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Alan Kerr’s February 6th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes

Moments after joining Facebook’s “I hate wine ratings” group, my Vintages catalogue arrived in my mailbox and guess what, the theme of the release is “North of Ninety,” showcasing a plethora of wines that critics believe warrant ninety points or higher. Good news is there are many exceptional wines to be found and if you are a numbers buyer, then this is the release for you. I also tasted several Northern Rhone Valley wines from the 2007 vintage that rock. Well priced, well balanced and really tasty. Do feel free to read on………

Wine of the Month

086918 FLAT ROCK CELLARS RED TWISTED, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario 2008 $19.95
Cedar, earthy notes backed up by red fruit aromas, a touch of acetate and smoky bacon. The palate is lively, plenty of red cherry acidity and a pleasing sweet note on the finish. Find this wine


909101 ARTESA CABERNET SAUVIGNON, California 2005 $22.95
Powerful and elegant, showing lots of black fruit and currant, with notes of underbrush and toffee/caramel. The palate appears lighter than expected; there is dark fruit, a little note of mineral and iron, and some dusty tannin on the close. Find this wine

According to Mr. Parker, this is a ninety pointer that is brimming with ripe black fruit, notes of Asian spice, a layer of chocolate and vanilla. Lots of stewed fruit on the palate; the vanilla seems excessive, but the mass of pure fruit does play it down. A little disjointed perhaps right now, but it will soon turn to a lovely and well focused wine. I like the interesting dusty mineral tones on the finish. I think Mr. P is right. Find this wine

665158 MÉNAGE À TROIS RED 2008, California $17.95
Sweet and juicy full of red fruit candy this Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet blend shows genuine flavours of plum and blueberry on the fruit forward palate. It finishes with plum, liquorish root and sweet oak. Find this wine


144352 ALTA VISTA ATEMPORAL ASSEMBLAGE 2007, Mendoza $ 19.95
This wine has layers of complexity with aromas of blackcurrant, cake spice, cocoa and a faint note of galangal (the weird aroma in Vic’s vapour rub). The assemblage consists of Cab, Syrah and Petit verdot. Flavours lean towards, black fruit, sweet spice, lemon thyme and cola. It shows pure black raspberry and just enough toasty oak in the finish. Good stuff. James Molesworth’s score of ninety in the wine Spectator works for me. Find this wine

017061 BODEGA NORTON RESERVA MALBEC 2006, Mendoza $ 17.95
I get excessive and overwhelming notes of sweet mocha and blueberry on the nose that run through to a creamy fruit forward one dimensional palate. Another ninety point rating by Mr. Molesworth that I just don’t get. Find this wine

074922 LUIGI BOSCA SINGLE VINEYARD MALBEC 2006 Mendoza $ 18.95
Both blue and black fruit aromas line up for pole position with notes of lavender, floral, toffee and mineral all running close behind. It is gutsy and powerful on the palate, while showing good balance and plenty of promise. Jay Miller’s 91 point score is fitting. Find this wine


144394 CHOCALÁN GRAN RESERVA MALBEC, Maipo Valley 2006, $24.95
A big muscular wine packed with dried oregano, tar, bay leaf, black fruit, kerosene and a hint of diesel oil. Not the most appealing observations, I agree, but the palate has great depth of blue fruit, blackberry and chocolate. It is low in acid, very thick and viscous, with heaps of chalky tannin on the tightly wound finish. A big wine that clearly needs time but is there enough acid to warrant long term cellaring? Jay Miller’s 91 points will only be verified by a few years in the cellar if it holds out. Find this wine

433920 CONCHA Y TORO TRIO RESERVA 2008, Rapel Valley $14.95
With ninety points from Jay Miller and priced under $15.00, this will fly off the shelves. It offers lots of black cherry, currant and leather notes. Tannins are raw, with plenty of berry flavours, just give it a little time in a decanter and sit patiently and wait for spring to arrive. Find this wine


D’Arenberg wines always impress me and this Mouvedre is no exception. It is not the usual Ozzie fruit bomb, but instead offers black wet earth, coffee grounds, dried Chinese mushroom and tar. It is full flavoured and pleasantly funky on the palate showing just enough ripe fleshy fruit and exquisite balance. Jay Miller suggests four years of cellaring before consuming. Honestly, I like it now and the Ninety two points is just. Find this wine

Tightly wound yes, but showing so much promise of great things to come, as it opens up in the glass revealing blue fruit, blackberry and plum aromas with a subdued layer of liquorish and sweet Asian spice. The chunky mouth feel is rewarding now, and the structure is brilliant, but time will allow this wine to show its best. The wine reached number sixteen on the Wine Spectators top one hundred wines with a ninety five point score. Can’t really argue with that and the price, although far from qualifying as good value, is not unreasonable given the quality of the wine. Find this wine

644039 LANGMEIL BLACKSMITH CABERNET 2006, Barossa $22.95
Another wine tipping the ninety point scale in its favour, only this could be a ringer for Bordeaux if placed in a blind tasting. It has a purity of blackcurrant fruit backed up with cigar box and lead pencil aromas. It has the signature creaminess with a touch of mint that Australian Cabernet often has while retaining an elegant and pure structure. A well deserved rating. Find this wine

Although this did not get the same accolades as its Cabernet cousin, it too has good merit. The initial aromas of waffles and blueberry syrup aromas turn to blackberry liqueur and biscuit with time in the glass. Again the palate shows finesse and the fruit and acid balance is spot on. It has great concentration without having excessive sweetness or alcohol. Find this wine

149914 PAXTON JONES BLOCK SHIRAZ 2005, Mclaren Vale $ 26.95
A ninety five pointer that is laden with blackberry fruit, creamy buttery aromas with dark chocolate leading to a mouth filing palate that is tasty, but shy on other flavours. Tasty, but not a ninety five point wine for me. Find this wine

142935 SMALL GULLY WINES THE FORMULA ROBERT’S SHIRAZ 2005, South Australia $16.95
A perfumed nose with dark chocolate, blackcurrant, wet stony mineral, a little saddle leather and cured meat. Ninety points, yes and the price is appealing. Find this wine

Pales a little next to the all the high rollers on the table, but it is a pleasing wine, with aromas of eucalyptus, dark berries and sweet oak and good balance. Find this wine

Classic Cabernet aromas of blackcurrant, dark liquorish, clay, thyme, leather and mocha. It is rich and chewy on the palate showing plenty of spice and dark fruit flavours. Well made and very tasty. Ninety five points, that’s a little high, but it offers a lot of bang for twenty five bucks. Find this wine


564971 CHÂTEAU SMITH HAUT LAFITTE 2006, Bordeaux $84.00
This is a wine of purity and much promise. The nose shows tremendous concentration, delivering layers of blackcurrant, black cherry, wet earth, smoked bacon, lead pencil and wood veneer. Although slightly austere right now, the wine’s palate is full and impeccably balanced. It could be consumed now, at least with an hour or two in a decanter, but it’s best to give this wine three or four years of cellaring and it will simply rock. The finish is energizer bunny style stunning as its flawless features just keep on going. Mr P’s ninety three point accreditation is, in my humble opinion, just and well deserved. Find this wine

119354 CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2007, Cote du Roussillon $ 19.95
Aromas of creamy blackcurrant coulis, a whiff of black olive, bouquet garni, cured meat and a mass of ripe red fruit hit the nose. The palate echoes the fruit, but the mineral and spicy notes have a clear lead at this point of the wine’s evolution. Blackberry and red currant are both discernible, but waves of anise, mineral and thyme race to the finish only to be met with a note of creamy mocha. Ninety two points, perhaps, especially given the price. Find this wine

701359 DELAS FRÈRES LES LAUNES CROZES-HERMITAGE 2007, Rhone valley $19.95
Rustic and punchy, the nose emits thyme, mineral, tar, black pepper and blackberry. It is however surprisingly elegant on the palate, the fruit combines seamlessly with the mineral components, and the acidity is spot on and balanced. Ninety points from the Wine Spectator and well deserved. Find this wine

A little barnyard funk to note along with black fruit, toffee, aniseed ball and spice. The palate is clean, with lots of dark fruit and gentle tannin, but it finishes a little short. Ninety points from Mr. P! I would not go to those heights, but look at the price! It is certainly worth investing in a few bottles for the barbeque season. Find this wine

A touch of hay and barnyard, concentrated blackcurrant, damson and blueberry aromas exude from this inky black wine. It has such a solid structure on the palate, full of blueberry, blackberry flavours, gentle oak and lots of luscious black fruit acidity and mineral. A 91-93 from Mr P and I agree! Find this wine

Super levels of ripeness, tightly wound now, but aromas of blackberry, liquorish and red fruit are backed up by mineral, slate and coal dust. The chewy palate takes the fruit, the acids and polished tannins and blends them, showing just enough of what this will be as a tease. Ninety points from the Wine Spec; if I assigned numerical listing, I might tack on a point or two. Find this wine
043653 CHÂTEAU PEYROS MAGENTA, 2006, Madiran $12.95

Strange, the initial aromas of diesel petrol hide the cherry, plum dried fig and forest floor notes. Palate has light fruit and plenty of tannin. Find this wine


Super appealing, with loads of dried cherry, coffee grounds, plum, star anise, black raspberry, cranberry and cola notes. The palate is tight, tannins are gentle, but perform their assigned tasks with vigor. There is fruit to be found, along with plenty of mineral qualities. Let it sit a year or so and this will be a stellar bottle of wine. Mr Suckling’s ninety point rating is right on the mark. Find this wine

713479 RENATO RATTI MARCENASCO BAROLO 2005, Piedmont $49.95
Just when I though I had tried my best young Barolo ever, along comes this rendition from Renato Ratti that just blows me away! I am in awe; this is Barolo at its best, Barolo like I have never had, at least in my humble opinion. The nose is bursting with aromas of black liquorish, sweet Asian spice, saddle leather, anise plum and black raspberry. The mouth feel is dense; the flavours of plum, damson and dark bitter chocolate are all kept in line by deft amount of sleek black fruit acids. It finishes with great length and balance. Made to last, not traditional Barolo as I have tasted before, but James Suckling’s awarding of ninety six points will get no argument from me. Find this wine

987586 ANTINORI SOLAIA 2006, Tuscany $244.95
Cassis, cake spice, lavender, star anise and a touch of dried mint. There is fruit, but it only comes alive on the palate in the form of dried cherry and blackcurrant. There is a pleasing bitter note of clove wound up in the tight web of tannin, the finish shows a creamy note of Chambord along with a touch of heat. Down the road this should be a great wine. Ninety seven points from Mr. Suckling. Hmmm, no offense meant, this will be a great wine, but I would chuck in an extra ten bucks and get five bottles of Renato Ratti Barolo. But that’s just me. Find this wine

British childhood memories of Fry’s chocolate cream candy bar, with blueberry, cardamom and sweet cake spice. A fruit driven palate featuring blue and blackberries with a kiss of silky tannin. Find this wine

Horse barn, hay, coffee and cocoa mix with pleasing aromas of black fruit and cassis. Nice creamy palate, a good level of sweetness and a clean well balanced finish. Ninety points from the Wine Enthusiast. Very close. Find this wine

936724 CASTELLO DI MONASTERO CLASSICO 2006, Tuscany $24.95
Earthy, moss, pine cone and mineral lead to a triple black focused palate of raspberry, toffee and berry. Great acidity, cooked fruit and mineral on the palate. Very tasty, ninety one points from James Suckling, I would step back one point, ninety at best. Find this wine


067843 BUIL & GINÉ GINÉ GINÉ 2006, Priorat $17.95
A closed wine, inky and meaty, full of mingling forest floor notes and black currant, mineral and slate. The palate disappoints, as there is emptiness to it. The finish does show a little fruit and spice. Need to try again perhaps. The ninety two ranking from the Wine and Spirits magazine given back in October of 2008 reads completely different from mine. Find this wine

001677 JUAN GIL TINTO 2006, Jumilla, $21.95
Dark fruit, wet earth, leather polish, cake spice and lavender all entice and meet up on the palate to create a wine with a fabulous mouth feel, great acidity and enough fruit to rise about the gentle layer of polished tannin. I agree with you Mr. P on your declaration of ninety one points. Find this wine

A nose that mixes spicy Madeira cake, candy store black liquorish, coffee crème brulee and black shoe polish altogether. The palate has plenty of pure black fruit, liquorish and a creamy texture. There is a note of heat and I wish the finish lasted longer than it does, but nonetheless it should prove to be a good investment at this price. Ninety points +. I think not, but close enough for me. Find this wine


Related posts:

  1. Alan Kerr’s January 9th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes
  2. Alan Kerr’s January 23rd, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes
  3. Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s October 24th Release – Tasting Notes
  4. Alan Kerr’s Vintage’s December 5th, 2009 Release – Tasting Notes
  5. Alan’s October 10th, 2009 Vintages Release Tasting Notes

7 Responses to “Alan Kerr’s February 6th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes”

  • Dymtro, Not tried the Glaymond Grenache, but trust me, I will.
    Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Geoffrey, there is not as much demand in Niagara, plus I do take advantage of customer pre ordering. I got my stash of Delas and I am happy. There are a few bottles of Renato barolo in the system if you check out the serch engine on Vintages.

  • Dmytro:

    Agree that Small Gully Shiraz is not too shabby given the price. However, if i am to go for huge alcohol level I would rather go for Glaymond Grenache (in store discoveries). Loved it (spice and concentration, almost sweet). Have you tried it?

  • geoffrey james:


    I hope you had better luck than I -they sold out within minutes at Queen’s Quay. Even the Delas Rhones were all gone, but I already have a bunch of them. Six dozen bottles and a 96 from Mr. P., and it’s all over.

  • Thank you Geoff for the kind words. I was able to get my hands on a couple of the Pederi Prugneto myself and I am saving them for outdoor barbecues when the warmer weather arrives. I too have to be careful on what I purchase, but I can tell you I am picking up my Barolo this afternoon. I was not alone on my thoughts on both of the wines as all the consultants present at the tasting were impressed.
    I truly loved the 2007 Rhones that I tasted. It will be money well spent.
    All the best

  • geoffrey james:

    I agree with you about the need people seem to have for grade school averages for wine, especially given the conditions under which they are tasted. But I remember being told by my neighbourhood wine seller in Paris that he had to take Parker into consideration in his highly selective stock, because that’s what his clients wanted. Even in Paris. Anyway, you are the taster I most follow, because you give a hint of your own prejudices, most of which I happen to share. (The sangiovese from Emilia Romagna that you recommended (Pederi di Prugneto) was brilliant, and no one else got it, although that was just as well because there were only a few cases in the system — probably the remnants of a restaurant order. This time I am going to splurge on that Barolo. Not being a banker, this is a fairly big deal for me. Cheers. Geoffrey James

  • Alan Kerr’s February 6th, 2010, Vintage’s Release – Tasting Notes are posted #wine #LCBO

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