Natalie MacLean - delicious wine picks and pairings
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Vintages Release March 5, 2011

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Dessert Wine

Cálem Fine White Port, D.O.C., Douro, Portugal: Vintages Wine Panel: Aromas of jasmine, orange peel, walnuts, sweet spice and dried fruit. Medium in sweetness and well structured, with a crisp acidity that keeps all of the elements in balance. Perfect as an aperitif. My note: I learned to like white port this year. It’s not that sweet, but try it with ice and a twist of lime instead of gin and tonic. Woot! Port food pairings: smoked salmon, mixed nuts, pâté. Drink: 2011 - 2018 224568 20% M 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Enrico Serafino Moscato D'asti 2010, D.O.C.G., Piedmont, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Moscato d’Asti is a lovely way to end a meal. Light in alcohol (generally no more than 5.5% alc./vol.), gently frizzante and pleasingly sweet. Chill it down and enjoy this spring flower- table grape- and apricot-scented wine as dessert itself. My note: Love it! Ah my goodness this great. Sweet, yes, but with bubbly it balances beautifully. What a terrific after-dinner treat. Moscato D'asti food pairings: lighter cream-cheese dishes. Drink: 2011 - 2014 134833 6% MS 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

MacMurray Ranch Pinot Noir 2007, California, United States: A silky, plush Pinot with lovely aromas of ripe cherries and smoke. Medium-bodied with a supple texture. Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled salmon with couscous. 48207 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pisoni Teroldego 2008, I.G.T., Vigneti Delle Dolomiti, Alto Adige Trentino, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: The red Teroldego grape is grown primarily in Northern Italy, and is genetically related to Syrah. Ruby-coloured, this wine bursts with blueberry, raspberry, plum, herbs and spice. The flavours echo nicely on the palate, with good structure and terrific length. An excellent value! Try this taste of Trentino tonight. My note: A rustic country wine with dark red fruit and cedar notes. Teroldego food pairings: eggplant parmesan, minestrone, pasta, tomato sauce, lasagna. Drink: 2011 - 2014 209353 13% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Casa Montes Alzamora Syrah 2006, Tulum Valley, San Juan, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: San Juan is home to some simply outstanding Syrah, and the Alzamora is no exception. Expect a full-bodied, dry, superbly structured wine with impressively concentrated blackberry, dark cherries, smoked meat, clove and peppery spice notes with a delicate and lifting touch of violet. Will also evolve nicely with 2-3 years in cellar. My note: Pleasantly bitter with rich blackberry fruit. Smooth and dark. Dark spices on the finish. Syrah food pairings: pepper steaks, beef bourguignon. Drink: 2011 - 2015 220673 13.9% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Malma Reserva Bodega Nqn Malbec 2007, Neuquén, Patagonia, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Malma means “pride” in the language of the indigenous Mapuche. Deep purple in colour, this friendly Malbec teems with blueberry, cassis, and plum with some earthy notes. A well-made, medium-full-bodied red with a sweet core. Relax and enjoy. My note: Love it! Chewy and full-bodied with generously lush black and purple plums. Smooth with lots of layers of flavour and pleasure. Malbec food pairings: grilled sausages, slow-cooked saucy ribs. Drink: 2011 - 2015 222158 14.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concha Y Toro Maycas De Limari Reserva Syrah 2009, Limarí Valley, Chile: Rich cedar-black savoury goodness with anise and blackberry. Smooth and full-bodied. Extremely satisfying. Perfect for book clubs when you’re tackling a dark story. Drink: 2010 - 2015 209916 14% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Nyarai Cellars Veritas Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: This ripe and expressive red exhibits plenty of cassis, plum, bramble, pipe tobacco and cocoa. Dry, medium bodied, and expertly crafted, with plenty of ageing potential (3-5 years) – but it’s drinking beautifully now. A phenomenal example of the great 2007 Ontario vintage. My note: This wine is a blend of 33% Cabernet Franc, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 13% Syrah. It leads with a mocha-cocoa-espresso nose. On the palate, there’s dark fruit and a very smooth texture. Medium- to full-bodied weight. Nicely put together with good balance. Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: roast leg of lamb, hearty stew with root veggies. Drink: 2011 - 2015 222794 13% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Terre Di Rubinoro Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano Vecchia Cantina Di Montelpulciano Sangiovese 2006, D.O.C.G., Tuscany, Italy: Earthy and mature with leather and cigar box. A fantastic price for such an evolved wine. Smooth and full-bodied. Almost makes me want to read a long novel, but I think I’d rather have another glass and then a nap. Drink: 2011 - 2016 206862 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 91/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine De La Colline Saint-Jean Vieilles Vignes, Alazard Père Et Fils Grenache Syrah 2007, A.C., Vacqueyras, Rhône, France: Vibrant, fleshy black cherries on the nose followed by a deeper, richer black cherry liqueur in the mouth. Rich, full-bodied and glorious. This wine comes from a 37-acre vineyard of 80-year-old Grenache and Syrah vines. It’s aged in cement tanks to preserve fruit freshness. Seduction in a glass. Drink: 2011 - 2020 155499 14.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 92/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Simi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Opaque ruby colour. This wine is so dark you could look at an eclipse through it. Wonderful aromas, including Black Forest cake, fresh sour cherry, mocha and smoke. Dry, elegant and harmonious with fine fruit, zippy acidity and firm, but very pleasant tannins. This full-bodied, long finishing wine is a great match for a hearty beef, rice and tomato dish. It’ll also evolve with 2-4 years in cellar. My note: This cabernet also has small amount of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. A terrific red with delicious fruit but it’s not too big. Drink: 2011 - 2016 25221 13.5% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Carolina Reserva De Familia Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Maipo Valley, Chile: A classic Chilean cabernet: herbal, cedar and cassis aromas. Full-bodied and voluptuously smooth. Great length and depth. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: lamb shanks, pepper steak. Drink: 2011 - 2015 408658 14.5% XD 750 mL $15.00 Score: 91/100. March 2011. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Strewn Terroir Merlot 2006, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Strewn’s Terroir line of wines are made from only the highest-quality grapes, and only produced in select outstanding years. This is an intense and flavourful Merlot with notes of blackberry, dark cherry, and earth, with an herbal undertone that adds a sense of depth and complexity to the nose and palate. This nuanced Merlot will pair easily. My note: Tangy blueberries and mouth-watering purple plums. I admire the effort here as it’s tough to ripen a merlot in a cool climate. Juicy and tasty. Merlot food pairings: hearty braised beef, firm cheese. Drink: 2011 - 2014 225763 12.7% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Painter Bridge Los Osos Merlot 2007, Paso Robles, California, United States: A solid wine with a good structure and delicious fleshy plums with mocha. There’s a bit of malbec and petit Verdot in this merlot blend. Nicely balanced. Drink: 2011 - 2015 27516 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau St. Jean Merlot 2008, Sonoma Valley, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Chateau St. Jean’s winemaker, Margo Van Staave, has been working the vineyards here for over 30 years. In that time, she has created many award-winning wines, and was named 2008 Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine. The 2008 Merlot is rich with notes of ripe cherries, wood and spice. Beautifully structured, the palate is well balanced and deliciously fruity right through to the end of the wonderfully long finish. This versatile wine will pair with a great variety of dishes. Try it tonight. My note: A consistency great producer! This merlot delivers the goods: plush plums, supple texture and full-bodied goodness. This wine can move from casual nights with take-out to a dinner party. Merlot food pairings: lightly spiced barbecued ribs. Drink: 2011 - 2015 25304 13.8% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Toasted Head Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, North Coast, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Toasted Head isn’t kidding. Besides the lovely raspberry, cherry and mint, there are also well-integrated slatherings of campfire smoke, tobacco and smoked meat aromas here too. Dry and fruity, but with an almost perfect touch of tannin bringing balance. It may be ripe and round at first, but the tannins suggest it will age 2-3 years easily. My note: Toasty good with fleshy blackcurrant and blackberries. Supple with full-bodied weight. A very dependable wine year after year. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: marinated steak, back ribs. Drink: 2011 - 2015 686824 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

La Crema Pinot Noir 2009, Sonoma Coast, California, United States: Some wines you adopt as your own perhaps because you recall where you were (and who you were with) when you first tried them and they knocked your socks off. This is such a wine for me: I really have a soft spot for it. It’s supple, satin with gorgeous ripe cherries and berries. Extraordinary length: almost as long as my memory of that first bottle seven years ago. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast duck and spaetzle. Drink: 2011 - 2015 719435 13.9% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 93/100. March 2011. Favourite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cline Cellars Los Carneros Syrah 2006, Carneros, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Deep ruby in the glass. Rich fruit on the nose, with plum, spice, cherry, blackberry, cinnamon and leather. The palate is dry, medium-full bodied with great depth, structure, spice, and tons of rich, delicious fruit. My note: I had to look twice at the price to ensure it wasn’t a typo: what a deal! These folks may be known for their zinfandel, but I love their syrah! Rich and dark with juicy dark berries, bacon and plush texture. Full-bodied with a lovely long finish. I can’t imagine a better wine for a barbecue. Syrah food pairings: braised ribs, spicy gourmet pizza. Drink: 2011 - 2015 955435 14.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calera Pinot Noir 2008, Central Coast, California, United States: Ah yes! Voluptuously ripe cherries and cranberries with a pleasant tart finish. Medium- to full-bodied with a satin texture. This is one of California’s masters of pinot noirs. Taste it and see what I’m talking about. Drink: 2011 - 2016 933044 14% XD 750 mL $32.95 Score: 92/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2006, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, United States: This wine is a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot, and 2% Petit Verdot. Blackberry-menthol nose with blackberry liqueur on the palate. Rich, deep, and ponderous. Smooth and rich and full-bodied. Drink: 2011 - 2017 89284 13.7% XD 750 mL $44.95 Score: 92/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: A full-bodied and savoury cab with dark fruit and smoke. Long finish. Classic Cal cab. Drink: 2011 - 2016 479550 14.3% D 750 mL $44.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vineyard Twenty-Nine Cru Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: Mocha and toasty oak on the nose: blackberry fruit comes through on the palate. Rich, dark and full-bodied with an espresso finish. Drink: 2012 - 2016 212241 14.8% XD 750 mL $59.95 Score: 91/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Colomé Amalaya Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Calchaquí Valley, Salta, Argentina: Yum! Savoury and juicy with fleshy ripe purple plums and blueberries. Full-bodied and smooth. A beautiful thing with pizza. Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: pizza. Drink: 2011 - 2015 223446 14.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bodegas Callia Magna Shiraz 2008, Tulum Valley, San Juan, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Beautifully structured, complex, with great and balanced tannic presence, it’s loaded with notes of cloves, cinnamon, raspberries, vanilla bean and chocolate. Good structure and length. This is still quite youthful, and should show intriguing evolution over the next 2-3 years. My note: Juicy-great with luscious, mouth-watering black and purple plums. Full-bodied and smooth. Perfect for barbecues. Bargain price. Shiraz food pairings: pepper-crusted T-bone steaks, spiced sausages stew. Drink: 2011 - 2014 218818 14.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Elderton Friends Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia: A blackberry-rich, menthol nose with a lovely river of black fruit flavour. Full-bodied and smooth. This is an absolutely wonderful wine for the money, especially if it’s someone else’s money. A long finish. Drink: 2011 - 2015 595389 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hazyblur Shiraz 2006, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia: Absolutely superb! Combines the best of Australian power and fruit concentration with fantastic balance, length and craftsmanship. This is one of the finest Australian wines I’ve tasted, and yet it’s by no means the most expensive. Open your world of pleasure and try it. This wine is made form vines that are 40+ years old and it was matured in 50% new American oak. Drink: 2011 - 2024 76141 15% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 94/100. March 2011. Favourite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Two Hands Wines Lily's Garden Shiraz 2008, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: Big, fleshy blueberries and blackberries wrapped around an intense, concentrated core of dark hedonism. The high alcohol on this wine does add power but there’s enough fruit to handle it. Full-throttle pleasure. Drink: 2011 - 2019 683086 15.5% XD 750 mL $54.95 Score: 93/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pillar Box Reserve Henry's Drive Shiraz 2008, Padthaway, South Australia, Australia: Pitch black as night with tarry, black fruit notes and generous oak. Want a whack on your palate? This is your wine. Yet I do think it delivers pleasure to those who like their wines big and burly. Drink: 2011 - 2015 90324 15% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2007, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: Meaty core that touches deep pleasure centres. Dark berries and fleshy blackcurrants dive down into great depths of flavour. Perfect for the power Australian crowd… many of them are my friends. Drink: 2011 - 2018 984021 14.