We'll begin with the secondary theme that honours the 40th anniversary of the famous Judgment of Paris tasting that pitted the relatively unknown Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays from California against the top red wines from Bordeaux and top Chardonnays from Burgundy. California fared quite well in the tasting and ended up taking top prize in both red and white wine categories. The rest, as they say, is history. This mini-theme is anything but mini, with four excellent wines from the seven included among my wine picks.
Three California Chardonnays from Judgment of Paris players made my list of wine picks, including wines from Chateau Montelena, Heitz Cellar, and an organic wine from Grgich Hills. The only red wine chosen from this mini-theme is the Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon which contains 8% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Merlot, and needs some time before it can be enjoyed over the ensuing three decades. Not included as part of the Judgment of Paris theme but also available in this release as part of the Flagship Store Exclusive (FSE) program is another Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon that's blended with 14% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 1% Cabernet Franc.
From the major theme of the release, the wines from Veneto were mostly lacklustre except for a Masi Amarone that came through VINTAGES last November in a magnum bottle, but now returns in the more popular 750 mL format. The other Venetian wine is the Pieropan Soave Classico crisp, dry white wine that is a blend of 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave.
South Africa is well-represented among my wine picks with a Chenin Blanc and an oaked Chardonnay, but there's also a lovely little South African organic red wine that is a blend of 37% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec. Other red wines in this release include a Portuguese wine blend consisting of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, while the Rhône blend consists of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault.
The latest vintage of the dry rosé wine returns to VINTAGES shelves, consisting of Syrah and Grenache, while the sparkling wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Enjoy my wine recommendations from this release. Cheers!
- AVONDALE JONTY’S DUCKS PEKIN RED 2011 - WO Paarl, South Africa (#383547) (D) - $14.95 reviewed here
- HERDADE DA PIMENTA ALENTEJANO 2013 - DO Alentejo, Portugal (#445114) (XD) - $16.95
- MONTGRAS ANTU CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#444703) (XD) - $17.95
- D’ARENBERG THE FOOTBOLT SHIRAZ 2013 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#984021) (D) - $19.95
- CHÂTEAU PEGAU CUVÉE MACLURA CÔTES DU RHÔNE 2013 - AC, Rhône, France (#452250) (XD) - $19.95
- VITICCIO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2012 - DOCG, Tuscany, Italy (#283580) (XD) - $22.95
- JOHN GLAETZER JOHN’S BLEND NO. 38 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Langhorne Creek, South Australia (#927640) (D) - $39.95
- BACHELDER LA PETITE CHARMOTTE NUITS SAINT GEORGES 2013 - AC, Burgundy, France (#357228) (XD) - $58.95 FSE
- MASI COSTASERA RISERVA AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO 2009 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#324137) (D) - $69.95 reviewed here
- RIDGE VINEYARDS ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012 - Monte Bello Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#089284) (XD) - $74.95 FSE
- RIDGE MONTE BELLO CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013 - Santa Cruz Mountains, California, USA (#405332) (XD) - $191.95
- FLAT ROCK UNPLUGGED CHARDONNAY 2014 - VQA Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068015) (XD) - $16.95
- PIEROPAN SOAVE CLASSICO 2014 - DOC, Veneto, Italy (#946848) (D) - $17.95
- 13TH STREET JUNE’S VINEYARD RIESLING 2013 - VQA Creek Shores, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#147512) (D) - $19.95 reviewed here
- FORREST THE DOCTORS’ SAUVIGNON BLANC 2014 - Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (#317842) (D) - $19.95
- RUSTENBERG CHARDONNAY 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#598631) (XD) - $19.95
- OLDENBURG VINEYARDS CHENIN BLANC 2014 - WO Stellenbosch, South Africa (#443358) (XD) - $20.95 FSE
- CAVE SPRING CSV RIESLING 2013 - Estate bottled, Cave Spring Vineyard, VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#566026) (D) - $29.95 reviewed here
- HEITZ CELLAR CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#205500) (XD) - $49.95
- GRGICH HILLS ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2013 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#346304) (XD) - $67.95
- CHATEAU MONTELENA CHARDONNAY 2014 - Napa Valley, California, USA (#701748) (D) - $75.95
- CHÂTEAU VAL JOANIS TRADITION ROSÉ 2015 - AP Luberon, Rhône, France (#707281) (XD) - $15.95
- JACKSON-TRIGGS ENTOURAGE GRAND RESERVE BRUT 2011 - Méthode Traditionnelle, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#234161) (D) - $24.95