Saturday, June 08, 2013

June 2013 Wines: 24 Tasted of 24

A Northern Visitor
Nine wines from the U.S. West coast are in my June collection and most of the lot are from the May 25th Vintages release. I would have selected wines from Canada's West coast but they're just not available. It's odd how our bureaucrats discriminate against their own, eh? 

The weather is warming with thunder clouds coming the odd  afternoon to accelerate Spring growth. A mantle of green presents our view of the Mississauga City Centre to the northeast.

Event Promos for Ontario Wine regions come in tweets daily giving lots of opportunity to sip and savour their wines... and it's only a short drive. I'll be adding wines from these trips in the weeks ahead.  This weekend it's a trip to 'Graze the Bench' - the last time we grazed was a few years ago and each year events expand making each unique. This year a circuit of Wine Trails was added to the Beamsville Bench giving everyone the chance to get personal with the vineyards.  

Stay healthy,

THE LINEUP:   reds, whites, rosés and other

  • Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir 2011, 93-2  --  V, Rutherford, California, #130138 $24.95 
  • McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, 92-2  --  V,  Ripon, California, #212126  $19.95 
  • Waterstone Napa Valley Merlot 2009, 91-2a  --  V, Napa, California,  #025288 $23.95 
  • Cline Ancient Vines Contra Cost County Mourvèdre 2011,  90-2  --  V,  Sonoma, California,  #066084  $20.95
  • Urraca Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, 90-1a  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #271080  $19.95
  • Trinity Hill 'By John Hancock' Syrah 2010, 89-1  --  V, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, #194274 $17.10
  • Les Halos de Jupiter Côtes du Rhône 2010, 88-1  --  V, Villeveyrac, France, #276956 $17.95  
  • Cline Ancient Vines Contra Costa County Carignane 2011,  88  --  V,  Sonoma, California,  #032177 $20.95 
  • Jean-Marie Arnoux Vieux Clocher Vacqueryas 2010, 88a  --  V,  Rhône, France,  #172668  $23.95 
  • Ravenswood Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel 2010,  82a  --  V, Geyserville, California, #942599 $19.95
  • A to Z Wineworks Oregon Pinot Noir 2011, 80  --  V, Newberg, Oregon, #229781 $23.95   

  • Cannonball Sonoma County Chardonnay 2010, 92-2  --  V, Hopland, California, #311563 $20.95
  • Kunde Family Estate Chardonnay 2011, 90-1  --  V,  Sonoma Valley, California, #745406  $21.95 
  • Henri Poiron Fief Giraud Muscadet Sèvre & Maine Sur Lie 2011,  89-2  --  V,  Loire, France,  #327726  $14.95 
  • Domaine le Comte Quincy 2011, 87  --  V, Loire, France, #172528 $18.95
  • Le Bine Monte Foscarino Soave Classico 2011, 86-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #134551 $13.95
  • Salomon Groovy Gruner Veltliner 2012, 86-1  --  V, Burgenland, Austria, #669606  $13.95    
  • Laurent Miquel Nord Sud Viognier 2011, 84  --  V, Languedoc, France,  #673236  $14.95 
  • Peninsula Ridge Estates Equinox 2002 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 81  --  O, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery $16.95
  • Dão Cabriz Rosé 2012, 86-1  --  V, Dão, Portugal, #030445 $12.95  
  • Carte Noire Rosé 2012, 85  --  V, Côtes du Provence, France,  #319384 $15.95 
  • Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé 2012, 80  --  V, Tavel, France, #739474 $16.95

  • Cave Spring Blanc de Blancs Brut Sparkling Wine NV VQA Niagara Escarpment, 91-1  --  G,  Jordan, Ontario, #213983 $29.95 
  • Schoenheitz Brut Crémant d'Alsace NV, 81  --  V, Alsace, France, #319962 $19.95      
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


BELLE GLOS MEIOMI PINOT NOIR 2011, Rutherford, California, 13.9%  D  11g/L, #130138  $24.95  (Tasted June 13, 2013)

