Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Beppi's Picks October 9 2014 - 0 Tasted of 6

A long time reader of Beppi Crosariol's column in the Globe and Mail I still go back to his picks for the occasional tasting. His October 9th column had an Italian focus exposing some of Italy's lesser known grapes: negromaro, cortese, grillo, freisa and nero de Troia. Grapes that produce some of the most dense reds with great depth and crisp clean whites, sometimes raw but always interesting and steeped in history. More articles published at Beppi Crosariol.

I've entered Beppi's (BC) rating in the LINEUP below. Two whites and four reds should give an idea of tasting points of view. 

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Bubblies)

  • Fontanafredda Raimonda Barbera d'Alba 2012,  r-v  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #023135  $16.95 (BC89) 
  • Torrevento Vigna Pedale Castel Del Monte Riserva 2009,  r-v  --  V,  Puglia, Italy,  #208256  $22.95  (BC90) 
  • Schola Sarmenti Roccamora Nardo' Negromaro 2006,  r-v  --  V, Puglia, Italy, #379768  $17.95 (BC90) 
  • Borgogno Langhe Freisa 2012,  r-v  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #388660 $21.95  (BC88)

  • La Chiara Gavi di Gavi 2013,  r-v  --  V, Piedmont, Italy, #383612  $15.95  (BC88)
  • Fazio Aegades Grillo 2012,  r-v  --  V, Erice, Italy, #388637  $17.95   (BC90)

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


FONTANAFREDDA RAIMONDA BARBERA D'ALBA 2012, Piedmont, Italy, 13.5%  XD  6g/L, #023135  $16.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014.  My notes:
TORREVENTO VIGNA PEDALE CASTEL DEL MONTE RISERVA 2009,  Puglia, Italy,  13.0%  D  11g/L,  #208256  22.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Gambero gave this red 3 glasses of 3 in his 2013 Edition of Gambero Rosso and Beppi Crosariol gave it a 90.  My notes:
FAZIO AEGADES GRILLO 2012, Erice, Italy, 13.0% XD 5g/L, #388637  $17.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Gambero gave this red 2 glasses of 3 in his 2013 Edition of Gambero Rosso and Beppi Crosariol gave it a 90.  My notes:
SCHOLA SARMENTI ROCCAMORA NARDO' NEGROAMARO 2006, Puglia, Italy, 13.5%  XD 13g/L, #379768  17.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Antonio Galloni erobertparker.com (August 2010) and Beppi Crosariol rated this 90.  My notes:
BORGOGNO LANGHE FREISA 2012, Piedmont, Italy,  13.5%  XD  6g/L, #388660 $21.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Beppi Crosariol gave it an 88. My notes:

LA CHIARA GAVI DI GAVI 2013, Piedmont, Italy, 12.5%  XD  5g/L, #383612  $15.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 11, 2014. Beppi Crosariol gave it an 88.  Made from the Cortese grape.  My notes:

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

October 2014 Wines - 15 Tasted of 16

Why do we pay a middle man's ransom?
A Clear View from the Leash Free Park
My nature is normally quite positive... but the efficacy, from a consumer's perspective, of reforming wine retailing in Ontario in our favour is in all practicality prohibited by our acceptance of bureaucratic rule! My experience with wine retailing in Ontario is that the level of autocracy abuses every wine consumer - and not enough is being said/done/printed to disclose this abuse. Complacency has become a way of life.

Why has charging higher prices for someone else's value become a 'Right' ?

Professional hockey prices go up each season although every year's roster is no more stellar than the last. Hockey,
without building new venues, reduces or eliminates the number of 'low price seats' and many hockey families find they can no longer afford a night of live hockey. They have been displaced and have to settle for screens at the local Bar or at home. Essentially that's the only alternative for them. 

On the other hand wine being eliminated in many customers' 'low price range' is different and somewhat easier to solve - from one point of view. We just have to find shelf space for cheaper wines. Wines previously in the 'low range' are pushed to a higher price
A flurry of luxury pubs for a captive market! Who benefits?
level. Then we highlight the new plonk - new labels or old, imported or local - in a series of extravagant glossies as discounted bargains. Customers, complacent beings we are, are convinced to try. Perhaps the tasting notes are true. We'll get used to the new tastes - or not! Like the hockey dads we're stuck with less than we had before.

Corporations especially love the extra entry level space... a process by which they can use up an over abundance of grapes and/or the introduction of tailored blends. I compare it with another quasi monopoly, the CRTC:  The CRTC looks after Canadian communication airwaves currently dominated by a few large network companies. It's a fact these Companies developed the current infrastructure, i.e. the cell towers, fibre optics, cabling etc. across Canada. A huge venture to serve as their revenue source for years albeit with a built-in obsolescence that all modern technologies have. It's still to be addressed. These companies maintain they have a 'right' to not only recover their investment but also capitalize on the swelling innovated businesses using their 'services'.  This holds these entrepreneurs as well as their customers to ransom - pay or go away. The telecommunication giants have become parasites on the value contributed by others and the CRTC is complicit setting regulations that maintain Executive lifestyles - as well as obstructing any move to the next generation of networking.

And looking from the customer side, my monthly online TV fee charged by the network becomes based on the entertainment value of the programming content, for instance a full length drama, and not just the base price of connectivity. An extra bonus for the network are the fees they charge for advertisements compressed into every program episode. From my perspective as a network customer this includes my sitting through five meaningless ads for every five minutes of programming which becomes more abusive the more popular the TV series. I no longer can enjoy a gripping drama because of the network's manipulative interruptions. Business is no longer based on a justified return on investment. It has lost any ethical standard.  

Citing just one example closer to wine - a popular Pinot Noir, Meiomi, is $17.95 in the US and $26.95 in Ontario. Other than their monopolistic advantage what 'right' does the LCBO have to assess this 'tax' ?

My opinion, Ww

P.S. The game’s over. Hands off my Netflix - by Margaret Went, October 2, 2014 The Globe and Mail. My experience and sentiment exactly.

