Alan’s October 27, 2007 Vintages Release Tasting Notes

For my opening rant on the last release, I made a comparison of prices between the Zinfandel found on the shelves of the LCBO/Vintage releases and the exact same wines that can be sourced fifteen minutes across the border in Buffalo.

Obviously Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty logged on and read my notes as a day or two after they were they posted, Flaherty called a press conference where he publicly stated “I am concerned about Canadians traveling to the United States to take advantage of the loonie's spending power and cheaper prices.”

Now once when Dalton McGinty empties his cellar after a week or two of celebratory madness following his overwhelming victory in the election, Ontario’s Premier too, will need to go shopping. Maybe when he does, he will realize it is time to put a little pressure on the mighty LCBO and suggest it stop screwing the Ontario wine buying public and pass on the immense savings it has made recently when purchasing wine from the USA.

Lets be realistic here, the loonie did not jump from being worth seventy cents of its American counterpart to its current position of parity overnight. It has been slowly but surely creeping up to match and surpass the US dollar for well over a year. Have we noticed even an inkling of a price reduction? I think not.

The wines of October 27th’s release

1545 FLAT ROCK PINOT NOIR Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula $19.95
Pinot from Flat Rock Cellars, tucked up high on Niagara’ Beamsville Bench, stands out. Although they are generally fashioned in a light to medium in style; they always show an elegant and well balanced profile. The Twenty Mile bench offers a wine with precise acidity, showing flavours of plum, red cherry and sweet spice. The fruit is enhanced with a touch of minerality. Find this wine

BERINGER MERLOT 2004919647 BERINGER MERLOT 2004 Napa Valley, California $28.95
I rarely use the words Beringer, Merlot and brilliant in the same sentence! Beringer’s Napa Merlot is brilliant. Its nose starts out with a waft of black raspberry fruit augmented with just enough flint, mineral and earthy notes elevating it from the lengthy list of one-dimensional Merlot that California can churn out at a similar price. A few swirls of the glass reveal a layer of sweet milk chocolate and enhances the dark berry fruit. The palate is gutsy, shows good acidity and carries a long and fulfilling finish. Find this wine

990440 KENWOOD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2004 Sonoma County $22.95
A fruit laden wine showing nice mineral and blackcurrant flavours with the right amount of vanilla and spice. The palate is well rounded; the finish is vibrant showing a little hint of mint. Find this wine

58685 VAN RUITEN OLD VINE ZINFANDEL 2004 Lodi, California $18.95
Malty caramel notes with lots of red sweet fruit and a cream soda feel on the tongue. Not really what I want in my glass when I drink Zinfandel. Find this wine

640854 SALENTEIN MALBEC 2004, Uco Valley, Argentina $19.95
Dark and impressive with heaps of serious red and black fruit aromas, notes of coffee, sage and molasses all lurk in the background. The palate is concentrated, bursting with black fruit, but very tight. Although it carries 14.5% alcohol, it does not show. This wine has potential to show great qualities, but it needs time to evolve. Find this wine

Black raspberry, black berry, coffee, white pepper and wet stone blend together on the concentrated nose. It has a tasty creamy palate, plenty of fruit, good acidy and tight tannins. Give it a year or so to soften. Find this wine

HOPE ESTATE SHIRAZ 2005740068 HOPE ESTATE SHIRAZ 2005 Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia $18.95
Hints of liquorish and plum are dominated by the massive attack of black berry fruit and chocolate followed with a layer of sweet spice and pepper. It is a nice wine, but nothing to really get excited about. Find this wine

684100 WITS END THE PROCRASTINATOR 2005 McLaren Vale, South Australia $16.95
For a few dollars more, one gets a wine that offers up aromas of candied fruit, plum, clove and rhubarb. The palate is ripe with sweet plushy fruit and a chewy texture that carries through to the finish. Not really my style, but nonetheless an interesting wine. Find this wine

JIM JIM [THE DOWN-UNDERDOG] SHIRAZ 2006682005 JIM JIM [THE DOWN-UNDERDOG] SHIRAZ 2006 McLaren Vale, South Australia $14.95

This low price pleaser shows sweet creamy dark fruit with black fruit acidity. The finish is soft and leaves residual sugary notes. Find this wine

422782 PENFOLDS BIN 28 KALIMNA SHIRAZ 2004 South Australia $29.95
A glass of pure black fruit, enhanced with a touch of cinnamon, coffee and crème brulee. It is quite the powerhouse wine with a meaty texture and so much fruit. I pick up a strange note of parsley stem on the finish that rides along and is masked by the trail of dark berry flavours. Excellent balance, a little tannic at the moment, but it is a wine sure to please in years to come. Find this wine

RING BOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 606624 RING BOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 Margaret River, Western Australia $19.95
This is a glass of tasty juice, full of cake spice, damson, dark berry jam and eucalyptus. The palate has lots of lively acids, layers of redcurrant jam, mint and chocolate. It is made in that “forward open style”, but it is not clumsy or overpowering. Find this wine

673897 JIP JIP ROCKS SHIRAZ 2006 Limestone Coast, South Australia $19.95
A highly extracted wine (15% alcohol) that buzzes with notes of violet, eucalyptus, fennel, black fruit and blueberry. The fruit rules the palate. It finishes with a touch of heat. Find this wine

A floral nose plus a dose of blackcurrant, some stony mineral notes and a whiff of dark Dutch liquorish. The palate shows a touch of oak, good fruit and a shave of chocolate. It is full-bodied, well balanced and quite tasty. Find this wine

51433 CHÂTEAU ROUGET 2004 Pomerol, Bordeaux $55.95
The last release presented several stellar wines from Bordeaux and this wine follows in their footsteps. Although the 2004 Rouget is a long way from showing its best, the nose of cigar leaf, clay, arugula, red fruit and cream soda teases. Its palate is rich and chewy displaying plenty of red fruit, toffee, good acidity and tea like tannins. Find this wine

46524 CHÂTEAU POITEVIN 2003 Médoc, Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux $18.95
After just trying the Rouget, this is so much lighter in comparison. However, the difference in price does come into play. For under twenty bucks, here is a Bordeaux wine that gives pretty aromas of lavender, dried thyme, red cherry and a touch of cassis. The palate is soft and creamy, not much to get excited over, but a pleasant wine. Find this wine

An intriguing nose of rosemary, sage, dried black cherry, morel mushrooms, dark chocolate and molasses. It has excellent balance. The earthy organic flavours meld nicely with the streak of red berry fruit. It finishes with notes of coffee, wet leaves and ripe dark fruit. Find this wine



The bond of smoke, pear skin, mineral, flint, coffee bean, cardamom shell and sweet red fruit sets off all sorts of alarms in the olfactory bulb. Dried mushrooms pop up on the palate, but are downplayed by layer after layer of blueberry, damson, plum and strawberry fruit. Acidity is bang on. A great bottle of wine. Find this wine

Ducale’s premium Chianti has a tight grip on its nose, yet it gives just enough anise, black fruit and forest floor notes to show off its potential. It is intense on the palate showing sweet dark fruit and silky chocolate. The finish seems pale in comparison to the palate. Maybe time will help. Find this wine

ESPORAO RESERVE 2004 606590 ESPORÃO RESERVE 2004 Alentejo, Reguengos, Portugal $25.95
A wine showing lots of tar, prune dried fruit, sweet oak and red fruit jam. The balance is focused; the tannins are silky and unobtrusive. Find this wine

586701 CAMPO VIEJO GRAN RESERVA 2000 Rioja $29.95
Smoky bacon and dusty cocoa, an odd combination if this was a bag of chips, but with wine, it works. The new world style palate with plenty of soft sweet red cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant flavours. It finishes well leaving the fruit flavours to combine with a touch of mocha. Find this wine

CONDADO DE HAZA CRIANZA 2004963348 CONDADO DE HAZA CRIANZA 2004, Ribera del Duero $24.95
At first the aroma of nail polish remover overpowers everything else. Fortunately it soon blows off revealing elements of fragrant sweet balsa, prune and dark fruit. There is a kiss of red fruit on the palate along with dark chocolate, black berry and sweet oak. The tannins grip tight, but there is so much depth to this wine that in a few years it should be really tasty. Find this wine





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