Saturday December 7, 2019 - Vintages Release Report

05 Dec 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 … Get Togethers (GT), Festive Fizz (FF) and Coming Soon (CS)

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 …

61 wines were NOT offered for tasting –
plus 10 “Flagship Exclusives” (aka. In Store Discoveries)

The Skinny … December is always a weird month, you get high end wines and you get a bunch of duds, the really good stuff came through in November, but there is enough here to make things interesting both for the cellar and the drink-now crowd … there is also a “Coming Soon” part of this release that are wines that will be coming into the board during the coarse of the month with no specific release date.

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Argentina …
DV Catena 2017 Historic Red Blend ($19.95 - #555466) – sweet and juicy with coffee bean and red fruit.  (***+) … CS

Australia …
Elderton 2015 Ode to Lorraine Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz/Merlot ($39.95 - #976423) – eucalyptus, blueberry, coffee and spice.  (*** ½+) … GT
Pirramimma 2016 Petit Verdot ($28.95 - #986752) – coffee bean, spice, mocha, vanilla and blueberry.  (****) … GT
Wakefield 2017 Jaraman Shiraz ($24.95 - #377036) – smoky blackberry, eucalyptus, red and black fruit galore, mocha all with a spiced-cherry finish.  (****+)

Canada (British Columbia) …
Dirty Laundry 2016 Merlot ($29.95 - #366179) – focused cherry, blackberry, vanilla, smoke and all with a subtle cedary finish.  (*** ½)
Canada (Ontario) … click on wine name for full review
Closson Chase 2017 Vineyard Chardonnay ($29.95 - #148866) - *** ½
Featherstone 2013 Joy Premium Cuvee Sparkling ($34.95 - #310334) - **** ½ … FF
Flat Rock 2017 Riddled Sparkling ($34.95 - #383315) - ****
Henry of Pelham 2012 Estate Cabernet/Merlot ($24.95 - #395855) - ****
Organized Crime 2017 Break-In Pinot Noir ($21.95 - #396267) - *** ½+
Trius Brut Rosé Sparkling ($32.95 - #184309) - **** … FF

France (Bordeaux) …
Chateau Boutisse 2016 ($40.95 - #368175) – smoky cigar box, edgy dark fruit and even some pencil shavings.  (*** ½+) … GT
France (Burgundy) …
Bailly Lapierre Reserve Brut Cremant de Bourgogne ($19.95 - #991562) – bready and biscuit, apple-lemon-lime with good acid backbone.  (*** ½+) … CS
France (Lauguedoc) …
Domaine de la Cendrillon 2015 Classique Corbieres ($18.95 - #010317) – blackberry, cassis, mocha, black cherry and a stony finish.  (*** ½)
France (Limoux) …
Antech 2017 Emotion Rosé Cremant de Limoux ($19.95 - #557645) – pleasant peach, apple and nectarine.  (*** ½) … FF
France (Provence) …
Mirabeau 2018 Etoile Rosé ($29.95 - #010540) – pretty floral, lime, strawberry pith, nectarine but with a short finish.  (*** ½)

Italy (Abruzzo) …
Spinelli 2015 Tatone Montepulciano D’Abruzzo ($15.95 - #994616) – big, ballsy black fruit and bittersweet chocolate.  (*** ½) … CS
Italy (Tuscany) …
Castelli del Grevepesa 2015 Clemente VII Chianti Classico ($18.95 - #421388) – smoky and yet still juicy with some pencil shaving backing, cassis and even some gentle tannins.  (*** ½) … GT
Corte Medicea 2015 Atos ($26.95 - #475996) – sweet plum, cherry, mocha-chocolate.  (*** ½) … CS
Italy (Veneto) …
I Balzi 2017 Rosso ($15.95 - #477075) – juicy yet with a little bit of grip, lots of plumy, smoky and cherry notes.  (*** ½+)
Storia Antica 2017 Superiore Valpolicella Ripasso ($17.95 - #273672) – plum, cherry, coffee bean with a latte-like finish.  (*** ½)
Tenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve Verona 2017 Pragal ($18.95 - #010951) – lean and mean with subtle coffee, floral and plenty of berries.  (*** ½+)

New Zealand …
Oyster Bay 2017 Pinot Noir ($20.95 - #590414) – light and easy Pinot with fruity and hints of smoke.  (*** ½) … GT
Thornbury 2018 Sauvignon Blanc ($18.95 - #734798) – slightly riper than your usual New Zealand Savvy B with juicy and grassy notes and some lime pith on the finish.  (***+)

South Africa …
Ken Forrester 2018 Old Vine Reserve Chenin Blanc ($17.95 - #231282) – lanolin and waxy with tangerine and spice backing.  (*** ½)
The Chocolate Block 2017 ($79.95 / 1500ml - #135996) – see full review here.  (*** ½+)

United States (California) …
Decoy 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ($37.95 - #186171) – raspberry core that also shows a juicy and plummy side.  (*** ½) … GT
Irony 2017 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.95 - #012189) – soft and dark fruited with a chocolate/mocha core.  (*** ½)
Murphy-Goode 2015 Merlot ($22.95 - #059295) – smooth and easy drinking Merlot, just what you’d expect from Cali.  (*** ½) … CS
United States (Oregon) …
Lange 2016 Classique Pinot Noir ($39.95 - #367359) – earthy, sour cherry, yellow plum and gentle spice.  (*** ½+)
United States (Washington) …
Chateau Ste. Michelle 2016 Indian Wells Cabernet Sauvignon ($26.95 - #055764) – smoky, vanilla and juicy with lots of black fruit and spice.  (*** ½+)
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If You Can Afford It:  wines worth their high price …
Chateau Clarke 2015, Bordeaux ($51.95 - #503904) - ****+
Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2016 Les Pagodes de Cos, Bordeaux ($91.95 - #547919) - *** ½+ … CS
Duckhorn 2016 Merlot, California ($69.95 - #992529) - *** ½+
Isole e Olena 2016 Cepparello, Tuscany ($113.95 - #025650) - ****
Ruinart R de Ruinart Brut Champagne, France ($88.95 - #189878) - ****+ … FF
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 2016 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon, California ($89.95 - #708982) - ****
Tenuta di Biserno 2016 Il Pino di Biserno, Tuscany ($74.95 - #218743) - ****+ … CS
Tenuta Guado al Tasso 2017 Cont’Ugo, Tuscany ($54.95 - #012620) - *** ½+


Best Values in this Release - (December 7, 2019) …

Nothing really hits the mark this time - there are some nice wines but nothing of great value. Better luck next year.

 

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