Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jordan Trip, May 24 2014 - 13 Tasted of 13

I was aroused by several tweets on my Tweetdeck saying the VQA Tasting Panel had rejected a Niagara Riesling as tasting 'atypical' for the region. Outrage was my immediate reaction to what I consider a serious impropriety wielded by our wine monopoly. Why would the taste, the purview of consumers, of a Niagara wine come under the jurisdiction of the LCBO? Perhaps a Lab report had concluded the wine was flawed, too much SO2, manganese or ? but not the taste?! No winemaker wants to receive that notice. Not only infringes on his creative rights but also a significant loss of revenue to the winery and impugning his reputation. I decided to find out for myself.

One e.mail scheduled a sampling of the wine for the next Saturday.

Traffic was light, the weather was sunny and warming - I arrived in Jordan an hour early. Three things used up the hour - a visit to Cave Spring to purchase a few favourites, searching for the winery without signage then meandering the fenced grazing land where pigs, cows, chickens and ducks do what comes useful for natural vineyards. I arrived on time for my tasting of the Riesling, now known as 'Black Ball', at the Pearl Morissette Estate winery. 

Small enough to measure the quantity of cases bottled for a label between 100 and 1000 the Pearl Morissette website describes their vineyard care and winemaking protocols with an obvious sense of pride and fidelity to the craft. Having recently shown wines at the RAWFair in London (May 18-19 2014) each of those submitted had documented compliance with the RAW regimen confirming their strict adherence to 'sustainable' and 'natural'. And on entering the Pearl Morissette winemaking cellar by comparison its more than modest, a postage stamp among fermentation warehouses on the Niagara landscape. 

During the tasting at the winery all wines appeared clear.

The result of my tasting of the 'Black Ball' Riesling at home is included as part of my tasting notes below. Meanwhile pour a bottle and form your own opinion - on second thought read my initial notes first.

Cheers, Ww


  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled The Adam Steps Riesling 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench, 90-1 --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $22.10
  • Cave Spring Dolomite Riesling 2012 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86 --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $15.02
  • Cave Spring Dolomite Pinot Noir 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86  --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $19.45 
  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, 81  --  O, Jordan, Ontario  #Winery  $14.14

Morissette Wines:
  • Btl 1: Pearl Morissette Estate Winery Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 85  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $35.60  (185 cases)
  • Btl 2: Pearl Morissette Estate Winery Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2009 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 82  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $35.60

  • Btl 1: Pearl Morissette Estate Niagara Vineyards Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 83  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $31.17  (777 cases)
  • Btl 2: Pearl Morissette Estate Niagara Vineyards Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 83  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $31.17 
  • Btl 3: Pearl Morissette Estate Niagara Vineyards Chardonnay Cuvée Dix-Neuvième 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 85  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $31.17  

  • Btl 1: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, NR  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $23.21
  • Btl 2: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, 84  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $23.21  
  • Btl 3: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, 81  --  O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $23.21
  • Btl 4: Pearl Morissette Vignobles du Niagara Riesling Cuvée Black Ball 2011, 86a -- O, Jordan, Ontario #Winery  $23.21   

(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


The last visit to Cave Spring was in August 2012 .  The 2010 vintage of the Dolomite Riesling (84), the Pinot Noir (86) and Chardonnay Musqué (88) were tasted at that time.  New to this visit is the Adam Steps Riesling 2012.

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED THE ADAM STEPS RIESLING 2012 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Ontario, 11.0%  D  22g/L,  #Winery  $22.10  (Tasted May 30, 2014) 

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014.  My notes: Poured at 11oC the colour is a crystal clear mid yellow and the nose has a citrus mineral fragrance hardly noticeable on first sniff.  A swirl leaves a thin coating that separates quickly into lacy patterns and then small nodules. Sipping brings out a soft lime flavour with a bright acid accent and modest chalk for a long extra dry finish. Medium-bodied, tang and a touch of sweet provides a liquid amuse bouche before a seafood entrée or as a sumptuous sipper on the summer patio.  90

CAVE SPRING DOLOMITE RIESLING 2012 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 11.5%  D  15g/L,  #Winery  $15.02  (Tasted June 8 , 2014) 

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014.  My notes:  Crystal clear with small bubbles layering the glass on the pour and a pale yellow with a slight green hue. A fresh, must be the chill, nose without aroma and a hint of sweet balanced with a light tartness frames the first sip tantalizing the taste buds with a perceptible lime/lemon then warming the throat for a mildly unctuous finish. A mineral dryness grows with each sip although not to the degree of previous vintages. A patio sipper with pigs in a blanket, bruschetta, cheese & crackers or pair with seafood dishes: coconut curry mussels could add an interesting contrast. A drink now.  86

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2011 VQA Beamsville Bench, Jordan, Ontario, 13.5%  D  2.5g/L,  #Winery  $14.14  (Tasted June 6, 2014)

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014.  My notes: A year earlier vintage at the winery than in Outlets. A mid yellow colour, clear and bright. A fairly thin film quickly fragmenting from a jagged rim until only minor lacework remains. A nose of green apple and grassy spice having a chalk dry texture going into a long finish - may be acceptable as a sipper for Chardonnay lovers. For others it needs to be paired with sweet & sour seafood or Thai chicken. A drink now. 81

CAVE SPRING DOLOMITE PINOT NOIR 2011 VQA Niagara Escarpment, Jordan, Ontario, 13.0%  D  6g/L,  #Winery  $19.45  (Tasted June 8, 2014)

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014.  My notes:  Light but with enough body to pair with slices of pork tenderloin, rice and spinach drizzled with miso sauce. The bright cherry colour glows with a swirl that leaves a thin film to recede quickly from a light rim. A sensual musk edge to a red currant and rhubarb aroma is a pleasing forecast of a tingling tannin that lasts through a long dry fruity finish. Cellaring may add some silk to an already elegant red. Difficult to pair so I'd suggest sipping solo or with a tray of vanilla wafers. 86

PEARL MORISSETTE ESTATE NIAGARA VINEYARDS CHARDONNAY CUVÉE DIX-NEUVIÈME 2011 VQA Twenty Mile Bench,  Jordan, Ontario, 13.5%  XD  xg/L, #Winery  $31.17  (777 cases)

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014.  Btl 1: My notes: (Tasted June 4, 2014). A clear mid yellow that swirls a thin film with a ragged rim and several moderately flowing tears. At 10oC a sniff reveals minimal nose and the first sip has a mild grapefruit/apple/pear flavour, nicely tart, a just-noticeable cream then a chalk dry finish and replacing any remaining fruit with a mineral note. Still minimal nose at 15oC. A different sipper for those accustomed to mild and dry. Pair with grilled shrimp or scallops or potato latkes with smoked salmon. Drink at room temp. 83

Btl 2: My notes: (Tasted July 21, 2014). My notes: Clear in the glass. Same colour, nose flavours and a creamy soft texture ending dry. A distinct sipper that could be an acquired taste. We're having this bottle with chicken-a-bobs, sugar peas and risotto. A soft match and went well.  83

Btl 3: My notes:  (Tasted July 30, 2014) The film leaves a fragmenting rim and long tears. Minimal fruit on the nose with a mild acid to waken the nostrils. Temperature on first pour is 14oC and a cool swallow freshens with blended pear, apple, herb and an underlying hint of vanilla quickly vanishing. The texture is smooth, medium-bodied, coats the palate and leaves a toasty dry finish. Altho a flavour not preferred a satisfying sipper as well as meal white - a drink now to several years. 85

$35.60  (*less than 2g/L on website)

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. The empty weighed in at 1.5 lbs twice normal of .75lbs.  Btl 1: My notes:  (Tasted May 30, 2014) A hint of tawny for a regal mid golden colour and except for a light oak scent no discernible nose from 12oC to 15oC. The film is thin but enough to leave a rim with lacework and a few long legs. There's a light silk feel to the first sip accompanied by a delicate peach stone flavour, a refreshing lemon edge and a mineral layer that follows the fruit into a long extra dry finish. Still has some youthfulness but likely at or near peak. A meal white to be paired with lightly seasoned whitefish: tilapia or cod on basmati rice with a side of fresh vegetables. 85

Btl 2: (Tasted August 26, 2014) A deep gold clear and bright with a soft butter aroma and a touch of tang. The film sticks then recedes as a fragmenting rim, a few tears but fairly clean on the glass. A light tang coats the tongue then throat spreading a moderate warmth into a long dry finish ending with a light chalk. A unusual terroir or perhaps more the winemaker's process and an acquired taste - not for me. Not a sipper - have with a buffet selection, hard cheeses and crackers or bruschetta, mini sausages, stuffed mushroom caps. Sufficiently moderate to pair with fresh water fish, cod, tilapia or scallops. We had with flavourful roasted pork chops and veggies. 82

The Black Ball Riesling 2011:

PEARL MORISSETTE VIGNOBLES DU NIAGARA RIESLING CUVÉE BLACK BALL 2011, Jordan, Ontario, 11.5%  XD  2.0g/L,  #Winery  $23.21 

Purchased at the winery on May 24, 2014. Ontario’s VQA tasting panel had said as well as being 'atypical' there was 'perceived leesy notes, oxidative flavours and aromas, dullness, as well wispy sediment'. Each tasting served at the winery was 'clear' in the glass.

1. Reference
Btl 1: My notes:  (Tasted May 28, 2014). The first of four bottles purchased was paired with grilled ham slices with a slight sweetened sauce. No attempt to record tasting notes during the meal for one reason:  on pouring there was a microfine spritz combining with sediment to appear as a cloud in the glass (photo 3). This showed on first
2: Sediment in one glass - 24 hr
pouring and persisted during the meal.
3: Cloud on pouring
Leaving it 'til afternoon of next day a fine silt had settled (photo 2). The drinking glass (photo 3), can be compared with the reference (photo 1). The VQA Tasting Panel had called it right - at least for this bottle.  NR

Btl 2: My notes: (Tasted June 2, 2014). Each pour from the bottle has an interesting level of fine spritz and the sediment at the bottom of the glass is negligible. A swirl leaves a thin film beginning its cascade of tears immediately from a lacy rim until only beads remain. The nose has a minor yeast and citrus aroma and there's a slight cream to the texture and tart apple flavour. Tooth cleaner refreshing as a sipper ending extra dry. Was tame with crab cakes, puréed cauliflower and asparagus and could have used more bite to go with the aioli sauce (or a milder aioli). A drink now.  84   

Btl 3: My notes:  (Tasted June 3, 2014). Poured showing less spritz carrying an amount of fine sediment blurring slightly its clarity. The colour and sparse nose is similar to btl 2 with film, texture and flavour also consistent. The finish is tart, long with a mineral dryness ending on a bland note. Less of a tooth cleaner and with an indistinct fruit level this bottle had little interest as a sipper - and was difficult to pair with a meal.  I suggest decanting, cooling for several hours then tasting before serving.  81

Btl 4: My notes: (Tasted June 11, 2014). Crystal clear with tiny bubbles gradually reducing to a few streams slowly rising. The colour is a mid yellow and the nose has a soft aroma of ripe MacIntosh apples with a tangy edge. The first sip is extra dry parching the palate with some lime mostly lemon flavour, no detectable sugar. A refreshing sipper leaving a faint warmth through a long mineral finish. Pair with seafood, sliced fried chicken or Guinea Hens stuffed with rice and mushrooms. Short term cellaring may smooth or integrate textures and flavours - I'd try three years. Aerating removes a considerable amount of fizz and smoothes the texture. Overall an acquired taste.  86a

Saturday, May 03, 2014

MY WINE my style

Twenty- three General listed wines  and thirteen Vintages, including one Icewine, are featured in this LCBO publication - themed to include Mother's Day and with content to give a reader tips for ordering wine on any occasion: dining out, dining in, ordering takeout, day or night, morning or evening.

Answers to questions such as "When should I order by the glass?",  "When should I order by the bottle?", "How should I let the server know I'd like to chat with the sommelier?" - all basic stuff but real handy for those intent on adding polish and adventure to their wine consumption.  

As well as the usual collection of reds and whites a number of Ontario restaurants were referenced. I've listed these below with a link to a website having feedback from recent customers as to service, ambiance and food:

If you didn't receive your copy of 'MY WINE my style' today I'm sure your local Outlet will find one for you... and don't forget the LCBO saying 'Please Drink Responsibly'

Offered with tongue firmly in cheek, 
Cheers, Ww

Thursday, May 01, 2014

May 2014 Wines - 30 Tasted of 30

A late Spring lace

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Rosés then Bubblies)

Recycled tree stump, Apr 25 '14
  • Kilikanoon Killerman's Run Shiraz 2011, 92-2  --  V, Penwortham, Australia, #925453 $19.95 
  • Bertani Villa Novare Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2010, 91-2  --  V,  Veneto, Italy, #095810 $19.95
  • Tempus Two Cabernet Merlot Limestone Coast 2011, 90-2  --  G, Pokolbin, NSW, Australia,  #308197 $16.95 
  • 13th Street Winery Merlot 2012 VQA Creek Shores, 90a-2  --  V,  St. Catharines, Ontario,  #270504 $17.95
  • Terredora Aglianico Campania 2010, 89-1  --  V, Montefusco, Italy,  #602284 $16.95 
  • Kaiken Malbec Reserva 2011, 88-1 --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #058339 $14.95 
  • Pasqua Villa Borghetti Passimento Rosso 2011, 88a-1  --  G, Verona, Italy,  #141952 $15.45
  • Pérez Cruz Limited Edition Carmenère 2012, 85  --  V, Maipo Alto, Chile, #670539 $19.95
  • 13th Street Detour Gamay/Pinot Noir 2012, 83  --  G, St. Catharines, Ontario, #367565   $14.95*
  • Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet 2012, 83  --  G, South Australia, #285544 $16.95 
  • Terre Dei Volsci Velletri 2008, 82  --  G,  Aprilia, Italy, #175141 $14.90 
  • O Pinot Noir by Gilles Louvet Organic 2012, 82  --  G, Narbonne, France, #292995 $14.95 
  • Pirramimma Stock's Hill Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2011, 80a  --  G,  McLaren Vale, Australia,  #352252 $16.90

Walden Trilliums
  • Rolf Binder Highness Riesling Eden Valley 2012, 90-3  --  V, Tanunda, South Australia, #368266  $18.95 
  • O Chardonnay by Gilles Louvet Organic 2012, 89-2 --  G,  Languedoc, France, #320432 $14.40 
  • Willm Réserve Riesling 2012, 88-1  --  V,  Alsace, France, #011452 $15.95
  • Joffré Pasion 4 Torrontés 2013, 87-1 -- V, Mendoza, Argentina, #361063  $14.95 
  • Jip Jip Rocks Unoaked Chardonnay 2012, 87-1  --  V, Padthaway, Australia, #175752  $15.95
  • Maison Adrien Vacher les Adrets Altesse Roussette de Savoie 2012, 87-1  --  V, Savoie, France, #365163 $16.95
  • Tollgate Fumé Blanc Stratus Vineyards 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 85  --  V,  Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #335711 $15.20*
  • 13th Street Detour Riesling/Chardonnay 2012,  84  --  G, St. Catharines, Ontario, #367573  $14.95* 
  • 13th Street White Palette 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 84  --  V, St. Catharines, Ontario, #207340 $15.95 
  • Finca Nueva Blanco 2012, 83  --  V,  Rioja, Spain, #280560  $16.95 
  • Pillitteri Estate Winery Viognier 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, NR  --  V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #330894 $14.95

