Friday, 21 June 2013

Divided We Stand - Our Picks for the June 22nd Vintages Release

Rachel and Andy have a number of differing opinions on this week's release, and therefore, their picks will be separate.  Don't get them wrong, these wines are all great, it's just that one places higher value over another.  Without further ado, here are our picks for this amazing release!

Rachel's Picks


BUBBLY

GRAHAM BECK BRUT SPARKLING WINE  $18.95
VINTAGES 593483 | 750 mL bottle

Made in: Western Cape, South Africa
By: Graham Beck Wines

Release Date: Jun 22, 2013

Style: Medium-bodied & Flavourful
Wine, Sparkling Wine, White
12.0% Alcohol/Vol.

Varietal: Sparkling - Dry
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Sugar Content: 10 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

Tasting Note
(a 54/46 blend of pinot noir and chardonnay) Pale copper-tinged gold. Tangerine, spicy oak and a hint of exotic fruits on the nose. Fruity and harmonious, with a yeasty complexity adding depth to the fairly dense, harmonious middle palate. Comes across as sweeter and fuller than the Blanc de Blancs, but finishes dry and crisp, with a bit more length. No shortage of flavor here. Score - 89. (Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, March/April 2009)

WHITE

VINUM AFRICA CHENIN BLANC 2011 $15.95
VINTAGES 739995 | 750 mL bottle

Western Cape, South Africa

Tasting Note
The 2011 Vinum Chenin Blanc is a worthy follow-up to the stupendous 2010. It displays great precision on the nose with citrus lemon and crushed stone, hints of orange blossom in the background. The palate is well balanced with crisp acidity, lovely poise and subtle hints of vanilla and walnut towards the beautifully focused finish. This is a blissful Chenin Blanc. Drink now-2014. Score - 92. (Neal Martin, erobertparker.com, Dec. 2012)


LE CLOS JORDANNE VILLAGE RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2010  $30.00
VINTAGES 33936 | 750 mL bottle

Ontario, Canada

Tasting Note
Winemaker Sébastien Jacquey worked hard on this warm vintage to preserve the freshness that he desires in both his Chardonnays and Pinots. That meant earlier picking of the grapes (for acidity) and less oak treatment in the finished wine. The wine on the nose is appealing for its range of apple and citrus fruits that are integrated with soft vanilla and spice. It's a broad, generous, almost voluptuous style of Chard with ripe, forward fruits that caress the palate without being fat or weighty. It is packed with extracted fruit through the finish but balanced out by fresh acidity and a deft touch with the oak and wood tannins. Score - 90. (Rick VanSickle, winesinniagara.com, Nov. 8, 2012)

FONTAINE DU CLOS MUSCAT PETITS GRAINS 2011 $16.95
VINTAGES 329078 | 750 mL bottle

Rhône, France

Tasting Note
The notable grapey aromas of Muscat are joined by notes of peach, honey, citrus and roses. There is also a tantalizing touch of jasmine on the nose. All in all, pretty and enjoyable. The palate is dry with good fruit replays and more spice. A crisp and lively acidity frames everything nicely. The finish is long and grapefuity. A tasty wine indeed. (VINTAGES panel, Nov. 2012)


RED

VIEUX CLOCHER SYMPHONIE DES GALETS CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2009 $34.95
VINTAGES 328591 | 750 mL bottle
Rhône, France

Tasting Note
A gutsy, square-jawed style, with a slightly burly chestnut and alder wood frame to the roasted fig, mulled blackberry and steeped black currant fruit. Ends with a solid, rustic-hewed finish. Best from 2013 through 2019. Score - 91. (James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Insider, Nov. 16, 2011)


CROIX VALONG CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2010  $15.95
VINTAGES 328443 | 750 mL bottle

Rhône, France

Tasting Note
Dark cherry, tar, anise and bumbleberry jam on the nose. The palate is dark, dense, and brimming with generous dark fruit and spice. The mid-palate offers a sprinkle of black pepper that carries through to the finish. Very ripe, caressing tannins. This fantastic look at the 2010 vintage will drink well for the next five years. Enjoy with pepper steaks and grilled mushrooms. (VINTAGES panel, May 2013)


LE GRAVILLAS SABLET CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES 2011  $15.95
VINTAGES 78790 | 750 mL bottle
Rhône, France

Description
This wine took a Gold Medal at the 2012 Concours Général Agricole in Paris. Spicy and deeply fruity, it's a great choice for sopressata pizza or marinated steaks.

Tasting Note
Brewed black fruit nose. On the palate, nutty blackberry debut with a touch of tobacco. Direct, active style. Score - 3 Stars (out of 5). (Decanter World Wine Awards, 2012)


FLAGSTONE WRITER'S BLOCK PINOTAGE 2010  $19.95
VINTAGES 243337 | 750 mL bottle

Western Cape, South Africa

Tasting Note
Polished & elegant version from Breedekloof vines. Toasty nose on '10 of baked black fruits with whiffs of coconut from American oak, 40% new. Smooth & silky with dark concentrated fruits, velvety tannins, hints of chocolate, spice & plums. Score - 4 1/2 Stars (out of 5). (Cathy Marston, Platter's South African Wine Guide, 2013)


WATERBROOK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2010  $19.95
VINTAGES 90365 | 750 mL bottle

Washington State, USA

Tasting Note
Nostalgia-inducing notes of cherry cola interplay wonderfully with spiced plum, smoked meat, and hickory. This is just hitting its prime drinking window now. Nicely textured tannins and fruit that simply sings. Fresh and dried cherries collaborate beautifully on the finish. Try with beef kebabs, prime rib roast or pulled pork sandwiches. (VINTAGES panel, May 2013)


TURKEY FLAT SHIRAZ 2010   $55.95
VINTAGES 287771 | 750 mL bottle

Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia

Tasting Note
Strong crimson-purple; one of the best Turkey Flat shirazs to date; the palate is exceedingly complex and very intense, yet ends with a burst of red and black fruits to accompany all that has gone before. It could be mistaken for a wine from a cooler climate, such is its length and balance, the finish full of joy. Drink [until] 2030. Score - 97. (James Halliday, winecompanion.com.au, Nov. 14, 2012)


BANFI BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2007 $59.95
VINTAGES 378257 | 750 mL bottle

Tuscany, Italy

Tasting Note
The 2007 Brunello di Montalcino bursts from the glass with a textured fabric of dark red berries, licorice, spices, tobacco and leather. Layers of fruit continue to build as the wine blossoms in every direction. Flowers, spices and leather reappear on the silky finish. The Brunello was aged in casks and smaller French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2022. Score - 91. (Antonio Galloni, erobertparker.com, April 2012)

ORTAS L'ESTELLAN GIGONDAS 2011 $19.95
VINTAGES 328435 | 750 mL bottle

Made in: Rhône, France
By: Cave Des Vignerons De Gigondas

Release Date: Jun 22, 2013

Style: Full-bodied & Smooth
Wine, Red Wine
15.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Varietal: Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvèdre
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Sugar Content: 5 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

Tasting Note
Full-bodied and robust with aromas of dark fruit, smoke and cedar underbrush. Perfect for dinner parties or more casual gatherings. Will also do well in the cellar. Score - 91. (Natalie MacLean, nataliemaclean.com, June 21, 2012)



Andy's Picks


WHITE

BENJAMIN BRIDGE NOVA 7 2012
VINTAGES 256289 | 750 mL bottle

Nova Scotia, Canada

Tasting Note
Celebrate life! Wow this is liquid exuberance. Moscato-grape aromas with orange zest and honeysuckle swaying in the summer breeze. Low alcohol, and some sweetness make this a great aperitif or companion to any spicy dish or one with a bit of sweetness like glazed ham, sweet potatoes etc. Food matches: salmon, lobster, seafood chowder, charcuterie and Dragon's Breath blue cheese. Score - 92. (Natalie MacLean, nataliemaclean.com, March 20, 2013)

STONELEIGH LATITUDE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2012 $21.95
VINTAGES 324228 | 750 mL bottle

Marlborough, New Zealand

Description
The 5-star rating indicates a 'wine achieving nirvana'. Yes, if this wine had a mantra, it would be: Take Me Ohm.

Tasting Note
This is unfettered ambrosia and value-laden, sourced from the best fruit of their best sites. Herbaceous, slate/mineral and citrus aromas waft easily from this medium-bodied beauty. Complex and structured with oodles of finesse, it washes over the palate with key lime, gooseberry and minerality on the palate and through the balanced, crisp and refreshing finish. My compliments, it was tough to spit. Exceptional Value. Score - 5 Stars (out of 5). (Vic Harradine, winecurrent.com, Dec. 4, 2012)


UVAGGIO VERMENTINO 2011  $17.95
VINTAGES 279281 | 750 mL bottle

Lodi, California, USA

Tasting Note
Made from a hard-to-find variety in California, this bright, beautifully aromatic wine expresses gorgeous scents of jasmine that follow through in flavor to the finish. Its layers of lime, apple and a generous level of minerality are perfectly executed and waiting for seafood. Special Designation: Best Buy. Score - 92. (Virginie Boone, Wine Enthusiast, Dec. 2012)


DOMAINES SCHLUMBERGER KESSLER PINOT GRIS 2008 $25.95
VINTAGES 249623 | 750 mL bottle

Alsace, France

Tasting Note
Though rich and leaning toward off-dry, like fine silk this is elegant and ethereal overall. Apricot, orchard blossom, guava, honey and pineapple notes are seamlessly meshed with vibrant acidity and notes of almond spice and smoke, which linger on the aromatic finish. Drink now through 2023. Score - 93. (Alison Napjus, winespectator.com, Oct. 31, 2012)


DR. PAULY-BERGWEILER BERNKASTELER ALTE BADSTUBE AM DOCTORBERG RIESLING SPÄTLESE 2011  $24.95
VINTAGES 140764 | 750 mL bottle

Mosel, Germany

Tasting Note
Apple and white cherry flavors are well-rounded in this juicy style. Glazed apricot lingers on the lacy finish, with notes of mango and passion fruit. Drink now through 2026. Score - 92. (Kim Marcus, winespectator.com, Dec. 15, 2012)


