Vintages Pre-Release Tasting — October 2011

October 27, 2011 Reported by Richard Thibodeau

The VPR on October 27th held some nice surprises for attendees. The biggest surprise of the evening was the Concha Y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 54 Syrah 2008. At $16.95, it packed a lot of fruit and was easily the best value wine of the night. Other winners: the Loosen Bros. Dr. L., the Château Hauchat Fronsac, and the Coudoulet De Beaucastel.

The tasting was composed of one white flight and three reds. As usual, all wines were tasted blind.
Here are the notes …

White Flight
The favourite of the whites this evening was overwhelmingly the Loosen Bros. Dr. L, Riesling, 2010, Mosel, Germany, 599274, $14.95. It had a nice sweet nose and Riesling typicity. A straight-ahead Riesling with good balance.

Anne Boecklin Réserve, Gewurztraminer, 2009, AC Alsace (Cave Vinicole Kientzheim- Kaysersberg), 141226, $19.95. Redolent of rosewater, hyacinthe, with a creamy mouth-feel, this is a good value, seductive Alsatian Gewürztraminer.

A disappointing Sol De Andes Reserva Especial, Chardonnay 2009, Casablanca Valley, Chile, 254326, $16.95, resulting from over- smoked toast, which overpowered the tropical flavours. A save-your- money type of wine.

First Red Flight
Domaine René Couly Chinon 2009, AC, (Couly-Dutheil Père & Fils, Vitic.), France, 007286, $17.95. Rounded and supple with cherry, plum, pencil and vanilla. Good one.

Another good value wine was the Château Hauchat, 2009, AC Fronsac, Bordeaux, France, (Jean- Bernard Saby & Fils, Vitic.), 123489, $14.95. Smooth, dry, plum and cherry, integrated tannins, earth. (86% Merlot, 14% Cab Franc)

Salcheto Rosso Di Montepulciano 2008, DOC, Italy, 165357, $17.95. What is this aroma? Could it be an intense Riesling-like petrole? Green notes with tobacco. Fruity with mid acidity. But …

Refreshingly, the Sabor Real Viñas Centenarias Tempranillo, 2007, DO Toro, Spain, (Bodegas Campina), 244772, $15.00 came along with prune, cheery-earth-berry, tar and smooth tannins. Good acid. Good length.

Second Red Flight
The best value of the evening was the Concha Y Toro Winemaker’s Lot 54, Syrah 2008, Los Brujos Vineyard, San Javier Valley, Maule Valley, 227496, $16.95. Very dark with ripe fruit, cherry, blackberry and coffee.

Château De Beaucastel, Coudoulet De Beaucastel (Grenache 30%, Mourvèdre 30%, Syrah 20%, Cinsault 20%), 2009, AC Côtes du Rhône, France, 048884, $29.95. Juicy berry, raspberry, organics, pepper, earth and smooth tannins.

Domaine Grand Veneur Châteauneuf-Du-Pape (Grenache predominates over Syrah and Mourvèdre), 2009, France, 041954, $44.95. A restrained CdP with dark fruit, black berries, anise, spice and smoke.

Third Red Flight
Benziger Family, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007, Sonoma County, USA, 597237, $29.95. A 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Typicity. Dark berries, chocolate and long finish

Here’s a question about the Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Alexander Valley, Sonoma County,

USA, 004002, $39.95. Why would a winery actually choose to bottle a wine like this using an agglomerated cork? Anyone? In any case, it’s got a complex structure with cassis, spice and decent tannin.

Pasqua Amarone Della Valpolicella, 2007, DOC, Italy, 247890, $36.95. A medium-weight Amarone dry and earthy with a big tannic attack.

Pietranera Brunello Di Montalcino, 2005, DOCG, Italy, 189761, $36.95. Speaking of tannins, it was a good thing that this was the last wine of the evening. An unpleasant aroma to begin but it blew off after some time in the glass.