Vintages Release March 5, 2015 Part 2: Italy and other old world wines

My second set of notes from the March 5 Vintages release features an eclectic set of old world wines: a Champagne, two fine whites, and eight red wines that include five from Italy, two from France, and one from Spain.

I begin with a very fine Champagne, Henriot’s non-vintage Souverain Brut. This is followed by two white wines, the 2014 vintage of the always excellent Les Caillottes Sancerre from Jean-Max Roger, and the 2014 Tenuta Roveglia Vigne di Catullo Lugana Reserva DOC.

4323

HENRIOT SOUVERAIN BRUT CHAMPAGNE AC

Vintages #959643 • $62.95 • 750ml. • 92/100
This is a lovely, classy wine. Lemon, lightly bruised apple and bright berry aromas are layered with toast, pie crust and brioche. The wine is essentially dry, as the high acidity masks the very modest residual sugar. The bruised apple notes recede on the palate, and the fruit emerges as fresh and tart. The creamy texture and layers of toast and almond flavours add depth and complexity, while chalky minerality emerges on the lingering finish. Very fine indeed.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4342

JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE AC 2014

Vintages #65573 • $27.95 • 750ml. • 91/100
Here is the latest vintage of the excellent Cuvée les Caillottes from Jean-Max Roger. The wine is light straw in colour. Aromas of white grapefruit and green apple are complemented by light floral notes, grass and earthy jalopena. The high acidity defines the palate, with the core of grapefruit and green apple washing over the underlying earthy pepper and asparagus notes, and evolving into a chalky minerality that lingers with the grapefruit on the long finish. Always a great example of Sancerre, and highly recommended.
Tasted Mar 1, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4348

TENUTA ROVEGLIA VIGNE DI CATULLO LUGANA RISERVA DOC 2012

Vintages #437004 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 89/100
The local name of the grape is Turbiana, which is better known as Verdicchio or Trebbiano di Lugana. On the nose you will find aromas suggesting fresh and dried flowers, lemon, ripe apples, and white peaches. While the wine is essentially dry, there is some residual sugar that is nicely covered by the brisk acidity. The wine is quite expressive on the palate, with the pleasant fruit, initially tart, taking on some richness, with a slightly nutty finish lengthened by a lingering minerality. Very attractive.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



I begin the set of eight red wines with three 2010 Brunellos, from Molino di Sant’Antimo, Casale del Bosco and Quercecchio. Despite a wet spring and cool summer, the 2010 vintage in Tuscany was saved by a warm September, resulting in a fine harvest with grapes that could reach ripeness but maintained great acidity. But as Jancis Robinson adds, “Montalcino, exceptionally, was drier than other parts of Tuscany and the long and slow ripening of the grapes resulted in what is considered an outstanding vintage with true ageing potential for years to come.” So with that robust acidity, there is an opportunity with this vintage to find elegance as well as power and ripeness.

4291

MOLINO DI SANT'ANTIMO PAOLUS BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2010

Vintages #339515 • $56.95 • 750ml. • 92/100
The wine is medium garnet, with an expressive nose suggesting both ripe and dry cherry and blackberries, baking spices, dry herbs, notes of resin, dry earth, and stony minerality. Persistent, fine tannins are balanced by crisp acidity and elevated alcohol. On the palate some leathery and mushroom notes further add to the complexity of the fruit, spice and herbs — so while the balance is still tilted towards the lovely fruit side, evolution in the bottle is progressing. This should be terrific over the next two to five years, and has the potential to stay in form for many years thereafter.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4285

CASALE DEL BOSCO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2010

Vintages #438572 • $39.95 • 750ml. • 89.5/100
The wine shows as medium ruby-garnet, with a garnet rim. Lively cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit aromas are backed by still-evident wood resin, with suggestions of baking spices, dry earth and twigs. The wine is dry, with elevated alcohol (though it remains quite constrained), and elevated chalky tannins. The pleasant fruit takes on a tarry undertone on the finish. Despite the fact that the wood still requires time to integrate, this is a Brunello that really shows the character of the grapes.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4292

QUERCECCHIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2010

Vintages #438580 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100
This is a simpler, more straightforward Brunello. Slightly lifted violet, cherry and blackberry aromas are accompanied by baking spice, earth and leather. Elevated and slightly rough tannins mesh with elevated acidity and some heat from the alcohol. There is some extraction here, showing power rather than elegance. A reasonable introduction to Brunello, but this lacks the finer detailing I would like to see — but of course this is priced well below the norm as well.
Tasted Feb 19, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



The last two Italian wines are a fine Amarone, the 2009 Masi Mazzano, and the 2011 Luca Bosio Barbaresco.

4295

MASI MAZZANO AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO DOC 2009

Vintages #215764 • $101.95 • 750ml. • 91/100
This is a deep, dense ruby-purple wine, with a fruit-filled nose that suggests layers of both jammy and dried fruit — blackberries, cherries, plums and prunes — over nuances of chocolate and sandalwood. The wine is dry with some residual sugar, and centres on the high alcohol that, while slightly hot, is amazingly constrained, and seems to be wrapped up by the elevated but graceful tannins. A wall of dense and extracted fruit washes the palate, leading to a lengthy finish. This wine has the stuffing to last for decades — for the true (and well-heeled) Amarone-lover.
Tasted Mar 1, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4282

LUCA BOSIO BARBARESCO DOCG 2011

Vintages #437046 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 89/100
This is a credible introduction to Nebbiolo. The wine is a rather translucent garnet. Fruit aromas of ripe and slightly baked plum and cherry are complemented by a light floral note, leather, twigs and dry earth. The palate is driven by high, mouth-coating tannins — a metal fist that punches through the attractive fruit and savoury notes — with elevated acidity and alcohol working to present a balanced wine overall. Good value.
Tasted Mar 1, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



I conclude with two wines from France and one from Spain. These are the 2010 La Célestière Tradition Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a 2012 Malbec from Château Haut-Monplaisir in Cahors, and the latest vintage of the Descendientes de J. Palacios Pétalos from Bierzo.

4274

LA CÉLESTIÈRE TRADITION CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE AC 2010

Vintages #247999 • $47.95 • 750ml. • 90/100
This is a ripe but still rather traditional Chateauneuf du Pape, made from 55% Grenache with equal parts of Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault. It is deep ruby-red, with dense ripe fruit on the nose, suggesting blackberries, plums and black cherries — fully ripe with some liqueured notes too — with garrigue, underbrush, dry earth and cedar. The wine is dry, with elevated alcohol, a full body and balanced acidity. The fruity and savoury notes are supplemented by a light menthol lift towards the finish. Lots of complexity here — very good wine.
Tasted Mar 1, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4276

CHÂTEAU HAUT-MONPLAISIR MALBEC 2012, AC Cahors

Vintages #673590 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100
This is a very modern and accessible Malbec from its traditional home in Cahors. You will see a hint of Malbec's trademark violet on the rim, with an enticing nose of blackberries, black currants and plums, with a pretty violet floral note, and a light underpinning of underbrush and twigs. The wine is dry, with fresh acidity, moderate alcohol, and chalky tannins. While there is lots of pleasant fruit on the palate, there is some elegance and restraint. Very attractive.
Tasted Mar 1, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



4301

DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS PÉTALOS 2013, DO Bierzo

Vintages #446484 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 90/100
The 2013 Pétalos continues the series of excellent wines from this fine producer. Pétalos is their entry level wine from the Mencia grape, harvested from old vines located in the hills of western Bierzo near the village of Corullón. The wine is rather deep ruby-red, with high-toned floral notes and lovely blueberry, blackberry and raspberry fruit, ripe but still with freshness. Nicely balanced but elevated alcohol, acidity and tannins frame the juicy fruit on the palate, but a savoury undertone adds complexity, and stony minerality builds on the finish. A lovely wine.
Tasted Mar 1, 2016 • • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Recommendation



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