Wednesday, January 01, 2014

January 2014 Wines - 24 Tasted of 24

A short diversion: Ice storm Christmas week 2013
Toronto: Yonge & Sheppard area
Erin, Ontario
Erin, Ontario
Toronto: Yonge & Sheppard area

The following wines were selected at
random over the holidays or received as gifts from family and friends. 

I've started to review the collection of entries under the Thoughts Archive caption found at the top of this blog. The article 'A Wonderful Thing' struck me as being as valid today as it was when written four years ago. I've repeated three references from that timeframe:

Note: Googling ‘wine additives‘ brought a startling number of hits. Included were defensive notions from offending winemakers and the condemnation of some wine critics. I found the following relevant:

If the current trend of concocting wines to suit a marketplace continues unabated they will saturate the lower priced labels. The elegant purity of legitimate wines will be priced out of reach - our wine culture will secede to the elitists. The industry has already lost much of its credibility. It's time to declare what's in the bottle. 

My opinion, Ww

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Rosés then Bubblies)
  • Chilensis Lazuli 2010, 93-3  -- V, Maule Valley, Chile, #348128  $17.95
  • Zorzal Terroir Unico Malbec 2011, 92a/c-3  --  V, Tupungato, Argentina, #339788 $17.95
  • Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2010, 92-2  --  V, Sonoma, California, #330241 $27.95
  • Romain Duvernay Cairanne 2010, 91-2  --  V,  Rhône, France, #320465 $16.75
  • Château Argadens Bordeaux Supérieur Grand Vin 2009, 90-2  --  V,  Gironde, France, #681643 $16.95  
  • Pascual Toso Limited Edition Malbec 2011, 88-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #162610 $15.95 
  • Bocchino Giuseppe Arduine Barbera d'Asti 2011, 88a-1  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #343277 $16.95 
  • Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 87-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #614669 $11.95 
  • San Cassiano Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2010, 85  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #354431 $17.95 
  • Poderi Colla Nebbiolo d'Alba 2010,  84  --  V, Piedmont, Italy,  #748566 $20.75*  
  • Inniskillin Discovery Series East-West Cabernet Shiraz 2011, 83 --  O, NotL ON & Oliver BC, Canada, #998346 (Wine Rack)  $17.95  
  • Bodega Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Syrah 2012, 82  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #223651 $12.95 
  • Bodega Luigi Bosca Finca La Linda Merlot 2012, NR  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #229849 $12.95
  • Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 77  --  G, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, #310300 $14.45* 

  • Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc+Viognier 2012, 92-2  --  V, Oakville, California, #673756 $21.95 
  • Greenlane Estate Winery Old Vines Riesling 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 89 --  V,  Beamsville, Ontario,  #351486 $22.95
  • Greenlane Estate Winery Old Vines Riesling 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 86  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #283432 $22.75* 
  • Greenlane Estate Winery Pinot Gris/Riesling 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore,  84  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #283721 $12.75* 
  • Greenlane Estate Winery Riesling 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, 84  --  V,  Beamsville, Ontario, #327247 $15.95 
  • Brokenwood Cricket Pitch Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2011, 84 --  V, Pokolbin NSW, Australia, #662627 $18.95 
  • Bastianich Friulano Adriatico 2011, 84  --  V, Friuli, Italy, #277467 $19.95  
  • Calamus Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 82  --  V, Jordan, Ontario, #349456 $13.95

  • Domaine LaFond Roc-Épine Tavel Rosé 2012, 78  --  V, Rhône, France, #950709 $17.95

  • De Chanceny Excellence Brut Vouvray 2010, 90-2  --  V, Loire, France, #352237 $20.95
   (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


PASCUAL TOSO LIMITED EDITION MALBEC 2011, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  6g/L, #162610  $15.95  (Tasted January 8, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes: A silver collar on the bottle advertised a '90 points by the Wine Advocate (Robert Parker'... but for the 2010 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon.  The front label also included a gold medal, as if winner of a Gold somewhere sometime... however this medal was 'awarded' as a 'Pascal Toso FAMILY'S Choice'.  Not a medal winner after all... I, as a hurried shopper, was sucked in by deceptive marketing.  A charcoal tint to a solid ruby and a warm scent of blackberry plus tangy raspberry is an appealing greeting. A swirl leaves a viscous film with a rounded rim that quickly accumulates and flows slow legs. The first sip starts with a dryness initially masking a soft black fruit that pushes through filling the mouth with flavour. A chalk dry layer overcomes the fruit in a long finish. A commercial sipper to add to a meaty bbq.  88

BODEGA LUIGI BOSCA FINCA LA LINDA SYRAH 2012, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.3% XD  4g/L, #223651  $12.95  (Tasted January 3, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes:  A black fruit nose not strong but noticeable and a deep, opaque ruby colour. A swirl leaves a well rounded rim quickly shedding long legs. The first sip has a light jammy plum flavour with prominent tannins and acids evolving to a dry layer on the palate and long extra dry finish. Full fruit might pass at an open bar but have a backup - not a sipper. Would work with rack of lamb, hamburgers or spaghetti and meatballs. Fairly rough and with a shallow varietal character. There was no change with aerating. A drink now.  82

TRAPICHE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  5g/L, #614669  $11.95 
(Tasted January 6, 2014)  CS
A General listing.  My notes:  There's a sweet edge to a penetrating nose of plums and spicy black currant partially fading in an untouched glass. A moderate film leaves a smooth rim that fills then sheds several slow legs. The first sip has a dominant black currant flavour, a fine tannin to dry the palate and a polite bite of acid making this a fruity social sipper. The finish is long, extra dry and builds the tannin. A medium-bodied commercial red to complement anything beefy and grilled. Cellaring not intended but could shelve a year without harm - at peak now.  87

BODEGA LUIGI BOSCA FINCA LA LINDA MERLOT 2012, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.7%  XD  6g/L, #229849  $12.95  (Tasted January 3, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes: There's a purple hue to the deep opaque ruby and the nose has a penetrating blackberry scent. A swirl leaves a firm film with a rounded rim that flows long slow legs. The first sip has an overwhelming tang on the swallow to the point of bitterness. Some fruit overlaps with a tannic dryness and a warmth carries through a long finish.  If you like chimichurri sauce this may pair with seasoned beef or game meats. Young now - price may warrant cellaring four years to possibly mellow acids but isn't recommended. Aerating doesn't change coarseness.  NR

CALAMUS ESTATE WINERY PINOT GRIS 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, Jordan, Ontario, 12.0%  D  13g/L, #349456  $13.95  (Tasted January 3, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on August 3, 2013.   My notes:  There's a faint onion skin to a pale blond and a fresh apple scent faint needing some time to express itself. The film is thin immediately leaving a lacy rim and running fast legs. The first sip has a hint of sweetness, is nicely rounded with a just perceptible apple pear tangerine flavour fading quickly to leave a touch of chalk. A mild sipper - add a twist of lime for an edge. Pairing with Swiss Chalet chicken and chips worked. A polite drink-now with conservative appeal. 82

DE CHANCENY EXCELLENCE BRUT VOUVRAY 2010, Loire, France, 12.5%  D  19g/L, #352237  $20.95  (Tasted January 24, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on November 9, 2013.  100% Chenin Blanc.  My notes: A crystal straw bursting with all sizes of bubbles and faint floral to a scant pie dough greets the sipper. The bubble burst settles quickly to a mix of large and not so large then continuing fine streams. A clean refreshing tartness to green apple flavour, balanced to disguise the sweet, and a light cream makes an appealing sipper or a buffet treat - even went well with our schnitzel and greens. Seafood, light meats, morning sausage and syrup'd waffles or fresh oysters would also do well. The finish is long and dryyyyy. A very acceptable social drink now.  90

SAN CASSIANO RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2010, Veneto, Italy, 14.5%  XD  10g/L,  #354431  $17.95  (Tasted January 10, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on November 9, 2013.  My notes: A different nose than a western red: some red cherry in a mix of Montreal smoked meat and forest floor. With twenty minutes airing the fruit becomes dominant. Colour is a thin ruby and shows a light film taking time to fill a modest rim and shedding fast tears, not fragmenting. The first sip has a fine silkiness and tannins. The flavours push through halfway leading into a long, warm, dry finish then thin quickly.  To be enjoyed as a sipper after airing or pair with hard cheeses, a cheese and vegetable or lochs and spinach pizza or even a shepherds pie. Likely at peak or just after - a drink now.  85

DOMAINE LAFOND ROC-ÉPINE TAVEL ROSÉ 2012, Rhône, France, 14.0%  XD  2g/L, #950709  $17.95  (Tasted January 13, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on August 17, 2013 and rated 91 by Jeb Dunnuck, (July 2013).  My notes:   A peach tint to an attractive wild salmon hue and a lightly herbal scent of crushed watermelon and apple introduces this rosé. A swirl spreads a thin film over the glass forming a lacy rim draining through moderate tears. An initial  medicinal accent surprises the taste buds, grassy dry with a pomegranate and dry cider mix, a long finish but not endearing. Unless tainted during transit this is an acquired taste as a sipper. Difficult to pair - if you have a bottle I'd try seared scallops with asparagus spears or a tuna pasta. I returned my bottle for credit. 79 

PINE RIDGE CHENIN BLANC/VIOGNIER 2012, Oakville, California, 12.0%  XD  9g/L, #673756  $21.95  (Tasted January 10, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on August 31, 2013. A blend of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Viognier.  My notes:  A floral touch gives the green apple an appealing scent. The film is firm anticipating the smoothness of the first sip which comes with a dry edge and flavours of apple and quince. Soft for sipping and an interesting character long in the finish to go well with white- or shellfish. Cellaring 3 to 5 years leaning toward the shorter timeframe could exploit fruit and voluptuous body. A crisp light blond colour reflects a candlelit mood to add to the ambiance.  92

STERLING VINEYARDS NAPA VALLEY MERLOT 2010, Sonoma, California,  14.0%  XD  6g/L, #330241  $27.95  (Tasted January 24, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on April 18, 2013.  My notes: A consistently 90+ wine in previous vintages acknowledged by the LCBO with a $3 price increase from $24.95.  A charcoal tinted deep ruby with a concentrated scent of walnut, cherry and blackberry. The film is contradictorily light leaving a scant rim to form slowly falling short tears. The first sip layers the palate with dry fruit while a polite tang lets the sip linger through a long elegant extra dry finish. A merlot with a unique spectrum and a depth needed for pleasurable sipping or complement with light meats, duck or turkey, or tuna. Cellaring a few years could work but sipping well now. 92

CHILENSIS LAZULI 2010, Maule Valley, Chile, 14.0%  XD  6g/L, #348128  $17.95  (Tasted January 10, 2014)

Released by Vintages on November 9, 2013 and rated 93/100 by (August 27, 2012).  My notes:  This has a herbal tainted blackcurrant aroma, penetrating and lasting - very nice. The film is firm shedding several long legs then settling to drain the rounded rim. A charcoal hued deep ruby, smooth with drying tannins dominating a warm flavourful coating continued thru' a lengthy finish. I prefer warm and dry so a sipper. Pair with grilled beef or lamb - went well with burgers loaded with tomato, onion, mustard and relish. Could cellar several years. 93

BOCCHINO GIUSEPPI ARDUINE BARBERA D'ASTI 2011, Piedmont, Italy, 13.5% XD 5g/L, #343277  $16.95  (Tasted January 6, 2014)

 Released by Vintages on October 12, 2013 and rated 3 1/2 of 5 by Vic Harradine, (December 4, 2012).  My notes:  A thin film leaves a solid rim that sheds long legs then slowly fragments into lacy islands. There's a herbal edge, slightly sweet with a black cherry jam scent strengthening with time - a deep black cherry colour. The first sip is clean and bright with a crushed black cherry stone flavour, extra dry, nicely tannic. Herbal remnants return and stay awhile gradually fading for a long finish. An old world sipper - keep a few years to smoothe or aerate now. Perfect with cheesy pepperoni pizzas or tomato sauced pastas. 88a

BROKENWOOD CRICKET PITCH SAUVIGNON BLANC/SEMILLON 2011, Pokolbin NSW, Australia, 12.0% D 7g/L, #662627  $18.95  (Tasted January 18, 2014)  CS

 Released by Vintages on April 13, 2013 and rated 88 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellars (July 2012).  My notes: Retails for $13.99AUD. A pour shows a straw yellow and a smooth film slowly releasing legs randomly around a rounded rim. There's a lanolin edge to a floral tainted dry grass nose and the first sip reflects the same as flavours adding a pleasing tang to refresh the palate. The lengthy finish fades with flavour remnants and dry grass highlights. Not a sipper for me and did not pair well with grilled chicken pieces and rice corn kernel side. Should complement Chinese, Thai takeouts well or save for fresh oysters. A drink now.  84

ZORZAL TERROIR ÚNICO MALBEC 2011, Tupungato, Argentina,  14.0%  XD  4g/L, #339788  $17.95  (Tasted January 13, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on January 4, 2014 and rated 93/100 by Neal Martin (October 2012).  My notes: The film is quite viscous with a rounded rim shedding chains of slow legs. Heavy sediment so decanting is a must. The colour is a charcoal tinted deep ruby with a viscous sheen. A bright raspberry blackberry scent attacks the nasal nodes and the first sip stings moderately while laying a tannic dryness to last into a long, flavourful, warm finish. Raspberry blackberry turns chalk dry to complete an interesting sip cycle. Have with a rare beef steak, osso bucco or rib eye with a savoury gravy, perhaps horseradish or chimichurri. Cellaring several years is a possibility. Aerating mellows acid level a tad and is recommended. 92a/c

ROMAIN DUVERNAY CAIRANNE 2010,  Rhône, France, 14.5%  D  6g/L, #320465  $16.75  (Tasted January 20, 2014)

Released by Vintages on June 22, 2013 and rated 90/100 by James Molesworth (September 30, 2012).  My notes: This vintage was tasted on July 16th last year with a rating of 89 - price at that time was $19.95.  A sweetness carries a floral scent of blackberry, fresh from crushing. The film is viscous leaving a soft veil with a rounded rim on the glass and several columns of moderate tears run freely. The first sip has a pleasing berry flavour, sharp with a background of fine tannin and a dusty finish that lingers. Don't hesitate to serve for a social event, a full buffet or pair with savoury dinners. At peak with the potential for a few more years. 91 

CHÂTEAU ARGADENS BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR GRAND VIN 2009,  Gironde, France, 14.0%  XD  4g/L, #681643 $16.95  (Tasted January 17, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on November 9, 2013 and rated 90/100 by Roger Voss Wine Enthusiast, (February 2013) as well as being a Gold Medal winner at Concours de Bordeaux in 2011.  My notes:  A deep ruby with a viscous sheen, a firm film with a rounded rim flowing a few slow legs then columns of tears. A bold scent of berries and vanilla attracts a sip that lays fine tannins lasting through a long dry finish with fully ripened fruit ending fairly flat to beg another sip. A full-bodied supper complement to pair with lamb, beef steaks or stews and prime rib burgers. At peak but may keep a few years longer. 90

PODERI COLLA NEBBIOLO D'ALBA 2010, Piedmont, Italy, 13.5%  XD  6g/L,  #748566  $20.75*  (Tasted January 14, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on July 20, 2013 and rated 90/100 by Antonio Galloni (October 2012).  My notes: *Reduced from $24.95.  A see-through dusty ruby with a thin film that sheds a ring of fine tears. A soft scent of raspberry, cherry and vanilla accumulates for an interesting bouquet  - no explosion here. The first sip has a thick tannin layer coating the palate with thin fruit flavours. Fruit declines to a long chalk dry bramble finish. Not a sipper, more of a vegetable pizza companion or to pair with red pepper soup and cherry tomato halves, stuffed mushrooms or beef bourguignon. A shallow structure past peak. 84

GREENLANE ESTATE WINERY RIESLING 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Beamsville, Ontario, 10.0%  M  20g/L, #327247  $15.95  (Tasted January 20, 2014 )  CS

Released by Vintages on April 13, 2013. My notes:  A crisp pale yellow and faint aroma of green apples offers some appeal as a sipper. A swirl leaves a light film shedding several fast legs. There's a noticeable sweetness in the first sip balanced by a green apple tartness, light-bodied, refreshing and finishing with flavours fading quickly leaving dry mineral and a touch of sugar. A mid summer patio refresher - I'd add a squeeze of lime, a few strawberry slices and a mint leaf to liven the party. Pair with trout, brook or lake, tilapia or Arctic Char. A drink now. 84

GREENLANE ESTATE WINERY OLD VINES RIESLING 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore,  10.4%  M 24g/L,  #283432  $22.75*  (Tasted January 27, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on September 29, 2012 and rated 91/100 by Beppi Crosariol The Globe & Mail (August 17, 2011).  Also the Canadian Wine Guy gives this a rating of 88/100 (July 2011) - the *original price was $29.95.  My notes:  A few fine bubbles on the glass on opening and with a whiff of beeswax to a green apple scent. A thin film leaves a lacy rim to slowly evolve as jagged islands on the glass. A few sips and the finish takes on a mineral dryness. A sweet edge, light body and low alcohol suits being served as a social sipper with/without a buffet of cold shrimp, lobster/crab spreads or pieces and hard cheeses - perhaps a match with Japanese and Asian fare. Has less bite since last July. 86

