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Vintages Release February 14, 2009

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Dessert Wine

Fonseca Porto Bin 27 Vintage Port 2001, D.O.C. Douro, Bottled In 2003, Portugal: Opens with hedonistically deep, rich dark fruit, hazelnut, cedar smoke, cloves and bacon fat. Full-bodied with smooth layers of viscosity. Perfect for after dinner. Vintage Port food pairings: blue cheese, hard cheeses, almond-based desserts, baked apples, spice cake. Drink: 2008 - 2018 585893 20% S 750 mL $64.95 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2003, W.O. Robertson, South Africa: A hulking, brooding wine with aromas of dark fruit, spices, white pepper and cedar smoke. The vines for this wine were grown in limestone soil and the grapes were hand-harvested. The wine spent 16 months in French and American oak before bottling. Syrah food pairings: spicy turkey sausage, lamb vindaloo, steak fajitas, bison steak, grilled mushrooms. Drink: 2008 - 2015 607812 14.6% D 750 mL $25.95 Score: 91/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pio Cesare Barbera D'alba Barbera 2006, D.O.C. Estate Btld, Piedmont, Italy: Lavish notes of black plums, raspberries, red currants, cranberry, rose petals and minerals. Viscous and smoothly textured with a long, clean finish. Barbera food pairings: roast beef, pheasant, goose, turkey with traditional trimmings, mature cheeses. 938886 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 93/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ayama The Cloof Cellar Blend Tinta Barocca Pinotage Shiraz 2005, W.O. Darling, South Africa: This wine is a blend of Tinta Barocca, Pinotage and Shiraz grapes, and 25% of it was aged in French oak for 12 months. Opens with big, ripe notes of black fruit, steeped tea, cigar box and black pepper. Juicy acidity and a generous texture with lush, full-bodied weight. Tinta Barocca Pinotage Shiraz food pairings: beef daube, black pepper crusted cheese, pork mole poblano, ostrich, creamed onions. 37408 13% D 750 mL $20.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Slent Farms Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, W.O. Paarl, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: This brand-new winery’s first vintage was the 2005. The whole Ayama project is a labor of love for Italian-born Michela and Attilio Dalpiaz. They were visiting South Africa in 2003 and fell in love with Slent Farms. With investment from home, they started their affair of the heart. The Ayama Cabernet is already catching interest because they eschew oak aging in order to bring forth the wine’s bold fruitiness. My note: A simple and delicious, lip-smacking red with aromas of blueberry, purple plum, cherry and raspberry. Good grip gives this wine a sturdy mouth-feel. Decant for 1-2 hours to soften. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled hamburgers, pepper steak, grilled asparagus, brisket, gumbo. 79517 13.5% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Graham Beck Merlot 2004, W.O. Western Cape, South Africa: A big Merlot with a black plum heart wrapped in savory, meaty notes and a thread of graphite and hickory smoke. This wine was barrel matured and has silky tannins. Merlot food pairings: chili dog, beef cooked in red wine, chicken stir-fry, cheddar cheese, tacos. 607804 14% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Meerendal Pinotage 2004, W.O. Durbanville, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: Established in 1702, Meerendal is not only one of the oldest continuously functioning wineries in South Africa, it is one of the oldest in the world. In 2007, Liza Goodwin became the second female winemaker in Meerendal’s history. The first? Maria Stans who took over for her husband when he died in 1712! My note: An intense, inky wine with concentrated aromas of black cherry, tobacco, cedar, mocha, black plum and cloves. Silky, smooth texture, much like Merlot, but with a full-bodied kick and a warm finish. Pinotage food pairings: cotechino, ostrich, grilled lamb, prime rib, fajitas. 96347 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mulderbosch Faithful Hound Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2004, W.O. Stellenbosch, South Africa: This wine is a true Bordeaux-style blend, as it uses all five of that famous region’s grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. My note: This wine was aged for 18 months in French oak, 50% of which was new oak. A silky, seductive brooder with notes of blackberry, plum, mushroom, black raspberry, pencil lead and mesquite smoke. Terrific acidity. Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot Malbec Cabernet Franc food pairings: beef en croule, roasted eggplant, meat fondue, cheddar crown bread, full-flavored meaty casseroles. 922443 13.5% XD 750 mL $20.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards T.M.V. Viktoria Red Shiraz Mourvedre Cinsault Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, W.O. Western Cape, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: TMV is committed to organic/biodynamic vineyard management and low-intervention cellar techniques. Their eventual aim is to bring ecological balance to the whole farm. The wines, however, are not yet certified organic or biodynamic. My note: This wine is a blend of 50% Shiraz along with roughly equal parts of Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Cabernet Sauvignon. Exuberantly ripe notes of cassis, black raspberry and plum, along with an underlay of graphite, black pepper, dark spices and cedar. A superb effort from this producer. Shiraz Mourvedre Cinsault Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: rare roast beef, hamburgers, Mexican dishes, kangaroo, garlic casseroles. 98095 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Groenland Antoinette Marié Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005, The Classic Collection, W.O. Bottelary, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: A Gold Medal winner at South Africa’s Veritas awards in 2008, the Antoinette Marié is named for the two daughters of co-owners Kosie and Heléne Steenkamp. Kosie Steenkamp also acts as winemaker and co-viticulturalist with his brother, Piet. A blend of Shiraz (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (34%) and Merlot (16%), this vibrant and well-balanced cuvée features deeply delicious black fruit with hints of spice, vanilla, cocoa and smoke. My note: This wine was barrel-aged for 12 months in oak which gives it enticing and toasty notes of vanilla, dark spices and smoke. The palate is rich with black plums, blackberries and an inky core of cassis. Smooth and full-bodied. Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot food pairings: braised lamb shanks, venison stew, grilled vegetables, roast goose, barbecued beef ribs. 96487 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Stark-Condé Syrah 2005, W.O. Stellenbosch, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: Pure, with an excellent core of raspberry and boysenberry fruit riding atop racy, graphite and iron notes. Unfined and unfiltered. My note: A rich, round, full-bodied red with attractive notes of coffee, blackberry, mocha and tobacco. The grapes for this wine were gently basket pressed and spent 22 months in French oak. It has a lovely, long finish. Syrah food pairings: peppercorn steak, ratatouille, cassoulet, fruit chutney, ostrich. 79525 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario, Canada: The vines for this Pinot grew in clay soil. I love the seam of acidity that runs right through the fleshy heart of this wine: It’s like the shudder that runs down your back with a soft caress. Redolent of ripe cherries, strawberries, fresh-turned earth and violets. A romantic dinner will never be the same if you crack this one open. I’ve also reviewed the regular 750 ml size for this wine in this release. Pinot Noir food pairings: roasted chicken, duck with mango, brisket, frankfurters, brussel sprouts. 67959 13% XD 1500 mL $115.00 Score: 93/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Pinot Noir 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario, Canada: The vines for this Pinot grew in clay soil. I love the seam of acidity that runs right through the fleshy heart of this wine: It’s like the shudder that runs down your back with a soft caress. Redolent of ripe cherries, strawberries, fresh-turned earth and violets. A romantic dinner will never be the same if you crack this one open. I’ve also reviewed the 1500 ml magnum size for this wine in this release. Pinot Noir food pairings: meatloaf, hamburgers, grilled steak, fried chicken, pizza, mild curries. 33951 13.5% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 93/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Baron Philippe De Rothschild Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: A beautiful expression of Cabernet elegance, structure and length, this flagship wine was created through a collaboration between the Mondavi family in California and Baron Rothschild of Bordeaux. Today, it still towers above most wines in its craftsmanship and longevity. Aromas of black fruit, pencil, violets, cloves, leather and mesquite smoke. I have also reviewed the regular 750 ml size for this wine in this release. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: chateaubriand, beef stew, tongue, mature hard cheeses, pheasant, tacos. 26294 13% XD 375 mL $189.95 Score: 94/100. February 2009. Favorite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Baron Philippe De Rothschild Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: A beautiful expression of Cabernet elegance, structure and length, this flagship wine was created through a collaboration between the Mondavi family in California and Baron Rothschild of Bordeaux. Today, it still towers above most wines in its craftsmanship and longevity. Aromas of black fruit, pencil, violets, cloves, leather and mesquite smoke. I have also reviewed the regular 375 ml size for this wine in this release. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: chateaubriand, beef stew, tongue, mature hard cheeses, pheasant, tacos. 26310 13% XD 750 mL $360.95 Score: 94/100. February 2009. Favorite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Folie À Deux Ménage À Trois Zinfandel Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California, United States: You gotta love the name of this wine! Fortunately, it tastes great too. Muscular notes of black fruit, cigar box, brambleberry and dark spices rush out from the glass in this big, honkin’ wine. It’s smooth but not shy. This wine is a blend of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Zinfandel Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled cheese sandwich, coq au vin, meat fondue, steak with a mustard soy sauce, corned beef and cabbage. 665158 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ridge Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot 2005, California, United States: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (58%) and Merlot (42%) that delivers aromas of blackberry, steeped tea, tobacco, savory bacon fat, cigar box, violets, mocha and toasted oak. A richly hedonistic red with mouth-coating layers of flavor and a solid frame from polished tannins. This inky dark wine was aged for 21 months in oak. Knock it back! Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot food pairings: Peking duck, Thai coconut shrimp, gorgonzola cheese, turducken, veal shanks. 89284 13.7% XD 750 mL $60.95 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Terrazas De Los Andes Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Terrazas de Los Andes’ Reserva line is made from hand-harvested grapes from top vineyard sites in the best areas of Mendoza (Tupungato, Vistalba, Perdriel and Cruz de Piedra). Only the very best fruit from these sites is used to create this superb wine. Made only in great vintages, it features aromas and flavors of cassis, vanilla bean, chocolate and new leather. An intense, beautifully balanced wine. My note: Terrific depth and concentration here with vigorous black fruit aromas and flavors: cassis, blackberry and black plum. Polished tannins give it a solid spine. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled steak, kangaroo, lamb ragout with roasted sweet peppers, sausages, pralines. 77776 14% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Viña Requingua Puerto Viejo Reserve Merlot 2005, Curicó Valley, Estate Btld., Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Requingua’s location near the Andes and the Pacific Ocean results in a climate with dramatic differences between day and night temperatures. A south wind, however, keeps summer temperatures from extreme heat. This Merlot combines bright red fruit aromas with notes of spice. It’s full-bodied, with unobtrusive tannins which perfectly balance its full-forward fruit and lead to a charming, strawberry-flavored finish. My note: A simple but ultimately satisfying red with flavors of dark red berries and plums that ripple through it. Smooth and full-bodied. This is a party pleaser to buy by the case. Merlot food pairings: cotechino pork, turkey sandwiches, partridge, meatballs, parmesan cheese. 86579 14% D 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Odfjell Armador Carmenère 2005, Maipo Valley, Chile: Dollops of dark fleshy ripe fruit, with a mocha core. This full-bodied, muscular wine delivers waves of flavor that overlap each other to a coffee, black plum-tinged finish. An excellent value. Carmenère food pairings: venison, pheasant, peking duck, prime rib steak, roasted aparagus, mature cheeses. 83295 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Knappstein Cabernet Merlot 2005, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot, with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec making up the remainder. My note: Floods the senses with black plums, blueberries, hickory smoke and new leather. This wine was aged for 24 months in French oak. Its velvet texture is a lovely counterpoint to its heft. Screwcap. Cabernet Merlot food pairings: seared tuna with a pepper crust, Irish stew, wild boar, tacos, haggis. 