Wednesday, November 23, 2016
After a long delay, due in equal parts to a motorcycle tour to Alabama, travel to India, a sabbatical from work and just general boredom with the Vintages releases, we have returned with a new perspective. They say travel opens your eyes to things – our visit to Kerala, India and our subsequent attempts to buy some beer there made the LCBO seem positively liberal (small L that is) in its policies. The line ups were long and the process was not dissimilar to the LCBO of the 1960’s when seeing the evil stuff was forbidden! That said, when we ventured to Goa, beer and beverage alcohol were plentiful, easily purchased and cheap. A 26’er of very good rum was the equivalent of $2.50 US. Finding a good wine was a different story.
Anyhow, enough about the world, let’s talk Vintages. The next release – November 26th – is annually the big holiday gift release which means dollars are up and QPR is down. There are some that are worthy of your attention but if you’re looking for reviews of wine over the $50 price point, look elsewhere my friends. Bad LCBO markups, Taxes and the weak Canuck buck are just taking too much of a toll on us! That means I can ignore the first 23 pages of the release – as much as I’d love to review any of the products therein.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane to start.
ALVEAR SOLERA 1927 PEDRO XIMENEZ – 19.95 for a 375ml - Do you remember how your old Aunt’s house smelled when you went to visit? In a cloud of mustiness she’d lean over and always want a big hug saying “Oh my you’ve grown so tall!” while she sipped on her glass of sherry. Well this recommendation is not your old Aunt’s sherry by any stretch. More post than pre meal, this be a beaut!
Looking for a bubbly? Try one of these three, all below $20 and should be fine.
DOMAINE DE VAUGUNDY BRUT VOUVRAY -$17.95- Chenin Blanc grapes – very nice.
GRAHAM BECK ‘BRUT’ -$18.95 – This superior producer of dry table wines has hit the mark here with a very tasty alternative to champagne.
FANTINEL Prosecco - $18.95 – A single vineyard production – great on its own or with lighter seafoods.
Looking for under $20 values in this release and while there are some, they are not easy to find so maybe we’ll bump the price to $30. My picks, pretty much in the order I’d pick them -
UMBERTO CESARI LIANO 2012 – $27.95 - Previous vintages of this wine were superb accompaniments to red meats or on their own. From the under appreciated Emilia Romagna.
COLUMBIA CREST H3 LES CHEVAUX Red Blend 2012 - $19.95- Anything from the Horse Heaven Hills seems to be impossible to mess up. Columbia Crest continues that trend here. Might be a bit too much oak for some.
SAN FELICE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2013 – $19.95 - A difficult spring (it was cold and dull) gave way to a better summer in Chianti and Three of Three from Gambero Rosso is hard to ignore.
VILLA CAFAGGIO CHIATI CLASSICO 2013 – $21.95 - Wonderful and consistent producer, this could do with a year or so in a quiet place but will be excellent after that. Decant if you must drink sooner.
BARON DE LEY Reserva 2010- $21.95 – Outstanding wine always. Great on its own, better with roast meats.
Two Valpolicellas – Monte del Fra at $21.95 and REMO FARINA RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE 2014 – $17.95 – Both beautiful mouthsful in name and product. Excellent to have on hand for both wine lovers and non wine lovers. Both groups can find enjoyment in these wines.
WYNN’S COONAWARRA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2012 – $22.95 - A very nice effort from a good producer and from a region known more for Cabs that shiraz.
Cantine de Falco Falco Reserva - $18.95 – I have not yet tasted this wine but am going on 3 things – the Vintage was excellent, the blend of grapes are interesting, and lastly, similar blends were among the best wines we had when visiting Puglia a few years back.
Ceppaiano Violetta 2010 – $22.95 - Again an excellent vintage that should be right in its drinking window.
BOSAO BOLE 2013-$15.95 – Might be the sleeper of the release. New to me but the producer is solid and consistent.
MAGANA DIGNUS 2012 - $15.95 – A great Parker score and really well priced but new to me and the Parker review is now 2 years old so don’t go crazy buying it until you’ve tried one.