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Vintages Release January 22, 2011

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Dessert Wine

Croft Port Late Bottled Vintage Port 2004, D.O.C., Douro, France: Vintages Wine Panel: One of the benefits of LBV is that you can enjoy the blessings of a declared vintage almost right away, without the need to cellar it. Made in a modern style, this opaque ruby-black Port is rich and delicious. Entices the nose and palate with notes of smoke, tar, chocolate, toffee, and intense dark berry fruit. Medium bodied, very smooth and long-finishing, this is ready-to-drink LBV. My note: Is there anything more comforting than port? (I mean aside from human contact.) I think of port as the Diana Krall of wines: sultry, seductive and smooth. This is a warm, rich after-dinner drink with layers of black plums and blackberries. A long, satisfying finish. Port food pairings: fine dark chocolate, walnuts, Stilton cheese. 87601 20% S 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Sportoletti Assisi Rosso 2008, D.O.C., Umbria, Italy: Gorgeous haunting aromas of black cherries and smoke. Full-bodied but not heavy. 926857 13% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Corte Majoli Ripasso Superiore Valpolicella 2007, D.O.C., Veneto, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Vanio Tezza represents a new generation of Veneto winemakers. While still in his 20s, he took over the family estate 10 years ago after the death of his father. Respecting the traditions required to make Ripasso, he also brings a modern flair to every wine the property produces. Check out the ripe plum, raspberry and cocoa aromas in this medium full-bodied, round, rich and fruity wine. My note: A solid, pleasant and robust wine with notes of black raspberries, mocha and dark spices. A casual quaffer to sip in front of the evening fire. Valpolicella food pairings: braised beef. 84061 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Monte Zovo Sa’ Solin Ripasso Valpolicella 2008, D.O.C., Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Year after year, this fabulous Ripasso is a major hit with customers. It’s fruit-forward with layers of cranberry, cherry, herb, peppery spice and meaty notes. Dry with a medium-full body and a lingering finish, it has the structure to match flavourful dishes. Its upfront fruit-forward style also makes it a pleasant sipping wine. My note: Very purple and tasty! Bring on the blueberries, blackberries and purple berries. Full-bodied, juicy and somewhat like zinfandel. Smooth and fun. Valpolicella food pairings: roast leg of lamb, gourmet pizza. 650713 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chilensis Reserva Carmenère 2008, Maule Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: The once-forgotten Bordeaux grape, Carmenère, is thriving in Chile’s winemaking valleys and is proving to be as important to Chile as Malbec is to neighboring Argentina. This is a fresh and fruity mouth-filling red with aromas and flavors of juicy ripe cherries, chocolate, gentle herbal notes and toasty oak. My note: Redolent of smoked herbs, jammy cassis, and gamey notes. Full-bodied and lip-smacking delicious. Tremendous value. 657981 14% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Best Value Red Wine (Tied) Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Montes Apalta Vineyard Carmenère 2008, Colchagua, Chile: A succulent, savoury red with aromas of black fruit, smoke and dark spices. Supple and enticing. Terrific price. Carmenère food pairings: slow-cooked roast beef with root vegetables. 143230 14.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tabalí Reserva Carmenère 2008, Limarí Valley, Chile: Dark, brooding, full-bodied and a bruiser attitude. Black plums and berries. Supple. Carmenère food pairings: red meat. 44008 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Terra Andina Reserva Carmenère 2008, Rapel Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Chilean growers once believed that the Carmenère grape was a clone of Merlot, but the country officially recognized it as a distinct variety in 1994. This delicious crowd-pleaser is an excellent example of why Carmenère deserves recognition. Ripe, smoky aromas and flavours of black plum, currant, chocolate, leather and spice bathe the senses with good balance and length. My note: A deep, tasty, satisfying red with full-bodied notes of dark chocolate, black cherry liqueur, coffee and blueberry. Supple and lip-smacking delicious. An incredible value. Carmenère food pairings: rack of lamb, penne arrabiata. 128637 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Talon Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Vinemount Ridge, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Dominated by plum, raspberry, spring flowers and beetroot/earth aromas. Dry, tannic and tight with good, youthful fruit waiting patiently to come to the front. Will reward 3-5+ years in a cellar, or enjoy tonight, decanted. My note: Canada’s leader in Pinot Noir: classic Old World lines and balance with New World fruit and power. Floods the senses with ripe cherry fruit and raspberries, some spice on the finish for intrigue. Medium-bodied and silky, seductive. 