Friday, January 01, 2016

January 2016 Wines - 14 Tasted of 14

...and May the Nasties Stay Away from Your Door in 2016!

LINEUP:  Reds, Whites and Bubblies:

  • Tyrrell's Rufus Stone Shiraz 2012, 93-3  --  V, Victoria, Australia, #091488  $22.95
  • Meandro do Vale Meao 2012, 92-2  --  V, Douro, Portugal, #244731   $24.95 
  • Montes Alpha Syrah 2012, 89-1  --  V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #000612  $19.95
  • Irony Merlot Napa Valley 2012,  87  --  V, California, USA, #183186  $17.95*
  • Year of the Monkey Pinot Noir 2014, 85  --  G, Baden, Germany, #425108  $14.95
  • Cline Family Cellars Lodi Zinfandel 2013, 81a  --  G, Sonoma, California, #489278  $16.55 
  • Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 80a  --  V, Geyserville, California, #308304  $15.95 

  • Southbrook Triomphe Chardonnay 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 89-1  --  V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #172338 $22.95
  • Woodwork Central Coast Chardonnay 2013, 87-1  --  G, Sonoma, California, #428805 $16.95    
  • Cannonball Chardonnay 2013, 87  --  V, Sonoma County, California, #311563  $22.95
  • Te Whare RA Sauvignon Blanc 2014, 87  --   Renwick, Marlborough, #411603 $24.95
  • Henschke Tilly's Vineyard 2013, 84 -- V, Adelaide Hills, Australia, #061705  $26.95 
  • Daniel Lenko Chardonngay Unoaked Chardonnay 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 82  --  Disc., Beamsville, Ontario, #260398  $12.10*

  • Cave de Beblenheim Brut Rosé Crémant d'Alsace NV,  87  --  V, Beblenheim, France, #168948  $18.95 
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended) 


IRONY MERLOT NAPA VALLEY 2012, California, USA, 14.5%  D  4g/L,  #183186  $17.95*  (Tasted January 4, 2016)

A Vintages release on April 1, 2015 and *reduce from $ 19.95 until Jan 3, 2016.  My notes: A Delicato Vineyards wine. The colour is a regal ruby or a cross between a ripe raspberry and blackberry. A thin film sits hanging from a wrinkle rim with a tilt flowing long slow tears. A touch of bright lacquer and crushed blackberry sets a smooth background for an extra dry layer of tannin. A faint lacquer on aged blackberry skins continues through a long finish appealing to those that have acquired the taste. Lamb, rib-eye and anything meaty red and savoury. Past fresh fruit and going into a tangy herbal stage. A drink now past cellaring. 87

DANIEL LENKO CHARDONNGAY UNOAKED CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 13.0% XD  5g/L, #260398  $12.10*  (Tasted January 4, 2016)

Product discontinued at a reduced price*.  My notes: A mid yellow clear as crystal on pouring. A thin film forms a fragile rim bursting with fast legs that quickly separates into nodules on the glass.  The nose is faint: some crabapple and some mango - tho' not much to relish. A metallic dryness takes over aroma and taste going into a long finish. A meal white for Swiss Chalet chicken was OK with pan-fried Trout on green beans with an anchovy butter sauce. An exploratory drink-now not for cellaring.  82

YEAR OF THE MONKEY PINOT NOIR 2014, Baden, Germany, 12.0% M  x/L, #425108  $14.95  (Tasted January 2, 2016)

A General listing.  My notes: An aspect of burnt match to a jammy berry meets the nose as well as a see-through mid red colour introduces this Pinot. The film is thin and runs a quickly fragmenting rim. Aerating pushes a pleasing cherry fruit forward. The first sip is sweet with crushed berry, tart, smooth, less jammy and sticky on the palate. Aerated, the taste is a bit cleaner. Finishes long and dry. Paired nicely with a savoury side of grilled pork ribs. My sipping preference is less jammy. A drink now. 85

TE WHARE RA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Renwick, Marlborough, 13.0% XD  2g.L, #411603 $24.95  (Tasted January 22, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 2, 2015.  My notes:  The colour is a light golden and there's a pleasing sweet pepper on the nose. A modest film sits under a full rim slowly falling without tears. A dry first sip carries with it a delicate vegetable flavour - not the traditional gooseberry. Body is medium carrying a refreshing uniqueness for a long extra dry finish. Sip if you prefer or combine with grilled scallops/shrimps in a garlic sauce. Paired nicely with Romance Sushi from Sushi Park on Dundas. A drink now. 87

HENSCHKE TILLY'S VINEYARD 2013, Adelaide Hills, Australia, 12.5%  D  7g/L, #061705  $26.95  (Tasted January 21, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 16, 2015.  My notes: A blend of  34% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon, 17% Chardonnay, 14% Riesling, 11% Pinot Gris and 4% Gewurztraminer. A light gold that lays a thin film with a swirl or tilt ending with a lacy pattern. Poured at 11oC the aroma has a dry grassiness with a silk texture and prominent bitterness. Starts smooth quickly changing to chalk masking any fruit. Ends on the chalk note and a succulent medley of citric juices. A possible sipper at 14oC with hard cheeses/salty crackers - was a satisfactory match with grilled Rainbow Trout and would with most seafoods. Nothing to gain by cellaring. 84

MONTES ALPHA SYRAH 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.5%  XD  14g/L,  #000612  $19.95  (Tasted January 13, 2016)

Released by Vintages on October 31, 2015. Rated 92 by Kim Marcus of Wine Spectator, March 31, 2015.  Sustainable dry farmed.  My notes:  The colour is a dense ruby up to the meniscus. The aroma is interesting being a soft plum cherry blend with a smoky tang for brightness. A swirl glides smoothly while a tilt lays a viscous film with a rounded rim dropping seamlessly. Bright on the palate, flavours of moody black cherry, dry with a penetrating warmth lasting through a long finish. Without nibbles the dryness wears out its welcome - aerating does little to soften a moderate bite and is not needed. A drink now and past cellaring. Pair with beef entrées, sausage patties or savoury bourguignon/Osso Buco. We served with Starsky's marinated pork souvlakis and stir fried mixed sweet mini peppers - not quite a match. 89

CLOS DU BOIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Geyserville, California, 13.5%  XD 4g/L, #308304  $15.95  (Tasted January 7, 2015)

A General listing and product of  a Constellation Brands winery.  My notes: First, a strong nose with a black currant and raspberry fragrance along with a concentrated bitterness. A swirl lays a firm film cascading long fast tears that stick to the glass. A cleansing brightness and heavy tannin with herbal tones start then slowly fade. Difficult to describe as 'fruity' - perhaps 'woody'. A must to aerate for a tolerable sipper although the dryness still needs nibbles. Match with savoury beef ribs or Texas warm/hot chili. A drink now for stalwart socializers. (much improved after several hours open). 80a

TYRRELL'S RUFUS STONE SHIRAZ 2012, Victoria, Australia, 14.0% XD 7g/L, #091488  $22.95  (Tasted January 9, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 16, 2015. My notes: The colour is an dense crushed blackberry. The second swirl adds to the initial film that gripped the glass. A tilt leaves a solid rim flowing a curtain of a slow tears. A delicate aroma of plums edged with a pleasing tang precedes the first sip - juicy with a smooth texture and a full-body - also a full flavour of blackberry, some blueberry, a suspicion of black pepper, bright with drying tannins. Demands attention as a sipper. Lesser so if paired with seasoned steaks, short ribs or filet mignon grilled rare. At peak with a few more years cellaring possible. 93

SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, 13.1%  D  8g/L, #172338 $22.95  (Tasted January 15, 2016)

Released by Vintages on August 22, 2015. An organic wine.  Rated 91 by Sara d'Amato, (December 4, 2014). My notes:   A mid yellow with an interesting soft lemon aroma on first sniff. Nose fades at 12oC however body and texture builds. A swirl leaves a thin film topped by a crinkled rim that drops a few slow tears. A creamy fullness and the start of a refreshing sharpness makes this an interesting sipper. A perceptible sweetness flushes character - also look for a temporary warmth and a mineral edge. Sip or pair with roast chicken, Guinea hens or turkey burgers. Will cellar well. Went well with a Tuscan Pesto Pizza from PizzaNova. 89

