Wines available from July 23, 2016
For the July 23 Vintages release, I have compiled a very nice collection of reds, with a good rosé to lead things off: the 2015 Château de Berne Côtes de Provence. My highlight red is the excellent 2013 Querciabella Chianti Classico, a wine that expresses fresh, crisp fruit with savoury elements and a very modest and integrated backdrop of oak.
The remaining reds are very good wines that provide exceptional value:
- a modern Xinomavro blend (with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon) from the heart of Xinomavro country in Imathia, Macedonia — the 2012 Kir-Yianni Kitma Yianakohori Hills;
- the dependable 2013 D’Arenberg D’Arry’s Original Shiraz/Grenache, from the McLaren Vale;
- a bold and robust Rasteau, the 2010 Cave de Rasteau Ortas Les Hautes du Village;
- a pleasing, fruit-forward Grenache from the Côtes Catalanes, the 2014 Domaine Lafage Vieilles Vignes Nicolas Grenache Noir;
- an intriguing Malbec (with some softening Merlot) from Cahors, the 2011 Prieuré de Cénac Mission Malbec/Merlot; and finally
- an attractive, modern Touriga Nacional blend, the 2011 Terra a Terra Reserva, DOC Douro.
CHÂTEAU DE BERNE TERRES DE BERNE ROSÉ 2015, AC Côtes de Provence
Vintages #278861 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a light salmon-coloured rosé from the Côtes de Provence — a blend of 50% Grenache and 30% each Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of strawberries, raspberries and cherries are graced by notes of apple blossoms and perfumed red apples. The wine is bone dry with brisk acidity and a medium-full body. The pleasant fruit flavours carry through to a lengthy finish, with a note of dried herbs emerging with very light apple skin tannins. A very good rosé.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • DU CHASSE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
QUERCIABELLA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2013
Vintages #728816 • $38.00 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a beautifully made Chianti Classico. It is 100% Sangiovese, and straddles the traditional and the modern. Vineyards are farmed biodynamically, grapes are destemmed and not crushed, allowing bright cherry and berry fruit to surface, while the wine is aged in older French oak, with just 5% new. The lovely fruit is complemented by savoury elements: black tea, licorice, earth and a light cedary greenness. Brisk acidity balances fine but grippy tannins, while the savoury underpinnings guide the elegant palate into the lengthy finish. Top notch, serious but very drinkable Chianti, that can cellar for at least another 10 years.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • ROGERS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
KIR-YIANNI KITMA YIANAKOHORI HILLS 2012, PGI Imathia
Vintages #419234 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a modern Greek red blend from Imathia, the area of central Macedonia that houses PDO Noussa, a major source for 100% Xinomavro wines. Since this wine blends Xinomavro with international varieties — 30% Merlot and 20% Syrah — it takes on the IGP Imathia designation. The wine presents pretty cherry, berry and plum fruit, with light earthy notes. It is well structured, with firm acidity, ripe tannins and slightly elevated but balanced alcohol. A very competent internationally-styled wine, and a very good value.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • THE KOLONAKI GROUP INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
D'ARENBERG D'ARRY'S ORIGINAL SHIRAZ/GRENACHE 2013, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Vintages #942904 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100D'Arry's Original is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Grenache. The wine pours deep ruby-purple, with plentiful blackberry, black cherry and black currant fruit, and a lightly spicy undertone. The wine is essentially dry, with elevated alcohol that exhibits as a full and generous body, rather than heat, and tannins that are ripe and already softening. While the fruit is ripe and rich, there is also a hit of menthol on the mid-palate. This is an old standby at Vintages that continues to perform well — and remains an excellent value.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • CHURCHILL CELLARS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CAVE DE RASTEAU ORTAS LES HAUTS DU VILLAGE RASTEAU AC 2010
Vintages #581785 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a bold, robust, full-bodied wine made from 35% each Grenache and Mourvèdre, with the balance Syrah. It is deeply coloured, with ripe to slightly over-ripe blackberry, cherry and plum fruit, with baking spice and a hint of chocolate. The wine is dry, with elevated alcohol and bold but softening tannins. The heat is balanced, and the juicy fruit is underpinned by a savoury and licorice element, with some baking spices. This is a slightly older wine that is ready to drink, although you could cellar it for another year or two. Good value.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE LAFAGE VIEILLES VIGNES NICOLAS GRENACHE NOIR 2014, IGP Côtes Catalanes
Vintages #354191 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a bright, youthful wine, ruby-purple and showing violet on the rim. Vibrant, ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit drive the nose, with hints of earth and dried herbs. The wine is dry, with elevated alcohol that builds lightly on the mid-palate, fine tannins, and a pleasant finish. This is an approachable, fruit-forward wine, with a savoury element that lends some interest. Good value.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
PRIEURÉ DE CÉNAC MISSION MALBEC/MERLOT 2011, AC Cahors
Vintages #459214 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This Malbec blend (with 15% Merlot) from Cahors is rather deep ruby-purple, showing violet on the rim. The nose fills with ripe, brambly fruit — blackberries, raspberries and black currants — and a note of violets. The wine is dry, with brisk acidity and firm tannins. The juicy fruit on the palate is nicely balanced with savoury-earthy tones and forest floor. The wine is modern, in the sense that fruit is clean and ripe, but it is subtly oaked with a nicely balanced savoury element that hearkens back to its roots in Cahors. Both attractive, and attractively priced.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • APPELLATION WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
TERRA A TERRA RESERVA 2011, DOC Douro
Vintages #456939 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine is deep ruby-purple, with violet on the rim. A core of attractive blueberry, blackberry and plum fruit is surrounded by notes of dry herbs, oak spice and dark chocolate. Firm acidity and elevated fine tannins carry the luscious ripe fruit on the palate, with vanilla, chocolate and sandalwood emerging on the fruit-filled finish. Very attractive and approachable.
Tasted July 8, 2016 • VINYA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation