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Vintages Release January 17, 2009

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Dessert Wine

Sandeman Herry Armada Rich Cream Oloroso, Spain: Vintages Wine Panel: This sweet yet elegant, well-balanced cream Sherry offers attractive aromas of nuts, figs and gentle spice notes. Enjoy with fresh fruit or blue cheeses. My note: If you think Sherry is just for aging Oxford dons and grandmothers, think again. This wine comes in a variety of styles from dry to sweet. This lovely sweet rendition has gorgeous notes of hazelnuts and dried fruit. You only need a few ounces per glass to make this the perfect ending to a lovely dinner. Food pairings: dark chocolate covered almonds, dark chocolate desserts, prosciutto, olive bread. 962126 18% S 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Barão De Vilar Port 1998, Portugal: Vintages Wine Panel: Colheita Ports are a single-harvest wine aged for at least seven years in oak before bottling; in barrel this opulent example spent a full decade. Richly textured and teeming with decadent dried fruit and spice flavors, this is a perfect winter warmer to sip while relaxing by the fireside or in cozy company. It is best enjoyed slightly chilled (about 20 minutes in the fridge). My note: Colheita and tawny ports are my favorite style of port because of the rich toffee and nutty notes. This port offers plumy depths too. Imagine yourself after dinner with a glass in hand mesmerized by the fire, occasionally nibbling on some toasted almonds. Port food pairings: date squares, stilton cheese, angel food cake, spice cake, baked apples. 87510 20% S 750 mL $31.95 Score: 93/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cockburn's Port Late Bottled Vintage Port 2003, Btld. 2008, Portugal: Vintages Wine Panel: LBV Ports, such as this one, are bottled ready-to-drink. Some can age further, but generally they offer a great opportunity to enjoy quality Ports with no cellaring time required, making them a great choice for impromptu gatherings and ‘dessert parties’. This 2003 vintage is complex and rich, with candied cherry, chocolate and spice flavors. My note: Black cherry liqueur on the nose, followed by anise, dried herbs and blackberries. Wonderfully concentrated and rich. Late Bottled Vintage Port food pairings: dark chocolate, blue cheese, coffee cake, baked pears, dark chocolate cheese cake, almond-based desserts. 88278 20% S 750 mL $16.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Croft Port Quinta Da Roeda Vintage Port 2005, Btld. 2007, Portugal: This Single Quinta Vintage Port comes from one vineyard and is a dense, aromatic fortified wine with rich aromas of blackberry liqueur, black plum, cedar and anise. A spectacular effort from this producer. If you’re looking for wines to age for a newborn (when he or she comes of age of course), this is a great choice. Vintage Port food pairings: pears in red wine, chocolate cake, almonds, baked pears, hard and strong cheeses. Drink: 2008 - 2030 650556 21% S 750 mL $58.95 Score: 96/100. January 2009. Favorite Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Chakana Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: The Pelizzatti family, owners of Chakana, can trace their winemaking roots back five generations to 19th-century northern Italy. Today, there are Pelizzattis making wine on both sides of the ocean. Sourced from 35-year-old vines and aged in a combination of French and American oak for one year, this round, full-bodied Cab features cassis, blackcurrant, black pepper, tobacco, vanilla and olive notes supported by firm tannins and balancing acidity. My note: Here’s another lip-smacking delicious robust red that I’ve recommended for a number of years. Not only is it a terrific value, but it also boasts savory notes of black cherries, bacon fat, cedar, dark spices and oak. Grippy tannins would indicate decanting for an hour or two is in order. You won’t be disappointed with this wine. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: beef wellington, roast beef tenderloin, tongue, romano cheeses, Thai coconut shrimp, tacos. 93807 14.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

RJ Vinedos Joffré E Hijas Premium Merlot 2004, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: The grapes for this Merlot are hand-picked into small 18 kg boxes. The juice is macerated on the skins for 34 days to deepen color, aromas and flavors. The extended maceration is complemented by 14 months in new French oak, creating a wine that is well balanced between fruit, acids and tannins. It is this premier producer’s eye to such detail that has it quickly emerging as one of Argentina’s top wineries to watch. My note: Blackberries and other dark fruits jump from the glass. Full-bodied with meshed aromas of smoke and dried herbs. Merlot food pairings: grilled lamb, meatballs, chili dog, Mexican dishes, Tandoori-flavored dishes. Drink: 2008 - 2012 14084 14.5% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Bodega Benegas, whose winemaking endeavors are blessed by legendary consultant Michel Rolland, are known for creating elegant wines in a uniquely Argentine style. The Luna, named for owner Federico J. Benegas Lynch’s daughter saw its inaugural vintage in 2006. This unoaked Cab displays all the elegance and finesse typical of the estate, with ripe blackcurrant and blackberry highlighted by eucalyptus notes. My note: Opens with ripe blackberry, pepper, cassis and blackcurrant. There’s a tremendous purity of fruit expression here that’s not covered up with oak. Old World balance and complexity at play. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: beef stew, barbecued beef rivs, shepherd's pie, bison steak, lasagne. 107730 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Salentein Malbec 2006, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Bodegas Salentein’s winegrowers follow the precept of “nature plus nurture.” The verdant farmlands of Salentein are home not only to quality wine grapes, but also to livestock and a variety of fruit crops handled, as they put it, “with respect for ecology”. This 2006 Malbec is flavor-packed and easy to enjoy, showing dark berry and plum fruit heightened by smoky oak and mineral notes. My note: Generous black cherries on the nose followed by licorice, cedar, black plums and smoke. A terrific effort from this producer. Malbec food pairings: beef wellington, prime rib steak, cheddar cheese, rack of lamb with rosemary, sausages. 640854 14.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Don Eugenio Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2005, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: A phenomenal value, this Cab comes from Argentina’s Uco Valley where the vineyards are planted at very high elevations. The daytime sun exposure and cool evening temperatures foster the creation of wines with impeccable balance. This deeply colored red delivers aromas of cassis, blackberry, toast, mint and wet stones. It is dry, medium- to full-bodied with a nice core of acid and ripening tannins to provide structure. My note: Jammy blackberry and cherries on the nose with a lovely underlay of vanillin and smoke. A great wine for casual weekday meals and large parties. Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva food pairings: grilled steak, pheasant, lamb ragout with roasted sweet peppers, gorgonzola cheese, tacos. 32094 14% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rutini Wines Malbec 2006, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: A Malbec that is more about balance than power. There is plenty of black fruit, leather and a hint of fennel here, but it is all perfectly moderated by a crisp, refreshing streak of acidity and ripe tannins. Enjoy this New World-meets-European wine style of Malbec. My note: A deeply colored, big volume red with copious layers of black raspberry, bacon fat, vanillin, spicy oak and blackberries. I've recommended this wine for several years now. It’s a party pleaser that will suit many palates. Malbec food pairings: rare to medium-rare grilled steak, barbecued pork spareribs, Irish stew, brisket, liver. 711705 13% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

St. Lucas Malbec 2007, Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: St. Lucas Malbec is practically made for the ‘barbecuist’ (winter or summer) in your family. It has a forward fruit and velvety texture. My note: A full-bodied, concentrated, delicious red with heady notes of black plums and berries. A warm finish. Malbec food pairings: grilled steak, gourmet sausages, barbecued back ribs, chicken with truffles, breaded veal cutlets. 93930 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Ana La Mascota Malbec 2006, Maipú, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Santa Ana impressed international critics at the first-ever Argentina Wine Awards in 2007, with their La Mascota Cabernet ‘06 taking top prize amid glowing remarks from a panel of judges. The 2006 Malbec is a similarly skilled effort, with brambly dewberry lurking amid ripe plum and blackberry flavors all against a backdrop of well-balanced tannins. This long-finishing wine will evolve favorably with 2-4 years of bottle aging. My note: A multi-layered big red with aromas of ripe fleshy blackberries, roasted herbs and a wisp of oak. Nice length on the finish with good acidity for a variety of dishes. Malbec food pairings: pepper-crusted steak, wild mushrooms, steak fajitas, meat fondue, bittersweet chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2013 93880 14% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vinecol Tempranillo 2007, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Tempranillo has found a home in Argentina and is now fairly widely planted. Vinecol’s version is grown with certified organic grapes. Typically dark in color, its nose is vivid and layered with strawberry aromas out front. It’s full and creamy in the mouth with perfect balance and lots of class, finishing with strong red fruit notes. Try comparing this with a Spanish Tempranillo and see how European and New World wines resemble or differ from each other. My note: Fleshy blackberries, cassis jam, and a hint of black olive on the nose. Velvet texture with concentrated layers of flavor. A wonderful wine to transition from work into evening. Tempranillo food pairings: Mexian dishes, cotechino, roast lamb, grilled portobello mushrooms, eggplant parmigiana. 83261 13.6% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

P. Haverlan Clos De Andes Malbec 2005, Luján De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina: A lush texture with layers of flavor and a satisfying long finish. This superb, robust wine offers ripe blackberries and cherries with background notes of violets, cassis and smoky leather. This wine is made entirely from the Malbec grape grown in an 80-year-old vineyard in Mendoza’s Lujan de Cuyo region. Half of the wine was fermented in barrels and then was aged 12 months in French oak. Malbec food pairings: beef with a red wine reduction sauce, hamburgers, roast and grilled lamb, bison steak. Drink: 2008 - 2020 2014 14% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chakana Bonarda 2007, Mendoza, Argentina: Great concentration and depth of flavor with peppery black fruit, toasty oak and some dried herbs in the background. Terrific price for this wine. Made from the Bonarda grape. Bonarda food pairings: steak in a mustard sauce, kidneys, mature hard cheeses, dark chocolate. Drink: 2008 - 2015 3525 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bonterra Merlot 2006, Mendocino County, California, United States: You don't have to be tie-dyed t-shirt wearing hippie to love organic wines these days. Bonterra has fashioned a lovely rich Merlot that will please just about anyone. Aromas of ripe blackberries, black cherries and plums are gently wrapped in a wisp of smoky oak. A wonderful 5 p.m. wine, one I'd call "Mommy's little helper." Vintages Wine Panel: Bonterra’s Merlot is a testament to winemaker Bob Blue’s approach to winemaking. He has managed to make wines with organically grown grapes that display all the virtues of the technique without betraying the strengths of the grape variety. His Merlot is filled with aromas of raspberry, cherry and vanilla. It is round, ripe and well-structured. This wine, made from organic grapes, contains just 11 mg/L of free sulfur. Merlot food pairings: grilled steak, cheeseburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, ostrich, veal stuffed sausages. 984724 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chalone Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Monterey County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: A large region, Monterey is generally regarded as a cooler climate AVA thanks to the moderating ocean breezes from Monterey Bay. However, the organic grapes for this well-crafted Cab are sourced from the warmer southern end of the county furthest from this ocean influence. A great value, this approachable Cab has juicy blackberry and cherry flavors as well as notes of vanilla oak all balanced by a focused seam of acidity and suave tannins. My note: Spicy oak integrates beautifully with fleshy ripe notes of blackberries, game, dark spices, prunes and cassis. A consistent producer of well-structured and balanced Cabernets. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: roasted lamb, meat fondue, mature hard cheeses, braised escarole and endive, kangaroo. 104190 13.85% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo 2003, Guadalupe Valley, Baja California, Mexico: After Italian producers, this winery is the world’s largest producer of wines made from the Nebbiolo grape. A mouthful of ripe berry and black fruits rewards drinkers of this supple, robust wine. Incredible concentration and depth. Nebbiolo food pairings: hearty meats, pasta in tomato sauce, cheddar cheese, risotto with mushrooms, beef braised in barolo. 590182 14.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Baron Philippe De Rothschild Reserva Carmenère 2007, Rapel Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: These days, Carmenère is getting well-deserved recognition in Chile. Not only does the grape’s identity crisis seem to be over – for a time it was confused with Merlot – but it’s becoming known as a signature variety, embraced by the Chileans and adored by wine lovers everywhere. This 2007 example shows rich, ripe plum and blackberry fruit, with hints of wild bramble and mocha. My note: A fabulous wine! Rich, dark, brooding and concentrated. The nose offers blueberry, purple plum, cassis and cedar. Reserva Carmenère food pairings: wine-braised beef, game, rustic bread, turkey with heavy sauces, wild boar. 37945 14% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Carolina Barrica Syrah 2006, Maipo Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: This Syrah is bursting with eucalyptus aromas, adding a layer of complexity to the blackberry and dark chocolate, all supported by plush tannins and good length. My note: Terrific value. Possesses a terrific texture with rich layers of blackcurrant, anise, plum and hickory smoke. A terrific wine for casual meals and movie watching. Syrah food pairings: smoked meats, prime rib steak, lamb vindaloo, rich meat casserole, Mexican mole. 34959 14.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Aramis Shiraz 2005, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: This wine won a gold medal at the Adelaide Royal Wine Show 2007 in Australia. A plump, fruit-forward number with integrated notes of plum, blackberry, pepper and spicy oak. Mouth-filling, rich and full-bodied. Shiraz food pairings: Ethiopian stewed chicken, chicken sausage, turkey with traditional trimmings, grilled vegetables. 41202 13.