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Wine Picks April 22, 2008

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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

Domaine Pinnacle Sparking Ice Cider 2005, Quebec, Canada: Domaine Pinnacle is a family-owned orchard and cidery located on the southern slopes of Pinnacle Mountain in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. They use a blend of 6 different varieties of apples. A lovely sweetness and light effervescence on the palate. Serve well-chilled in a flute style glass. Visit: www.domainepinnacle.com. Domaine Pinnacle Sparking Ice Cider food pairings: sushi, spicy dishes, desserts. 52365 12% S 1500 mL $44.95 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Other Wines/Drinks

Crémant St-Nicolas Sparkling Light Cider Crémant StNicolas cidre Sparkling Wine, Quebec, Canada: A refreshing and lively cider, with a lively light effervescence. Appetizing notes of green apples. Bottled with a champagne-style cork. Crémant Stnicolas Cidre Sparkling Wine food pairings: pork, glazed ham, biscotti, pasta, chicken. 61671 2.8% M 750 mL $12.00 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Beringer Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, California, United States: Located 17 miles northwest of the winery, this vineyard has volcanic, well-drained soils. The Knights Valley designation was first used on a Beringer label in 1974. By 1983, this area had won official recognition as a premier wine growing region in the form of its own American Viticulture Area designation. The wines were then aged in small French Nevers oak barrels for sixteen months. A paragon of balance, elegance and New World vitality. Lovely aromas of toasty oak, black pepper and black plums. A long finish. Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: filet mignon, venison, roast beef, caribou. Drink: 2008 - 2015 352583 13% D 750 mL $39.95 Score: 92/100. April 2008. Favorite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Beringer Stone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, California, United States: Half of their wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for eight months. A smooth, medium- to full-bodied red with pleasant aromas of ripe plums. Beringer Stone Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: hamburgers, pizza, stew, sheperd's pie. 606798 13% D 750 mL $13.85 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pinot Noir Rosehall Vineyard V.Q.A. 2006, Prince Edward County, Canada: A medium-bodied vibrant red with pleasantly tart cherry notes. Available at the winery and online at www.rosehallrun.com Pinot Noir Rosehall Vineyard V.Q.A. food pairings: grilled tuna, grilled salmon. 10001 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fetzer Fetzer Zinfandel 2006, California, United States: A medium- to full-bodied red with purple plum and berry notes. A smooth, delicious and lip-smacking wine. Fetzer Zinfandel food pairings: hamburger, steak, pizza. 234617 10.5% D 750 mL $15.15 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Beringer Founder's Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, California, United States: An elegant, balanced cabernet with classic aromas of cassis and blackcurrants. Beringer Founder's Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: steak, roast. 534263 13.5% D 750 mL $19.80 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Yamantiev's Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2004, Bulgaria: Made from grapes sourced from 20-25 year-old vineyards around Ivailovgrad, this wine is aged for 12 months in oak casks and an additional 6 months in bottles before release. Notes of black cherries, blackberries, cedar and mocha. 60921 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sutter Home Merlot, 2006, Ontario, Canada: This alcohol-free merlot was produced by the spinning cone process, which preserves some wine aromas and flavors while removing alcohol. A red with aromas of sweet plums and berries. Although I can definitely smell and taste that there is no alcohol, I'm impressed that this "wine" doesn't simply taste like Welsch's grape juice. I'll recommend it to anyone who wants an alcohol-free drink. Order straight from the agent, Dionysus Wines & Spirits Ltd. 416.233.6567 or email at info@dionysuswines.ca. You can also contact the winery directly at www.sutterhome.com. Merlot, food pairings: chicken, lamb, beef, ham, pasta dishes. 10001 D 750 mL $10.00 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Small Lots Barbera 2005, British Columbia, Canada: A full-bodied, juicy red with ripe blue plum and berry notes. Aged in French and American oak for 18 months. Small Lots Barbera food pairings: roasted lamb shanks, roasted bison, lentil dishes. 533133 14% 0 750 mL $29.99 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Small Lots Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah 2005, Okanagan Valley, Canada: A full-bodied red with notes of cassis, mocha and toasty oak. Aged in new American oak for 20 months. Small Lots Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah food pairings: steak, filet mignon, dark chocolate. 114496 13.5% D 750 mL $29.99 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir 2006, Okanagan Valley, Canada: Sourced solely from their estate vineyards, with an average vine age of 23 years. The soils are complex with volcanic rock and glacial. A selection of four clones were created using a unique technique of indigenous yeast fermentation. This wine had extended skin before being aged 11 months in new and a year-old French oak barrels. This pinot has aromas of black plums, cherries, vanilla, spice and earth. More restrained and structured then the regular pinot. Stewart Family Reserve Pinot Noir food pairings: roasted duck breast in a cherry reduction, salmon, pork, chicken. 639685 14% D $45.00 Score: 91/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quail's Gate Stewart Family Pinot Noir 2006, Okanagan Valley, Canada: This pinot is from the estate vineyards on the slopes of Mt. Boucherie. This grape thrives in the rocky volcanic soils. After going through extended maceration where it stayed in contact with its skins for about 20 days, the wine is barrel-aged entirely in French oak for 11 months. A pinot with gorgeous notes of black cherries and earth. A smooth, medium-bodied wine with a silky texture. Quail's Gate Stewart Family Pinot Noir food pairings: B.B.Q., salmon, asparagus, mushroom risotto. 585760 14% D 750 mL $24.99 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosewood Estates Cabernet Franc 2006, Beamsville, Canada: Renata and Eugene Roman purchased 40 acres of land in 2000, which is now home of Rosewood Estates Winery & Meadery. Their goal was to start a small-batch artisanal winery and meadery. This property is located on Beamsville Bench terroir. At Rosewood, 15 acres make up the planted vineyard; approximately 2 acres for the apiary and the rest forested area of Niagara Escarpment. Natalie Spytkowsky has 14 years of experience as a winemaker garnering many awards locally and internationally for both her wines and meads. This cabernet has notes of cedar and spice, cherry pipe tobacco and ripe plums. Terrific richness and depth in this cabernet franc with notes of tobacco and black plums. Made in limited quantities, so contact the winery to purchase: www.rosewoodwine.com or 866-633-3248. Rosewood Estates Cabernet Franc food pairings: lamb, beef stew, aged cheeses. 10001 D $18.00 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Patiratche Syrah Vin De Pays D'oc 2005, Languedoc, France: A simple, pleasant sipper with aromas of cherries and cedar. Full-bodied and smooth. 32003 12.5% D 750 mL $9.95 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Small Lots Malbec, 2005, Okanagan Valley, Canada: A stunning wine of intriguing complexity and depth with notes of red and black berries, violets and oak. A long, satisfying finish. Bordeaux elegance combined with New World energy. Availability is limited in B.C. and Alberta. There are only 211 cases. Small Lots Malbec, food pairings: grilled steaks, sauteed mushrooms, leg of lamb. 620351 13% 0 750 mL $34.99 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Beringer Founders' Estate Merlot 2005, California, United States: A delicious red with smooth, full-bodied texture. Aromas of black plums. This merlot aged in oak barrels for 8 months. 534255 13.9% D 750 mL $19.80 Score: 89/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wild Horse Canyon Merlot 2006, Okanagan Valley, Canada: This merlot is a juicy and simple quaffer with aromas of purple plums and berries. Wild Horse Canyon Merlot food pairings: pizza, hamburgers. 54411 13.5% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mission Hill Family Estate S.L.C. Merlot 2004, Okanagan Valley, Canada: Mission Hill carefully selects their fruit from designated vineyard lots, which is barrel-aged in French oak. Grown in semi-desert conditions with less than 300 millimeters of rainfall a year. This merlot is layered with satisfying deep red notes of black plums. Mission Hill Family Estate S.L.C. Merlot food pairings: hearty meat dishes. 935857 14% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Peter Lehmann Shiaz Grenache Barossa 2005, Australia: A full-bodied, palate-whacker of a wine with aromas of sweet black plums. Round and supple. Closed with a screwcap. Peter Lehmann Shiaz Grenache Barossa food pairings: B.B.Q, pizza, aged cheeses. 