Wine, Wine Reviews

Professor B’s April 2 Vintages Release Recommendations

Wine tasting
Wine tasting

This release juxtaposes Old World and new World wines.

The management of Vintages decided to provide an opportunity for consumers to taste and compare deliciously different versions of the same grape or blend from both parts of the world.

Old World refers to Europe, and new World, everywhere else i.e North- and South Americas, Australia, and South Africa.

Asian coteries have no stake yet!

Actually, the same grape variety grown on two vineyards, even though they may be close, will taste different. This is what terroir is all about!

Cabernet sauvignon grown in Bordeaux, will taste different to that grown in Napa Valley, or Ontario’s Niagara Peninsula.

The whole exercise involves which one appeals more to one’s palate.

Here are two chenin banc wines, one from South Africa, the other from the Loire Valley’s Vouvray sub-appellation. Both taste fine, but pending on your background and up bringing, you may prefer the Vouvray to the South African version, but both are eminently enjoyable.

Then there are two sauvignon blanc, one from Sancerre, Loire Valley, and the other from new Zealand’s Marlborough region on the northern part of the South Island. Here again, both are fine wines, but I chose Sancerre from the Loire.

Then comes the comparison of chardonnay, world’s most popular white grape variety. The comparison is a single vineyard Auxey Duresses La Canee (Burgundy) to a Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley chardonnay. As expected, the Burgundian version is leaner, and more refined than the California interpretation. The California interpretation is higher in alcohol, and was made using riper fruit than the Auxey Duresses. In the reds, the comparison is, in my opinion unfair.

The Burgundy pinot noir is from the lowest appellation whereas the California version is a well-recognized brand from a very famous winery. In the case of cabernet sauvignon, the of the catalogue chose Chateau Beau Site from Bordeaux’s St. Estephe appellation, and compared it a cabernet sauvignon from a single vineyard Sonoma Mountain wine. The Bordeaux is 2009 cru bourgeois level vintage, and the California is 2012.

I happen to think this is an unfair comparison.

Overall this exercise proves once more that wines of different terroirs should not be compared with one another. Every consumer perceives wines and tastes differently.

What matters is how each wine appals to the same consumer.

De gustibus non est diputandum.
My recommendations reflect what I believe.

Fortified wine

Quinta do Bomfim, Vintage port 2204, Dow, Douro Valley, Portugal
This delightful port contains 10 per cent residual sugar, but is well balanced, offering berry fruit aromas, with an excellent backbone and layers of taste. Long finish
Ready to drink, but would benefit from two to six years of cellaring.
89/100
375 ml., $ 29.95

Sake

Honjozo Sake, Eiko Fuji Ban Ryu, Yamgata Prefecture, Japan
An eminently enjoyable, light, and soft sake that can be paired with vegetable sushis or consumed on its own.
88/100
720 ml., $ 33.95

Sparkling wines

Grand Millesime Brut, 2006, Baron Fuente, Champagne, France
Pale yellow colour. Aromas of apricots, cassis and biscotti lead to a chalky flavour. Light with vivacious perlage.
90+/100
$ 56.95

Also recommended

Exclusive Brut Gran Reserva Cava, 2010, Marques de Gelida, Penedes, Spain
88/100
$ 19.95

White wines

Karia Chardonnay, 2013, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Napa Valley, California
Dark brilliant yellow. Aromas of pineapple, peach, and melons emanate from the glass. Mid-weight to full body. Excellent balance and depth.
92/100
$ 48.95

Sancerre, 2014, Roland Tissier et Fils, Loire Valley, France
A superbly balanced, fresh, and elegant Sancerre from the eastern part of the Lorie Valley. Aromas of citrus linger on the palate. Minerality is clearly noticeable. Excellent finish.
90+/100
$ 27.95

Chablis Premier cru Cote de Lechet, 2013, Sylvain Mosnier, Chablis, France
Brilliant yellow. Citrus aromas and minerality dominate the first impressions. Racy acidity, balanced with extract and touch of residual sugar.
Enjoy with shrimp with dill, cream and pastis, or smoked salmon, grilled salmon au beurre blanc or pan-fried salmon a la Meuniere.
90/100
$ 35.95

Also recommended

Pinot Grigio, 2014, Kellerei St. Magadalena Cantina Produttori di Bolzano, Alto Adige, Italy
88/100
$ 17.95

Chardonnay, 2014, Liberty School, Central Coast, Sonoma County, California
88/100
$ 18.95

Chardonnay, 2013, Matanzas Creek, Sonoma County, California
89+/100
$ 27.95

The Hermit Crab, Viognier/Marsanne, 2014, D’Arenberg, South Australia
89/100
$ 17.95

Robert Young Vineyard Chardonnay, 2012, Chateau St Jean, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California
91/100
$ 39.95

Seriously Cool Chenin Blanc, 2014, Waterkloof, Stellenbosch, South Africa
89/100
$ 16.95

La Canee Auxey-Duresses, 2012, Henri de Villamont, Burgundy, France
89+/100
$ 39.95

Red wines

Syrah, 2013, Burrowing Owl, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia’s southern Okanagana Valley is a warm climate region, most suitable for syrah.
This is a powerful, rich, intense syrah, offering black fruit and spice underlined with mocha accents. Full bodied, well balanced, deeply flavoured with a long and satisfying finish.
91/100
$ 40.95

Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012, Star Lane, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara, California
Dark red. Redolent with ripe and exuberant cherry, smoke aromas.
Complex, full bodied, superbly balanced, and High “octane”. Ready to drink with grilled red emit. Better with 6 – 10 years of cellaring.
92/100
$ 52.95

Chateau Lamartre, 2010, St Emilion Grand Cru, Bordeaux, France
Brilliant crimson colour. Opens up with aromas of blackberries, cherries, tobacco, and spices. Full bodied, well balanced, seamless and elegant.
A blend of merlot (59 per cent), cabernet franc (49), displaying beautiful fruitiness.
Ready to enjoy. Cellar for 4 – 5 years for more refinement.
92/100
$ 32.95

Bonarda, 2014, Don Cristobal 1492, Lujan de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
88/100
$ 13.95 Good value

The Chocolate Block, 2013, Boekenhoutskloof, Western cape, South Africa
89/100
$ 39.95

Modus, 2012, Ruffino, Tuscany, Italy
89+/100
$ 29.95

Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore, 2013, Corte Majoli, Veneto, Italy
89+/100
$ 19.95

Salmos, 2012, Torres, Pirorat, Spain
90/100
$ 30.95

Crianza Ribera del Duero, Vina Vilano, Spain
90/100
$ 30.95

Zinfandel, 2013, Napa Cellars, Napa Valley, California
90/100
$ 29.95

Coyam, 2012, Emiliana, Colchagua Valley, Chile
89+/100
$ 29.95

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