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Bubblies)

  • Beringer Founders' Estate Zinfandel 2012, 90-2  --  G, Napa California, #308205  $17.95 
  • Mojo Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 90a-2  --  V,  Hahndorf, South Australia, #383539  $18.95
  • Ventisquero Grey [Glacier] Single Block Carmenère 2011, 90-1 --  V, Maipo Valley, Chile, #325415  $19.95 
  • Beringer Founders' Estate Merlot 2012, 87  --  G,  Napa, California, #534255  $17.95 
  • Beringer Founders' Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 86a  --  G, Napa, California, #534263  $17.95
  • Tessellae Carignan Old Vines Côtes du Roussillon 2012, 83  --  V, Midi, France, #343517  $18.95 
  • Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2013,  82a  --  G, Napa, California, #113001  $9.96 
  • Ring - bolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2012,  r-v  --  V, Margaret River, Australia, #606624  $17.95*   
  • The Ned Pinot Gris 2013, 92-3  --  V, Marlborough, New Zealand, #267138  $16.95
  • Château LaCaussade Saint-Martin Trois Moulins Pinot Gris 2010, 88-1  --  V, Bordeaux, France, #368142  $16.95 
  • Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Grigio 2012, 86  -- G, Napa, California, #045641  $16.95
  • Beringer California Collection Pinot Grigio 2013, 82  --  G, Napa, California,  #112995  $9.95
  • Firesteed Oregon Pinot Gris 2012, 82 --  G, Rickreall, Oregon, #323808 $17.80  
  • Rosemount Estate Diamond Label Pinot Grigio 2012, 81  --  G, Nuriootpa, South Australia, #112813 $12.95 
  • Grant Burge Summers Chardonnay 2012, NR  -- G, Adelaide Hills/Eden Valley, Australia, #269829  $18.20

  • Arthur Metz Brut Prestige Cremant d'Alsace NV, 88-1  --  V,  Marlenheim, France, #369116  $19.95   
 (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Recommended)


BERINGER FOUNDERS ESTATE ZINFANDEL 2012, Napa, California, 14.5% D 10g/L, #308205  $17.95  (Tasted October 8, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes: Regular Price $10.99US Sale Price: $6.99US. Another charcoal tinted ruby, regally deep with a very polite nose hiding a bright blackberry scented with a touch of dusty chocolate. Velvety smooth and a tang that goes on the attack leaving a warming like a Fall fireplace, slow burning. A swirl covers the glass with a moderate film quick to drop several long legs followed by a dozen slow tears. A long finish has fruit remnants muted with an earthy softness - ie. molasses - and the slow burn. This would be a highlight of any steak or rubbed rib meal or just sip solo. Very sociable - a commercial drink now. I wonder what the blend is? 90   

BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Napa, California, 13.9%  D  10g/L, #534263  $17.95  (Tasted October 3, 2014)

A General listing. Official wine of the PGA tour.  Not found on the Beringer website. My notes: This is coloured ruby with a charcoal tint and leaves a viscous film to slowly separate as a lacy layer falling to a moderate meniscus. The spicy dust of a carpenter's shop covers the scent of ripe black cherry and warmth of sunny suede. Red currant at first sip releases a bright tang and dry tannin then follows to soften the tannin and add a slight herbal. Cellar for a few years to mellow or serve now for its youthful roughness. Decanting an hour or aerating reduces the woody bias and brings forward the fruit a faint sweetness for an improved sipper. Pair with roast chicken brushed with a red pepper sauce and pinch of chili powder. 86a 

BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE MERLOT 2012, Napa, California, 13.9%  M  xg/L,  #534255  $17.95  (Tasted October 7, 2014) 

A General listing.  My notes:  A deep ruby with a charcoal cast and a film that slowly creeps down the glass leaving only small lacy droplets. The nose is a subtle black cherry with a flat plum tone, a pleasing sharpness amid a satin texture. Sipping brings out the smoothness as well as noticeably sweetness and jam on the swallow. The finish is warm, soft, flavourful and lasts long. A welcomed social sipper and went well with Stephano Faito's steak & ale pie. (I used half veal and split the mushrooms to add 8 oz. broccoli flowers). Should also go well with most rich stews or broiled rib recipes. Cellaring could add two to three years but I'd say it's a drink now for an after hours crowd - or those preferring a sweet merlot, a Beringer style perhaps.  87

BERINGER CALIFORNIA COLLECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 , Napa, California, 13.5% D 14g/L,  #113001  $9.96  (Tasted October 5, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  Not found on the winery's website - perhaps an entry level for export/LCBO.  I automatically aerated following the first sniff & sip although decanting for thirty minutes could also mellow a strong herbal accent balancing a jammy berry flavour. The colour and film are the same as the Founders' Estate 2012. The sweetness is more pronounced in both nose and flavour and carries through to the finish. On the way a bright acid steps forward while fruit fades leaving the herbal to dominate. Overall a medium-bodied sociable bar wine to go with hard cheeses or a meal red with a ham steak, grilled pork chop or hamburgers. A commercial drink now - not recommended.  82a

FIRESTEED OREGON PINOT GRIS 2012, Rickreall, Oregon, 13.7%  XD  xg/L, #323808 $17.80  (Tasted October 10, 2014)

A General listing. My notes: A faded blond with a faded lemon floral scent not much interest on initial approach. The film is moderate leaving long slow legs then a rim shedding slow tears. The first sip is bright with noticeable apple quince flavours, a touch of sweet and carrying into a dry finish with flavours slow to fade. A mineral aspect added to the taste makes solo sipping interesting - better paired with grilled halibut or cod where a mild acid could add to the meal. A commercial drink now. 82

GRANT BURGE SUMMERS CHARDONNAY 2012, Adelaide Hills/Eden Valley, Australia, 13.0% XD 4/L, #269829  $18.20  (Tasted October 6, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  A crisp and clear lemon juice colour with aromas of wet cardboard and some pungent acridity overall not appealing as a sipper. Decanting did not 'air out' - aerating helped with nose not flavour. The film sticks and drops long legs until forming a shrinking lacy pattern. The first sip coats the palate with a chalky dryness and flavours resembling the nose, acrid and long lasting. Medium-bodied, well balanced and passable paired with honey ham slices, mashed sweet and white potato, and broccoli but flavour got in the way finishing the meal. Not Recommended. 77 NR

BERINGER CALIFORNIA COLLECTION PINOT GRIGIO 2013, Napa, California, 12.5%  D  11g/L,  #112995  $9.95  (Tasted October 8, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  Sale price is $4.99US, regular $6.99US. Not found on the winery's website - perhaps an entry level for export/LCBO. A pale blond, crystal clear in the glass with a floral combined with delicate pear nose both becoming stronger as the glass warms. Keep chilled. The first sip is smooth with a soft sweetness balanced with a mild grapefruit/lemon flavour. The finish is unctuous, slippery on the lips while flavours quickly peak then fade making room for some dryness. Sippable altho' a different PG style being less acidic and more floral. Went well with leftover ham slices brushed with a honey marmalade. Could be served with a Chinese or Thai buffet - but I'd look for something else to sip with conversation. A drink now. 82

BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO 2012, Napa, California, 13.0%  D  6g/L, #045641  $16.95  (Tasted October 9, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  Sale price is $6.95US, regular $10.95US.  A pale blond,crystal clear with apple and soft honeysuckle aromas. A light film slides down quickly leaving a few small beads on the glass, light-bodied. The first sip has a shallow glycerine depth and smooth texture. Delicate mineral and melon flavours having a dry background, not quite chalk and quickly shifting to a thin spicy mineral finish. A sipper if you don't mind the mineral edge otherwise pair with seafood lightly seared then drizzled with a lemon butter sauce on rice... or cheesy chicken cordon bleu not rushed so to enjoy that taste combination. A drink now. 86

CHÂTEAU LACAUSSADE SAINT-MARTIN TROIS MOULINS 2010,  Bordeaux, France, 13.0%  XD  4g/L, #368142  $16.95  (Tasted October 14, 2014)

Release by Vintages on August 16, 2014 and given 2 Stars of 3 by Guide Hachette, 2013. My notes: From Sémillon (90%) and Sauvignon Blanc grapes showing a polished clear yellow in the glass. The nose is delicate pear and apple with a pleasing touch of lemon. Served at 8oC the first dry swallow cleanses the palate leaving a wax edge on a quince, medium-bodied, excellent balance followed by a long extra dry finish. For those preferring a natural white to sip solo or otherwise with mixed cheeses and saltines or breaded white fishes. Cellar a few more years. 88

THE NED PINOT GRIS 2013, Marlborough, New Zealand, 13.0%  XD 7g/L, #267138  $16.95  (Tasted October 16, 2014)

Release by Vintages on May 10, 2014.  My notes:  Tasted in July this year and rated 88 and a value . Now fuller and more character. Still has the very appealing onion skin colour and a nose of pear - a touch of peach I thought this time - and delicate floral. The film is moderate quickly receding as a lacy edged sheet. The first sip shows more peach than pear until a dry mineral finish sets in. Quaffing accentuates flavours nicely for an interesting drink now. Combine with seafood dishes or sip solo, either way a lovely example of the variety. Cellar a dozen for maturing - keep a dozen on hand for good company. 92 

VENTISQUERO GREY [Glacier] SINGLE BLOCK CARMENÈRE 2011, Maipo Valley, Chile, 14.0% XD  7g/L,  #325415  $19.95  (Tasted October 15, 2014)

Released by Vintages on September 27, 2014 and rated 90 by Josh Raynolds, International Wines Cellar (February 2014).  My notes:  A thin ruby colour showing a thin veil receding until a few scattered droplets remain on the glass. An aromatic red currant fruit, a slight silk and soft bramble stirs sensations of scent and flavour until a long and dry finish takes over.  If one likes a lighter red this could very well be a sipper. Share with like minded sippers or pair with a variety of tomato sauced pastas/pizzas - even calamari? Cellaring four more years may lose more of its youth providing a softer version of itself. True to the grape and a change from heavy and hot. 90

MOJO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012,  Hahndorf, South Australia, 13.5%  XD  7g/L, #383539  $18.95  (Tasted October 17, 2014)

Released by Vintages on September 27, 2014 and rated 95 by James Halliday  (July 27, 2014).  My notes: A deep ruby with a glowing purple edge and a penetrating scent of blackberry, blueberry and red currant combined equally.  The film sticks to the glass taking its time to drop as long legs from a swollen rim.  The first sip has depth showing a silken smoothness quickly evolving to fine tannins, an earthy berry on a biting backbone. Extra dry with a rough velvet layering the palate.  Could be too exuberant as a sipper for some - better matched with bbq'd ribs slathered with a savour spicy sauce or any grilled beef companion. Cellaring for several years is recommended - aerating is a minimum as a drink now. 90a 

TESSELLAE CARIGNAN OLD VINES CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON 2012, Midi, France, 14.5%  XD 6g/L, #343517   $18.95  (Tasted October 20, 2014)

Released by Vintages on August 16, 2014 and rated 90 by Robert Parker Jr., (November 2013). A blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre.  My notes:  A blend of 40% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre.  My notes: Being more herbal than fruit in the nose I was tempted to aerate. There's a touch of purple to a deep ruby colour and has a moderate film causing the rim to fill then accumulate eventually dropping a ring of long legs. Shows an earthy ageing of cherries with a light tang and soft velvet texture, almost Brett-like. A non intrusive sipper as in 'old world' better suited to savoury osso bucco or steak and ale pie. Only 2 years old - seems like ten and past peak. My preference is fresh fruit and full-bodied which this is not. 83

ARTHUR METZ BRUT PRESTIGE CRÉMANT D'ALSACE NV, Marlenheim, France, 12.0%  XD 12g/L, #369116  $19.95  (Tasted October 18, 2014)

Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014. A Gold Medal winner at the 2013 Concours Général Agricole in Paris and the 2012 Effervescents du Monde.   My notes: A steely blond colour with a profusion of mid size bubbles subsiding to a fine stream or two rising to the surface. An aroma that matches the colour, little fruit unless a tart apple attacking the taste buds. Refreshingly dry with a firm spritz that when combined with acid is parching. Noticeable in the finish is a hint of cream. Serve as a wedding toast to wake the revellers - or if you prefer flavour, a ship launching. Pair with a buffet table of pigs in a blanket, stuffed mushrooms or quiche tarts. 88

RINGBOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Margaret River, Australia, 14.0%  D  4g/L, #606624  $17.95*  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2014 and reduced from $19.95 until November 9, 2014.  My notes:

ROSEMOUNT ESTATE DIAMOND LABEL PINOT GRIGIO 2012, Nuriootpa, South Australia, 12.5%  XD  4g/L, #112813 $12.95  (Tasted October 15, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes: Rosemount labels are generally considered a 'safe bet' but not this Pinot Grigio. After a memorable past Rosemount Estates is one of many Treasury Wine Estates labels under Corporate ownership. The colour is a polished mid yellow with a bright pungency on pouring that settles with a few minutes airing to a less intrusive nose. A swirl leaves a thin film receding from a lacy rim. The first sip brings spice forward first with a lemon tartness blended with melon then subsiding to a mineral edged citrus finish. Not my preference for a sipper lacking sufficient texture, body and less varietal character. Chicken breast slices with asparagus spears or Cod with Cuban tomato sauce could be matches although I discarded the bottle. 81


Thursday, September 18, 2014

West coast Trip, September 2014 - 11 Tasted of 11

Destination: Trader Joe's

TJ's Reds Aisle
TJ's Bubbles Aisle
TJ's Charles Shaw Aisle
With a grandson in Vancouver and a son in Fort MacMurray Skype comes in handy. This time we decided a trip to Vancouver while both were there was due.

Before our son had to leave for the Fort of the North we were treated with a day trip to Trader Joes' in nearby Bellingham and a relaxing overnight at Semiahmoo Resort near Blaine, (Washington State, US) on the
shore of Semiahmoo Bay across from Whiterock (Canada).

Both locations were chances to purchase and taste wines from the local retailers.

Cheers, Ww
Semiahmoo Pier
THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Bubblies)
  • Meiomi Pinot Noir 2012,  93-3  --  Monterey County, California,  $17.99US ($26.95 in Ontario)
  • Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel 2012, 86-1  --  Clarksburg, California, $8.99US
  • F. Coppola Diamond Collection Claret Black Label 2012, 84 --  Geyserville, California, $14.99US
  • Bogle Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 82  --  Clarksburg, California, $8.99US
  • 1884 Reservado Escorihuela Syrah 2012, 82  --  Mendoza, Argentina, $16.99
  • 1884 Estate Grown Escorihuela Malbec 2013, 82  --  Mendoza, Argentina, $16.99

  • Blasted Church Hatfield's Fuse 2012 VQA Okanagan, 92-3  --  Okanagan, BC, $17.99
  • Gray Monk Pinot Auxerrois 2013 VQA Okanagan Valley, 91-2  --  Okanagan, BC, $16.99
  • NK'MIP Pinot Blanc 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley, 89-2  --  Okanagan, BC,  $15.99
  • Sandhill Hidden Terrace Pinot Gris VQA Okanagan Valley, 84  --  Okanagan, BC, $16.99

  • Black Chook Sparkling Shiraz, 88  --  Australia, $22.99
  (V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, NR - Not Rated)
Semiahmoo at dusk
A View to the Beach

MEIOMI PINOT NOIR 2012,  Monterey County, California,  13.8%  D xg/L, $17.99US
($26.95 in Ontario)  (Tasted September 8, 2014)

Purchased from Trader Joe's in Bellingham, Washington State, USA.  My notes: A blend of grapes from Santa Barbara (34%), Sonoma (31%) and Monterey (35%) Counties. A deep ruby clear top to bottom, shiny and bright. Lays a moderate film with a smooth rim running smooth legs. Flavour of freshly crushed black cherries with a dusty raspberry tang. Has an intensity to encourage solo sipping. Pair with short ribs in a savoury sauce, slow cooked pork ribs or bacon wrapped filet mignon. Finishes dry exceptionally long with a hint of sweet.  93

F. COPPOLA DIAMOND COLLECTION CLARET BLACK LABEL 2012, Geyserville, California, 13.5%  XD 5.7g/L, $14.99US (Tasted September 8, 2014)

Purchased from Trader Joe's in Bellingham, Washington State, USA. Retails for $21.00US. My notes: A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The nose has a thin black cherry with a earthy mushroom scent - not too pronounced. A swirl lays an uneven film partially fragmenting at the rim. The firt sip is double sided - bone dry tannin with a long finish and a lime tainted fresh cherry/berry. Interesting as a solo sipper suitable for an open bar. A bright complement for tomato sauced pastas or pizzas. Should keep several years altho' not changing much. 84 

BOGLE VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Clarksburg, California, 13.5% XD 5.6g/L, $8.99US (Tasted September 8, 2014)

Purchased from Trader Joe's in Bellingham, Washington State, USA.  My notes: A dense blackberry, charcoal hued for emphasis. The first sip is both brambly and velvety retaining a subdued fruit and going into a long extra dry finish. A swirl leaves a smooth layer with full rim quickly shedding long legs. There's a slight sweetness adding interest and shifting initial focus to a mineral dryness. A meal red where savoury dishes mask a the bramble. A drink now. Not aromatic but has a hint of heat. 82

