Monday, March 28, 2016

Vintages April 2 - Old vs. New - At my age, you know who I'm cheering for!

A release that features comparisons of a number of old and new world  wines. The good news here is that you get to see not only the stylistic  differences in the wines but also the differences in the way wines are marketed and sold in the old and new world. As you may have noticed, one often focuses on the place, the other mostly on the grape.
NORTON RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012   558 cases 0f 12  $17.95 – Among the better buys in the release, this Cab will offer lots to accompany your spring BBQs.
JIM BARRY THE LODGE HILL SHIRAZ 2013   748 cases 0f 12 $24.95 – 2013 would have been harvested in the March April timeframe so this one has a wee bit of age on it. The Lodge Hill is always a favourite, slightly cooler climate and ready to go, big but not overwhelming.
ZONTE'S FOOTSTEP AVALON TREE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013   638 cases 0f 12  $17.95 – A new one for me. Based on their shiraz wines I have no reason to expect anything less than a good product.
THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE SHIRAZ 2013   390 cases 0f 12  $21.95  - Excellent
XANADU DJL CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012   248 cases 0f 12 $22.95 – Baby brother to their excellent and recently released Xanadu Cab which sold out at my local stores faster than you can say Olivia Newton John.
CHILE- EMILIANA COYAM 2012 - $29.95 – The 95 points from Suckling is over the top, but the fact that this is an organic product is important to some people. Fans of Chile may also like the Vina Terapaca in this release. 93 points (oh Mr. Suckling – give it a rest!) and only $17.95.
BRUNEL DE LA GARDINE CROZES-HERMITAGE 2014   148 cases 0f 12 $23.95 – Unfair to compare this to a 2013 Aussie Shiraz, if only because  a 2013 Shiraz is closer to a Northern Hemisphere 2012 Vintage wine and will be considerably more ready to drink. That said, Crozes Hermitage  wines are age worthy in the mid term and are well produced.  
Gerard Bertrand LA CLAPE CSM 2011 - $18.95 – Good wine, right in its drinking window now.
MAS DES BRESSADES CUVÉE TRADITION 2014   614 cases 0f 12 $16.95  - OK wine for the price.
DAUVERGNE RANVIER GRAND VIN COTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES   417 cases 0f 12  $18.95  - A Grenache based wine from a bad year for Grenache. Might be worth trying one just to see.
STELLENRUST TIMELESS 2011   133 cases 0f 12  $19.95  A very good South African Bordeaux blend.
HOGUE GENESIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013   502 cases 0f 12  $18.95 – Well priced, similar in profile to the Columbia Crest Cabernet.  
Italy - VENETO
ZENATO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE 2013   1198 cases 0f 12 $17.95  - A W.o.M. and I would describe this as a solid wine, very serviceable and sure to please a wide variety of palates.  Aged  for approximately 12 months in barrel.
ALOIS CUNTO PALLAGRELLO NERO 2011 -  28 cases 0f 12 $24.95  - An ISD, so few and far between unless you live in one of the chosen areas. Floral and spicy, expect harsh tannins fronted by black fruits. 
SPAIN – BODEGAS LANGA PI 3.1415 CONCEJON - $20.95- Like the Mencia grape was in Bierzo a few years back, here’s a wine grape that is unheard of outside of Aragon in Spain. Made from Concejon grapes, this is something different to try. Fulfills the Vintages responsibility to bring us ‘different’ products, I guess.
RHÔNE – JEAN-LUC COLOMBO TERRES BRÛLÉES CORNAS SYRAH 2012 ISD   22 cases 0f 6 $72.95 – Cornas is old world syrah at its finest.
SPAIN - TORRES SALMOS 2012   147 cases 0f 6 $30.95  
S.A. – BOEKENHOUTSKLOOF THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK 2013   232 cases 0f 12 $39.95  
OZ - MOLLYDOOKER TWO LEFT FEET 2014   98 cases 0f 12  $33.95  
B.C. - BURROWING OWL SYRAH 2013   166 cases 0f 12 $40.95 

Friday, March 11, 2016

March 19th Vintages Release notes - Italy and Israel.

