Arnold Schwarzenegger’s law of happiness…
Having more money doesn’t make you happier. I have 50 million dollars but I’m just as happy as when I had 48 million.
The Dom’s corollary …
Having more wine doesn’t make you happier. I have 2800 bottles but I’m just as happy as when I had 2600.
Outstanding wines in this release
The $15 Château Bellevue La Forêt 2014 Negrette Blend—VINTAGES#: 354134 will appeal to people that like earthy wines. This wine has balance, character, and good length. The average price of this wine in France is $12CAD. The $15 price in Ontario is not bad and the wine a good value red wine. The KGBO (a.k.a, the LCBO) will allow you to order this wine online and have it delivered to your store for free or to your home for a fee.
The $19 Thema White 2015 Sauvignon Blanc Blend—VINTAGES#: 178442 is a lovely balanced wine with some complexity. The posted tasting notes are accurate with the wine having good minerality and citrix flavors and sufficient acidity to work with food. The wine is a 50/50 blend of Assyrtiko and Sauvignon Blanc and the winemaker pulls it off.
This is the third KGBO release in a row where a white wine from Greece has really shined. The Greeks are kicking ass. These would be great summer time wines so my sole complaint is the timing of their release to the proletariat of the People’s Republic of Ontario. It is, you know, like February presently.
This wine retails for $15CAD in Europe and our friends in the Excited States pay the equivalent price as we do here in the republic. Another good and fair value buy. This wine is available for online ordering.
Port fans should grab a bottle or two of the $42 Dalva Colheita Port 1995 Port—VINTAGES#: 69930. The tasting notes are accurate and I would add that this is a Port with grip (one that has some tannic structure) – an attribute that I prize in Port. Even though this wine is 22 years old it is a baby and would be much better sleeping in your cellar for another 10 or more years. This Port retails for $35CAD in Portugal so the Ontario price represents good value, considering our greedy governments’ retail and tax practices.
If you are a fan of southern Rhone red wine then consider cellaring the $33 Domaine du Grapillon d’Or Gigondas 2015 Grenache/Syrah—VINTAGES#: 981787. Thanks to Doctor C we were able to contrast the 2010 vintage to the 2015. That extra 5 years in bottle yielded an exceptional wine. This Gigondas is much better value than its more famous near-by region of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. If you are able put this wine away to enjoy around 2025. Our neighbors in New York state pay $29CAD for this wine and the good folk in La Belle Province pay $35 (this outcome surprised me as the SAQ normally outperforms the KGBO significantly).
Fans of Nebbiolo based wine (think Barolo and Barbaresco) should stock up and cellar the $30 Anzivino Gattinara 2010 Nebbiolo—VINTAGES#: 534909. The 2010 vintage in the area was fantastic. This is a wine that will please Barolo lovers as it has the elements one expects to find in a decent Barolo at about half the cost. Collectors can use this wine as a cellar protector or let it age and evolve like their more expensive Barolo cousins. It is available in the Excited States for about $25CAD equivalent.
There is something to be said when the posted tasting notes simply state “ripe fruit, dark plum and dark chocolate” and the comments are surprisingly accurate. The $23 Château Paradis 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Blend—VINTAGES#: 415984 needs more time in the bottle to settle down and come together. In a year or two or three I think that you will be enjoying a lovely drink all for $23. This wine retails in France for the equivalent of $27CAD. Give the devil his due and let say that the LCBO is giving you a great value here in the republic.
We had the opportunity to contrast the $30 Château Sénéjac 2015 Bordeaux—VINTAGES#: 962977 with the same wine from the 1985 vintage. That’s not a typo…two wines from a minor Bordeaux producer that were 30 years apart. The outcome? The 2015 bottle is closed and coy. Based on our bottle it is a shame to drink this wine now. The 1985 bottle had plenty of fruit and many tertiary notes (think saddle leather). It was a joy to drink at a fraction of the price normally commanded by an ageable Bordeaux. Will you have a similar experience with the 2015 in 2025 or 2035 or 2045? My money is on it. If you have the cellar space age a few bottles to find out. Unless you are traveling to the USA or France you’ll have to hold your nose on the tax grab vested in the KGBO’s price. This wine sells for less than $18CAD in France and the USA. Thank Comrade Wynne.
Wines to consider
Fans of Spanish wine should consider trying the $18 Monasterio de las Viñas Gran Reserva 2010 Grenache Blend—VINTAGES#: 82024. This an aged full body red wine that would work well with food. Too much wood was the main criticism stemming from our tasting group yesterday. I regret not decanting this wine in advance of the tasting as I have a feeling that an hour or two air time would bring things into balance. You can buy this wine for $11CAD in Spain so the price you are paying in Ontario reflects the expected high taxation and KGBO markup. This wine is available for online ordering.
Riesling fans should consider buying the $17 Heimberger Vieilles Vignes Riesling 2015—VINTAGES#: 168955. For me the unctuousness (that wonderfully oily mouth feel you’ll experience after your sip) of this wine is its most appealing attribute. Only a cooperative can provide an Alsace riesling for this price. It’s not a complex wine nor does it come close to the quality of other Alsace producers. But it offers better quality and better value than many Niagara rieslings and will satisfy a riesling craving. The good people in France pay the same price as we do in Ontario.
Wines to avoid
Wines in this release that we turned thumbs down due to their fruit bomb nature include $28 Astrolabe Province Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014 Pinot Noir—VINTAGES#: 538918. In fairness, the wine has the classic New Zealand fruit-forward nature. I’m just not a fan, especially when I factor in the price. It is a similar story with the $17 Le Cirque Grenache Noir/Carignan/Syrah 2014 Grenache/Syrah/Carignan—VINTAGES#: 277079 borders on being a fruit bomb. It’s too fruit forward for my taste.
The $17 Domaine Bousquet Organic Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut Rosé Sparkling
Pinot Noir/Chardonnay—VINTAGES#: 539080 is a fruity wine with aggressive bubbles. It would be a great addition to Sangria but not that enjoyable on its own.
The $20 d’Arenberg The Money Spider Roussanne 2016 Roussanne—VINTAGES#: 656710 was a disappointment. I love the Roussanne grape and I love this producer but this effort comes across as very commercial and lacks character. I’ll spend my $20 on the Thema.
The $15 Porcupine Ridge Chardonnay 2016 Chardonnay—VINTAGES#: 542175 is a simple wine that disappoints. The Vintages panel’s tasting notes, including describing this wine as “full bodied and rich” are just nonsense.
The $17 Château Grange Cochard Vieilles Vignes Morgon 2014 Gamay—VINTAGES#: 469627 comes across as simple and thin. We were left scratching our heads wondering how the wine critic Josh Raynolds could give this wine the high score of 92. WTF Josh.
There are fruit bombs and then there are tannin bombs. The $25, so called “wine of the month” Otazu Reserva Clásico 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Tempranillo—VINTAGES#: 543728 is a tannin bomb. This wine is nearly a decade old and I doubt that the tannins will ever integrate and become in balance with the other elements of the wine. The Vintage tasting panel says this wine has “fine tannins”. Seriously?