This week our reviews centre on our favourite red wines hitting Vintages’ shelves this weekend. It’s not that we’re not interested in white and sparkling – because we most certainly are – but we missed the tasting where the whites were offered to wine media, so, alas, we can’t include them in this week’s review.
Now that being said, many bottles caught our eye including Möet and Chandon Grand Vintage Brut and Brut Rosé, an intriguing sparkling from Westcott Winery, one of our favourite crémant producers, Bailly LaPierre. White wines we’d pick up based on past experience include reliable Chardonnays from Henry of Pelham and Southbrook, Riesling from Featherstone, a French Chablis and a white Rhone from Beaucastle. In fact, there looks to be some really great wine wines and sparklings coming out this weekend so we could kick ourselves that we weren’t there to try them out. First world problems, we suppose.
Anyway, there’s more than enough red to easily fill our Top 20 needs.
Clos de Los Siete, Uco Valley, Mendoza 2012
$23.95 Vintages 622571
Predominately Malbec with 41% made up of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot, this red blend offers easy drinking approachability, and also maintains an elegance. Black and blue fruits with spice and subtle violet notes, the palate is smooth and silky with fine tannin and vibrant acidity. 89 points.
Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, South Australia 2013
$26.95 Vintages 965830
Full bodied with fine/firm tannin, this has both power and elegance with flavours of blueberry jam, earth, and a bitter cherry finish. Pair with braised beef short ribs or Asian spiced lamb chops or seared steak with salsa verde. 88 points.
Two Hands “Bella’s Garden” Shiraz, Barossa Valley, South Australia 2013
$63.95 Vintages 636407
A spicy nose of cola, mincemeat and fresh resinous herbs lead the way to a rich and smooth palate loaded with Christmas cake, brandied black cherries, and eucalyptus flavours. Fresh and balanced with grippy tannin and vibrant acid. 90 points.
Burrowing Owl Cabernet Sauvignon, VQA Okanagan Valley, BC 2012
$44.95 Vintages 73098
This a rich and opulent wine filled with ripe black fruits of black currant, fig and plum mixing with sweet oak spices of toffee, mocha and vanilla. Plush with firm tannin, there’s an uplifting red cherry note to offer some brightness against the ripe and rich flavours. 88 points.
Gilmour “Corazón” Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, VQA Ontario 2012
$22.95 Vintages 440594
We often don’t expect much from sports pros who turn to wine making for fun and profit after their athletic careers end. It’s probably the wrong assumption as we’ve often been proven wrong, as is the case with this wine. Produced at Karlo Estates in Prince Edward County, this is former Leaf’s captain, Doug Gilmour’s, project. The name translates to “heart,” something the hockey legend is said to have in spades. A certified vegan wine, the nose has notes of spice box, sticky/sweet fruit, smoke and beef bouillon that follow through to the medium bodied palate along with fresh leather, mincemeat and fresh red cherries. A great pairing for roast beef, lamb chops or seared duck. 88 points.
Reif Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, VQA Niagara River, ON 2012
$25.95 Vintages 304162
There’s a lovey balance to the ripe fruit, spice and earthy notes, with all playing an equal part in this full and rich wine. Raspberry, HP sauce and cola show through on the nose, while the palate showcases fine/firm tannin and refreshing, vibrant acid. Flavours of spice, black fruits, licorice and a cedar/woodsy note on the finish. This is very good. 88 points.
Chapelle de Potensac, Medoc, Bordeaux 2010
$29.95 Vintages 434761
A lovely wine with lots of pleasing earthy notes in the way of underbrush, cedar, smoke and fresh soil. Fruit is decidedly dark with black berry and cherry flavours. Medium bodied but with lovely complexity and depth. 89 points.
Chateau Bernadotte, Haut-Medoc, Bordeaux 2005
$32.95 Vintages 431775
There’s lots of vibrancy here thanks to the bright aromas and flavours of fresh rosemary and earthy herbs which lift the ripe blackberry and chocolate notes. Medium bodied with fine/firm tannin and generous fruit, pair this to meatballs, roast duck or braised venison. 90 points.
Château L’Hermitage, Listrac-Medoc, Bordeaux 2009
$28.95 Vintages 425496
There’s a really appealling savoury edge to this wine with meaty, salty notes of beef bouillon, and bresaola mixing with blackberry and licorice. Powerful and dense with firm tannin and fresh acid, this can be put away for a few more years, or enjoyed tonight with steak au poivre. 89 points.
