Monday, April 01, 2013

April 2013 Wines: 19 Tasted of 19

Showtime Ladies!
The wines to be tasted during April are listed below. Feel free to comment or, if you feel like it, buy a bottle and let me know what you think.  Thanks and have a great Spring!!

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

  • Lander-Jenkins Vineyards 'Spirit Hawk'  Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 92-2  --  V,  St. Helena, California, #161398 $18.95
  • Nieto Senetiner Gran Reserva Malbec/Petit Verdot 2010, 90-2  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #295170  $17.95 
  • Château Saint-Roche Chimères 2010, 90-2  --  V, Midi, France, #119354  $18.95 
  • Tedeschi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2008, 90 --  V, Veneto, Italy, #695395 $40.95 
  • Devil's Corner Pinot Noir 2011,  89-1  --  V, Tasmania, Australia, #317966 $20.95 
  • Le Gravillas Vin Doux Naturel Rasteau 2009, 87  --  V, Rhône, France, #286245 (500mL) $19.95
  • Tim Adams Cabernet/Malbec 2006, 87a -- V, Clare Valley, Australia, #295535  $26.95 
  • Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010, 87  --  V, Napa Valley, California, #255513 $31.95* 
  • Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Private Selection 2011, 85a  --  V, Napa Valley, California, #392225 $15.95 
  • Zinfatuation Zinfandel Amador County 2010, 84  --  G, Napa County, California,  #274746 $14.95*
  • Bodegas Pablo Menguante Seleccion Garnacha 2007, 82a  --  V, Cariñena, Spain, #313833 $16.95  
  • Miguel Torres Cordillera de los Andes Reserva Privada Carmenère 2007, 80  --  V, Central Valley, California, #301432 $19.95 

Cocky as a Robin
  • Cave Spring Chardonnay Musqué Estate Bottled 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench, 90-2  --  V, Niagara, Ontario, #246579 $15.95
  • MountAdam Barossa Chardonnay 2010, 90-2  --  V, Eden Valley, South Australia, #641878 $17.95
  • Malivoire Musqué Spritz 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, 87  --  V, Niagara, Ontario, #189670 $19.95
  • Domaine de Fussiacus Vieilles Vignes Pouilly-Fuissé 2010,  82 --  V, Burgundy, France, #276444 $23.95 
  • Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2012, 75  --  V,  Renwick, NZ, #316570 $16.95
Shrill as a Redwing

  • Claude Riffault la Noue Sancerre Rosé 2011, 88-1 --  V, Loire, France, #323626 $19.95

  • Schloss Wachenheim Riesling Trocken Traditionelle Flaschengarung Sekt NV, 88-1 --  V, Pfalz, Germany, #301366 $16.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


ROBERT MONDAVI PRIVATE SELECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011, Central Coast, California,  14.0%  D  8g/L, #392225  $15.95*  (Tasted April 4, 2013
A General listing and reduced from $17.95 until April 1, 2013.  My notes:  A purple hued ruby, dense and deep with the scent of blackberries and a wisp of dark chocolate. The film is thin and fragments evenly across the glass. The first sip is medium-bodied to light, has a smooth texture, a fine tannin, polite acid and a flavour of crushed blueberries and currants. A dry mouth with berry flavour continues through a long finish, a touch of wood and heat at the end.  Have with a T-bone, sirloin or rack of lamb, burgers or pepperoni pizza - easily quaffed. A drink now - aerating removes a slight roughness. 85a

ROBERT MONDAVI CABERNET SAUVIGNON  NAPA VALLEY 2010,  Napa Valley, California, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #255513   $31.95*  (Tasted April 22, 2013CS
A Vintages release on April 18, 2013 and reduced from $34.95 until April 1, 2013. (Price at winery is $28). 
A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Syrah, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec.  My notes:  A half bottle was tasted on March 9th (notes in February blog) this year and rated 90. The colour is deep purple on pouring with a black currant and black berry nose that needs thirty minutes to develop, then delicate not full. A thin film leaves a solid rim slow to drop slow tears that lead to a crusting of small nodules. Smooth with dry tannins, fine and leading to a bright flavouring of blackberry fruit. Long and dry with conservative fruit until another sip is started. Have with a buffet of stuffed mushrooms or bacon bruschetta or a grilled steak. We served with a savoury plate of calf's liver and vegetable side and it found its place. Cellaring a few more years could be worthwhile but, overall, a disappointing value. 87

TEDESCHI AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2008, Veneto, Italy,  15.5%  XD  10g/L, #433417   $40.95  (Tasted April 30, 2013CS
Released by Vintages  on April 18, 2012. My notes:  A half bottle size, vintage 2007 #695395, was tasted on March 9 this year and rated 93. A year later vintage and some noticeable differences - a herbal hint touches a plum and slight cranberry nose intensifying served in a wide bowl. The colour is a deep plum and a swirl leaves a firm film running slow legs from a continuous rim.  The texture is noticeably viscous with light tannins and a smooth ripened plum flavour - a mild tang and pleasingly gulpable. The finish is warm with sustained soft fruit. Less cassis and mocha in this vintage. Any savoury meaty meal would pair nicely. A drink now.  90

MIGUEL TORRES CORDILLERA DE LOS ANDES RESERVA PRIVADA CARMENÈRE  2007,  Central Valley, Chile, 13.5%  XD  5g/L,  #301432  $19.95  (Tasted April 17, 2013

Released by Vintages on February 16, 2013. A blend of 50% Carmenère, 35% Merlot and 15% Petit Verdot.  My notes:  White pepper attracts some interest along with light aromas of crushed red currant and black cherry. The colour is a deep black cherry skin and a swirl leaves a sticky film running long, slow legs. A penetrating acid stings the throat delaying flavours of black fruit that on arrival fade quickly then a woody layer of velvet.  An extra dry sipper whose interest wanes quickly. Better with something savoury and fatty: bacon wrapped filet mignon, sweet Italian or English sausage on a bun, a hamburger with cheese, etc. Well past peak... aerating and decanting had minor effect with the roughness retained.  80

SCHLOSS WACHENHEIM  RIESLING TROCKEN TRADITIONELLE FLASCHENGÄRUNG SEKT, Pfalz, Germany, 12.0%  D  21g/L, #301366  $16.95  (Tasted April 18, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on January 5, 2013.  Bottle Fermented in the same manner as Champagne.  My notes:  The Sparkling Castle appears to be their claim to fame.   A bright gold with a profusion of bubbles, all sizes, on pouring.  A mild pie dough with a sharp lemon scent and the mineral dryness of carbon dioxide hits the nostrils. A followup sip shows the extra dry cleansing of the palate with a sharp lemon taste. A full spritz continues refreshing the full palate making this an easy compliment with chicken fingers or deep fried fish with chips. Could be an economical toaster at the next special event - keep a few cellared for an impromptu celebration.  88
CAVE SPRING CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ ESTATE BOTTLED 2010 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  2.5g/L, #246579 $15.95  (Tasted tbd) 

Release by Vintages on March 16, 2013.   My notes: Beppi Crosariol's article  reminded me that this, a long time favourite in ours, is one we haven't tasted since September last year. At the time a Release date wasn't given in the LCBO writeup and the sugar level on the Cave Spring website is shown as 2.5g/L. My rating for the 2006 vintage (May 2008) was 92, the 2007 vintage (May 2009) 90-2 and the 2010 (September 2012) 88. The colour of the 2010 is a light gold and has a toasty tangerine scent needing ten or so minutes to develop unless served off chill (recommended). The rim is lacy and cascades fast tears that drain a moderate film quickly. A sip lays a spicy orange zest for the taste buds with a finish that endures then is chalk dry with a touch of olive oil on the lips. An intriguing sipper or pair with mussels in a mild curry sauce, fresh oysters and seafood dishes. Cellar up to five years. 90

MALIVOIRE MUSQUÉ SPRITZ 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara, Ontario, 9% MS 47g/L, #189670  $19.95  (Tasted April 9, 2013

Release by Vintages on July 7, 2012. My notes:  My rating for the 2009 vintage (April 2010) was 85. This also has a pale blond colour with varied sized bubbles sticking to the glass and a stone fruit aroma edged with sweetness. A bright first sip suitable for a summer afternoon on the deck and a possible substitute for toasting at an outside event. The finish ends with chalk, a touch of sweet apricot and an appealing tartness - I'd add a squeeze of lime. Sweeter than SoGrape’s Gazela Vinho Verde (#141432 at $8.95) but similar in fruit and style. 87

LE GRAVILLAS VIN DOUX NATUREL RASTEAU 2009, Rhône, France, 17.0%  M  58g/L, #286245  $19.95  (Tasted April 1, 2013CS
Released by Vintages on October 13, 2012 and described as "Vin Doux Naturel is a sweet wine made by arresting the fermentation process by adding neutral grape spirit. Those from Rasteau contain at least 90% Grenache."  My notes: An aroma of ripened black cherries, blackcurrant blended evenly and edged with black pepper. The colour is deep ruby tinted with noble purple and a swirl leaves a firm film with long legs flowing from a solid rim. Sweet? Yes. Enough for a smooth coating on the palate. A tang combines with fine tannins to carry the fruit a long while. Decant or air an hour to get the most in aroma and Grenache profile. Sip with a tray of soft cheeses or pair with mild Tandoori, Szechuan or Thai. Past peak - a drink now.  87

DEVIL'S CORNER PINOT NOIR 2011, Tasmania, Australia, 13.5%  D  8g/L,  #317966  $20.95  (Tasted April 1, 2013) 
CSReleased by Vintages on March 2, 2013.  My notes: A delicate aroma of plums with a floral accent that grows in intensity. The colour is a dusty rose see through in candle light. A swirl leaves a lacy rim to recede into small islands. The first sip is silky smooth with fine tannins, a tartness and leaving a brambly cherry before a dry mineral. An interesting medium-bodied sipper to be served slightly chilled - look for changes with social nibbles or pair with grilled salmon, a shrimp kebob or sushi combo. May keep a few years yet.  89  
CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES  2010, Midi, France, 14.0%  XD  6g/L, #119354   $18.95  (Tasted April 6, 2013

Released by Vintages on March 30, 2013 and rated 90 by Robert Parker Jr. (June 2012). A blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah and 10% Carignan.  My notes:  On opening there's a dull cast to the black cherry colour and a sun provoked aroma of ripened fruit. The film is moderate leaving a rim that fragments quickly. Acid, tannin and fruit combine for a bright texture with flavours from the inviting first sip. Blended remnants carry through a long finish leaving the palate dry and full of sharp fruit. A medium-bodied sipper or a complement with a prime rib, a flank steak or beef bourguignon. Should cellar several years but very drinkable now. 90

DOMAINE DE FUSSIACUS VIEILLES VIGNES POUILLY-FUISSÉ 2010, Burgundy, France, 13.5%  XD  3g/L, #276444   $23.95  (Tasted April 12, 2013) CS
Released by Vintages on January 5, 2013.  My notes:  The 2009 vintage of Domaine de Fussiacus Macon-Fuissé, #279000 $16.95 and rated 86, was a 'favourite' at the 2012 Gourmet Food & Wine Show in Toronto attended in November that year. The Pouilly-Fuissé is priced higher but curiosity got the best of me.  A mid yellow colour with some lingerings of oak treatment, a slight butterscotch with no sweetness giving a rancid aspect to the nose. Slow tears flow from a rim that recedes as lacy fragments. The first sip has a dry, thin texture, more grass and minimal fruit - not a sipper. Have with grilled or roasted fish, toasted coconut shrimp or buttered crab cakes, something with flavour. A drink now rather than cellaring. 82

MOUNTADAM BAROSSA CHARDONNAY 2010, Eden Valley, South Australia, 14.5%  D  8g/L, #641878  $17.95  (Tasted April 22, 2013CS
Released by Vintages on March 2, 2013 and rated 92 by James Halliday (November 7, 2011).  My notes: Unoaked.  A pale golden colour with a fruity scent of freshly sliced lemon/lime. The film is form and lays a solid rim that flows long legs taking time to recede. Silky smooth with a polite tang and delicate lemon  flavours, perhaps with a light butter for roundness. The finish ends quickly on a tangy note and fresh fruit. Three years in bottle and another three likely developing more depth and silk. A fruity chard sipper or complement with grilled cod or grouper filet and risotto or arborio rice. 90

ZINFATUATION ZINFANDEL AMADOR COUNTY 2010,  Napa County, California,  13.9%  D  8g/L,  #274746  $14.95*  (Tasted April 3, 2013CS
A General listing reduced in price from $16.95 until April 1, 2013.  My notes:  A Trinchero Family Estates product - with 1.5 lbs of glass, not an 'eco' footprint. A deep purple hue sets a regal mood and a moody spice with crushed blackberries sets the ambiance. A swirl gives a thin film, a lacy rim and a few slow legs. Dry tannins layer the mouth and a light acid freshens before a flavour of young berries sets up. Decant or aerate for best sipping. There's a woody bramble detracting from an otherwise smooth fruit finish - the end is extra dry. A fairly light sipper looking for a tray of firm cheeses or buffet selection: bacon bruschetta, Chorizo slices on toasted breads, etc. or pair with bbq fare. A drink now. 84