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 92/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand: Generous oak with fleshy ripe cherries. Smooth and full-bodied. For those who love power pinots. I can see the starry night as I take another sip. Pinot Noir food pairings: planked salmon on the grill. Drink: 2011 - 2014 203752 14.5% XD 375 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Spy Valley Pinot Noir 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand: Generous oak with fleshy ripe cherries. Smooth and full-bodied. For those who love power pinots. I can see the starry night as I take another sip. Pinot Noir food pairings: planked salmon on the grill. Drink: 2011 - 2014 734681 14.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Man Vintners Shiraz 2009, W.O., Coastal Region, South Africa: Absolute wow for this price! Juicy purple plums and flashy dark berries … just roll with it. Smooth and generous. This wine is as comfortable and immediately likeable as your favourite pair of jeans. Drink: 2011 - 2015 71332 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Ducla Supérieur Cabernet Blend 2008, A.C., Bordeaux, France: Juicy and rustic, with mouth-watering notes of tart black raspberries and cedar. Full-bodied and a touch tannic so decant for 1-2 hours. Cabernet Blend food pairings: roast, stuffed chicken, pork. Drink: 2011 - 2015 162461 12% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Clement Saint Jean Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, A.C., Médoc, Bordeaux, France: A terrific Bordeaux for the money! Dark black fruit, smoke and a strong tannic grip so decant for 1-2 hours. Great structure and balance. Should keep for another 3 years at least. Drink: 2011 - 2014 199208 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Pontet Bel Air Cabernet Blend 2009, A.C., Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Winner of a Gold Medal at the 2010 Concours Général Agricole in Paris. Features aromas of crushed raspberry and spring flowers. Dry, fresh and fruity, very quaffable crowd-pleaser for current enjoyment or hold it up to two years. My note: A rustic, robust, cedary red with dark red berry aromas. Satisfying, but not for analysis. Just enjoy! Cabernet Blend food pairings: grilled steaks, gourmet sausages. Drink: 2011 - 2014 205864 12.9% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Haut-Chaigneau Cabernet Blend 2006, A.C., Lalande De Pomerol, Bordeaux, France: This wine won a Silver Medal at the 2008 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. This wine is 85% merlot, 10% cabernet sauvignon and 5% cabernet franc. Big black brooding fruit and smoke. Full-bodied and intense with a deep, dark core. There’s a pleasant bitterness on the finish that’s refreshing. Drink: 2012 - 2015 87650 13.5% XD 750 mL $27.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jean-Pierre Teissèdre Gamay 2009, A.C., Chiroubles, Beaujolais, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Chiroubles is one of the nine Beaujolais Crus that represent the top growing areas within the Beaujolais-Villages region. Jean-Pierre Teissèdre delivers a deliciously fruity and well structured wine, with great berry, spice and a refreshing acidity. Savour this medium-bodied Chiroubles. My note: Very light with a short finish but gloriously happy cherries jubilee dance across your palate. Perfect for dry turkey. A wine to quaff at a picnic and with much laughter. Simple and tasty. Gamay food pairings: roasted chicken with rosemary seasoning, turkey. Drink: 2011 - 2013 183475 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Maison Roche De Bellene Pinot Noir 2008, A.C., Côtes De Nuits-Villages, Burgundy, France: A light, juicy, happy wine… bottled sunshine. Vibrant berry notes, cranberry and so smooth. Lovely! Perfect as an aperitif. Pinot Noir food pairings: turkey dinner. Drink: 2011 - 2014 208074 12.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine Matabrune Bourgueil Cabernet Franc 2009, A.C., Loire, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Domaine de Matabrune is situated in a small, shallow valley where vines were first planted during the Roman period. Deep youthful violet in colour, this fine Cabernet Franc shows aromas of raspberry, rose petal, currant, earth, black plum and spice. The palate is dry and medium bodied, with great balance, and offers black plum, green pepper, herbal, earth, currant and wood before closing with a long, peppery finish. Try this tonight, or, if you wish, tuck a bottle or two away until autumn. My note: Tart cherries with mouth-watering flavours of field berries. Smooth and medium-bodied with a lovely perfume of mixed berries. Cabernet Franc food pairings: grilled meats, turkey and cranberry sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2013 196865 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Perrin & Fils Les Sinards Syrah 2007, A.C., Rhône, France: Come hither nose, with a warm embrace once you do hither over to the glass. Full-bodied, smooth and savoury with dark red fruit and a long finish. Superbly crafted, as are most wines from this producer who cares about every step. Terrific half bottles are hard to come by so stock for those nights when you’re on your own or when you and what’s his name just want a glass and a bit each. This is part of the Vintages Essentials Collection so you’re likely to find it in stock Drink: 2011 - 2020 5975 14% XD 375 mL $19.95 Score: 93/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Laurence Féraud Selection Syrah 2007, A.C., Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, Rhône, France: Rich, savoury and delicious with big dark red fruit aromas. There’s some band aid here (positive thing) and a long finish. A dark spice infused finish that lingers and lingers. Drink: 2011 - 2020 211474 14.3% XD 750 mL $42.95 Score: 93/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

St. Gervais Réserve Syrah 2009, A.C., Côtes Du Rhône, Rhône, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This crowd-pleaser is simply loaded with rich plum, black cherry, ripe black fruit and spicy notes. Dry, smooth and full bodied, it over-delivers with boatloads of glorious fruit on the palate. The medium-long finish is lightly tannic, with chocolate and sweet spice throughout. My note: Robust and ready to go when you are. A bit rustic and rough around the edges tannin-wise but savoury and delicious. Decant for 1-2 hours and you’ll smooth it out considerably. Great party wine or perfect for movie night. Syrah food pairings: game bird, rich stew. Drink: 2011 - 2015 219741 14% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mas Des Bressades Cuvée Tradition Cyril Mares, Prop.-Récolt. Syrah Grenache 2009, A.C., Costières De Nîmes, Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, Rhône, France: Vintages Wine Panel: A blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Grenache, this wine is filled with aromas of tar, tea, licorice, candy and chocolate. The palate confirms the promised complexity of the nose. Dry, with beautifully integrated tannins and a fine acidity, this has great structure and balance. A tremendous value from an up-and-coming region. My note: Savoury and dark with big black fruit, smoke and meaty notes. A heart of darkness runs through this rich, deep, full-bodied wine. This is an incredible price. Buy by the caseload for parties and your own pleasure. Drink: 2011 - 2015 143099 14.1% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine Des Mascarons Terres D'avignon Syrah 2009, A.C., Côtes Du Rhône-Villages, Rhône, France: Vintages Wine Panel: It is always fun, not to mention very satisfying, to find a wine that punches well above its price point. So stand back – this wine is throwing haymakers. It comes out swinging with impressive notes of blackberry, dark cherry, tobacco, sweet plum, cassis and spice on the nose. The medium-bodied palate keeps on scoring with rapid-fire combinations of dark fruit, herbal, chocolate and pepper tones. Excellent balance and structure, leading to a long finish. My note: Love it! Reminds me of tart black raspberries growing wild in the heart of a cedary forest. A pleasant bitterness that keeps you coming back to the glass rather than satiating after a glass… or three. Full-bodied and smooth with luxurious depths of pleasure. Syrah food pairings: blackened beef. Drink: 2011 - 2015 142174 15.4% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pierre Gaillard St. Joseph Syrah 2007, A.C., Rhône, France: Savoury, delicious and superbly balanced… in fact, fine-tuned for your drinking pleasure. Full-bodied and smooth with seductive black raspberries and cedar. This is a wine that slips onto your radar and then you find yourself buying it again and again until the store runs out of stock. Drink: 2011 - 2016 194928 13% XD 750 mL $27.95 Score: 91/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château St. Didier Parnac Malbec Merlot 2006, A.C., Cahors, Southwest, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This Gold Medal-winning Malbec blend is drinking really well now. A complex and delightful wine, it is loaded with red plum, pencil lead, cedar, white pepper, sour berry fruit and smoke. Medium bodied, dry and soft, with a long, tangy finish. My note: Big black plums roll down your mouth with savoury notes. Surprising acidity here makes this a good food wine. Full-bodied, rich and dark. Rustic and tasty. Malbec Merlot food pairings: beef fajitas with