CANNONBALL CHARDONNAY 2013, Sonoma County, California, 13.7% XD  6g/L, #311563  $22.95  (Tasted January 14, 2016)

Released by Vintages on November 28, 2015. My notes:  A light lemon yellow on pouring laying a light film showing a krinkly rim and a few fast tears from a swirl as well as a tilt. A delicate lemon aroma tainted with a suspicion of vanilla, perhaps a waft from a mobile ice cream vendor. Successive sips build the character of chardonnay: slight butter on the palate, a dry edge and a lingering aroma and flavour for a 'Lush and expressive' finish. A conservative drink now with potential for additional rounding from a few years in the cellar, however, more of a social sip now. 87

MEANDRO DO VALE MEÃO 2012, Douro, Portugal, 14.0% XD 5g/L, #244731   $24.95  (Tasted January 7, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 16, 2015.  A blend of 38% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Toriz and 12% others.   My notes:  A lovely nose makes a great first impression: a hint of blackberry, highlights of cranberry with the roundness of blueberry and matches closely the deep colour.  A delicate fragrance fades earlier than anticipated (without any evidence of being foot trodden). There's a polite tang for interest, and sufficient flavour for a long smooth finish. Sip slowly then quaff to renew intensity. Match with slow cooked calves liver and portobello/creminis. Drink now or short term cellar. Stock up!  92

CAVE DE BEBLENHEIM BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT D'ALSACE NV, Beblenheim, France,  12.5%  C  15g/L, #168948  $18.95  (Tasted January 1, 2016)

Released by Vintages on December 12, 2015.  Rated 4 out of 5 by Susan Desjardins, (March 11, 2013)  My notes:A notable nose as it hasn't one. Poured as a coquettish salmon colour with a frothy head rising to overflow half the flute. Foam with a tart spritz and continuous bubbles to tickle the palate and medium-bodied to satisfy socializing on a sunny deck with a tray of soft cheeses and salty crackers. Have with bangers, waffles and maple syrup --- or just sip, better yet quaff.  A drink now. 87

WOODWORK CENTRAL COAST CHARDONNAY 2013, Sonoma, California  (Batch #12),  13.5%  D  8g/L,  #428805 $16.95  (Tasted January 26, 2016)

A General listing. My notes: A cream and vanilla aroma from first pour at 10c followed by soft apple. There's a thin but firm film showing a full rim that quickly sheds dropping evenly around the glass. The colour is a mid yellow and the texture has a pleasing cream, a moderate tang and a dryness that not quite masks a background sugar - nicely balanced - and a long finish. Serve to those preferring a chard with character including a touch of caramel. Roast chicken, mild Italian sausage with buttery egg noodles could be a match. Short term cellaring - up to five years - could deepen profile. 87

CLINE FAMILY CELLARS LODI ZINFANDEL 2013, Sonoma, California, 14.0% D  9g/L, #489278  $16.55  (Tasted January 24, 2016)

A General listing. My notes: I've tasted this vintage a few times - rated a 93 on December 23, 2014 and 83 on May 6, 2015. Why the variation? There are so many factors I wouldn't hazard a guess. The price we know  has increased $2. A see-through colour of crushed black cherries leaves a thin film and a crinkly rim on the glass. The nose has a penetrating nip similar to freshly brushed varnish but with aromas of crushed ripe cranberries. The first sip stings the palate before changing to a woody cranberry that lingers for an extra dry finish. Aerating or decanting thirty minutes lessens the sting bringing forward a brighter fruit and is recommended. Conflicting when served with roasted pork tenderloin in a herb sauce - I'd pair with spice rubbed steak or back ribs in a savoury sauce. Without aerating its a medium-bodied, harsh sipper with a touch of sweet. A drink now without finesse. 81

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