Alan’s June 23, 2007 Vintages Release Tasting Notes

The two major elements
of this release are regional wines from California and wines from Israel. Unfortunately none of the Israeli wines made it to the tasting. Too bad as I was looking forward to trying wines from a country that we rarely see on the shelves.

Furthermore there is little to excite from the Californian sector as many of the wines are Vintages Essentials and those that are not worth getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning to procure. As always though there are a couple of wines to seek out, so do read on.  Note to self:  Be sure to bring fresh batteries for the camera!!

36624 TABLAS CREEK CÔTES DE TABLAS ROUGE 2004 Paso Robles $25.95
This blend of 64% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 13% Counoise, and 7% Mourvedre is really quite tasty. It has a nice ripe creamy fruit driven nose that is backed up by notes of coffee, thyme and pepper. It is pleasant on the palate and although the finish has a little tannin, I would drink it now. Find this wine

Plenty of dark fruit notes with an overlay of plum, maraschino and dried mint.
It is sweet and fleshy, the finish is full, balanced, but the wine is over the top for my tastes. Find this wine

921825 DOMAINE CHANDON PINOT NOIR 2005 Carneros $29.95
Several of the people at the tasting were not taken with Chandon’s Pinot, yet there was something about it that caught my appeal. I find a nose of cocoa, plum, leather, blackberry and black raspberry. Not the normal protocol for Pinot I agree, but I find it well balanced, fairly full and I like the hit of milk chocolate that lingers on the close. Find this wine

678698 GNARLY HEAD OLD VINE ZIN 2005 Lodi $17.95
At first there is a funky waft of wet compost/grass, but it soon blows off to reveal a layer of cooked berry, chocolate, anise and Szechwan pepper. It is a little hot, the alcohol overpowers the sweet fruit on the palate and the finish quickly departs. Chill it and have it on a hot summer night with some grilled meat and it will do its job. My problem with this wine is it can be found for as little as eight dollars across the border and with our currency creeping ever closer to U.S, it is simply not worth the money. Find this wine

Lots of dusty Napa blackcurrant, a touch of mineral and cured olive on the nose. It has clean fruit flavours, a lick of acidity, the finish is far from long, but it carries the fruit nicely. Find this wine

41095 LIBERTY SCHOOL ZINFANDEL 2005 Paso Robles $19.95
Blackberry, plum, spicy green leaves and blueberries combine to offer a pleasing aroma on this Zin. It has solid fruit flavours on the palate without being overdone. It is a bottle of wine that is meant to be consumed in its youth. Find this wine

11221 TREANA RED 2003 Paso Robles $48.95
Treana Red is a proprietary blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah with a backdrop of Merlot. It is not my every day drinking price tag, but it is bloody tasty. The nose brings together aromas of coffee, red berry jam, minted chocolate and black Dutch liquorish. It is full bodied, has brilliant acidity and the finish screams blackcurrant. Find this wine

268391 HENRY OF PELHAM PINOT NOIR RESERVE, Niagara peninsula, 2005 $24.95
I am not praising this wine because it was made seven kilometers from my driveway; I truly believe it to be an example of how good the quality of Ontario Pinot can be. It is medium bodied; the nose has plenty of fruit, violet and mineral. The palate has a layer of silky red fruit, nice, but not overwhelming oak and clean acidity on the finish. Find this wine

Langhorne Creek, South Australia $16.95

Dark and tight at first, yet there are plenty of black fruit, blueberry and Herbs de Provence aromas released once the glass is swirled. The palate has plenty of ripe dark fruit, the right degree of acid and the finish is decent. QPR wine of the release and I’ll grab a few of these for the summer nights. The Lucky Country Cab is also released this month, but was not available for tasting. If it is anything like its brother, it too will be worth buying. Find this wine

35626 CHÂTEAU D’ARCHE 2003 Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux $36.95
There is a percentage of Carmenère in this wine, an apparent rarity in Bordeaux nowadays. There are a lot of plump fruit, blackberry, cherry, some clove, cedar, tar and chocolate aromas on the nose. However the fruit drops on the palate as the tannin rolls in. Closed down perhaps, but will the fruit outlast the tannin? Find this wine

957738 CHÂTEAU HAUT BRETON LARIGAUDIERE 2004 Margaux, Bordeaux $37.95
This blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc has plenty of spicy oak, dried mint, blackcurrant and coffee.
The tannins are dusty and do not overshadow the fruit. The acidity is where it needs to be. Find this wine

748269 CHÂTEAU LA CROIX DU CASSE 2004 Pomerol Bordeaux $32.95
A smoky blend of bacon, cured meat, black raspberry, cherry and lead pencil shavings. The palate exhibits good fruit, the tannin is astringent on the finish, but not overpoweringly so. Find this wine

731380 CHÂTEAU ROUSSET 2003 Côtes de Bourg, Grande Réserve Bordeaux $18.95
Deals from Bordeaux are a rarity in these times. Here is one that I believe to be drinking nicely now and it should show even better in a year or two. The aromas feature floral notes with dark chocolate, vanilla, cedar, cured meat and plenty of dark fruit. The palate is solid, the acids are crisp and the finish shows balance. Find this wine

36053 REMOISSENET Père & Fils GIVRY, Burgundy 1999 $31.95
I have drunk many wonderful wines from the house of Remoissenet, but I am afraid this one will not become one of my great memories. The price is appealing, but the wine is not. The dusty nose shows light aromas of leather, red fruit and sweet Moroccan spice. There are plenty of red fruit acids to be found on the palate, but the fruit itself is lacking. It has that silky texture of a mature Burgundy, but I think it might be just a tad too mature. Having said that it does offer you a chance to try an older Burgundy and maybe your bottle will have a little more oomph than this one does.
Find this wine

748814 DOMAINE CLAVEL LES GARRIGUES, Rhone Valley 2004
A heady wine full of syrupy blackberry fruit, smoked meat, arugula and black olive. Presently the palate has layers of black fruit, rhubarb, dark chocolate tannin and gripping acidity. It is backward right now and needs a year or two in the cellar or several hours in a decanter to settle down. I have always liked Clavel’s wines and I am rarely disappointed after aging them. Find this wine

There are three vintages of this “Super Tuscan,” Isole e Olena’s Cepparello on this month’s release. Isole e Olena is comprised of two farms, “Isole” and “Olena,” purchased by the De Marchi family in the 1950s. It could make for an interesting vertical, although I was not overly impressed with the quality.

25593 ISOLE E OLENA CEPPARELLO 2001 $71.95
The pale colour suggests maturity. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, cardamom and stewed plum lead to a fairly viscous palate focused on red fruit and mineral. Its finish is light to medium at best. Find this wine

25643 ISOLE E OLENA CEPPARELLO 2002 $43.95
The cedary dusty nose shows little if any fruit, the colour is fading. The palate has a little mature red fruit, but it fades so quickly. The finish offers coat of iron, mineral and astringent tannin. This wine has ceased to be! Find this wine

25650 ISOLE E OLENA CEPPARELLO 2003 $71.95
This is clearly the best of the bunch, showing nice blackberry and blackcurrant notes with vanilla crème, blackcurrant acidity, chalky tannin and a nice hit of anise on the finish. Find this wine

598615 TRAVAGLINI GATTINARA RISERVA 2000, Piedmont $49.95
A great wine to conclude that shows plenty of stone, mineral, morel, caramel, plum, strawberry and red fruit aromas. The balance is spot on and precise. It is showing well now, but should keep for a while. Find this wine




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