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Wine Picks July 11, 2009

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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.

Red Wine

Canaletto Merlot Nero D'avola 2008, I.G.T., Sicily, Italy: A gorgeously plummy-rich wine with supple layers of blackberries and dark spices. Full-bodied and balanced with a savory note on the finish. Closed with a screwcap. Merlot Nero D'avola food pairings: steak, hamburgers, meat pizza. 29421 12.6% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 89/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Canaletto Casa Girelli Primitivo 2008, Puglia, Italy: A wonderful quaffer with black cherries and some smoky notes. Perfect for barbecues and casual potluck gatherings. Primitivo food pairings: hamburgers, roast beef, grilled chicken, pepperoni pizza. 94565 13.5% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 86/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Masi Passo Doble Malbec Corvina 2007, Tupungato Valley, Argentina: Love it! Pleasantly tart cherries, blackcurrant and blackberries in this full-bodied wonder. The vineyards are at an altitude of 950-1050 meters above sea level. The wine is a blend of 70% Malbec and 30% semi-dried Corvina grapes and uses a double fermentation technique for extra richness. Terrific balance and acidity. Great food companion to many robust and meaty dishes. 620880 13.5% 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ruffino Fonte Al Sole Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Tuscany, Italy: The grapes are grown in sun-drenched Tuscany. Sole means "sourced from the sun." Lovely berry ripeness with a tangy finish. A blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon to produce a medium-bodied supple wine. Terrific value for the money. Sangiovese Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: roast chicken, barbecued spare ribs, seared tuna, pasta bolognese. 18994 13.1% 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Masi Corvina Malbec 2007, Tupungato Valley, Argentina: A sublime wine of incredible depth and dimension. On the nose, blackberry, cassis, black cherry and mocha. This wine is a blend of 70% Corvina and 30% Malbec grapes. It was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Lovely length. You do need to decant this wine for 1-2 hours: I left it open overnight and it was fabulous the next day. 79095 14.5% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100. July 2009. Favorite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Open Cab2-Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A mouth-filling red with layers of fleshy blackberries, blackcurrant and a lick of vanilla spice. This full-bodied number delivers lots of hedonistic pleasure for those who enjoy instant gratification. (Translation: You don't need to cellar this bottle!) The price is amazing for such a well-made wine. Perfect for potluck gatherings, book clubs and evenings when you want to wear your faded jeans. Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot food pairings: pepper steak, lamb with rosemary, tacos, fajitas. 134957 12% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 89/100. July 2009. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Open Merlot 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A resolutely delicious wine that delivers a core of plushy ripe plums and berries. The texture is so supple and slippery good. This versatile, switch-hitter wine is perfect for parties when you're not sure of everyone's taste in vino. It's also excellent for movie night, except of course, if you're watching Sideways. Miles obviously didn't try this wine. Merlot food pairings: hamburgers, roast beef, grilled chicken, pepperoni pizza. 140129 12.5% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer California Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California, United States: An incredible price for this tasty, plummy, supple red! Layers of flavor and goodness make you come back for more. A sure-fire party pleaser. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: steak, hamburgers, meat pizza. 113001 13.5% D 750 mL $9.95 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant Grenache Mouvedre 2004, California, United States: A spectacularly rich and deep red with fragrant peppery blackberries and black raspberries. Savory, meaty notes with a lip-smacking delicious finish. This wine is a blend of 38% grenache, 35% syrah, 12% mouvedre, 8% carignane and 7% cinsault. It was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. Grenache Mouvedre food pairings: filet mignon, brisket, grilled pork chops, lamb with rosemary. 975847 14.5% D 750 mL $36.95 Score: 92/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cookoothama Cabernet Merlot 2007, New South Wales, Australia: Terrific balance in this full-bodied, tasty red with rich, fleshy notes of plums and black raspberries. Great mouth-watering acidity for food. Aged in French and American oak, it offers notes of dark spices, smoke and mocha. Cabernet Merlot food pairings: hamburgers, roast beef, grilled chicken, pepperoni pizza. 91660 14% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Patriarche Pinot Noir 2006, V.D.P., Languedoc, Roussilon, France: A fantastic value for this lovely, medium-bodied Pinot with tart cherries and some spice. Supple and mouth-watering. Pinot Noir food pairings: poultry, cooked ham, roast beef. 522649 12% D 750 mL $9.90 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gran Feudo Reserva Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2001, Navarra, Spain: A juicy red with enticing aromas of dark plums and vanilla-spice. Aged 18 months in French and American oak. This wine is a blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot food pairings: steak, hamburgers, meat pizza. 479017 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tapena Tempranillo 2008, Tierra De Castilla, Spain: Made from 100% Tempranillo grapes. The quintessential red wine grape of Spain, Tempranillo (temp-rah-NEE-yo) is a perfect blend of fruit, earth and structure, rounded out by a deliciously soft mouthfeel. Tempranillo is Pinot Noir in blue jeans. Intense ruby red color with violet-blue undertones characteristic of young red wines. A plush, luscious wine that rolls with ripe black plum flavor. Lovely notes of dark chocolate on the end. Full-bodied. Tempranillo food pairings: grilled fish, vegetables, pizza, pasta, grilled lamb skewers, garlic prawns, broiled salmon, paella. 72553 12.8% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Bonny Doon Vineyard Grenache Cinsault Rosé 2008, California, United States: One of my favorite rosés year after year. Old World balance and length with New World vitality and fruit. Ripe raspberries and earth. Lovely aperitif. A blend of 58% Grenache, 18% Cinsault, 10% Roussane, 7% Mouvedre, 4% Syrah and 3% Grenache Blanc. Closed with a screwcap. Grenache Cinsault Rosé food pairings: salade nicoise, carnitas tacos, salmon. 707018 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. July 2009. Favorite Rosé Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Codorniu Clasico Brut Cava 2008, Spain: Lovely golden colour sparkles in the candle light as gorgeously ripe pears and toasty oak waft up from the glass. Clean, crisp and medium-bodied, this Spanish sparkler is perfect for casual get-togethers. Cava food pairings: grilled seafood, soft cheeses, potato chips. 6262 12% 750 mL $12.40 Score: 85/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut Cava 2008, Penedes, Spain: Deep and toasty with delicious notes of ripe pears. Creamy layers of flavor and zippy finish make this bubbly perfect for a cocktail party. 88591 12% 750 mL $12.65 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Araldica Asti Sparkling Wine 2008, Piedmont, Italy: Just a touch of sweetly ripe fruit in this sparkler makes it a wonderful accompaniment to movie classics such as It’s a Wonderful Life. Aromas of ripe green apples and grapes with some ripe apricot blended in. Light and zesty. 94573 7% 750 mL $12.75 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Seaview Brut Methode Champenoise Sparkling Wine 2008, Australia, Australia: You can't beat this price! Lots of fruity, bubbly fun in a bottle. 216333 12% 750 mL $11.65 Score: 86/100. July 2009. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene Prosecco 2008, Veneto, Italy: Fresh ripe pears and a touch of spice make this bubbly terrific for cocktail parties: It’ll go beautifully with all the hors d’oeuvres and nibbles on the table. 340570 11% 750 mL $16.55 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau De Montgueret Cremant De Loire Brut 2008, Loire Valley, France: Lovely green apples with a toasty finish. Lots to enjoy here. 621896 12% 750 mL $19.40 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Seaview Sparkling Shiraz 2008, Australia, Australia: Wow, deep, rich flavours of dark plums and black cherries. This is perfect for those who love full-bodied red wines like Shiraz but want a fizzy version. 644054 13.5% 750 mL $13.65 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Monkey Bay Pinot Grigio 2008, New Zealand, New Zealand: Vibrant and refreshing with notes of white melon, grapefruit, granny smith apple and lime. Closed with a screwcap. Pinot Grigio food pairings: vegetarian dishes, quiche. 93666 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Open Riesling Gewürztraminer 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario, Canada: An exuberant, zesty wine that wakes up the tastebuds then tickles them with lovely lush pineapple, lychee and white peach notes. Light-bodied but not wimpy: packed with expressive tropical and citrus fruit. Perfect as an aperitif or the glass of wine at 5 p.m. that I call "Mommy's little helper." Riesling Gewürztraminer food pairings: salads, seafood, mild and medium curries, sweet and sour dishes, glazed ham, fruit chutney. 134965 11.1% MD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 89/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Prospect Winery Ogopogo's Lair Pinot Grigio 2008, V.Q.A., Okanagan, B.C., Canada: Lovely ripe melon, peach and floral notes. Clean and refreshing, this makes a terrific aperitif or an accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes. A papaya-infused finish. Lovely! Closed with a screwcap. Pinot Grigio food pairings: pasta in cream sauce, roast chicken, baked foccacia, dishes spiced with oregano, basil and rosemary. 13% S 750 mL $29.95 Score: 89/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wayne Gretzky Estates Estate Series Chardonnay 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A round and balanced Chardonnay with enticing notes of green apples, pears and vanilla-spice. Very satisfying. Chardonnay food pairings: lobster, corn dishes, cream sauces. 129049 12.7% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Malivoire Wine Company Chardonnay 2006, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A luxurious Chardonnay with voluptuous layers of ripe peaches, pears, honeysuckle, fig and cinnamon. A long, toffee-infused finish. The Moira Vineyard on the Beamsville Bench has calciferous clay soils suited to Burgundian grapes such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (This winery makes spectacular Pinot too.) It was certified as organic in 2004 and is lovingly tended. The wine was aged in Burgundian barrels for 8 months on the lees and underwent a full malolactic fermentation to give it that rich, creamy texture. Enjoy! Chardonnay food pairings: salmon in pastry, dishes with rosemary, tarragon or dill, mustard-glazed pork, oven-roasted parsnips. 573154 12.7% XD 750 mL $37.00 Score: 92/100. July 2009. Favorite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strut Riesling Gewürztraminer 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A pretty, floral wine with notes of melon and pineapple. This wine is a blend of 70% Riesling and 30% Gewurztraminer. It's a lovely apertif. Closed with a screwcap. Available at Wine Rack stores. Riesling Gewürztraminer food pairings: shellfish, mild curries. 11% MD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 86/100. July 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

McWilliams Chardonnay 2007, Australia: A voluptuously layered, full-bodied Chardonnay with delicious notes of ripe peach, butterscotch and melon. Nicely balanced. This is an incredible price for a wine of this quality. Top me up! Chardonnay food pairings: corn dishes, lobster in butter, pasta in cream sauce. 91744 14% D 750 mL $9.95 Score: 87/100. July 2009. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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