Friday, September 26, 2008

Vintages September 27th Release

This is a nice release but I made the mistake of looking forward to the October 11th release. The Market has crashed, and the next release has some beauts, so I’m on the horns of a dilemma!

Anyhow here are the Top 3: Shotfire Quartage, Vina Carmen Cabernet, and to lay down in your cellar, the Spanish Condado de Haza.

RIDGEPOINT MERITAGE 2005- Should be very good. Almost top 3! VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula Ridgepoint Meritage (a blend of their best barrels of the two Cabs) was a Gold Medal winner at the All Canadian Wine Championships in 2008. Pretty medium deep ruby colour. The aromas suggest cassis, cocoa and black cherry. The dry, fruity and round palate is nicely balanced by silky tannins. $22.95
BEAULIEU VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005Napa Valley Here's a value from one of the oldest producers in the Napa Valley. Aged for 18 months in American and European oak, this wine is simply loaded with aromas and flavours of blackberry, plum and smoky cedar. Dry, medium-bodied and very well-balanced, this food-friendly red will pair beautifully with grilled meats. $25.95
IRONY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2004 Napa Valley TASTING NOTE: A Napa cab this good for $22? It’s actually 2 bucks less… Loads of blackberry fruit with a nice eucalyptus note on the nose to go with a touch of raspberry. nicely balanced fruit and spice. $19.95 or to compare Napa and Paso Robles, you might want to try the New Vintages Essential – J.Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon $19.80 - one of Don’s Faves. Should be very good with a toasty nose and berry flavours. Pretty full bodied, with a good, tarry, cassis finish. This is another very good cab in the essentials portfolio.
MCMANIS FAMILY VINEYARDS SYRAH 2006…should be a monster
- a blend of Syrah (75%) and Petite Sirah (25%). Always a Parker favourite for their Cab you can bet the flavor profile on this is Shiraz, not syrah. $17.95
NHL ALUMNI SIGNATURE Wines – I’m guessing here but my first thought when I saw these was the Monty Python wine review – they’re either “best for laying down and avoiding” or “particularly heavy and should be used only for hand-to-hand combat.”

Chile - SANTA CAROLINA RESERVA DE FAMILIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 Maipo Valley – My favourite region in Chile. A very good buy!TASTING NOTE: Grapes come from the Nothern area of Maipo. Cassis, mocha, vanilla, leather and black truffle. Cocentrated with ageworthy tannic structure. Superb value...! Score - 90. (Zoltan Szabo, $19.95
VIÑA CARMEN NATIVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 Maipo Valley, Organically Grown Grapes. Viña Carmen was named 'Winery of the Year' for 2007 by Wine & Spirits magazine..
TASTING NOTE: Dark and structured, with loamy tannins carrying a delicious mix of mint, tobacco, currant paste and fig sauce flavors. Long and rich on the finish, with classic Maipo character. Drink now through 2012.. Score - 91. (James Molesworth,) $19.95
OZ - LEASINGHAM BIN 56 CABERNET/MALBEC 2005 – I like their Bin 61 Shiraz a lot but have not been impressed with past vintages of this blend – harsh and flat.
THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE QUARTAGE 2005 – For fans of fruit! A very good producer TASTING NOTE: Elegant, expressive and appealing for its range of fruit flavors, offering plum, fresh currant and vibrant mulberry notes that mingle with hints of cream and sweet spices on the long, refined finish.. Drink now through 2013. Score - 91. (Harvey Steiman, June 30, 2007) $23.95
Italy - VINETI DEL GEOGRAFICO FERRAIOLO 2004 – Almost a bargain super Tuscan! TASTING NOTE: Dark and beautiful, with rich blackberry, currant and dark chocolate aromas that follow through to a full-bodied palate, with silky tannins and a long, rich finish. Gorgeous. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best after 2007. Score - 90. (James Suckling, $33.95
Spain - CONDADO DE HAZA CRIANZA 2005 – Could be excellent and should be at its best between 2012 and 2020. Score - 90. (Jay Miller) $27.95. Late notice, 93 from the latest WS, I think.

And Now, The Big Dollar Wines but after the last two weeks in the stock market , who can afford them?
DOMAINE ERIC & JOEL DURAND CORNAS EMPREINTES 2005 – This is syrah from the Norther Rhone in a classic year. Inky purple. Suave, potent creme de cassis and blackberry aromas lifted by baking spice accents and a strong vanilla note. Lush and creamy in texture and very sweet, with concentrated dark berry and black cherry flavors and late notes of gingerbread and mocha…finish features velvety tannins and excellent length. Score - 90-93. $49.95
MANZONE BAROLO BRICAT 2003 TASTING NOTE: Offers aromas of rose and berry, with a full body and lots of flavors, from tar and berry to licorice. Long and caressing. This is a gorgeous wine already. Best after 2010. Score - 92. (James Suckling), $63.95
PININO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2003 Huge Brunello in 2001 scored a 95. This one is not up to that but very good none the less – just really pricey! (Capston Italia SRL.)TASTING NOTE: Nicely balanced for the vintage, with aromas and flavors of plum, berry and nutty oak. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and lots of vanilla coming through on the finish. Best after 2009. Score - 90. (James Suckling, May 15, 2008) $65.95
QUINTARELLI VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2000 – we’re talking cult wine here - DOC The Quintarelli family, led by the great Giuseppe, sends a strong message of continuity for the legendary Valpolicella area. The wines do the rest... (Gambero Rosso Italian Wines, 2008) Opulent, velvety and brimming with ripe red berry fruit, this wine aptly showcases Quintarelli's winemaking mastery. $91.95

Friday, September 12, 2008

Vintages Sept.13 release

My anticipated highlightof this release is from the Rhone:
ALAIN JAUME & FILS CLOS DE SIXTE 2005 The 2005 Lirac Clos de Sixte is one of Jaume's best selections and continues to be a star as well as a sleeper selection in 2005. A wine of considerable intensity, with a deep ruby/purple color, hints of blueberries, white flowers, some sweet cherry and chocolate, smoke, and earth, this is a full-bodied, intense wine that can be drunk now or cellared for up to a decade. Score - 90-92. $26.95 – Hunt it down and buy a lot , I think!
2006a well-made 100% Merlot that you can drink now or hold another four or five years. It's well-balanced, with intense and layered flavours that mesh with a medium-plus body, smooth texture, and moderate tannic dryness. Drink it with rich pasta dishes or with red meats. $14.95
BODEGAS CASTAÑO HÉCULA MONASTRELL 2005 Always a bargain value…let it breathe.Inky violet. Deep cherry and cassis aromas complicated by an array of floral, mineral and herbal nuances. Powerful dark fruit flavors are firmed by solid tannins and lifted by gentle minerality. Picks up smoked meat and anise notes on the long, chewy finish. This could be a Bandol. Is the average buyer at this price point ready for this? Another amazing value. $13.95
ÒNIX FUSIÓ 2006 as I recall the ’04 was a massive, delicious, fruit bomb! Priorat wines are predominantly composed of Garnacha (Grenache), most of which are old vines planted on low fertility slate and quartz-based soil called licorella. This Garnacha-based wine is filled with plum, leather, vanilla and cocoa aromas and flavours. $27.95
BANFI CENTINE 2006 TASTING NOTE: Very rich and ripe aromas of blackberry and earth follow through to a full-bodied palate, with soft tannins and a long finish. Shows lovely flavors. One of the best values from Tuscany this year. Best after 2007. Score - 88. (James Suckling,, Oct. 31, 2007) $17.95
ORNELLAIA LE VOLTE 2006 TASTING NOTE: The 2006 Le Volte is especially generous in this vintage. This plump, juicy wine bursts from the glass with an array of super-ripe dark plums, cherries, smoke and licorice. It is an engaging, rewarding wine to enjoy over the next few years. Le Volte is made from Sangiovese which is purchased from outside producers plus Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the property. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011. Score - 90. (Antonio Galloni,, June 2008) $25.95
ALLEGRINI PALAZZO DELLA TORRE 2004 for fans of Valpoli’s and AmaronesTASTING NOTE: Allegrini's Palazzo della Torre (70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese) has long been one of my favorite ripasso-style wines and the 2004 is another winner. It reveals a plump, juicy personality loaded with perfumed, jammy fruit, roasted coffee beans and new leather. it is irresistible today, a few additional months of bottle age should help soften the wine further. 24.95
LA BRACCESCA VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2004 TASTING NOTE: As is characteristic of the vintage, the 2004 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano shows a noticeably darker, livelier color than the 2003, with more delineation in its aromas and flavors. It is vibrant and full of life, with a layered quality to its fruit, terrific length and a finessed, long finish. Another few years in the bottle will be beneficial,. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2019. $27.95
France – Rhone
As well as my top pick there are a couple of high priced ’05 CNdP’s
DOMAINE DU VIEUX LAZARET CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE CUVÉE EXCEPTIONNELLE 2005TASTING NOTE: ... this wine shows a dense ruby/purple color and a gorgeous nose of camphor, blackberry, kirsch, some roast beef and Provencal herbs. Full-bodied with great intensity, beautiful purity, a multi-dimensional mouthfeel, and a spectacular finish of close to a minute, this is a fabulous effort from Quiot and should drink well for close to two decades. Score - 94. $54.95
DOMAINE LUCIEN BARROT ET FILS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2005 Dark and muscular, this is layered with lots of plum, blackberry and black cherry fruit backed by mocha, game, plum sauce and graphite notes. The long, fleshy finish lets the fruit and minerality sing. The best in a long time from this producer. Best from 2008 through 2022. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. Score - 93. $41.95
A bordeaux!
CHÂTEAU FONRÉAUD 2005 TASTING NOTE: Rich, full and dense, this shows considerable elegance. The fruits are black, and concentrated. There is a smooth layer of wood that adds to the complexity as well as opening the wine. Score - 91. $33.95
Grant Burge ‘150th Anniversary Release’ Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvèdre 2003 Should be a dynamite wine – think Rosemount GSM – from a terrific producer. Probably one to chase down and find not cheap and but I expect there to be competition for this one.