available in Ontario on September 30, 2017
Most people in Ontario and Canada are only familiar with the mass market brands of Cava that sell in the $15.00 range and even lower, and these can be quite good, and particularly good values. But as you might imagine, most Cava producers have higher-end products, and these can be quite wonderful. With the Vendrell Olivella Brut Nature Cava from producer Mas Goma, you can try a very classy example. It is composed of the traditional Cava grapes, and really shows the depth and complexity that Cava can achieve — all still at a very competitive price relative to better quality traditional method sparklers.
Five of the six red wines reviewed are French. These include a very good Margaux from Château Marsac-Seguineau, a fine village-level Savigny-Les-Beaunes from Benjamin Leroux, a regional Bourgogne from André Delorme, a very good Gigondas from Famille Perrin, and a good-value Côtes Catalanes Carignan, the Tessellae Carignan from Domaine Lafage. The non-French red wine is the 2015 Cloudline Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.
VENDRELL OLIVELLA BRUT NATURE CAVA 2011, Traditional method, DO, Spain
Vintages #518928 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 91/100The nose is surprisingly rich, with notes of toast, sweet brioche and hazelnuts preceding ripe red apple, lemon and melon fruit. The wine is bone-dry, and although on the initial taste there is a generosity and breadth that matches the nose, the fruit slowly dissipates as the firm acidity kicks in, fully drying the palate, and leaving a terse, stony essence. Certainly an upscale price for Cava (though not for excellent sparkling wine in general), but this is also upscale in complexity and quality. Perhaps the best Cava I've tasted this year to date.
Tasted Sept 25, 2017 • UNITED STARS GROUP OF COMPANIES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHÂTEAU MARSAC-SEGUINEAU 2010, AC Margaux
Vintages #512350 • $59.95 • 750ml. • 91/100This is a Merlot-dominant blend from the heart of Cabernet country in Margaux. The wine is deep and rather dense red-black, showing a very narrow rim of red. Subtle resin and roasted notes introduce aromas of very ripe blackberry, plum and black currant fruit, with just a hint of dried earth and sous bois. Tannins are integrating, but still have a gritty texture, alcohol is slightly elevated and acidity is balanced. On the palate the fruit shows more ripeness, and perhaps some raisining, with spicy-earthy undertones lingering on the finish. Certainly a premium price, but a well-made and rather modern Bordeaux for the money.
Tasted Sept 25, 2017 • MAITRE DE CHAI SELECTIONS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BENJAMIN LEROUX SAVIGNY-LES-BEAUNES AC 2014
Vintages #499640 • $48.95 • 750ml. • 91/100A captivating village wine from Savigny-les-Beaunes. There's a muted smoky note, followed by bright cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, with earthy, twiggy undertones and light oak spice and resin. Acidity is vivid, giving the fruit an enticing sour cherry edge, the palate is firm and structured, and the juicy fruit is constrained by the fine tannins of the finish. Lively, balanced and full of life.
Tasted Sept 9, 2017 • VINIFERA WINE SERVICES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
ANDRÉ DELORME BOURGOGNE PINOT NOIR AC 2014
Vintages #366427 • $22.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a representative regional Burgundy with pleasant Pinot character: cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, perhaps a hint of volatility, and a subtle undertone of damp earth and forest floor. Lively acidity and fine tannins define the palate. Sour cherry and raspberry fruit dries with the tannins and acidity, and lingers pleasantly — that taut, tart character reflecting the cooler 2014 vintage. Overall a firm, structured basic Burgundy, and a fine value.
Tasted Sept 9, 2017 • THE DOCHAS COMPANY INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CLOUDLINE PINOT NOIR 2015, Willamette Valley
Vintages #159970 • $26.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This attractive Oregon Pinot Noir tips onto the side of new world juiciness, without losing all of its varietal character. The wine is medium-depth red, hinting at garnet, with ripe berry and cherry fruit on the nose. Tannins are fine, but have some bite towards the finish. While the fruit on the palate is fully ripe, it still has a lightness since the acidity is so fresh, and there is a suggestion of Pinot earthiness towards the finish. Overall very pleasing and accessible.
Tasted Sept 9, 2017 • FAMILY WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FAMILLE PERRIN LA GILLE GIGONDAS AC 2014
Vintages #906073 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Pretty aromas of violets, sage, ripe cherry and plum fruit are layered over a dusting of oak spice. While the fruit shows some jammy character on the palate, and the alcohol is slightly warm, there is enough acidity to keep the fruit juicy and bright overall, complementing the fine but mouthcoating tannins, and drying the finish. Some weight, but also some poise and refinement.
Tasted Sept 25, 2017 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
TESSELLAE VIEILLES VIGNES CARIGNAN 2015, IGP Côtes Catalanes
Vintages #343509 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The appearance — deep, dense ruby-purple — presages lush, ripe and jammy fruit on the nose: hints of blueberries, blackberries and plums, with notes of oak spice and resin underneath. The wine is dry, tannins are grippy, and there is a suggestion of alcohol sweetness that builds a modest heat that continues into the finish. The rich fruit replays on the palate, and picks up an overtone of menthol. Certainly a crowd-pleasing wine that comes at a very attractive price.
Tasted Sept 25, 2017 • GLENCAIRN WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation