I chose just seven red wines from this release. The first, and perhaps my favorite, is the only French wine: the 2013 Chave Selection Silène Crozes-Hermitage. The remaining six are Italian: five Tuscans and a Barolo. The overall quality is very high, largely (and fairly) reflected by price. But two of the wines are priced under $25.00 — very attractive values, I think.
J.L. CHAVE SELECTION SILÈNE CROZES-HERMITAGE AC 2013
Vintages #387332 • $33.00 • 750ml. • 91/100The Silène Crozes-Hermitage might be called an entry-level Syrah from this iconic Northern Rhône producer, with part of the fruit from an estate property in Crozes-Hermitage, and part bought in from other sources. The wine is very youthful, still showing purple on its narrow rim. Lovely herbal-peppery aromas are surrounded by fresh and ripe blackberry, black cherry and plum fruit, with a floral lift and an underpinning of black earth. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity, and tannins that show a chalky edge. This is a delicious wine that will improve with cellaring, but will also be a pleasure to drink early.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
VERBENA BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO DOCG 2009
Vintages #165126 • $39.95 • 750ml. • 90/100The wine is deep ruby, showing some garnet on the rim. The nose is rich, spicy and slightly woody, with cherry, blackberry, and blueberry fruit, and an herbal-savoury character as well. Tannins are mouth coating and chewy. Fruit on the palate still has some freshness, but is evolving and showing some dried character along with hints of leather. Woody resin is still evident, suggesting that a little more bottle age would be appropriate. All-in-all, this is a very good, maturing Brunello at a reasonable price.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • BUONVINI IMPORTS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
VIGNAMAGGIO GHERARDINO CHIANTI CLASSICO DOCG 2012
Vintages #963512 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Here is a very pleasant Chianti Classico, with lots of fruit and floral character (cherries, blackberries, violets, dry earth, spice and herbs) that is not hidden by unnecessary oak. Fresh acidity, moderate alcohol and dusty tannins provide a firm structure for the fruit, herbs and spice on the palate, and the finish has a suggestion of stony minerality. A very drinkable style that I enjoy very much.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • H.H.D. IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CASTELLO DI QUERCETO CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA DOCG 2011
Vintages #650754 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This wine is a deeper ruby-red, but still only contains traditional Tuscan varieties: 95% Sangiovese and 5% Canaiolo. You will find pleasant fresh and ripe blueberry, blackberry and cherry fruit, with a light vanilla element and an earthy note. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity, modest alcohol, and softening tannins that still have a dusty grip. I like the fresher, fruit-driven style that shows the varietal character.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
TENUTA DEGLI DEI CAVALLI 2010, IGT Toscana
Vintages #350405 • $49.95 • 750ml. • 90/100This is a very good Super Tuscan, a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is deep ruby-purple, showing some red on the narrow rim. You will find rich, ripe and dense black currant, cherry and plum fruit, with a cooked/baked nuance, along with notes of black licorice and green herbs.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • VINAIO WINE MERCHANTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BRANCAIA TRE 2012, IGT Toscana
Vintages #164715 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 89/100This Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend has some of the big, bold and ripe character that lovers of Super Tuscans search for, at a relatively reasonable price. There is plenty of ripe blackberry, black currant and plum fruit on the nose and palate, with a slightly leafy, herbal and earthy underpinning. Drink this in the shorter term.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FERDINANDO PRINCIPIANO DEL COMUNE DI SERRALUNGA D'ALBA BAROLO DOCG 2010
Vintages #210955 • $44.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine shows garnet on the wide rim, and the nose fills with fresh and dried cherry fruit, violets and rose petals, and a light herbal note. The crisp acidity combined with the softening tannins allows for pleasurable current drinking, but the slightly woody-resinous palate would benefit from a little more time in cellar.
Tasted Aug 21, 2015 • THE LIVING VINE INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation