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Wine Picks March 5, 2014

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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

Chateau Des Arroucats Blended Table White 2012, Sainte Croix Du Mont, Bordeaux A.O.C., France: This lovely dessert wine is a steal at this price, and it's not cloyingly sweet so it'll pair well with fruit flans, biscotti and angel cake. A traditional blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Gorgeous aromas of ripe apricot, peach and pear. Drink: 2012 - 2017 332593 13.5% S 750 mL $17.95 Score: 91/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alvear's Fino Montilla Sherry, Spain: Dry, nutty, classic Sherry. Not very high in alcohol. Salty, tangy and fragrant, smells like the ocean on a foggy morning when you're heading out to sea. Drink: 2014 - 2018 112771 15% XD 750 mL $12.10 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Southbrook Vineyards Framboise, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada: Extraordinary raspberry jam perfection: the Platonic ideal of fleshy ripe raspberries rolling around on your tongue, caressing the roof of your mouth before they reluctantly travel in a river of hedonistic happiness don your throat. Breathe back the memory. Top up your glass. Drink: 2014 - 2018 341024 13.5% S 375 mL $15.95 Score: 91/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Umberto Fiore Barbaresco 2009, Docg Piedmont, Italy: Tart, mouth-watering acidity on this vibrant Italian red wine makes it an excellent companion to tangy dishes and tomato sauces. Medium-bodied, with attractive tart cherry and earthy notes. Nice for the price. Drink: 2014 - 2018 254870 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.00 Score: 88/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château des Charmes Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Niagara V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied red wine with cabernet aromas of cassis and blackcurrant. Herbal, stemmy notes on the nose and finish. Tannic grip on the palate. Decant 2 hours. Drink: 2014 - 2016 370320 13.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 85/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Vaugelas Le Prieuré Carignan Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre 2011, A.C., Corbieres, Midi, France: Rustic, rugged and full-bodied with blackened fruit, toasty, tarry oak and smoke. Tasty in a full-belted kind of way. Decant for 1-2 hours. You can't beat the price for this quality. Carignan Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre food pairings: grilled lamb, roast beef, meaty stews. Drink: 2014 - 2017 361691 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Cabernet Merlot 2011, Okanagan Valley, BC V.Q.A., Canada: Full-bodied with tart cassis and blackberry aromas, some herbal notes on the palate and finish. Try it with a rare steak. Drink: 2014 - 2016 157487 14% D 750 mL $15.00 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Project Pasa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Paso Robles, United States: Dark chocolate and mocha on the nose and palate from generous oak aging. Flavours of sweet blackberries and plums on the palate. Full-bodied, smooth and supple. Try it with meat lovers' pizza. Drink: 2013 - 2017 291153 13.5% D 750 mL $18.00 Score: 86/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quinta Do Valdoeiro 2010, Bairrada D.O.C., Portugal: Big, black brooding fruit and a tarry nose; this is a full-bodied red wine blend of traditional Portuguese grapes. Great price for this robust red. Try it with a rare, juicy steak. Drink: 2013 - 2016 320036 14% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vila Regia Regional Blended Red 2012, Douro D.O.C., Portugal: A simple, rustic, full-bodied red with a tannic grip from Sogrape. Black fruit, toasty oak, pepper, good quaffer with hearty meat dish. Drink: 2013 - 2015 464388 14% XD 750 mL $8.00 Score: 83/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tiger Horse Shiraz Mourvèdre 2013, Western Cape, South Africa: A sweet, confected red wine brought to us by Boutinot. Cherry candy on the nose and palate. Full-bodied and smooth. Try it with meat dishes that have some sweetness. Drink: 2013 - 2015 354613 14.5% M 750 mL $11.95 Score: 81/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Porcupine Ridge Syrah 2012, Swartland W.O., South Africa: A robust red with very attractive fleshy dark fruit, pepper and toasty oak. Great balance and price. Layers of tasty, almost chewy black flavours. Perfect for beef and other meat dishes. Drink: 2013 - 2016 595280 13.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pillar Box Red Named Varietal Blends-Red 2010, South Australia, Australia: Chocolate, mocha, espresso and coffee on the nose from very generous oak aging. Some black fruit emerges underneath on the palate, Full-bodied and smooth. A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Nice price. Drink: 2013 - 2015 350447 14.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 86/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ascheri Barolo 2009, Piedimonte D.O.C.G., Italy: Classic Barolo! Expensive, but worth it. Distinctive aromas of tar, violets, wild tart black fruit and tanned leather. Yes, that's a mouthful, but try it. Ultra-dry and almost contemplative in that you don't want to mash it up with food. Decant 1-2 hours. Drink: 2015 - 2021 341107 14.5% XD 750 mL $33.80 Score: 92/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Volcanes Summit Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah 2012, Rapel Valley, Chile: Full-bodied with blackberry liqueur aromas, flavours and concentration. Supple and smooth and dying to muscle in beside a juicy, rare steak. Drink: 2013 - 2015 350553 14.2% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Girls Night Out Rose 2012, Harrow, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Soft and pretty with field strawberry and raspberry aromas and flavours. Not sweet, lovely sipper. Try it with planked salmon. Drink: 2012 - 2015 89862 12% MD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château des Charmes Cuvée D'andrée Rosé 2013, V.Q.A., Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada: A delightful rose with fresh, fragrant notes of wild field strawberries and raspberries ... the tiny kind that almost let between your fingers. Wonderful as a sipper aperitif on the deck or try it with cold chicken sandwiches. Rosé food pairings: planked salmon, pate. Drink: 2013 - 2014 333260 