some mildly spicy salsa. Drink: 2011 - 2014 194977 13% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vaeni Naoussa Xinomavro Damaskinos 2004, Macedonia, Greece: Old leather and violets: this wine surprised me, especially for the price. This is all earth and spice with supporting fruit but the fruit is secondary. It tastes very mature in the best sense. Can’t beat this price. Drink: 2011 - 2014 60731 13% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cantina Del Pino Barbaresco 2006, D.O.C.G., Piedmont, Italy: Fleshy-ripe cherry and mixed spices waft from the glass of this stunning wine. Mouth-watering and delicious with superb balance and craftsmanship. Full-bodied and smooth. This one will last in the cellar for a while but I would find it hard to resist. Drink: 2011 - 2020 922880 14% XD 750 mL $38.95 Score: 92/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cantine Due Palme Selvarossa Riserva Salice Salentino 2006, D.O.C., Puglia, Italy: Mocha-dark chocolate wraps around dark fleshy fruit. So delicious. Long and dark and deep with savoury, chewy flavours. Smooth and full-bodied with an espresso finish. Drink: 2011 - 2016 203976 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 91/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Meloni Terreforru Cannonau Di Sardegna Cannonau 2007, D.O.C., Sardinia, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Meloni Vini has established a reputation as one of the leading quality producers on the island of Sardinia. Cannonau is the Sardinian word for Grenache (the Southern Rhône mainstay grape). Expect notes of blackcurrant, blackberry, wood-spice and light smoke. This organic wine has only 15 mg/l of free sulphur. My note: Savoury, tart and rustic with notes of black cherry and cedar. Medium- to full-bodied. Great wine to bring to a potluck gathering of environmentalists. Cannonau food pairings: mildly spiced barbecued chicken wings, gourmet burgers. Drink: 2011 - 2014 101378 13.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quintarelli Primofiore Corvina Rondinella Molinara 2006, I.G.T., Veneto, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: An exceptional blend of the Veneto trio: Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Primofiore is packed with complex rich flavours of cherry, olives, exotic spices, and oak. Giuseppe Quintarelli designs this wine to be enjoyed much younger than most of his wines. There is a touch of Amarone added to this fresh blend for additional complexity before the wine begins its maturation in oak. My note: Stunning seduction! Fleshy cherry liqueur aromas followed up by mixed spices and ripe dark red fruit. Full-bodied and as smooth a velvet dress with a satin petticoat. I am undone. But before I faint top me up will you please? Drink: 2011 - 2018 20867 13.5% XD 750 mL $59.95 Score: 95/100. March 2011. Favourite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Bera Brachetto 2009, D.O.C., Piedmont, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: This is a light-bodied and highly aromatic frizzante, with lovely notes of fresh spring flowers and distinctive strawberry notes. Moderately sweet, this delicious and refreshing sipper is perfect for when sharing a quiet evening with that special someone. My note: And now for something completely different! Lovely ripe-sweet raspberry and strawberry notes. Try this bubbly with chocolate: it’ll rock your world. Brachetto food pairings: chocolate. Drink: 2011 - 2014 189837 6.5% MS 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Concha Y Toro Maycas Del Limari Reserva Especial Chardonnay 2007, Limarí Valley, Chile: Stunning! Hazelnut, green apple and a little butter and toast. So seductive. This is my kind of chardonnay. Full-bodied but supremely balanced. Drink: 2011 - 2015 162040 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 93/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Amaral Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Leyda Valley, Chile: Herbal and dry with mouth-watering flavours of chives, green apple and lime. Medium-bodied. Needs food. Winner of a Gold Medal at the 2010 Concours Mondial du Sauvignon. Drink: 2011 - 2014 48025 14.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

2027 Cellars Featherstone Vineyard Riesling 2009, V.Q.A., Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Pale platinum in the glass. Lively and complex notes of mineral, lime, apple, pear, and orchard blossoms. Dry, medium bodied, juicy and mouth-watering, with some residual sugar balanced by waves of brilliantly vibrant acidity. Nice, fresh finish. This is an exceptional food wine, and a great expression of Niagara terroir. Expect this to evolve nicely over the next 5+ years, or enjoy it tonight. My note: A mouth-watering, juicy wine with white peach and white apricot. A touch of sweetness makes it absolutely lovely and very versatile with food. Riesling food pairings: pan-fried fish. Drink: 2011 - 2015 92353 11% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cave