Reviews of wines available after February 18, 2017
This showcase of eight red wines begins with three premium Pinot Noirs. The first is a local offering, a vibrant Pinot from Huff Estate in Prince Edward County. The others are fine Premier Cru Burgundies from Pernand-Vergellesses and Beaune.
All five Italian reds can lay claim to being very good value wines, although absolute prices are not all low. They include a textbook Barolo from Paolo Conterno, two Chiantis — a Riserva and a Gran Selezaione — a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and an interesting Piemontese wine made from the Freisa grape.
HUFF RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2014, VQA Prince Edward County
Vintages #489708 • $35.00 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a fine expression of Prince Edward County Pinot. The wine is medium cherry-red, with vivid aromas of cherries, cranberries and raspberries and hints of spice, smoky resin and dusty earth. The wine is dry, with crunchy acidity, lighter alcohol and finely textured tannins. Delicious fruit and savoury elements on the palate are underpinned by earthy depths. Crisp County minerality builds on the finish. The best Huff Pinot that I've had the privilege to try.
Tasted 2/3/2017 • HUFF ESTATES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
DOMAINE CHANSON LES VERGELESSES PERNAND-VERGELESSES 1ER CRU AC 2013
Vintages #227199 • $66.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is from the 1er Cru vineyard "Les Vergelesses", just steps down the valley from the Grand Cru vineyard Le Charlemagne of Aloxe-Corton. The wine is medium cherry-red, with subtle floral notes leading into aromas of red cherries, raspberries and blackberries, and undertones of spice, vanilla, and oaky resin. The wine is dry, with firm acidity and pronounced, grippy tannins. The core of red fruit is certainly well-defined, but the resinous oaky undertones are still edgy, and the tannic structure requires significant cellar time to bring the wine to optimal drinking — probably three to five years. Decant if drinking over the shorter term.
Tasted 2/3/2017 • JOHN HANNA & SONS LIMITED (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LOUIS JADOT BEAUNE BOUCHEROTTES 1ER CRU AC 2013
Vintages #121319 • $67.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Les Boucherottes is a climat of deep clay soils that borders Pommard. The wine is medium cherry-red in colour, with vibrant cherry, raspberry, blackberry, spicy, and earthy-mushroom aromas. Crisp acidity and elevated, polished tannins define the palate, where the fruit is rich and ripe, the earth and spice elements deliver significant depth, and the fruit and tannins linger on a bed of stones and earth. Elegant, full of life, yet weighty.
Tasted 2/3/2017 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
PAOLO CONTERNO RIVA DEL BRIC BAROLO DOCG 2012
Vintages #172783 • $44.95 • 750ml. • 91/100This is a more traditional Barolo, with lengthy maceration before racking, and aging in large 35 hectolitre oak casks. The wine is medium red-garnet at the core, fading to garnet-orange on the rim. Dry, with high acidity, elevated alcohol, and fine but aggressive tannins, the palate fills with ripe fruit, spice and earth, with just the beginnings of tertiary leather, and a lingering underpinning of stony minerality. Lovely. Ideally should be cellared for at least three to four years, or decant before early drinking.
Tasted 2/7/2017 • PREVEDELLO AND MATHEWS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CASTELLO D'ALBOLA RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2012
Vintages #315150 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Sangiovese blend, with 5% Canaiolo, hails from Radda in the Province of Siena. It is ruby-red, showing some garnet on the rim. Aromas of spice and cedary resin, then light herbal and savoury notes, lead into a core of blackberries and black cherries. Crisp acidity and fine, linear tannins frame the palate, as the ripe fruit comes to the fore, and the savoury, earthy and wood-related notes recede into the background. Approachable now, it can cellar for at least three to five years. Good value.
Tasted 2/7/2017 • IMPRESE INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
ROCCA DELLE MACÌE RISERVA DI FIZZANO SINGLE VINEYARD GRAN SELEZIONE CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2013
Vintages #699454 • $33.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Gran Selezione is from the vineyard of the Fizzano estate, and supplements the Sangiovese with 5% Merlot. While a small percentage of the wine is aged in 225 litre French oak barriques, most of the wine is aged in large 35 hectolitre French oak casks. The wine is deep ruby-red, and still shows red on the rim. Notes of resin, cinnamon and other baking spices frame a core of cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose. Firm acidity and elevated, angular tannins balance warm alcohol, as the fruit comes to the forefront on the palate and is starting to show some drying. The impact of wood is receding and integrating, and the tannins carry into a lingering, blackberry-tinged finish. Another year or two will soften the tannins, and the drinking window should be lengthy.
Tasted 2/7/2017 • VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
TENUTA DI GRACCIANO DELLA SETA VINO NOBILE DI MONTEPULCIANO DOCG 2012
Vintages #487074 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano is 90% Sangiovese (the required Prugnolo Gentile clone) with 10% Merlot. The wine is deepish cherry-red, though showing significant garnet on the rim. The nose presents leathery and earthy tones with aromas of cherry, blackberry and plum. The palate is more expressive, with fresher and more vibrant fruit, just starting to show some leathery and drying character, inside a nicely balanced frame of bright acidity and slightly gritty tannins. This is a fine value and an excellent introduction to the region.
Tasted 2/7/2017 • NEWGENWINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
GIACOMO BORGOGNO & FIGLI LANGHE FREISA DOC 2014
Vintages #388660 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Freisa is a native grape of Piedmont, now relatively rare, that is thought to have a parent-offspring relationship with Nebbiolo. The wine is mid to deep crimson with garnet highlights. Bright cherry, strawberry, raspberry and dusty earth aromas replay on the palate, where the tart acidity and elevated, angular tannins dominate. While I assume this is meant for early drinking, which I would recommend with food, there is such good acidity and tannic structure that it would be interesting to try this after a few years in cellar.
Tasted 2/7/2017 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation