Tag Archives: cabernet sauvignon

Halloween Re-post: Return of the Living Red

30 Oct
vineyard zombies?  delicious!

vineyard zombies? delicious!

Mash Design, the marketing brains behind the labels for Mollydooker, Two Hands and Magpie Estate, is back with old friends Redheads Studio for this genius new brand. From the unmarked, wax-dipped bottle to the small envelope of crime files, vineyard zombies and disturbing photos, this packaging is utterly unique. The contents of the bottle (yet to be reviewed) is just as unique, blending the Portuguese variety Touriga Nacional with Cabernet Sauvignon from different regions and different vintages. Download this .pdf file for more. Scroll left-to-right to view all images.

Ret_of_living_red3

The attached package of medical images and eerie photos is more than mildly reminiscent of Pearl Jam's Vitalogy liner notes.

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Reviewed: Calvet Reserve de L’Estey Medoc (2005)

12 Jan

Calvet Reserve de L'Estey Medoc 2005

Warm and very dry, 2005 was one of the greatest vintages of recent decades in Bordeaux.  So, I was happy to discover a case of ’05 mixed in with the 30-odd cases of 2006 Calvet Reserve de L’Estey Médoc we received in the fall of 2009.  I picked up a bottle and stashed it for the holidays, only opening it recently.

My expectations were not particularly high.  First, this is not a premium Bordeaux:  at $25 it comes in at the value end of the Bordeaux spectrum (in BC).  Second, J. Calvet is not a producer best-known for ultra-high quality wines.  Third,  Calvet is actually a Saint-Émilion producer.  This wine, a Médoc, must be made from purchased grapes – certainly not their ‘flagship’ product.  All my hopes rested on the vintage:  it’s ’05, so it has to be good, right?

Well, it was pretty good.  Bright red cherries and red currants introduce themselves on the nose, followed by chocolate, dill, anise and hints of earth.   The palate follows a similar pattern, with bright, ripe fruit up front,  moving into dried herbs, cocoa and long tannins.  An approachable and very quaffable Bordeaux from an excellent vintage.  Now to try that “B” vintage ’06 to compare…

At last check, there were a few ’05 left at Everything Wine (North Vancouver), and plenty of 2006.  $24.99

An $1,100 Flight to Flavour Country

19 Nov

my first Grange!

While I wasn’t lucky enough to enjoy the wisdom of host Chris Sharpe, working late last night did result in the reward of sampling the heels of the wines from his Ultra Premium Tasting.  If you happen to have $1,100 you need to dispose of, these five wines will do the trick nicely. All are available at Everything Wine and prices listed are current retail.

Quinta do Vale Meao 2005
Douro, Portugal

Touriga Nacional (40%), Touriga Franca (25%), Tinta Roriz (25%)

This wine’s nose is charming and gorgeous, with concentrated ripe red berries, pretty floral notes, earth and tar.  The palate is bright and lush, with red raspberry, sweet cherry and peppery spice. Complex, exotic and hugely appealing, I would gladly drink this wine daily – and with just about any fare. This doesn’t strike me as a wine that would fare well in the cellar, but with luscious fruit like this, who wants to wait anyway? $109.99

~

Achaval Ferrer Finca Mirador 2006
Medrano, Mendoza, Argentina
Malbec (100%)

From a 12 acre vineyard at 2400′ asl harvested to 0.75 tons per acre. The colour and aroma seemed to indicate a wine with some maturity, with it’s slightly brick-hued rim and subtle earth scents.  That illusion was soon shattered, as the palate bursted with bright red and black fruits, fresh and ripe with mouthwatering acidity.  Suprising, but delicious nonetheless.  I’d definitely leave this one in the cellar another half-dozen years. $119.99

~

Numanthia Termanthia 2005
Toro, Spain
Tinto de Toro (100%)

From an 11 acre plot, 2600 feet above sea level, planted with 100+ year old ungrafted vines, the yields were well under 1 ton of fruit per acre. The wine was barrel fermented and received the ‘200% new oak’ treatment for 20 months before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. It is big, tannic and extremely ageworthy. ~ erobertparker.com

A wonderfully complex nose, with layers of black cherry, sweet cassis, blackberry, caramel, licorice, mineral, toast and tar.  I went back two or three times to take it all in before taking a sip.  When I did, I received a powerul mouthful of rich black fruits, baking spices and a mess of fine tannins. Structured enough for a decade or more of cellaring, but a wonderfully unique and enjoyable wine now. Maybe the best Tempranillo I have tasted. Fantastic. $259.99

~

Shafer Hillside Select 2004
Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California
Cabernet Sauvignon (100%)

