Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dec.11 Vintages release - another year gone by already!

The last release of the year already! Where did the year go? Some really well made and well priced wines and a few big ticket exclusives in case you haven’t bought my gift yet!

My picks from this release are the Aussie Tawny, the Hecht and Bannier from the Minervois and one of the bargains from Spain - probably the Mencia from Pittacum.

Lets start with a few fizzys

2006 Stellers Jay Brut from Sumac Ridge $24.95
LaCheteau, not that’s not a spelling error, Cremant de Loire or Cave de Ribeauville Giersberger should be nice under $20 alternatives to Champers.

They say the only way to truly celebrate is with Champagne but I think the 3 above will provide as much pleasure and let you buy a pretty good bottle of something else too!

2007 Inniskillen Reserve Meritage or Creekside Laura 2007 should be good examples of Ontario’s great ’07 vintage, both come in under 20 dollars.
2008 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Chardonnay $17.95
2008 Ridge Sonoma Geyserville $43.95
2007 Luigi Bosca Reserva Syrah $17.95
On the Malbec front, the 2006 Trapiche Fincas Las Palmas Malbec $19.95 or the 2008 Kaiken Ultra are nice choices.
2007 Santa Ema Amplus Cabernet Sauvignon $19.95 – I expect the traditional Chilean flavor profile of dark fruit, spice and hints of espresso, but was told by someone who tasted this at the Vintages tasting that this one had some strong green flavors and aromas – think sweet green peppers and the scent of tomato leaf. I’ll try one to see before going to a multiple unit purchase. It’s a WOM so there should be lots around. Dec.14 - tried one and compared it to a 2007 Santa Carolina Reserva de la Familia The Santa Ema exhibited more fruit and less green than I expected and was the better wine on that night. An opinion shared by most.
Dutschke Old Codger tawny – I expect a Whiskers Blake clone so if you enjoyed that Aussie version of port in the past, you’ll like this bad boy.
2008 Yalumba Eden Valley Shiraz Viognier $19.95
2008 Bird In Hand Lofty Ranges Shiraz $24.95 – James Halliday says 93. Perhaps, but I think not.
2009 Mitolo Jester McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon $21.95 – well made.
2006 Glaymond Barossa Landrace Shiraz $29.95 – Should be an enormous shiraz. Not for the meek and mild.
The two big buck Aussies in this release are The Elderton Ode to Lorraine, still basking in its WS Top 100 finish in the last year or two and the Penfolds St. Henri which defies the odds and continues to see inflating prices based, I suppose, on its “Baby Grange” moniker. The Lorraine may eventually fall back to pre-last year’s pricing via a markdown. I’m not sure what is keeping the St. Henri going up.
2006 Chateau de Gourgazaud Reserve $17.95 – a fine one from the midi.
2007 Hecht & Bannier Minervois $18.95 – my pick from this release from the Midi.
2007 Les Vignerons du Castelas Cotes du Rhone Villages $13.95

A Question for everyone: Do you go for a great vintage from a mid pack vintner or an average vintage from a great vintner? That is the question that confronts and confounds us with the Chante Cigale 2007 @$37.95 and the 2008 Le Vieux Donjon Chateauneuf du Pape $52.95

2006 Solar de Libano Crianza - $14.95 - I'm not familiar with the publication that has provided the 90 point review but expect that this'll be European in profile - more tobacco, less fruit. Still, 90 points and under 15 bucks is worth a flyer.
2008 Acustic Celler Acustic $18.95 – give it time or open really early.
2006 Mas Estela Quindals $18.95 – A Spanish take on the southern Rhone.
2006 Pittacum Mencia $18.95 – I expect something really nice here and different too. Once again from Bierzo, this is the mencia grape, not the expected Spanish tempranillo, cab, syrah or garnacha.
2004 Bodegas Franco Espanolas Rioja Bordon Reserva $18.95 – The other wine of the month, worth a try too.
Baron de Lay Gran Reserva 2001 – lots of age on this already, and 93 points for under 30 bucks is pretty good. Remember the Spaniards like food, so it’ll be better with it than without it.

Monte Antico 2007 – As stated in the catalogue, the 2006 made the WS top 100, scoring 90 points. This is as good a vintage so why expect less?$15.00 - Update - A word of warning here. Early reports have this being stewed - it points more to bad storage at the winery, the shipper or perhaps even our friends at the monopoly than to bad winemaking but buyer beware! I bought one bottle and will report back upon sampling it.Dec.14 - tried it - stewed, burnt flavours - 82 to 84 points, too bad
2006 Rocca delle Macie Chianti Riserva $15.00 – Terrific price.
2007 Elio Filippino Nebbiolo $15.95
2005 La Valentina Spelt Montepulciano d'Abruzzo $28.95 – A three out of three from Gambero Rosso – try to find a bottle or two.
2004 Pietranera Brunello di Montalcino $37.95
2005 Ascheri Vigna dei Pola Barolo $41.95
2004 Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino $44.95 – Typically, this Brunello is a little more fruit forward than many others from Brunello. The score might be a wee bit inflated, but the wine is always well made the producer very solid.

Out of my range…

2006 Bongiovanni Barolo $49.95
2006 Grgich Hills Napa Merlot $53.95
2003 Il Poggione Riserva Vigna Paganelli Brunello di Montalcino $59.95
2003 Il Poggione Riserva Vigna Paganelli Brunello di Montalcino $59.95
2007 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno IGT Toscana $69.95
2005 Corte Riva Napa/Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon $77.95
2006 Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon $92.95
2006 Mount Eden Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon $52.95
2005 Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon $119.95
2006 Cliff Lede Poetry Stags Leap District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $124.95