The wine diaries: Labour Day long weekend edition

Kempenfeldt Sunset. Photo by Kiowaman

As seen on

As the sun sets over one of the most glorious summers in recent memory, there’s a resolute call to reflect on food and wine. The last vestiges of summer freedom fades in the rear-view mirror, the corn morphs to starch and the kids are back to school. Props to the season’s reds, whites, rosés and sparklers, to their makers and to the cooks who feed us. Our attention now focuses in anticipation of Ontario’s promising 2012 vintage.

Grilled Lamb, racks and chops, secret marinade. Photo by Kiowaman

Wine with Dinner

Pedroncelli Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel 2009 (463026, $22.95) first tasted one month ago is a model of Zinsistency. A page right out of the Dry Creek Valley book and plants a seed for an iconic future. Brambles on through “the darkest depths of Mordor” with nary a cloying moment. No fruit bomb.  89

Foley Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills 2003 ($35) shines like Hindu dessert gold and shimmers of a Sauternes-like translucency. Begs proof is in the Meyer lemon curd pudding for nearly 10 years on Santa Barbara Chardonnay. Admittedly on the cusp of redox, the Foley is a brilliant canary yellow diamond low rider in the SRH rough. Low beam lit this late in life, on cruise control and “drives a little slower.” Why can’t we be friends?  90

Marchesi Antinori Castello della Sala Bramito del Cervo Chardonnay 2010 (176792, $21.95) plays significant other sibling to Piero’s Umbrian Grand Cru vino bianco, the exceptional Cevaro della Sala. In times like these a wise trade up of two Cevaro for five Bramito means the little one can repeatedly ring my bell with fresh, lively citrus zest and stone fruit tang. Sip while preferably grilling wild Halibut but settling for modest Tilapia and find “the night is young and full of possibilities.”  88

BBQ Dinner. Photo by Kiowaman

Wine with Dessert

Kourtaki Muscat of Samos (938407, $14.95) has officially challenged me to find a better IVR* dessert wine under $15. Honey and apricots in waves. Candied somewhere between hard-ball and soft-crack. Caramelized yet short of praline or brittle. Would love to match with All-Day Cake.  88

Jane’s All-Day Cake. Photo by Kiowaman

More September 1st Tasting Notes

Jean Perrier & Fils Abymes Cuvée Prestige 2010 (271981, $12.95) is built of Jacquère, a mountain varietal that mimics Chardonnay with soft soap, Savoie delicacy. Porcine jambons et saucissons along with Abondance both in mucilage and in its cry for companionship. Wild mountain Artemisia, Génépi and citrus notes in line with Altesse, Savoie’s queen of white grapes.  87

Gérard Bertrand St. Chinian Syrah/Mourvedre 2009 (281832, $16.95) espouses oak’s bittersweet chocolate and smouldering dry heat to the south of France’s schist limestone, lavender and garrigue. Alluring, facile French purity in this all-purpose Languedoc red.  88

Château Clément St-Jean 2009 (199208, $17.95) spoons calm, cool, collected as a Bordeaux Cru Bourgeois with fruit, acidity and tannin all in balance. Beauty grows vicariously out of the hebetic and muliebrous 2009 vintage by way of an immediate transference to the Medoc’s middle class. This château shines, “thinking clean clean thoughts” and demonstrates there is an ecclesiastical time for everything.  88

Hamburgers and Hot Dogs. Photo by Kiowaman

Quinta Do Portal Reserva 2008 (280578, $19.95) flashes a new Douro smile with teeth stained as if by Jacaranda Mimosifolia. Sybaritic blend of three typical Portuguese grapes, a Tinta and two Tourigas. Super berry, dynamic Douro but not overdone.  89

Castello Di Bossi C. Berardenga Chianti Classico 2009 (994608, $22.95) of distilled potpourri proboscis wastes no time amnestying itself from the barbed Sangiovese wire and lights up with life. A boon for modern Tuscany, the Bossi agglutinates to the glass, better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Backs up the red plum truck and shows off improbable clarity for such a young CC.  90

Fattoria Dei Barbi Brunello Di Montalcino 2006 (928028, $41.95) abides as spokesperson for old school Sangiovese Grosso. A throwback to the classes of ’75, ’85 and ’95. Teasingly soft at the outset, the cherry, leathery grit and determination is found at its core and tastefully follows through to a hard-edged finish. I wouldn’t wait 20 years, but certainly five to 10.  91

IVR* – Vintage Direct intrigue-to-value ratio

Good to go!

The Wine Diaries. VINTAGES June 9, 2012: Southern France

Southern France. Photo Credit: Travel Blat

Previous posts on the VINTAGES, June 9th release:

The Wine Diaries. VINTAGES June 9, 2012: Reds

The Wine Diaries. VINTAGES June 9, 2012: Whites and Rosés

VINTAGES June 9, 2012 Release: Six from Chile

Four alternative whites from the Vintages June 9th release

If vineyards were retail stores in a mall, a wine’s cheapness would be directly proportional to its proximity to a food court. Southern France knows little of fast food and its vineyards are stamped with an emblematic sense of place. Add to that an across the board aptitude to craft as art from indigenous fruit and it is clear that quality has never been better.

Domaine Piquemal Tradition 2009 (272419, $15.95) out of the Côtes du Roussillon shines like the sun on purple vetch. A taste of black licorice popsicle dripping into a wooden bowl of raspberries. Taut and firm, looking for roasting meat.  87

Foncalieu Réserve Du Sud Languedoc 2009 (272443, $15.95) is another SGC composition. Jets to black where Syrah is sooty, Grenache gamey and Carignan cumbrous. All tolled and told this is a very big wine for $16. Will get my thumb lost in its plum pudding.  88

Gérard Bertrand Grand Terrior Grenach/Syrah 2009 (147983, $18.95) the languid one of Montpeyroux in Languedoc is certainly more Anita and less Enrique. Still, it fails to ring my bell. There is sour licorice and also low acid-lees sediment. Would work for a disco rendezvous. “Well lay back and relax while I put away the dishes.”  84

Hegarty Chamans No. 2 Grenache/Mourvèdre/Cinsault 2009 (277061, $21.95) of port-like, cassis and orange whip qualities cabs and scats its way onto the stage. The brother John Moucher from Minervois, blue-candy and heavy in style, “a red-hot hoochie coocher.” Some citrus animation keeps it tapping.  88

Mont Tauch Le Tauch Fitou 2009 (272484, $19.95) of chew, chunk and funk seems ancient in style. An acerbic bomb of tannin, alcohol and fruit. All I can say is wow. Bare, bold and beautiful.  88

Château De L’aumerade 2010 (277616, $15.95) ascertains a sunny disposition so colloquially Provence it’s obvious. Rosé scent of strawberry cream and modish in its gastronomic versatility. A locavinous foody.  87

Château de Trignon Gigondas 2006 (681817, $29.95) is old school, weighty, Frank the Tank. Base, brash, fleshy, formidable. The kind of Rhône that kills off brain cells, abandons all reason and goes streaking through the quad. Oh, baby.  91

Domaine Des Fées Côtes Du Rhône 2010 (272450, $14.95) should rightly flash like a nocturnal animal’s eyes, what with the unfiltered Grenache and Syrah raised in concrete on the outskirts of Rhône town. Not so. Elegant, refined and quite pretty actually. A wee wine this fée, gnomish, of peace and fair play.  88

Montirius Le Clos Vacqueyras 2007 (76547, $28.95) the organic one is consistently relevant and creatively prolific, “goin’ as much with the river as not.” The Grenache throws no punches while the Syrah “don’t push the river.” Initially idiosyncratic, the funk abides with a swirl to reveal a licorice and Kirsch liqueur. The wine as sleeping beauty becomes a giant. Soulful vacuum of traditional country meets R & B.  90

Romain Duvernay Vacqueyras 2009 (280966, $24.95) is a dark Vaq, modern, big on extraction. Possesses the least sense of place from these ten. At times seems Tuscan, other times Napa. Minerality and dark berries abound, as do chalky tannins. Time will tell the story but either way, you have to like the concentrated style.  88

Good to go!