Saturday, March 01, 2014

March 2014 Wines - 22 Tasted of 22

Signs of Spring 2014:
(Photos by PWMcM)

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Rosés then Bubblies)
  • Shiloh Shor Cabernet Sauvignon KP 2007,  95-2  --  V, Judean Hills, Israel, #282947 $32.95  
  • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz Grenache 2011, 94-3 --  V, Penwortham, South Australia, #009225 $19.95 
  • Domaine des Fées Côtes du Rhône 2012, 93-3  --  V, Rhône, France, #272450 $15.95
  • The Foreign Affair 'The Conspiracy' 2012 VQA  Niagara Peninsula, 93-3  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #149237  $19.95
  • Domaine de Grangeneuve Esprit de Grenache Côtes du Rhône Villages 2011, 90-1  --  V, Rhône, France, #364794 $20.95  
  • TintoNegro Uco Valley Reserve Malbec 2011, 88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina,  #364075 $15.95 
  • Caparzo Sangiovese Toscana 2011, 87-1  --  G, Montalcino, Italy, #361022 $12.95 
  • Paul Mas Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2012,  84  --  G, South France,  #293134 $11.95* 
  • Coyote's Run Five Mile Red 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 83a  --  G, St. David's, Ontario, #283416  $16.95 
  • Gariottin Malbec Cahors 2010, 82  --  G, Cahors, France, #340927 $13.15
  • Rosso Piceno Cantina Sant'Isidoro Pinto Macerato Italy2011,  82 -- V,  Marche, Italy, #364885 $15.95

  • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Riesling 2012, 91-2  --  V, Clare Valley, South Australia,  #365635 $17.95 
  • Daniel Lenko Gewurztraminer 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-1  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #356832 $20.25
  • Casa Do Valle Grande Escolha 2012, 89-2  --  V, Vinho Verde, Portugal, #276220 $15.95
  • Maison Adrien Vacher les Adrets Altesse 'Roussette de Savoie' 2012, 89-2  --  V,  Savoie, France,  #365163 $16.95
  • Zenato Lugana San Benedetto 2012, 87-1  --  V,  Veneto, Italy, #707158 $14.95  
  • Balestri Valda Soave Classico 2012, 87-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy,  #362939 $15.95 
  • Tiberio Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2012, 84  --  V, Abruzzo, Italy,  #365478  $15.95 
  • J&F Lurton les Fumées Blanches Sauvignon Blanc 2012,  81 -- G, France, #472555  $11.95* 
  • Palatine Hills Neufeld Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2012 VQA Niagara Lakeshore,  80  --  V, NotL, Ontario, #352344 $14.25*
  • Montevina Pinot Grigio NV,  78  --  G, Napa, California, #237750 $14.95 

  • Rosés

  • Mionetto Prosecco DOC Treviso, 83 --  G, Veneto, Italy, #266023 $17.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


SHILOH SHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON KP 2007, Judean Hills, Israel, 14.5% XD xg/L, #282947  (Tasted March 17, 2014)  $32.95*

Release by Vintages on May 12, 2012.  SHOR is 'the premium series which includes single strain wines and blends – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet-Merlot, Shiraz-Merlo, Merlot and Barbara'. Vintages no longer lists this label.  My notes: *Bin End price reduced to mid $20's. Three WineAlign reviewers gave this wine 4.3 of 5.  CellarTracker notes two reviews averaging 86.5.  A very attractive deep ruby on pouring with a viscous film running smooth on the glass and draining from a full rim through long legs and columns of slow tears. Ripe black cherries with blue- and blackberry tones and an inviting rich dark chocolate essence marks the nose. Smooth on the sip and the swallow, soft tannins and mellow acids balance the fruit carrying the whole through a warm finish. A Valentines gift and the value of a bin end makes this new (to me) wine doubly satisfying. I'd say it's at peak and should continue for a dozen years. 95

GARIOTTIN MALBEC CAHORS 2010, Cahors, France, 13.5%  XD  3g/L,  #340927  $13.15  (Tasted March 1, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes: Rated 3.1 of 5 by 6 reviewers at  There's a charcoal tint to the rich ruby colour and there's an appealing spiciness to a blackberry, cherry, dusty nose.  An even film sticks to the glass slowly accumulating to eventually flow slow legs until clear.  Starting with silk then dusty fruit, chalk and a bright acid sits on the palate providing a long extra dry finish. An adequate sipper if a buffet table of hard cheeses, pigs in a blanket and stuffed mushrooms is nearby, or pair with beef stroganoff, osso bucco etc.  A drink now. 82

