I have selected five interesting red wines from five different grape varieties and four countries, along with three rosés. The list starts with two premium reds from Italy and Chile: the fine 2012 Ca’ Viola Brichet Barbera d’Alba, and one of the better Carmenères I’ve tasted recently, the 2013 Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Lot No. 1 Carmenère. The remaining three reds are the 2013 Château Eugénie Cuvée Réservée del l’Aïeul Cahors, the 2012 Montgras Ninquén Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from the Colchagua Valley in Chile, and the 2014 Willow Bridge Dragonfly Shiraz from Western Australia.
The three rosés are the 2015 Gérard Bertand Gris Blanc Rosé from the Pays d’Oc, the 2015 Vigneti Del Vulture Pipoli Rosato from Basilicata, and the 2015 Wildass Rosé from Stratus Vineyard in Niagara.
CA' VIOLA BRICHET BARBERA D'ALBA DOC 2012
Vintages #452813 • $36.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100With Barbera we look for high acids and lower tannins, and this wine fits the profile perfectly. The wine is a youthful-looking deep purple, with pretty raspberry, cherry, blueberry and blackberry fruit, with a shake of oak spice and pepper on the nose. The treatment is pretty luxurious (and the price reflects it), with ripe fruit, spice and other oak-derived flavours on the palate, but there is more than enough acidity to carry the wine into a delicious finish. Very good indeed.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • MONDO VINO (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO LOT NO. 1 CARMENÈRE 2013, Peumo
Vintages #451872 • $39.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This premium Carmenère (supplemented by 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) is part of a move from Concho Y Toro to make fresher and more vibrant wines. Fruit is ripe but not over-ripe, and the wine has been subjected to less wood influence than in previous vintages, with only six months in barrel and less new wood. I like the result! On the nose blackberry and black currant fruit are accompanied by a dusting of green herbs, underlying forest floor notes, and light oak spice. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, elevated but constrained alcohol, and ripe, softening tannins. The pleasant fruit and light savoury flavours are complemented by a suggestion of menthol that emerges on the mid-palate and finish. Expressive and complete, the premium price reflects the quality.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • ESCALADE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CHÂTEAU EUGÉNIE CUVÉE RÉSERVÉE DE L'AÏEUL CAHORS AC 2013
Vintages #295949 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This traditional red from Cahors is mostly Malbec, with about 10% of the very dark and tannic Tannat grape. The wine pours rather deep ruby-purple, with violet on the rim. Aromas of ripe blackberry, blueberry and black currant fruit are complemented by a lifted violet note, light green herbs, and hints of vanilla and cedary resin. Bright acidity balances the fine tannins, packaged in a firm mid-weight palate. The attractive fruit and savoury flavours evolve into a lengthy and tannic finish. This is a rather modern take on Cahors that can be drunk over the shorter term, but that has the stuffing to prosper in the cellar for at least three to five years.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • ROUGE ET BLANC LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
MONTGRAS NINQUÉN MOUNTAIN VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Colchagua Valley
Vintages #675553 • $28.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Ninquén, one of the premium reds from MontGras Winery, is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance Syrah. It is sourced from their vineyard of that name, which means "plateau on a mountain", that is located on the slopes of a mountain in the heart of the Colchagua Valley. The wine is deep ruby-purple. Dense blackberry, black currant and plum fruit fill the nose, with a note of green blackberry leaf, a cedary resin, oak toast and black earth. Alcohol is elevated and generates a little heat, but tannins are nicely balanced, with a chalky and sandy grip. The finish is long, slightly tannic with lingering black fruit. This is a big wine that could use some aging in cellar, but will be perfect for barbecued red meat any time of the year.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • KIRKWOOD DIAMOND CANADA PARTNERSHIP (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
WILLOW BRIDGE DRAGONFLY SHIRAZ 2014, Geographe, Western Australia
Vintages #289249 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This Shiraz is from the Geographe wine region south of Perth, near Margaret River. The wine pours ruby-red, showing some violet on the rim, rather deep but still with some translucence. Aromas focus on ripe blueberry, blackberry and plum fruit, with a light floral note, a hint of menthol and vanilla. There is an aromatic lift that may come from partial whole cluster fermentation, while a tiny addition of co-fermented Viognier adds to the floral component. The wine is fresh and bright, with brisk acidity, constrained alcohol, and fine tannins. The pleasant and lively fruit fills the palate, and lingers on the crisp finish. This is a lighter, nicely balanced Shiraz, and is an excellent value.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • S. SCHIRALLI AGENCIES LTD., (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
GÉRARD BERTRAND GRIS BLANC ROSÉ 2015, IGP Pays d'Oc
Vintages #409870 • $16.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This rosé, made from Grenache, is a very light, almost silvery, salmon-peach colour, obviously made with very minimal skin contact. I found aromas of peach and apple blossoms, Meyer lemon, melon, and white peach fruit, with a light herbal undertone. The wine is very dry, with fresh acidity, modest alcohol and a light tannic bitterness on the finish. This is an excellent rosé, and certainly fits the bill for those who are intrigued by the modern minimal-colour genre.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • FAMILY WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
VIGNETI DEL VULTURE PIPOLI ROSATO 2015, IGP Basilicata
Vintages #450718 • $14.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This rosé from Basilicata is made from Aglianico. The wine is a medium salmon-pink, with pretty floral notes, and fresh aromas of cherry, raspberry, lemon and tangerine fruit. There is a modest hint of residual sugar, nicely masked by brisk acidity, that keeps the fruit flavours crisp and lively on the palate. Light tannins and a stony-mineral texture show themselves towards the finish. Very good value.
Tasted June 10, 2016 • BARRIQUE WINES & SPIRITS IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
WILDASS ROSÉ 2015, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #71712 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is Stratus Vineyards' basic blended rosé, made by adding white wine from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Riesling to Syrah. The wine is salmon-pink, with aromas of Meyer lemon, watermelon, strawberry, raspberry and apple blossoms. Off-dry, with brisk acidity and modest alcohol, there is a whisper of apple skin tannin that adds firmness. The palate adds some interest, with orange peel and more citrus character coming to the fore. Very good, and interesting — but not a "wildass" by any stretch of imagination!
Tasted June 10, 2016 • STRATUS VINEYARDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review