L’Expresson de Margaux, Margaux, Bordeaux 2010
$33.95 Vintages 431734
The back label reads that this Cabernet-based Margaux has been vinified by a top estate in the region. It turns out this is made by famed Chateau Rauzan Segla, with grapes from younger vines that didn’t quite make the cut into the prestigious top Cru. Still, this offers pure enjoyment as a rich, full bodied and complex red with flavours of ripe black currants, truffles, forest floor, mincemeat, black licorice and a touch of graphite. This wine oozes with the benefits of the experts who made it, you’ll benefit from the unbelievable price. Grab it while you can. 90 points.
M. Chapoutier “Les Vignes de Bila-Haut” Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Midi 2014
$15.95 Vintages 168716
A blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan, this is almost Beaujolais in style with bright raspberry and red fruit flavours alongside black pepper notes. Fine, barely there tannin and silky mouthfeel, tis wine is exceptionally generous and exceptionally affordable. 88 points.
Domaine La Vitalis Cairanne, Côtes du Rhône-Villages, Rhône 2013
$16.95 Vintages 434688
Rich and dark and generous with tangy red cherry, peppercorn, smoke, bay leaf spice, licorice and graphite, this is a terrific wine for entertaining: intriguing both in taste and price. 88 points.
Stefano Farina “Le Brume” Rosso Langhe, Piedmont 2010
$16.95 Vintages 360073
Smooth and silky with rich, toasty notes of red cherry, smoke, cured meat and dark chocolate with an undercurrent of brandied cherry. Lots of complexity for the price – which is a steal! 90 points.
Le Fonti di Panzano Chianti Classico Riserva, Tuscany, Italy 2011
$41.95 Vintages 282921
Look for wild herb, ripe red cherry, baking spice and black olive on the nose. The palate is toasty and warm with chocolate covered cherry, fine/firm tannin and silky mouthfeel. Quite luxurious. 88 points.
Allegrini “Palazzo Della Torre,” Veneto 2012
$24.95 Vintages 672931
Wine lovers seeking out bottles of power and depth will be very happy with this wine, which is made in the style of Amarone. The nose is so appealing with both savoury and sweet with toasted caraway seed, ripe black currant and peppercorn, while the palate is rich and plush and deeply flavoured with notes of black fruits and spice. 88 points.
Candor “Lot 6” Zinfandel, Lodi, California NV
$21.95 Vintages 133389
Zin fans will really enjoy this smooth and plush wine coming out of central California. Aromas and flavours centre around perfumey, violet florals, tea leaves, and field berries. Soft and silky on the palate, this is quite and indulgent effort. 89 points.
Ferrari-Carano Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California 2012
$50.95 Vintages 38166
Alluring and comfortable this rich, yet elegant, cab is worthy of the fireside dinners of winter. Balancing black cherry and currant with graphite-like earthy notes, there’s some pleasing hightones of rosemary and black licorice. Pair this with herb-crusted rack of lamb or cellar away to enjoy over the next decade. 90 points.
Montes “Aurelio’s Selection” Napa Angel Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, California 2009
$52.95 Vintages 255802
We were super excited to see this come to Vintages. The Napa project of Chilean-based Montes, readers will remember wine maker Aurelio from the blog we wrote last Spring about the incredible ageability of Montes’ wines. It appear to be the case in their California portfolio as well as the structure is there for the long haul, but likely won’t truly reward until then, either. Full bodied with fiercely firm tannin and bright acid, this is still tightly wound and needs some time to come together. An excellent gift for collectors, tuck this away until 2019 at least, but knowing Montes it could probably go until it’s 25th birthday with ease. 90 points.
Stag’s Leap Winery Petite Sirah, Napa Valley, California 2012
$39.95 Vintages 590356
A little over 75% of the blend is Petite Sirah – with the remaining coming from Syrah, Grenache, Carignan and Viognier. Full and firm with generous black berry and cherry fruit, there’s a brightness here that is highly enjoyable. 89 points.
Terlato Family Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Napa Valley 2010
$69.95 Vintages 437137
An intriguing nose of raspberry coulis, crushed black peppercorn and mixed herbs, the palate is full and dense but youthful and fresh with lots of black berry, cherry, fresh earth and herbal flavours. Really good. 90 points.