This week’s Vintages release seems smaller than usual. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t have a specific theme like the releases usually do. Still, there are some great wines being released this weekend – some we like for their terrific value, others are intriguing cellar dwellers.
Let us know what wines you’re sipping lately – and if you agree with our picks for best bottles.
D’Arenberg “The Hermit Crab” Viognier/Marsanne, McLaren Vale 2013
$19.95 Vintages 662775
This is quite lovely with apricot preserve and white floral on the nose, while the palate is rich with a creamy mouthfeel and stone fruit and fresh pineapple flavours. This is bright with wonderful texture. 88 points.
Inspiracion Valdemar Graciano, Rioja 2005
$34.95 Vintages 423525
A dark and intriguing wine with deep aromas of blueberry pie filling, licorice and sweet spice. Smooth with fine-firm tannin on the palate with peppercorn, dried herbs and spice box flavours offset by ripe dark fruits. At 10 years old this is vibrant and fresh and totally yummy. 89 points.
Ollara Clasico Reserva, Rioja 2009
$18.95 Vintages 423541
Dried strawberry, dusty herbs and vague earthiness on the nose, the palate shows rich red fruit and spice with fine tannin and balanced acid. Easy drinking with interesting complexity. 88 points.
Chateau Haut Logat, Haut Medoc, Bordeaux 2010
$27.95 Vintages 424556
This Cab Sauv dominated blend is juicy and fresh with flavours of red and black cherry asphalt, and black licorice. Elegant with fine tannin and balanced acid. Fleshy and smooth. Try with steak au poivre or braised short ribs. 88 points.
Georges Duboeuf Rochegres Moulin a Vent, Burgundy 2011
$19.95 Vintages 424861
Bright and easy drinking this shows notes of purple flowers, Werther’s candies and red fruit on the nose. Plush and smooth with bright acid. This is an easy drinking sipper that will work well with all kinds food from roast beef to chicken. 88 points.
Xavier SM Cotes du Rhone, NV
$39.95 Vintages 425637
A Syrah and Grenache blend that has an intriguing nose with dark fruit, licorice and menthol. The palate is bright and fresh with fine-firm tannin and vibrant acid with flavours of smoke and red cherry with uplifting tart cranberry finish. 88 points.
Piper Heidsieck Sauvage Brut Rose Champagne, NV
$69.95 Vintages 413633
As enjoyable as this sparkler is, the write up Josh Reynolds from vinousmedia.com gave it in January is even better. The poetic review ends with the eyebrow raising sentence, ” … finishing with very good thrust …” Now if that doesn’t sell bottles, we don’t know what will.
So while we’re not sure about the thrust (but willing to find out), this rose bubbly is actually more orange than pink, with a dry, yeasty nose of wild flowers, mineral and red cherry. Vibrant and bright on the palate with black currant, bread and mineral flavours, it’s elegant yet powerful. 90 points.
Domaine Louis Michel & Fils Forets Chablis 1er Cru, Burgundy, France 2012
$39.95 Vintages 231936
A bright, fresh Chablis that offers gorgeous lime and flinty mineral notes. The creamy mouthfeel is livened by focused acidity with a terrific finish. Quite nice. 89 points.
Tessellae Cotes du Roussillon “Old Vines” Grenache/Syrah/Mouvedre, Midi 2013
$17 Vintages 343517
Juicy and bright with fresh raspberry, red cherry and an uplifting herbal undertone. Tannins are present, but well integrated against clean acid. Smart buy. 88 points.
Le Gravillas Gigondas, Rhone 2013
$22.95 Vintages 78808
Lots of savoury character here with dominant aromas of meat, spice and soy against black fruit notes. Full bodied with fine-firm tannin and flavours of cracked peppercorn, cassis and soy sauce. 90 points.
Patrick Lesec “Galets Blonds” Chateauneuf du Pape, Rhone 2012
$56.95 Vintages 78089
Tons of intrigue and depth here – we love the balance of savoury notes to juicy fruit. Fabulous structure with a smooth, silky palate and fine tannins with flavours of black and red cherry, spice box, wild herb and fresh menthol. While it’s drinking well now, this has the stuff to go the distance til 2024 and likely longer. 90 points.
Dirty Laundry “Not So Knotty” Chardonnay, VQA Okanagan Valley, BC 2013
$19.95 Vintages 353144
Aromatic and flavourful with aromas and flavours of sweet peach, ripe pear and yellow apple. Despite being unoaked, there’s a soft mouthfeel and rich fruit note that comes across as a tad sweet, but overall it’s a very enjoyable sipper. 89 points.
Flat Rock Riesling, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara 2014
$16.95 Vintages 43281
Flat Rock is known for producing bright, fresh and approachable Rieslings. Here we have a slightly off dry example that’s loaded with ripe apricot, apple and floral notes. Zippy acidity keeps things clean in this value-driven wine. 88 points.
Hidden Bench Chardonnay, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara 2013
$28.95 Vintages 68817
This is a fabulous Chardonnay with an elegant nose of mineral, lemon curd and cream. Fresh and lively on the palate with a creamy mouthfeel and flavours of ripe orchard fruit against a mineral undercurrent. Excellent effort. 90 points.
Montgras “Antu” Syrah, Collchagua Valley 2012
$17 Vintages 425900
What terrific value in this plush and ripe Syrah. The nose brims with aromas of mixed wild herbs, tamarind paste, and an appealing rustic leather note. Rich and full on the palate with ripe dark fruits, spice and meaty flavours highlighted by a salty undercurrent. Excellent velvet mouthfeel. 89 points.
Ferdinando Principano del Comune di Serralunga d’Alba Barolo, Piedmont 2010
$44.95 Vintages 210955
Juicy, opulent and intriguing with raspberry, spice and fresh herbs on the nose and a rich and dense palate with sweet, ripe cherry, raspberry concentrate and spice. Drinking beautifully now, but it would be really interesting to see how it evolves over the years as this can go until 2030. 88 points.
Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany 2011
$29.95 Vintages 650754
Focused and pure with a nose of ripe black cherry, spice ad a touch of barnyard that carries through to the palate which is full, juicy and ripe with fine-firm tannin and bright acidity. 88 points.
Tiganello, Tuscany 2011
$102.95 Vintages 986786
A Bay Street favourite, this Sangiovese, Cab Sauv and Franc blend from the hot and challenging ’11 vintage is powerful and rich with blackberry, smoke and salt licorice. There’s lots of intrigue and density here with masculine complexity. 89 points.
Verbena Brunello di Montacino, Tuscany 2009
$33.95 Vintages 165126
Bold and powerful with fierce tannins, I would likely lay this down til 2019 before opening it up. Currently showing aromas and flavours of blackberry wine gums, toast and earthy notes, this has lots of interest which promises to reward greatly in a few years’ time. 90 points.
Vignamaggio Gherardino Chianti Classico, Tuscany 2012
$24.95 Vintages 963512
There’s a joy and freshness to this wine which offers purity of fruit. Fine tannins with bright acid, with a lengthy finish, this is quite good. 88 points.