  • Remy Pannier Rosé d'Anjou 2012, 83  --  G, Loire, France, #012641  $12.95
  • Zenato Bardolino Chiaretto Rosé 2013, 83  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #045203 $14.95

  • Tawse Spark Limestone Ridge Riesling Sparkling Wine 2012 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, 93-3  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #370361 $19.95
  • Perlage Canah Brut Prosecco Superiore Conegliano Valdobbiadene 2012, 88-1 --  V, Veneto, Italy, #358390  $19.95
  • Trapiche Extra Brut Sparkling Wine 2013, 86-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #262261 $10.95*  
  • Muga Conde de Haro Brut Cava 2010, 86  --  V,   Rioja, Spain, #168559  $19.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, * - Price change, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)


KAIKEN MALBEC RESERVA 2011, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  D  2.6g/L, #058339  $14.95  (Tasted  May 28, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2013.  My notes: A blend of 96% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery recommends decanting 30 minutes before serving. A faint blackberry with a slight herb nose and a colour of black cherry skins. A moderate film with a full rim that sheds tiny tears stretching eventually into long legs. Soft velvet with a tangy lining, full-bodied and rich in black fruit... lasting long ending with a brambly edge and lush chocolate. A mild sweetness lays behind the fruit maintaining it through a long dry finish. Definitely an option as a social sipper or pair with pigs in a blanket, a rare T-bone, slices of meat lovers pizza or a beef ragout. Moderate cellaring should do well - 'til 2018.  No need to decant. 88
WILLM RÉSERVE RIESLING 2012,  Alsace, France, 12.0%  XD 7g/L, #011452  $15.95  (Tasted May 21, 2014) 
Released by Vintages on April 18, 2013.  My notes:
A bargain price in Ontario when compared to SAQ ($18.25).  A pale blond, crisp and shiny with aromas of peach stone and lemon-lime. The film is thin yet taking time to develop a rim that drops as fine lace. Clean and crisp is the first sip, drying on the lips then palate with more tree fruit until mineral and citrus become prominent for a moderate finish. A summer sipper and a seafood white that went well with grilled cod on basmati although the cooked spinach side, not so. Young, delicate and sumptuous with potential for holding its own a few years.  88
KILIKANOON KILLERMAN'S RUN SHIRAZ  2011, Penwortham, Australia, 14.5% D 4g/L, #925453  $19.95  (Tasted May 19, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2013.  My notes: Previous vintages tasted were the 2002 (84 $18.95) and 2006 (82 $18.95).  Natalie MacLean and Robert Parker rated this vintage 90 so I'm curious to see if the style has mellowed since tasted May 9 2010 with my rating of 82.  This is a deep purple hued ruby colour with a strong pepper edged blackberry aroma that can slow the first sip - to appreciate and to acclimatize to its intensity. A viscous film covers the glass filling the rim and eventually forming a ring of near stationary tears. Silky smooth covering the mouth with blackberry and (importantly) a restrained tartness. No rush for the second sip as the first lingers through a concentrated finish. A dollar higher but you don't hear me complaining. If you occasionally enjoy a full throttle red this should cellar many years without decline. Have solo or with grilled beef, strong cheeses or dark chocolate liqueurs. Stock up!  92 

TERREDORA AGLIANICO CAMPANIA 2010, Montefusco, Italy,  13.0%  XD  5g/L,  #602284  $16.95  (Tasted May 22, 2014)  CS

A Vintages release on November 23, 2013 and rated 89 by Antonio Galloni (February 2013).  My notes:  Having tasted four wines made from the Aglianico grape last October and enjoying its full-bodied texture and rich flavours, both fruit and fermentation, I now look for it on Vintages shelves. This has an opaque charcoal stained ruby colour with a soft aroma of subdued herbs and smoky mushroom. The film is firm on the glass accumulating at the rim then cascading tears running into long legs. Silky smooth and bright on the tongue with fine tannins supporting a mild plum and berry flavour then going into a long bone dry finish. Aglianico offers a difference for a full red. Sip or have with roasted ribs, meat lovers pizza, a T-bone or beef Wellington, ie. beef flexible - or cellar several years. 89-1

TEMPUS TWO CABERNET MERLOT LIMESTONE COAST 2011, Pokolbin, NSW, Australia  13.0%  D  4.1g/L, #308197  $16.95  (Tasted May 12, 2014)  CS