GREENLANE ESTATE WINERY OLD VINES RIESLING 2011 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Beamsville, Ontario, 9.7%  M  21g/L,  #351486  $22.95  (Tasted January 7, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on August 3, 2013.  My notes: A mid yellow colour and a spicy grapefruit lemon zest aroma sets this off as a welcoming sipper. A moderate film leaves a jagged rim to slowly accumulate and fall. The first sip wakens the taste abruptly with the tang and flavours of citrus - an 'amuse bouche' brightness and an excellent complement to baked cod and rice. A white with a refreshing long luscious finale building with time. I'd say more D than M and a flexible drink now. 89

GREENLANE ESTATE WINERY PINOT GRIS/RIESLING 2010 VQA Lincoln Lakeshore , Beamsville, Ontario, 11.5%  D 9g/L,  #283721  $12.75*  (Tasted January 5, 2014)  CS

Vintages release date not given.  My notes: *Original price was $16.95.  Given an 86 by the Canadian Wine Guy back in September 2011. The green apple and pear tainted nose dissipates quickly... and a light blond colour with a fine lacy rim draining a thin film adds little to start an evening's dining. The freshness of the first sip, a slight roundness and soft nip of apple was adequate with the rainbow trout selected for a mains - a buttery lobster tail or scallops with a creamy sauce would work as well. I suggest saving as a summer social sipper with a squeeze of lime. 84

BASTIANICH FRIULANO ADRIATICO 2011, Friuli, Italy, 13.0%  XD  2g/L,  #277467 $19.95  (Tasted January 15, 2014) CS

Released by Vintages on August 17, 2013.  My notes:  Serve well chilled. This has a crisp golden shade showing a moderate film that mounds a smooth rim to shed slow tears. A sniff senses tangy citrus with equal parts mineral and Bosc pear peel. The first sip leaves the palate tasting of mild tea with a long dry finish - not a social sipper but could complement Chinese or Thai seafood dishes, shrimp or scallops, cod or halibut - wasn't quite a match with grilled Atlantic salmon steaks. Cellaring a few years will likely show conservative fruit leaning to its dry mineral side and a softer texture.  84

Tasting Counter, Marlborough April '03
SAUVIGNON 2012, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand,  12.5%  XD  5g/L, #310300  $14.45*  (Tasted January 25, 2014)  CS

A General listing - *was $16.45, reduced $2 until February 2, 2014.  My notes: The Hawkes Bay Villa Maria wines are made from grapes sourced in the Hawkes Bay region (~14,000 hectares) on the North Island  southeast of Auckland and having predominantly a gravely soil. The climate is similar to Bordeaux consequently that style of red is often inferred. The nose is a blend of red cherry liquorice tainted with raspberry and quickly fades in the glass. A swirl leaves a moderate film quickly showing a shallow rim to drain as columns of slow tears. The first sip delivers a flavour with shallow varietal character and carries through a long unappealing finish. Not a pleasing sipper and difficult to pair - perhaps hot dogs with relish and mustard. 77

Villa Maria produces a variety of wine grape root stock through a subsidiary Company, Vineyard Plants.

INNISKILLIN DISCOVERY SERIES EAST-WEST CABERNET SHIRAZ 2011, Niagara on the Lake and Oliver, BC, 13.0%  XD 3.5g/L, #998346,  $17.95   (Tasted January 28, 2014)

Released in June 2013 and purchased from a Wine Rack
(Constellation Brands)  boutique.  My notes:  The specs for this wine can be found in the Inniskillin file.  A blend of 54% Cabernet Franc and 46% Shiraz with 54% Niagara and 46% Okanagan juice and nonVQA. A swirl shows a moderate film running long legs from a fully rounded rim. The colour is a deep ruby with slight purple cast and there's a whiff of vanilla to a blueberry/raspberry aroma nicely accented with mild white pepper. The first sip wakes the palate with an initial sharpness followed by smooth fruit replaced by light tannins and a mineral flatness over a long finish. A buffet is preferred with this sipper or pair with anything grilled and meaty - was Ok with full flavoured filipino ribs. A drink now. 83