Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Feb.06 - Southern France and South Africa

Yee gods, seems like yesterday we were celebrating the New Year and already another month is gone! The first release of February brings us 2 features – Southern France and South Africa. Both are somewhat underappreciated regions which should be a good thing for your wallet. If the Vintages buyers are on the ball we should have some tasty well priced bargains.  Key word in both these statements is ‘should’. Here we go.
PIERRE-LUC BOUCHAUD MUSCADET SÈVRE ET MAINE 2014   336 cases of 12 $14.95 – At a tasting last year I was sure this was a far more expensive white Burgundy. Shame on me! It turned out to be a Loire Muscadet Sèvre et Maine produced from 100% melon de bourgogne grapes. It’s an excellent option if you’re looking for a well priced daily drinker to replace more expensive chardonnays. Terrific on its own or with some grilled shrimp, and even better with fresh water pickerel or bass.
KEN FORRESTER OLD VINE RESERVE CHENIN BLANC 2015   300 cases of 12 $17.95 – Good, new world, chenin blanc. (There’s a Cali alternative for $1 more that you also might want to try this week).
Three Cabs/ Bordeaux blends from South Africa. All are very good.
RUPERT & ROTHSCHILD CLASSIQUE 2012 A 12 503 cases of 12 $22.95 
RUSTENBERG RM NICHOLSON 2013   299 cases of 12 $19.95 
CAVE DE ROQUEBRUN LA GRANGE DES COMBES SAINT-CHINIAN  277 cases of 12 $18.95 – Consistent, quality  wine.
 HECHT & BANNIER MINERVOIS 2013   279 cases of 12   $19.95   I tend to think of Minervois reds as the  equivalents of a lower cru Cotes du Rhone Villages. H and B are excellent producers.
FONCALIEU RÉSERVE DU CROUZAU ST. GERVAIS CÔTES DU RHONE VILLAGES 2012-  599 cases of 12 $16.95 – From the named village of St. Gervais, this is a well priced option and from a better year for Grenache (better than 2013 for sure) in the Southern Rhone.
DOMAINE DE LA COLLINE ST-JEAN VACQUEYRAS 2012 300 cases of 12  $24.95
BOUTARI NAOUSSA XINOMAVRO 2013 450 cases of 12 $13.95 – Grill something to accompany this well priced quality wine and be comfortable serving your guests xinomavro instead of Cab Sauv, Malbec or Shiraz. Roughly translated to acid black, that about sums this one up.
SISTERS RUN CALVARY HILL SHIRAZ 2013 - $15.95 – Well made, slightly less ostentatious (that is to say, fewer medals on the bottle) shiraz.
THE BLACK CHOOK SHIRAZ/VIOGNIER 2014   1063 cases of 12 $17.95 – Festooned with enough medals to sink a super freighter, this wine is a good if somewhat old school shiraz.
CASTELLI DEL GREVEPESA CLEMENTE VII CHIANTI CLASSICO 2010  599 cases of 12 $20.95  - 2010 was a wonderful year in Tuscany, and this should be in its prime.
COLUMBIA CREST H3 LES CHEVAUX RED BLEND 2012   335 cases of 12  $19.95  - A  crowd pleasing blend  for parties and BBQs. I’ve found the Columbia Crest wines a little heavy on the oak lately but YMMV.
4 Bubblies for Valentine’s Day from well known producers
GÉRARD BERTRAND CUVÉE THOMAS JEFFERSON BRUT CRÉMANT DE LIMOUX 2014  499 cases of 6 $19.95 – Something a little different from Gerard Bertrand. Could be time for a Cremant fest! This nice blend of Chenin and Chard is perfect to say Cheers while playing Ch-Ch-Changes at your next Bowie themed house party.
NINO FRANCO BRUT VALDOBBIADENE PROSECCO SUPERIORE   400 cases of 12 $21.95  - Worth searching out.
PIERRE SPARR BRUT ROSÉ CRÉMANT D'ALSACE 330 cases of 12  $18.95  - Well known Alsace producer, high quality  in both still and sparklers. Butted up against Germany and Switzerland, Alsace produces some terrific cool climate wines.
SOUTH AFRICA - GRAHAM BECK BRUT ROSÉ   499 cases of 6 $19.95 – One more well known producer, this time from South Africa.
ROCCA DELLE MACÌE RISERVA DI FIZZANO SINGLE VINEYARD 2011  117 cases of 12 $32.95 – This single vineyard wine meets all the requirements to be a Gran Selezione and should be terrific. Not necessarily a contemplation (or is that meditation?) wine, this’ll be wonderful with any Tuscan cuisine.
Secret des Schistes 2011 – This wine, made from 100% syrah grapes, gets a wonderful score from Jeb Dunnuck. Does it live up to it? Maybe, but the wine is new to me and with Crozes Hermitages and St. Joseph’s available for less, I'll have a hard time spending this much. 
BURROWING OWL MERLOT 2012 167  cases of 12 $39.95  
SAN GIACOMO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010   111 cases of 12  $49.95 – Well scored by all, and from the 2010 vintage (broken record time, I know!) this’ll be ready now with a good decant but superb in a couple of years.

