21st, 2003 Vintages Classics Catalogue Tasting
to one hundred and forty folks gathered at the London Club last Wednesday
evening eager to taste great wines, consume fine food and engage in
conversation with other glass swirling members of London’s band of wine
enthusiasts. Area LCBO consultants had convened to assist some of
the reps with pouring, as Vintages previewed some fifty wines from the
next liberation of their Classics catalogue. There were many great wines.
I wish there had been more from France, notably Burgundy and the Rhone,
but all told it was an eclectic assembly of fine fermented grape juice.
There was maybe an over abundance of muscular monster Cabs and big brawny
Shiraz wines from Oz, but my personal choice for wine of the show
was among them. The London club staff was on high alert and performed
their tasks attentively and professionally. It was difficult to maneuver
around carrying pen, paper, camera, glass, and spittoon and of course the
odd sliver of melt in your mouth beef tenderloin all at once, so some of
my notes are brief.
The order deadline for wines from
this catalogue is May 28th. There are no guarantees on availability of any
of the wines. A bonus for those who attended was that they could take
advantage of the pre order booths that the LCBO had set up during the
However for everyone else, here
is a link to the order form on the Vintages web site.
From conversations I had
throughout the duration of the evening, the event was a success and with
any luck, Vintages will make this an annual event.
L’ENCLOS GALLEN 2000, Margaux,
Château Meyre, 747121 $59.
Quite plush, lots of nice sweet blackberry, and
currant, little black olive, solid tannin but fruit was the prevailing
CHÂTEAU CLAUZET 2000, Saint-Estèphe,
Tight and the most austere wine of the night, floral and black fruit
aromas were detectable but the drying tannins overpowered them on the
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL 1993, Pol Roger, 156042 $147.
A true delight and strategically located near the entrance. Whiffs of
toast, baked apple, hints of red fruit and Asian spice. Little sweet
“brassy” flavour in the ultra long and luscious finish.
NINE POPES, BAROSSA, CHARLES
MELTON 2000, 969501 $47.
Little dust on the nose, mint, eucalyptus and sweet cherry, mid palate was
lighter than the nose suggested it should be. Nonetheless it showed
strawberry coulis, hints of chocolate and cherry. Although it finished
light, there was a little kick from the tannin.
GEWURZTRAMINER ALTENBOURG 2000,
Albert Mann, 716696 $33.
Nose was incredibly floral. Also offered a ripe grapy aroma along with
peach pie, baked spiced pear and rambutan. Mid palate had that delightful
chewy texture, perfect degree of sweetness and finished long.
LES BECASSES 2000, M. Chapoutier, 939777 $79.
One of the few Rhone wines poured, big rich dark red colour, lovely aromas
of lavender, sweet cinnamon, a trace of white pepper and an alluring hint
of funk. Fabulous concentration of black fruit on the palate, some
chocolate, a little tarry and leathery but silky tannin smoothed it out.
Nice balance on the finish. Built to last but its youthfulness was
CHÂTEAUNEUF- DU PAPE CUVÉE
EXCEPTIONELLE 2000, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret, 957274 $42.
Another great Rhone, this one showed violet, Herbes de Provence, plum and
mineral on the nose, flavour profile was full of, damson, strawberry,
blackberry and sweet spice. Finish had a rich and chewy texture, which I
SHOWCASE MERLOT GLENLAKE 2000,
Niagara Peninsula, Hillebrand Estates, 900456,
This is the high-end stuff from Niagara’s Hillebrand winery that is only
produced in what is considered a classic growing season. Rich garnet
colour, lots of currant, plum, no offensive matchstick and cedar on the
nose. Nice level of fruit concentration of fruit, cherry, plum on the
palate, finished surprisingly tannic.
SHOWCASE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
GLENLAKE 2000, Niagara Peninsula, Hillebrand Estates, 900449 $40.
Remarkable and complex nose, full of pepper, earthy, little funk, fruit
strap candy, lots of red fruit, blackcurrant and wild mushroom. Palate did
not match the nose. Although it was quite disjointed at this stage and
needs time to come together, it was an interesting wine.
PINOT NOIR ESTATE SELECT 2000,
Okanagan Valley, Cedar Creek, 712125 $23.
Lovely fragrant nose showed plum, coffee, red fruit and cinnamon. Med
bodied palate echoed the red fruit and raspberry. Lovely Pinot for the
LE CORTON 2000, Bouchard Père
& Fils, 973834 $99.<
This showed a deeper concentration of aromas, and it should considering
the price; saddle leather, clove, sweet cooked strawberry and a touch of
earthy beet. Nicely balanced and quite tannic on the finish. Needs time to
VOSNE-ROMANÉE LES BEAUX-MONTS
2000, 1er Cru, Daniel Rion, 715011 $84.
Deeper colour than the Corton, aromatic, very spicy nose gave way to a
layer of pretty floral scents. Rich palate showed good fruit
concentration, plum, thyme, olive and an appealing touch of terrior to the
ALFROCHEIRO 2000, Vidigueira,
Alentejo, Sogrape/Herdade do Peso, 727867 $29.
Mixed bouquet of lavender, cooked sweet red fruit, rhubarb and plum.
Velvety texture, nice sweet finish.
QUINTESSA 1999, Napa Valley,
Quintessa/Franciscan, 494245, $179.
Surprisingly light nose, touch of Rutherford dust, baked vanilla cookies
and a layer of nicely harmonized red and black fruit. Flavour showed heaps
of ripe blackcurrant, chocolate, coffee and soft silky tannin.
Surprisingly ready to drink.
ZINFANDEL LIVE OAK 2000, Contra
Costa, Cline, 985127 (XD) $39.
Little heat to the nose, blackberry red currant, cherry cola, baking spice
and a trace of mint. Rich and full on the palate with plenty of blackberry
and peppery notes on the finish
CASTILLO YGAY EARLY RELEASE
1991, Rioja, Marqués de Murrieta, 976225 $44.
Little hint of burnt rubber along with stewed rhubarb, lead pencil,
coconut and over ripe currants on the nose. Mid palate was that of mostly
stewed red fruit and it finished with a drying astringency that I did not
MERLOT 2000, Stag’s Leap
District, Napa, Shafer Vineyards, 346262 $68.
Plush aromas of mushroom, plum, sweet red liquorish and dark chocolate.
Lots of dark berry and rich chocolate on the palate. The long finish had
integrated all the flavour components nicely.
AMARONE CLASSICO 1997, Della
Valpolicella, Giuseppe Lonardi, 726067 $64.
Gamey, ripe aromas also showed cooked apple, violets and chocolate. Palate
was a harmonious meld of red and black fruits, nicely complimented by
chocolate and creamy black liquorish. Nice but I have drunk better Amarone
for the money.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON ESTATE
RESERVE 1999, Coonawarra, Penley Estate, 701821
Rich ripe and sweet aromas; liquorish root, blackcurrant and quite floral.
A little “globby” feel on the mouth, nice fruit but finished a bit too
sweet for me. Many people did like this wine a lot.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON THE
COPPERMINE ROAD 2000, McLaren Vale, d’Arenberg, 943399 $49.
Absolutely without any hesitation, I bestow this as my wine of the night.
So dense yet at the same time elegant and seductive. Full of Asian Spice,
black and red raspberries, coffee, spearmint, back currant and plum. The
finish was laden and complete. Incidentally after just returning from a
trip to the US last weekend, I noted all the d’Arenburg wines are priced
about thirty-forty percent higher than in Ontario.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON ESTATE 1995,
Niagara Peninsula, Reif, 304162 (XD) $39.
An unexpected little fruit bomb that showed no sign of being in the bottle
for five years. Lots of raspberry, blackberry, trace of cardamom, nice
background of toasty oak and refreshing acidity.
YACOCHUYA 2000, Cafayate,
Michel Rolland, 715037 $79.
Every single bottle opened was corked so didn’t have a chance to try
this. Please draw you own conclusion!
WINEMAKER’S RESERVE 1999,
Maipo Valley, Viña Carmen, 547117 $32.
Pure cassis, Ribena, mint, hint of red pepper, very creamy and cloying.
Finish was dull, a little grapey, seemed structurally low in acid.
CABERNET FRANC 1999, Niagara
Peninsula, Thomas & Vaughan, 727669 $49.
Not the biggest Canadian wine of the night but I would say certainly the
most elegant. Aromas of stewed plum, raspberry, lots of underlying
blackcurrant tones worked nicely with the touch of sweet vanilla oak.
CHÂTEAU LÉOVILLE-LAS CASES
1999, Saint-Julien, 983486 $179.
The initial nose of blackberry fruit gave way to show a little aquarium,
black tea, mocha, sweet black liquorish, shoe polish and I swear I picked
up some honeysuckle too. Finish was fruit driven
with accents of chocolate, mineral and cigar box. My second sample,
different bottle, twenty minutes later showed further development on the
mineral components and the last bottle opened was corked
FUSION V 2000, Stellenbosch, De
Toren, 709428 $35.
Nice funky earthy aromas, good concentration of fruit, little moss, forest
floor and morel. Creamy texture and pleasing finish.
ROSSA FIRST GROWTH 1998, Coonawarra, Parker, 737676 $99.
Holy cow, a blockbuster! Enticing mix of cooked rhubarb, blackcurrant and
blackberry followed by lavender, cake candy, mocha, black Dutch liquorish
and dark chocolate. So harmonious on the palate spitting was never an
option. Excellent finesse and balance on the finish.
1999, Frankland River, Alkoomi, 963876 $49.
I felt odd saying “can I have a little more Blackbutt please” but it
was worth the blushing cheeks for a second pour. Nose was sweet mint and
eucalyptus, lots of blackcurrant, dark black raspberry, big on the palate
and a decent finish that showed the tannins are there to age.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 1997,
Caparzo, 711036, $69.
I found this herbaceous at first showing pleasing whiffs of thyme and
sage. Yet a couple of swirls showed red liquorish, cherry, cedar and
vanilla aromas. Acids were in perfect harmony with the fruit, finish was
full but slightly astringent, still quite tannic I think.
EXCELSUS 1998, Toscana, Banfi,
A possible runner up for wine for the night. Appealing nose of coffee,
cassis, cedar, black cherry and plum. Rich and filling on the tongue it
left a pleasing coating of dark chocolate and red berries.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO RISERVA
POGGIO ALL’ORO 1995, Banfi, 443267, $107.
Not as big and pronounced as I though it would be. However, the lovely
tones of blackberries, raspberries and lilac were nicely complimented by
anise seeds, mushroom and puffball. Mid plate was wonderfully harmonized
and the finish was mostly dark cherry and rich earth.
1999, Douro, A. Ferreira, 716613 $34.
The meaty and fleshy nose was backed with Xmas pud spice, red cherry,
pinecone and chocolate. Well balanced and well priced.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2000,
Coonawarra, Majella, 725788 $39.
Initial blast of oak gave way to a mostly fruit driven nose that had
pretty aromas of cured meat, dried green peppercorn and sage. Still tannic
but well balanced.
SHIRAZ/CABERNET LIMITED RELEASE
1997, Barossa/Coonawarra, Jacob’s Creek
, 590885 $59.
A blend of 71% Barossa Shiraz and 29% Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon.
A full blown, sexy shiraz, touch of olive, big
mint candy and sweet chocolate, on the nose, tingly mouth full of plum,
pepper and dusty tannin.
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