Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August 30th recommendations and comments on BC wine prices

Had a chance to try some Argentinians from this release while in BC. Both are terrific bargains after seeing the BC prices. Ahh, but when you add in the air quality and the views from Long Beach near Tofino – maybe the price discrepancy isn’t so great after all!
CONDE DE VALDEMAR RESERVA 2001TASTING NOTE: Harmonious and well-balanced, this red delivers black cherry, cola and tobacco flavors with well-integrated tannins and a spicy finish. Not showy, but shows typicity and breed. Drink now through 2015. Score - 90. (Thomas Matthews, www.winespectator.com, June 30, 2006) $22.95
PALACIOS REMONDO LA VENDIMIA 2006TASTING NOTE: Exotic, reflective strawberry and tea notes open this lighter-bodied, not-so-serious Rioja. Next in line is a mouthfilling blend of blackberry and cassis, but with ample acidity so that it avoids any weighty pitfalls. Finishes soft, with a swath of oaky vanilla flavor. Drink this 50/50 blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha now and over the next 18 months. Score - 88. (Michael Schachner, Wine Enthusiast, June 1, 2008) $16.95
TORRES SALMOS 2005TASTING NOTE: The 2005 Salmos is composed of Garnacha, Syrah, Carinena, and Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 9 months in new French oak. Dark crimson-colored, it offers up an aromatic array of slate, garrigue, lavender, cedar, black cherry, and blueberry. Full-bodied, sweetly-fruited, with excellent depth and breadth, this outstanding Priorat will provide much pleasure over the next 8-10 years. Score - 91. (Jay Miller, www.erobertparker.com, Feb. 2008) $32.95
VIÑA VILANO CRIANZA 2004. The 2004 vintage has won several Gold Medals at international competitions around the world, including the 2006 Mondial de Bruxelles. This wine marks the 50th anniversary for this great winery that is little known outside of Spain. The reason it's little known? Until very recently, nearly all of what they produced had been purchased by local residents. Discover what the Spanish have known for years by trying a bottle of this award-winning wine, especially with grilled steaks. $20.95
PIEDRA AZUL 2005TASTING NOTE: The 2005 Azul is an outstanding value, one of the best in my Spanish tastings. Made from 100% Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) and aged in stainless steel, this dark ruby-colored wine offers a peppery, spicy, fruity nose, lots of crunchy red fruit flavors, and ripe tannins leading to a surprisingly long, pure finish. Drink this easygoing effort over the next 1-3 years. Score - 90. (Jay Miller, www.erobertparker.com, Feb. 2007) $15.95
CRASTO 2006 Quinta Do Crasto’s reserve bottling of this wine scored 95 points in the Wine Spectator, this is a great non reserva bottling.
Quinta do Crasto (quinta means estate winery/farm) has revolutionized Douro winemaking. From a traditional blend of touriga nacional, tinto roriz, touriga franca and the hearty tinto barroca comes a delicious, vibrant red with pitch perfect cherry fruit embellished by caraway, cedar, leather and fennel notes. Medium weight, juicy and elegant with excellent length. Drink now or age five years. Score - 91. (David Lawrason, www.torontolife.com, Sept. 2008) $15.00
QUINTA DA FONTE DO OURO RESERVA 2005DOC Dão Recommended by one of my favourite LCBO vintages Consultants, Quinta da Fonte do Ouro is an exciting, up-and-coming Dão house producing balanced, flavourful wines such asthis blend of Jaen, Aragónês, Trincadeira and the greatPort grape, Touriga Nacional (at least 50%). Ageable 3-5 years, or enjoyable tonight with grilled steak or lamb. This is a winery to keep your eye on. $19.95 - The nose on this one was very muted upon opening but quickly became a noseful of coffee, red fruits ( think ripe raspberry coulis) - flavour profile not unlike a Southern Rhone - terrific value!!!!
California and Washington st. – some well priced Cabs from both areas but I’d go with the Washington State ones, just because!
CLOS DU BOIS SONOMA RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005This is prototypical Alexander Valley Cab Sauv - rich, ripe and powerful, packed with loads of fruit, spice and cedary oak. It's soft and luscious, with a long finish. $29.95
NAPA RIDGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006Featuring classic cassis, vanilla and cherry aromas and flavours, this crowd-pleasing wine is an excellent choice for meat off the barbecue. $19.95
SIMI ALEXANDER VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 final blend for the 2005 vintage of this Sonoma favourite includes tiny amounts of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot which each add subtle complexities and structure to this luscious Cab. Classic Cabernet Sauvignon hallmarks are well-represented however with vivid cassis, blackberry, cedar and vanilla aromas, and a full-bodied palate featuring plump berry fruit and plum flavours, ripe tannins and spicy oak notes. $24.95

WATERBROOK RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005Love the red wines from the Columbia valley. This Cab shows intriguing toasty oak, licorice, and black fruit aromas. It's dry, medium-full bodied with generous fruit flavours supported by medium tannins, with hints of vanilla and mineral notes on the finish. $27.95
WATERBROOK SYRAH 2005Columbia Valley TASTING NOTE: Crisp and juicy, this is almost preternaturally focused to show off its blueberry, plum and blackberry fruit, shaded by hints of mineral and cream as the finish lingers effortlessly against light, crisp tannins. Drink now through 2013. Score - 91. (Harvey Steiman, www.winespectator.com, May 31, 2007) $28.95
There are some beauties here but I think they’re a wee bit overpriced. The Filsell which is great should be $29.95, the Blass Gold Label is in the right range and I’d like to see the Katnook down a couple of bucks. It might be interesting to try it and the Waterbrook from Washington head up to see the regional differences

This wine won Gold and the trophy for best Cabernet Sauvignon at the first ever Argentina Wine Awards in 2007. Had this in BC It was not the best Argentinian Cab I’ve ever had …needs to breathe for a time, and needs red meat! Dense ,full, structured Cabernet that oozes fruit character, and has a rounded, complex, earthy palate. Very food friendly if your food is red meat!. Drink up to 2009. $15.95 – by the way, over $25 in BC

LUIGI BOSCA RESERVA MALBEC 2005 Had it in BC too, ($23.99 out there!) with burgers – everyone loved it but it too really needs some red meat! If you drink it alone, your first mouthful may have you cursing me! WS calls it “ A big, broad-shouldered wine, with muscular layers of black fig, coffee, bittersweet cocoa and dark licorice piled on top of hefty cedar-tinged tannins. A bit of a brute in style, but cellaring should soften its edges enough. Drink now through 2010. WS Smart Buy. Score – 91”. I didn’t get the figs but sure got the cocoa and tannins and @ $15.00 A smokin’ buy!
New Zealand
KONRAD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2006 – after all the fish out west, I had to have another Sauvignon Blanc…Marlborough, South Island TASTING NOTE: A rather ripe style, with only modest leafiness, pushed into the background by hints of honey, stone fruit, gooseberry and red currant. It's plump and substantial without being heavy, with a lingering finish. Drink now. Score - 90. (Joe Czerwinski, Wine Enthusiast, March 1, 2008) $17.95
SANTA BRIGIDA COLLI DELLA TOSCANA CENTRALE 2003 – a good wine for laying down and forgetting for a year or two.TASTING NOTE: Displays pretty aromas of mineral and currant, with hints of blackberry. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long, caressing finish. This is very balanced for the vintage. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best after 2010. Score - 91. (James Suckling, www.winespectator.com, Oct. 15, 2007) $24.95

The Big Boys – for you big boys! Lay them down and forget them for a few years for sure.

SAUVIGNON 2004 TASTING NOTE: The 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from their old vineyards in Calistoga. This is a dense, ruby/purple-tinged wine with full body, and despite the softness of the general vintage, Montelena has plenty of structure. Like nearly every vintage of their top Cabernet Sauvignon, it will last for 25 or more years. The wine has sweet tannin in a broad, flavorful, concentrated style with plenty of black currant, licorice, and spice. The wine is beautifully textured, slightly more forward than most Montelena Cabernets tend to be. It is another beauty from probably the most consistent winery for Cabernet Sauvignon over the last three decades. Drink 2007 to 2037. Score - 94+. (Robert Parker Jr., www.erobertparker.com, Dec. 2007 $132.95
PRUNOTTO BAROLO 2004TASTING NOTE: Wonderful perfumes of red fruit and ripe strawberry, with hints of violet. Full-bodied, with ultrafine tannins and a long, caressing finish. A refined style. Very well done. Best after 2011. Score - 91. (James Suckling, www.winespectator.com, June 15, 2008) $49.95

And if you ever get to BC, try to scare up some Kettle Valley Pinot Gris to have with seafood or on its own. It is an amazing wine. A delightful, slight pinkish hue,(not a rose but just a hint of pink- great lively fruit that really accentuates smoked fish chowder as well as all variety of seafood including tuna steaks, sashimi, halibut – you name it!) . I tried to find it anywhere other than a restaurant and failed...time to join their mailing list methinks!

August 16th release notes - I was in BC realizing the LCBO can be a bargain!

August 16th release – old recommendations because I was on vacation – if you can find any of these, try ‘em out!
2007 Ra Nui Wairau Valley Sauvignon Blanc - $19.95
2005 Trapiche Broquel Malbec - $15.95
2006 Mr. Riggs The Gaffer Shiraz - $23.95
2005 Gerard Bertrand Terroir Syrah/Carignan - $15.95
2005 Les Truffiers Vacqueyeras - $17.95
2006 Finca Flichman Expresiones Reserve Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Clos de los Siete - $24.95
2005 Raymond Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - $34.95
2005 Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee du Baron - $39.95
2005 Paraduxx - $58.95