Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 A Simple Blind Tasting

The Setup
By 'simple' is meant 'if you even look serious you're not invited!'.

It was a slow day with the spouse having several tedious chores called 'housecleaning', ie. bathrooms, kitchen and vacuuming throughout.  I offered some help with 'glass cleaning' but my recent back surgery, at times, prevents me from doing too much bending or stretching. To get out of the way I wandered off to the LCBO for a few bottles, four is my 'load limit', if the temperature is around 0oC including wind chill. It's better to be out of sight when the mops are flying.

The three wines picked for this exercise were bagged appropriately and, with my memory, I promptly forgot which held which five minutes after. I felt like a squirrel preparing for winter but without the same mental capability come 'Spring'.

Our objective was to rank the wines in sequence top to bottom... and answer three questions: 

  • Which had the highest alcohol level?
  • Which was not a blend?
  • Name the country of origin.

Let the Games begin!  

Cheers, Ww

Conscensus after the Reveal:

1st Choice (N)  Mitolo Jester Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

  • Long legs and lacy film doesn't give away the alcohol level but the warmth in the finish says more alcohol showing of the three
  • Not a blend but an interesting Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Pungency and fullness says it's Australian

2nd Choice (I)  M. Gassier Nostre Pais Costieres de Nimes 2010

  • Alcohol shows as light silk
  • A soft blend of flavours, slight herb, going into a pleasing finish. Would be preferred depending on occasion.
  • A French level of Finesse

3rd Choice (W)  Arnaldo-Caprai Rosso Montefalco 2009

  • The lightest in body and colour of the three and made for quaffing - alcohol doesn't show
  • A cherry-leaning earthy blend by colour and flavour
  • Italian 

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Will This Book Help?

I asked this question last month (January 01, 2013) and now attempt to elaborate.

If anyone expects step-by-step instructions leading them to fuller 'tastings' they will be disappointed. The groundwork is there - also a framework and substantive instruction for any level of tasting, with wine and/or food. The bricks and mortar are included. So what's missing?

YOU!  You're to be the architect with plans for infusing at a personal level the essentials start through finish for 'tasting'. Words alone don't make it happen - however, you'll be better prepared to take it the extra step through the Practice sessions that supplement the Theory in each of the Chapters. The objective being to fulfill your enjoyment of tasting with wine as a focus - to recognize the nuances, the mystery and often dynamic interactions of today's world of wines.

I would begin this book at pg 198, wine and words - glossary. Reading each of the 177 terms starts the imprinting process, ie. gluing one word definitions to your vocabulary before they are tossed at you in the preceding Chapters. This preparation introduces new, corrects many being used inaccurately and erases those misapplied before reading them in proper context. This realigns some terms while not necessarily throwing out those that have worked for you in the past. Now, when one of the glossary terms appears, as they often do throughout the pages, your interpretation is consistent with the author's, in fact, the interpretation is the author's.

Each Chapter is organized as Theory and Practice sessions, pairings for each discussion point of that Chapter. For example the first Chapter on Learning to taste contains: How little we know/Theory/Practice followed by The importance of the nose/Theory/Practice, Sweetness in wine/Theory/Practice etc. until all twelve (or so) elements of the Chapter are covered.

The second Chapter, appropriately called Practical Matters pulls a tasting together in all its forms by describing event timing, the mood, the social and personal 'auras', the environment, wine temperatures, decanting, glasses, taking notes, spitting and ends with aspects of a Formal Tasting.

Having established the basics the remaining Chapters focus on 'the stars of the show': White grapes, Red grapes, Strong and Sparkling wines while the last Chapter, Wine/Food/Fun picks up any remaining fragments.
Summing it up:
Tackling the entire set of Theory & Practice pairs of each Chapter is too ambitious in my view. Taken a few at a time to fit budget and interests is more practical (and likely intended). Also transposing what is possible in the Western world controlled by our monopoly versus Jancis' professional, euro-centric world could be impractical. But you don't know without trying... reading the book is the first step!

My opinion, Ww

Friday, February 01, 2013

February 2013 Wines: 24 Tasted of 24

Some juggling took place between January and February - hopefully I haven't dropped any labels as a result - a handful of wines were added.... and some more wines were moved to March.

*Photo courtesy of Wordpress
 ....and some comments regarding the parallel between 'Wolf in Sheep's Clothing' and the tiers of wines, including 'lookalikes', being marketed in Ontario/Canada with the question: Who is there to protect the young buyer - in experience not age - in the wine market? A rhetorical question since everyone is selling! SELL! SELL! 

There is no reliable source to which a consumer can go for an independent or informative position. Label promoters have infiltrated every wine club, supermarket, even offering trendy samples at LCBO entrances. The unspoken advice is 'Trust your taste'. I say that's fine for a soft drink...  not for a wine. If you want to satisfy a thirst squeeze an orange! Sip a Cooler!  Finding truth and perspective in a sea of missing and misinformation is not easy.
A side issue... I've noticed a significant increase in the number of expensive wines on the Vintages shelves in the Outlet near me - by 'expensive' I mean above the $40 price point. In this case perhaps it's a push by a single Vintages Manager. Could it also be a push by the LCBO to squeeze higher profits from those customers that can be talked into going there? I may have to switch my Outlet.

... and the abbreviation ICB has come my way a few times this month. Translated by Jancis Robinson as 'Incredibly Cold Blood'... and my own, 'Incredibly Crude Beverage'. Do you have your own interpretation or perhaps you find them acceptable as wine? (Ref 1) There is yet another lower tier I'd like to bring forward... it's unbelievable what some will do building their fortune on the gullibility of wine newbies. I'll refer to this tier as 'Buffoon wines' - wines watered down in varietal, character and alcohol and plastered with a colourful jacket. The Governments, both Federal and Provincial, are major benefactors from this charade - bottle it like wine, price it to fit a tier and use similar labelling to match a wine image. The label address is Kelowna and/or Niagara - inference says it's Canadian (wine)!  Some heritage families living in a Wine Region thrive from their neighbours integrity. Today they hide under a sheep's skin of consumer naivety, industry timidity and government complicity.  One day they'll find their place on the Cola and Mountain Dew shelves and be priced accordingly.  Then and only then will they disappear.

Just my opinion,

Ref. 1   In this same article Jancis Robinson gives a clear perspective of the latitude, unique in the world of wines, Canadian regulators give to 'wine': 
"The wine regulators and the Canadian brand owners who bottle these products may not be committing murder but they seem to me to be deceiving the wine-buying public into thinking that all these concoctions are made from the fermented juice of freshly picked grapes – the definition of “wine” that is commonly accepted outside Canada."

  THE LINEUP - grouped by reds, whites and bubblies:

  • Azienda Agricola Ca' del Monte Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2007, 94-3  --  O, Negra. Italy  $22.00/btl  $263.40/Case 
  • Tedeschi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2007,  93-2  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #695395 (375 mL)  $20.95
  • Seghesio Family Vineyards Sonoma County Zinfandel 2010,  92-2  --  V, Sonoma, California, #942151 $29.95
  • L.A. Cetto Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 91-3  --  V, Guadalupe Valley, Mexico, #114066 $11.95 
  • Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, 90a  --  V, Napa Valley, California, #255513  $34.95 
  • L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo Private Reserve 2008,  89-1  --  V, Guadalupe Valley, Mexico,  #590182 $18.95
  • Volpaia Chianti Classico 2009, 89-1  --  V, Tuscany, Italy, #953828 $23.95 
  • L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah 2010,  87-1  --  V, Guadalupe Valley, Mexico,  #983742  $11.95 
  • Terra d'Aligi Tatone Montepulicano d'Abruzzo 2009, 86*  --  V,  d'Abruzzo, Italy, #994616 $15.95
  • Cline Cellars Cashmere 2010,  84a  --  V, Sonoma, California, #161539 $19.95 
  • Wakefield Pinot Noir 2011, 83  --  V, South & Western Australia, #197392 $17.95
  • Castellare di Castellina Chianti Classico Riserva 2008,  83  --  V, Tuscany, Italy, #508507 $29.95
  • Opawa Pinot Noir 2010, 82  --  V,  Marlborough, NZ,  #295584 $17.95 
  • Duck Shoot Pinot Noir 2010,  81a  --  V, Yarra Valley, Australia, #311373 $17.95 

  • Brancott Estate Letter Series 'B' Sauvignon Blanc 2011, 94-3  --  G, Marlborough, NZ, #278689 $19.95 
  • Henri Bourgeois 'Les Baronnes' Sancerre 2011, 94-3  --  V, Loire, France, #542548  $24.95 
  • Miguel Torres Cordillera de los Andes Chardonnay 2011,  90-2 --  V, Limari Valley, Chile, #296624  $18.95
  • The Little Grape That Could Torrontés NV,  86-1  --  G,  Argentina, #274738 $11.80
  • Sonoma-Cutrer 'Russian River Ranches' Chardonnay 2011,  83  --  V, Sonoma Coast, California, #608653 $23.95* 
  • Wente Vineyards 'Morning Fog' Chardonnay 2011,  82  --  G,  Livermore Valley, California,  #175430 $16.95 
  • Trapiche Broquel Chardonnay 2011,  81  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina,  #270231  $13.95
  • Conundrum 2011, 81  --  V, California, #694653 $24.95    
  • Flagstone 'Word of Mouth' Viognier 2011, 78  --  V, Western Cape, S. Africa,  #278408 $16.95 

  • Louis Bouillot Perle Rare Brut Cremant de Bourgogne 2008,  82  --  V, Burgundy, France, #178137  $19.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


BRANCOTT ESTATE LETTER SERIES 'B' SAUVIGNON BLANC 2011 ,  Marlborough, NZ, 13.0%  XD  2.3g/L, #278689  $19.95  (Tasted February 23, 2013CS

A General listing and a Pernod Ricard Pacific Pty Ltd product - previously known as Montana Wines.  My notes:  Freshly opened this has the full aroma of crushed gooseberries accompanied by a chalky presence. A thin film lays a lacy rim with the immediate shedding of fast tears. A pale blond, crystal clear. Refreshingly tart from the first sip keeping the fruit freshness even as it fades into a chalky dry finish. Wonderful to sip from chilled to off chill (not too so), possibly brighter than a Cloudy Bay, almost as full a texture and dryyyy more than smooth. Perfect match for bearded mussels, Tiger shrimp through to crab cakes. Cellaring a few years would be OK - check after first.  94


LOUIS BOUILLOT PERLE RARE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE 2008, Burgundy, France, 12.0%  XD  10g/L, #178137   $19.95  (Tasted February 27, 2013CS

Release by Vintages on May 12, 2012.  A blend of 60 % Chardonnay, 35 % Pinot Noir and 5% Gamay.  My notes: A slight scent of yeast scent adds to the Granny Smith apple for a muted nose.  Varied size bubbles burst on pouring with no froth at the rim although there is a continuous stream of fine bubbles and a fine spritz on the tongue. Tart, no sense of sweet, some roundness with sparse flavour carrying through a dry finish. Have with cheese and saltine crackers, fresh oysters or buttered breakfast waffles with maple syrup and strawberries - I had with crab cakes. A drink now.  82
ROBERT MONDAVI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009, Napa Valley, California, 14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #255513  $34.95  (Tasted March 9, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2012.  A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% malbec.  My notes:  Fresh crushed blueberry, raspberry with black currant backbone, some herbal, for a nose. The colour is purple and charcoal tinged ruby, tangy while a swirl leaves a smooth rim shedding slow legs. A silky feel with tannin layering the palate and woody currant/berry/herb mix for flavour. A long finish accentuates the dryness - aerating evens out profile slightly for pre-dinner or social sipping. Pair with The Keg steaks or Barbarian rubbed bbq'd back ribs.  Likely at peak but a few more years cellaring should increase smoothness.  90a

VOLPAIA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2009, Tuscany, Italy, 13.5%  XD  xg/L, #953828  $23.95  (Tasted March 7, 2013CS
Released by Vintages on November 24, 2012 and rated 91 by Ian D'Agata (International Wine Cellar, September 2012).  My notes: A tour of the winery is available by clicking here . The depth of colour leads one to believe this is full-bodied then a mild fruity nose and a swirl leaving a rim of fast legs suggests medium-bodied which is confirmed by the first sip of a tangy edge of red cherry softened with dark chocolate. Have with anything in a smooth tomato sauce or a savoury lamb stew.  Mild flavours balanced with acid and tannin grow with each quaff and carry through to a dry finish. This could cellar for a few years.  89
HENRI BOURGEOIS 'LES BARONNES' SANCERRE 2011, Loire, France, 13.0%  XD  4g/L, #542548  $24.95  (Tasted February 20, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2012.  My notes: Air for twenty minutes - no harm if off chill -  to allow nose to mellow - starts 'barnyard-y' then picks up an imposing herbal. A swirl sets a thin film showing a fragmenting rim to run fast tears.  A faint gold colour precedes a chalky first sip, smooth and full, with grapefruit pith staying while dryness brings a mineral edged finish. Not for general entertaining but save for those into classic whites - then to be enjoyed. Have with a delicate mushroom sauce or scallops & shrimp in an arborio rice dish.  Cellaring for several years is likely but drinking well now.  94

SEGHESIO FAMILY VINEYARDS SONOMA COUNTY ZINFANDEL 2010, Sonoma, California, 14.8%  D  5g/L, #942151  $29.95  (Tasted February 5, 2013CS

Release by Vintages on November 10, 2012 and rated 93 by Steve Heimoff  of Wine Enthusiast (March 1, 2012).  My notes:  80,000 cases produced and priced at $24.00 at the winery. A thin film leaves a tentative rim dropping fast legs to lead the way to scattered islands. There's a light spice to a polite blackberry aroma and the first sip is a well balanced acid, roundness and woody blackberry flavouring. The finish adds a fresh edge to the fruit and lasts long enough to coat the palate with warmth and pleasing remnants of dried fruit. This is a red well suited to prime rib au jus or rosemary encrusted rack of lamb.  Cellaring several years could deepen character while mellowing the acid. 92

CASTELLARE DI CASTELLINA CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2008, Tuscany, Italy, 13.55%  XD  5g/L, #508507  $29.95  (Tasted March 2, 2013CS
Release by Vintages on September 29, 2012 and rated 90 by Antonio Galloni  (August 2011).
  My notes: 13,420 bottled. A slight adobe to the edge with a firm film slowly releasing tears from a solid rim. The nose is of cherries, berries and red currants, warming the senses. The first sip is nicely tangy, silky with some milk chocolate to the berry/cherry combination heading to a finish that is chalk dry. Not a sipper unless your preference is for medium-bodied, light on fruit and exceptionally dry. Pair with pizzas or pastas, tomato-y and/or meaty. A drink now - passed peak. 83  

TEDESCHI AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2007, Veneto, Italy, 15.5%  XD  10g/L,  #695395 (375 mL)  $20.95   (Tasted March 9, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on October 13, 2012 and rate 93 by Alison Napjust  (October 31, 2011).  My notes: A full bottle (750mL) size of Vintages Tedeschi Amarone #433417 ( CS ) is priced at $39.95 and was released April 18, 2012.  The colour is a deep ruby tinged with charcoal and a black cherry flesh at the meniscus. The film is heavy forming swelling tears from a rounded rim. Aromas of damp earth mellowed by mocha and cassis form part of an evolving nose - interesting as a sipper. A silk and velvet texture carries smoky prune flavours through a long dry finish. Slow, if you can, sipping or to be paired with a sumptuous savoury ragout as a treat. Drinking well now and could cellar several more years. 93
AZIENDA AGRICOLA CA' DEL MONTE VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE RIPASSO 2007, Umbria. Italy, 13.5% XD 6g/L, Tannin Fine Wines,  $263.40/case  (Tasted February 18, 2013)

My notes: There's a rich dark cherry skin colour and an alluring
aroma rich with cherries, vanilla and warm cigar smoke. A thin film lays a clean rim that runs slow legs then reluctantly fragments. The first sip is silky with a bright penetrating acid and fine tannin for a puckering dryness. Sipping slowly to absorb the aromas and delaying sips lets one enjoy fruit changing to a warm finish. Ripasso adds considerable character to this red. A flexible red for many pasta dishes... or have with roasted stews, bq'd ribs or The Keg steaks. Could be at peak now with several years to go. Aerating mellows acids somewhat but not needed. 94

TERRA D'ALIGI TATONE MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2009, d'Abruzzo, Italy,  14.0%  XD  8g/L,  #994616  $15.95  (Tasted February 21, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on September 29, 2012.  My notes: I enjoyed the 2006 vintage rating it 93 and the price has held.  The colour is a dense blackberry to match the nose, a spicy blackberry blended with black cherry and whisper of vanilla.  The film sticks forming a smooth rim that drains slowly through rows of tears. Smooth, penetrating acid, fine tannin and a bright blend of tart cherries that quickly parched the palate. A sipper with a bold edge setting it  apart from other social reds. Pair with any meaty tomato pasta, add slices of Portuguese chorizo. Already at peak...*the open bottle went downhill (80) by next day.  86

L.A. CETTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010, Guadalupe Valley, Mexico,  13.5%  XD  6g/L,  #114066  $11.95  (Tasted February 25, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on January 19, 2013.  My notes: The Petit Sirah and Zinfandel have been 88+ and this should be no different altho' a dollar higher.   This leaves a clear even film forming a solid rim followed by tiers of slow tears.  A rich fruit aroma warm to the senses and an  earthy black- and blue-berry scent. The first sip rewards with a silky texture, full in the mouth, warm in the throat and washing the palate with dry berry fruit. To be welcomed by anyone regardless of their wine orientation. Have with prime rib, likely better with a rubbed sirloin steak or meaty back ribs, anything bbq'd.  Cellaring should be possible for 4 to 6 years - but delectable out of the bottle now.  91

L.A. CETTO PETITE SIRAH 2010, Guadalupe Valley, Mexico,  13.5%  D  4g/L,  #983742  $11.95  (Tasted February 23, 2013) CS

Released by Vintages on January 5, 2013. Winner of a Gold Medal Concours Mondial Bruxelles 2012.  My notes: A pull tab to remove the foil and a smooth pulling cork makes this A+ convenient.  There's a purple tinge to the deep ruby colour and milk chocolate edge to fresh berries, rasp- and -straw.  The film lays firmly from a solid rim before falling tears drain away. Silky, tangy, slight sweet to the berries at this point then adds a faint tar to muted berries until a dry, flavourful finish. Given the price this would appeal to both hosts as well as guests. Have as an open bar quaffer or pair with a mixed beef or lamb buffet: hamburgers, turkey sliders, roasted ribs, seasoned rack of lamb.  Keep several on hand for unexpected visitors but not really meant for cellaring.  87 

L.A. CETTO PRIVATE RESERVE NEBBIOLO 2008,  Guadalupe Valley, Mexico, 13.5%  XD  5g/L, #590182  $18.95  (Tasted February 19, 2013) CS
Released by Vintages on February 2, 2013.  My notes: There's some purple to the deep ruby giving this red a rich depth. A swirl leaves a fragmented rim running long fast legs and the first sip has flavours of blackberries dipped in dark chocolate, muted but enough there for pleasant sniffing. The first sip bursts with flavour combined with a mild acid and accompanied by a layer of fine tannin - difficult not to quaff.  Fades quickly to extra dry fruit with a lining of tannin. Pair with meaty entrees, savoury stews or prime rib au jus. Cellaring a short while is possible - likely at peak.  89  

CONUNDRUM 2011, California, 13.5%  M  12g/L,  #694653  $24.95  (Tasted February 26, 2013CS

A Vintages release on April 18, 2012. My notes:  The 2009 vintage was tasted March 2011 with a 91 rating. This has a golden colour, crisp and clear with an aroma of muted sweet straw. The film sticks then slowly recedes evenly forming some islands on the glass. The first sip has a touch of sweetness ending with a chalky layer on the tongue and minor melon flavourings - the sugar gets in the way to be enticing. A pleasing texture, a lightish medium-bodied with acid balancing sweet.  Serve to a convivial crowd not looking for the exceptional or pair with rotisserie'd whole chicken and mixed veggies, seafood dishes or a Chinese buffet. A drink now. 81

WENTE VINEYARDS 'MORNING FOG' CHARDONNAY 2011,  Livermore Valley, California,  13.5%  D  8g/L,  #175430   $16.95  (Tasted February 20, 2013CS

A General listing.  My notes:  I missed the 2011 vintage notes on their website being curious about a possible gewurz/semillon content as in 2006/2005 vintages. This is a pale blond, crisp and clear with a scent of lemongrass and taste of tart melon and slight green apple. The film is thin laying a fragmented rim that runs fast tears. Not my first choice as a sipper as I find the flavours follow the vegetal side of the nose then through a fading finish ending dry, tart - perhaps more process than vineyard. Paired with seafood or chicken it refreshes between bites and has a soft touch. Label shows hi & lo ratings over previous vintages.  82

FLAGSTONE 'WORD OF MOUTH' VIOGNIER 2011, Western Cape, S. Africa,  14.0%  D  5g/L,  #278408   $16.95  (Tasted February 14, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on July 7, 2012 and a Constellation Europe winery.  My notes:  A briny edge to a grapefruit and lemon scent and a pale straw in colour. The film sticks and slowly recedes from a fragmenting rim. Silky, a prominent tang and grassy flavours of kiwi and melon fade leaving a remnant of fruit then an enduring lanolin dryness.  A medium-bodied commercial white - no hint of floral and not a sipper - possibly a match for grilled seafood. 78

SONOMA-CUTRER 'RUSSIAN RIVER RANCHES' CHARDONNAY 2011, Sonoma Coast, California,  13.9%  XD  2g/L, #608653  $23.95*   (Tasted February 22, 2013CS

A Vintages release on April 18, 2012 with price reduced from $26.95 until February 3, 2013.  My notes:  A green tint sets off the crisp mid gold colour showing the tiniest of effervescence. A quick swirl leaves a heavily fragmented rim that sheds long fast legs.  A hint of Bosc pear, tart apple and faint floral for a nose and the flavour of cooling biscuits top a swell of tangy green apple. Let go off chill to increase a fullness to carry mineral cast flavours until they slowly decline to a long astringent finish. Not a sipper but to be paired with shellfish or fish dishes. I'll try with tonight's sushi/sashimi.  83

MIGUEL TORRES CORDILLERA DE LOS ANDES CHARDONNAY 2011, Limari Valley, Chile, 13.5%  D  7g/L,  #296624   $18.95  (Tasted February 11, 2013CS

A Vintages release on October 13, 2012.  My notes: A mid golden with a mixed nose, mainly a mild Irish Breakfast and bright lemongrass, refreshing and distinct. The first sip skips right past the nose with its soft buttery texture, pleasing tartness and a light butterscotch flavour to engage the palate. There's a dry edge that continues through a long chalky finish. Pair with grilled kippers, a rash of bacon with sunny side eggs or other grilled seafoods. This should age well.  90

CLINE CELLARS CASHMERE 2010, Sonoma, California, 14.0%  D  9g/L, #161539  $19.95  (Tasted February 22, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on January 19, 2013. A blend of Mourvèdre, Syrah and Grenache and rated 87 by Robert Parker Jr. (August 2011).  20,000 cases produced.  My notes: A floral aspect of each grape wafts on the first pour - raspberry, blackberry, spicy red cherry bound together by smooth chocolate and faint vanilla. The colour is a deep berry and the first sip is a blend of red currant and blueberry quickly changing to a metallic tooth cleaner. Initially the nose appeals as a social sipper and the initial fruit quickly shifts to a dry, ascerbic metal that loses appeal in the long run. Have with beefy entrees. If cellared may lose some acid allowing fruit to come forward but not likely. Aeration takes some edge off.   84     

THE LITTLE GRAPE THAT COULD TORRONTÉS NV, Argentina,  12.5%  D  11g/L,  #274738   $11.80  (Tasted February 18, 2013CS
A General listing.  My notes: If I'm going to pay $12 for a  wine it's going to be a known grape with a country of origin.... and 100% of the profit going to a charity of my choice is an additional plus.  Two grapes from this label are available at the LCBO, Cabernet Sauvignon #277020 and Torrontés. A faint blond colour with a film that easily fragments and runs long legs down the glass. The aroma is a blend of lemon grass and slight melon nothing exciting but nothing offensive if sipping. The finish is silky with more than a touch of sweet lasting awhile leaving a melon roundness. An open bar offering or one to go with a seafood paella, baked halibut or cod. Quaff off chill for fullness and flavour. A social drink now. 86

TRAPICHE BROQUEL CHARDONNAY 2011,  Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  3g/L,  #270231  $13.95  (Tasted February 17, 2013
A General listing.  My notes:  A pale blond colour, crisp and clear, with a lemon zest scent with faint melon as a nose. A swirl leaves a lacy rim drained evenly by a light film. Tangy, lemon and melon flavoured ending with a mineral and light chalk feel. Extra dry, on the bland side as a finish - minimally better off chill as a sipper - more of a meal white with chicken or seafood. A drink now. 81 

DUCK SHOOT PINOT NOIR 2010, Yarra Valley, Australia, 13.0% D  5g/L, #311373  $17.95  (Tasted February 28, 2013CS
A Vintages release on February 2, 2013 - rated 92 by David Prestipino The Sunday Times (February 18, 2012).  My notes:  A dusty charcoal turns the see through to sombre while the nose picks up a just perceptible strawberry scent.  A swirl leaves a thin film and a fragmenting rim that sheds slow tears.  A first sip has an initial tang that penetrates then leaves a drying tannin with scant wild berry flavours. As a sipper the texture is smooth but lacks a distinct fruit flavour leading to a shallow finish. In my view this is mislabelled neither being the boisterous gallery of a midway nor a whizbang Pinot. Aerate to lessen tannins. A possible pair for grilled rainbow trout on a bed of Arborio rice. An alternative is 'O' Pinot Noir by Gilles Louvet Organic 201x  (#292995 $14.10)  81a

WAKEFIELD PINOT NOIR 2011, South & Western Australia, 14.0%  D  5g/L, #197392   $17.95  (Tasted February 12, 2013
Release by Vintages on January 19, 2013 - rated 87 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar (July 2012).  My notes: A light see-through ruby in colour and a swirl leaves patches of film slowly fragmenting.  A blend of raspberry and strawberry aromas, tangy with an earthy tone masking the fruit. The first sip is light-bodied with a drying tannin starting out strong on musty, if sipped, fruit slowly fading flavours to a dry touch of wood warm in the throat. Went nicely with Chinese Spaghetti and Meatballs and should with most soy flavoured stir-fry's or sirloin slices in a savoury sauce. Not much to cellar so a drink now. 83

OPAWA PINOT NOIR 2010, Marlborough, NZ,  13.5%  D  4g/L, #295584  $17.95  (Tasted February 13, 2013CS
Released by Vintages on January 19, 2013.  My notes: Rated 80 by Bob Campbell MW. The winery website doesn't show this vintage... Natalie MacLean's website shows label for 2011 with a high rating - makes you wonder what her team tasted? There's a slight sweetness to a perfumed aroma of mild strawberry and a swirl leaves a smooth film to recede slowly from a lacy rim.  The colour is a charcoal tinted, see-through strawberry. The first sip is light-bodied with a bright edge to an apple, berry, candy floss flavour and leaves a long, dry layer when sipped. Combine with a Chinese buffet or Japanese Tempura shrimp and broccoli flowers. Cellaring is past due for this vintage. 82