Thursday, October 22, 2015

October 31 - Tuscany and Chile in a very good release but why, oh why?

It’s a Tuscan release so let us commence with a Tuscan wine question. “Why is the Pian delle Vigne 2010 a full $16 more expensive here than in Quebec?”   I’ll await your response Shari Mogk-Edwards but I won’t hold my breath. That question asked, I now have to take my hat off to the Vintages team for this release. As you can tell from my notes below, this has something for everyone.

Chile plays second fiddle in this release and while it is overshadowed by the bold Italians there are some worthy options.

TUSCANY Picks – Four that look excellent, two under $20 and two under $25.
BORGO SCOPETO BORGONERO 2011   998 cases of 12   $19.95 – The Borgo Scopeto Chianti was a beaut and  Yes, I should have bought more! I expect more of the same with this well priced Tuscan/ Bordeaux blend. It might need some time to get settled so don’t rush to serve it but the big number and great price will have this one blowing out the door so do rush to buy it.
Frescobaldi CAMPO AI SASSI Rosso di Montalcino 2013 - $21.95 – While this 2013 might be good to age, it should also be ready for immediate consumption. Planted in the southern half of the Castelgiocondo estate below Montalcino and aged for 12 months in Slavonian oak, this was unanimously given 95 by the Decanter tasting panel.
CASTELLI DEL GREVEPESA CLEMENTE VII CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011   3498 cases of 12   $17.00  - Another of the Food and Drink specials (or is that F and D specials, or maybe F’n D specials) , this garnered a 92 point score from Wine Spectator but be careful to read the review. This is an old school chianti, so give it time and food. It does not seem to be as universally well liked among the wine cognoscenti.  
CAFAGGIO CORTACCIO 2006   344 cases of 12   $24.95 – A 100% Cabernet Sauv wine from a terrific Tuscan vintage. Now with almost 9 years on it this one is ready for immediate consumption and I don’t expect it to get better (I like my wines to exhibit some fresh as opposed to all dried fruit characteristics). Are you ready for a Florentine steak hot off the grill?
My first four picks outside Tuscany in the $15 -$30 range are the CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE INDIAN WELLS CABERNET SAUVIGNON   279 cases of 12 at $26.95 will be spicy and tasty with cloves and vanilla supporting the black currant fruit.  Next is the CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO ANDES PIRQUE VINEYARD CABERNET. In the medium term this’ll be as good as their flagship Don Melchor. A bold statement but I really like this wine. Look for the traditional Chilean profile of black currant, loam, just a hint of green and mint and a long, full finish. Decant and serve with a rare roast of beef. 995 cases of 6 at  $29.95. Third pick is the Spanish MURIEL RESERVA VENDIMIA SELECCIONADA 2008.  At $18.95 and with food this is among the better QPR reds I’ve had in the last year or so. Last option is the SYRAH from MONTES ALPHA. I find the wines from this producer lean more towards OZ than Europe so this’ll be a pleasant softer mouthful. 650 or so cases of 12.
POLIZIANO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2012   298 cases of 12  $29.95 – Having visited Poliziano I have to recommend this wine for no other reason than the professionalism of their staff.  
TENUTA SAN GUIDO LE DIFESE 2013   644 cases of 6  $29.95  - The Third  wine to Sassicaia and Guidalberto, this is made from younger estate vines. Expensive but …
LE VOLTE DELL'ORNELLAIA 2013   495 cases of 12  $29.95 – The third wine of the Ornellaia estate.
RUFFINO MODUS 2011   676 cases of 12  $29.95  - James Suckling is a huge fan of this wine. Me? I like it but I think there are many better places to spend your money in this release.
 MURIEL RESERVA VENDIMIA SELECCIONADA 2008   997 cases of 12 $18.95 As  mentioned above in my non Tuscan picks. Keep in mind this was in Decanter’s Top 10 Wines of 2013 but is the third release of this vintage and wine by the Vintages team. Now, that said I always worry about rereleases so you can bet I’m really worried about this rererelease! It might have been nice for the LCBO to throw us a bone and make this one of the Food and Drink specials but that was just too much to hope for.
BARÓN DE LEY RESERVA 2010   596 cases of 12  $19.95 – The second of a couple of well priced and terrific  Spanish wines in this release. You better like oak for this one and do open well before serving with food.
WOLF BLASS GOLD LABEL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013   996 cases of 6  $23.95 – Another really solid new world Cabernet. 
LAVAU VACQUEYRAS 2012   358 cases of 12 $24.95 – Lavau is a solid if not spectacular producer and you know I like wines from vineyards in the region of this Village.
For you bargain hunters, there are a few goodies that just squeak under the $17 mark. Three from Argentina, the two CRIOS offerings – a Malbec and a red Blend should be very nice as well as  the FAMIGLIA BIANCHI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013   599 cases of 12  $17.95 Any of these will be solid, great for a Christmas open house, it you’re thinking ahead. Also worth considering are the Brampton Cab from South Africa or the Xavier Cotes du Rhone 2012.
ANTINORI PIAN DELLE VIGNE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010   987 cases of 6  $69.95 – You’d laugh if you weren’t crying, right? This is $53.75 in Quebec for the same Vintage so those who have defended the LCBO by saying that it serves a purpose and funds things like OHIP etc can look at Quebec. With the same health system and subsidized daycare for young families (max cost $7.30 up to a max. of $20 per day)  they still manage to sell this wine for $16.25 less than the LCBO – how does the LCBO get away with that? Anywhere else and it would be called price gouging (or perhaps incompetence?).
 PENFOLDS BIN 28 KALIMNA SHIRAZ 2012   155 cases of 6 $34.95 
  TWO HANDS LILY'S GARDEN SHIRAZ 2013   299 cases of 6 $54.95 
  E. GUIGAL GIGONDAS 2011   197 cases of 12  $36.95
  J. L. CHAVE SÉLECTION OFFERUS SAINT-JOSEPH 2012   71 cases of 12   $33.95 – Nice meaty peppery syrah from a terrific producer. Lamb chops are calling its name.
  BENI DI BATASIOLO BOSCARETO BAROLO 2009   199 cases of 6   $67.95
  FONTANAFREDDA LA ROSA BAROLO 2008   127 cases of 6  $64.95
TENUTA SETTE PONTI ORENO 2012 246 cases of 6  $77.95 – This has come down a wee bit (maybe to try to match Quebec?) and the 2004  was among my wines of the year last year but I can’t justify it. Quebec has it at $73 for the 2011. Just sayin’.
 POGGIOTONDO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 592 cases of 12  $39.95 – An old style Brunello at a reasonable price. But this is ‘old style’ so fruit will be reticent and food is recommended.
  SAN FELICE IL GRIGIO DA SAN FELICE GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI   247 cases of 6   $46.95 – A Chianti in Brunello clothing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October 17th Vintages - Cali and Piedmont vie for your cash