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Mumm Carte Classique Extra Dry Champagne, Champagne D.O.C., France: Crisp and clean with toasty aromas of baked bread and green apple. Terrific price for classic Champagne. Makes and excellent aperitif or companion to fried chicken (get a big bucket). Drink: 2014 - 2016 308064 12% XD 750 mL $61.95 Score: 92/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Champagne Esterlin Rose Brut Champagne, Champagne D.O.C., France: Crisp and refreshing with notes of tart raspberry. Pleasantly bitter finish. Great price. Try with seared tuna. Drink: 2014 - 2016 349845 12% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 88/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Sumac Ridge Estate Winery Private Reserve Gewurztraminer 2012, Okanagan Valley, BC V.Q.A., Canada: Lovely notes of rose petal, baking spices and rose petal. Perfect for Asian dishes and medium curries. Medium-bodied. Absolutely delicious! Drink: 2012 - 2015 778876128936 13% D 750 mL $17.00 Score: 89/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Pinot Grigio 2012, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A light-bodied, fresh white wine offering crisp aromas of white melon, and white peach. Mouth-watering and refreshing. Drink as an aperitif or companion to seafood. Drink: 2013 - 2015 250217 12.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Banrock Station Chardonnay Unwooded 2012, South Australia, Australia: Clean, unoaked Chardonnay with attractive notes of green apple and melon. Comes in the convenient Tetra-Pak for camping. Chardonnay Unwooded food pairings: seafood pasta or grilled swordfish. Drink: 2013 - 2015 668954 13% XD 1000 mL $12.95 Score: 84/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Baron Philippe De Rothschild Languedoc-Roussillon Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Pays D'oc V.D.P., France: Crisp and fresh, more lemon citrus than grassy herbal on the nose and palate. Some melon on the finish. Great with shellfish. Drink: 2013 - 2015 407536 12.5% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Alianca Regional Blended White 2012, Vinho Verde D.O.C., Portugal: A crisp white with incredible mouth-watering acidity. The acidic attack on the palate offers notes of white grapefruit and lime zest. This refreshing white cries out for food such as fresh seafood. Drink: 2012 - 2015 75663 9% XD 750 mL $8.95 Score: 84/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Baron De Hoen Pinot Gris Reserve 2012, Alsace A.O.C., France: This vibrant white wine is made from 100% Pinot Gris grapes. It offers notes of tropical tree fruit, apricots, peach blossom and honeysuckle. The sweetness is balanced and add a mouth-filling voluptuousness to this wine. It finishes with quince and floral notes. Try it with Asian dishes and mild to medium curries. Drink: 2012 - 2016 280149 13% M 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chapoutier Belleruche Blanc Grenache Blanc 2012, Cotes-Du-Rhone A.O.C., France: A full-bodied white wine without heavy oak. Attractive notes of melon and Asian pear with a crisp, dry finish. You can't beat this price. Try it with fresh seafood or shellfish. Drink: 2013 - 2015 245340 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 88/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Daniel Lenko Chardonnay Unoaked 2009, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Clean and crisp with attractive aromas of green apple and no oak. Full-bodied but not heavy. Lovely texture. Try it with roast chicken. Drink: 2013 - 2016 260398 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Girls Night Out Chardonnay 2012, Harrow, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A medium-bodied, refreshing Chardonnay with attractive notes of green apple and butterscotch. Try it with grilled chicken or fish. Great price. Drink: 2012 - 2015 89821 13% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pfaff Pinot Gris 2012, Alsace A.O.C., France: Soft, floral and light- to medium-bodied. Lovely mouth-filling texture. Redolent of apricot and peach blossom. Peach and pear delight! Good balancing acidity. Lovely food wine. Perfect for sushi. Try this zesty French white wine with fresh fish and cream sauce pasta. Drink: 2012 - 2015 362087 13.5% MD 750 mL $13.80 Score: 88/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Small Talk Faux Pas Named Varietal Blends-White 2012, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A light, floral blend of Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc white wine grapes. Simple, dry and refreshing. Try it with field greens. Drink: 2012 - 2015 343384 11.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 85/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cottage Block Riesling 2012, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A superb Riesling for the money! This vibrant, off-dry white wine offers seductive aromas of apricot, wet stone and white peach. Brought to us by Strewn Winery, this is an impressive, go-to white wine. Drink: 2012 - 2015 346601 11.2% MD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 89/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sandbanks Gewürztraminer 2011, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Soft and fragrant with lovely aromas of rose petal, lychee and pear. The acidity is not aggressive yet this is loaded with flavour for mild curries and spicy dishes. Great effort. Drink: 2012 - 2015 346882 12.5% MD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gustave Lorentz Cuvee Amethyste Riesling 2011, Alsace A.O.C., France: Fantastic Riesling for the price! Dry with lovely notes of green apple, wet stone and dry white apricot. Perfect! Mouth-watering, dry and complex yet fresh and crisp without any oak. White melon and grapefruit. Just waiting for you. Racy Riesling at its best! Terrific balance and vertical structure. Intense freshness on the palate and finish. Mouth-watering acidity for food, from seafood and salads. Drink: 2012 - 2017 325159 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.30 Score: 89/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fabiano La Calvisana Custoza Superiore Blended Table White 2012, Veneto, Italy: Pretty, floral, fragrant and soft. The sweetness is balanced here and wraps itself lovingly around curries and spices. Produced in the south-west region of Lake Garda. Drink: 2012 - 2015 339341 12.5% M 750 mL $10.95 Score: 87/100. March 2014. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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