Alan’s September 4th and 18th, 2004 Vintages Release
missed the last tasting, thanks to a quick
jaunt to Vancouver
with my mum, I
was eager to see what the board has to offer this month. The good news
is September’s release seems pretty spectacular, at least judging from
the wines I tried. I would like, operative word being like, to buy every
wine from Bordeaux that I sampled. The 2001 Cos d'Estournol, in
particular, is just amazing.
I have in the past made mention of the food pairing suggestions that
accompany wines in the catalogue. I don’t always agree with them, but
more often than not, these suggestions are most helpful to the consumer.
However, there is one this month that is bizarre. It accompanies the
Amity Vineyards 2002 Pinot Blanc (pg 48), which I unfortunately did not
get to taste. The catalogue descriptor on the wine reads as follows:
Amity’s Pinot Blanc is LIVE certified and salmon safe.
Although LIVE (Low Input
Viticulture and Enology) is not officially an organic designation,
it is a voluntary organization that promotes sustainable agriculture and
recognizes wineries and vineyards for their efforts to produce wines in
an environmentally aware manner. Salmon safe means that Amity Vineyards
does what ever it can to protect salmon habitats from chemicals and
problems caused by soil erosion.
Food match: grilled salmon
Ok, onto the vino.
Wines to be released on September 4th
268391 Pinot Noir 2003, Niagara Peninsula, Henry of Pelham, $19.95.
A wine with a soft brick red/rose colour and a nose that reveals pretty
floral notes, some
strawberry and a touch of vanilla. Although it is the wine of the month,
I might put this
down for a year or so just to mellow out the discernable, but non –
346270 Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Napa Valley, Shafer Vineyards, $79.95.
This dynamic nose of coffee, butterscotch, blackcurrant and black cherry
shows a different
persona on the palate. Here it comes across as elegant, rich, silky and
complex. It is
showing lovely flavours of dark raspberry, cassis and chocolate. Its
texture is creamy, and
the kiss of oak in the finish is not over blown. I don’t think this is
meant for the long
haul, it is pretty damn good right now.
716431 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2000, Sonoma County, Geyser Peak,
July’s catalogue advertised this same wine priced at $22.95, only when
it arrived on the
shelves, it was in fact the “California” AVA bottling. This time around
it is the real
McCoy, of course at the more realistic price. Nonetheless, it is a nice
wine, very dark and
purple, and showing quite well. It is touch herbaceous on the nose, yet
there is plenty of
plum, red currant and blackberry that dominate. The palate is fruit
focused, but well
balanced with refreshing acidity.
599902 Old Vines Zinfandel 2000, Sonoma Valley, Sebastini, $23.95.
This shows a nicely ripened nose showing no sign of over maturity. I
have found some
Sebastini wines to be over the top. It has lots of blackberry, sweet
raspberry and a trace of Thai basil. The finish is quite toasty and
maybe too sweet, at
least for my taste. However, good Zin at this price is hard to find and
I am looking
forward to trying a bottle of this again.
717355 Pinot Noir 2001, Seven Springs Vineyard, Williamette Valley, St
The initial nose of violet and plum soon develops into dark fruit. The
palate is full of
rich cherry, a touch of earthy beet, potato skin and vibrant acidity.
The finish is spicy,
but also a little hot.
947879 Cabernet/Merlot 2000, Margaret River, Vasse Felix, $24.95.
This is a little disjointed right now. It has some odd stemmy notes
along with sweet
glycerin, bold currant and cherry aromas. The mid – palate is tight and
globby. Although it
finishes with a silky dusty note, it is quite tannic.
619734 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Colghagua Valley, Vina Casa
This generously priced wine delivers an atypical, but robust nose of
floral tones, minty
mouthwash, elastoplast and straw. The palate has lovely layers of
blueberry and eucalyptus. It is full bodied right through to the finish.
At this price, try
963058 Chateau Cos D’Estournel 2001, St Estephe, $139.95.
If I were rich, I would have so much of this in my cellar. However,
reality sucks and I
won’t. Then again, maybe this is the rainy day I have been saving my
pennies for. I am
really surprised at how much depth this wine is showing already. It
exudes aromas of mocha,
blackberry, clove, dried thyme, liquorish, cardamom seed and toasty
vanilla. Although I am
sure it will close down shortly, it is so enjoyable in its current
928382 Chateau Lynch Moussas 1996, Pauillac, $79.95.
If it were not for the inflated asking price, I would buy as much of
this as I could. Sadly
this sells for as low as $24.99 US, south of the border. It really is
too bad because I
really love it. It tosses out from the glass that alluring Bordeaux nose
of compost, peat,
and burnt underbrush combined with a bowl of freshly gathered summer
fruit. I think this
wine is just starting to hit its peak. The fruit controls the palate and
the dusty finish
shows chocolate and smoke. It will also hold and may get even better for
a few more years
701359 Crozes Hermitage 2001, Les Launes, Delas Freres, $22.95.
A wine that does little to excite me. Although it has pleasant notes of
chocolate and dark
fruit, the palate is surprisingly sweet and lacks oomph.
