Thursday, October 01, 2015

October 2015 Wines - 2 Tasted of 12

With gratitude to the unknown source

I'm a coffee drinker - not an addict but one that appreciates the morning wake-up call a single cup of java provides. The aroma, the scintillating freshening shift from drowsiness to wakefulness, the biting warmth, soft and fulfilling, the comfort of a tender caress of a rewarding companion. However I have often refused, in whatever context it may take at the time, what I consider to be  `bad coffee'. If that makes me a coffee snob then so be it!  But that`s not the point here.

The message behind the signboard, perhaps based on coffee's benefits, could be 'Is a bad coffee better than no coffee?'. My point is a possible parallel. Is 'bad wine better than no wine?'  Are there sufficient health benefits to compensate for your complicity in perpetuating retailing of unacceptable wines? Then I ponder the consequence of everyone returning their latest bottle of plonk? Call it an 'I'm not going to take it any more!' event.

Cheers, Ww

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites, rosés and bubblies)

  • Bodega Paiman Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, 89  --  V,  Chanarmuyo Valley, Argentina, #423186 $19.95 
  • Fat Bastard Syrah Pays d'Oc 2013, 84  --  G, Pay d'Oc, France, #563122 $14.95
  • Ogier Heritages Cotes du Rhone 2013, r-v  --  G, Rhone, France, #535849 $14.95
  • Fat Bastard Merlot VDP Pays d'Oc 2013,  r-v  --  G, Pay d'Doc, France, #610857 $14.95 
  • Fat Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon Pays d'Oc 2013,  r-v  --  G, Pay d'Doc, France, #028506 $14.95
  • Carpineto Dogajolo Rosso Veneto Toscano IGT 2013,  r-v  --   G, Tuscany, Italy,  #361501  $16.05
  • Rocca Alata Leggermente Appassito Rosso Veneto 2013,  r-v  --   G, Veneto, Italy, #398057  $13.60    

  • Fat Bastard Chardonnay Pays d'Oc 2013,  r-v  --  G, Pay d'Doc, France, #563130 $14.95
  • Gorgo San Michelin Custoza 2014,  r-v  --   V, Veneto, Italy, #428045  $14.95 
  • Cheval-Quancard Reserve Bordeaux Blanc 2013, r-v  --  G, Bordeaux, France, #401604  $13.90 
  • Pietro Marini Torrontes 2013,  r-v  --  V, Calchaqui Valley, Argentina, #408443  $12.95
  • Duca Catemario Collezione Privata Pinot Grigio 2014,  r-v  --   V, Friuli, Italy, #120782  $14.95    

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


OGIER HERITAGES COTES DU RHONE AOC 2013, Rhone, France, 14.0% D 6g/L, #535849 $14.95  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing.  My notes:

FAT BASTARD SYRAH PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 13.5%  D  8g/L, #563122 $14.95  (Tasted October 1, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  Berry fruit aromas dissipate quickly on pouring - still fresh although subtle at first sip. A swirl shows a thin film fragmenting at the rim and forming a lacy network. A lightish med-bodied red with a deep ruby hue showing off long fast tears when tilted. Fresh to the taste, a soft spice shifting to a teeth lining tang. Would go well with a party buffet: dry crackers, hard cheese and sliced Italian meats or chorizo sausage. The finish hides any sweetness with an ascetic reminder of berries and fine tannins. Serve with grilled, barbecued or roasted red meats.  A commercial red.  84 

FAT BASTARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 13.0%  D 6g/L, #028506  $14.95  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing.  My notes:

FAT BASTARD CHARDONNAY PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 12.5% XD 4g/L, #563130 $14.95  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing. My notes:

FAT BASTARD MERLOT VDP PAYS D'OC 2013, Pay d'Oc, France, 13.5%  D  9g/L, #610857 $14.95  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing. My notes:

BODEGA PAIMAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Chanarmuyo Valley, Argentina, 14.5% XD 7g/L, #423186 $19.95  (Tasted October 1, 2015)

Released by Vintages on September 19, 2015.  My notes: Allowing this wine to breathe twenty minutes before serving is worth the wait. My initial impression was of a thin bodied red with delicate flavours and aroma. However there's a crush of blackberry tinting the deep ruby and an aroma of fresh berries uniquely blended to please. Aerating - or waiting - smoothes an already silk texture for sipping. A fine tannin further enhances the fruit as a penetrating acid dries the mouth. The finish is long and includes a pleasing warmth that pulls everything together. Serve with beef steaks and savoury sauces - or just sip. 89

DUCA CATEMARIO COLLEZIONE PRIVATA PINOT GRIGIO 2014, Friuli, Italy, 12.5% D 7g/L, #120782  $14.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on October 3, 2015.  My notes:

PIETRO MARINI TORRONTÉS 2013, Calchaqui Valley, Argentina, 13.2% XD 4g/L, #408443  $12.95  (Tasted tbd)

Released by Vintages on July 25, 2015. My notes:

ROCCA ALATA LEGGERMENTE APPASSITO ROSSO VENETO 2013, Veneto, Italy, 13.5%  D  xg/L, #398057  $13.60  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing.  My notes: 

CHEVAL-QUANCARD RÉSERVE BORDEAUX BLANC 2013, Bordeaux, France, 12.0% XD  xg/L, #401604  $13.90  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing. A blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Rated 91 by the Wine Spectator and the Best Buy for 2014.  My notes:

CARPINETO DOGAJOLO ROSSO TOSCANO IGT 2013, Tuscany, Italy,   13.5%  XD 4g/L, #361501  $16.05  (Tasted tbd)

A General listing. My notes: 

GORGO SAN MICHELIN CUSTOZA 2014, Veneto, Italy, 12.5%  XD 13g/L, #428045  $14.95  (Tasted tbd)

A Vintages release on October 3, 2015.  My notes:

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

September 2015 Wines - 16 Tasted of 16

Sheridan creek at Lushes Ave, August '15
Since limiting my budget to $16/bottle (approx) I don't think I've ever had so much 'bad' wine. There's some horrid stuff on LCBO shelves that, according to the Vintage tasting notes, sounds good but when the cork is popped the best/polite recommendation is, for a red, 'pair with a spicy or highly flavoured meal' and for a white, 'delicate with an acquired terroir'. However, I tend to blog what I think regardless and, after all is said, I'm only one of many Ontario consumers, however, it's unfathomable that so much plonk* is on Outlet shelves. (*for clarity anything below a rating of 85 I consider as increasing degrees of 'plonk'. You may pick a different level.)

Perhaps I expect too much from our monopoly. Their staff include buyers, sommeliers and consultants with considerable experience. And the mark up on every wine surely allows these experts the time and tools to weed out the bad. Wouldn't you think that with all their expertise every bottle would be value priced? Personally I sense their mission is to make money and not to provide good value to customers.  

Wine retailing at the low end (perhaps from top to bottom) is a balance of subterfuge and double-speak. Is the LCBO multi headed like Hydra? One Department sources without discipline and another Department is charged with getting rid of the stuff. Another is a Collection Agency for the Government. Each time I enter an outlet full of bottles staring back I'm reminded of a Florida everglade with 'gator eyes staring from the reeds. Wine is in rigid packaging often camouflaged by heavy, darkened glass and decorative labels, medals all aglow. Is it coincidental that when I ask for recommendations we head for the higher priced racks? 

Unless I take precautions I know most of what I'm about to purchase is plonk. We've lived with the system so long it's not going to change. Each Ontario Premier ignores public feedback -  but how does one disassemble a bureaucracy perpetuated from an archaic era and there's no Heracles around?

My opinion, Ww

THE LINEUP:  (reds, whites, rosés and bubblies)
  • BenMarco Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, 92-2  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina, #232637  $18.95
  • Pasqua Passimento Rosso IGT 2013, 89-2  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #141952  $13.95 
  • Velletri Terrae de Volsci Riserva DOP 2009, 88-1  --  G,  Lazio, Italy, #175141  $14.85
  • Dominio del Plata Crios Limited Edition Red Blend 2013, 88-1  --  V,  Mendoza, Argentina, #366146  $14.95
  • Catena Zapata Family Malbec 2013,  88-1  --  V, Mendoza, Argentina,  #478727 $17.95*  
  • Torres Cordillera de Los Andes Carignan 2010, 87a-1  --  V,  Maule Valley, Chile,  #389692  $16.00*
  • Chapillon Siendra 2011,  83  --  V, Calatayud, Spain, #417675 $14.95   
  • Celler Cercavins Lo Virol 2014, 82  --  V, Costers del Segre, Spain, #425702 $14.95

