We’ve pleaded, we’ve begged. We’ve been down on hands and knees. We’ve asked for spring. It has finally (sort of) arrived. There is only one thing left to say. Let it wine.
Just in case you happen to live in Ontario and were not aware of the system’s system (or you’ve forgotten), here is a friendly primer and reminder. VINTAGES rolls out a new set of wines every two weeks. We (the wine media) taste them a month ahead and comment on their correctness. Sometimes we even admit which ones we really like.
More reviews than space here permits are available, along with other critics’ thoughts at WineAlign, the place to go for access to bi-weekly previews of critics’ release notes and their top recommendations for all VINTAGES new releases.
These wines are in stores now. They are just six of my recommendations from the May 10th, 2014 release.
Jean Maurice Raffault Chinon Rosé 2013, Ac, Loire, France (119693, $16.95, WineAlign)
There is a cautious though skilled reservation in this Rosé, the Cabernet Franc currant and peppery aromas a faint and subtle thought. Light and refreshing Chinon as dry as dry ice and built with tang and length. The late note is of slightly charred bell pepper. Excellent food versatile Rosé, even if it falls away quicker than should be. Tasted April 2014 @LeSommelierWine
Anselmann Edesheimer Rosengarten Siegerrebe Spätlese 2012, Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany (910554, $16.95, WineAlign)
A really fun wine. Siegerrebe is not meant to be contemplated by a panel of ancient philosophers with modern doctorates. In its most basic incarnation it is a sipper, a warm weather, sundowner tipple to quaff on its own or as an aromatic lifter in conjunction with fortifiers in a light, fizz-induced cocktail. This Spätlese (late harvest) later-picked variation offers a step up the beanstalk of residual sugar-laced complexity. At the price it begs to be tried. The fruit is both sweet and drying at the same time, like Moscato in a waxy, soapy, juicy fruit, bitter way. Tasted April 2014
Tabalí Reserva Especial 2009, Limarí Valley, Chile (107540, $22.95, WineAlign)
A mating of masculine, slow, open-grill smoked meat and cooking bacon aromas and a dehydrated Syrah lees, coarse pepper crust is tempered by feminine, cool eucalyptus and juniper accents. A big wine that is rounded and grounded by some Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Anxious, tight, modern and a real finisher. Tasted April 2014 @TabaliWines @oenophilia1
Delas Frères Les Launes Crozes Hermitage 2011, Ac, Rhône, France (701359, $22.95, WineAlign)
What a gorgeous flower and wet stones nose in this Syrah. So pretty and inviting. Tart, sweet berries, smooth and integrated fruit acid continuum, very sure and correct. A perennial righteous bottling, anything but excessive and a tremendous value is every way. Don’t be Delas to know. Tasted April 2014 @HHDImports_Wine
Flat Rock The Rusty Shed Chardonnay 2011, VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, (1552, $24.95, WineAlign)
The Shed’s balance is best in ’11, the equation solved. A sweetness on the palate is buttery, the length languid, smooth and graceful. A very pretty Shed. A spirit in the night. “Stand right up and let it shoot right through you.” From my earlier February 2014 note: “Conspicuous by its texture from a mild to middling vintage “when you picked before or after the rain.” Though combined, the antechamber of acidity and good cheer trumps the mudroom of funk and doldrums. A Guns ‘n Roses vintage, a pull in two directions, with a potential for breakdown. “Ev’rything was roses when we held on to the guns.” A soft, buttery note tempers the tang and yet that tang lifts the fruit. The tension is what sets the ’11 up for a classic run. Last tasted April 2014
Quails’ Gate Merlot 2011, BC VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (169961, $25.95, WineAlign)
From estate vineyards on the Boucherie Mountain bench, this is cool Merlot, from a cooler vintage, with cool climate anxiety. The conditions and the style wave a finger to promote some vineyard funk to speak, along with Merlot’s characteristic dust and powder. “A big red beacon,” as in berries and plums, earth and spice. Red all around. Smoky, still so young, with lots of acidity and tannin that will need five years to come together. Kneel down to show some appreciation for this quality Merlot. A bit of late bitter stringency but of no real matter. Tasted April 2014 @Quails_Gate
Good to go!