Tuesday, September 01, 2015

September 2015 Wines - 16 Tasted of 16

Sheridan creek at Lushes Ave, August '15
Since limiting my budget to $16/bottle (approx) I don't think I've ever had so much 'bad' wine. There's some horrid stuff on LCBO shelves that, according to the Vintage tasting notes, sounds good but when the cork is popped the best/polite recommendation is, for a red, 'pair with a spicy or highly flavoured meal' and for a white, 'delicate with an acquired terroir'. However, I tend to blog what I think regardless and, after all is said, I'm only one of many Ontario consumers, however, it's unfathomable that so much plonk* is on Outlet shelves. (*for clarity anything below a rating of 85 I consider as increasing degrees of 'plonk'. You may pick a different level.)

Perhaps I expect too much from our monopoly. Their staff include buyers, sommeliers and consultants with considerable experience. And the mark up on every wine surely allows these experts the time and tools to weed out the bad. Wouldn't you think that with all their expertise every bottle would be value priced? Personally I sense their mission is to make money and not to provide good value to customers.  

Wine retailing at the low end (perhaps from top to bottom) is a balance of subterfuge and double-speak. Is the LCBO multi headed like Hydra? One Department sources without discipline and another Department is charged with getting rid of the stuff. Another is a Collection Agency for the Government. Each time I enter an outlet full of bottles staring back I'm reminded of a Florida everglade with 'gator eyes staring from the reeds. Wine is in rigid packaging often camouflaged by heavy, darkened glass and decorative labels, medals all aglow. Is it coincidental that when I ask for recommendations we head for the higher priced racks? 

Unless I take precautions I know most of what I'm about to purchase is plonk. We've lived with the system so long it's not going to change. Each Ontario Premier ignores public feedback -  but how does one disassemble a bureaucracy perpetuated from an archaic era and there's no Heracles around?

My opinion, Ww

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites, rosés and bubblies)
  • BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 92-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #232637  $18.95
  • Pasqua Passimento Rosso IGT 2013, 89-2  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #141952  $13.95 
  • Velletri Terrae de Volsci Riserva DOP 2009, 88-1  --  G,  Lazio, Italy, #175141  $14.85
  • Dominio del Plata Crios Limited Edition Red Blend 2013, 88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #366146  $14.95
  • Catena Zapata Family Malbec 2013,  88-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina,  #478727 $17.95*  
  • Torres Cordillera de Los Andes Carignan 2010, 87a-1  --  V,  Maule Valley, Chile,  #389692  $16.00*
  • Chapillon Siendra 2011,  83  --  V, Calatayud, Spain, #417675 $14.95   
  • Celler Cercavins Lo Virol 2014, 82  --  V, Costers del Segre, Spain, #425702 $14.95

  • l'Arjolle Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2014, 90-2  --  G, Thongue, France, #348904  $12.15
  • Cave Spring Riesling 2013 VQA Niagara Penninsula, 82  --  G,  Jordan, Ontario, #234583  $14.95
  • Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Grigio, 81  -- G, California, USA, #045641 $16.95
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015, 80  --  G, Chile, #064287  $9.95 
  • J.P. Chenet Chardonnay Reserve Pays d'Doc 2014, 80  --  G, France,  #255885 $11.95* 
  • Cono Sur Reserva Chardonnay 2014,  79  --  G, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #270066 $12.95

Sheridan Creek at Jack Darling Memorial Park, May '12
  • Château Val Joanis Tradition Rosé 2014, 87-1  --  V,  Rhône, France, #707281  $15.95

  •  Aurora Pinot Noir Espumante Natural Brut Procedencias NV, 90-2  --  V, Brazil, #412536  $15.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar,
NR - Not Recommended)


J.P. CHENET CHARDONNAY RESERVE PAYS d'DOC 2014,  Pays d'Doc, France,  13.0%  D  8g/L,  #255885 $11.95*  (Tasted September 17, 2015)

A General listing. *Price reduced from $12.95 until August 16, 2015.  My notes: This has a strained lemon juice colour of a light-bodied, faux chardonnay. A swirl lays a thin film that quickly separates leaving only a few nodules on the bowl. A fresh crab apple scent promises a refreshing sip - refreshing? yes... appealing? no...  As the fruit fades an ascetic taste pushes forward then softens to shallow cardboard. Pair with white fish, grilled or roasted on a bed of spinach orzo and zucchini slices.  80NR

CONO SUR RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5%  XD 6g/L, #270066 $12.95  (Tasted September 28, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A pale yellow colour with a delicate scent of vanilla tainted kiwi, slightly perfumed as a sniffer. Serve chilled. A thin film with krinkly rim falls quickly leaving a lacy veil while the first sip has a stronger presence - crabapple sharp with a modest roundness that drops off quickly becoming warm in the throat and bland on the palate. Needs support from a buffet of soft cheeses and cold meats, crab or lobster pieces. An entrée of white fish and shellfish would work. 79 NR

