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Vintages Release December 6, 2008

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Dessert Wine

Konzelmann Estate Winery Vidal Icewine 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Penisula, Ontario, Canada: Concentrated aromas of baked pears, honey and orange marmalade. Luscious texture that unfurls over the palate. Terrific finish and balance. Vidal Icewine food pairings: Chinese roast pork, almonds, lobster newberg, petit morin cheese, canapes. Drink: 2008 - 2025 476192 9% S 375 mL $65.00 Score: 95/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Smith Woodhouse Vintage Port 1994, Portugal: A lovely, comforting port for after dinner. Rich, deep layers of black plums, blackberries, smoke, cedar and dried herbs. Full-bodied with an extremely long finish. Vintage Port food pairings: lava cake, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate truffles, almond based desserts. Drink: 2008 - 2020 156885 20% S 750 mL $89.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Remy Martin Louis X.I.I.I. Cognac, France: Vintages Wine Panel: A magical combination of savoir faire, art and patience. Presented in a luxurious Baccarat Crystal decanter, this carefully crafted Cognac is made from a blend of the most revered of Grande Champagne’s distillates, then aged extensively in old oak barrels from 40 to 100 years. Adored by the likes of Christian Dior, Queen Elizabeth II and Sir Winston Churchill, this smooth and long-finishing Cognac has delicious and complex flavors of fruit, delicate flowers and spices. My note: Sometimes you just want the best, especially if your house is already paid off and the kids have finished college. Well, here’s a cognac for you. Exotic aromas of orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and white flowers. A great after-dinner drink. Cognac food pairings: soumaintrain cheese, cornish hen, duck, foie gras, asian dishes, spicy curries. Drink: 2008 - 2050 67090 40% S 700 mL $2,400.00 Score: 99/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hennessy Paradis Cognac Extra Rare, Cognac, Poitoucharentes, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Eight generations of the Hennessy family have built up what is now the finest collection of old eaux-de-vie in the world and each generation uses it to create Paradis Extra. An explosive array of flavors with a smooth and supple finish is delivered to you in a gorgeous package. Part of the Vintages Essentials Collection. My note: Gorgeous layers of citrus notes, wild field flowers and spices. Full-bodied after-dinner drink. Cognac Extra Rare food pairings: foie gras, duck, paté, hard cheeses, spicy dishes, creamy curries. Drink: 2008 - 2040 208298 40% 750 mL $652.00 Score: 95/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grand Marnier Cuvee Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire liqueur d'agrumes, Du Centenaire, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Grand Marnier's 100th anniversary cuvée is a blend of primarily Fine Champagne Cognacs that are aged up to 25 years and the essence of the exotic Caribbean orange, Citrus Bigaradia. Opulent, subtly complex and very polished, expect bright and zesty flavors of candied orange, almond and brown spice notes. My note: Lovely layers of orange spiced marmalade, brown sugar, candied walnuts, nutmeg and vanilla. Grand Marnier Cuvée Du Centenaire Liqueur D'agrumes food pairings: squab, pork, foie gras, duck, spicy Asian dishes. Drink: 2008 - 2045 108704 40% S 750 mL $129.95 Score: 95/100. December 2008. Favorite Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Port 2001, Portugal: Vintages Wine Panel: A blend of excellent young Ports from two or three harvests and bottled without any fining or filtration, it features complex aromas of sweet black fruit, raisin, dark chocolate and a hint of sweet tobacco. This rare style of Port, a great value alternative to Vintage Port, is worth the adventure. Stand bottle upright to allow its signature ‘crust’ (sediment) to settle and then decant. My note: I love crusted ports and find that they bridge the gap between vintage and tawny ports in their flavor profile. Lovely notes of blackcurrant, plums, cigar box, vanilla and dried herbs. Full-bodied with a long finish for after dinner. Port food pairings: chocolate desserts, hazelnuts, baked peaches, fudge, donuts. Drink: 2008 - 2020 726828 40% S 750 mL $32.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Taylor Fladgate 20-Year-Old Aged Tawny Port, Port, Portugal: Vintages Wine Panel: After 300 years of continual Port production, Taylor Fladgate can rightly claim to be masters at their craft. This ready-to-serve aged Tawny is close to perfection. Rich apricot and dried-fruit flavors and lengthy, nutty, honeyed finish. Just as with the 10-year-old version, once opened this will last for several weeks. My note: I’m a sucker for tawny ports, with their warm toffee, caramel, almond notes. This one has a silky, seductive texture and a long, comforting finish. 20-Year-Old Aged Tawny Port food pairings: chicken with dates, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate truffles, almond based desserts. 149047 20% S 750 mL $68.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

St. Supéry Vineyards & Winery Moscato 2006, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Made with 100% Muscat Canelli grapes, this brilliant and delicately sweet wine displays aromas and flavors of grape, honey, apricot, nectarine and sweet spices. Medium in sweetness, it nevertheless stays focused and vibrant with its underlying acidity. A lovely wine to serve with a plate of fresh fruit and soft cheeses. My note: Moscato remains an undervalued wine. Try it to discover its playful delights on the palate. Notes of orange blossom and white flowers. Moscato food pairings: melon balls with smoked ham, chocolate truffles, creamy curries, Thai dishes, soft cheeses. 398206 11.5% M 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Chateau Montelena Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: Made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown in the Calistoga region. Full-bodied with a velvet texture. Lots of black fruit, cedar and spice for a gorgeous taste experience. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: chateaubriand, meat fondue, sausages, blue cheese, dark chocolate. 718452 14.5% XD 750 mL $51.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fess Parker The Big Easy Syrah 2004, Sanata Barbara County, California, United States: Loaded with black plums, black pepper, dried herbs, pencil, blackberries and earth. Full-bodied with polished tannins. Long finish. The Big Easy Syrah food pairings: steak, stew, hamburgers, pepperoni pizza, sausage, savory biscuits. Drink: 2008 - 2012 718452 14.5% D 750 mL $40.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel 2006, Sonoma County, California, United States: A blend of 80% Zinfandel, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Carignan, 5% Grenache. Ridge is famous for its Zinfandels: some would call these benchmark wines for California and the world. Opulent blackberries, plums, currants, spice, meat and smoke. Zinfandel food pairings: barbecued back ribs, old cheddar, stuffed wild mushrooms. 652875 14.2% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Goulart Reserva Malbec 2006, Mendoza, Argentina: Luscious notes of black cherry, plums and blackberry. Velvet texture with many layers of flavor on the palate. Lip-smacking delicious with full-bodied weight. Malbec food pairings: bison steak, game meats, pot roast, chicken with truffles, steak fajitas. 83683 14.2% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Zolo Reserve Malbec 2005, Mendoza, Argentina: The grapes for this wine come from four estate vineyards in the Mendoza region. The wine was then aged for 12 months in French and American oak. The result is a full-bodied red loaded with blueberries, vanilla, coffee, cocoa and blackberries. Nicely balanced with decent length on the finish. Malbec food pairings: roast game, sausages, peppercorn steak, cheddar cheese, dark chocolate. 81091 14% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cockfighter's Ghost Shiraz 2004, Mclaren Vale, Australia: Mocha, black plums and blackberries on the nose with a smoky finish and a tinge of vanilla at the tail end. Shiraz food pairings: hamburgers, game dishes, red meats, herb-crusted cheese, dark chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2015 595439 13.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

d'Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz 2005, Mclaren Vale, Australia: Concentrated and meaty with robust notes of black cherries, purple plums, coffee, mocha and spice. Nice mouth-watering acidity for food. Shiraz food pairings: Ethiopian stewed chicken, Tandoori flavored dishes, ostrich, grilled vegetables, rich chocolate desserts. Drink: 2008 - 2014 984021 14.5% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Shiraz 2003, Mclaren Vale, Australia: Hardy Wine Company’s flagship Shiraz, ‘Eileen Hardy’, was first made in 1973 to celebrate the family matriarch’s 80th birthday. It continues to be Hardy’s finest Shiraz. The 2003 was not reviewed at press time, but year after year it is praised by the critics for its structure, style, finesse and balance. Expect more of the same with this vintage. My note: A cult classic in Australia, this robust red offers aromas of black plum, smoke, vanilla, blackberry and spice. Shiraz food pairings: beef wellington, prime rib, goose, bittersweet chocolate, fajitas. Drink: 2008 - 2012 461368 14% XD 750 mL $88.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penley Estate Condor Cabernet Shiraz 2006, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Shiraz, this deep, delicious, robust red has aromas of cigar box, blackberries, and vanilla smoke. Cabernet Shiraz food pairings: beef stew, hamburgers, hard cheeses, grilled vegetables, chocolate-covered almonds. 731893 15% D 750 mL $22.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gabbiano Shiraz Grenache 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia: A blend of 70% Shiraz and 30% Grenache. On the nose, black cherries, pepper and anise. Nice smoke and vanilla warmth in the background. Shiraz Grenache food pairings: prime rib with a port reduction, beef stew, roasted turkey, cheddar cheese, dark chocolate. 47605 14.5% XD 750 mL $26.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hunter's Wines Pinot Noir 2007, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Lovely supple wine with rich ripe cherry and strawberry notes, fresh earth and violets. Great finish. Pinot Noir food pairings: smoked salmon sandwiches, pot roast, sourdough bread, duck, mild cheeses. 586115 13.5% D 750 mL $20.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kim Crawford Awanga Vineyard Merlot 2004, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand: Merlots for New Zealand generally offer rich fruit flavors, as this one does, but with a refreshing vibrancy on the mid-palate from the cool climate acidity. Notes of blue plums and berries. Great texture, balance and length. Merlot food pairings: chili dog, rustic bread, chicken stir-fry, brisket, cornish hen, chocolate mousse. Drink: 2008 - 2012 990887 13.4% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2006, V.Q. A. Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: A growing favorite of mine, this Pinot has luscious ripe red cherry fruit and smoky, earthy notes underneath. Pure, balanced and ultra-seductive. A terrific value for what’s in the bottle. This one is the least pricey of the five Pinots this winery produces. Medium-bodied with an elegant, long finish. Reserve Pinot Noir food pairings: chicken, pork, paté, salmon with a citrus sauce, seared tuna, veal. Drink: 2008 - 2015 33894 13.5% XD 750 mL $30.00 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

St. David's Bench Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Blend Equueleus 2005, V.Q.A. Niagara Penisula, Canada: A Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%), Cabernet Franc (25%) and Merlot (25%), this robust red is balanced and elegant. It delivers notes of blackberries, blackcurrant, cassis and black cherries all wrapped up in an alluring smoky blanket. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend Equueleus food pairings: grilled meats, roast beef, steak, stew, shepherd’s pie, meat lasangue, cheddar cheese. Drink: 2009 - 2015 319525 14% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Far Niente Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Oakville, Napa Valley, California, United States: Yes it’s pricey but it’s gorgeous. Layers of black plums, blackberry, kirsch and cedar smoke. Smoothly textured with silky tannins and a long, lovely finish. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: bean-based dishes, lamb chops, grilled cheese sandwich, chateaubriand, cheddar cheeses. Drink: 2008 - 2016 539098 14.5% XD 750 mL $140.95 Score: 95/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sterling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2004, Napa Valley, California, United States: A blend of 7% Petit Verdot, 4% Merlot and 2% Syrah. Loaded with blackberry, purple plum, kirsch, dried herbs and toasty oak. Full-bodied with robust tannins. Decant for 1-2 hours. Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve food pairings: casseroles, cheeseburgers with porcini mushrooms, grana pandano cheese, turkey with gravy, ostrich. Drink: 2009 - 2015 92346 14.2% XD 750 mL $85.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sterling Vineyards Three Palms Vineyard Merlot 2004, Napa Valley, California, United States: I’ve long admired this classic Merlot. It’s rich and redolent of black cherries, plums, coffee, dried herbs and cedar. Long finish. Decant 1-2 hours. Merlot food pairings: chili dog, rustic bread, chicken stir-fry, brisket, roast beef. Drink: 2008 - 2016 387860 13.5% XD 750 mL $95.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concha Y Toro Don Melcho Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Maipo Valley, Chile: Chile continues to represent incredible value, even at the high end. This tasty wine is bursting with black fruit, cedar, pencil and mocha. Layers of depth and complexity with a long finish. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: barbecued beef ribs, rich patés, roasted eggplant, blue cheeses. Drink: 2008 - 2013 315176 14.5% D 750 mL $61.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

d'Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz 2006, Mclaren Vale, Australia: A concentrated, blockbuster of a wine with notes of black cherry liqueur, anise, cedar and blackberry. Almost jammy in its intensity, but satisfyingly so. A long, warm finish. Decants 2 hours. Shiraz food pairings: prime rib, goose, spicy fajitas, cherry filled chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2013 981183 14.5% D 750 mL $55.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Yalumba The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Coonawarra, Australia: Dense, brooding and concentrated, this robust red delivers aromas of blackberry, cassis, blackcurrant and toasty oak. Smoky coffee notes on the finish make this warmly satisfying Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: lamb vindaloo, bison steak, venison stew, roast game, tongue. 473645 14% D 750 mL $49.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torbeck Run Rig 2004, Barossa Valley, Australia: This icon wine is a blend of 96.5% Shiraz and 3.5% Viognier and has been aged for 30 months in French oak. The wine is massive, loaded with black fruit, pencil, purple plum, dried herbs and coffee. Terrific layers of flavor and depth. Run Rig food pairings: barbecued corizo sausage, lamb skewers, French cheeses, steak, dark chocolate. Drink: 2009 - 2030 997874 15.5% XD 750 mL $274.95 Score: 97/100. December 2008. Favorite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Café Culture Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 1998, A.C. Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux, France: A beautifully balanced and elegant red with classic Merlot-Cabernet blend notes of black plum, cassis and blackberry. Wrapped in a wisp of smoky oak with some cedar notes in the background. Full-bodied with a long finish. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: peppercorn steak, herb crusted cheese, marinated chicken on the grill, dark chocolate with almonds, kangaroo. Drink: 2008 - 2020 17848 13% XD 750 mL $122.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Nath. Johnston & Fils Meritage 1995, A.C. Margaux, Bordeaux, France: A banner vintage for Bordeaux that is now at peak drinking. This robust Cabernet blend has lots of black fruits, mineral depth and a lovely, long finish. Meritage food pairings: braised lamb shanks, black pudding, grilled tuna, spicy sage and thyme stuffing, parmesan. Drink: 2008 - 2012 72124 12.5% XD 750 mL $129.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tenuta Dell'ornellaia 2005, D.O.C. Tuscany, Italy: 2005 was the 20th vintage of Ornellaia. Lovely depth and complexity with layers of blackcurrant and dark plums. Silky tannins and a gorgeous mouth-feel: sit back and savor it. Long finish. Food pairings: garlic casserole, prime rib, hard cheeses, hamburgers, pork tenderloin. Drink: 2011 - 2035 722470 14.5% XD 750 mL $158.95 Score: 96/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Masi Campolongo Di Torbe Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2003, D.O.C, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Sourced from a centuries-old vineyard, this extremely limited Amarone from Masi is delicious now but has decades of cellaring potential. Aged for three years in oak and a further six months in bottle, this powerful, full-bodied wine is layered with intense aromas and flavors of baked cherries, dried plums, blackberries, vanilla and sweet spices. A powerful wine that is nonetheless elegant. A must-have for Amarone’s ardent fans and collectors. My note: A masterful producer of Amarone. This wine is loaded with black cherry liqueur notes as well as pencil, dried herbs and baked earth. Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico food pairings: stuffed mushrooms, hamburgers, meatloaf, Italian cheese bread, fried chicken. Drink: 2008 - 2035 548677 16% D 750 mL $93.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Masi Mazzano Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2003, D.O.C., Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Production for this single-vineyard Amarone is very limited. From the very warm and dry 2003 vintage, this wine was aged for three years in oak and a further six months in bottle. Its bouquet of cinnamon, violets, plums, candied fruit and spices resounds splendidly on the lush, full-bodied palate and lingers on the long finish. My note: Another strong showing for Masi Amarone. Massive aromas of black cherry, black plums, spices, smoke and cedar. Full-bodied, rich and deep with a long finish Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico food pairings: red meats, pasta with tomato sauce, strong cheeses, dark chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2023 545129 15.5% D 750 mL $102.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Merlot Blend 2005, A.C. Côtes De Castillon, France: Heralded as one of the best wines that this estate has produced, this red offers generous aromas of black cherry, tobacco, licorice, and smoke. Full-bodied but supple. It’s a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Merlot Blend food pairings: steak, stew, bison, venison, boar, sourdough bread. Drink: 2008 - 2014 501205 13% XD 750 mL $47.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau Moulin D'angludet Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2004, A.C. Margaux, Bordeaux, France: This is the second wine of Château d’Angludet, which means you usually get a bargain because it receives the same love and attention from the winemaker, but may come from grapes that are not deemed as first-rate as those for the flagship wine. The Sichel family owns this estate and is known for the quality of their wines. This is full-bodied, balanced and elegant with black fruit and cigar box on the nose. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: beef bourguignonne, potato rosemary rolls, chicken stir-fry, brie. Drink: 2008 - 2014 87734 13% XD 750 mL $38.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Jadot Chateau Des Jacques Beaujolais 2005, A.C. Moulin A Vent, France: Silky texture and bursting with ripe cherries, tobacco, fresh earth and minerals. Beaujolais food pairings: sourdough bread, charolais cheese, fried turkey, spicy pork tenderloin. Drink: 2008 - 2010 700187 13.5% XD 750 mL $33.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jean Claude Boisset Beaune Les Bressandes Pinot Noir 2005, Burgundy, France: Ripe cherries, black raspberries, smoke and violets on the nose. Full-bodied with a long finish. Pinot Noir food pairings: beef stew, duck liver paté, rabbit, smoked salmon, asparagus. Drink: 2009 - 2025 84483 13.5% D 750 mL $58.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos De L'Oratoire Des Papes Des Papes Syrah Blend 2006, A.C. Rhone Valley, Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, France: Back cherry liqueur with purple plums, blackcurrants, anise and coffee smoke. Full-bodied with an incredibly long finish. Syrah Blend food pairings: beef stew, duck liver paté, rabbit, smoked salmon, asparagus. Drink: 2009 - 2018 993279 14% D 750 mL $40.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gigondas La Cave La Reference Gigondas Syrah Blend 2006, A.C. Rhone Valley, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Rich olive tapenade, coffee, blackberry, plum, and strawberry aromas and flavors dominate this beautifully balanced, well-structured wine. Dry and very elegant. My note: On the nose, coffee, black raspberry, cigar box and spice. Layers of flavor and depth with a long finish. Full-bodied with great finesse. Syrah Blend food pairings: grilled leg of lamb, grilled tuna, asparagus, dark chocolate desserts. Drink: 2008 - 2015 101535 13.5% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Seghesio Family Vineyards La Villa Barolo Vigneto 2004, D.O.C.G., Italy: A big whopper of a wine with tarry and black fruit notes. An underpinning of violets and vanilla smoke lift the mid-palate before a long, satisfying finish. Aged in small oak barrels, 50% of which were new. Barolo Vigneto food pairings: beef stew, hamburgers, hard cheeses, grilled vegetables, wild board, chocolate-covered almonds. Drink: 2010 - 2025 96800 14% XD 750 mL $64.95 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fattoria La Ripa Collazi Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc 2005, I.G.T. Tuscany, Italy: Full-bodied warmth with notes of black cherry, raspberry, smoke and mocha on the nose. Supple textures and layers with with a great finish. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc food pairings: hamburgers, game dishes, red meats, cheddar cheeses, mint chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2015 656538 13.5% XD 750 mL $46.