Friday, November 18, 2011

Nov.26th Release - The LCBO says "Buy into this release and act like Greece or Italy!"

Another of the LCBO’s “Break your Bank” releases, replete with $90 Aussies, $100+ Cali Cabs,
Super Tuscans and Bordeaux. Fiscal restraint and common sense have prevailed unlike in Greece or Italy so I will not even consider reviewing any of these massively priced offerings, tempting though they may be. Instead, think of the release this way: While reading through the Vintages catalogue, you’ll have to pass a lot of pretty pics to get to my pretty picks!

So here they are sorted by nation not by preference…

Two Italians
GEOGRAFICO MONTEGIACHI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2007 $23.95 – A three glass winner from Gambero Rosso, this one will reflect both the region’s terroir and the fruit from the terrific vintage in 2007.
MARCHESI DE’ FRESCOBALDI TENUTA DI CASTIGLIONI 2008 21.95 – Always a very good wine, the 2008 might not be  quite up to the last couple of last years’ (’06 and ’07) standards but served with lamb chops or rare beef, you’ll be happy with it!
Three from the South of France
Two Gold Medal winners from the Languedoc should provide plenty of sub $20 pleasure:
And a Cotes du Rhone - LA FERME DU MONT LE PONNANT CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2009 $17.95 – repeat after me, 2009 great vintage, well priced.
New Zealand
MOMO PINOT GRIS 2010 $18.95 – great producer.
KAESLER STONEHORSE SHIRAZ/GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE 2008 - $22.95 – I like Kaesler wines and I like GSMs, especially at this pricepoint so I’m thinking this’ll be a good buy. One thing that I found in a previous vintage of this wine was a delicate effervescence that stubbornly held on despite spending time in the cellar. Would a cork have allowed it to dissipate? The previous vintage of this wine was under screw cap, like this one.
Don’t cry for me……Argentina
BENMARCO MALBEC 2009 - $16.95 – Need something to accompany slabs of rare beef for a big crowd? Here’s a well priced option for you.
A couple of Yanks
BOMBING RANGE RED 2007 - $19.95 – From the Horse Heaven Hills region of Washington St. This area is well known for the H3 line from Columbia Crest and many other higher priced offerings as well. If this wine is up to any of those standards, you’ll be pleased but don’t go to their website. It’s $12 from the winery without any US retailers’ discounts taken into account – so it costs them $12 to grow the grapes, bottle the wine, age it and make a profit selling it to the public. And we get to pay $20? Merry Christmas to us, I suppose.
J. LOHR CAROL’S VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 $27.95 – a very good producer of midpriced wines, this one is a little expensive for what you’ll get, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Bigger Bucks but not nearly the Biggest Bucks
With all the huge $$’s Cali Cabs in this release there are a couple that are worth seeking out  if only because they appear to be relative bargains. Both scored well and at this time of year to have a big Napa Cab under or around $50 is a surprise!
CUVAISON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 $49.95 Mount Veeder, Napa Valley
CHIMNEY ROCK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 - $54.95 Stags Leap District, Napa Valley

And last but not least, “Buy one for the name alone?”
LADIES WHO SHOOT THEIR LUNCH SHIRAZ 2008 - $34.95 – From Plunkett Fowles, makers of the Stone Dwellers Cabernet. This is expensive but what a great name for a wine -  I’m tempted to buy a bottle on that alone. Combining the name with the region it’s from, the Strathbogie Ranges, makes it even more difficult to say no.  But wait, it gets better! If you’re tired of squirrels buggering around in the attic, pop them with your pellet gun, roast them and  serve them up with a bottle of this fine wine. Don’t believe me? Check their website! And, if this grosses you out, in the finest of Oz tradition Chopper says “Harden Up.”


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November 12th - The Beginning of the Big Buck Brigade

Ahhhh, November and the LCBO’s thoughts turn to big buck exclusives to lighten our wallets, damage exercise our kidneys, and send our tastebuds into paroxysms of desire for more! The first release of the month of November presents an amazing compendium of grape based delights. And the good news is some are even below $20! But most of the really high scoring wines will likely require an RRSP raid. So here we go, sorted from ’cheap and cheerful’  to  “You spent how much on wine this month??!!’   

The Cheapies (OK, under $20)

QUINTA DE CABRIZ SELECCIONADA COLHEITA 2008 - Not a port, don’t be confused! $14.95 and a Best Value with ‘sauvage allure’. How can you even question buying a wine that has suavage allure?

STALKING HORSE SHIRAZ 2008 $17.95 – Harvey Steiman says 90 points. I’d trust his palate over Jay Miller’s. Buy this one.

DELAS FRÈRES SAINT-ESPRIT  CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2009 - $14.95 – At the risk of sounding like a broken record, 2009 - Terrific vintage, terrific producers.

MAIPE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 $17.95 – Another Argentinian with 90 points from Parker’s minions.

AGRELO LAMADRID SINGLE VINEYARD  MALBEC 2009 90 points from Jay (Just call me 90) Miller but for $14.95, it’s a good one.

MONTES ALPHA SYRAH 2009 – Always very good, softer than some Chileans - $19.95

SANTA CAROLINA RESERVA DE FAMILIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009 $17.95 – A perennial 90 point wine. In a lighter bottle than some previous years. Too bad,  I like those big,  heavy ones.

CAT AMONGST THE PIGEONS NINE LIVES SHIRAZ 2009 $17.95 – Last year was good but this one gets lost among all the other choices in this release.


CHUSCLAN LES GENÊTS CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2009 – At $19.95, this is on the upper end of the CdR-V range, but ’09 was a terrific vintage.

And one lonely white bargain
VINUM AFRICA CHENIN BLANC 2009 $14.95 – Tired of Chards, SauvBlancs or Pinot Grigios? Nicely priced for a different white varietal.

The Midpriced beauties ($20 to $30)

RUFFINO MODUS 2007 $28.95 for a 96 point wine? This’ll be roller derby on Saturday morning!   Needs some serious cellar time but this wine was #25 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2010.

E. GUIGAL GIGONDAS 2007 $29.95 – Another terrific wine and if you compare Gigondas to Chateauneuf du Pape it’s a steal. Released previously in Vintages.

THE HEDONIST SHIRAZ 2008 $23.95  - Is it worth 6 bucks more than the Stalking Horse or the Cat Amongst? You’ll have to decide.

FERRATON PÈRE & FILS LA MATINIÈRE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2009 $20.95. Very nice wine but gee there are so many!
ROCCA DELLE MACÌE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2006 – At $21.95, this is a better buy than the Castello di Querceto  methinks.

SEÑORÍO DE P. PECIÑA RESERVA 2001 90 pts. $29.95 Ten years old.

 ‘Consider taking out a Mortgage’ Wines

If money was no object, this is the order I’d buy them in. If only money was no object!

LE VIEUX DONJON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2009    $57.95 90-92 RP – Keep the vertical going!


RUBICON ESTATE CASK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 Rutherford, Napa Valley $74.95 95 WE

TENUTA SETTE PONTI ORENO 2008 $74.95 - 96 points from the usually conservative Antonio Galloni.

REININGER ASH HOLLOW  SYRAH 2006 Walla Walla Valley, Washington State  $39.95 93 WS

KILIKANOON PARABLE SHIRAZ 2007 McLaren Vale, Australia  $39.95  94 + (The review on this one begs the question How many palates can tell the difference between 94+ and 95 points?)

PODERI COLLA BUSSIA DARDI LE ROSE BAROLO $49.95 94+ RP (Hmm, what cost it the half point?)

MITOLO SERPICO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 McLaren Vale, Australia  $54.95 94 RP


MISSION HILL QUATRAIN 2008 VQA Okanagan Valley, B C – 90 points in the WS  $41.95


JONATA TODOS RED 2007 . Score: 92-94 $59.95

GEMMA COLAREJ BAROLO 2006 $34.95 for a Barolo? Very good buy.

MOLLYDOOKER THE BOXER SHIRAZ 2008 - I reviewed the Mollydooker Boxer a while back. To call it a real mouthful is understating it! Should be $29.95 not $34.95

TENUTA SAN GUIDO GUIDALBERTO 2009 $49.95 from the producers of Sassicaia

VAL DE FLORES MALBEC 2005  Mendoza, Argentina  $49.95  94 points for another of the Michel Rolland efforts from Argentina.

One Big Bottle to watch out for
BODEGAS LAN RESERVA 2005 - $39.95 for a 1500ml  bottle of a Top 100 wine? Seems like the loan  (sorry Bad pun) the lone good buy among all the Christmas gifties. Just to clarify, the '04 LAN Rioja and the 06 LAN crianza made the WS Top 100, not the '05. My mistake!