998708 Saint Joseph 2000, Duc De Caderousse, Ogier and Fils, $29.95.
This nose shows complex aromas of coal dust, burnt wood, plum, liquorish
root and black
pepper, but the palate really does not do the nose any justice. It has
pleasant fruit, a
touch of funk, hints of spice, but it really disappoints overall due to
character and finish.
Wines to be released on September 18th
Y693887 Cabernet 2001, Hundred Tree Hill, Redbank Winery, Victoria,
Here is an upfront wine that offers aromas of mint leaf, pinecone,
blackberry and currant.
It is a bit low on acid, rendering it a trifle flabby, but the rich core
fruit is full of flavour. The tannins are gentle enough to make this a
981183 The Dead Arm Shiraz 2002, McClaren Vale, South Australia,
As much as I often “whine “ about the high prices we have to pay
compared to those found in
the US, this is certainly a pleasant exception to the rule. I have
spotted this wine
wearing a price tag at almost double the asking price, given exchange
rates and taxes, in
America. The 2002 vintage is as good a wine, if not better, than any
previous Dead Arm I
have tasted. Its nose radiates rich black fruit, mint, eucalyptus,
violet and aniseed. The
mid – palate is full of strawberry compote, red currant, and black
fruit, all beautifully
balanced. Although it is delicious right now, I would expect this to
improve with age for
quite some time.
626333 The Wolftrap 2003, Western Cape, South Africa, Boekenhoutskloof,
Here is a genuine quaffer with a nose that abounds with heaps of red
berry, blueberry and a
trace of lavender. A secondary layer of nutmeg and Vietnamese iced
coffee aromas adds
another level of interest. It is simple and clean on the palate with a
989517 Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere 2001, St Emilion Grand Cru, $119.95.
This is a tightly wound wine that takes forever to release its profile
roasted venison, coffee and cassis. This is not going to drink for quite
some time. The
chalky chocolate tannin does become quite astringent in its lengthy
finish. Here is a
potentially great bottle of wine. Judging from what I tasted today, the
2001 is a vintage
overshadowed by its predecessor.
733410 Chateau Clarke 2000, Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux, $43.95.
A wine that shows a leathery, tar and leafy structure with some stewed
plum, sage and
currant. It finishes well with a creamy texture that emphasizes the
fruit. It is nice, but
the board has released better deals from this vintage.
984419 Chateauneuf de Pape 2001, Domaine la Solitude, $36.95.
Here is another wine that is soon to go into hibernation. There is lots
of pleasant red
berry fruit with a touch of boot polish, leather, chocolate and vanilla
bean. It has great
balance, a solid structure, but the mid – palate is closed. Sleep on
989061 Chateauneuf de Pape 2001, Domaine de Grand Veneur, Les Origins,
Alain Jaume, $29.95.
This has a richer and more intense nose than the Domaine la Solitude and
yet it is priced
way lower. I am looking for a catch, but I can’t find it. It is full of
dark fruit, pine
needles, blackberry, liquorish candy and cherry brandy. It is
astringent, fleshy and needs
to find a cozy spot in the cellar to rest for a decade.
927335 Barbaresco 1999, Bricco Speessa, Fratelli Grasso, $64.95.
There is plenty of sweet red currant and raspberry fruit, clean acidity
and a trace of
stewed plum, but little else.
606194 Le Serre Nuove Dell’Ornellaia, Bolgherei, Estate bottled,
Although I think this is kinda pricey for a “secondo” vino, it is quite
a stunning bottle
of wine. Its dark dense colour is the first clue to the depth of
intensity it carries. The
layers of mineral, pinecone, black fruit and thyme second the motion. It
balance, but the waves of tannin on the finish suggest, like its big
says, leave me alone for a long time.
995910 Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 1999, F. Illi, $38.95.
A pleasing initial aroma of sweet dried fruit leads to a layer of red
currant, cedar, black
olive and cocoa. It has a nice silky chocolaty texture on the tongue and
a slight note of
tannin on the finish.
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