Friday, April 01, 2016

April 2016 Wines - 12 Tasted of 12

Spring's Frosty Canopy


LINEUP:  Reds, Whites, Rosés and Bubblies:

  • Terrazas de Los Andes Reserva Malbec 2013,  90-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #029280   $18.95
  • Vieni Briganti Red 2012 VQA Ontario, 85  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #435792  $ 12.95
  • Xavier 100% Cotes du Rhone 2012 vins d'Experts, 84  --  V, Rhône, France, #437079   $17.00
  • Vieni Bruce Trail Red 2011 VQA Ontario, 82  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario, #452169  $ 12.95 
  • Carmen Premier Reserva Carmenere 2015, NR*  --  O, Valle de Colchagua, Chile,  #Gift  $xx.xx

  • Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, 91-2  --  V, Kelowna, BC, #BC096222,  $14.79
  • Vieni Estates Chardonnay 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 91-2  --  V,  Beamsville, Ontario,  #388371  $18.25
  • Tinhorn Creek Pinot Gris 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, 89-1  --  V, Oliver, BC, #BC530683, $17.49 
  • Vieni Sauvignon Blanc 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 88  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery  $19.95
  • Vieni Pinot Grigio 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, 84  --  V, Beamsville, Ontario, #Winery  $14.95
  • Mauro Chardonnay 2014 IGT,  81  --  G, Puglia, Italy, #404491   $12.30 
  • Vieni Bruce Trail Rosé Sparkling NV VQA Ontario,  85  --  G,  Beamsville, Ontario, #452276  $ 15.95

Cheers, Ww


VIENI ESTATES CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Vinemount Ridge, Beamsville, Ontario,  14.0%  XD  7g/L.  #388371  $18.25  (Tasted April 6, 2016)

Release by Vintages not listed. My notes: A golden hue gives a luxurious appearance to this Chard. A spicy caramel adds to the intro while a burnt butter combines with an extra dry texture and appealing tang to expand the sipping experience. A long mineral finish adds an extra element when paired with Thai stir fry and West Coast prawns - or ginger bean sprouts and seared mussels. Add to your Wine List for its 'difference'. A drink now. 91

VIENI BRUCE TRAIL RED 2011 VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5% D  xg/L, #452169 D  xg/L  $ 12.95  (Tasted April 19, 2016)

A General listing. My notes: There's a touch of charcoal to this ruby red and a swirl leaves a film that sticks then drops a dozen fast tears. The nose has a noticeable tang to restrained plum and sweet cherry aromas and the first sip has a penetrating bitterness that carries into a long extra dry finish. I aerated at this point - there's less of a bite in the nose as well as the sip however a penetrating sharpness lingers for a long finish. Light bodied. Not a sipper but could pair with beef burgers with mustard, tomato and a slice of red onion, a Polish sausage with same toppings or a spicy pizza. We added sweet potato fries smothered in ketchup. A tad milder when left open overnight.  82

VIENI BRIGANTI RED 2012 VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.0%  D  4g/L, #435792  $ 12.95  (Tasted April 24, 2016)

Release by Vintages not listed. My notes: A blend of Foch, Baco and a lesser known North American hybrid DeChaunac.  This medium-bodied blend is a black ruby that lays a firm but thin film to accumulate then drop a continuous rim of slow tears. The nose is soft black cherry wrinkled by the sun and releasing an aroma of warm plums. A sip casts tannin that lasts  through a long chalk dry finish showing prominent sweet jam, pleasant when quaffed, cloying when sipped. Cooling slightly (12-18oC) made an enjoyable sipper. Match with soft cheeses, Texas chili or savoury beef stew. 85

VIENI SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% xx  xg/L, #Winery  $19.95  (Tasted April 4, 2016)

Purchased at the Winery on March 16, 2016:  My notes: Serve well chilled (8-10oC) for a balanced body, dry and smooth texture and the flavour of tangy citrus. A faint yellow tints an otherwise untouched canvas. There's a mystery aroma that creeps from the chill expressing itself as subdued papaya or passion fruit. The finish is long with a predominant limestone edge and a touch of warmth. A drink now and pleasing as a solo sipper for a social setting, better with a cheese tray or mild seafood dishes - great with garlic shrimp and linguine. 88

VIENI PINOT GRIGIO 2013 VQA Vinemount Ridge, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5% D  xxg/L, #Winery  $14.95  (Tasted March 31, 2016)

Purchased at the Winery on March 16, 2016:  My notes:  Poured at 10oC the nose is faint and a thin film fragments from a circular rim then gradually falls. The colour is a clear, crisp golden. The first sip is dry and has a suspicion of sweet melon. A fragrance of mild apricot edges forward as the temperature rises to 15oC, my preference. A long finish combines the dry texture, slight warmth and flavours for an interesting sipper altho' could be masked depending on the main course - pair with grilled sole, cod or shrimp. A unique drink now.  84

Valle de Colchagua, Chile, 13.5%  xx  xg/L,  #Winery  $xx.xx  (Tasted April 12, 2016)

Purchased at the Vieni Winery.  My notes:  A dense ruby showing a film flowing a curtain of slow tears. An aroma of crushed blackberries drying in the sun tangy with a suspicion of sweet jam, smooth with a dry texture. Discarded as a sipper better with a grilled strip beef marinade. As flavour settles most fruit fades leaving a long finish of bramble and smoky black liquorice - better to pair with spicy pizza, savoury meat stew, or rubbed ribs. Aerating was not helpful. Try cellaring five years or skip. NR (*Much improved left open two days).      

TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  D  7g/L,  #029280   $18.95   (Tasted April 26, 2016)

Released by Vintages on January 23, 2016.  Rated 92 by James Suckling  (June 2, 2015).  My notes:  The colour is a clear deep ruby. The film sticks eventually releasing a rim of tears - a tearful arch when tilted. Soft berries, a subtle black or reserved rasp- start from a smooth sip. Some brightness and a penetrating warmth builds in the second sip - a blueberry edge creeps in for a long quiet finish. The aroma is subtle contributing a mild mineral focus. Could be an alternative red to cabernet sauvignon or Rhône blend on a social occasion. Match with a buffet of cold meats: rare strip steak on Panini bun - or stuffed mushrooms. Could cellar a few years. 90-2        

XAVIER 100% CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012 VINS D'EXPERTS, Rhône, France, 14.5%  XD  xg/L,  #437079   $17.00   (Tasted April 23, 2016)

Released by Vintages on March 5, 2016. Rated 91 by Jeb Dunnuck  (October 2014).  My notes:  A blend of 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and 25% Cinsault, Carignan and Marselan. Quite a blend of backbone builders, a balance of traditional flavours with dusty spices. If there's a dining hall of tasters mired in wine heritage this red would find a healthy list of admirers. But what of tasters having experienced the breadth of new world styles? A focus on balance from start to finish with smoothness and an interesting bite? A fruity freshness that carries across a long sumptuous finish. Flavours that standout and are able to pair with modern cuisine? Personally I think it's time to bring ratings into this century. 84

GRAY MONK PINOT AUXERROIS 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, Kelowna, BC, #BC096222, 11.5%  XD 5.8g/L,   $14.79  (Tasted April 15, 2016)

Purchased in Burnaby in March 2016.  My notes:  A light lemon colour crystal clear in the glass displaying a thin film and wrinkled rim dropping in unison. The nose is pleasing initially subtle before adding a slight warmth. Full, fruity, dry and modestly tangy leads the first sip sensation that develops on the palate and stays for a long luscious finish. Enough chalk to encourage pairing with a tray of soft cheeses and spicy sausage slices - or meals of mussels, coconut shrimp, grilled halibut or a deep fried (then drained) fish and chip dinner. Cellaring may enhance fragrance. 91

TINHORN CREEK PINOT GRIS 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, Oliver, BC,  #BC530683, 13.5%  XD  5.7g/L, $17.49  (Tasted
April 13, 2016)

Purchased in Burnaby in March 2016.  My notes: Poured at 10oC so the chill captures the fresh apple, quince and faint honeysuckle aroma. A crinkled rim releases fast tears unloading enough volume to remain as a stubborn film. Soft from the first sip belying a mild acid then a brief warmth leaving an extra dry mineral coating the palate. This matched nicely our microwaved roast chicken leftover from the evening before: breast, legs/thighs, backbone and wrinkled skin. Kept chilled (below 14oC) flavours and body complemented the added lingonberry. A drink now or several years in the cellar sampling now and then.  A North American PG. 89

VIENI BRUCE TRAIL ROSÉ SPARKLING NV VQA Ontario, Beamsville, Ontario, 11.5% M  xg/L,  #452276  $ 15.95  (Tasted April 21, 2016)

A General listing. My notes: The LCBO classes the sweetness level as Medium.  The LCBO classes the sweetness level as Medium. A touch of salmon to a coquettish pink gives visual appeal. Bubbles are subdued although continue as tiny streams throughout early sips into the finish. The aroma has a suspicion of cherry and strawberry both subtle. A fine spritz is sustained during sips and continue to appeal as a bright soft tang comprises a long finish. Pair with vanilla layered cake, white icing and strawberry filling. Avoid unctious in the cake so rosé can cleanse and take prominence.  Serve well chilled, say 6-8oC. 85

MAURO CHARDONNAY 2014 IGT, Puglia, Italy, 13.0%  XD  5g/L, #404491   $12.30  (Tasted April 8, 2016)
 A General listing tasted by Beppi Crosariol in his G&M column April 1, 2016.  My notes:  A swirl cascades slow tears from a minutely rippled rim. The colour is a lemon juice yellow and there's a barely discernible unripe melon aroma combined with a refreshing tang. The first flavour to arrive is an unappealing mineral more suitable with shellfish than as a solo sipper: clams in a white wine sauce, raw oyster or mussels in a garlic sauce where the chosen flavours can predominate the meal. I preferred sipping at 15oC at which the texture smoothens and aroma and flavours settle. 81  

(see side panel for value ratings)

96-100 Extraordinary
90 - 95 Outstanding
86 - 89 Interesting to Excellent
80 - 85 Drinkable to Enjoyable
70 - 79 Uninteresting to Simple
60 - 69 Unpleasant
50 - 59 Unacceptable  

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