In Part 3 of my May 28 release notes I present seven non-Canadian red wines, three of which I’ve assigned scores of 90 points or more. The first wine here, and one of the stars of this release, is a superb 2013 Moulin-à-Vent from the Clos de Rochegrès vineyard, by Château des Jacques. If you are interested in finding out more about this producer, I report on a comprehensive tasting that featured five 2013s, as well as a series of back vintages, in a recent article. The other two very highly rated wines are both 2010 Riojas: a Riserva from La Tercera and a Crianza from Tobía.
These are followed by an attractive Touriga Nacional blend from Alentejo, the 2013 Herdade da Pimenta, a fresh and juicy 2014 Bardolino from Monte del Frá, a well-structured 2014 Ripasso della Valpolicella from Giuseppe Campagnola, and finally an SGM blend from Minervois, the 2012 Château du Donjon.
CHÂTEAU DES JACQUES CLOS DE ROCHEGRÈS MOULIN-À-VENT AC 2013
Vintages #737494 • $43.95 • 750ml. • 91/1002013 was a "classic" vintage in Beaujolais: cooler and with a later harvest (which in Moulin-à-Vent began on October 1, one of the latest on record). For me, this means the opportunity for balanced wines with great acidity. Add in the fact that Clos de Rochegrès is one of the prized vineyards of appellation, and we have great potential that in fact is realized here. The wine pours ruby-red, with hints of garnet on the rim. Pretty aromas of sour cherry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, complemented by cinnamon spice, fill the nose. The wine is dry, with vibrant acidity, modest alcohol and elevated fine tannins. The palate takes on the fruit and spice apparent on the nose, but is backed by savoury, herbal-pepper and earthy undernotes. All in all, this is an exceptionally good Moulin-à-Vent, lovely to drink in the shorter term, but worth cellaring for many years to come.
Tasted 13-May-2016 • HALPERN ENTERPRISES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
LA TERCERA RESERVA 2010, DOCa Rioja
Vintages #432443 • $27.95 • 750ml. • 90/100The wine is translucent ruby-garnet, with a garnet rim. While this wine is from the 2010 vintage, there is still lots of cherry, blackberry and black currant fruit on the nose — mostly ripe and surprisingly fresh, but with some drying elements as well — complemented by leathery, balsamic and tobacco notes, with mild oak notes and baking spice. The wine is dry, with elevated acidity, modest alcohol, and elevated tannins that are softening but still have a chalky grip. Fruit, earth, and leather notes with a savoury undertone all gather on the palate and linger on the finish. This is a very classy Rioja.
Tasted 17-May-2016 • TERRA FIRMA WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
TOBÍA SELECCIÓN CRIANZA 2010, DOCa Rioja
Vintages #364828 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 90/100The wine is a rather deep ruby-garnet. Aromas of oaky resin, coconut and spice (suggesting American oak), with leather and earth, rather dominate the drying fruit and floral notes on the nose. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, balanced alcohol, and elevated tannins that have almost integrated, leaving just a little chalky grip. On the palate the fruit seems fresher and livelier, and the wood-induced and leathery notes recede. This is aging quite beautifully, generating a satisfying melange of secondary and tertiary flavours that complement the diminishing primary fruit. This is a great value, that I think should be drunk in the next year or two for maximum enjoyment.
Tasted 17-May-2016 • HERITAGE CELLARS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
HERDADE DA PIMENTA ALENTEJANO 2013, DO Alentejo
Vintages #445114 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This is an attractive Touriga Nacional blend from Alentejo in southern Portugal. The wine is deep ruby-red, with hints of violet on the rim. It presents rich and ripe blackberry and plum fruit, with vanilla and baking spice. It is well structured: dry, with firm acidity, a full body, and elevated alcohol and tannins. The wine is rich and attractive, and provides an excellent value for those seeking a full-bodied red.
Tasted 17-May-2016 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
MONTE DEL FRÁ BARDOLINO DOC 2014
Vintages #134544 • $14.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Bardolino DOC lies just to the west of its sister appellation, Valpolicella, and uses the similar blends of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. The wine is a translucent ruby-red, with aromas of fresh cherries, blackberries and raspberries bursting from the glass, supplemented by notes of violets and rose petals. While the wine has a small amount of residual sugar, it reads as dry because the crisp acidity largely masks any outright sweetness, which exhibits itself mostly as fresh and ripe fruit on the palate. There is just enough tannic grip to give a little edge, and the finish is long and cheerful. This is an attractive, quaffable wine that is perfect for charcuterie, pizza and the outdoor patio.
Tasted 17-May-2016 • SIGNATURE WINES & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
GIUSEPPE CAMPAGNOLA RIPASSO DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO SUPERIORE DOC 2014
Vintages #313486 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine expresses the floral, sour cherry fruit and green herbs of the underlying grapes, along with the dried fruit, vanilla, chocolate and oak-spice notes of the Ripasso and oak aging process. The wine is dry, although some residual sugar shows as richness on the palate, with balanced acidity and slightly warm alcohol. The fruit takes on more dried character on the palate, but retains good liveliness through to the long fruit-filled finish. A good example of Ripasso.
Tasted 17-May-2016 • TRADESA CORP. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
CHÂTEAU DU DONJON GRANDE TRADITION MINERVOIS AC 2012
Vintages #275578 • $15.95 • 750ml. • 87.5/100This is a Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre blend from Minervois. The wine pours a rather deep ruby-purple, and still shows light purple on the rim. Aromas suggest fully ripe (and perhaps some over-ripe) black fruit reminiscent of black cherries and raspberries, with hints of smoke and black pepper. The wine is dry, with balanced acidity, slightly warm alcohol and elevated tannins with a light grip. The berry and cherry fruit replay on the palate, and the wine finishes with a pleasant berry, smoke and pepper finish. The fruit will entice, and there is enough structure to complement barbequed meats. An excellent and well-priced summer wine.
Tasted 24-May-2016 • DACIA FELIX (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation