Thursday, October 01, 2015

October 2015 Wines - 15 Tasted of 15

With gratitude to the unknown source

I'm a coffee drinker - not an addict but one that appreciates the morning wake-up call a single cup of java provides. The aroma, the scintillating freshening shift from drowsiness to wakefulness, the biting warmth, soft and fulfilling, the comfort of a tender caress of a rewarding companion. However I have often refused, in whatever context it may take at the time, what I consider to be  `bad coffee'. If that makes me a coffee snob then so be it!  But that`s not the point here.

The message behind the signboard, perhaps based on coffee's benefits, could be 'Is a bad coffee better than no coffee?'. My point is a possible parallel. Is 'bad wine better than no wine?'  Are there sufficient health benefits to compensate for your complicity in perpetuating retailing of unacceptable wines? Then I ponder the consequence of everyone returning their latest bottle of plonk? Call it an 'I'm not going to take it any more!' event.

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites, rosés and bubblies)

  • RompeSedas 2006, 92-2  --  V, Toro, Spain, #425868  $19.95
  • Root:1 Carmenère Colchagua Valley 2013, 89-2  --  G,  Donihue, Chile, #350546,  $12.95
  • Bodega Paiman Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 89  --  V,  Chanarmuyo Valley, Argentina, #423186 $19.95 
  • Fat Bastard Syrah Pays d'Oc 2013, 84  --  G, Pay d'Oc, France, #563122 $14.95
  • Fat Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon Pays d'Oc 2013, 83  --  G, Pay d'Doc, France, #028506 $14.95 
  • McManis Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 83  --  V, Ripon, California, #212126  $19.95
  • Ogier Heritages Côtes du Rhône 2013, 82  --  G, Rhône, France, #535849 $14.95
  • Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso Veneto Toscano IGT 2013, 81  --   G, Tuscany, Italy,  #361501  $16.05
  • Fat Bastard Merlot VDP Pays d'Oc 2013, 79/NR  --  G, Pay d'Doc, France, #610857 $14.95 

  • Pietro Marini Torrontés 2013, 90-2  --  V, Calchaqui Valley, Argentina, #408443  $12.95
  • Bollini Pinot Grigio 2014, 87-1  --  V, Trentino, Italy, #951319  $16.95
  • Cheval-Quancard Reserve Bordeaux Blanc 2013, 86-1  --  G, Bordeaux, France, #401604  $13.90
  • Gorgo San Michelin Custoza 2014, 84  --   V, Custoza, Italy, #428045  $14.95 
  • Duca Catemario Collezione Privata Pinot Grigio 2014, 83  --   V, Friuli, Italy, #120782  $14.95
  • Fat Bastard Chardonnay Pays d'Oc 2013, 79/NR  --  G, Pay d'Doc, France, #563130 $14.95   

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


OGIER HERITAGES CÔTES DU RHÔNE AOC 2013, Rhône, France, 14.0% D 6g/L, #535849 $14.95  (Tasted October 6, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A black cherry colour with a soft fragrance of raspberry, vanilla and spice, a neutral enticement. The first sip has a mild nip, a balance of dry and tart with a fine tannin going into a long, extra dry finish. A take it or leave sipper, more of a meal red with pork, lamb entrees with mild sauces - OK with veal scaloppini. Not a wine that would keep me at the party. 82

FAT BASTARD SYRAH PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 13.5%  D  8g/L, #563122 $14.95  (Tasted October 1, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  Berry fruit aromas dissipate quickly on pouring - still fresh although subtle at first sip. A swirl shows a thin film fragmenting at the rim and forming a lacy network. A lightish med-bodied red with a deep ruby hue showing off long fast tears when tilted. Fresh to the taste, a soft spice shifting to a teeth lining tang. Would go well with a party buffet: dry crackers, hard cheese and sliced Italian meats or chorizo sausage. The finish hides any sweetness with an ascetic reminder of berries and fine tannin. Serve with grilled, barbecued or roasted red meats.  A commercial red.  84 

FAT BASTARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 13.0%  D 6g/L, #028506  $14.95  (Tasted October 20, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  The colour is a deep charcoal hued ruby and there's a spicy tang to an penetrating aroma of vanilla tainted blackberries. A swirl leaves a moderate film to descend slowly from a krinkled rim. Aerating softened the tang a tad for a first sip that left a warm tannin throughout.  The tang recedes while woody fruit remnants remain along with a chalky dryness. A dry sipper for an open bar beverage better served with hard cheeses and buffet nibbles - adequate with Greek Lamb burgers, better with spicy steaks A drink now.  83

FAT BASTARD CHARDONNAY PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 12.5% XD 4g/L, #563130 $14.95  (Tasted October 18, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: There's a touch of sombre in a crisp and clear mid gold colour. The nose has a flat banana lemon aroma touched by vanilla and spice. Swirling leaves a film that recedes slowly clearing the glass. The first sip is bitter and introduces an unappealing mineral flavour going into a long extra dry finish. Serve with a tray of hard cheeses or pair with grilled pork - we had with a sweet and sour stir fry. Perhaps an acquired taste. 79

FAT BASTARD MERLOT VDP PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 13.5%  D  9g/L, #610857 $14.95  (Tasted October 16, 2015)

A General listing. My notes:  A charcoal tinted ruby with a swirl setting a fine film with a lightly krinkled rim and a few legs. A thin veil remains to drain the glass. There's a soft aroma of crushed white cherries and a hint of tang to prelude a first sip. A soft texture and woody thin cherry flavour contrasts with a firm tannin and unyielding sourness. The sweetness level attempts unsuccessfully to balance the sour seam over a long finish that ends chalk dry - no change with aerating. Not a sipper and difficult to imagine this contributing to a meal - try with hamburgers, corn beef on rye or polish sausage with sauerkraut and mustard. 79/NR

BODEGA PAIMAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Chanarmuyo Valley, Argentina, 14.5% XD 7g/L, #423186 $19.95  (Tasted October 1, 2015)

Released by Vintages on September 19, 2015.  My notes: Allowing this wine to breathe twenty minutes before serving is worth the wait. My initial impression was of a thin bodied red with delicate flavours and aroma. However there's a crush of blackberry tinting the deep ruby and an aroma of fresh berries uniquely blended to please. Aerating - or waiting - smoothes an already silk texture for sipping. A fine tannin further enhances the fruit as a penetrating acid dries the mouth. The finish is long and includes a pleasing warmth that pulls everything together. Serve with beef steaks and savoury sauces - or just sip. 89

DUCA CATEMARIO COLLEZIONE PRIVATA PINOT GRIGIO 2014, Friuli, Italy, 12.5% D 7g/L, #120782  $14.95  (Tasted October 14, 2015)

Released by Vintages on October 3, 2015.  My notes: A pale yellow and aromas of citrus with a mineral and Granny Smith apple focus. A swirl leaves a firm film with a krinkly rim slowly draining - a few legs. A small sip accentuates the sting of lemon with a fuller, liquid aroma - not a solo sipper. Pair with seafood courses with caper or dill sauce. We had with mini 3 cheese pizzas topped with artichoke heart and smoked salmon spread with a fresh dill sauce. Medium-full bodied, with a long, extra dry, sour fruit finish - a drink now. 83

PIETRO MARINI TORRONTÉS 2013, Calchaqui Valley, Argentina, 13.2% XD 4g/L, #408443  $12.95  (Tasted October 20, 2015)

Released by Vintages on July 25, 2015. My notes:  Natalie MacLean rates this vintage 4.5 of 5.  A  mid yellow reflecting a golden hue and  just perceptible floral when served chilled at 10oC  warming to 16oC. A firm film gradually settles flowing a rim of slow tears.  The texture shows a pleasing fullness plus a dryness that continues into a long scrumptious finish. Not high on aroma and distinct flavours however the roundness, the warmth and touch of tangy spice makes for an enjoyable sipper. Pair with seafood: clams, oysters, mussels in their appropriate sauces. Uncertain re cellaring but likely another year minimum. A value table white.  90-2

CHEVAL-QUANCARD RÉSERVE BORDEAUX BLANC 2013, Bordeaux, France, 12.0% XD  xg/L, #401604  $13.90  (Tasted October 26, 2015)

A General listing. A blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Rated 91 by the Wine Spectator and the Best Buy for 2014.  My notes: A mid gold colour including a hint of tarnish - a good thing. A swirl leaves a krinkled rim topping a thin film that sticks then drops slowly draining the glass. A sniff reveals a subtle aroma of lemon and pear combined - more detectable as the glass warms - serve at 14oC. The first sip is tart and chalky with a pleasing fullness - a lime tang adds to the base then continues through an evolving finish. A white to have with warmed pigs in a blanket, tempura veggies with an off-dry dipping sauce or crab/lobster pieces. Cellaring may fade fruit leaving tart and chalk so a drink now. 86-1

