VINTAGES March 3rd Release
Friday March 2, 2012
Theme here is ‘Made in France, 13 Benchmark-Setting Grapes’ and though I pause over the possibilities of essential Alsatian Pinot Gris, ory Burgundian Chablis and even Northern Rhône Crozes-Hermitage, France today feels an ocean away. Second thoughts choose to sail alongside the emigration of Bordelais rootstock, round the horn of South America and making land where expatriate vines flourish in Chile.
Errazuriz Max Reserva Estates Single Vineyard Carmenère 2009 (273300, $18.95)
Priced in Alberta and British Columbia at $23, Manitoba $29.
While Concha Y Toro’s Block 27 (562892, $29.95) and Montes Purple Angel (062364, $56.95) are two upwardly mobile examples of the varietal, this SV is the wine to buy on March 3rd. My tasting note pulls a number and stands in line behind a battery of critical flattery. My two cents. Rich, textured, unctuous with a hint of Orange Crush, the Max Reserva has got its spine and is typically green, but in a good way. Electric, riveting and made of conscious movement. 90
Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar (90), “…packs a solid punch but this wine is quite elegant and seamless.” Decanter (****, 16.5), “…very harmonious wine with juicy, ripe, succulent red and black fruit layering spice and bitter chocolate flavour.” Anthony Gismondi, The Vancouver Sun (91), “…speaks to what is possible when care is taken…the finish is like a sunset with bits of dried tomatoes, spice, tobacco and ripe tannins.” International Wine Report (90+), “…full body coats your palate while the round polished tannins glide into the silky finish.” Wall Street Journal, “…a superb wine for those cold nights ahead.” Kurtis Kolt, Wine Access, “…brilliant acidity and perfectly integrated tannins. A stunner.” Tracey, 40-Something Life, “..memories of bonfires in England, of smoky cedar wood with a hint of cassis and fresh herbs.” Also WE (88), RJ (88), CT’s (89).
Next an IVR* deal in California Chardonnay here today, gone tomorrow. Act quick.
Marimar Estate La Masía Don Miguel Vineyard Chardonnay 2007 (270090, $19.95) wants to be consumed in the here and now. Progression has reached the optimum wheelhouse core, freshness and pique wound tightly around juicy citrus and mild vanilla buttered toast. In fact the oak is so subtle the medium-bodied fruit remains the star. 90
The Marimar is named after the man himself, Miguel Torres. The price here may be a one-off but not exactly 50% off, more like 30%. Heimoff of WE (90) says “dry, crisply acidic and strong in flavor in its youth.” CC Guide (90) notes, “a complete and involving wine” while David Lawrason is reverent with “riveting and intriguing.” La Masía is on Susan Desjardins’ list as she praises it as having, “loads of personality.” WS (88) and CT’s (88).
Other Wines of Note:
Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (711663, $119.95)
Antinori Guado Al Tasso 2008 (986380, $89.95)
Clos Del Rey 2004 (154385, $49.95)
Le Salette Pergole Vece Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2006 (19984, $95.95)
IVR* – Vintage Direct Intrigue-to-Value Ratio
Good to go!