CHÂTEAU LA NERTHE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012   99 cases of 12 $49.95 – Expensive for the quality you’ll get. It’s tough to decide if you should spend the $50 on a Brunello instead.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 23rd - Argentina, Chile and Portugal

This week we get the featured  Argentina + Chile and  Portugal backs them up. It’s another yawner but there appear to be a few more QPR bargains this time than in the year’s first one - the supposed ‘smart shopper’ release. This one also has a few intermediate priced wines ($18 – $30) worthy of consideration.  Don’t overthink them though and my recommendation is, should you see some leftovers that you really enjoyed from past releases, don’t hesitate to spring for the known entities.
From a release perspective, let’s just say if the LCBO was the Leafs, they’d be on at least a two game losing streak.
CONO SUR SINGLE VINEYARD EL RECURSO BLOCK 18 CABERNET 2014 349 cases of 12 - $18.95 – From a single vineyard in the Maipo valley, expect some black fruit and green aromas and flavours, hints of mint, loam and currants.
TONELES TONEL 22 2013 - $17.95 – A well scored Malbec but it is new to me.
Trapiche Broquel Bonarda 2013 - $14.95 – A lesser known and not widely imported wine, Bonarda is worth trying. Also known as Charbono (in the U.S.) and Douce Noir or Corbeau (in France).  The price is right for this example and the producer superior. Fruit forward and not too tannic but requires a long growing season to fully ripen. In a poor year expect green, vegetal flavours.
SANTA ALICIA GRAN RESERVA CAB SAUV 2011 - $15.95 – Right in its drinking window.
Concha Y TORO Carmenere 2013 $19.95 – Serve up this Chilean wine with smoky BBQ’d beef. Not Cab Franc, not Cab Sauv, nor Merlot but hints of each.
TERRAZAS DE LOS ANDES RESERVA MALBEC 2013   613 cases of 12 $18.95 – Lamb or beef Burgers? Nice pairing.  
HUGH HAMILTON  JIM JIM  THE DOWN-UNDERDOG  SHIRAZ 2013   829 cases of 12 $15.95 – Very solid Aussie product.
WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013   2111 cases of 12 $17.95 – There is a reason that the LCBO bought so many bottles. It is always solid for the price.
SHINGLEBACK DAVEY ESTATE SHIRAZ 2012  223 cases of 12 $23.95   Expensive for the release but perhaps worth it.
 LA FERME DU MONT PREMIÈRE CÔTE CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2013   1007 cases of 12 $15.95 – A CdR that will be fine to serve on any occasion or with any meat from roast chicken to lamb to beef to pork.  
LES AMOURIERS SIGNATURE VACQUEYRAS 2012   239 cases of 12 $26.95 – A better vintage than 2013, worth opening the wallet for one or two.
E. GUIGAL CROZES-HERMITAGE 2012  199 cases of 12 $28.95  - A nice syrah from the Rhone’s  best known negotiant, this’ll be good now and provide pleasure to come. Save it for a rack of lamb. 
CARPINETO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2010   249 cases of 12 $29.95 Also expensive for this release but from a superior vintage. Worth trying one or two and this one should be ready to drink but also hold if you wish.
BASCIANO CHIANTI RUFINA 2012   $15.95 A food wine to be sure but well priced and I expect a fuller, darker wine than most regular (non Classico) Chiantis. Try with bison or wild boar ragu and pasta. Ok, substitute lamb or pork if you wish.
LANDER-JENKINS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 899 cases of 12 $18.95 – New to me. This could be a pleasant surprise for its price. For those familiar with ‘The Show’, think of it as that wine without the marketing.  Nothing too sophisticated but I expect it’ll fit well round a BBQ later in the spring.
KENDALL-JACKSON VINTNER'S RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON   499 cases of 12 $22.95 Solid. Will never have you saying “Wow, what’s that?” but also will never have you saying “Ewwww, what’s that?”
FATTORIA DEI BARBI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010   223 cases of 12 $49.95 – If decanted for an hour or three this one is usually ready to drink. Trying not to sound like a broken record, this is from what is considered a great vintage.