ROSÉ

CAVES D'ESCLANS WHISPERING ANGEL ROSÉ 2012 $19.95
VINTAGES 325076 | 750 mL bottle

Provence, France

Tasting Note
The second wine from a producer who specializes in rosé. The aromas of this wine - white rose, clementine, garrigue and apricot - rise effortlessly from the glass. The palate is quite animated, eagerly expanding upon the message of the nose, offering tangy peach and nectarine along with the garrigue notes. The finish carries a pleasant sour orange zest. Pair with salmon and capers. (VINTAGES panel, May 2013)

RED

DOMAINE SAINT GAYAN GIGONDAS 2009 $29.95  (DO NOT GO HOME WITHOUT ONE!!!)
VINTAGES 718221 | 750 mL bottle

Rhône, France

Tasting Note
(80% grenache, 15% syrah and 5% mourvedre): Vivid purple. Wild, highly perfumed bouquet of ripe red and dark berries, garrigue and Asian spices. Deep and sappy but very energetic on the palate, displaying sharply focused black raspberry and cherry flavors and a hint of candied lavender. Pure and balanced Gigondas, with a very long, spicy finish. This wine had not been bottled when I tasted it in November. Score - 91-92 . (Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jan./Feb. 2012)


CONCHA Y TORO MARQUÉS DE CASA CONCHA SYRAH 2009  $19.95
VINTAGES 19042 | 750 mL bottle

Maipo Valley, Chile

Tasting Note
Flashy yet compact, with floral wild berry coulis, cassis, spice and game notes all tightly wound on a full-bodied frame, as hints of salted licorice, smoke and spice add range to the fruit-filled finish. Drink now through 2016. Score - 91. (Nathan Wesley, winespectator.com, Oct. 15, 2012)


JEAN-ERNEST DESCOMBES MORGON 2011 $17.95
VINTAGES 946186 | 750 mL bottle

Beaujolais, France

Tasting Note
Like berries freshly picked on a summer day, the raspberry and strawberry notes here are ripe and pure, mixing with hints of pekoe tea leaf, mineral, ground anise and damson preserves. An elegant and balanced version. Drink now through 2018. Special Designation: Smart Buy. Score - 91. (Alison Napjus, winespectator.com, Feb. 28, 2013)


CHÂTEAU LABRANDE MALBEC 2009 $16.95
VINTAGES 225060 | 750 mL bottle

Southwest, France

Tasting Note
This is a serious, firmly structured wine, impressively rich as well as tannic. Black fruits push through the considerable structure, offering balance as the wine ages. It is young now, with hints of mint from wood aging. Powerfully textured, give this 4-5 years. Score - 92. (Roger Voss, Wine Enthusiast, March 2012)


CASCINA DARDI BUSSIA BAROLO 2006  $35.95
VINTAGES 268516 | 750 mL bottle

Piedmont, Italy

Tasting Note
The 2006 Barolo Cascina Dardi Bussia flows from the glass with gorgeous crushed flowers, berries, spices, licorice, cherries and kirsch, showing beautiful inner perfume and plenty of muscle. It is a structured, powerful Barolo best laid down for at least a few years... Anticipated maturity: 2016-2026. Score - 93. (Antonio Galloni, erobertparker.com, Dec. 2010)


LIRICA PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA 2007  $17.95
VINTAGES 326710 | 750 mL bottle

Puglia, Italy

Description
Still holding strong, the wine has evolved more dried-fruit and leathery complexity since it was reviewed by Bruce Sanderson.

Tasting Note
Smooth and supple, showing good density to its ripe, spicy blackberry and raspberry fruit, which remains fresh through to the tarry finish. Drink now. Score - 90. (Bruce Sanderson, winespectator.com, June 30, 2011)


CASTELLO DI MELETO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2009 $19.95
VINTAGES 332114 | 750 mL bottle

Tuscany, Italy

Tasting Note
A wine, with a lovely core of ripe fruit that gives a cherry and spice character. Full and velvety with a polished and caressing texture. Clearly outstanding. Drink now. Score - 91. (James Suckling, jamessuckling.com, Aug. 22, 2012)


VIÑA EGUÍA RESERVA 2007  $17.95
VINTAGES 325845 | 750 mL bottle

Made in: Rioja, Spain
By: Bodegas Muriel, S.L.

Release Date: Jun 22, 2013

Style: Medium-bodied & Fruity
Wine, Red Wine
13.5% Alcohol/Vol.

Varietal: Tempranillo
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Sugar Content: 6 g/L
Sweetness Descriptor: XD - Extra Dry

Tasting Note
The 2007 Vina Eguía Reserva is picked from 30-year-old vines in Alavesa and sees 24 months in American oak. It has an attractive, very aromatic bouquet with dried herbs, leather, fennel and a touch of peppermint that is natural and very pure. The palate is very well-balanced with supple tannins, crisp acidity and a refined, mocha-tinged finish that is focused and persistent. This is another superbly crafted Rioja from Eguía. Score - 92. (Neal Martin, erobertparker.com, Aug. 2012)



Cheers!

-Andy and Rachel

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