143545 13.5% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mission Hill Family Estate S.L.C. Merlot 2005, V.Q.A., Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Mission Hill is one of the most respected wineries in the Okanagan Valley wine region. This multi-award-winning Select Lot Collection Merlot has a toasty blueberry nose. Aromas and flavours of rich blackberry, cherry, plum and vanilla dominate this big, bold wine. The flavours echo on the palate with persistence, culminating in a dry, crisp finish. My note: Full-bodied aromas of black plums and cherries. Supple, smooth and layered. Pleasant dark chocolate finish. Merlot food pairings: pork tenderloin, grilled salmon. 68353 14% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blackstone Winery Winesmaker’S Select Merlot 2008, California, United States: A full-bodied, generous red with fleshy plums, ripe blackberries, mocha, cigar box and some toasty oak. Layers of richess. A treat to drink. Consistently great year after year. Drink: 2010 - 2015 606327 13.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos Du Bois Sonoma Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Clos du Bois, located in Geyserville, released its first wines in 1974 and has made continuous strides in quality ever since. This is prototypical Sonoma Cabernet: rich, ripe and powerful, packed with loads of fruit, spice and cedary oak. It’s soft and luscious, with a long finish. Give it a try. The Alexander Valley is known for producing voluptuous wines, and the 2007 Clos du Bois Cabernet certainly lives up to the region’s reputation. This wine is a sense-captivating treat. Teeming with blackberry, black cherry, currants, smoke and chocolate, with supple tannins and great structure, it shows all of the gallmarks that have brought the Alexander Valley to the world’s attention. My note: A wine is lovely and rare distinction. Smoky, mocha notes intermingle with blackberries and blueberries. Deep and complex. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled beef, dark chocolate. 54080 14.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Old Vine Zinfandel 2008, Lodi, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Medium-deep ruby colour. Impressive array of aromas, including blackberry, sweet black cherry, bumbleberry pie, freshly turned earth, and masala spice. Dry and quite flavourful, and very nicely balanced by a racy freshness and velvety tannins. This is a hefty but vibrant wine. It will also reward 1-3 years in a cellar. My note: A rich, dark Zinfandel: love it! Complexity and layers are growing yet it holds true to the traditional signature of blackberries, brambleberries and a lick of dark spices. Jammy cherries and raspberries. Zinfandel food pairings: Korean-style ribs. 942599 14.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. January 2011. Favourite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Finca Sophenia Reserve Malbec 2009, Tupungato, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Finca Sophenia’s Reserve Malbec has earned high praise over the last several years from members of the wine press. With Michel Rolland as consultant winemaker here, more accolades are sure to follow with the latest vintage. Cultivated in the foothills of the Andes and aged in French oak for 8 months, this complex, deeply concentrated wine exhibits aromas of plums, cherries and violets along with notes of mint and dried fruits. Especially good with carnivorous feasts. My note: A savory, meaty, mouth-watering red with full-bodied notes of black cherry, blackberry, cassis and smoke. Supple and smooth. Malbec food pairings: meats. 66837 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gemtree Vineyards Tadpole Shiraz 2008, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: Love it! Rich and deep with dive-into-it depths of fleshy black berries and plums, some mint. Fantastic price for this quality. 142034 14.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 91/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kilikanoon Wines The Lackey Shiraz 2007, South Australia, Australia: A real bunny-slipper wine: snuggly comfort for casual book club gatherings or après ski. This Shiraz was aged for 15 months in American oak and not filtered or fined, which leaves lots of robust stuffing and flavor in the bottle. Aromas of black pepper, raspberry liqueur, spice and cherry-scented leather. An unctuous texture with a long, warm finish. Pair it with good friends and boisterous conversation. 5199 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Nages Réserve (R. Gassier, Prop.-Récolt.) Syrah Belnd 2009, A.C., Costières De Nîmes, Rhone, France: A cedary, blackberry packed red. Full-bodied. Syrah Belnd food pairings: cheddars, cinnamon chicken. 427617 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos Du Calvaire Syrah Blend 2007, A.C., Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, France: Full-bodied and luscious. This wine displays nuances of black plums and berries. 728139 14% XD 750 mL $36.95 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tommasi Vigneto Le Prunée Merlot 2008, I.G.T., Delle Venezie, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Any dinner parties on the horizon? With its deep ruby-red hue and its lovely chocolate, berry and cappuccino notes, this single-vineyard Merlot is sure to wow dinner guests. This easy-drinking, food-friendly red makes a natural partner with pastas. My note: Dependable and straight-forward with tasty notes of black cherries and dried herbs. Full-bodied and smooth. Merlot food pairings: meaty pasta. 24505 13% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ninquén Antu Syrah 2008, Mountain Vineyard, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Viña Ninquén is amongst a number of Chilean producers now realizing the potential of planting at higher elevations. Ninquén’s mountain vineyards have produced a Syrah that is rich with layers of plush blackberry, plum and black cherry fruit flavors and aromas along with notes of mocha, earth and smoke. My note: A lip-smacking delicious red with dark red fruit notes. 675371 14.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Carolina Barrica Selection Syrah 2008, Maipo Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: This Syrah is bursting with eucalyptus aromas, adding a layer of complexity to the blackberry and dark chocolate, all supported by plush tannins and good length. An excellent choice for smoked meats, and priced to be kind to your pocketbook. My note: Terrific value. Possesses a terrific texture with rich layers of blackcurrant, anise, plum and hickory smoke. A terrific wine for casual meals and movie watching. Syrah food pairings: smoked meats. 34959 14.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Caliterra Tributo Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Colchagua Valley, Chile: A full-bodied, dark-fruited wine with smooth layers. Terrific value for this solidly made wine. 205567 14% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Emiliana Natura Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Central Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Emiliana is the largest organic grower in Chile with more than 1700 acres of vineyards certified organic and biodynamic. Made from organic grapes and contains only 18 mg/L of sulphur. Fresh herbs, cassis and brooding smoke aromas lead to a dry, medium-full body with cassis, tar and herbal flavors supported by chalky tannins and leading to a medium-long finish. My note: A plush wine with dark fruit notes and a smoky finish. 61069 14% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Viña Maipo Reserva Merlot 2009, Rapel Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Aromatic Merlot with tons of red fruit, spice box and blackberry aromas. Dry with lots of fruit and oak but in perfect balance as both elements are strong enough to completely complement each other. Medium-bodied with a substantial fruit/oak finish. My note: Loaded with blackberry goodness, blackcurrant and peppered plums. Absolutely terrific! Merlot food pairings: grilled steaks, gourmet sausages. 135236 13.5% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Best Value Red Wine (Tied) Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Gaudou Tradition Malbec 2008, A.C., Cahors, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine is mostly Malbec, with splashes of Tannat and Merlot. Ripe and rich, it exudes delicious notes of blueberry, black-berry, chocolate and raisin. Dry and medium-full bodied, with ample acidity and powerful tannic structure balancing all that sweet fruit character. Opaque, almost black in color. This wine is filled with sour cherry, anise, cocoa powder, raspberry and cinnamon. This one will reward serious cellar time. Give it four years and then keep looking at it for another six after that. My note: This wine is a blend of 15% Merlot, 80% Malbec and 5% Tannat. Lip-smacking delicious with aromas of black cherry, fig, red currant, coffee and cigar box. Terrific acidity for food. It’s full-bodied but not heavy. Malbec food pairings: pizza, steak-and-cheese sandwiches. 104935 13% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Nino Franco Brut Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene, D.O.C., Veneto, Italy: Toasty with lovely notes of green apples and orange zest. Bright and vibrant. Terrific for the price. Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene food pairings: fish, seafood appetizers. 349662 11% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Henry of Pelham Winery Reserve Off-Dry Riesling 2008, V.Q.A., Short Hills Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine won a Silver Medal at the 2010 Ottawa Wine Challenge. The grapes for this rich and vibrant Riesling are left on the vine well into October, allowing them to reach the desired ripeness. The result is an interplay of lush citrus and floral accents with a hint of sweetness balanced by a brilliant seam of acidity. An amazing value that will age well for 5-7 years. My note: Divine wine with terrific ripe pach and pear notes. This will go down a storm with Asian and spices. Balanced with fresh peach and pear notes. Lovely! Riesling food pairings: Asian, spices. 