593350 14.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kilikanoon Blocks Road Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: Killikanoon’s founder and winemaker Kevin Mitchell pulls out all the stops for this refined Cab. The intense fruit is sourced from low-yielding, dry-grown vines in the Clare Valley. Aged for two years in French oak barriques and bottled unfiltered, the wine displays classic aromas of blackcurrant, earth and graphite as well as mint notes. The elegant structure, fruitiness and dusty tannins bridge modern and classic Cab styles. My note: A smooth, supple, modern wine with notes of blackberry, licorice, dried herbs, violets and cedar. Silky tannins provide an excellent and well-integrated framework. Screwcap. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: grilled leg of lamb with a mint sauce, shepherd's pie, tongue, roasted turkey, ostrich. 926790 14.5% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 91/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Water Wheel Memsie Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Petit Verdot 2007, Bendigo, Victoria, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: This proprietary blend is consistently one of Australia’s best quality values. The newly released 2007 is comprised of 70% Shiraz, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, and 6% Petit Verdot and again overachieves with loads of dark fruit flavors, peppery spice and refined tannins on a solidly built frame. My note: A bold, forward wine that exhibits aromas of blackberry, black plum, black raspberry, coffee and minerals. Some feral, gamey notes underneath. Good tannic grip and a lovely bright acidity. Big and delicious: bring it on! Screwcap. Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec Petit Verdot food pairings: pork with a sesame oil and ginger sauce, venison stew, stuffed mushrooms, Tandoori-flavored dishes, roast beef, chili. 656637 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Langmeil Blacksmith Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine is named for a young blacksmith who emigrated to Australia from Prussia in 1843 and helped build the village of Langmeil. Matured in French oak (20% new) for 18 months, it’s made in a fruit-forward style, bursting with blackcurrant and blackberry aromas as well as notes of mint, vanilla and earth. Dry, medium full-bodied with generous fruit flavors balanced by medium tannins and acidity. Serve it over the next 3-5 years. My note: A long, lovely pure expression of black fruit and smoke. This full-bodied wonder has good acidity and a balanced structure. A rock solid effort from this producer. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: steak florentine, lamb chops, pheasant, Ethiopian lamb dishes, mustard greens. Drink: 2008 - 2014 644039 14.5% D 750 mL $22.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pierre Sparr Réserve Pinot Noir 2007, Ac Alsace, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Most wine lovers are familiar with the classic white wines of Alsace, but this cool, dry and sunny region also makes elegant Pinot Noir like this one from well-known producer Pierre Sparr. Dry and medium-bodied, it features lovely soft red fruit flavors of cherry and strawberry, with some earth and light spice notes. Crisp acidity and light tannins. My note: Smooth layers of raspberries, smoky black cherries and pomegranate up front, with a thread underneath. Satin texture slips quickly past as you savor a finish that’s tinged with longing. Pinot Noir food pairings: poached salmon, roast chicken with a mushroom gravy sauce, cold meats, goose, beef bourguinonne. 38992 12% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Louis Roederer Château De Pez Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2006, Ac St-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France: Opens with black cherry, fig, currant, prune, and some gamey notes. This is a muscular wine with layers of saturated black fruit flavor, hickory smoke and vanillin. A lingering finish. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: prime rib, stew, chili, Italian baguette, pepperoni pizza. 601427 13% XD 750 mL $48.95 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cheval Quancard Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, Ac St.-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This property was purchased in 1977 by Marcel and Christian Quancard. Composed of 52% Merlot and 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, this ’05 won a Gold Medal at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris 2007. Look for aromas of gingerbread spice, plum and cassis on the nose and toasty oak on the finish. It can be aged for up to 10 years. My note: Suggests ripe blackberry, currants, cassis, and black cherry infused smoke on the nose. Violets and some graphite notes come through on the palate. Good framework from solid tannins and mouth-watering acidity. Long, satisfying finish. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: roast leg of lamb, smoked pork chops, grilled tuna, spicy turkey sausage, grilled vegetables. Drink: 2008 - 2016 61697 14% XD 750 mL $33.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Albert Bichot Pinot Noir 2006, Ac Bourgogne, Burgundy, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This friendly, fruit-forward Pinot is fermented in open vats, then allowed to mature in a combination of new French barriques and stainless steel vats. The oak brings structure and elegance while the stainless steel preserves the wine’s bright fruitiness. My note: A juicy, mouth-watering Pinot at an incredible price. Lovely Old World balance and finesse. Displays aromas of smoky cherries, raspberries, strawberries and field flowers. Made from old vines, there are more than 16,000 cases of this wine. Pinot Noir food pairings: grilled salmon, roast chicken, mild cheeses, Mexican dishes, roast beef. 43331 12.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pierre Laplace Madiran Tannat 2005, Ac Estate Btld, Midi, France: A rustic, honkin’ big red with delicious aromas of black cherry, cedar, and bacon fat. The Tannat grape is famously tannic, thus its name, but the Laplace winemaking brothers use the technique of micro-oxygenation that introduces tiny amounts of oxygen into the wine as it ferments to soften the tannic edges. Long finish. Decant for 1-2 hours. Tannat food pairings: mature cheeses, brisket, bison steak, beef wellington, goose, marinated chicken on grill. 103705 14% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Perrin Côtes Du Rhône 2006, Ac, Rhône, France: Vintages Wine Panel: An elegant and approachable blend of Grenache and Syrah, with an environmental conscience. The Perrin brothers of Château de Beaucastel fame have been practicing organic methods for decades, and this is one of their finest examples. This wine contains just 21 mg/L of free sulfur. My note: An amazing value for this wine. Pepper on the nose and laced through the wine interwoven with black raspberries, gamey and grilled meat notes, dark spices and cedar box. Firmly but generously structured. Long finish. I have also reviewed the regular 750 ml size of this wine in this release. Côtes Du Rhône food pairings: grilled angus beef steak, cheddar cheese, fajitas, prime rib with a cherry sauce, grilled asparagus. 10363 13% XD 375 mL $10.45 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Perrin Côtes Du Rhône 2006, Ac, Rhône, France: Vintages Wine Panel: An elegant and approachable blend of Grenache and Syrah, with an environmental conscience. The Perrin brothers of Château de Beaucastel fame have been practicing organic methods for decades, and this is one of their finest examples. This wine contains just 21 mg/L of free sulfur. My note: An amazing value for this wine. Pepper on the nose and laced through the wine interwoven with black raspberries, gamey and grilled meat notes, dark spices and cedar box. Firmly but generously structured. Long finish. I have also reviewed the regular 375 ml size of this wine in this release. Côtes Du Rhône food pairings: grilled angus beef steak, cheddar cheese, fajitas, prime rib with a cherry sauce, grilled asparagus. 948059 13% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beaumet & Fils, Vign.-Recolt. Domaine Saint Andéol Cairanne Prestige Syrah Blend 2006, Ac Côtes Du Rhône Villages, Estate Btld, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Very pretty nose of plum preserve, cherries, violets, pepper and a touch of tobacco. Dry and full-flavored with a lush texture, well-integrated tannins, fruit and acidity, and a delicious, medium-long finish. My note: Delivers muscular aromas of zingy black cherry, cedar, cigar box, cranberry, violets, leather and a judicious amount of toasted oak. Full-bodied. Terrific value. Finishes smoky and warm. Syrah Blend food pairings: steak au poivre, t duck, barbecued meats, goose, ostrichroas. 