Friday, May 25, 2012

Saturday May 26, 2012 - Vintages Release



I am using a 5-star rating system, which appears at the end of each review; here’s the key to the stars:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good … 3 = Average

Key:  Wine colour indicators - Red are red wines, Yellow are whites, etc.

The Skinny - a surprising amount of corked bottles during this tasting, upwards of a dozen bottles had this fault.
The Tasting - not sure who's doling out the 90's like water, but some of these 90+'s were far from it.  While some of the regular releases are way up there and should have been part of the promotion.  This release focuses on 90+ wines (90+) and Portugal (POR), so let's take a look ...

Argentina ...
La Posta 2009 Pizzella Family Vineyard Malbec ($15.95 - #166298) - juicy with chocolate notes; some spice and some floral also make an appearance. (*** 1/2+) - BB
Trivento 2007 Coleccion Fincas No. 2 Syrah ($16.95 - #269217) - mint, chocolate, white pepper, blackberry and black cherry. (*** 1/2+)

Australia ...
Tait 2009 The Ball Buster Red ($24.95 - #269472) - at 15.3% alcohol you expect real power here, but it enters the mouth with kid gloves and delivers the goods. (*** 1/2+)
Two Hands 2010 Angels' Share Shiraz ($27.95 - #009480) - peppered-chocolate-black fruit. (****)
Vasse Felix 2010 Chardonnay ($20.95 - #903617) - a good Aussie Chardonnay, hits all the right notes and keeps some fairly bright acidity in the process. (****) - 90+
Wakefield 2010 Merlot ($17.95 - #683201) - juicy, juicy, juicy with lots of chocolate appeal ... this is what Merlot means to many. (*** 1/2+)
Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.95 - #084996) - this just rocks - powerful, juicy yet with so much finesse: blackberry and chocolate rule the roost here; drink or hold, it's your choice, but this one is made for the long haul. (**** 1/2)

Canada ...
(British Columbia)
Mission Hill 2009 SLC Syrah ($37.95 - #068379) - smoky, blackberry with lots of pepper on the tongue, there is a nice balance between the fruit and acidity here. (****)
(Ontario)
Cave Spring 2008 CSV Riesling ($29.95 - #566026) - 90+
Malivoire 2010 Pinot Gris ($19.95 - #591305)

Chile ...
Gamma 2008 Reserva Privada Cabernet / Merlot ($16.95 - #$269191) - lots of minty goodness that Chile is known for, typical but tasty. (*** 1/2+) - BB
Lomas del Valle 2010 Pinot Noir ($16.95 - #272625) - high alcohol, juicy and quite impressive: strawberry, spice, cinnamon, cherry - the acidity is spot on and so is the bite from the spice. (****)

France ...
(Alsace)
Pierre Sparr Brut Rose Cremand D'Alsace ($17.95 - #039016) - creamy strawberry and raspberry notes with good acidity on the finish making this one clean and tasty. (*** 1/2+)
(Beaujolais)
Mommessin 2010 Les Griottes Morgon ($17.95 - #276402) - a Gamay with class: mineral and a tad bitter but with good fruit. (*** 1/2) - 90+
(Bordeaux)
Chateau Tire Pe La Cote 2008 ($25.00 - #137364) - shows some power upfront, nice mid-palate and a robust finish. (*** 1/2+)
Chateau Vignot 2010 Blanc ($13.95 - #108522) - lots of grapefruit notes to be excited about. (*** 1/2)
(Burgundy)
Domaine Rebourgeon-Mure Pommard 2009 ($43.95 - #091116) - violets and earthy with fine, firm tannins. (*** 1/2+)
Domaine Raphael Sallet 2009 Macon Uchizy ($15.95 - #130450) - fresh, crisp and minerally good mouthfeel with balancing acidity. (*** 1/2)
William Fevre 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Saint-Bris ($16.95 - #626523) - this one shows grapefruit but also some other interesting flavours, but mainly the whole grapefruit: skins, pith and pulp. (****)
(Midi)
Mas D'Auzieres Sympathie Pour les Stones 2009 ($19.95 - #277046) - floral, black cherry, plum, chocolate, juicy with fruit sweetness; shows good now and has potential for the future. (****+)
(Rhone)
Delas Freres Saint-Esprit Cotes du Rhone Rose 2011 ($12.95 - #224964) - hint of cherry-raspberry on the nose with cherry on the palate, cleansing amount of acidity on the finish. (*** 1/2)

Germany ...
CH Berres 2008 Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Kabinett ($19.95 - #207274) - nice minerality, peach pit though a dense feeling in the mouth. (****) - 90+

Greece ...
Kir-Yianni 2011 Akakies Rose ($11.95 - #071050) - strawberry throughout, a real vibrant pink colour lures the eyes, this is a tasty little treat. (*** 1/2)

Italy ...
(Friuli)
Pighin 2011 Pinot Grigio ($15.95 - #987545) - there's a sweet note to this one, it bridges the gap between the Italian style and the new world ripe white fruit style, call it lemony-pears. (*** 1/2)
(Piedmont)
Marenco Strev 2011 Moscato D'Asti ($14.95 - #276600) - priced almost right for this province, all the typical signs of Moscato are here. (*** 1/2)
(Sicily)
Baglio di Pianetto 2009 Nero D'Avola ($14.95 - #207423) - sweet blackberry, plum, milk chocolate, supple and sexy with spice and tannins for a backbone. (*** 1/2+)
(Tuscany)
Castello di Ama 2007 Chianti Classico ($33.95 - #039768) - rustic leathery notes yet with fruit and earthy character, a real dichotomy of flavours that plays wonderful havoc in the mouth. (****) - 90+
Vicciomaggio Agostino Petri Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 ($19.95 - #993360) - supple dark fruit, a wine ready to drink now and over the next 5-7 years. (****) - 90+

New Zealand ...
Astrolabe 2009 Voyage Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #179200) - cigar, cherry, spice, shows finesse on the finish. (****)
Momo 2010 Chardonnay ($17.95 - #247247) - nice creaminess here, plenty of fruit and acid; vanilla, peach, pear, mac apple, lots to enjoy. (****)

Portugal ...
Azul Portugal Reserva 2007 ($15.95 - #276238) - sweet blackberry and black tea notes with hint of cigar and spice. (*** 1/2) - POR
Adega Deu la Deu 2010 Alvarinho Vinho Verde ($19.95 - #040642) - the sweetness of apple and some lemon notes, this one shows a depth and finesse with vibrant acidity that pulls in all together (****) - 90+
Cabriz 2008 Reserva ($15.95 - #021410) - rich of chocolate, dark fruited and spicy. (*** 1/2) - POR
Monte Vilar Reserva 2008 ($15.95 - #276105) - think red berries soaked in cocoa, smoke and spice. (****) - POR
Quinta de Ventozelo 2007 LBV Port ($18.95 - #274688) - good acid and big fruit, dark and delicious. (****) - POR
Quinta do Infantado 2009 Red ($21.95 - #095158) - lovely rich dark fruit, blackberry, cassis, plum, smoky chocolate and good length of finish. (****+)

South Africa ...
Sequillo Cellars 2009 Red ($29.95 - #277996) - pretty label, interesting wine with some elegance and depth; pepper and spice finsih 'er off; not your ordinary South African wine here. (*** 1/2+) - 90+

Spain ...
Lealtanza 2005 Reserva ($19.95 - #276097) - soft and juicy blackberry plus this one has a real backbone to it too, for future drinking. (*** 1/2+) - 90+

United States ...
(California)
Belle Glos 2010 Meiomi Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #130138) - still one of my fav Cali-Pinots, juicy black cherry with some elegant spice, a real charmer. (****+)
La Crema 2010 Pinot Noir ($29.95 - #719435) - juice red berries, oak and spice with hints of strawberry throughout ... also available in 375ml. (****)
Liberty School 2001 Rose ($16.695 - #276667) - a rose made from Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache, and it shows the weight of those grapes in the mouth. (*** 1/2)
Louis M. Martini 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.95 - #232371) - supple, juicy with hints of pepper on the finish, black fruit dominates. (****) - 90+
Ridge 2009 Lytton Springs ($46.95 - #982413) - very good fruit with some real backbone, tasty and quaffable. (****+) - 90+
(Oregon)
Boedecker Athena Pinot Noir 2008 ($36.95 - #283986) - loveliness of fruit and spice. (****+) - 90+
(Washington)
Chateau Smith 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.95 - #280107) - cherries and chocolate. (*** 1/2+)


If You Can Afford It ... wines that deliver even for their price point
Atlas Peak 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($99.95 - #229856) - depth of fruit and flavour (****)
Kistler 2010 Les Noisetiers Chardonnay ($74.95 - #251223) - a Cali-Chard lovers Chard (*** 1/2+)
Rubicon Estate 2008 Cask Cabernet Sauvignon ($74.95 - #029553) - real depth of character (****) - 90+

What I'll Be Lining Up For ...
Belle Glos 2010 Meiomi Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #130138) - USA
Lomas del Valle 2010 Pinot Noir ($16.95 - #272625) - Chile
Wynns Coonawarra Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.95 - #084996) - Australia
Mas D'Auzieres Sympathie Pour les Stones 2009 ($19.95 - #277046) - France


Happy Shopping


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Vintages Shop Online May 17, 2012 Release

Here are my favourites of the 8 wines tasted for this release ... no notes are given, just the star rating; although the top rated wine will have a note:

Three-and-a-Half Star Wines (*** ½) …
Tyrrell's 2008 Rufus Stone Cabernet Sauvignon/Malbec ($24.00 - #0237909) - Australia
Chateau Haut-Bergey 2008 ($45.00 - #0136648) - Bordeaux, France

Three-and-a-Half-Plus Star Wines (*** ½+) …
Chateau la Croix de Gay 2008 ($39.00 - #45.00) – Bordeaux, France

Four Star Wines (****) …
Tyrrell's 2004 Vat 1 Hunter Semillon ($49.00 - #0930495) – Australia
David Bynum 2007 Bynum Vineyard Pinot Noir ($34.95 - #0202580) – California, USA
Chateau Latour a Pomerol 2008 ($89.00 - #0133876) – Bordeaux, France

Four-Plus Star Wines (****+) …
Tables Creek 2008 Esprit de Beaucastel ($NA - #NA) – California, USA

Four-and-a-Half Star Wines (**** ½) …
Casanova di Neri Pietradonice 2007 ($79.00 - #0103085) – Tuscany, Italy ... rich chocolate, strawberry and smoky notes - very attractive on the palate, succulent and yet yet with Italian restraint; big 14.5% alcohol


Monday, May 7, 2012

Saturday May 12, 2012 - Vintages Release Report


I am using a 5-star rating system, which appears at the end of each review; here’s the key to the stars:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good … 3 = Average

Key:  Wine colour indicators - Red are red wines, Yellow are whites, etc.

This time you will find wines from California (CALI) and Israel (ISR) on the Vintages menu, along with an assortment of Ros├ęs (ROSE) ...

Argentina ...
2006 Los Andes
Cuvelier 2006 Los Andes Grand Vin ($39.95 - #149831) ... smooth with blueberry / blackberry, cigar, black cherry, chocolate; a simple label on a more than simple wine. (****)
Finca Flichman 2009 Expresiones Reserve Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.95 - #507707) ... decently dark fruited: blackberry, blueberry and cocoa. (*** 1/2)
Graffigna 2008 Grand Reserve Malbec ($16.95 - #162149) ... smooth, ripe black fruit with a hint of spiced plum. (*** 1/2)
Kaiken 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($14.95  - #143248) ... always a good buy; lots of fruit; real easy drinking red. (*** 1/2+) - Best Buy

Australia ...
Yalumba Museum Reserve Muscat ($24.95 - #963488) ... raisin and pecan pie notes, lovely spice with great grip on the finish and spice that screams across the tongue. (**** 1/2)
Heartland 2009 Stickleback Red ($14.95 - #116574) ... good value wine that's BBQ ready; a fruit bomb party pleaser. (*** 1/2+) - Best Buy
Mitolo 2011 Jester Giacomo Sangiovese Rose ($18.95 - #278101) ... a rosee with spice and bite, surprising and well-balanced with a fruity finish. (*** 1/2) - ROSE
Thorn-Clarke Shotfire
Thorn-Clarke 2008 Shotfire Quartage ($22.95 - #0024091) ... can't argue with this dark fruited number along with white pepper, bittersweet cocoa; plum and spiced just right on the finish. (****+)
Wallace by Ben Glaetzer 2009 Shiraz/Grenache ($28.95 - #0047605) ... this bruiser is always a favourite with its berry, tobacco, chocolate, plum and pepper, plus many more surprises. (**** 1/2)
Wolf Blass 2008 Gold Label Shiraz ($28.95 - #590273) ... well balanced with enough black fruit, pepper and spice. (****+)

Austria ...
Johanneshof Reinisch Pinot Noir ($16.95 - #278929) ... quite the earthy, strawberry number. (*** 1/2+)

Canada ...
(Ontario)
Angels Gate 2010 Moutainview Chardonnay ($18.95 - #116384) ... *** 1/2
Featherstone 2011 Rose ($14.95 - #117861) ... *** 1/2+
Fielding Estate 2011 Rose ($15.95 - #0053421) ... *** 1/2
Megalomaniac 2011 Pink Slip Pinot Noir Rose ($17.95 - #0085126) ... *** 1/2+

Chile ...
Errazuriz 2010 Wild Ferment Chardonnay ($17.95 - #738393) ... dried white fruit: apple, pear lush on the palate with pineapple and mango with slight lime pith and vanilla notes. (*** 1/2+)
Montes Alpha Carmenere 2009 ($19.95 - #143230) ... burnt blueberries and blackberries with a mint and dark chocolate finish. (*** 1/2)

France ...
(Beaujolais)
Georges DuBoeuf 2010 Domaine Mont Chavy Morgon ($17.95 - #276477) ... black cherry goodness with a little earthy on the palate with a mineral seam and nice tannins. (****)
(Burgundy)
Domaine Herve Azo Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru 2010 ($27.95 - #276451) ... beauty nose and delightful palate; delicate and delicious (****)
Louis Bouillot Perle D'Aurore Brut Rose Cremant de Bourgogne ($18.95 - #0048793) ... raspberry with crisp hints of lemon. (*** 1/2) - Best Buy
(Loire)
Monmousseau Vouvray
Monmousseau 2010 Vouvray ($14.95 - #271940) ... quite fruit driven with enough mineral to keep it from being just sweet to chalky and lovely. (****+)
Roger & Didier2010 Raimbault Sancerre ($22.95 - #0082255) ... light grass nose that follows on the palate with hints of grapefruit pith. (*** 1/2)
(Rhone)
Chateau D'Aqueria Tavel Rose 2011  ($18.95 - #319368) ... dry yet approachable, sour cherry and raspberry dominate. (*** 1/2) - ROSE
Mas des Bressades 2011 Cuvee Tradition Rose ($13.95 - #950576) ... candied strawberry medium dry finish. (*** 1/2) - ROSE

Germany ...
Geil Bechtheimer 2011 Rosengarten Riesling Kabinett ($14.95 - #994764) ... peach / apple with good minerality in the form of talc on the finish. (*** 1/2)

Israel ...
Clos de Gat 2007 Ayalon Valley ($47.95 - #280339) ... nice finesse and flavour, big on fruit and flavour. (*** 1/2+) - ISR
Clos de Gat 2009 Chardonnay ($47.95 - #280321) ... no doubt about this being Chardonnay; very much in the California style, right down to the price; nicely spiced on a finish that lingers. (*** 1/2+) - ISR
Gamla 2011 Moscato KPM ($15.95  - #280297) ... peach, pineapple, nicely sweet; tasty as hell. (****) - ISR
Gamla 2010 Reserve Merlot KPM ($24.95 - #280289) ... soft, fruity with raspberry notes dominating. (*** 1/2) - ISR
Shiloh Shor 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon KP ($32.95 - #282947) ... enough blackberry and chocolate to make it interesting; nice pepper and spice on the finish. (*** 1/2+) - ISR

Italy ...
(Puglia)
Poderi Angelini Primitivo di Manduria 2008 ($17.95 - #268136) ... if you like your Zinfandel well spiced this is your wine. (*** 1/2)
(Tuscany)
Bellaria Assunto Brunello di Montalcino 2006 ($36.95 - #206854) ... lots of dried cherry and strawberry; nice smoothness across the palate with good acid and spice. (*** 1/2)
San Fabiano Calcinaia Chianti Classico 2008 ($19.95 - #0023408) ... mixes the sweet with the rustic into a simple pleasure wine; watch for biting tannins on the finish. (*** 1/2)
Carpineto 2011 Rosato ($12.95 - #699934) ... red berries on the nose; quite a dry palate and food friendly. (*** 1/2) - ROSE
(Veneto)
Arduini 2009 Ripasso Valpolicella Classico Superiore ($18.95 - #267898) ... one of the better Ripasso's that has come out thru Vintages in a while; great summer BBQ wine. (****)

Mount Riley Pinot
New Zealand ...
Mount Riley 2009 Seventeen Valley Pinot Noir ($33.95 - #0694703) ... earthy, black cherry, raspberry with a hint of mushroom and fine tannins. (****+)

Portugal ...
Quinta do Infantado Ruby Port ($15.95 - #979898) ... one of my favourite Ruby's year after year, lots of lovely sweet cherry notes. (****)

Spain ...
Chapillon 2007 Cuvee Remy ($18.95 - #271114) ... chocolate, black cherry, mineral and herbal on the finish. (*** 1/2+)
Heredad de Baroja 2001 Gran Reserva ($21.95 - #276113) ... keep in mind it's 11 years old and still retains some nice freshness on the palate along with some dried notes and big acidity. (*** 1/2+)
Juan Gil 2010 White Label de Cepas Viejas Monastrell ($12.95 - #0013656) ... fruit driven red with class. (****) - Best Buy
Pinyolet 2010 Garnacha ($16.95 - #271791) ... good fruit and mocha notes with just a touch of well-meaning spice. (*** 1/2)

United States ...
(California)
Arrowood 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.95 - #985408) ... juicy with lots of red fruit. (****) - CALI
Gallo Frei Ranch
Gallo Family 2008 Frei Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($38.95 - #555607) ... lovely mouthfeel with a great mocha sensation; this one is bloody good. (**** 1/2) - CALI
Hartley Ostini 2009 Hitching Post Cork Dancer Pinot Noir ($34.95 - #179812) ... all red fruit with a little herbal character; cinnamon and strawberry with a nice bite on the finish. (****) - CALI
Kendall-Jackson 2010 Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay ($19.95 - #369686) ... easy drinking, sippable Chardonnay. (***+) - CALI
McManis Family Vineyards 2009 Syrah ($18.95 - #658104) ... big hit with its black cherry and plum, a touch of vanilla and smokiness. (*** 1/2+)
Mer Soleil 2010 Silver Unoaked Chardonnay ($29.95 - #220343)  ... jug ceramic style bottle; has a nice fruit and leesy finish. (*** 1/2) - CALI
Peachy Canyon 2008 Westside Zinfandel ($25.95 - #930644) ... cherry cola, mocha-chocolate; a good Zin, exactly what it should be. (****) - CALI
Seghesio 2010 Sonoma Zinfandel ($29.95 - #942151) ... a nice one for Zin fans. (*** 1/2+) - CALI
Stags' Leap Winery 2010 Chardonnay ($34.95 - #655381) - fruit driven white with apple, peach, some baked apple, vanilla and nice mouth-feel, touch of the exotically tropical in here too. (*** 1/2+) - CALI
Talbott 2009 Logan Estate Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay ($26.95 - #716290) ... brazenly Chardonnay with lots of barrel spice and vanilla but also with some amazingly rich fruit with real biting acidity. (****+) - CALI
(Oregon)
Stoller SV Estate Pinot Noir 2007 ($43.95 - #272633) ... sweet black cherry leads the charge; nice acidity and touch of coffee on the peppered finish. (****)

If You Can Afford It ... expensive but worth it
Far Niente Estate 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($144.95 - #539098) ... creamy chocolate with black fruit. (****+) - CALI
Sequoia Grove 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon ($54.95 - #0060020) ... nicely balanced. (****+) - CALI
Shafer 2008 One Point Five Cabenet Sauvignon ($84.95 - #0045476) ... dark fruit, nice spice. (****) - CALI

What I'll Be Lining Up For ... May 12, 2012
Thorn-Clarke 2008 Shotfire Quartage ($22.95 - #0024091) - Australia
Wallace By Ben Glaetzer 2009 Shiraz/Grenache ($28.95 - #0047605) - Australia
Gallo Family 2008 Frei Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($38.95 - #555607) - USA

Happy Shopping


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Vintages Shop Online May 03, 2012 Release

Here are my favourites of the 12 wines tasted for this release ... no notes are given, just the star rating; although the top rated wine will have a note:

Three-and-a-Half Star Wines (*** ½) …
Chateau Belle-Vue 2008 ($28.00 - #187807) - Bordeaux, France
Chateau Grand Corbin-Despagne 2008 ($39.00 - #187807) - Bordeaux, France

Three-and-a-Half-Plus Star Wines (*** ½+) …
Blue Mountain Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay ($29.95 - #238188) – British Columbia, Canada
Thirty Bench 2009 Small Lot Chardonnay ($30.00 - #203703) - Ontario, Canada - click on wine for full review

Four Star Wines (****) …
Tahbilk 2005 Eric Stevens Purbrick Shiraz ($59.00 - #237461) – Australia
Chateau Larcis Ducasse 2008 ($99.00 - #137505) - Bordeaux, France

Four-Plus Star Wines (****+) …
Chateau Gazin 2008 ($85.00 - #580464) – Bordeaux, France
Poggio Antico 2006 Madre ($55.00 - #0025577) - Tuscany, Italy
Brigaldara 2007 Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico ($25.00 - #251207) - Veneto, Italy ... sweetness of character, concentrated plum, jammy cherry-strawberry notes with a hint of spice.