Saturday December 6, 2014 - Vintages Release Report

03 Dec 2014

To print this report click here for the PDF version.

Key to the 5-star rating system:
5 = Outstanding … 4.5 = Excellent … 4 = Very Good … 3.5 = Good

Wine colour indicators - Red, Whites, etc.

The Foci … Uncork the Festivities (UtF) and Champagne & Sparkling wines (BUB)
The Skinny … Shock of all shocks, not only are their two really good South African wines in this release but one even makes my “Must Buy” list; also on that list is a Chilean Syrah, a Spain red blend and a well-priced bubbly – though there are quite a few of them if you look past Champagne.

Argentina …
Clos de los Siete 2011 ($22.95 - #622571) – anise, blackberry, toasty, smooth and silky.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Susana Balbo 2012 Signature Malbec ($19.95 - #079798) – a real silkiness of fruit and fun.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Terrazas de Los Andes 2011 Reserva Malbec ($18.95 - #029280) – mocha, tobacco, blueberry and a pretty spiced character.  (*** ½+)

Australia …
Ashbrook 2011 Chardonnay ($24.95 - #684076) – one of the better Aussie Chards I have tasted in quite some time; shows good fruit and acid for balance.  (*** ½+)
Josef Chromy 2008 Sparkling ($29.95 - #393629) – if Barq’s has bite then so does Chromy along with fresh bread crust, fine bubbles and a lively long finish.  (****)
Wakefield 2012 Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.95 - #142398) – lovely black cherry and raspberry with plum, eucalyptus and nice tannin structure.  (****)

Canada (British Columbia) …
Laughing Stock 2012 Blind Trust Red ($37.95 - #230110) – lovely rich dark fruit, silky smooth with black pepper, vanilla, blueberry, plum, nice spice/acidity on finish.  (****+)
Canada (Nova Scotia) …
Benjamin Bridge 2009 Reserve Brut Sparkling ($49.95 - #381533) – nice mousse with great flavour and dry to the bone; hints of floral, crisp apple and there’s even some bread crust.  (****)
Canada (Ontario) … click on wine name for full review
13th Street 2011 Sandstone Old Vines Gamay Noir ($29.95 - #130195) – cherry, blueberry, white pepper with a dollop of cassis and spiced-raspberry.  (**** ½) – UtF
Vineland 2012 Pinot Meunier ($17.95 - #225508) - *** ½+
Featherstone 2010 Joy Premium Cuvee Sparkling Wine ($34.95 - #310334) - ****+
Featherstone 2012 Canadian Oak Chardonnay ($21.95 - #149302) - ****
Flat Rock Cellars 2009 Riddled Sparkling ($29.95 - #383315) - ****
Legends 2013 Terroir Semillon ($16.95 - #400366) – *** ½
Southbrook 2013 Triomphe Chardonnay ($22.95 - #172338) - *** ½

Chile …
Concha y Toro 2012 Trio Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc/Shiraz ($14.95 - #433912) – smooth with nice blackberry, cassis and touch of minty chocolate and spice.  (*** ½+)
Montes 2011 Alpha Merlot ($19.95 - #022228) – minty blue and black berry with hints of white pepper.  (*** ½) – UtF
Vina Chocalan 2012 Reserva Syrah ($15.95 - #038513) – meaty, smoky, dark fruited, gentle spice; this one’s a real winner.  (****)
Volcanes de Chile Techtonia 2012 Pinot Noir ($17.95 - #389676) – spiced-cherry and raspberry with a lively finish.  (*** ½+)

France (Alsace) …
Anne de Laweiss 2013 Vieilles Vignes Lieu-dit Patergarten Pinot Gris ($21.95 - #390682) – delicate sweetness with nice pear notes.  (*** ½+)
Cave de Ribeauville Gierberger Brut Cremant D’Alsace ($19.95 - #183624) – nice bit of toastiness here and a little bitter apple with good acidity.  (*** ½+)
Pierre Sparr 2012 Reserve Gewurztraminer ($17.95 - #747600) – nice soapy-floral notes that are typical for Gewurzt but all is in balance with nice spicy finish.  (*** ½+)
Pierre Sparr Brut Rosé Cremant D’Alsace ($17.95 - #039016) – simple and easy drinking this one is not complex and well-priced. (*** ½)
France (Beaujolais) …
Domaine de Grand Garant le Vivier 2013 Fleurie ($18.95 - #398404) – brooding black cherry with minerality and a healthy tannin/spice bite.  (****)
Hiver Festif 2013 Julienas ($17.95 - #390492) – black peppered cherries.  (*** ½+)
France (Bordeaux) …
Chateau Floreal Laguens 2010 ($16.95 - #388314) – plum, blackberry and mineral, light and easy a good quaffing version of Bordeaux.  (*** ½)
Chateau La Gorre 2010 ($25.95 - #388272) – blackberry and cassis with plenty of tannins and spice.  (*** ½+)
France (Burgundy) …
Albert Bichot Brut Rose Cremant de Bourgogne ($21.95 - #385211) – lovely colour, nice acidity, cherry-raspberry with lemon pith.  (*** ½+)
France (Loire) …
Domaine Chauveau 2013 Pouilly-Fume ($23.95 - #390641) – touch herbal with round mouthfeel and long finish.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Thierry Delaunay 2013 Sauvignon Blanc Touraine ($14.95 - #391847) – definite signs of grassy but leans a little more tropical than citrus but swings back to pith on the finish.  (*** ½+)
France (Rhone) …
Lavau 2012 Rasteau ($19.95 - #394650) – plum-vanilla beginning, hint of chocolate and smoke with sweet licorice.  (****)
France (Southwest) …
Chateau Nozieres 2011 Cuvee Ambroise de l’Her Malbec Cahors ($17.95 - #276055) – a middle ground between the tannins monsters of the past and the fruit forward style of today.  (*** ½+)

Germany …
Darting 2011 Durkheimer Feuerberg Trocken Pinot Noir ($19.95 - #390963) – nice change from the Rieslings with a pleasant earthy, cran-cherry and touch of raspberry.  (*** ½+)
Loosen Bros. 2012 Dr. L Riesling ($13.95 - #599274) – still shows good minerality and awesome value; one of the better Rieslings in this release.  (*** ½)

Greece …
UWC Samos 2012 Vin Doux Muscat ($14.95 - #389031) – plenty of wild flowers and a nice spicy finish.  (*** ½+)

Hungary …
Puklus Pinceszet 2008 Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos ($35.95 - #047209) – there’s character here with nice spice, orange marmalade, honey and floral.  (****)

Italy (Abruzzo) …
Zaccagnini dal Tralcetto 2013 Montepulciano D’Abruzzo ($19.95 - #396382) – fruit and spice but leans more fruit than spice with a hint of white pepper; plum, blackberry and cassis backs it all with a sweet-ish finish.  (****)
Italy (Campania) …
Re Manfredi 2010 Aglianico del Vulture ($24.95 - #913889) – a little licorice, a little spice, a little black cherry and a little cassis.  (*** ½+)
Italy (Piedmont) …
Poderi Angelini 2009 Primitivo di Manduria ($19.95 - #268136) – plum and spice with lots of tannins and sour red cherry.  (*** ½+)
Italy (Tuscany) …
Caprili 2009 Brunello di Montalcino ($44.95 - #398073) – richness of fruit: cherry, plum, sweet tobacco and violets.  (****+)
Castello di Spaltenna 2011 Chianti Classico ($19.95 - #388678) – spice mix of red and dark fruit on blueberry skin.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Corte Pavone 2008 Brunello di Montalcino ($49.95 - #237263) – big dark fruit and spice with chewy chocolate squares and bitter spice; all make a nice mix.  (****)
Il Molino di Grace 2006 Riserva Chianti Classico ($23.95 - #382945) – tobacco and licorice, hints of cocoa and a smooth finish.  (*** ½+)

New Zealand …
Framingham 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($17.95 - #606848) – pink grapefruit from beginning to end.  (*** ½+)
Konrad 2013 Sauvignon Blanc ($19.95 - #616243) – grapefruit is the prevailing smell and flavour here with other familiar notes for Blanc fans.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Marisco 2012 The King’s Bastard Chardonnay ($19.95 - #393694) – full flavour, full bodied, good mouthfeel with gentle spice and long finish; a Bastard worth buying.  (*** ½+)
Villa Maria 2013 Southern Clays Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($29.95 - #388405) – something different and welcoming from a New Zealand Sauv Blanc.  (*** ½+)

Portugal …
Maynard’s Reserve Finest Ruby Port ($16.95 - #385237) – plum ad spice blend nicely with ballsy acidity; this one should sit on your shelf to mellow but drinks just fine now.  (****+)
Ramos Pinto 2012 Duas Quintas ($17.95 - #359893) – blackberry, cherry, plum, cocoa, spice; think Port without the sweetness, yum.  (****+) – UtF
Sao Miguel 2012 Dos Descobridores Seleccionada Colheita 2012 ($17.95 - #146092) – floral-vanilla-plum strawberry.  (*** ½+)

