Wednesday, July 01, 2015

July 2015 wines - 15 Tasted of 15

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites, rosés and bubblies)
  • Torres Celeste Crianza Tempranillo 2011, 90-1  --  V,  Ribadeo, Spain, #210872 $20.95
  • Bodega Norton Reserva Malbec 2011,  87a  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #017061 $17.00
  • Casas del Bosque Reserva Carmenère 2013, 83  --  V, Rapel Valley, Chile, #205872  $14.95   
  • Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2011,  82  --  V, Washington, USA, #360222  $19.95
  • Faustino VII Tempranillo Rioja 2012, 81  --  G, Rioja, Spain, #315234  $12.95

  • Colomé Torrontés 2013, 91-3  --  V,  Valle Calchaqui, Argentina, #357913  $13.95
  • Eradus Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2014, 90-2  --  V,  Marlborough, NZ, #225557  $18.95
  • Casas del Bosque Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014,  89-2  --  V,  Casablanca Valley, Chile, #974717  $13.95 
  • Ironstone Obsession Symphony 2012, NAPA Valley, 86  --  G, California, #295931  $14.95 
  • Faustino VII Blanco Rioja 2013, 85  --  G, Rioja, Spain, #399568 $12.65      

  • Faustino V Rioja Tempranillo Rosé 2014, 84  --  G,  Rioja, Spain, #404517 $12.90
  • Gassier Sables d'Azur Rosé 2014, 83  --  V, Provence, France,  #033621  $15.95
  • Charles & Charles Rosé 2014, 82  --  G,  Columbia Valley, Washington,  #406603  $15.95

  • Astoria Extra Dry Prosecco NV, 86-1  --  G, Treviso district, Italy, #593855  $13.90
  • Cavas Hill 1887 Brut NV, 84  --  G,  Penedès, Spain, #370866  $13.20    
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended)


GASSIER SABLES D'AZUR ROSÉ 2014, Provence, France,  12.5%  D  3g/L, #033621  $15.95  (Tasted July 8, 2015)

Release by Vintages on May 30, 2015 and rated 92 by Natalie MacLean (December 2004).  My notes: The 2010 vintage, priced $14.95, was tasted on May 14, 2011 and rated 89. The same delicate salmon blush lays a thin film with a krinkly rim that falls quickly. Served at 8oC there's just a slight aroma of fuzzy fruit giving the presentation a coquettish inference. The first sip has a whisper of sweet outweighed by a dry tartness. The dry combined with mid strawberry could be a neutral sipper on the patio, better as a gulper or as a subtle compliment with saucy seafood or sliced fowl on basmati rice - difficult to recommend, perhaps as a change from the Faustino V and a faint image of the 2010.  Slightly rounder at 14oC. A drink now. 83

TORRES CELESTE CRIANZA TEMPRANILLO 2011,  Ribadeo, Spain, 14.0% XD 7g/L, #210872 $20.95  (Tasted July 4, 2015)

Released by Vintages on April 18, 2015.  My notes: The 2003 vintage, priced $19.95, was tasted on March 14, 2006 before ratings. This 2011 has an interesting texture and near full body on first sip. Lots of soft tannins backed by a raw dryness and crushed plums and blackberries. A swirl shows a moderate film with a viscosity that holds a ragged rim and flows long fast legs to clear the glass. A mouthful generates an intensity that penetrates then subsides for a long ride. The meniscus is a dusty ruby showing some future - five years. Sipping, cellaring and pairing makes this a flexible if not rough red. Have with grilled steaks and beef ribs or lamb cuts in  savoury sauces. 90 

SEVEN FALLS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011, Washington, USA, 14.5% D  10g/L,  #360222  $19.95  (Tasted July 10, 2015)

Released by Vintages on May 30, 2015. Rated 90 by Harvey Steiman (June 15, 2014).  My notes.  A Château Ste. Michelle wine. A black cherry colour leaving a thin film, a thin rim and slow, long tears. A natural scent of crushed black cherries, near ripeness so as to add brightness. The first sip is light-bodied but with a pleasing intensity and penetrating warmth. Fine tannins come forward and continue through a long dry finish. Vanilla and oak gives some depth while the fruity acid adds a prominent metallic texture. Serve with anything grilled and beefy: stripped sirloin, lamb chops or shanks. A commercial drink now. 82

FAUSTINO  VII TEMPRANILLO RIOJA 2012, Rioja, Spain, 13.0% XD 5g/L, #315234  $12.95  (Tasted July 9, 2015)

A General listing. Beppi Crosariol in his June column rated this Rioja an 88.  My notes:  The ruby colour is charcoal hued for a 'muddy' appearance - possibly a hint of adobe. A swirl lays a moderate film with a thin rim and slow tears. The black cherry/plum scent has a dusty edge that matches a mild fruit presence. Then a touch of spice saves the day brightening from the first sip. Aerating doesn't change either flavour or nose and is unneeded. The finish is long, flat and extra dry. This is a red that could benefit from a savoury sauce and, combined, be a positive compliment to grilled beef or pork souvlakis, even a chorizo pasta or pepperoni pizza. Past peak - a drink now - discarded bottle. 81

FAUSTINO VII BLANCO RIOJA 2013, Rioja, Spain, 11.5% XD xg/L, #399568 $12.65  (Tasted July 12, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: Made from 100% Viura grapes.  A pale yellow, a swirl lays a light film that recedes quickly from a lacy rim. The nose is a delicate pear/lemon just distinguishable and with a slight tartness - air in the glass for more character. Extra dry in the mouth leading to an extra dry finish and the flavour continuing unchanged. Serve with side bacon wrapped asparagus, tortillas with chicken slices or shrimp/snails/oysters. A drink now - guaff for more intensity and an interesting terroir. 85

FAUSTINO V RIOJA TEMPRANILLO ROSADO*, Rioja, Spain, 13.0% XD xg/L, #404517   $12.90  (Tasted July 6, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes: A deep pink the shade of mid strawberry and an aroma, herbal and grassy, mild enough for an interesting sipper. The film is thin leaving a ragged and empty rim that falls quickly. The first sip has a hint of strawberry flavour mostly mild  bramble, very dry with a chalky leftover going into a long extra dry finish. Best sipped beside a party tray with hummus for the crackers. Served chilled with an ice bucket. Imagine tapas or chicken wraps at an umbrella'd table watching town square strollers. Went well with Greek souvlakis.  Add a few maraschinos with syrup and it's a social drink now. Sip or quaff through the summer months.  84

ERADUS AWATERE VALLEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Marlborough, NZ, 13.5%  XD  6g/L, #225557  $18.95  (Tasted July 14, 2015)

Released by vintages on May 16, 2015. Rated 4 1/2 out of 5 by Rod Phillips (May 2015).  Previous vintages were rated 90+ by the Wine Enthusiast.  My notes: A Sauvignon Blanc with a distinct terroir: fruity, herbal, sharp and yet smooth, with an aroma of a green cooking apple, lemon zest and cilantro. The film is moderate showing a ragged curtain quickly falling uniformly clearing the glass. The first sip bursts with the flavour of overripe gooseberries, is unexpectedly warm, silky and with a more prominent herbal taint. The finish peaks with a pushy fullness then takes time to fade with a grassy focus. A unique sipper to be enjoyed for what it is - a savvy with a distinct difference. It was refreshing paired with baked tilapia and fried onion rings and should show flexibility.  90-2

BODEGA NORTON RESERVA MALBEC 2011, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5% XD  8g/L,  #017061 $17.00  (Tasted July 13, 2015)

Released by Vintages on May 2, 2015. Nathan Wesley rated it 92  (November 15, 2013).  My notes: A charcoal tinted ruby swirling a moderate film, smooth with a full rim that drops tiny tears accumulating volume as they descend. Medium-bodied and unless aerated there's a noticeable sting to the nose edging a  blackberry scent. The first sip broadens the fruit with firm tannin and a touch of mocha. The finish attempts a flavour revival but quickly shifts to a warm and extra dry chalk layer. A sipper if you prefer bold versus finesse. More of a sirloin/stew or a Texas beef chili red. 87a

CASAS DEL BOSQUE RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #974717  $13.95  (Tasted July 19, 2015)
Released by Vintages on June 27, 2015. Beppi Crosariol gives this an 89 in his column June 27th.   My notes:   A pale yellow with a moderate film clinging then separating from a rippled rim, dropping slowly to leave a clean glass. A pleasing palate scrubber from the first sip with full gooseberry flavours accented with lemon and grapefruit zest. The second and following sips continue to freshen with a subtle sweet attempting but not succeeding to make its presence. A scrumptious finish fades evenly leaving a warm fruity reminder.  A few years in the cellar may soften the pungency without spoiling this bright savvy. 89-2

IRONSTONE OBSESSION SYMPHONY CALIFORNIA 2012, NAPA Valley, California, 12.0%  M  21g/L, #295931  $14.95  (Tasted July 5, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes: A pale yellow with a thin film topped by a fragmented rim that quickly leaves mini-nodules on the glass. There's a peach fuzz aspect to flavours of grapefruit with the added sweet of tart apple. Tartness is more evident as milder flavours carry into long finish with a lasting silky touch before a dust layered finale. More of a refreshing social sipper when served chilled (10oC) or pair with chicken and cheese pizza, Thai or buttery seafood. A drink now. 86

CHARLES & CHARLES ROSÉ 2014, Columbia Valley, Washington,  12.2%  XD  xg/L,  #406603  $15.95  (Tasted July 25, 2015)
A General listing.  My notes:  A powder puff cherry blush sets off a brilliant glow with a moderate film crinkling at the rim as it slowly falls. A faint aroma of watermelon and herb constitutes a subtle nose. The first sip cleans the teeth and lasts through a long crisp finish while a mild fruit with a prominent mineral note is carried along with the acid. Pair with shrimp and seafood sauce or with grilled salmon or halibut and potato risotto. Not much to develop by cellaring - a drink now.  82

COLOMÉ TORRONTÉS 2013, Valle Calchaqui, Argentina, 13.5%  XD  2g/L, #357913  $13.95   (Tasted July 2, 2015)

Released by Vintages on June 27, 2015.  Rated 91 by Stephen Tanzer (March 2014) and 89 by Beppi Crosariol in his June 27th columnMy notes:  A pale yellow leaving a thin film with long legs falling from a ragged rim ending with nodules on the glass. At pouring temp of 10oC an aroma of dewy green vines, not full fruit. The first sip is pleasantly silky with a broad taste of grapefruit zest, muted orange/lime. Interesting as a sipper for a lasting penetration that maintains its presence with seafood, broiled chicken and other fowl - XD. Went well with grilled trout showing pairing flexibility. Similar to the Torrontés from Susan Balboa tasted in June at the same price. Cellar several years or buy in as a house white. 91

CASAS DEL BOSQUE RESERVA CARMENÈRE 2013, Rapel Valley, Chile, 14.0%  D  4g/L, #205872  $14.95  (Tasted July 20, 2015)

Released by Vintages on June 27, 2015.  My notes:  I aerated this wine in a second glass to look for differences... for both there's a noticeable pungency on pouring that delayed my tasting 20 minutes. A moderate film leaves a crinkled rim and separates into a lacy pattern on both. The first sip is intense and warm covering dark overripe black cherry flavours and having a muddy mouthfeel drying the palate for a long flat finish. There's no benefit from aerating - better if opened two days ahead. If you prefer a pungent, earthy roughness this is it. A meal red & not a sipper. Pair with a spice rubbed steak, beef ribs or Texas Chili. Won't get better. 83

ASTORIA EXTRA DRY PROSECCO  NV, Treviso district, Italy, 11.0%  D  15g/L, #593855  $13.90  (Tasted July 21, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  The bottle decor says Let's Party! elegantly. A pale yellow bursting with all size bubbles on pouring continuing with streams to the surface. I question if this has 15g/L of sweetness and doubt this is other than extra dry. Should be great with fresh oysters or Argentine Wild Caught 10/20 shrimp. A Toast to the Bride and Groom and to welcome all their guests. Not sharp, not perfumed just cleanly effervescent. The flavour is a light lemon with companion acid, some apple and softness of faint melon leaving the palate refreshed for the time between speeches. A drink now. 86
CAVAS HILL 1887 BRUT NV,  Penedès, Spain, 11.5%  XD  xg/L,  #370866  $13.20  (Tasted July 27, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A traditional Spanish blend of Xarello, Macabeo and Parellada. There's a greenish hue to a crystal clear yellow and a burst of bubbles on pouring that quickly disperses making way for a few fine streams. The nose has green apple edged with a hint of lime and the first sip releases a fine foam feel with an imagined apple/pear flavour, extra dry with a fading finish. Serve chilled and with an ice bucket - a bubbly to hold by the stem. Bottle weight is an eco-unfriendly 2lbs. A biting drink now or pair with tapas, oysters or shrimps/scallops marinara. 84


2015 1st Half Summary - Whites+

The 42 Whites+ consisting of 4 sparkling and 38 whites tasted from January 1st through June 30 this year are listed below.  Shown in brackets is the month of tasting where the original notes can be found.  Fifteen wines rated 90 and above are considered enjoyable to excellent either to sip and/or with a meal. Those 85 to 89 are increasingly enjoyable while those 84 and below have progressive degrees of being less memorable.  See the side panel for details.

The value that is hyphenated to the rating indicates whether a wine is 'worth the price', one that I'd buy in 'multiples', or one I'd buy in 'quantity'.

Consider this one person's view and perhaps a starting point if it helps. Hope you find something of value.   Click here for the 2015 1st half Reds
Click on the Product code to search LCBO's OnLine Inventory.
Cheers, Ww

Whites  (38)

  • CRIOS de Susana Balboa Torrontés 2013,  91-3  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #001834  $13.95  (Jun)
  • L'Arjolle Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2013,  89-2  -- G, Côtes de Thongue, France, #348904  $12.20  (Jan)
  • Humberto Canale Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013,  89-2  --  V, Patagonia, Argentina, #384321  $14.95  (Jun)
  • Toasted Head Chardonnay, Barrel Aged 2013,  89-2  -- V, Acampo, California, #594341  $15.95*   (May)
  • UMA Coleccion Torrontés 2013, 88a-2  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #276626 $6.45   (Jan)
  • Domaine de Pellehaut 'Harmonie de Cascogne' Blanc 2013, 88-2  --  G,  Sichel, France, #319665  $9.95*  (Jan)
  • Pilliteri Canadian Gothic Chardonnay VQA Niagara Peninsula 2012,  88-2  --  G, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #395624  $12.95  (Apr)
  • Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay 2013, 88-1  --  G, Livermore Valley, California, #175430  $17.75  (Apr)
  • Ziraldo Riesling 2012 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  88-1  --  V, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, #357640  $19.95  (Apr)
  • Kate Radburnd Sun Kissed Pinot Gris 2013,  87-1  --  G, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, #359000  $15.95  (Jan)
  • Forrest The Doctors' Sauvignon Blanc 2013,  87  --  V, Renwick, New Zealand,  #317842  $19.95  (May)
  • Ormarine Carte Noire Picpoul de Pinet 2013, 86-1  --  V,  Pinet, France,   #525287  $12.95  (Apr)
  • San Raffaele Monte Tabor Soave 2013, 86-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #277392  $13.95  (Apr)
  • Mission Hill Reserve Chardonnay 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley, 86  --  V, Okanagan Valley, BC,  #545004  $19.95*  (May)
  • Willy Gisselbrecht Riesling Selection 2012, 85-1  -- G, Alsace, France, #315309  $9.95   (Jan)

  • Douglas Green Sauvignon Blanc 2014, 84 --  G, Wellington, S. Africa, #367821 $10.80  (Jan)
  • Errazuriz Estate Series Chardonnay 2013,  84  --  G, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #318741 $10.95*   (Feb)
  • Jean Biecher & Fils Reserve Riesling 2012, 84  --  V, Alsace, France, #403105  $14.95  (Apr)
  • Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc 2013,  84  --  G, Marlborough, New Zealand, #308288  $15.80*   (May)
  • Horse Valley Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2013,  84  --  V, Danube Plain, Bulgaria, #398222  $15.95*  (Jun)
  • Chloe Chardonnay Sonoma County 2012, 84 -- G, Livermore, California, #392597  $17.95  (Apr) 
  • Las Mulas Organic Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014,  83  --  G, Central Valley, Chile, #272609  $12.95  (Jun)
  • Jean Geiler Réserve Particulière Riesling 2013,  83  --  V,  Haut-Rhin, France, #408237  $14.95  (Apr)
  • Rabl Loss Gruner Veltliner 2013, 83  --  V, Kamptal, Austria,  #295709  $14.95  (Apr)
  • Charles & Charles Chardonnay 2013, 83  --  G, Washington State, USA, #394734  $15.95  (Jun)
  • See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley, 83  --  V,  Okanagan, BC, #126912  $17.95  (Jun)
  • Guy Saget Sancerre 2013, 83  --  G, Loire, France, #319657  $21.95*  (Jan)
  • Miguel Torres Santa Digna Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2014,  82  --  G, Central Valley, Chile, #177444  $14.95  (May)
  • Mezzomondo Pinot Grigio Chardonnay IGT 2013, 81  --  G, Sicily, Italy, 12.%  XD  7g/L, #079301  $8.95*  (Jun)
  • Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc 2014, 81 --  G, Stellenbosch, South Africa, #340380  $10.25  (Mar)
  • Fowles Wine 'Are you Game?' Chardonnay 2013, 81  --  G, Victoria, Australia, #359984  $15.95  (Jan)
  • Sterling 'Vintner's Collection' Central Coast Chardonnay 2013, 80 --  G, Sonoma, California, #669242  $15.95  (Jan)
  • Lindemans Bin 85 Pinot Grigio 2014, 78  --  G, Victoria, Australia,  #668947  $10.95  (Feb)
  • Hardy's 'Stamp Series' Riesling Gewurztraminer 2013, NR  --  G, South Eastern Australia, #448548 $9.90  (Feb)
  • McWilliam's 'Hanwood Estate' Moscato NV,  NR  --  G,  South Eastern Australia, #212696  $14.40  (Jan) 
  • Tic Tok Pocketwatch Central Ranges Chardonnay 2013,  NR  --  G, NSW, Australia, #187104  $14.95  (Jan)
  • Voga Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2013, NR (75)  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #669226  $15.30  (Mar)
  • Finca el Origen Reserva Torrontés 2014,  NR  --  V, Cafayete Valley, Argentina, #262089  $15.95  (Jun)
Bubblies (4)
  • Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Cap Classique 2012, 90-1  --  Stellenbosch, South Africa, #342758  $22.95  (May)
  • Bisol Desiderio Jeio Colmei Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV,  89-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #030601  $16.95  (Jun)
  • Bisol Desiderio Jeio Colmei Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV,  88-1  --  Veneto, Italy, #030601  $16.95  (Apr)
  • La Jara Brut Prosecco Organic NV,  86  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #402438  $15.95  (May)

2015 1st Half Summary - Reds

The 47 Reds tasted from January 1st through June 30 this year are listed below sequenced by rating.  Shown in brackets is the month of tasting where the original notes can be found.  There are 9 wines rated 90 and above. These are considered not lacking in any aspect and are excellent to sip and/or as a complement to a meal. Another fifteen in the 85 to 89 range are enjoyable but lack in minor degrees of fullness, varietal character or some other element. Twenty-three are 84 and below - these may be consumable but not necessarily enjoyable in some way. See the side panel for more background.

The value that is hyphenated to the rating indicates whether a wine is 'worth the price', one that I'd buy in 'multiples', or one I'd buy in 'quantity'.  See the side panel for more background. Click here for the 2015 1st half WHITES+.  Click on the Product code to search LCBO OnLine Inventory.

Consider this one person's view and perhaps a starting point if it helps.

Cheers, Ww

Reds (47)

  • Root: 1 Carmenère Colchagua Valley 2012,  92-3  --  G, Donihue, Chile, #350546  $12.80  (Jan)
  • Casa LaPostolle Gran Seleccion Carmenere 2012,  92-3  --  G, Rapel Valley, Chile, #168740   $14.90  (Jan)
  • Charles & Charles Red Blend 2013, 92-3  -- G, Washington State, USA, #363838 $15.95  (Jan)
  • Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2013,  92-2  --  V, Puente Alto, Chile, #337238 $21.95  (Feb)
  • Tempus Two 'Limestone Coast' Cabernet Merlot 2011, 91-3  --  G, Pokolbin, New South Wales, #308197  $8.75  (Jan)
  • Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 89-2** (91-3)  --  G,  Modesto, California,  #392647  $14.95*   (Apr)
  • Buried Hope Cabernet Sauvignon 2010,  North Coast California,  91-1  --  G,  North Coast, California, #356113 $19.95  (Mar)
  • Oatley Tic Tok Pocketwatch Central Ranges Cabernet Sauvignon 2011,  90-2  --  G, New South Wales, Australia, #187179   $12.85*  (Jan)
  • Columbia Crest H3 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 90-2  --  V, Columbia Valley, California, #210047   $16.95* (May)
  • Chateau Timberlay Bordeaux Superieur Merlot - Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, 89-1  -- G, Bordeaux, France, #030072  $16.45  (Mar)
  • Harewood Shiraz 2011,  89-1  --  V, Denmark, Australia, #401380  $19.95  (Apr)
  • Akarua Rua Pinot Noir 2012, 89-1  --  V, Central Otago, New Zealand, #295592  $24.95  (Apr)
  • Valle Andino Reserva Especial Syrah 2012, 88a-1  --  V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #272682  $12.75  (Jun)
  • Zuccardi Santa Julia Magna 2012, 88-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #093799 $13.45*  (May)
  • ZOLO Classic Bonarda 2013,  88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #398271   $13.95  (Mar)
  • CRIOS Malbec 2013, Mendoza, 88a-1  --  V, Argentina, #162529 $14.95  (Jun)
  • 35° South Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Organic 2013,  87-1  --  G, Molina, Chile, #218859  $12.95  (Jan)
  • Passion of Portugal Red Reserva 2013,  86-1  --  G, Alentejo, Portugal, #146449 $8.25  (Jun)
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Shiraz 2013, 86-1 --  G, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #064295  $10.00  (Feb)
  • Chloe Red No. 249 2012,  86  --  G, Livermore, California,  #392589  $16.95*  (Apr)
  • Wynn's Coonawarra Estate Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 86  V,  Coonawarra, Australia, #084996 $24.95  (Feb)
  • Nederburg Winemaker's Reserve Shiraz 2013, 85-1  --  G, Western Cape, South Africa, #527457 $9.95  (Feb)
  • MontGras Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013, 85a  --  G,  Santiago, Chile, #619205  $12.05  (Apr)
  • Domaine Les Yeuses Les Épices Syrah 2012, 85  --  V, Midi, France, #177584  $15.95  (Apr)
  • C. J. Pask Gimblett Road Cabernet/Merlot/Malbec 2010, 85  --  V,  Hawkes Bay, New Zealand,  #279869  $19.95  (May)

  • Bodega Volcanes de Chile Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2013,  84  --  G,  Rapel Valley, Chile,  #350553  $10.95  (Jan)
  • Wolf Blass Langhorne Creek Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013,  84  --  G, McLaren Vale, Australia, #251876  $13.95*  (May)
  • JP Azeitao Red Tinto 2014,  83  --  G, Setubal, Portugal, #286195  $8.95  (Jun)
  • La Mascota Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 83  --  G,  Mendoza, Argentina, #292110  $13.95  (Jan)
  • Lionel Osmin & Cie Reserve Malbec 2011, 83a --  V, Cénac, France,  #328641  $13.95  (Apr)
  • Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2013, 83  -- V, Central Valley, Chile, #323881  $14.90  (May)
  • Yauquen Bonarda Bodega Ruca Malen 2013,  83  -- V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #360115 $14.95  (Jun)
  • Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Riserva 2010, 83  --  V,  Siena, Italy, #111641  $15.95  (Apr)
  • Cline Family Cellars Zinfandel 2013, 83  --  G, Lodi California, #489278  $15.95  (May)
  • Michel Lynch Merlot Gran Vin de Bordeaux 2011,  83  --  G, Bordeaux, France, #361550  $17.05  (Jan)
  • Wente Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 83  --  G, Livermore Valley, California, #301507  $17.95  (May)
  • Ring-Bolt Cabernet Sauvignon 2012,  83  --  V,  Margaret River, Australia, 14.0% D 4g/L, #606624  $19.95  (May)
  • Candidato Oro Tempranillo Garnacha 2011,  82 --  G,  Castilla, Spain, #523811  $7.60  (Jun)
  • Castello di Ama Riserva Chianti Classico 2009,  82  --  V,  Tuscany, Italy, #403824 (375 mL)  $16.95  (May)
  • Fowles Wine 'Are You Game?' Shiraz 2012,  82  --  G, Victoria, Australia, #327320  $17.05  (Jan)
  • Vina Real Plata Crianza 2010,  82  --  V, Rioja, Spain, #657411 $18.95  (Feb)
  • P|K|N|T Reserve Carmenère 2013,  81c --  G, Rapel Valley, Chile, #191858  $9.95  (Feb)
  • Undurraga Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2013, 81a  --  G, Maipo Valley, Chile, #358945  $10.00  (Feb)
  • Villa Ponciago Grand Vins Beaujolais-Villages 2012, 80  --  G, Fleurie, France, #325134  $14.95  (Jan)
  • Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2013, 80 --  G, Barossa, South Australia, #665471 $14.95*  (Mar)
  • Trapiche Reserve Syrah 2013,  79  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #222281 $10.95*   (Feb)
  • Thelema Mountain Red 2012, NR  --  G, Helshoogle, South Africa, #222570 $12.95  (Jun)

Monday, June 01, 2015

June 2015 Wines - 16 Tasted of 16

Thanks for the Memories!

My wine consumption has taken a nose dive recently - not without good reason though and I hope recoverable. 

An abnormality had gradually crept into my daily life - an inability to remember strings of numbers, a familiar place in conversation, of people's names, movie or TV titles and lists of things to do (fix, visit, buy, etc.). Not bad enough to isolate me but of concern.
A Cranial Road Map
I found that creating mental searches or associations helped on-the-spot recollections. A common routine would be to silently run through the alphabet sequentially. Often the 'missing' word would spontaneously pop into my consciousness.

For example: my late brother-in-law's first name - his face and demeanour was clearly visible in my mind. Retaining this image I would run through the alphabet, ie. A, B, C, .... N!  Got it! His name was Norman! It's not so much that I remembered but that the letter 'N' prompted the rest of the name.

This routine, however, had  deteriorated over the last year such that, if the letter stimulated a slight familiarity I would combine the consonance with a run through of the vowels, a-e-i-o-u. Often the combination would shake loose the elusive word. I put this at the nuisance level. But what next?

A visit to my GP suggested a CAT Scan which showed nothing unusual, then a Memory Test: two hours answering questions, performing simple written associations and drawing or connecting objects. Evidently one or two of my cranial lobes are starting to limp. This is my prognosis - a full diagnosis needs more tests.

The Specialist's current recommendation is to limit my daily wine intake then return in three months. Trying to avoid 'cold turkey' I suggested 4 - 5 ounces daily which was agreed and a second appointment at the end of August. I'll then see if my sacrifice has been worthwhile.

Cheers, Ww
PS. For those interested, a website that provides a considerable amount of information on progressive memory loss is The HelpGuide .

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites and bubblies)

  • Valle Andino Reserva Especial Syrah 2012, 88a-1  --  V, Colchagua Valley, Chile, #272682  $12.75
  • CRIOS Malbec 2013, Mendoza, 88-1  --  V, Argentina, #162529 $14.95
  • Passion of Portugal Red Reserva 2013,  86-1  --  G, Alentejo, Portugal, #146449 $8.25 
  • JP Azeitao Red Tinto 2014, 83  --  G, Setubal, Portugal, #286195  $8.95
  • Yauquen Bonarda Bodega Ruca Malen 2013, 83  -- V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #360115 $14.95
  • Candidato Oro Tempranillo Garnacha 2011,  82a  --  G,  Castilla, Spain, #523811  $7.60
  • Thelema Mountain Red 2012, NR  --  G, Helshoogle, South Africa, #222570 $12.95                    
  • CRIOS de Susana Balboa Torrontés 2013, 91-3  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #001834  $13.95
  • Humberto Canale Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013  89-2,  --  V, Patagonia, Argentina, #384321  $14.95
  • Horse Valley Single Vineyard Chardonnay 2013, 84  --  V, Danube Plain, Bulgaria, #398222  $15.95* 
  • Las Mulas Organic Sauvignon Blanc Reserva 2014, 83  --  G, Central Valley, Chile, #272609  $12.95
  • Charles & Charles Chardonnay 2013, 83  --  G, Washington State, USA, #394734  $15.95  
  • See Ya Later Ranch Chardonnay 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley,  83  --  V,  Okanagan, BC, #126912  $17.95
  • Mezzomondo Pinot Grigio Chardonnay IGT 2013, 81  --  G, Sicily, Italy, #079301  $8.95*   
  • Finca el Origen Reserva Torrontés 2014,  NR  --  V, Cafayete Valley, Argentina, #262089  $15.95      

  • Bisol Desiderio Jeio Colmei Extra Dry Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV, 89-1  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #030601  $16.95 
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar, NR - Not Recommended) 


SEE YA LATER RANCH CHARDONNAY 2012 VQA Okanagan Valley, Okanagan, BC, 13% XD 7g/L, #126912  $17.95  (Tasted June 2, 2015)

Released by Vintages on January 10, 2015.  My notes:  A Constellation Brands Inc. winery.    A bright golden in the glass and a scent of freshly cut apple touched by subtle floral and tangy lime. A sip lays a thin butter and leaves a prominent tartness on the palate. An extra dry finish carries flavours that fade to crabapple. Serve chilled as a commercial drink now perhaps with a cube or two and maraschino cherries could be a patio refresher - or pair with seafood: shells, filets, grilled freshwater shrimp or a marine platter. 83

BISOL DESIDERIO JEIO COLMEI EXTRA DRY VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIORE NV, Veneto, Italy, 11.5% XD 15g/L*, #030601  $16.95  (Tasted June 7, 2015)

A Vintages release on March 7, 2015.  My notes: The colour is a pale golden showing a burst of varied bubbles quickly settling to a dozen fine streams. The nose has a clean pear fragrance creamy edged and a slight hay scent. Each sip has a soft spritz that fills the mouth while a faint dust covers the palate. A light warmth and suspicion of sugar follows for a long pleasing finish. Serve chilled to a festive crowd gathered for a special occasion: baby/bridal shower, wedding nuptials or good friends on the summer patio. I enjoyed with my 4pm salty crackers and hummus. Cellar several years for a drier bubbly and possibly a fuller body.  89

JP AZEITÃO RED TINTO 2014, Setubal, Portugal, 13.5% D 8g/L,  #286195  $8.95  (Tasted June 4, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  There's a scarlet hue to the deep ruby of this economical red. Thin bodied with chalk dry tannin and red cherry flavouring summarizes first impressions. A swirl leaves a fine rim running fast tears and a sniff senses a fine bright aroma of cranberries. No sense of sweetness flows across the palate tart and clean. A long finish adds a metallic polish until the next swallow.  Serve with a charcuterie of firm cheeses, crackers and hummus or pair with meat lovers pizza, Italian sausage/chorizo in a spicy tomato pasta. A drink now for those empty handed at a neighbourhood barbeque. 83
PASSION OF PORTUGAL RED RESERVA  2013, Alentejo, Portugal, 13.0%  D  11g/L, #146449 $8.25  (Tasted June 15, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  The second Passion from Portugal the first being a Malbec, rated 91 on May 2, 2011 and priced at $14.95. This Reserva is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinto Barroca and Syrah. The colour is a cheerful red cherry with a matching but subdued nose. A thin film quietly recedes first showing a mild laciness then leaving the glass clear. The first sip has the brightness of crushed red cherries tart enough to clean the teeth and falling into chalky spread. Should go well with red meat dishes. We're having with sweet and sour ginger pork ribs. A drink now - cellar short term to mellow the brightness. 86

LAS MULAS ORGANIC SAUVIGNON BLANC RESERVE 2014, Central Valley, Chile, 13.0% XD 4g/L, #272609  $12.95  (Tasted June 4, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  Pale yellow with a mild gooseberry scent blended with just perceptible banana. The film slides down leaving a lacy rim. Some long legs are shed until the glass quickly shows no trace. A bright tartness and slight silk quickly freshens the palate and interest grows for more. A pleasing sipper however thin bodied and moderate flavour with a short lived extra dry finish. A summer drink now. Grilled cod or halibut with bean sprouts gives this white a chance to compete. 83

CANDIDATO ORO TEMPRANILLO GARNACHA 2011,  Castilla, Spain, 13.0% D  7g/L,  #523811  $7.60  (Tasted June 28, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes: A deep black cherry colour amber hued and with a muted smoky red cherry aroma. A swirl lays a moderate film that quickly recedes through long legs. The first sip leaves the throat dry and warm with shy fruit balancing light herb and smoky oak. Aerating worked for me as a sipper. Otherwise a meal red - serve with grilled steak, liver & onions or veal marsala . Buy now for near term consumption. 82

CRIOS MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0% XD  5g/L, #162529 $14.95  (Tasted June 23, 2015)

Released by Vintages on May 30, 2015. My notes: Rated 90 by Natalie MacLean  December 2014. A deep raspberry colour swirling a moderate film that thins as a rounded rim drains thru long legs. The nose shows bramble and berry fruit while the first sip is full of tang, smooth tannins and dull berries, medium bodied with a long warm finish. Decanting an hour before serving or aerating softens the bite a tad and is recommended. A solid roasted, grilled and stewed beef, lamb or wild meat complement. Cellaring a few years should show marginal change over today's rating. 88a

YAUQUEN BONARDA BODEGA RUCA MALEN 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5% XD  10g/L, #360115 $14.95  (Tasted June 11, 2015)

Released by Vintages on May 30, 2015 and rated 90 by Kim Marcus  July 31, 2014. My notes: A black ruby conveys intensity in fruit and aroma. The film sticks to the glass delaying tears and conveying a smooth and full mouthfeel while the nose is neither fruity nor floral and is without acid sharpness. There's cranberry in the first sip with a bright acid but without distinct fruit. A touch of crushed blackberry seed spreads a uniform layer of tannin lasting through a long dry finish. Serve this with a seared steak, a meaty pizza or beefy hamburgers - a better choice than sipping where the dryness and bitterness becomes prominent. Cellar short term to smoothen some current roughness. 83
CHARLES & CHARLES CHARDONNAY 2013, Washington State, USA, 13.9% D  6g/L, #394734  $15.95  (Tasted June 11, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A clear mid gold leaving a moderate film to immediately fragment before receding with only droplets remaining. A faint  aroma of dried plums tartly edged. The first sip is bright and has a vanilla caramel flavour appealing for its uniqueness. The flavour fades quickly leaving a round, extra dry, stewed plum. Serve with grilled chicken or schnitzel - did not go with grilled Pacific salmon. Cellaring several years could intensify profile without overall improvement. 83

