Posts Tagged ‘Tempranillo’

Ole! Sommelier picks of Spanish wines at Vintages

Posted by Susan

Friday, January 18th, 2013
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Our Sommelier Susan Desjardins started her year off right – tasting an array of Spanish wines and was treated with some wines from BC too.  In this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release (January 19) features on the wines of Spain – a country that as Susan tells you in this blog – has a long history of winemaking, varied terroir, and winemakers who work with traditional native grapes while also creating powerful blends using international varieties.

History of Spanish wine making 101 . . .

Archeologists have found evidence of wine cultivation dating back to the 3rd and 4th millennia BC. And the tradition carried on through the Roman empire, with evidence of winemaking in this period to be found throughout the country. Much of Spain is barren plateau, where strong winds, scorching sun and limitations on irrigation led to the cultivation of bush vines. These can be seen, for instance, in Jumilla and Yecla, where one finds many vineyards displaying old, gnarled Monastrell vines. These conditions have led to widely spaced planting, making Spain the country with the largest amount of land under vine, although it traditionally falls behind France and Italy in volume of production.  However, since irrigation was officially permitted in the mid 1990s, vineyard owners and winemakers have also planted international grapes varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot using more common wire trellising and spacing systems. There’s great value to be had from Spanish wines, and a delightful range to choose from: finely crafted ‘methode traditionelle’ sparkling Cava, crisp tangy whites made from Albariño, full-bodied Tempranillo or flavourful native Mencía, tasty Garnacha blends, and the famed Sherry from Jerez.

All of these are on offer in the release, along with a small but focused selection of BC wines (I have visited all of these wineries and unreservedly recommend their wines, if your budget allows). Then, there is the main release . . . an opportunity to compare Henry of Pelham’s Riesling with that of Alsace’s Joseph Cattin, to sample Opawa’s well-priced New Zealand Pinot Noir, to enjoy the luxurious Cline Cellars Cashmere, or to select Les Hauts de Castellas Vacqueyras for the cellar. So many wines, so little time, but we hope you have the opportunity to appreciate the selection of 5 wines below.

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

Alvarez de Toledo Godello 2010

DO Bierzo, Spain
$13.95 (Vintages #308049) 12.4% alcohol

From an estate established in the XVth century, this straw-hued white wine offers richness and complexity of aromas and flavours. On the nose, a touch of slate, apple, ripe citrus and floral notes. Dry, mid-weight, it beguiles with a round, ripe texture, lightly spiced peach, citrus and mineral nuances riding a wave of fresh acidity through a flavourful, fruity finish. Enjoy now and add a few bottles for the short-term cellaring.

 

Gray Monk Gewürztraminer 2011

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$19.95 (Vintages #321588) 12.6% alcohol

Brilliant pale gold, this wine is fragrant with floral notes, lychee, stone fruit, citrus and spice. Off dry, lusciously fruity, the tropical aromas replay on the palate, the spice extending through the fruit-filled, delicately pithy finish. This pioneering Okanagan winery once again delivers a sumptuous wine to pair with lightly spiced dishes.

 

Borsao ‘Tres Picos’ Garnacha 2010

DO Campo de Borja, Spain
$19.95 (Vintages #273748) 14.5% alcohol

Produced from low yielding old vines, the inky dense color of the wine portends the weight and substance in the glass. First the sweet aromas—vanilla, cedar, leather, spice and berries ripe to bursting. Dry, velvety and full bodied, this wine delivers a mouthful of juicy ripe fruit garnished with exotic spice, dried herbs and subtle oak. Soft ripe tannins underpin the fruit, the richness of the flavours persisting through the lengthy finish. A great value to enjoy now or cellar medium term.

 

 

 

Jackson-Triggs ‘Niagara Estate Grand Reserve’ Shiraz 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$19.95 (Vintages #317941) 13.5% alcohol

Inky ruby, this is a substantial wine with alluring aromas of mint, pepper dancing over rich ripe red and black fruit. Dry, full bodied, the menthol comes through on the palate mingling with succulent spiced black fruit, a hint of coffee bean and a dazzling peppery note. Fermented in French and American oak for 12 months, the firm structure complements the ripe fruit, while the peppery garnish persists on the finish. A fine value to serve with rare roast beef, or cellar medium term. 

Château de Puisseguin Curat 2010

AOC Puisseguin St-Émilion, France
$19.95 (Vintages #307140) 14.5% alcohol

From a celebrated vintage, this is another award-winning wine that offers great value. Aromas include ripe black cherry, plum, spice and a whiff of smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, the texture is very smooth, the red fruit ripe, the notes of spice and pepper building across the palate. Fine tannins and acidity along with subtly-integrated oak balance the rich fruit flavours, while the warm, spicy finish makes this a great wine to serve on a cold winter day. Or cellar medium term.

Grand Total: $93.75

 

Worth the splurge:

Mission Hill ‘Family Estate’ Quatrain 2008

VQA Okanagan Valley, BC
$44.95 (Vintages #218636) 13.5% alcohol

This blend of Merlot, Syrah and the Cabernets is composed from some of the estate’s best south-Okanagan fruit, fermented separately, aged in French oak. Highly aromatic and intense, the nose offers boysenberry, black cherry, spiced floral notes, and sweet cedar. Built on a firm frame, this dry, full-bodied blend delivers depth and complexity, flavours of cassis, black plum, spice and herbs with notes of toast carrying through the long finish. Serve with robust meat dishes; drink now to 2019.

 

 

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Wines for fabulous Easter feasts

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 29th, 2012
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Easter weekend follows this LCBO Vintages release & offers some excellent choices for a springtime brunch or dinner along with a small selection of Ontario wines to serve with your meal. For brunch, or just to celebrate, there’s a range of sparkling wines available, from a Grand Millésime Champagne, to an appealing South African Blanc de Blanc Brut and a classic extra dry Prosecco. Main courses at this festive time often include turkey, ham or lamb & there’s a choice of Chardonnay, such as First Press or Amayna, or Yalumba’s Viognier to go with your roast turkey or glazed ham, or split the difference with Zuccardis Chardonnay/Viognier blend.

If you’re a red wine lover, try the Oregon or Chilean Pinot Noir with these lighter meats. Should lamb be your choice, consider the range of red wines available, including Cabernet Sauvignon from California, a well-priced Merlot-dominated Bordeaux, a Bonarda from Argentina or a fine Tempranillo from Spain. Looking for something really special – choose Domaine Galevan’s outstanding Châteauneuf-du-Pape, or the Terre Nere Brunello di Montalcino.

And for dessert, don’t miss that unique Italian dessert wine crafted from air-dried grapes, aged years in barrel and released just in time for Easter, Sorelli Vinsanto del Chianti Classico. Want to ‘go local’ for your Easter celebration? On the lighter side consider a crisp, fresh unoaked Chardonnay from Fielding Estates or the versatile Tawse ‘Sketches’ Rosé. If you’re looking for a weightier offering, then choose the juicy structured Pinot Noir 2007 from Château des Charmes or the warm well balanced Vintage Ink Merlot-Cabernet.

Rejoice in the early spring weather, as the crocuses poke their heads up to take in those warm early rays of sunshine—and hope that the vines don’t start to leaf out just yet!


Cheers & Enjoy! – Susan




If I only had $100, I would buy …
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 31, 2012


 

Tenuta S. Anna ‘Extra Dry’ Prosecco n/v

DOC Prosecco, Italy
$15.95 (Vintages #169128) 11.5% alcohol

Offering a fine frothy persistent mousse, this is a lovely crisp Prosecco that delivers an outstanding balance of crisp fresh fruit flavours—apple, pear and lemon-lime to the fore—and a bright invigorating texture. The finish is clean, long lasting and refreshing. Match this classic to another—prosciutto and melon. An excellent value, pick up a few bottles to enjoy with friends.



Tawse ‘Sketches’ Rosé 2011
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

$15.95 (Vintages #172643) 12.5% alcohol
Charming salmon pink, this perennial favourite is produced from a blend of Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Gamay. An appealing fresh floral note and cherry/berry aromas rush from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, deftly balanced, it’s clean, fruity and lively on the palate, the red fruit and juicy texture offering a delightfully tasty, crisp and flavourful finish. Sip away! 



Zuccardi ‘Serie A’ Chardonnay/Viognier 2010

Mendoza, Argentina
$14.95 (Vintages #262097) 13.5% alcohol

This finely crafted award winner offers tempting aromas—floral, stone fruit, mineral and citrus. Dry, ample and round, it’s well balanced and flavourful, fresh acidity and minerality balancing orchard fruit and citrus zest, notes of spice-infused toast lingering on the extended finish. An excellent value and a good choice for Easter dinner.


Hecht & Bannier Côtes du Roussillon-Villages 2008

AOC Côtes du Roussillon-Villages, France
$22.95 (Vintages #142802) 15.0% alcohol


This blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Syrah offers depth of colour and of flavours. There’s complexity on the nose—smoke, herbal and floral aromas, a mineral component and rich dark fruit. An intriguing wine that brings you back for another taste, it’s subtly structured and satiny in texture, showcasing dark fruit and enticingly complex flavours of herbs, toast and tangy pepper. It finishes dry and tantalizing. Pick up a few bottles to enjoy now and to sample over the next few years.



Finca Sobreño Crianza 2008

DO Toro, Spain
$17.95 (Vintages #40360) 14.5% alcohol


This Tempranillo is an excellent value, whether to enjoy now or in the future. Deep ruby garnet, it’s produced from hand-harvested grapes from the producer’s oldest vineyards and aged in American oak. It entices with aromas of cedar, balsamic, sweet ripe dark fruit and subtle floral notes. Dry, medium-full bodied, structured and robust, the perceptible tannins and lively acidity are a match for the ripe fruit, exotic spice and notes of espresso roast. The lasting finish is warm and spicy. Enjoy with roasted stuffed peppers, or a classic paella.


Grand Total: $87.75



Worth the splurge:
An outstanding cellar-worthy Châteauneuf-du-Pape . . .


Galévan Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009

AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape, France
$41.95 (251603) 14.5% alcohol

This is quite a striking Châteauneuf from winemaker Coralie Goumarre, whose Rhône blend ‘Paroles de Femme’ was featured in an earlier Vintages release. Grenache forms the base, with Mouvèdre and Syrah in support for this dry, full bodied and earthy wine. The nose is autumnal in character—forest floor, mushroom, herbs. The palate is structured with perceptible tannins, fresh acidity and compelling flavours of cherry/berry fruit, plum, herbs, spice and cocoa. Weighty yet fresh on the finish, it’s a match for rich roast meat dishes and will cellar medium term.

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Spanish Flavour Fiesta & Sparkling Wines

Posted by Susan

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
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Hola España! If you enjoy Spanish wines, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the March 17 LCBO Vintages release. Included are a range of styles and varietals, including vibrant Albariño from Rías Baixas on the Atlantic, lively Verdejo from Rueda, Mencia from Bierzo and Monastrell from the plateaux of Almansa and Jumilla. There are also Tempranillo-based wines from the classic denominations of Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Almost all of these wines are under $20, many of them aged several years, offering great value.

As an example, the Cerro Añon Reserva blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha, Mazuelo and Graciano is from the 2005 vintage, the Vega Sauco Adoremus Tempranillo from the 2004 vintage. A younger wine such as the Olivares Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is a steal at $13.95.

Pick up the Vintages catalogue for suggested food matches to some of Spain’s signature grapes! If you enjoy the classic style of dry sparkling wine, produced using Pinot Noir and/or Chardonnay in what is known as the ‘Traditional Method’ (a precise measure of still wine, sugar and yeast is added during bottling, kick-starting the second fermentation in bottle, after which the wine rests on the lees and acquires yeasty, toasty notes), the secondary feature will be of interest. The selection ranges from Heidsieck Champagne through the Okanagan’s See Ya Later Ranch Brut, to the very tasty South African Graham Beck Brut sparkling. If you’re into pink, choose the Lefèvre Rémondet Crémant Rosé from Burgundy, Mumm Napa’s Sparkling Rosé, or Niagara’s G. Marquis Ice Rosé kissed with a touch of Cab Franc ice wine.

