Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quick Picks ─ Vintages Release: September 1 2012

When I saw the main theme of this week's release at Vintages - Favourite Wines for Fall Fêtes - I did my best imitation of MacCauley Culkin in Home Alone...ARRGHH!!!  It's still the (glorious) dog days of summer and these guys want to bury the season and move on to fall.  Isn't summer short enough in Canada without calling an end to it before Labour Day?!  But these are the same folks that start pushing the Christmas themes in early November.  A pox on them, I say.

To the good news, there are goodies scattered throughout the release and it wasn't easy to narrow it down to just 12.  But here they are:


MARIMAR ESTATE LA MASÍA DON MIGUEL VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 2008, Russian River Valley (California); #270090; Price: $25.95; 14.2% ABV
Chardonnay (!) from the cool climate Russian River Valley in Sonoma.  Certified organic and working towards Biodynamic certification.  From my favourite winemaking family.  Enjoyable now but can be aged a few more years.

COOPER MOUNTAIN RESERVE PINOT NOIR 2009, Willamette Valley (Oregon); #510750; Price: $29.95; 13.5% ABV
Pinot Noir from Oregon.  A real treat with beer-can chicken but better to wait a couple of years.

Off the Beaten Track


After some Pinot noir, why not try some Pinot Blanc?  It’s an ideal late summer sipper and goes well with grilled white fish, chicken, pork or sausages.  Here are 2 accomplishments with this underrated varietal wine, One New World, one Old World.  Meant to be drunk young, so these are ready to go!

GRAY MONK PINOT BLANC 2011, VQA Okanagan Valley; #321612; Price: $19.95; 11.9% ABV
From one of the oldest wineries in BC.

ANDRÉ BLANCK & SES FILS ROSENBOURG PINOT BLANC 2011, AC Alsace (France); #626606; Price: $13.95; 12.5% ABV
Alsace is where they really know what to do with Pinot Blanc.  Classic aperitif!

PEDRO ESCUDERO FUENTE ELVIRA VERDEJO 2010, DO Rueda (Spain); #218313; Price: $14.95; 14.0% ABV
Verdejo, a grape indigenous to Rueda.  Known for its herbaceous aromas; with age it will show off a nutty flavour.  How patient are you?  Try it with grilled veggies.


XANADU CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2009, Margaret River (Australia); #59956; Price: $28.95; 14.0% ABV
Yes, Cabernet Sauvignon.  What makes this worth seeking out is that it’s from Margaret River on the west coast of Australia.  It’s Cabernet Sauvignon, only different.

DOMAINE BERNARD BAUDRY 2009, AC Chinon (Loire); #940783; Price: $19.95; 13.0% ABV
2 consecutive releases from Vintages with a Cabernet Franc from Loire!  Excellent summer wine that goes well with most anything off the grill.

GÉRARD BERTRAND SYRAH/MOURVÈDRE 2009, AC St. Chinian (Languedoc); #281832; Price: $16.95; 14.0% ABV
Classic St Chinian from a reputable producer in a good vintage.  Taste the Garrigue!  Match it with rosemary-marinated lamb kabobs.  Drink now.

CHÂTEAU DE GALIFAY CAIRANNE 2010, AC Côtes du Rhône-Villages (France); #290080; Price: $ 17.00; 14.0% ABV
Another treat from the south of France.  Great value in a good vintage.

QUINTA DO PORTAL RESERVA 2008, DOC Douro (Portugal); #280578; Price: $19.95; 14.0% ABV
Want to know where the great wine values are?  Look no further than the Douro region in northern Portugal.  Famous for port but it’s their table wines (made using the same grapes as used for Port) that really deliver.  Try it with rib-eye steak.  Drink now.

LEGÓN CRIANZA 2008, DO Ribera del Duero (Spain); #276089; Price: $15.95; 13.5% ABV
Speaking of great value, you can’t do better than this Tempranillo.  It's the BEST VALUE in this release.  Ideal with grilled lamb chops.


CHÂTEAU DE MANISSY TAVEL 2011, AC Tavel (Southern Rhone); #276469; Price: $15.95; 13.0% ABV
Bye Bye rosé!  See you next year…

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