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013 and a Caymus Vineyards wine.  My notes: The grapes for this wine came from three counties: Monterey, Santa Barbara and Sonoma. A dense ruby with impressive floral and dark fruit aromas, sensuous to the senses. The rim flows groups of tears that quickly form a circle of bars. The first sip hits the palate with an attractive tang and mellow flavours of dark cherries dipped in chocolate changing to a plush satin on the palate drying the tongue ending finally with a steely lining. Interesting as a sipper as well as a polite flavour changer paired with Beef Stroganoff and sweet potato fries. For guests that appreciate a fine red before and during a fine meal, prime rib to tuna steak. Cellar for several years or drink now. 93

TRINITY HILL 'BY JOHN HANCOCK' SYRAH 2010, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 14.0% XD 2.4g/L,  #194274  
$17.10  (Tasted June 9, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on September 1, 2012 and a Gold Medal winner at the 2011 NZ Wine Awards.  My notes:  The charcoal tinted ruby gives this a regal appearance. Four percent Viognier softens the pepper of a blackberry nose and adds a slight floral to a mild tobacco shading. The first sip comes with a warm tang and fine tannins wrapping the flavours for a long fruity finish. Legs form quickly suggesting a lightish medium-bodied red. Suitable for a social setting with friends or with rosemary'd lamb chops, Italian sausage, skin removed, or a smoked salmon with capers and artichokes thin crust pizza. A drink now. 89

JEAN-MARIE ARNOUX VIEUX CLOCHER VACQUEYRAS 2010, Rhône, France,  14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #172668   $23.95  (Tasted June 7, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013 and a blend of 70% grenache, 25% syrah and 5% mourvèdre. Rated 90 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar (January 2013).  My notes:  A dusty red plum shade with a dusty, penetrating aroma of spicy cherries. The moderate film sticks then sheds slow tears from a continuous rim. Without aerating the first sip is intense mellowed partly by a slight mocha, fine tannins and a lasting warmth going into rough, woody ending. Aerating softens intensity and rawness. A meal red. Pair with spicy pastas, pork parmigiana, a beef eaters or panzerotti pizza. A drink now. 88a

DOMAINE LECOMTE QUINCY 2011, Loire, France, 12.5%  XD  2g/L, #172528 $18.95  (Tasted June 4, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  The nose has a grassy kiwi tang with light floral and a swirl leaves a thin film, a lacy rim then slow tears and, for colour, a pale golden with a hint of green in bright light. Served at +14oC the first sip starts with a dry tang that carries through to the finish while on top are grassy apple, lemon and nutty flavours that evolve with a pleasing dryness. Paired with grilled tilapia and thyme sweet potato it held its own while the Cannonball Chardonnay (#311563  $20.95) had its place as a before and after pleaser.  87

NOIR 2011, Newberg, Oregon, 13.0%  XD  3g/L, #229781  $23.95  (Tasted June 13, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  A see-through ruby with tears that turn into fast legs with a swirl draining the rim quickly. There's some promise in the red cherry nose and slight edge of white pepper but a lack of depth loses interest quickly. The first sip is bright, has a light-bodied red cherry flavour ending with a thin veil of silky dryness and layer of tannin that builds. Has lost much of 'a great wine from beginning to end' claimed by the Vintages Panel in the year since their review. Did not pair well with beef Stroganoff and sweet potato fries - not a sipper and difficult to recommend a pairing - perhaps grilled Brook Trout with a butter sauce. Personally I'll skip this vintage.  80

RAVENSWOOD LODI OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2010, Geyserville, California,  14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #942599  $19.95  (Tasted June 4, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013 and a Constellation Brands Inc. product.  My notes: A blend of Zinfandel (77%) and Petite Sirah (23%). A deep scarlet colour and I suggest airing an hour or decanting before serving - I aerated. Before aerating the nose has a musty beet aroma with some blackberry on the side. Now the fruit is more predominant just a tad musty. A swirl leaves a thin film that runs slow tears and the first sip has a minty blackberry and bacon flavour lasting a moderate time then there's a long warm sensation on the back of the tongue. There's a momentary hint of sweetness on the palate, fine tannins with a tangy edge. As a sipper, I tired of the roughness and heat in my throat. Have with anything beefy: grilled, bbq'd or roasted. A drink now - won't benefit from cellaring. The empty is an eco-unfriendly 1.4lbs. 82a

