Archive for the Alan Kerr Category
October 26th sees the first of the 2010 Bordeaux wines to come through Vintages. Naturally once again, 2010 is being heralded as one of the greatest vintages from Bordeaux in living memory. Gee, when have I heard that statement before? Given what I was able to taste, there was little that really impressed me. However, those people that read through my notes, hello mum, know there is always one or two wines on the release that warrant the trip to the LCBO on Saturday worthwhile. (click images to enlarge)
641555 CHÂTEAU LAMOTHE DE HAUX 2010 Côtes de Bordeaux $16.95
A bright wine full of blackcurrant, Ribena, Cassis, cherry and cedar with decent structure on the ripe and chewy palate, very new world styled wine, tannins are discernible, but non offensive. Find this wine
206631 CHÂTEAU CASTAING 2010 Côtes de Bourg $17.95
Dusty, with aromas of dried mushroom, cedar, plum and dried thyme. There is a good core of red and black fruit on the palate, acidity seems low, and some iron and mineral flavours surface on the finish. Find this wine
297945 CHÂTEAU LAROSE TRINTAUDON 2010 Haut-Médoc $26.95
Blending 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot has created a tasty wine that boasts aromas of hay, dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, blackberry, currant and dried Chinese mushroom. The rich and chewy fruit driven palate is ripe and tasty, a little low in acidity, but nonetheless it finishes long and the tannins are gentle. Find this wine
355891 CHÂTEAU LES TOURS DE PEYRAT VIEILLES VIGNES 2010 Côtes de Bordeaux – Blaye $18.95
Mix of blackcurrant, raspberry, mineral and lead pencil lead to a gutsy palate of red berries, big tannins and good acidity. Tasty, albeit tannic, but should only get better with time. Find this wine
199091 CHÂTEAU LACOMBE NOAILLAC 2010 Médoc $18.95
A meaty smoky almost bacon like note gives way to layers of dark fruit, cedar and a whack of oak. Its palate is creamy, showing some nice dark fruit, some sweetness and dusty tannin. Find this wine
171249 CHÂTEAU ROBIN 2010 Lussac-Saint-Émilion $17.95
Closed nose, struggles to show fruit, some earthy aromas come through, palate is thin, finish is lame and overall not a wine worth holding. Find this wine
Some big guns are taking centre spot on the USA sections of Vintages stores on October 12th. The feature this release has picked several wines from the Napa Valley and the nice folks at the LCBO head office sent pretty well all the reds on the release. Tasting brought back many great memories for me as I still have a passion for these wines, albeit they are mostly out of my price range. If you want to see what is tasty and worth picking up, then you have to read on.
THE TWO “WINE OF THE MONTH” WINES
126607 NAPA CELLARS ZINFANDEL 2011 Napa Valley, California $21.95
Lots of dark berry and underbrush aromas, coupled with sweet plum and a touch of cedar. Palate is solid, not overly sweet, has clean acids, a decent finish and is drinking very well right now. Find this wine
344416 CASTELGREVE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2009 Tuscany, Italy $19.95
Layers of dark chocolate and blackcurrant are enhanced by a tease of Turkish Delight candy and a touch of mocha. It carries some pleasing sweet fruit on the palate, a touch of blackberry and raspberry. Not a long finish, but a flavoursome wine. Find this wine
SOME SERIOUSLY TASTY WINES FROM THE NAPA VALLEY
333328 CORISON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 Napa Valley $113.95
A wine that immediately peaks at that “Oh my god” factor from the first swirl of the glass to the finish. Its nose is laden with dried blueberry, cassis, dark chocolate, black raspberry, slate and mineral. It is full bodied, carrying flavours of Asian spice, purest dark fruits and impeccable balance. The degree of oak is perfect, tannins are integrating and the finish is brilliant. Find this wine
On August 31st, Vintages will release its 90 points plus wine release and yours truly was able to taste and enjoy a few of them. For those who buy wine based on the wine gurus’ numerical ratings, there are many tasty bottles to pick from. Just for fun, I put my own numerical ratings next to those of the experts. Please do read on………
593525 FROG’S LEAP ZINFANDEL 2010 Napa Valley, California $37.95
An absolutely amazing multi-layered Zinfandel just brimming with dark fruit, mineral, Asian spices, pepper and dried mushroom. It is beautifully balanced, the dark fruit acidity is so cleansing, tannins are soft and the finish is long. Find this wine
Score: 91 Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast.
Score: 92 C.Z. Gang of Pour
091058 BERINGER CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 Napa Valley, California $49.95
Ripe and aromatic, the nose has blackcurrant, stone, chocolate and cinnamon notes.
It has solid structure, good depth of dark fruit and plummy flavours, milk chocolate tannins and a chewy finish. Find this wine
Score: 92 Antonio Galloni, erobertparker.com
Score: 90 C.Z Gang of Pour
072603 NUGAN ESTATE MCLAREN PARISH VINEYARD SHIRAZ 2010 McLaren Vale, South Australia $24.95
Dark and shiny, it blows off notes of eucalyptus, mint, lavender and black toffee. A few spins releases layers of dark fruit, blackberry, black cherry and vanilla. Well balanced on the palate, lots of creamy sweet fruit tamed by perfect levels of acidity. Tannins are tight, although tasty right now, time in the cellar will only enhance this wine. Find this wine
Score: 90(+?) Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar
Score 91 C.Z Gang of Pour
719575 MOUNT LANGI GHIRAN BILLI BILLI SHIRAZ 2009 Victoria, Australia $17.95
A little supressed, some earthy aromas along with stewed fruit; palate has a sweet and viscous texture to it. The fruit is more apparent on the finish, acidity is low and tannins are soft. Find this wine
Score: 94 James Halliday, winecompanion
Score 85 C.Z Gang of Pour
It has been a while since I was able to pop up to London and taste some of the merchandise due to hit the shelves on Vintages next release this Saturday August 17th. What will be released is a mixed bag with some pleasant surprises especially in the price range of $20.00 or less. Easy Italy is the feature focus that offers several wines from lesser known regions. (click labels to enlarge)
719211 CLINE ANCIENT VINES ZINFANDEL 2011 Contra Costa County, Central Coast $19.95
Pleasing aromas of blueberry, cake spice, black raspberry and plum. Its texture is quite creamy, with sweet flavours of ripe fruit, milk chocolate and mocha. Nice acidity balances the sweetness, finish is ripe and tasty. Find this wine
161190 GROVE STREET CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 Sonoma County $18.95
A nicely structured Cabernet showing, dark fruit and blackcurrant mixed with dusty cocoa and cough candy, bearing a nicely balanced palate and a simple clean finish. Find this wine
161273 CLOS DU BOIS PINOT NOIR 2011 California $18.95
Plum and dark cherry with some herbaceous notes and a touch of beet and sweet cherry cola on the nose. It’s sweet on the palate, although acidity is noted; it is not enough to tone down the cloying quality on the finish. Find this wine
210047 COLUMBIA CREST H3 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010 Horse Heaven Hills $19.95
This is a most impressive wine that starts with earthy barnyard aromas that quickly take second place to layers of dark fruit, plum, dark chocolate and mocha. Tasty palate, well balanced, with gentle tannins, the only spoiler being a touch of heat on the finish. Wine of the month. Find this wine
336966 TOURNON MATHILDA VICTORIAN SHIRAZ 2010 Victoria $19.95
A blend of treacle, fig, sour cherry and black pepper on the nose, all coming together on a palate full of lively acidity, black fruit and dark bitter chocolate. Somewhat clumsy now, but has potential to be an interesting wine in the near future. Find this wine
336909 CHÂTEAU LA FLEUR GRANDS LANDES 2010 Montagne Saint-Émilion $17.95
Whiffs of dark berry, leather and espresso grounds, a palate of sweet fruit, gentle tannins and a good core of acidity render this wine simple, pleasing and quaffable. Find this wine
2009, another vintage of the century in Bordeaux, is the October 27th’s feature release. For the most part, what I tasted I liked and I believe the hype is justified. Please read on.
966473 CHÂTEAU DE CRUZEAU 2009 Pessac-Léognan $27.95
Very tight wine, only showing teasing whiffs of dried fruit, plum and balsa. A smoky and spicy palate shows good concentration of fruit, massive tannins and vibrant acidity. Great length, red currant and black fruit on the finish, but do keep in mind the tannins suggest time. Find this wine
303859 CHÂTEAU LALANDE MAUSSE 2009 Fronsac $16.95
Aromas of slate, wet earth and dried leaves with dark fruit, blackcurrant and shitake mushr9om. Light on the palate, but it delivers plum and currant flavours, some tannins, good acidity and certainly well worth the seventeen dollar asking price. Find this wine
303875 CHÂTEAU CHEVAL BRUN 2009 St-Émilion Grand Cru $24.95
Brimming with aromas of blackcurrant, dark fruit, black licorice, sea air/iodine and earthy mineral. Very good concentration, pumping with flavours of black raspberry and blackcurrant on the palate, a creamy texture, fine tannins and has the potential to be nice and stinky in its older years. Find this wine
196469 CHÂTEAU DE FONBEL 2009 St-Émilion Grand Cru $37.85
Floral aromas combine with lavender, Bassets licorice all sorts, charcoal and dried blueberry. Palate is tight, but the layers of dark fruit do their best to show, quite spicy and decent length. Find this wine
It has been a while since I was able to shoot back to London and scribe a few thoughts on Vintages next release, but I did it. A few nice wines out there and I hope you find the notes to be useful. Wines of Australia are the feature of the Oct 13th release.
149914 PAXTON JONES BLOCK SHIRAZ 2009 Single Vineyard, McLaren Vale, South Australia $32.95
The wine spent twenty months in an equal mix of French and American oak with half of that being new. It is big and fleshy, showing notes of cake spice, lavender and floral aromas. A spicy and sweet texture on the palate exhibiting lots of pure sweet dark fruit, low level of acidity, some chocolate tannins and a cloying finish. Find this wine
284141 SPINIFEX BÊTE NOIR SHIRAZ 2010 Barossa, South Australia $49.95
Dark and alluring, very concentrated, brimming with aromas of mocha, lavender, Moroccan spice, plum and blackberry. It is a mouthful, laden with fruit and mineral, a peppery note and perfect balance. The finish is long, dry and bloody tasty. Find this wine
285205 SPINIFEX PAPILLON GRENACHE/CINSAULT/ CARIGNAN/SHIRAZ 2010 Barossa Valley, South Australia $29.95
Lovely aromas of red licorice, black toffee, tar and freshly baked strawberry muffins. There is plenty of fruit on the palate, the right amount of acidity, a chalky texture and good length. Find this wine
283077 FRASER GALLOP CABERNET/MERLOT 2010 Margaret River, Western Australia $29.95
An Ozzie Meritage mix of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The plum and currant aromas are supported by layers of leather, wet animal fur, mocha, lead pencil and a spoonful of medicinal notes. It has a focused palate, great structure, along with plenty of tight tannins that suggest, given time, this will reward those with the patience to let it slumber. Find this wine
Just a few notes this week on the release for April 14th as the board was a bit stingy with the wines shipped to taste. One or two do stand out as being stellar and are priced under twenty bucks. Please read on.
149302 FEATHERSTONE CANADIAN OAK CHARDONNAY 2010 Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $21.95
Plenty of sweet spice, a touch of butterscotch, apple, pear and mineral aromas on the nose, the palate shows excellent balance with a nice sweet toasty note on the finish. Find this wine
235051 CAVE SPRING MERLOT 2008 Niagara Escarpment $17.95
An interesting blend of fennel seed, dill, red fruit, plum, tobacco and mocha stays true on the palate that has great texture, enough fruit and decent length. Find this wine
660704 STRATUS WHITE 2008 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario $44.20
J.L Groux’s mystical blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon, Gewürztraminer and Viognier, is simply stunning. It is abound with aromas of peach, nectarine, linalool, pear and mandarin. It has an amazing texture, a pleasing streak of acidity and lots of plump tree fruit flavours. Tasty now, but it will only get better. Find this wine
It has been a while since I was able to venture to London to sample some of the liquid goods soon to arrive at your local vintages store, but the wine gods were with me and I was able, and willing to sip a few of the wines slotted for release on the 31st of the month. Here is my take on a few of them.
302059 CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWÜRZTRAMINER 2010 Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Cave Spring Vineyard $17.95
Great typicity, exuding pleasing whiffs of almond cookie, lychee, a soothing layer of honey and some floral aromas. It carries the perfect amount of sweetness, gentle acidity and shows good length on the finish. Find this wine
256834 CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES OLD VINES PINOT NOIR 2007 Niagara-on-the-Lake
This Pinot has some nice plumy and red fruit notes, a touch of mineral and dried herb, but the tannins are so overpowering, the fruit struggles to surface on the palate. Find this wine
250209 VINTAGE INK MARK OF PASSION MERLOT/CABERNET 2009 Niagara Peninsula $17.95
A blend of 75% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon showing good ripeness, nice brambly currant, cedar and wet soil aromas with a nice balance of sweetness and acidity on the palate. There are hints of chocolate and mocha on the finish. Find this wine
273482 CEDARCREEK PINOT NOIR 2008 Okanagan Valley $31.95
A perfumed, complex and enticing nose, showing cigar leaf, chocolate, pure dark fruit and layers of plum, black cherry and sweet spice. The texture is silky, it has a little bite, but the balance is spot on. Find this wine
272641 SODARO FELICITY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 Napa Valley $43.95
Rich and viscous, with notes of blood, blackcurrant, mocha, mineral and iron that lead to a palate of dark fruit, spice and a chewy texture. Find this wine
My good friend Marty Freitas has long carried a love of Bordeaux’s magic nectar, and on a blustery weekend in February, there really is no better time to crack a bottle or two, pop some lamb in the oven and enjoy the pleasures the two together can deliver.
Marty had stood bottles of Cos d’Estournel from the vintages of 86, 88, 89 and 93. I had a couple of fresh Ontario lamb racks to complete the mix. Click images to enlarge.
Pascal Marchand, a Canadian from Montreal, has been making wine in Burgundy since the mid 1980’s, learning his art at such highly esteemed properties as Domaines Bruno Clair, Comte Armand and Domaine de la Vougeraie.
Marchand’s has also consulted with producers in Australia, Argentina, Greece, the United States and Ontario. His tenure here in Niagara has been spent working with mostly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while consulting with Tawse Winery.
He is presently the winemaker for Domaine Jean Féry in Burgundy while his own portfolio of Burgundies, under Pascal Marchand label, debuted in 2006. These wines are soon to be available, thanks to a project with winery owner and life long friend Maury Tawse.
Marchand’s wines in 2006 were from seven different appellations in the Cote de Nuit and totaled a mere 1000 cases. Currently, production is up to 6000 cases from thirty six sites including some whites from the Cote de Beaune. All Marchand’s wines are produced from vineyards with a minimum of 35 years of age, most of which are certified organic.
Toronto’s Le Select Bistro recently played host to a tasting of several of Marchand’s 2009 Burgundies. The vintage, once again, is being touted as one of the best in recent memory. I tried and tasted and I was impressed, the only downside being the prices are high and the wines are only available in six packs. On the upside, these are bloody tasty wines with impeccable balance, and although enjoyable now, they are built to last.
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