BOGLE VINEYARDS OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2012, Clarksburg, California, 14.5% XD  5.3g/L, $8.99US (Tasted September 9, 2014)

Purchased from Trader Joe's in Bellingham, Washington State, USA.  My notes:  A see-thru ruby leaving a moderate film running long legs and lacework. Aromas of plum black cherry with a clean edge dissipate quickly. Tannin layers the palate from the first sip to a long extra dry finish. A style for those preferring Xdry, warm with dusty fruit. Have with steaks, osso buco or savoury stews. 86

1884 RESERVADO ESCORIHUELA SYRAH 2012, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% XD xg/L, #744532BC $16.99 (Tasted September 11, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: A charcoal hued ruby swirls a viscous film with a moderate rim that runs fast tears. Ascerbic purple plum and berry flavours last throughout for a mildly interesting med-bodied drink now. Leaves a brambly coating for an extra dry finish. Pair with beef steaks and savoury stews.  82

1884 ESTATE GROWN ESCORIHUELA MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.8% XD xg/L, $16.99 (Tasted September 11, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: A dense, almost black purple hued colour. A subtle/absent nose with a firm film running fast forming, flowing legs and a ring of tears. The flavour is metallic edged with a dried grape skin aspect shallow in depth and changing to a crushed seed finish. A drink now and a dull sipper. Pair with beefburgers, pizzas or polish sausage w/mustard. 82

GRAY MONK PINOT AUXERROIS 2013 VQA Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley, BC,  12.5% D 11.6g/L,  #96222BC $16.99 (Tasted September 8, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: A pale blond with a suspicion of lemon touched with honeysuckle. The film coats to a thin rim attempting rounding but instead fragments and falls. Distinct nutty flavours linger along with soft apple and ginger. A lightish medium-bodied delivers a mineral finish making for an interesting sipper. Compatible with ginger seasoned dishes, Bento box with tempura shrimp/vegetables or a Chinese buffet. Cellar several years should retain terroir and mellow existing tang. 91 

BLASTED CHURCH HATFIELD'S FUSE 2012 VQA Okanagan, Okanagan Valley, BC, 12.3% D  6.2g/L, #734475BC $17.99  (Tasted September 7, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: A blond or light straw colour, smooth textured not quite waxy but long. A slight white peach, a touch of lime pulp and pink grapefruit for flavour. Pleasing as a sipper for its intensity. Serve chilled to savour changes as nose and flavours somplement the occasion. Have with seafood or chicken breast in a creamy sauce -- or sip, sip. This blend shows balance and appealing uniqueness. 92

NK'MIP PINOT BLANC 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley, BC, 13.0% XD  3.85g/L, 626432BC  $15.99 (Tasted September 9, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: A pale grapefruit slow to release a pear and subtle honey scent. The film sticks hanging from a full rin to slowly recede uniformly. Fresh filling the taste buds with mild apple pear, slight spice leading to xdry mineral. An interesting sipper balancing silk, mild fruit and luscious depth. Have with seafood variety, soft cheeses or a fruit salad. Shelf a year or two. 89

SANDHILL HIDDEN TERRACE PINOT GRIS 2013 VQA Okanagan Valley, Okanagan Valley, BC, 14.0% XD 5.5g/L, #169060BC  $16.99 (Tasted September 9, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes:  A pale onion skin leaving a ring of drooping tears. A subtle pear/apple/peach scent develops with slight warming. A quaff reveals an xdry chalk texture and mild tea flavour. A drink now or with pickerel, bass or sweet sunfish - try charcuterie as well. 84

BLACK CHOOK SPARKLING SHIRAZ NV, Australia, 13.0%  D  24.2g/L, #847343BC  $22.99 (Tasted September 24, 2014)

Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: Purchased from a BC Outlet in Vancouver, British Columbia.  My notes: The 2007 and 2010 vintages for the Black Chook Shiraz/Viognier were tasted with ratings in the 90's. This is the my first bubbly for this label. The colour is a deep garnet and shows a burst of bubbles then a constant fountain of fine leaving a purple tinted froth on the surface. There's a steely aroma of crushed black and blueberries. Sipping is tart and dry flavoured with spicey not hot fruit left to shrivel in the sun. A fine fizz livens each sip while a long finish coats the palate. Serve chilled. An interesting change from a standard bubbly for those preferring red and one that could pair with liver & onions, an Albacore steak or just sip. 88


Stanley Park Lookout

A Welcomed visitor
English Bay anchorage
Robson Street FC
Burrard Street Bridge?

Monday, September 01, 2014

September 2014 Wines - 20 Tasted of 20

Pat's View - August 30 '14
A Rant:

Is it my imagination or have prices at our favourite wine outlet crept 'up, up and away' as the comic hero would shout starting a climb to the stratosphere. Compared to a few years ago what I believe was in the $10 - $20 range is now the innumerable commercial recipes that cater to a targeted consumer profile. Drinkable? Yes. Having a large percentage of their content a grape derivative? Yes. Also in this group are wines the product of  many 'traditional winemakers'. By that I mean winemakers that have stood an ethical ground. Raised with a firm understanding of how to capture the character of soil and vine they are loyal to generations of their craft. The 'commercialists' have their focus on profit... turning grapes into higher margins.

It would be wrong to think a winemaker doesn't or shouldn't  look for a substantial return for his skill and investment.  The basic difference between the traditionalist and the commercialist is in  avoiding mutilation of the end product, from wine to a soft drink. Both participate in an industry that is relatively unregulated - modern winemaking has a component that is a byproduct of market research, innovative technologies and biological experimentation. Add an edge of sweetness to counter unnatural acids. Add a rose scent to tame off-flavoured fruit - and much more.

A consumer can't know what foreign substances are part of an effort to save an unpredictable vintage, a mysterious terroir or even market driven concoctions. Vines planted on a back 40 that has been fallow for several years after a few unsuccessful attempts to mask over a fermenting garbage dump hidden below. Or the vacant lot next to an industrial property or commercial agricultural crop - where 'blow over' contains chemical pesticide and fertilizer dust with a 'not my problem' attitude. It's an ecological miracle how a vine can filter slime into non toxic juices. The sweet smell of commerce passes for the smoky hangover of 'forest floor' or 'nuance of truffles'.

Packaged to sell includes a hefty markup, a hefty one-and-a-half pound bottle, a gold imprinted or embossed label and a layer of promotional exaggeration added by our local monopolistic retailer. What is a poor wine consumer to do? Thank Bacchus for the majority of wine critics not tainted by cronyism . You just have to search for them!

My opinion, Ww

THE LINEUP: (Reds, Whites, Sparkling)

  • McManis Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 91-2  --  V, Ripon, California, #212126  $19.95
  • Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2012, 88-1  --  V, Acampo, California,  #359257  15.95*
  • Trapiche Reserve Malbec 2013, 87-1  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #614651 $11.95 
  • Liberty School Syrah 2011, 86  --  V, Central Coast, California,  #942383  $18.95
  • Trapiche Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 85  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #614669  $11.95 
  • Liberty School Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 84  --  V, Paso Robles, California, #738823  $19.95
  • Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2012,  83  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #222281 $11.95
  • Farnese Fantini Sangiovese Daunia 2013, 82  --  G, Abruzzo, Italy, #512327   $7.95
  • Esquinas de Argento Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 82  --  G,  Mendoza, Argentina, #358812 $11.90  
  • Blackstone Winemaker's Select Pinot Noir 2012, 81  -- G, Acampo, California,  #358937  $16.95
  • Citra Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2013, 80  --  G, Abruzzo, Italy, #446633  $7.75  

  • Mike Weir Sauvignon Blanc 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 90-2  --  G, Beamsville, Ontario, #686972  $13.95* 
  • Kuhlmann Platz Pinot Gris 2012, 90-2  --  V,  Alsace, France, #224204  $17.95 
  • La Cappuccina Soave 2013, 87-1  --  V, Verona, Italy, #081489  $15.95
  • Sandbanks Riesling 2012 VQA Ontario, 85  --  G, Wellington, Ontario, #139022  $13.95*    
  • Sibling Rivalry White 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 82  --  G, St. Catharines, Ontario, #126144  $13.95 
  • Willm Réserve Riesling 2013, 82  --  V, Alsace, France, #011452  $ 14.95*
  • Juno Sauvignon Blanc 2013, 80  --  G, Paarl, South Africa, #370312  $11.85
  • Esquinas de Argento Cool Climate Pinot Grigio 2013, 79  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #365494  $11.85  

  • Treveri Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine NV, 76  --  V, Columbia Valley, Washington State, #383844  $19.95 

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


WILLM RÉSERVE RIESLING 2013, Alsace, France, 12.0%  XD  7g/L,  #011452  $14.95*  (Tasted September 15, 2014)

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2014.  Reduced a dollar until August 17, 2014.  My notes: Not much of an aroma when first poured at 12oC and doesn't develop over the tasting. The colour is a crystal light lemon and a thin film recedes quickly leaving a bare surface. The first sip has a tame tang and subdued lemon pear flavour ending 'bone' dry. I can see why this vintage was reduced as it lacked an expected roundness and a honey depth of the 2012 vintage and is more like the 2009. Character improved as the temperature increased to 14oC with a balance of texture and tang with the flavour remaining subtle. Have with coconut shrimp or bacon wrapped scallops or a mixed charcuterie. A drink now. 82

RAVENSWOOD VINTNERS BLEND OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2012, Acampo, California,  13.5%  D  7g/L,  #359257  15.95*  (Tasted September 5, 2014)

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2014.  Priced $2 lower until August 17, 2014.  My notes: The 2004 vintage was tasted on February 18, 2007 and the 2003 on July 31, 2005 - both before ratings. Unique for the LCBO in this case is the reduction in price from previous vintages - from $19.95 for the 2003 and $20.10 for the 2004. This label doesn't appear on the Ravenswood website - perhaps a wine for export. The colour is a ruby toned ebony and swirling a thin film that quickly separates into a lacy veil. The nose is evident on pouring then settles to a subtle, spicy, woody blackberry. The first sip is quite appealing with a touch of sweet suggesting freshness, a touch of blackcurrant and fine tannins to layer the mouth followed by a long warm finish. This could be a crowd pleaser as a prenuptial sipper and/or a standby rubbed red meat companion. A commercial drink now.  88

LA CAPPUCCINA SOAVE 2013, Verona, Italy, 12.0%  D  8g/L,  #081489  $15.95 (Tasted September 4, 2014)

Released by Vintages on June 7, 2014 and made from 100% Garganega grape. My notes: The 2012 vintage was tasted in May 2013, a dollar less and rated 82, drinkable but not outstanding. Served at 12oC there's a floral aspect to the nose and added to a lemon zest along with a soft scent that could be interpreted as nutty. The film is thin leaving a lacy pattern then rapidly draining to a scant veil. A light cream, medium-bodied, a tang and drying mineral finish provides interest as a sipper (14oC preferred). Slightly sweet and retaining mild fruit, pear and apple, would be a charmer with crab cakes, seafood ravioli, shrimp in sauce with crepes or lobster pieces in a tomato sauce. Went well with breaded sole and potato casserole. A drink now. 87

TREVERI EXTRA BRUT BLANC DE BLANCS SPARKLING WINE NV, Washington State, USA, 12.0%  D  4g/L, #383844  $19.95  (Tasted September 17, 2014)

Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014 and rated 90 by Harvey Steiman  (May 31, 2012).  My notes: $14US at the winery and online. Perhaps drinkable for imbibers with taste buds similar to Harvey Steiman but not mine. There's a flow of mixed bubbles on pouring that subside quickly into a few occasional strings. The nose has a light model glue scent on top of a mild grapefruit - best to air for several minutes. The colour is blond and body is light. A burst of spritz livens the palate then an off citrus carries a grassy dope taint unpleasant for sipping. Not to be served unless at a tasting of bubblies for comparison - this being one extreme - not recommended. I'm surprised this passed the LCBO Tasting Panel. 76

