September 19, 2015 Release Part 2: Fifteen red wines

In Part 2 of my September 19 Vintages recommendations I focus on an eclectic group of fifteen very good red wines. These include

  • four local Ontario reds: the first is my personal benchmark Prince Edward County Pinot Noir from Norm Hardie, with two very good Pinot’s from Keint-he, and the well-received Gamay “Droit” from Chateau des Charmes;
  • the Ontario Pinots and Gamay are complemented by an additional Beaujolais (Gamay) and a Pinot Noir from the Pfalz in southern Germany;
  • two fine Syrahs are a Cornas from the Northern Rhône and a New Zealand Syrah from Hawk’s Bay;
  • a group of Italian wines begins with two of the most outstanding wines under review here, a Taurasi red from Campania, and a Barolo from Aurelio Settimo;
  • three more Italian wines include two very good Tuscans and a Barbera d’Aba;
  • I conclude with two fine value wines: a Vinho Tinto from Dão in Portugal and a modern Tempranillo from Rioja.
2724

2013 NORMAN HARDIE COUNTY UNFILTERED PINOT NOIR, VQA Prince Edward County

Vintages #125310 • $39.00 • 750ml. • 91/100
This is my benchmark for "County" (Prince Edward County) Pinot Noir. The wine is a youthful ruby-red, with a suggestion of smoke over lovely cranberry, raspberry and cherry fruit, twigs and dry earth. The wine is crisp, lighter bodied, with silky tannins, and the light oak frame shows off the fresh, clean fruit to great advantage. Norm Hardie hit his stride with the 2009 vintage of Pinot Noir, and seemingly effortlessly stays on pace vintage after vintage.
Tasted Sept 4, 2015 • HARDIE WINES (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2723

2013 KEINT-HE PORTAGE PINOT NOIR, VQA Prince Edward County

Vintages #373415 • $30.00 • 750ml. • 90/100
"Portage" is Keint-he's branding of their local Prince Edward County wines, as opposed to their "Voyageur" series that imports grapes from Niagara. The wine is a lighter ruby-garnet, with aromas of bright cherry and raspberry fruit, and a waft of cinnamon spice and vanilla over dry earth. The wine is dry, with brisk acidity, light-bodied with silky tannins. The palate fills with very pretty fruit, earth and twigs framed by light oak. A lovely expression of the County.
Tasted Sept 4, 2015 • KEINT-HE WINERY & VINEYARDS LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2716

2013 KEINT-HE VOYAGEUR PINOT NOIR, VQA Niagara Peninsula

Vintages #373407 • $19.00 • 750ml. • 89/100
The "Voyageur" label denotes that the fruit for this wine is sourced from Niagara, and travels around Lake Ontario to Prince Edward County. The wine is ruby-garnet, with a hints of smoke and vanilla accompanying pretty floral aromas and raspberry-cherry fruit. Elevated acidity and smooth tannins frame a more savoury palate, with tobacco leaf, earth and cherry-berry fruit. This is a very good Ontario Pinot at a very attractive price.
Tasted Sept 4, 2015 • KEINT-HE WINERY & VINEYARDS LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2725

2012 CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES ST. DAVID'S BENCH VINEYARD GAMAY NOIR DROIT, VQA St. David's Bench, Niagara Peninsula

Vintages #346742 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 89/100
Gamay Droit is a clone of Gamay Noir identified and then propagated by Chateau des Charmes. It presents dense aromas of blackberry, raspberry and cherry fruit, with a floral lift. Crisp acidity, balanced alcohol and surprisingly grippy tannins frame the lovely fruit and a light stony minerality. Excellent as an enjoyable sipper, this also works well with grilled meats. Fine value.
Tasted Sept 8, 2015 • CHATEAU DES CHARMES (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2643

2014 DOMAINE DE LA MADONE LE PERRÉON BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES AC

Vintages #981175 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100
Here is a well-priced Beaujolais Villages. It is more than medium ruby-purple, with almost strident blackberry and black cherry fruit, and a slightly earthy overtone. Crisp, with modest tannins, the fruit seems riper and almost candied on the palate, and herbal notes supplement the earthiness. This is pleasant, fruity Beaujolais, and a very good value.
Tasted Sept 4, 2015 • M.C.O. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2707

2011 BECKER FAMILY PINOT NOIR, Qualitätswein

Vintages #424754 • $21.70 • 750ml. • 88.5/100
Travel across the Franco-German border from Burgundy into the neighbouring Pfalz, for this Pinot Noir. Compelling aromas of red and black berry fruit, dry earth and smoke, are supplemented on the palate with riper black cherry and a slight menthol lift, with noticeable wood elements underneath. Good value.
Tasted Sept 4, 2015 • SAPIA WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



The first Syrah is a rather classic expression of Cornas, while the Syrah from Hawk’s Bay is an exhilarating modern, cooler climate fruit and pepper rendition.

