Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cellaring Ch. Montus and Bouscassé

Vasco da Gama raised the question of cellaring the Montus. I couldn’t find any information on their website, so I e-mailed them. I received a very helpful reply from Fabrice Dubosc, the head winemaker of Chateaux Montus and Bouscassé.

He said that for the Bouscassé Vieilles Vignes 2000, if it properly cellared you can wait another 5 years without risk, but it is also drinking well now (as we know). Ideally, if you have a few bottles in the cellar, you can see how it evolves over the next few years.

With respect to the Château Montus 2002, he said the wine can age much more, but he would be inclined to drink it now: "That wine is so good now, still very fresh, with complex fruity and floral flavors. Tannins are still powerful, but with finesse."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Marques Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

I like to try a variety of different styles of wine, but a solid cab or shiraz with a few years on it is still a classic favourite. When you can find one of those in the low $20s, that's gold. I'm thinking of wines like the Gallo Cab or Wynns Shiraz. From this review, it sounds like this wine might be another one in that category.

--- A Review from Peanutman ---

The sommelier in the Moncton Vaughn Harvey Blvd store recommended this one to me. Great recommendation. I did a search on the internet to see what people were saying about this wine and most of the reviews are very similar. Bouquet: blackberry, chocolate (I got those two), black tar and smoke (missed those). My first impression of this wine was that it was very smooth, silky and with an good flavour. I noticed a little vanilla with some nice tannins that aren't too aggressive. While the internet search revealed most of this as well, the bottle mentions coffee which I couldn't taste (probably because I drink too much coffee as is). Wine Spectator rates this wine as a 90 and it is hard to argue the contrary. I thought this was different that the Carmen as I didn't find it as aggressive and I thought it was more "polished" than the Carmen. I gave the Carmen an 88 score and a 4.5 for value, therefore I'll go with WS and give it a 90 and a value score of 4.6.

Price: $23.99
Score: 90
Value: 4.6/5
Region: Chile
Grape: Cabernet Sauvingon
UPC: 7804320333175

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ironstone Obsession Symphony 2007

This wine is made from 100% Symphony grapes - an obscure cross between two only slightly better known grapes, Muscat of Alexandria and Grenache Gris. Muscat of Alexandria is used mostly for raisins and table grapes - it is not the same as the related Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains that is considered the better quality Muscat for wine-making. The other parent, Grenache Gris, doesn't even have an entry in Oz Clarke's "Grapes and Wines," and all that the Oxford Companion says about it is that it is "commonly encountered in southern French whites and some pale rosés." Symphony itself was only commercialized in 1983, and is little planted.

Well, enough about the grape - what about the wine? It is highly perfumed - it could easily be a Muscat blend rather than a Muscat cross - and it has some Gewurz like scents as well. It reminds me of the Ribeauville Andante (a Muscat Gewurz cross) in flavour, though the Ribeauville has better structure.

The Obsession is off-dry and maybe a bit flabby, but it is very easy drinking with lots going on in a blowsy kind of style. A reasonable 12% alcohol helps make it easy to quaff. Quite delicious if you are not looking for elegance.

Price: $17.29
Score: 87
Value: 3.5/5
Region: USA, California
Grape: Symphony
Alcohol: 12%
UPC: 724826071227

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Caves des Papes Reserve de Fustiers Gigondas 2004

--- A Review from Iron Chef ---

I don't remember this being a 'Sale Wine', but it was on the Sale Table at Prospect today. It has been a long time since I had the Perrin Gigondas, but this really reminded me of a restrained Vinsobres, which I just noticed is sold out at ANBL- a WS 91 pts for about $25. And the Perrin Gigondas was from a hot 2003 vintage- a little different.

Nose- Hot Cherries mixed with Raspberries and some Port-ish aromas. Spicy wood tannins like turmeric or cumin. Lastly some Leather notes that I really liked.

Palate- Right off reminded me of a Cherry Blossom chocolate bar. A bit hot with some cinnamon/nutmeg spice. Sweet like milk chocolate but not candied or over the top. Somewhat restrained taste which was odd especially given the hot-ness of the alcohol. Some thinner notes at the mid-palate. A sour cherry taste, which I hate, dissipated as it decanted and was replaced with a more refined licorice.

Overall I found myself really wanting to like this wine, even though I was in a pisspoor mood. My notes on the Vinsobres suggest I would have probably given it a 91-94 pts so this should be less as it is thinner, less extracted, but not a lot less.

Price: $23.47
Score: 90
Value: 4/5
Region: Southern Rhone
Grape: Grenache blend
Alcohol 14.5%
UPC: 714320144008

Friday, April 17, 2009

Clos de Los Siete 2005

--- A Review from Vasco da Gama ---

This is an interesting blend of Malbec, Cab, and Syrah from one of the most renowned wine producers/consultants on the planet Michel Rolland. I was anxious to try this wine, and could no longer resist, so I tried this fresh out of the bottle last night - The cork and wine are both a very dark purple. This wine has a beautiful smell of vanilla, gravel, dark berries, ripe plum and licorice with a hint of smokiness (on the 2nd glass I picked up the scent of cherry blossom or cherry nibs, as well as tar). The blackberries, licorice, and dark cherries come through on the palate with good refined tannins and balanced acidity. A beautiful full bodied red with a nice long dark chocolate finish. This is a superb and complex wine to drink now, but I suspect it will only get better over the next few years into 2015 or so. Will have to try another bottle again a few years down the road to see if it doesn't have even more character to it. Although the price of $33.29 is not cheap, for the quality you are getting I would say this is great wine and an excellent value, and I like the label :-)

Price: $33.70
Score: 93
Value: 4.5/5
Region: Argentina
Grape: Malbec, Cabernet, Syrah
UPC 7798104410179

Thursday, April 16, 2009

7 and 3/4 Month Anniversary

This blog has been going for about 7 and 3/4 months now, so the time seemed right for a brief look back. For me, the best thing about this blog is that when I look down the posts on this page I see reviews from Iron Chef, Vasco da Gama, Vesper, Peanutman and Tancred, as well as from me and Kelly, and Michelle is high up on the next page. Even better, the comments have been active, sometimes agreeing with the original post and sometimes not. This is what I had hoped for when I started the blog. It’s supposed to be a forum for people who like wine to exchange opinions - partly to help each other find the deals and avoid the duds at ANBL, and partly just for the fun of discussing the wine.

So give it a try - if you drink a wine that hasn’t been reviewed, write up a review and post it on the Make a Suggestion thread, or send it to me at nbwines / at / gmail /dot / com. If you drink a wine that has been reviewed, post a comment on the thread for that wine and let us know what you thought. Reviews don’t have to be long or elaborate - you don’t have to score it if you don’t feel like it. And the wine doesn’t have to be expensive - there’s nothing better than finding a really good wine for$14. Don’t be shy - no one knows who you are.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

JF Lurton Araucano Clos Lolol 2003

Here is a review from Iron Chef.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose: Stewed Berries and currants. Black Licorice. Touch of white pepper and a wonderful bouquet of dried flowers and baking spices. Very Herbal with Mint and Rosemary. I like the nose it was spicy and flowery - a bit hot with alcohol.
Palate: Lots of fruit - black berries but not jammy or candied.Nice tannins that coated the month. Dried flowers and minty. I would say that this is ready to drink - might benefit from more time but the elements have come together. Very nice taste but did not completely deliver the promise on the nose. Finish was long but the palate was less complex. Good solid wine, but not great - especially for the price.

Price: $29.29
Score: 88
Value: 2.9/5
Region: Chile, Colchagua Valley
Alcohol: 13.5%
Grape: 50% Cab and 50% Carmenère
UPC: 635335676318

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pio Cesare Barbaresco 2000

I really like Nebbiolo. Grown mostly in Italy, and Piedmont in particular, it is the grape behind Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, and Ghemme. It tends to be quite tannic, requiring bottle age and showing best with food. It is apparently quite finicky about soil conditions and microclimate, among the first to bud and the last to ripen. Despite its fame and prestige, it represents well under 10% of plantings and production in Piedmont. Probably because of that fame and prestige, we unfortunately do not find a lot of “value priced” Nebbiolo.

This Barbaresco is more rustic than elegant; a wine with a lot of oomph. The nose is lush, with lots of licorice, stewed berries, violets, dried flowers, spices, leather, and tar. It is full and clear on the palate, and very long, with dry, mouth-puckeringly firm tannins, especially on the finish. It is delicious, excellent value at $40, and probably young yet, so it is too bad that is no longer available at ANBL.

Price: $40
Score: 93
Value: 4/5
Region: Italy
Alcohol 14.5%
Grape: Nebbiolo
Tasted: March 2009
UPC: No longer listed

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2007

This is a very well made New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, with characteristic citrusy herbaceous nose, and crisp clean palate. Well balanced also. It didn’t really stand out from the crown, but that’s not such a bad thing - that NZ Sauv Blanc crowd is a pretty good one. It suffers in comparison to the Dona Paula, which is at least as good for $5 less.