LIBERTY SCHOOL CABERNET SAUVIGNON  2012, Paso Robles, California, 13.5%  D  8g/L, 738823  $19.95  (Tasted September 16, 2014)

Release by Vintages on April 18, 2014.   My notes:  The 2006, 2007 and 2010 vintages were tasted with high points -- now for the 2012:  The colour is a deep garnet and the nose is subtle cherry plus a blackberry/blueberry scent, a steely edge suggests the spice to come. The film covers the glass quickly forming a lacy edge that recedes promptly. The first sip has a sharp acid layering the fruit then changing to an extra dry tannin mouthfeel. The finish comes quickly with a woody reminder of the fruit - light to sip. Pair with anything beefy from steaks to beef stews. Not for cellaring and thin compared to previous vintages. 84

LIBERTY SCHOOL SYRAH 2011, Central Coast, California,  13.5%  XD  11g/L,  #942383  $18.95  (Tasted September 18, 2014)

Released by Vintages on June 21, 2014 and rated  88 by Sara d'Amato (November 1, 2013).  My notes: The Syrah is not listed on the winery website - perhaps it's an entry level for export? A charcoal stained ruby leaving a firm film and rounded rim running slow legs. A touch of spice with a sniff of red cherries softened by an earthy edge. Softer than a Shiraz but more dominant than a Sirah this makes for a brighter sociable sipper - better with a hard cheese selection. A mellow first sip cushions then lets go with a dry as chalk finish. A touch metallic before the second sip - a complement with souvlakis, lamb, beef or pork. A commercial drink now not for cellaring. 86

MCMANIS  CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Ripon, California, 13.5%  XD  9g/L,  #212126  $19.95  (Tasted September 1, 2014)

 Released by Vintages on April 18, 2014.  My notes: The 2011 vintage is still on Vintages' shelf while the winery claims the 2012 is available and is 'the best selling' by the winery. There's a definite sweetness framing spicy black currant, berry and oak aromas and some rose colouring in its deep ruby. The film forms quickly topped by a rounded rim followed quickly by a few flowing tears. The first sip is silky and penetrates coating the palate evenly for a long warm, dry finish. Rewarding as a sipper for its pleasing blending of flavours, textures and depth. There's sufficient fruit to combine and complement most savoury meat dishes - sip rather than quaff for optimum contribution. Cellaring several years could soften spice and acid from its current youthfulness. Drinking well now. 91 

BLACKSTONE WINEMAKER'S SELECT PINOT NOIR 2012, Acampo, California, 13.5%  D  5.8g/L,  #358937  $16.95  (Tasted September 2, 2014)

A General listing produced for Constellation Brands.  My notes:   A winemaker's selection of 89% Pinot noir, 6% Syrah and 5% Petite Sirah.  The colour is a garnet hued deep ruby. The film separates quickly leaving a fragmented rim and a scattered lace pattern. A soft floral with sidelights of berry cherry combine for the main nose and more sips reveal a lightish body with a thin silky texture and not so subtle candied peel edge then finishing as brief bright remnants. Sipping isn't for me - quaffing helps. Perhaps pair with veal cutlet, chicken parmigiana or hard cheeses and saltines. 81

KUHLMANN PLATZ PINOT GRIS 2012, Alsace, France, 13.0%  D  15g/L,  #224204  $17.95  (Tasted October 3, 2014)

Released by Vintages on August 2, 2014. Winner of a Gold Medal in Paris Concours Général Agricole 2013.  My notes: A favourite style when an Opimian member were whites from the town of Hunawihr. This Pinot Gris has the same character as well as a uniqueness of its own. A faint onion skin in the golden blond is a varietal distinction and a thin film quickly forming lacework on the glass suggests a delicate texture. The first sip is smooth with mild acid well balanced with sweet pear and a slight spice that went well with Japanese sushi from Moon Sushi on Erin Mills. Served chilled the nose wasn't apparent but as it warmed both the sweetness and a spicy nose added to sipping enjoyment. Paired very well with chicken stir fry with a tingle of spice plus egg rolls, bland sushimi and rice, ie. a broad flavour range. Cellaring for several years will bring out more depth - has a youthful brightness now. 90

SIBLING RIVALRY WHITE 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, St. Catharines, Ontario, 12.5%  D  15g/L,  #126144  $13.95  (Tasted September 18, 2014)

Made by Henry of Pelham. My notes: A blend of riesling, chardonnay and gewurztraminer using a rock, scissors, paper process. As delicate as the colour, the flavour is a unique white peach and subtle pear combination matching the nose and finishing as remnants of sweet fruit, a touch of spice wrapped up in a mineral dryness. Swirling leaves a moderate film forming a slight rim that slowly recedes. Did not go well with seared scallops/shrimp with spaghetti a la vodka - perhaps would pair with fried freshwater fish or a fruit salad. A pop wine. 82 

JUNO SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013, Paarl, South Africa, 13.0% XD  3g/L,  #370312  $11.85  (Tasted September 20, 2014)

Made by the Juno Wine Company (Pty) Ltd.  My notes:A crystal clear blond with prominent aromas of sour apple and green gooseberry. A swirl leaves a light film forming a jagged rim that quickly laces. An gooseberry smoothness has an intense sour touch and a burnt match taint - a uniqueness that could win or detract sippers. My choice would be to pair with seafood with a lemon based sauce - or avoid. 80