MIONETTO PROSECCO D.O.C. TREVISO,  Valdobbiadene, Italy,  11.0%  XD  16g/L, #266023  $17.95  (Tasted March 13, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes: John Galea last March gave this an 89.  Pouring brings a burst of bubbles that quiesces quickly leaving a screen of tiny streams. The colour is a crisp pale yellow leaving a fine film and lacy edge when the glass is tilted. Starts with a soft creamy texture and a tart apple tang followed quickly by a dry, mineral finish. To be enjoyed with fresh oysters or grilled tilapia on a bed of greens. Quaffing increases sipping pleasure while low alcohol makes it possible. A drink now. I'd try adding a squeeze of fresh orange.  83

KILIKANOON KILLERMAN'S RUN SHIRAZ/GRENACHE 2011, Penwortham, South Australia, 14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #009225  $19.95  (Tasted March 9, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on February 15, 2014. Rated 93 by James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion and 91 by Harvey Steiman, (October 31, 2013).  My notes: A warm aroma of prunes, black cherries and dark chocolate - pleasing as a sniffer. The first sip has a penetrating acid balanced by rich tropical fruit - the dryness of crushed pomegranate seeds with the lush flavour of a blue- blackberry blend. The film is viscous immediately running long legs until a continuous rim of slow tears remains. The velvet density lasts with strong fruit remnants favouring this as a full-bodied social sipper. Pair with grilled beef done any way: red, pink, well or a rich stew. Cellaring for several more years increases this red as a value keeper. What more is there to like?  94

DANIEL LENKO GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0%  XD  13g/L, #356832  $20.25  (Tasted March 10, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on September 14, 2013. My notes:  The 2008 vintage tasted in August last year showed a 'local interpretation or terroir [that] may appeal as a sipper for its difference' - it was rated 86.  The nose of the 2009 is a spicy blend of floral, delicate grapefruit - with pear coming in late in the sniff. The film lays smoother than I'd expect from a Gewurz although the rim isn't rounded and gradually clears the glass without fragmenting. An appealing sweetness is more apparent as the finish builds texture with some warmth and a touch of chalk added to the fruit. Very appealing as a sipper and could pair nicely with most seafood or sushi. Cellar a few and see what happens - I think it'll cellar several years. 90

DOMAINE DE GRANGENEUVE ESPRIT DE GRENACHE CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2011, Rhône, France, 14.0%  XD 6g/L, #364794  $20.95  (Tasted March 23, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on February 15, 2014. Made from 80% hand picked old-vine Grenache and 20% Syrah.  My notes: A touch of pepper gives an appealing edge to herbal tainted black cherry blackberry aroma. The colour is a deep ruby with a hint of grey steel and a swirl gives a smooth film accumulating a bead at the rim that eventually flows a column of slow tears. The first sip is tangy reinforced with peppery black fruit blended to be mysterious right through a long, fuzz coated finish. Some dusty fruit midway may limit this as a sipper - an OK match with pork tenderloin slices but more of a grilled beef red.  The fruit could be short lived if cellared several years - close to peak now.  90

FRANCOIS LURTON LES FUMÉES BLANCHES SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012,  France, 12.0%  XD 4g/L, #472555   $11.95*  (Tasted March 2, 2014) 

A General listing reduced from $12.95 until Mar 2, 2014.  My notes: A touch of grass with the gooseberry for aromatics is a tangy introduction. A pale yellow and a thin film with a fragmented rim that falls quickly leaving only jagged islands on the glass. A soft cream takes some of the edge off the initial bite although a long finish of dry gooseberry followed by a steely mineral sustains it temporarily at a noticeable level. Not a sole sipper - needs a flavourful plate of Cuban Cod with capers and tomatoes, or like repast, for pairing. A drink now.  81

PAUL MAS ESTATE SINGLE VINEYARD SELECTION (Nicole vineyard) CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT 2012, South France, 14.0% XD 2.6g/L, #293134  $11.95*  (Tasted March 6, 2014) 

Reduced from $13.95 until March 2, 2014.  My notes:  Grape varieties: 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Merlot. A deep ruby opaque to view with a quiet aroma having a herbal edge to berry increasingly revealed with airing. The film hangs heavy on the glass leaving a solid rim eventually running columns of long legs. Quite bright on the tongue with velvety tannins, muted blueberry and dark chocolate all continuing into a long drying finish. As a social sipper finger foods are a must - something fatty ie. sausage rolls, stuffed mushrooms, Italian bruschetta or a variety of tapas.  A drink now - shelve a few for drop-ins or a beefy supper.  84

COYOTE'S RUN FIVE MILE RED 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  St. David's, Ontario, 13.0%  XD  6g/L,  #283416  $16.95  (Tasted March 2, 2014)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  The tasting by Michael Pinkus is available on YouTube.  A blend of Pinot Noir 32%, Cabernet ? 30%, Merlot 27% and Syrah 11%.  This has a charcoal hued mid ruby colour with red currant, black cherry and light raspberry forming a biting aroma. Swirling leaves a smooth film and a rim that slowly builds until well rounded with several slow tears falling and leaving fragile lace. A gulp fills the mouth with a bright cherry stone carrying into an extra dry finish. Not a sipper unless you prefer a wine with the rawness of youth or have nibbles nearby - aerating mellows appreciably and is recommended. A match with burgers, pepperoni pizzas or an Italian Chorizo ragoux. Cellar a few years and watch for change.  83a

KILIKANOON KILLERMAN'S RUN RIESLING 2012,  Clare Valley, South Australia,  12.5%  XD  4g/L,  #365635  $17.95  (Tasted March 7, 2014)  CS

 Released by Vintages on February 15, 2014 and rated 91 by Harvey Steiman  (June 30, 2013).  My notes:  At first there's a touch of butterscotch in a faint citrus nose making this interesting at the start - but it dissipates. The film is thin leaving a ragged rim to slowly disintegrate on the glass. The sharpness of the first sip is persistent almost overcoming crisp sensations of lemon and tart apple that carry through a long finish ending with a chalk and mineral edge added at the extra-dry end.  Have with Mussels with Chervil, Parsley and Chives or Marinara or a Curry and Coconut sauce. Drinking brightly now or cellar for several years looking for a smoother texture. 91

MAISON ADRIEN VACHER LES ADRETS ALTESSE 'ROUSSETTE DE SAVOIE' 2012,  Savoie, France,  12.5%  D  4g/L,  #365163  $16.95  (Tasted March 4, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014.  "An interesting factoid: Altesse (Roussette) is believed to be a close relative of Hungary's Furmint grape, the principal component of Tokaji." My notes:  A new grape to me and one referred to by Jancis Robinson as 'Savoie's most exciting white grape'. Having a mid gold colour with a spicy pear and apple aroma, a moderate fullness and touch of vanilla on the first sip, appealing as a social sipper - different from the usual. A swirl leaves a thin film with a lacy rim draining into beads on the glass. The finish turns dry initially being woody then lingering remnants of fruit. That's when a buffet selection is preferred - some hard cheeses or herbal crackers and a soft brie. Paired well with one of my favourites Cuban Cod and would with grilled or steamed fishes and shellfish. Cellaring several years would deepen the colour and mellow a youthful edge. 89

DOMAINE DES FÉES CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012, Rhône, France,  15.0%  XD  6g/L,  #272450   $15.95  (Tasted March 3, 2014)

 Released by Vintages on January 4, 2014.  My notes: Certified biologic.  A purple cast to deep ruby gives this a regal look. The film sticks well but is moderate leaving a firm rim that runs columns of slow tears - no fragmentation here. A few sips and I'm liking it's reserved texture, tannins building to fuzz and a flavour saying it has Mourvèdre as backbone with syrah for spice. (Big House says 50/50 Grenache & Syrah) The finish has a velvet texture with quiet blackberry and dark chocolate tones. Pleasing as a sipper and a good companion for Beef Wellington red in the middle. Cellaring should build more complexity making this a value now and for several years. The nose holds back with modesty then adds to the appeal. 93  