Spring Cellars Estate Bottled Gewürztraminer 2009, V.Q.A., Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Cave Spring has landed another winner with this 2009 Gewürztraminer. Candied citrus, white flower, peach, apricot, and spice. Medium bodied, off-dry, with a tangy citrus note on the palate. Balanced and very well made, this is an appealing Ontario Gewürz with great character. My note: restrained in a lovely way: intriguing gewurz aromas but not overdone. Floral and lychee aromas. Perfect for curries and spices. Gewürztraminer food pairings: lemongrass chicken, curries, spices. Drink: 2011 - 2015 302059 13% MD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fog Head Highlands Reserve Chardonnay 2009, Monterey County, Highland Series, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Tasty, toasty Chardonnay with loads of tropical fruit and citrus aromas. Dry and zippy with lots of fruit on the palate. A nicely balanced, mouth-filling wine. My note: Robust with buttery oak and a hazelnut-infused finish. In the middle, there are green apple notes. Chardonnay food pairings: pan-seared scallops, smoked chicken. Drink: 2011 - 2015 158568 14.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2009, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand, New Zealand: Vintages Wine Panel: Founded in the 1960s and still helmed by recently knighted owner, Sir George Fistonich, family-owned Villa Maria remains one of New Zealand’s leading wineries. This brilliant, straw-coloured Riesling is loaded with citrus and mineral notes. Attractive and elegant on the palate with a zesty acidity, and sporting lime, green apple and mineral flavours leading to a long and crisp finish. My note: Lime-juicy with a lemon-infused finish. In between there’s lots of mouth-watering flavour. Medium-bodied and very versatile with food. Riesling food pairings: chicken Tandoori, poached salmon. Drink: 2011 - 2015 62240 12% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Astrolabe Voyage Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Herbal and grassy fresh! Very vibrant and live. Mouth-watering notes of lime and grapefruit. I like it. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: quiche, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2011 - 2014 10421 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 93/100. March 2011. Favourite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Thelema Mountain Sutherland Sauvignon Blanc 2008, W.O., Stellenbosch Elgin, South Africa: Incredible price! Hernal, lime and grassy. Very refreshing. Wonderful quaffer. Drink: 2011 - 2014 203877 13% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Willy Gisselbrecht Pinot Gris 2008, A.C., Alsace, France: A mouth-watering white with zippy aromas of lime and white apricot. Medium-bodied with a touch of sweetness. Pinot Gris food pairings: glazed ham, spices, curries. Drink: 2011 - 2016 641597 13% MD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine Gautheron Chablis Chardonnay 2008, A.C., Burgundy, France: Vintages Wine Panel: A Gold Medal winner at both the Concours Général Agricole 2010 in Paris and the 2010 Concours des Burgondia d’Or. It is a tasty, vibrant Chardonnay bursting with apple and flint character, and wonderfully precise Chablis structure. A great wine to enjoy with the fish course. My note: Very subtle flavours, no oak. Green apple, mouth-watering. Chardonnay food pairings: fish. Drink: 2011 - 2016 207902 12.5% D 750 mL $22.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine De La Tour Chablis Monts-Main 1Er Cru Chardonnay 2008, A.C., Burgundy, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Gold Medal winner at the 2010 Concours des Vins de Chablis. All the elements in the 2008 vintage conspired to create great white wines, such as this Chablis from Domaine de la Tour. Look for classic aromas and flavours of green apple, chalky minerals, pear and citrus. An ageable wine (3-5+ years). My note: Unoaked chardonnay, this is refreshing and pure with green apple notes and mouth-watering acidity. This is not rich and buttery like New World chardonnays in any sense. Very austere with subtle flavours. Don’t over-chill or you won’t smell anything. Chardonnay food pairings: bouillabaisse. Drink: 2011 - 2016 159731 13% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 89/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bernard Reverdy Et Fils Sancerre 2009, A.C., Loire, France: My mouth waters just smelling this wine. Aromas of white grapefruit and lime. Very refreshing. Drink: 2011 - 2015 200055 12.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 88/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Caruso & Minini Timpune Grillo 2009, I.G.T., Sicily, Italy: Lime and lemon with white apricot and field daisies. Savoury and mouth-watering. Drink: 2011 - 2014 203943 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. March 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


© 2015 Natalie MacLean