Vintages Release September 2004

By Natalie MacLean Print this page   Send this page to a friend


September 4: Recommended Fortified and Sweet Wines

640268 'KOPKE' COLHEITA PORT 1990 $29.95 Btld. 2004 C. N. Kopke & Ca., Portugal: Vintages catalogue note: Colheita Ports, from a single vintage, must spend a minimum of seven years ageing in wood prior to bottling. In this case, Kopke kept this in wood for 14 years. As it spent so many years in oak, you do not have to decant this Port. Also, once opened, it should last several weeks without substantial flavor deterioration. My note: an excellent, rich and smooth port that stylistically seems to be mid-way between a vintage and a tawny port. Score: 90/100.

741355 LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE 1998 $25.95 Btld. 2002 Niepoort Vinhos, Portugal: Vintages catalogue note: As they spend two years longer in oak than Vintage Ports, LBVs rarely need to be decanted before being enjoyed. My note: Very solid port with classic vintage character (berries and plums). Great price. Score: 87/100.

695833 CHÂTEAU D'ARMAJAN DES ORMES 1999 $24.95 AC Sauternes 375 mL J. et G. Perromat, Vitic.-Récolt.: Vintages catalogue note: A superb Sauternes for a multitude of uses. Of course, it may be enjoyed alone as a dessert unto itself, but it will nicely complement foie gras, other pâtés, apple tart, or splashed over fresh seasonal fruits and berries. My note: Although I love ice wine, there's an entirely different character in the sweet wines of France that have experienced "noble rot" during harvest (that's a good thing). This is a surprisingly great price for such a delicious jewel. Score: 90/100


September 4: Recommended White Wines

246090 CHARDONNAY 2002 $59.95 Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros, California Shafer Vineyards: An opulent chard for when you want to splurge. This one has spicy ripe pears and a voluptuous texture. Just the right amount of oak. Imagine this with lobster in butter sauce and a crackling fire. Score: 91/100.

330233 CHARDONNAY 2002 $24.95 North Coast, California Prod. & Btld. Sterling Vineyards: A consistently reliable producer (when I see their reds on a restaurant list, I know it's a safe bet). This chard is round, buttery and plush in the mouth. Score: 88/100.

606699 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2003 $24.95 Adelaide Hills, South Australia Starvedog Lane Wine Co.: Grassy, herbal and refreshing, very much like New Zealand SBs. Excellent with seafood, shellfish and salads; it would even cut through cream sauces nicely. Score: 87/100.

626408 DRY RIESLING 2003 $19.95 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand Kim Crawford: Loved their sauvignon blanc in the last release... so here we area again with another good white. This riesling has lovely ripe tree fruit... it's far riper style than German rieslings yet just as zippy and mouth-watering. This wine would complement a wide range of dishes... anything with acidity, cream sauce or fishy flavor. Score: 90/100 Best Value White Wine

738997 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2003 $18.95 'Pencarrow' Martinborough, North Island, New Zealand Palliser Estate Wines: I've recommended this wine for several vintages now. Vivacious and herbal with lime and grapefruit notes. Will cut like a knife through soft cheeses and conversations about the weather. Score: 88/100

592303 SAUVIGNON BLANC 2003 $18.95 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery: Gold Medal winner at the 2004 Ontario Wine
Awards for the Best Sauvignon Blanc. One of Ontario's best white wines, if not the best. It's a perfect balance between the herbal character of SB and a long, lovely citrus-infused white. Would complement many, many dishes just as red-shaded table lamps in some restaurants make everyone look ten years younger. Score: 90/100 Favorite White Wine


September 4: Recommended Dry Rosé

333260 ROSÉ 'CUVÉE D'ANDRÉE' 2003 $12.95 VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario Château des Charmes: Named after owner Andrée Bosc, this rose is a blend of Gamay Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Great value. Bright red berries that sing a song to the end of summer. Dry, zippy and almost smart-mouthed. Perfect for pate and cold chicken and autumnal regrets. Score: 86/100


September 4: Recommended Red Wines

643502 MERITAGE 2001 $17.95 'Proprietors' Reserve' VQA Okanagan Valley, B.C., Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Estate: Bruce Nicholson was named Winemaker of the Year at the 2004 San Francisco International Wine Competition. A good decision... his recent effort with the merlot that I thought tasted twice as expensive as it cost is coming through in this wine. A magnificent value with luscious ripe red fruit and layers of suppleness. Tender is the night with this wine. Full-bodied baby. Age 2-3 years if you can wait, but drinking well now. Score: 90/100 Best Value Red Wine

727511 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001 $16.95 'Glass Mountain' 'Vintner's Selection', California Prod. & Btld. Markham Vineyards: Vintages catalogue note: The 2000 vintage was a very popular Wine of the Month for Vintages in February 2004. The Glass Mountain line was created by Markham Vineyards to provide consumers with bright, fruit-driven wines ideal for receptions, barbecues or other dinner parties. Enjoy with grilled steaks, lasagna, beef stews
or aged cheeses. My note: What he said. Well put. Delicious ripe red fruit. Score: 88/100

640573 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2000 $25.95 Sonoma County, California Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery: The wine is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot; 4% Petite Sirah; 3% Cabernet Franc. A round, ripe, easy-drinking red with mocha notes. Great with chicken or red meat: versatile like a little black cocktail dress. Medium- to full-bodied. Score: 88/100

740118 SYRAH/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001 $25.95 'Talomas', Central Coast, Australia Prod. & Btld. Robert Mondavi/Rosemount Estate: Big in the mouth but not heavy and hot. Ripe dark red fruit. Poetical with red meat. Age 2-3 years or drink now. Score: 89/100

947879 CABERNET/MERLOT 2000 $24.95 Margaret River, Western Australia Vasse Felix: Vasse Felix's Cabernet/Merlot is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc. When I start recommending wines, such as this, year after year, I congratulate myself for being consistent... then I think that I'm just in a rut. Then I think I'm thinking about this too much and just open the damn bottle. Great food-lovin' acidity, dried red fruit and a saucy little spicy back-kick. Score: 89/100

606707 SHIRAZ 2002 $15.95 Victoria, Australia Zilzie Wines: Fantastic value and taste for the money. A mouth-watering juicy wine with ripe red fruit. Very full-bodied. Score: 89.5/100

599969 PINOT NOIR 2003 $22.95 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand Coopers Creek Vineyard: Vintages catalogue note: Located a mere 30 minutes from downtown Auckland, Coopers Creek is one of the most beautiful locations on the North Island. They source fruit from all over the country and make some of the most critically acclaimed wines in the country. This Pinot Noir's grapes are from their vineyard in the Marlborough region on the South Island. My note: Solid pinot, good value. Dried cherries and balanced acidity makes it food friendly. Score: 87/100

699330 PINOT NOIR 2002 $24.95 Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand Torlesse Wines: Bright, vibrant cherries with a light dusting of spice. Zippy on the palate... cries out for food. Feed it tomato-sauces, turkey and drier meats. Score: 88/100

606913 PINOT NOIR 2001 $34.95 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand Nautilus Estate: Pricier than some of the other NZ PNs, but you're paying for increased complexity, layers and hedonistic yow. A medium-bodied, sax-smooth wine with a rich, silky texture... more rounded and juicy than many New World pinots. Score: 89/100

928267 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 1999 $19.95 WO Stellenbosch, South Africa Mooiplaas Estate: Vintages catalogue note: A complex, yet balanced wine that calls out for a rich, rare meat dish. Aromas recall cassis, eucalyptus and spice. It is dry and nicely balanced by zesty acids and supple tannins. Medium-bodied with a medium long finish. Food match: grilled veal medallions with a red wine reduction sauce. My note: well-balanced and ripe but not too huge. Slight grip on the palate. Score: 88/100

607796 SHIRAZ 2002 $17.95 WO Central Coast, South Africa Graham Beck Wines: Another dependable producer from this country. Dark, rich and deep... maximum wallop for your wallet. Score: 87/100

694208 CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVA 2003 $13.95 Maipo Valley, Chile Viña Perez Cruz: For a couple bucks more than Yellow Tail, you can get even more ripeness and mouth-watering flavor. Very plumy and purply. Score: 85/100

433920 MERLOT 2002 $13.95 'Trio', Rapel Valley, Chile Viña Concha y Toro: A blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Carmenere and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. Very Bordeaux in finish and finesse. Classic leather and cassis aromas. Needs 2-4 years aging. Score: 87/100

963058 CHÂTEAU COS D'ESTOURNEL 2001 $139.95 AC St-Estèphe, Grand Cru Domaines Reybier: A gorgeous, multi-layered wine with rich aromas of cassis, spice, leather and tar. Age a minimum of 5 years and up to 15 years. Score: 92/100 Favorite Red Wine

640243 'CHÂTEAU ROMANIN' ROUGE 2000 $33.95 AC Les Baux-de-Provence, France Château Romanin: Opulent, dense and rich with black fruit and a real attitude. Age 2-5 years. Score: 90/100

988451 DOMAINE DE GRANGENEUVE 2001 $15.95 'Cuvée Vieilles Vignes' AC Coteaux du Tricastin, Rhone, France O. & H. Bour: Easy-drinking vibrant red. Medium-bodied with those classic cedar notes. Excellent with tomato sauces, medium-spice chili and grilled meats. Score: 88/100

906073 GIGONDAS 2001 $29.95 AC, Rhone, France Perrin & Fils: I love the range of wines this producer offers, including an excellent red on the general list. This wine has peppery notes. It's hot (14% alcohol) and full-bodied. Great barbecue companion. Score: 87/100

922005 BAROLO 'VIGNA S. GIACOMO' 1999 $56.95 DOCG, Piedmont, Italy Az. Agr. Oreste Stroppiana: Barolo is like surreal art to me: I don't get it. But this one is far more accessible, with drink-now dried fruit and leather armchair. You could easily age for 3-5 years. Drink with big pasta meals, after which you can't move. Score: 90/100

994574 CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 2000 $34.95 DOCG, Tuscany, Italy Poggio Amorelli: Classic chianti aromas: sour cherries, earth and rooster feathers. (Did anyone catch that?) Needs 3-5 years aging before you even think about putting your hands on that bottle -- slap! Pasta, dear, pasta. Score: 89/100

462812 AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA 1998 $74.95 DOC, Veneto, Italy Vaio Armaron Possessioni di Serego Aligheri-Gargagnago Masi: Can an amarone be a love song? Oh yes: it is the ballad of seduction. First there is the hint of giving over, a teasing out on the palate, a playful dance between flavor and acidity. Then suddenly, you are overwhelmed with its essence, flooding to the back of your mouth and leaving you exhausted but exhilarated. Someone said that experiences such as these are preserved in space somewhere because pleasure so deep can not be extinguished by the mere passing of time. (It is late though.) Dark meats such as brontosaurus and pterodactyl in a teriyaki sauce. Score: 92/100


September 18: Recommended Fortified Wines

603787 VINTAGE PORT 1991 $43.95 Btld. 1993 C.N. Kopke & Ca., Portugal: Vintage catalogue: A rounding, sweet berry, forward Port that is very enjoyable now with dried fruit, nuts or blue-veined cheese. This early maturing vintage Port displays the qualities to come in some of the 1991 vintage's longer ageing cousins. My note: Absolutely lovely. It doesn't matter if you ruined dinner or said something stupid: serve this and all will be forgiven. Score: 93/100


September 18: Recommended White Wines

529685 JOHANNISBERG RIESLING 2003 $14.95 'Private Selection', Central Coast, California Robert Mondavi: Great value. Floral notes: reminds me of a cross between gewürztraminer and viognier. Score: 86.5/100

960492 CHARDONNAY 2003 $21.95 Australia Brokenwood Wines: Lovely spicy pears. Zippy and full-bodied. A salvation for boneless chicken breast. Score: 89/100

568634 RIESLING 2002 $13.95 'Bird Label', QbA Karl Lingenfelder: The unbearable lightness of riesling. A lovely sipper with ripe peaches and nectar. Zippy. Score: 87/100


September 18: Recommended Red Wines

677005 SYRAH 2001 $22.95 Sonoma County, California Cline Cellars: Que syrah, syrah. Don't leave things to chance, take control of your life, or at least, of your wine. This full-bodied, "I'm here!" wine is almost liqueur-like in its density. Dark red fruit. Score: 88/100

954594 PINOTAGE BARRIQUE 2003 $14.95 WO Coastal Region, South Africa Lammershoek Winery: Dark and simple but pleasing. I have to say I like because it doesn't taste like pinotage, which almost always reminds me of burnt rubber. Dark red fruit. Score: 86/100

693895 SYRAH/CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE 2002 $14.95 'Alto de Terra Andina' Maipo Valley, Chile Sur Andino, S.A.: An outstanding value. Chile is really trying hard to get out from under the value plonk image. This wine is beautifully constructed, with New World fruit and Old World elegance. Tastes mostly of cab to me. Age 2-4 years. Grilled meats. Score: 89/100

989517 CHÂTEAU CANON LA GAFFELIÈRE 2001 $119.95 St-Émilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France Comtes de Neipperg, Prop.: Medium-bodied, silky texture with a pleasant bitter finish. Cassis, leather and smoke. Age up to 7-12 years but could drink now if you like a fair grip. Score: 901/00

733410 CHÂTEAU CLARKE 2000 $43.95 AC Listrac, Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux, France: When you don't want to pay Mouton prices, how about shilling for a Mouton-influenced wine? Tannins still grip (age 3-5 years). Deep mocha notes, black-red fruit. Even better than last year... this chateau continues to make great strides year after year. Score: 90/100

989061 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2001 $29.95 AC, Rhone, France Domaine Grand Veneur 'Les Origines' Vign. Alain Jaume et Fils: Rich plumy Rhone with cedar and spice. Age 2-6 years. Serve with smoked and grilled meats and half-baked conversation. Medium-bodied. Score: 89/100

933366 COTES-DU-RHÔNE VILLAGES 2000 $16.95 AC, Rhone, France Paul Jaboulet Aîné: Vibrant red fruit, more cedar and spice, classic. Great value. Score: 88/00

704718 CHÂTEAU MONTUS 2001 $29.95 AC, Southwest France Madiran Domaines et Chateaux d'Alain Brumont: Tannic but will mellow with 3-5 years aging. Plums and pepper. Full-bodied. Score: 891/00

606194 'LE SERRE NUOVE DELL'ORNELLAIA' 2001 $54.95 DOC, Tuscany, Italy Bolgheri, Estate Bottled Ornellaia: The second label of the Turbo Tuscan Ornellaia. Big grip, smoking, towering with dried herbs, sour cherries. Full-bodied. Perfect with pasta under the Tuscan sun. Score: 901/00

995910 AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 1999 $38.95 DOC, Veneto, Italy F. Illi Farina: Vintages catalogue: Deep ruby color with aromas of jam, dried fruits, fresh herbs and black olive. Dry with a sweet centre and mouth-coating glycerin tones. Full-bodied with a long, lush finish. Food match: venison, buffalo steaks. My note: dried red fruit. Pasta-perfect. Score: 89.5/100


September 18: Recommended Dry Rosé

599951 SAIGNÉE ROSÉ 2003 $14.95 'Cellar Selection', Hawkes Bay, New Zealand Sileni Estates: Delicious! Lots of red fruit and food-friendly acidity. Score: 88/100