CASA DO VALLE GRANDE ESCOLHA 2012Vinho Verde, Portugal, 13.5% XD  2g/L,  #276220  $15.95  (Tasted March 5, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014.  My notes:  The Alvarinho grape is Portugal's answer to Spain's Albarino and is used in quality Vinho Verde wine. A shining yellow colour shows off aromas of citrus, apricot and pie dough. A thin film forms a lacy rim slowly falling ragged to the meniscus. Somewhat sharp on the sip with an extra dry finish. As a sipper it leaves the throat tingling and prefers pairing with smelly cheese or a buffet of sardines, toasts and salsa - perhaps an anchovy flavoured pizza. There's some softness to balance the acids and sufficiently full-bodied to carry through a flavourful meal. A standby white for a Portuguese themed dinner and one that could cellar awhile. 89 

ROSSO PICENO CANTINA SANT'ISIDORO PINTO MACERATA ITALIA 2011,   Marche, Italy, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #364885  $15.95  (Tasted March 5, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014 and rated 4 of 5 by Vic Harradine  (April 25, 2013). My notes:  100% Sangiovese (6.61Euros or $9.20 online).  Has a deep ruby colour, charcoal hued, and a pungent aroma of soaking prunes and wood bark. The first sip layered tannins on everything it touched along with liquorice and a dense black cherry then  plunging into a long, drying, charred liquorice - no elegance here but a process infused heaviness. Airing a few hours or aerating subdued some of extremes. Pair with chorizo and pepperoni on pizza with a heavy cheese, bbq'd beef ribs with a spicy rub or use for a rich beef sauce. Cellar until it comes around. 82

THE FOREIGN AFFAIR THE CONSPIRACY 2012 VQA  Niagara Peninsula, Vineland, Ontario, 13.8%  XD  5g/L,  #149237  $19.95  (Tasted March 14, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on February 15, 2014 and rated 90 by Natalie MacLean  (November 6, 2013).  My notes: The 2012 is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and made using the ripasso method. 100% dried skins makes the colour is DENSE, a concentration of ruby that's opaque, clean and crisp. The film is unbroken to the rim, smoothly collecting volume until columns of tears slowly fall. The flavours burst on the palate: rich blueberry, blackberry and cranberry for a polite, tangy edge. Woody tannins build in the mouth carrying the flavours to a long sumptuous never-ending. A quiet sipper to go with a good book and warm fireplace - or with friends with good conversation. Pair with beef Wellington, a Beef & vegetable stew with a rich gravy or a rare T-bone with sausage stuffed baked potato. Cellaring should go well for several years but drinking now without sign of its youthfulness. Doesn't keep once opened. 93

CAPARZO SANGIOVESE TOSCANA 2011, Montalcino, Italy, 13.0%  D  12g/L,  #361022  $12.95  (Tasted March 19, 2014)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: Comes with the note 'SEASONAL LIMITED QUANTITIES'. Does it mean 'Buy a years supply' or what? Lots in stock! This has a ruby colour, a glistening see-through in the light and a nose of pungent fruit increasing intensity over a few sips. A lacy rim runs a few fast legs then fragments slowly creeping to the surface. Pleasing but with a hardness, carrying dark fruit, dry tannins and crushed berries - as a sipper and a quaffer - has a long extra dry finish. Pair with hamburgers, meaty pizzas and grilled steaks.  Shelve a few - could show a mellowing or ?? requiring sampling bimonthly 8-).  87

BALESTRI VALDA SOAVE CLASSICO 2012, Veneto, Italy,  12.5% XD  6g/L,  #362939  $15.95  (Tasted March 17, 2014)  CS

  Released by Vintages on January 18, 2014.  My notes:  Shows a touch of spritz on the glass and aromas of crisp apple, the zest of lemon and Bosc pear peel, fairly prominent for a Soave. The colour is a mid yellow and leaves a thin film that drains from a ragged rim, no legs or tears.  Flavours follow the nose adding a pleasing roundness, a long, dry, mineral finish keeping its refreshing tang, but not overly tart, to cleanse the palate. Chicken Parmigiana, a tuna pasta or panzerotti  style stuffed with ground veal and cheeses. Drink now or cellar a few years - med-bodied and flavourful for family dining.  87

