Southern Hemisphere picks at LCBO Vintages

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Having raved about Ontario wines throughout September, it is now time to have a look at the southern hemisphere. The 13th October release at LCBO Vintages focuses on “Artisanal Aussies”  as well as premium Chilean sites. I don’t think there is any purposeful connection between the two countries except they both harvest their grapes in January or February and rely on favourable big heat conditions with little risk of frost or harvest time rains- lucky for them! Consequently, their wines can be big, ripe and luscious and this release certainly has some of those.

There are also some bottles well worth a pick-up from California, many are above my budget, but if a special occasion happens to be in the near future or you’d just like to splurge on a couple of bottles for the cellar, the Ravenswood Teldeschi Single Vineyard Zinfindel 2008 at $44.95 is rich and stunning as well as the Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 at $74.95. The latter, made from biodynamic grapes with silky solid flavours is memorable and beyond. Both of these would cellar well and I would be ecstatic to come across one tucked away in 3-4 years.

Also, thanks to this release, I was reminded of an Ontario winery I have yet to explore called Coffin Ridge; Grey County’s first winery overlooking Georgian Bay. This release features their “Back from the Dead Red 2010” which I have included in my $100 dollar basket. This wine is made from the Maréchal Foch grape (pictured on left), which is something of an Ontario specialty.  I think of it as our Ontario “Beaujolais” as it has similar characteristics: light to medium bodied, fruity with lively acidity. The Maréchal Foch grape has been described as a vigorous, work-horse grape that is resistant to cold, ripens early, is frequenty used in blends, but not very often on its own. Both Malivoire and Coffin Ridge produce wines made from 100% Marchel Foch – bravo for our little known Canadian grape.

Halloween wine anyone?

For anyone hosting a Halloween party, with names like “Bone Dry Riesling, Resurrection Rosé and the above, they’d be “hallowed” on any tasting bar. Coffin Ridge also won two Double Golf/Best in Categories at the 2012 All Canadian Wine Championships for their 2011 l’Acadie Blanc and 2010 Marguette. So all to say, this is a winery to watch for and it’s already on my radar for next year’s Ontario journey.

So, the wines are picked. With minimal effort, I could put together a Halloween party; I just have to find a grape costume.

Julie

Oakridge Over the Shoulder Chardonnay 2011

Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia
$24.95 (Vintages #285759)  12.3% alcohol

I am sometimes suspicious of a Chardonnay that is not golden yellow. This baby is very pale straw in colour and has many of the traditional Chard. flavours of pineapple, apricots and a  little pink grapefruit. It is wonderful to feature a dry, clean, crisp and refreshing Chardonnay that is smooth and subtle, medium bodied with a little toast and butter at the end of a very rich and delicious finish. I had the pleasure of tasting other products from the Oakridge winery and if anyone has a trip to Australia planned, it would be well worth seeking them out. I found all their wines to be complex and memorable.

 

Coffin Ridge Back from the Dead Red 2010

VQA Ontario
$17.00 (Vintages #260463)  12% alcohol

The Marchel Foch grape was formerly grown in the Loire, France, but because it is a hybrid (the crossing of 2 or more grape varieties) its’ cultivation is restricted by the European union. The grape was brought to Canada in 1946 by Brights Wines winemaker, Adhemar de Chaunac. How’s that for trivia?

The wine is a surprisingly deep plum in colour with aromas of mocha, sour cherry, plums, forest floor and a tad dusty smoke. It is bone dry (no pun intended!) light bodied, the above flavours follow through on the palate with a fair punch of acidity. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but with some fatty sausages to soak up all this Ontario grape – it would be magic.

 

Willy Gisselbrecht Tradition Gewurztraminer 2010

Alsace, France
$18.95 (Vintages #928390) 13% alcohol

 

There is no wonder that this was a Gold Medal winner at Concours Général Agricole 2011 in Paris.

I was going to say if only these aromas could be bottled but that is what Willy has done.  This lovely pale straw coloured wine is extremely floral with fragrances of red roses, white blossoms and lychee. While swirling this wine in the glass, I could not wait to taste it. Medium bodied, luscious, a little spice on the finish and all I could think of was enjoying this with some turkey curry (most of us have left overs) Pad Thai, spicey spring rolls or just a little chilled on its own – delicious.

 

Maquis Lien 2006

Colchagua Valley, Chile
$19.95 (Vintages #292250)  15% alcohol

An elegant silky beauty made from 42% Syrah, 30% Carmenere, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7 % Malbec; how could you not love it?  The Winery is located at the convergence of two rivers in the Colchagua Valley of Chile that benefits from a Mediterranean climate. Dark delicious ripe berries come forward on the palate, a little leather with just enough tannicky pucker to make an exqusite melange. Medium bodied mouthfeel but rich with a little spice on the end. Would be fabulous with any grilled meat.

 

Sasso Al Poggio 2006

IGT Toscana, (Piccini) Italy
$18.95 (LCBO #134809) 14 % alcohol

A dark ruby red that just glistens in the glass. Aromas of ripe cherries and a hint of licorice that follow through on the palate. Medium to full bodied; woodsy tastes with with a bit of chocolate and spice at the end of a long finish. Soft and rich in texture, an absolutely lovely smooth mouth feel; and I can’t count the dishes this could accompany, but lasagne and pasta bolognese certainly come to mind.

Grand Total: $99.80

whew – that was cutting it close !

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