Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Picks: Vintages Release ─ August 6 2011

There’s a lot of choice in this weekend’s release from Vintages. The main theme is Chile, and I found 3 for My Picks.

There are also 5 wines from British Columbia and although none of them made my final list, I encourage you to take a close look. Anything we can do to encourage bringing BC wines into Ontario (and vice versa) helps convince our lawmakers that it’s time to break down those antiquated interprovincial trade barriers.

Don't miss the Beaujolais!


EMILIANA ADOBE RESERVA SYRAH 2009, Rapel Valley (Chile); #213553; Price: $12.95; 14.0% ABV
100% Syrah from the Rapel Valley, a Mediterranean climate (good for Syrah) that sits at the midpoint of Chile’s winegrowing regions. 20% aged in French oak for 6 months. Try it with some grilled lamb chops.

Off the Beaten Track


Try either one of these first 2 wines with grilled chicken:

CRIOS DE SUSANA BALBO TORRONTÉS 2010, Salta (Argentina); #1834; Price: $11.95; 13.5% ABV
If you like Viognier, try Torrontés. This one is from way up in Salta (northern Argentina). Loved the 2008. Another wine to drink young. Susana Balbo is the most known female enologist in Argentina.

Of course, if you really like Viognier…

ANAKENA LILÉN SINGLE VINEYARD VIOGNIER 2010, DO Requinoa (Chile); #45138; Price: $13.95; 13.7% ABV
100% Viognier from a district within the Rapel Valley. 45% barrel-fermented in French oak. 25% aged in French oak barrels for 4 months.

Now here’s something I find interesting. Two Chardonnays(!) from the same winemaker…one Old World from Chablis and one New World from Chile. Compare and contrast.

WILLIAM FÈVRE CHILE GRAN CUVÉE CHARDONNAY 2009, Maipo Valley (Chile); #45146; Price: $16.95; 13.9% ABV
100% Chardonnay from a single vineyard in the Maipo Valley; the vineyard is almost 1000 meters above sea level. Fèvre imported this chardonnay clone from their Chablis vineyard 20 years ago. 10% fermented in French oak barrels, the rest in 6,ooo-litre stainless steel tanks. Aged on its lees for 10 months, then filtered.

WILLIAM FÈVRE 2008, AC CHABLIS 1ER CRU (France); #169805; Price: $29.95; 12.0% ABV
100% Chardonnay, likely a blend from the 8 Premier Cru vineyards that Fèvre has. Hand harvested. Gravity-fed separation of juice from skins. 50% aged in French oak for 10 months, the rest in stainless steel. Try it with grilled fish or chicken.

CIÙ CIÙ LA MERLETTAIE PECORINO 2009, DOP Offida (Marche, Italy); #245670; Price: $16.95; 13.5% ABV
100% Pecorino. That’s right, just like the sheep that make the cheese. Hand harvested. Barrel-fermented. Aged 6 months in oak, then 3 months in bottle. Known for its minerality, it’s one of those indigenous Italian varieties brought back from near extinction. A rarity in these parts. La Merlettaie are “the lacemakers”. Drink it with…pecorino cheese!

TERUZZI & PUTHOD 2010, DOCG Vernaccia Di San Gimignano (Italy); #735373; Price: $15.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Vernaccia Di San Gimignano, the Manhattan of Tuscany. Fermented in stainless steel with cultured yeasts. Vernaccia Di San Gimignano was the first Italian white to win DOC status, and I can remember when Parker said it was the sole Italian white worth drinking. That’s changed, but it’s still worth checking what the fuss is about. Known for its minerality and its bitter almond finish. A great aperitif.

ABAD DOM BUENO GODELLO 2009, DO Bierzo (Spain); #154302; Price: $15.95; 13.0% ABV
Godello (aka Verdelho) is a grape variety indigenous to northwestern Spain. Maceration for 48 hours, followed by fermentation for seven days.  Aged 8 months in stainless steel.  No oak!


CONCHA Y TORO TERRUNYO BLOCK 27 CARMENÈRE 2007, DO Peumo (Rapel Valley, Chile); #562892; Price: $29.95; 14.5% ABV
A blend of Carmenère (85%), Cabernet Sauvignon (12%), Petit Verdot (2%) and Cabernet Franc (1%). Hand harvested. Aged in French oak (80% new, 20% one-year-old) for 18 months. Bring on the ribs!

JEAN-PAUL BRUN TERRES DORÉES 2009, AC Côte de Brouilly (France); #235127; Price: $18.95; 12.0% ABV
100% Gamay. Jean-Paul Brun is a throwback who makes Beaujolais the old-fashioned way. He uses indigenous yeasts, not the cultured yeasts that turn Beaujolais into a candyfloss and banana horror. Lower alcohol, lower sulphur dioxide, minimal chaptalisation or filtration. Brun is famous among traditionalists. 2009 is a great year for Beaujolais. Find out why.

TERREDORA LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO ROSSO 2008, DOC Vesuvio (Italy); #93088; Price: $18.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Piedirosso, from the largest producer in Campania. 6 days maceration. Aged 8 months in French oak. It ain’t your father’s Lacryma Christi!


CHÂTEAU LES BERTRANDS 2010, AC Bordeaux Clairet (France); #224972; Price: $12.95; 12.5% ABV
A blend of Merlot (70%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%). Made using the Saignée method (bleeding the juice after 24 hours of maceration; the rest of the juice goes on to make red wine). After bleeding, it's fermented in stainless steel, then aged on its lees for 3 months. Great with grilled shrimp.

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