Friday, November 01, 2013

November 2013 Wines - 24 Tasted of 24

Ontario mid October Colours
Fig. 1  A search for 'Pinot Blanc'
This collection of wines includes some Australian and Chilean Syrah/Shiraz,  a few Chardonnays, a couple of random shelf choices and an unsuccessful search for a single varietal, in this case 'pinot blanc'.

Fig. 1 (click to enlarge) shows the first page (of 21), 203 wines in total. The first wine listed is a Pinot Gris by Andre Blanck so 'qualifies' to be included, per the LCBO, in a search for 'blanc'. Also this wine has been given a name starting with a numeric, 12, making it the first in the list. Clever? eh! 

I have since concluded the LCBO has a minimum objective: to support searches for Winery/Label names... but this depends on a consistently inconsistent convention for naming wines in the LCBO database. Other search parameters yield unpredictable, often useless results and is a reflection of LCBO's Online service. 

I found feedback from a local Niagara Falls consumer on Michael Pinkus' blog entry (Newsletter #213) 'Think Outside the Board' interesting. See Nancy's comment of her experience when visiting one of the newly opened LCBO Boutiques in the Niagara Peninsula region, ie. Wine Country. Of the LCBO, 'hubris' and 'parasitic' are terms that come to mind.

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP:  Reds, Whites then Bubblies

  • Emiliana Signos de Origen Organic Syrah 2011, 91-2  --  V, Casablanca Valley,  Chile, #212407 $19.95 
  • Emiliana Signos de Origen Pinot Noir 2011, 91-2  --  V, Casablanca Valley, Chile,  #325670 $19.95
  • La  Posta Cocina Tinto Blend 2011, 89-2  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #269860 $13.25 
  • Santa Carolina Reserva de Familia Carmènere 2010, 89-1  --  V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #034942 $18.95
  • Altivo Balance Cabernet Sauvignon 2009,  89-1  --  V, Uco Valley, Argentina, #324202  $21.95    
  • Peter Lehmann Weighbridge Shiraz 2011, 88-1  --  G,  Tanunda, South Australia, #219170 $14.95 
  • La Posta Estela Armando Vineyard Bonarda 2011, 88-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #261586 $14.95
  • Wyndham Estate Bin 555 Shiraz 2011, 87-1  --  G, South Eastern Australia, #189415 $15.95 
  • Bisquertt Family Vineyards La Joya Reserve Syrah 2011, 86-1  -- V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #325407  $13.95 
  • William Fèvre Chacai Mountain Cabernet 2010, 86  --  V, Maipo Valley, Chile,  #347773  $39.95 
  • Deakin Estate Shiraz 2012, 84 --  G, Victoria, Australia,  #560821 $9.95
  • Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, 84  --  V, Napa Valley, California, #255513 $34.95 
  • George Wyndham Founder's Reserve 'Langhorn Creek' Shiraz 2010, 83  --  G, Dalwood NSW, Australia, #107904  $19.95 
  • Peter Lehmann 'Portrait' Barossa Shiraz 2011, 83  --  G,  Tanunda, South Australia, #572875  $19.95

  • Tenuta Ca' Bolani Traminer Aromatico 2011, 91-2  --  V,  Fruili, Italy, #320705 $17.95 
  • Domane Wachau Terrraces Gruner Veltliner 2012, 89-1  --  V,  Wachau, Austria, #155812  $17.95 
  • Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2012, 89-1 -- G, Krondorf, South Australia, #269829 $19.95 
  • William Fèvre Espino Chardonnay 2011,  88-1  -- V, Maipo Valley, Chile, #350058 $13.95  
  • Hess Select Chardonnay Monterey 2011, Monterey County,  88-1  --  G, California, #270074 $15.95
  • Kaimira Brightwater Gewurztraminer 2010, 86  --  V, Nelson, NZ, #303578 $14.75*  
  • Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2011 VQA Okanagan Valley, 82  --  G,  Okanagan Valley, BC, #145094 $15.95 
  • Ravine Sand & Gravel York Rd. White 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 82  --  G,  St. David's, Ontario,  #260414 $16.95  
  • Sandhill Chardonnay 2010 VQA Okanagan Valley, 78  --  G, Kelowna, BC,  #157982 $17.95

  • Belcanto di Bellussi Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Superiore NV, 88-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #053215 $18.95
 (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010, Napa Valley, California, 14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #255513  $34.95  (Tasted November 25, 2013) 

Released by Vintages the date not given.   My notes: A charcoal tinted ruby when swirled leaves a thinly veiled film to fragment as the rim slowly drains. The soft aroma of violets and currants forms a pleasing impression before sipping. Silky, mildly penetrating with bright-edged fruit then layering fine velvet on the tongue and mouth for a long extra dry finish. Not a straight black fruit but closer to that of crushed skins left to dry in the sun. Perhaps past peak with less fruit and body than expected. Have with spaghetti and meatballs, a beef ragout or crockpot. Not for cellaring - a drink now and a disappointing value.  84

ALTIVO BALANCE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009, Uco Valley, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  6g/L,  #324202   $21.95  (Tasted November 21, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on August 3, 2013 and rated 90+ by Jay Miller  (December 2011).  My notes: Contains 5% Cabernet Franc. A ruby with a scarlet touch and a subtle hint of violets and chocolate in a very berry nose. The film is firm leaving a rounded rim to flow moderately running streams. A polite sharpness works with fine tannins, a spicy bright berry through to a long dry finish. Still a few more years of cellaring left to add to the depth. A sipper with no ooohs and awwwhs but nicely palatable as well as flexible to go with meaty pizzas, hamburgers, T-bones or grilled back ribs.  The empty bottle is an eco-unfriendly 1.5lbs.  89
BELCANTO DI BELLUSSI PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE SUPERIORE NV, Veneto, Italy, 11.5%  D  14g/L,  #053215  $18.95  (Tasted November 22, 2013) 

Released by Vintages on September 14, 2013 and rated 88 by John Szabo, MS  (October 2012).  My notes:  Price varies year to year and my rating does as well. There's a nice 'pop' on opening and a profusion of bubbles on pouring that slowly settles to a strong spritz in the glass. Pale yellow and an aroma of yeasty tart apple/pear juice makes this a reasonable sipper. Serve with an ice bucket. The first sip tickles the tongue and lays a bright dryness for the palate to dissect - a creamy smoothness, a touch of sweet and some oil on the lips adds interest. Just short of medium-bodied and as the finish continues some flatness asks for another sip. Have with strawberry waffles with vanilla ice cream, bacon on a bun or bangers and mash. A drink now. 88

TENUTA CA' BOLANI TRAMINER AROMATICO 2011,  Fruili, Italy, 13.0%  XD  5g/L, #320705 $17.95  (Tasted November 10, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on July 6, 2013.  My notes: A gentle fruit and spice blend becomes more prominent as the wine goes off chill - delay 'til 12oC+. The colour is a bright mid golden, crystal clear in the glass and a swirl leaves a fragmenting rim flowing columns of slow tears. A sip brings a smooth hint of tangerine, Bosc pear, the bite of citrus and a drying chalk on the tongue. A long finish sustains the pleasing combination of elements as they become more focussed. Ends with some grassiness. Pair with seafood or white fowl in a creamy sauce. Cellaring for a few years should be OK. 91  

PETER LEHMANN 'PORTRAIT' BAROSSA SHIRAZ 2011,  Tanunda, South Australia, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #572875  $19.95  (Tasted November 14, 2013)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A charcoal tinted ruby with varnish tinged blackberry and cherry aromas. A spicy edge, a slight bite and layer of fine tannins add to a woody berry flavour that ends furry dry. Tears form and run quickly from a full rim that sheds columns of moderate tears. Except for a musty bramble ending this would be a sipper but better served with Argentina beef and chimichurri sauce. Decant before serving.  83

PETER LEHMANN WEIGHBRIDGE SHIRAZ 2011,  Tanunda, South Australia, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #219170  $14.95  (Tasted November 9, 2013)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  An initial sniff of bland shavings prompted me to aerate - decanting before quaffing is suggested. Then a faint aroma of dark plums, herbs and a touch of floral, mild compared to a first sip having a lively tang and nose nip of white pepper.  As the tang fades a sip becomes dry on the palate finishing with a smooth, lasting layer of vanilla tainted dark fruit. A  film sticks to the sides and runs columns of slow tears from a full rim. This is a full-bodied red to go with venison, rabbit or with veal or lamb. Cellaring may fold in fine tannins for a richer texture but they will always have a strong presence. 88

DEAKIN ESTATE SHIRAZ 2012, Victoria, Australia,  13.5%  D  5g/L,  #560821  $9.95  (Tasted November 1, 2013) 

 A General listing.  My notes: A Wingara Group wine. This red has all the aspects of a quality wine: an aroma of cherries and plums accented by a subtle spice, a film that sticks and then flows long legs from a full rim, a silky texture introducing a mild cherry flavour followed by a lengthy finish and dry ending. However, each element isn't sustained sufficiently for a repeat sipper or complement to a meal. The price is right making this a candidate for an open bar. Have with a beefy/mushroom biased buffet or with moderately seasoned meat dishes. A drink now.  84

GEORGE WYNDHAM FOUNDER'S RESERVE 'LANGHORN CREEK' SHIRAZ 2010,  Dalwood NSW, Australia, 14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #107904   $19.95  (Tasted November 6, 2013)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: A deep charcoal stained ruby with a spicy blueberry and raspberry scent edged with the sweetness of fruit. The film quickly develops a fullness to drain through slow legs. Fine tannins and a tangy acid introduces dominant fruit flavours with a mineral accent before ending as a penetrating reminder of spicy berries. A bright Shiraz sipper somewhat full, long and dry needing a buffet spread to soften and sustain interest. Pair with grilled steaks or beefy back ribs. A drink now. Aerating has little effect. 83

WYNDHAM ESTATE BIN 555 SHIRAZ  2011, South Eastern Australia, 14.0%  D  9g/L,  #189415  $15.95  (Tasted November 3, 2013)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: A solid shiraz red with a firm film filling a continuous rim and immediately running fast legs. An aroma of fresh blackberries, white pepper and sweet cherries is quite pleasing and paired with its silky texture and polite bite sipping is satisfying. The finish has a warming dryness and a roundness on the tongue ending with just a touch of sweet. Have with a T-bone, Ribeye and the like but start with a steamy French Onion soup. Cellaring isn't intended but could shelve a few a year or two as standbys. 87

GRANT BURGE SUMMERS CHARDONNAY 2012,  Krondorf, South Australia, 13.0%  XD  4g/L,  #269829   $19.95  (Tasted November 7, 2013) CS

A General Listing.  My notes:  A delicate scent of lemon softened by mango combined with a mid green tinted gold colour backlit by a thin film running a few slow legs from a fragmenting rim. The taste is true to the nose adding a whisper of lavender, a polite tang and a silky fullness then finishing dry. Not overwhelming but suitably matched for a creamy mushroom accompaniment to a veal scaloppini dish. Cellaring several years should add to density with some caramel coming forward - worth a try.  89

SANDHILL CHARDONNAY 2010 VQA Okanagan Valley, Kelowna, BC, 14.5%  D  8g/L, #157982  $17.95  (Tasted November 15, 2013)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  A pale yellow, extra dry with a faint lemon/mild apple nose and matching flavours. There's some appeal in a silky texture but misses the mark with overall grassy fruit leading to a lemon and mineral accented extra dry finish. Not a sipper when served chilled changing to having some appeal as a sipper above 14oC+. Did not complement a bowl of fish chowder and salad greens. 14.5% alcohol level doesn't come through. Not recommended.  78

RAVINE SAND & GRAVEL YORK RD. WHITE 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, St. David's, Ontario, 12.9%  XD  8g/L,  #260414  $16.95  (Tasted November 17, 2013)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: A mid straw colour, clear and crisp with aromas of mown hay and faint lemon. Warming to 14oC+ rewards sipping with a smoother texture and a milder acid attack. A swirl gives a light film and a lacy rim. Starts with a distinct lemon sting, dry minerals and, lacking a description on the Ravine website, a grab bag of local grapes from young vines. (WineAlign gives the 2010 a blend of 49.2% Chardonnay, 29% Riesling, 16.8% Sauvignon Blanc, 4.4% Musque, 0.4% Pinot Blanc, 0.3% Pinot Noir, 0.1% Pinot Meunier). Pair with white fish or shrimp & gnocci or Angel pasta in a garlic and wine sauce. A drink now. Decant to avoid crystals.   82
DOMÄNE WACHAU TERRACES GRÜNER VELTLINER 2012,  Wachau, Austria, 13.0%  XD  4g/L,  #155812   $17.95  (Tasted November 23, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on October 26, 2013 and rated 16 (of 20) by Jancis Robinson MW  (May 22, 2013) and 88/100 by Jamie Goode (Feb 16 2010).  My notes:  A mid yellow with a faint greenish tint and a delectable grapefruit and rose aroma to make sniffing a joy. A swirl leaves a thin film with a lacy rim shedding the occasional long tear. Served chilled (10-12oC) there's a mineral touch to a crushed gooseberry flavour and some grass in the background that balances a light acid then carries into a long xdry finish. Pair with a table of finger foods, prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears, soft or hard cheeses, or with grilled cheddar sandwiches. A drink now and should keep several years. 89

KAIMIRA BRIGHTWATER GEWURZTRAMINER 2010, Nelson, NZ, 14.0%  D  7g/L, #303578 $14.75*  (Tasted November 17, 2013) 

A Vintages release on January 19, 2013 and rated 3 1/2 (of 5) by Michael Cooper (2012).    My notes: *Clearance price - was $19.95.  A mid yellow with faint aromas of nectarine and a mild spice. A thin film drains a lacy rim with long thin legs until only lacy islands remain. The first sip brings home the gewurz - an obvious spice, a noticeable sweetness and peach pear flavours. Finishes with a light dusting of minerals, a reserve of tartness, some warmth and sweet. Went well with shrimp and gnocchi and asparagus pieces sprinkled with Parmesan. The strength of the spice took a few sips to get use to and may not be for everyone. Serve off chill, 14oC+, for a smoother, softer sip. A drink now. 86  

HESS SELECT CHARDONNAY MONTEREY 2011, Monterey County, California, 13.5% XD 5g/L,  #270074   $15.95  (Tasted November 5, 2013) 

A General listing.  My notes:  A golden hue with a scent of vanilla and lemon/apple blend. A swirl leaves a clinging film with a fragmenting rim dropping a few slow legs against a lacy background. The first sip is buttery with apple and lemon flavours making for a pleasing sipper - leaves a dry and slight burnt caramel on the palate. Have with seafood: clam chowder, coconut shrimp, tilapia or sole with a creamy sauce, a mound of Basmati rice or risotto. Cellaring a few years should resolve fruit or grass dominance. 88

MISSION HILL FIVE VINEYARDS PINOT BLANC 2011 VQA Okanagan Valley,  Okanagan Valley, BC, 12.0%  XD  5g/L,  #145094  $15.95  (Tasted November 14, 2013) 

A General listing.  My notes: Pours a light yellow with faint aromas of mown hay and soft lemon. A thin film sticks and gradually falls with slow nodules from a fading receding rim. A silky texture, a bright tang and a taste of undeveloped fruit ending in an extra dry, grassy finish. Not a sipper and was passable with Chicken Cordon Bleu - possibly better with seafood. Save for a mixed buffet - serve chilled with a lime slice. 82

WILLIAM FÈVRE ESPINO CHARDONNAY 2011, Maipo Valley, Chile,  14.2%  XD 2g/L, #350058   $13.95  (Tasted November 12, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on October 12, 2013 and rated 91 by the Descorchados Wine Guide (2013).  My notes:  Grown 1000 meters above the sea in the foothills of the Andes. A mineral scent with, initially, a sour touch that dissipated with 30 minutes airing. I would lean to calling this 'off' rather 'terroir' as the cork came out in four pieces, very dry but didn't crumble. The colour is a mid yellow and the first sip is exceptionally crisp with a moderate tang and grapefruit, lemon and slight melon. On the light side of medium and a tolerable quaffer - more suited to a variety of seafood dishes and went well with Paisano's mussels in a white wine garlic sauce. Cellaring a few more years should be OK.  88

SANTA CAROLINA RESERVA DE FAMILIA CARMENÈRE 2010,  Rapel Valley, Chile, 14.5%  XD  5g/L, #034942  $18.95  (Tasted November 16, 2013)

Released by Vintages on October 12, 2013 and rated 91 by Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast (July 2013).   My notes:  By the weight of the bottle, an eco-unfriendly 2 1/4 lbs., this has to be an excellent wine!?  The colour is a rich purple ruby and, by the film left on the glass, the wine is full and viscous. A swirl shows a stationary rim flowing tears appearing motionless then extending as long legs eventually draining the glass surface. There's a scent of blackberry, blueberry and soft earth revealing a pleasing but reserved richness. The first sip takes on the form of crushed dark fruit, some dark chocolate and a lining of fine tannins for a velvet finish. An alcoholic warmth wasn't noticeable. Serve with a buffet: Italian sausage or stuffed mushrooms. Should hold up well with Beef Wellington, an English Hot Pot or a meaty Texas chili, not too spicy. Could cellar a few more years - better as a drink now.  89

WILLIAM FÈVRE CHACAI MOUNTAIN CABERNET 2010, Maipo Valley, Chile,  14.5%  XD 7g/L,  #347773   $39.95  (Tasted November 28, 2013)

Released by Vintages on September 28, 2013 and rated 90 by Neal Martin  (December 2012).  My notes: A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. A dense black cherry colour with a near pungent fruity scent of black currant and earthy black cherry. A swirl lays a smooth film with a full rim to shed columns of slow tears. The tang comes forward with the first sip riding on furry velvet that saturates the mouth smothering most of the fruit until it slowly shows in a long extra dry and warm finish. If your preference is hot and drying this is it. Aerating mutes some of the tang but a brambly dryness predominates - may settle more with decanting an hour. I don't see cellaring improving this red. Not a sipper for me preferring my reds to complement the mood not set it. Have with anything beefy and au jus. The empty bottle is an eco-unfriendly1.75 lbs.  86

BISQUERTT FAMILY VINEYARDS LA JOYA RESERVE SYRAH 2011,  Colchagua Valley, Chile,  15.0%  XD  7g/L,  #325407   $13.95  (Tasted November 7, 2013)

Released by Vintages on August 31, 2013 and scored a Silver Outstanding at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2012.  My notes:  There`s an overtone of warm varnish to an aroma of dark cherries and blackberries. The colour is of black cherries with a brighter raspberry hue through the rounded rim and quickly flowing legs of a swirl. The spicy tang of white pepper adds an edge to the fruit which lingers for a moment then leaves dry remnants for a moderate finish. A popular sipper or medium-bodied partner with savoury beef Wellington or with turkey and duck. An economical drink now. 86

EMILIANA SIGNOS DE ORIGEN ORGANIC SYRAH 2011,  Casablanca Valley,  Chile,  15.0%  XD  6g/L, #212407  $19.95  (Tasted November 13, 2013)

Released by Vintages on August 17, 2013 and rated 90 by Natalie MacLean (April 28, 2013).  My notes: A deep purple tinged ruby, opaque and running long legs from a full rim before adding columns of viscous tears. For a nose: vanilla tones on top of spicy blackberry with a floral note to the tang. A blend of 93% syrah and 3% viognier this is full-bodied showing fine tannins warm on the swallow - perhaps a bit woody at the end. A sipper if you prefer a satin layer of berries or a complement to a grilled T-bone or beefy short ribs. Long term cellaring is possible - has lots of character now. 91 

EMILIANA SIGNOS DE ORIGEN PINOT NOIR 2011, Casablanca Valley, Chile,  14.5%  XD  6g/L,  #325670  $19.95  (Tasted November 11, 2013)  CS

 Released by Vintages on August 17, 2013.  My notes: The rim fragments gradually draining through slow tears and leaving shallow islands on the glass. The colour of charcoal stained ruby almost opaque feigns a regal status. The nose is light, a clean scent of fresh berries touched by a tangy spice and the first sip reflects this brightness with berries and fine tannins. Medium-bodied and finishes long, warm on the swallow but polite and extra dry. Pair with duck, ham, or a smoked salmon pizza with Neufchatel cream cheese spread, fresh dill and lemon - a flexible sipper with conversation or a mixed buffet. Cellar several years - sample every year after the second. 91 

LA POSTA COCINA TINTO BLEND 2011, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  XD  5g/L, #269860  $13.25  (Tasted November 19, 2013)  CS

A General listing.
Rhys Pender, MW rates the 2012 vintage 89 of 100.  My notes: The vintage showing on the winery's website at posting was 2008, a blend of 60% Malbec, 20% Syrah and 20% Bonarda. The 2011 is a dark ruby, almost black in the glass with aromas of black berries, dark chocolate and a tingling spice. The film is smooth leaving a full rim to shed slow tears developing into long thin legs. Full-bodied and smooth quickly layering velvet tannins and spicy blackberry. A vaporous warmth to the nose, dry and cool on the palate lasting long after the flavours have left. Cellaring likely will be short - go year by year. Drinking well now. 89 

LA POSTA ESTELA ARMANDO VINEYARD BONARDA 2011, Mendoza, Argentina,  13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #261586  $14.95  (Tasted November 19, 2013)  CS

Released by Vintages on August 3, 2013 and rated 89 by Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (March/April, 2013).  My notes:  A non-intrusive scent of berries including a lively tang and an attractive deep ruby colour positions this as an appealing sipper.  The film is thin leaving a modest rim shedding slow tears to run long legs. Silky rather than velvet and medium-bodied with fine tannins adding depth to mellow dark fruit with a touch of cranberry, more fruit than process - then a polite dry finish. Have with lamb or beef not too highly seasoned. Cellaring could go year by year to see where its going. A flexible house red.  88