Friday, May 20, 2016

Vintages May 28th - Venice sinks and Judgement more like Judge Judy

May 28th’s release has two features - Venice is the big one followed by a review of products from some of the American wineries involved in the Mid 70’s Judgement in Paris. On the Venice front are a few different reds but the best selections are two white styles - the well made Soave and a Prosecco. The reds? Mmmmm, my opinion right now is there is not so much to pick from up to and including a couple of Big $ Amarones.
The Judgement in Paris feature reflects the weak Canadian dollar and Napa wine prices in general.
Picks? Vintages maintains its streak of less than thrilling releases so there are few that you need to rush out for again this week.
Pieropan Soave Classico 2014 – Do not expect a buttery chardonnay. This is rated Dry by the LCBO, but perhaps due to its acidity, I’ve found past vintages seem dry beyond that level. Superior producer. Excellent with summer salads.
Belcanto di Bellussi Prosecco Valdobiadine $19.95 – Want a nice dry Italian bubbly? Here you go.
NZ - Saint Clair Family Estate Pinot Gris Rosé 2015 -$16.95 – Not 100% Pinot Gris but rather a blend of Pinots (Gris and Noir) combined to produce a slightly deceptively labelled rosé.
Peninsula Ridge Beal Vineyard rosé 2015 - $13.95 – An excellent and very well priced Ontario rosé. Serve chilled with fish tacos, chicken fajitas, or any hard/ soft cheese, coldcut combo that your heart desires.
TUSCANY - Carpineto Vino Nobile de Montepulciano Riserva 2010 - $29.95 – With 2010 being heralded as THE vintage in Montalcino, it stands to reason that the vintage should be almost the same a mere 20 kms to the east in Montepulciano. At half the price of the Banfi, look for this to be a bargain ‘baby Brunello’. Yes it is a different sangiovese clone, but very similar and great with the same types of food.
Viticcio Chianti Classico 2012 – $20.95 – Ready to drink and enjoy with any tomato sauced, pasta based dishes. Nothing too complex here but enjoyable.
SPAIN - Borsao Tres Picos 2014 - $19.95 – The last few vintages have been less to my taste but I’m willing to try again with this perennial favourite. Still not badly priced (do not take that to mean well priced), this is a quality wine and a good expression of Grenache.
Tobia Seleccion Crianza 2010 - $21.95 – A wine that comes with a warning. While being well scored by the Toronto Star wine reviewer, her review reads like this wine is a midwinter classic. If you buy, consider holding until November perhaps even until your first tourtiere of the season.
Australia - D’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2013 – A big gulp to be sure. Teethstaining grapes from the McLaren Vale.
CHILE - Montgras Antu Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 - $17.95 – A very good wine, spiced and oaked in good proportion and less of the green notes that some Chilean cabernets can propose.
ARGENTINA - Benmarco Malbec 2013-$17.95 – Huge production so it’s difficult to say if the quality can be maintained across the entire run, but this is a producer who has pleased in the past. Grill something red and don’t expect too much complexity though.
Kaiken Ultra Malbec -$19.95 – Knock 5 points off Suckling’s score and you’ll get what you expect.
Domaine Mathieu Chateauneuf du Pape 2012 $41.95 – From the latest of the truly good vintages in the region, this should still be just coming into its drinking window.

Banfi Brunello di Montalcino 2010 – 5 bucks lass and I’d buy but just too rich for me now.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May's Favourites Release. Really? This was the best you could do?

The first release of May oft times set us up for a summer of backyard grilling and cottage visiting. This year? Not so much. While this is supposed to be a ‘Favourites’ release, I  think there are a few options of interest but to be kind, let’s call it a release you can miss without suffering. No cabernet catatonia, no grenache grief, no merlot melancholy, no pangs of pinot envy, no syrah sorrow, not even xenophobia induced by a lack of, dare I state it, xinomavro. Just go about your life. Or check out the remnants of some past Vintages releases. Me? I’m considering the Gigondas, the Shotfire, and maybe one Barolo on price alone, but c’est tout.
There’s also a nod to New Zealand if you are a fan.
RHÔNE - PIERRE AMADIEU ROMANE-MACHOTTE GIGONDAS 2013 598 cases of 12 $24.95 – In a better year this would be a brilliant buy but even taking into account the Grenache issues for this vintage it is a pretty good option.  Look for more pepper notes than usual.
OZ - THORN-CLARKE SHOTFIRE QUARTAGE 2013   335 cases of 12 $21.95 – Well made, well done wine. Never lets you down.  
OZ - ZONTE'S FOOTSTEP LAKE DOCTOR SHIRAZ 2013 1997 cases of 12 $17.95  - Pretty good quality in the Aussie style.
MIDI -   GÉRARD BERTRAND SYRAH/GRENACHE 2013 1199 cases of 12  $16.95 – Vintages begins to be a Bertrand playground again.
MIDI - SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH/GRENACHE 2013 615 cases of 12  $16.95 – A toss up between these two from the Midi.  
GREECE - BOUTARI GRANDE RESERVE XINOMAVRO 2010 450 cases of 12  $18.95  - A well priced entry into better, if not finer, Greek wines.
PIEDMONT - CASETTA BAROLO 2011 299 cases of 12 $29.95  - A Barolo under $30? Seems like a no brainer for at least one but hold for a few years and decant well before serving.
TUSCANY -RENDOLA ROSSO DI MONTALCINO 2009 599 cases of 12 $15.95  - Bargain priced Rosso for the BBQ  ready to drink right now if not last year.
 TUSCANY -SAN LEONINO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 299 cases of 12  $19.95  
SOUTH AFRICA - CATHEDRAL CELLAR SHIRAZ 2014 (KWV) 559 cases of 12 $16.95  - Solid summer quaffer.
ONTARIO - FIELDING ROSÉ 2015 119 cases of 12 $15.95 – OK pink from a good family producer.  
SPARKLING WINE-BURGUNDY- BAILLY LAPIERRE RÉSERVE BRUT CRÉMANT DE BOURGOGNE 800 cases of 6  $19.95  - Like a pink sparkler every now and again but don’t want to break the bank? Here it is.
TUSCANY -VAL DI SUGA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 198 cases of 12 $48.95 – Another from the brilliant 2010 vintage. 

RHÔNE - DOMAINE COURBIS SAINT-JOSEPH 2013 118 cases of 12 $36.95  - Vines of the Northern Rhone were not as hurt by the cold spring so this is a Rhone vintage where the North is better than the south. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The $17 Pata Negra Reserva 2010 from Spain

Here's an update on the Pata Negra in the last release at $17.00. You may recall it got a scathing review from my brother when recently released in BC. In spite of that, and because I found a very different lot number, I bought 3 on the weekend. The lot number I bought was lot L-L095 and the bottles were terrific.  Yes I went back and bought a few more. Very similar to the first release of Muriel Reserva last year - big, dark cherry notes, some red cherry too, some vanilla from well integrated oak, and spicy notes.

If you can find that lot number, buy it. And let me know what you think. If you bought a different lot number (as you can tell from the photo it's somewhere on the back label usually) tell me which one you bought and what you thought of yours.
Update 2 - I stopped in to the Oakville Cornwall store on the weekend. They had a few of the lot number above and many from different lot numbers. The telling statement about the lots came from a consultant who mentioned that a customer had bought and returned an entire case because it was 'terrible'.