CLINE ANCIENT VINES CONTRA COSTA COUNTY MOURVÈDRE 2011, Sonoma, California,  14.5%  XD  8g/L,  #066084   $20.95  (Tasted June 2, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  A firm film sticks then shed slow tears. The colour is a clean ruby and the nose is an enticing blend of strawberry, blueberry and a mild barnyard.  The fruit of the first sip includes raspberry and red currant adding some earthy notes going into a lasting dry finish. An easy sipper with fine tannins and would be a flexible complement with Italian sausage, pork parmigiano or rack of lamb. Cellaring five years is probable and may deepen body, now a lightish full-body.  The empty is an eco-unfriendly 1.5lbs.  90

KUNDE FAMILY ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2011,  Sonoma Valley, California, 13.8%  XD  8g/L,  #745406   $21.95  (Tasted June 7, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 11, 2013. My notes:  Allow the nose to develop by palming to 12oC+ then a delicate biscuit scent with a subtle honeydew melon softening to a mild floral. The colour is a crisp and clean mid-golden with a touch of green. The first sip brings a soft lime flavour with a tangy lemon edge and a mild warmth on the swallow. A lightish medium-bodied sipper, smooth on the palate with a lengthy finish ending dryyyy. Part way to Burgundy but one foot in California adding its own terroir makes this interesting as a slow sipper. Held its own paired with chicken thighs roasted in a basil, salsa and peanut sauce - sipping at 15oC+ is my preference letting other subtleties reveal themselves. Cellaring a few years should be OK.  90

MCMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011,  Ripon, California, 13.5%  XD  9g/L, #212126   $19.95  (Tasted June 18, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  An well rounded pleaser both socially and with a meaty meal. The nose has a penetrating spice with earthy plum and black currant aromas. The first sip is three dimensional with a polite nip at the start then a bold texture to layer the throat and a steely edge for a long balanced finish. A sweetness seems to be apparent on the third taste - chameleon like. A film wets the glass with the first swirl and by the third swirl the rim is solid with long legs running down. Cellaring several years could work with a milder nip bringing out a prominent fruity mellowness.  92

LAURENT MIQUEL NORD SUD VIOGNIER 2011, Languedoc, France,  13.5%  XD  xg/L, #673236   $14.95  (Tasted June 12, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  A mid yellow with a touch of green gives this a fresh look in the glass.  A swirl leaves a thin film that slowly drops tears from a contiguous rim and an aroma of spicy apple and lemon on the nose - didn't get floral. The first sip is spicy, tangy, full of tropical fruit and slowly fades to a long dry finish. Not that interesting when chilled - needs some warmth, 15oC+, to loosen up, then a smooth texture carries lime and white currant flavours through a dry finish. Have with fresh oysters, mussels in a light curried broth or roasted chicken in a creamy white wine sauce. A patio sipper on a warm summer day or a staple house white.  84

HENRI POIRON FIEF GIRAUD MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE SUR LIE 2011,  Loire, France,  12.0%  XD  5g/L,  #327726   $14.95  (Tasted June 2, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013. Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concours Vignerons Independants 2012. My notes: There's a hint of honey in a delicate nose including some aromas of nectar/pollen harvested by the bees. The film is thin flowing thin tears until only fragments are left on the glass. The colour is a pale blond. Try offchill, +14oC.  A lemon sharpness and a slight honey dew melon form a first sip that changes to extra dry, chalk-like, carrying stone fruit and melon through a long finish. A fish white to enjoy with mussels in a curried broth or complete seafood buffet. Cellaring several years should be OK - not likely to change significantly tho'.  89

SALOMON GROOVY GRÜNER VELTLINER 2012, Burgenland, Austria, 12.5%  XD  2g/L, #669606  $13.95  (Tasted June 9, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  A blond colour with a hint of green and a faint nose of fresh mown grass. The film is thin leaving a smooth rim eventually shedding slow tears leading into long legs. The first sip has elements of green apple peel, a refreshing acid, drying to the palate and slowly fading layering a contrasting steeliness on the tongue. Light-bodied with a good presence with each sip - would go well with grilled salmon with risotto, halibut or cod on a bed of veggies. Should keep for a few years for an economical seafood wine.  86

