Saturday August 3, 2019 - Vintages Release Report

01 Aug 2019

 

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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 … Taste Trends (TT) & South Africa (SA)

The New Normal … The LCBO has curbed our tasting of Vintages releases by almost half – they are “curating” what we taste, so instead of finding those gems from the full list of wines being released the LCBO is telling us what they want us to taste and then we are to pick the gems out of those wines …

62 wines were NOT offered for tasting –
plus 8 “Flagship Exclusives” (aka. In Store Discoveries)

The Skinny … A weird array of “Taste Trend” wines and a few good South African wines are all I could pull out of the focus wines, there are some good values as well most notably from Portugal and those looking for local should invite in the Malivoire Rosé or the bold Thirty Bench Red on offer.

Argentina …
Argento 2015 Cabernet Franc ($14.95 - #668335) – tobacco, cocoa, smoke along with black and blue berries.  (*** ½)
William Fevre 2017 Carmenere Espino ($15.95 - #464412) – rich, ripe, sweet red fruit with a jammy raspberry core; easy drinking pleasure.  (*** ½)

Canada (Ontario) … click on wine name for full review
Malivoire 2018 Vivant Rosé ($19.95 - #498535) - *** ½+
Thirty Bench 2017 Winemaker’s Blend Red ($24.95 - #320986) - ****

France (Bordeaux) …
Chateau Nodeau 2016 ($14.95 - #667238) – mocha, leather and cassis with hints of smoke and touch of oak.  (*** ½)
France (Midi) …
M. Chapoutier 2017 Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Cotes du Rousillon-Villages ($15.95 - #168716) – blueberry and raspberry with a mocha-cocoa finish.  (*** ½+) – TT  
France (Provence) …
Chateau La Tour de L’Eveque 2018 Rosé ($19.95 - #319392) – dry and flinty with the right amount of lime to raspberry and even some pith.  (*** ½+) – TT
R Wines 2018 RRosé ($26.95 - #010557) – subtle grapefruit and other citrus notes intermingle with some melon rind and citrus pith; and yes the double-R is supposed to be there.  (*** ½+) - TT
France (Roussillon) …
Le Cirque 2015 Grenache Noir/Carignan/Syrah ($16.95 - #277079) – easy drinking with mocha, black cherry and white pepper.  (*** ½)

Italy (Piedmont) …
Canti Estate 2018 Moscato D’Asti ($14.95 - #644831) – d’Asti is one of my guilty pleasure wines and at 5.5% alcohol it’s a three bottle afternoon wine too; this one has all the making of delicious with its summer sweetness, peach and pear puree and that subtle fizzy note – yum!  (*** ½+)
Italy (Puglia) …
Amastuola 2015 Primitivo ($15.95 - #300004) – plum and black cherry with a touch of leather on the finish.  (*** ½) - TT
Italy (Tuscany) …
Le Volte Dell’Ornellaia 2017 ($29.95 - #964221) – good acidity with it’s black and blue fruit center, there are also hints of pepper with a juicy core that seems to linger for days, but those firm tannins bring it back to earth. Another beauty Le Volte.  (****+)
Italy (Veneto) …
Rocca Sveva 2013 Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore ($24.95 - #668483) – plum, cassis, black cherry, mocha, but it’s the sweet juicy fruit middle that with have you sipping it over and over again.  (*** ½+)

New Zealand …
Delta Estate 2017 Chardonnay ($19.95 - #149542) – there’s some finesse in this bottle with its apple and pear fruit plus some pineapple core notes; nice linger and good acidity.  (****)

Portugal …
Almeida Garrett 2015 Entre Serras ($12.95 - #646919) – this is a bargain basement priced wine (for Ontario) that offers cherry, raspberry and cocoa notes with good acidity and a punch of tannins on the finish – it costs what??? (*** ½+)
Herdade Sao Miguel 2017 Colheita Seleccionada Tinto ($17.95 - #070730) – subtle spices, good mocha on the m id-palate, lots of fruit, but with great finish so it’s not jammy, lots of acidity to keep everything in balance: dark fruit, spicy intensity and layered now that’s what you want in a wine.  (****+) – TT
Insurgente 2015 Vinho Tinto ($17.95 - #630947) – deep and dark in both colour and flavour: juicy black fruit with smoky notes, plus coffee bean and cherry.  (****)

South Africa …
Cederberg 2018 Chenin Blanc ($18.95 - #651711) – lanolin and waxy with the right amount of lemon and citrus pith; good finish with acid punch to the tongue.  (*** ½) – SA
De Wetshof 2018 Lesca Estate Chardonnay ($24.95 - #355438) – sits somewhere between California and Ontario with buttery notes but also with balanced acidity and subtle white fruit at its core.  (****) – SA
Spier 2014 21 Gables Cabernet Sauvignon ($39.95 - #651810) – this is one of those wines that I talk about future potential over current enjoyment: dusty with dark cocoa like tannins show from the outset, dark dense fruit, smoky and leathery with a mocha like finish – give it 5 years to mellow and enjoy.  (****) – SA

United States (California) …
Joel Gott 2018 Rosé ($24.95 - #668368) – candied nose but with a nice dry palate that shows lime and raspberry.  (*** ½+)
Martin Ray 2016 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($44.95 - #010044) – lots of big fruit with smoky, mocha undertones, plus hints of leather and rich tannins; it’s firm yet fun and layered for an evening worth of sipping.  (****+)
United States (Oregon) …
Boedecker Cellars 2015 Finnigan Hill Vineyard Chardonnay ($29.95 - #665919) – mineral driven so it comes off as fresh and lively with notes of lime, lanolin, green apple and even a touch waxy, all balanced with good acidity.  (****)
________________________________________

If You Can Afford It:  wines worth their high price …
Gaston Chiquet Tradition 1er Cru Brut Champagne, France ($54.95 - #665851) - **** (TT)
Rombauer Carneros 2017 Chardonnay, California ($64.95 - #441089) - ***+

Other Stuff That’s Fine, But It’s Not Wine …
Guerra Rojo Reserva Sweet Vermouth, Spain ($23.95 - #645101) - ***+
Hidalgo Fino Seco Sherry, Spain ($21.95 - #645267) - *** ½+

Best Values in this Release – August 3, 2018 …
Delta Estate 2017 Chardonnay ($19.95 - #149542) – New Zealand
Herdade Sao Miguel 2017 Colheita Seleccionada Tinto ($17.95 - #070730) – Portugal
Insurgente 2015 Vinho Tinto ($17.95 - #630947) – Portugal

 

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