Uncorked-Wine and Spirits Appreciation

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Barone Montalto Collezione di Famiglia Passivento Nero d'Avola 2015

Postby Belgian » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:51 pm

Provost Drunk wrote:Amarone has long been my favourite style and is the true king of Italian reds IMO (all due respect to Barolo and Brunello), so I couldn't pass at the opportunity to try out the Sicilian take on the style.

Interesting about the Ripasso / Ripassa' / Appassimento / Recioto / Passivento / Passivento thing which seems to be a range of related techniques in rack-drying and/or addition of partially-dried new grapes or second-use to make wines.

I could see the dual appeal; the added concentration of dense wine grape flavors and potentially also a bit of an umami / meaty / wild herbal element from all the additional exposure to wild flora in the open air, maybe a little positive oxidation - is this accurate to surmise?

I have tended to avoid Ripasso, etc wines, probably biased toward the 'purer' styles of Barbaresco, Barolo and so on b/c inclined to believe they will be kinder to my head afterwards to be quite honest. But I would be up to the taste challenge of a few outstanding examples eg. Ripasso Amarone or Recioto Valpolicella. Drier the better for me but intensity and finesse are of course more important.

Nero D'Avola is also a classic Sicilian workhorse grape so that's not a bad value point and I may check it out. It's VERY tough getting exceptional & well-finished wines in Canuck Land for less than a yuppie food stamp (that's a twenty bill.)
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Ripasso and Beyond

Postby Belgian » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:22 pm

Here's an interesting one, and reasonable. Made with a later addition of dried grape skins that are not previously used for Amarone as is the case with Ripasso.

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre
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Re: Barone Montalto Collezione di Famiglia Passivento Nero d'Avola 2015

Postby Provost Drunk » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:39 am

Belgian wrote:I could see the dual appeal; the added concentration of dense wine grape flavors and potentially also a bit of an umami / meaty / wild herbal element from all the additional exposure to wild flora in the open air, maybe a little positive oxidation - is this accurate to surmise?


Yes, that about sums it up. It's always been the added concentration that is a selling feature for me, but now that I think about it most Amarones do have more oxidation as well, which of course makes sense.
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Re: Ripasso and Beyond

Postby Provost Drunk » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:49 am

Belgian wrote:Here's an interesting one, and reasonable. Made with a later addition of dried grape skins that are not previously used for Amarone as is the case with Ripasso.

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre


If the link in your previous message is correct, it sounds like this wine is a blend of grapes that are vinified immediately and grapes that are allowed to partially dry out (appassimento/passivento), which is different from my understanding of a traditional ripasso in which a wine is simply passed over the pomace from grapes that have been dried out. The price is reasonable, and the added $2 off until October 8 may be just the impetus I need to seek this one out (who doesn't love a deal, or at least the perception of one?)
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Re: Uncorked-Wine and Spirits Appreciation

Postby midlife crisis » Sun Sep 24, 2017 5:01 pm

Reserve des Armoiries Cotes du Rhone 2013 -- if you like a lot of oak, you will love this. If not, don't blame me. I happen to like it, vanilla bomb though it is. Decent price too!
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Tannat from Madiran, SW France

Postby Belgian » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:14 pm

Belgian wrote:
Craig wrote:Hey Belgian, In the latest LCBO magazine they picked out a 2011 Laplace Madiran I'm considering a couple bottles for the cellar.

It's cool you checked out Madiran - wines from there that have a higher percentage of Tannat grape are the more 'traditional' style (some newer-style ones are more blended-down and softer for earlier drinking.) As you say you can get a lot out of keeping them even a very long time - a cheap cellar investment.

Now having a 2013 vintage - honestly a great, full and balanced wine if you can take the so-called 'severe' structure ie. tannins - for a comparatively young Madiran that is 80% Tannat grape this is drinking very well. A wine that will stand up to any smoked, roasted, braised or stewed meats and of course a rare steak or hard cheeses.

Easily one of my favorite wine types with deep dark florals and juicy fruit setting off the acidity and good dry palate. There are 'purer' 100% Tannat Madirans that can be massive & also much slower to age than this and if those were easily gotten I'd have a case of those put away too. The LC carries mostly value-range products that are blended & styled to drink near-term.
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Re: Cotes Du what??

Postby Belgian » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:51 pm

Belgian wrote:
Belgian wrote:Tessellae Côtes du Roussillon Old Vines Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre 2013
All that preamble to announce that yes, this is a wine made with a classic Southern Rhone grape blend, but no it's not just like those wines.

The climate & terroir of this part of Roussillon make a solidly-structured red that is also delicate (I'm reminded of Faustino that way) showing Neufdupape-like three-dimensional blackberry and bramble and other wild berries, a nice tart acidity, just enough dryness, and a very posed palate. It's really good. The 'garrigue' of herbaceous florals and herbs and a woody element balances it well.
ADD NOTE - this was left in the fridge a few days. Wow - it's actually improved!! I suggest decanting so it can breathe.

