Le Cupole, Tenuta del Trinoro,Toscana IGT, Italia, 2005, 14.5% abv.

The Cupole Super Tuscan wines are usually made of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon which didn’t get into their top tier bottles.

They are also regularly reviewed and rated by Antonio Galloni and Stephen Tanzer which speaks volumes about the high quality level.

The 2005 adds in Petit Verdot plus local grapes – 4% Cesanese and 2% Uva di Troia – to the backbone of 47% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon.  This makes for an extremely unusual Super Tuscan grape blend.

This is classed as an IGT wine, and not a DOC or DOCG because of the blend of the grapes.  When a winemaker decides to use the IGT classification, it’s for reasons of freedom; any grapes can be used and the local wine laws don’t need to be followed.

In doing so – and proverbially thumbing his nose to the DOCG rules – winemaker Andrea Franchetti has produced a delicious wine.  We opened it at 12 years old, so it is developed, and its long finish augmented by some seriously complex layers.

On the eyes, you can see the age – translucent garnet – with aromas reminiscent of port, tar, dried fruit and dried herbs.  The palate is dry with tamed tannins and evolved flavours of prune, raisin, bay leaf, oregano and salinity.

WSET Very Good Plus.  Drink now, don’t hold any longer.  The window is about to close and this ship will sail.  Enjoy!

Label shot courtesy of wine-searcher.com

Posted in Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon / Blends, cesanese, Italy, Merlot, OTHER, Petit Verdot, RED, Uva di Troia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cabernet Sauvignon, Caymus Vineyards, Special Selection, Napa Valley, California, 1994, 13.9% abv. C$250.00

If you were going to write about a classic Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, this would be the one to write about. This bottle was 22 years old when we opened it.

Think about that for a minute.  Twenty-two years ago in September 1994, someone was harvesting the grapes that were fermented into wine, that eventually went into this bottle.

What kind of day was it?  Who was working the harvest and checking the grapes at the winery?  Are those people still alive?

The cork broke badly when we opened this up, which made us a little nervous about its provenance.  But thankfully, it seems to have been stored in reasonable conditions – although perhaps not on its side (which would have likely resolved the dry cork issue).  No problem – I just got out my antique wine strainer – and was glad to see it actually works.

The Special Selection is Caymus’ most famous bottle and has produced since 1972.  Twice, it has been awarded Wine Spectator’s wine of the year title.

On the eyes, deep garnet with initial aromas of ripe, August blackberries and after some time and decanting, blackcurrant, black pepper and salami.

The body is dry with viscous legs and tannins with the lightest grip.  Flavours include more black fruit with dry meat, green pepper, tobacco leaf, campfire with ash and cocoa.

WSET Very Good; if you have a bottle, drink now and don’t hold any longer.  I’d say there is probably some justification for that twice awarded Wine of the Year title.

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Sauvignon Blanc, Montes, Spring Harvest, DO Leyda Valley, Aconcagua, Chile, 2017, 13% abv. C$15++

I put my best people on this one.

When I wondered about who to invite over to help me drink this bottle, thoughts immediately went to my sister whose middle name is Sav Blanc.

Well, rather… if it could be, it would be.  She absolutely loves Sav Blanc, but not necessarily from Chile.

That is about to change.

Made from grapes grown in cool, coastal Leyda Valley, this is a good example of what’s happening more often in Chile.  When attention is paid to dry farming and sustainable practices, lower yields and lower alcohol levels, better wines are the result and lucky us for that.

This new world Sauvignon Blanc is pale lemon with aromas of green apple, gooseberry, spring grass, lemon lime, and Marigold.

The palate is dry with juicy acidity, flavours of more grass and gooseberry, guava, lime cordial, and yellow Gerbera.

Enjoy it as young as you can – don’t age (and this version is very young, having been harvested after the wild fires that raged through Chile in early 2017).
This delightful and delicious wine is WSET Good Plus.

Posted in Chile, Sauvignon Blanc, WHITE | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Torrontés, Kaiken, Cafayate, Salta, Argentina, 2016, 12.5% abv. US$16

The land of the tango, Eva Peron and stately Buenos Aires, there’s a lot to Argentina, the world’s 8th largest country.

There’s also a lot of wine going on there.

Because this is Argentina, you may be forgiven for thinking I’m speaking of Malbec, but this is the homeland of Torrontés. The most widely planted white variety in Argentina, Torrontés makes a Muscat-like, aromatic, dry wine with the best coming from Cafayate, located in the far northeast at only 26 degrees south latitude.

Although the region is very close to the equator, it’s also in the foothills of the Andes where it’s cool, so grapes can grow because of the altitude.  And grow they do – at 1700 or even 1800 m, these are some of the world’s most elevated vineyards.

The best versions aim to keep the yields low; this one is also grown using biodynamic principles.

Pale lemon with green hues, the Kaiken has distinctive aromas of blossom, tropical citrus and almond.  The palate is dry and juicy with flavours of lychee, yellow grapefruit, white flower and a touch of fennel.

Your salad and grilled chicken or fish will love this wine.  That should be no surprise considering the importance of BBQ, or asado, in Argentine cuisine.  Drink now and don’t age.

Add Torrontés to your ‘to do’ drinking list starting with this WSET Good option.

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Cabernet Sauvignon, L’Appel du Vide, Columbia Valley AVA, Washington, USA, 14.3% abv.

The meaning of ‘l’appel du vide’ is, ‘the call of the wild.’  One translation says it describes the urge to engage in destructive behaviours – like when you’re walking along and have “the inexplicable urge to jump into traffic”.

Seriously?  If you have urges like that, this wine won’t help much.  And what this term has to do with making wine, I have no idea.

The wine is a deep ruby with aromas of berries and green peppers and a dry palate that shows more blackberry with black pepper, kid glove and very sweet oak.

WSET Acceptable – average, over-manipulated and predictable.  I had a few intrusive thoughts about what to do with it while I was drinking it.  Save yourself the bother.

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Semillon, Lock and Worth Winery, Naramata Bench, Okanagan Valley VQA, BC, 2014, 12.3% abv, C$25

Matthew Sherlock and Ross Hackworth’s website says their wines are “unnerving and contrarian.”  But they got me at, ‘Our wines are not for everyone and never will be.”

Honest and direct, and that’s the way I like it – the same as their wine.

Their label is a blank slate – partly for aesthetics and partly to keep costs down.  But the back of the bottle has all the information you need – vines dating from 1993, handpicked and basket pressed, unfined and unfiltered, aged in neutral French oak barrels.

This is a delicious, clean and affordable wine – the colour of pale straw, it has aromas of lemon, herb and rock.  The palate is dry with juicy acidity and flavours of bruised lemon verbena and yellow grapefruit, honeysuckle, dried sage and moss.

WSET Good plus
You can buy Lock and Worth wines at Marquis Wine Cellars.

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Sangiovese, Pian Dell’Orino, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG, Italia, 2009, 14.5% abv.

Risotto was on the dinner menu and I decided it needed an Italian red.  Did I ever hit the goldmine.

This wine came to me out of pure luck; I purchased a case of random, sight unseen bottles from an American importer and this one happened to be in the box.  So, I can’t even take credit for having been super smart and ordered it.

The winery is certified organic and Demeter biodynamic – and run by a European couple who met in Tuscany and decided to return to purchase land and make wine there.

Caroline Pobitzer and Jan Hendrik Erbach don’t filter their wines, use only indigenous yeasts, only grow Sangiovese Grosso and the maximum yield per vine is only one bottle.  And talk about knowing where you’re buying – their 6 ha is located right beside the famous Biondi Santi property.

On the eyes, the wine is translucent ruby with aromas of raspberry, tobacco and mocha.

On the palate, it’s dry with juicy acidity, perfectly strained tannins and flavours of red cherry, violet, cola and tobacco leaf.

So layered and rich, this wine grows and develops as it opens in the glass.  Nothing bitter or empty about it – it’s a luscious, round and full wine.

WSET Very good plus


Posted in Italy, OTHER, RED, Sangiovese Grosso (Biondi-Santi) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment