Buyers’ Guide to VINTAGES Preview – Nov 10th, 2018

Global Finds and New World Pinot Noir
By Sara d’Amato, with notes from David Lawrason, John Szabo and Michael Godel

Sara d'Amato

Sara d’Amato

It is the time of year when the bi-weekly VINTAGES releases swell to such great numbers that we at WineAlign are tasting into overtime. Saturday’s line-up includes 148 new wines on the shelves which tend to move quickly as holiday season approaches. The WineAlign team is now all back in Toronto after a great deal of travel with destinations that include Hungary & the Carpathian Bassin, Austria, the Rhône Valley, Chianti Classico and well as harvesting closer to home. With greater perspective on emerging wine regions and innovative developments in classic appellations, we look forward to sharing our adventures with you in the month to come. More pressing are our top picks that are just gracing the shelves of your local VINTAGES shop.

New World Pinot Noir

Pinot noir’s reference point may be Burgundy, but outside of this classic terroir, an increasing number of exceptional pinot noirs are surfacing in the market. Unfortunately, they are rarely a bargain due to the grape’s intolerant nature requiring exacting growing conditions and careful attention in the winery. Having emerged as premium hotbeds for this finicky variety are Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Casablanca in Chile, Central Otago in New Zealand, Sonoma, Carneros and Santa Barbara in California and the Western Cape of South Africa. Closer to home, pinot noir is demonstrating praiseworthy potential in BC’s Okanagan Valley, the Niagara Peninsula and Prince Edward Country. This week we were particularly taken by local examples from Niagara as well as pinot from Sonoma, Santa Barbara and a surprising value find from Mendoza’s Uco Valley.

Central Otago

Central Otago

Château des Charmes 2016 Paul Bosc Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, St. David’s Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada ($38.95)
Sara d’Amato – This warmer vintage edition of the home-farmed pinot noir of Château des Charmes offers an impressive depth of flavour. Barely-there volatile acidity adds complexity on the palate giving an edge to the generously showcased flavours of fresh red and black cherry, bramble and nettle. There is a distinct purity and authenticity of note as well as elegance and definition from acidity. The wildness under the surface is just palpable but is kept restrained at present. A broody intensity is brewing, and a flinty smokiness is tangible on the finish. The evolution of this multi-layered pinot noir should prove captivating. Tasted October 2018. …

There are 16 VINTAGES Release recommendations this week that are currently only available to our premium members. This complete article will be visible to all members 30 days after publication. We invite you to subscribe today to unlock our top picks and other Premium benefits.

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Use these quick links for access to all of our Top Picks in the New Release. Non-Premium members can select from all release dates 30 days prior.

Michael’s Mix
Lawrason’s Take
Sara’s Sommelier Selections
Szabo’s Smart Buys

New Releases & VINTAGES Preview

Canonico Negroamaro 2017