Saturday, June 04, 2016

June 2016 Wines - 14 Tasted of 14

Click image to Enlarge - Mosquitoes on the Horizon? No - Canada Geese

LINEUP:  Reds, Whites, Rosés and Bubblies:

  • Wakefield Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 92c-3  -- G,  Auburn, South Australia, #358838  $14.95 
  • Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2014,  92-2  --  V,  Borja, Spain, #273748  $19.95
  • Valdemar Fincas Valdemacuco Roble 2012, 89-1  --  V, Ribera del Duero, Spain, #417683  $17.25 
  • Wakefield Promised Land Shiraz 2014, 87a (90c-2)  --  G, Auburn, South Australia, #441543  $14.95 
  • Dauvergne Ranvier Grand Vin Cotes du Rhone-Villages 2013, 87a  --  V,  Rhône, France, #436907  $18.95 
  • Ascheri Barbera d'Alba DOC 2013, 85a  --  G, Piedmont Italy, #219790 $16.15 

  • Oro de Castilla Verdejo 2014, 90-2  --  V, Rueda, Spain, #745562  $15.95
  • Charles Bove Vouvray 2014, 90-2  --  V,  Loire, France, #448563  $17.95
  • Tawse Sketches of Niagara Chardonnay 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 88-1  --  V, Vineland, Ontario, #089037  $19.95
  • Zuccardi Serie A Chardonnay Viognier 2014, 86  --  V, Valle de Uco, Argentina, #262097  $15.95
  • Secreto Patagonia Chardonnay 2012, 82  --  V, Patagonia, Argentina, #380055  $16.25 
  • Clay Station Unoaked Viognier 2014, 77NR  --  V, Lodi, California, #025411  $16.95 

  • Saint Clair Family Estate Premium Pinot Gris Rosé 2015, 90-2  --  V,  Marlborough, New Zealand, #451740  $16.95

  • Canella Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG 2014, 87-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #435503  $16.75 
        (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, 
NR - Not Recommended)

ASCHERI BARBERA D'ALBA DOC 2013, Piedmont Italy, 13.5% D  10g/L,  #219790 $16.15  (Tasted June 22, 2016)

A General listing. Reference: WineSearcher  My notes: A woody scented plum and cherry starting from the pop of the cork. The film is firm showing a finely crinkled rim that quickly runs a curtain of flowing tears. The initial sip starts silky smooth changing to a sustained bright cherry and a pronounced tannic dryness. The finish continues gradually evolving to a lighter version of itself. Aerating softens the tannin to improve solo sipping and is recommended. Serve with tomato pastas with chorizo pieces or ground pork/lamb/beef. At peak or just past - a dry medium-bodied red. 85a
WAKEFIELD PROMISED LAND CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 , Auburn, South Australia,  13.5%  XD  5g/L,  #358838  $14.95  (Tasted June 30, 2016)

A General listing. My notes: Winner of many medals - gold, silver and bronze - at wine shows in many countries.  A fragrant blackberry edged with a warm touch of mushroom very evident on popping the cork and throughout a tasting. Lessens when chilled. The colour is a dark ruby running a dozen or so standalone legs from a thin rim. The first sip stings and broadens its intensity as it fills 'olfactory central' - long, bright and extra dry. Aerating brings out a softness that almost balances a parched finish. Pair with lamb or beef dishes. Still young and able to support several years cellaring. Follow cooling instructions (16oC-18oC on label)) for sipping although I preferred 18oC thru 20oC. 92c
WAKEFIELD  PROMISED LAND SHIRAZ 2014 , Auburn, South Australia, 13.5%  XD  6g/L,  #441543  $14.95  (Tasted June 14, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: There's a purple tingle to a deep ruby and a nose sensed when opened at arm's length. A firm film leaves a cascade of full tears that drain slowly. An intense brightness with penetrating tang makes a young sipper, warm and dry in the throat. Flavours of red cherries not fully ripe adds a cranberry edge.  I preferred aerating for a slightly milder swallow. Medium full carrying a roundness and the warmth of a long finish. Adds brightness to a meal of beef Wellington, Italian Shepherds Pie or grilled lamb. Open now if you prefer a bright young red (87a) or delay several years (90c-2)

DAUVERGNE RANVIER GRAND VIN COTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2013, Rhône, France, 14.5%  XD  5g/L,  #436907  $18.95  (Tasted June 8, 2016)

A Vintage release on April 2, 2016. Winner of gold at the Councours des Vins ORANGE in 2015.  Researcher: WineSearcher .  My notes:  Along with Mourvèdre, Grenache is one of my favourite blends. In 2008 I tasted several combinations of commercial wines with the objective of determining the effect of blending several varietals. Tastings are found at The Blending Game - Part 1 and Part 2 . Not to compare but rather a reminder this is a blend of grenache and shiraz. It has a viscous film that hangs heavy with a dozen tears drooping slowly to the meniscus. A frame of old wood supports the taste of black olives balanced with tart ripened cherry, dull plum and tannin. The colour is a deep ruby. A long finish starts extra dry then recedes quickly as fruit disappears while the tannin prevails.   Quaffing brings out a bright sipper - otherwise a meal red to pair with beef Wellington, savoury stroganoff or lamb stew. Aerating is recommended. 87a
ORO DE CASTILLA VERDEJO 2014, Rueda, Spain, 13.0% XD  4g/L,  #745562  $15.95  (Tasted June 10. 2016 )

 A Vintages release on May 14, 2016.  Reference: WineSearcher  My notes:  A pale yellow in the glass with a dry grassy aroma. Serve at 10oC quaffing regularly for its penetrating freshness and silky texture. A dry, pleasing aroma peaks at 12oC trailing off at 15oC - a sipper on the unusual side and an appealing white ready for grilled filets: cod, tilapia, halibut breaded with chips or fried onions. A swirl leaves long legs falling from a fragmented rim. Citrus and almond flavours are sustained while leaving a short but intense warmth. A sunny patio change-up paired with anchovy or garlic toasted nibbles. 90

VALDEMAR FINCAS VALDEMACUCO ROBLE 2012, Ribera del Duero, Spain, 13.5%  XD 5g/L, #417683  $17.25   (Tasted June 24, 2016)

Released Vintages on July 11, 2015. Rated 90 by Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast (February 2015).  My notes: 100% Tempranillo aged 5 months in French oak. Deep purple with aromas of ripe black cherries, softened caramel and black tea that waft straight to the nose. Lovely! The film sticks delaying a single circle of tears and the first sip releases a penetrating acidity that quickly warms the nasal passages. Medium-bodied with a finish that's dry as chalk shedding most fruit to leave a prominent woodiness - quaffing can be sharp. For sipping, pair with Polish sausage or a tray of hard cheeses. Better to pair with well seasoned beef and similar game cuts in a peanut sauce. No touch of sweet here. 89

BORSAO TRES PICOS GARNACHA 2014,  Borja, Spain, 15%  D 7g/L, #273748  $19.95  (Tasted June 20, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 28, 2016. Rated 91 by Thomas Matthews (March 31, 2016).  Reference: WineSearcher   My notes: The dark colour and high alcohol gives an expectation of bold and penetrating. However the aroma is a soft blackberry blueberry with a juicy edge. A sip shows a juicy berry blend with a touch of tannin to form an extra dry finish and balanced warmth. A firm film slowly thins through a dozen slow tears with only micro-drops remaining. Pair with a rich steak, a savoury stew or osso bucco. Aerating changes silk to velvet. A negative is a 1.5 lbs eco-unfriendly bottle.  92

SAINT CLAIR FAMILY ESTATE PREMIUM PINOT GRIS ROSÉ 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0%  D  6g/L,  #451740  $16.95 (Tasted June 16, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 28, 2016.  My notes:  A powder puff pink with sufficient viscosity to cling then release a stream of tears. The first sip has a pleasing dryness, a polite tang and slight chalk going into a long finish. There's also a suspicion of sweet to balance the acid retaining a brightness to flavours of apricot and, following the flavour, adding succulent stone. Pair with grilled chicken breast or artic Char and side of asparagus. A drink now as well as a meal companion. 90

