Friday, July 31, 2009

Acadie Prestige Chardonnay

If we post reviews of white wine, do you think that will make the sun appear?

--- Michelle's Review ---

Now is the time for white! Typically this summer I have been surrounding myself with Pinot Grigios and Sauvignon Blancs. But rejoice! I have expanded my horizons and hopped on another white bandwagon. Can you believe, a chardonnay! It seems people where chardonnayed out from the boom a few years ago. Where if it wasn't a California chardonnay it wasn't worth your time …kinda like the Aussie Shiraz ship. Its sailed! SO..I am so pleased to say that I found a grand Chardonnay. I had this one at a dinner party last week. We had a few snacks but nothing to over power what we were there to do, drink wine. This one was so pleasantly chilled. Of course it helps when your wine fridge literally tells you the optimum temperature for your vino. Love it. So this was a beautiful golden hue. Smelled of oak, some hay, and I got a whiff of mature peaches. Strange. The taste was crisp without a lot of dryness I sometimes associate with chardonnays. This one my friends is dangerously drinkable.

Price; $20.79
Value: 4/5
Rating: 88
Producer: Cave Cooperative du Haut Poitou
UPC: 3359770000565

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oyster Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir 2007

We liked the Oyster Bay Chardonnay, but it seems the Pinot doesn't quite match it. Anyone had the Sauv Blanc?

--- Iron Chef's Review---

Region: New Zealand, Marlborough
Nose: Strawberries and Raspberries- fresh fruit smell. Some herbal notes mixed with vanilla. Whiff of dry stones. Very fragrant.
Taste: More Raspberries or cranberry than strawberries with some pepper. Nice crisp grape-skin tartness. Tastes of pitted fruits. Some oak on the finish but very light. Elegant and supple.
Overall a very solid wine that is more refined and elegant than bombastic and loud. Enjoyed it but thought the price was pushing the boundaries. Also LCBO at 26% cheaper.

Price: $26.99
Value: 2.5/5
Score: 89
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 9415549809679

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Kelly and I are going on vacation today. I have a few posts scheduled and you can continue to make comments on the existing posts, but new comments won't be reflected in the "Recent Comments" column until we get back on August 11.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Perrin Vacqueyras Les Christins 2005

It turns out that we've reivewed this wine before - in fact, the second wine ever reviewed on this blog. Interesting to compare review - and the comments.

--- Iron Chef's review ---

Always been a personal favourite. One of those go to wines that never fail.
Nose- Cherries, Nutmeg and oak. Some meaty aromas and dries berries like Elderberries. Deep and roundly scented.
Taste- Grenadine, white pepper and a mocha latte with extra whipped cream. Some of the minced meat pie and fig flavours that I remember, but less. A bunch more fruit, highly extracted and … sweet. Thought of that drink, Shirley Temple. It was good, but not what I remember the 2004s as.
Overall- maybe it was the vintage or my mood, but I wasn't feelin it. I will continue to buy this wine, but I hope for better results in the future. BTW $19.95 at LCBO, 26% markup.

Price: $26.99
Score 86 (WS 91)
Value 3/5
Alcohol: 13.5%
Region: France- Southern Rhone
Grape: Grenache and Syrah
UPC: 631470000247

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Domaine de Bila-Haut, Occulatum Lipidem 2005

Welcome to Peter, a new reviewer. After finding the site and contributing some comments, he's decided to take the plunge and contribute a review - you can too!

--- Peter's Review ---

Nose: Very rich and complex nose of earth, barnyard funk, red fruit compote, and baking spices.
Taste: Medium bodied, pleasant acidity, nice back bone of red fruit (I could not pick out which specific fruits), nice long finish. Well balanced wine. This wine pairs well with a variety of food, though it certainly can be lovely on it's own.

Some further notes: I have to admit a strong bias toward the wines of southern France. I crave the baking spices, garrigue, and balance they so often bring to the table. This one fit the bill. It may not for everyone, so be warned, if you want gobs of fruit or the creaminess of well-oaked wine, this one may not be for you. Wine Access magazine scored it 90 points. Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV scored it 88 points. I found it not dissimilar to Chateau Haut Bel Air from the same region, but a notch better. This one is far superior to the regular Domaine de Bila Haut red. I will be buying more. Would love to hear some opinions on this.

Price: $27.99
Score: 89-90points
Value: Fair price 4/5.
Producer: M. Chapoutier
Varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault
Region: Languedoc-Roussillion, France
UPC: 3391181390736

Thursday, July 23, 2009

2004 Montalto Nero d'Avola/Cabernet Sauv.

Here's one for Peter, who seems to like the negative reviews.

--- Michelle's Review ---

Have you ever tried a wine that you really hoped would be a good review? I really wanted to like this wine. It had all the right "ingredients" for a good review. But I came away with mixed emotions. I think it’s the style of wine. I truly believe I do not like the "hot afterglow" on my palette or the alcohol. Something tells me that this is typical of warmer climate wines. The wine and the grape are from Sicily. It’s a blend of Nero d'Avoloa (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (20%). At one time they used the Nero d'Avoloa grape to bump up some for their weaker reds. Some say it compares to a Shiraz. It does have the peppery, black currant flavor but I cannot get past the alcohol. I tried this wine on more than one occasion and now believe that I really don't like it. Its in the value price range and I had hoped I could add this one to the Value List. Perhaps this wine really does need food to mellow it out or bring out some other nuances. Occasionally you do come across one that does. I could picture it with pasta and a bold red sauce or perhaps a nicely grilled steak. Don't take my word for it. Some people like that afterglow. I didn't like the Stump Jump for that reason but others do.

Price: $11.79
Value: 3/5
Rating: 75
Grape: Nero d'Avola/Cabernet Sauv
Region: Italy (Sicily)
UPC: 8030423000754

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Las Moras Pinot Grigio 2008

To celebrate the two days of sun we just had, here is a review of a summer white, in the ever-popular "value" category.

--- CMacdonald's Review ---

Appearance: Medium intensity pale straw yellow with green tint.

Aroma: Pleasant. Med. Intensity dominated by non-citrus fruit. (I said peaches, my wife said pears). Overall a lot more aroma than the typical pinot grigio.

Taste: Lots of flavor for a pinot grigio. Medium bodied with moderate acidity (it held up well with soft goat cheese). Dry, short-med fruity finish. Tasty, crisp without being lean.

Price: $9.99
Value: 5/5
Score: 87
Alcohol: 12.5%
Region San Juan, Argentina
Tasted: May, June & July 2009
ANBL UPC: 7791540091193

Friday, July 17, 2009

A-mano Primitivo 2007

While this wine doesn't sound so good, the burnt rubber taste sounds interesting. Google revealed that there has been a recent major controversy about a burnt rubber taste in South African wines. In the end (spoiler alert) it seems the taste isn't confined to South Africa - it is probably a sulfur compound formed as a result of poor winemaking.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I had this wine many moons ago from the SAQ and really liked it, I was happy to see it at ANBL under a new screw cap.
Nose: Leafy notes- like tobacco. Hot berries in syrup, blueberries I think. Some resiny wood also.
Taste: Blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream. Gravely tannins. Some stemmy notes. And something that I didn't care for, it took me an hour to figure it out- Rubber bands or burnt rubber. I dislike that taste in wines. Not sure of the cause, but I will avoid it.
Overall, it was a disappointment; I would not buy this again. Rubber bands are not something I look for in a wine.

Price: $17.99
Score: 70
Value: 1/5
Region: Southern Italy- Puglia
Alochol: 13.5%
UPC: 726452003771

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Château Reynella Cabernet-Merlot Basket Pressed 1997

It's always interesting to get reviews of wines that have been cellared for a while, even if they're not available any more, as it gives us an idea of whether the current vintage will do well.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

The last of the Reynellas I own. Sorry to see them go. The best of the Shiraz, Cab and the Cab/Merlot was the Cab/Merlot.
Nose- Some barnyard notes or brett (Brettanomyces- a fungus, old barrels are frequently touted as the main culprits). Rich cherry and plum favours. Mint and dried spices like cloves. Lots of stuff going on in the nose.
Taste- Stewed Cherries and plums, Chocolate and Coffee. Cedar and sandalwood. Very smooth tannins. Rich, velvety texture. Seemed fresh and vivid. No trace of age or dullness. Finish that lasted for a long time.
Overall- had this with a couple of good friends, but probably had it 3-5 yrs too early. Lots of life left in this one. This had all the elements, smell, taste, complexity, length, everything. It tasted a lot like a Super Super Tuscan. Spoke with a representative of the NFLD Liquor and they still have a couple of this vintage amazingly.

