A trip to visit friends and family prevented me from having the time to write about the wines we tasted from the 22 September 2018 Vintages release. I have included a few of these wines in this post. Due to the high number of decent wines in these two releases, I decided to shorten the length of this post by not including all the wines we tasted and to also exclude the “wines to avoid” section that normally appears on this blog.
Upcoming outstanding Toronto area wine events
Before we jump into the details of the Vintages releases, if you live near the Greater Toronto Area there are three upcoming wine tasting events that may interest you.
On October 16, The Toronto Vintners Club will give you the opportunity to taste eight “Super Tuscan” red wines. Details are available by clicking on this link.
The October 24 WineTasters event is your opportunity to taste a vertical of eight vintages of Chateau Bon Pasteur that span the years 1996 to 2003. Details are available at www.winetasters.ca. In November, WineTasters will give you the opportunity to taste Cote-Rôtie wines from the 2006 vintage. At the time of writing, the registration details of this event were not available but they will soon be published on www.winetasters.ca.
At both of these events, you will enjoy great wine, meet friendly people and have a terrific evening.
The $20 Trapiche Medalla Cabernet Sauvignon 2014—VINTAGES#: 568865 is a cab with pepper notes, ripe fruit, and enough tannin structure to support the wine. A good buy for the money. Decant this wine before serving, if that approach is possible. I doubt the wine’s long-term aging potential as on the second day that the bottle was open the wine tasted flat. This wine retails in the Excited States of America (a.k.a., the USA) for $27CAD, including sales tax. The price in the People’s Republic of Ontario (a.k.a, the Province of Ontario) is a good one.
Fans of dry Riesling will enjoy the $22 Domäne Wachau Terrassen Federspiel Riesling 2017—VINTAGES#: 491902. This is your opportunity to try a Riesling from the Wachau region of Austria at a decent price. This wine is bone dry, has flavors of stone fruit, and has a pleasant floral aspect to its nose. This wine retails for the equivalent of $13CAD in Europe so the government-imposed taxes and markup cause us to pay a premium for this wine. Does this make you feel bad? Well, our friends in Pennsylvania (who also are forced to buy their wine from a government monopoly) are forced to pay $32CAD. Ouch.
Are you willing to reach a little deeper into your pocket for another Riesling experience? If so, consider the $30 Domaines Schlumberger Kessler Riesling 2015—VINTAGES#: 61176. This wine is dry has citrus and stone fruit elements and complexity. A Grand Cru Alsatian wine from a great vintage at this price point represents a decent value. If you need further evidence then consider that this wine retails in Europe for the equivalent of $33CAD.
The $20 Clos de Tafall 2015 Grenache/Carignan—VINTAGES#: 574616 is yet another example of a good-value-Spanish wine. The posted tasting notes are accurate and I enjoyed the slightly rustic elements of this wine. Selling for basically the same price as in Europe this wine represents solid value. Our friends in the good-old USA pay slightly more.
Are you willing to spend an addition $5 for a Spanish red wine? If so, consider the $25 Marqués de Cáceres Reserva 2012 Tempranillo Blend.—VINTAGES#: 702761. I believe that Cáceres consistently puts out enjoyable and affordable wines and this Reserva ticks the right boxes for me. We pay slightly more than our friends in the USA for this wine. However, this wine retailing for the equivalent $13CAD in Spain causes me to consider boarding an airplane to say Hola Espana!
If you need to stock up on a red wine from Tuscany try to $20 Castellani Filicheto Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2013 Prugnolo Gentile Blend—VINTAGES#: 184937. Montepulciano is a short drive from Chianti and in the Montepulciano area, they call the Sangiovese grape Prugnolo. The wines from Montepulciano often represent great value and the Castellani Filicheto is no exception. The posted tasting notes are pretty accurate. This is a wine that you can drink on its own and also would work with food. This wine retails in Europe for the same price so it is fairly priced here and, with the taxes and markup on wine in this country, we could be expected to pay considerably more.
Wines to consider
If you need a serviceable sparkling wine then consider trying the $20 Wolfberger Brut Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling—VINTAGES#: 460832. This wine is bright and crisp with citrus notes (lemon and grapefruit). It is not as complex as the tasting notes imply but this sparkling wine would work well in a reception environment or as a glass of something refreshing to start your evening. If you were in France you could hold that reception for the equivalent of $8CAD a bottle. Vive la France! Vous les chanceux bâtards.
The $18 La Vinicola del Titerno Piedirosso 2012—VINTAGES#: 577213 is an interesting wine. If you like wines with lots of dark fruit, dried fruit elements, sufficient tannins to support it all and a rustic edge give this one a try. For me, this wine would be best enjoyed with food. I could not source comparative price information for this wine.
The empty bottle of the $40 Beni di Batasiolo Riserva Barolo 2008 Nebbiolo—VINTAGES#: 330704 at the end of the tasting was evidence that this wine was popular with the group. Barolos offered by the KGBO (a.k.a., the LCBO) that are less than $60 a bottle often are not enjoyable. You may balk at paying $40 for a bottle of wine but the Batasiolo is your opportunity to try a decent entry level Barolo at a reasonable price. The posted tasting notes overstate the case but I think that you will notice the aspects of roses flower and sour cherries in this wine. You could age the Batasiolo but it is very enjoyable now. Our friends in Europe pay about the same amount of money for this wine.
The posted tasting notes for the $22 Ardal Crianza 2013 Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon
—VINTAGES#: 167601 are pretty accurate. This is an enjoyable, versatile red wine that would work well as a house wine. The wine has a little bit too much oak for my palate but many people will disagree and find this aspect of the wine to be enjoyable. While it is great to see the winemakers of Spain continue to provide us with great value, I can’t help noting the KGBO’s 10 percent price increase from the last release of this wine. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins. I could not source comparative price information for this wine.