TAWSE SKETCHES OF NIAGARA CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Vineland, Ontario, 12.5% XD 12g/L,  #089037  $19.95  (Tasted June 21, 2016)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2016. My notes:  A pale yellow leaving a thin veil hanging several slow tears then fragmenting as a spread of loose nodules. A sip finds an extra dry texture with a mild citrus flavour, a smooth fullness and long appealing finish. Pear and apricot adds to subtle citrus building for a long appealing finish. Crab or lobster pieces, mussels in a white wine and garlic sauce or pecan crusted cod/tilapia would pair well. OK now but could be a surprise cellar wine - try four years.   88

ZUCCARDI SERIE A CHARDONNAY VIOGNIER 2014, Valle de Uco, Argentina,  13.0%  XD  2g/L, #262097  $15.95  (Tasted June 13, 2106)

Released by Vintages on November 28, 2015.  Reference: WineSearcher My notes:  Zuccardi is big in Italy and now Argentina. A pale yellow laying a fragmenting rim slowly accumulating then dropping moderately fast legs. The fragrance leans to vegetable not showing a floral viognier. Very dry with mineral and some grassiness on the palate. If sipping keep chilled - better with salty nibbles. More of a thin meal white to pair with a seafood assortment, grilled served with a dipping sauce, or a chorizo pizza. 86
CHARLES BOVE VOUVRAY 2014, Loire, France, 11.5%  M  18g/L,  #448563  $17.95  (Tasted June 7, 2016)

Released by Vintages on May 28, 2016. My notes:  Has the look of Naples yellow with a clarity that glistens. Sweetness balances with tangy for an unctuous first sip then finishing dry on the tongue. A swirl lays a thin film fragmenting at the rim with spots left high on the glass. Tree fruit aromas on the apple/citrus side reinforces a tangy theme and a touch of Bosc pear. Interesting and flexible. Try with seafoods: battered fish and chips/onion rings. Bento box veggies and shrimp fingers, grilled lobster pieces. Short term cellaring isn't out of the question. Perfect for a summer patio do. 90

SECRETO PATAGÓNICO CHARDONNAY 2012, Patagonia, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  2g/L,  #380055  $16.25  (Tasted June 25, 2016)

Released by Vintages on November 28, 2015Reference WinesearcherMy notes: The colour is a brilliant yellow. At 10oC a fresh and distinct aroma of coconut and tangy butterscotch is an interesting intro to what is a bold sipper. Flavours are supplemented with chalk and unripe lemon slowing sipping to a crawl. Extremely bitter on the swallow then slowly fading leaving citrus and vanilla with a slight softness as a finish. Letting the temperature creep to 15oC finds some refuge. Have with shellfish and buttered pastas or Italian meats, stuffed mushrooms. Aerate or decant 30 minutes - and have a backup. 82

CANELLA CONEGLIANO VALDOBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIORE DOCG 2014, Veneto, Italy, 11% XD 12g/L,  #435503  $16.75  (Tasted June 23, 2106)

Released by Vintages on February 20, 2016. Reference: WineSearcher . My notes: A shining mid yellow with a instant foam on pouring followed by a crescendo of lively bubbles. Just perceptible is a refreshing Gala apple. A sip senses a polite tang enjoyable but fades quickly riding on a tickling spritz. The finish is short as fruit and fragrance are muted to be prolonged by continued sips. Could be a celebratory toaster, with an oz. of grapefruit juice a wakeup call in the morning or indulge with fresh popped popcorn watching a sepia toned movie. A welcomed social mixer for an amorphous crowd. 87

CLAY STATION UNOAKED VIOGNIER 2014, Lodi, California, 13.5% D 8g/L, #025411  $16.95  (Tasted June 14, 2016)

Released by Vintages on April 2, 2016. Reference: WineSearcher. My notes: A mid yellow, crystal clear and, served at 10oC, having an indiscernible aroma. The film sits firmly on the glass before accumulating enough volume to release several slow tears. The first sip has a penetrating tang, a chalky texture and a mild peach fuzz flavour. The tang fades going into a moderate finish, medium-bodied character and, lacking substantive flavours, having little reward as a sipper. Loses appeal at 15oC, such that I can't pick a match as a meal white - tried with roast chicken and the bottle was discarded.  77NR


Sunday, May 01, 2016

May 2016 Wines - 14 Tasted of 14

A Family Luncheon

Cheers, Ww 

Photos courtesy of P W McM.

LINEUP:  Reds, Whites, Rosés and Bubblies:

  • Lamadrid Single Vineyard Reserva Malbec 2012, 94-3  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #234492  $17.00
  • Luis Felipe Edwards Reserva Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 93-3  --  G, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #308189  $13.90 
  • Barao de Vilar Proeza 2012, 90-2  --  V, Dão, Portugal, #427187  $13.95
  • Hardy's Bankside Shiraz 2012, 88-1  --  G, Reynella, Australia, #333948  $14.95
  • Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2013, 84  --   V, Acampo, California, #359257  $15.95*      
  • Folonari Valpolicella Ripasso Classico 2014,  83  --  G,  Veneto, Italy, #481838  $15.95*
  • Forward Bold Malbec Cabernet 2015, 81NR  --  G, Pelee Island, Ontario*, #427351  $9.45* 
  • Beronia Tempranillo Rioja 2012,  81NR  --  G, Rioja, Spain, #243055  $12.90    
  • Gnarly Head Pinot Noir 2013, 80NR  --   G, Manteca, California, #358911  $14.95  

  • Domaine Salmon Grande Réserve Muscadet Sur Lie 2014, 91-2  --  V, Loire, France, #438309  $16.95
  • Domaine Zinck Pinot Blanc 2014, 88-1  --  V, Alsace, France, #435040  $16.75
  • Cave Spring Estate Bottled Chardonnay Musqué 2014 VQA Niagara Escarpment, 86 --  V,  Niagara, Ontario, #246579 $16.95 
  • Nobilo Regional Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2014,  84  --  G,  Marlborough, New Zealand, #415745 $14.95*

  • Muga Rioja Rosé 2015, 89-2  --  V, Haro, Spain, #603795  $13.95  
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


DOMAINE SALMON GRANDE RÉSERVE MUSCADET SÈVRE & MAINE SUR LIE 2014, Loire, France, 12%  XD  7g/L,  #438309  $16.95  (Tasted May 5, 2016)

Released by Vintages on December 12, 2015.  My notes: A mid yellow clear as crystal, a moderate film quickly disintegrating from the rim but taking its time to drop and a fresh aroma of lemon rind edged with appealing grapefruit sets the start of this tasting. A deep dryness with a full tang lasts indefinitely unless interrupted by seafood nibbles: lobster, scallops, seared garlic shrimp or grilled white filets. There's no sign of sweetness so relies on hors d'oeuvres to change the character. Cellaring several years could bring forward appealing nuances. 91

DOMAINE ZINCK PINOT BLANC 2014, Alsace, France, 12.5%  XD  4g/L,  #435040  $16.75  (Tasted May 13, 2016)

Released by Vintages on December 12, 2015. Suggested tasting of 8oC and having a cellar potential of 3 years.  My notes: A crisp yellow releasing a subdued aroma of caramel and vanilla. Pair with grilled shrimp, other seafood dishes, tempura and bento options or roast chicken pieces - skin on. The initial sip is tart then increases as a bright beginning shifting to chalk dry and ending with a flat mineral finish. A medium-bodied meal white with a balance of flavours and texture rather than a social sipper where it may prompt a discussion of Pinot Blanc styles - perhaps a mystery in a formal tasting? I enjoyed from 8oC (chilled) to 12oC. 88

RAVENSWOOD VINTNERS BLEND OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2013, Acampo, California, 13.5%  D  7g/L, #359257  $15.95*  (Tasted May 30, 2016)

A Vintages release on April 1, 2016. *Price reduced from $17.95 until April 24, 2016.  Claims to retain a true Zinfandel character: robust, brimming with spicy ripe raspberry, cherry and boysenberry.  My notes: The colour of royal ruby with a charcoal hue. A swirl lays a thin film instantly fragmenting to leave countless droplets. Dry and woody only revealed by a long strong sniff. The texture is soft with a hint of black plum.  The first sip is thinnnnn, sharp, drying, woody and tasting of bright cranberry -  pleasing when quaffed. A penetrating acid with fruit continues through a long finish. Pair with lamb chops or as ground lamb and pork burgers, also grilled strips of beef. A drink now passed cellaring. 84

BARÃO DE VILAR PROEZA 2012, Dão, Portugal, 13.0% XD xg/L, #427187  $13.95  (Tasted May 4, 2016)

Released by Vintages on January 23, 2016. My notes: An agreeable red with a rustic nose on first sip. A socialiser that could get a 'meet and greet' going then on to a buffet of hors d'oeuvres. A cheerful ruby spreading a fragmented veil, very smooth on the lips then a full fruity expression and polite tang on the palate. The finish starts dry with the freshness of mainly raspberries balanced with blackberries. A modest length allowing time to appreciate its delicate structure between sips - is there a touch of sweetness or not? A drink now and would pair nicely with rare filet mignon & red/yellow pepper side or calves liver & caramelized onions. 90

GNARLY HEAD PINOT NOIR 2013,  Manteca, California, 13.5%  D  8g/L,  #358911  $14.95  (Tasted May 28, 2016)

A General listing and a product of Delicato Vineyards.  My notes: An initial synthetic edge adds a touch of 'strange' to a bright raspberry cherry aroma. Decanting in advance (30 min) is suggested. The colour is a deep black cherry. A swirl hangs a thin film with negligible swelling at the rim and the flavour has a touch of red liquorice. A soft texture and penetrating acid provides some interest when sipping and stays for a long dry finish. Better as a meal red with meaty pizzas, Polish sausage & chips or Texas chili. Effect of aerating or decanting further not apparent. 80NR.

CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED CHARDONNAY MUSQUÉ 2014 VQA Beamsville Bench,  Niagara, Ontario, 13.5%  XD  xg/L, #246579 $16.95  (Tasted June 3, 2016) 

Released by Vintages on April 2, 2016. Rated 88 by John Zabo, MS  (January 28, 2016). My notes:  The 2013 vintage was tasted in January this year and rated 92. Could there be a difference in the 2014? Serving temperature was 10oC and a soft, delicate floral aroma - sweet pea perhaps - pleasant but barely noticeable. A golden blond colour with a thin film fragmenting immediately from a jagged rim. Tart from the start with a soft texture and laying a dry hint of lemon peel lasting through a lemon peel finish then slowly fading. Drier than the 2013 with a hint of clay. Pair with pecan crusted tilapia or grilled cod on a mound of rice. A drink now and refreshing as a patio cooler with ice. Presence becomes smoother on way to 14oC. 86
MUGA RIOJA ROSÉ 2015, Haro, Spain, 13.5%  XD  6g/L, #603795  $13.95  (Tasted April 30, 2016)

Released by Vintages on April 16, 2016. A blend of three Spanish grapes, Tempranillo, Garnacha and Viura.  My notes: A salmon blush colour, crystal clear - to look means to sip. A swirl leaves a crinkled rim and a sip leaves an arch of long fast legs before fragmenting as a silk curtain. A delicate melon strawberry invites the first sip soft on the tongue with a suspicion of sweetness, then chalk dry, warming in the throat, slowly receding as a long tangy finish. A fish white or have with slices of turkey or chicken, an iceberg salad with breaded shrimp - not demanding. Try as an aperitif. A drink now. 89

FOLONARI VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO CLASSICO 2014, Veneto, Italy, 14.0%  D  10g/L, #481838  $15.95*  (Tasted May 2, 2016)

 A General listing reduced from $17.95 until April 24, 2016.  My notes: One aerated and one Not. First with the Not. The colour is a deep charcoal tainted ruby with an acerbic edge to a cherry, black currant, rhubarb nose. The film sticks before thin becomes a fragmented curtain. The first sip leaves a dry coating on the palate, is tart and parts with an unusual cranberry twist to black cherry. A long finish allows a distinct mustiness to show itself. However I can see how this Ripasso could become a regular pasta and pizza partner. Aerating lessens the 'unusual' of flavour, nose and finish as does opening an hour before serving. Medium-bodied with the same colour, dryness and finish as Not and a meal red. 83

BERONIA TEMPRANILLO RIOJA 2012, Rioja, Spain, 14.0%  XD  5g/L,  #243055  $12.90  (Tasted June 3, 2016)

A General listing. My notes: Our next door neighbour made a family red similar to this: bitter, thin with an intense bite. The colour is a medium ruby leaving a moderate film with legs running from a fragmented rim. A light aroma of cranberries sufficiently tangy to entice although the first sip wakens the taste buds abruptly. An ascetic layer gives a furry touch on the tongue and the flavours leave an extra dry finish. Have with grilled beef burgers, chorizo sausage, Texas chili and savoury Osso Buco. A red that has limitation with food, finding patrons and ageing. A drink now.  81NR

LUIS FELIPE EDWARDS RESERVA SHIRAZ CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014. Colchagua Valley, Chile, 14.0% XD  xg/L, #308189  $13.90  (Tasted May 19, 2016)  (Reference: Wine Searcher)

A General listing.  My notes: Apparently lots available as of writing - vintage?  A ripe black cherry colour opaque to view leaving a thin film and an arch of slow tears. A black cherry aroma edged with dark chocolate and a light spice. The texture is extra dry, velvety smooth building brightness with each sip and finishing long and lively. A medium-bodied meal red leading as a pleasing socializer. Have with beef steak, beef bourguignon or deluxe pizza loaded with Italian sausages and spices. An excellent blend with good cellar potential 93

FORWARD  BOLD MALBEC CABERNET 2015 (nonVQA), Kingsville, Ontario*, 13.5% D 15g/L, #427351  $9.45*  (Tasted May 12, 2016)

A General listing reduced from $10.95 until May 22, 2016.  My notes: A nonVQA wine referred to as an International Blend made from non Canadian and Canadian wines. The information on the website is sparse with tasting notes  for the 2013 'vintage': a crisp and tart socialiser with 'a kick to it!'  I aerated for a second sample. First the non aerated: there's a purple tint to a deep ruby. A firm film lays a few long tears then many smaller drops appear suspended on the glass. A burnt toast edge and whiff of sourdough on tart red cherry carry the main flavours. The first sip starts silky, is extra dry with jammy flavours extended through a long thin finish. Aerating or decanting lessens the sourdough aspect in both nose and flavour and either is recommended. Pair with salt crackers, pepperoni pizza or spicy tomato lasagna. A drink now. The bottle was discarded.  81NR

NOBILO REGIONAL COLLECTION SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5%  XD  7g/L, #415745 $14.95*  (Tasted May 14, 2016)

A General listing *reduced from $16.95 until May 22, 2016.  My notes:  A straw blond that leaves a thin film with crinkly edge flowing long legs. At 10oC faint grassy aromas attempt attracting attention without success - a full citrus with smooth roundness. I miss the gooseberries. The first sip is extra dry and tart, an appealing lip smacker. The finish carries forward a lemon lime flavour suitably mild and with enough depth for a variety of seafood and Asian dishes. Refreshing as a summer patio appetizer - throw in an ice cube. Young although may not improve with cellaring. B50 C5 N10 F&F14 P0 T5 84

LAMADRID SINGLE VINEYARD RESERVA MALBEC 2012, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% XD 6g/L, #234492  $17.00  (Tasted May 7, 2016)

Released by Vintages on April 30, 2016. Rated 92 by Michael Schachner Wine Enthusiast (February 2015). James Suckling rated it 94 (July 30 2014).  My notes: As dense a ruby I've seen and a swirl leaves a firm film dropping as a single sheet. A tilt shows long legs from a curved veil and a sniff senses black- and blueberries behind a wall of aged oak. Everything is a mystery before the first sip then silken fruit slowly unfolds and builds on the taste buds. Well balanced tannin and brightness to match berries blended with dark chocolate and spice. There's lots to slow the sloshing to appreciate this wine's character and how it complements a savoury stew, pork tenderloin with glazed mushrooms or Osso Buco. At peak now with some years left. Beautiful!  94

HARDYS BANKSIDE SHIRAZ 2012, Reynella, Australia, 14.0%  D  6g/L,  #333948  $14.95  (Tasted May 16, 2016)

A General listing and a Constellation Wines Australia product.  My notes: The colour and flavour of black cherries blended with rustic oak and a slight mint. Nicely nippy on the tongue with fruit coming forward and the warmth of alcohol. The film decorates the glass running fast legs and rounded arches. Medium-bodied with staying power for a long finish softening as mild tannin spreads evenly across the palate. Pair with spicy pizzas, tomato and beefy lasagna or a Keg T-bone. Meant to drink now it may keep on the shelf for a year or two. Aerating mellows the bite a touch for those needing relief, albeit minor, from a pleasing intensity. 88

Mmmmm! A Tasty Treat!