557165 11.5% MD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ironstone Obsession Symphony 2009, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Symphony is not a brand name Ironstone gave this wine; it is actually the name of the grape. Developed at the University of California at Davis, Symphony is an aromatic variety that is a cross between Grenache Gris and Muscat of Alexandria. It creates wines that are aromatically complex and very pleasurable, such as this fine example. My note: Lovely, aromatic with rose petal and lychee. Terrific acidity with gorgeous floral notes: white daisies in a wide open field. I recommend this year after year. The ultimate wine with rose petals and lychee. Symphony food pairings: spicy Asian dishes. 73700 13.5% MD 375 mL $9.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blind River Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Stunningly delicious Sauvignon Blanc with vibrant notes of fresh grass, lime, chives and green apple. Not too herbal. Refreshing and mercifully free of oak. A zesty aperitif or a companion to a wide range of dishes. Superb effort! 141499 13% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. January 2011. Favourite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rapaura Springs Red Gate Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Vintages Wine Panel: One of the great things about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is that is it just so immediately identifiable – one sniff and you’re in Marlborough country. Luscious notes of gooseberry, tropical fruit, nettles, grasses and that distinct vegetal quality of asparagus. Dry, with an intensely zippy acidity. This is a great value. My note: A vibrant zippy white with textbook Sauvignon Blanc flavors and grassy goodness. Refreshment in a glass. Citrus-infused finish. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: grilled or seared scallops. 142919 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 85/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lenz Moser Prestige Grüner Veltliner 2009, Niederösterreich, Austria: Vintages Wine Panel: Niederösterreich (Lower Austria) is a large area that includes the sub-appellations Kremstal, Kamptal and Wachau, amongst others. Lenz Moser’s premium, limited-quantity varietal wines are released under the Prestige label. This is a fresh, balanced wine. An excellent white wine for your cellar (3-5 years), this is a fresh, balanced. My note: A refreshing bone-dry wine with zippy notes of limes and white grapefruit. Terrific aperitif. Youthful and invigorating. Grüner Veltliner food pairings: seafood stews, grilled salmon, chicken paprika. 71233 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

La Chablisienne Sauvignon Blanc 2008, A.C., France: Vintages Wine Panel: Bet you didn't know they make Sauvignon Blanc in Burgundy. Now you can impress your guests with this unique Burgundian wine. And you'll only find them in the Saint-Bris appellation. My note: Vibrant, lemongrass and lime aromas leap out of the glass. Mouth-watering and juicy with terrific minerality and length. Medium-bodied and refreshing. 641753 12.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay 2008, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia: A rich, round Chardonnay with lovely aromas of green apple, almond and light spices. Terrific finish. 399543 13% D 750 mL $22.95 Score: 90/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Emiliana Novas Limited Selection Chardonnay 2009, Casablanca Valley, Chile: This organic wine contains only 16 mg/L of free sulphur. This Chardonnay is balanced, full-bodied and tasty. Aromas of green apple, smoke, butterscotch and almond. Full-bodied and delicious. 4515 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beauvignac Picpoul De Pinet 2009, Midi, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Does the onset of summer make you daydream of refreshing white wines? If you are a fan of Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris and have been wanting to expand your wine-tasting repertoire, Picpoul de Pinet may be the answer. This crisp, fresh, light-bodied wine features fresh citrus and apple flavors, and its racy acidity makes it truly ‘magnifique’ for sipping on the patio. My note: A joyously happy wine; bright sunshine on a summer’s day. Redolent of daisies, melon, tangerine zest and lime. Perfect aperitif or as an accompaniment to many dishes. 350124 12.5% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Terres Blanches Sec Muscat 2009, Vin De Pays D’Oc, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Don’t know much about Muscat? Well, here’s a perfect place to start. This dry wine is an exceptional value, and it also shows many of the aromatic qualities that make Muscat so attractive: orange blossom, table grapes, red grapefruit and peach. My note: orange blossom and zest all the way! Lovely and exotically enticing with white peach and spices. Muscat food pairings: Swiss cheese quiche, butternut squash risotto. 653188 13% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. January 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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