TINTONEGRO UCO VALLEY RESERVE MALBEC 2011,  Mendoza, Argentina,  14.0%  XD  5g/L,  #364075   $15.95  (Tasted March 20, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on February 15, 2014 and rated 89 by Neal Martin (October 2012).  My notes: Coloured charcoal tinted ruby this is opaque in the glass. A lightly scented blackberry there's an appealing freshness but with some brambly roughness. The film is thin, smooth, immediately forming a ring and dropping fast legs before a column of tears. The first sip nips at the palate then layers a velvet coating including juicy berries in the back and fine tannins all over. The finish is long and dry. Pair with meaty pastas or sausage on a bun. Cellaring five years or so should deliver a softer version of the same making it worthwhile. 88

TIBERIO TREBBIANO D'ABRUZZO 2012, Abruzzo, Italy,  13.0%  D  4g/L,  #365478   $15.95  (Tasted March 19, 2014) 

  Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014 and rated 92 (right after bottling) by Ian D'Agata, International Wine Cellar (March/April 2013).  My notes: A mid yellow with a tawny tinge and a soft cream aroma slightly tart on first sniff. A thin film leaves a ragged rim left to fall without drama. A bright intro to a slight ginger and half apple half honeydew flavour clearing the way for a cleansing finish. Pair with chicken thighs or veal cutlet in a tomato sauce. Went well with chicken parmigiana and spaghettini with tomato and pancetta sauce. Keep chilled for an interesting quaffer - but a meal white. 84
ZENATO LUGANA SAN BENEDETTO 2012,  Veneto, Italy, 13.0%  XD  7g/L, #707158  $14.95  (Tasted March 11, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on February 1, 2014.  My notes:  The 2012 Lugana has an onion skin hue to a mid golden for viewing interest and an apple and pineapple touch to a mineral tainted nose that adds more. A swirl shows a thin film with a fine lace rim dropping a row of slow tears to clear the glass. Smooth on the lips followed by a tartness and modest fruit persists through a long refreshing finish. A sipper would eventually look for soft cheese on toast or a tuna pasta or a thin crust pizza covered liberally with smoked salmon and spinach lightly broiled. Several put aside with a few Zenato reds would prepare you for any occasion. 87

Past tastings of Zenato wines:

ZENATO  RIPASSA VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2009, #479766  $24.95 (Tasted Dec 17, 2012)
ZENATO  LUGANA SAN BENEDETTO 2011,  #707158   $13.95 (Tasted December 20, 2012) 

ZENATO ROSSO VENETO IGT 2008, #208579  $11.95 (Tasted December 7, 2010)
 ZENATO CORMI 2006, #108282  $17.95 (Tasted October 17, 2010)
ZENATO SOAVE CLASSICO 2008, #413146  $12.95 (Tasted July 5, 2010)
ZENATO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE RIPASSA 2006, #479766 $24.95 (Tasted April 6, 2010)

MONTEVINA PINOT GRIGIO NV, Napa, California, 13.5%  D  10g/L,  #237750  $14.95  (Tasted March 25, 2014)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A different label than on their website and this bottle has no vintage year stated. Perhaps a label for export? Perhaps grapes from anywhere rather than somewhere? A bland yellow leaving a thin film topped by a fine jagged rim to drop slowly. The nose has the aroma of warmed then cooled plastic wrap with a mildly pungent chemical sharpness. The first sip has a smooth texture, a dry grapefruit kiwi flavour and an aftertaste showing a momentary roundness with a delicate chalk feel. Serve well chilled as a sipper with Artisano's grilled garlic breads... sipping quickly and often avoids an unusual finish. A drink now.  78

PALATINE HILLS NEUFELD VINEYARD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 VQA Niagara Lakeshore, NotL, Ontario, 13.5%  M 23g/L, #352344  $14.25*  (Tasted March 28, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on August 17, 2013 and marked down from $18.00*.   My notes:  A mid yellow leaving a smooth film that slowly recedes from a lacy rim.  There's an aroma of apple, melon and mild floral citrus and matching prominent flavours - perhaps of the Neufeld terroir or winemaker's choosing. Nicely acidic with a noticeable sweetness and a smooth texture leading into a short finish ending chalky and with a light touch of oil on the lips. Difficult to place this as a Sauvignon Blanc - pair with curried chicken or a tangy Thai dish. A drink now.  80