Category Archives: South America

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Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère Cab Sauvignon Organic 2013

It’s always wonderful when you taste a wine that inspires you to share with others.  And Novasthat’s why we are sitting here, watching golf, sipping wine at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon.  Our friend Mary suggested we try it – we’ve shared many wines with her and Mark, so they’re pretty good judges of what will get us excited.

And this one’s a definite winner! Rich and deep, it’s got wonderful body, but isn’t so robust that it needs food.

He said, “That’s different, I’m picking up some tannins that are lingering but overall it’s a quite peasant, enjoyable wine. Look forward to trying the other 2 bottles in upcoming years (see our thoughts on the 3-bottle lot). The tannins should mellow out and the wine will get smoother. It’s a flavour I haven’t come across in any other wine  – I occasionally pick up a bit of strawberry and cherry, but the taste I get isn’t one that I’ve encountered with another wine. Might be the blend…”

She said, “First mouthful was red cherries and a bit of plum too.  But what really does it for me is the fig on the nose – the scent of figs is one of my favorites. I suppose some might characterize it as “herbal” or “vegetal.”  I’ll stick with yummy. More please, Dave.”

The wine is found in the Chile section of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), not the Vintages section, and we got it for $15.80.  There is another wine by the same producer in the Vintages section – a different blend – that might be worth trying as well. LCBO doesn’t have a lot to say about it, but here’s what John Szabo had to say on the 2010 version on Wine Align:

A forward, very fruity and spicy, vegetal and floral, bold but certainly not subtle blend here from Emiliana’s organically famed vineyard in the Colchagua Valley. This is full, rich, rather thick and suave on the palate, with abundant black and blue fruit flavours and long finish. A terrific value for fans of full flavoured wines at a very fair price. Tasted January 2013. Value Rating: ***

The details:

  • Vinedos Emiliana S.A., Novas Gran Reserva Carmenère Cab Sauvignon Organic 2013
  • 14.5% Alcohol
  • Colchagua Valley, Chile
  • LCBO #434662

Vina Tarapaca Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Vina Tarapaca Gran ReservaI received an email describing this wine as part of the Wine of the Weekend service, which highlights wines available at the LCBO that are:

  • less than $25 retail
  • readily available in Ontario
  • over-deliver on quality and value
  • fit the season or what is happening that weekend
  • are approachable and perfect for sharing and celebrating

Dave went off and bought our standard 3-bottle lot at an LCBO store in London Ontario, and we tried the first bottle tonight.  All I can say is “Honey, get in the car and get some more!”

This is a lovely wine, lots of berries when you open the bottle, which for me turned into violets on the nose as the wine opened.  It’s robust, with good tannins, but is extremely drinkable right away, with lots of blackberry flavours. While it was robust, I was quite happy to drink the first half of the bottle before dinner – it doesn’t absolutely cry out for food to accompany it, like some wines do.  But I can also see drinking this with a nice steak, or some super aged cheddar.  Here’s the Wine of the Weekend writeup.

Dave was getting “nuts” when he was drinking it.  Honey, I think that was the nutmeg flavour, or maybe the cocoa coming through.  While it’s complex enough to suit those with sophisticated tastes, it’s just a wonderful wine for the rest of us too!

The Details:

 

 

 

Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina

We’ve been periodically trying wines recommended in the Wine of the Weekend email service – some are stars, others, meh…Santa-Julia-Reserva-Malbec-LCBO

This week’s wine is Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina – another Malbec.  While in our opinion, it doesn’t hold a flame to our last Malbec, it’s not a bad wine, especially for the price.

She said: “It reminds me a bit of Beaujolais Nouveau, there’s a flavour in there that you find with younger wines (reminds me of Turkish Delight.)

He said: “This might not be a Malbec to introduce yourself to Malbec – I’d suggest that the last Malbec we tested is a much better example of just how good this varietal can be.”

Do you agree?  Why not try both wines and see which you like, and why.  Here’s the details:

  • This week’s wine:  Santa Julia Reserva Malbec 2014, Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina LCBO #429761 $12.95
  • Our preferred wine:      Catena Malbec 2012, Vintages 478727, $19.95

 

Catena Malbec 2012

For less than $20, this wine is a wonderful find.  It’s also a good lesson in looking for the less expensive wines from the top tier wineries.

catena-mb-2011_ch

Catena classifies its wines: the regular Catena (like this wine) is from the family vineyards, Catena Alta is a limited production wine, while Catena Zapata is their premium wine, designed to compete on the world wine stage at the highest tiers.

He said: I remember thinking when I bought this that it was a bit of a steal, as the Catena wines are usually more.  Catena – located in Argentina – is renowned for its Malbec.

She said: Too bad we don’t have any more, the 2011 Catena Alta – available in Vintages – is $49.95 per bottle.

He said: That’s a bit steep for us – we’ll keep our eyes open for the next regular Catena offering.

She said: Well, I think this $20 wine stacks up really well against many more expensive wines we’ve tried.  I wouldn’t mind trying the Catena Alta, assuming that it should be better than this one.  Maybe I’ll ask Santa Claus for one!

 

 

 

Burger night

HamburgerThe problem with watching weekend PGA golf on TV is that it always involves wine.  We try to ration it out, saving enough to have with dinner.  Doesn’t always work that way…

We started with Tapiz Alta 2011 Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, TapizArgentina ($18.95). This was reviewed on WineAlign by David Lawrason who said, “This is a balanced and complete if not huge cabernet – an absolute bargain. Argentine cabernet seems to pack in a centre of gravity that some lack (cabs can famously have a ‘hollow middle’).  There is even a sense of graphite minerality. Tapiz employs Pomerol-based Jean Claude Berrouet, perhaps accounting for the great sense of composure. In any event, it too is a great buy under $20.”

He said: for burger night, a high-end cab might be too bold.   This wine is quite acceptable. The tannins are still there, but aren’t too overwhelming and having it with a burger is going to be just fine.

She said: We’re just about out of wine, we need to open another bottle of something to have with the burgers.

He said: I thought we had lots left.  Those darn glasses!  Large wine glasses are ideal for a wine tasting experience but are quite deceiving in terms of how much wine they hold.  Makes the wine go down so much faster.

She said: Getting back to the Tapiz, it’s really a lovely Cabernet Sauvignon. I’m getting berry on the nose and some hefty pepper in the mouth.  But it still doesn’t come across as too robust. And for the price it’s a great wine.

He said: Where did the time go.  Need to get the burgers on.  Let’s have a wee taste of that Freakshow Cabernet I bought today.

She said: The Freakshow just knocked our socks off! Stay tuned!  Tapiz worked just fine with the burgers – it was probably the perfect wine for burgers.  A bit of potato salad would have been good too.