Wednesday, February 26, 2014

March 1 - Another Ho Hum release so I can sleep in this Saturday.

March 1, 2014 Vintages release.  Kosher and Cabernet. Ho-hum, Almost a "Wake me up when this one is over" release! The one wine that really interests me is the barely Big Buck rep from Washington State. Best nation overall in the release is Spain.
 RUSTENBERG CHARDONNAY 2012   167 cases $19.95  
The Cabs and blends…
 FINCA SOPHENIA 5 Reserve Cabernet - $17.00 – Another of the $17.00 Food and Drink Magazine wines. Well scored, burger wine.
CEDARCREEK ESTATE CABERNET/MERLOT 2010  111 cases $24.95 – Not in the cab feature, but I like the producer.
SAN FABIANO CALCINAIA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2008 218 cases $27.95 – Tuscan take on Cabernet
DRY CREEK VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010   279 cases $25.95 – Solid Sonoma cab.
The rest
JIM BARRY THE LODGE HILL SHIRAZ 2012 499 cases $26.95 - Coolish climate Shiraz. 
HECHT & BANNIER CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON-VILLAGES 2010 299 cases $23.95 – A rerelease methinks.
BODEGAS OLARRA ANARES RESERVA 2006 $19.95 – A 7 years old Rioja Reserva at this price! Excellent food wine.
BODEGAS ARDAL CRIANZA 2005 -$17.95 – Another great deal, yes it’s a food wine too, but at 8 years old it should be right in its drinking window.
LAN CRIANZA 2010   1140 cases $15.95  The seemingly omnipresent  red label from LAN is always solid.
Big Bucks
ITALY - Barolo
G. D. VAJRA ALBE BAROLO 2008 219 cases – $39.95 – The LCBO marked the 2007 Vintage down to $26.85 – what a difference a year makes! This one’ll probably fly out due to its position in the top 20 of the WS Top 100 for 2013.   

HEDGES FAMILY ESTATE THREE VINEYARDS  RED 2011   111 cases $32.95  - My choice as the wine of the release.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Feb.15 - a ho hum French feature

February 15, 2014 LCBO Vintages release.  A few wines worthy of attention but this release is not nearly what it could be.   
Whites, from France, Greece
DOMAINE GAUTHERON CHABLIS 2012 279 cases $24.95 
 JOSEPH DROUHIN MÂCON-VILLAGES 2012     247 cases $17.95   
BOUTARI SANTORINI 2012   198 cases $17.95 
Reds, from the Rhone, Tuscany, California and Washington St.
From the Rhone, a few options. 219 cases of the 2010 DOMAINE DUSEIGNEUR ANTARÈS LIRAC  @ $25.95. An interesting Village, Lirac  flies under the Rhone Radar sometimes. If you can still find the Duvernay Vacqueyras marked down to just over $20, buy it instead.
 PIERRE AMADIEU DOMAINE GRAND ROMANE CUVÉE PRESTIGE  2011 Gigondas, features  198 cases @ $28.95. Not up to the standard set by the 2010 vintage but expect licorice, garrigues, spice and perhaps an earlier drinker.
 From Chianti, the 2010 BIBBIANO CHIANTI CLASSICO 597 cases @ $19.95 has an unreal score  from Decanter. As a result it may be hard to find and probably will be one of those Saturday morning ‘arm wrestle’ opportunities. Don’t be too upset if you miss out. All the other reviews I’ve read come in about 10 points below this one so buyer beware.
2007 AMORINO MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO $27.95. – New to me, this is an expensive wine for an LCBO offering from  Montepulciano  D’Abruzzo but as a Three of Three winner from Gambero Rosso it might be worth it. Certainly it’s got some age on it so should be more than ready to drink right now.
If you're feeling Italian, I'd also recommend you go back a release or two and find some Tassinaia if you're spending in this $$ region.
The omnipresent (well it seems that way) COLUMBIA CREST. This time it’s the  GRAND ESTATES CABERNET SAUVIGNON   447 cases @ $17.95.  Available for about  $10 in the States.  Between the H3 brand and their Grand Estates brand, Columbia Crest seems to appear once a month representing one of the three big red grapes (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Syrah). Where are the Grand Reserve bottlings boys and girls?  Sure they’re bigger $’s but they’re as good or better than many Cali options offered at substantially more.    
Big Bucks
And speaking of Big Bucks,  Australia offers up a Big Buck Shiraz that I really like, the  THORN-CLARKE WILLIAM RANDELL SHIRAZ 2010   90 cases of 6 $43.95. The score is over the top and will attract point chasers but the wine is very good if you can afford it. 
From California, The Hess wines are quite expensive and a few years ago they were prone to price reductions. That said, I do like the Allomi Vineyard after a little rest in the dark. The wine, not me.