  • l'Arjolle Sauvignon Blanc-Viognier 2014, 90-2  --  G, Thongue, France, #348904  $12.15
  • Cave Spring Riesling 2013 VQA Niagara Penninsula, 82  --  G,  Jordan, Ontario, #234583  $14.95
  • Beringer Founders' Estate Pinot Grigio, 81  -- G, California, USA, #045641 $16.95
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier 2015, 80  --  G, Chile, #064287  $9.95 
  • J.P. Chenet Chardonnay Reserve Pays d'Doc 2014, 80  --  G, France,  #255885 $11.95* 
  • Cono Sur Reserva Chardonnay 2014,  79  --  G, Casablanca Valley, Chile, #270066 $12.95

Sheridan Creek at Jack Darling Memorial Park, May '12
  • Château Val Joanis Tradition Rosé 2014, 87-1  --  V,  Rhône, France, #707281  $15.95

  •  Aurora Pinot Noir Espumante Natural Brut Procedencias NV, 90-2  --  V, Brazil, #412536  $15.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar,
NR - Not Recommended)


J.P. CHENET CHARDONNAY RESERVE PAYS d'DOC 2014,  Pays d'Doc, France,  13.0%  D  8g/L,  #255885 $11.95*  (Tasted September 17, 2015)

A General listing. *Price reduced from $12.95 until August 16, 2015.  My notes: This has a strained lemon juice colour of a light-bodied, faux chardonnay. A swirl lays a thin film that quickly separates leaving only a few nodules on the bowl. A fresh crab apple scent promises a refreshing sip - refreshing? yes... appealing? no...  As the fruit fades an ascetic taste pushes forward then softens to shallow cardboard. Pair with white fish, grilled or roasted on a bed of spinach orzo and zucchini slices.  80NR

CONO SUR RESERVA CHARDONNAY 2014, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 13.5%  XD 6g/L, #270066 $12.95  (Tasted September 28, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A pale yellow colour with a delicate scent of vanilla tainted kiwi, slightly perfumed as a sniffer. Serve chilled. A thin film with krinkly rim falls quickly leaving a lacy veil while the first sip has a stronger presence - crabapple sharp with a modest roundness that drops off quickly becoming warm in the throat and bland on the palate. Needs support from a buffet of soft cheeses and cold meats, crab or lobster pieces. An entrée of white fish and shellfish would work. 79 NR

CONO SUR BICICLETA VIOGNIER 2015, Chile, 13.5%  XD  4g/L,  #064287  $9.95  (Tasted September 14, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A Carbon Neutral Delivered product.A mid yellow with a thin film receding with a delicate rim. The nose has a tart lemon punch that quickly wakens the taste buds - on the verge of bitterness. Personally a lack of varietal aroma and the strength of acid disqualifies this as a sipper. Possibly from young vines and still young in the bottle. Serve well chilled with fried/roasted chicken, Rainbow Trout with spinach & Parmesan risotto. Behind the tart lemon and possible pear note there is a slight silk. The finish carries an acid seam then ends chalk dry. Cellar several years and watch for possible change - not optimistic. 80NR

CATENA ZAPATA FAMILY MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  D  5g/L, #478727 $17.95*  (Tasted September 12, 2015)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2015. Price reduced from $19.95 until July 19, 2015.  My notes: A swirl spreads a viscous film hanging long tears in columns like the falling embers of a sky display on a long weekend. A dense colour hiding the smooth front for a blackberry scent masked by warmth and extra dry taste of sun dried berries. A long soft finish partially fruit driven at the start then fading to a surface berry. Have with anything beefy or sip solo on a cool evening patio. Two years young with some years to go.  88

TORRES CORDILLERA de LOS ANDES CARIGNAN 2010,  Maule Valley, Chile,  14.0%  XD  8g/L,  #389692  $16.00*  (Tasted September 14, 2015)

Released by Vintages on November 22, 2014.  Price reduced from $19.95 - perhaps past peak?  My notes: An eco- unfriendly bottle (~1.5lbs) for a wine with a dense purple tinged ruby colour. A slight nose of crushed raspberries, red cherries, a mellow earthiness and a spicy edged for brightness. The film is well seated dropping long fast legs and there's a balance of acid, warm fruit and thick tannin offering enough to think about from the first sip. The warmth and tannin carries through to a long finish. Aerating brings out the nose and softens the acid and is recommended. A rough table red to serve with hamburgers, tomato chorizo pasta or a rich lamb shank. 87a   

CHAPILLON SIENDRA 2011, Calatayud, Spain, 14.5% XD 7g/L, #417675 $14.95  (Tasted September 18, 2015)

Released by Vintages on July 11, 2015. A blend of Garnacha (80%), Syrah (7%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%) and Merlot (6%).  My notes:  A deep dense ruby in the glass. There's a subtle scent of woody blackcurrant blended with red currant bringing a slight bright tang. A sip has a fine tannin basis as an extra dry layer predominating modest fruit going into a long flat finish. A swirl spreads a thin film with a fragmenting rim flowing several fast legs. A sipper if you like DRY. For me, a meal red to match grilled sirloin, T-bone or prime rib and past cellaring. 83

CHÂTEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2014,  Rhône, France, 13.0% XD  4g/L,  #707281  $15.95  (Tasted September 5, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August 8, 2015. Rated 92 of 100 by Beppi Crosariol  in his newsletter August 14, 2015.  My notes: A pale powder puff peach with a delicate fuzzy floral nose. The film has substance leaving a fragmenting layer followed by a veil of fast legs vanishing into a few nodules. A bright tartness contrasts with its delicacy while adding a dusting of chalk. Give ten minutes to develop a smooth texture with some depth as the finish grows then fades. An extra dry rosé to pair with grilled white fish, tilapia, shellfish or to sip with soft cheeses. We'll try with grilled pickerel, linguini and a cherry tomato/caper sauce. A delicate drink now. 87
L'ARJOLLE SAUVIGNON BLANC-VIOGNIER 2014, Thongue, France, 12.0% D 10g/L, #348904  $12.15  (Tasted September 11, 2015)

A General listing. Rated 88 of 100 by Beppi Crosariol  in his newsletter on August 14, 2015. My notes: The 2013 vintage was tasted in January this year and rated 89 with a Value of 2 (buy multiples). The 2014's colour is a shining yellow, crisp and clear. A swirl lays a modest film to drop in unison from a thin rim along with a few tears. A soft first sip has the crispness of tart apple and the sweet of a yellow plum. The nose has an aroma of plums carried into a long luscious finish against a veil of impartial wax. An enjoyable sipper and a competent complement with many versions of grilled, fried, oven baked, saucy chicken. Buy a case! (make sure it's 2014)  90

DOMINIO DEL PLATA CRIOS LIMITED EDITION RED BLEND 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.5%  D  7g/L, #366146  $14.95  (Tasted September 11, 2015) 

Release by Vintages on July 11, 2015.  My notes: Produced by Susana Balboa - a blend of Malbec, Bonarda, Tannat plus 'dash of' Syrah. A royal purple tinge to a deep ruby a firm swirl showing its glow. The film sticks then runs a dozen fast legs from a well endowed rim. The nose is evident but too polite, a soft spice and faint cherry/blackberry showing. Sharp but soft with a warm swallow provides some entertainment as a sipper. The bite starts a long dry finish. Have with anything beefy, or a saucy lamb shank. This is an economical house red for before or during. Cellar a few to see where it goes. 88

BENMARCO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 14.0%  XD  7g/L, #232637  $18.95  (Tasted September 16, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August 8, 2015.  My notes: A product of Susana Balboa - unfined and unfiltered.    The primary colour is deep ruby with tones of earth and plum. Shows a tight film that sets a full rim shedding columns of slow tears. A sniff reveals a well balanced blueberry/black current and slight raspberry aroma, smoothly penetrating going into a long warm, dry finish. As a sipper the warmth pulls everything together into an appealing swallow. A complement with anything beefy, a roast leg of lamb or a pulled pork dish. Has a few more years. 92

CAVE SPRING RIESLING 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula,  Jordan, Ontario,  11.0%  D  17g/L,  #234583  $14.95  (Tasted September 6, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A VQA wine.  The 2007 was tasted September 2008 with an 87 rating. Five years later the 2013 retains a pale shade of blond and casts a thin film that rapidly fragments into a few nodules on the glass. An aroma of a green apple and a first sip chilled to 12oC having a dry just perceptible citrus and sweet burst of melon flavour with some depth but not enough to satisfy ie. a light bodied white with a take it or leave it attitude. Have with soft cheeses, hummus or tuna fish on white bread appies. Not for cellaring - a drink now.  82

