Monday, November 02, 2015

Looking for Value - 2015

Whale watch cancelled

Kaikoura NZ, Seal Watch Apr '03
During the period January through October I've purchased 109 wines in the $16.00 and under price range. Of the 109 wines there were fifty-one wines rated 85+ with thirty of those rated 88+ including ten 90+The rest ranged from 82 to 87 with forty-six having some objectionable character (rated 83 and below). Fourteen were below 80 and could not be recommended - some were discarded.

Forty-one wines above $16.00 ($18.00 to $26.00) were also purchased and in retrospect formed a reference point for all of the wines. Of the 41 twenty-six were rated good to outstanding (88 to 92) - none were exceptional (above 93) nor were any below 82. A conclusion I've drawn is that picking wines randomly below $16 exposes the customer to buying less favorable wines (plonk) over 50% half of the time. It would appear that purchases $20 and above are less prone.

There's one born every minute!
In the short term I have focused my personal purchases on 26 wines priced below $16 and rated 88+ . These are listed below with a link to the Ontario inventory and store location. Prices may vary as well as availability... and vintage may change with new stock.

Hope this helps in some way...

My opinion, Ww


  1. Root: 1 Carmenère Colchagua Valley 2012,  92-3  --  G, Donihue, Chile, #350546  $12.80  (new vintage)
  2. Casa LaPostolle Gran Seleccion Carmènere 2012,  92-3  --  G, Rapel Valley, Chile, #168740   $14.90  (# not found)
  3. Charles & Charles Red Blend 2013, 92-3  -- G, Washington State, USA, #363838 $15.95
  4. Tempus Two 'Limestone Coast' Cabernet Merlot 2011, 91-3  --  G, Pokolbin, New South Wales, #308197  $8.75  n/a (# not found)
  5. Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 91-3  --  G,  Modesto, California,  #392647  $14.95 now $16.95
  6. Casa Castillo Monastrell 2012, 91- 2  --  G, Jumilla, Spain, #165621  $14.95
  7. Oatley Tic Tok Pocketwatch Central Ranges Cabernet Sauvignon 2011,  90-2  --  G, New South Wales, Australia, #187179   $12.85* n/a
  8. Root:1 Carmenère Colchagua Valley 2013,  89-2  --  G,  Donihue, Chile, #350546,  $12.95
  9. Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenère 2013,  89-2  --  V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #205872  $14.95
  10. ZOLO Classic Bonarda 2013,  88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #398271   $13.95     
  11. Velletri Terrae de Volsci Riserva DOP 2009,  88-1  --  G,  Lazio, Italy, #175141  $14.85
  12. CRIOS Dominio del Plata Limited Edition Red Blend 2013,  88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #366146  $14.95
  13. Leone de Castris Maiana Salice Salentino 2013,  88-1  --  G, Puglia, Italy, #717959  $14.95
  14. Valle Andino Reserva Especial Syrah 2012, 88a-1  --  V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #272682  $12.75
  15. CRIOS Dominio del Plata Malbec 2013, 88a-1 --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #162529 $14.95
  16. Zuccardi Santa Julia Magna 2012, 88-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #093799 $13.45


  1. Colomé Torrontés 2013, 91-3  --  V,  Valle Calchaqui, Argentina, #357913  $13.95 (not found)
  2. CRIOS de Susana Balboa Torrontés 2013,  91-3  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #001834  $13.95
  3. Pietro Marini Torrontés 2013, 90-2  --  V, Calchaqui Valley, Argentina, #408443  $12.95
  4. L'Arjolle Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2013,  89-2  -- G, Côtes de Thongue, France, #348904  $12.70
  5. Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014,  89-2  --  V,  Casablanca Valley, Chile, #974717  $13.95
  6. Humberto Canale Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013,  89-2  --  V, Patagonia, Argentina, #384321  $14.95
  7. Toasted Head Chardonnay, Barrel Aged 2013,  89-2  -- V, Acampo, California, #594341  $15.95  (now $18.95)
  8. Pilliteri Canadian Gothic Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula 2012,  88-2  --  G, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #395624  $12.95 
  9. UMA Coleccion Torrontés 2013, 88a-2  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #276626 $6.45   n/a
  10. Domaine de Pellehaut 'Harmonie de Cascogne' Blanc 2013, 88-2  --  G,  Sichel, France, #319665   $9.95 n/a
not available - when last checked


November 2015 Wines - 15 Tasted of 15

Inn on the Twenty, Jordan, Ontario

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites and bubblies)
  • Gnarly Head Petite Sirah 2013, 92-3  --  V, Manteca, California, #427450  $17.95
  • Vieni Briganti Reserve 2012 VQA Ontario,  90-2  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #419440  $18.95
  • Apothic Dark Red Blend 2014, 89a-1  --  G, Modesto, California, #392654  $16.15
  • Ca' Momi Zinfandel 2013,  88  --  V, Napa, California, #396168  $21.95
  • Apothic Red Winemakers Blend 2013,  84  --  G, Modesto, California,  #234369 $16.15 
  • Vieni Briganti Red 2012 VQA Ontario, 83  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario, #435792  $12.95 
  • Rocca Alata Leggermente Appassito Rosso Veneto 2013, 83  --   G, Veneto, Italy, #398057  $13.60  
  • Terra d'Oro Zinfandel 2012, 82  --  V, Amador County, California, #429225  $21.95 
  • Copper Moon 'Moonlight Harvest' Merlot NV,  80  --  Kelowna, BC, #173526  $9.45
  • Kellermeister Barossa Vineyards Chardonnay 2011,  87-1  --  G, Lyndoch, South Australia, #400424  $15.10  
  • 'Arenberg The Stump Jump White 2014, 85  -- V, McLaren Vale, South Australia, #922203 $14.95   
  • Domaine Saint Paul Viognier Pays d'Oc 2013,  84  --  V, Meursault, France, #414490 $13.95
  • Domaine Bousquet Cameleon Chardonnay 2014, 81  --  V, Tupungato Valley, Argentina,  #408450 $13.95 
  • Apothic White Winemakers Blend 2013, 80  --  G, Modesto, California, #419978 $16.15 
  • Vieni Momenti Sparkling Wines Extra Brut 2013 VQA Ontario, 85-1  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario, #435784  $13.95 
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


ROCCA ALATA LEGGERMENTE APPASSITO ROSSO VENETO 2013, Veneto, Italy, 13.5%  D  xg/L, #398057  $13.60  (Tasted November 27, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes: A deep ruby and a film, when tilted, leaves a dozen or so slow legs - a swirl leaves a firm film gradually lacing from the rim. A dark plum aroma blended with cranberry fragrance and refreshing tartness fills the bowl. The first sip coats the mouth with a dryyyy fuzz lasting as a rough finish needing a mellowing appetizer or two. Aerating helps tame a metallic edge leaving only an ascetic bite to endure. Not a solo sipper. Have with steaks and other savoury or spice rubbed meats. Past cellaring. 83

TERRA D'ORO ZINFANDEL 2012, Amador County, California, 14.5%  D 9g/L,  #429225  $21.95  (Tasted November 16, 2015)

A Vintages release on October 3, 2015. A Sutter Home winery and rated 90 by Jim Gordon, Wine Enthusiast, April 2015.  My notes:  A see-through ruby and a raspberry aroma with a whiff of herb (oregano?) forms the first impression. A moderate film sticks then sheds a ring of quick tears. The first sip is sweetens the palate while retaining a thin fruit and a light drying tannin. The herbal accent continues through a long unappealing finish. Perhaps past peak. 82

GNARLY HEAD PETITE SIRAH 2013, Manteca, California, 14.5% D  10g/L,  #427450  $17.95  (Tasted November 19, 2015)

A Vintages release on September 19, 2015.  A Delicato Family Vineyards wine.  My notes: A blue tint to a ruby colour distinguishes this grape from others and an appealing sweet touch to the aroma adds to a full fruit profile. A firm film sticks then separates as it slowly fades from a rippled rim. Aerating may soften an already pleasing nip to a velvet texture of blueberry fruit but not needed in my view - the appeal is the same. For a deeper sensuous texture fuller sips are a temptation as fruit, acid and tannin combine into a long palate drying experience. Alcohol warming doesn't become a factor. Buy in for sipping, beef/lamb dining occasions or short term cellaring. 92

VIENI MOMENTI SPARKLING WINE 2013 VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.0%  XD 15g/L, #435784  $13.95  (Tasted November 10, 2015)

A General listing. My notes:  A cool shade of light yellow opening with a burst of small bubbles continue as lively streams. A balanced blending of Pinot Grigio and Vidal with a suspicion of natural sweetness. A mild apple aroma combines with refreshing effervescence when served chilled. Light-bodied with the taste of green apple, tart and drying to the palate that fits as a toasting starter, with saucy creamed chicken or as an after dinner aperitif. We successfully combined with Stefano's Lemon and Capers Chicken Scaloppine with Broccolini. A drink now to two more years. 85

VIENI BRIGANTI RED 2012 VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.0% XD 4g/L, #435792  $12.95  (Tasted November 1, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes: A product of Vieni Estates Inc. made from Maréchal Foch grapes and is a VQA Ontario (grapes from within Ontario) wine. The colour is a blackened ruby and having an earth toned purple plum and raspberry aroma increasing slightly as the glass sits. The first sip is extra dry adding a bright acid to mid-bodied black cherry. Aerating mellows somewhat tho' not enough to avoid a penetrating bitterness - better as a meal red. Pair with flank steak slices or well seasoned Osso Buco. A drink now. 83

VIENI BRIGANTI RESERVE 2012 VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0%  XD 7g/L, #419440  $18.95  (Tasted November 11, 2015) 

Released by Vintages on July 25, 2015. My notes: A blend of Maréchal Foch and Baco Noir. A deep ruby with a soft plum and black cherry aroma. The tang is pleasing from the first sniff. A swirl leaves a thin film with enough stick to release fast tears draining until there's a fine lacework. Half way to being light-bodied, smooth and bright on the swallow with a balanced dark fruit flavour increasingly appealing into a long finish. Xdry and tight as a sipper or serve with pigs in a blanket, lamb stew, beef burgers or pepperoni pizza. I'd try cellaring a few more years to see where it wants to go. 90

CA' MOMI  ZINFANDEL 2013,  Napa, California, 13.9% D  8g/L, #396168  $21.95  (Tasted November 25, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August 22, 2015. My notes: A muddy ruby with a charcoal tone to view and a pleasing aroma of chocolate, blackberry and muted cigar wrap to sniff. A thin film leaves a krinkly rim before dropping as a lacy sheet and a few tears. Fine tannins plate the palate along with a warmth in the throat with bright remnants of the initial flavours then ending dry. Was a match with precooked honey coated ribs and would pair adequately with The Keg rare steaks. A drink now to short term cellaring. 88

APOTHIC RED WINEMAKERS BLEND 2013, Modesto, California,  13.5% D  17g/L,  #234369 $16.15  (Tasted November 22, 2015)

A General listing. An E. & J. Gallo Wine and a blend including Zinfandel, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. My notes:  The Apothic website offers little blending information instead has a commercial focus. The sugar content claimed by the LCBO contradicts a `D` classification with the first sip showing a noticeable sweetness adding to a moderate acid with wild berries and hint of vanilla. The finish is long, smooth and increasingly woody ending with a whiff of cedar.  Serve as a sweet social sipper or an adequate red with burgers, pigs in a blanket, meaty entrées, eg. bbq'd ribs, stroganoff, tomato pastas. Cellar short term.  84

APOTHIC WHITE WINEMAKERS BLEND 2013, Modesto, California, 12.0%  M  19g/L, #419978  $16.15  (Tasted November 16, 2015)

A General listing and product of E. & J. Gallo Winery.  My notes:  A mid golden colour leaving a thin film with a lacy rim on the glass. The nose has a delicate floral fragrance unexpected from a blend of chardonnay, riesling and pinot grigio - refreshing as a light-bodied sipper tho' not appealing for my taste. There's a definite sweetness to partner with mild acid and light chalk, elements that start a moderate finish ending Stevia sweet and dry. OK with lemon chicken and a vegetable stir fry. A commercial white to match a warmer climate and flexible fare. Adding a squeeze of lemon may temper the sweet balancing with a natural tartness.  80