CLINE ANCIENT VINES CONTRA COSTA COUNTY CARIGNANE 2011,  Sonoma, California,  15.5%  XD  7g/L, #032177  $20.95  (Tasted June 4, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013. Rated 90 by NEWTASTETODAY blog (January 13, 2013).  My notes: An appealing spice on a black cherry and possible blackberry scent makes sipping inviting however, the acid of the first sip penetrates deeply while an intense heat draws focus from a blend of smoky berries and red currant. A silky softness starts then becomes more noticeable when the initial intensity fades - the finish is long and hot. Brandy sippers may find this enjoyable. Pair with a well seasoned meat dish: a rich stew, seasoned ribs, or a savoury beef steak.  Cellaring several years may let flavours and textures emerge. The empty is an eco-unfriendly 1.5lbs.  88 Cellar

CANNONBALL SONOMA COUNTY CHARDONNAY 2010,  Hopland, California, 13.7%  XD  7g/L,  #311563  $20.95 (Tasted June 2, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  A mid gold with aromas of vanilla, caramel and pear blended evenly. The film is firm leaving fast legs then slow tears  draining from a smooth rim. Sipping comes easy with this chard, silky to the touch and fresh acid gives life to the middle palate. More apple and butter then tapering to include a lasting, dry, cooked apple ending.  Have with wild salmon with a balsamic sauce or other seasoned seafood. Serve at +14oC and allow to warm slowly for interesting character changes.  Drinking well now and could cellar several years. 92

WATERSTONE NAPA VALLEY MERLOT 2009, Napa, California,  14.5%  XD  5g/L, #025288  $23.95  (Tasted June 22, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013. An Anders-Lane Artisan Wines product.  My notes:  The ruby colour has a charcoal hue and a firm film runs long legs from a solid rim. A bright acid livens up a blackberry, cassis and dark chocolate blending of aromas carried through to rich flavours making this a full-bodied, full-flavoured Merlot. I found it intense as a sipper overwhelming the buds with a long smoky liquorice finish that aerating tames a tad. A layer of fuzzy tannin adds a lasting texture to sipping or pairing with grilled meats, e.g. a medium/rare steak or beef bourguignon, ribs or shank of lamb. Cellaring four or more years may balance some extremes. 91a

CAVE SPRING BLANC DE BLANCS BRUT SPARKLING WINE NV VQA Niagara Escarpment  ,  Jordan, Ontario, 12.0%  D  11g/L,  #213983  $29.95  (Tasted June 6, 2013)  CS
A General listing. 100% chardonnay grapes and made in the Traditional Method.  My notes:  A profusion of bubbles burst then subside leaving the surface covered but continuing to receive streams maintaining a fine foamy rim. The colour is a steely lemon juice to match the tangy nose and a first sip flavoured the same. Served well chilled the lemon and apple flavours are sustained ending extra dry and bright. An ideal toast beverage or pickmeup for berry and syrup smothered crepes or fresh oysters. Cellar for more complexity.  91

DAO CABRIZ ROSÉ 2012 ,  Dão, Portugal, 12.5%  XD  6g/L, #030445  $12.95  (Tasted June 15, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  A blend of Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro.  My notes:  A medium powder puff pink with a strawberry tint and you can sense a dusty floral in the delicate strawberry nose. The nose and flavours are improved at 15oC. The texture also developed an attractive softness when sipping and quaffing brought a long, blend of strawberry liquorice (twizzlers) and red cherry ending with a slight chalk. Interesting as a sipper and went well with grilled tempura'd shrimp on sprout pinwheels with a soy dipping sauce or reserve for the summer buffet table.  A drink now for those into rosés.  86

DOMAINE DES CARTERESSES TAVEL ROSÉ 2012, Tavel, France,  13.5%  XD  2g/L,  #739474  $16.95 
(Tasted June 18, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes: Rated 88 by Tony Aspler.  At 15oC there's a light perfume to the nose not present when served chilled (9oC). The colour is a crisp red cherry and a light film leaves a fragmenting rim to shed fast tears. Flavours are first drying then tasting of unripe watermelon, thin-bodied with a supple texture then ending a dry straw. Not a sipper for its lack of distinct fruit and a finish that quickly fades to a chalky herbal blend - think of a weak tea made from herbs de provence. Did not pair well with macaroni & cheese with snow peas. Aerating had no effect. Not recommended. Better the next day with green onion shrimp & scallops.  80