ANOTHER ADD NOTE - drinking well 14 months later - but still slightly 'dumb' and sugary when you open it, this really needs some time in the decanter or else just put it back in the fridge for a day or two after you've had a sip. It develops a really nice dry-acidic-tannic structure. Second bottle this week, it's so tasty and I will save another 2013 bottle for a year or two to see if it opens up some more...

Having another nice 2013 two years after the first - rounding out a bit - still needs aeration I think. I hope it's not fading already, it should be solid into 2018.
* Day 2, Day 3 - it keeps opening up and getting better in the fridge, so no fading. Deep defined flavors. Wish I had 3-4 more of these!

Yesterday friends visiting gave me this wine from their local Flam 2015 Classico Red (Judean Hills) It seems to be a Tuscany-inspired winery employing typical French grapes 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc, 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Syrah. I will try it soon, the '15 may be simpler, sweeter and less meaty than the '14. If it were sold here it would be over 30 USD which may be why we don't see too many wines from Israel.
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The bargain Cru wines from the 'other' Burgundian grape & region

Postby Belgian » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:14 pm

Georges Duboeuf Belles Grives Morgon 2014

Amazingly this is my first Morgon, having tried nearly all of the Cru de Beaujolais (top growths from specified regions.) Morgon is supposed to rate closely to top cru Moulin-A-Vént perhaps not precisely in character but quality and longevity, and in fact most three-year-old Beaujolais wines would be pretty dead in the bottle (don't even try to keep them very long if you aren't sure, a 'gone soft' Gamay is a sad thing.) This one is hitting its peak nicely AFAICT.

This Morgon has great violet florals and blackberry, blueberry, dry cherry, cassis and tea-like minerality, all beautifully held together with a good seam of acidity. It's not a huge-bodied wine but it's also not hugely tannic*, the twin traits/virtues that set Cru Beauj (and often other Gamays from Beaujolais) apart as stylish wines that are nothing like Bordeaux or anything else. With these Crus you can have the best Beaujolais (< plural) in the world for the entry-level price of Burgundies, and I think that's something worth knowing about. Great Gamays are under-valued, and the best French Pinot Noirs are amazing but can be stratospherically priced if we can get them here at all (they are gone before the LC even tenders sellers' bids.)

This is a lot of fun for 19 bucks and you'd be silly to ever, ever buy a Beaujolais Nouveau for $16 except if you understood the irony that goes along with the tradition & hopefully get some good French food (maybe Quiche aux poireaux) along with it in the deal. In fact go for a Beauj Villages or a Superior if you can't find a good Cru.

Oh man I haven't even tried Brouilly, and I really like Côte-de-Brouilly. My next mission... Also Chénas.

* If red wine tannins give you a headache then Gamay or Beaujolais wines are a great way to tipple a red and not feel gross the next day.
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Southern Rhone Appreciation

Postby Belgian » Sat Oct 07, 2017 6:55 pm

Belgian wrote:Domaine Saint-Andéol L'Excellence Cairanne Côtes du Rhône Villages 2013

Reduced 20% at my local 'Bo (yes!) this is a very well put-together Grenache/Syrah showing great overall smoothness already and would likely benefit from a few years more to tame the Syrah. Dense berry-cherry fruit, a bit of vanilla and spice and pepper, some meaty character. Likable and solid. The tart cherry overtones balance the big palate with some acid freshness.

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Next bottle opens smooth and bold as well. A lot of power in this 60/40 blend of G-S. Might snag one or two more bottles if they are around. An under-appreciated, new 'Cru' classified vine growing area which was formerly a Cotes-du-Rhone Villages area but it was too good for that.

* update #2 * grabbed last 3 of the three bottles at the Queen & Waverly store. The shelf tag is incorrect, it rings up close to $5.00 off. OK that's 22.4% off. In the cellar they go! Definitely give a wine like this a hard pour into a decanter & let it be for a while.
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French Pinot Noir, sort of

Postby Belgian » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:02 pm

René Bouvier Cuvée Chapitre Suivant Bourgogne 2014

This is a perfectly acceptable Pinot Noir that upon opening is a bit short and lean. It's a good example of why good affordable Burgundy is relatively inaccessible in Ontario - Bouvier is neither super cheap nor all that impressive. I'd say its more 'light-bodied' than the described 'medium', partly as an influence of the forward acidity and dry (but not excessive) tannins. Don't expect much interesting cherry fruit, the 'generosity' a truly good wine of any stripe offers.

Other LCBO contenders like the Chanson and the Latour seem to fare better for the same or lower prices. It's a tricky value point if you want not just blaring sour fruit but also some layered dimensionality and hints of beetroot, balancing sweet notes, berry-cherry etc. It's a tricky grape to excel with and on top of that and the LC with all its hubris as a huge buyer are not that motivated to line up for the good value-point vintages from Burgundy, so they are long gone before Ontario ever sees a chance at them. This particular example is fine and yet a wine I'd expect to find for no more than a quarter or fifth the price in Europe. And for that more realistic price you could make a very nice chicken braise or beef stew given the almost cranberry acidity.

** update ** opening a Chanson Réserve du Bastion I am doubly sure of my earlier assessment - flavor just better, even if the Bouvier has a darker color.
Last edited by Belgian on Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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LC offers Vacqueyras and Cahors upsells

Postby Belgian » Wed Oct 18, 2017 9:57 pm

Belgian wrote:Les Amouriers Signature Vacqueyras 2012
Another good bottle. Grabbed four more at Weston and 401 today. Left one there for the unsuspecting wine traveler.

In fact, this was a 26.95 wine marked down to 21.25. So I still have half a case (saving close to $46 on the last eight) and this good-value Vacqueyras should age well for a few years if it lasts that long.

I see the the 2014 vintage is a fussier 'upscale' edition (some older vines, specialized sorting & fermentation of each grape) now six dollars more:
Domaine des Amouriers Les Genestes Vacqueyras 2014

Might grab one to try it - could be a slightly more intense wine - or may see if at some point this slightly pricey product clears out later for a better deal. Vacqueyras is one of those Southern Rhone appellations now gaining recognition at a swift pace & the LC pricing seems one step ahead of these things.

Also, the De Gaudou Cahors "Renaissance" at $26 has gotten fairly expensive for what was about a 15 dollar wine for I believe the Cuvee Classic. This could be partly due to the oak ageing. We are losing the 'prestige wine' alternates as they become better-known & we are upsold on fancier versions of Cahors, Madiran, Bergerac... say hello to entry-Bordeaux prices.
Hey there LCBO, by squeezing out the approachable-value picks you will make a tee-totaler of me still... or certainly a more selective buyer given the lack of choice.
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Uncorked and Unscrewed for so long it's not true

Postby Belgian » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:15 pm

11 expensive-tasting wines you’d never know cost less than $15

Haven't had many of these but heard good things and pondered buying a few! Mezzomondo was rec'd 2 days ago and I have enjoyed the Ascheri. Prices are now off by a few cents.
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Languedoc Grenache Appreciation

Postby Belgian » Fri Oct 20, 2017 4:45 pm

Lafage Cuvée Nicolas Vieilles Vignes Grenache Noir 2015

This is a varietal wine, meaning single grape and this one is pure Grenache from Languedoc-Roussillon (Southern France near the Mediterranean Sea, this one in particular near to the Pyrenees and not far north of Catalonia in Spain - think Barcelona.) About as Southern as French wine gets, and isn't it a coincidence that Spaniards also like making many a 'Garnacha' wine, usually at one-half or less the cost of their Gallic neighbors (a predicament that is very irritating to the very proud & proper French wine industry with its surplus of unsold quality goods. The French consumers are buying excellent Rioja-style blends and so on for next-to-nothing, literally a few bucks.)

Very rich and big with a supporting acid structure and moderate dryness. Expect big ripe black berry fruit, violet-petal florals, the cherry and blueberry, also rich black tea and tobacco hints, at least some badly-needed tannins backing the structure, a bit of herbal garrigue spice and black pepper warmth. Right upon opening it comes on a bit rough and undefined - simple, sweet and rough on the edges.

I'm thinking it needs aeration and time. Will let this rest and come back to it before I conclude this review. I really can't recommend it as a open-and-go wine unless you enjoy new-worldy reds with less serious structure & more fun - think a notch or two better than 'commodity wine' fruit bombs like Yellow Tail Shiraz. Is this where L-R are now going?
** update ** no IMO this one is a refund. Don't like that it's too sweet and rough, despite the Jeb Dunnick RP 92 score which is fairly exceptional in and of itself.
Last edited by Belgian on Sat Oct 21, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unwaxed - a 2007 Xino that fell in with some French influences

Postby Belgian » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:38 pm

Boutari Legacy 1879 - 2007 (Xinomavro grape, town of Naoussa in Greece)

From old LC Online release. Heavy waxed seal was a challenge to saw through. Cork came out a bit of a mushy mess, pieces ready to chip off so not the best quality cork perhaps. Pours a fairly dense ruby-to-garnet red that is developing tawny-gold highlights.

Typical Xino qualities (steely and moderately full, not super huge and dense) with broadly-applied oak wood. Almost a scotch-like woody aspect at first, this for me is a bit of an oak bomb. Not terrible but the 12 months ageing in expensive new French oak manages to overwhelm a bit of the mineral, acid and dry black fruit & cherry appeal of the grape. They took a great wine and tried a Cab Bordeaux treatment which perhaps the base wine is not quite big enough for, although the other black fruit and mineral aspects do manage to fight their way up after several minutes of tasting. Boutari Naoussa Xino wines in the $12-18 range with their striking purity & sonority may be ultimately better than this interesting $49 experiment which I thought would be more subtly put together. The oak gets in the way a little.

Far from a failure & a good wine all the same. A scotch-like oak tannin lingers on the gums - it's so bizarre and yet I'm oddly proud of Boutari for trying to kick for the half-field goal. I love Xino from Naoussa, very decent stuff. * Update * day two (fridge) the wine does mellow and knit flavors a bit better. Tasty.
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