2644

2012 DOMAINE ERIC & JOEL DURAND EMPREINTES CORNAS AC

Vintages #90829 • $46.95 • 750ml. • 91/100
This is an exciting Syrah from Cornas in the northern Rhône. The wine is a rather deep ruby-red, showing red on the narrow rim. Vibrant blackberry and black currant aromas are supplemented by violets, dry herbs, dried meat and dry earth. Elevated acidity and tannins frame the palate, that leads to a long stony-mineral finish. Cornas wines will always claim a premium price because of their origins, but this example is so alive and attractive it surely justifies the premium.
Tasted Sept 8, 2015 • THE CASE FOR WINE (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2687

2013 TRINITY HILL SYRAH, Hawkes Bay, North Island

Vintages #194274 • $22.95 • 750ml. • 90/100
This is a wonderfully drinkable Syrah from Hawkes Bay. Rich, intense blueberry and black currant fruit surrounds aromas of violets, black pepper and herbs. Crisp acidity and medium tannins frame the fruit on the palate, that builds with a light menthol-herbal lift over dry earth. The wine is fresh and lively with some depth and complexity. An excellent value indeed.
Tasted Sept 8, 2015 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



One of my favourite wines of this release is the lovely “old school” Aglianico from Taurasi. It’s interesting to compare it to the excellent Barolo from Aurelio Settimo.

2686

2008 Cantine Lonardo TAURASI RED DOCG

Vintages #418707 • $44.95 • 750ml. • 92/100
This is a terrific Aglianico from Taurasi. People sometimes suggest that Aglianico is similar to Nebbiolo, and the truth of that comment is the shared characteristics of rather high acidity and tannins. But I think that their character is worlds apart. The wine is rather deep ruby-red, still showing red on a narrow rim. Aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry, currant and plum fruit combine with a savoury-herbal-mushroom core. Thee is significant structure here, with brisk acidity, elevated alcohol and firm tannins that are beginning to soften with time. The fruit on the palate remains surprisingly fresh, although it shows some signs of drying, and the earthy and savoury elements may be on the ascendency. This is a lovely, chewy old-school wine — a real pleasure. Decant for current drinking, but it can cellar for another five to ten years without question.
Tasted Sept 15, 2015 • GROUPE SOLEIL (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2676

2010 AURELIO SETTIMO ROCCHE DELL'ANNUNZIATA BAROLO DOCG

Vintages #293761 • $57.95 • 750ml. • 92/100
This is a serious Barolo made with a nod to older-school techniques: longer fermentation in concrete tanks, and aging for 24 months in large and older oak casks. Aromas of dried cherries, with fresher strawberry, raspberry and blackberry fruit are nestled in a background of dry leaves, cedar, and earth. Elevated acidity and firm, slightly chalky tannins frame the fruit and savoury-spicy palate. The lovely fruit is still quite fresh, but is beginning to show some evolution in the bottle. Decant if drinking early, but this will be better in a few years, and will hold for many years longer.
Tasted Sept 8, 2015 • VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



Two excellent Tuscans — a 2009 Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva and a 2010 Chianti Riserva — are followed by a very pleasant and good value Barbera d’Asti.

2679

2009 CARPINETO VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO RISERVA DOCG

Vintages #368910 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 90/100
The wine is deep ruby red. On the nose you will find blackberry, plum and dried cherry fruit, violets, wood resin, leather and dry earth. Acidity is brisk, alcohol is nicely balanced, and while the tannins are softening, they still coat the mouth. The leathery, earthy and meaty flavours are balanced by enough fruit to suggest that the wine can age for another five or more years, but it is drinking very well now. Complex and interesting.
Tasted Sept 15, 2015 • TANDEM SELECTIONS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2681

2010 GIACOMO MORI CASTELROTTO CHIANTI RISERVA DOCG

Vintages #180026 • $27.95 • 750ml. • 90/100
The wine has a typical Chianti nose: cherry, plum and blackberry fruit, a hint of florality and some leafy-earthy underpinnings. Acidity is brisk and tannins still show an edge. On the palate the fruit retains lots of freshness, and while there is serious wood treatment, it works quite well in this case.
Tasted Sept 15, 2015 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2668

2013 FONTANAFREDDA RAIMONDA BARBERA D'ALBA DOC

Vintages #23135 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100
Barbera is known for its high acid and modest tannins, and with that structure usually comes vibrant fruit and drinkability. Here we have a very good introductory example: the nose is fresh and exuberant, with raspberry, blackberry, cherry and plum fruit. Acidity is elevated, tannins are soft, and the lively fruit on the palate make the wine friendly and very approachable. Ideal with simple tomato-based sauces and pizzas, and a very good value.
Tasted Sept 8, 2015 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



The concluding wines are terrific values from Portugal and Spain respectively.

2673

2012 QUINTA DOS ROQUES VINHO TINTO, DOC Dão

Vintages #986075 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100
The wine is deep ruby-red, with fresh and ripe blackberry and plum fruit, lightly floral. Slightly elevated acidity, balanced alcohol and softening tannins present a firm structure for the ripe fruit and flowers, supplemented by a seam of pepper and herbs on the palate. Pretty, fruit-driven, with a little wood in the background — this is a pleasant wine that can be sipped on its own, but will work well with red meat. Drink over the shorter term.
Tasted Sept 15, 2015 • TANDEM SELECTIONS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



2675

2010 VALDEMAR INSPIRACIÓN SELECCIÓN, DOCa Rioja

Vintages #166512 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100
This is a rather modern Tempranillo, blended with small portions of Graciano and Maturana. You will find pleasant blackberry and cherry fruit aromas, with some cedary resin, baking spices and a mineral note. Somewhat elevated acidity, alcohol and tannins nicely support the fresh and ripe fruit on the palate, with the resin and earthy notes adding interest underneath. While the tannins are softening, they build a little grip towards the finish. Quite a lovely wine for the price.
Tasted Sept 8, 2015 • WINE GURU SELECTION INC (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



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