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Julian Chivite Gran Feudo Vinas Viejas Reserva Tempranillo Blend 2003, Navarra, Spain: Vintages Wine Panel: Julian Chivite, who died in 1997, came from a Navarra-based winemaking family. His Viñas Viejas, a Tempranillo blend, is made from his 45-65-year-old vines. Chivite was a bit of a traditionalist: “Great wines,” he said, “are made from vineyards that have been properly cultivated, and fine wines from such vineyards have finesse and complexity”. This wine is proof in a bottle of his philosophy. My note: A terrific producer across the board (I especially love his roses), this bottling offers rich, ripe notes of black fruit and vanilla smoke. Full-bodied with good balance. Tempranillo Blend food pairings: prime rib steak, hard cheeses, duck, zucchini, grilled eggplant. 948067 12.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tarapaca Gran Reserva Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Maipo Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Tarapacá’s Ex-Zavala vineyards and vinified in stainless steel. Aged in French oak barrels for 12 months, the wine then spends an additional year maturing in bottle before release. This intense wine displays cassis and ripe blackberry fruit aromas and flavors as well as notes of black pepper, chocolate and spices. My note: Terrific balance and richness on the palate with enticing aromas of black fruit and smoke on the nose. Full-bodied. Gran Reserva Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: hamburgers, game dishes, red meats, grilled lamb, mint chocolate. 81190 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Estampa Gold 2004, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Anise, black plums and smoke on the nose with some chewy tannins and full-bodied warmth on the palate. Gold food pairings: barbecued back ribs, bison burgers, cheddar, cold cuts, wild mushrooms. 47522 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Domaines Ott Rosé 2007, A.C. Cotes De Provence, France: Love the funky bottle. Here’s pale Rosé for you: delicate but bursting with flavor. A wine of contradictions and one of my favorite Rosés, along with Tavel from the Rhone. Men most assured of their sexuality should drink this wine, and women, of course, should dive nose in. Aromas of ripe, field-picked strawberries and raspberries. Fresh and refreshing. Vintages Wine Panel: The wines of Domaines Ott are revelatory. Filled with flavor and impeccably balanced, they are the pinnacle of Provence. The Holy Grail of rosés, it’s the sort of wine the cognoscenti whisper about. Rosé food pairings: chicken, salmon, pork, cold cuts, veal, paté. 74617 13% D 750 mL $42.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Favorite Rosé Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Henry of Pelham Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine, Niagara, Ontario, Canada: One of Ontario's (and Canada's) benchmark bubblies. Aromas of ripe green apples, lime, and white peach all wrapped in a toasty blanket. Medium-bodied with great persistence of flavour. Refreshing, zesty and ultimately celebratory! Don't just toast weddings, anniversaries and birthdays, raise a glass to life and make it a celebration with this wine tonight. In my Drinks Matcher tool, I pair this bubbly with many dishes. Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling Wine food pairings: oysters, mussels, caviar, smoked salmon, seafood, salads, potato chips. Drink: 2009 - 2012 616441 12% D 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pol Roger Extra Cuvee Reserve Champagne Brut 1999, A.C., France: A refined, smooth and complex bubbly with notes of citrus, green apple, and white apricot. Lovely finesse and length on the finish. Reserve Champagne Brut food pairings: pasta in cream sauce, lobster with saffron, crab, potato chips, pretzels. Drink: 2008 - 2016 989137 12% XD 750 mL $82.