Tuesday, April 21, 2015

May 2nd Release - Food and Drink - prices are anything but special.

For Ontario wine buyers, no ‘special’ bargains but some OK options in this release.  
NORTON RESERVA MALBEC 2011   3494 cases of 12- $17.00  - An OK buy if you’re a Malbec fan.  Made the WS Top 100 last year so a multi unit purchase might be worthy of consideration, if only because BBQ season is upon us and charred red meats are in our future for some months to come.
TRIVENTO GOLDEN RESERVE MALBEC 2012 384 cases of 12-  $19.95   - Too bad for it that it’s up against Mr. Norton this release.
  CHÂTEAU TANUNDA GRAND BAROSSA CABERNET SAUVIGNON   614 cases of 12-  $23.95  - A relative newcomer to Ontario producing quality juice.
JACKSON-TRIGGS SUNROCK RED MERITAGE 2010   111 cases of 6-  $29.95 – Produced using grapes from a wonderful site in the Southern Okanagan, SunRock holds a special place for me. This is a very well made wine.
SANTA RITA MEDALLA REAL GRAN RESERVA CABERNET   839 cases of 12-  $17.95  - Always very good and a reflection of Chilean terroir – but definitely more green flavours than the Aussie options in this release.
 GÉRARD BERTRAND LANGUEDOC SYRAH/GRENACHE 2011  3198 cases of 12-  $17.00  - 90 points from WS  and trumpeted as another Food and Drink ‘special’ by the LCBO. But don’t read CostcoWineBlog.com because you’ll find it there for $9.99 US. Explain to me again why we have to pay these prices?
 Dourthe Freres CHÂTEAU DE SÉRAME RÉSERVE DU CHÂTEAU  394 cases of 12-  $16.95 – Right there with the Bertrand and 5 cents less.
BROTTE BOUVENCOURT VACQUEYRAS 2013   449 cases of 12- $23.95  - Love the fruit – and it’ll be fruity! Needs some time to come around. Give it a year or two.
E. GUIGAL CROZES-HERMITAGE 2011  302 cases of 12-  $28.95 – Lamb in your future? Go for this. Want to do an Old World Syrah vs New World Shiraz taste off? Go for this for your old world rep. Give it time and/or air. You’ll smell earth, bacon (well smokey meat fat anyhow) maybe even some barnyard. Relax, it’s part of the charm!
G.D. VAJRA BARBERA D'ALBA 2011  273 cases of 12-  $21.95 – Want to try some Piedmontese examples but think Barolo is too expensive? Try this one.
IL MOLINO DI GRACE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011   1297 cases of 12-  $18.95 – Lots of bottles so no rush here.
CASTAÑO SOLANERA VIÑAS VIEJAS 2012   999 cases of 12- $16.95 – Read carefully – this is not a recommendation but rather a FEW words of warning.   Do you already have some of this in your cellar? It wouldn’t surprise me a bit because in the August 27th release last year it was a ‘Food and Drink Special’ at $17. Now here we are with our wonderful LCBO buying team buying less and somehow managing to sell it for less than that so called ‘Food and Drink special’. Further proof that this arm of the government is not here to serve the populace but to screw it with perhaps not false but somewhat misleading advertising! Even the laws of supply and demand don’t seem to apply to our intrepid bureaucrats.
MARQUÉS DE CÁCERES GRAN RESERVA 2005 - 349 cases of 12-  $29.95
COLUMBIA CREST GRAND ESTATES MERLOT 2012   952 cases of 12-  $16.95 – Espresso, mocha, vanilla, black fruits. That about covers it.

LA GERLA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009  173 cases of 12-  $49.95
BOSQUET DES PAPES CUVÉE TRADITION  Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 149 cases of 12-  $49.95

BREZZA CANNUBI BAROLO 2010   99 cases of 12- $64.95 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Update on the Plan de Dieu

I've now tried 3 bottles of the 2012 Plan de Dieu from this release. One with pizza, one with mushrooms in Phyllo and one with a kale salad. It worked with all of them! It is very, very good at any price. At $14.95 you can't go wrong.  At a dollar more, the Bila Haut is much younger - a year will make a real difference to it but it too is very good.

Monday, April 13, 2015

April 18 - A few interesting options

 Unless you have very deep pockets, here comes another less than thrilling Vintages release. This one has a few wines that I might buy (and can afford to buy) but I expect most of my selections to be available any time in the week subsequent to the release.  That’s the upside. The downside is there’ll be no frothing, rabid, wine connoisseurs engaging in hand to hand combat over some rare beverage in the Vintages section this week. Instead, there might be a few Bentley’s quietly waiting curbside. If you are wondering, there are 30 cases of 6 of the Mouton Rothschild in the province. None of them have my name on them.
For this week, my wine selections are presented and ordered by price point.

Under $20
DOMAINE LE GRAND RETOUR PLAN DE DIEU CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES 2012   1298 cases of 12 $14.95 – A pleasant combination in that both the underappreciated producer and the ‘Village’ over deliver on quality. Past vintages have presented wines worthy of full case consideration.  A great option for a casual weeknight BBQ with friends.
M. CHAPOUTIER LES VIGNES DE BILA-HAUT CÔTES DU ROUSSILLON  2013- 999 cases of 12 $15.95 –Winter is over but even now we’re now having a duel of the ‘Cotes’  (Badaboom, sorry, I can never resist a bad pun). You’ll find M. Chapoutier’s name gets more press than the Plan de Dieu above, but I think the PDD is as good for a buck less.
MUGA ROSÉ 2014   2096 cases of 12 $13.95 Lots of cases and although it’s not the first rose of the year at Vintages it is a sure sign of spring.  I can almost taste some pate, jambon and cheeses on the patio deck.

Under $30
PERRIN LA GILLE GIGONDAS 2012   220 cases of 12 $29.95 - Excellent family producer with first rate production from many of the appellations of the Southern Rhone.  They get the very best out of their sites and their grapes. This one is no exception.
FRANCISCAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012   299 cases of 12 $29.95 – Just squeaks in under the $30 mark this fine sample of Cali cab – cassis, cedar, vanilla hints – is from an excellent Napa vintage. Rare beef anyone?  
POLIZIANO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2011   294 cases of 12 $29.95  Poliziano is a first rate producer but nearer to the upper price point for Vino Nobile at the LCBO. Give it a bit of time - with food this will be worth the wait.
There’s another Vino Nobile in the release as well. I’m not familiar with it but whoever proof read the tasting note should have truncated it. The second half is at best a backhanded compliment comparing the vintage in the release to the same vintner’s cheaper 2010 Rosso de Montepulciano.
CONDADO DE HAZA CRIANZA 2010   199 cases of 12 $24.95 – A young Spanish Rioja that is always very good, if more in a North American style. To my palate this one usually exhibits more red fruit than black (red cherry/ cranberry over cassis/ blackberries) and with 4 and a half years on it, it’s coming into a nice place.
CHAKANA ESTATE SELECTION MALBEC 2012   208 cases of 12 $24.95 – Did you miss out on the Chakana blend from 2 releases back? Here’s their Malbec as a consolation prize. Big, unctuous, and demands a rare steak.
ALPHA CRUCIS TITAN SHIRAZ 2012  1014 cases of 12 $24.95  - From the McLaren Vale, a lovely big wine
THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE QUARTAGE 2012   334 cases of 12 $21.95 – Thorn Clarke’s wines are well produced with attention to quality. Not usually for the faint of heart.
BAROSSA VALLEY ESTATE SHIRAZ 2012   386 cases of 12 $21.95 – Ebenezer’s baby brother.

ANTINORI BADIA A PASSIGNANO GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO 411 cases of 6 $44.95 – This week’s big buck Chianti Classico Gran Selezione is from the famous house of Antinori. In a few years it will be interesting to do a blind comparison of this to a similar vintage of the Barbi Brunello or a Antinori’s own Pian delle Vigne.
Chateau de Beaucastel 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape – superb wine if you have the time. I think it’ll be at its best in 20 years. On the other hand, I was at my best more than 20 years ago!

And last but not least, if you have somewhere between $65 and $100 burning a hole in your pocket, try either of the Vega Sicilia offerings but give them serious time.