available in Ontario after February 4, 2017
In this report I have highlighted ten red wines from the February 4 Vintages release. As always I look for diversity, interest and, where possible, good value. The lineup includes two Pinot Noirs, a Barbaresco, two Syrah blends from southern France, a Valpolicella Ripasso, a Cabernet Franc from Bourgueil in the Loire, a Gamay from Fleurie, a relatively rare Alicante Bouschet from Tuscany, and a Tempranillo from Ribero del Duero in Spain.
ROUX PÈRE & FILS LES VALOZIÈRES ALOXE-CORTON 1ER CRU AC 2013
Vintages #443564 • $72.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100Les Valozières is a Premier Cru Lieu-dit on the east side of Aloxe-Corton, just below the Grand Cru vineyard of Les Bressandes. The wine is red with garnet on the rim. The nose is complex and dense, showing bright cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit, a delicate floral note, hints of dried herbs and damp leaves, and some vanilla from oak influence. Vibrant acidity and fine tannins shape the palate, where the youthful fruit contrasts with a light, earthy undertone, and the tannins persist into a drying, chalky finish. Very drinkable now, there are some resin and oak-spice notes that will fully integrate with another year or two of bottle aging. Very good indeed.
Tasted 1/24/2017 • VINEXX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
TWO RIVERS TRIBUTARY PINOT NOIR 2014, Marlborough, South Island
Vintages #465864 • $28.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100The wine is dark red with lots of translucence. The nose is vibrant and fruit-forward, with aromas suggesting cherries, raspberries and blackberries, with an earthy-twiggy undertone, and a note of vanilla and oak spice. Bright acidity and fine, lingering tannins define the palate, where the savoury and earthy elements nicely balance the pleasant fruit, giving the wine some real Pinot character. Acidity and stony minerality underlie the fruit on the lengthy finish. A representative Marlborough Pinot Noir.
Tasted 1/20/2017 • AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
PIER RIO SORDO BARBARESCO DOCG 2009
Vintages #360016 • $30.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is a very good introduction to Barbaresco. The colour is a transparent ruby-garnet, while the nose presents earthy cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, with notes of dried flowers, baking spice and leather. The wine is dry, with firm acidity and fine, persistent tannins, and just a note of heat from the alcohol. While there is still a core of fruit on the palate, the story is about the structure and the evolving savoury notes. Tannins gather and linger on the finish. Drink now, or cellar for the medium term.
Tasted 1/20/2017 • TRADESA CORP. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CHATEAU SAINT-ROCH VIEILLES VIGNES SYRAH-GRENACHE 2014, AP Côtes de Roussillon
Vintages #195107 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This is still a youthful-looking ruby-red, with hints of violet on the rim. Very ripe blueberry, raspberry and blackberry aromas centre floral and potpourri notes, vanilla, a hint of red licorice and burnt earth. Acidity is bright enough to balance the alcohol that gives a bit of warmth on the palate. Tannins are fine. The ripe fruit, that seems slightly liqueured on the palate, takes on a menthol lift in the fruity, tannic finish. There's lots of life and substance here.
Tasted 1/24/2017 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CHÂTEAU D'OR ET DE GUEULES LES CIMELS 2013, AC Costières de Nîmes
Vintages #480301 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah with 30% Carrignan and 10% Grenache, where the Carrignan has undergone carbonic maceration prior to finishing with traditional fermentation, to help brighten the fruit and soften the tannins. It shows deep and dark at the core, with bright ruby-red on the rim. The slightly smoky nose presents aromas of ripe blueberry and blackberry, with notes of lavender, dried herbs, black licorice and damp earth. The wine is dry, with balanced acidity and alcohol — although the alcohol may be a little higher than the stated 13.5% — and chewy, but ripening tannins. There is some breadth from aging in older oak. A bigger, bolder wine, and a good value.
Tasted 1/24/2017 • NATURAL VINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
PALAZZO MAFFEI RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA SUPERIORE DOC 2014
Vintages #338913 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This is a big, bold ripasso. It is dark ruby-red, with notes of roasted coffee and smoke, dense, ripe blackberry and plum fruit, with underlying chocolate and vanilla. Dry with a little residual sugar, alcohol is elevated and generates a little heat, while tannins are firm and lingering. A well-made wine, for those who want a full-bodied and robust winter wine.
Tasted 1/31/2017 • H.H.D. IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
DOMAINE LES PINS CUVÉE LES ROCHETTES BOURGUEIL AP 2014
Vintages #478263 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100This Cabernet Franc shows as very dark red, with lighter red on the rim. Youthful cherry, raspberry and blackberry aromas have a slight cough drop note, with a suggestion of characteristic "green" notes, earthy sous-bois and a hint of roast coffee bean. Fresh acidity and fine tannins carry the fruit and savoury notes into the lingering finish. Pleasant, simple and quaffable — a nice representation of Loire Cabernet Franc.
Tasted 1/24/2017 • VINOLUNA (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
CHÂTEAU DU CHATELARD CUVÉE LES VIEUX GRANITS FLEURIE AP 2013
Vintages #207886 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100"Les Vieux Granits" refers to the eroded pink granite soils of the vineyard in the north of Fleurie. The wine is medium ruby-red, just hinting at garnet on the rim. A lifted violet-floral note is followed by aromas of raspberries, blackberries and black currants, with a twiggy, earthy undertone. Bright acidity and fine tannins frame the vivacious palate, where peppery notes supplement the tart and juicy berries, leading into a fruity, crushed-stone finish. Nicely done.
Tasted 1/20/2017 • SIGNATURE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
TOMMASI POGGIO AL TUFO ALICANTE 2013, IGT Toscana
Vintages #70797 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Alicante Bouschet is one of a small handful of teinturier red wine grapes — grapes whose pulp and juice is red, unlike most red grapes where all the colour is in the skins. Because of its naturally deep colour, Alicante is often used as a blending grape to add colour to lighter wines, but this is a rather rare example of 100% Alicante Bouschet. The wine is deep, dense ruby-purple, showing a little red on a narrow rim. Aromas of blueberries and blackberries are complemented by baked earth, a hint of resin, and some baking spice. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, moderate alcohol, and surprisingly gritty tannins that build on the mid-palate and linger on the earthy-spicy finish. Step off the beaten path and try this!
Tasted 1/31/2017 • UNIVINS AND SPIRITS CANADA INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review
VALPIDIO 2013, DO Ribera del Duero
Vintages #479774 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a simple, fruit-forward and very drinkable Tempranillo from Ribera del Duero. It is dark red, with bright blackberry, blueberry and plum aromas, and hints of caramel, vanilla and spice. The wine is dry, acidity is balanced, and heat is constrained, while the very fine tannins carry the bright fruit into a slightly chalky finish.
Tasted 1/31/2017 • THE CASE FOR WINE (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Review