Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vintages Sept 27th - Groundbreakers herald the coming of fall

Gadzooks! Autumn will have arrived before the bottles for this release reach the floor. This release also signals the continuing (or is that continuous?) rise in Vintages prices culminating with the preChristmas releases a few months from now. The proof is in the recommendations – lots of big, bold reds and fewer lightweight whites and roses  but only one wine under $20!  
This week features New World Groundbreakers , Portugal, and Thanksgiving,. That first one is the big feature of the release.  The LCBO spells Groundbreakers ‘ Big Bucks’.
My early opinion is that this’ll be a great release for fans of Australian red wines and both the Washington Smiths should be good.  
Another note. This is a special release of many 2011 Vintage Ports. The year was superb and the prices reflect it. If you buy some and if you are of a certain age, your children and perhaps your grand children will drink very well to your memory because these’ll keep for years and years and years.
TWO HANDS ANGELS' SHARE SHIRAZ 2012 349 cases $25.95 -  A well priced, always excellent Aussie Shiraz. 
JIM BARRY THE LODGE HILL SHIRAZ 2012   600 cases $26.95 Disregard Halliday’s 95 points. The wine is perennially very good but not 95 points good. If you are a fan of the old Bin 61, this wine’ll match the early to mid-2000’s closely.
MOJO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 $18.95 – 800 cases and finally one to recommend under $20! James Halliday really seems to have liked this one but remember, he’s never met a bottle of Oz wine that he didn’t adore.  This one  is from Coonawarra home to many an iconic cab and you can expect cassis and mint or is that eucalyptus? Throw a rack of  lamb on the bar-b or a leg of lamb in the oven.
 MEERLUST CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 - 110 cases $29.95  - Big S.A. cabernet fruit in a ripe and yet understated (well, not over the top, well ok sort of a restrained new world/old world style but not quite, hmm how about ‘like a Coonawarra cab in a strait jacket?’ ) wine.
 DOMAINE BRUSSET TRADITION LE GRAND MONTMIRAIL GIGONDAS 2012 - $29.95 – You know me and my predilection for Southern Rhone blends.
I’m getting into white Burgundies a lot lately (Thanks to Norman H., his pizza oven, a warm day and good friends. You know who you are.) so if I was to buy any this time around, I’d  expect these two to be very nice.  At this price they should be!
  BOUCHARD PÈRE & FILS MONTAGNY 1ER CRU 2011 139 cases $29.95 
  JEAN-MARC BROCARD VAU DE VAY CHABLIS 1ER CRU 2012   200 cases $29.95 
 CHARLES SMITH BOOM BOOM! SYRAH 2013 166 cases $21.95 – Charles Smith’s wines are easily identifiable with their bold print and stark black and white labels. It is clear he doesn’t take wine or himself too seriously.  This is a big wine that stands up nicely to medium rare roast prime rib of beef.
 CHATEAU SMITH CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012  447 cases $23.95  - Look for the typical Washington profile of cassis and cloves with some cedar notes.
HORSEPOWER PROPRIETARY RED BLEND 2009  $21.95  – A kitchen sink blend of whatever was available it would seem.  Syrah, Barbera, Malbec, Petit Verdot,  and Mourvedre seems an odd lot but somehow it works. This’ll be a tasty wine for nontraditionalists, to be sure.
  NAPA CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012  2014 cases of 6 $25.95  - Lots of cases of a good solid crowd pleaser.
 DOMAINE DES MALANDES CÔTES DE LÉCHET CHABLIS 1ER CRU -$35.95 – Another white Burgundy – this one is an ISD  so only 49 cases.
DOMAINE JEAN DEYDIER ET FILS LES CLEFS D’OR  CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2010 - $44.95 – A late arrival to the LCBO Vintages scene from the wonderful 2010 vintage. Worth a plunge if you want a wine to forget about for some time before opening on a special occasion.
From here on you better have a fat wallet because there are lots of big boys! Barring a lottery win, I will not be buying any of these but will recommend them nonetheless for anyone who has a reason to splurge.
JOHN DUVAL PLEXUS SHIRAZ/GRENACHE/MOURVÈDRE 2009   99 cases of 6  $49.95 – Expensive but think of it as a slightly more fruit forward Chateauneuf.
TWO HANDS LILY'S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2012 249 cases of 6 $56.95 – Always among the best wines from Two Hands and better than the 2011. If I was to break my own rule and spring for an over $50 big buck wine in this release, this’d be it. Spoiler alert – I expect to see this in the WS Top 100, maybe even Top 10.
CAYMUS 40TH ANNIVERSARY CAB SAUV 2012 - $68.95 – Well above my own self imposed price ceiling. Watch out for the Range Rover traffic jam trying to load up on it.
IRONSTONE RESERVE ESTATE GROWN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 400 cases of 6 $36.95 – A notch up for this solid producer. 
SHAFER ONE POINT FIVE –$93.95 - A Napa treat.  Where’s that damn lottery ticket? I think this has gone up in price by 10 bucks since a certain youthful Italian Stallion turned 50!
STAG'S LEAP WINE CELLARS ARTEMIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 279 cases of 12. $64.95 –Look around for the 1500 ml of the 2011 available from last Christmas for well under $100. Do the math and save a few bucks if you must buy this wine.
 CATENA ALTA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011   70 cases of 6 $45.95 – A wonderful expression of Cab Sauv from Argentina. A Top flight producer and an ageworthy wine.
CATENA ALTA MALBEC 2011 269 cases of 6 $49.95 – Among the best of Argentina’s signature grape from any producer at any price.
MARCHESI DE' FRESCOBALDI MORMORETO 2010   39 cases of 6 -  $63.95 – An ISD, so this one’ll be in short supply and high demand. A super Tuscan if ever there was one, this is priced out of my wallet so I’m not worried.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vintages last release of the summer aka pages and pages of nothing to buy!

The first release of September  heralds the coming of fall, something we all know that the LCBO prices will never do. This release features Ontario wines, and oh what a feature it is! 18 pages of text before we see our first bottle of wine.  Wine must (See what I did there? I do love a good double entendre.) be a long way behind pulp and paper in the Ontario economy!  As well, this week has a tiny feature on  Vino Nobile de Montepulciano.  A somewhat underappreciated Tuscan village, Montepulciano   produces some very good wines, some amazing views, and some very full Canadian tourists. (Still sorry we missed that one!)
An interesting side note, the best Montepulciano in the release might not be a Vino Nobile but rather one from Abruzzo. No they are not the same wines nor are they from the same village.

The release itself has a few standouts especially if hunting down Top 100 wines is your thing.
In no particular order, here are my picks:
PIRRAMIMMA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011   511 cases $24.95 –Among the better Aussie Cabs we see each year. This vintage wasn’t great but the winemaker’s talent shines through.
NINQUÉN ANTU CHILEAN MOUNTAIN VINEYARD SYRAH 2012 651 cases $17.95 Big chocolate and black fruit flavours – every year a good buy. Needs a bit of time to integrate the oak though.
DOMAINE GRANDY VACQUEYRAS 2012   299 cases $19.95 Well priced for a Vacqueyras. Buy it and leave it for 6 months to a year.
COPPI  PEUCETICO PRIMITIVO 2007 - $13.95 – Looking for a bargain? Here’s the one I’d pick from the release. Well aged, it’ll be soft, fruity and good to go with any casual Italian meal.
BARBA I VASARI Montepulciano D'Abruzzo 2009- $19.95 - 3 of 3 from Gambero Rosso. Hard to beat that rating and that price!
ANTICO COLLE VINO NOBILE DE MONTEPULCIANO 2010- $26.95- Ranked in the Wine Enthusiast  Top 100 last year, this wine will provide a tasty counterpoint to tagliata. Give it some time to come around.
PICCINI CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2007 699 cases $19.95 Right in its drinking window now, this one is from a very good vintage and is well priced as well.
 REININGER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012   167 cases $21.95  To quote the winemaker ”This cab is not the boisterous seat at the dinner party. Rather it is the captivating, intriguing, humble guest that you want to stay the night.” Sounds good to me. Look for aromas of cassis, chocolate and some sandalwood that’ll evolve on the palate into cassis and cherry flavours.
Ontario - PEC
ROSEHALL RUN 2011 COUNTY CHARDONNAY 111 cases $21.95. Norman Hardie is just up Greer Rd and his impact is felt stylistically here. You can expect bracing acidity and a real Chablis style. Need something to kickstart  your saliva glands? Here it is.
DOMINIO DE TARES CEPAS VIEJAS MENCIA 2009   238 cases $29.95 – Number 8 among the Decanter Top 50 wines of the year for 2013. The growth of the Mencia grape is pretty much restricted to one small D.O. in Spain called Bierzo.  Bierzo comprises a tiny 3000 sq. Kms of Spain’s total of just over 505,000sq.Kms. Past reviews have seen me describe the grape as Pinacherah. (Hints of Pinot Noir, Grenache and Syrah). YMMV.

Big Bucks
MANUS DEI DU CHÂTEAU SIXTINE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2011   149 cases $39.95  - Just because.
VILLA I CIPRESSI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2007   169 cases $51.95 Another Tuscan from a terrific vintage – not cheap though.
LA RIOJA ALTA VIÑA ARDANZA RESERVA 2004 218 cases $39.95 Very well produced. Lots of age on it already too.  #22 in the WS Top 100 last year.