March 19th has almost arrived, (or if you’re reading this after that date, it’s come and gone), and with it comes a mixed bag of global wine options. Although Vintages features Italy and Israel this time around, there is a reasonably good variety of wines and wine origins from which to choose. I’ll sort them by country this week and highlight my top flight choices with an asterisk or two.
LUCA LABORDE DOUBLE SELECT SYRAH 2013 335 cases of 6 $29.95 – While expensive for an Argentinian Syrah, the Luca line of wines produced by Laura Catena is always very good. Gets the omnipresent 90+ points from James Suckling.
ALTA VISTA PREMIUM ESTATE MALBEC 2013 419 cases of 12 $19.95 – OK QPR
HOWARD PARK MIAMUP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 – $22.95 - A very tasty western Australian Cabernet. Less in your face than some Southeasterners from Australia.
*MONTGRAS ANTU SYRAH 2014 598 cases of 12 $17.95 – Always excellent. Best given a bit of time and served with anything red that’s been grilled.  Look for hints of vanilla, and lots of chocolate and black fruits.
MONTGRAS INTRIGA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 199 cases of 12  $22.95 – A close second to the Syrah, this cabernet from the Maipo Valley should be very good over the next few years offering currants, mint and hints of loam.
*Chateau du Cedre CEDRE Heritage 2012 - $17.95 – Chateau du Cedre is among the better houses in the Cahors region, producing superb Malbecs.  Roger Voss scored this 94 points but suggests you wait a couple of years to open. If you must open it, decant it early for a meal of grilled meats.
CHÂTEAU DE L'OU INFINIMENT SYRAH 2012 279 cases of 12  $26.95 -100% syrah grapes from the Languedoc.
**LE GRAVILLAS CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES SÉGURET 2014 698 cases of 12 $16.95 – When you can get a named Village for under $17, even if the village is not one of the ones regarded as a cru, you should consider it. This is among the first of the 2014’s to come in. 2014 appears to be regarded as a good vintage in the South Rhone.
NOZZOLE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2011 1298 cases of 12 $19.95 – Lots of cases so no rush here.
*BARONE RICASOLI ROCCA GUICCIARDA RISERVA CHIANTI 799 cases of 12 $24.95 – Always very good, this wine loves to be paired with braises, stews, Bolognese sauce – oh hell, any Italian food.
*LA BRACCESCA VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO 2012 299 cases of 12 $24.95 – From Antinori’s Montepulciano estate. Having tasted through a number of 2012  Vino Nobiles last fall, I expect this to be very good. Best given a wee bit of time to allow it to rest, you can serve over the next 3 years or so with any Tuscan specialty. Perhaps a big T bone?
*SEÑORÍO DE SOTILLO CRIANZA 2011 599 cases of 12  $19.95 – Dark, but not brooding fruit.
There are also at least three wines from the Vintages Essentials that are  worth considering this month. Each is on sale and they are among the better offerings. Look for the Louis Martini 2013 Cabernet, the Wynn’s Coonawarra Cabernet or the Two Hands Gnarly Dudes Shiraz.
MUGA SELECCIÓN ESPECIAL 2010   152 cases of 12 $39.95 – Terrific producer, classic Spanish style. 
THORN-CLARKE WILLIAM RANDELL SHIRAZ 2012   89 cases of 6  $44.95 – Like ‘em big? I mean really big? Here’s your pick.
IL MOLINO DI GRACE IL MARGONE GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI 2010 149 cases of 12  $39.95 – The top of the Chianti Classico pyramid from Il Molino di Grace.
ORNELLAIA 2012   199 cases of 6 $195.95 - $200? Fahgedaboudit! Out of my snack bracket.
CHÂTEAU MONT-REDON CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2011   167 cases of 12 $46.95
BARONE RICASOLI CASALFERRO 2011   38 cases of 6 $51.95 – A single varietal (merlot) from a single vineyard in Gaiole (Chianti). The Baron is renowned for his quality – curses, two bucks lass and I might spring for one of these.
Donnatella Cinelli Columbini Brunello di Mantalcino 2008 $44.95 – Never has the value of a vintage been more obvious than with this wine. The 2010 was available for $58. An older but much less heralded vintage, this one comes in almost $14 less.

OLARRA ERUDITO RESERVA ESPECIAL 2009   99 cases of 6  $37.95 – Good, but don’t let the score fool you and there will not be many of them around.