CONO SUR BICICLETA VIOGNIER 2015, Chile, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #064287  $9.95  (Tasted September 14, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A Carbon Neutral Delivered product.A mid yellow with a thin film receding with a delicate rim. The nose has a tart lemon punch that quickly wakens the taste buds - on the verge of bitterness. Personally a lack of varietal aroma and the strength of acid disqualifies this as a sipper. Possibly from young vines and still young in the bottle. Serve well chilled with fried/roasted chicken, Rainbow Trout with spinach & Parmesan risotto. Behind the tart lemon and possible pear note there is a slight silk. The finish carries an acid seam then ends chalk dry. Cellar several years and watch for possible change - not optimistic. 80NR

CATENA ZAPATA FAMILY MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  D  5g/L, #478727 $17.95*  (Tasted September 12, 2015)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2015. Price reduced from $19.95 until July 19, 2015.  My notes: A swirl spreads a viscous film hanging long tears in columns like the falling embers of a sky display on a long weekend. A dense colour hiding the smooth front for a blackberry scent masked by warmth and extra dry taste of sun dried berries. A long soft finish partially fruit driven at the start then fading to a surface berry. Have with anything beefy or sip solo on a cool evening patio. Two years young with some years to go.  88

TORRES CORDILLERA de LOS ANDES CARIGNAN 2010,  Maule Valley, Chile,  14.0%  XD  8g/L,  #389692  $16.00*  (Tasted September 14, 2015)

Released by Vintages on November 22, 2014.  Price reduced from $19.95 - perhaps past peak?  My notes: An eco- unfriendly bottle (~1.5lbs) for a wine with a dense purple tinged ruby colour. A slight nose of crushed raspberries, red cherries, a mellow earthiness and a spicy edged for brightness. The film is well seated dropping long fast legs and there's a balance of acid, warm fruit and thick tannin offering enough to think about from the first sip. The warmth and tannin carries through to a long finish. Aerating brings out the nose and softens the acid and is recommended. A rough table red to serve with hamburgers, tomato chorizo pasta or a rich lamb shank. 87a   

CHAPILLON SIENDRA 2011, Calatayud, Spain, 14.5% XD 7g/L, #417675 $14.95  (Tasted September 18, 2015)

Released by Vintages on July 11, 2015. A blend of Garnacha (80%), Syrah (7%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Merlot (6%).  My notes:  A deep dense ruby in the glass. There's a subtle scent of woody blackcurrant blended with red currant bringing a slight bright tang. A sip has a fine tannin basis as an extra dry layer predominating modest fruit going into a long flat finish. A swirl spreads a thin film with a fragmenting rim flowing several fast legs. A sipper if you like DRY. For me, a meal red to match grilled sirloin, T-bone or prime rib and past cellaring. 83

CHÂTEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2014,  Rhône, France, 13.0% XD  4g/L,  #707281  $15.95  (Tasted September 5, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August 8, 2015. Rated 92 of 100 by Beppi Crosariol  in his newsletter August 14, 2015.  My notes: A pale powder puff peach with a delicate fuzzy floral nose. The film has substance leaving a fragmenting layer followed by a veil of fast legs vanishing into a few nodules. A bright tartness contrasts with its delicacy while adding a dusting of chalk. Give ten minutes to develop a smooth texture with some depth as the finish grows then fades. An extra dry rosé to pair with grilled white fish, tilapia, shellfish or to sip with soft cheeses. We'll try with grilled pickerel, linguini and a cherry tomato/caper sauce. A delicate drink now. 87
L'ARJOLLE SAUVIGNON BLANC-VIOGNIER 2014, Thongue, France, 12.0% D 10g/L, #348904  $12.15  (Tasted September 11, 2015)

A General listing. Rated 88 of 100 by Beppi Crosariol  in his newsletter on August 14, 2015. My notes: The 2013 vintage was tasted in January this year and rated 89 with a Value of 2 (buy multiples). The 2014's colour is a shining yellow, crisp and clear. A swirl lays a modest film to drop in unison from a thin rim along with a few tears. A soft first sip has the crispness of tart apple and the sweet of a yellow plum. The nose has an aroma of plums carried into a long luscious finish against a veil of impartial wax. An enjoyable sipper and a competent complement with many versions of grilled, fried, oven baked, saucy chicken. Buy a case! (make sure it's 2014)  90

DOMINIO DEL PLATA CRIOS LIMITED EDITION RED BLEND 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  D  7g/L, #366146  $14.95  (Tasted September 11, 2015) 

Release by Vintages on July 11, 2015.  My notes: Produced by Susana Balboa - a blend of Malbec, Bonarda, Tannat plus 'dash of' Syrah. A royal purple tinge to a deep ruby a firm swirl showing its glow. The film sticks then runs a dozen fast legs from a well endowed rim. The nose is evident but too polite, a soft spice and faint cherry/blackberry showing. Sharp but soft with a warm swallow provides some entertainment as a sipper. The bite starts a long dry finish. Have with anything beefy, or a saucy lamb shank. This is an economical house red for before or during. Cellar a few to see where it goes. 88

BENMARCO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  7g/L, #232637  $18.95  (Tasted September 16, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August 8, 2015.  My notes: A product of Susana Balboa - unfined and unfiltered.    The primary colour is deep ruby with tones of earth and plum. Shows a tight film that sets a full rim shedding columns of slow tears. A sniff reveals a well balanced blueberry/black current and slight raspberry aroma, smoothly penetrating going into a long warm, dry finish. As a sipper the warmth pulls everything together into an appealing swallow. A complement with anything beefy, a roast leg of lamb or a pulled pork dish. Has a few more years. 92

CAVE SPRING RIESLING 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  Jordan, Ontario,  11.0%  D  17g/L,  #234583  $14.95  (Tasted September 6, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A VQA wine.  The 2007 was tasted September 2008 with an 87 rating. Five years later the 2013 retains a pale shade of blond and casts a thin film that rapidly fragments into a few nodules on the glass. An aroma of a green apple and a first sip chilled to 12oC having a dry just perceptible citrus and sweet burst of melon flavour with some depth but not enough to satisfy ie. a light bodied white with a take it or leave it attitude. Have with soft cheeses, hummus or tuna fish on white bread appies. Not for cellaring - a drink now.  82

AURORA PINOT NOIR ESPUMANTE NATURAL BRUT PROCEDENCIAS, Brazil, 12.0%  D  12g/L, #412536  $15.95  (Tasted September 22, 2015)

A Vintages release on June 27, 2015. From the Serra Gaucha region.  My notes:  This could be the first wine from Brazil I've tasted - at least there's no memory of one. The colour is a rich lemon showing off through a burst then a continued spritz of fine bubbles on pouring. Lemon zest softened with a touch of banana, lively in scent and fruit borne out by the first sip. Leaves the palate with a fine chalk more noticeable as the fruit and flavours fade into a soft finish. Worth stocking up for a party of friends or special nuptials. Sip by itself, with crisp bacon strips or serve well chilled as an aperitif stimulating conversation as well appetite. At this price cellar several.  90-2

CELLER CERCAVINS LO VIROL 2014, Costers del Segre, Spain, 14.0%  D  4g/L, #425702 $14.95  (Tasted September 2, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August, 2015. A Merlot blend.  My notes:  A blackened dusty dark plum shade in the glass and a subtle blackberry aroma - prompting me to aerate - but not yet.  The first sip is warm and extra dry showing a thin tannin on a flat taste of berry. A swirl lays a thin film quick to drop legs flowing to leave a lacy rim. Sip if you prefer an astringent going on bitter red with a smooth finish. A drink now to pair with well seasoned meat dishes. No change when aerated. 81NR

BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO, California, USA, 13.0% D 7g/L, #045641 $16.95  (Tasted
September 30, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A pale green tinged platinum blond with a light apple pear nose, delicately but oddly perfumed. The first sip, well chilled, is tart and dry confirming the nose. Better served with a buffet of treats, cheeses and crackers, asparagus wrapped with side bacon strips - or whitefish filets or shell fish. We had with scallops with linguine in a lemon/vodka sauce. Flavours fade going into an extra dry,  tart finish better masked with nibbles. A drink now. 81NR

VELLETRI TERRAE DI VOLSCI RISERVA DOP 2009, Lazio, Italy, 13.5% XD  5g/L, #175141  $14.85  (Tasted September 6, 2015)

A General listing. A blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cesanese.  My notes:  The film lays evenly and stays accumulating volume then draining invisibly. The nose is a cherry soaked smoky cedar, pleasing to sniff, while the colour is a deep ruby adding visual interest. On the light side of medium bodied with full tannins covering bright cherry berry flavours. The finish carries the smoke along with a taste of dried cherry skins and a touch of bitter. Needs a meal to be complete. Pair with pepperoni pizza and tomato pastas, chorizo included. A drink now - past peak? 88 

PASQUA PASSIMENTO ROSSO IGT 2013, Veneto, Italy, 14.0% D 16g/L, #141952  $13.95  (Tasted September 28, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  An attractive ruby shines on pouring and a clean cranberry aroma on a sniff. A swirl spreads a thin film quickly separating from the rim into a see through veil. Smooth textured, bright acid warm, light tannin starting from a sip and gradually filling the senses with an intense vanilla tainted cherry liqueur. Light bodied compensated by a long flavourful finish - a touch of sweet for lip smacking flexibility. May improve with cellaring a few more years - less intensity but broader profile. 89