available in Ontario on October 28, 2017
I don’t taste many wines made from Pinotage, and from that limited exposure I’ve certainly learned to be a little wary! Because of that I haven’t been able to build a definite mental profile as to what Pinotage is or should be, so when I find an excellent example, I often start with uncertainty and surprise, before I can begin to wrap my head around the wine. The first wine in this set of reviews, the 2009 Ashbourne Pinotage blend from the fine South African producer Hamilton Russel, is one that made me sit up and take notice. It has an underlying freshness and ripeness, with fine acidity, some pleasant minty and herbal elements, and a real elegance too. It provides a good opportunity to sample the grape variety.
The remaining seven wines are from old world Europe: Chianti Clasxico, the Côtes du Rhône, Cahors, the Douro, La Mancha and Rioja. They are:
- 2013 Castello di Querceto Riserva Chianti Classico
- 2015 J.L. Chave Sélection Mon Coeur Côtes-Du-Rhône
- 2014 Inspiration Plot 753 Malbec, Cahors
- 2014 Rabelo Mosteiro Douro Tinto, Douro
- 2014 R de Romaneira, Douro
- 2014 Volver Single Vineyard, La Mancha
- 2010 Hacienda López de Haro Reserva, Rioja
HAMILTON RUSSELL ASHBOURNE 2009, WO Hemel en Aarde Valley, Walker Bay
Vintages #512806 • $25.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100This is a Pinotage-based blend from the excellent South African producer Hamilton Russell. It is 86% Pinotage, with the balance split between four Bordeaux varieties. The wine is rather deep red in colour. Aromas of mint and green herbs mingle with fresh but ripe blackberry, plum and red currant fruit, edged by a hint of barrel spice and with a layer of earthiness underneath. Fine, ripe tannins carry the vibrant fruit on the palate, with a lingering tannin and fruit-filled finish. In my view we rarely get good Pinotage here in Ontario, but this is a terrific wine, and a fine value.
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CASTELLO DI QUERCETO RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2013
Vintages #650754 • $28.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This fine Chianti Classico is evolving into the savoury spectrum, with a core of cedary, leathery, black olive and soy essence, along with considerable lingering plum and blackberry fruit and wood spice. Firm acids and fine silky tannins define the palate. Effects of Riserva wood aging are beginning to integrate as part of the evolution, and the overall effect is focused and quite elegant.
Tasted Oct 25, 2017 • VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
J.L. CHAVE SÉLECTION MON COEUR CÔTES-DU-RHÔNE AC 2015
Vintages #995548 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100Sélection is the négociant series from J.L.Chave. This regional Côtes du Rhône is 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache, and is sourced from the villages of Vinsobres, Cairanne, Séguret and Valréas. It is deep, dense purple in colour, with vivid, ripe fruit suggesting blackberries and plums, bound by a vanilla and lactic frame. Firm acidity and chalky, persistent tannins balance warm alcohol, with the fruit juicy and pleasant on the palate, and a light herbal and savoury note appearing towards the finish. Good quality fruit, straightforward and approachable.
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
INSPIRATION PLOT 753 MALBEC 2014, AC Cahors
Vintages #498444 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a surprisingly bright, elegant and accessible Malbec from Cahors. The wine is deep purple-red in colour, with fresh but ripe blueberry and plum fruit, and a floral lift. Bright acidity and fine tannins define the palate: it is mid-weight, with juicy fruit that is firm but light. A very good value for a lighter, fresher and very modern Malbec. Excellent value — a Best Buy.
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • JOSEPH CIPELLI WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
RABELO MOSTEIRO DOURO TINTO 2014, DOC Douro
Vintages #523571 • $22.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100A blend of fruit from two estates in the Cima Corgo sub-region of the Douro, with 40% Touriga Nacional blended with Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cao. Deep purple-red in colour, aromas of raspberry, blackberry and plum fruit are edged by subtle vanilla and spice. The wine is full-bodied — rich, ripe and juicy — with good tannic structure, and moderate heat from alcohol. A pleasant savoury tone enhances the lightly cedary finish. Very good.
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • TERRA FIRMA WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
R DE ROMANEIRA 2014, DOC Douro
Vintages #214288 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100Deepish red in colour, the nose presents gentle blueberry and blackberry fruit, with a subtle floral lift. Fruit is rich and ripe on the palate, adding cherry and plum depth — not exceedingly complex, but very appealing. Nicely representative of Douro reds: a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Tinto Cão, partly aged in used French oak and partly in stainless steel. Very good value indeed.
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
VOLVER SINGLE VINEYARD 2014, DO La Mancha
Vintages #142752 • $23.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a big, bold and rather alcoholic Tempranillo, reflecting its origins from the hot and dry DO of La Mancha in central Spain. The wine is deep, dense purple in colour. Ripe and over-ripe blueberry and blackberry aromas are backed by notes of chocolate and spice. High alcohol, moderate acidity, and fine ripe tannins shape this full-bodied wine. Fruit on the palate is bright, warm and somewhat jammy, but still has lots of life. Wood spice is present but not edgy.
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • CHRISTOPHER STEWART WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
HACIENDA LÓPEZ DE HARO RESERVA 2010, DOCa Rioja
Vintages #357335 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100This is a developing, well-balanced Rioja Reserva. It is deepish dark red in colour. Aromas of ripe cherry, raspberry and plum fruit are edged by vanilla and spice, with the beginnings of a savoury undertone. Acids are still bright, and tannins are fine and silky. Fruit on the palate is ripe with a core of freshness, but savoury elements — black olives, dry earth and a hint of leather — come to the fore, and the fruit notes dry on the lightly cedary finish. Good value
Tasted Oct 17, 2017 • WINEONLINE MARKETING COMPANY LTD (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation