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Alan’s September 26th, 2009 Vintages Release Tasting Notes

The release for September 26th features wines of the Napa valley.  Some are good and some are excellent. Only way you will find out is to read on………

684399 AVALON CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 Napa Valley $22.95
A most fruit forward wine carrying blackberry and cherry fruit aromas with a layer of smoke, plenty of spice and toasty oak. Lots of spice and cassis notes on the palate. It lacks depth and complexity, but it is well priced and made for current consumption. Find this wine

Many enticing aromas, this is laden with lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum, bramble, underbrush, clove and mint chocolate. It has wonderful depth on the palate showing blueberry, chocolate, mineral and currant. It is slightly tannic, but by no means astringent. Balance is spot on. Find this wine

This mini me rendition of Phelps’s Insignia has a dusty robe highlighted by cake spice, blackberry and blackcurrant. The same fruit runs across the palate and combines nicely with hints of red cherry and mocha. There is a spicy cedar note on the mid palate that does mask some of the fruit.

Nice now, but give it a while to let the spice and cedar elements settle down. Find this wine

593525 FROG’S LEAP ZINFANDEL 2007 Napa Valley $34.95
This power-house Zinfandel conveys lively aromas of blueberry, plum and black raspberry backed up by briar and underbrush. The palate is toned down somewhat, showing lovely silky flavours of dark fruit and the black raspberry. Acidity refreshes pleasingly, the finish is solid showing fruit and a touch of dusty tannin. A very elegant and tasty Zinfandel. Find this wine

707489 FROG’S LEAP MERLOT 2006 Rutherford, Napa Valley $44.95
Aromas leap from the glass in the form of black licorice, cedar, smoke and tons and tons of black and red fruit. The palate has lip smacking flavours of cherry, red currant, milk chocolate and cake spice. Find this wine

20313 GRGICH HILLS ESTATE GROWN MERLOT 2005 Napa Valley $57.95
This monstrously extracted wine has a backdrop of pure black fruit, plum, black tea, spicy arugula, mocha and a desirable dollop of barnyard dung. Black fruit, black raspberry shine on the palate and mix with dusty chocolate on the finish. Find this wine

948935 RUTHERFORD HILL MERLOT 2004 Napa Valley (375 ml) $13.95
The nose tells all, it smells of raisins and really ripe cooked red fruit, prune and caramel with little if any fruit on the palate. Might have been alright a couple of years ago, but now, it is way past its best. Find this wine

41343 DUCKHORN DECOY 2007 Napa Valley $31.95
A Meritage blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that offers creamy black fruit, vanilla, spicy oak, a rich texture and gentle tannin. Find this wine

49924 ANGELS GATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 Niagara Peninsula $19.95
Dark fruit mixes with dill and fennel fronds on the nose. The palate has sweet blackcurrant fruit and just a touch of tannin still lingers. The focus of the finish is dark fruit with a touch of mineral. Find this wine


The Foreign Affair winery started after owner, Len Crispino and family, embarked on a trip to Italy in the early 1990′s that lasted several years. During their stay, Len discovered the wonders of Amarone wines from Veneto. In 2000, after returning to Ontario, the family purchased some prime farmland in the Vineland appellation of the Niagara Peninsula and planted forty acres of Amarone-inspired vines. First crop was harvested in 2004. Since then, with each vintage, a percentage of the fully ripened grapes, in the time-held tradition of Amarone, are dried using the “appassimento” technique to concentrate flavours. Wines are presently made by Andrzej Lipinski, a man who is quickly becoming known as Ontario’s ‘driving winemaker.’ He is currently producing wines in four wineries in the Beamsville area.

127332 THE FOREIGN AFFAIR PINOT NOIR 2007 Niagara Peninsula $44.00
This is a forceful Pinot that is loaded with blackcurrant, blackberry, sweet cherry, caramel and toffee notes. There is a gentler floral side as well, but the harrying fruit tends to shut it down. The wine has many flavours including black fruit, all spice, damson, blueberry and vanilla. Find this wine

127324 THE FOREIGN AFFAIR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 Niagara Peninsula $38.00
Ten percent of the fruit was dried prior to fermentation giving the wine a little extra weight and depth of character. It clearly shows a rock-solid layer of blackcurrant along with candied cake spice and gentle oak aromas. It has power on the palate with flavours of plum, currant and blueberry. Tannins are discernible especially on the finish. Find this wine

593053 SUMAC RIDGE BLACK SAGE VINEYARD MERLOT 2006 Okanagan Valley $19.95
A well priced Merlot from Okanagan’s Black Sage vineyard. This 115 acre plot, south of the town of Oliver is renowned for its stone-free, sandy soil that drains rapidly and is well suited to irrigated grape production. This wine oozes notes of black licorice, tar, mocha and chocolate that melds with the smack of black and red fruit. Palate has plenty of raspberry, plum and chocolate flavours. I note a touch of heat on the finish. For those unfamiliar with BC wines, this is one well worth trying. Find this wine

Wines of the USA

652883 BELLE GLOS CLARK & TELEPHONE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 2007 Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County $49.95
This wine, a follow up to the previous release of Weir vineyard in the Yorkville Highlands of Mendocino County, is much more of a power house than its northerly cousin. It is clearly fruit focused, very dark with hints of caramel, vanilla, sweet perfume and cardamom. The mouth is filled with flavours of damson, black cherry and currant. Although it weighs in at 14.6 degrees of alcohol, there is no heat whatsoever on the finish.  Find this wine

127621 CAT AMONGST THE PIGEONS ALLEY CAT SHIRAZ/GRENACHE 2007 Barossa Valley, South Australia $21.95
Sweet aromas of candy floss, bubble gum, a healthy dose of black fruit and a hint of wet barnyard floor. Red cough candy on the palate, plenty of fleshy sweet fruit, all in all well balanced with a long finish of blueberry and sweet spice. Find this wine

Wines from France

162461 CHÂTEAU DUCLA 2006 Bordeaux Supérieur $14.95
On September 16th, Niagara lost a great ambassador of wine. My friend, mentor, colleague and wine drinking buddy, Albert Cipryk passed away after a short battle against cancer. Albert adored wines from Ontario, the Rhone Valley and he was particularly very fond of wines from Bordeaux. Few of us can afford the prices top flight Bordeaux wines are asking, yet Albert had a canny way of searching out wines that were of decent quality, had the potential to age and donned a realistic price tag. Chateau Ducla is such a wine. Albert had older vintages of this wine in his cellar. He would often relay story or two about opening one for a family dinner and gloat about how wonderfully the wine does age after a couple of years in the cellar. Find this wine

I agree this vintage has lovely blackcurrant fruit, a touch of terrior, round and robust with gentle tannin to age a while. Good choice Albert, I do miss you.

505800 CHÂTEAU LANGOA BARTON 2005 Saint Julien, $129.00
On the topic of high priced Bordeaux, here is one that has plenty of creamy milk chocolate notes with toffee, black licorice and black fruit. The palate is ripe, chewy with mineral, blackcurrant, and solid tannin.  Find this wine

125880 CHÂTEAU TOUR MARCILLANET 2005 Haut-Médoc $27.95
A fine example of Bordeaux, showing notes of straw, animal doo doo, blackcurrant and anise, it is well balanced, tasty and is starting to show quite nicely already. Find this wine

506840 LE PETIT CHEVAL 2005 Saint-Émilion, 2nd Wine of Cheval Blanc $209.00
Blueberry and blackberry fruit aromas prevail; there is a line of mineral/slate, plenty of gutsy spice and vanilla. Although big and round, a leafy note jumps up onto the palate. It has ample dusty cocoa laden tannins to keep it for years. If the $209.00 price tag on this second wine of the legendary St Emilion producer of Cheval Blanc seems steep, check out prices south of the border. Wine Searcher has listings as low as $95.0 US and displays many retailers who sell it for $120.00.

Lots of Moroccan spice, black fruit, black pepper and dried tangerine. The spicy palate carries plum, blueberry, vanilla and walnut. Lots of power, long finish and very tannic, made for long term cellaring. Find this wine

712174 MAS DES BRESSADES CABERNET/SYRAH 2007 Vin de Pays du Gard $18.95
This wine has a full cordon of sweet ripe fruit complemented by nuances of clay and mineral. Palate is full of tasty black fruit and an appropriate level of cleansing acidity. Seem to recall the price being considerably lower not that long ago though. Find this wine

A wine that delivers plenty of red and black fruit, some peppery notes, a little mineral and a pinch of sage all at a price that pleases. Find this wine

Wines of Italy

602284 TERREDORA AGLIANICO Campania 2007 $15.95
A sweet structured wine with notes of chocolate, mocha, plum, damson and lavender. There is a herbal streak on the palate that blends nicely with the fruit.  Find this wine

It is good to taste well made Chianti at ra easonable price. This example presents aromas of dried fruit, dried tomato, plum, red fruit, straw, barnyard and the wind coming off of a sandy beach ( I know that’s weird, but that is what I smelled). The palate has fleshy clean red fruit, black cherry and chocolate. Find this wine

722470 ORNELLAIA, Tuscany 2006 $174.95
Simply a stunningly beautiful nose, a combination of floral aromas with Garam Masala, Herbes de Provence, lavender, plum and black fruit. It is power packed, the tannins are starting to integrate allowing a sneak preview of the potential of this great wine. The finish is multi dimensional and the balance is exquisite. Find this wine

964221 ORNELLAIA LE VOLTE Tuscany 2007 $27.95
A polished wine full of black berry, blueberry, nutshell and nutmeg. It has cola notes with dark chocolate and dusty tannin. A good wine that given a few years tucked away will get even better. Find this wine

Tight, earthy and very spicy, this wine offers bay leaf, black cherry, anise and licorice. Plenty of dark fruit on the palate along with dusty dark chocolate tannins.
Find this wine

134809 SASSO AL POGGIO 2004 $23.95
A lovely wine featuring notes of biscuit, mint chocolate wafer, stony/mineral and balsa. Fruit, well yes it does appear on the palate in the form of cherry, raspberry and damson. It is drinking well and I love the splash of anise on the finish. Find this wine

One wine from Spain

60772 TORRES SALMOS 2006 Priorat $32.95
A New World styled wine with fleshy aromas of dried herbs, damson, rose petal and black fruit, lots of punchy oak, polished fruit and sweet spice on the palate. Find this wine



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