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.
HENRIOT SOUVERAIN BRUT CHAMPAGNE AC
Vintages #959643 • $62.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100This 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 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
JEAN-MAX ROGER CUVÉE LES CAILLOTTES SANCERRE AC 2014
Vintages #65573 • $27.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100Here 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 • CONNEXION OENOPHILIA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
TENUTA ROVEGLIA VIGNE DI CATULLO LUGANA RISERVA DOC 2012
Vintages #437004 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The 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 • CARPE VINUM INTERNATIONAL (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
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.
MOLINO DI SANT'ANTIMO PAOLUS BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2010
Vintages #339515 • $56.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 92/100The 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 • NATURAL VINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CASALE DEL BOSCO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2010
Vintages #438572 • $39.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89.5/100The 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 • ALLURE WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
QUERCECCHIO BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2010
Vintages #438580 • $29.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This 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 • RUBY WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
The last two Italian wines are a fine Amarone, the 2009 Masi Mazzano, and the 2011 Luca Bosio Barbaresco.
MASI MAZZANO AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO DOC 2009
Vintages #215764 • $101.9 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This 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 • AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
LUCA BOSIO BARBARESCO DOCG 2011
Vintages #437046 • $29.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This 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 • DON ACKERMAN'S WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
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.
LA CÉLESTIÈRE TRADITION CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE AC 2010
Vintages #247999 • $47.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This 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 • THE SMALL WINEMAKERS COLLECTION (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CHÂTEAU HAUT-MONPLAISIR MALBEC 2012, AC Cahors
Vintages #673590 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This 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 • ROUGE ET BLANC LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS PÉTALOS 2013, DO Bierzo
Vintages #446484 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100The 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 • WOODMAN WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review