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Alan Kerr’s November 26th Vintages Release Notes

The onslaught of premium wines continues with this release showcasing more great wines from California, Italy and Australia. As with the last release, there are several wines priced for those with lower budgets so everyone should be happy. Niagara reds wines from the 2012 vintage are making their way to the shelves. After tasting a couple, I believe it is going to show it is clearly a benchmark vintage. Please read on…

ONTARIO

131037 STRATUS RED 2012 Niagara-on-the-Lake $44.20

A brilliant and skillfully crafted wine from Stratus that offers both power and elegance. The blend of 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, 13% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec, and 3% Tannat is brimming with sweet cherry, blackcurrant, plum, Asian spice, star anise, vanilla and coal dust. It has a solid structure and is showing some peppery tannin. The texture is velvety texture, it has fine-tuned acidity and great length. Find this wine

142638 STRATUS PETIT VERDOT 2012 Niagara-on-the-Lake $38.20

Super ripeness, showing lovely dark fruit, blueberry, damson, mineral, clay and floral notes. Way more tannic than its sister red, but super concentration of fruit and again, perfectly balanced acidity. This is a serious wine that will be best laid down and forgotten about for a number of years. Find this wine

257311 PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARD RESERVE MERLOT 2015 Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula $19.95
This is a wine that is showing very little at the moment. There is some black raspberry and smoky elements, but the palate is light and fades too fast. Find this wine

616433 HENRY OF PELHAM SPECK FAMILY RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON/ MERLOT 2010 Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula $39.95
2010 was another very good vintage in the Niagara region and this premium level wine from Henry of Pelham is evidence to support that fact. Straw, tobacco, mud, forest floor and mineral are found on the nose, but they soon subside to layers of red and dark fruits. Lovely texture, currant and blackberry flavours abound. Tannins are integrating nicely. Find this wineUSA

CALIFORNIA

149955 BERINGER PRIVATE RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Napa Valley $166.95

Upon first pour, this wine is so tight that assessment is almost impossible. After being open for a few hours, the second pour reveals notes of black tea, plum, dried cherry and lavender. Gripping tannins mask the fruit, but streaks of currant and chocolate are detectable. The finish is astringent, but there is potential for greatness, so give it much time away in the cellar. Find this wine

711663 CAYMUS SPECIAL SELECTION CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 Napa Valley $175.95
Enticing aromas of spicy peppercorn, dusty coal, new shoe leather, beets, Moroccan spice and tier after tier of currant, cassis and plum. A powerful palate with silky tannins that do not interfere with the flavours of super ripe fruit. On the finish though, the tannins become more muscular. However, the fruit still has power and there is a nice note of sweet licorice. Find this wine

024190 DUCKHORN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 Napa Valley $84.95
Another very tight wine that teases by releasing hints of dark fruit, nutshell, black tea and clove. Its palate does offer more and is focused on clean ripe blackcurrant with lovely dark fruit, acidity and a touch of sweet oak on the finish. Find this wine

539098 FAR NIENTE ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 Oakville, Napa Valley $244.95
Magical combination of super ripe blackcurrant and blackberry with undertones of earth, mineral, slate and vanilla. It is seamless on the palate, perfectly balanced, and chock full of fruit and sweet spice. Some tannins, but enjoyable now! Find this wine

906420 HESS COLLECTION ALLOMI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 Napa Valley $39.95
Black fruit supported by notes of cigar box, dusty soil, mineral and sweet oak. The palate is round and rich, it is drinking nicely, but could use a little time. Find this wine

906404 LA CREMA RUSSIAN RIVER PINOT NOIR 2014 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County $45.95
Director of Winemaking Elizabeth Grant-Douglas learned her winemaking skills in Niagara working at Inniskillin, Château des Charmes and Thirteenth Street wineries. Russian River fruit suits her cool climate wine making skills very nicely, as evident in this lovely Pinot showcasing aromas of black cherry, currant, cedar and anise. The lively acidity promotes the dark fruit flavours, the texture is creamy, but not over oaked and it closes with a hint of dark bakers chocolate. Find this wine

219485 PREDATOR OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2014 $21.95
How this wine made it into the bottle, I have no idea. It is simply dreadful. It is a blend of liquid smoke, raw bacon, coconut shell and burnt coffee beans. The palate delivers no pleasure whatsoever. Best avoided. Find this wine

045476 SHAFER ONE POINT FIVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 Stags Leap District, Napa Valley $139.95
A fabulously structured and elegant wine that boasts flavours of pure Cassis with floral aromas and a waft of Turkish Delight. Dusty tannins are noticeable, but the luscious mix of dark fruits, chocolate and black tea do shine. Lovely rich and chewy finish, super to drink at the moment, but with time, it will only get better. Find this wine

CHILE

403980 CONCHA Y TORO DON MELCHOR CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Puente Alto, Maipo Valley $74.95

A funky mix of sawdust, mint, cola, dried flowers and salted meat lead to a silky palate where the fruit is concentrated and powerful. Notes of caramel, toffee, Ribena and cocoa all combine nicely on the finish. Find this wine

062364 MONTES PURPLE ANGEL 2013 Colchagua Valley $59.95
A fleshy wine with aromas of mint and Cassis made from a blend of 82% Carmenere and 8% Petit Verdot. It has the acidity to balance the super ripe blueberry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruits. Find this wine

AUSTRALIA

430512 D’ARENBERG THE DEAD ARM SHIRAZ 2012 McLaren Vale, South Australia $54.95

Many Australian wines have fallen out of my favour in the last few years, but Dead Arm is a wine I try to acquire whenever I can as it always delivers a glass of class and refinement. This vintage shows aromas of tobacco and Tortiere (rich meat, buttery pastry and clove), with black pepper black licorice, lavender and pure blackberry fruit. It is fleshy, but well balanced, the fruit has power and the tannins are dusty chocolate. Best of all, this wine, when released is in Ontario is consistently available at a lower price than south of the border, something I rarely say! Find this wine

716142 ELDERTON COMMAND SINGLE VINEYARD SHIRAZ 2012 Barossa Valley, South Australia $89.95
Minty and very herbal on first impression, but restrained black fruit eventually starts to show more and more. Soon other aromas gather to join in, as Chinese dried mushrooms, Star Anise and dried cherry appear as well. It is a big wine, the tannins have power, but the dark fruit shines and the texture is quite lovely. Find this wineFRANCE

437079 XAVIER 100% CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012 $16.95
Highly touted by Robert Parker, but for me it is a wine that is singular both on the nose and palate. It has black cherry and blueberry aromas with the palate echoing the same, but the sweetness for me is over the top. Find this wine

ITALY

378257 BANFI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2011 $54.95

Traces of plum and prune can be coaxed out from the glass and they mingle with elements of tea and coal. A mostly red fruit palate; strawberry syrup comes to mind and to follow, there are some pretty harsh tannins. Find this wine

300004 AMASTUOLA PRIMITIVO 2013 Puglia$15.95
A wine full of fun and truly a good bang for the buck. Odd whiffs of cigarettes, cherry cola, sweet licorice and minty chocolate surface, but the palate has pleasing flavours of blackberry and blueberry, dark chocolate candy bar, lively acidity and it concludes with a lovely long fruit laden finish. Find this wine

685263 LUCE 2013 Toscana $114.95
Powerful and well structured, with dense aromas of blackberry and blueberry accented with cocoa powder, cedar and new leather. Layers of sweet, but pleasing dark fruits run across the palate to combine with the mineral and spice components. A wine with amazing depth. Find this wine

480533 SASSICAIA 2013 $212.95
Dense and dark, with notes of black pepper, thyme, Asian spice, blackcurrant, damson and forest floor. It has heaps of fruit on the palate, but the tannins are gripping and relentless. Another wine for long term cellaring. Find this wine

075127 MICHELE CASTELLANI CINQUE STELLE AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2012 $56.95
Clay and mocha meld with sweet blueberry, Bassets Licorice Allsorts and cardamom. The palate has dark fruit with an interesting layer of citrus fruit, campfire, cherry and black licorice. There are tannins too, but this is interesting now and will continue to improve given some age. Find this wine

Cheers,
CZ

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