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Wine Picks May 8, 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.

Red Wine

Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Strathbogie Ranges, Australia: Plush black plums waft out of the glass wrapped in a subtle smoky spice. This is pure liquid luxury. Full-bodied and smooth with aromas of blackcurrant and cassis. Beautifully structured and balanced. An amazing dinner party wine. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: AAA New York striploin steak with a creamy mushroom sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2019 212761 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gallo Family Vineyards Frei Ranch Zinfandel 2007, California, United States: This hedonistic red brims with aromas of blackberries, dark spices and fleshy dark plums. It's smooth and full-bodied, with classic Californian Zinfandel charms. Splash it around in your glass then knock it back and have fun! Killer hamburger wine. One bottle isn't enough. Zinfandel food pairings: meat lovers pizza, steak, brisket. Drink: 2011 - 2014 555599 15% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 92/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery The Magician Shiraz Pinot Noir 2009, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Canada: Enticing peppery cherry notes on the nose with dried herbs and raspberries on the palate. This delightful wine is smooth, and medium-bodied. It was aged for one year in French oak. Shiraz Pinot Noir food pairings: pasta with arrabiata sauce (garlic, tomatoes, red chili) and grilled Cajun shrimp, spicy sausage, tuna or pork tenderloin. Drink: 2011 - 2017 779320001720 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 88/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir 2007, Willamette Valley, United States: A nervy acidity and tart cherries make this a wake-up wine for your mouth. The wine also cries out for food. There's a bit of green-stemminess on the mid-palate, but nonetheless is it a lively wine. Drink: 2007 - 2014 124594 12.5% XD 750 mL $23.95 Score: 88/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mitolo Jester Shiraz 2008, Mclaren Vale, Australia: Meaty, juicy and savoury with aromas of plush plums and want-to-squeeze-them fleshy dark blackberries. This full-bodied, supple Shiraz delivers some kind of wonderful for your senses. Shiraz food pairings: hamburgers, sloppy joes. Drink: 2008 - 2014 659607 15% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 91/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gabbiano Sangiovese 2007, Chianti Classico, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: Rich, deep and full-bodied with gorgeous lifted notes of black cherry and violets. The velvet, supple texture of this wine is balanced by mouth-watering juiciness. This is an incredible wine for the price point: stock up! Sangiovese food pairings: pizza, sausages, lasagna. Drink: 2009 - 2016 219808 13% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gabbiano Sangiovese 2009, Chianti Classico, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: A robust, black-cherry rich wine with a savoury underlay of sun-dried tomatoes and toast. Full-bodied and smooth, this red delivers incredible quality and pleasure for the money. Sangiovese food pairings: eggplant parmigiano, meat lovers pizza. Drink: 2010 - 2014 78006 12.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rigamarole The Original Malbec Malbec 2008, Cahors, France: Juicy, plummy, fleshy, round and full-bodied. Terrific party wine, especially at this knock-out price. Malbec food pairings: steak, sausages, lamb. Drink: 2008 - 2012 159178 12.5% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

181 Merlot 2008, Lodi, California, United States: This Bordeaux-style Merlot offers lovely aromas of black cherry, plums and vanilla smoke. There's a sumptuous, full-bodied weight and texture on the palate that finishes with lovely spicy cedar. The clone for this wine originates in the Pomerol region of Bordeaux, but it's thriving in its Lodi, California Clay Station Vineyard, where the soils are also red and produce extravagantly luscious Merlots. Perfect for barbecues and potluck gatherings. This wine will be available via Vintages in August 2011. Merlot food pairings: grilled pork chops, pepper steak. Drink: 2009 - 2015 226530 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

[yellow tail] Lucky Penny Shiraz Cabernet Merlot 2009, South Eastern Australia, Australia: A juicy red with fleshy ripe purple plums. Smooth and medium-bodied with lots of pleasure. Shiraz Cabernet Merlot food pairings: slow-roasted lamb shanks with rosmary, creamy mashed potato and green beans, soft and crumbly vintage cheddar cheese. Drink: 2009 - 2013 112219 11.7% XD 750 mL $17.99 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lulu B Pinot Noir 2008, Languedoc, France: Bright cherry and raspberry notes with wisp of vanilla smoke running through it. Medium-bodied and silky. This is a terrific wine for potlucks and informal get-togethers with good friends. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast beef, game, grilled chicken, pizza. Drink: 2011 - 2016 00057496 002681 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 86/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trove Winery Shiraz Cabernet, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: Medium- to full-bodied with a smooth, generous texture. Mouth-watering and tasty with aromas of blackberries. Perfect party wine! Shiraz Cabernet food pairings: creamy Italian antipasto salad, spiced chicken, duck confit, seared pork tenderloin with plum sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2013 0248880 12.5% MD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Mumm Napa Brut Prestige Sparkling White, Napa Valley, California, United States: Bright green apple aromas wake up the senses in this bubbly that blends primarily Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. There's a lifted white peach note in the middle and then a crisp, refreshing finish. Perfect for all your celebrations, especially at such a great price. Sparkling White food pairings: aperitif, brunch dishes such as croissants, egg dishes and fruit. Drink: 2010 - 2014 265678 12.9% XD 750 mL $28.25 Score: 89/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Legacy Pinot Gris 2009, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Canada: And now for something completely different and lovely: aromas of melon and exotic white flowers with a little honeysuckle blowing in the breeze from your glass. Great mouth-watering action in this medium- to full-bodied white. Pinot Gris food pairings: turkey with all the trimmings, spicy Thai cuisine, creamy soups, flavourful seafood dishes with rich sauces. Drink: 2010 - 2013 80002627 14% D 750 mL $34.95 Score: 90/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Laurent Miquel Pere Et Fils Chardonnay 2009, Languedoc, France: Did someone make a typo in pricing this wine because it seems incredibly low for the terrific quality?! Hazelnut-almond richness wraps itself around a core of green apple and white peach vibrancy. Stock up for all your upcoming parties. Chardonnay food pairings: lobster in butter, roast chicken. Drink: 2009 - 2014 157909 13% XD 750 mL $11.75 Score: 88/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Jadot Chardonnay 2009, Macon Villages, Burgundy, France: Fresh, tart and tasty with green apple aromas. Not heavily oaked. Medium-bodied and pleasant to drink. Nice price! Chardonnay food pairings: artisanal breads, pasta in cream sauce. Drink: 2009 - 2013 164145 13.5% XD 750 mL $14.70 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wolf Blass Yellow Label Chardonnay 2010, South Australia, Australia: A buttery, tasty Chardonnay with generous layers of peach and toasty oak. Full-bodied with a refreshing green apple finish. Yellow Label Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, corn on the cob. Drink: 2010 - 2013 226860 13.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Yalumba Y Series Riesling 2010, Barossa, South Australia, Australia: A zesty white with notes of lime and grapefruit. Mouth-watering: it cries out for food from shellfish to salads to quiche. Riesling food pairings: grilled whiting accompanied by a squeeze of lemon. Drink: 2010 - 2014 212753 11% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Equifera Estate Chardonnay 2007, V.Q.A, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada: Mouth-watering notes of white peach and green apple wrapped in vanilla smoke. Medium- to full-bodied. Perfect for a corn on the cob and lobster in butter feast. Chardonnay food pairings: seafood, poultry, fresh vegetables, pasta in light cream sauce. Drink: 2011 - 2013 00057496 002797 12.8% 750 mL $18.30 Score: 86/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

[yellow tail] Lucky Penny Chardonnay Viognier Pinot Grigio 2010, South Eastern Australia, Australia: Delightful! Lovely floral aromas followed by a bloom of melon and lychee notes from the glass. Perfect as an aperitif, or accompaniment to salads and seafood. Chardonnay Viognier Pinot Grigio food pairings: chicken and asparagus risotto or grilled barramundi with herb butter. Drink: 2010 - 2013 110536 13% XD 750 mL $17.99 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gabbiano Pinot Grigio 2009, Trentino, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia-Giulia, Italy: A crisp, clean, refreshing wine that will cut through the richness of a cream sauce or soft cheese like a knife. This is your wine when you don't want heavy oak or alcohol, just pure refreshment. Notes of lime, grapefruit and lemon zest. Top me up! Pinot Grigio food pairings: soft cheeses, pasta in cream sauce, seafood, salads. Drink: 2009 - 2014 77990 12.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trove Winery Riesling Moscato, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: A delightful, zippy wine with aromas of melon, white peach and summer-dappled pear. The lightest touch of sweetness means that you can drink this wine with so many dishes, from seafood to Asian curries to glazed ham. Incredible price! Riesling Moscato food pairings: crab cakes, smoked salmon, fried calamari, barbecued pork ribs, gnocchi, spicy asian cuisine. Drink: 2011 - 2013 0248872 11.5% M 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lulu B Chardonnay 2008, Pays D'oc, France: Bright green apple notes and a kiss of toasty oak on this medium- to full-bodied, round white. Chardonnay food pairings: pâtés and cooked-tomato dishes, guacamole. Drink: 2008 - 2012 00057496 002674 13.5% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 85/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Steve Bird Winery & Vineyards Old Schoolhouse Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough, New Zealand: Terrific lime-zestiness in this citrus-herbal Sauvignon Blanc. Refreshing and zippy: class New Zealand style. Top me up! Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: seafood salads, goat cheese with fresh baguette, poached salmon. Drink: 2010 - 2012 178319 14% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 90/100. May 2011. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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