Price: $20.49
Score: 87
Value: 3.5 / 5
Region: New Zealand, Marlborough
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Tasted: March 2009
Alcohol: ****
UPC: 729819315302

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Jacob's Creek St. Hugo 2003

Here's a review from Vasco da Gama that I lifted from the Make a Suggestion thread. Despite the review, because there are so few bottles left I haven't listed it as "Recommended" in the price range.

--- Vasco da Gama's review ---

Secret Opportunity for Fredericton readers of this blog!!!

Last week I tasted the 2003 Jacob's Creek "St.Hugo" Cabernet from Coonawarra. This was at a restaurant and I heard NBLC was sold out of it.
I found that actually there were 11 bottles left in Saint John, so I had them bring in 3 for me. They ended up shipping in all 11, so there are 8 more up at Prospect St NBLC, as of this afternoon.
This is a blockbuster beautiful cab with rich layered fruitiness, and possesses great new world characteristics, along with licorice...mmmm. This has a proportionate amount of tannins and acidity to carry it another few years, should you wish to hold a bottle or two. One of the nicest Cabs I've had. Coonawarra region can produce some awesome Cabs...I would highly recommend!!
Looking at the NBLC website, this no longer shows up, so I can't give you the UPC code

Price: $37.99
Score: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon
UPC: 9300727483232

Monday, April 6, 2009

Vignamaggio Terre di Prenzano Chianti Classico 2006

This review is from Vesper and her husband - he hasn't given a name, so we'll call him "Mr. Vesper."

--- Vesper & Mr. Vesper ---

This wine was purchased on sale at $17 - regular $22ish.

Nose: dried cherry, untanned leather, sun-dried grape tun, white pepper on tail.

Palate: front - sour dried cherry, middle - cigar box, cherry but less obviously dried, concentrated, and perhaps soured.

To say that this wine is well-balanced would be an act of desperation. It might be a reasonable buy at $12; but at $17, even on sale, it feels like the sort of mistake which happens at a previously untried restaurant on a sunnily optimistic afternoon. This wine strikes three notes, and they don't add up to anything more than a dissonant chord.

Joint rating: 2.5/5. We may be missing subtlety, so let's say 3/5. Generously. Okay, maybe too generously.

Price: $17.84
Score: 85
Value: 3/5
Region: Italy, Chianti
Grape: Sangiovese
Tasted: March 2009
UPC: 8028114000138

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Dona Paula Los Cardos Sauvignon Blanc 2008

This wine was recommended to us by Aaron, the wine consultant at Prospect St. It has very good Sauvignon Blanc character - Kelly recognized it right off. It is in the New Zealand style, but without excessive sharpness that you sometimes find. It doesn’t have a lot of complexity, but it has some good character, good balance, and doesn’t have what Kelly calls “that cheap wine flavour.” Outstanding value. I may even be rating it too low because I know the price.

Price: $14.49
Score: 88
Value: 5/5
Region: Argentina
Grape: Sauvignon Blanc
Tasted: March 2009
UPC: 836950000087

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Masi Campofiorin Ripasso 2005

This review from Peanutman got lost for a week or so in my gmail spam box, so I'm bumping it up the queue.

--- Peanutman's Review ---

Italy, what can we say, what about corvina, rondinella and molinara; the grapes that form this wine. Never heard of them, neither had I even after spending 3 weeks in Italy last summer.

Smell and taste, I thought it was most likely cherries (maybe even a little earthy). As the liquid in the bottle flows toward the bottom, you smell and taste cocoa. It is kind of funny, but the smell and taste were very similar. Maybe one of my peanut senses isn't working tonight. The wine has a beautiful color, not totally dark but enough to make you believe that it could be a ''big wine'' (until you put it up against a white background and you notice that it is not as dark as you might think). Does that 'big feeling' ever change when you smell it and even more when you taste it. It just flows very easily and appreciatively down the hatch. I have tasted this wine on different occasions during the years and for some reason I thought this one had a little bit of a lighter sense to it and not a very big finish. I had a 2004 recently at a friends and it had a little more ooomph!, but this one is still good.

My wife and I both like big, bold oaky wines, but we both also really liked this one after a long day at work.

In any event, my score would be an 86. Value, it depends how you're feeling, tonight it was a 4.

Price: $21.99
Score: 86
Value: 4 / 5
Region: Italy, Rosso del Veronese IGT
Grape: 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara (in 2006)
Tasted: March 2009
UPC: 8002062000068