Thursday, February 4, 2010

My Picks: Vintages Release -- February 6

Here’s my shopping list for the Vintages Release on February 6.

What am I looking for? Three things.
Organic: wines certified biodynamic or organic
Off the Beaten Track: lesser-known or underappreciated varietals and blends, or regions
Value: wines at less than $30 (More values in these picks; only two picks over $20).
And I try to keep the list to a dozen.

They got nothin’

Off the Beaten Track

The first one up is a sparkling rarity from Italy:

CANTINA SAN PANCRAZIO BRACHETTO 2008, DOC Piemonte (Italy); #159566; Price: $16.95; 6.0% ABV
A specialty of Piedmont, this is a sparkling red wine, somewhat sweet, usually the colour and flavour of strawberries. I discovered it last year while a sommelier-in-training at DiVino Wine Studio. Brachetto is the grape varietal. Makes an excellent dessert wine, paired with dark chocolate. 6% alcohol is not a typo! Go for it.

Now for some whites, 2 New World, 2 Old World:

OMAKA SPRINGS PINOT GRIS 2008, Marlborough (New Zealand); #63347; Price: $17.95; 12.0% ABV
Hmmm, Pinot Gris from New Zealand. Plantings of this varietal expanded rapidly in the last decade, taking advantage of both cool and warm climate zones to achieve different styles. This one is from Marlborough (cool climate).

LAMMERSHOEK CHENIN BLANC 2008, WO Swartland (South Africa); #58206; Price: $18.95; 14.5% ABV
South Africa spent years ripping out much of its Chenin Blanc in favour of the more popular varietals – I’m looking at you, Chardonnay – only to realize that CB, a star in the Loire Valley, is something that it can do really well. It’s different and, if you like Chenin Blanc from Loire, or you’re new to it altogether, it’s worth a try.  Tasting Note

TERREDORA LOGGIA DELLA SERRA GRECO DI TUFO 2008, DOCG Campania (Italy); #983197; Price: $19.95; 13.0% ABV
Just two weeks ago, I was lamenting that we don’t see enough southern Italian white varietals, like Greco di Tufo and…here’s one. Thank you! Sometimes compared to Viognier, look for citrus and tree fruit, minerality, and good acidity.

LUIS CAÑAS FERMENTADO EN BARRICA BLANCO 2008, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #146217; Price: $14.95; 13.5% ABV
I know enough Spanish to figure out that it’s barrel fermented! What else? Its 90% Viura (the most common white varietal in northern Spain) and 10% Malvasia from 60-year-old vines. Aged in oak for 3½ months.  Tasting Note

On to the reds.  Let's start with a comparison of old vine Mourvèdre from the New World and the Old World.  You should cellar these 2 until 2013 to make a fair comparison.

D'ARENBERG THE TWENTYEIGHT ROAD MOURVÈDRE 2006, McLaren Vale (Australia); #677617; Price: $29.95; 14.5% ABV
Here’s one of my Languedoc favourites, Mourvèdre, in a New World setting. From 90-year-old vines. Should be a lot going on here.  Needs cellaring

JUAN GIL TINTO 2006, DO Jumilla (Spain), #1677; Price: $21.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Old Vine Monastrell (Mourvèdre)

The rest of the reds...

ALTA VISTA ATEMPORAL ASSEMBLAGE 2007, Mendoza (Argentina); #144352; Price: $19.95; 14.5% ABV
For some residents of Ottawa, Alta Vista could be their “house wine”. A quasi-Bordeaux blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah (the odd one here) and Petit Verdot. Sounds good to me!

CHÂTEAU SAINT-ROCH CHIMÈRES 2007, AC Cotes du Roussillon-Villages (France); #119354; Price: $19.95; 14.0% ABV
From Roussillon, Languedoc’s neighbour, where they average 325 days of sunshine annually. A blend of Grenache (60%), Syrah (30%), and Carignan (10%).

LE SECRET DES CAPITELLES 2007, AC St-Chinian (France); #156299; Price: $14.95; 14.4% ABV
And speaking of Languedoc, here’s one from the wonderful 2007 vintage. “Capitelles” are small stone shelters, formerly used by shepherds, that you can see still here and there across the Languedoc landscape. A blend of 2/3 Grenache and 1/3 Syrah.  Tasting Note

MÁS QUE VINOS ERCAVIO TEMPRANILLO ROBLE 2007, Tierra de Castilla (Spain); #67504; Price: $16.95; 13.5% ABV
My old favourite, Tempranillo! Known as Cencibel in La Mancha. Perfect for tilting at windmills. Looks like a great value.

Finally, this one’s for KJ:

CATHEDRAL CELLAR PINOTAGE 2007, WO Coastal Region (South Africa); #99267; Price: $16.95; 13.9% ABV
Poor Pinotage…either people like it or hate it. Developed in South Africa in 1925, it’s a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (then called Hermitage in South Africa). The idea was to get the best of both. Didn’t work out that way. Rarely found anywhere else, it goes in and out of fashion, but some South African winemakers remain devoted to it. If you haven’t yet tried it, here’s one at $17.

Subscribing to this blog through RSS or email is easy! Just click on the subscribe link to the left ←


  1. Oh shout-out for the Picpoul de Pinet in this month's release? It's from one of the co-ops...these guys make about 50,000 cases of picpoul de pinet every year. It's a tasty off-the-beaten-path item, and I know you know where it is!

  2. Know it, love it! The Picpoul was on my long list but it didn't make the final cut. Hope this doesn't mean I'm stripped of my membership in "Friends of Languedoc Wine".