Jonata Todos 2011, Santa Ynez
Vintages No. 218941; $67.95; available November 8, 2014
The wine business has known its share of mavericks, individuals who pursue the unorthodox, who chaff under dogma and determinedly break the “rules.” Most will flame out, but a very small few will achieve something great and in doing so set new benchmarks.
Such is the case with Jonata, when told by one of France’s most renowned wine experts, Frédéric Engerer of the famous Château Latour, that they should plant asparagus rather than grapes the owners thanked him, and then set about creating something special.
“Todos” means everything and this is a blend of almost every grape type grown at Jonata. In 2010 it’s 78% syrah, 8% Sangiovese, 5% merlot, 3% cabernet sauvignon, 1% viognier, 1% grenache, 1% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot, 1% sauvignon blanc, 1% Semillon.
“… offers up knockout aromas and flavors, full-bodied richness and a seamless, layered profile that is hard to resist. Blackberry liqueur, caramelized beef, chocolate and flowers are just some of the nuances here and this pure, polished 2010 can be enjoyed now or cellared for a decade. Drink now-2020.” Score – 95 (Jeb Dunnuck, The Wine Advocate)
“This is a deep black, monumental and very impressive syrah based red brimming with black licorice, ripe prune/fig fruit, meaty notes, brine and black pepper. Almost a sense of molasses as well, and nutty scents mindful of oloroso sherry. It’s very hefty yet vibrant with high acidity and alcohol 14.9%. Saturated, very dense, tannic and structured. Excellent to outstanding length. This should hold a decade with ease.” Score – 93 (David Lawrason, WineAlign.com)
finca constancia 2011, Castilla
Vintages No. 376384; $16.95; available july 5, 2014
Made from a blend of six indigenous and international grape varieties, this is a truly distinctive wine, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Graciano and Cabernet Franc, each adding a new dimension and complexity. The grapes were hand picked and aged in a mixture of American and French oak barrels for 6 -12 months. The result is a full- flavoured wine, with intense berry aromas, beautifully integrated sweet oak and hints of leather and spice.
The 2011 Finca Constancia is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Franc and organically cultivated Garnacha that sees ten months in French and American oak. It offers a tightly wound, rather broody bouquet of blackberry, iodine and violets that opens nicely in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, succulent tannins and a refined, pure, graceful finish that is beautifully entwined with the oak. This is a lovely wine, a very astute blend of varieties that works superbly. Drink now-2016. Score – 91 (Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate)
chÂteau la nerthe chÂteauneuf-du-pape tradition rouge 2011
Vintages no. 735407; $49.95; available june 21, 2014
Saturated ruby. Oak-spiced blackberry, cherry-cola and vanilla aromas are sharpened by a bright, minerally quality. Smooth, palate-coating black and blue fruit compote flavors show excellent depth and become spicier and more energetic with air. Offers a suave blend of richness and vivacity, finishing sweet, gently tannic and very long. There is no Cuvee des Cadettes this vintage so this bottling includes all of the estate’s old-vines fruit. Score – 92. (Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Jan./Feb. 2014)
bouchard pÈre & Fils gevrey-chambertin 2011
Vintages No. 661330; $49.95; available january 18, 2014
In the heart of the Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin is the area with the highest concentration of red Grands Crus of which the legendary Chambertin and Chambertin-Clos-de-Bèze, great favourites of Napoleon. It is even said that the Emperor made his men salute when passing by these venerable vines. The wines of Gevrey-Chambertin, only red, are very sought after for their great strength and velvetness.
Bright, dark red. Aromas and flavors of cassis fruit and leaf, licorice, pepper, herbs and game. Juicy and intensely flavored, with very good cut and energy; purer than the village Nuits. Finishes spicy and peppery but not dry, with noteworthy length and perfume. Score – 88-90. (Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, Jan./Feb. 2013)
A typically savory, meaty example of village Gevrey, with darker cherry-berry character and more earth-forest floor nuances. The structure is based on a balanced combination of firm acids and light but angular tannins that should knit relatively early on and hold short term. Very good length. Best from 2016. Score – 90 (John Szabo MS, WineAlign.com)
Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2011
Vintages No. 216291; $22.95; available September 14, 2013
Camins del Priorat by Alvaro Palacios is Vintages Wine-of-the-Month in September for good reason. It is a gorgeous, affordable peek into the rarified world of Alvaro Palacios and a sensational, affordable example of top-notch Priorat.
A beautifully rugged and challenging region southwest of Barcelona, Priorat is known for low yielding, old vines planted on steep, mostly slate, hillsides (see pictures here). It produces wines of power and concentration made primarily from Garnacha (Grenache) and Cariñena (Carignan) with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah also making appearances.
Alvaro Palacios is one of the most important personailities in Priorat’s ascent into the upper echelon of the wine world. Wines from Priorat are not cheap and can be amongst Spain’s most expensive, Alvaro’s L’Ermita sell for $800/bottle and others are well into the hundreds. What makes Camins del Priorat special is that it has the quality expected of Alvaro Palacios, and Priorat, at an affordable price.
Lush and seamless, with very good finishing breadth and spicy persistence. Shows plenty of upfront appeal but this wine has the concentration and balance to reward at least mid-term aging. Score – 91. (Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar, Sept. 2012)
Alvaro Palacios Camins del Priorat 2011 (40% Garnacha, 30% Cariñena, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah): a nose of black fruits, leather, spice and iodine with a floral note; the Syrah sings through even at 10% of the blend; full-bodied, dry, plum and black cherry flavours with lively acidity. Opulent and fleshy. Score – 90 (Tony Aspler, www.tonyaspler.com)
PODERI DI LUIGI EINAUDI DOGLIANI 2011 DOCG, Piedmont
vintages no. 232454; $19.95; available June 22, 2013
Dogliani, the ideal Terroir for Dolcetto grapes
Dolcetto is a popular grape variety in the Langhe, as it easily adapts to various lands. It finds its maximum expression in mixed lands, as in Dogliani area, where the clay-calcareous marl is mixed with layers of limestone arena, which make the ideal soil. On the slopes of the hills surrounding Dogliani lie the best vineyards, soil types with a special aptitude and affinity for growing Dolcetto, where this vine produces excellent grapes, fundamental premise for the production of a great wine. In times that make sudden changes in record mode of consumption, Dolcetto di Dogliani continues to delight people for its characteristics like good texture, fullness of the fruit, good concentration, vibrancy of colour and for its remarkable versatility of pairing with food.
The 2011 Dogliani (Dolcetto) is a gorgeous wine. Bacon fat, game, tar and licorice give the 2011 an exotic, wild air that is highly appealing. At times the 2011 resembles Aglianico in its sheer complexity. Layers of fruit continue to build to the deep, resonant finish. This is a gorgeous wine for the money. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016. Score – 90. (Antonio Galloni, erobertparker.com, Oct. 2012)
palacios remondo ‘la montesa’ 2009, rioja
vintages no. 674572; $17.95; available february 9, 2013
Named after the hillside vineyard located on the northeastern slope of the Yerga mountains in eastern Rioja, La Montesa is a blend of the red grape varieties that grow organically on the Palacios Remondo estate. At an altitude of 1,800 feet, the Palacios Remondo vineyards are grown at some of the highest points within all of Rioja. The average age of the vines is twenty-four years. The soil is comprised of sediments that stem from the quaternary era, consisting of clay and a stony-calcareous subsoil covered in gravel, similar to that of Chateauneuf du Pape. Very low in organic material and with a moderated basic pH, the soil type is perfect for growing high quality fruit. The vines are narrowly spaced, pruned under a double cordon de royat style, farmed organically and very rarely irrigated. By green harvesting and dropping almost 50% of their fruit, Palacios Remondo ensured only the highest quality fruit was picked during harvest, which took place between the 20th of September and 25th of October.
Winemaker Alvaro Palacios has stated that 2009 was one of the most enigmatic and fascinating vintages in the history of Rioja Baja, in the eastern part of the region. After experiencing the rainiest winter and early spring in over a decade, “something hard to believe happened,” declared Palacios. “Not a single drop of rain fell over Rioja Baja for the next six months and we couldn’t have been luckier.” Due to the humid conditions during summer and harvest, however, production was slightly lower than normal and it was feared the grapes would not reach optimal maturity. Fortunately, this was not the case; while the beginning of 2009 was quite wet, the remainder of the season was one of the hottest on record and the stark temperature contrasts, combined with scarce production, produced wines that have striking aromatic expression and an accentuated intensity and structure.
Hand-picked Garnacha, Tempranillo and Mazuelo clusters were selected, first in the field and again on a sorting table, before being de-stemmed and put separately into stainless steel tanks for alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. After a long maceration of 23 days, an initial blend was made and the wine was aged for 12 months in new and used 90% French and 10% American oak barrels. After the wine was clarified with natural egg whites it was left unfiltered and bottled in Spring of 2011.
“The 2009 La Montesa is a blend of 65% Garnacha, 30% Tempranillo and 5% Mazuelo picked by hand from the namesake vineyard and aged 20% in new oak. It has a well-defined strawberry, Morello and shortcake-scented bouquet infused with fennel and licorice. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, expressive red berry fruit tinged with burnt toast and white pepper, and an elegant, caressing finish that speaks of its place. This is a very commendable Rioja.” Score – 92 points (Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate)
descendientes de j. palacios ‘petalos’ 2010, bierzo
vintages no. 675207; $23.95; available november 24, 2012
#57 on Wine Spectator Top 100
Before Alvaro Palacios and his nephew Ricardo Perez Palacios arrived in Bierzo the region and its Mencia grape were considered minor and unimportant, today Descendientes de J. Palacios is making some of the most compelling wines in Spain. The region resembles Burgundy in that it is divided into hundreds of vineyard parcels, each of which is further divided among dozens of owners. Torrid days, chilly nights and plenty of rain further add to the challenge of making wine there but in the hands of Alvaro and Ricardo the results have been amazing.
“This plush red delivers black cherry, licorice, mineral and smoke flavors. Harmonious and focused, supported by well-integrated tannins and firm acidity. Not a showy wine, but has complexity and depth. Drink now through 2018.” 91 points (Wine Spectator)
“A consistently seductive and utterly inviting wine… Technically an entry-level wine it is a testament to the quality Palacios is able to extract from the region. Approachable and modern, the palate boasts intriguing flavours of violet candy, ripe cherries and plum along with chalky tannins and succulent acidity. Balanced, harmonious and seamless with incredible length.” 91 points (Sara d’Amato, WineAlign.com)
jonata todos 2008, santa ynez
vintages no. 218941; $59.95; available november 10, 2012
Todos means “everything” and this is a blend of almost every grape type grown at Jonata: 67% Syrah, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest small percentages of Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Sangiovese, and even 3% Viognier. Just 1,300 cases produced.
“The nose is extraordinary: massively complex, with a wild mix of black pepper, garrigue, dense dark fruit, and on and on. This has miles of evolutionary road ahead, though admittedly it’s bloody delicious now, too. A fine example of power without sacrificing balance; top class winemaking.” Value Rating: *** Score: 94 – John Szabo MS, WineAlign.com
“The 2008 Todos bursts from the glass with expressive blackberries, blueberries, smoke, tar and incense. It is an exotic, full-bodied wine supported by considerable freshness and vibrancy…”. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016. Score: 92 – Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate
bodegas pedro escudero fuente elvira 2010, Rueda
Vintages no. 218313 ; $14.95; available september 1, 2012
The Escudero family and patriarch Pedro in particular are recognized as being some of the very best grape growers in all of Rueda. He is often approached by neighbors looking for advice about vineyard issues. They have only been bottling wine since 2002, though they had been growing and selling grapes for a number of years prior. The family owns a vineyard planted with 32 Ha. of Verdejo and 2 Ha. of Viura. The name of the vineyard is “Fuente Elvira” and the soil, which consists of gravel and sand over a red clay sub-soil, has some of the most highly regarded soils in the Rueda district. They farm all of their plots with organic practices.
This wine is made from fruit grown in the Fuente Elvira vineyard with an average vine age of 40 years. The grapes were destemmed and see a cold maceration for 24 hours. Then they were gently crushed in pneumatic press. The must was fermented under temperature-controlled at 60° F for 28 days. The wine was in contact with its lees for several months prior to bottling. Stabilization and light filtration occurred before bottling.
“Pedro Escudero Fuente Elvira Verdejo 2010 from Spain’s Rueda region is a wonderful expression of the verdejo grape at only $14.95. Its soaring, exotic, semi-tropical aroma transported me back a year to my visit to this region northwest of Madrid, and how I was impressed by the growing importance of the regions wines. The Pedro Escudero clan has owned over 30ha of old vine verdejo for several generations, which explains the concentration and complexity in this wine“. – David Lawarson, The National Post
“This very fine verdejo is like a super-charged sauvignon. It’s deeply coloured yellow-gold with a very generous, pure nose of pineapple, star fruit and fresh green herbs. It’s quite full bodied, fleshy and almost waxy in texture. Powerful with good lemony acidity and a buzz of alcohol heat. The length is excellent. Lots here for $15“. 90 points – David Lawrason, WineAlign.com
“The 2010 Fuente Elvira is 100% Verdejo sourced from a single vineyard with an average vine age of 40 years. The wine was aged on its lees for several months in stainless steel. The result is an alluringly-scented wine with aromas of baking spices, mineral, white peach, apricot, and jasmine. It displays greater density and richness than the Valdelainos bottling as well as a lengthier finish. It is an outstanding value in Verdejo that will provide enjoyment for another 3-4 years“. 89 points – Jay Miller, eRobertParker.com
rustenberg rm nicholson 2009
Vintages no. 278390; $19.95; available august 18, 2012
A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Shiraz, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec from an icon of South African wine. The wine is named for a former charismatic owner-winemaker, Reg Merriman Nicholson, who lived and worked on the farm for 30 years and was the creator of Rustenberg’s famous “Dry Red” wine.
Rustenberg is one of South Africa’s oldest estates with a history dating back to 1682, and by 1781 it was producing 3,000 cases of wine. The estate was divided and fell into decline towards the late 19th century but it was brought back to life by John X. Merriman. In 1941 it was acquired by Peter and Pamela Barlow and their son Simon has run Rustenberg since 1987. They offer a strong, consistent portfolio of red and white wines based on classic varieties. Their flagship wines have gained international recognition and are built to last, so do not be afraid to cellar them for several years or more.
“Dry, ripe and rich with great integrity, chalky tannins, cocoa and coffee. Blackberry, lead and stone dominate on this true to character, classic Bordelaise blend. Built to age with substantial concentrated and terrific balance“. 90 points – Sara d’Amato, WineAlign.com
old pulteney 21 year old single malt scotch whisky
LCBO No. 11270; $229.95
Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky is today sitting on top of the world after winning one of the whisky industry’s highest accolades, World Whisky of the Year, in Jim Murray’s 2012 Whisky Bible Awards. In a class of some 1,500 whiskies, Old Pulteney 21Year Old scooped the top accolade, along with three other esteemed awards ‐ Scotch Whisky of the Year, Single Malt (Multiple Casks) of the Year and Single Malt (16‐21 Years) of the Year.
Congratulations Old Pulteney and thank you for our allocation! We received precious few cases of this highly sought after whisky so be sure to get a bottle before it’s gone.
pegasus bay pinot noir 2008, Waipara, New Zealand
vintages no. 31294; $47.95; available saturday march 17, 2012
Pegasus Bay is entirely family owned and operated and all of their wines come from estate grown fruit. The Donaldson family have been seriously involved in wine since the early 1970’s and were pioneers of local grape growing and wine making. The aim of Pegasus Bay is to grow grapes of the highest quality, which fully express the features of the vineyard, and to handle these with the utmost respect. Natural methods and as little intervention as possible at all stages from vine to bottle typify their approach. They believe in sustainable viticultural management, organic techniques, low crop levels, minimal handling of fruit during processing and gentle pressing. They allow wines to go through natural malolactic fermentation and clarify by settling. Their red wines are bottled without filtration. They aspire to capture the unique flavors of the vineyard in their wine.
“The 2008 Pinot Noir gives an abundance of dark berry and floral notes: black cherry, black raspberry, violets plus touches of underbrush and smoked duck. Crisp, rich and concentrated, this medium bodied Pinot is seductively textured with a medium level of velvety tannins. The finish is long. It’s temptingly approachable now, though should reward cellaring, drinking to 2016. Score – 92+.” (Lisa Perrotti-Brown, MW, erobertparker.com, Oct. 2010)
“This is a lofty pinot, price-wise. And indeed it captures lovely, correct raspberry purity and richness framed by complex oak, vanilla, fresh cedar bough and gentle basil scents. It’s medium weight fairly dense and soft with a slightly too hot finish. Excellent focus and length, with some Dijon mustard amid the sweet fruit on the finish. Best now two to 2014. Score – 91.” (David Lawrason, Wine Align.com, March 2012)
“Ripe, verging on raisined fruit: dried cherry, cranberry, dark chocolate and both resinous and sweet spice character – evidently an ambitious wine here. The palate is dense and rich without sacrificing pinot’s elegance, but this remains a solid and structured style. I’d leave this another 2-3 years to develop greater integration and complexity. Score – 90. ” (John Szabo MS, Wine Align.com, March 2012)
writers tears pot still irish whiskey
Vintages No. 271106; $47.95; available saturday march 3, 2012
Writers Tears is a salute to the great writers with a style of whiskey that was popular in Joyce’s Dublin. A blend of pure pot still whiskey and malt whiskey it’s deliciously soft, sweet and easy drinking.
James Chatto, a prolific author on food, wine, and restaurants, wrote a fascinating article on Writers Tears combining history, tax policy along with a poetic description. To read James’s article click here
hall Cabernet sauvignon 2008, napa
vintages no. 273391; $59.95; available Saturday February 4, 2012
New to our portfolio we were blown away by our first visit to this boutique winery. The winery has two facilities, one right in St. Helena and another up in the Rutherford Hills and it is this property that is a true showplace, a gorgeous winery and tasting room with amazing views of the Napa Valley. With 500 acres planted to Bordeaux varietals Hall makes the quintessential Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
“A dense, full-bodied wine with lots of creme de cassis, charcoal, licorice and forest floor, the wine is opulent and already delicious and powerful. It should continue to drink well for at least 12-15+ years.” 95 points. The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker
beaune du chÂteau rouge 1er cru 2008, domaine bouchard pÈre & fils
vintages No. 901199; $36.95 (in stores october 1)
Exclusive to Bouchard Père et Fils they have been producing the Beaune du Château since 1907. What makes it interesting, in a place where location and ‘terroir’ is everything is that it is a blend of several Premier Cru vineyards, vinified separately, so it shows the different aspects of Beaune. Beaune du Château Rouge comes from 17 Beaune Premier Cru vineyards, all chosen for their complementary qualities and so the sum really is greater than its individual parts. For additional information and full winemaker’s note click here.
Score: 89-91“A gentle hint of wood sets off attractive aromas of red berry fruit, earth and rose petal that merge into supple and agreeable middle weight flavors that for all of the accessibility of the mid-palate also carry more than a little austerity over to the balanced and lingering finish.2016+” Allen Meadows, burghound.com
vintages no. 723643; $17.95 (in stores August 20)
A personal favourite this always sells out quickly, it is a unique wine that is simply full of flavour. What makes it unique is that it is barrel-fermented in new barrels of American oak with a high degree of toasting where it remains for nine months. While barrel fermentation is common for white wines it is unusual for reds and it gives the wine expressive and exuberant aromas of cocoa and mocha with hints of vanilla and dark fruit nuances.
“A spicy rich nose packed with expansive oak. This is a very attractive wine, and a real joy to find in this class. The palate is dominated by mouthfilling red and black fruits, and the finish is balanced, long and stylish. Score – Silver“. (International Wine & Spirit Competition, 2010)
vintages no. 216291; $22.95 (in stores may 28)
Alvaro Palacios is one of the great personalities in the wine world. To quote Decanter Magazine Alvaro “is Spain’s most talked about winemaker… one of the defining personalities in Spanish wine today. In just 20 years, he has established a formidable reputation as a dynamic pioneer, generating global praise for his wines – in particular, those from the forgotten regions of Spain he has been so active in promoting”.
We are extremely pleased to have his Camins del Priorat making its debut in Vintages this Saturday. It is from one of Spain’s best regarded wine regions where the prices can be notoriously high, and the quality is fantastic. It’s a blend of 50% Garnacha. 40% Samsó (aka Cinsault). 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. For one of the most poetic descriptions of the wine, as only Alvaro can do, please click here. To read the full Decanter article please click here.
LCBO No. 194878; $39.95
A new, clear, Canadian whisky. White Owl has all the flavour, body and kick you would expect in a premium whisky but is absolutely clear making it ideal for cocktails and mixed drinks.
Q & A with Highwood Distillers, makers of White Owl Whisky
Why is it clear?
What are the benefits of clear whisky?
It doesn’t smell like whisky?
Is it moonshine?
I am/know people who can’t drink rye?
What can I mix it with it?
vintages no. 169797; $49.95
“Sexy aromas of red berries, licorice and leather lifted by a floral topnote. Silky-sweet, dense and sappy, with lovely definition and an intriguing earthy complexity. Finishes with late, building tannins.” Score – 90. (Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar, March/April 2009)