AURORA PINOT NOIR ESPUMANTE NATURAL BRUT PROCEDENCIAS, Brazil, 12.0%  D  12g/L, #412536  $15.95  (Tasted September 22, 2015)

A Vintages release on June 27, 2015. From the Serra Gaucha region.  My notes:  This could be the first wine from Brazil I've tasted - at least there's no memory of one. The colour is a rich lemon showing off through a burst then a continued spritz of fine bubbles on pouring. Lemon zest softened with a touch of banana, lively in scent and fruit borne out by the first sip. Leaves the palate with a fine chalk more noticeable as the fruit and flavours fade into a soft finish. Worth stocking up for a party of friends or special nuptials. Sip by itself, with crisp bacon strips or serve well chilled as an aperitif stimulating conversation as well appetite. At this price cellar several.  90-2

CELLER CERCAVINS LO VIROL 2014, Costers del Segre, Spain, 14.0%  D  4g/L, #425702 $14.95  (Tasted September 2, 2015)

Released by Vintages on August, 2015. A Merlot blend.  My notes:  A blackened dusty dark plum shade in the glass and a subtle blackberry aroma - prompting me to aerate - but not yet.  The first sip is warm and extra dry showing a thin tannin on a flat taste of berry. A swirl lays a thin film quick to drop legs flowing to leave a lacy rim. Sip if you prefer an astringent going on bitter red with a smooth finish. A drink now to pair with well seasoned meat dishes. No change when aerated. 81NR

BERINGER FOUNDERS' ESTATE PINOT GRIGIO, California, USA, 13.0% D 7g/L, #045641 $16.95  (Tasted
September 30, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  A pale green tinged platinum blond with a light apple pear nose, delicately but oddly perfumed. The first sip, well chilled, is tart and dry confirming the nose. Better served with a buffet of treats, cheeses and crackers, asparagus wrapped with side bacon strips - or whitefish filets or shell fish. We had with scallops with linguine in a lemon/vodka sauce. Flavours fade going into an extra dry,  tart finish better masked with nibbles. A drink now. 81NR

VELLETRI TERRAE DI VOLSCI RISERVA DOP 2009, Lazio, Italy, 13.5% XD  5g/L, #175141  $14.85  (Tasted September 6, 2015)

A General listing. A blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cesanese.  My notes:  The film lays evenly and stays accumulating volume then draining invisibly. The nose is a cherry soaked smoky cedar, pleasing to sniff, while the colour is a deep ruby adding visual interest. On the light side of medium bodied with full tannins covering bright cherry berry flavours. The finish carries the smoke along with a taste of dried cherry skins and a touch of bitter. Needs a meal to be complete. Pair with pepperoni pizza and tomato pastas, chorizo included. A drink now - past peak? 88 

PASQUA PASSIMENTO ROSSO IGT 2013, Veneto, Italy, 14.0% D 16g/L, #141952  $13.95  (Tasted September 28, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  An attractive ruby shines on pouring and a clean cranberry aroma on a sniff. A swirl spreads a thin film quickly separating from the rim into a see through veil. Smooth textured, bright acid warm, light tannin starting from a sip and gradually filling the senses with an intense vanilla tainted cherry liqueur. Light bodied compensated by a long flavourful finish - a touch of sweet for lip smacking flexibility. May improve with cellaring a few more years - less intensity but broader profile. 89

Saturday, August 01, 2015

August 2015 Wines - 15 Tasted of 15

Peter's Orchid*

Nine of the reds** in this month's collection were selected from a list of 36 wines tasted by a local tasting group. I was curious to see how my taste buds reacted by comparison. 'Tasting', with respect to wines, is an individual and personal reaction to seeing, smelling, an ability to sense a range of flavours and, more nebulous, a wine's depth and breadth. This reaction is then expressed meaningfully, usually in text, so others can relate to the experience. A rating can be used to
Wild Globe Thistle
summarize an individual's experience or, as in this case, a group.

Of the 36 wines, I had previously blogged ten, two were no longer available, another fifteen were over $16 (my imposed limit). This leaves the nine purchased and listed below along with four more reds, a white and a rosé to make up August`s total. When the dust settles I`ll see if any conclusions can be drawn.

My rating, out of 100, will be shown for each of the 9 reds as well as the group's, out of 20.

*A hybrid/cross between Paphiopedilum rothschildianum and Paphiopedilum philippinensis.

Cheers, Ww 

PS: Click here for a video of James Suckling explaining his use of the 100 point Rating System.

THE LINEUP:  (reds**, reds, whites, rosés)
  1. Casa Castillo Monastrell 2012, 91-2  --  G, Jumilla, Spain, #165621  $14.95  (12.0)
  2. Trapiche Extravaganza Red Blend 2014, 89a-2  --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #360776  $15.95  (14.2)
  3. Leone de Castris Maiana Salice Salentino 2013,  88-1  --  G, Puglia, Italy, #717959  $14.95  (12.8) 
  4. KWV Roodeberg Red 2013, 87-1  --  G, Western Cape, South Africa, #007187  $12.65 (15.1)
  5. Alamos Malbec 2013, 86 --  G, Mendoza, Argentina, #295139  $14.95 (15.3)
  6. No. 99 Wayne Gretzky Estates Merlot 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, 86 -- G, Winona, Ontario, #063966  $15.95  (11.4)
  7. Vineland Cabernet Franc 2013, VQA Niagara Peninsula, 84  --  G, Winona, Ontario, #594127  $13.95 (13.5) 
  8. Domaine Boyar Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, 82  --  G, Thracian Lowlands, Bulgaria, #340851  $7.90*  (13.0) 
  9. The Wolftrap Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2014, 81  --  G,  Boekenhoutsloof, South Africa, #292557 $12.95  (11.6)

  • Sueno Tempranillo 2011, 87-1  --  V, Casa de Haro, Spain, #397133  $18.95
  • Lavau Côtes du Rhône Villages 2011, 83  --  G, Rhône, France, #421024  $12.90 
  • Cesari Adesso Merlot d'Italia 2014, 82a  --  G, Veneto, Italy, #572453  $7.95 

  • Anselmi San Vincenzo 2013, 86  --  V, Veneto, Italy, #948158  $14.95*
  • Fünf 5 Riesling NV, 85  --  G, Rhein, Germany, #175026  $10.40 

  • Konigschaffhauser Vulkanfelsen Pinot Noir Rosé Trocken 2014, 87-1  --  V,  Baden, Germany,  #168237   $13.95
(V - Vintages, G - General, O - Other, r-v  - Rating-Value, a - aerated, c - cellar,
NR - Not Recommended)


KWV ROODEBERG RED 2013, Western Cape, South Africa, 14.0% D 7g/L, #007187  $12.65  (Tasted August 4, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A charcoal hued ruby and a sniff reveals a burnt ember with a soft prune edge. The first sip has the welcoming bite of bright cranberry and background of soft prune. The film spreads evenly krinkling at the rim and fragmenting as it falls - a tilt shows long legs. The finish is extra dry with a bright acid and pleasing warmth. Overall there are some interesting changes as a sip leads into a long finish. Pair with beef or game: grilled, stewed or roasted. This could become smoother with five years or so cellaring. B50 C5 N12 F&F13 P2 T5 87

TRAPICHE  EXTRAVAGANZA RED BLEND 2014, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.0%  D  17g/L, #360776  $15.95  (Tasted August 31, 2015)

A General listing. A blend of Malbec, Bonarda and Syrah.  My notes: Each blending grape is shared on the first sip... smooth and full for Merlot, a thin cherry berry Bonardo and a Syrah spice for penetration and excitement - at least that's what I sense. The colour is a deep brooding ruby, delightful in candle light. A swirl brings long fast legs against a viscous backdrop and the finish is a sumptuous extra dry prune and plum warming the throat.  Several years in the cellar could soften the edges. We'll serve with Sweet-and-Sour Spareribs. B50 C5 N12 F&F15 P2 T5 89
VINELAND CABERNET FRANC 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Winona, Ontario, 12.5%  D  7g/L, #594127  $13.95  (Tasted August 3, 2015)

 A General listing.  My notes: A charcoal hued see-through ruby with a bright bell pepper, an indistinct raspberry and matchstick nose. Air thirty minutes before serving. A viscous film eventually drops long slow legs followed and combined with a veil of slow tears. A pronounced sharpness adds interest as a sipper leaving the palate dry with brambly berry remnants. Light-bodied with a strong character makes for pleasant sipping and flexible pairing. Not being accustomed to 'bell pepper' as a replacement for fruit it's not my choice for a sipper - it went well with a mild beef bourguignon.  B50 C5 N10 F&F14 P0 T5 84

DOMAINE BOYAR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, Thracian Lowlands, Bulgaria, 12.5%  D  7g/L, #340851  $7.90*  (Tasted August 7, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  Pouring 2 samples, one being aerated I found both had the same nose, a light black fruit aroma with a whiff of vanilla and a polite edge. The colour has a bright raspberry hue darkened by subtle charcoal and shows a moderate film with a fragmenting rim and long legs. Now the sips. The 1st stings the throat, dries the palate and tastes of a flat  berry fruit at the start and going into a long finish - not a sipper. The 2nd (aerated) has an acceptable sharpness with the same berry and dryness for a finish - except for the dryness, close to chalk, a marginal sipper if with nibbles.  Better to pair with meat & potatoes splashed with moderate to rich sauces. A drink now. B50 C5 N11 F&F12 P0 T4 82

LEONE DE CASTRIS MAIANA SALICE SALENTINO 2013, Puglia, Italy, 13.5%  D  13g/L, #717959  $14.95  (Tasted August 30, 2015)

Released by Vintages on May 2, 2015 and rated 90 by Natalie MacLean (February 2015).  My notes: Air thirty minutes. A deep black cherry with a viscosity that clings to the glass, runs long fast legs and leaves a lacy pattern with lots of nodules. When is a nose not a nose? When it's this red - a residual of bramble and softly sweet berries encouraging guests to the first sip - a light cherry, pleasantly bright, a light tannin and a smooth background. A house red, not to impress but easily sipped then married with cheesy pizza, a sultry stroganof or juicy prime rib. Cellaring a few years may fuse characteristics for a higher rating - I'd chance it!   B50 C5 N11 F&F15 P2 T5 88

CASA CASTILLO MONASTRELL (Mourvèdre)  2012, Jumilla, Spain, 14.5%  XD 5g/L, #165621  $14.95  (Tasted August 6, 2015)

Release date by Vintages not given.  My notes:  A rich ruby flowing long legs from a krinkly rim, attractive on pouring. The nose is bright filled with the soft ripeness of berries still showing some youthfulness - allow to develop in the glass. A sip fulfills the promise of soft and bright while increasing a pleasing depth - well balanced. Finishes warm with a light tannin, a reserved fruit and an anticipation of the next sip. A flexible sipper and a complement with anything beefy from pizzas to bourguignon. Could age well over several years. B50 C5 N13 F&F14 P4 T5 91

NO. 99 WAYNE GRETZKY ESTATES MERLOT 2013 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Winona, Ontario, 13.0%  D  6g/L, #063966  $15.95  (Tasted August 19, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes: The nose has the scent of smoky raspberries with a sharp edge. The colour is of crushed ripe berries. The rim fragments quickly as a thin film spreads evenly then starts a row of small tears that accumulate volume and drop slowly. The first sip dries the mouth while a flavour burst adds brightness. Although light in body it's silky and warm finishing light, long and retaining moderate flavours. A social sipper. Went well with Shepherds Pie and would complement most meat dishes, pizzas or burgers.  B50 C5 N12 F&F15 P0 T4 86

ALAMOS MALBEC 2013, Mendoza, Argentina, 13.5%  XD  5g/L, #295139  $14.95  (Tasted August 12, 2015)

A General listing. My notes: A vivid black cherry colour at the rim deepening to the bowl. Aromas of tangy blackberries, black cherries and distant vanilla. The film is firm initially running fast legs then slow tears as the full rim empties. There's a bright tang in the first sip, nicely warming with fruit flavours predominating. A warm finish carries the tang and fruit to provide a pleasing refresher in between sips or bites. Pair with anything beefy, saucy with sautéed mushrooms and onions and back ribs for sure. B50 C5 N12 F&F13 P1 T5 86

THE WOLFTRAP SYRAH MOURVÈDRE VIOGNIER 2014, Boekenhoutsloof, South Africa, 14.5%  D  6g/L, #292557 $12.95  (Tasted August 3, 2015)

A General listing and a blend of Syrah (82%) Mourvèdre (16%) and Viognier (2%). Price reduced from $13.95 until July 19th.  My notes:  A deep charcoal stained ruby meniscus that swirls a light film and recedes slowly leaving a fragmenting pattern. The nose is an earthy dark cherry noticeably acidic. The first sip is sharp with a burnt cherry/plum flavour then a long finish of drying tannins. Not a sipper - serve with herb scented sauces or spice rubbed meats. I wouldn't expect improvement if cellared. B50 C4 N11 F&F12 P0 T4 81

SUEÑO TEMPRANILLO 2011, Casa de Haro, Spain, 14.0% XD 7g/L, #397133  $18.95  (Tasted August 24, 2015)

Released by Vintages on January 24, 2015. Rated 91 by Neal Martin  (April 2013).  My notes:  A charcoal hued blackberry with a ruby shine. The film is moderate forming a thin rim slowly accumulating volume to show a ring of sagging tears. A combination of forest floor and crushed berries needing time to develop in the bowl. The first sip has substantial tang, tannin and warmth. The tang turns into a brightness that is carried through a long xdry finish, better partnered with a charcuterie of Italian meats and hard cheeses or pair with grilled meats and saucy roasts. Already four years in the bottle it may be passing its peak.  87

ANSELMI SAN VINCENZO 2013,  Veneto, Italy,  12.5%  D  15g/L, #948158  $14.95*  (Tasted August 25, 2015)

Released by Vintages on April 1, 2015. Price reduced from $16.95 until July 19, 2015.  My notes:  The colour of lime juice and a short nose of subdued lime zest is an appealing start. A thin film leaves a rim that drops a thin veil, krinkly at the top and fragmenting on the way down. The first sip has a refreshing tartness, a smooth texture, a dry mineral and a background taste of lemon pulp, indiscernible as fruit and forming a short finish. Keep chilled, for a summer day cooler or pair with grilled seafood or sliced chicken to add some contrast. Went well with chicken teriyaki. Overall not a value. 86   

KÖNIGSCHAFFHAUSER VULKANFELSEN PINOT NOIR ROSÉ TROCKEN 2014, Baden, Germany, 12.5%  D  11g/L, #168237   $13.95  (Tasted August 8, 2015)

A Vintages release on May 30, 2015.  My notes:  A festive salmon hue in the glass with a subtle peach fuzz aroma. A swirl lays a fine film quickly fragmenting at the rim then falling as a lacy curtain.  Serve chilled there's a mellow softness, a cleansing tang and a building nectarine flavour all carrying into a long finish. A thin chalky coating benefits if finger food is nearby - or have with seared shrimp, scallops or whitefish: cod, halibut or basa. Serve to summer patio company with a mixed fruit and cheese tray. A pleasing quaff now. 87

CESARI ADESSO MERLOT D'ITALIA 2014, Veneto, Italy, 12.0% D 11g/L,  #572453  $7.95  (Tasted August 20, 2015)

A General listing.  My notes:  The colour is a charcoal hued ruby and a swirl lays a thin film that immediately fragments finely at the rim then recedes uniformly. A berry aroma has a touch of sharpness balanced with an earthy pungency - suitable for sipping if aerated. The first sip shows a metallic accent to young berry flavours and enough tart tannins to dry out a thin and long finish. Pair with a buffet spread or serve as a house red for a sports night with spicy oily pizzas. A drink now. B50 C4 N11 F&F12 P0 T5 82a

LAVAU CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2011, Rhône, France, 13.5% XD xg/L, #421024  $12.90  (Tasted August 28, 2015)

A General listing.  Rated 87 of 100 by Beppi Crosariol in his newsletter August 14, 2015 My notes: The colour is a charcoal hued blackberry and a crushed blackberry aroma comes with a sniff of black pepper. A tilt runs long fast legs while a swirl lays a thin film that edges the rim with lace soon to show fragmented pattern on the glass.  Smooth and bright, warm and extra dry accompany woody berry tannin similar to south Italy reds. Nicely balanced and a sipper if you prefer rough. Have with Osso Buco, beef bouguignon or braised ribs. Not for cellar. 83  

Fünf 5 RIESLING NV, Rhein, Germany, 9.0%  MS  38g/L, #175026  $10.40  (Tasted August 21, 2015)

A General listing and made by H. Schmitt Soehne.  My notes: A pale lime green with a nose to match, a subtle lime essence. A swirl causes a thin film that leaves a rippled rim to fall down as a curtain on the glass. More subdued lime in the first sip, a pleasing sweetness and a dry succulence sustained over a long finish. Perfect as a patio sipper with a low enough alcohol to allow continued refreshment on a hot day. Try with grilled tilapia or Artic Char - better paired with slices of cantaloupe and/or green seedless grapes or thinly sliced prosciutto wrapped brie.  Enjoy as a drink now.  85  

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