This is Part 2 of my top rated wines for 2018. I earlier released my list of 40 white and sparkling wines for 2018, which you can read at this link. This red wine list came from Trade tastings with agents and BC VQA wineries, the Vancouver International Wine Festival, visits to wineries, and personal purchases. I categorized the wines below to make it easier for you to scan through wines of interest to you. I posted all wines that rate 4.5-5 or a full 5 stars and are all wines that I have tasted this year.
I have many opportunities to taste BC wines, so they have made a large segment of my list. There are also many visits by Italian wineries, and you will see many Italian wines in my Old Word Red wines section. Canada is an important country for Italian wine exports, coming in at the 5th largest importer (Italian Wine Central). I hope you find a few wines to buy and try, and some to keep and hold. Enjoy.
BC Red Wines
50th Parallel Estate Pinot Noir 2015 – Deep garnet in colour. Medium intensity aromas of red cherries, lees (which burns off quickly), raspberries, and red fruits, together with hints of oak and vanilla. With a short exposure to air, you also get the smell of milk chocolate and some bramble. The wine has medium plus body and flavour intensity but is very silky and round on the palate. Ripe ripe red fruit, raspberries, and red cherries, together with prominent floral perfume on the palate. here is also a hint of sweet spices and bramble leaf toward the finish. With air, I also picked up flavours of red plums. The fuller mouthfeel is really prominent in this wine. The wine has a medium plus length, finishing with flavours of tart red cherries and bramble, and firmer tannins. – With decanting. A quality, bigger, round Pinot Noir with ripe raspberries, red fruit and floral flavours.
Church & State Wines Syrah 2014 ($31.99+) – Vanilla, slatey, dark fruit nose. Fuller body, with salty minerality. Deep dark fruit flavour along with vanilla and a hint of pepper. –
Culmina Hypothesis 2013 ($46) – Hypothesis is a red Bordeaux blend, but is not necessarily made every year. This vintage is 38% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Franc, and 26% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was fermented in French oak barrels; 60% new and 40% one-year old. The wine also underwent 100% malolactic fermentation. The wine is deeply coloured garnet, but still translucent. Ripe red and black fruits, raspberries and a hint of cedar on the nose. Medium plus body, dry, and round. Ripe red and black fruits, and light vanilla and sweet spice flavours. Finishes with fine tannins. A light and elegant red wine. –
Culmina Merlot 2014 – This is the second release of this wine and it comes from the lower Arise Bench. The wine was fermented in 15% new and 85% one-year old French oak barrels and spent 16 months in barrel. The wine has also gone through malolactic fermentation to soften the acidity in the wine. It is opaque garnet in the glass. Medium intensity nose, with aromas of sweet ripe black fruit, ripe raspberries and a hint of vanilla. Medium to full-bodied, dry with firmer tannins. Juicy ripe black fruit flavours and light sweet spice. Vanilla shows up on the mid-palate. –
Road 13 5th Element 2013 – a premium red wine blend made with 2/3 fruit from their Blind Creek Vineyard in the Similkameen and the other from their Road 13 Vineyard in the south Okanagan. It is a blend of 45% Merlot, 18% Syrah, 19% Cab Sauvignon, 13% Cab Franc,
and 5% Petit Verdot. It is opaque garnet in colour. Meaty, nutmeg and allspice, toast, smoke, dark fruit, black cherries and violet aromas. It is off-dry, medium plus bodied. It has sweet dark fruit flavours, violets and a hint of minerality. Nice. –
Road 13 Jackpot Petit Verdot 2014 – The name Jackpot comes from the name of a gold mine in the area when there was a mini gold rush in the south Okanagan. This wine has a medium intensity nose showing sweet spices, ripe black fruit, black currants, floral and Christmas pudding aromas. It is fuller bodied, mineral, round with firmer tannins. Black fruit flavours with pepperiness showing up mid-palate and a floral undercurrent. An intense wine.
C.C. Jentsch The Chase 2014 ($19.90) – A blend of 34% Cabernet Franc, 34% Merlot, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. Deeper garnet colour, but still translucent to the core. Ripe, juicy raspberries and red fruit aromas. Fuller bodied, dry with higher acidity. Raspberries, tart red fruit and a hint of floral on the palate. Bright vibrant fruit flavours. Almost grippy tannins. A hint of pepper on the finish. A structured wine. –
C.C. Jentsch Syrah 2015 ($31.90) – Deeper garnet coloured. Very aromatic showing sweet spices, cedar, sweet black fruit and light oak. An intense nose. Full body, dry and round with medium plus tannins. Ripe raspberries and vanilla to start followed by red fruits and nutmeg spices and light oak. Very flavourful. Longer length. My favourite of all the wines tasted.
Baillie-Grohman Pinot Noir Terraces 2015 ($27) – Medium minus translucent garnet in colour. An intriguing nose with raspberry, dark fruit, nutmeg, sweet vanilla, and cedar aromas. Dry, medium bodied with balanced medium intensity acidity. Roses, vibrant red fruits, raspberries, and light vanilla flavours, followed by pepperiness on the mid-palate. Quality. –
Baillie-Grohman Cabernet Franc 2015 ($31) – The grapes for this wine are not from their estate; they come from a vineyard in Oliver. The wine is deep garnet in colour. Medium intensity nose, with aromas of capsicum, cedar, and ripe red and black fruits. Medium body, round with firmer tannins. Sweet ripe black fruit, vanilla, capsicum, cedar, nutmeg and pepperiness. Very good. –
Summerhill Pyramid Winery OM Organic Meritage 2014 – A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 5% Malbec, this wine is suitable for vegans, and was aged for part of its time in the winery’s pyramid. The wine is deep garnet in colour but is still translucent to the core. It has a lighter intensity nose, but still very youthful, with aromas of red fruit, raspberries, red cherries, plums vanilla and sweet spices. With decanting the wines aromas change quite a bit, and you get lots of ripe plums, dark chocolate and more vanilla. Both are fantastic aroma profiles. The wine is dry, and soft, with a light mouthfeel, and silky mineral tension. The fruit flavours are light when first opened, and become bigger as the wine is decanted. You get a mix of red and black fruit, raspberries, red cherries, and red plums, with lesser amounts of vanilla, sweet spices, oak and nutmeg. The flavours are light and bright. With decanting I also picked up some floral perfume. The wine has a medium to medium plus length, finishing soft, with light pepperiness and fine tannins. A wine you can linger over. Understated and elegant. –
McWatters Collection Meritage 2016 ($29.99) – The grapes in this blend are 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Franc and were matured in small French oak casks for 15 months. The wine is opaque garnet, almost to the rim. It has a youthful, medium intensity nose, with a mix of capsicum, dark chocolate, ripe plums, dark fruits, and hints of sweet spice, oak, and vanilla. With a little air I was quite surprised, but very much enjoyed, an aroma of mandarin orange peel on the nose. The wine is dry, with a full mouthfeel, and was exceptionally velvety smooth. Fine tannins with a hint of minerality. Flavours combined sweet ripe black fruit (more), red fruit (less), and plum, with a light touch of vanilla and oak. From the mid-palate to the finish I also enjoyed the flavour of dark chocolate combined with black cherries. With decanting I picked up some cedar and capsicum flavours, while the mineral component diminished. The wine finished with dark fruits, dark chocolate and cherries, along with medium oak and some pepperiness. The tannins picked up on the finish, and with decanting made the finish more grippy. A quality wine! I think that this wine tasted better without decanting, so open and enjoy it through your meal. – A top quality wine that entices you to enjoy its velvety full-bodied black fruit flavours.
Gold Hill Syrah 2014 ($34.99) – Again a wine that is dark and powerful, coming in with 15.6% alcohol, but with more finesse. It is an opaque mix of ruby and garnet colours. It was quite interesting as I poured this wine it was thick, dark and curvy in the glass; you could say a sensuous pour. It has a lighter intensity nose, with red fruit and meaty aromas, and a touch of black and green peppercorns and chocolate. It is very slightly off-dry, with medium acidity, but very full-bodied. Round and silky in your mouth, mouth-filling, with flavours of ripe cherries, raspberries, plums, and black fruits. There are also some sweet spices hints of perfume, milk chocolate, and oak. The wine has a long length, finishing with chocolate, black fruit, black cherries, and some chalkiness and nutmeg flavours. The tannins are stronger on the finish as well. Top notch. Decanting did not improve anything in the wine, so open and enjoy. – – A top quality big red wine. Everything is in harmony. Intense deep black and red fruit flavours.
TIME Winery Meritage 2016 – This wine is a blend of 65% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc grapes. It is deeply coloured, with a mix of ruby and garnet colours. The wine has a medium intensity, youthful favours, of juicy purple fruits, ripe red fruits, plums, light oak and sweet spices, and with air a hint of capsicum and green stems. The wine is slightly off-dry, with medium acidity and tannins, but medium plus body and flavour intensity. Flavours of red and black fruits, ripe plums, red cherries, with hints of oak, capsicum, cloves, and dark chocolate. I enjoyed tasting this wine as the flavours meandered, with one becoming stronger, then waning, while another flavour became more predominant. The wine is round with a fuller mouthfeel, and a backbone with equal parts of tannins and acidity. With decanting I picked up some perfume and cedar in this wine. The wine finishes with sweet spices, light vanilla, ripe, sweet black fruits, and some pepperiness. Fine tannins. A very good quality wine. It will age nicely. – A very good quality Meritage. Juicy purple and ripe red fruits on the nose. Smooth, filling mouthfeel. Fine tannins with black and red fruits, and plum flavours, that meander between themselves. Would be excellent with roast beef and with chocolate truffles.
Privato Vineyards & Winery Tesoro Pinot Noir – Woodward Collection 2015 – This wine has a light smoky, red fruited nose. Light body, dry, with light mouthfeel. Floral, red fruit and sweet spices on the palate. Elegant. –
Privato Vineyards & Winery Grand Reserve 2014 – This wine has undergone a natural ferment, so you never know what aromas and flavours you will get with the indigenous yeasts. This one worked very well. The wine has a light cinnamon nose. Medium body, round and soft in your mouth. Medium acidity. Flavours of red fruit, floral, nutmeg and cinnamon. Fine tannins. Another elegant Pinot. –
Privato Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir – Privato Collection 2014 – Flowery, red fruit nose. Medium plus body, off-dry with a roundish mouthfeel. Spicy, bramble and red fruit flavours combine to make the wine have some complexity. Nice. –
Rust Wine Co. SV Syrah 2016 – A new winery for me to try, but it is now on my radar to try. Some very good wines! This Syrah has deep aromas of dark fruit and bramble. Dry, full-bodied with flavours of dark fruit, bramble and some pepperiness. Medium fine tannins. Nice! –
Rust Wine Co. Gamay 2017 – Gamay may not jump out at a grape you know much about, but it is very similar to Pinot Noir at a lower price point. Have you heard of Beaujolais wine? That is made from Gamay. I will write more about Gamay grapes in an upcoming article but read on about this wine. It has a juicy nose with aromas of bramble and raspberries. Medium plus body and acidity. Bramble and spice flavours, along with a mineral streak. Light tannins. –
Stag’s Hollow Winery & Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 – Shuttleworth Creek Vineyard 2015 – a single vineyard Pinot from brand new vines. This wine is exceptionally good, which is usually surprising for very new, young vines. This wine has a smoky, burned beeswax nose. Fuller bodied, off-dry with light tannins. Burned beeswax, dark fruit, followed by bramble later on. –
Tightrope Winery Cabernet Franc 2016 – one of the wines that surprised me at the tasting. So good. It has capsicum (a characteristic of Cab Franc), red cherries, and sweet spices on the nose. It is dry and round, with firmer tannins. Lighter mouthfeel. Red cherries and vanilla on the palate primarily with a touch of floral and some pepper on the finish. –
Road 13 Jackpot Syrah 2016 – As Mick mentioned to me on my visit to their winery, the name Jackpot comes from the name of a gold mine in the area, when there was a mini gold rush in the south Okanagan. The Jackpot designation is meant for their top quality wines. This wine is opaque garnet with a hint of ruby in colour. A lighter nose with a captivating scent that reminded me of buttered cinnamon toast with raisins. Besides those sweet spice notes, there was also vanilla, ripe, dark fruit and blackcurrant aromas as well. With decanting the cinnamon toast aroma had disappeared. There was still ripe dark fruit flavours, but now a more vegetal tone as well. I prefer the non-decanted nose. The wine on the palate was dry, full-bodied, round and soft. Light acidity and tannins. Ripe cassis, red and black fruits, and light floral flavours; very seductive. There was also ripe plums and raspberries, cinnamon, and a touch of oak. Some minerality mid-palate. The wine had a medium plus length finishing with sweet ripe fruit, light nutmeg, and black pepper. Quality. – Smooth, round, and full-bodied with a nice mix of ripe cassis, black fruit and sweet spice. No need to decant this wine.
