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Wine Picks October 7, 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.

Red Wine

Bellingham Shiraz 2005, South Africa, South Africa: The dash of Viognier in this wine lifts and brightens it. An incredible value. Plummy richness. Shiraz food pairings: braised beef, cheeses, game. 554360 14% D 750 mL $13.85 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stormy Bay Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Western Cape, South Africa: A robust, structured Cabernet with blackberry aromas. Closed with a screwcap. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: stew, boar, steak. 665299 13.5% D 750 mL $11.75 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

J.P. Chenet Grenache Shiraz 2005, Minervois, France: A rustic, full-bodied red with black cherries and wild herb notes. Grenache Shiraz food pairings: braised short ribs, gourmet pizza, pasta with meat sauce. 28597 13% D 750 mL $9.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beyer Ranch Zinfandel 2006, California, United States: A juicy Zinfandel with sweetly ripe berries and plums. Smooth and full-bodied. Zinfandel food pairings: gourmet hamburgers, grilled portobello mushrooms. 66118 13.9% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Woodbridge Zinfandel 2006, California, United States: Juicy, lip-smacking delicious and filled with purple plums. Great price. Zinfandel food pairings: lamb, pork tenderloin. 329110 13.5% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: A red with classic structure and aromas of cassis and blackcurrant. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: steak, game. Drink: 2008 - 2015 314575 12.5% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trius Winery at Hillebrand Pelee Island Pinot Noir 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A soft, light-bodied red with pleasant and delicious strawberry layers filling the glass. Great value. Pinot Noir food pairings: pasta in a rich tomato sauce, grilled salmon, chicken stuffed with goatcheese, herb crusted lamb. 135939 13% D 750 mL $12.45 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Pinot Noir Reserve 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A lovely, light Pinot with ripe red plums and cherries filling the glass. Pinot Noir Reserve food pairings: salmon, pork. 669390 12.5% D 750 mL $18.25 Score: 88/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Masi Costasera Amarone Classico 2005, Valpolicilla, Italy: A rich, robust red with layers of dark plums, black cherries and tobacco. Long finish. Amarone Classico food pairings: meat, game, cheddar cheese. 317057 15.1% D 750 mL $37.45 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Gran Coronas Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Penedes, Spain: A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Tempranillo. A rich, robust and balanced red with cassis and blackcurrant notes. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: barbequed meats, lasagna. 36483 13.5% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tommasi Ripasso 2005, Valpolicella, Italy: A lovely, balanced red with full-bodied notes of black plums, spice and cocoa. Ripasso food pairings: stew, steak, meat dishes. 910430 13% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Pinot Noir 2006, California, United States: A gorgeous, smooth, long silky Pinot with seductive notes of cherries and plums. Medium to full-bodied. Pinot Noir food pairings: beef bourguignon, chambertin cheese, cinnamon and cumin spiced dishes, matzo ball soup, veal shanks. 954834 13.9% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Cabernet Franc 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A good price for this medium-bodied red with notes of cranberry, cassis and bell pepper. Cabernet Franc food pairings: veal, pork roast with tamari. 27839 13.1% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 86/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jackson-Triggs Merlot Propietors Reserve 2005, Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada: An incredible wine for the money. Rich and full-bodied with notes of black cherries and mocha. Merlot Propietors Reserve food pairings: rare steak in a mushroom sauce, lasagna. 543876 14.3% D 750 mL $14.75 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

San Pedro Shiraz 2006, Central Valley, Chile: A lovely, rich red with deep dark plums, mocha, leather and tobacco. Full-bodied. Shiraz food pairings: roasted and grilled meats. 237800 14% D 750 mL $13.25 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cookoothama Shiraz 2006, New South Wales, Australia: An amazingly great value! A vibrant Shiraz filled with black cherries and other berries. Smooth with a gorgeous texture. Closed with a screwcap. Shiraz food pairings: gourmet hamburgers, peppercorn steak, mature cheeses, turkey dinner with traditional trimmings, leg of lamb. 619460 14% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

[yellow tail] Shiraz 2007, South Australia, Australia: A sweet, simple and delicious red with sweet dark plums. Revenge of the anti-snobs! Shiraz food pairings: rare prime rib. 624544 14% D 750 mL $12.20 Score: 86/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Shiraz 2005, Adelaide, Australia: This wine gets better every year, the result of years of experience. Classically structured with Bordeaux-like balance and elegance, but the power of New World fruit and vitality. Shiraz food pairings: grilled steak, game, beef roasts, hard cheeses, gourmet hamburgers. 611210 14.5% D 750 mL $20.95 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Painter Bridge Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Paso Robles, California, United States: A smooth, long and elegant red. Rich aromas of black raspberry, vanilla and violets. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled meats. 656561 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.80 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bodega Catena Zapata Malbec 2006, Mendoza, Argentina: A robust red with blackberries, tobacco and plum notes. Malbec food pairings: steak, stew, boar, game. 478727 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Zenato Ripassa 2006, Veneto, Valpolicella, Italy: A rich, smooth, layered wine with dried cherries and black raspberries. Ripassa food pairings: cheddar, lasagna. 479766 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Katnook Founder's Block Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Coonawarra, Australia: A splendidly robust Cabernet with classic mint, black plum and vanilla notes. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: sausage, lasagna, steak. 620070 14% D 750 mL $17.00 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Perez Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2006, Maipo Valley, Chile: An absolutely phenomenal wine for the money! Rich, robust with black plums and comfort. Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva food pairings: spicy dishes, steak, hamburgers. 694208 14.5% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Smoking Loon Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, California, United States: A smoky, mocha number with black plum aromas. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: steak. 55517 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