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Krug Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier Chardonnay Champagne Non-Vintage Brut, A.C., France: A stunning Champagne of great complexity and depth. Notes of toasty smoke, lime and green apple. Elegant, balanced and full-bodied. A long, satisfying finish. Part of the Vintages Essentials Collection. Pinot Noir Pinot Meunier Chardonnay Champagne Non-Vintage Brut food pairings: tuna with rosemary and citrus, scallops, pasta in cheese sauce, goat cheese and herb stuffed chicken, white chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2015 38562 12% XD 750 mL $269.95 Score: 95/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Roederer Non-Vintage Brut Rosé 2003, A.C. Champagne, France: Vintages Wine Panel: The 2003 vintage in Champagne is destined to be legendary. While far from ‘classic’, the very warm, drought-like conditions have made for some fascinating expressions of the world’s best bubblies that are a must-have for Champagne collectors and enthusiasts. The Roederer House is among the elite Champenoise that chose to embrace the unique qualities of this historic vintage. This rosé blends 70% Pinot Noir with 30% Chardonnay. Aged on its lees for four years, this rich and complex Champagne has generous ripe red berry fruit aromas and flavors with floral accents. Dry, full-bodied with a creamy texture, it’s bold Champagne. My note: A full-bodied and complex Champagne with layers of dark cherries and strawberries from the Pinot Noir in the blend as well as violets, nutmeg and toast. A stupendously long finish. Is there anything more festive during the holidays than pink bubbly? Float a raspberry on top. These folks also make the coveted Cristal Champagne. I visited Louis Roederer in chapter three of my book red, White and Drunk All Over to discover the secrets behind top bubblies. I highly recommend a visit if you’re ever in the Champagne region. Non-Vintage Brut Rosé food pairings: roast pheasant, lamb, sichuan beef, halibut, nachos. Drink: 2008 - 2015 368415 12% XD 750 mL $88.95 Score: 97/100. December 2008. Favorite Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Sparking Icewine 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Decadent and luxurious, Inniskillin’s sparkling Icewine combines the best of both wine styles. A fabulous finish to a celebratory meal, this fine fizz displays intense aromas of honey, apricots and dried fruits. The luscious sweetness is balanced by the lively acidity and a refined mousse. My note: I’ve always been intrigued and delighted with this unique combination of effervescence and fruit sweetness. The first gives refreshment, the second gives satisfaction. Together they make a wonderful bubbly that’s incredibly versatile and can be consumed before, during or after the meal. Sparking Icewine food pairings: glazed ham, chutney, roast chicken, fruit flan, biscotti, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, hard cheeses. Drink: 2008 - 2020 86884 9% XD 750 mL $69.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine Chandon Blanc De Noirs, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Moët & Chandon, one of Champagne’s most prestigious houses and makers of the legendary Dom Pérignon. Established in the 1970s, Domaine Chandon was the first sparkling wine producer in California to craft wines using the traditional method of Champagne. This festive, ready-to-drink bubbly is soft and elegant with ripe cherry and strawberry aromas as well as notes of vanilla and spice. It’s rich but nicely balanced by a seam of crisp acidity. Classic style and a great value too. My note: I’ve recommended this bubbly as one of my favorites from California for a number of years now. It delivers consistently delicious and refreshing taste at a great price. Notes of ripe berries, toast and vanilla. Blanc De Noirs food pairings: cold cuts, chicken, salads, vegetarian dishes, suishi, crab cakes, fried foods. 100693 13% D 750 mL $23.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Roederer Estate Sparkling Non-Vintage Brut, Anderson Valley, Sonoma, California, United States: A favorite California bubbly that I’ve recommended year after year. This sparkler has notes of yellow apples, toasty oak and a tasty spice finish. Robust and deep so it can handle more flavorful dishes. Sparkling Non-Vintage Brut food pairings: veal, venison, roast meats, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, hard cheeses. 294181 12% D 750 mL $28.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Bouchard Pere and Fils Meursault Genevrieres 2006, A.C. Burgundy, France: Layers of warm toast, vanilla, spice, brioche, hazelnut and green apples create an enticing Chardonnay with great finesse and balance. This has classic Old World lines and a long finish. Meursault Genevrieres food pairings: roast chicken, lobster in butter, corn dishes, pork, fried chicken, almonds, brie, camembert. Drink: 2008 - 2018 87049 13.5% XD 750 mL $101.