Price: about $40
Value 5/5
Score 94
Grape- Cab/ Merlot Blend
Region- Australia- McLaren Vale
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: Not available in NB; purchased from NS Port of Wines

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Condesa de Leganza Crianza 2003

Come on everyone, don't make Iron Chef do all the work. I know you're out there drinking wine - so send in a review. Either e-mail it to me directly at NBwines /at/ gmail /dot/ com or just post it on the "Make a Suggestion" thread and I'll repost it separately. It doesn't have to be long and no fancy wine words are required - the idea is just to get the conversation going.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Nose- Dried Flowers, Older cedar, some hot alcohol notes. Extracted Cherries.
Taste- Red, Ripe Cherries mixed with raspberries. Chalky tannins and Dill pickle chips. Much longer finish that I would have guessed for the price.
Overall- this was a dead ringer for a Spanish wine. It showed a bunch of nice favours and more depth of taste than expected. The Dill on the palate was interesting. I liked this wine.

Price: $15.79
Value 4/5
Score 88
Region: Spain- La Mancha
Grape: Tempranillo
Alcohol: 13.5%
UPC: 8436013812644

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wolf Blass Premium Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2000

Did you get turned on to wine with Australian Shiraz? What are your your views now? I'll be interested in the comments on this post.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

Confession time, I don't even go down the Australian aisle at ANBL any more. I find the whole area over done and boring. Every now and then I am surprised, the d'Arenberg's often surprise and now I see the Reynella is back, but for the most of that country…boring.
My best friend often says that I should lay down one of the WB Prem Selection Cabs each yr. I have ignored those recommendations …. Unfortunately.

Nose: new American oak, Mocha, mocha, Mocha. Cola favours and hot cherries. Deep aromas.
Taste: Highly extracted, Latte. Lots of cherries mixed with cedar wood. Great favours. Smooth and integrated tannins.
Overall: This still tasted young, no age at all, could easily sit for another 5 yrs or more. I will be buying one of these every year.

Price: $29.99
Value 4/5
Score 92
Alcohol 13.5%
Region: South Australia
UPC: 087000308503

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gallo Family Chardonnay 2007 Box wine

Sounds like this is the perfect white BBQ wine. Now if we just get a few days of summer...

— Iron Chef’s Review —

Recession, Recession - it’s Box wine time.
Colour: Pale straw to golden with green-ish tints
Nose: Buttery oaky notes. Full on Malo treatment. Very fragrant
Taste: Butter, oak, almonds, dried apricots. Some plasticine or rubber bands deep in the palate- but very slight.
Overall: Did not guess this to be a Box wine in a blind tasting, very nice wine. Enjoyed the Malo/buttery notes. Really impressed. You have got to try this.

Price: $34.48 / 3000 ml
Value 5/5
Score 86
Alcool 13.5%
Region: California
UPC: 085000012574

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Winegarden Estate Cuvée Rose

Our first review of a New Brunswick wine!

--- CMacdonald's Review ---

Pale pink, definitely more like a vin gris than your typical bright pink rose. Moderate intensity (very pleasant) aromas of raspberry and stawberry. Noticeable red fruit on the pallet with refreshing acidity. There is a touch of residual sugar according to the Winegarden website but the sweetness is perfectly balanced by the acidity that the wine is seemingly dry. Very refreshing. I have tasted 4 bottles recently with similar impressions. Very good effort. I will have to alternate between Marrenon rose and this one from Winegarden. Available at the winery in Baie Verte and at selected local farmer's markets including the one here in Fredericton.

Price: $10.00
Value: 4.5/5
Score: 84
Grape: Made from 100% NB grapes. Not sure what grapes were used.
Alc- 12%
UPC: 625974120051

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Errazuriz Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Remember, please send post / send me reviews of bad wines as well as good ones - knowing what to avoid is as useful as knowing what to buy.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

We have always enjoyed the SBs from Chile…

Nose: Asparagus, lime and some flinty and grassy notes.

Taste: Canned asparagus or peas, citrusy and gooseberries or some kind of field berry that I don't want to eat. No acidity- fat and flabby. Left a chalky film in my mouth.

Overall- Dull and boring. Canned Vegetables is not an appealing taste in a wine. And the lack of acidity was disappointing. A poor example of a very interesting region of Chile.

Price: $15.79
Score 64
Value 0/5
Region: Chile- Casablanca
Alcohol 13.5%
UPC #089046777329

Monday, July 6, 2009

2006 Fetzer Valley Oaks Merlot

I like Merlot in the traditional Cab blend, but I'm not usually a fan of the varietal, especially in the California version, which I find tends to be soft and unstructured - easy-drinking, but not really in a good way. So I'll be very interested to try this wine - if it doesn't shatter my stereotypes, at least it may shake them.

--- Vasco da Gama's Review ---

Hmmm...another Merlot posting...with a couple of good Merlots recently, I guess I am having a new appreciation for the grape. Here is another that is quite good, and yet a very different style from the Marques de Casa Concha Merlot.
Unlike the dark full body meatiness of the Marques de Casa Concha, in comparison this Fetzer is a lighter summer expression of the Merlot variety. I would guess that it's more of what I used to expect a Merlot to be. Don't get me wrong, this is no Bonarda, Pinot Noir, or Beaujolais, but it is lighter than any Cab or Syrah.
This wine has a pleasing cherry, dark berry and plum flavour and has a surpisingly long finish. The tannins are below the surface, not obvious, but still there carrying the wine forward. All in all a very nice balance for a California wine at a mere $17.

Price: $17.49
Value: 4/5
Rating: 89
Grape: Merlot
UPC: 082896700394

Saturday, July 4, 2009

E. Guigal Saint Joseph 2003

Here is something different - as Iron Chef says, we don't get a lot of North Rhone here (but we did review a Crozes-Hermitage last winter) and because it's a departure from our recent run of value-priced whites.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

There are so few Northern Rhone wines in NB, I was waiting to try this one, and Father’s day was the excuse. WS rates 2003 as a 94 pt Vintage for Northern Rhone.

Taste: Spicy- aromas of raw pepper steak. Warm toasty wood. Nutmeg and Cinnamon. Blueberry and currant fruit jam. Smokey. Smelled a bit like an Aussie Shiraz, Reynella-like. Full Nose- highly complex.
Taste: Blueberry preserves, Sandalwood, Bold/Chalky Tannins, Menthol. Rounding out with Earth & Tar and a neat Dark Chocolate finish that lingered forever.

Overall a Great wine that reminded me of an Aussie Shiraz that was more muted and nuanced with structure and refinement. No candied wine here- tar and earth.

Price: $38.99
Score: 94 (WS 88, RP 90-92)
Value: For Northern Rhone 4.5/5
Region: France, Northern Rhone
Grape: Syrah
Alcohol 12.5%
UPC #3536650901000

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz 2005

Tancred is an Aussie Shiraz afficionado amd the Leasingham Bin 61 was one of my favourite wines in its price range a few years ago, around the 1998 - 2000 vintages. Sounds like it has slipped since then.

--- Tancred's Review ---

This is a trophy and gold medal winner from a winery based in the clare valley of south australia, a region known more for some excellent and very dry Rieslings. Wine spectator gave the bin 61 a 91 and NBliquor has only a limited supply, so I took a chance and bought four on faith (though I have had earlier vintages). Lots of red berries on the nose and palate, and some decent complexity, though I didn't detect much of the bold spiciness that is characteristic of Australian shiraz. As well, there was a some harshness on the finish that I did not enjoy - maybe this will soften with age. WS called the finish 'lively' and I would agree with that. We'll try it again in a couple of years.

Price: $31.79
Score: 87
Value: 3/5
UPC: 9311043064418

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Donatien Bahuaud Les Chatrains Chinon 2006

Here's something different - 100% Cab Franc, which is a first for this blog. And also available in NS rather than NB. Too bad - sounds interesting.

--- Iron Chef's Review ---

I think this is only my second Chinon ever. I was excited.
Nose: Leafy Tobacco, Dried Cloves with menthol and Anise. Smelled really different- Charming.
Taste: Light weight on the palate with high Acidity with lots of Tannins. Sometimes cheap French wine can feel unbalanced- astringent and thin, but this had far too many favours to feel yucky. This was really interesting. Dark Cherries and cigarettes. Very lightly textured, but with pronounced favours. This would be a nice wine with salmon. I am going hunting for Chinon.

Price: $19.84 (Port of Wines NS)
Score 90
Value 4.5/5
Region: France, Loire Valley, Chinon
Grape: Cabernet Franc