Road 13 Seventy-Four K 2017 – If you were to line up their vineyard rows end to end and walk, you would walk 74km. This wine is dedicated to their vineyard workers who walk this 74km distance at least once, if not more than once every year. This wine is a blind, primarily made from Merlot, with lesser amounts of Syrah, Viognier, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Gamay Noir. It has a very deep garnet & ruby colour in the glass. Lighter nose, with mingled aromas of smoke, bramble, spiced sausage, sweet spices, ripe raspberries, red fruit, and touches of nutmeg and cinnamon. I quite enjoyed the aromatics of this wine. With decanting the aromas were not quite as strong. The wine is slightly off-dry, soft and round with medium acidity and tannins. A mix of rich, ripe sweet red and black fruits, as well as some tart red fruits. Nutmeg and cinnamon spice and a hint of minerality. Bramble berries and leaves. Integrated oak. Dark chocolate toward the finish. A longer length, finishing with light pepper & vanilla, and firmer tannins. The fruit flavours linger for a while. With decanting the tannins feel stronger and the sweet spices are more subdued. No need to decant. – A lot of nice red fruit and spices on the nose and palate to entice you. No need to decant.
New World Wines
Vina Koyle Royale Carmenere 2015, Chile ($29.99) – Chile’s signature red grape. This wine was almost opaque ruby in the glass. Ripe dark fruit with a hint of capsicum and sweet spice on the nose. Medium body, dry with minerality and pepperiness on the palate. Flavours of juicy purple and black fruits, and dark chocolate. Finer tannins. Quality. –
John Duval Entity Shiraz 2015, Australia ($62.99) – John Duval was a winemaker at Penfolds producing Grange and their other wines. He has his own winery and this wine is excellent. It is almost opaque garnet in colour. Sweet spices, plums and dark fruit aromas. Medium plus body. Floral, red and black fruit, and black cherry flavours. Some sweet spices as well. Long length with medium plus tannins. The flavours in this wine are very deep and intense. Quality. –
B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, California ($31.99) – Medium minus garnet colour in the glass. Raisins, spice, and black fruit on the nose; interesting aroma profile. Dry, medium plus body, medium acidity and fine tannins. A variety of flavours covering ripe, sweet black fruit, green peppercorns, nutmeg and black pepper. –
Blackbird Vineyards Resolute Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, California ($33.99) – An interesting lower entry-level wine from Blackbird Vineyards, which I quite enjoyed. It is medium translucent garnet coloured. Smoky, black fruit, anise sausage nose. Medium minus body, dry with a light mouthfeel. Red fruits and light vanilla touch, along with some minerality. Very tasty. –
Blackbird Vineyards Arise 2014, California ($68.99) – If you are a Beatles music fan, check out the musical notes on the label of this wine. Which song is it from? This wine is a blend that always has the highest percentage from Merlot. This vintage is 38% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Cabernet Franc. It is medium translucent garnet in colour. A ripe black fruit nose. Fuller bodied, with restrained ripe black fruit flavours, and spiciness. Medium tannins and acidity. –
Aperture Cellars Devil Proof Malbec 2013, California – The grapes for this wine come from Northern Sonoma, Alexander Valley. The vineyard uses biodynamic principles. 2013 was a very hot year around the world for wine production. For Aperture Cellars the Malbec berries were smaller than normal due to the dry weather, which means more skin to juice ratio so more intense flavours for this wine. It is opaque ruby in the glass. Deep, sweet, ripe black fruit along with floral and nutmeg aromas. Full-bodied, with medium plus acidity, yet still round and great mouthfeel. Medium minus tannins. Sweet, ripe black fruits along with floral, sweet spices up front and finishing with some pepper and tart fruit. A concentrated wine.
Aperture Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, California (sold out) – Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, but has a bit of Malbec blended in. Opaque garnet with a ruby tinge. Light meaty, dark fruit and vanilla nose. Medium body, soft with a lighter mouthfeel. Red fruits, sweet spices and vanilla. Although you can’t tell from the description of the wine, I wrote that this is a “dreamy” wine. It makes you savour each sip and drift off in reverie. It is too bad this vintage is sold out, but look out for the 2015 vintage. –
Los Haroldos Reserva de Familia Malbec 2015, Argentina (Not available in BC) – Vanilla, cedar and light intensity sweet ripe red fruit aromas. Nice nose. Medium plus body, round with firmer tannins. Ripe red fruit, vanilla and a hint of floral and red cherries on the mid-palate. Very good. –
Spottswoode Estate Vineyard and Winery Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa Valley, California – Light cassis nose. Full body, firm tannins, with ripe black fruit flavour and a hint of capsicum. Grippy tannic finish. –
Giesen Clayvin Pinot Noir Marlborough 2014, New Zealand ($53.99) – Nice lifted red fruits and floral notes on the nose. Medium body, soft with red fruits, floral and vanilla flavours. Sweet spices as well. Soft tannins. A very seductive wine. –
BK Wines “Skin N Bones Red” Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir 2017, Australia ($28.98) – Nice light tea leaves, roses and red fruit on the nose, with more on the palate. Lighter bodied, dry with fine tannins. –
Hartford Court Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2014, California – The Russian River Valley is a cooler region in southern Sonoma County. Perfect conditions for a cool climate grape like Pinot Noir. This wine has a very pretty nose, showing floral, red fruit and sweet spices. It is dry, light bodied, and light tannins. Flavours of red fruit, red cherries and nutmeg. Some pepperiness as well. A very balanced wine, between the fruit, acidity and tannins. Delicious. –
Old World Wines
Domaine Taupenot-Merme Saint Romain 2015, France ($46.99) – Light translucent garnet. Light intensity aromas of red cherries, tea leaves and nutmeg. Dry with a lighter body, medium acidity and medium plus tannins. Mineral, red fruit, nutmeg and oak on the palate. Good quality. –
Cantina di Negrar Le Preare Amarone Classico DOC 2014, Italy ($34.99) – Deeper garnet in colour but still translucent in the glass. Light intensity ripe red fruit and sweet spice aromas. Medium plus body, dry with medium acidity. Red cherries, sweet spice and oak to start with floral and red fruits later. Grippy finish. –
Bodegas Mauro San Roman 2012, Spain ($52.99) – A blend of 85% Tempranillo and 15% Grenache. This wine is a deeper, translucent ruby colour. Old World oak / cedar, sweet spices, and juicy red fruit nose. Nice nose. Off-dry with medium plus body and medium plus drying tannins. Ripe red fruits, raspberries, plums, sweet spices and vanilla flavours. –
Domini Veneti Amarone Classico 2015, Italy ($51.99) – Amarone is the most full-bodied style of red wine from the Valpolicella region. This wine had a medium intensity translucent ruby colour. Light nutmeg and red fruit on the nose. Off-dry, fuller body with a thicker mouthfeel and medium tannins. Ripe red fruits and sweet spices on the palate. A very tasty wine. –
Domini Veneti Jago Amarone Classico 2012, Italy ($78.99) – This Amarone is made from grapes from a single vineyard and the wine has undergone 4 years of ageing before bottling. It is medium translucent ruby coloured. Nice sweet red fruit and spice nose. Fuller body, round with firmer tannins. Spicy, with ripe red fruit flavours and vanilla. Very intense fruit flavours. Quality. –
Pio Cesare Bricco Barbaresco 2014, Italy ($133.99) – Medium translucent garnet. Nice light red fruit, vanilla and nutmeg aromas. Medium body, dry with a lighter mouthfeel and higher acidity. Firm tannins. Red fruit and red cherries, nutmeg spice and a whiff of capsicum. Very good. –
Marques de Murrieta Dalmau 2013, Spain ($96.99) – Deeper translucent garnet. Nice vanilla, Old World oak aka cedar nose. Full body, round, dry and soft, with fine tannins. Ripe red and black fruit flavours, along with vanilla and some spice later on. Seductive! –
Ciabot Berton Roggeri Barolo DOCG 2010, Italy – A spectacular wine produced organically from 100% Nebbiolo grapes. This wine is medium minus garnet in colour; translucent to the core. Light aromas of cherries, vanilla and oak. Medium minus body, dry with a lighter mouthfeel and fine tannins. Red cherries, and hints of roses, sweet spices and oak. A quality wine.
Masi Riserva di Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011, Italy – This wine is a bit different from the other wines in this tasting. For one it uses 10% of the Oseleta grape, the appassimento period is more than 120 days, and the wines are aged for 48 months since harvest. This wine is opaque garnet with a hint of ruby colour. Medium minus aromatic intensity. Aromas of ripe raspberries, dark fruit and cedar. Fuller body, round, with a thick mouthfeel. Tasty red cherries, ripe raspberries, black fruits, along with a touch of sweet spices, cedar and pepperiness. Medium tannins and bright acidity. This wine has quite intense flavours and finishes with grippy tannins. Excellent. –
Masi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 1990, Italy – We were told by Raffaele that 1990 was an outstanding vintage, and when we tasted it, we agreed. 28 years ago this wine was made and it still has great character. It was deep garnet in colour. Very aromatic with lifted aromas of dark black fruit, cassis, sweet spices and oak. Full body, dry with a soft, lighter mouthfeel. Fine tannins. Flavours of tart red cherries, ripe plums and raspberries. Some dried fruit flavours toward the finish. Finishing with puckering red and black fruit flavours and some light pepperiness. Elegant. –
Masi Costasera Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2012, Italy – 2012 was a vintage with a very cold spring, followed by a hot, dry summer resulting in a reduction in the quantity of grapes but of excellent quality. This is identified as an outstanding vintage. This wine is currently in the market in BC. It is deep garnet in colour but still translucent. Ripe raspberries, red fruits, along with some sweet spices and molasses on the nose. Dry, round, soft and silky mouthfeel. Fine tannins and good acidity to balance the tannins and fruit flavours. Flavours of ripe raspberries, red apples, and sweet spices. Very modern, clean and tasty. –
Masi Campolongo di Torbe Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2009, Italy – Campolongo di Torbe is a vineyard located in the commune of Negrar. This wine is produced in limited quantities and only in the best years. Opaque ruby with a hint of garnet colour in the glass. Medium minus intensity aromas of dark fruits, cassis, black cherries, cedar and vanilla, along with hints of cocoa and capsicum. Full-bodied, smooth and round, with medium tannins. Flavours of ripe dark fruits, plums and raspberries, along with a hint of cedar and salty minerality. Firm tannic finish. Very good quality. –
Antonelli San Marco Montefalco Sagrantino ‘Chiusa di Pannone’ 2010, Umbria, Italy – Made from the Sagrantino grape, it is said that this grape is good competition to Nebbiolo. This wine has a nice red fruit nose. Medium plus body with firm tannins. Red fruits, red cherries and light vanilla flavour. Barolo level tannins. This wine can easily age for another 8-10 years.
Paolo Scavino Barolo Classico 2012, Barolo, Italy – Very nice nose with aromas of vanilla and candied cherries. These aromas continue to the palate. Medium plus body with firm tannins. Very tasty. –
Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi 2012, Barolo, Italy – Nice red apple and red fruit on the nose. Silky mouthfeel with firm tannins. Red fruit and apples on the palate. Nice.
Paolo Scavino Bricco Ambrogio 2012, Barolo, Italy – Nice red cherry aroma. Fuller body with flavours of candied cherries and vanilla. BIG tannins; needs ageing. –
Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino “Vallocchio” DOCG 2013, Tuscany, Italy – The grapes for this wine come from 36-year-old vines. Ripe red cherries and vanilla on the nose. Full body, dry with sweet ripe red fruit and vanilla on the palate. Tannic finish. Very good. –
Tenuta Fanti Brunello di Montalcino Riserva “Le Macchiarelle” DOCG 2011, Tuscany, Italy – This wine uses grapes from 41-year-old vines. Earthy and black fruit aromas. Dry, full body with medium plus tannins and medium acidity. Earthy, dark fruits, and cherry flavours. Nice. –
Ogier Chateauneuf-du-Pape Clos de l’Oratoire 2015, France – Most blends of CdP use a maximum of 60% Grenache for their wines, but Ogier, uses 80% Grenache, by selecting grapes from three different soil types. The rest of the blend is 10% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Cinsault, with the Syrah also adding colour to the wine. This wine is a medium plus garnet in colour. A light red cherry aroma. Round, smooth and silky mouthfeel, but with a medium plus tannic backbone. There was also a streak of salty minerality. Flavours of sweet red fruits and cherries, along with sweet spices. –
Ogier Expression de Terroir Galets Roulés Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015, France – Medium garnet. Light aromas of sweet spices and raspberries. Fuller bodied, silky and spicy, with red fruit, red cherries and vanilla on the palate. Overall soft and round mouthfeel. Tart red fruit and vanilla, and firm tannins on the finish. –
Cellers Can Blau Carinena – Syrah- Garnacha 2016, Spain – Deep, rich blackberry and black fruit with a hint of nutmeg on the nose. Full body, round with firm tannins. Ripe black fruit and light nutmeg. An excellent wine. –
Bodegas Juan Gil Blue Label (18 Meses) Monastrell – Cabernet Sauvignon – Syrah 2015, Spain – Wonderful ripe red and black fruit aromas. Fuller bodied, dry, rich and round, with fine tannins. Dark, ripe black fruit flavours and some pepperiness.
Parés Balta Gratavinum 2PiR, DOCa Priorat 2012 – Grenache, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah make this blend. The wine spends 14 months in new and second-year French and Hungarian oak barrels. It has a deep black fruit nose. Full body, smooth with medium acidity and fine tannins. Ripe black fruit and prunes. Some pepperiness as well. A quality wine. –
Bodegas San Valero Particular Centenaria Garnacha 2012, Spain – Sweet ripe dark fruit nose, along with chocolate. Off-dry, fuller bodied with medium acidity. Red fruits, Old World oak/cedar and peppery. Very good. –
Muriel Wines Gran Reserva 2011, Spain – Made from the Tempranillo grape, this wine has ripe dark fruit and cherries on the nose. Dry, full-bodied with firm tannins. Red cherries and red fruits on the palate. This wine spends 30 months in French and American oak barrels; 6 months longer than their Reserva wine. –
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio DOCG, 2013, Italy – Medium intensity, translucent garnet in colour. A nice nose; deep aromas of ripe cassis and cherry along with vanilla. Smooth and silky tannins on the palate, with flavours of red fruits, raspberries, cassis, and oak. The tannins do get stronger on the finish. Longer length, finishing dry with more cassis, cherry and oak. Very good quality. –
Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio DOCG, 2001, Italy – Almost opaque garnet; much darker than the 2013 vintage. Medium intensity nose of red fruit and Old World oak. Full body, firmer tannins and acidity provides a solid backbone to the wine. Cassis, sweet ripe fruits and dark chocolate up front, followed by red fruits mid palate then red cherries and vanilla. Long length with a very grippy finish. Black cherries, vanilla and dark chocolate on the finish. Spectacular. This wine shows no sign of ageing and I can see it going for at least another 10 years.
Il Poggio Monsanto Chianti Classico 2011, Italy – Nice light red fruit nose. Medium bodied with light mouthfeel. It is quite spicy tasty. Red fruit with a hint of vanilla and oak. Firm tannins. A very good quality wine, but I’d age it for 5-10 years before drinking it. –
Renieri Brunello de Montalcino 2012, Italy – Light, soft vanilla and red cherry on the nose. Medium plus body, round and dry, with firm tannins. Flavours of ripe sweet red cherries, red fruits, and vanilla. Dry, tannic finish. An excellent wine which can age easily 10+ years.