TIM ADAMS CABERNET/MALBEC 2006, Clare Valley, Australia, 14.5%  D  5g/L, #295535   $26.95  (Tasted April 10, 2013CS
Released by Vintages on December 8, 2012 and rated 92 by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW  (December 2010).  A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Malbec.   My notes:   A dense charcoal hued ruby that leaves a viscous film and a rim that slowly laces as it recedes. A touch of red currant, black currant and black pepper provides a noticeable nose as it accumulates. The first sip has a strong acid presence distracting from ripe fruit and continues through a long finish ending on a extra dry, stringent note. A sipper if you prefer some rawness/heat in your red. Pairing with beefy back ribs or bbq'd pork side ribs, well seasoned, would be my preference. This may soften in several more years but it could also have long passed the 2010 peak.  Aeration helps a tad. 87a

OYSTER BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 , Renwick, NZ,  12.5%  D  4g/L, #316570  $16.95  (Tasted April 5, 2013)   CS
Released by Vintages April 18, 2012.  My notes: A Delegats Wines brand.  This has a light golden colour with a few tiny bubbles and a passionfruit perfumed aroma that fades quickly. The film is thin showing a rim receding in a lacy pattern.  There's a flavour of lemon and chalk edged with grass that fades quickly to a tart chalky finish. A possible match with seafood or chicken where an unusual aftertaste is masked. I found a cloying aspect in the finish that I associate with commercial wines - an acquired taste as a sipper. Did not pair well with fresh sushi - remainder of bottle was discarded.  75

BODEGAS PABLO MENGUANTE SELECCIÓN GARNACHA 2007, Cariñena, Spain, 14.0%  XD  5g/L,  #313833  $16.95  (Tasted April 22, 2013CS

 Released by Vintages on March 16, 2013 and rated 91 by Jay Miller  (April 2010).  My notes: Price on Wine-Searcher varies from $11 to $15.  100% Grenache and likely from young vines. A dusty ruby layers a thin film that recedes evenly leaving behind small nodules. The nose has an unripe berry sting with aromas of red currant and cherry. The first sip pierces with the flavour of red currant juice including crushed seeds and a long dry chokecherry finish... not a sipper I'd repeat. May go with hot or cold tapas or pepperoni and chorizo pizza slices. Past its best-before date - a drink now if a thin, acerbic meal red is preferred. Aerate or decant well ahead of meal. 82a

LANDER-JENKINS VINEYARDS SPIRIT HAWK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010, St. Helena, California, 13.5%  XD  8g/L, #161398  $18.95  (Tasted April 9, 2013

Released by Vintages on March 30, 2013. A Rutherford Wine Company.  My notes:  The film sticks then gradually runs slow tears. The ruby has a granite hue and a spicy aroma of black currant and white pepper lights up the nostrils - an energetic nose having strength and depth. Silky and drying, some wood or bramble in the intro with lasting fruit. Have with savoury or spicy tomato sauce and/or a ragu of veal and Italian sausage. Cellaring for several years should smooth but drinking now the edges provide interest. 92

NIETO SENETINER GRAN RESERVA MALBEC/PETIT VERDOT 2010,  Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #295170   $17.95  (Tasted April 18, 2013CS

Released by Vintages on April 16, 2013 and rated 89+ by Tony Aspler  (November 7, 2012).
  My notes:  The younger sister to this, a 2011 Malbec, was recommended in a tweet from Wineware. This one is a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Petit Verdot.  A muted raspberry hue to and plum colour with a scent that includes mild black pepper, muted cherries softened by a touch of blueberry - an appetizing blend but fades quickly. A swirl leaves a thin film that fragments into tiny islands.  The ripeness of the fruit blend is a pleasing surprise while fine tannins wrap a mild spice with cherry/berry fruit making this a soft sipper ending dry as chalk. Have with any grilled meats - good match with rack of lamb or bbq'd beef filets, excellent with savoury beef stew. Cellaring for several years should develop smoothness and integrate character as an excellent social red.  90

CLAUDE RIFFAULT LA NOUE SANCERRE ROSÉ 2011,  Loire, France, 13.0%  XD  5g/L,  #323626   $19.95  (Tasted April 18, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on April 13, 2013 and rated 90 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar  (July 2012).
  My notes: From 100% Pinot Noir grapes.  From 100% Pinot Noir grapes.  This has the colour of freshly skinned rainbow trout and a swirl leaves a lacy rim to recede evenly without many tears. A delicate stone fruit nose, like sniffing a powdered surface, needing time to develop as it goes slightly off chill (8-12oC). The first sip increases in flavour and intensity on the swallow and leaves a thin, silky texture, an extra dry red currant taste and refreshing acid. An interesting sipper when quaffed. Better paired with lightly seasoned grilled whitefish, clam chowder, a bowl of lightly curried mussels or box of Tempura shrimp. I don't think it would cellar, more of an enjoy now.  88