As predicted the special occasion wines abound in this release. Nestled among the triple digits there are some good prospects in the under $35 ranges though.
I am systematically stocking up on bubblies and here are two that hold promise without breaking the bank.
Wolfberger Brut Crémant D’Alsace
#460832 Score 94 $18.95
I have to admit I am a fan of the Alsatian wine style so I am looking forward to trying this sparkling wine. Tasting notes from tastings.com indicate ‘bright, fruity, creamy aromas of green apple pastry, peaches in cream and lemon chiffon’. They call it an exceptional wine that will shine at the table, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body with a medium-long-white nuts, lime-pineapple sorbet, and minerals finish with no oak. The finely carbonated feature is suggestive of high quality sparklings so I’m in!
Juve Y Camps Pinot Noir Reserva Brut Rosé
# 385088 Score 91 $21.95
Luis Gutierrez of robertparker.com describes this Spanish Pinot Noir bubbly as having a showy nose of cherries, truffles and strawberry jam and a fresh, pungent palate, balanced acidity and flavors. This is a ‘meatier’ sparkling- he even suggests pairing it with charcuterie. Sounds like a good wine to go with holiday appetizers and buffets.
Some interesting Ontario wines in this release that might make a good gifts and reward local winemakers at the same time.
Megalomaniac Narcissist Riesling 2015 (Niagara)
Rod Phillips gives this 5 out of 5 stars and describes as slightly off-dry and featuring well-measured ripe-sweet fruit with zesty acidity that balances the fruit. Drinking beautifully now.
Lone Birch Pinot Gris 2014 (Washington)
I am having a bit of a love affair with Pinot Gris at the moment (not to be confused with Pino Grigio -same grape -very different wine style) so Bill Ward’s description of ‘seriously juicy tropical and pear flavors and a tinge of sweetness, but a mouthwateringly dry and lengthy finish’ is what caught my attention on this one. ‘Plain delicious’ …..’nuff said.
Middle Earth Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (New Zealand, South Island)
#391987 Score 93 $17.95
Sam Kim of wineorbit.co.nz describes this as ‘intensely aromatic on the nose with stone fruit, rockmelon, lime zest and dill characters.’ This is apparently filled with classic New Zealand flavours offering excellent varietal purity and richness, leading to a lengthy juicy finish.
Wildass Merlot 2014 (Niagara)
The Vintage panel is expecting great demand for this. They describe it as ‘savoury with velvety tannins and ripe plum, black fruit, raspberry and a touch of cocoa on the finish.’ Big, balanced and food -friendly. I think this sounds too big to be a ‘sipper’ so will probably be best enjoyed with a lovely dinner.
Yalumba The Scribbler 2012 (Barossa, South Australia)
#165811 Score 95 $21.95
Campbell Mattinson of winecompanion.com.au is calling this a special value with ‘robust blackcurrant, redcurrant and eucalypt flavours with notes of blackberry and clove’. Fine tannins and sufficient length.
Perrin Coudoulet de Beaucastel Cotes-Du-Rhone 2014
# 48884 $29.95
My interest in this one was piqued because it is just outside the limits of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, so I am hoping get the Chateauneuf-du-Pape experience at a bargain price. Vintage panel describes it as tremendous value, rich, floral with impressive and snappy red fruit tones, earthy underbrush tones with a distinct pepper spice. ‘Just a great wine and one not to miss’.
Henry of Pelham Estate Chardonnay 2014 (Niagara)
Rod Philips gives this 4/5 stars and describes it as being ‘underpinned by a broad seam of clean, lively acidity’ with some oak on the nose and palate that doesn’t interfere with the fruit. He suggests you could drink it now but could also hold for another 3-4 years.
Chateau de L’Ou Velours Noir 2011
#453290 Score 93 $29.95
Jeb Dunnuck of robertparker.com says this ‘gives up lots of classic Syrah notes of black raspberry, olive, peppery herbs and beef blood’. He describes it as having an ‘elegant and lively profile on the palate’ and suggests another 9 years of longevity or so.