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Favorite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kuhlmann-Platz Riesling 2003, A.C. Alsace Grand Cru, Schoenenbourg, France: Vintages Wine Panel: The area of Hunawihr is known for producing Rieslings with a distinctive minerality, and racy grapefruit flavors. This is a fine and rounder example, filled out by notes of lime on the palate. It will go exceptionally well with buttery fish or seafood dishes, or even with sushi. My note: Refreshing attack with a vibrant finish. Lovely notes of pear and citrus on the palate. Riesling food pairings: cheese fondue, pasta in cream sauces, pork tenderloin, apple fritters, black forest cake. 80515 13.1% D 750 mL $23.95 Score: 89/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Josmeyer Les Folastries Gewurztraminer 2005, A.C. Alsace, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Showing off attractive aromas of peony, grapefruit and lychee, this wine features a beautifully restrained quality on the palate that brings the aromatics perfectly into alignment. This slightly drier quality makes it an excellent partner for a variety of foods from spicy Thai to vindaloo chicken to stuffed pork tenderloin. It will also work with a vast array of fish and seafood dishes. My note: Gorgeously balanced and elegant Gewurz with classic notes of lychee, rose petal and lime. Gewurztraminer food pairings: gouda, marinated chicken, Chinese dishes, Tex-Mex, exotic fruit salad. 81281 12.5% MD 750 mL $33.95 Score: 93/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Rita Floresta Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Leyda Valley, Chile: Lovely ripe pears, white flowers and citrus notes. Rich and robust with an opulent mouth-feel. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: turkey pot pie, quiche, sushi, pasta with pesto, seafood risotto. 680959 12% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Malivoire Wine Company Gewurztraminer, Ontario 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Canada: Won the Gold Medal for Gewurztraminer at the Ontario Wine Awards 2008. Lovely notes of orange peel, lychee, rose petals, light spices and white peaches. Gewurztraminer, Ontario food pairings: brie cheese, beef bourguignonne, sweet pastries, chicken stir-fry, foie gras. 542522 13% D 750 mL $26.00 Score: 92/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henschke Tilly's Vineyard Semillon Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Barossa Valley, Australia: A blend of 55% Semillon, 25% Chardonnay and 20% Sauvignon Blanc yields notes of lemon, lime, orange peel and honeysuckle blossom. Terrific minerality and elegance. A long, clean finish. One of my favorite Australian producers for both reds and whites. Semillon Chardonnay Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: mussels, shellfish, stuffed mushrooms, almond-based desserts, cheesecake. 656264 12.5% D 750 mL $27.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wegeler Riesling Spatlese 2007, Q.M.P. Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Germany: Vintages Wine Panel: 2007 was another exception vintage for Germany. The aromas suggest slate, lime blossom and fruit, plus a hint of peach. The ripeness is impressive and the balancing acidity is even better. The sweetness and acidity play with and against each other, leading to a long, balanced finish. This wine is capable of greatness, so age it 5-10 years. My note: From one of the country’s best producers, this wine is highly aromatic with notes citrus and white flowers. Terrific mouth-watering acidity makes it ideal for food. Great length, elegance and balance Riesling Spatlese food pairings: cheese fondue, duck, Chinese spareribs, crab mousse, carrot soup. Drink: 2008 - 2015 87452 11% MS 750 mL $33.95 Score: 94/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Dr. Von Bassermann Jordan Riesling Kabinett 2007, Q.M.P. Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten, Germany: Mouth-awakening notes of pink grapefruit, lime, orange peel and daisies. Refreshing and invigorating. Great length. Riesling Kabinett food pairings: foie gras, duck, chicken in cream sauces, chocolate mousse. 988147 10% MD 750 mL $25.95 Score: 90/100. December 2008. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Schloss Schonborn Riesling 2001, Q.B.A. Rheingau, Germany: Vintages Wine Panel: A very good example that shows even humble QbA wines, from a good house, are capable of cellar life. This one will offer good returns after a cellar stay. My note: A perfect aperitif or dinner companion when you want something light. Lovely notes of lime and peach. Light- to medium-bodied. Riesling food pairings: sweet and sour chicken, foie gras, duck, grilled cheese sandwich, apple fritters. 81836 9% MD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. December 2008. Best Value White Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


© 2015 Natalie MacLean