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Wine Picks December 4, 2007

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Note: This batch of wine reviews is not part of the bi-weekly Vintages Releases. Instead, it's a collection of wines outisde the Vintages section in store (general list) or wines sent to me directly from wineries that may not yet be available in liquor stores. Click on the Winery or Wine Agency link to get more info.

Dessert Wine

Reif Estate Vidal Icewine 2005, Niagara, Canada: An elixir of apricots, honey and toffee. 554791 10% S 200 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Nutty Solera Oloroso Sherry, Jerez, Spain: Lovely! You need to acquire a taste for sherry, but it's a lovely change from the usual. Nutty, warm aromas of roasted almonds and hazelnuts. It offers terrific balance with acidity. Try this well-priced sherry as an after dinner drink. Nutty Solera Oloroso Sherry food pairings: cheeses, nuts. 35204 20% MD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pilliteri Estates Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2006, Niagara, Canada: I love this festive bubbly! Gorgeous honeyed sweetness with aromas of toasted almonds, apricots, caramel and marmalade. Pilliteri Estates Sparkling Vidal Icewine food pairings: biscotti, lady fingers, cheese course, simple cakes. 18978 9% S 375 mL $44.90 Score: 93/100. December 2007. Favorite Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pilliteri Estates Riesling Icewine 2004, Niagara, Canada: A lovely dessert option with notes of white peach, nectarine, white flowers and lemon zest. Tangerines and marmalade on the palate. Pilliteri Estates Riesling Icewine food pairings: fruit salads, sabayon, biscotti. 53629 10% S 200 mL $50.00 Score: 91/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pillitteri Estates Vidal Icewine 2005, Niagara, Canada: Gorgeous concentration and rich texture with tropical mango, limes and pineapple on the nose. Pillitteri Estates Vidal Icewine food pairings: cheese, orange pound cake, foie gras. 370007 10% S 375 mL $40.00 Score: 90/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Other Wines/Drinks

Wild Africa Cream Liqueur 2006, South Africa: Gorgeous layers of caramel cream. If you like Bailey's Irish Cream, you'll love this. 52795 17% S 750 mL $26.95 Score: 90/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz 2005, South Eastern Australia, Australia: Full-bodied, rich and delicious wine with aromas of black fruit and oak. 642751 13.3% D 750 mL $16.45 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, South Eastern Australia, Australia: Full-bodied with classic notes of cassis and blackcurrant. Somewhat tannic so decant 1-2 hours. Penfolds Koonunga Hill Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: red meats, mature cheeses. 45625 13.8% XD 750 mL $16.55 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

McWilliams Shiraz Cabernet 2006, South Eastern Australia, Australia: A full-bodied, rich and simple wine with notes of extremely ripe plums and chocolate. Shiraz Cabernet food pairings: BBQ, grilled meats, steak, stew. Drink: 2007 - 2011 16741 13.5% XD 750 mL $10.15 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Merlot Atrium 2005, Penedes, Spain: Great value! A lovely rich and round red wine with luxurious layers of cherry, plum and chocolate. Full-bodied. Torres Merlot Atrium food pairings: red meat dishes, pork. 621755 14% XD 750 mL $15.15 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine De Serane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Languedoc, France: A full-bodied wine with big black fruit and smoky oak notes. Domaine De Serane Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: hearty meat dishes, stews. 35006 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lapaccio Primitivo Salento 2005, I.G.T. Puglia, Italy: A round, delicious red with notes of raspberries, chocolate and oak. Aged in oak for 3-4 months. Lapaccio Primitivo Salento food pairings: veal scaloppini, mushroom dishes, roast lamb, game. 588822 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.25 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penascal Shiraz 2004, Castilla Y Leon, Spain: A pleasant, smooth, medium- to full-bodied wine with notes of plums, blackberries and cocoa. If you like merlot, you'll like this wine. Penascal Shiraz food pairings: roast meats, game. 19562 14.8% XD 750 mL $10.95 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ruffino Fonte Al Sole 2004, Tuscany, Italy: A medium-bodied, nicely balanced wine with notes of raspberries and blackberries. Ruffino Fonte Al Sole food pairings: hard cheeses, lasagna. 18994 13.1% XD 750 mL $13.15 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Straccali Chianti Classico 2005, Tuscany, Italy: A medium- to full-bodied wine with notes of ripe cherry and chocolate. Good structure, with some firm tannins so decant 1-2 hours. Straccali Chianti Classico food pairings: game, veal. 19695 12.9% XD 750 mL $15.45 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tomassi Tommasi Valpolicella Classico 2006, 0, Italy: Full-bodied with aromas of black cherries and plums. Made from corvina veronese, rondinella and molinara grapes. Tommasi Valpolicella Classico food pairings: red meats, mature cheeses, game. 669150 12% XD 750 mL $14.05 Score: 86/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2004, South Australia, Australia: A delicious, full-bodied red with classic shiraz aromas of black fruit, mint and oak. Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz food pairings: hearty meat dishes. 665471 14.1% XD 750 mL $17.15 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sandhill Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2005, Okanagan, B.C., Canada: A blend of 39% merlot, 32% cabernet sauvignon, and 29% cabernet franc. Full-bodied with aromas of blackberry, plum, and cedar. Notes of red and black berries on the palate. Sandhill Vineyards Cabernet Merlot food pairings: medium-rare beef tenderloin, venison burgers, rack of lamb, aged cheeses. 0 14% XD 750 mL $19.99 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calona Vineyards Artist Series Pinot Noir 2006, Okanagan, B.C., Canada: A medium-bodied wine with good acidity, tannins and a plush finish. Aromas of sweet cherries, red currants and raspberries. Calona Vineyards Artist Series Pinot Noir food pairings: baked salmon. 0 13% XD 750 mL $16.99 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bodega Jacques & Francois Lurton Malbec 2005, Mendoza, Argentina: Sourced from the foothills of the Andes, Malbec is Argentina's most emblematic red grape variety. This wine is a terrific value! Rich and full-bodied with notes of blackcurrant, mulberry, black raspberries and smoky oak. Bodega Jacques & Francois Lurton Malbec food pairings: roast beef, beef bourguigonon, stew and shepherd's pie. 28829 13.8% XD 750 mL $11.15 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Valencia Bobal & Shiraz 2006, Hoya Valley, Spain: The winery was founded in 1885 and makes this wine from the bobal and shiraz grapes grown in Valencia on Spain's east coast. This wine is full-bodied and smooth-textured with aromas of blackberries and raspberries. Closed with a screwcap. 539320 XD 750 mL $8.99 Score: 86/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wayne Gretzky Estate Merlot V.Q.A. 2006, Niagara, Canada: A rich, smooth, full-bodied red with notes of cherry and vanilla. Wayne Gretzky Estate Merlot V.Q.A. food pairings: stews, steak, roast. 63966 12.7% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

E. & J. Gallo Winery Barefoot Shiraz 2006, California, United States: A simple, full-bodied red with sweet plum fruit and blackberry jam aromas. Barefoot Shiraz food pairings: BBQ. 54015 13.5% XD 750 mL $9.95 Score: 86/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grant Burge Wines Barossa Vines Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2005, Barossa, Australia: A lovely, robust and well balanced red with notes of blackberries, plums, liquorice and cassis. Grant Burge Wines Barossa Vines Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot food pairings: beef ragout, BBQ, hearty tomato dishes. 619379 14% XD 750 mL $16.05 Score: 90/100. December 2007. Favorite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Stellenbosch, South Africa: A pleasant, simple and robust cabernet sauvignon with notes of cassis and black fruit. Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: red meat, veal. 665323 13% D 750 mL $9.65 Score: 85/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Oracle Shiraz 2005, South Africa, South Africa: A simple, robust wine with delicious aromas of red berries and plums. Oracle Shiraz food pairings: steak, hard cheeses. 36772 14% XD 750 mL $10.95 Score: 86/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beaulieu Vineyard Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, California, United States: A full-bodied wine with aromas of red cherries, blackberries, toasty vanilla and chocolate. Beaulieu Vineyard Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled meats, gilled chicken teriyaki. 569871 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.15 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Rooster Pinot Noir V.Q.A. 2006, Okanagan, B.C., Canada: Lovely aromas of sweet black cherry, spice and earth. A medium-bodied wine with silky soft tannins and a long finish. Red Rooster Pinot Noir V.Q.A. food pairings: mushroom lasagna, grilled steaks, tomato sauce pasta, cedar planked salmon, veal tenderloin. 533190 12% XD 750 mL $19.90 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Laura's Blend Red 2005, Niagara, Canada: A mouth-watering, well-balanced red with notes of black cherries and spice. Available at the winery. Creekside Estate Laura's Blend Red food pairings: braised beef, grilled wild game, beef wellington, tomato-based pasta. 0 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Greg Norman Lake County Zinfandel 2003, California, United States: This full-bodied wine spent six months in small oak barrels that were 50% new American oak and 50% seasoned French. With aromas of blackberry liqueur and ripe raspberry it is juicy, plummy and berry ripe. 0 14% XD 750 mL $19.99 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Greg Norman Limstone Coast Shiraz 2005, Australia: A wine with excellent depth, concentration and a long finish. It has aromas of ripe, dark plum, blackberry, sweet vanillin, spice with notes of blackcurrant, mocha and cedar oak. Grown in the rich red soils that overlay the region's hard limestone rock. 0 14% D 750 mL $19.99 Score: 91/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Folonari Pinot Neri Della Venezie, 2005, Veneto, Italy: A simple, pleasant light- to medium-bodied wine with notes of bright red cherries and raspberries. Folonari Pinot Neri Della Venezie, food pairings: salmon, grilled fish, pork, chicken, pate, tuna. 32888 12.7% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Pieroth Riesling 2005, Pzalz, Germany: A lovely, light, simple sipper with notes of pears and green apples. Pieroth Riesling food pairings: seafood, shellfish, vegetarian, pork, chicken. 23895 11% XD 750 mL $11.15 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Vineyards French Thom Chardonnay 2006, France: A simple, full-bodied and oaky, buttery chardonnay. French Thom Chardonnay food pairings: pork, chicken, corn. 23895 13% XD 750 mL $15.15 Score: 87/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Rooster Riesling 2006, Okanagan, B.C., Canada: What a pretty wine! This riesling underwent cold fermentation in stainless steel tanks to maximize the fruit character. Attractive aromas of white flowers, peaches, rose petal and some lychee. Red Rooster Riesling food pairings: grilled vegetables, seafood with creamy pasta. 498840 13% D 750 mL $14.90 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calona Vineyards Artist Series Unoaked Chardonnay 2006, Okanagan, B.C. V.Q.A., Canada: I'm usually not a fan of unoaked chardonnay, but this one is excellent. It delivers the lovely fruit of the grape without the mask of oak. Who knew chardonnay could taste so good? Aromas of pear and green apples. Calona Vineyards Artist Series Unoaked Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, pork. 364323 14% XD 750 mL $13.99 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Stellenbosch, South Africa: An excellent value for this vibrant, refreshing wine. Aromas of lime, gooseberry and grapefruit. Obikwa Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: fish, poultry. 527465 12.5% D 750 mL $9.15 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sandhill Chardonnay V.Q.A. 2006, Okanagan, B.C., Canada: A lovely, rich and full-bodied chardonnay with classic aromas of baked pear, vanilla and apples. 0 14% XD 750 mL $17.99 Score: 89/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calona Vineyards Artist Series Pinot Blanc 2006, Okanagan, B.C., Canada: A crisp, refreshing white wine with aromas of quince, honeydew and pear. 0 14% XD 750 mL $14.97 Score: 88/100. December 2007. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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