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rebecca Willson Bremerton Selkirk Shiraz 2006, Langhorne Creek, South Australia, Australia: Plenty of jammy black fruit, hickory smoke, dark chocolate and anise. A very complete, balanced and satisfying wine. Terrific value. Shiraz food pairings: brisket, beef daube, rare roast beef, roast goose, cassoulet. 410761 14.5% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 91/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mitchell Wines Peppertree Vineyard Shiraz 2005, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia: Dense ripe notes of black plums, raspberry liqueur, pepper, game and smoke. Full-bodied with a nice finish. A well-constructed wine affording lots of drinking pleasure. Shiraz food pairings: fajitas, pork mole poblano, fruit chutneys, grilled prime rib, roast beef sandwiches. 57257 14% D 750 mL $27.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Parri Estate Shiraz Viognier 2006, Southern Fleurie, South Australia, Estate Grown, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: Australia’s Southern Fleurie Peninsula is a region known for gorgeous coastal scenery, whale watching and, of course, exceptional wines. This bold example abounds with ripe black and red cherry fruit accented by spicy black pepper, finishing with a round mouthfeel thanks to the measured use of Viognier. The silky tannins add a fine layer of structure to the wine. My note: This wine rolls over the palate in delicious, slippery, full-bodied goodness. Notes of copious blackberry, pepper, cassis and cedar make this a multi-dimensional wine to savor. Shiraz Viognier food pairings: grilled red meats, hearty stews, pot roast, chedddar cheese, dark chocolate covered almonds. 48488 13% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Western Range Julimar Shiraz Viognier 2006, Perth Hills, Western Australia, Australia: A vibrant and mouth-watering attack with aromas of black raspberry, chewy blackberry, dark spices and pepper. I love the lift and brightness that Viognier brings to Shiraz. Shiraz Viognier food pairings: peppercorn steak, beef stew, fajitas, lamb vindaloo, parmesan cheese. Drink: 2008 - 2014 20180 13% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 91/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

d'Arenberg The Stump Jump Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2007, Mclaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: This red blend is an incredible deal! Highly aromatic with a supple, round and full-bodied texture. I’ve recommended this one every year I’ve tasted it. It’ll give you the maximum bang for your buck. Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre food pairings: chili, coeur et creme cheese, Tandoori-flavored dishes, grilled lamb kabobs, grilled tuna. 606236 13% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

McPherson Basilisk Basilisk Cabernet Balzac 2005, Central Victoria, Australia, Australia: A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Balzac (aka Mourvedre) grapes. A knock-out nose with black raspberries, pepper and smoke. A rich, viscous style that is deeply satisfying. Cabernet Balzac food pairings: corned beef with cabbage, bison steak, shepherd's pie, roasted turkey, spicy dishes. 77859 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Jardin Bradgate Syrah 2005, W.O. Stellenbosch, South Africa: A lovely medium- to full-bodied red with notes of raspberries, black cherries, hickory smoke, cedar and some dark spices. A concentrated wine for Shiraz lovers. Drink now. Syrah food pairings: roast goose, chili, perail de brebis cheese, tongue, mint chocolate. 80176 14% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vign. Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils Château Saint-André Corbin Merlot Blend 2006, A.C. St-Georges-St-Émilion, Bordeaux,, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This elegant Merlot-based wine features aromas and flavors of black cherry, mint, anise and menthol. Dry, but with lots of fruit up front, this features balanced acidity and unobtrusive tannins. Age it for up to 10 years. This wine won a Gold Medal at the 2008 Concours Général Agricole in Paris, France. My note: There is plenty of ripe black fruits on the opening, followed by truffles, dark chocolate, savory meaty notes. Drinkers will be rewarded for patience in aging this one. Merlot Blend food pairings: prime rib, roasted root vegetables, blue cheese, Hungarian goulash, grilled aspargus. Drink: 2010 - 2014 43810 13.5% XD 750 mL $27.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Haut Breton Larigaudière Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2001, A.C. Margaux, Bordeaux, France: Beautifully structured with elegance, finesse and classic lines. Offers blackcurrants, violets, earth, black raspberry and smoke on the nose. This is one for the cellar. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: wild boar, game terrine, grilled steak with a port reduction, goat cheese stuffed beef tenderloin, hard cheeses. Drink: 2008 - 2015 91439 13% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 94/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Suau Rouge Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, A.C. Premières Côtes De Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: A Gold Medal winner at the Concours des Grands Vins de France in 2007. Château Suau was built in the 15th century as a hunting lodge for the Duke d’Épernon. Today the only thing that is ‘hunted’ on this property are their well-respected wines. This is made with equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. My note: I’ve recommended this wine for a number of vintages because it’s consistently great. The dark red berries on the nose recede to reveal minerals, earth and dark spices. A lovely long finish. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: roast beef au jus, prime rib with a cherry sauce, barbecued ribs, spicy chicken stir-fry, meatballs. Drink: 2010 - 2015 943555 12.5% XD 750 mL $23.95 Score: 91/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château La Chandellière Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, A.C. Médoc, Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: The 2005 vintage is widely acclaimed as one of the finest by industry authorities and Bordeaux enthusiasts. The exceptional quality did not just extend to the top producers, but to all strata of wineries in the whole region. The 2005 Château la Chandellière is a classic Left Bank Bordeaux blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It won a Gold Medal at the 2007 Concours Général Agricole in Paris, France. My note: A pleasing Bordeaux with attractive notes of cherry kirsch, minerals, mocha and toasty oak. This wine will benefit from some aging and should nicely in two or three years. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: beef bourguignonne, barbecued meats, cheddar crown bread, grilled cheese sandwiches, blue cheese. Drink: 2010 - 2015 91314 14% XD 750 mL $26.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

L'enclos Du Château Lezongars Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, A.C. Premières Côtes De Bordeaux, France: Another excellent effort from the 2005 vintage. This wine entices with it aromas of herb-infused red berries, hickory smoke and violets. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: hard cheeses, grilled cheese sandwich, beef with stout, cornish hen, dark chocolate. Drink: 2012 - 2018 729145 13% XD 750 mL $25.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château de Bel-Air Château De Bel-Air 2005, Ac Lalande De Pomerol, France: This wine is a blend of Merlot (75%), Cabernet Franc (15%), Cabernet Sauvignon (5%) and Malbec (5%). This wine shows the power of the excellent 2005 vintage, displaying aromas of ripe cassis, minerals, earth and cigar box. A superb effort from this producer. Château De Bel-Air food pairings: prime rib steak, kidney and oyster pie, game terrine, grilled lamb, roasted stuffed lamb. 61754 14% D 750 mL $27.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine Taupenot Pinot Noir 2005, A.C. Burgundy, Merme Saint-Romain, France: Burgundy is like an expensive mistress these days: high maintenance and cost, with the pay-off not always guaranteed. Fortunately, wines like this one are reasonable, at least for now. I'm a sucker for the etheral, mind-bending, soul-wrapping experience of Old World Pinot. A medium- to full-bodied Pinot Noir with notes of ripe cherry, earth, mushroom, truffle and smoke. A silky, seductive texture with a long finish. Think of a night when the lake is like glass and the woods behind you is silent. Now take a drink. Pinot Noir food pairings: duck with mango sauce, sourdough bread, frankfurters, Korean food, cinnamon and cumin spiced dishes, venison. Drink: 2008 - 2020 87007 13% XD 750 mL $38.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Treviac Arnaud Sié Syrah Grenache 2007, A.C. Corbières, Midi, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache has classic Midi aromas of blackberry, pepper and especially garrigue, that unique-to-Midi scent of thyme, rosemary, basil, sage and lemon verbena. There’s a very good balance here of fruit, acids and tannins. My note: A superb value for this delicious, full-bodied wine. Incredible aromatic depth and length of flavor, with notes of black plums, blackberries, game and smoke. Syrah Grenache food pairings: roast leg of lamb with an herb-rub, strong cheeses, goat cheese and herb stuffed pork tenderloin, brisket, roast goose. 670505 14.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine De La Croze Granier Cuvée Réserve Syrah Blend 2006, A.C. Côtes Du Rhône, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Exceptional value. Rich with lots of spicy blackberry, lavender, marzipan and licorice. Dry and juicy with exceptional aroma replays on the palate. My note: This organic wine has attractive aromas of fresh ground pepper, raspberries, red currants and minerals. A mouth-filling round wine. Syrah Blend food pairings: cassoulet, rare beef, partridge, beef bourguignonne, fougerus cheese, pasta with herbed tomato sauce. Drink: 2008 - 2014 736371 13.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cave De Tain Esprit De Granit Saint-Joseph Syrah 2005, A.C. Rhone, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Saint-Joseph is one of Northern Rhône’s true gems. Generally produced from 100% Syrah (although producers may add up to 10% of the white grapes Roussanne and Marsanne), Saint-Joseph wines are well-regarded for their fruit-forward blackberry intensity and attractive pepper tones. My note: Terrific nose of cassis, black raspberry, and cranberry. A hedonistically ample texture and weight with a great finish. Syrah food pairings: rich lamb, beef stroganoff, barbecued ribs, fruit chutneys, cassoulet, steak fajitas. Drink: 2008 - 2015 17152 13% XD 750 mL $31.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Perrin & Fils Vinsobres Les Cornuds Syrah Blend 2006, A.C. Rhone, France: A rich and deep red with classic, concentrated flavors of kirsch, blackberry, anise, and cedar. A terrific wine from a consistently great producer. Syrah Blend food pairings: full-flavored meaty casseroles, corned beef, mature hard cheeses, coq au vin, venison stew, grilled peppers. 566844 14% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Marcellin Vaucourt Domaine De L'oiselet Vacqueyras Syrah Blend 2007, A.C. Rhone, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Filled with floral, blackberry, spice, cherry, cocoa and underbrush aromas and flavors. Dry, medium-bodied with ideal intensity and a very pleasing balance. This is a richly flavored wine. This wine contains only 13 mg/L of free sulfur. My note: Lovely purity of fruit here with notes of black cherries and cranberries, as well as grilled meat, spices and cedar. Terrific length of flavor and finish. Syrah Blend food pairings: mushroom risotto, veal cutlets, grilled meats, smoked meat sandwich, roast beef with gravy, aged blue cheese. Drink: 2008 - 2014 101550 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 91/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Elena Pantaleoni La Stoppa Gutturnio 2006, D.O.C. Colli Piacentini, Italy: Mouth-watering acidity and vibrant tangy tomato and red berry notes make this wine an ideal match for Italian cuisine. Full-bodied with layers of flavor and a pleasant finish. La Stoppa Gutturnio food pairings: pasta in tomato sauce, pizza, lasagna, sausages, tuscan breads. 102822 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Conte Brandolini D' Adda Vistorta Merlot 2005, D.O.C. Friuli, Grave, Italy: Opulent red currant, plum, raspberry and sundried tomato on he nose. Medium-bodied with great balance and length. Merlot food pairings: multi-grain bread, beef with a red wine sauce, porcini mushrooms, ardi-gasna cheese, bittersweet chocolate. 932517 13% XD 750 mL $30.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Castello Di Neive Barbaresco, Piedmont 2005, D.O.C.G., Italy: Dazzling notes of smoke, dried red fruit, berries, raspberry liqueur and minerals. Incredible richness and depth with terrific extract and a supple texture. Barbaresco, Piedmont food pairings: beef wellington, fontina cheese, Sichuan beef, canneloni, ratatouille. 674044 13.5% XD 750 mL $23.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cantina Tollo Terre Del Barolo Vinum Vitae Est Barolo 2004, D.O.C.G. Piedmont, Italy: Layers of black fruit, tar, truffles, earth, minerals and dark spices. Full-bodied with fantastic aging potential. Barolo food pairings: gorgonzola, roast veal, hot roast beef sandwich, roast duck, ostrich. Drink: 2012 - 2025 101246 14% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 92/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tenuta Coppadoro Cotinone Aglianico Montepulciano Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, I.G.T. Daunia, Puglia, Italy: A blend of Aglianico, Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in equal proportion that was aged in French oak barrels. A wine of great freshness and flavor, displaying notes of black cherry, plum, cedar and spice box. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: beef en croule, kidneys, hamburgers, beef ribs, black pudding, succotash. 86280 13% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Antinori Chianti Classico 2006, D.O.C.G. Tuscany, Italy: Raspberry liqueur viscosity with dried herbs, tobacco, sundried tomatoes and a cedary finish. Medium- to full-body with a good length on the finish. Part of the Vintages Essentials Collection. Chianti Classico food pairings: spicy sausages, fried chicken, lasagne, pasta with bolognese sauce, beef stroganof. 606541 13% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Prunatelli Rufina Reserva Chianti 2005, D.O.C.G. Estate Btld. Tuscany, Italy: Multi-dimensional wine with notes of earth, blackberry, cedar, sundried tomato, and cherry. Great extraction, glycerin and flavor. Chianti food pairings: steak, salami, cheddar, pizza, pasta in tomato sauce. 938258 13% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sandeman Douro Reserva 2002, D.O.C., Portugal: A lovely wine with satisfying notes of blackberry, ground pepper, tangy cherry and smoke. Medium- to full-bodied with a rich finish. Douro Reserva food pairings: shepherd's pie, pasta with spicy sausages, mature hard cheeses, meat fondue, corned beef. 335208 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Adegas Moure Abadia Da Cova Mencia 2007, D.O. Ribeira Sacra, Spain: Black fruit, dried herbs, smoke and vanillin on the nose, followed by licorice and cedar box as it opens. Full-bodied with warm layers of flavor. Score Food pairings: cheeseburgers, sourdough bread, meatballs, cold meats, comte cheese, macaroni and cheese. 103549 12.6% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bodegas Victoria Pardina Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, D.O. Cariñena, Spain: Spain, like Portugal, has reinvented itself, producing spectacular wines that are modern and sleek. This one is pure Placido Domingo: powerful, resonant, deep and memorable. A robust red with delicious notes of black cherries and raspberries, spicy wood, and earth. This wine is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged six months in French oak barrels. This wine will take you to a hillside cottage where you gulp it in delicious mouthfuls and enjoy tapas as a blazing fire warms your cheeks. Ola! Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: Mexican dishes, sausages, meat perogies with fried onions and bacon, bison steak, grilled zucchini. Drink: 2008 - 2012 82453 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wolf Blass Premium Selection Shiraz 2006, South Australia, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: Lovely aromas of blackberry, cassis, mint, and black pepper lead to rich, concentrated fruit flavors, exotic spice and vanilla nuances, culminating in a long, toasty and fruity finish. This is a refined and well-balanced Shiraz. My note: A hearty red with robust aromas of black cherry, blueberry, spice and mouth-watering acidity. Shiraz food pairings: mixed grilled vegetables, blackberry compote, marinated chicken on the grill, gumbo, rich meat casserole. 348540 14% XD 750 mL $25.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosemount Estate Show Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, New South Wales, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: Rosemount’s Show Reserve range explores the best variety and regional partnerships in Australia. Each vintage, special parcels are set aside and aged for a minimum of ten months in oak for added complexity. The high-altitude Mudgee region helps bring balance to the wine. This concentrated Cabernet offers juicy blueberry and blackcurrant fruit as well as notes of cedar and spice supported by fine-grained tannins. My note: This robust red coats the palate with luscious flavors of black truffle, blackberry, plum, cedar, and a hint of eucalyptus. Classic Aussie Cabernet from a consistent producer. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: brisket, goose, cheddar cheese, kangaroo, rare roast beef. 80572 14% D 750 mL $23.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Castiglioni Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese 2006, I.G.T. Toscana,Tuscany, Italy: Dense and full-bodied with abundant aromas of black raspberry, purple plum, blackcurrant and spice. A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Sangiovese. This wine was aged 12 months in French oak barrels. Cabernet Sauvignon Sangiovese food pairings: prime rib, lasagna, hamburgers, blue cheeses, dark chocolate. 974394 13% XD 750 mL $23.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Patrizi Moscato D'asti 2007, D.O.C.G. Piedmont, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Here’s the perfect wine to combat the winter blahs. Gloriously aromatic, this light, elegant, and off-dry frizzante makes a delicious aperitif. Bursting with floral, melon and grapey characteristics, its touch of sweetness is perfectly balanced by a light effervescence and a lovely seam of fresh acidity. My note: This is one of the most underrated sparkling wines of the world. You must try if you haven’t yet. Gorgeous notes of orange blossom, pear, peach and honeysuckle. It’s only lightly sparkling with a touch of sweetness so it’s an excellent aperitif. Moscato D'asti food pairings: fruit flan, cobbler, biscotti, baked peaches, almonds. 101766 5.5% MS 750 mL $14.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Lurton Flor De Torrontés Reserva 2007, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Vibrant acidity is the backbone for this flavorful wine redolent of field flowers, lime, pink grapefruit and orange peel. Wonderful as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to a variety of dishes. Flor De Torrontés Reserva food pairings: camembert cheese, Chinese dishes, mushroom ravioli, raw oysters, fried shrimp. 55475 13% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Lurton Chardonnay 2008, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Like winemaking brothers Jacques and François Lurton, the Chardonnay grape has crossed the globe from France and now makes remarkable wines in Argentina. Grown in the sunny high altitude vineyards of the Uco Valley, this complex Chardonnay is packed with peach and tropical fruit flavors, accented by smoky oak. My note: A rich, creamy Chardonnay with generous aromas of ripe pears, peaches, green apples and vanilla. A true comfort wine among whites. Chardonnay food pairings: mango chicken, turkey scaloppini, chicken alfredo, seafood risotto, shrimp cocktail. 591743 13% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. January 2009. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Doña Paula Chardonnay 2007, Mendoza, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: Argentine Chardonnay is known for its pure tropical fruit flavors, and a full-bodied style that makes it great for pairing with flavorful dishes. This 2007 doesn’t disappoint, delivering pineapple, white peach and guava enriched by a well-measured use of toasty oak. My note: Excellent structure with copious ripe tree fruit notes. Layers of perfumed flavor and a round, voluptuous texture. Chardonnay food pairings: smoked ham, quail, seafood with a cream-based sauce, camembert with calvados, baked ricotta on toast. 93898 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Estancia Pinnacles Ranches Chardonnay 2006, Monterey County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: This Chardonnay is attractive and approachable with ample peach and nectarine aromas and flavors enlivened by a twist of lemon zest. Long-finishing and versatile. My note: A splendid Chardonnay with a fruit-driven bouquet of ripe peaches and pears. Succulent, rich and voluptuous. Chardonnay food pairings: broiled fish, roast lemongrass-herbed chicken, French baguette, stir-fried veggies, French vanilla chocolate. 75614 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Parri Estate Viognier Chardonnay 2007, Southern Fleurie, South Australia, Estate Grown, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: Viognier is an important grape in Australia, particularly for rounding out big bold Shiraz. Showcased here in combination with Chardonnay, the aromatic ripe peach, pear and apricot character typical of this grape really shines through. My note: A beautiful, buttery Chardonnay with a lovely expression of ripe apples, pears and stone fruit. Honey notes in the background add to its viscosity. Viognier Chardonnay food pairings: spicy Asian dishes, grilled fish, sushi, duck a l'organge, crab cakes with a spicy tartar sauce. 17319 13% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

X & Y Chardonnay 2006, Margaret River, Western Australia, Australia: A full-bodied Chardonnay that opens with spicy hazelnut, ripe green apples, and warm apricot-peach notes. Full-bodied with a lovely long finish. Chardonnay food pairings: lobster with mayonnaise, wild salmon with hollandaise sauce, cream corn, cheese pizza, pasta in a vodka sauce. 48561 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Small & Smith Family Estate Fairhall Downs Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Vintages Wine Panel: Family owned and operated, Fairhall Downs holds a “small is beautiful” philosophy. They specialize in quality single-vineyard wines, such as this enticing Sauvignon Blanc. Ripe and juicy, this wine showcases lovely citrus, guava and field grass aromas and flavors. My note: Zesty notes of lime, grass, white grapefruit and white peach. Refreshing on its own as an aperitif or as an accompaniment to many dishes. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: rich seafood dishes, spicy curries, vegetarian dishes, quiche, salads. 990580 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. January 2009. Favorite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Les Viticulteurs Réunis de Hunawihr Riesling 2006, Ac Alsace, Hunawihr, France: Vintages Wine Panel: The area of Hunawihr is known for producing Rieslings with a distinctive minerality, and racy citrus flavors. This fine example won gold at the Colmar 2007 Grand Concours des Vins d’Alsace. You can expect it to be slightly rounder, displaying elegant lime and pear aromas and a nicely balanced lemony character on the palate. My note: Notes of lime, orange peel, lemon and green apples. Exciting vibrancy and refreshment. Riesling food pairings: smoked salmon, rainbow trout, foie gras, cheese fondue, sweet and sour pork. 106724 12% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vign. Belloc, Prop. Château Brondelle Blanc Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2007, Ac Graves, Sauvignon Sémillon, Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Pale straw with bold and pure notes of pink grapefruit, freshly cut grass, white flowers, Granny Smith apples and clementines. Dry with very focused and refreshing aroma replays, especially the grapefruit. Medium body, great length and a palate-cleansing finish. My note: Lovely herbal and lime notes blended seamlessly with lanolin and lemongrass. Refreshing aperitif or an accompaniment to a wide range of dishes. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: steamed mussels, oysters in a saffron broth, chicken with cream sauces, asparagus quiche, sushi. 626507 12.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bernhard Mehrlein Feinherb Riesling Kabinett 2007, Qmp, Johannisberger Erntebringer, Rheingau, Estate Btld., Germany: Vintages Wine Panel: Don’t be intimidated by the name. This off-dry Riesling is very approachable, with enticing flavors of sweet citrus and peach cobbler, and an underlying seam of minerality which, along with acidity, nicely balances the sweetness. Even if you can’t remember the full moniker, you’re sure to remember the taste! My note: Lovely notes of candied lemons, honeysuckle, ripe green apples and stone fruit. Incredible flavor for a light-bodied wine. Perfect as an aperitif or with a variety of dishes. Riesling Kabinett food pairings: sashimi, sushi, lemon-mint risotto, crab salad, smoked fish. 89581 10.5% MD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cavit Bottega Vinaia Pinot Grigio 2007, D.O.C. Trentino, Estate Btld, Trentino, Italy: A zesty, vibrant Pinot Grigio with notes of melon, grapefruit, lime and orange peel. Medium-bodied and refreshing. Very versatile with food. Pinot Grigio food pairings: grilled fish, steamed mussels, sushi, pork tenderloin, herbed chicken breast. 51623 13% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. January 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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