104943 15% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vivallis Paris 4 Grapes Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Lagrein 2006, D.O.C. Trentino Rosso, Estate Btld, Trentino, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Just south of Switzerland lies Italy’s mountainous Trentino region. While the region is mostly known for white and sparkling wines, it also produces plenty of fascinating reds using both international and indigenous varieties. The “4 grapes” in this cuvée are Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the local Lagrein variety. Expect this medium-bodied red to feature soft rich black fruit, chocolate and toasty characteristics balanced by bright acidity and refined tannins. My note: Beguiling notes of black fruit, pencil lead, cigar box, smoke and violets. Polished tannins give this wine an excellent framework. A satisfying, cassis-infused finish. Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Lagrein food pairings: roast beef au jus, beef en croule, blue cheese, roasted eggplant, black pudding, tacos. 105288 13% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Terredora Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio Rosso 2005, Campania, Italy: This wine is made from the Piedirosso grape and is named according to this story: God cried when he found that the Gulf of Naples, a corner of heaven, had been claimed by Lucifer. Where his tears fell, vines grew to produce this Lacryma Christi (tears of Christ) wine. I love a good story! Fortunately, the wine is good too. The vines grew in the volcanic soils of Vesuvio and as a result, the wine displays intense black raspberry, pepper, clove and graphite notes. A good tannic grip feels like a firm moral backbone. Praise be for this wine! Food pairings: stew, provolone cheese, grilled steak, barbecue short ribs, rustic bread. Drink: 2008 - 2014 93088 13% XD 750 mL $20.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mastroberardino Aglianico 2006, I.G.T. Campania, Estate Btld, Campania, Italy: Alluring notes of violets, crème de cassis, brambleberry, blackberry and saddle leather on the nose. Smooth, spicy and juicy with smoky black cherries on the mid-palate. Balanced with a medium- to full-body weight. Aglianico food pairings: wild boar cacciatorini, chocolate chili, baked eggplant, venison. 93112 12.5% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gaja Ca'marcanda Promis Merlot Syrah Sangiovese 2006, I.G.T. Toscana, Estate Btld, Tuscany, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Ca’Marcanda is Angelo Gaja’s winemaking venture in Tuscany’s coastal region of Maremma. Here he takes his experience and skill as one of Piedmont’s greatest winemakers and applies them to international varieties. My note: This wine is a blend of Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese grapes. It’s a beautiful expression of fleshy ripe blackberries, fig, cassis, violets and sundried tomato. A mouth-coating texture and a lively acidity make for a delicious interplay of textures and flavors across the palate. This is one of Italy’s best producers. Merlot Syrah Sangiovese food pairings: breaded veal cutlets, bean-based dishes, beet salad, leg of lamb, beef with stout, tuscan bread. 745638 14% XD 750 mL $49.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Yalumba Mouvedre Grenache Shiraz 2005, Australia: Barossa Valley, Australia: Copious amounts of big, black fruit, dark spices, ground pepper and cedar. Silky and supple but full-bodied. This wine spent 9 months in French oak. A masterful blend, with a long finish, from one of Australia’s best producers. Mouvedre Grenache Shiraz food pairings: roast beef sandwich, bison steak, roast goose, beef daube, ratatouille. 588178 14% D 750 mL $39.95 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jean-Marc Pillot Les Champs Claude Pinot Noir 2005, Burgundy, France: Charming notes of ripe cherries, fresh-turned earth, truffles, violets and strawberries. Vivacious with a satin texture. Medium-bodied, perfectly balanced with a long finish. Pinot Noir food pairings: duck with mango, gruyeres cheese, pot roast, dark chocolate, Korean dishes, cinnamon and cumin-flavored dishes. 93633 13% XD 750 mL $49.95 Score: 91/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Graham Beck Pinotage 2005, W.O. Western Cape, South Africa: Gorgeous length and depth here with warm notes of cinnamon, blackberries, black plums and cedar. Polished tannins give a rounded and luxurious texture. Full-bodied. Pinotage food pairings: ostrich, pheasant, roast leg of lamb, bacon wrapped pork tenderloing, prosciutto. 593459 14.5% D 750 mL $16.85 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

L.A. Cetto Petite Sirah 2006, Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, Mexico: You can't beat this price! Year after year, a consistently good producer of full-bodied and tasty reds. Not for analysis, just pure enjoyment. Great party wine. Petite Sirah food pairings: steak enchiladas, spicy beef with a Mexican mole sauce. Drink: 2012 - 2014 983742 14% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Willi Opitz Pink Kiss Rosé Pinot Noir Zweigelt Merlot 2007, Austria, Austria: Vintages Wine Panel: Terrific all year round, rosé wines are particularly popular on Valentine’s Day for obvious reasons and this bright and fruity blend of Pinot Noir, Zweigelt and Merlot is made for romantic interludes. Willi Opitz is one of Austria’s leading winemakers and he crafts this dry rosé to be elegant and memorable. Enjoy it as an aperitif. My note: A pretty raspberry pink color hints at the ripe fleshy berries on the nose. This lovely, elegant and delicious wine has notes of strawberry, cranberry and raspberry. It’s light but not wimpy, perfect for spontaneous snacks and toasting. It’s bone dry so don’t even think of that syrupy pink stuff from the 1970s. Rosé Pinot Noir Zweigelt Merlot food pairings: linguine and shrimp in a cream sauce, fried chicken, scrambled eggs, spring rolls. 111633 12% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Best Value Rosé Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Gosset Grand Rosé Brut Champagne, Ac, Champagne, France: A vivacious bubbly bursting with notes of ripe strawberries and cherries. Refreshing on its own or as an accompaniment to a wide variety of dishes. Rosé Brut Champagne food pairings: Chinese dishes, caviar, avocado salad, paté, chicken soup. 989442 12% XD 750 mL $79.95 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Favorite Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Deutz Rosé Brut Champagne, Ac, France: This blanc de noir Champagne offers vibrantly ripe strawberries and raspberries wrapped in a zesty, refreshing texture. A long, toasty finish. Rosé Brut Champagne food pairings: oysters, smoked salmon, avocado mousse, guacamole. Drink: 2008 - 2014 92833 12% XD 750 mL $63.95 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Le Clos Jordanne Claystone Terrace Chardonnay 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario, Canada: Generous aromas of baked bread, butterscotch, ripe pears and peaches on the nose. On the palate, there’s an incredibly deep minerality and structure, with voluptuous layers of flavor and a long toffee-noted finish. One of Canada’s most promising cult wines. Chardonnay food pairings: baked ricotta on toast, stir-fried vegetables, turkey scaoppini, Asian dishes with black bean sauce, French vanilla pudding. 56929 14% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 94/100. February 2009. Favorite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Le Clos Jordanne Vineyard Chardonnay 2006, V.Q.A. Niagara Peninsula, Twenty Mile Bench, Ontario, Canada: A full-bodied, supple and creamy-textured wine with expressive aromas of ripe pears, peaches, apples, fig and hazelnut. Deep minerality and structure with an excellent framework provided by the well-integrated oak. A long finish. Another stellar performance from this producer. Chardonnay food pairings: chicken with creamy sauce, duck a l'orange, challah, emmenthal, brie cheese, French baguette. 33910 14% XD 750 mL $40.00 Score: 92/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hess Su'skol Vineyard Chardonnay 2006, Napa Valley, Estate Grown, California, United States: A rich, round white with corpulent aromas of ripe pear, peach and orange peel. Creamy textures play across the palate with a finish that turns to a refreshing lime note at the end. Chardonnay food pairings: potato bread, beef bourguignonne, camembert with calvados, roast chicken, seafood risotto, ham. 709394 13% D 750 mL $37.95 Score: 90/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bodega Catena Zapata Viognier 2007, Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza, Estate Btld., Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: This crisp and clean Viognier shows off the pretty aromatics of the variety with delicate citrus blossom, apricot, peach and floral notes. Medium-bodied with deliciously concentrated fruit flavors and a medium-long finish. My note: A lovely fragrant wine with top notes of white field flowers, melon and citrus. Refreshing acidity makes it very versatile with food. Viognier food pairings: Thai red curry chicken, grilled shrimp, salmon sashimi, sushi, calamari. 507830 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concha Y Toro Terrunyo Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Casablanca Valley, Chile: Exuberant notes of lime, green apple, fresh-cut grass and asparagus on the nose. Tangy acidity and a flinty note enliven this wine. The vines for this wine were grown in clay loam and granite soils. Lots to enjoy here as an aperitif or paired with a variety of dishes. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: premium-aged white cheddar cheese, mussels, scallops in rich sauces, pesto pizza, spring rolls. 90118 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gravitas Wandering Piano Sauvignon Blanc 2006, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Grassy goodness from the heart of Sauvignon Blanc country. This youthful, energetic white wakes up the palate and says: time to eat! Aromas of grass, hay, chives and lime. Screwcap. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: cauliflower with cheese sauce, guacamole, creamed corn, crab cakes, shrimp cocktail, Chinese roast pork. 91017 13% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Delheim Sur Lie Chardonnay 2007, W.O. Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: Ageing a wine ‘sur lie’ (on its lees) rounds out the wine and adds terrific texture and complexity. (Lees is a nicer name for the spent yeast cells after fermentation is complete.) The aromas here suggest coconut, pineapple, cinnamon, ripe apple and freshly baked bread. On the palate it is dry, round, nicely balanced and beautifully made. Medium full-bodied with a fine, long finish. My note: A rich, creamy Chard with voluptuous notes of ripe apples, peaches, pears and fig. A smoky tinged finish is satisfying and long lasting. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled lobster tail, butter chicken, grilled herbed chicken breast, corn dishes, turkey tetrazzini. 956219 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Martin Steimer Pinot Gris 2007, Ac Alsace, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Very pretty nose with ripe golden delicious apple, pear and apricots showing. Off-dry with a fleshy fruit centre, medium acidity and body, and a lovely soft texture throughout. My note: This organic wine has soft notes of melon and pink grapefruit. A lovely, light-bodied wine for those who want a sipper that isn’t too heavy. Pinot Gris food pairings: pate de foie gras and crackers, choucroute garnie, mushroom ravioli, smoked fish, spicy tuna salad, clam chowder. 106807 13% MD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Moulin Touchais Coteaux De Layon Chenin Blanc 1996, Ac Estate Btld, Loire, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This ‘moelleux’ (semi-sweet) Chenin Blanc is built to last. Moulin Touchais ages it 10 years before release and it can keep in your cellar for 50 to 100 years. This 1996 is a mere youngster. Ready to drink now, it will gain a more caressing mouth-feel, complexity and depth over time. My note: Opens with ripe melon, pineapple and other tropical fruit. Full-bodied but not heavy. The slight sweetness makes it all the richer and able to marry with dishes that have a touch of sweetness or spiciness. Chenin Blanc food pairings: potato rosemary rolls, candied sweet potatos, sushi, artichokes, Indian dishes. 707307 13.5% MS 750 mL $37.95 Score: 91/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Quinçay Sélection Tradition Sélection Tradition Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Ac Touraine, Loire, France: Vintages Wine Panel: For the value-conscious wine lover, Sauvignon Blanc from Touraine is a great alternative to those from the more famous Loire appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. This very crisp and dry, light-bodied wine shows lots of citrus fruit aromas and flavors balanced by refreshing acidity. My note: Refreshing and simple with ephemeral notes of melon, lime and grapefruit. Bracing and lively acidity makes this a very versatile wine with food. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: cod, halibut in a lemon sauce, smoked salmon, sushi, fried shrimp, strong cheese. 66183 12.9% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Schmitges Riesling Kabinett 2007, Q.M.P. Estate Btld,Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany: Grown in red slate, this is a youthful, vibrant, light-bodied wine with lovely ripe notes of pear, peach, green and lime. The acidic attack is refreshing and a wonderful backdrop to most dishes. A daisy-infused finish lingers. Riesling Kabinett food pairings: sashimi, beet salad, butternut squash risotto, sweet and sour chicken, Chinese dishes. 88047 8% MD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. February 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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