Incredibly rich, from the sweet cassis and vanilla-oak nose to the silky mouthfeel and super-long and textured finish.  The Hillside exhibits opulent black cherry, chocolate, graphite and oak.  32 months in 100% new French oak lends a silky, sexy, layered palate and a flawless finish. This wine is beautifully intense – one of the most pleasurable sips I’ve had in a long, long while. $325.99

~

Penfolds Grange Bin 95 2004
South Australia
Shiraz (96%), Cabernet Sauvignon (4%)

…grown to very special vineyards in the Barossa and McLaren Vale, with a component from the distinguished Magill Estate site in the Adealide Hills. Grange remains as Australia’s most famous wine, a peerless wine of historical significance, officially listed as a Heritage Icon of South Australia. Above-average winter rainfall led into a promising vintage, characterised by mild conditions up until February, followed by warmer weather conditions throughout March and April. Penfolds South Australian vineyards fared well, producing wines of elegance and intensity. Matured for sixteen months in exclusively new American oak hogsheads. Alcohol 14.3% ~ PenfoldsGrangeForSale.com

My first Grange!  Tauted as one of the greatest vintages of Australia’s most prestigious wine, the 2004 Grange might never have had a chance at living up to its $600AUD pre-release price. Concentrated ripe black fruits, cherry cola, smoked meat. The palate is very concentrated, but still bright.  I expected more – more tannin, more acid, more fruit, more alcohol.  But this wine is not for drinking now – it is all about 10 years from now. $424.99

Paul Hobbs: Argentine Pioneer

18 Sep
vineyards of vina cobos, mendoza

Vineyards of Viña Cobos, Mendoza

As a winemaker, Paul Hobbs is highly regarded for his ability to identify exceptional vineyards and for his innovation and pioneering spirit in working with new and historical sites and regions. His success has inspired a wealth of nicknames among the press, from quiet trendsetter to prospector to truffle-hunting dog. Hired by Robert Mondavi for his advanced understanding of oak aging, he went on to become winemaker for Opus One and Simi wineries.

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Paul Hobbs on Wine Taste TV

Recently, Paul is known for his namesake winery in Napa Valley, which has received high accolades (including multiple 100-point scores from Robert Parker) for its Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. What is less well known is that Hobbs is a pioneer in fine wine production in Argentina, having started there in 1988 with Decanter Magazine’s “Man of the Year” for 2009, Nicolas Catena. Señor Catena gives Hobbs much credit for the success of Catena-Zapata’s Chardonnay program. He has since extended his consulting efforts both in Argentina and Chile, consulting with various producers, including La Pampa winery Bodega Del Desierto. But the pinnacle of Hobbs’ work is Mendoza winery Viña Cobos, which began in 1998 and moved into its own winery facility in 2007.

Viña Cobos has expanded its lineup to include the Felino range of varietal wines: Chardonnay, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.  The 2007 vintage saw the entire Felino range score 90 points or better by Winedesierto Advocate reviewer Jay Miller.

Bodega del Desierto is the first winery in the Argentine province of La Pampa, a new viticultural region on the western border of the desert route to Patagonia, 700km south of Mendoza. The premium 25/5 varietal range posses Hobbs’ signature rich concentration and drinkability and have been included in”Smart Buy!” and “Top Value” lists by Wine Spectator magazine.

felino cabernetViña Cobos Felino Chardonnay 2008
Classic Argentine Chard, with pronounced oak, but well-balanced by tropical fruit and decent acidity.  90 points, Wine Advocate (August, 2009) $21.99, Everything Wine

Viña Cobos Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Good concentration for the price, with solid cassis fruit, dark berry and sweet vanilla.  91 points, Wine Advocate (December, 2008) $21.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5  Chardonnay 2007Bodegas_del_Desierto_25-5_Chardonnay
Top-notch Chardonnay by Mr. Hobbs, with a rich and creamy mouthfeel, great fruit concentration and enough acidity for food pairing. $27.99, Everything Wine

Bodega del Desierto 25/5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Another good example of the fruit-forward Paul Hobbs style.  Concentrated blackberry and sweet cassis fruit.  Good tannic structure and oak influence. $27.99, Everything Wine

sources:
http://www.bodegadeldesierto.com/

http://www.vinacobos.com/
http://www.paulhobbs.com/
http://www.erobertparker.com/
http://www.winetastetv.com/

congrats on the retirement, dave. enjoy!

4 Jun

cristia renaissanceanaperennaalpha syrah

Big congratulations to Dave on his recent retirement.  I was more than happy to help put together a package for him.  Now I’m terribly envious of his personal wine library! This is a killer group of wines that can be enjoyed for the next decade and beyond.  Keep reading for details on Dave’s 12 new friends.

Cheers, Dave!

Continue reading

Wines of Mexico

11 Apr
mexico-flag

WoM Fest 2009 @ the Met in Vancouver - Olé!

