Archive for December, 2014
Recently, we had the opportunity to taste through 6 wines from Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Le Cigare range. The reds, designated “Le Cigare Volant,” are probably better known than the whites, “Le Cigare Blanc,“ but whether pale or dark, the wines in this series are some of the finest, and most underrated, produced anywhere on the Left Coast, in my not-so-humble opinion. They are also some of the most Euro-styled wines produced anywhere in North America, not surprising when one considers Doon head honcho-winemaker Randall Grahm’s vinous preferences.
We tried both regular and reserve bottlings of the 2011 Le Cigare Blanc , and likewise for both the 2009 and 2010 vintages of Le Cigare Volant. We started with the two whites, on one of the last comfortable evenings that we could still comfortably grill and dine out on the back deck.
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I am happy to write that this release is full of some very good wines at more affordable prices than the previous two I reported on. Rarely do we see good quality Beaujolais in this part of the world, but there are a couple that caught my interest and several Spanish wines show particularly well too. There is only a single release this month, but it is a big one, thus there will be a lot of wines on the shelf to sort through. Notes are brief, but to the point. Please read on, buy some good stuff for your stockings and have a great holiday season.
WINES FROM THE UNCORK THE FESTIVITIES RELEASE
130195 13TH STREET SANDSTONE GAMAY NOIR 2011 Niagara Peninsula $29.95
Lots of dried currant, licorice root, elderberry, dark cherry and a tar/smoky note, with good concentration and acidity; plum and red currant flavours, toffee and pure fruit on finish with a touch of peppery spice. Find this wine
276477 GEORGES DUBŒUF DOMAINE MONT CHAVY MORGON 2013 $21.95
Ripe, full of damson, sweet plum , pepper, a lovely hit of flowers and some juicy plum. Quite a fleshy palate, some tannins, but non offensive. Find this wine
643239 DOMAINE DE BILA-HAUT OCCULTUM LAPIDEM 2012 Côtes de Roussillon-Villages $24.95
A bold fruit driven wine, showing blueberry, blackberry, red licorice and sweet oak; the palate has a chewy texture, tight, creamy, silky tannins. A complex fruit bomb. Find this wine
298612 CHÂTEAU DE LA GARDINE CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2012 $39.95
Plenty of sweet spice, cigar leaf, barnyard, Dutch licorice and pure blackberry aromas. Chunky and creamy palate, a little disjointed now, but acids are perfect, tannins and serious, as is the level of fruit. Not to be rushed, needs much time. Find this wine
658351 CANTINE DUE PALME PRIMITIVO 2012 Salento $15.95
Sweet, zinberry aromas, black toffee, tar, maple syrup and blueberry; juicy and spicy, fruit laden great acidity and lovely creamy chocolate on the finish. Note to self-buy lots. Find this wine
388678 CASTELLO DI SPALTENNA CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 $19.95
Earthy, eggshell aromas, raisins coffee grounds, balsa, solid red fruit, some plum and cherry aromas. Plenty of fruit on the palate, a note of anise and dried cherry on finish. Find this wine
We spent last weekend back on Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula, hanging out with our partner in crime, Alan Kerr aka Canadian Zinfan. As you might imagine, there was a lot of good food and wine consumed, and I plan on filing a report in the very near future. The one wine that I simply can’t wait to talk about here, however, is the very first that Alan poured for us on Saturday. Tawse Winery, located in Vineland, is on our very short list of favorite Niagara producers, and we never miss the chance to stop in and taste when we’re in the neighborhood. Chef Kerr has followed them from the very beginning, and always opens at least one Tawse something or another when we’re at Gang Central Niagara. This time, he greeted us with glasses of the following. (Click image to enlarge.)
2011 Tawse Riesling VQA Twenty Mile Bench Wismer Vineyard Foxcroft Block, 10% alc., $24.95 Can.: Clean pale-to-medium color, with a nice note of petrol that drives the aromatics and carries over onto the palate, where it mingles with pure, rich and lovely Riesling fruit, which registers somewhere between off-dry and semi-sweet. Medium bodied, with excellent acids, nice underlying minerality and a long, lingering finish, this is utterly delicious and delightful.
We produce some very fine Riesling here in Michigan, but I’ve never had one that’s as good this; come to think of it, I’ve had precious few from California this good (only some from Chateau Montelena come to mind), and none from Oregon, Washington or New York, though my experience with the variety from those four states is admittedly somewhat limited. True to our usual m. o., we visited the Tawse facility the day after trying this, and purchased a few bottles to bring back with us; unfortunately, it was the 2012 vintage, as the ’11 is sold out. If you’re touring Niagara, be sure to stop in and taste the wines. We think you’ll be glad you did, and tell them that Gang of Pour sent you. Find this wine
Reporting from Day-twah,