There are some unique, iconic wines in this release, including the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, the Bordeaux-style red blend Opus One by Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, Concha & Toro’s Don Melchor Cabernet Sauvginon, Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and my absolute favorite, the Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2002. Released following the death of its legendary winemaker Giuseppe Quintarelli earlier this year, it’s not to be missed. Among the Canadian wines, Flat Rock’s Twisted white wine is always fresh and flavourful, Henry of Pelham’s Barrel Fermented Chardonnay is a well-crafted value, and the Aces Okanagan Seven Deuce Red is substantial and tasty—and entertaining!

Cheers and Enjoy,
Susan

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 17, 2012


See Ya Later Ranch
Brut n/v

VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C.
$20.95 (Vintages #271049) 12.5% alcohol
Here’s a very nice value from the south-central Okanagan, a well-crafted sparkler also produced using the traditional method. Dry, medium bodied, it’s fresh with aromas of grilled grapefruit, floral notes and a hint of nut. The nutty note replays on the dry, medium-bodied palate, fine mousse offering a clean fresh texture and carrying attractive flavours of citrus and orchard fruit through an extended, lively finish. Pick up a few bottles to celebrate spring!

Lefèvre Rémondet Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé n/v
AOC Bourgogne, France
$15.95 (Vintages #265306) 12.0% alcohol
You can’t go wrong with this great value from Burgundy. The color of fresh cranberry juice, it offers appealing clean aromas of red berry fruit and lightly-grilled toast. The mousse is fine and delicate, fresh red fruit flavours crisp and bright—think cranberry, pie cherry and red currant. It finishes tangy, crisp and fruity. What’s not to like—stockpile a few bottles for casual gatherings.

Cerro Añon Reserva 2005
DOCa Rioja, Spain
$18.95 (Vintages #114306) 14.0% alcohol

Principally Tempranillo, this blend displays its lengthy oak aging with notes of vanilla, sandalwood and toast adorning red and black berries. Dry, medium-full bodied, plush and lively fruit wraps around still-perceptible tannins and fresh acidity, nuances of vanilla and sweet spice adding complexity. Charry toasty notes persist on the lasting dry yet fruit-filled finish. A substantial wine crafted for long-term cellaring, offering excellent value.

Wakefield Shiraz 2009
Clare Valley, Australia$17.95 (Vintages #943787)) 14.0% alcohol
From one of Australia’s first families of wine, this is a dry, substantial wine showcasing a subtle yet defined structure. Fragrant with ripe berries, spice, pepper and vanilla, the texture is tangy with fresh acidity, ripe tannins creating a clean frame for the spice-infused dark fruits washing across the palate and through the toasty finish. You’ll want a few bottles of this award-winning wine to enjoy now and to cellar medium term.

Quinta Nova Pomares 2009
DOC Douro, Portugal
$16.95 (Vintages #214007) 13.5% alcohol

Semi-transparent ruby, this attractive blend of classic Port grapes features high-toned aromas and flavours of red fruit, spice, dried herbs and vanilla. Dry, medium bodied, the impact on the palate is lively and fresh, the texture is appealingly silky, the tannins sleek and subtle, the finish tangy and refreshing. A well crafted wine that offers good value, drinking well now and cellarable short term.

Grand Total: $90.75


Worth the splurge: An iconic wine from a legendary producer …


Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2002

DOC Valpolicella, Italy
$79.95 (986117) 15.0% alcohol

Can a wine engender bliss? If so, this is the one! A decade old, released just after the death of its illustrious winemaker, Giuseppe Quintarelli, this fine garnet wine offers subtlty, elegance, depth and pure tasting joy. On the nose, whispers of leather, earth, evolved fruit, dried cherries, subtle spice and vanilla layer, mingle and merge on the palate. Pure silk, the texture is lush yet remarkably fresh, the tannins supple. There’s a sense of warmth and earthiness, of exquisite integration and balance, and a finish that lasts and lasts. Dinner out or this wine – no contest!

 

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