The October 17thst release sees the prices begin to spike as we head into the Christmas time releases. Focused on California with an able backup from Barolo, this one will be a wallet lightener to be sure. The LCBO, ever the masters of the understatement called this release the California Gold Rush. Look at the prices and you’ll see why - They’re rushing to get our gold.
M. CHAPOUTIER DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT OCCULTUM LAPIDEM 2013   998 cases of 12   $25.95 – Always excellent but will need a bit of time to calm down.
VILLA SYMPOSIA L'EQUILIBRE 2012   221 cases of 12  $22.95  - Another reasonably good buy for a mid term ageworthy wine.
FAMILLE PERRIN LES CORNUDS VINSOBRES 2013   404 cases of 12  $17.95 – With the Nicalo, this is the semibargain red selection of the release.
DOMAINES PERRIN COUDOULET DE BEAUCASTEL CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE 344 cases of 12 $29.95 – A Cotes du Rhone with Chateauneufian sensibilities. Built to age in the medium term, you’ll find it puckeringly  tannic in its youth.
3 RINGS SHIRAZ 2013   995 cases of 12  $18.95  - Consistent wine – never let’s you down.
MOLLYDOOKER THE BOXER SHIRAZ 2013   199 cases of 12   $29.95 – Sometimes referred to as The BenlynDooker, this’ll be inky black garnet and juicy. Old style OZ.
D'ARENBERG THE GALVO GARAGE 2010   191 cases of 12   $29.95 Is it my imagination or has this jumped in price from last year? 
 TEDESCHI CAPITEL NICALÒ 2013 948 cases of 12  $17.95 – The other semibargain of the release. I do expect to like this one based on history.
RIOJA VEGA RESERVA 2008   1059 cases of 12   $21.95 – Lots of bottles so no rush.
DOMINIO DE TARES CEPAS VIEJAS MENCIA 2011   298 cases of 12   $29.95 – This one has jumped in price if I recall correctly. Expect something akin to a southern Rhone palate with a dollop of pinot noir thrown in. The only grape in it is mencia. But that’s what it tastes like to me.
FATTORIA DI BASCIANO I PINI 2011   239 cases of 6 $30.95 – I’m hoping for a replay of Castello del  Terriccio’s terrific Tassinaia with this one. One dollar too much drops it into the Big Buck zone.
BRITISH COLUMBIA’s JACKSON-TRIGGS SUNROCK VINEYARD ILLUMINA 2012   111 cases of 6  $34.95- A spectacular setting and a terrific vineyard in both soil composition and solar exposure.  If you want to see how much fruit a Canadian red can show try this blend of Zinfandel and Shiraz.  Note to J.T - check the harvest dates on the PDF for this one on the Great Estates website.
CASTELLO DI AMA SAN LORENZO CHIANTI CLASSICO GRAN SELEZIONE  348 cases of 12   $45.95  - I’m a big fan of Di Ama but I’ll have to drown my sorrows with a bottle of 2009 Reserva since  I expect I’ll lose out on the charge for this one come Saturday (or Friday, or whenever!). Like the Banfi below, it’ll need some time to tame the tannins.
BANFI POGGIO ALLE MURA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010   110 cases of 6   $69.95 Patience people, patience. Needs at least 7 years to show the best it has to offer.
All across Europe, 2010 was a great vintage. The following four Barolos should provide real pleasure for you.
TENUTA ROCCA BAROLO 2010   239 cases of 12   $36.95 
PRUNOTTO BAROLO 2010   199 cases of 12    $40.95  
FONTANAFREDDA SERRALUNGA D'ALBA BAROLO 2010   200 cases of 12    $44.95  
ASCHERI SORANA BAROLO 2010   111 cases of 12   $57.95  
PICCINI VILA AL CORTILE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2009   299 cases of 12    $36.95 – A nice comparatively inexpensive Brunello to sip while you wait for the 2010 Banfi below to age and come around. Remember, patience is a virtue though!
DOMAINE DE CRISTIA CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012   149 cases of 12    $43.95

Black Stallion Napa Cabernet 2012 - $32.95 – 91% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance a blend of the Bordeaux grapes this is as close to a bargain as I could find from Napa. But I’ll wait for next release and buy a cab from Washington St. or Chile.