MEZZOMONDO PINOT GRIGIO CHARDONNAY IGT 2013, Sicily, Italy, 12.%  XD  7g/L, #079301  $8.95*  (Tasted June 9, 2015)

A General listing reduced from $9.95* until June 21, 2015.  My notes: A light soft green shade casts a film that fragments quickly to a clear glass. A fresh leafy vegetable aroma is the first sniff and a medley of green melon, near the skin, with some smoothness balancing a dry, tart citrus form the first sip. The finish has flat flavourings with a subdued vegetable likeness.  Serve with shellfish, mild seafood on flaky basmati rice -  Started fresh then quickly faded when partnered with a coconut curry (mild) chicken breast and vegetable stir-fry. 81

VALLE ANDINO RESERVA ESPECIAL SYRAH 2012, Colchagua Valley, Chile, 13.5%  XD  7g/L,  #272682  $12.75  (Tasted June 29, 2015)

Released by Vintages on February 7, 2015.  My notes:  A deep ruby with smoky aroma of prominent red cherries and some plum. The film is thin and fragments quickly from a light rim to slowly form small tears. Tannins layer the palate with metallic edged, bright red cherry making an interesting but tart sipper. The finish has a dry lining, all that remains of a the initial bright fruit. This may cellar up to 2 years but essentially a drink now - aerating is recommended. Serve with rare steaks, Osso Bucco and savoury stews. We're having with broiled flat iron (skirt) steaks marinated in a pepper sauce . 88a

HUMBERTO CANALE ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2013. Patagonia, Argentina, 13.5%  XD  2g/L, #384321  $14.95  (Tasted June 14, 2015)

Released by Vintages on November 22, 2014.  My notes:  A pale yellow, a thin film and a ragged rim introduces this extra dry, refreshing white. A slight silk on the tongue with some warmth conveys a blend of southern fruit without revealing distinctness. The finish continues to open up adding a touch of oil on the lips then eventually fades leaving a light layer of chalk. A pleasing patio sipper and a meal white paired with shellfish. Serve chilled. Avoid opening other whites so as not to compete. 89

FINCA EL ORIGEN RESERVA TORRONTÉS 2014, Cafayete Valley, Argentina, 14.3%  XD  4g/L, #262089  $15.95  (Tasted June 12, 2015)

Released by Vintages on May 16, 2015.  James Suckling rates this 91 (July 30, 2014)  My notes: A pale greenish tinged yellow that recedes leaving a uniform film topped by a ragged edged rim. Hints of vegetable aroma introduces a tangy chalk dry flavour difficult to discern for its subtlety which continues through an extra dry chalky finish. Any sweetness is veiled by a penetrating tang. A difficult sipper for its bitterness and a flavour that did not pair with BBQ'd chicken pieces. Not recommended. Bottle was discarded.

CRIOS DE SUSANA BALBO TORRONTÉS 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  D  5g/L,  #001834   $13.95  (Tasted June 22, 2015)

A Vintage release on April 1 2015.  My notes:  A Ratings sticker of 90 from Tim Atkin MW (2014).  A mid yellow with a green tinge. A fruit aroma: lime, orange, apple with some of the perfume from earlier blooming. A swirl casts a thin film receding from a ragged rim. The first sip bursts on the palate full of butter, tangy lemon juice and flavours following the nose then ending with a light layer of chalk. Cellar up to five years, possibly longer. The occasional gulp brings out its intensity. An interesting sipper for sure and a suitable companion for seafood or roasted fowl.  91

HORSE VALLEY SINGLE VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2013, Danube Plain, Bulgaria, 13.5%  D  3g/L,  #398222  $15.95*  (Tasted June 17, 2015)

Released by Vintages on April 4, 2015. Priced reduced from $16.95 until June 21, 2015.  My notes: A mid yellow with an earthy pear aroma and leaves a light film with a crackling rim. A round texture, extra dry, more earth with a stinging tartness for a refreshing sipper. There's a pumpkin flavour to offset a seared butter background lasting into a long finish. Sipping will vary widely - I wouldn't expect a rush for seconds. More of a meal white to pair with pork, roasted chicken and a rich portobello mushroom sauce. A drink now for those of a curious nature. 84

THELEMA MOUNTAIN RED 2012, Helshoogle, South Africa, 14.5%  XD  6g/L, #222570 $12.95  (Tasted June 25, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  There's a hint of off-ripeness to a back cherry aroma in this blend of Shiraz (37%), Petit Verdot (25%), Cab Sauvignon (23%), Merlot (10%), Grenache (4%) and Cab Franc (1%) that neither aerating nor decanting an hour ahead could alleviate. The first sip is extra dry, has an initial sting to the acid and a bitterness to the fruit before going into a long smoky finish. A curious salty edge comes forward as the cherry recedes. A swirl lays a moderate film shedding long fast legs from a rounded rim. Not a sipper - pair with savoury sauces and grilled beef patties, a spicy pasta or pizza. Cellaring may mellow and blend but not improve the flavours overall. A 'return' if served at a restaurant. 79  NR