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Released by Vintages on October 31, 2015.  Rated 16 out of 20 by Jancis Robinson, February 18, 2015. (Reference: Wine Searcher )

POV 1 - Outside the Bottle:  What makes this carmenére special? From outside the bottle it's difficult to say. An opaque glass weighty enough to give an impression of 'quality'. A stylish tapered label tells a brief outline of Valle de Elqui, the most northern Valley of Chile offering long dry (arid) summers where day and night breezes often stress the vines. Accordingly all grapes used were planted in a single vineyard with consistent soil with planned drainage. Grapes were allowed to dry on the vine for an appassimento style producing density and richness and perhaps encouraging fresh and fruity, ripe and bold - even warm and penetrating. I'll guess it's pleasing to sip with a long penetrating smoke plush with dark chocolate. Ready for several years cellaring achieving a smoother companion for grilled and savoury beef or game. 

POV 2 - Inside the Bottle:  I, as a consumer, now have to decide whether to purchase this red based on the anticipation of PVO 1. If I'm fortunate to have read a critics opinion and if that critic has a taste similar to mine I may luck out.  

FALERNIA RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2013, Valle de Elqui , Chile, 15%  D  14g/L,  #269175  $19.95  (Tasted April 16, 2016)

My Tasting notes:  From the bottle this red has a mild cranberry edged with a light rhubarb. The colour is a rich ruby opaque to view and a swirl lays a fine film crinkled at the rim then receding quickly.  Smooth on the lips with cherry aromas and a light tang. A soft ripeness suggests silky vanilla and a very warm swallow fades quickly leaving only the fruit and soft reminder. A pleasing sipper that earns a quaff at times. A medium-bodied companion to lamb, beef or duck. Three years cellared and a few more to go before this starts its decline possibly losing some of its brightness /freshness. A flexible house red and no need to aerate. 

Rating:  B50 C5 N12 F&F16 P2 T5 90
Value  1 

(see side panel for more details)

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 

Wednesday, April 06, 2016


Released by Vintages on March 5, 2016.  Produced by Chateau Ste Michelle from 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot grapes. (Reference: Wine Searcher )
POV 1 - Outside the Bottle:

The 2012 retains the distinctive Crest of the previous vintage. Bottle shape as well shows a mature styling although bottle weight abuses eco interests. The small (2%) percentage Merlot will have taken the edge off a bold Cabernet Sauvignon suggesting this to be a great beef match as well as a rich, full-bodied sipper in the quiet time post dining. A touch of sweet typical of full West Coast reds adds rounding for a long woody finish. Grapes are from the same vineyards as the highly rated Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills red tasted in August 2015 . Aged four years I'd expect this to be at peak with an additional four years to mellow - a value purchase at the current price. 

POV 2 - Inside the Bottle:

COLUMBIA CREST GRAND ESTATES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 , Columbia Valley, Washington, 13.5% D 5.6g/L, #
240093  $17.95  (Tasted April 6, 2016)

Tasting notes: A crushed blackberry colour with a full meniscus tilting a circle of long legs. A swirl adheres to the glass momentarily before dropping in a slow motion cascade. A tangy and penetrating aroma anticipates a spicy first sip that doesn't disappoint. Silky, dry and slightly warming as berry juice spreads across the palate. Have with cheese crackers of the salty kind to cleanse before the next sip or have with beef, lamb or Texas chili, brighter than expected. At peak now with a few more years to build on a sturdy backbone.

B50 C5 N13 F&F16 P2 T5 91
Value  2 
(see side panel for details) 

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