APOTHIC DARK RED BLEND 2014, Modesto, California,  14.0%  D  13g/L,  #392654  $16.15  (Tasted November 21, 2015) 

A General listing and product of E. & J. Gallo Winery.  My notes: I had difficulty finding meaningful info for the Gallo wines on the Apothic website. A rich red deep up to a blue tinted see-through rim. The film sticks and builds up a rounded rim that drops a dozen slow tears. A clean lacquer layers a spicy black cherry/raspberry, well balanced flavour persistent as a long and warm sipper starting with a hint of sweetness. Aerating smoothes an early sharpness and is recommended. An excellent steak companion... or roasted lamb soaked in a savoury sauce. Should do well with several years in the cellar.  89a

KELLERMEISTER BAROSSA VINEYARDS CHARDONNAY 2011,  Lyndoch, South Australia, 12.0% XD  2g/L, #400424  $15.10  (Tasted November 12, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A light yellow, crystal clear in the glass. A swirl leaves a firm film accumulating slowly from a krinkled rim then falling uniformly until the glass is clear. Earthy aromas of zesty citrus, tart lime and gooseberry. Penetrating citrus shows no sweetness leaving the palate extra dry and a tad tingly. Serve chilled and sip for an invigorating acid cooling over a long finish or pair with lemon chicken, arctic char/salmon, a Chinese buffet or Japanese Bento Box: tempura veggies and thumb sized shrimp. 87

DOMAINE BOUSQUET CAMELEON CHARDONNAY 2014, Tupungato Valley, Argentina,  12.5%  XD  4g/L, #408450 $13.95  (Tasted November 5,

Released by Vintages on August 8, 2015.  My notes:  There's a subtle bronze hue to a mid yellow colour in the glass - charming. Served at 10oC the nose stays closed until enough warmth releases a peach lemon apple aroma with a soft tang. A thin film spreads with a swirl topped by a krinkled rim then disintegrates into lacy nodules. For those having an acquired taste for a chalk dryness, a fading melon tinged with cool cardboard finishing on a prolonged sour note. A meal white not to be served solo - pair with seasoned pork chop, roast chicken or a Chinese buffet. A drink now when shared with appetizers or mains. 81

DOMAINE SAINT PAUL VIOGNIER PAYS D'OC 2013, Meursault, France, 13.0%  XD  4g/L, #414490 $13.95  (Tasted November 3, 2015)

Released by Vintages on July 25, 2015. The label's Organic Claim is not recognized by Canada.  My notes: A clean mid yellow that swirls a thin film with a krinkled rim that drains quickly. The nose is a mild floral, honeysuckle rather than fruit: pleasing as a sipper, just noticeable with chicken cacciatore but refreshing. Pair with light seafood or sweet and sour pork. The first sip reveals a tang, a touch of warmth and a drying, peach stone/light lemon layer with a long xdry finish. A drink now. 84  

D'ARENBERG THE STUMP JUMP WHITE 2014, McLaren Vale, South Australia, 113.8% D 7g/L,  #922203 $14.95  (Tasted November 6, 2015)

Released by Vintages on July 25, 2015. A Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne and Roussanne blend. My notes: A platinum blond on pouring with a mild aroma for sniffing: soft and dry, a touch of lemon and pear without sweetness. A dry tartness comes with the first sip, thin-bodied just enough to pair with seared scallops on bird's nest pasta, tempura shrimp or a sushi/sashimi combos.  A seam of sweet backgrounds an ascetic bite although not staying long as a dry finish settles in. A drink now. 85

COPPER MOON ‘MOONLIGHT HARVEST’ MERLOT NV, Kelowna, BC, 12.5% D, #173526  $9.45  (Tasted November 5, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A product of Roundpetal Wines (Andres Wines) of Kelowna, British Columbia. Not tasted since August 2010 when it was rated 80. A swirl brings a sticky film dropping slow tears. The colour is a deep ruby and a sniff of raspberry jam edged with a brightening tang. The first sip is thin and sharp, instantly drying with flavours of light raspberry touched by thyme and ending with a coating of fine tannin. Serve with stuffed mushrooms, pigs-in-a-blanket or bacon wrapped asparagus - something with natural oils and herb flavoured. A drink now. 80