Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Picks: Vintages Release ─ June 23 2012

With the Humidex heading above 40 degrees this week, the theme of this week's release at Vintages is timely:  Refresher Course - Fine Wines for Summer Sipping.  As might be expected, it's a mixed bag of wines that Vintages considers ideal for drinking on the patio, at the cottage, or at a picnic.  Can't argue with any of their choices, but for My Picks, 3 stand out:  Biodynamic Gruener Veltliner from Austria, Pinot Grigio from north-east Italy, and Pouilly-Fumé (classic Sauvignon Blanc from Loire).

But there are a few other wines that fit that same category:  two delicious Italian Whites:  Greco di Tufo from Campania and Gavi from Piedmont.  Give them a try; you won't be disappointed.

The Reds offer some excellent wines that will match well with grilled meats as well as a couple that can be put down for winter fare.  Don't miss the Spanish garnacha, it's the best value.

The Rosé rollout continues with a delicious offer from BC.  Ideal for a Happy Canada Day!


SOUTHBROOK TRIOMPHE CHARDONNAY 2010, VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake; #117572; Price: $21.95; 13.1% ABV
100% Chardonnay.  Hand harvested.  They settled the juice in stainless steel tanks for 4 days, then transferred it to barrels for fermentation and Malolactic conversion over 4 months.  Aged in French oak barrels (various sizes).  Fined with bentonite and filtered.  Certified Biodynamic.

MEINKLANG GRÜNER VELTLINER 2010, Burgenland (Austria); #219014; Price: $15.95; 11.5% ABV
Grüner Veltliner is the signature white grape variety of Austria; known for its citrus and white pepper character. This is a certified Biodynamic wine from the homeland of Rudolf Steiner, the father of Biodynamics. The winery belongs to a mixed-production farm that produces a number of different crops. Try it with grilled whitefish.

Off the Beaten Track


MAISON FOUCHER LA VIGNE AUX SANDRES 2010, AC Pouilly Fumé (Loire); #277350; Price: $20.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Sauvignon Blanc.  Cold fermentation in vats for 15 days.   Aged on its lees in used French oak barrels for 8 months.  Try it with smoked salmon.  Pouilly-Fumé sets the standard for Loire Sauvignon Blanc.

TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2011, DOC Südtirol-Alto Adige (Italy); #954024; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
100% Pinot Grigio.  Fermented in stainless steel tanks.  Aged on its lees for 4 months in stainless steel tanks and concrete vats.  Filtered.  Ideal with grilled whitefish.  This is how Pinot Grigio should taste.  Capable of aging for 5 years.

TERREDORA LOGGIA DELLA SERRA 2010, DOCG Greco di Tufo (Campania, Italy); #983197; Price: $17.95; 13.5% ABV
100% Greco, one of the indigenous white varietal wines from Italy that improves year over year and so deserves more attention than it’s getting.  Fermented at cool temperatures using selected yeasts. Aged on its lees in stainless steel.  No oak.  With its lime flavours and minerality, it’s ideal with grilled seafood.  Buy 2:  drink one now and keep the other for 3-5 years.

MICHELE CHIARLO LE MARNE GAVI 2011, DOCG Gavi (Piedmont, Italy); #228528; Price: $14.95; 12.5% ABV
100% Cortese.  Yes, another indigenous Italian white.  Fermented with indigenous yeasts that come from the Cortese grapes themselves.   Typically has aromas of white flowers and freshly baked bread.  This one's also great with seafood off the grill.  Drink within 2 years.


WILDASS RED 2008, VQA Niagara Peninsula; #86363; Price: $19.95; 12.5% ABV
A blend of – wait for it – Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Gamay, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Tannat, and Mourvèdre.  Yup, 11.  Maceration for 42 days.  Aged 620 days in French oak barrels (22% new).  Drink now.  Try it with grilled meat.

CHÂTEAU DE LANCYRE COSTE D'ALEYRAC 2010, AC Languedoc (France); #74765; Price: $ 19.95; 14.0% ABV
A blend of Syrah (50%), Grenache (40%), and Carignan (10%).  15-day fermentation.  Aged in tanks.  No oak!  Grilled lamb chops are the classic match!  Drink within 5 years.

CHÀTEAU DE NAGES JT 2009, AC Costiéres de Nîmes (Southern Rhone); #736876; Price: $21.95; 14.5% ABV
A blend of Syrah (95%) and Mourvèdre (5%). Hand harvested. Pre-fermentation maceration for 3 days, then fermentation, followed by further maceration for 30 days. Blending, then aging in French oak barrels (1/3 new, 1/3 first use, 1/3 second use) for 12 months. Bottled without filtration. JT stands for José Torrès, founder of the vineyard, located in south-west Rhone, just on the border with Languedoc. Definitely a wine to put away for a stew next winter.  Another outstanding year!

BODEGAS OLARRA CERRO AÑON GRAN RESERVA 2004, DOCa Rioja (Spain); #190827; Price: $ 24.95; 13.5% ABV
A blend of Tempranillo (80%), Garnacha (5%), with Mazuelo and Graciano (15%).  Long maceration that extends beyond fermentation, followed by Malolactic fermentation.  Aging on its lees for 2 months.  Transferred into new oak barrels for 6 months’ aging, after which they drained off the lees and the wine ages 2 more years.  Fining with egg whites.  Bottled and aged for 3 more years.  Excellent with a mixed grill.  Drink now.

LANGA TRADICION CENTENARIA GARNACHA 2008, DO Calatayud (Spain); #194795; Price: $13.95; 14.5% ABV
100% Garnacha.   Fermented on its seeds and skins in stainless steel vats where they macerated for 20 days. Aged on its lees in stainless steel vats and then transferred into oak casks for 4 months.  Bottled without stabilization, so there could be sediment.  Decant!  Try it next winter with anything from roast chicken to braised game or, if you can't wait, with some ribs slow-cooked on the grill.  Best value!


QUAILS' GATE ROSÉ 2011, VQA Okanagan Valley; #275842; Price: $17.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of 85% Gamay Noir (85%), Pinot Noir (10%), and Pinot Gris (5%).  Grapes soaked overnight.  Cold fermentation.

Extra! Extra!

PENINSULA RIDGE BEAL VINEYARDS CABERNET ROSÉ 2011, VQA Beamsville Bench (Niagara Peninsula); #177840; Price: $11.95; 12.5% ABV
Niagara, extra dry, 2011.

DOMAINE DES CARTERESSES TAVEL ROSÉ 2011, AC Tavel (Southern Rhone); #739474; Price: $15.95; 13.0% ABV
A blend of Grenache (50%), Mourvèdre (15%), Clairette (13%), Picpoul (12%), and Syrah (10%)

PETIT RIMAURESQ GRENACHE/CINSAULT/SYRAH ROSÉ 2011, AC Cotes de Provence (Southern Rhone); #276360; Price: $13.95; 13.0% ABV
Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah from Provence.  Extra Dry.

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