Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wine Fest: The rest of the world, including my FAVORITE wine of the festival!

And it's a very, very sad story, as I was unable to purchase any of my favorite was already sold out by the time I tasted it and went to buy some. Oh the humanity of it all.

Also got to taste, and buy, our first wine from Greece!


Culmina Family Estate Winery 2013 Dilemma - 91
Culmina Family Estate Winery 2012 Hypothesis - 92
Culmina Family Estate Winery 2013 Merlot - 89

Hester Creek 2013 Character White - 86

Osoyoos Larose 2012 Petales d'Osoyoos - 87

They also featured a three-year vertical of their flagship wine Le Grand Vin.

Osoyoos Larose 2010 Le Grand Vin - 89
Osoyoos Larose 2011 Le Grand Vin - 89
Osoyoos Larose 2012 Le Grand Vin - 92

SunRock Vineyard 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon - 89
SunRock Vineyard 2012 Meritage - 88
SunRock Vineyard 2012 Shiraz - 89


Baron Philippe de Rothschild 2014 Anderra Sauvignon Blanc - 86

Viña Errázuriz 2014 Aconcagua Costa Chardonnay - 86
Viña Errázuriz 2014 Aconcagua Costa Sauvignon Blanc - 85

Viña Leyda 2014 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc - 84

Viña Montes 2014 Alpha Chardonnay ($19.99)

Herbaceous notes mingle with aromas of pineapple, banana, asparagus and some orchard fruit. A touch of butterscotch and caramel on the palate, creamy but not overdone. A well-priced bargain. 89.

Viña Montes 2013 Purple Angel Carmenere ($65.99)

Red and black fruit with a touch of vanilla on the nose and the palate. Some dark chocolate comes to join the palate party. A hint of nutmeg on the finish. Really special. 93.

Viña Santa Ema 2013 Santa Ema Amplus One - 85
Viña Santa Ema 2015 Santa Ema Amplus Sauvignon Blanc - 84
Viña Santa Ema 2014 Santa Ema Reserve Merlot - 85

Viña Santa Rita 2011 Casa Real Cabernet Sauvignon - 84
Viña Santa Rita 2015 Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cardonnay - 84
Viña Santa Rita 2015 Reserva Sauvignon Blanc - 86
Viña Santa Rita 2013 Santa Rita Triple C - 88

Viña Ventisquero 2009 Vertice Carmenere/Syrah ($40.00)

Red and black berries with a hint of spice. The berries really follow through on the palate, which also picks up a touch of vanilla and chocolate with some black pepper on the finish. We enjoyed this one earlier this week. 90.

Viña Ventisquero 2012 Grey Carmenere - 85
Viña Ventisquero 2014: Root 1 Cabernet Sauvignon - 85
Viña Ventisquero 2014: Root 1 Sauvignon Blanc - 86


Coronica 2014 Corinica Malvazija Istarska - 85
Coronica 2013 Coronica Gran Malvazija - 84


Gerard Bertrand 2014 Domaine de l'Aigle Chardonnay Limoux - 87

Vins et Vignobles Dourthe 2014 La Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc - 85


Tsantali 2013 Kanenas Tsantali Red ($15.99)

An intriguing blend of Syrah and a grape I was not familiar with, Mavroudi.

Berries and black cherry on the nose and the palate with a touch of spice at the end. Quite an intense aftertaste. A nice little bargain red that paired well with red meat. 87.

Tsantali 2011 Rapsani Reserve - 86


Marques de Riscal 2014 1860 Tempranillo - 84
Marques de Riscal 2011 Rioja Reserva - 86

Marques de Riscal 2006 Rioja Gran Reserva ($50)

This was the incredible surprise of the Festival. These grapes come from vines over 30 years old, and this is only produced in superior years. Aged for 30+ months in American oak and aged for 3 more years in the bottle before release. Special aromas of red berries, leather, tobacco, earth and cigar box. Flavors of vanilla, black fruit and a touch of spice. Smooth and gentle, well-rounded tannins, and a finish that goes on forever. Spectacular. 96.

Miguel Torres - 2011 Mas La Plana ($56.99)

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon features aromas of plum, toasty oak, forest floor and red fruit. A touch of spice joins the berries featured on the palate. Finishes beautifully. A real treat now and who knows how good it will be once it peaks? 92

Miguel Torres 2012 Celeste - 91
Miguel Torres 2013 Coronas - 87

United States

Fuse 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Edge 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Trim 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 87

Grgich Hills Estate 2012 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Grgich Hills Estate 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay - 89
Grgich Hills Estate 2013 Napa Valley Fume Blanc - 87
Grgich Hills Estate 2011 Napa Valley Merlot - 86

Madrone Vineyards Estate 2013 Lake Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc - 86
Madrone Vineyards Estate 2013 Russian River Chardonnay - 86

Rodney Strong 2013 David Bynum Russian River West Chardonnay - 88
Rodney Strong 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir - 88

Seghesio Family Vineyards 2012 Old Vine Zinfandel - 86
Seghesio Family Vineyards 2011 Sangiovese - 86

Signorello Estate 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon - 88
Signorello Estate 2013 Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes - 90

Wagner Family of Wine 2013 Conundrum Red - 87
Wagner Family of Wine 2014 Conundrum White - 86
Wagner Family of Wine 2013 Emmolo Merlot - 91
Wagner Family of Wine 2014 Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay - 87

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for some awesome updates coming up. On Thursday we leave for Florida; one week on a brand new cruise ship as we tour the Eastern Caribbean and then two weeks in Orlando. Going to be a great trip which will definitely feature some outstanding wine.

And, yes, we are again having dinner at Victoria & Albert's. If you need a refresher of that incredible meal, go here to check it out.

Not sure if I'll be able to actually update the blog during the trip or if I will have to catch up when we get back, but we'll see what kind of internet access we have.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Vancouver International Wine Fest, it begins!!

Sincere apologies for the total lack of posts lately; we were dealing with a sick, and then dying, cat, and that really took my focus away from updating this blog. Anyway, that is behind us now, so let's get on to the amazing time had by all at the Vancouver International Wine Festival a couple of weeks ago.

This year's feature country was Italy, and they were well represented. We attended the Acura tasting room on Thursday and Friday night and, of course, still didn't get close to tasting it all.

Our favorite event of the festival, Dine Italia, unfortunately got moved from it's regular spot on Saturday to Sunday; after we had already made our plans and booked our tastings and hotel. Oh well, we'll be back next year.

Now let's get to the wine!

Today I'll start with Italy and next update I will do the rest of the world. As in past years, I'll post detailed reviews of the wines we bought (or some special ones that maybe we liked but couldn't buy) and just number grades on the rest.

Batasiolo - 2011 Barolo DOCG ($29.95)

Aromas of plum and black cherry, tar, licorice and violets. Earthy qualities on the nose and palate. This needs to age for a long time to really hit it's potential, which is hardly surprising for a Barolo...but it's very nice now. 90.

Basatiolo - 2015 Moscato D'Asti DOCG Bosc DLA Rei ($18.99)

Literally the ONLY Italian white we were impressed with. Not a huge surprise it would be a sweet one. Apricots, honeysuckle and white flowers on the nose and palate. Citrus and peach join the palate party. Not dessert-wine sweet but more than just 'off-dry'. Lovely. 90,

Batasiolo - 2009 DOCG Boscareto - 89
Batasiolo - 2013 Barbera D'Asti DOCG Sabri - 88

Rocca della Macie - 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva - 87
Rocca della Macie - 2010 Roccato Toscana IGT - 86
Rocca della Macie - 2013 Chianti Classico DOCG - 85

Pain Delle Vigne - 2013 Rosso di Montalcino - 85

Tenuta di Arceno - 2010 Arcanum - 86
Tenuta di Arceno - 2010 Arcanum Il Fauno - 87
Tenuta di Arceno - 2012 Chianti Classico Riserva - 89
Tenuta di Arceno - 2013 Chianti Classico Riserva - 85

Tenuta Argentiera - 2012 Villa Donaratico - 89
Tenuta Argentiera - 2012 Argentiera Bolgheri Superiore - 90
Tenuta Argentiera - 2013 Poggio ai Ginepri Rosso - 85

Argiano - 2012 Solengo IGT Toscano - 89
Argiano - 2013 NC IGT - 87
Argiano - 2013 Rosso di Montalcino - 86

Argiano - 2011 Brunello di Montalcino DOCG ($59.99)

Most of the Brunellos we got to taste at this event were from the very highly-regarding 2010 growing year, but this one proved that 2011 was pretty good too. Aromas of blackberry and spice, with notes of ripe berries and complex fruit. Certain to be quite a treat when we drink it in 7-8 years. 90-92.

Bibi Graetz - 2012 Soffocone Di Vincigliata - 86
Bibi Graetz - 2012 Chianti Le Cicale di Vincigliata DOCG - 87
Bibi Graetz - NV Casamatta Rosso - 85

Lionello Marchesi - 2008 Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva Coldisole - 84
Lionello Marchesi - 2010 Brunello Di Montalcino Coldisole - 84
Lionello Marchesi - 2009 Brunello Di Montalcino Coldisole - 85

Marchesi de Frescobaldi - 2010 Castelgiocondo Brunello di Montalcino ($54.99)

Alrighty, ladies and gentlemen, the festival has officially begun. Notes of cherries and herbs with a touch of ginger. Flavors of blackberry, raspberry and earthy qualities. This is tight and dense with strong tannins and will much improve with 5+ years of nappy time, but it's already terrific and will be well, well worth the wait. 94-96.

Cantina Zaccagnini - 2014 Tralcetto Bianco di Ciccio - 84

Poderi dal Nespoli - 2014 Pagadebit Romagna DOC - 84

Umberto Cesari - 2014 Moma Bianco - 84

Mezzacarona/Rotari - 2014 Mezzacorona Trentino Pinot Grigio - 84

Cavit - 2014 Bottega Vinai Gewurtztraminer DOC Trentino - 84

Argiolas - 2014 Costamolino Vermentino di Sardegna - 84
Argiolas - 2014 Meri Vermentino di Sardegna - 83

Fontanafredda - 2011 Sierra d'Alba Barola ($44.99)

Intense aromas of roses, spice, forest floor and vanilla. Full-bodied, with a velvety texture and a long finish. As with all Barola, needs some time to reach the heights it will achieve. 91-93.

Fontanafredda - 2014 Barbera Briccotondo ($17.99)

Black fruit and spice on the nose and palate. Hints of cinnamon, cardamon and black pepper on the palate. Long and lovely finish. 89,

Fontanafredda 2015 Gavi di Gavi - 84

Giusti - 2008 Umberto I - 89
Giusti - 2012 Ripasso DOCG - 86

Cesari - 2012 Ripasso Bosan Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore DOC ($29.99)

Strong notes of dark fruit and spice. The palate is juicy and full, with dark berries, a hint of pepper and herbs on the palate. Finishes very long. 90.

Cesari - 2012 Mara Valpolicella di Ripasso Superiore - 88
Cesari - 2008 Amarone Classico DOC - 87

Tenute Piccini - 2010 Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

Dried cherries, almonds, herbs and earth on the nose. The earthy qualities carry through on the palate, with dark berries and flowers joining in. A truly great bargain at this price and another that will age beautifully. We picked up a couple of these and will report back once they mature. 92.

Thanks for reading! Next up: The rest of the world!