South Africa …
KWV 2011 The Mentors Canvas ($29.95 - #348839) – has a juicy blackberry, black currant with a smoky and coffee finish.  (*** ½+)
Mulderbosch 2011 Faithful Hound ($19.95 - #922443) – nice blend of herbal, cherry, vanilla and cedar, plus there’s a little smoky, licorice and anise too.  (****+)

Spain …
Abando 2008 Vendimia Seleccionada Crianza ($18.95 - #384396) – pleasant blueberry, plum, olive and pepper.  (*** ½+)
Descenientes de J. Palacios Petalos 2012 ($26.95 - #675207) – hollow middle, but what surrounds it is pretty  darn good.  (*** ½) - UtF
Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee Brut Cava ($19.95 - #392548) – real elegant, good price, bites hard on acidity: fresh, lively and fun.  (****+)
Monastir S.XII Cluny 2006 ($19.95 - #391557) – mocha-cherry, tobacco-vanilla with hints of meaty and smoky.  (****)

United States (California) …
Black Stallion 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.95 - #256768) – silky with nice structure, elegantly fruited.  (****+)
Bogle 2012 Essential Red ($19.95 - #394452) – silky, supple, almost sweet, plum and red licorice.  (*** ½+)
Decoy 2013 Pinot Noir ($35.95 - #191833) – juicy cherry-raspberry mixture.  (*** ½+)
Girard 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel ($29.95 - #394429) – rich mouthfeel, darkly fruited with plum, chocolate, a little jammy but ultimately delicious.  (****+)
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut ($27.95 - #192898) – just a dash of colour with some great raspberry and baked apple at its core.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Kendall-Jackson 2012 Grand Reserve Chardonnay ($27.95 - #059576) – nice redeeming features here like the caramel apple, good acidity and richness of palate.  (****)
MacMurray Ranch 2012 Pinot Noir ($24.95 - #048207) – juicy well-fruited with raspberry-cherry and cran-cocktail.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Rosenblum 2011 Zinfandel ($19.95 - #031781) – sweet plum and vanilla with gentle spice and violet notes.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Rutherford Ranch 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon ($22.95 - #073817) – smoky, coffee, mocha and blackberry.  (*** ½+) – UtF
St. Francis 2012 Chardonnay ($19.95 - #317131) – richness of flavour with lots of buttery oak, vanilla and spice.  (*** ½+) – UtF
Treana 2011 Marsanne/Viognier ($29.95 - #011247) – very tropical along with peach, a little baked/poached apple and pear with touches of ginger spice and a nice weight; interesting and intriguing.  (****)
United States (Oregon) …
Planet Oregon 2012 Pinot Noir ($25.95 - #333245) – nice earthy-raspberry and dried red fruits with pleasant spicy finish.  (*** ½)
________________________________________

In-Store Discoveries – wines that appear on the shelves of your local Vintages outlet …
Chateau Les Ormes de Pez 2010, Bordeaux ($54.85 - #256354) - ****
Joh. Jos. Christoffel 2012 Erben Urziger Wurzgarten Riesling Spatlese, Germany ($29.95 - #336396) - *** ½+
Juan Gil 18 Meses 2011, Spain ($40.95 - #392571) - ****+
Perrier-Jouet 2006 Cuvee Belle Epoque Brut Champagne, France ($189.95) - ****
Pombal do Vesuvio 2009, Portugal ($30.95 - #392365) - *** ½+

If You Can Afford It – wines worth their high price …
Chateau La Confession 2010, Bordeaux ($64.88 - #259101) - ****
Frank Family 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($53.95 - #246900) - ****
Gallo 2010 Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($50.95 - #394197) - ****
Heitz Cellar 2006 Trailside Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($119.95 - #992438) - ****
Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne, France ($69.95 - #268771) - **** ½ (BUB)
Montes 2011 Purple Angel, Chile ($62.95 - #062364) - ****+
Quinta da Romaneira 2011 Vintage Port, Portugal ($80.00 - #362533) - ****
Taittinger Nocturne Champagne, France ($73.95 - #385195) - **** (BUB)

What I’ll Be Lining Up For – December 6, 2014 …
Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvee Brut Cava ($19.95 - #392548) – Spain
Monastir S.XII Cluny 2006 ($19.95 - #391557) – Spain
Mulderbosch 2011 Faithful Hound ($19.95 - #922443) – South Africa
Ramos Pinto 2012 Duas Quintas ($17.95 - #359893) – Portugal
Vina Chocalan 2012 Reserva Syrah ($15.95 - #038513) – Chile

Happy Shopping

To print this article click here for the PDF version.

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