Alan’s March 29, 2008 Vintages Release Tasting Notes

The Vintages brochure proudly touts wines from Global Artesian producers and hallows the arrival of several organic wines too. There are some good deals to be found in this release. Do read on.

979898 QUINTA DO INFANTADO RUBY PORT Estate Bottled, Douro, Portugal $15.95 Proprietor: João Roseira
Here is the first deal of the release! For only $15.95 gets one an unusually dark Ruby Port laden with bright fruit flavours, silky chocolate and one kick arse attitude. Blind I would not pick this as a Ruby Port; it tastes so much bolder.  Find this wine

27615 J. LASSALLE CHAMPAGNE BRUT PRÉFÉRENCE 1er Cru, Chigny-lès-Rose $42.95
I managed but a sip, yet it was enough to state that this blending of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay has great body, superb balance and lots of toasty lees on the palate.
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So hard, so tight, full of ripe fruit, funky aromas of car tire, black soil, mineral and tar. It is chunky and almost painful on the palate. There are notes of cassis, but right now it is dry, bitter and very astringent. Find this wine

71803 MADRIGAL VINEYARDS PETITE SIRAH 2003 Napa Valley $19.95
A solid and structured wine that features pure black fruit, an array of dried herbs, namely juniper berry, sage, thyme, and white pepper. Meaty game flavours that fire up the palate soon bow to the layer of pure sweet stewed dark fruit. There are plenty of robust tannins, there is oak, but it does not overpower. Although it is good now, I believe it will only get better with time. Find this wine

The Albemarle Simply Red is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Cabernet Franc, 19% Merlot and 100% Michel Rolland. Being my first encounter with a Virginian, and I am somewhat impressed. It is round and focused with a nose showing roasted chestnut, sweet coconut chocolate bar, butterscotch, dark black fruit, a touch of liquorish and vanilla. The palate has youthful spice and a toasty finish. Find this wine

662957 SHINGLEBACK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2004 McLaren Vale, South Australia $23.95
An enticing blend of mocha, earthy mineral, cedar, blackcurrant and sweet spice. These aromas echo across the plate adding flavours of plum, black cherry and currant. The texture is creamy; the acids are in tune, it is perhaps a little hot on the finish. Still tasty though. Find this wine

Bags of red fruit aromas, rhubarb, red cherry, a touch of beet and a milky note. The tannins are quite harsh at this point and the red fruit flavours struggle to show. The acids are high and the wine is quite disjointed at present. Find this wine

20867 QUINTARELLI PRIMOFIORE 2004 Veneto $56.95
Primofiore is the entry-level wine for Quintarelli, and although Primofiore means first press, the wine is actually the remnants pressed after the free run juice has been removed to make Quintarelli’s higher end wines. It is a blending of all the grapes fermented at the winery. Right now the wine is not showing well. It has a sweet nose, suggestive of carbonic maceration that emits violets, sweet red cherry and plum. The palate is clean, has good acidity, yet the finish fades too soon for a $56.95 wine. Find this wine

56887 EMILIANA NATURA CARMENÈRE 2005 Colchagua Valley, Chile, Special Lot $16.95 (organic)
The musty note soon blows off to reveal plenty of dark fruit, a hint of sage and some lead pencil shavings. The palate seems divided. There are clear flavours in one corner of maple syrup, while at the other side of the palate there lurks a layer of dark bitter chocolate. Both are kept apart by a hot streak of alcohol. There is a hot spicy finish as well, but it is an interesting wine. Find this wine

61069 EMILIANA NATURA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2006 Central Valley, Chile, Special Lot $15.95
A big ripe nose full of plum and currant that leads to a cassis and mocha laden palate. I note the alcohol again, the tannins are present, but not in an offensive manner. I just wish for a little more acidity to brighten the finish. Find this wine

58396 BUDINI MALBEC 2005 Mendoza, Argentina $12.95 (Organic)
Even though the finish of this Malbec falls of a little quickly, think barbeque, enjoy the tarry mineral, dusty cocoa and cherry flavours and most of all think $12.95. Find this wine

A selection from the regular release

686709 TRENTADUE OLD PATCH RED 2005 Sonoma County $21.95
Trentadue’s proprietary wine is a spicy mix of 70% Zinfandel, 20% Petite Sirah, 5.5% Carignan and 4.5% Syrah, is quite tasty, brimming with aromas of pipe tobacco, strawberry, sweet blueberry, creamy fudge and spice. The palate dances with notes of cherry, mineral, iron, lavender and vanilla crème brulee. It is good wine, it should be, the Old Patch is located in the centre of the vineyard across the path from the winery, the same vineyard that Ridge’s Geyserville sources it fruit. The winery lists this for $14.00, so much for parity, but I will still buy some at $22.00. Find this wine

57976 CATENA MERLOT 2005 Mendoza, Argentina $19.95
This packs tons of powerful black raspberry, dark chocolate and cardamom seed aromas. The palate is surprisingly soft and silky, but well balanced and tasty. Find this wine

Rapel Valley, Chile $19.95

The wines in this release from Concha Y Toro are worth seeking out. This Merlot is also exciting with layers of spicy dark fruit, mandarin orange peel, violet and vanilla. The palate confirms the rich fruit, it is creamy without being over the top and there is a nice peppery note on the close. Find this wine

Peumo Vineyard, Rapel Valley, Chile $18.95

More of that dark sweet back fruit; backed up with notes of black olive, dark chocolate and lavender. Its palate gives flavours of plum, blue berry and raspberry, with great concentration and a well-balanced fruit laden finish. Find this wine

58099 HEARTLAND CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2005 Langhorne Creek/Limestone Coast, South Australia $18.95
A tasty “down under” wine full of dark berry, sweet cassis, forest floor and mocha. The acids are spot on, the flavours are focused, a good wine for less than twenty bucks. Find this wine

725721 VOYAGER ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MERLOT 2003 Margaret River, Western Australia $32.95
Oh wow, serious juice. Sweet Moroccan spices mix with dark ripe black berry, a touch of dried herb and eucalyptus with dark chocolate and violet. The palate is rich with blackcurrant fruit, non-offensive tannins are present, but the wine needs time. Find this wine

59931 VOYAGER ESTATE GIRT BY SEA CABERNET/MERLOT 2005 Margaret River, Western Australia $23.95
This too needs to rest, but it will awake much sooner than its older brother. It is a blend of equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with a touch of Shiraz and Malbec thrown in for good measure. It boasts a healthy layer of blackcurrant mixed in with Szechwan peppercorns, cedar shaving, sweet red fruit and gentle tannin. Find this wine

724674 COPPI PRIMITIVO PEUCETICO 2001 Gioia Del Colle $13.95
This well aged distant relative of Zinfandel still shows lively dark fruit, dried herb, white mushroom and spice box aromas. For fourteen bucks, one gets a wine with decent fruit flavours and nice acidity.
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