A General listing.  My notes: A see through rich ruby colour leaving a firm film to shed long legs to be joined by slow tears all hanging from a solid rim. There's an aroma of woody oak on top of ripe black cherry teasing the senses before a silky seam of ripe raspberry cherry satisfies the taste. The finish is warm and envelops the palate then leads into a long full fruit - pleasant as a sipper having the soft allure of Merlot with the maturing body of Cabernet and still having the balanced tang of youth. Pair with anything beefy. A lightish full-bodied red - try cellaring three more years to see where it's going or enjoy now. 90  

PIRRAMIMMA STOCK'S HILL GRENACHE SHIRAZ MATARO 2011, McLaren Vale, Australia,  14.5%  D  xg/L,  #352252   $16.90  (Tasted May 3, 2014)  CS

 A General listing.  My notes:This blend is not listed on the Pirramimma website -possibly a commercial production meant for export. There's a touch of lacquer in a blackberry nose along with a woodiness that urges another sniff. The colour is a basic ruby with a charcoal hue. The film is thin tracing long, fast then slowing legs to eventually drain the rim. Silk then a penetrating tang that follows a swallow warming the throat as it goes. If you like your brandy neat it's likely this is your sipper. Instead I'll match with a pink T-bone or grilled half back ribs. Aerating softens the tang a tad leaving a long and extra dry finish intact. There's no sweetness to add fullness or charm making this a raw medium-bodied drink now. 80a

PENFOLDS KOONUNGA HILL SHIRAZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, South Australia, 13.5%  XD  5g/L, #285544  $16.95  (Tasted May 14, 2014) 

 A General listing.  My notes:  Spicy fruit adorns the nose on this coal stained ruby red. A penetrating acid clears the way as a swirl brings a firm film and swollen rim to slowly shed long legs. The first sip layers tang on top of heavy velvet for a long dry finish. Plum, dark chocolate and cassis are prominent flavours. Aerating lessens the fuzz while fading some of the fruit - it depends on preference whether an improvement. Decanting ahead or cellaring a year or two could do the same. Not a sipper but a young commercial beef wine: T-bone, strip loin, bbq'd ribs or a beefy stew should go well. It would be overly optimistic to buy for long term cellaring (imho). Prices online go as low as US$8.99, so definitely not a bargain in Ontario. 83

REMY PANNIER ROSÉ D'ANJOU 2012, Loire, France, 10.5%  M  20g/L,  #012641  $12.95  (Tasted May 14, 2014) CS

A General listing.  My notes:  There's a salmon hue to a powder puff pink giving this rosé an inviting appearance. A thin film fragments and falls quickly showing a graceful delicacy. A faint aromas of strawberry and cucumber is not uninviting just not encouraging. A soft fullness carries the flavour of crushed strawberry polite in its approach then slowly fades. A slightly off dry Bridge Party appetizer with soft cheeses and dry crackers and an innocuous drink-now on other occasions. 83 

ROLF BINDER  HIGHNESS RIESLING EDEN VALLEY 2012, Tanunda, South Australia, 12.5%  D  9g/L, #368266  $18.95  (Tasted May 18, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on April 12, 2014 and rated 90 by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, (March 2013).  My notes:  A faintly tinted green mid yellow with an aroma of grapefruit, coriander and a touch of lime. Corresponding flavours with the lime acid coming forward and a long mineral dryness for a finish. (If this were an Ontario riesling I suspect it wouldn't pass the VQA Panel's taste test, however, imports are exempted. Ontario consumers can still enjoy the terroir and wine styles from more liberal regions just not Ontario's where denial of 'VQA' comes with a stiff dollar penalty.)  An interesting sipper but may have limited pairing potential - try shellfish, fried octopus rings, grilled scallops or asparagus, shrimp, spaghettini in a creamy sauce. Cellaring several years may bring out an oilier texture as it matures. 90

FINCA NUEVA BLANCO 2012,  Rioja, Spain, 12.5%  XD  4g/L, #280560  $16.95  (Tasted May 2, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on April 12, 2014 and rated 90 by Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, (September/October 2013).  My notes:  100% Viura (Macabeo). The colour is a mid yellow and the first sip has a mild bite, a silk edge and a distant lemon pear flavour. There's a persistent musk scent that carries through to a long finish before trailing off leaving a taste and aroma of grapefruit pith, a dry mineral and slight cream for texture. A complement for Asian sweet and sour, grilled seafood or a taco tray. A meal white and a drink now. 83

JIP JIP ROCKS UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2012, Padthaway, Australia, 13.5%  XD 4g/L,  #175752  $15.95  (Tasted May 1, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on March 29, 2014 and rated 4 of 5 by James Halliday, (July 11, 2013).  My notes:  A pale yellow not as vibrant as most whites and with a soft aroma of grapefruit and apple sauce. The film is thin leaving a delicate jagged rim that quickly fragments leaving only minute drops on the glass. Grapefruit predominates the taste having its characteristic softness and light acid. The finish carries the fruit along a texture that combines a mild tang and a mineral dryness.  Pair with seafood, chicken slices or mild Italian sausage and a potato onion casserole. Has a freshness and unique terroir that would add interest as a social appetizer. Would be great with grilled scallops and greens.  A drink now. 87

TRAPICHE EXTRA BRUT SPARKLING WINE 2013, Mendoza, Argentina,  12.5% XD  11g/L,  #262261  $10.95*  (Tasted May 26, 2014)  CS

A General listing.  My notes:  *reduced from $11.95 until April 27, 2014.  Rated 86 by Tony Aspler .  Crisp and clear with large bubbles effervescing and sparkling in a flute. A tart apple aroma is a refreshing start replacing the initial burst of bubbles and leaving a tingly spritz to carry apple-lime flavours onto the palate from the first sip. Continued sipping prolongs a dry, slightly creamy and a tedge sweet for a collapsing finish. A summer patio sipper to be complemented with ham or chicken salad triangles and puff pastry wrapped party sausage.  A drink now and economical for sharing with large gatherings of family and friends. 86

TERRE DEI VOLSCI RISERVA VELLETRI 2008,  Aprilia, Italy, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #175141  $14.90  (Tasted May 9, 2014) 

  A General listing.  My notes:  Vivino reviewers rate this 3.7 of 5. The bright see through red cherry colour has a tawny hue (oxidized?) and a swirl quickly forms a thin film that sticks to the glass. The blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cesanese produces a light-bodied red to pair with tomato pastas - we had with Battaglia's cannelloni filled with mild sausage and cheeses. Equal parts cherry, red currant, herbs de province make for an unusual nose and a flavour spectrum not for solo sipping. Perhaps an off year or past due as previous vintages were rated OK.  82

PASQUA VILLA BORGHETTI PASSIMENTO ROSSO 2011,  Verona, Italy,  14.0%  D  12g/L, #141952  $15.45  (Tasted May 7, 2014) CS

A General listing.  My notes:  A charcoal stained ruby with a soft aroma of cherries, milk chocolate, a hint of vanilla and herb. The film stays accumulating enough to run slow tears that extend into long legs. Aerating increases the silk in the texture a tad and lessens the dryness of mild tannins. A red currant edge carries a pleasing brightness from first sip to a long extra dry finish. Serve as a tasty sipper or pair with bbq'd ribs, pork or beef. Would likely cellar for several years for a mellower meal red or drink now for its youthfulness.  88a

O CHARDONNAY BY GILLES LOUVET ORGANIC 2012,  Languedoc, France, 13.5%  XD  4g/L, #320432  $14.40  (Tasted May 1, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes:  A mid yellow with grassy lemon lime scent both tangy and lightly floral. The first sip has a full tang ending with a long finish adding a mild pie dough and a pleasing warmth to the citrus. A swirl leaves a moderate film topped by a partly lacy rim receding quickly through several fast legs. Pair with grilled Atlantic salmon filets or steaks, chicken thighs in a plum sauce or breaded veal cutlets and apple sauce. Cellaring for several years is likely - a year at a time. 89

BERTANI VILLA NOVARE RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2010, Veneto, Italy, 13.5%  XD  8g/L,  #095810  $19.95  (Tasted May 15, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on April 12, 2014 and rated 90 by Natalie MacLean (December 12, 2013).  My notes: A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes.  Dense ruby with a viscosity you can almost feel. Swirling proves it by leaving a thick, slow moving film and tears dropping to form curtains of legs. A flavour of dark chocolate mixed with rich ripe black cherries and prominent acetic smoke changes quaffing to sipping. The smoothness turns to a chemically clean texture, a pomegranate or red currant brightness and flavour then a fine tannic layer for a long finish. An interesting sipper. Now it's time to match with a Neapolitan pizza or a tomato chorizo sauce pasta or ragout. Already in the bottle four years and could cellar several more. 91

PÉREZ CRUZ LIMITED EDITION CARMENÈRE 2012,  Maipo Alto, Chile, 14.0%  XD 6g/L, #670539  $19.95  (Tasted May 25, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on March 29, 2014.  My notes: 95% Carmenere, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  A few seconds for a sweetness on the palate suggestive of a light jam but with a powdering of tannin. Flavours of blackberry, red currant and mild roasted coffee copy the aroma and build as one then separate at the start of a long dry finish. A swirl lays a smooth film with enough volume to shed many fast, long legs. A pleasing burst of flavour that carries well with conversation or with beefy pizzas, mild Italian sausage or calves liver with mushrooms and onions. A drink now with a few years cellaring potential. 85

O PINOT NOIR BY GILLES LOUVET ORGANIC 2012, Narbonne, France, 13.0% D 7g/L, #292995   $14.95  (Tasted May 1, 2014)  CS

A General listing. My notes:  The 2010 vintage priced $13.95, was tasted in October 2013 and rated 90. This has the same black cherry skin colour and shows a thin film that drains quickly through tears stretching into long legs. The nose is earthy young raspberry fruit having a light tang. The first sip lays a dryness, extra dry with each sip, and gradually showing more tannin as the fruit fades leaving some bramble for a chalky finish. Not a sipper - a red to have with meaty pizzas, Big Boy burgers, Montreal smoked meat or steaks. There's no compensating silk in this light-bodied Pinot. Aerating softens the tannins a tad - try aerating or decanting an hour.  A drink now. 82

