Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oct 30 release and some random thoughts

I read another article on Robert Parker and the cocacola-ization of wines lately and that got me to thinking. Is it really Parker and the American predilection for the sweet juices and sodas that has changed wine’s flavour profile or can the changes be traced to some other cause? I’ll fly in the face of popular wisdom and throw out another thought. Wine has changed, not so much because of the enjoyment of sweet pops or Parker, but rather due to the marked decrease in the per capita number of smokers (of cigarettes, pipes, cigars) in the Western world. Not only are there fewer smokers per capita but those who are smoking, are smoking less and certainly smoking less in public places. As a result their (and our) olfactory senses and taste buds are more acutely aware of scents and flavours both pleasant and unpleasant.
Last week I watched a PBS documentary on the Kennedy assassination in the early Sixties which was recently made using old films from the day. I was shocked at the overwhelming number of smokers both on the street and in offices. Even the announcers on the TV news were seen smoking on screen! The fumes and smell of old tobacco must have been everywhere – clothes, skin, furniture. For those who dated a smoker, think back to kissing that girlfriend who smoked (or boyfriend – reader gets to choose – but we don’t want to hear about your Katy Perry action here!). Licking an ashtray or sticking your nose in a freshly emptied pack of ciggies comes to mind. Now consider the impact of those scents to the wines of the day. The tobacco scent and taste in the environment would have been cancelled out by (or cancelled out) the equally tobacco-y smelling and tasting wines of the day leaving a minor hit of fruit as the discernable flavour. The fruit component is all that people would have tasted simply because they were numb to the other flavours.
Now plot a chart with the beginning of the demise of smoking (OK not the demise but at least the reduction) with the beginning of Parker and the supposed cocacola-ization and the two curves probably cross nicely in the late 60’s early 70’s. That is when wine really began to change. Yes this has culminated with the high alcohol fruit bombs of the last decade or so but only because we had to get to the point of ‘too much’ to really know that it was too much.
That said, there is a balance to be found between the fruit and vegetal flavours, but I’ll lean to fruit everytime. They are grapes after all!! I still find Bordeaux wines to have very strong tobacco nuances and do not enjoy them as a generalization. No big surprise if you read me often! And those nuances may also account for some of the popularity of Bordeaux wines in the orient. In general, smoking continues to be less frowned upon there.
I’m not sure if my theory is an original thought, nor am I sure it is scientifically proven but I have not read it elsewhere.
That’s just my 2 cents and since it’s my blog, I get to spend it!

Now on to the release. It’s a pretty good one with some good choices in the 10 to 20, 20 to 30 and lots in the over thirty dollar price points. You can tell the holiday and gift giving season is almost upon us.

My choices, but remember the new returns policy and reduce the number of bottles purchased accordingly!!!!!!
The following should all be decanted or at least opened well in advance of enjoying:
BURGE HOLY TRINITY 2005 - $29.95

Under $20

ILLUMINATI RIPAROSSO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2008 DOC The 2008 Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo Riparosso is a plump, juicy offering endowed with generous dark fruit and an inviting personality – last year’s was very similar and a good buy. Score: 89 (Antonio Galloni) $12.95

PUYDEVAL 2008 This tasting note defines why people hate wine snobs. It’s a cork dork’s delight! Lovers of Cabernet Franc – not to mention value – do not miss this 2008 Puydeval, blended with 28% Syrah and 10% Merlot grown near Carcasonne … Machine oil, mulberry, and incense form an intense and striking aromatic display that leads to a rich, almost fat, 14% alcohol, yet positively bright palate, where resin-, cinnamon-, walnut oil, and mint-tinged dark chocolate and mulberries hang on for a surprisingly stubborn finish marked by piquant nuttiness and well-integrated bitterness. This is archetypal Cabernet Franc in character, implausibly rich, and ludicrously under-priced. Plan to enjoy it for at least the next three years … Score: 90 (David Schildknecht, Aug. 2009) $14.95

TERRES D ’AVIGNON RÉSERVE DES ARMOIRIES ELEVÉ EN FÛT DE CHÊNE 2007 -$15 – a terrific vintage and a great price especially if you’re having a Christmas get together.

PILLAR BOX RED 2007 - think little brother to Lehmann’s Clancy’s blend for $15.00 Past vintages have been in the 85 to 88 range from BP.

BABICH BLACK LABEL SAUVIGNON BLANC 2009 Grass and gooseberries - a normal NZ SB - the note says melons and capsicums, deliciously rich, vibrant and zingy. $17.95

ALAIN JAUME LES VALATS RASTEAU 2007 AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages Expect more up front tannins than the usual ’07 CdR-V fruit. A masculine and ageable Grenache-centric Rasteau. Showing aromas and flavours of chocolate, tobacco, black fruits, and earth. Parker, 91 points $18.95

DOMAINE ZUMBAUM TOMASI CLOS MAGINIAI PIC SAINT-LOUP 2007 AC Languedoc Pure aromas of raspberry and black cherry. On the palate it is finely honed with excellent aroma replays, plus whispers of peat and spice. Wine Spectator, 92 points $18.95

HEDGES CELLARS CMS 2008: 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, 6% Syrah. Very fine, almost nonexistent tannins in past vintages – easier drinking than the Chilean cab below. I’d take either one of these before the Folie a Deux. $17.95

LUIS FELIPE EDWARDS GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 – Well priced and good quality. If you like mint with your lamb, try this wine. It may not have the eucalyptus hit of a Coonawara Cab but there’ll be a subtle undertone. $16.95

CAVE DE TAIN CROZES HERMITAGE 2007 AC Gold Medal winner at the 2009 Concours des Grands Vins de France. Shows a nice currant and fig fruit profile, with a smoky edge as well. Hints of tobacco and macerated black olive check in on the openknit finish. Drink now. $17.95
BODEGA NQN COLECCIÓN NQN MALBEC 2006 Patagonia and CICCHITTI EMKEM MALBEC 2006 Mendoza – Two good Malbecs should offer distinct samples of the differences of Argentinian terroir and climate. You can’t go wrong with either one with a slab of rare prime rib to complete the picture nicely – both 90 pointers at $19.95
TERRE DI PUGLIA PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2007 DOC This is a full-bodied red with a lush centre and good length. A robust companion to a seafood jambalaya, or fusilli with tomato-and-basil sauce (or anything grilled says me).14.95
CELLER DE CAPÇANES MAS DONIS BARRICA OLD VINES 2008 DO Montsant In previous vintages this wine has been very strongly recommended but not by me. A blend of Garnacha and Syrah, so I should like it but have never been a convert. $16.95
HERENCIA REMONDO LA MONTESA 2007 DOCa Rioja Made with a high proportion of Garnacha, this wine is filled with dark fruits, cloves, fresh herbs and smoky oak. It is well made and perfectly balanced. The snappy acids and ripe tannins support the fruit aromas and flavours with precision. $18.95

Between $20 and $30
IGT Toscana A blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and sangiovese. Perennially a 89- 91 pointer, this year is close but won’t match last year’s 93 points. Always very good though! $21.95

QUINTA DE VENTOZELO RESERVA DOURO TINTO 2007 DOC Still young, this is a complex wine. It has layers of dusty tannins, spiced fruits, ripe blackberries and a dark structure. Black chocolate and licorice feed extra richness into the wine. Very smooth aftertaste. Score: 92 (Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, Aug. 1, 2010) $22.95

DUCKHORN DECOY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 Napa - 92% Cab Sauv, 6% Merlot and 2% Cab Franc. The Connoiseurs Guide to California Wines gave this an 85 but one of my favourite Vintages consultants said of this wine: “This Decoy is the real McCoy!” Gee, it’s out there on the ‘net for $15.99 US. RETAIL. At $29.95 I’ll try one and you can bet I’ll bring it back if it’s not worth it – within 30 days – with 1 receipt, 2 pcs of ID, 3 character references and a partridge in a pear tree.

CONDADO DE HAZA CRIANZA 2007 DO Ribera del Duero 100% Tempranillo features aromas of blackberry, espresso, cedar and mineral. The wine is a fine combination of ample fruit, good depth and firm tannic structure. The 2005 was a WS top 100 wine. $24.95

FOLIE À DEUX CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 $24.95 – The Folie here is paying $24.95 for this wine. Should be no more than $17.95

RUFFINO SANTEDAME CHIANTI CLASSICO 2007 DOCG Great Vintage, Good complex earthy and black fruit driven nose. Very slick mouthful with a chunky blackcurrant finish. Modern and well executed chocolatey wine. Score: Silver Medal (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2009) $19.95

GLAYMOND ASIF CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 Barossa Valley, Expect typical Barossa colour -a teeth staining, almost black, wine – massive black fruit and licorice in both aroma and flavour. Decant this bad boy for at least an hour, perhaps more if you can wait. $29.95

GRANT BURGE ‘THE HOLY TRINITY’ GRENACHE/SHIRAZ/MOURVÈDRE 2005 Barossa, A touch more tannic than Rosemount’s GSM this blend of 40% grenache, 35% shiraz and 25% mourvedre is from 50 to 120 year old vines. Leans toward CNdP stylistically. Deep in colour and fruit with a smoky bouquet of dried red berries, herbs and sassafras ( root beer or cola?), good mid palate, finishes long, with lingering notes of smoke and sweet red fruit. This wine is ready to drink but I would decant it. Score: 90 – BP liked it a bit better than that. $29.95.

GEOGRAFICO PULLERAIA 2006 IGT Toscana: Herbs, berries and green olives on the nose. Full-bodied, with velvety and caressing tannins. Coffee, berry and light vanilla bean on the palate. Beautiful and enticing young wine. Merlot. Best after 2011. Score: 93 (James Suckling) $29.95

MARCHESE ANTINORI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2006 DOCG A quality producer, the price of this wine reflects the canuck buck vs the euro. This dry and fresh, youthful wine will still benefit from cellar time (3-5 years), but if you decant it (2 hours) you can enjoy it tonight with game meats, bison steaks or grilled lamb. $29.95

Christmas is coming – so is the preponderance of Big Buck selections – some even worth it!
NORMAN HARDIE UNFILTERED CHARDONNAY 2008 17.5 from Jancis Robinson – a great score from her. $35.00

OSOYOOS LAROSE LE GRAND VIN 2006 – Is this a $45 wine? Not in 2006 but weather permitting the vineyards will mature to allow it to become one. As it is now, it is a very good expression of Bordeaux meets the Okanagan. And it is nice to match against a Niagara equivalent from ’07.

Pecchenino San Giuseppe BAROLO 2005 DOCG Aromas of dried mushroom and berries follow through to a full body, with chewy tannins and lots of fruit underneath. Structured and very rich.. Score: 93 (James Suckling,)$44.95

PODERI COLLA BUSSIA DARDI LE ROSE BAROLO 2005 DOCG Dark, mentholated spices, plums, prunes and minerals are among some of the nuances that waft out of the glass as this sublime Barolo reveals the breadth of its pedigree. … the wine possesses gorgeous overall balance and wonderful harmony, ... Regardless, this is a great effort from Poderi Colla.. Score: 93 (Antonio Galloni,) $47.95

CASANOVA DI NERI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2005 DOCG Very good but big bucks, to be sure.
Score: 92 (Antonio Galloni,) $57.95

LA VITE LUCENTE 2008 IGT Toscana (Luce Della Vite) The second wine to Frescobaldi’s iconic
Luce, is a blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, matured for 12 months in French barriques. This wine offers intense strawberry, blueberry, and currant fruit accented by mocha and spice. Built to last, it will show best after 2011; if you can’t wait, decant it for one hour or more and enjoy with rare red meat dishes . $39.95

MOCALI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2004 DOCG Offers currant, berries and flowers on the nose. Full-bodied, with lots of burnt fruit and raisin flavors. Rustic.Best after 2010. 91 (James Suckling, $46.95

ORNELLAIA LE SERRE NUOVE DELL’ORNELLAIA 2008 DOC Bolgheri Le Serre Nuove, a blend of Merlot, Cabs Sauv and Franc, and Petit Verdot, is a bright and fruity wine with red and black berries tinged by subtle oak nuances of chocolate and clove. Antonio Galloni gave the four previous vintages a score of 90 or above. Expect the yet-to-be-reviewed 2008 vintage to get similar hosannas. $59.95
RUFFINO DUCALE ORO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2005 DOCG TASTING NOTE: There’s a very plush and velvety quality to this wine that is enhanced by aromas of red berry, pipe tobacco, natural rubber and exotic spice. The wine has a ripe, fruitforward personality and a smooth, velvety finish that is broad, powerful and long lasting. Large percentages of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon back the Sangiovese. Score: 91 (Monica Larner,) $43.95

BODEGAS ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ TINTO PESQUERA RESERVA 2006 DO Ribera del Duero TASTING NOTE: The 2006 Pesquera Reserva is purple-colored with an expressive perfume of earth, leather, spice box, lavender, and blackberry. Layered on the palate, it has ample savory fruit, good richness, and 3-4 years of cellaring potential. From 2014 to 2026. Score: 92 (Jay Miller, June 2010) $41.95

Stags Leap Cabernet 2006 - $49.95,
Joseph Phelps Cabernet 2007 – $74.95
Ggrich Cabernet 2006 - $74.95

No ISD’s to recommend this time around.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oct.16th Release – Not a Bad One but Buyer Beware!!!!

Buyer Beware indeed! Don’t expect to be able to hold your wines and then try them when they reach their drinking window. Because if you do and you decide you don’t like them, you cannot return them. The LCBO has very quietly revised their returns policy in two ways. The first is to require the purchase receipt for any product returned and unless that product is defective, if you bought it more than 30 days previously it cannot be returned. If I understand the policy correctly, you still require the receipt to make that return even if it is defective. “What’s the big deal BP? This is retail. I can just take my business to the store next door. Oh I forgot, there is no store next door - this is the Liquor Monopoly of Ontario!”
Here’s the policy:

And here’s some weak background on it – you can bet they’ve been working on this for some time:

The head office bureaucrats spend hundreds of thousands of $$’s telling you that you are really missing out if you don’t buy your Bordeaux futures. For that privilege, they’ll take half your money and hold it for two years while at the same time they’re revising their policies so that once you have bought and taken possession of the damn things you can’t hold them for more than 30 days to return them. Tell that to any wine drinker with even the tiniest bit of wine knowledge and they will tell you that these wines will not be enjoyable for at least a few years. Read your Vintages Catalogues carefully my friends. When the LCBO tells you a wine can age for 15 years, they really mean it can age for 29 days. If a review says “best after 2011”, it really means “best for the LCBO after 2011” because if you buy more than one bottle and wait that long to find out that you don’t like it you can’t take the others back!

Why aren’t we seeing the standard style of LCBO glossy catalogues outlining this new policy? This should be good for 20 or 30 pages showing harried, front line store clerks getting beaten by Brunellos, bashed by Barolos, bonked by Bordeaux, reamed by Riojas and just generally cursed by customers. The store staff are the ones who’ll take the flack, not the overpaid and overblown ‘executives’ of the LCBO. Meanwhile, Ontario’s imported wine customers now have one more important right taken away by these small timers. The rationale for this change is so transparent. It comes back to bloated profit margins which are directly tied to executive bonuses. You see, the bloated prices we pay for most wines is supposed to offset the LMoO’s, ooops, the LCBO’s, formerly excellent returns policy. Now that we don’t have that, why are we still being expected to pay loan shark prices for wines? I didn’t notice any across the board - sorry about the pun - price chops.

I guess there is some good news. After last week’s announcement by the SAQ that the SAQ has plans to become a major wine distributor in North America, the Ontario taxpayer will no longer have to foot the bill for Bob Peters’ boys and girls to make their overseas buying trips to procure wines and spirits. They can just take the Greyhound down the 401, stay in the Motel Metropole, dine on steamies and poutine and save us all a fortune there! (Note to Bob - Imagine the reduced travel costs, reduced per diems and the increased profits!)

All kidding aside, no monopoly should be allowed to unilaterally put such limitations on its customers. And make no mistake, the LCBO is a monopoly. There is no other option available to the citizens of Ontario to legally purchase imported wine and spirits. We can vote with our wallets I suppose. How BP? Well, all those untried, new wines from obscure locations will have to remain just that – untried. Why take a chance knowing we can’t take it back if we don’t like it? Buy three for the cellar? Not a chance – BP’s new policy will be “Drink the cellar down to zero bottles and when I do buy, BUY ONE bottle!

Bi-Weekly rant done, this is not a bad Vintages release. There are plenty of international options in the release and my picks include at least one representative red from OZ, Chile, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and South Africa, all in the $15 - $27 range. By the way, if I have time, I’ll do a quick price comparison to other stores (little US stores without the buying grunt of the LCBO) for some of the wine picks.
The $15 to $27 Range – My Picks
Before we get into my picks, the best wine in the release is probably an ISD - the Alta Catena Cab way down at the end.

– almost 2000 cases – there’ll be lots of it and it should be good. Think ‘the Formula’ with a niftier label. But see my note on the Jip Jip Rocks too!
South Africa
– This one might just out Aussie the Aussies! Blind against a Footbolt would be interesting but won’t happen now.
TOKARA DIRECTOR'S RESERVE RED 2006 $26.95 – OK so I changed the range just to fit this one! I’ll try one – I expect big things here. A more tannic Gamekeeper’s Reserve, perhaps like a Meerlust Rubicon and no S.A. burnt rubber. How’s that for an intriguing preview?
– should be good, and even better with food.
–the Maipo Valley Chilean flavor profile – cassis, chocolate, coffee.
Italy – Veneto
– this has come down in price to levels not seen in years.
Italy – Tuscany
Super vintage – big wine, full of rich fruit, hints of anise.
– This one may be as good as the Petalos of a few years back. Speaking of that, I had recommended it a few releases back and was disappointed in the bottle opened at Thanksgiving. Harsh, astringent and lacking the fruit came to mind. Perhaps a bit of time will help it – stay tuned and we’ll see.
R. LÓPEZ DE HEREDIA VIÑA CUBILLO CRIANZA 2004 $24.95 ISD – Will be an ‘old style’ crianza and I find my palate is moving in that direction sometimes. I expect a style and taste profile that is as opposite to the Nine Lives as it can possibly be. It’s great being a Gemini!

Best of the Rest
U.S.A. – California
RUTHERFORD RANCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 $19.95 – nothing special but a good solid performer that will not offend anyone.
JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ 2008 $15.95 – Might be the best buy in the release and I’ll try one before I try the Cat Amongst the Pigeons. There is a lot of the latter, not as much of the Jip Jip and for two bucks less, I’ll try one of these first.
ZOLO RESERVE MALBEC 2007 $16.95 – still have a few malbecs so no rush on this one.
SANTA CAROLINA RESERVA DE FAMILIA CARMENÈRE 2008 $17.95 – SC’s Reserva de Familia is always very well made wine – expect no less here. Don’t fear the Carmenere – to my palate it’s a merlot-y cab, or is that a cabby malbec?
France – Rhône
$24.95 – super syrah.
RAVOIRE & FILS LE PRIEURE CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2007 $14.95- well priced but the ’07 CdRV’s are pretty much picked over by now.
KIR-YIANNI RAMNISTA XINOMAVRO 2007 $17.95 – want to try something a little different?
France – Southwest
– If you liked the La Coutale Cahors from a few releases ago, try this one. I expect earth, hints of tobacco, green pepper and tomato leaf, some dark fruit, tannins and will take a pass.

The Big $$ Items – Anything over $28 this week
The Two Bold Tuscans take the cake!!!

U.S.A. – Washington State
HELIX SYRAH 2006 (Reininger Winery) $29.95
O. FOURNIER ALFA CRUX TEMP/MALBEC/MERLOT 2002 $39.95 - WS Top 100 a few years ago, this one should be ready to drink, especially with an Indian Summer BBQ’d steak
France – Bordeaux
CHÂTEAU PIPEAU 2005 $42.95 – Perennially a WS Top 100 wine but too expensive.
Italy – Tuscany
FATTORIA CARPINETA FONTALPINO DO UT DES 2007 $39.95 - 94 Points from James Suckling – some would scoff – but that is a great score for a very good vintage.
LA VELONA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2004 $43.95 – 92 Points from Galloni
TENUTA SAN GUIDO GUIDALBERTO 2008 $54.95 – Over priced for what you get.
TORRES SALMOS 2007 $33.95

The ISD’d – Rare, usually expensive
CLARENDON HILLS ONKAPARINGA GRENACHE 2006 $89.95 – Man o man, why wasn’t I born rich instead of good looking?
CATENA ALTA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 $47.95 – This is my pick as the best wine in the release. Too bad it’s an ISD and there is so little of it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Monopoly fails in its quest for 3 in a row

The Monopoly fails in its quest for 3 in a row
Ah well, the Vintages streak of consecutive quality product releases has come to a crashing end at 2. Coincidentally it is also the appropriate time to reprise the Python boys ‘Fine Australian Table wines’ skit and provide the following recommendation for this release - it is a release for ’laying down and avoiding’.

On the OZ front the LCBO team has underbought and overpriced most of the products. Inside the release, the turkeys for Thanksgiving are a mostly bland rehash. With one exception the Icons from Italy are pretty much out of reach unless you have deeeeeeep pockets.

Let’s start with the Australia – if you are going to have a title of ‘Top Aussie Reds’ on your cover you had better have at least some of the TOP Aussie reds inside. Do Not Have one brilliant wine surrounded by a bunch of General List retreads, starter entries, and generally nondescript underachievers sporting overblown James Halliday scores! Where are the Two Hands, the Clarendon Hills, the Vasse Felix, the Leuwins? Hell even a Mollydooker would have been nice (they have more than one of ‘em in BC)!
On to the wines…
The Shiraz – Cimicky might be OK, the Blackwell from St. Hallet should be very good but is overpriced anymore, and the Grant Burge is an entry level wine from that producer. Ah well, if you have the bucks (I don’t), the Elderton Command is superb.
The Cabs – Really??? All of Coonawarra, and we have to have two Cabs from the same house? Katnook’s lowest price entry is good value for the $’s, Nick Faldo? Say no more. What’s the matter, didn’t they have a Wayne Gretzky bottling? The Wynn’s is a refugee from the general list where it languished at $5 LESS per bottle, and the Penley is a nice tannic brute but overpriced. It strikes me odd that here it is an Australian feature and there are a couple of Cali Cabs that are as good or better quality- wise and just as well priced.
The Western OZ offerings will provide a flavor profile more like Bordeaux. Think green peppers, tobacco maybe a bit of tomato leaf along with the fruit. The more full blown California style fruit will come from South Australia (Barossa, McLaren Vale, etc). Of the Cab Merlots – Stella Bella and Xanadu are my picks. The Stella Bella more because I can do a mini Marlon Brando impression with ‘Stella!’ than due to the overdone James Halliday review. I’ll leave someone else to do the Olivia Newton John bit with the Xanadu.
On to the Blends – don’t get me started again! Too late, I’m started again! How can you possibly have an Aussie blend page and not have a single GSM?
Pinots? – Not for me.

Rant done, lets get back to the release

The Italian Icons are at least somewhat iconic and high priced except perhaps the Chianti Classico Reserva 2006. That should be a nice find.

From Spain, what may be the three best buys of the release, the el Arte de Viver 2007 has a great review and is only $13.95; the Palacios Vendimia 2008 at $15.95 is also a good buy but I’m not as enthusiastic as Vic Harradine. The white of the release, especially with turkey day coming, might be the Burgans Albarino 2009. Again a great review and well priced at $16.95

2 from California that caught my eye – the Rodney Strong Cab is well priced and solid and last year’s Edge was a surprise. This year’s seems to be at least as good and is getting some good reviews. Under $28 for a 90 point Napa cab is pretty rare.
The Silver labeled Trapiche Cab from Argentina is always a bargain.
From Italy the Aglianico Del Vulture at $18.95 should sport big fruit and liquorice flavours I’m hoping.
As for the premium wines, look to the Italian Icons, Shafer’s Merlot and the Caymus cab along with the Philip Togni Tanbark Hill with the Caymus probably the best along with the aforementioned Elderton Command.

Those of you in the Big Smoke might head to Crossroads and pick up a real Australian bargain, the Peter Lehmann Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is on clearout for $12.95. It’s from Barossa and on par with the Wynn’s in this release but at half the price. Or go back through some of the last two release notes and see what’s still in stock. I know I did!