Natalie MacLean - delicious wine picks and pairings
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Wine Picks April 22, 2011

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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 Winery Vidal Icewine 2008, V.Q.A., Niagara River, Ontario, Canada: A gorgeous elixir of honeyed apricots, peach preserves and tropical fruit. A finish infused with figs and toffee. Delightful! Vidal Icewine food pairings: fresh fruit fondues, bold blue cheeses or on its own as a dessert.. Drink: 2010 - 2025 779320000846 10.5% S 375 mL $46.95 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Kerner Icewine 2009, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, rich wine with aromas of peach preserves, ripe apricot and marmalade. Perfect for after-dinner, either with dessert or on its own. Kerner Icewine food pairings: strong, rich cheeses such as Gargonzola or Brie, spicy or salty appetizers before dinner, fruit-based desserts. Drink: 2010 - 2012 153155 12.6% S 750 mL $29.99 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hillier Creek Estates Vidal Icewine 2007, Prince Edward County, Canada: Lovely peach and pear preserves with a honeyed richness and layered texture that delivers maximum pleasure. Perfect on its own after dinner or with fruit-based desserts. Vidal Icewine food pairings: vanilla ice cream, blue cheese, apple pie. Drink: 2010 - 2014 2055 11.8% S 750 mL $40.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Vidal Icewine 2008, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, V.Q.A., Canada: Terrific balancing acidity with luscious ripe apricots and peach preserves. Dessert in a glass. Vidal Icewine food pairings: fresh fruit or fruit-based desserts and strong cheeses. Drink: 2011 - 2016 897470 9.4% S 200 mL $20.00 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Cabernet Franc Icewine 2008, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, V.Q.A., Canada: The Cabernet Franc grapes for this gorgeous icewine were grown in the Short Hills Bench vineyard. Rich and inviting with seductive aromas of raspberries and field berries. Lovely! Cabernet Franc Icewine food pairings: Fruit based desserts and soft cheeses. Or, pour 1oz of this Cabernet Franc Icewine into 3oz of Cuvee Catharine Brut to make our signature Kir Catharine. Drink: 2011 - 2015 672402 10% S 200 mL Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rabl Vinimum Optimum Trockenbeerenauslese Traminer 2007, Austria: Gorgeous elixir of honeyed depths and peach preserves. Loveliness in a glass! Traminer food pairings: creme brulee. 9.5% S 375 mL $20.00 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Other Wines/Drinks

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse Pippins, Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands, Bc, Canada: Gorgeous Granny Smith apple aromas with a fresh, clean, vibrant finish. This is cider unlike any you've had, unless of course, you've had this one. Some kind of wonderful! Food pairings: oysters, bold & intense flavours, spicy foods, BBQ and Asian dishes. Drink: 2010 - 2012 787663 9.5% D 750 mL $20.00 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse Rumrunner, Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands, Bc, Canada: Absolutely delightful! Rich and full-bodied with the essence of red delicious apples. Rumrunner refers back to Newfoundland screech, though this is pure cider. Food pairings: pears, walnuts, duck, pork, blue cheeses, aged cheddar, salty cured meats. Drink: 2010 - 2012 641993 12% S 750 mL $20.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse Kings & Spies, Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands, Bc, Canada: A wonderfully smoky essence with Granny Smith apples breaking through like sunlight through clouds on a spring day. A deliciously hoppy (like beer not bunnies) finish. Kings & Spies food pairings: bacon dishes, ham. Drink: 2011 - 2012 106823 8% D 750 mL $20.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Painted Rock Estate Winery Ltd. Merlot 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Smooth, rich and full-bodied with succulent aromas of fleshy dark berries and plums. Some savoury, meaty notes on the mid-palate. This wine has 5% Malbec in the blend and was aged for 18 months in French oak. The result is a superbly craft wine, with a long finish and a pleasant bite through the richness. Merlot food pairings: filet mignon, prime rib. Drink: 2011 - 2021 242768 14% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 93/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Painted Rock Estate Winery Ltd. Syrah 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Old World styling with New World power. Fleshy blackberries and a wisp of mint on the nose, followed by 12 layers of silk on the palate. This wine was aged for 18 months in 70% new French oak and 30% new American oak. Superb dinner party wine. Syrah food pairings: leg of lamb, brisket. Drink: 2011 - 2021 426238 14.3% D 750 mL $40.00 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Knot Shingleback Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Mclaren Vale, Australia: Juicy terrific! Lusciously ripe plums and blackberries and other hidden, sensual dark fruits. A kiss of oak ties this wonderful package together in a bow (knot?). Superb craftsmanship! Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: pepper steak, brisket. Drink: 2009 - 2014 91702 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Konzelmann Estate Winery Canada Red Zweigelt 2009, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada: A simple tasty red with smooth texture with fresh red berry aromas. Soft tannins and a little spiciness on the finish. Zweigelt food pairings: cheese and ham carbonara, paghetti bolognese with a healthy dose of parmesan cheese, goats cheese and game meats. Drink: 2011 - 2013 624654000249 13% MD 750 mL $12.75 Score: 83/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Konzelmann Estate Winery Shiraz 2009, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: This Shiraz is a wonder! Peppered dark red berries and fleshy black plums. Full-bodied and smooth. This wine was aged for 9 months in oak barrels. It is absolutely amazing for this price. Shiraz food pairings: grilled vegetable, BBQ chicken and pork tenderloin, salmon and Cajun shrimp. Drink: 2011 - 2014 624654000775 13% D 750 mL $12.75 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Reserve Stripe Label Pinot Noir 2008, Okanagan Valley, Canada: Surely this is one of Canada's best Pinot Noir producers: year after year they create magnificent liquid satin sprinkled with violets and rose petals. Lovely ripe cherry aromas here and some dark spice on the finish. I'm absolutely carried away with the texture of this wine. The grapes are 100% estate grown at Blue Mountain winery. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2011 - 2016 714881 D 750 mL $35.90 Score: 93/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Patz & Hall Pinot Noir 2009, Sonoma Coast, California, United States: Liquid satin! This is a wine for diehard hedonists. Seductive aromas of black cherry and raspberry wrap themselves around dark spices and a kiss of oak. Medium- to full-bodied with a finish that doesn't end. About 40% of the wine was fermented and aged in new French Oak barrels where the staves were aged/air dried for three years prior to coopering. Most barrels are air-dried for two years but the winery makes the extra investment in an additional year to leach any residual “green” tannins from the wood. That way, the wines get exposure to new wood without it overpowering it with too much smokiness. Both the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs spend no more than 10 months in barrel. This wine will age well for another 7+ years, but I'll bet you can't wait that long. Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled or planked salmon, roast turkey. Drink: 2011 - 2019 38091 14.2% XD 750 mL $42.00 Score: 94/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lighthall Vineyards Réserve Pinot Noir 2009, Prince Edward County, V.Q.A., Ontario, Canada: A tart, mouth-watering Pinot with attractive aromas of cranberry, beetroot and tart cherries. Medium-bodied and smooth. Terrific food partner. Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled or planked salmon, roast turkey. Drink: 2009 - 2015 335794 12.5% XD 750 mL $24.80 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Pinot Noir 2007, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely Pinot with grapes that come from 11-24 month old vines that are 100% estate grown at Blue Mountain winery. Vanilla-smoke wraps itself seductively around fleshy ripe cherries and some cassis. There are some dark spices on the finish. Superb craftsmanship. Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled salmon, roast turkey. Drink: 2014 - 2016 329466 13% D 750 mL $43.95 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Reserve Stripe Label Pinot Noir 2007, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Surely this is one of Canada's best Pinot Noir producers: year after year they create magnificent liquid satin sprinkled with violets and rose petals. Lovely ripe cherry aromas here and some dark spice on the finish. I'm absolutely carried away with the texture of this wine. The grapes are 100% estate grown at Blue Mountain winery. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2014 - 2016 714881 13.5% D 750 mL $35.90 Score: 93/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio Blend - Meritage 2007, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A stunning, spectacular wine of incredible depth and length. The 2007 vintage is a blend of 56% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot. This gorgeous red combines Old World structure and New World power. Blend - Meritage food pairings: prime rib, filet mignon. Drink: 2011 - 2018 71464 14% D 750 mL $40.00 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Merlot 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Generous black plum and toasty oak aromas in this superb Merlot. Supple, smooth and full-bodied with cassis and dark berries on a long finish. This wine was aged in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak for 16 months. Decant for 1-2 hours for maximum pleasure. Merlot food pairings: pork tenderloin, brisket. Drink: 2011 - 2017 509885 14.6% D 750 mL $30.00 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Syrah 2008, Bc V.Q.A. Okanagan Valley, Canada: Love it! Juicy and gripping with big fleshy black plums. Dark cherries dance across your mouth in a cascade of pleasure. Dark spices on the finish. Could use a few more years in the cellar. Decant 1-2 hours. Syrah food pairings: pepper steak, lamb. Drink: 2012 - 2018 688229004087 15% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Athene 2008, Bc V.Q.A. Okanagan Valley, Canada: Wowzers! This wine is a show-stopper: gorgeous depth and length with everything lovely in between. Athene (pronounced A-Thee-Nee) offers dedicated hedonists dark smoky cassis and blackberries with luscious layers of mouth-filling, full-bodied texture. This wine is a blend of Syrah (53%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (47%) that's been aged 14 months in oak. A cellar keeper for sure, but only if you have the discipline to wait. Food pairings: filet mignon. Drink: 2014 - 2020 688229008085 14.5% D 750 mL $37.00 Score: 93/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Bc V.Q.A. Okanagan Valley, Canada: Juicy and mouth-watering with a full-bodied weight and lovely aromas of cedar forest, black cherries and dark spices. This wine was aged 14 months in oak, which gives it a toasty finish. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2011 - 2017 688229006074 14% D 750 mL $38.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Davis Bynum Pinot Noir 2008, Russian River Valley, California, United States: A luxuriously silky Pinot Noir, with aromas of bright red cherries, violets and rose petals. A nervy acidity makes this wine a dynamo with many dishes. Its luscious yet edgy: just the way I love Pinot! Drink: 2011 - 2016 105486 14.9% D 750 mL $34.99 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alvento Winery Aria Nebbiolo 2006, Niagara Escarpment, Canada: This is an absolutely fascinating wine, especially coming out of Niagara! Nebbiolo grapes are native to northern Italy, so it's interesting to see the wine they produce in quite a different region. This wine is mouth-watering with stunning aromas of violets, tart cherries and leather. Good grip; maximum pleasure. Nebbiolo food pairings: lamb roast spiced with herbs and garlic with reduced wine sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2020 167874 12.5% D 750 mL $25.95 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alvento Winery Sondra Merlot Cabernet Franc 2006, Niagara Escarpment, Canada: This lovely red is a blend of Merlot (90%) and Cabernet Franc (10%) grapes. There's balance and freshness here along with a gorgeously smooth texture and lovely aromas of dark red berries and plums. Merlot Cabernet Franc food pairings: breaded veal scallops with mushroom sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2016 207332 12.5% D 750 mL $23.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alvento Winery Elige Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara Escarpment, Canada: This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (33%) and Cabernet Franc (2%) grapes offers savory and cedary notes wrapped around dark fruit. This wine needs cellar time but you'll be amply rewarded for waiting. Intriguing and delicious. Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc food pairings: escargots with garlic sauce, buttery soft cheese, prime rib. Drink: 2012 - 2018 226019 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Black Hills Estate Winery Nota Bene 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, Canada: This wine needs time: it's a big brooding bruiser! Gorgeous aromas of black fruit and smoke with some mocha and cedar forest. Towering structure and great length on the finish. The wine was aged in 80% French oak and 20% American. The final blend is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc. Nota Bene food pairings: filet mignon. Drink: 2012 - 2017 708073 13% D 750 mL $53.00 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Merlot 2007, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A serious, deep, rich Merlot with seemingly endless layers of plush black plums and berries. Fine tannins give a superbly smooth mouth-feel. The grapes for this wine were harvested in October 2007 so they had pletny of time to develop rich and complex flavours. More than 90% comes from Quails' Gate Boucherie Mountain vineyards. Merlot food pairings: beef or pork tenderloin. Drink: 2010 - 2015 10778856107231 15.47% XD 750 mL $24.99 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Reserve Old Vines Foch 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: I don't think I've ever given an Old Vines Foch this high a score: this is a benchmark of its breed. Savoury depths of black fruit, meat and smoke. Surely, this is Canada's best Old Vines Foch? Try it when you're in the mood to experiment and open up your pleasure horizons. Drink: 2010 - 2015 778856208214 XD 750 mL $24.99 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fetzer Zinfandel 2008, California, United States: A juicy, chewy, delicious Zinfandel, bursting with black cherries, dark chocolate a little pepper. Full-bodied and smooth. Zinfandel food pairings: grilled meats, medium-strength cheeses. Drink: 2011 - 2014 234617 10.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Errazuriz Carmenere 2009, Aconcagua Valley, Chile: Wow! Smoky, juicy aromas of dark fleshy berries and plums. Incredible concentration and depth with some dark cherries on the finish. Perfect for potluck gatherings and barbecues. Carmenere food pairings: prime rib, brisket. Drink: 2009 - 2014 14.5% D 750 mL $13.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Geografico Contessa Di Radda Chianti Classico 2007, Tuscany, Italy: A mouth-watering, juicy red with attractive aromas of dark cherries and some spices. Perfect for pasta night! Chianti Classico food pairings: tomato sauce pastas, lasagna, sausages. Drink: 2007 - 2014 82313 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate East West Series Merlot-Cabernet 2008, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Canada: Solidly made; quickly consumed. Lots of dependable pleasure here, with full-bodied weight and ripe dark berries. Some vanilla smoke on the finish. East West Series Merlot-Cabernet food pairings: roasted meet dishes such as lamb, duck, goose or beef tenderloin with morel cream sauce, game meats, hearty pastas and hard cheeses, flavourful pizzas. Drink: 2010 - 2013 988347 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate East West Series Cabernet Shiraz 2008, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, V.Q.A., Canada: More plush than the Merlot Cabernet, and equally delectable. Lusciously ripe blackberries and blueberries with smoky-wrapped plums. Yum! Cabernet Shiraz food pairings: prime rib, leg of lamb, grilled steak, roast venison with rich cranberry or mushroom sauces; hearty cheddar and older aged cheeses. Drink: 2010 - 2015 988346 14.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Graffigna Centenario Graffigna Centenario Reserve Shiraz 2008, San Juan, Argentina: Fleshy plums with gorgeous depth of flavour! Some pepper notes and a lick of licorice on the finish. Full-bodied and smooth. Yum! Graffigna Centenario Reserve Shiraz food pairings: peppered red meats, grilled vegetables, pizza, beef stews. Drink: 2010 - 2014 164731 14% 750 mL $12.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A round, smooth, full-bodied red with generously rich aromas of dark plums and berries. This wine spent 12 months in the barrel aging, and as a result, has a rich, toasty finish infused with vanilla smoke and tobacco. Lovely! Cabernet Franc food pairings: chicken or beef shish-kabobs or burgers, BBQ meats, chili, mac & cheese, lasagna. Drink: 2010 - 2015 530717 14.3% D 750 mL $17.99 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pascula Toso Malbec 2008, Mendoza, Argentina: Full-bodied, straight-forward red with black raspberries and blackberries. Rustic and chunky with a coffee-tinged finish. Smoky notes. Great campfire wine. Malbec food pairings: full-flavored meaty casseroles, liver, rib roast with a coffee and pepper rub, sausages, tenderloin. 35170 14% 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Cabernet Franc 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Juicy and mouth-watering with a full-bodied weight and lovely aromas of cedar forest, black cherries and dark spices. This wine was aged 14 months in oak, which gives it a toasty finish. Cabernet Franc food pairings: hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2010 - 2015 556621 14% D 750 mL $33.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Lecusse Cuvée Spéciale 2008, Southwest, France: This wine the Gold Medal at the 2010 Concours Général Agricole in Paris. It's made from Fer Servadou (aka Braucol) grapes which native to southwestern France. This wine is loaded with ripe blackberries and fleshy dark plums with some dark spices on the finish. The fruit and concentration in this wine lean toward a Nw World style. Terrific, especially for the price. 198937 13.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio Cabernet Blend 2006, Okanagan Valley, B.C., V.Q.A., Canada: Chewy dark cherries and berries with a lovely smoky weave throughout. A stunning, spectacular wine of incredible depth and length. The 2006 vintage is a blend of 61% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. This gorgeous red combines Old World structure and New World power. 71464 14% D 750 mL $49.75 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Laughing Stock Vineyards Portfolio Cabernet Blend 2008, Okanagan Valley, B.C., V.Q.A., Canada: This wine needs some cellar time, but you will be amply rewarded for waiting. A stunning, spectacular wine of incredible depth and length. The 2008 vintage is a blend of 53% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 9% Malbec and 2% Petit Verdot. This gorgeous red combines Old World structure and New World power. 