Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 23rd Vintages Release - New Zealand gets upstaged!

This is supposed to be a New Zealand release but......well I can just imagine the New Zealand Wine Producers showing up in the LCBO lobby to voice their opinions of it!

Meantime, back to the wines....

The 2 great Malbecs in this release tell me it must be close to time for a Malbec-fest. Perhaps after the Father’s Day release in June we’ll tee one up since that release has a Malbec feature. In the last two years I’ve had spectacular Malbec wines from Argentina and France (Cahors) and now Chile, and even California and Oz are getting into the act. There is a world of flavours to compare! What better way than grilling up a great slab of beef and going to it!

My Picks: Can’t go wrong with any of these: The Alta Vista and the Achaval Ferrer Malbecs, The Miss Harry GSM, The Angels Share, either of the Concha Y Toros, and the Mulderbosch Chardonnay.

2006 Alta Vista Grande Reserve Terroir Selection Malbec - $26.95 Past vintages had tremendous mouthfeel, and great flavours. But sadly, price wise this has really jumped. (Same thing here as with the Achaval Ferrer ISD). But still a 4 dollar savings on the Mendel Malbec which is also very good, just too much $$’s.

2007 Two Hands Angels Share Shiraz - $27.95 – WS Top 100 last year, should be excellent – a juicy, fruity , teeth staining monster
2006 Hewitson Miss Harry GSM - $19.95 Sub $20 for a wine both Parker and Tanzer gave 90 points to? Sign me up! This might be the buy of the release!
2006 Monte Zovo Superiore Ripasso - $19.95
2007 Ferngrove Frankland River Shiraz - $16.95 James Halliday’s 94 is everyone else’s 89-90. Don’t be misled. That said, this will be a sophisticated ( not so in your face) Shiraz from Oz. ( I know, kind of an oxymoron).
2007 Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz - $27.95 Very solid wine. WS90
2005 William Cole Columbine Cab Sauv Res - $15.95 – Should be a very good cab from Chile – I think tragic high school every time I see the name – will skip it if only for that reason.
2006 Concha y Toro Marques Merlot - $19.95 – Always excellent for Merlot fans
2005 Temple Bruer Grenache/Shiraz/Viognier - $17.95 – Interesting blend of 2 reds and a white.
2005 Masi Brolo di Campofiorin - $24.95 – ripasso method, so fruity and rich.

2008 Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah -
$16.95 – A rose from one of my favourite producers

2007 Concha y Toro ‘Casa Concha’ Chardonnay
- $17.95 - probably the best white buy in the release.
2008 Malivoire Pinot Gris - $18.95 -224 cases of 12
2007 Kim Crawford SP Boyszone Pinot Gris - $24.95 – Small Plots Pinot Gris from a terrific producer
2005 Mulderbosch Stellenbosch Chardonnay or the Evans and Tate Chard from OZ - $20.95 WS90 – well priced from quality producers

The Big Batch of Bordeaux
This almost seems to be a mini 2005 Bordeaux release. Why the LCBO would choose to upstage New Zealand with this huge blast of big score/big price wines is beyond me unless of course they’re overbought on them…my guess is sales a coming on these bad boys, be patient.

1998 Chateau Le Caillou - $48.95 (Repeat of February 2, 2008 Release)
2005 Chateau L’Argenteyre - $24. Decanter 4
2005 Hauts de Pontet-Canet - $69.00
2005 Chateau Destieux - $69.00 (1) WS92 ; (2) RP93
2005 Clos Les Lunelles - $69.00 RP94
2005 Chateau Rauzan-Gassies - $73.00 RP92
2005 Chateau Lafon-Rochet - $69.00: RP90
2005 Chateau Grand Mayne - $79.00 RP93
2005 Chateay Lafon-Rochet - $69.00 RP90

2007 Achaval Ferrer Malbec -
$27.95 – try to find this one, if you can but – buyer beware – its price is really inflated from a year or two ago. It was under $20 – now look! But, that’s what happens when your winery gets a big name.

Cape Mentelle Cabernet/Merlot - $28.95
2006 Two Hands Bull and Bear Shiraz/Cabernet - $45.95
Domaine de la Charbonniere Chateauneuf Mourre de Perdrix - $54.95
2005 Argiano Solengo - $88.95

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Terroir, or The County has a Spring Wine Celebration

Spent a lovely day down in the county enjoying the local wineries with some wonderful foods to go with them...
The Highlights -
Cab Franc 2007 from Sandbanks...slow to open in the glass but it absolutley sang when paired with a ground lamb and bison ( or was it elk?) patty,
The Sandbanks Rose, wonderful as an aperitif, on a cool gray day it was terrific, I can just imagine it on a hot sunny one. All green apple-y, crushed strawberries on the nose with a hint of pink grapefruit.
Both absolutely terrific young wines....
6 year old cheddar cheese - gotta luv a cheese that bites back!
The " I thought it'd be like that but tried 'em again anyway"
Chadsey Cairns/ Closson Chase/ Norman Hardie - Pinot Noirs, I tried my best, but sorry, just don't get it - thin and light....
Huff Estates - Rose nice, pink grapefruit rose, especially on the backend ( really pink grapefruittttttty) and an OK Cab ( that's not to be confused with an oaky cab) that needs some air.
The "seemed like a good idea at the time"
Maple syrup flavoured cheddar - proof that combining two wonderful products, does not create a third wonderful product! Leave the cheese over here, and the syrup over there....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What have I had lateley?

A couple of Cali Cabs - the Rodney Strong that was just marked down from $33 to $26 by the LCBO was nice for $17. For what I paid, I thought it was still overpriced. However, it got a shaking and a rattling on the way home so I'm willing to chalk that one up to a minor case of bottleshock. I found this one lacking mouthfeel, and a little short. Flavours were black fruit with a hint of smoke, I have a couple more in the cellar for future. If they're better, I'll let you know. If they're not, I'll say stick with one of these $17-22 South American cabs and you'll be happier: Montes Alpha, Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha or for a bargain and if you can find it grab the Familia Bianchi.

Deloach Cabernet(Napa) from the LCBO regular list - Beppi Crossariol liked it a few weeks ago so I thought " $15, what's to lose?" It's a nice 'crowd of people, bbq, backyard, sitting around wanting a glass that might turn into 3 glasses' kinda wine. Black Fruit, not tannic, a little thin, but nothing offensive there at all. But this is where 'buyer beware' kicks in. Some of the Vintages products that are on sale for 2 or 3 bucks more are twice the wine now and the disparity will be even more in 3 or 4 years .

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ho hum, Another week, another stealthy little sale!

Some more good ones have been reduced at the LCBO – among them, a Hess Cab from California which is still over-priced, Faith Shiraz which I find terrific always, a Coriole Shiraz, A GSM with a metallic gold label but don't hold that against it, and a Spanish Tempranillo that got 90 points from Parker and Tanzer…but only 85 from the WS. Follow this link to the list: