Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday 2014-15 wines - 16 Tasted of 16

Mare of the Mist

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Bubblies)

  • Vina Alicia Paso de Piedra Malbec 2010, 92-2  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #301457   $19.95 
  • 13th Street Merlot 2012 VQA Creek Shores, 91-2  --  V, St. Catherines, Ontario, #270504  $17.95     
  • Cline Family Cellars Zinfandel 2013, 90-2  --  G,  Lodi, California, #489278  $14.95
  • Mount Riley Pinot Noir 2012, 88c  -- V,  Marlborough, NZ, #060137  $23.95
  • Frei Brothers Reserve Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2012, 87  --  V, Healdsburg, California, #281758  $24.95  
  • Ventisquero Queulat Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2012,  85  --  V, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #389213  $15.95 
  • Beronia Tempranillo Reserva Rioja 2009, 83  --  G, Rioja, Spain, #243055  $13.00  
  • Gnarly Head Pinot Noir 2012, 83  --  G, Manteca, California, #358911  $14.95
  • Prunotto Mompertone 2011, 82a  --  V, Alba, Italy, #388587  $18.95 
  • The Show Cabernet Sauvignon 2012,  81a  --  G, Napa, California, #383885  $17.95
  • Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir Sonoma County 2012, 80  --  V, Healdsburg, California, #954834  $22.45*     
  • Dandelion Vineyards 'Twilight of the Adelaide Hills' Chardonnay 2012, 89-1  --  V, MacLean Vale, Australia, #368274   $19.95
  • Cave de Ribeauville Collection Pinot Gris 2013, 85  --  V, Alsace, France, #390633  $19.95 
  • Camp Romain Laudun Cotes du Rhone-Villages Blanc 2013,  83  --  V, Rhône, France, #380725  $15.25 
  • Ventisquero Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2013, 78  --  V, Casablanca Valley, Chile,  #211904  $13.95

  • Bird in Hand Sparkling Pinot Noir 2011, 92-2  --  V, Adelaide Hills, Australia, #327429  $19.95  
       (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


GNARLY HEAD PINOT NOIR 2012, Manteca, California, 13.5%  D  9g/L, #358911  $14.95  (Tasted December 27, 2014)

A General listing made by Delicato Vineyards. My notes: A charcoal stained ruby that lays a thin, smooth film with a rounded rim dropping a curtain of slow tears. A sharply edged smoky floral wakens the nose without disclosing the fruit until the first sip then a cherry/red currant mix carrying through to a long, dry finish with a touch of bramble, light-bodied and bright on the tongue. Serve with pizzas, beef ribs, Metro's barbecue chicken or provide at an open bar to have with a burger on the run. A drink now. Quaffing gives a fuller flavour.  83

THE SHOW CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Napa, California, 13.9%  D  9g/L, #383885  $17.95  (Tasted December 29, 2014)

A General listing made by the Trinchero Family Estates (TFE).  My notes:  A deep raspberry colour with a stick-to-the-glass viscosity running a rim of slow tears. There's a warm berry aroma with a hint of nutmeg, white pepper and fruit replaced by bramble going into a long dry finish - like licking chalk having a flat liquorice taint. Full of character that changes from start to end. As a sipper, a red with unexpected 'terroir'. More of a meal red to have with steak, beefburgers, souvlakis or Osso Bucco. A drink now with short shelf expectancy and, after a second tasting, better aerated to be tolerated. The empty bottle weighs 1.5lbs. For a statement re their commitment to the environment see TFE Green.  81a

CLINE FAMILY CELLARS ZINFANDEL 2013,  Lodi , California, 14.0% D 9g/L, #489278  $14.95  (Tasted December 23, 2014)

A General listing and produced by Cline Cellars My notes: The colour is a charcoal hued ruby and there's a scent of ripe raspberries dipped in molten chocolate introducing the nose. An empty glass reeks (in a good way) of wood smoke. A thin film quickly shreds at the rim leaving a fragmenting veil. The first sip has a silky texture then a steely edge finishing dry with a miniscule barnyard. A hint of sweetness, unrelated to the fruit, remains on the tongue. Entertaining as a sipper and would have a good presence with grilled steak, beefy ribs or dark duck meat. Will cellar well making this flexible as a social temptress or an amiable dining partner.  90

DANDELION VINEYARDS 'TWILIGHT OF THE ADELAIDE HILLS' CHARDONNAY 2012, MacLean Vale, Australia, 13.0%  D  4g/L, #368274   $19.95  (Tasted December 24, 2014)

Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014. Rated 91 by Harvey Steimann  (August 31, 2013).  My notes: An aroma of a soggy newsprint that airs quickly subsiding to a grapefruit touched cool apple pie. The film is moderate, firm enough to form a hesitant rim receding as a lacy edge - a few fast tears. The colour is a green hued pale yellow. A mineral intro, medium-bodied, mildly luscious and nicely tangy ready to match with whitefish, seared scallops, lobster/crab pieces and mussels in a garlic wine sauce. The finish layers a light cream with the mineral. Chard lovers may do a double take but with a few sips continue conversation - some may adopt this as a pinot gris. Cellar a dozen for its uniqueness - will keep several years.  89

CAVE DE RIBEAUVILLE COLLECTION PINOT GRIS 2013, Alsace, France, 13.5% D xg/L, #390633  $19.95  (Tasted January 8, 2015)

Released by Vintages on November 22, 2014.  My notes:
A polished mid yellow with a tart lemon custard scent. A swirl leaves a fragmented rim quickly receding to a lacing pattern on the glass. Served at 10oC a sip is drying and tangy with flavours following the nose all to a long ascerbic finish - held its own with tilapia grilled in a butter sauce with an asparagus side. A sipper for those accustomed to biting into a lemon while chewing on chalk.  85

VIÑA ALICIA PASO DE PIEDRA MALBEC 2010, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  XD 4g/L, #301457  $19.95  (Tasted January 9, 2015)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Rated 90 by Jay Miller  (December 2011).  My notes: The viscosity shows in the firm film and slow legs on the glass. The nose starts with a subdued spice and plum/cherry scent that intensifies in the bowl. A spike of acid spreads with a drying layer on the palate. There's a touch of sweetness with penetrating liquorice to accent the dark fruit and sustain everything through a long extra dry finish. Interesting as a sipper and a good complement to anything savoury. At peak with excellent cellaring potential. 92

VENTISQUERO RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Casablanca Valley, Chile,  12.5%  XD 4g/L, #211904  $13.95  (Tasted January 4, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014.  My notes:  Equal portions of gooseberry and tart apple with some spice for a nose. The colour is a mid yellow with a green tint and there's just enough body for a thin film to form then collapse quickly without a trace. The first sip has an unexpected flat mineral flavour with citrus being a secondary impression and the finish is a lasting chalk with a moderate tang. Add an ounce of lime or cherry flavouring for sipping or serve well chilled paired with seafood. Perhaps a wine produced from a below average vintage or from excess harvest.  78

13TH STREET MERLOT 2012 VQA Creek Shores, St. Catherines, Ontario, 14.0%  XD 6g/L, #270504  $17.95  (Tasted January 12, 2015)

Released by Vintages on January 4, 2014. Six hundred cases were produced.  My notes: This was last tasted on May 5, 2014 and rated 90a. Not much has changed with 10 months at the LCBO. The aroma is pleasing with a cherry and raspberry aroma - soft dark chocolate, liquorice and tea leaf accents broaden the nose. An opaque deep charcoal hued ruby colour spreads a viscous film slow drop until a dozen tears break from the rim. Fine tannins dry the palate laying a path for ripe plums and bright red currants. The finish is long, extra dry, full-bodied, halfway between dark fruit and mild chalk. Pair with a beefy T-bone or bbq'd ribs or lamb stew. Very nice. 91

VENTISQUERO QUEULAT GRAN RESERVA PINOT NOIR  2012, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5% XD 7g/L, #389213  $15.95  (Tasted January 11, 2015)

Released by Vintages on October 25, 2014.   My notes:  A see-through charcoal stained ruby sets the stage. The film is thin leaving a frilly edge rim to recede slowly - less frill and a fuller rim with slow legs if glass is tilted. A pleasant pungency in the first sniff, some plum and smoky cherry for fruit and silk, tannins, balanced acid add to the first sip. An initial faint barnyard scent dissipates quickly for pleasant sipping - more smoke than fruit. Aerating has a mellowing effect - try before serving. Have with Maple smoked salmon, chorizo pieces and butter basmati rice or chicken cacciatore. 85

CAMP ROMAIN LAUDUN CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES BLANC 2013, Rhône, France, 13.0%  XD  4g/L, #380725  $15.25  (Tasted December 31, 2014)

Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014.  My notes:  Served at 16oC a golden with a touch of tarnish and a faint chilled butter for a nose. A swirl lays a light film with a slight rim quickly fragmenting then releasing a few fast legs. A swish brings a combination of pie crust and tangy grapefruit pith. A smooth texture shows some cream then quickly changes to a dry mineral with some tang remaining. A meal white with seafood or roasted fowl - went well with a shredded chicken stir fry with a spinach rice side touched by soy. Serve no higher than 18oC. 83

BERONIA TEMPRANILLO RESERVA RIOJA 2009, Rioja, Spain, 14.0% XD 2g/L, #243055  $13.00   (Tasted January 4, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo grapes. A charcoal tinted deep ruby with a subtle, warm nose of blackberry, bright red currant and mild smoke. A light film leaves a ragged edge to recede slowly. A balanced silk, an early light sting then an wood shaving dryness on the lips and palate takes over and into a fading finish. Quaffing fills the mouth with bright cherry easy to please but the finish comes quickly begging a smooth gravy over potatoes and a forkful of rare steak or spicy sausage. A meal red past its peak. Drink now. 83
RODNEY STRONG ESTATE PINOT NOIR  SONOMA COUNTY 2012, Healdsburg, California, 14.5% XD 5g/L, #954834  $22.45*  (Tasted January 6, 2015)

Vintages release date was unavailable.  Regularly priced $24.95 reduced until January 4, 2015.  My notes: Being a featured red at the local LCBO I thought I'd use as gifts for the season. The $2 discount was an incentive. Not a lot of nose to sniff on this red cherry. Clear enough to see through even in dim light. A pleasant silk, nip and tannins for the first sip combined with a shallow cherry flavour and long dry finish. The discounted price is high given the substance of this Pinot. Pairing is difficult as most entrées would over power rather than complement. Not a drink now nor a candidate for cellaring. 80

FREI BROTHERS RESERVE ZINFANDEL DRY CREEK VALLEY 2012, Healdsburg, California, 14.8% D 8g/L, #281758  $24.95  (Tasted January 15, 2015 )

Released by Vintages on November 8, 2014.  Rated 89 by Robert Parker Jr. (December 2013).  My notes: An E. & J. Gallo wine. A blend of 96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah. An E. & J. Gallo wine. A blend of 96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah.  A charcoal tinted ruby opaque to view. The aroma has a tart touch to the nostrils and a scent of black cherries warmed awhile in the sun. Silky smooth, drying tannins and a pleasing tartness assembles for a long smoky finish. A viscous film runs long legs instantly and smoothly on the glass bowl. Pair with leg of lamb, rare steaks and savoury stews or just sip with buffet appetizers: eg. stuffed mushroom caps, bacon wrapped asparagus. The blend components add a hint of sweet - perhaps the oak contribution. Likely at peak. Would be a value at $18 - 20US .  87

MOUNT RILEY PINOT NOIR 2012,  Marlborough, NZ, 13.5%  XD  5g/L, #060137  $23.95  (Tasted January 5, 2015)

Released by Vintages on July 5, 2014. Rated 3.5 of 5 by Michael Cooper, 2014.  My notes:  A see-through ruby, alluring in firelight. Rolls a thin film that leaves a heavily fragmented rim becoming islands transitioning to beads.  A delicate red cherry aroma with just enough lemon to accent a coming flavour. Sip slowly for a dry, tart, light-bodied red with a silkiness that continues to a moderate bright finish. Thirst quenching as a sipper and complementary when paired with pork, chicken and seafood. Could add an interesting depth to spicy Thai or sweet and sour Chinese. Cellaring a few years may accentuate the silk and bring forward flavours from the background - worth a try (except for the price). Rational price $14-$16.  88c  

PRUNOTTO MOMPERTONE  2011, Alba, Italy, 14.0% XD  7g/L, #388587  $18.95  (Tasted January 1, 2015)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Rated 90 by Antonio Galloni  (October 2013).  My notes:  A blend of 60% Barbera grapes and 40% Syrah grapes produces a deep ruby colour; a firm film with a rounded rim that flows quick legs; a prickly plum, blackberry and smoke aroma with an awakening sting in the first sip; a dry layering of the mouth with tooth cleaner acid and a thin finish needing mellowing by the savoury juices of most roast beef or liver entrees. A spirited wine with possibly a short shelf life. Aeration reduced the sting to an amenable level so is a 'must' - otherwise not recommended. Portion of bottle was discarded.  82a

BIRD IN HAND SPARKLING PINOT NOIR 2011, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 12.0%  D  18g/L,  #327429  $19.95  (Retasted December 31, 2014)  

New year glitter comments, animated newyear gif scraps, happy new year wishes Released  by Vintages on August 17, 2013.  My notes: Last tasted on September 6, 2013 and rated 91. The current vintage at the winery is 2014, however not available at the LCBO. Served at 10oC this has a light salmon colour bursting with small bubbles shifting to a variety then an invisible spritz until disturbed by a thermometer causing continuous streams. A delicate tangerine/strawberry with miniscule sugar covered by the tartness of CO2 bubbles. The spritely spritz lasts forever.  There's a touch of cream for toasting  or to have with fresh oysters, breakfast sausage drizzled with maple syrup and your choice, waffles/pancakes. My idea of a New Year's Eve toaster  or summer refresher - if only Vintages would stock regularly. Empty bottle weight was close to 2 lbs.  92 

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