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Discover top picks and top values from the Vintages August 29th release – featuring Rhône & Zinfandels

“The Vintages August 29 release has two spotlights – Rhône Valley and California Zinfandel – that vibrate the antennae of every red wine fan.  Both fall into that realm of fruity, spicy, exuberant reds that are more for hedonistic drinking rather than fussing with cellars and fine dining.  And even if they are not the cheapest on the planet they are usually fair value.  The reality of the Vintages selections is that once you get pass the amazing Santa Duc 2003 Cairanne(92pts) very few are real standouts in terms of quality or value.  Among the Rhônes I also highly recommend Domaine Montmartel Visan 2007 (90 pts) and Château Mourgues Du Grès (89 pts) as the best values.  Among the Zins Gnarly Head 2007 Old Vine (89) is the most lush and gulp-able, with Grgich Hills 2006 (82pts) being the most bizarre and disappointing.  Elsewhere, the Gretzky wines are evolving well but not quite worth a ticket to the game (the pinot is green and tannic, very at odds with Vintages description).  Exotic tropical whites from Australia and New Zealand continue to offer great bang for the buck, try the McPherson 2007 Marsanne/Viognier (89 pts) and Kim Crawford 2007 Riesling (89 pts).  From Europe there is yet another batch of excellent 2005 Bordeaux, although pricy. The selections from Italy and Spain are middle of the road to disappointing this time around, although Portugal, as usual, has a couple of bargain reds: Quinta das Amoras 2006 (87 pts, $12.95) andRamos Pinto Duas Quintas 2007 (88 pts, $15.95).  To the left are my top picks for quality, value and news value.”

–  David Lawrason, VP of Wine at WineAlign

Click here to see ranked lists and reviews of close to 100 wines in this release.

David’s Half Dozen

Henry Of Pelham Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007

Henry Of Pelham Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2007 Niagara Escarpment
$19.95, 90pts

Cline Viognier 2007
$15.95, 90pts

Santa Duc Les Buissons Cairanne 2003

Santa Duc Les Buissons Cairanne 2003
Côtes du Rhône-Villages
$17.95, 92pts

Clos Du Val Zinfandel 2006
Napa Valley, California
$21.95, 92 pts

Château Castegens 2005
Bordeaux, France
$18.95, 90pts

Paolo Manzone Magna
Dolcetto D’alba 2007
Piedmont, Italy
$16.95, 89pts

Filed under: Featured Articles, News, Wine, , , , , , ,

Top Picks and Top Values from the Vintages August 15th release

“The rich, fruity reds of Chile are featured in the August 15 release, a good seasonal choice as they are excellent for the BBQ, loaded with flavour but smooth and not excessively hot.  Sometimes heat from the wine, the grill and the spicy chipotle marinades adds up to one thing – blistering, palate numbing heat. Pass the beer! The Chilean offering is focused on the $15 range, predictably resulting in 85-87 ratings and good value. It is a great opportunity to explore Chile’s signature carmenere grape with several under $15 like the very good Montgras 2008 at only $12.95; but some of the real excitement from Chile is over $20, like the Montes Alpha Syrah.  The mini-feature on Macon showcases an underplayed group of elegant, limestone driven chardonnays with oak way in the background, much like Chablis, but the best, Nicolas Potel Montagny 1er Cru, is a barrel fermented stunner hearkening to the best limestone chardonnays of Prince Edward County.  Speaking of Ontario wines the Creekside Laura White is intriguing and very well made (Creekside is on a roll) and theCave Spring Merlot 2006 is a great example of how deliciously well Niagara’s under-appreciated 2006 wines are drinking. Try with cedar plank grilled salmon.”
–  David Lawrason, VP of Wine at WineAlign
Click here to see ranked lists and reviews of close to 100 wines in this release.

David’s Half Dozen


Nicolas Potel  2007 Montagny 1er Cru
Nicolas Potel  2007 Montagny 1er Cru Burgundy, France
$24.95,  92pts

Wither Hills 2008 Sauvignon Blanc
Wither Hills 2008 Sauvignon Blanc,  Marlborough,
New Zealand   $17.95,  91pts

Domdechant Werner'sches 2002 Riesling Hochheimer Kirchenstück
Domdechant Werner’sches 2002 Riesling Hochheimer Kirchenstück  Rheingau,
Germany   $23.95,  93pts

George Wyndham Founder's Reserve 2005 Shiraz
George Wyndham Founder’s Reserve 2005 Shiraz,
South Australia,  $22.95,  91pts

Montes Alpha 2007 Syrah Apalta Vineyard
Montes Alpha 2007 Syrah Apalta Vineyard Colchagua Valley, Chile  $22.95,  91pts

Casa Vinicola Cortese 2004 Barolo
Casa Vinicola Cortese 2004 Barolo Piedmont, Italy  $31.95,  92pts

Filed under: Featured Articles, Wine, , , , , , , , ,

WineAlign Reviews

Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir 2008