Focus this release is on Napa Valley and Pinot Noirs of the world…. both relatively pricey subjects! I will highlight a few high scorers from both divisions in my under $35 target range. This is also a great release to beef up your cellar.
ALVEAR PEDRO XIMENEZ DE AÑADA 2014
499152 Score 96 $24.95
Note that this is a 375 ml bottle but it is a chance to experience an outstanding sherry. Robert Parker Jr of robertparker.com describes this as ‘dark amber and sweet, with notes of honeyed figs, maple syrup, toffee and almond liqueur. It is rich and unctuous, very full-bodied and a serious decadent elixir. It should last for 20-30 years, or more. Drink 2016-2046 ‘
VETIVER VIURA 2014 (DOCa Rioja, Spain)
#437707 Score 91 $14.95
This wine score #62 in the Wine Spectators Top 100 of 2016. Thomas Matthews of winespectator.com says ‘This bold white marries expressive flavors to a muscular texture. Pear and quince notes mingle with brioche, chamomile and dried pineapple details, with juicy acidity and light tannins lending support. Lively now, this should harmonize with time. Drink now through 2024.’
CAVE SPRING ESTATE BOTTLED GEWURZTRAMINER 2013 (Niagara Escarpment, Ont.,Canada)
#302059 Score 91 $17.95
David Lawrason of winealign.com says : ‘What a great gewurz, perhaps the best Ontario has yet produced – from a great white wine vintage. It has a fragrant and flamboyant nose packed with exotic lychee, orange marmalade, honey mustard and ginger. It’s medium weight, fleshy, warm and dense on the palate, with perfume on the finish. Medium dry, well balanced with very good to excellent length.’
FLAT ROCK CHARDONNAY 2015 (Niagara Escarpment, Ont., Canada)
#286278 Score 4/5 stars $18.95
André Proulx of andrewinereview.ca says: ‘Every vintage the Chardonnay from Flat Rock offers something to open with anticipation. The nose offers vanilla, orange and an apple note. There is a slight creaminess on the mid palate and balanced with nice acidity. The fruit really pushes into tropical territory with pineapple and tangerine. Coming in under twenty dollars this is one of the best value bottles from Ontario in your Vintages section.’
CLOS PEGASE MITSUKO’S VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2014 (Carneros, Napa Valley, USA)
#986737 Score 92 $34.95
Michael Godel of Wine Aligns tasting notes: ‘this calcareous, rolling soils moondance section at 300m is windy as hell and makes for some pretty intense chardonnay from low yields. If nothing else it is texture noted on the mid-palate with thanks to extended lees contact and repeated bâttonage. That and wood-induced spice complexity. Mitsuko’s finish is unrelenting due to and in addendum from acidity driven dénouement. It really is cool climate chardonnay … Drink 2017-2023.
GRAND TOKAJ NO. 8 DRY WHITE 2015 (PDO Tokaji, Hungary)
#517144 Score 95 $16.95
If you want to experiment with something interesting this might be the ticket. Tokaji region is best known for its outstanding, botrytis affected sweet wines. The dry production is relatively new and got the world’s notice only in about the year 2000.
Decanter Asia Wine Award Notes: ‘70% Hárslevelu, 30% Furmint. Complex with inviting aromas of mango, ripe pineapple and honeysuckle complementing ripe flavours of citrus and a bright, balanced finish. Very typical and softly grippy with a gentle finish. A little neutral but undeniably elegant and a terrific display of quality and class’.
ALTIVO RED 2015 (DOC Dão, Portugal)
#522292 Score 93 $12.95
Another great value wine from Portugal. Matt Steeves of quercusvino.ca describes a ‘Gorgeous fragrant bouquet with dried fruit, clove, smoked bacon, sous bois, and graphite on the nose. Beautifully balanced, it’s elegant with a remarkably supple texture. The palate shows layers of dark fruit, figs, plum, and spice with a long and inviting finish. An exceptional wine with terrific structure making it ideally suited for enjoyment now and will cellar beautifully over the next 5+ years. Enjoy with Leitao (suckling pig), Espetada (grilled beef kebabs), or Chourico (smoked sausage), to name a few top picks. A buy by the case wine that offers exceptional value!”
TABALÍ TALUD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 (Maipo Valley, Chile)
#513960 Score 93 $23.95
This wine is getting consistent high scores around the web. Fruit, mint/spearmint, great length. Drink now or into early 2020s.
Best Values in the Pinot Noir offering this release:
RITUAL PINOT NOIR 2015 (Casablanca Valley, Chile)
#514182 Score 93 $21.95
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com says ‘Crafted in quite a big, bold style with complex ripe strawberry, raspberry and spice.’
OYSTER BAY PINOT NOIR 2015 (Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand)
#590414 Score 90 $19.95
MaryAnnWorobiec, of winespectator.com describes ‘Blackberry, plum, sage and loam. Excellent vibrancy. Unquestionably a fruity NewWorld Pinot.’
CHÂTEAU DE GAUDOU RENAISSANCE CAHORS 2013 AC (SouthWest, France)
# 364786 Score 95 $ 25.95
Notes from Decanter World Wine Awards, 2016 : 100% Malbec. Fresh, perfumed and intricate, the nose is packed with dark black fruits, a generous helping of nutmeg and spice and all interlaced with polished oak. The palate offers lovely depth and complexity with concentrated fruit, silky tannins and beautiful mineral freshness. A serious wine, and will keep for 3-5 years.
LOSI QUERCIAVALLE CHIANTI CLASSICO 2011 (Italy)
#515478 Score 92 $16.95
This mid-weight Chianti is being recognized around the web as very good value. Kerin O’Keefe of Wine Enthusiast describes ‘Ripe black-skinned berry, truffle, scorched soil, violet and a potpourri of kitchen spice are some of the aromas that emerge on this polished red. The smooth, delicious palate doles out juicy black cherry, black raspberry, licorice and chopped mint set in a framework of silky, supple tannins. Enjoy through 2018. Editors’ Choice.’
CONFIDENCIAL RESERVA 2013 Vinho Regional Lisboa
452789 Score 91 $13.95
Here is a great chance to pick up a great wine at a great price to enjoy now and for a few years to come. Think cases folks! Roger Voss, of Wine Enthusiast says ‘Six months in a mix of French and Portuguese oak has given this wine a rich, smooth character. Produced from a field blend of more than 40 different varieties, the wine is stylishly structured and ripe with blackberry fruits. It is still young and although it is drinkable now, it will be better from 2017.’ (Tasted June 106)
FRANCISCAN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 (Napa Valley, California, USA)
James Suckling, of jamessuckling.com describes ‘A fruity and juicy wine with blackcurrant and plum character. Medium body, firm tannins and a medium finish. A little tannic now but will show better in 2019.
#039388 Score 90 $29.95
TABALÍ VETAS BLANCAS RESERVA ESPECIAL CABERNET FRANC 2014 (Limarí Valley, Chile)
#514117 Score 90 $19.95
David Lawrason’s of WineAlign says: ‘Four hectares were originally planted as a blending variety, but cab franc has proven to be the best suited Bordeaux variety in the cooler Limari Valley. This has notably deep colour for cabernet franc. It comes from a higher altitude, more inland site. Lovely ripe black raspberry, violets, tobacco and chocolate on the nose. It is medium- full bodied, well balanced and quite dense with some franc greenness on the finish. The length is very good but wanted more. Fairly tannic, dry and chewy – give it a year or two.’