Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vintages MAY 1 release - Open the wallets for the really good ones in this release.

Overall this is a more expensive release. While there are some sub-$20 values, they are few and far between in my opinion. That said, there are also some terrific wines that you might just have to decide to spring for. Here are my picks, some are expensive so where I would have bought 2 or 3 in another release, this time around I’ll only be buying one.

MOMO PINOT GRIS 2008 $18.95

The Whites
MOMO PINOT GRIS 2008 $18.95
ATTEMS PINOT GRIGIO 2009 Bright tropical fruit, pear and apple flavours, a viscous texture and a crisp finish are the hallmarks of this popular Pinot Grigio. Serve it as a refreshing aperitif or with grilled chicken breasts and summer salads.

Zin and Prim fans – just one pick from me-

TENUTA DI CASTIGLIONI SALTA GRILLI ROSATO 2009 pretty rosé, last year’s was one of my favourites of the summer so I expect nothing less this year. Calls out for a variety of foods such as barbecued chicken, grilled tuna, or grilled pork with a mango chutney. Filled with lemon zest, black cherry and spice aromas and flavours, this dry wine finishes with a zingy fruitiness. $14.95

RENACER PUNTO FINAL MALBEC 2008 A forward, juicy style, with blackberry and licorice notes that stay lively on the medium-weight finish. Drink now. Score: 88. $13.95

LEONARDO CHIANTI RISERVA 2006 DOCG A great vintage in Chianti, this one should be very nice $21.95

Two Shiraz, but note the scores are from Halliday so I regard them as inflated by 3 to 5 points
BREMERTON SELKIRK SHIRAZ 2007 Langhorne Creek, South Australia, Purple-red; a complex bouquet of black fruits, licorice and spice, the palate taking these characters on to another dimension, with a touch of chocolate, ripe but soft tannins, and oak. Score: 94. $19.95

PIKES EASTSIDE SHIRAZ 2006 Clare Valley, South Australia TASTING NOTE: Deep purple; a voluminous bouquet of black fruits, spice and licorice; a medium- to full-bodied and rich palate, flooded with black fruit and spice flavours; great tannin and oak support. Score: 95. $22.95

ROSEMOUNT TRADITIONAL SHOW RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MERLOT/PETIT VERDOT 2005 McLaren Vale, South Australia Usually a terrific wine, if slightly pricey. This one has also been moved to the new Rosemount wine bottle/ label that cheapens the product within (see my notes on the GSM from a few releases ago). Want to compare an Old world and a New world Bordeaux blend? Try this and the next one from Bordeaux. Score: 90. $34.95

CHÂTEAU LAROSE TRINTAUDON 2004 $26.95 – 5 stars from Decanter – hard to argue with that score and that price!


LAURUS GIGONDAS 2006 AC Rich but racy, with a lovely black tea and warm cherry sauce perfume leading the way for juicy currant, fig and braised beef notes. Warm licorice and coffee frame the finish. Drink now through 2014. Score: 91. $24.95
DOMAINE MONTMARTEL VISAN 2007 TASTING NOTE: From the great 2007 Rhône vintage, this rerelease has rose petal, blueberry and cassis on the nose. Dry, mouth-coatingly fruity with good tannins and a long finish. Age it 2-4+ years, or break out the rare roast beef. $15.95

CUVÉE DU VATICAN CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2007 AC Lots going on here and a truly wonderful vintage for the region. This’ll benefit from another 1-2 years of bottle age, and will drink nicely for 15+ years if you have the proper storage. Score: 90. $36.95
MARCHESI DI BAROLO BAROLO 2005 TASTING NOTE: Offers strawberry jam on the nose, with hints of vanilla. Full-bodied, with big, velvety tannins and a long aftertaste of ripe fruit and cream. Very, very chewy, but the tannins are polished. Excellent value. Best after 2013. Score: 91. $38.95

DOMINUS ESTATE NAPANOOK 2006 second wine of Dominus, this Cabernet based Bordeaux blend should be very good, if expensive. Score: 91. $49.95


Monday, April 12, 2010

April 17th - Veneto, One Lonely Tasmanian Devil and some bio if not dynamic wines

Early looks indicate another weak release – I've been off Valpolicella for a while and the really good Amarones are beyond my price points. As it is I see about 8 wines worth considering, but all the reds are at or above the $20 mark. I’ll be away for the release and not really sorry for it.
Possibles:The Spy Valley Sauvignon Blanc at $14.95 should be a good one if you need some SB now.
There are 4 Aussie Shiraz to pick from – all are good and within 4 dollars of one another, Rufus Stone and Bendigo Shiraz at $19.95, The Hedonist at $21.95 and the most expensive but always very good, Saltram Mamre Brook at $23.95
Pirramimma Grenache $21.95 – a personal choice.
Rodney Strong Cabernet $34.95 – expensive for what you might be getting – look for the Gallo from last release or the Copolla’s Director’s Cut if you must buy a Cali Cab.

The Cellar Dweller

Verbena Brunello De Montalcino $46.95 – a 93 pointer from Suckling but only 150 cases so move fast on it.

There are some really good ’07 Cotes du Rhones in the release but I’m Cotes du Rhone’d up as far as numbers go. Also so mid priced Malbecs from Argentina that are good but not standouts.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The long Easter weekend - New world rules....

Friday started with a glass of leftover Kaiken MAlbec. It had been sealed and refridged since being open a couple of days before. Drinkable but not much more...
Time to open a Piramimma Grenache from the cellar. My thoughts were two - one to try this bad boy because I'm a big G fan and the second because a new release of it will be coming to your friendly local Provincial Monopoly store in the next few weeks. It was very nice, Aussie fruit to be sure, but not overwhelming. Made me wish for a Piramimma that would be a wine I'd like to try!

Saturday was another great day - sunny, warm and nice until midafternoon. Steaks on the bar-B were called for so that meant a big Cab from the sous sol. Hmmm, how about the Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas 2007. This big brother to the Broquel line aquitted himself well. Opaque, the colour of eggplant - Oh wait, I'm a wine writer I better come up with something better than that! Opaque, aubergine almost pitch in colour. Cassis aromas with chocolate playing a close second fiddle are very much in your glass if not in your face! Not too dry, well strucured and pretty long with moderate tannins. Very nice wine with some nice rare beef.

Sunday - A lovely day, cool but sunny and warm for the 4th of April. Off to a good friend's place for both Easters - Greek Orthodox and Non Orthodox. We came bearing gifts of good wine and were treated to the classical Greek easter feast of an entire roast lamb on a spit over coals in the backyard. It started with spinach and cheese pies with a glass of Copolla's Director's Cut Cabernet 2007. Sipping this wonderful wine while picking at the lamb as it passed the 4 hour mark slowly rotating over hot coals was heaven on earth. OK, so maybe I wasn't sipping. What's halfway between a sip and a guzzle? Back to the lamb, you turkey skin lovers out there pay attention!. You have not lived until you're had the crackley outer skin of a still spinning, rotisseried lamb that is being lovingly basted with a blend of home grown olive oil, lemon, oregano and pepper. The cab has enough acidity to pair with the rich lamb and oil and enough fruit to finish long. Glorious, and gone too soon! Next up was a bottle of Ebenezer Shiraz, 2004. Again, a big fruity wine that is more than capable of standing up to the main course combination of lamb, lemon potatoes, homemade tzatziki. This one had a nose of smoked meat, barnyard and black fruits that blew off to reveal some coffee notes and more dark fruit.
I just wish I'd brought more of both!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 3rd - Happy Easter - The Spanish Inquisition gets a Si or two and some shrugs

Not being a huge fan of Spanish wines (Liking the Priorat region more and more though) this feature underwhelms me. A few good wines and some others from around the globe, but nothing to run around like a madman after....

SPAIN Feature
BODEGAS LAN RESERVA 2004 – While not a Top 100 Wine to my palate, this one is very good. Decanted and sipped I thought “What’s the big deal, just another Tempranillo?”. With food, (roast rack of pork with roasted root veggies, mashed taters and some greens) the wine improved and was very nice. I’ll buy a trio to see how they mature. $19.95
LOS 800 2005 – Grenache mostly – should be good tasty.$19.95 – Two of these or three of the cheapies? Hmmmmm….
BODEGAS ATECA OLD VINES GARNACHA DE FUEGO 2008 – Grenache mostly so expect more fruit than the tempranillos have and the price is right.$12.95
Artazuri – same as above for a buck more.

FINCA SOBREÑO CRIANZA 2006 – Might be worth a try at $17.95.

Best of the Rest
HENRY’S DRIVE PILLAR BOX RESERVE SHIRAZ 2007 $21.95 – Probably the polar opposite to the LAN. Aussie Shiraz in classic form. $21.95

TOWNSHIP 7 MERLOT 2006 – An Okanagen beauty, pricey at $26.95.

GALLO BARRELLI CREEK VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 – Expect great Cab character with a tarry afternote. $34.95

GRAFFIGNA GRAND RESERVE MALBEC 2006 – Not bad if you need a Malbec fix - $17.95

CATHEDRAL CELLAR TRIPTYCH 2006 – A good buy at $16.95.

DOMAINE DE LA CROISETTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2007 – My review by the numbers. No, BUY the numbers 2007 - $13.95.

SKOURAS SAINT GEORGE (AGHIORGHITIKO) 2007 – Fun to say and drink at Greek Easter this weekend – after a few glasses you won’t care if you can pronounce the grape! $16.95

The Big Buck Zone
MARCHESI DE’ FRESCOBALDI VIGNETO MONTESODI CHIANTI RÚFINA RISERVA 2006 – The last one of these I bought was on sale due to stained labels for barely $35. I can’t bring myself to spend this, no matter how good it is. Great wine, great year but $59.95