This week's LCBO release could prove to be expensive for me. Sparklings for Mother's Day, an interesting dessert wine, quite a few high value ratings, a laundry list of value, patio/BBQ sippers and some cellar opportunities I don't want to miss.
Flat Rock Cellars Riddled Sparkling 2010 (Niagara Escarpment, Ont, Canada)
383315 Score 91 $29.95
I got to taste this at Taste Ontario and it was a standout. The traditional method, attention to detail, and 5 years on the lees is paying off with this sparkling. Ontario should be proud of this lively, subtly yeasty sparkling. A creamy palate with an acid backbone. A very elegant sipper. Think puff pastry hors d'oevres and paté with toast points. (I gave it a 92).
Micheal Godel of winealign.com says it won't get much better than this. Great length.
Terroir La Baume Saint-Paul Brut Cremant de Limoux (Languedoc, France)
Simon Woods of simonwoods.com calls this 'quite a plush, rich style, with creamy buttery richness and abundant fresh pineapple and toasted nut flavour...a crowd pleaser.' Cremant de Limoux is apparently the oldest sparkling wine producing area in the world, made in the 'methode traditionelle' but without the Champagne price tag.
Domaine des Bernardins Muscat Beaumes de Venise 2015 (Rhone, France)
442160 Score 90 $19.95
This is a very specific dessert/after dinner wine that would pair well with a platter of ripe soft cheeses, dried apricots, figs and fresh strawberries in there too.
Decanter notes describe a charming bouquet of white strawberry with a curl of honey...palate fresh and complex with honeysuckle, watermelon and red cherry...finish dense yet clean and sustained.
Cave Spring CSV Riesling 2015 (Niagara Escarpment, Canada)
566026 Score 93 $29.95
Vintage notes indicate these grapes were sourced from Cave Spring's oldest vineyard and is one of the finest examples of Niagara Riesling. This one is floral with notes of lemon pie and fine, pure minerality. Crips, fresh... great length and cellarability. (Score is average from Winealign reviews).
Tom Gore Chardonnay 2014 (California, USA)
Marc Bona of cleveland.com calls this 'a very balanced Chardonnay.. pleasant but not overwhelming oaky and buttery taste hits you up front... crisp, acidic flavor creeps through... full-bodied and rich.'
Chateau de Charmes St. David's Bench Vineyard Chardonnay 2014 (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada)
430991 Score 90 $21.95
David Lawrason of winealign.com describes this as 'very impressive, complex, layered, rich yet balanced chardonnay...aromas of well -meshed ripe pear/peach fruit... meshed with some wood spice, nuttiness, herbs dried flowers, light butter/cream and vanillin....quite full-bodied but buoyed by seamless acidity and warming 13% alcohol...profound and long, with some nuttiness, light bitterness and earthiness on the finish....length is excellent.'
**This is a great chance to compare an Ontario signature Chardonnay with a California Chardonnay.
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Marlborough, New Zealand)
164228 Score 91 $24.95
Notes from Stephen Tanzer of vinous.com indicate very ripe stone fruit and pineapple aromas..'plush, round and slightly sweet but with nicely integrated acidity giving shape to the peach, grapefruit and white pepper and nutmeg flavors.' Winealign says 'generous fruit, excellent poise and length. A bit of a relief from standard aggressive NZ sauvignon.'
Grand Vin De Glenelly Red 2010 Wo Stellenbosch (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
360339 Score 91 $19.95
This wine is getting very high value ratings from reviewers around the web. Bordeaux style but with distinctive South African style, the wine is described as rich, vibrant, balanced and complex, Black cherry, berry and fruits on the nose with a rich, complex palate. Some bitterness on the finish suggests to pair it with food for optimum enjoyment.
Chateau de Fontenelles Renaissance Corbieres 2013 (Languedoc-Rousillon, France)
148692 Score 90 $19.95
Good value ratings around the web.. Full-bodied & Smooth. Deep concentrated mulberry and raspberry fruit with smoky accents per Vintage notes. Wine Align's David Lawrason says 'peppery notes on the nose, along with violets, black pepper and blackberry fruit. Nicely not over toasted..licorice, dark curranty fruit, some mineral on the palate.... Excellent length, great value.'
Clos du Bois Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, USA)
Vintage Notes highlight Clos du Bois as a benchmark producer, 2014 a lauded vintage and this example is 'characteristic of Clos du Bois richness; big, intense nose...lots of black cherry, blackberry, new leather and mocha...refined, firm and textured on the palate with a long, fruit-driven personality.' At this price it might be worth stocking up.
Estancia Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
A classic grape from a respected producer, from a respected region (Cabernet Sauvignon:Estancia: Paso Robles) What's not to like here? Vintage notes describe 'smoky and filled with aromas and flavours of cassis, dark cherry and baking spices plus a long finish, this is an impressive and exciting wine.'
Rodney Strong Merlot 2013 (Sonoma County, California, USA)
497933 Score 93 $23.95
Ultimate Wine Challenge highly recommend this Sonoma Merlot with 'bright Bing cherry skin and a touch of savoury herb flavors...lush, silky quality and a lingering finish full of fresh fruit and a touch of milk chocolate.'
Brazin (B)Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 (Lodi, California, USA)
Here is a chance to enjoy a characteristic Zinfandel from one of the oldest Zin-producing regions in California. Vintage notes say to 'expect spicy dark fruits framed by smoke.' Pair with BIG protein- BBQ steak, ribs etc.
Quinta Da Rede Grande Reserva Branco 2014 (Douro, Portugal)
477943 Score 93 $21.95
Rogers Voss of Wine Enthusiast says 'wood fermentation and aging giving richness, intense flavors and a fine structure... a wine that demands serious aging- ripe and full of zesty acidity as well as toast and spice flavors. John Szabo of Winealign.com says 'The palate is mid-weight, succulent and juicy, with moderate wood influence and very good length and depth overall. Indeed there is a lot of wine here for the money. Drink now for the fruit, or in 2-3 years for better wood integration and flavour development overall.'
Domaine Les Grands Bois Cuvée Philippine Cotes Du Rhone Villages 2015
286344 Score 90 $18.95
Another one getting high value ratings around the web. Suggestion is to cellar and consume 2018-2025.
Jeb Dunnock of robertparker.com says there is a 2010 level of purity and polish to this wine.' Black raspberries, cassis, toasted spice and licorice all emerge from the glass...' John Szabo of Wine Align says 'The palate is full, plush, velvety, mouth-filling, thick enough to cut with a knife and highly satisfying as such...For the money this will satisfy, and then some.'
Wakefield Merlot 2015 (Clare Valley, Australia)
683201 ⅘ stars $18.95
Vic Harradine of winecurrent.com says this wine 'has it all- medium bodied, well balanced, structured and concentrated with velvety texture...chockful of fruit, excellent tang, a lengthy finish...a solid whack of still evolving tannins...Patience and careful cellaring should be handsomely rewarded. Drink from 2019.
Value Sippers That Caught My Eye
There are a number of blends in this release that are not necessarily going to wine any Wine Awards or medals but they look like they would be pleasant sippers on a patio or with a burger BBQ and/or are recognized value from their respective regions. Notes are excerpts from the Vintage magazine descriptions.
Domaine De Poix Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Loire, France) 488908 $13.95
- Loire wines tend to be light, clean and crisp. This is described as lemon, grapefruit and jasmine as opposed to the herbal, mineral more austere Sauv Blancs.
Domaine Jaume Altitude 420 Vinsobres 2014 (Rhone, France) 494831 Score 90 $16.95
- Impressive black and red currant with soft tannins and a delicate oaky finish (Decanter).
Chateau Haut-Mazieres 2014 (Bordeaux, France) 487546 Score 95 $15.95
- Great value for Bordeaux region, easy-drinking Merlot, Cab Sauv, Cab Franc blend. (Decanter)
Canti Estate Barbera D'Asti Superiorie 2011 (Piedmont, Italy) 478941 $12.95
- Acidity and fruit balances well with food and doesn't overwhelm with too much tannin or oak. Pair with Italian deli, meats, pizza etc.
North 43 Merlot 2014 (Niagara Penninsula, Ont, Canada)
Vintage describe this as medium bodied and fruity .... a ripe, round Merlot full of blueberry, plum, herbs, spices and vanilla notes... structured and balanced with lingering tannins.