My Latest IVSA Wine Highlights and Recommendations

Today was the first Import Vintners & Spirits Association (IVSA) Product Salon since before summer. I was looking forward to see what range of new wines have come in over the summer, and I can tell you about, so you can enjoy some great wines with the fall and winter coming upon us. As usual there was too many wines to try in too little time, so hopefully I found a few gems to pass along to you.

Overall Gems

Dante Robino Bonarda 2009

These two wines have a great price point, and taste great too.  One is from Italy and the other from Argentina.

  • Bodega Dante Robino Bonarda, 2009, Argentina ($17.99). Bonarda is an Italian grape. It was brought to Argentina where it flourishes,but it is not so well known to the North American palate.  This wine was very deep ruby in the glass.  Wow, a very interesting nose with cloves up front and black fruit supporting from behind. Medium plus in body with a round mouthfeel.  Cloves, vanilla and black fruit with a spicy finish.  Long length. This wine has the backbone and fruit to stand up to a heavy meal.
  • Tenuta Maggiore Amphorae, 2009, Italy ($14.95). This Italian red is made from Croatina, Barbera and Shiraz grapes. Lighter ruby red in the glass. Some violets, blackberries on the nose.  Light mouthfeel, bright flavours of cherries and violets.  Quite dry.  A really different, and really nice wine!

A Tale of Two Chenins

The Winery of Good Hope and Domaine de Vaugondy Chenin Blancs

Have you heard of Vouvray, or the Loire Valley in France?  This is classic Chenin Blanc. Have you heard of Steen?  That’s the name of Chenin Blanc from South Africa.  I enjoyed a comparison of these 2 Chenins, which are both sub $20.

  • The Winery of Good Hope, Chenin Blanc, 2010, South Africa ($13.99). Fairly deep lemon coloured. Light lemony nose.  High acid right up front.  Citrus and pairs on the palate with a vanilla finish and long length.  Medium body.  Something a bit different from a chardonnay if you like a little more acidity.
  • Domaine de Vaugondy, Vouvray, 2010, France ($19.99). Pale lemon with a green tinge. A nice flowery, stone fruit nose. Really high acidity with green flavours. Really needs to be sipped along with food, or let this one age a few years and then try again.  Chenin Blancs can stand aging and get better with time.

A Few Nice French Reds

These next 3 wines range across from the West, South, and East parts of France.  All different grapes with one sure to please you.

  • Henry Fessy “St. Amour”, 2009, France ($24.99). This is a Beaujolais from the eastern part of France (south of Burgundy), made from the Gamay grape.  Pale ruby in colour.  Cherry bon bon nose. Light body and lower tannins.  Cherry flavour. Lighter in body than a Bordeaux, similar in weight to a lighter Pinot Noir. Chilled a bit and served with a cornish hen, a light curry, or some Camembert cheese.
  • Chateau Belles-Graves, 2004, Bordeaux, France ($46.58). If you want to splurge on a red wine, this one would fit the bill. Very elegant, a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, coming from the right bank, in the Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC. Pale garnet in colour. Nice aromas of flowers and cherries. Light body with cherry and apple flavours up front, violets showing up mid-palate, and a bit of spice on the finish. Medium tannins with a soft finish.
  • Domaine de Fontsainte, Corbieres Rouge, 2007, France ($22.31). This is a blended wine from southern France.  Corbieres being straight east of Carcassone. The blend of grapes are Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah. Medium garnet in the glass. Stony, smoky, strawberries on the nose. Medium body, dry with cherries, raspberries and some smokiness/flintiness mid-palate. Medium acidity with softer tanning.  Long length some some black pepper on the finish.  A very well-structured wine.

Anything But Chardonnay

Neudorf Pinot Gris 2010

I know that some people really do not like Chardonnay. So if you belong in this club, OR if you want to try some exciting white wines, try these out.

Domaine Gayda Three Winds Viognier, 2010, France ($13.99). Viognier is an aromatic grape coming out of the Rhone Valley. This wine had nice flowers and peach aromas in the glass.  Spicy cinnamon and peach flavours.  Round with medium acidity. Very enjoyable with a herbal finish.

Neudorf Moutere Pinot Gris, 2010, New Zealand ($29.99). Pale lemon in colour.  Stone fruit along with a nutty/oaky nose. Light bodied, off dry with medium acidity.  Citrus and a bit of spiciness and honey flavours. Elegant.

Canepa Novisimo Sauvignon Blanc, 2o10, Chile ($11.99). This is an unreal price. The Canepa winery was named the Chilean Producer of the Year at the International Wine & Spirit Competition 2010. New to the Vancouver market. This wine has a nice nose of kiwi fruit, citrus, and a hint of oranges. Medium acidity with herbal and asparagus flavours. Light body. Make it your fun to drink, house white wine.

Juicy Red Wines

To finish off this blog article, here are 2 full fruited red wines.

Lange Twins Winery, Zinfandel, 2009, California ($23.99). The zinfandel grapes for this wine come from certified sustainable Lodi Rules, in Lodi, California. Light ruby in colour.  Ripe raspberry aromas. Lots of vanilla, raspberries and cassis on the palate. Medium body, round mouthfeel, with medium acidity makes this jammy zin easy and ready to drink now.

Santa Julia Magna, 2009, Argentina ($15.99). This wine is made by the Zuccardi family.  I’ve spoken about their “Q” series many times.  Their Santa Julia Magna is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Malbec, and 10% Syrah. Almost opaque budy in colour. Really ripe black fruit, plums, cherries and vanilla aromas. Smooth, full body with cherries and vanilla. Drink now.

Try out one or more of these wines, and comment on this post.  Let me know what you think.  And I’ll keep you posted on the next IVSA. Enjoy!

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A Wonderful Portfolio Tasting With Mark Anthony Wine Merchants

Today I was fortunate to taste a range of wines around the world that are represented in BC by Mark Anthony Wine Merchants. There was red, wine, sparkling, rose, and fortified wines.

The wineries and countries that were available for tasting were:
– Canada: Artisan Wine Company, Mission Hill Family Estate
– Australia: Yalumba, Tyrrell’s, Vasse Felix
– South Africa: Obikwa
– New Zealand: Man O’War, Twin Islands, Pewsey Vale
– France: Maison Louis Latour, Henry Fessy, Simonnet Febvre, Lanson, Lucien Albrecht
– Italy: Antinori, Tenuta Sant’ Antonio, Col De Salici
– Germany: Gunderloch, Deinhard, Henkell
– Austria: Huber
– California: Rodney Strong Wine Estates, Terlato
– Washington: Long Shadows
– Chile: Santa Rita, Terra Andina
– Argentina: Dona Paula
– Spain & Portugal: Vega Sicilia, Manyana, Graham’s

With the sheer amount of wineries, and wines, it would be a short novel if I were to cover all the wines that I tasted. So I’ll give you my picks from this evening:

Brotte Vacqueyras “Bouvencourt” 2006 (France) $28.99. This is a Grenache / Syrah blend. Medium garnet with a bit of bricking. Caramel, and cherry on the nose.  Medium body and tannins. Caramel, apple, raspberry and cherry flavours.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape “Domaine Barville” 2004 (France) $31.48. A Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre blend.  Medium garnet with some bricking in the glass. Light cherry aromas.  Very nice flavours of red ripe cherries and vanilla. Medium body with smooth tannins.

Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir 2007 (France) $29.99. Light garnet in colour.  Lively raspberry fruit nose.  Oak, cherry, raspberry and currant flavours. Medium length.

Antinori Il Bruciato Bolgheri 2007 (Italy) $34.99.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with lesser amounts of Merlot and Syrah.  Opaque garnet with a black core in the glass. Pencil lead and black cherry nose.  Pencil lead, black ripe fruit, capsicum, and cherry flavours.  Smooth mouthfeel with medium tannins and medium length on the palate.

Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva 2005 (Italy) $46.99. Chianti for those that do not know is made with the Sangiovese grape. This wine was dark garnet in colour.  Oak, cassis, and cherry nose. Full bodied with smooth mouthfeel.  Medium acidity and tannins with ripe black cherry flavour.

Monti Garbi Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2008 (Italy) $30.00.  Many Valpolicella are made from the grape varieties Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara. This wine is made with Corvina, Corvinone,  Rondinella, Croatina, and Oseleta.  This is one of my favourite wines of this tasting. Medium garnet in colour.  Nice aromas of cherries, caramel and a hint of spice.  Licorice and red cherries with spice on the palate.  Medium body / tannins,  smooth on the palate with medium length.

Santa Rita Medalla Real Pinot Noir 2008 (Chile) $19.99.  Santa Rita is one of my favorite wineries from Chile.  They have a range of very nice wines.  Wine & Spirits Magazine has awarded Santa Rita the Winery of the Year Award for 2010.  This is the first year I believe for this particular wine.  Medium garnet in colour. Juicy strawberry nose.  Lots of strawberry, raspberry and spice flavours with a bit of flowers and oranges too.  Lots of flavours happening in the glass.  Medium body.

Twin Islands Nautilus Pinot Noir 2008 (New Zealand) $39.99. New Zealand is well-known for their pinot noir wines.  This wine comes from the Marlborough region, which is also well known for Sauvignon Blanc.  This wine is light cherry in colour.  Nice raspberry nose. Medium body with low tannins.  Some minerality, red cherry and smokiness on the palate.

Vasse Felix Shiraz 2005 (Australia) $39.99.  Opaque garnet in colour.  Ripe, juicy black cherry nose.  Minerality, ripe black cherries, and a bit of spice.  The flavour of this wine keeps building it the more you keep aerating the wine in your mouth.  Very smooth.  A “wow” wine.

There were many more wines that could be listed.  I will be posting my tasting notes for all the wines I tried later on www.MyWinePal.com.  I hope you have a chance to purchase and try some of these wines that I recommended. Cheers.