available in Ontario on November 11, 2017
This review note features a set of excellent wines from the old world: four Chianti Classicos, a regional Côtes du Rhône and a Vinsobres, and wines from Madiran and Moulin-à-Vent.
The four Chianti Classicos represent all three levels, with a Gran Selezione, a Riserva, and two Chianti Classicos, and I think they reflect the attractions of the various styles. Included here are the 2012 Ruffino Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Riserva, the 2014 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico, the 2012 Lamole di Lamole Riserva, and the 2013 Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico.
The first two French wines are from the Rhône: a fine regional Côtes du Rhône, the 2014 Fontaine du Clos Confidences, and the 2015 Famille Perrin Les Cornuds Vinsobres. The final two wines are an older and evolving Tannat from Madiran, the 2006 Château Bouscassé Vieilles Vignes Madiran, and a very pleasant and juicy Cru Beaujolais, the 2014 Stéphane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Moulin-à-Vent.
RUFFINO DUCALE ORO GRAN SELEZIONE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2012
Vintages #353201 • $44.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100We could have a philosophical debate about the Gran Selezione category — is it really necessary? But what I like about this wine is that it wasn't made to fit a stereotype: the Ducale Oro was historically only made in vintages that justify more extensive wood aging, prior to the creation of the GS category, and so the category applies to the wine rather than the wine being made to fit the category. This 2012 has a garnet-tinged rim, edging a red-garnet core. The vanilla and resin-infused frame enfolds red cherry and plum fruit that carries a light herbal and earthy undertone. The palate jumps with life — resolving tannins maintain a sandy grip, balanced by both firm acidity and a core of fresher fruit that is beginning to show some leathery complexity. An underlying black olive and savoury element builds towards the finish, that holds the tannic residuals and lingers with drying fruit. Certainly drinkable now — decant — but with at least another eight to ten years of cellaring potential.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • ARTERRA WINES CANADA INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CASTELLO DI AMA, AMA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2014
Vintages #515759 • $30.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 91/100In my books this hits the highlights of modern Chianti Classico. The nose is still fresh and youthful, with ripe cherry and blackberry fruit, underlined by a damp earth and twig character. Brisk acidity and fine, silky tannins infuse the palate with life: it is juicy and fruit-forward in a modern style, with subtle oak, and the structure and balance for the longer haul.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LAMOLE DI LAMOLE RISERVA CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2012
Vintages #280651 • $28.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100From a more generous vintage. The nose is a little shy right now: oak is refined but present, with tart but ripe fruit showing an edge of drying, and a sense of earth underneath. The fine tannins are beginning to resolve, but still build on the mid-palate, and the firm acidity helps the fruit to keep a lively freshness. This shows some of the oak and weight expected from a Riserva style, but remains centred and alive.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
VILLA CAFAGGIO CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2013
Vintages #176776 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100An excellent Chianti Classico, priced to sell! It is somewhat more than medium-depth red in colour, showing garnet on the rim. The wine is nicely balanced, with crisp acidity, fine, slightly chewy tannins, and pleasant fruit that combines some freshness with a drying element. The tannins build into the finish, allowing the juicy fruit to linger over top. Still youthful, starting to evolve, with good structure.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • SELECT WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FONTAINE DU CLOS CONFIDENCES 2014, AP Côtes du Rhône
Vintages #498451 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is a delightful and vibrant Côtes du Rhone. The pretty, medium-depth red colour presages the bright cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit that is tinged with garrigue and pepper. The wine is dry, with brisk acidity and moderate tannins — fruit on the palate is attractively ripe and fresh, but there is a subtle denseness too, with a savoury and stony edge. A terrific value indeed.
Tasted 31-Oct-2017 • APPELLATION WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FAMILLE PERRIN LES CORNUDS VINSOBRES AC 2015
Vintages #566844 • $17.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100A lively Grenache and Syrah blend from Vinsobres, that presents bright notes of blackberry, black cherry and plum fruit on the nose, with a subtle savoury undertone. Grippy tannins are balanced by firm acidity that enlivens the pleasant fruit. The finish shows the tannins in full force, but allows the fruit to exude a juicy presence. Cheerful and attractive.
Tasted 31-Oct-2017 • CHARTON HOBBS INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHÂTEAU BOUSCASSÉ VIEILLES VIGNES MADIRAN AC 2006
Vintages #132415 • $38.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100This is a distinguished wine, evolving with grace if not finesse. Despite its age, the wine is still very deeply coloured, black at the core, but the very narrow rim shows fully red rather than purple. Notes of leather and dry earth have a resinous and almost lactic edge, underlying drying plum and blackberry fruit. Tannins are resolving but are still fiercely dense — Tannat is one of the most tannic grapes — but firm acidity and elevated alcohol provide a measure of balance. This is a huge wine, with the palate growing in savoury, leathery intensity, while the drying fruit still has an intense core. The finish is lengthy and tannic. Although drinking well now, this has the structure to continue in the cellar for another decade.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • MARK ANTHONY BRANDS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
STÉPHANE AVIRON VIEILLES VIGNES MOULIN-À-VENT AC 2014
Vintages #368134 • $21.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100This is a terrific Moulin-à-Vent from a fine producer. Bright aromas of cherry and blackberry fruit have a twiggy and earthy undertone, replaying on the palate with firm acidity to generate a fresh, tart and lively presence. I love the way the fine tannins and crisp acidity commingle on the drying finish. A very fine fruit-and-savoury exhibit from the cooler 2014 vintage. Highly recommended.
Tasted Oct 13, 2017 • NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation