintage bore the VQA of Niagara Escarpment but not tasted. The 2011 is a blend of grapes from (94%) Cave Spring Vineyard in the Beamsville Bench, (6%) Lincoln Lakeshore ... and 80% cabernet franc and 20% cabernet sauvignon.  My benchmark of a rosé is that of the south of France. There's a blush of pink to the salmon colour and at 16oC the nose is perfumed along the multifloral rose line. The first sip is a light, attractive strawberry-raspberry, dry to the lips and continuing through a long finish gradually fading leaving the palate smooth with a suspicion of sweetness. An appealing sipper unless one is accustomed to Tavels then overly 'cosmetic' - from the Franc content. Cellaring for a few years should serve well. Sip alone or have with cheddar nibbles. 86 

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED RIESLING 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Ontario,  12.0%  D  12g/L,  #286377  $17.95  (Tasted July 20, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on April 18, 2012.  My notes: The 2007 vintage was tasted in May 2009 with an 88-1 rating.  Grapes come from selected blocks at Cave Spring Vineyards ranging from 11 to 37 years of age.  The colour is a light straw and the nose has a faint scent of paraffin, lemon and apple. Several fast tears flow as the rim fragments into lacy patterns.  The first sip is a tasty and tart combination of apple and yellow plum, subtle at first then accumulating, light-bodied - didn't get 'escarpment terroir'. The finish shows some sweetness then ends tart and dry. Sipping is enjoyable almost interesting. Went well with chicken cheese - more cheese than chicken - penne from Metro. Pair with a shrimp salad or fowl/fish lightly seasoned.  85

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2010  VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Ontario,  13.0%  D  17.4g/L,  #302059   $17.95  (Tasted July 3, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on March 31, 2012.  My notes:   The 2006 vintage was tasted in June 2008 with an 88-1 rating.  The grapes for the 2010 vintage were from a single block of 27-year-old vines at Cave Spring Vineyard (Beamsville Bench). It's crystal clear with a honey tint to a soft light golden. The nose has a touch of honey and orange blossom to a spicy apricot, a swirl leaves a continuous lacy rim to slowly recede. There's a pleasing dryness to layers of pear and apricot along with a tasty spice that continues through a long luscious finish. It has a sweetness almost balanced by acid making this an appealing sipper for a summer gathering of friends. Paired nicely with braised/roasted duck legs with vegetables and would with Thai entrees. Cellaring for several years should be OK.  92

HUNTER'S 'JANE HUNTER' SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5% XD  1.8g/L, #280271  $19.95  (Tasted July 3, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on June 9, 2012 and rated 5 of 5 by, November 2011.  My notes: Clear with a tint of green and a luscious scent of crushed gooseberries makes for an interesting intro. The first sip penetrates the palate leaving plenty of early fruit to last through a long, extra dry finish. Warm but not too warm, a touch of brine, medium-bodied with a broad NZ profile, too prominent for roasted west coast salmon. Serve with roasted fowl or grilled cod in a seasoned tomato sauce.  Should cellar well for several years.  90

GRAY MONK RIESLING  2009 VQA Okanagan Valley, Okanagan, BC, 12.9%  D  9.8g/L,  #273466   $18.95  (Tasted July 7, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on March 3, 2012.  My notes:  An interesting nose on uncorking (actually unscrewing) - a green pea tint to mild apple. The colour is a light gold with see through clarity.  A lacy rimmed film sheds slow tears and a first sip has a mineral edge to granny smith flavours. The finish is short leaving a mineral layer on the palate, dry and perceptibly tart.  A minor sweetness detectable - also a mild acid and a low profile flavour makes this difficult to pair. Have with honey glazed scones or a mixed fruit salad leaning toward kiwi and melon slices - I'm having it with a Metro Sushi tray.  Not for cellaring and likely past it - a drink now.  82
SOGRAPE MATEUS ROSÉ NV, Portugal, 11.0%  D  17g/L, #000166  $8.95  (Tasted July 15, 2012)  CS  
A General listing produced by SoGrape.  My notes:  The last time I tasted Mateus was as a young engineer holding office parties in the basement of our new house in North York. Definitely sweet to the nose and taste - a somewhat melon strawberry candy floss that becomes sweeter when tasted. The slight surprisingly spritz disappears quickly.  The sweetness continues through the finish then declines finishing dry.  This was a common social rosé back when it ranked with Andres Baby Duck ($8.95) and Liebfraumilch ($9.85) and competed with lambrusco and concord  wines from Niagara.  Tastes have changed for most consumers from that era however some must justify having these products on LCBO shelves.  NR

REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT OCKFENER BOCKSTEIN RIESLING KABINETT 2008, Mosel, Germany,  7.5%  M  52g/L,  #606202   $16.95  (Tasted July 24, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on June 23, 2012 and rated 90 by Tony Aspler as well as the Wine Enthusiast (June 2010). Vintages lists this at 12.5% alcohol.  My notes:  I doubt this is the same wine reported/rated by the Wine Enthusiast as theirs was priced at $31.  Perhaps the 2008 is a lesser vintage?  This has a distinct floral honey, lemon, fig nose and a honey lemon on the palate. A lemon juice colour, smooth with a tangy seam that carries flavours on a long journey ending with balanced acid and sugar. The film leaves a lacy rim that immediately fragments sliding down to become lacy nodules. If you're looking for a sweet and tasty sipper this is it. Sipped alone it accumulates sufficient acid to be a tooth cleaner. A tray of cheeses or liver paté and 5-grain toasts would go well. Long term cellaring could bring even more character supporting aromas and flavours.  92
LUCIEN ALBRECHT RÉSERVE PINOT GRIS 2010, Alsace, France, 13.0%  D 11g/L, #281394    $15.95  (Tasted July 19, 2012)  CS
A Vintages release on June 23, 2012.  My notes:  Margaret Swaine gives this an 89.  A deep gold colour with a nose that needs some time to develop, a touch of honey on first pouring (14oC) - did not increase with temp. (18oC) - flavours intensify slightly. The film is solid then recedes into fragments. The first sip had a hint of sugar with a noticeable acid and subtle flavour of lemon honey carrying into a long finish retaining the tart and sweet, medium-bodied. Have as a refreshing sipper on a hot summer day or pair with grilled shrimp with creamy risotto, seared scallops or curried mussels.  Not an advantage to cellar - a drink now.  83

DOMAINE DE LA TOURLAUDIÈRE  MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE SUR LIE 2010, 12.0%  XD  3g/L, #171694  $13.95  (Tasted July 9, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on June 23, 2012 and a Gold Medal winner at the 2011 Concours des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants.  My notes:  Rod Phillips gives this 90-93 and Margaret Swaine, an 89 in her summer sippers listed in the  National Post, June 22. A light gold and negligible scent, perhaps mild honey, when served chilled. The film leaves a smooth layer on the glass then quickly recedes.  Warmed up to 18oC and the nose hasn't changed. The first sip is extra dry and chalkens the palate while an acid refreshes. A shallow sipper with flavours, lime and kiwi, becoming noticeable as the wine warms then finishes with waning fruit to a dry, mineral end. Have with sushi - without ginger, horseradish or wasabi. Did not contribute much to Asian Marinated Baked Ginger Chicken .  82

CODORNÍU PINOT NOIR BRUT ROSÉ CAVA NV, Penedès, Spain, 12.0%  XD   6-8g/L,  #665372 $17.95  (Tasted July 4, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on June 9, 2012 and rated 88 by John Szabo a long time ago.  My notes:  A significant variance between the LCBO sugar content and the winery's - the winery's is shown.  I must automatically look for this when I'm in need for a house bubbly - previously tasted Jul 2006, Dec 2007, Aug 2008 and Sep 2009 with consistent high 80's ratings.  A deep salmon colour with a burst of bubbles, all sizes, on opening then a steady stream of fine heading for the surface where they accumulate in small rings. The nose is mostly of mineral CO2 with a slight peach and rhubarb. The first sip has the tang of CO2 and taste of peach and apple, very slight - minor sweetness. A short dry finish provides incentive for further sips. Have after a three hour drive home from Peterborough (ON) on a 40oC+ sunny summer day or anytime when there's friends and nibbles. I'd add a few strawberry or peach slices to broaden appeal. A drink now.  86
EMILIANA SIGNOS DE ORIGEN 'LA VINILLA' CHARDONNAY/VIOGNIER/MARSANNE/ROUSSANNE 2010, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 14.5%  XD  3.14g/L,  #063909   $19.95  (Tasted July 19, 2012)  CS
A Vintages release on June 9, 2012, an organic wine and winner of a Gold Medal at the 2011 Coucours Mondial de Bruxelles.  A blend of (65%) Chardonnay, (20%) Viognier, (11%) Marsanne and (4%) Roussanne.  My notes:  A rich golden in the glass and a whiff of lemon zest masking a delicate floral and the scent of butterscotch. The lacy rim left by swirling flows slow tears that break into island fragments. Full-bodied, tart overcoming silk and lasting through a long flavourful finish ending on a dried lemon peel note. A Chardonnay variation makes for an interesting sipper - better suited as a complement to roast chicken or turkey, a ham steak or pork chop and apple sauce. Cellar for several years for a deeper profile or drink now.  92

PONZI  RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2009,  Willamette Valley,Oregon, 14.0%  D  6g/L, #236208  $38.95  (Tasted July 25, 2012)  CS

Released by Vintages on July 7, 2012 and rated 91 by Jay Miller (October, 2011) . The 2007 vintage was recommended in a tweet by Tony Aspler @tonyaspler however wasn't at Vintages.  From the Ponzi tasting notes:  "2009 proved to be very similar to the 2002 and 2006 vintage". My notes:  Priced $30 in Oregon. A mid golden in the glass with a citrus nose dulled by a tinge of vanilla. The film drops long slow legs from a broken rim. This has a viscous texture that shows with the first sip and an acid nicely balanced with delicate fruit: citrus and melon, coating the palate and lasting a long while. Not intense, full-bodied, nonintrusive, sipping slowly allows character to develop. Pairing with roast chicken, Cornish hen or white Turkey breast as a companion should be OK - will try soon. A drink now. 86

MT. BOUCHERIE 'ESTATE COLLECTION' SEMILLON 2008 VQA Okanagan Valley,  BC, Canada, 13.0%  D  3.8g/l, #279364  $19.95  (Tasted July 12, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on July 7, 2012.  My notes: Priced at $14.99 at the winery in BC. A bright gold with aromas of crushed lime seeds and lemon grass. The film shows a lacy rim that slowly breaks apart and recedes to tiny fragments. There's a firm bite to the first sip, a nice fullness and a sting to flavours of unsweetened grapefruit declining to a sharp lemon and mineral parching finish. Extra dry. Pair with fresh oysters, baked cod on lemon risotto or seared scallops or a shrimp stir fry. Reasonably priced in BC, not in ON. May be past peak depending on where it started.  87
FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Jordan, Ontario,  12.8%  XD  3g/L,  #286278  $16.95  (Tasted July 18, 2012)  CS

A Vintages release on July 7, 2012.   My notes: The winery website shows notes for the 2008 vintage. The label claim of a United Nations effort in harvesting and making of the FR wines, however, the results are in the bottle and not sitting at a negotiating table. A crystal clear mid gold with a hint of green and a nose hinting at a mineral aspect, slightly floral, somewhat grassy. The film sticks then slowly slides down the glass from an unbroken rim. A luscious first sip, medium-bodied, smooth, lightly silky, subtle lemongrass with refreshing acidity and a long finish. There's a lot to like as a sipper, part of the attractiveness is its mystery. Pairing with creamy sauces, mild cheeses and grilled seafood is a strength. Cellaring for several years is likely.  89
BABICH FAMILY ESTATES INDIVIDUAL VINEYARD 'FERNHILL' VIOGNIER   2010, Hawkes Bay, NZ, 14.0%  XD  2.4g/L,  #269282   $16.95  (Tasted tbd)  CS

A Vintages release on April 14, 2012. Rated 4 out of 5 by (no date)  My notes:  The product of a large commercial winery and has won several Awards .  Grapes are from the Fernhill vineyard in Hawkes Bay area - various yeast clones were used in the fermentation process. The colour is a light gold and the nose is a curious blend of cooked apple and lime building with each sniff - didn't get floral. The film is light and recedes quickly following a lacy rim.  The first sip has some tang, some lime, some cooked apple and orange flavours staying on the palate for a long finish ending with a mineral touch. This had a soft texture when matched with President's Choice crab cakes and snow peas - pair with lightly seasoned seafood or fowl - better as a sipper.  A Viognier with a predominant process influenced style.  83 

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