CARTE NOIRE ROSÉ 2012 Côtes du Provence, France,  13.0%  XD  2g/L, #319384  $15.95  (Tasted June 14, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 25, 2013.  My notes:  A blend of Grenache (90%) and Cinsault (10%). A delicate powder puff pink with a salmon hue. Warm to 15oC for a nose of stringent strawberry. The first sip has a refreshing nip as it layers the tongue and flows down the throat. A flavour mostly of strawberry/watermelon with a touch of citrus, orange zest, then staying for a long, drying, perfumed finish. I enjoy quaffing for the surge of acid and flavour blend - imagine relaxing on a summer patio accompanied by a large tray of fruit pieces and three bottles in the chiller. Chilled shrimp or oysters would do well. A drink now. 85

PENINSULA RIDGE ESTATES 2002 EQUINOX VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% D xg/L, #Winery $16.95  (Tasted June 26, 2013)  CS

Purchased from the Winery.  A blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Viognier.  My notes:  The colour, for the varietal blend, is an unusually rich yellow and there's a spicy scent of lemon pineapple to start the introductions. A firm film lets long legs loose from a fragmenting rim. A refreshing dry tang matches the soft texture and lemon adds to a spicy base of a long mineral finish. Passed cellaring while retaining some interesting highlights but not a sipper. OK paired with President's Choice Seafood Rub on salmon trout filets to add zest. 81

SCHOENHEITZ BRUT CRÉMANT D'ALSACE NV,  Alsace, France, 12.0%  D  5g/L, #319962  $19.95  (Tasted June 27, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on April 13, 2013.  My notes:  There's a burst of fine bubbles on pouring with a quick dispersal, several streams continuing with minor mousse. The colour is a pale golden with a hint of green. A blend of 90 % Pinot Auxerrois and 10 % Pinot Blanc gives this a slight apple peel scent combined with yeast on the nose. Is light-bodied and extra dry with a reasonable tang to an almond/Granny Smith apple flavour quickly changing to a chalk and mineral ending. May have limited appeal as a event toast or a refresher before a meal. Did not pair well with grilled chicken thighs and buttery baked potato - stick with shellfish.  81

LES HALOS DE JUPITER CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2010, Villeveyrac, France, 15.0%  D  6g/L,  #276956  $17.95  (Tasted June 11, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on June 8, 2013 and rated 90-92 by Robert Parker Jr. (October, 2011). A blend of  85% Grenache and 15% Syrah.  My notes:  A deep ruby with a spicy black cherry, earth and faint lavender nose and leaving a firm film draining through slow tears suggesting a full-bodied red. The first sip has a penetrating bite with a peppery layer of fine tannins and a black cherry, smoke and tobacco flavour. Some will sip for its balanced composition of fruit and barrel inflections. I prefer it as a complement with roasted pork tenderloin with a savoury sauce or with other grilled meats. Cellaring for several years could lessen its intensity while retaining the dry mouthfeel and dark fruit of the finish.  88

URRACA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.8%  XD 3g/L, #271080   $19.95  (Tasted June 24, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on June 8, 2013 and rated 90 by Jay Miller (August 2009).  My notes:  A deep mahogany colour with a penetrating, spicy plum  scent. Decant or aerate for less intensity but milder nose. A swirl leaves a firm film that runs slow tears from a smooth rim and the first sip is velvety with a fine tannin to line the mouth and a warmth to give character to dark fruit flavours. Finished dry with a sustained woody, graphite character. Has the profile of a Spanish red but softer on the finish and is a sipper if you lean to 'oldworld', i.e. barrel dominant flavourings. Drinking well now and will continue to age several years. Pair with pepper steak or Osso Bucco.  90

LE BINE MONTE FOSCARINO SOAVE CLASSICO 2011, Veneto, Italy,  13.0%  D  4.5g/L, #134551  $13.95  (Tasted tbd)  CS

Released by Vintages on June 8, 2013.  Produced by Guiseppe Campagnola.  My notes:  A light blond colour to be served 12oC+ for an interesting delicate floral changing to beeswax nose. A swirl leaves a thin film that sticks then slowly recedes. A blend of 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano the first sip has a gooseberry quality with a blended lemon, lime and crab apple tang gradually fading to a dry, soft finish. Was passable when paired with bbq'd lamb chops marinated in a lemon, oregano and rosemary sauce served with penne and toasty shallot-panko crumbs. A different economical sipper and mainly a seafood complement. 86

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