Sunday, January 01, 2017

January 2017 wines - 12 Tasted of 12

A Prelude to technology:

Do you ever get the feeling that computer technology’s goal is now geared to helping you acquire new friends…helping you become part of a new society - not one a natural outgrowth of your childhood nor of your workplace? It’s like FaceBlink (a pseudonym) pushing with ‘Do you know Pamarabi Isjgamabee?  No, I don’t know Pamarabi Isjgamabee (also fictitious) who for all I know runs a brothel in South Podunk! Nor do I know any of the six individuals FB asked me about yesterday nor will I know those suggested tomorrow. Out of a planet of several billion what’s the chance? What you could do FaceBlink, or whoever’s brainless idea this was ‘Tell me how to shut this feature off''. Apple has Siri and Home, Windows10 has their own automaton. I actually admire Apple’s iPhone6+ but please let me get use to the initial setup before you ask me to ‘pair’ with my Home appliances. I'm not that kinda guy! This is me… living alone in a one bedroom walkup (not really!).

Sometimes Windows10 autocorrects - to American - my English. No, I don’t know when – just at random. It also freezes the screen randomly. Perhaps to update a backup copy of what I’m typing? If I want a backup I’ll do it thankyou! This morning in the middle of scheduling next month’s Bank payments I was flagged via a Messenger ‘notification’ to invite me to chat with others.  This App, not being installed entered by way of FB . Now comes the Marketing pitch encouraging me to install Messenger as it is 'the best for community chats'.

Sometimes spurious interruptions are helpful. Not this time! What is not wanted ever is interruptions during my ‘banking hours’. This time I do 'Blame The Messenger'. 

Another annoying ‘help’ is when I size the three documents I’m editing so they all fit on my 23” screen. That’s why I have a large screen. Windows10, sensing my mouse nearby, decides to automatically maximize one document covering the remaining two. And have I told you about the extra warning messages while attempting to save my in-process work?!  It’s asif I have staff distributed across Canada all contributing to these three documents. PLEASE! For my use it’s not useful advice re: “PROTECT< INSPECT< and MANAGE” every time I save a document. Save my screen space for my use.

Enough Said !

Highfield Estate (NZ) 2003
Cheers, Ww

Back to wine:  From April 2 to May 4, 2003 we travelled from the top of New Zealand, 90 Mile Beach, to the fjords just southwest of Queenstown in the South Island then back to Auckland. Our objective was to visit as many wineries, taste as many wines and Kiwi food within reason as well as take in the generous sociability of the peoples as we could.

The weather was excellent. The roads were easily navigable. The people were honestly amiable. The wines were natural and, for the most part, pre-commercial. Over 5900km (3600km North Island and 2300km South Island) allowed us to see volcanic pools, smoking cones, sea lions, Maori culture and much more. We stayed at the Highfield Estate in Marlborough country (wine not tobacco) well before it merged with Terravin Ltd.  Not to demean any location during the trip, it and Copthorne were high points during our trip. The number of wineries in the area doubled the total we visited both South and North Islands. A three day stayover in Sydney gave us two days of an Aussie experience. Wonderful!!

LINEUP: Reds and Whites
  • Wakefield Shiraz 2014, 92-2  --  V,  Auburn, South Australia 
    --  #943787 $18.95
  • Robert Oatley Signature Series Shiraz 2014,  91-2  --  V, Australia,  #327387  $19.95
  • Le Cirque Grenache Noir/Carignan/Syrah 2013, 90  --  V,  Midi, France, #277079 $16.95
    Highfield Estate Vineyards '03
  • Gnarly Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2013, 89-1  -- V,  Delicato Vineyards, California, #678698  17.95
  • SEIN 2011, 86 -- V, Alicante, Spain, #391896 $17.00
  • Niepoort Dão RÓTULO Red 2013, 82 -- V, Dão, Portugal, #452722 $18.95

  • Copthorne Palms
    Okiwa Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014,  90-2  --  V,  Marlborough, New Zealand,  #459156  $19.95
  • Terre Bianche Alghero 2014, 86 – V, Sicily, Italy, #968537  $16.95
  • Dirty Laundry Not So Naughty Chardonnay 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, 86  --  V, British Columbia, Canada,  #353144 $19.95
  • Toasted Head Chardonnay 2014,  85  --  V,  Acampo, California,  #594341  $16.95*
  • Organized Crime Chardonnay 2013 VQA Beamsville Bench,  84  --  V, Niagara, Ontario,  #408435  $18.95

  • Segura Vuidas Brut Reserva Cava Sparkling NV,  87-1  --  G,  Torrelavit, Spain, 12.0%  xx  7g/L,  #216960  $14.95  

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


ROBERT OATLEY SIGNATURE SERIES SHIRAZ 2014, Auburn, South Australia, 14.0%  XD  2g/L, #327387 $19.95  (Tasted January 1, 2017)

Released by Vintages on November 26, 2016 and rated 93 by James Halliday, (August 11, 2016). My notes: A rich ruby, dark but not brooding, warm and spicy to sniff, not sharp. A swirl leaves a firm film swelling at the rim until a ring of tears slowly flow. Soon a smooth bite starts a spicy finish fading until only the initial brightness on a parched lining exists. Pair with grilled beef in a savoury mushroom and onion sauce. Extra dry as a solo sipper. 91

TOASTED HEAD CHARDONNAY 2014,  Acampo, California, 14.0%  D  5g/L,  #594341  $16.95*  (Tasted January 12, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. Price reduced from $18.95 until January 1, 2017.  My notes: A clear lemon bright in the glass and rolling a moderate film that quickly tears, as in ‘rents’, a fragmented path top to bottom. A sip turns into a penetrating tang politely stinging and starting a long finish. Silky, leaving a slight caramel butter taste until the lips smack of smoothness and a grapefruit edging. Not appealing as a sipper but a match with grilled seafood or lemon cod and a herb'd broccolini side. Air twenty minutes minimum or aerate to mellow penetration peaks. Cellaring several years may bring out more butter and lessen bitter edge. 85

DIRTY LAUNDRY NOT SO NAUGHTY CHARDONNAY 2014 VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada,  12.9%  D  4g/L, #353144  $19.95  (Tasted January 9, 2017)

Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016.  My notes: A titillating title for a crystal clear chardonnay. The nose is a pear/melon combination ending with an abundant of austere crab apple. Full going into a long finish carrying the chalkiness of the first sip and adding a whimper of sweet but not enough to balance the tang. Have with a buffet of finger foods: Italian sausage sliced, smooth lime mousse, or lemon meringue. Not having a buffet nearby plan with grilled tilapia and capers or breaded halibut and onion rings. A drink now. 86

VQA Beamsville Bench , Niagara, Ontario, 12.5%  XD  2g/L,  #408435  $18.95  (Tasted January 3, 2017)

Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016. Ross Wise of New Zealand's Central Otago region consulted on this Chardonnay. My notes: A delicate touch of blond shines crystal clear in the bowl. Served at 11oC the nose is also delicate with a slight butter but little sense of fruit or flower on initial sniffs - improves as glass warms. There's a slight silk and a light vegetative tang to start a short finish that fills out as temp nears 14oC.  Pair with light seafood entrées or buffet selections - OK with grilled Atlantic salmon and scalloped potatoes - overall is difficult to match. Your guests reaction in a sample tasting would be interesting.  84    
Highfield Vineyards '03

WAKEFIELD CLARE VALLEY SHIRAZ 2014, Auburn, South Australia, 14.0%  D  xg/L,  #943787  $18.95  (Tasted January 6, 2017)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016.  My notes: With ten gold medals (International, USA, Australia) on the label this Shiraz has a pedigree to be admired. Harvest and vintage conditions for each year are available on the Wakefield website - and on YouTube there’s a personal guide to a wine’s tasting temperature for best enjoyment. The colour is a charcoal tinted ruby and a swirl lays a viscous film showing a swollen rim dropping slow tears. A polite tang supports spicy, blackberry flavours on top of a warm, drying tannin and remnants of a balanced a penetrating texture that prompts the next sip. Perfect paired with lamb, grilled beef or herbal stews. You can tell by their website this family’s priority shows in their wines. 92

OKIWA BAY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5%  XD  3g/L,  #459156  $19.95  (Tasted January 6, 2017)

Seal Watch
Released by Vintages on December 10, 2016.  My notes: A delicate blond with an intriguing aroma: aka a pile of seashells after husking with a sweet edge, warm vapors cooled to 12oC - one sip leaves a clay touch to the inside cheeks covered by a luscious tang. Pair with a mix of berries: raspberry, strawberry and sliced peaches to balance dryness while complementing the tang. Try with chicken thighs broiled in a spicy peanut sauce and a stir fry of red peppers and green beans. More sips lead to quaffs of penetrating kiwi fruit and a luscious finish. A drink now with another few years in the cellar. Enjoy!  90  

SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA CAVA SPARKLING NV,  Torrelavit, Spain, 12.0%  xx  7g/L,  #216960  $14.95  (Tasted January 1, 2017)

A General listing. My notes: This is a bright Spanish sparkler rated 88 by WineAlign tasters. A blend of 50% Macabeo, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarello grapes. Extra dry on the first sip with tingles from continuous trails of fine bubbles adding to a short span and early spritz. A stark blond with a vegetable scent in the bowl having a tart edge and lasting throughout a long finish. Serve and keep well chilled. Pair with mild cheddar popcorn  - we had with M&Ms bacon wrapped scallops - seafood appetizers or pasta and scallops well buttered and light garlic. Cellaring will not change or spoil this popular sipper.  87

GNARLY HEAD OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2013, Delicato Vineyards, California, 14.5% D 11g/L, #678698 $17.75   (Tasted January 3, 2017)

Now! Where did she go!
Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. My notes:  The colour is a purple tinged deep ruby –  Zinfandel's expected on the first sip. Medium film and a bold tang shows it’s heritage with a touch of sweet to mellow the tang. Penetrating, warm, bright with a blackberry flavour and luscious finish. The film now has a few rounded arches. Share beside a toasty fire with a niche crowd that may prefer rough reds or have with Osso Buco with a lemon & capers. Meant as a drink now this vintage developed well even left opened from a day before serving.  89

LE CIRQUE GRENACHE NOIR/CARIGNAN/SYRAH 2013, Midi, France,  14.5% XD  4g/L,  #277079 $16.95  (Tasted January 12, 2017)

Released by Vintages on September 17, 2016.  Rated 91 by Jeb Dunnuck  (September 17, 2013). My notes: A charcoal stained ruby somewhat brooding in the glass. Swirls a moderate film showing fragmenting tears from a slightly jagged rim. There’s a shag rug texture with a balanced blackberry, strawberry flavour adding a suspicion of red cherry. Different than GSM with the differences easily observed. The nose is moderate but clean. The first sip is smooth ending bright showing the flavours then return to brushed velvet – a swallow still bright but finally trailing off - not a sipper. Have with anything meaty and savoury – not pork tenderloin. 90

NIEPOORT DÃO RÓTULO RED 2013, Dão, Portugal, 12.5% XD 2g/L, #452722  $18.95  (January 22, 2017)

Release by Vintages on October 29, 2016. My notes: Coarse and thin from the first sip so was aerated for a tamer tannin and milder blend. Tears break off from the film leaving a rounded arch when swirled.  Strawberry is the main fruit with a touch of cherry then a lesser hint of oregano going forward to a long shy finish. Nose has a light presence matching an overall light fruit. Colour is a shallow ruby. Maintain at 14oC and drinking soon after aerating for an enjoyable body. Have with salty crackers, tacos, tortillas and stewed red pepper salsa. Past cellaring.  82

SEIN 2011, Alicante, Spain, 15.0% XD 5g/L, #391896  $17.00  (Tasted January 20, 2017)

Released by Vintages on January 7, 2017. Rated 92 by Luis Gutierrez (October 30, 2013). My notes: Ratings vary widely as this source notes . A blend of Monastrell (Mourvèdre) (60%) and Syrah (40%). Chalky from the start but velvet smooth with a touch of sweet adds appeal as a sipper. The dryness continues endlessly with crushed blackberry juice to add polite tang and flavour. The colour is a dense charcoal ruby. I recommend a slight chill until the entrée is served then let the blending of roast beef or lamb stew entice with added savoury. A swirl leaves a firm film running long tears from a full rim. Aerate or air before serving. 84 

TERRE BIANCHE ALGHERO 2014, Sicily, Italy, 12.5%  XD  2g/L,  #968537  $16.95  (Tasted January 15, 2017)

Released by Vintages on November 12, 2016. Rated 91 by Kerin O’Keefe Wine Enthusiast (October 2015).  My notes: There’s a touch of bronze to this sipper and a sniff of apple to the lemon of the nose. The film is firm sliding down slowly from an evenly fragmented rim. Sip by itself for a tangy dry cleanser – my preference is to pair sips with bacon wrapped scallops to even out the tang while adding a butter texture. Shellfish and grilled Mediterranean seafood are natural partners. Served at 11oC then opens up at 13oC for an extra dry finish. Could develop nicely if cellared. 86