TAWSE SPARK LIMESTONE RIDGE RIESLING SPARKLING WINE 2012 VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Vineland, Ontario, 11.5% D  11g/L,  #370361  $19.95  (Tasted May 9, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on April 26, 2014 and rated 4 1/2 of 5 by Rod Phillips (October 10, 2013).  My notes:  13,000 bottles produced. At 2 lbs per that's 13 tons of glass. More than delicate flavours of pear, apple and lemon zest and a profusion of fine bubbles on pouring against the pale yellow colour. This has a textural dimension that brings together everything to its peak!  Sip and savour solo, share with oysters, steamed-, curried- or marinara- mussels or toast to a special occasion but don't waste on a main course that could dilute its pleasure. Extra dry and lemon tingly for a finish. I'd expect this to cellar nicely for several years. Stock up!!  93

MAISON ADRIEN VACHER LES ADRETS ALTESSE ROUSSETTE DE SAVOIE 2012, Savoie, France, 12.5%  XD  4g/L, #365163  $16.95  (Tasted May 6, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on March 1, 2014.  My notes: 100% Altesse aka Roussette of Savoie. Crystal clear lemon juice yellow in the glass and a light film with a lacy rim that beads with tears slow to drop. The nose has a honey center with a touch of sweet and bright edge so comes across as delicate floral. The first sip is quite tangy ending dry on the palate and warming on the throat with soft lemon flavours. Paired nicely with Coconut Curry (red)  Chicken a quick-to-prepare entree from allrecipes.com. I added basmati rice and baby peas with lobster bisque as a starter.  This white should keep short term - serve chilled - a fish and shellfish white.  87

13TH STREET DETOUR GAMAY/PINOT NOIR 2012, St. Catharines, Ontario, 13.0%  XD 4g/L, #367565  $14.95*  (Tasted May 18, 2014)  CS

A General listing *reduced from $16.95 until May 25, 2014.  My notes:  60% Gamay and 40% Pinot Noir gives a charcoal ruby colour with a discernible scent of smoke, pepper and reticent black cherry. A swirl leaves a firm film with a rounded rim that sheds a few long legs. A texture of fine silk tries to establish itself but is interrupted by a taut acid, almost a tooth cleaner. Red currant and tannins continue to an extra dry finish as the softer fruit fades leaving a tolerable bitterness. Medium-bodied and a match with beefburgers, beef lovers pizza or bbq'd ribs - a drink now. 83

13TH STREET DETOUR RIESLING/ CHARDONNAY 2012, St. Catharines, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  4.4g/L, #367573  *$14.95  (Tasted May 4, 2014) 

 A General listing *reduced $2 from $16.95 until May 25, 2014.  My notes: A blend of 58% Riesling and 42% Chardonnay with a pale yellow colour and a nose having a suspicion of floral on top of tangy freshly cut apple. A swirl spreads a thin film topped by a fragile rim that slowly recedes leaving islands of lace. The first sip has a hollow middle, a light green apple flavour while refreshing at the edges each element merges into a long dry finish. A suitable partner for veal or pork schnitzel accompanied by an onion & potato casserole and, served chilled, could be a social sipper given a Mandarin buffet to add interest - ie. not a lone sipper. 84

13TH STREET WHITE PALETTE 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, St. Catharines, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  2g/L, #207340  $15.95  (Tasted May 3, 2014)  CS

 Released by Vintages on March 15, 2014.  My notes: A crisp deep yellow with an aroma of clover honey, clementine peel, lime and a herbal edge... but no discernible sweetness. The film is thin moving as a lace rimmed sheet down the glass. A light medium-bodied first sip, dry from start to a long parching finish and an undecided flavour trail on its journey. A white and a blend of 7% Riesling, 28% Gewürztraminer, 10% Musqué, 4% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Viognier from the winemaker's imagination rather than a vineyard's harvest. Have with a mixed buffet or charcuterie tray - for a pairing challenge, a meal of curried mussels or simply shady patio sipping with nibbles. A drink now. 84

13TH STREET WINERY MERLOT 2012 VQA Creek Shores, St. Catharines, Ontario, 14.0%  XD  6g/L,  #270504  $17.95  (Tasted May 5, 2014) 

 Released by Vintages on January 4, 2014.  My notes: A cherry raspberry aroma with soft dark chocolate, liquorice and tea leaf accents show complexity. The colour is a deep charcoal hued ruby opaque to view and the film is slow to recede until a dozen tears break from the rim and descend as a curtain. Fine tannins dry the palate laying a path for ripe plums brightened by red currants and leading to a long extra dry finish, halfway between fruit and chalk - the sipper must decide its appeal. Some will pair with a beefy T-bone, bbq'd ribs or rare filet mignon... others may linger deciphering its mystery. Aerating mellows the tannins slightly and is my preference.  90a

PILLITTERI ESTATE WINERY VIOGNIER 2011 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 12.5% XD  4g/L,  #330894  $14.95*  (Tasted May 12, 2014)  CS

Release by Vintages on August 17, 2013.  My notes:  The nose is negligible. Neither is there a pronounced Viognier character... perhaps from initial release the varietal has 'aged' out. *Priced on the winery website as $20.20 this has been reduced to $14.95 in Vintages. The colour is a clear see through, a clean yellow. A thin film leaves a jagged rim quick to separate into fragments. An almost perceptible grapefruit taste followed by a long dry finish provides little interest as a sipper. The remaining attraction could be due to the winemaker's process. Did not add to a meal of pan fried tilapia with a basmati butter sauce, snap peas and Thyme mashed potatoes. Save for a patio sipper adding crushed ice and juice of half a lime - or serve a flavoured Perrier. NR

TOLLGATE FUMÉ BLANC STRATUS VINEYARDS 2009 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 14.0%  XD 2g/L,  #335711  $15.20*  (Tasted May 10, 2014) 

Released by Vintages on July 20, 2013 and *marked down $4 from $19.20 for clearance - originally priced $24.95 at the winery.  WineAlign critics rate this vintage (find under Tollgate 2009 Reviews) in the high 80's. Tony Aspler's notes are here. My notes: A strong bright yellow with a firm film quickly releasing long legs and slow tears from a smooth rim. A fruit orchard fragrance being a wild and arboreal aroma with pronounced vanilla - if allowed to breathe (thirty minutes) loses much of the wild. The first sip has a tropical fruit bias, medium-bodied, tart, warm with a chalky mouthfeel lasting on the palate. Neither French nor Kiwi, a blend of local grapes aged in French oak, a Niagara interpretation. For me, not a sipper though should go well with curried seafood. Did not add to crock pot chicken entrée. Sample first and if your preference cellar several years going year by year. 85

PERLAGE CANAH BRUT PROSECCO SUPERIORE CONEGLIANO VALDOBBIADENE 2012, Veneto, Italy, 11.5% XD 12g/L, #358390  $19.95  (Tasted May 28, 2014)  CS

 Released by Vintages on December 7, 2013.  My notes:  A green tint to a pale yellow, crisp and clear in the glass and with a profusion of fine bubbles on pouring. At 8oC there's a subtle citrus nose. A swirl offers up a thin film that fragments quickly into laces and beads. At 12oC there's a faint cream with grapefruit zest aroma and with each sip a tingling spritz and tart melon-grapefruit flavour. Further tasting maintains the tang while going into a mineral dominant finish. Went nicely with ham sliced thin, asparagus spears and a hearts of romaine, goat cheese, raspberries lightly coated with Renee's Asian sesame vinaigrette dressing.  Cellar a short while or drink now.  88

MUGA CONDE DE HARO BRUT CAVA 2010,  Rioja, Spain, 12.5%  XD  4g/L, #168559  $19.95  (Tasted May 10, 2014) CS

 Released by Vintages on April 26, 2014. Rated 89 by Luis Gutierrez (December 2013).  My notes: Another 2 lbs of glass for each bottle - is that needed or is it marketing? A blend of 90% Viura and 10% Malvasia. This has a mid yellow colour and pours with a burst of large bubbles and some fine trailing off to an unseen spritz. Mild grass, grapefruit and lemon provide a refreshing dryness for an aperitif or party celebration sipper - acid replaces any leftover spritz in a long finish. Carry over from the 'night before' to a 'morning after' solo sipper (open fresh unless you like 'dull and flat') or with French toast and mild Italian sausage. Try with side bacon brushed with Maple syrup and over-easy chicken fruit. Four years young and could do another four.  86 

ZENATO BARDOLINO CHIARETTO ROSÉ 2013, Veneto, Italy, 12.5% D 9g/L, #045203  $14.95  (Tasted May 19, 2014)  CS

Released by Vintages on May 10, 2014.   My notes: From the Corvino grape. The 2007 and 2010 Vintages were tasted and rated in the high 80s. The 2012 vintage was tasted last May and the bottle was returned. The 2013 vintage is now priced $2 higher taking advantage of the summer rosé push and possibly with a discount at summer`s end? This has the familiar salmon hued mid strawberry colour and shows some tiny bubbles on the glass but minor spritz. A delicate aroma of strawberry and candy floss provides a festive sniff. A soft texture tightened by a mineral edge carries a strawberry cherry flavour into a long off dry finish. Have as an aperitif or with Boston lettuce and avocado dribbled with Balsamic salad. We`re trying with a shrimp and asparagus pasta dish (did not work - too much candy floss!).  A drink now.  83

JOFFRÉ PASIÓN 4 TORRONTÉS 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  XD  3g/L,  #361063  $14.95  (Tasted May 30, 2014)  CS
 Released by Vintages on March 15, 2014.  My notes: The nose has a firm presence of beeswax, honeysuckle floral with balanced citric highlights. The colour is a lemon juice yellow, crisp and clear. A swirl leaves a light film that sticks then quickly forms a lacy rim shedding tears while a portion forms jagged islands. An intense bite subdued by a creamy texture along with tropical fruit could be appealing as a sipper. Have while young with a romaine heart salad covered with goat cheese or sushi or shellfish - perhaps crab cakes with a ginger sauce. Add crushed ice and cherry juice for a patio cooler.  87