CARPINETO DOGAJOLO ROSSO TOSCANO IGT 2013, Tuscany, Italy,   13.5%  XD 4g/L, #361501  $16.05  (Tasted October 6, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon tries to increase the profile of thin cherry fruit. A tanned leather aroma with a light sting and a charcoal stained ruby colour forms the first impression. A swirl leaves a thin film separating then falling as a lacy curtain. A woody warmth starts a finish quickly losing the fruit and ending with an ascetic, dustiness. Pair with buffet selections or serve as a pizza red or with pasta with chorizo rounds in a basil tomato sauce. A drink now. 81

GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2014, Custoza, Italy, 12.5%  XD 13g/L, #428045  $14.95  (Tasted October 23, 2015)

A Vintages release on October 3, 2015.  My notes:  A blend of Cortese with Tocai, Trebbiano Toscano and Garganega grapes colouring the bowl a crystal clear mid yellow with a subtle floral and lemon skin nose and swirling a film that sticks motionless before dropping slowly from a krinkled rim. A hint of crabapple and biting lemon juice dries the palate. As the tang fades a hint of mineral comes forward going into a long finish. Pair with Chinese fare, sweet and sour pork or stir fry on basmati rice or risotto. Needs a bit of sweet - did not pair with grilled salmon. A sipper only if you prefer a drying bite. 84

ROOT:1 CARMENÈRE COLCHAGUA VALLEY 2013, Donihue, Chile, 13.5%  D  8g/L,  #350546,  $12.95  (Tasted October 9, 2015) 

A General listing.  My notes: The 2012 vintage, shown in the taller bottle with a foil wrap, was rated 92 in January this year . The 2013, in a shorter bottle with screwtop, has a milder, less spicy nose and a swirl shows a slightly lower viscosity. Both are ruby charcoal stained colour. Tasting also revealed minute differences with the 2013 being more tart and drier compared with the 2012 which has a smoother texture and a just discernible sweetness - neither noticeably different until tasted side by side. The 2013 although not a solo sipper would be pleasurable served with a cheese assortment, stuffed mushrooms, bacon wrapped asparagus or paired with a beef stir fry.  89

BOLLINI PINOT GRIGIO 2014, Trentino, Italy,  13.0% XD  xg/L, #951319  $16.95  (Tasted October 18, 2015)  

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2015.  My notes: A bright gold swirling a thin film with a krinkled rim that falls immediately as a screen of fine drops. A sniff reveals a soft indiscernible aroma, perhaps apple and pear. The first sip shows slight roundness with a nip and more defined apple crossed with pear. The flavour is more prominent going into a comfortable warm finish balancing an ascetic bite. An interesting sipper to pair with social conversation or a family dinner of mussels in a creamy pasta or a crab legs/lobster pieces and veggie combo. A drink now. 87

ROMPESEDAS 2006, Toro, Spain, 15.0% XD 6g/L, #425868  $19.95  (Tasted October 24, 2015)

Released by Vintages on September 19, 2015. Produced from Tempranillo grapes selected from 50 to 100 year old vines. Rated 91 by Jay Miller  (April 2010).  My notes:  A true ruby colour and releasing fumes of fresh varnish over mahogany. A swirl leaves a thin film that sticks to the glass then slides down on a sheet of slooowww tears. The first sip is full, has a velvet touch, a penetrating bite and the softness of wild blueberries. The long finish consists of subdued velvet, receding fruit and a balanced dryness. This would be an interesting sipper to pair with thoughtful conversation. Have with saucy sirloin, pulled pork or rubbed back ribs. Still has a few years potential. Bottle weight is just under 1.5 lbs.  92

MCMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, Ripon, California, 13.5% XD 9g/L, #212126  $19.95  (Tasted October 14, 2015)

A Vintages release on April 1, 2015.  My notes: The 2011 and 2013 vintages were tasted previously with ratings of 92 and 91 respectively.   A dark blackberry colour in the glass and a swirl lays a thin film with a fine rim shedding tears that quickly recede. Smoky liquorice taints a delicate blackberry - no signs of sweetness on the first sniff. An abrupt sting accompanies a blend of blackberry and blueberry flavours before a thin lining of tannin dries the palate.  The finish is mostly a woody remnant of berry layered with fine chalk. The 2014 isn't as much of a drink now as were previous vintages and may not contribute much - try pairing with T-bones, calves liver or lamb chops. 83