d'Arenberg The Laughing Magpie Shiraz Vigonier 2006, Mclaren Vale, Australia: The vineyards bushland that surrounds the d'Arenberg winery are home to the unique native Australian bird, the Kookaburra, famous for its distinctive laughing call. Much to the amusement of the family, Chester Osborn's daughters, Alicia and Ruby, named their two wild pet Kookaburras the "Laughing Magpies". The Magpie plumage is black with stripe of white feathers and bears no resemblance to its famous cousin, but to this day the name has stuck. The Osborns thought the name was a good choice for McLaren Vale's first ever Shiraz Viognier blend combining the (black) Shiraz and its white partner, Viognier and for its being such a cheerful wine (with color and life) it resembles this cheeky native bird. I love the way Viognier brightens and lifts this robust red. Layers of plummy, cranberry goodness. Closed with a screwcap. Shiraz Vigonier food pairings: roasted lamb. 936971 14.5% XD 750 mL $27.95 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2005, Mclaren Vale, Australia: d'Arenberg has been making Shiraz since the winery was built in 1927. First labeled just Shiraz, the wine in the 1980s was the first wine would to be labeled 'Old Vine', taking on the name 'The Old Vine Shiraz'. Footbolt was a horse that the founder of d'Arenberg owned. Joseph Osborn was also one of the most successful racehorse owners in South Australia until 1912 when he sold this stable to buy the d'Arenberg Property. The Footbolt Shiraz was aged 12 months in new and older American and French oak barriques including casks. Dense, dark, full-bodied red with black plums, cherries and pepper notes. Closed with a screwcap. Shiraz food pairings: steak, game. 984021 14.5% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Canaletto Nero D'avola Merlot 2006, Sicily, Italy: A rich, deep Merlot with ripe black plum notes. Merlot food pairings: strong cheeses, braised beef. 29421 12.6% D 750 mL $13.75 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Burrowing Owl Estate Winery Syrah 2006, Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada: A huge wine with black fruit, bacon and pepper. Rich and full-bodied with a smooth texture. Syrah food pairings: hearty dishes, lamb, osso bucco, strong cheeses. Drink: 2008 - 2015 73072 14.5% D 750 mL $38.00 Score: 90/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Nottage Hill Shiraz 2006, South Australia, Australia: A robust red bursting with berry-ripe layers of plums and toasty oak aromas. Shiraz food pairings: steak. 375964 13% D 750 mL $13.45 Score: 86/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Willow Shiraz 2006, Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada: Conditions of budburst and flowering were excellent. The summer growing season was quintessential Okanagan, with low humidity and above average temperatures which lasted through October. A full-bodied Shiraz loaded with ripe blackberries and mocha notes. Shiraz food pairings: barbequed beef ribs, lamb chops, honey-glazed vegetables. 444444 12% D 750 mL $18.15 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fuzion Shiraz Malbec 2007, Argentina, Argentina: An outstanding value for this deep, delicious red. Shiraz Malbec food pairings: steak, hamburgers. 83188 13% XD 750 mL $7.45 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Merlot 2006, California, United States: A rich, layered, velvety red with dark plums and berries. Nice length and balance. Merlot food pairings: beef, game, meats. 524769 13.5% M 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trius Winery at Hillebrand Artist Series Meritage 2007, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A lovely balanced red with delicious ripe plums and berries. Smooth, round and medium- to full-bodied. Closed with a screwcap. Artist Series Meritage food pairings: chicken, pasta. 56390 12.8% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Trius Winery at Hillebrand Limited Edition Pinot Gris 2007, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A pretty, vivacious white with lovely, light notes of field flowers and melon. Closed with a screwcap. Pinot Gris food pairings: seafood, vegetarian dishes, salads. 333333 13% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ocopogo's Lair Pinot Grigio 2007, Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada: Lovely, sunny melon, peach and floral notes. Closed with a screwcap. Pinot Grigio food pairings: creamy pastas, baked foccacia, basil, rosemary. 555555 14% D 750 mL $16.15 Score: 88/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Toasted Head Chardonnay 2006, California, United States: A luxuriously layered Chardonnay with gorgeous notes of ripe mango and toasted oak. Chardonnay food pairings: pork, chicken, corn dishes. 594341 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Malivoire Wine Company Pinot Gris 2006, Ontario, Canada: A crisp, refreshing white with lovely melon notes. Nice balance. Good aperitif. Pinot Gris food pairings: chicken, pork, shellfish. 591305 13% XD 750 mL $19.00 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Malivoire Wine Company Gewurztraminer 2006, Ontario, Canada: Lovely, subtle white packed with flavor. Notes of lychee, ginger and roses. Medium-bodied. Gewurztraminer food pairings: pork roast, lobster, pizza. Drink: 2008 - 2013 89897 13% XD 750 mL $25.80 Score: 92/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cono Sur Viognier 2008, Chile, Chile: A refreshing, simple white with wild field flowers, lime and apricot. Viognier food pairings: sushi, light curries, shellfish. 64287 13.5% D 750 mL $9.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Remy Pannier Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Loire Valley, France: A well-priced, simple, refreshing wine with notes of grass and a good mouth-watering acidity. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: seafood, salad, vegetarian dishes, pork, chicken. 68676 12% D 750 mL $10.90 Score: 86/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Babich Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Marlborough, New Zealand: Herbal refreshment. Notes of grass and lime. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: seafood, vegetarian. 620054 13% D 750 mL $17.90 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mike Weir Winery Chardonnay 2008, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: A balanced Chardonnay that has rich buttery, green apple notes without going overboard. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled chicken, pan-seared scallops. 26 13% D 750 mL $15.96 Score: 88/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cookoothama Chardonnay 2006, Darlighton Point, Australia: A round, warm Chardonnay with ripe apples, butter, vanilla and melon. Closed with a screwcap. Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken, corn. 619403 14% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Angels Gate Winery Riesling Reserve 2007, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: Lovely, light sipper with enticing notes of melon, pear and white field flowers. Riesling Reserve food pairings: salmon, stuffed chicken, salads. 620104 11.5% D 750 mL $14.15 Score: 87/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Jadot Chardonnay 2006, Burgundy, France: Classic Burgundian lines with now mellow richness. Ripe apples, butter and smoke fill the glass. Full-bodied. Chardonnay food pairings: pasta in cream sauce, seafood risotto. 933077 13% D 750 mL $20.95 Score: 89/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Nottage Hill Chardonnay 2007, South Australia, Australia: An oaky, smoky wine with green apple notes. Closed with a screwcap. Chardonnay food pairings: roast chicken. 283457 12.5% D 750 mL $11.45 Score: 86/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trius Winery at Hillebrand Artist Series Riesling 2007, V.Q.A. Niagara, Canada: A gorgeous and refreshing Riesling bursting with delicate white flowers and green apples. Closed with a screwcap. Riesling food pairings: pork, chicken, light curries. 88377 11.5% D 750 mL $10.75 Score: 88/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trius Winery at Hillebrand Artist Series Muscat 2007, V.Q.A. Niagara, Ontario, Canada: Lovely notes of orange blossom. Light-bodied. Closed with a screwcap. Muscat food pairings: Asian dishes, fruit-based desserts. 222222 11% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. October 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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