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Alan Kerr’s Vintages March 5th Release Notes

The March 5th release puts a few wines from California and Brunello onto the shelves and that made my drive to London to taste worthwhile. The Wines featured in the “Classical Coveted Collectable Californian” wines were more than likely purchased before the pre-Canadian dollar crash thus this is probably the last chance to buy US wines before their prices increase substantially. (Click images below to enlarge.)

CLASSICAL COVETED COLLECTABLE CALIFORNIAN WINES

218941 JONATA TODOS RED 2011 Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara County $79.95
Earthy and reminiscent of a terroir focused Euro wine, this blend of 75% Syrah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Grenache, 4% Sangiovese, 2% Viognier, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Merlot is flavoursome. It is laden with aromas of nutshell, lead pencil, saddle leather and wet soil. Californian fruit leaps across the palate in the form of ripe and chewy sweet cherry, plum and blackberry with globs of sweet oak and silky tannin. I like the nose better than I like the feel of the wine; it is tasty, but too cloying on the finish. Find this wine

932400 FROG’S LEAP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 Rutherford, Napa Valley $83.95
One super fine and scrumptious bottle of juice that allures by boasting aromas of pure blackcurrant, forest floor, mineral, clay, smoked meat and dark chocolate.
Flavours of fruit essence abound; it is creamy and ripe, but in perfect balance, complete with dusty tannins and a finish full of perfectly developed blackcurrant fruit. Find this wine

189795 JOSEPH PHELPS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Napa Valley $106.95
Very concentrated, but tightly wound fruit enhanced with forest floor, mint oil, sandalwood, matchstick and sweet chocolate. Slowly aromas of Ribena, black licorice, dark cherry and dark fruit arrive. It is punchy and disjointed, but its tannins are solid. There is potential for greatness down the road. Find this wine

104299 THE PRISONER 2014 Napa Valley $49.95
When I first tasted this two years ago, I did not like it. I should have, as it is a field blend of Zinfandel with a mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, and Charbono. Back then I thought it was sweet and over the top. It still is. It explodes with notes of Turkish Delight, blackberry liqueur and fresh cut flowers. It has that level of sweetness that, for my tastes, is too much. Flavours of blueberry and blackberry are tasty, but the cloying texture is not for me. Find this wine

346262 SHAFER MERLOT 2013 Napa Valley$94.95
The little tease of dried herbs, Szechuan peppercorns and dried Chinese mushrooms quickly becomes over shadowed by waves of black raspberry, sweet plum and blueberry. Its texture is silky; it is a sleek and sexy wine that has pure fruit, some dusty tannin and a pleasing finish of dried cherry and deftly integrated oak. Find this wine

682989 STORYBOOK MOUNTAIN MAYACAMAS RANGE NAPA ESTATE ZINFANDEL 2012 Napa Valley $69.95
This is classic Zinfandel. It’s intense, full of black and blue fruits, stony mineral, cardamom and cake spice. Not a wine for the impatient, it needs some time. The tannins are tight and diminish the bramble and dark fruit flavours. There is a twist of black pepper and cola on the finish. A lovely Zinfandel that will go the distance. Find this wine

119081 PAUL HOBBS PINOT NOIR 2012 Russian River Valley, Sonoma County$68.95
A bright wine full of depth focusing on sweet red fruit, black cherry, blackberry ripple, clove and clay. The palate leans towards the darker fruit, and it is big, but unsettled at this point. This has appeal, but it’s not true to Pinot’s typical charm and gentler character. On the finish, there is heat and sweetness from the concentration of the fruit. Find this wine

353706 KISTLER MCCREA VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2013 Sonoma Mountain $120.95
Having tasted Kistler’s Les Noisetiers back in November, I was keen to try this Sonoma Mountain bottling. It offers beautiful whiffs of Honeydew melon, tropical fruits, wet stone, lemon curd and dry honey. It is luscious, but balanced, so tasty now, but will improve after a few years of aging. Find this wine

652875 RIDGE THREE VALLEYS 2013 Sonoma Country $35.95
Not the best Three Valleys I have tasted from Mr. Ridge. There are pleasing notes of Blackberry and spicy black raspberry backed up by leather, cream soda, mineral and sweet oak. The palate is viscous, it has good structure, but the fruit is very subdued. Maybe time will prove me wrong. I hope so as I am rarely disappointed with any Ridge wine. Find this wine

(Editor’s note: For a rather different take on the 2013 Three Valleys, see Bastardo’s notes from January. )

405209 RODNEY STRONG BROTHERS RIDGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Alexander Valley, Sonoma County $99.95
Dark and intense, full of blackcurrant, smoked meat, tobacco, flint and nutshell. Nice plummy notes on the palate along with black cherry, dark chocolate, mineral and sweet oak. Find this wine

686584 J. LOHR HILLTOP CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Paso Robles $46.95
Creamy and minty with layers of toasty jammy black fruit, sweet licorice candy, vanilla, crème brulee and milky chocolate. Chewy palate, very juicy, no excessive sweetness, nice blackcurrant acidity, but the fruit thins out on the finish and the mass of tannin moves in. Find this wine

A FEW WINES FROM THE BRAVO BRUNELLO FETURED RELEASED.

438572 CASALE DEL BOSCO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010, Tuscany $39.95
A fruit driven wine backed up with floral, stone and mineral notes. Plum, black cherry and black raspberry flavours are showcased by lively acids; that is until the astringency of the tannin kicks in. Good value, but it will need time. Find this wine

339515 MOLINO DI SANT’ANTIMO PAOLUS BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010, Tuscany $56.95
Smoke and bacon fat charge from the glass soon followed by pleasing funk, perfume, dried cherry, straw, clay and mineral. Bright cherry flavours dominate, but as expected the tannins are massive. Find this wine

279083 LA MANNELLA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010, Tuscany$47.95
Plenty of bright red fruits, redcurrant, rhubarb and sweet spice. A fat structured wine with mocha, strawberry, black raspberry and dusty tannins. Find this wine

001065 CIACCI PICCOLOMINI D’ARAGONA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010 $72.95
Darker and with more intensity than the other Brunellos. This bottling delivers aromas of blackberry jam, tar, graphite, iron, mineral, treacle and black tea. A beautiful texture, superbly balanced, with lovely blackberry and cherry flavours. Find this wine

438580 QUERCECCHIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2010, Tuscany$29.95
Funky and meaty scents with dark cherry, star anise and wet earth. The plum and raspberry flavours are tight, tannins are quite aggressive, but this good value wine should show well in five or so years. Find this wine

WINES FROM THE REST OF THE RELEASE.

USA

412320 JOSH CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 California $17.00
Although this didn’t warrant a place in the Californian release, this bargain basement Cabernet is seriously worth picking up as a summer barbecue quaffer. It carries intriguing aromas of Blackberry pie, saddle leather, moss and wet pebbles. Plum and blackcurrant flavours sit on the mid palate, the wall of silky tannin is unobtrusive, it’s well balanced and has bright acidity on the close. Find this wine

FRANCE

443564 DOMAINE ROUX PÈRE & FILS ALOXE-CORTON LES VALOZIÈRES 1 ER CRU 2009 $69.95
Starting nicely, exuding aromas of perfume, flower petals, strawberry, mineral and stone. Sadly the palate is dull, and it lacks character and structure. There are hints of red cherry, rhubarb and cranberry, but they fade quickly, rendering a disappointing example of what should be a very good wine. Find this wine

437079 XAVIER 100% CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2012 $17.00
A rambunctious New World styled blend of 40% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre and Cinsault, Carignan and Marselan. Packed with tarry dark fruit, lots of sweet ripeness, black raspberry and coal dust. Juicy, sweet and full of dark fruit, black licorice and minimal tannin. Find this wine

444281 CHÂTEAU MAMIN 2009 Graves, Bordeaux $21.95
Tire, mocha, pine, wet earth, white mushrooms and lovely toasty whiffs of blackcurrant and blackberry. Chewy dark fruit on the palate, where the mushroom comes through along with some tannins, but nothing to stifle the enjoyment. One tasty and well-priced Bordeaux. Find this wine

ITALY

225086 UMBERTO CESARI LIANO SANGIOVESE/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 Rubicone $27.95
Lovely black salty licorice, elderberry, coal dust, forest floor and slate aromas. Dark prickly fruit, chewy, with nice streaks of dark chocolate, dried fruit and cocoa. Tannins are lingering so no need to rush, this isn’t going anywhere fast. Find this wine

437046 LUCA BOSIO BARBARESCO, Piedmont, 2011 $29.95
Floral aromas with aniseed ball, dried mint, red fruit, clove and nutmeg. Nice plummy juiciness, but tight and astringent. Give it time, it should be delicious. Find this wine

435123 I SODI CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 $17.95
A debut wine showing mineral and flint with good levels of blackcurrant and blackberry that run through to the palate and meld nicely with plum and cake spice. Quite tasty, with clean acidity and some tannin, but it is minimal. Find this wine

440016 TEELING POITIN, Teeling Whiskey Co. $43.95
This is perfectly timed for my Irish yoga class on the 17th. Although this Celtic moonshine is seriously tasty, it does come with a warning. The 61.5 degrees of alcohol will creep up and hit you harder than an ill-tempered Leprechaun wielding a Shillelagh. It’s a blend of 80% triple-distilled corn spirit, and 20% double-distilled malt and normally I avoid tasting spirits at these tastings, but this bottle intrigued me. It is reminiscent of Lebanon’s Arak on the nose. The anise aromatics stand out, but it’s backed up with candy floss, apple and various tree fruit aromas. I often have trouble tasting high alcoholic beverages, but sipping this I am pleasantly surprised I do not gasp for air, which is my customary reaction. The citrus and raisin flavours and the creamy toasty finish could be persuasive. Look out St Patrick, you have a new fan. Find this wine

Cheers
CZ

Related posts:

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  3. Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s March 31st Release – Tasting Notes
  4. Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s March 1st Release – Tasting Notes
  5. Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s March 15th Release – Tasting Notes

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