TRAPICHE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  9g/L, #614669  $11.95  (Tasted September 26, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes: A charcoal tinted ruby with a purple cast and aromas of raspberries, blackberries, slight tobacco and a sniff of a humid forest. The film is thin shedding long fast legs. Dry, biting, red currant and premature berries show on first sip leaving the palate initially soft then chalky then  bright through a long steely finish - no warmth. Should be great with savoury and spicy entrees: pizzas, steaks or steak and kidney pies - not elegant but a workhorse and a drink now. 85

TRAPICHE RESERVE SYRAH 2012, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  7g/L, #222281 $11.95  (Tasted September 22, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  A touch of purple to a dense ruby and a slight plum and currant nose introduces this red with the expectation 'there must be more'. A smooth film sticking and flowing long tears without fragmenting. Bright on the palate, fairly dull flavours with fine tannins, good balance mostly of cherry and berry going into a long dry finish. Have with meat dishes with a touch of spice/heat to encourage more life. Nothing there to cellar - a drink now.  83

TRAPICHE RESERVE MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  7g/L, #614651   $11.95  (Tasted September 25, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  A moderate film with a thin rim that runs slow legs as it recedes. The colour is a deep charcoal tinged ruby and first sniff, an interesting herbal, plum and cherry aroma. The first sip has depth of character starting from a velvet smoothness and bringing forward a rich plum and black cherry flavour. OK as a sipper, more intense as a quaffer but better paired with a beefeaters selection: steaks, ribs, stews all savoury, rubbed or spiced. This may hold its mid fullness with short term cellaring. 87

SANDBANKS RIESLING 2012 VQA Ontario, Wellington, Ontario, 11.0%  M  19g/L, #139022  $13.95*  (Tasted September 21, 2014)

A General listing reduced $1 until October 12, 2014.  My notes: A pale blond with a hint of green and sweet in the first sip. A soft whiff of mown grass and the freshness of the chill (12oC) gives some pleasure to sipping. The thin film quickly gives in to gravity as it slides down fragmenting along the way. A quaff tastes of pear, crab apple and hint of petrol for a varietal identity. Light-bodied and well balanced ending on a dry note. A complement with freshwater fish, BC honey mussels in a ginger broth or straight shrimp on the Bar-bie. A drink now with no expectation to develop further. For those preferring a sweet touch to their Riesling. 85

MIKE WEIR SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Beamsville, Ontario, 12.5%  D  8g/L,  #686972

$13.95*  (Tasted September 24, 2014)

A General listing reduced $1 until October 12th. The 2010 vintage was rated 4 1/2 of 5 by Rod Phillips, June 7, 2012.  My notes: A light blond in the glass with substantial tropical fruit, grapefruit and hint of gooseberry aroma - a herbaceous character similar to a NZ Sauvignon Blanc. The film is thin and clear without a rim as it separates into legs then shrinks as small patches. There's a distinctive taint to the nose and flavour - Niagara terroir, clone or ? The texture is smooth, nicely dry on the tongue with some depth. The finish loses a suspicion of sweetness becoming uniformly dry across the palate. Was OK with breaded pork cutlet and is sufficiently flexible to have with most fowl or seafood dishes. Keep a dozen on the shelf while 'bargain priced'.  90  

CITRA MONTEPULCIANO D'ABRUZZO 2013, Abruzzo, Italy, 13.0%  D  12g/L, #446633  $7.75  (Tasted September 20, 2014)

A General listing. My notes:  A charcoal hued cherry red on pouring with a barnyard taint to black cherry aroma, just enough to notice. Aerating softened the nose as well as some of the off-putting aroma. A swirl leaves a smooth film with a lacy pattern that slowly recedes. The first sip shows a smoky, thin black cherry still off flavoured in the background and followed by a dull finish. A quaffer with a meat lovers pizza slathered with passato sauce and anchovies, also veal parmigiano or smoked back ribs. A drink now. I recommend skipping this vintage in spite of the price. 80

FARNESE FANTINI SANGIOVESE DAUNIA 2013,  Abruzzo, Italy, 12.0%  D  16g/L, #512327   $7.95  (Tasted September 20, 2014)

A General listing.  My notes:  A dark garnet and a nose that isn't. Yes, there's a hint of leather, coffee, cherry and cranberry blended as a just-detectable nose becoming more noticeable with a first sip. A swirl lays a thin film with a rapidly fragmenting rim - not much depth however a velvet texture turns the corner for this to become an acceptable soft meal red. Cherry, smoky plum and red currant flavours combine nicely with tannin and a soft texture. Pair with anything spicy, beef or chicken, roasted or grilled. I had mine with a chicken chipotle pita. A drink now.  82

ESQUINAS DE ARGENTO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013,  Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% D 7g/L, #358812 $11.90  (Tasted September 30, 2014)

A General listing referred to in a tweet from Carolyn Hammond @carolynhammond .  My notes:  The colour is a charcoal hued ruby and a swirl lays a viscous film to accumulate then hang slow tears leading to long legs. A tangy liquorice dominates a delicate plum scent and a sharpness accompanies an extra dry black cherry quickly warming the palate. Sipping needs some patience while quaffing intensifies the attack on the taste buds masking flavours. A jammy meal red that quickly becomes harsh. Pair with sirloin steaks prepared rare, bbq'd ribs or hamburgers with the works. Perhaps a young red that could benefit from a few years cellaring - but I don't think so.  82

ESQUINAS DE ARGENTO COOL CLIMATE PINOT GRIGIO  2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.0% XD 4g/L, #365494  $11.85  (Tasted September 30, 2014)

A General listing referred to in a tweet from Carolyn Hammond @carolynhammond .  My notes:  The green tint gives some colour to the delicate blond in the glass. The nose has a lemon lime scent with an added herbal highlight - not inviting as a sipper. The film is thin leaving a lacy rim that falls as a single curtain. A light silk with full tang comes with the first sip then flavours following the nose for a long sharp finish. Match with seafood, grilled chicken or a Chinese or spicy Thai buffet. Not enjoyable as a solo sipper and possibly difficult to match - was OK with pan fried chicken breast with an anchovy butter sauce. 79