Tuesday, July 01, 2014

July 2014 Wines - 20 Tasted of 20

The LCBO has changed their search routine for finding wines and where they are in the Province. See side panel for more detail... I'm returning to use the Vintages and LCBO to avoid a LCBO Online Search graphic. 
...btw, a search for test label 'Big Head' on any of the search sites produces meaningless results. (What Big Head has to do with L.A. Cetto is beyond me.)

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Rosés)

Children's Festival
    • the Foreign Affair Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 92-1  --   O, Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $34.95
    • Bonterra Pinot Noir 2012 Organic, 88-2  --  V,  Mendocino County, California, #317685 $16.95 
    • the Foreign Affair Winery Pinot Noir 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 87  --  O, Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $43.95   
    • Bodegas de Familia Burgo Viejo Licenciado Reserva 2006, 84  --  V,  Rioja, Spain, #370023 $29.95
  • Irony Small Lot Reserve Pinot Noir 2012, 83  --  V,  Manteca, California, #353227 $19.95
  • Maison Belleroche Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de France NV, 81  --   O, France, #British Airways, $x 
  • Balance Pinot Noir Trek Vineyard 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, 79  --  V,  NOTL, Ontario,  #367623 $18.95
    • the Foreign Affair Winery Chardonnay 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 93-2  --  O,  Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $26.95
  • Bollini Pinot Grigio Trentino 2013, 92-3  --  V,  Trentino, Italy, #951319 $16.95
  • Cave Spring ‘Dolomite’ Riesling 2007 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 92-3  --  O, Jordan, Ontario, #Winery  $17.15
  • Vineland Estates Chardonnay Musqué 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 90-2  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #996793  $17.95 
  • Pierre Lieubeau La Grille Single Estate Muscadet 2012, 88-1  --  V, Loire, France, #377501 $15.95  
  • Calamus Estate Winery Pinot Gris 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 87-1  --  V,  Jordan, Ontario,  #349456  $16.95
  • The Ned Pinot Gris 2013, 88-1  --  V,  Marlborough, New Zealand, #267138 $16.95 
  • 5 Vineyards by Mission Hill Chardonnay 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC, 85  --  G, Okanagan, BC,  #281212  $15.95 
  • Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2012, 84  --  V,  Santa Rosa, California, #703710  $11.95 
  • 5 Vineyards by Mission Hill Pinot Blanc 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC, 83  --  G, #145094   $15.95
  • Esser Sauvignon Blanc 2010, 78  --  V, American Canyon, California, #363648 $17.95  
Big Smile
  • the Foreign Affair Winery Amarosé 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-2  --  O,  Vineland Station, Ontario, #Winery  $18.95
  • Domaine des Carteresses Tavel Rosé Vintages 2013, 82  --  V, Tavel, France, #739474 $18.95  
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  -  Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


THE NED PINOT GRIS 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0%  XD  7g/L, #267138 $16.95  (Tasted July 10, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014.  My notes: There's a slight onion skin hue in this Pinot Gris, a coloration once exiled by the LCBO. Flavours and nose come together as a combination of equal parts Bosc pear and an austere mineral. On the light side of medium-bodied with a film that leaves a dozen fast tears draining from a fragmenting rim. A sip starts with spiced fruit continuing through a long dry mineral finish. Quaffing accentuates the flavours as they change. A meal white to have with seared shrimp or scallops in a light garlic sauce... or try with mild liver and onions in a mushroom sauce. Cellaring a few years may dilute nose and taste - drink now. 88
BODEGAS DE FAMILIA BURGO VIEJO LICENCIADO RESERVA 2006,  Rioja, Spain, 13.5%  XD  4g/L, #370023 $29.95  (Tasted July 5, 2014)

Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. Awarded the Best Spanish Varietal over £10 at the 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards. Rated 5 of 5. My notes:  A see through bright cherry colour quickly laying a fragmenting pattern on the glass. The nose has a brightness to match a tangy cherry aroma with earth notes inferring some warmth to follow. The softness of the first sip quickly changes to a metallic/mineral and a flavour similar to Australian Black liquorice for a long dry finish. Overall a pleasing extra dry sipper with crackers and hard cheeses - thin as a meal red.  Pair with a savoury ragout or bacon wrapped ribs brushed with a Maple syrup sauce. Held its own with a Quiznos Classic Italian on Rosemary bun with a few jalapenos. Past peak, a drink now.  84

KENDALL-JACKSON VINTNER'S RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2012, Santa Rosa, California, 13.5%  D  9g/L,  #703710  $11.95  (Tasted July 26, 2014)

Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014. My notes:  Leaves a thin film with rapidly forming legs and is a mid yellow gemstone for colour and clarity. Served at 9oC the nose is a pronounced pineapple with the same tangy edge and part smoothness. The first sip is bright and tight laying down a chalk layer, extra dry with a long tart finish. Sip at 15oC for a broader expression. Match with grilled seafood or chicken breast simmered in a dill and butter sauce. A buffet sipper or meal white. 84

DOMAINE DES CARTERESSES TAVEL ROSÉ 2013, Tavel, France, 13.5%  XD  3g/L, #739474  $18.95  (Tasted July 8, 2014)

Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. Rated 92 by Natalie MacLean  (February 17, 2014).  My notes:  No salmon pink for this rosé but a deep crushed clear raspberry in the glass. A faint fruit aroma when poured at 10oC and a swirl leaves a thin film that disintegrates quickly falling as a lacy veil. A balance of sweet and tang with a raspberry/cherry/pomegranate flavour taking on a mineral finish and an unctuous aftertaste. Serve as a party sipper with cheery banners and vanilla icing on a candle decorated cake. Could be limited to personal taste as a meal match - have with pineapple cubes and pork chops or a Chinese buffet - for appetizer pairings see Snooth.  A commercial drink-now with a cheery cherry style. 82

CALAMUS ESTATE WINERY PINOT GRIS 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge,  Jordan, Ontario,  12.0%  D  13g/L,  #349456  $16.95  (Tasted July 11, 2014)  

Released by Vintages on March 15, 2014.  My notes: A thin film lays a jagged layer to immediately fragment dropping a few tears on the way to a frail lacework. A mild honey, apricot, orange peel and citrus flavour, the nose and the first sip. Serve chilled the texture is smooth with a touch of sweet and a mineral dryness for a long finish. The colour is a clear mid blond eschewing any trace of onion skin. Tart but not stinging and a level of varietal and terroir distinction offers appeal as a sipper. Pair with seared scallops or shrimp, bacon wrapped as an appetizer or in a cream sauce for an entrée. A drink now - a few on the shelf for unsuspected guests should keep. 88

BALANCE PINOT NOIR TREK VINEYARD 2011 VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake, NOTL, Ontario,  13.0% XD  6g/L,  #367623  $18.95  (Tasted July 3, 2014)  

  Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. A wine produced by the Niagara College Teaching Winery.  My notes: A glowing black cherry when held up to a candle's glow and there's an aroma of milk chocolate and ripe berries. For textures there's silk as an intro followed quickly by a chalk dry coating and enough acid to catch in the throat. For flavours, a light cranberry adds brightness to unripe berries. Too raw for a sipper and minimal flavour to pair with a meal - try with beef burgers or sausage patties. We paired with roasted pork tenderloin without success and aerating did not improve. Leftovers were discarded. 79

PIERRE LIEUBEAU LA GRILLE SINGLE ESTATE MUSCADET 2012 Loire, France, 12.0%  XD  7g/L, #377051  $15.95  (Tasted July 21, 2014)  

Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. My notes:  The initial pouring brought some micro bubbles in/on the glass bowl. Served chilled (12oC) the nose is slight with a freshness of mown hay. A sip brings a round texture with a lasting chalky dryness and flavour of grassy melon, a cream edge adds breadth to the taste. A quaff strengthens flavours and adds more dimension. Medium-bodied, a sipper for some and a meal white for all. Match with shellfish, cod or halibut - was great with Clarkson's battered fish and chips. Keep below 15oC. Cellaring four to five years is a possibility. 88

BONTERRA PINOT NOIR 2012 ORGANIC, Mendocino County, California, 13.5%  XD  2g/L,  #317685  $16.95  (Tasted July 17, 2014)  

A General listing. My notes: Rated 90 by Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, (December 31, 2013).  The 2012 vintage wasn't listed on the Vintages website as of this blog entry. The 2011, also organic and priced at $19.95, was released by Vintages on March 1, 2014. A velvet toned deep ruby and, given time to develop, a mild aroma of beets and raspberries. The film lays smoothly on the glass flowing quick long legs and ending with a chain of tears. A vodka tang in the throat and crushed berries on the palate makes this an enjoyable sipper. The light liquorice along with a long silk texture lengthens interest. Have with veal scallopini or other light meat dish, lamb or pork ribs.  88

ESSER SAUVIGNON BLANC 2010, American Canyon, California, 13.5%  D  7g/L,  #363648  $17.95  (Tasted July 25, 2014)  

Released by Vintages on April 26, 2014.  My notes:  A blond colour, crystal clear with a whiff of paint thinner to a tart grapefruit nose raises one's curiosity. A swirl leaves a light film with a jagged rim that drops quickly and evenly. An initial thought of fruit quickly fades as a drying tang, delicate cream and perfumed gooseberry stays on the palate. For me, not a sipper. Was satisfactorily masked with grilled Pacific salmon and asparagus - could also pair with crab legs, lobster tails or a chowder. Adding a few maraschino cherries and, as the Vintages Panel suggests, a cocktail umbrella, could also add interest. 78

the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY CHARDONNAY 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 14.5%  xx  xg/L, #Winery  $26.95  (Tasted July 15, 2014)

Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014.  My notes:  The flesh of a ripe pineapple in colour and swirling leaves a smooth film sticking and accumulating a broad rim that drops long, slow tears. A sniff reveals a soft almond and mango aroma brightened by a chilled 10oC serving and encouraged as the temperature rises to 15oC.  Fruit shifts to crème brulée then adds an almond, mineral note, extra dry and full bodied. Chardonnay lovers will sip this in conversation near a mixed buffet. ABCers could enjoy this with seared shrimps and/or scallops in a cream sauce with pasta. Drinking well now or cellar up to four more years.  93

the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 14.7%  XD  xg/L, #Winery  $34.95  (Tasted July 8, 2014)

Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014.  My notes: A charcoal hued ruby, dense to view and having a film that sticks slowly forming a rounded rim then falling in a ring of slow tears. Aromas of figs, dried coffee and Australian liquorice. The first sip has a smoothness that introduces itself to the palate as dark chocolate. Fruit that is a dimensional blend of ripe berries packaged in a dry envelope not to a chalk level but leaving a long finish remembered for its warmth and flavours. Sip solo or with a broad selection of beef or lamb: osso bucco, savoury short ribs or a filet mignon. Cellar several years or drink now. A memorable rendition and a value.  92

the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY AMAROSÉ  2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 12.4%  D  xg/L, #Winery  $18.95  (Tasted July 5, 2014)

Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014.  A blend of 67% Pinot Noir, 11% Riesling, 11% Sauvignon Blanc and 11% Chardonnay. Unfortunately Tasting Notes weren't found for this rosé.  My notes:  A deep salmon pink glistens and as the temperature shifts to off chill there's a soft aroma of strawberry and orange to entice a sipper to look for more - but it doesn't happen. A thin film lays a fragmenting rim that drops fast legs leaving only jagged islands on the glass. A berry and orange flavour blend, medium-bodied with a touch of sweet followed by a dry berry finish is an interesting reward for slow sippers. The winemaker's style could easily identify this in a rosés tasting, not quite luscious but close. Match with seared scallops on basmati, Cuban cod or halibut, even a fish chowder. Cellar several years - say four, not longer. 90        

the FOREIGN AFFAIR WINERY PINOT NOIR  2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Station, Ontario, 13.1%  XD  xg/L, #Winery  $43.95  (Tasted July 10, 2014)

Purchased from the winery on June 18, 2014. Winner of a Gold Medal at Intervin 2011 and a Bronze Medal, Canadian Wine Awards 2011.  My notes:A suspicion of barnyard in the first sniff prompted me to aerate before going further - after thought, I'd live with the minor barnyard. The film leaves a thin layer topped by a finely laced rim that immediately fragments running a few slow tears. Now the nose has a strawberry touched cranberry, chalk dry and finishing with a muted vanilla edge. Flavours dust the palate and combine with a surge of tang. Medium bodied for sipping or pairing with hard cheeses, party sausage, prosciutto wrapped appetizers or a  mixed charcuterie. Past cellaring and could be past peak. PS. Tasted leftovers a few days later - no barnyard, integrated and complex coming together nicely  add +2 to rating.  87

CAVE SPRING ‘DOLOMITE’ RIESLING 2007 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 11.0% D, #Winery  $17.15  (Tasted July 29, 2014)

My notes:  Purchased from the Winery on June 17th this year. The 2007 vintage was previously tasted on July 18, 2011 and rated 89. The 2010 vintage was tasted on March 30, 2012 and the 2012 vintage on June 8, 2014 with ratings of 83 and 86 respectively. Tasted at a cool 10oC this 2007 has a petrol aspect to aromas of lime zest and pear. The film is lightly viscous lining the glass then receding evenly. A lime peel and polite diesel forms an interesting sipper and sipping slowly allows subtle changes to develop until a chalk dry finish. Pairing with lemon-rosemary roasted chicken didn't work - I blame the chicken. Seafood would have been a better choice - or just sip. Now seven years and could go another seven. 92

IRONY SMALL LOT RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2012, Manteca, California, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #353227  $19.95  (Tasted July 1, 2014)  

Released by Vintages on June 21, 2014.  My notes:  A Delicato Family Vineyards wine the same producer of Fog Head Reserve Chardonnay and Loredona Pinot Grigio both rated highly in this blog.  The colour is a charcoal stained deep ruby in the glass and leaves a thin film to fragment quickly. The nose is a tangy edged black cherry with earthy tones seemingly tangier as it breathes. A thin first sip has a muted blackberry cherry flavour and a surprising warmth as fruit declines and an earthy roughness takes over - acid wins over fruit. Quaff with meat lovers pizza, beefburgers, grilled steaks or rubbed ribs. An indelicate Pinot Noir and a drink now. PS: Much better if decanted 3 days ahead of serving.  83

BOLLINI PINOT GRIGIO TRENTINO 2013,  Trentino, Italy, 13.5%  XD  xg/L,  #951319  $16.95  (Tasted July 2, 2014)  

Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014. Anthony Gismondi rated recent vintages 87-88.  My notes: The LCBO lists this as a 2012 vintage with Gismondi tasting notes published for that vintage. An interesting nose with scents of pear and Granny Smith apple. The film is on the moderate side leaving a finely laced rim slowly receding as a veil. A pale yellow colour, crystal clear and the first sip having a silky honey quince flavour balanced with bright acid. Easily sipped for its light mineral touch and a buttery texture. Easily quaffed for a fuller brightness and luscious lasting finish. Pair with sliced chicken, smoke salmon pizza or mild cheeses.  Cellaring up to four years is likely. 92  

MAISON BELLEROCHE MERLOT CABERNET SAUVIGNON VIN DE FRANCE NV, France, 13.0%  XD  xg/L,  #British Airways  $?  (Tasted July 17, 2014) 

Rated 2.1 of 5 by reviewers on vivino .  My notes: Received from the wine selection on a British Airways flight from the UK to Toronto on June 16th. The colour is a dense ruby and there's a tangy but faint black cherry vanilla aroma. The film drains quickly down long legs while setting up a lacy veil to quickly disappear. Flavours have a thin red currant profile that fades to a bland dryness. Not much to enjoy in this commercial offering. 81

5 VINEYARDS BY MISSION HILL PINOT BLANC 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC, Okanagan, BC,  13.0%  XD  5g/L,  #145094   $15.95  (Tasted July 6, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes: Grapes were selected from: Oliver 63%, Kelowna 18%, Naramata 11% and  Osoyoos 8%.  Serve well chilled. The colour is a mid yellow, crystal clear and with a soft pineapple apple fragrance that builds a perfumed accent. Smooth with a polite bite and flavours that follow the nose until slowly receding into a dry finish. There's a textural element that leaves an impression of artificiality while slow solo sipping brings out an unusual nutty, perhaps macadamia, note. A drink now. Pair with seared scallops, penne a la vodka or freshwater fish. 83  

5 VINEYARDS BY MISSION HILL CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley BC,  Okanagan, BC, 13.5%  XD 5g/L,  #281212  $15.95  (Tasted July 10, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes: Grapes were selected from: Oliver 65%, Osoyoos 22% and Naramata 13% .  There's a green blush to a well polished mid golden blond showing in the glass. A sticky film leaves a finely jagged rim to slowly accumulate and fall as snail paced tears. The nose is fresh as new mown hay but with a spicy apple pear aroma. A grassy edge to an almond tainted apple flavour offsets a silky texture. There's no sweetness to balance an extra dry mineral finish. A commercial drink-now to be served with an ice bucket either to sip or to pair with seafood or sliced turkey breast, cold ham or a sushi boat (no wasabi). 85

VINELAND ESTATES CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Vineland, Ontario,  12.5%  D  7g/L,  #996793  $17.95  (Tasted July 17, 2014)

This is a VQA wine - no release date given.  My notes: A Winery with everything, from O'Leary Fine wines to fine dining and special events all priced to fulfill any temptation. Take the virtual tour for a complete visual of this beautiful property . A polished bright gold in the glass with a sparse number of tiny bubbles sticking to the bowl. A thin film perforates quickly leaving minimal trace - shrinking islands without tears. A light spice hints at some fruit and terroir - honey dew melon and a lengthy wax and dry mineral finish. Its flavouring, body and texture makes this an interesting sipper or pairing with Thai, Japanese or Chinese - perhaps a ginger sauce, tempura vegetables or shrimp. Cellaring for four more years could work. 90