71464 14% D 750 mL $50.00 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ruffino Il Ducale 2007, Tuscany, Italy: Thrillingly delicious! Aromas of black cherry, sun-dried tomato, black olive, smoke and earth. Smooth, full-bodied and mouth-wateringly tasty. A long, satisfying finish that will make you believe you're basking under the Tuscan sun. A blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah grapes. Pair with: lasanga, meat lovers pizza, sausages, pasta with tomato sauce. 27797 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery Red 2009, California, United States: A delicious, full-bodied red that delivers terrific value at this price point. Robust, smooth and delicious. Great balance and loads of flavour. Bring it on! Wonderful red for potluck gatherings and pizza night. Food pairings: beef cooked in red wine. 178632 13% D 750 mL $11.00 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cupcake Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Central Coast, California, United States: A terrific red for many occasions, especially at this price point! This wine offers enticing aromas of dark berries, cassis and black plums. Suplpe and full-bodied and smooth. Top me up! Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: brisket, prime rib. 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Meia Encosta Red Blended Table Red 2008, Dao, Portugal: Smoky with attractive dark fruit. Rich, supple and full-bodied. This is an incredible wine for this price point. Blended Table Red food pairings: hamburgers, steak. 179408 12.5% XD 750 mL $9.95 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Angus The Bull Shiraz 2009, South Australia, Australia: Superb! Rich and fleshy and full-bodied, with gorgeous aromas of juicy, savoury dark plums and berries. A hedonitically dense core of black fruit followed by a spice-infused finish. Pour it on! Shiraz food pairings: hamburgers, steak. 132936 14.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Georges Duboeuf Fun Gamay 2009, Beaujolais, France: Delightfully made and consumed! Smooth and light-bodied with soft cherry notes and field strawberries. Great aperitif. Gamay food pairings: salmon, roast chicken. 228155 12.5% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mission Hill Family Estate Oculus Cabernet Blend 2007, Okanagan Valley, Canada: One of the most spectacular vintages of one of Canada's greatest wines. Oculus towers above the rest in its superb breadth, depth and length. Seductive and brooding aromas of dark fruit, violets, spices and smoke. The 2007 vintage is a blend of Merlot (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (24%), Cabernet Franc (21%), and Petit Verdot (5%). It was aged for 16.5 months in French oak, 63% of which was new. All of this coddling results in a wine that delivers hedonistic ripples of pleasure on the palate. Perfect for when you cash in your Google stock (and sigh with relief that you didn't rush into Facebook). Cheers! Cabernet Blend food pairings: filet mignon, prime rib. Drink: 2014 - 2020 776545981240 14.5% XD 750 mL $70.00 Score: 94/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Marita's Vineyard Select Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: A towering wine of incredible depth and length. A dark core of hedonistically black fruit haunts the heart of this wine, and anyone who drinks it. A vanilla-smoke-infused finished leaves you longing for more. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: filet mignon. Drink: 2011 - 2025 14% D 750 mL $150.00 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Pinot Noir 2007, Sonoma Coast, California, United States: Fleshy ripe cherry aromas with a satin smooth texture and a medium-bodied weight. Terrific acidity to accompany many dishes and good conversation. Pinot Noir food pairings: planked or grilled salmon, roast chicken or turkey. Drink: 2011 - 2020 14% D 750 mL $60.00 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Von Holt Wines Syrah 2008, Sonoma Coast, California, United States: The grapes for this lovely wine from the Hoppe-Kelly vineyard. Luscious rich with blackberry liqueur concentration and depth. Full-bodied and smooth. Yum! Drink: 2011 - 2015 14.2% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jacob's Creek Reserve Shiraz 2007, South Australia, Australia: Full-bodied, supple and smooth with lovely aromas of blackberries and dark plums. Round and supple. Absolutely delicious! Shiraz food pairings: BBQ meats, vegetables. Drink: 2008 - 2013 665471 14.1% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Etude Pinot Noir 2008, Carneros, California, United States: One of my all-time, favourite Pinots from California: this is also a go-to wine when I see it on restaurant wine lists. Lovely aromas of spicy cherries, violets and field berries. Medium- to full-bodied and satin smooth. Bring it on! Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled salmon, roast chicken. Drink: 2010 - 2017 71654 14.4% XD 750 mL $69.95 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Alexander Valley, United States: Full-bodied and supple with classic aromas of blackberry, cassis, blackcurrant and cedar. Terrific structure, depth and length. I love this style of Californian Cabernet: elegance and power in one hedonistically happy package. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: juicy prime steaks, brisket. Drink: 2011 - 2017 301218 14.5% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Rose 2010, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Lovely strawberry fields forever! Pure summer sunshine. Medium-bodied quaffer that's perfect for picnics, docks and decks. Rose food pairings: planked salmon, salads. Drink: 2011 - 2013 170316 12.5% D 750 mL $14.99 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Blue Mountain Brut Méthode Traditionnelle Pinot Noir Chardonnay Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada: This superb blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and little pinot gris. The grapes for this wine are 100% estate-grown at Blue Mountain winery. Lovely aromas of toasty bread and cherry. Aged sur lee for 24 months in the bottle, which gives the wine an extra dimension of creaminess and a rich mousse. Incredible concentration and intensity. Look out Champagne, you’ve got a serious contender here. Canada’s best bubbly. Wow. Drink: 2011 - 2015 206326 13% D 750 mL $32.95 Score: 95/100. April 2011. Favourite Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

L'Acadie Vineyards Prestige Brut Sparkling Wine, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada: Terrifically toasty with bright green apple fruit and lime. Superbly crafted. Buy a case for all your celebrations, and open a bottle tonight to make it a celebration. Sparkling Wine food pairings: fried chicken, oysters, mussels. 11.5% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau De Montgueret Cremant De Loire Brut, Loire Valley, France: Robust and muscular, with terrific aromas of berries and violets. The Chenin Blanc grape in this blend lends aromatics, Chardonnay offers the floral notes and Cabernet Franc gives it structure. Cremant De Loire Brut food pairings: fried chicken, oysters, mussels. 621896 12% XD 750 mL $19.15 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau De Montgueret Cremant De Loire Rose, Loire Valley, France: Gorgeous! Raspberries on a bed of rose petals. So pretty and so affordable. 11.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gaudi Cuvee 2007, Burgenland, Austria: I quite like the style of this wine! Peppery with dark cherries and berries. Medium-bodied and satin smooth. Packed with peppered and spicy flavours. Yum! 13.5% XD 750 mL $15.00 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Cipes Rose Sparkling Wine, Okanagan Valley, Canada: This wonderfully exuberant bubbly made from pinot noir grapes displays pure raspberry essence on the nose. It's surprisingly robust on the palate with lots of terrific pinot character and black cherries. This is an organic wine and one to enjoy! Rose Sparkling Wine food pairings: tapas, flatbreads, salads, cheese. Drink: 2010 - 2013 779000138685 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Passaggio Wines New Generation Unoaked Chardonnay 2009, California, United States: A delightfully fresh and vibrant Chardonnay with the pure essence of green apples and limes. Mouth-watering and delicious. This is a lovely wine when you want the taste of Chardonnay, but not the heavy oak or alcohol. Terrific! Chardonnay food pairings: antipasto salad, salmon, chicken and seafood dishes. Drink: 2011 - 2013 13.2% D 750 mL $16.00 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Patz & Hall Chardonnay 2009, Sonoma Coast, California, United States: This gorgeous Chardonnay offers aromas of green apple, vanilla spice, and white peach. There's a grand elegance to it, with a luxuriously long finish. About 40% of the wine was fermented and aged in new French Oak barrels where the staves were aged/air dried for three years prior to coopering. Most barrels are air-dried for two years but the winery makes the extra investment in an additional year to leach any residual “green” tannins from the wood. That way, the wines get exposure to new wood without it overpowering it with too much smokiness. Both the Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs spend no more than 10 months in barrel. The toastiness is subtle and beautifully woven into the fabric of the fruit. The grapes come from some of the most coveted vineyards in Sonoma. Toast to your good fortune in having a bottle (or three) of this wine! Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, lobster in butter, corn dishes. 200808 14.2% D 750 mL $35.00 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kato Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand: Refreshment in a glass! Zippy notes of chives, lime, grass and grapefruit. Terrific mouth-watering juiciness for a variety of dishes. The grapes come from vineyards in the Awatere Valley of New Zealand where they're protected from frost by the moderating influence of the coast. Kato means harvest in Maori: the label shows three stylized whale tails in a circle. Dive in and enjoy! Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: paella, pork chops, quiche, field greens. 184598 13% XD 750 mL $16.90 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Konzelmann Estate Winery Chardoanny 2009, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Canada: Caramel and butterscotch with rich layers of ripe peach and pear in this generously oaked white. Full-bodied and delicious. Chardoanny food pairings: herbed chicken or lobster bisque, spicy popcorn. Drink: 2011 - 2013 364869 13% D 750 mL $14.20 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Konzelmann Estate Winery Canada White Riesling 2007, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Canada: A lovely floral white bursting with honeydew and fresh melon aromas. Nice balanced acidity for food. It works as an aperitif or companion to many dishes. A lime citrus finish. Riesling food pairings: seafood, fresh water fish, chicken, veal and pork dishes. Drink: 2011 - 2013 624654010699 12.5% MD 750 mL $12.75 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Reserve Reserve Chardonnay 2008, Okanagan Valley, Canada: A classic Chardonnay with aromas of fresh melon and green apples. Not a lot of oak evident here. Full-bodied but not heavy. Reserve Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken. Drink: 2011 - 2014 714956 13% D 750 mL $25.90 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Mountain Vineyard and Cellars Reserve Pinot Gris 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A clean, crisp white with white and green melon notes and some lemon-lime zest on the finish. Refreshing as an aperitif, but equally versatile with many dishes. Pinot Gris food pairings: vegetarian dishes, seafood. Drink: 2011 - 2014 329458 13% D 750 mL $25.90 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery White 2009, California, United States: Outrageously great for the money! This won't last a day on the shelves once it hits stores. It's gorgeously aromatic with delicate aromas of field flowers, orange zest and peaches. So pretty! A blend of Mavasia, Bianca, Muscat, Canelli, Vionier and Rousanne grapes. Prefect for the deck or dock. Food pairings: chicken in a ginger, orange sauce, pancetta & herbs, turkey tetrazzini, cream casserole, halibut with salsa verde, ham and melon. 173286 13.5% D 750 mL $11.00 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Rita Reserva Chardonnay 2010, Casablanca Valley, Chile: Vanilla spice, butterscotch and green apples make this tasty and affordable Chardonnay a treat. 348359 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 85/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Rita Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Casablanca Valley, Chile: Lime freshness with some chives and lemon-grass. Terrifically refreshign aperitif or companion to many dishes. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: vegetarian dishes, quiche. 275677 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 85/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Steininger Kamptal Kampal Riesling 2009, Austria: Stoney fruit with clean, crisp finish. Some flinty and smoky notes with white melon. Very refreshing. 12% XD 750 mL $15.00 Score: 86/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Shingleback Wine Haycutters Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2009, Mclaren Vale Adelaide Hills, Australia: Lovely lemongrass and sunshine dappled limes waft up from the glass. There's also some fragrant melon. Mouth-watering juiciness from the Sauvignon Blanc is balanced by the richness from Semillon. Top me up! Sauvignon Blanc Semillon food pairings: seafood, salads, quiche, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2009 - 2013 207365 12% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mission Hill Family Estate Five Vineyards Pinot Grigio 2009, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Clean and crisp with notes of white melon, grapefruit and lime. Terrific aperitif, or an accompaniment to many dishes. Top me up! Pinot Grigio food pairings: cream-based dishes, shellfish, smoked salmon, turkey, antipasto or subtle Asian spiced dishes. Drink: 2011 - 2013 776545995322 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Chardonnay 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Loaded with vanilla-smoke, luscious pears and toasted almonds and hazelnuts. Incredibly unctuous and voluptuous with a to-die-for texture and mouth-filling weight. Sta with it though til you get a top up. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled halibut, lobster in butter, roast chicken. Drink: 2011 - 2015 510933 13.5% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fetzer Sauvignon Blanc 2009, California, United States: Mildly flavoured Sauvignon Blanc with fresh, crisp notes of white melon. No heavy oak. Nice aperitif. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: herb-crusted tilapia fillet. Drink: 2009 - 2012 34033 13.8% MD 750 mL $12.00 Score: 86/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fetzer Sundial Chardonnay 2009, California, United States: A classic Californian Chardonnay that's butter, round, and tasty. Full-bodied but not heavy -- terrific balance. Aromas of apples, tropical fruit and butterscotch-vanilla toast. Yum! Chardonnay food pairings: grilled chicken or seafood. Drink: 2011 - 2013 291674 13% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 88/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Dry Riesling 2010, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Absolutely incredible quality for the price, and I love that the alcohol isn't high: makes this a wonderfully refreshing sipper over an evening. Gorgeous aromas of lime, citrus and mouth-watering acidity for so many dishes. Yum! Riesling food pairings: salads, seafood, Asian, light curries. Drink: 2011 - 2019 308312 12.5% XD 750 mL $16.99 Score: 90/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Gewurztraminer 2010, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: Classic, stunning Gewurztraminer, with aromas of lychee, rose petal and baking spices. Perfect for difficult dishes, such as Asian, spicy and curries. Keep one of these on hand always. Gewurztraminer food pairings: spicy dishes, curries. Drink: 2011 - 2016 931931 13% D 750 mL $16.99 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stags' Leap Winery Chardonnay 2009, Napa Valley, United States: Classic Californian Chardonnay, with generous layers of green apple, butterscotch and toasted almond. The palate is creamy and rich with layers of delicious tree fruit flavours. Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, corn dishes. Drink: 2008 - 2016 655381 14.1% D 750 mL $34.95 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Flourish Wines Chardonnay Viognier 2010, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Pretty floral notes with some white peach and a kiss of oak. Medium-bodied and pleasant as an aperitif or companion to many dishes. Chardonnay Viognier food pairings: mild cheese plate, pork in a cream sauce, grilled chicken or seafood. Drink: 2011 - 2013 988263 12.6% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 86/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fifth Leg Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Western Australia, Australia: A terrifically fresh and crisp white with pleasing notes of lime, lemon zest and gooseberry. Perfect as an aperitif or companion to a wide range of dishes. Delicious! Semillon Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: seafood, salads. Drink: 2011 - 2013 212613 12.5% MD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2008, Okanagan Valley, Bc, V.Q.A., Canada: A heavy-hitter Chardonnay firing on all sensual cylinders! Loaded with generous butter, oak, pear and pear notes. This wine was made using full barrel fermentation in French oak and then aged another 10 months in oak. Bring it on! Chardonnay food pairings: lightly smoked sablefish with potato brandade or veal chop with sunchoke puree. Drink: 2010 - 2016 10778856208013 14% D 750 mL $29.99 Score: 92/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sonoma Cutrer Chardonnay 2009, California, United States: A voluptuous Chardonnay with rich layers of peach and pear-flavoured pleasure. Deep and generous with a satisfying long finish. Perfect for dinner parties. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled whole fish, Camembert and homemade bread, roast chicken, corn dishes. Drink: 2008 - 2016 608653 14.2% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mud House Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand: Herbal and lime refreshment with a grassy great finish: terrific! Mouth-watering companion to many dishes. Lively and vivacious. This wine is perfect for pizza and good friends. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: fresh oysters, poached halibut with lemon caper sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2013 190454 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Summerhill Pyramid Winery Robert Bateman ‘Get To Know’ Merlot 2007, Okanagan Valley, Bc, Canada: A medium-bodied wine that doesn't taste as alcoholic as it is. Smooth with black plum aromas. Decant for 1-2 hours. Merlot food pairings: red meats, barbeque dishes, and a variety of strong cheeses. Drink: 2010 - 2014 779000128310 15% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 86/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Averill Creek Vineyard Pinot Grigio 2008, Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands, Bc, Canada: Incredibly mouth-watering, with great acidity to complement many dishes. Notes of white peach, tart limes. Cries out for food! Pinot Grigio food pairings: halibut, fresh scallops, summer salads. Drink: 2010 - 2013 142463 12% MD 750 mL $18.00 Score: 86/100. April 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


© 2015 Natalie MacLean