610725 14% D 750 mL $15.90 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cave Spring Pinot Noir V.Q.A. 2006, Ontario, Canada: A medium-bodied and balanced red with pleasingly tart cherry aromas. This wine cries out for food. Cave Spring Pinot Noir V.Q.A. food pairings: salmon, pork, chicken. 417642 12% D 750 mL $17.05 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Riscasoli Brolio Chianti 2005, Tuscany, Italy: Located between Florence and Siena in the heart of Tuscany. Made from the sangiovese grape. A balanced, medium- to full-bodied red with aromas of tart cherries and raspberries. 3962 13.5% XD 750 mL $23.75 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Casa Vinicola Gerardo Cesari Cesari Merlot I.G.T. 2006, Venezie, Italy: A simple, delicious full-bodied red. Aromas of black cherries and plums. Cesari Merlot I.G.T. food pairings: B.B.Q., steak, pork, roast. 572453 12% D 750 mL $7.20 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Catena Malbec 2005, Argentina, Argentina: A robust red with aromas of dark fruit and oak. Catena Malbec food pairings: steak, stew, lamb. 478727 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.80 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ortas Rasteau Les Hauts Du Villages 2003, Rhone, France: A blend of mouvedre, syrah and old vine grenache grapes. A full-bodied red with notes of black plums, spice and cedar. Ortas Rasteau Les Hauts Du Villages food pairings: game, venison, boar, pheasant. 985929 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Como Sur Single Varietal Merlot 2007, Chile, Chile: Made from a blend of merlot 85%, cabernet sauvignon 10%, syrah 3%, malbec 2% grapes. A full-bodied, purple plummy wine with lip-smacking ripe goodness. Closed with a screwcap. Como Sur Single Varietal Merlot food pairings: B.B.Q, hamburgers. 457176 13.5% D 750 mL $9.90 Score: 85/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay Noir 2006, Niagara, Canada: This is the first year they have made this wine from a single vineyard. With extended skin contact at the end of the fermentation and nine months in an equal split of American and French oak barrels. This wine won them the silver medal of the 2008 Riesling du Monde competition. This is a juicy, generous red with notes of luscious, ripe red cherries and raspberries, with a warm smoky overlay of oak. A supple, smooth and medium-bodied red. 1027299 13% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

E. & J. Gallo Winery Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel 2005, California, United States: A robust, lip-smacking delicious zinfandel with aromas of dark fruit and purple plums. Smooth and ready to drink now. Rancho Zabaco Dancing Bull Zinfandel food pairings: steak, stew, roast, hamburgers, grilled meats, game, sausage. 669499 14% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Sonoma Valley, United States: Full-bodied warmth with rich aromas of mocha, plums and cassis. Round with velvet layers. A terrific value. Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: pasta in meat sauce, steak, lamb. 53000 13% D 750 mL $13.99 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Guitar Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo Garnacha 2006, Navarra, Spain: Made from a blend of 55% trempranillo and 45% garnacha grapes. A full-bodied wine that has delicious notes of chocolate and ripe dark red fruit. Red Guitar Old Vine Tempranillo Garnacha food pairings: grilled beef, B.B.Q., burgers, pizza, ham. 54007 13.6% D 750 mL $12.75 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Sutter Home White Zinfandel 2006, California, United States: This alcohol-free wine is simple and refreshing with sweet aromas of cherry, strawberries and cranberries. Less than half the calories of regular wine (72 calories per 8oz glass.) Order straight from the agent Dionysus Wines & Spirits Ltd. 416.233.6567 or info@dionysuswines.ca. You can also contact the winery directly at www.sutterhome.com. 10001 D 750 mL $10.00 Score: 85/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Sutter Home Sparkling Brut 2006, California, United States: Fre by Sutter Home Sparkling Brut is the first dealcholized sparkling wine produced by a major winery. Remarkably similar in style to a traditional sparkling wine, it is the great choice for abstainers desiring a sophisticated adult alternative for celebrations and other special events. A blend of chenin blanc and pinot noir, dealcoholized using the spinning cone process. This brut is lovely like sweet apple cider with a foamy froth. Many people might like this even if they're not looking for an alcohol-free bubbly. Notes of green apples and ripe pears. Order from the agent Dionysus Wines & Spirits at 416.233.6567 or info@dionysuswines.ca. You can also contact the winery at www.sutterhome.com. 20021 D 750 mL $10.00 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Strewn Semi-Dry Riesling V.Q.A. 2005, Niagara, Canada: A lovely, light summer sipper. Aromas of ripe melon and pear. Strewn Semi-Dry Riesling V.Q.A. food pairings: fish, seafood, salads, pork, chicken. 616599 12% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Beringer Founders' Estate Chardonnay 2006, California, United States: A full-bodied, round, generous chardonnay, with luscious buttery, oaky, ripe pear aromas. Beringer Founders' Estate Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, corn dishes, pasta, salad, grilled seafood, lobster in butter. 534230 13.9% D 750 mL $18.80 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lindeman's Bin 85 Pinot Grigio 2007, South Australia, Australia: A refreshing, simple wine with mild melon aromas. There was no oak applied to this wine. Closed with a screwcap. 668947 12.5% D 750 mL $11.45 Score: 86/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard V.Q.A. 2006, Prince Edward County, Canada: Aromas of nectarine and white peach with a hint of nutmeg. A big, buttery, oaky chardonnay with ripe pears. Underwent a 10-month barrel fermentation. Available at the winery and online at www.rosehallrun.com. Chardonnay Rosehall Vineyard V.Q.A. food pairings: roast chicken, scallops, crab cakes. 420003 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Calona Vineyards Sovereign Opal 2007, British Columbia, Canada: A vibrant, zesty and medium-bodied white with aromas of melon, pink grapefruit and white flowers. Visit: www.calonavineyards.ca. Calona Vineyards Sovereign Opal food pairings: salmon, vegetarian dishes, shellfish, salads. 364265 13.5% D 750 mL $13.99 Score: 87/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Albarino Ca' Del Solo Vineyard Monterey Country 2007, Santa Cruz, United States: Farming this vineyard biodynamically in early 2004. 80% albarino, 15% loureiro, 5% treixadura grapes. A medium-bodied white with crisp notes of grapefruit and lime. Intensely aromatic and refreshing. Closed with a screw cap. Albarino Ca' Del Solo Vineyard Monterey Country food pairings: Asian food, shellfish. 10001 12% D 750 mL $20.00 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Favorite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Muscat, Ca' Del Solo Vineyard, Monterey County 2007, Santa Cruz, United States: 93% moscato giallo and 7% loureiro grapes. A medium-bodied, slightly off-dry white with lovely notes of orange blossom and melon. Muscat, Ca' Del Solo Vineyard, Monterey County food pairings: chili peppers, ginger, cumin, curry leaf or cardamon such as asian dishes. 80012 12% D 750 mL $17.00 Score: 89/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

E. & J. Gallo Winery Macmurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris 2006, California, United States: Located in the Russian River Valley, MacMurray Ranch is known for its pinot gris and pinot noir wines. The winemaker is Susan Doyle. A crisp wine with notes of green pears and melons. Full-bodied with a luxurious texture. Macmurray Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris food pairings: salmon, pork, chicken, pasta. 47787 14.4% D 750 mL $19.80 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Riesling 2007, V.Q. A. Niagara Peninsula, Canada: This lot of 100% riesling was harvested from Reif estates 125 acre Vineyard located adjacent to the Niagara River, midway between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment. The juice was pressed from very clean, ripe fruit was used with selected yeast for cold-controlled, slow fermentation which lasted for 7 days. It is a lovely, refreshing white with pretty floral adn peach notes. A hint of sweetness balances out the acidity. Riesling food pairings: shellfish, white-fleshed fish, turkey, grilled chicken, primavera styled pasta, spicy curry dishes, Asian-inspired dishes, sushi. 111799 12% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 88/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quail's Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay 2006, Okanagan Valley, Canada: The vines are 12-15 years old and planted on clay and gravel soil. Full-barrel fermentation in French oak using Montrachet yeast strains, with all barrels warmed to complete malolactic fermentation. A rich, golden and luscious chardonnay with aromas of baked bread, vanilla, ripe pear and hazelnut. Well-rounded with a long finish. Quail's Gate Stewart Family Reserve Chardonnay food pairings: creamy seafood pasta. Drink: 2008 - 2014 639641 14.5% XD 750 mL $29.99 Score: 90/100. April 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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