Alan’s April 2002 Vintages Release
Release date April 6, 2002
April’s release features wines from Lake Erie’s North Shores new kid on the block, Grape Tree Winery. Steven Brook, winemaker and co-owner is a dedicated entrepreneur with many years experience as both a grape grower and winemaker. Steven really puts the expression of the regional terrior elements into his wines. He studied the soil types in Essex County and local weather conditions thoroughly before venturing into the winemaking business. For twelve years prior to the preparatory work involved with opening Grape Tree, Brooks held a position with the LCBO as product consultant. This time spent with the board gave him a sound fundamental knowledge of wines in general. April’s release offers several decent wines that are worth acquiring. On a down side, we are feeling the affects of our ever-deflating dollar and consequently this has added quite a premium to the price tag on many American wines. There are still tickets to be had for the prerelease tasting of wines from the classics 2002 spring/summer edition catalogue to be held at the "London Club" in downtown London on Wednesday, May 8. The time slot has been changed to 7:00 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. Tickets can be had by calling VINTAGES Customer Service at (416) 365-5767 or toll free at 1-800-266-4764.
Wines of Grape Tree Estate
609792 CABERNET FRANC 2000 $ 12.95, Lake Erie North Shore, Grape
605782 CABERNET/PETIT VERDOT RESERVE 2000 $ 19.00, Lake Erie North
Shore, Grape Tree Estate Wines.
CHAMBOURCIN RESERVE 2000 $ 14.00, Grape Tree Estate Wine.
609776 'HEXAGON' SPARKLING CUVÉE 2000 $ 16.00, Blanc de Blancs,
Grape Tree Estate Wines.
563361 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2000 $ 11.95,Niagara Peninsula, Vineland Estates.
I did prefer this to the Pinot Gris. There was a little clamshell and beeswax on the nose along with some pleasant peach and pear aromas. Good medium body, although a little cloying. Not really a classic Sauvignon style but well priced and pleasing.
946665 VIOGNIER 2000 $ 17.55, California, Ironstone Vineyards.
TORRONTES DE CAFAYATE 2000 $ 13.45, 'Coleccion Michel Torino',
Cafayate Valley, Bodega La Rosa/Michel Torino. Argentina.
427054 LATE HARVEST SAUVIGNON BLANC 1999 $ 12.75,Casablanca Valley, Viña Errazuriz.
This was de-listed from the board’s regular stock and is now a Vintages only wine. Too bad as it was always a decent staple for dessert. Well balanced, good citrus based acidity, sweet flavours of tangerine, lime and dried apricot.
744995 RIESLING SCHLOSSBERG 1999 $ 19.90,Grand Cru Classé, Domaine André Blanck et Ses Fils.
I found this to be dull and somewhat lackluster but several of the others present had much more favourable comments to make than I did.
955849 RULLY BLANC 1999 $ 26.40, Premier Cru, Joseph Drouhin.
738864 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE BLANC 1999 $ 34.75, Clos du Roi',
976803 ERBACHER HOHENRAIN 1990 $ 18.70, Riesling Spätlese,
Gutsabfüllung, Weingut Schloss Reinhartshausen.
701631 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1998 $ 74.90,'The Montelena Estate', Chateau Montelena.
Good intensity and depth of inky/ruby colour, nose was brimming with layers of berry, chocolate and cherry cola. Mid palate had a wonderful balance of firm acids, sweet chocolaty tannin, blackcurrant, plum and a touch of leather. Finished long and creamy. It took time to open up and display these qualities but it was worth the wait.
721415 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1998 $ 74.65, Vineyard Georges III,
Rutherford, Napa Valley, Clos du Val.
SYRAH 1999 $ 29.80, Fess Parker Winery. California.
561811 ZINFANDEL 1999 $ 25.00, Sonoma County, Geyser Peak.
405605 ZINFANDEL 1998 $ 9.95,Baja California, L.A. Cetto, Mexico.
Ouch, I liked the Petite Syrah from this producer from last months release but this was just way too of the park for my tastes. Surprisingly light bodied displaying hints of cooked berries, cola and white chocolate. The finish had an earthy vegetal leafy essence that I did not relish.
744300 PINOT NOIR 2000 $ 16.95,Yarra Valley, Victoria, Ironbark Wines. Oz.
Although this rich and savoury Pinot was a fruit bomb, it showed some complexity and a little whiff of Aussie terroir. Aromas of blueberry jam, plum, dark cherry and Asian spices. Solid and refreshing on the flavour level and it finished clean but a bit chunky.
468637 'OLD VINE' 1998 $ 28.60, Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvèdre, Barossa
Valley, South Australia, Penfolds.
959882 CHÂTEAU HAUT-SARPE 1998 $ 39.95,Saint-Émilion.
It has been a while since I have purchased a Bordeaux wine but this I will not pas up. It was a deep ruby coloured bottle of wine that had all classic tell tale aromas of blackcurrant, shoe polish, mineral, tobacco, cedar and raspberry. It is tannic, as expected, but the chocolate/fruit and spice flavours all showed well on the palate.
713693 BOURGOGNE 1999 $ 26.45, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits, A.-F. Gros.
966200 LADOIX 1998 $ 25.45, Joseph Drouhin.
722454 DOMAINE DE L'AURIS 1998 $ 14.30, Côtes du Roussillon.
738054 DOMAINE LE COUROULU 1998 $ 18.50, Cuvée Classique',
981787 GIGONDAS 1999 $ 25.90,Domaine du Grapillon d'Or.
It is not surprising this was not shipped to London to taste. It usually has a brief resting period of maybe two minutes on the shelves once the stores open on release day. Based on previous experience, If you find some, buy it.
733634 COPERTINO 1998 $ 10.85,Riserva, Viti. Francesco Colucci, Puglia.
Lots of interesting aromas to the nose for the price, roasted beet, thyme, cloves, pepper, blueberry and ripe red fruit. A little clumsy in the mouth but a great wine for summer afternoon barbeques.
947440 'CENTINE' 1999 $ 16.80,Toscana, Banfi.
Another great QPR wine that exploded with aromas of cassis, licorice, blackberries and damson. On the tongue it was creamy and rich. The finish was equally paralleled.
937714 'DON JACOBO' 1998 $ 14.95,Rioja DOC, Bodegas Corral, Rioja, Bodegas Corral.
A light brick colour that was already showing its age at the edge, very herbaceous, smelt like a dill pickle actually. Flavours of chocolate and diluted cherry brandy.
725762 'EL ALBAR' 1998 $ 19.90, Toro DO, Bodega J. & F. Lurton,