Thursday, December 8, 2016

Vintages December 10th release - Another year come and gone

Well, here we are the final Vintages release of the year and to say the year has been ho hum would be overly complimentary to the year I think.  The combination of mediocre vintages in parts of the world combined with the reduction of the global value of the Canadian dollar has meant we’ve seen fewer exciting wines often at massive jumps in price. In the case of California, two or three stellar vintages in a row all came at a time when the Canuck buck was at its worst. Woe is us. Ah well, one more reason to drink I suppose. Below are my final picks from the final release of  the year 2016.
Whites and Bubblies
Pierre Luc Bouchard Muscadet  Sevre et Maine sur lie - $14.95 – one of the few real bargains in the release, this will please any and all white wine fans during the holidays.
Louis Moreau Chablis 2015 - $21.95 – Well priced for a pretty good quality Chablis.
Dirty Laundry Chardonnay 2014-$19.95- Should be almost burgundian in style.
Schola Sarmenti Nerio Reserva 2012 - $21.95 – Malvasia Nera and Negroamaro are blended to make an almost black wine that  has a lot going on. Ageworthy but can be enjoyed now as well.
Castellani Filicheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2012 - $18.95 – Try one to see how you like it. I expect an intense looooong finish on this one. Give it time in the glass or decant.
Castelli del Grevepesa Clemente VII Chianti Classico Reserva 2011-21.95 – Well scored by Bruce Sanderson of the Wine Spectator, this’ll be a nice food wine as well as an interesting comparison with the CCR’s in the previous release.
A trio of sub $20 Spaniards make the list this week. (See I’m already showing signs of restraint here) – The Rioja Vega Crianza 2012 ($16.95), The Burgo Viejo Crianza 2012 ($15.95) and the Ardal Crianza 2010 ($19.95) should all be very nice quaffers with any holiday meal.
If Spain is not in your wheelhouse, try the Triptych Blend from South Africa. It’s always pleasing  at $16.95.
Getting bigger still, there are 4 Australians that merit attention. All come in just under or around the $20 mark. Among them is the terribly named Baron von Nemesis from Zonte’s Footsteps which has steadily risen in price but is well made; the Dandelion Vineyards 2014 Lionheart of the Barossa; the Thorn  Clarke Shotfire Quartage blend from 2014; and the Wakefield Cabernet  Sauvignon 2014. The latter is festooned with enough medals to pass as a South American general, but don’t hold that against it.
If you’re looking for a good Cabernet from the U.S., try either the Chateau Ste. Michelle from Washington St. @$21.95 or spend a few bucks more and go upscale for the St. Francis Cab ($29.95) from Sonoma. Both will be nice with something rare and red on a plate.

Big Bucks
The theme running thru the big buck choices this week seems to be price inflation. Some of these wines are increasing in price faster than the Vancouver and Toronto real estate markets.
Paul Hobbs Cross Barn Cab Sauv 2013 - $69.95. The August 2013 release of this wine was priced at $38.95. Think about that.
Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Cab Sauv 2014 - $44.95. One of my favourites from Sonoma, but it has jumped about $10 so I’m trying to find alternatives (see the St. Francis above).
Trapiche Terrior Single Vineyard Finca Ambrosia Malbec 2011 - $39.95 – Among the better big malbecs, Trapiche produces usually 3 of these each year to highlight their superior vineyard managers. It’s quite an honour to be named.
E.Guigal Chateauneuf du Pape 2010 - $63.95 – Spectacular vintage in the Rhone and this one should be very well made. Ready to begin to be consumed now but great for at least another dozen years as well.

Domus Vitae Brunello di Montalcino 2007 - $63.95 – Best recent vintage prior to 2010 and right where you want it if you’re looking for a Christmas gift to drink this year (or over the next 10).