The 2009 Wines of Mexico Fest took place on Thursday, April 2 2009 at the Metropolitan Hotel. The tasting gave Vancouverites an opportunity to try some of the best wines from our sunny southern neighbour.

Mexico has been producing wine for more than five centuries. In recent years the quality of Mexican wines has attracted international attention, and Mexico has won medals in many prestigious international competitions including the Challenge International de Vin, California’s Orange County Fair, and the Selections Mondiales. The Wines of Mexico Fest in Vancouver will showcase wines from select Mexican wineries, including Monte Xanic, Bodegas de Santo Tomas, and L.A. Cetto.

The Monte Xanic winery prides itself on being a pioneer in winemaking process and technology. It is located in Mexico’s most prestigious winemaking region, Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California. The winery’s methods produce premium and ultra-premium wines that perfectly express the terroir of this exquisite area. www.montexanic.com.mx

Bodegas de Santo Tomas, founded in 1888, has been producing wine longer than any other winery currently operating in Mexico. The first vines in the Santo Thomas Valley were planted by Dominican missionaries who settled the Baja area around 1697. Bodegas de Santo Tomas is well-known on the international stage for its high-quality wines. www.santo-tomas.com

from http://mexicanwineries.blogspot.com/

Two standout wines from WoM 2009:unico-crop

Bodegas de Santo Tomas
Unico Cabernet Merlot Gran Reserva 2004
Baja California, Mexico
approx. $110 (not yet available in BC)

Santo Tomas makes some of Mexico’s best and most expensive wines. Unico, a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot, is a big, concentrated wine that exhibits characteristics of high quality wines from both California and Spain. The nose is intense and complex, with red and black fruits, mineral, leather, coffee and spice. The palate is both rich and bright, with sour cherry and raspberry jam, earth and spicy cinnamon-cocoa. The finish is persistent, with fine but grippy tannins. An excellent wine, but a hard sell at the probable BC price of over $100. It’s fantastic that Mexican houses are producing ultra-premium wine, but consumers may not be willing to gamble on Mexican wine at ultra-premium prices. 92 pointsxanic-cab-merlot


Monte Xanic
Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot 2005
Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, Mexico
approx. $30 (not yet available in BC)

This red blend from Monte Xanic was one of the many surprises at the Wines of Mexico fair, held April 2 in Vancouver. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, the wine has an intense nose of cassis, cherry cola, licorice, smoke and mineral. The palate is big and round, with sweet dark berries, chocolate, espresso and long, spicy tannins. This is a very well put-together wine, with all the hallmarks of a high-quality California Cabernet blend. I just hope they price them reasonably for release in this market – Mexican wines will be a hard sell, regardless of their quality. 90 points

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 5}

6 Mar
joe attended the california wine fair march 3 in vancouver

joe attended the california wine fair march 3 in vancouver

download issue 5.pdf

Issue five of vino valore has a double-focus: the great-value wines of Chile and the premium offerings of California. I’ve assembled some recent tasting notes from some standout Chilean reds under $20 and summed up highlights of the California Wine Fair, held March 3rd in Vancouver. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 5.pdf

please note, issue five is extra long!  print on legal sheet.

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 4}

20 Feb
domaine-gauby-roussillion

in this issue: Domaine Gauby Cotes du Rousillon Rouges 2006 - 90 points

download issue 4.pdf

Issue four is the biggest vino valore yet, with seven great wines reviewed and a report from the first IVSA tasting of the new year. Cheers!

~Joe Corkscrew

download issue 4.pdf


Magito Cabernet Blend (2006)

16 Feb

photo_cab

Magito Wines
Highlands Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2006
Sonoma County, California
$33 (approx.) Private stores

Magito Wines’ Cabernet blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 20% Merlot. This wine is pure California, with intense blackberry and cassis, vanilla spice and cherry cola. Well-structured, but still rich and chocolately, the tannins are firm but elegant.  I wish I could tell you where to get this wine – it is available in BC, but not at government stores.  Check your local private bottle shop, but try not to pay more than $35. 91 points – Excellent

*Magito Wines Zinfandel (not yet rated) is available at BC Liquor Stores and Everything Wine for $26.99

V I N O | V A L O R E {issue 3}

6 Feb

luna-cropIt’s the dead of winter and the middle of a global recession, so I’ve reviewed a handful of great-value wines made from grapes that might be new to you. Spice things up this February (without maxing the plastic) with a tasty Mencía or Cortese. And while you’re at it, pick up a little something for the sweetheart – Valentine’s Day is next week! I can help: issue three of vino valore is here!

download issue 3.pdf

* * * * *

in this issue, discover little-known grape varieties like:

Pedro Jimenez

Cortese

Mencia

…and more!

download issue 3.pdf

more reviews and exclusive articles here

email joe: vinovalore@gmail.com