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Vintages Release December 5, 2009

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Dessert Wine

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Sparkling Vidal Icewine 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: This innovative sparkling Icewine won a Gold Medal at the 2009 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards. Inniskillin may not have invented Sparkling Icewine, but they certainly have run with the idea. It displays all the virtues of their still Icewines, but the CO2 bubbles seem to have the effect of adding a touch of intriguing dryness to this generally very sweet wine. As a result, it is an excellent partner for pâté, or great for sipping after a holiday meal. My note: A strange and lovely hybrid of sweet and sparkling. Notes of fleshy apricot preserves and honeyed peaches. 560367 10% S 375 mL $69.95 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Favourite Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

The Musician By Majella Majella Wines Cabernet Shiraz 2007, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: Pure minty-blackberry goodness with a terrific mouth-watering style. Blueberry preserves and a mulberry mix make this an very tasty wine that delivers well beyond its price point. 142018 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 2006, South Australia, Australia: Minty-blackberry cool with a core of fleshy ripeness. Terrific balance, length and depth. 309625 14% D 750 mL $37.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Kalimna Bin 28 Shiraz 2006, South Australia, Australia: An aristocratic, balanced red with Old World styling and New World fruit and power. Smoky blackberries come up through the middle in a river of flavor that continues through a lovely finish. 422782 14% D 750 mL $34.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds St. Henri Shiraz 2005, South Australia, Australia: Smoky dark with roasted dark fruit. Full-bodied and brooding with lots of smoky oak. Drink: 2009 - 2014 510875 14% D 750 mL $74.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wolf Blass Gold Label Shiraz 2007, Barossa, South Australia, Australia: Vintages Wine Panel: Firm and chewy, offering a supple texture underneath the veneer of tannins, with smoky, wood-accented blackberry and currant flavors that linger on the polished finish. Best from 2011 through 2020. HS. My note: Full-bodied, dark with roasted fruit and smoky notes. 590273 14% XD 750 mL $27.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Katnook Founder's Block Cabernet Shiraz 2006, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: A full-bodied, easy-drinking red with supple layers of black plum flavours. Good balanced and persistence of flavors. A lovely winter warmer. 683037 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Pinot Noir 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Gorgeous vanilla-infused cherries and plums for a perfectly integrated package of pleasure. The price is as low as you get for this quality so why not enjoy yourself and loosen up (and the purse strings). Layered, medium-bodied, complex and lovely. A long finish. We should be proud as Canadians because this rising tide lifts all the boats. 33894 13.5% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Coyote's Run Estate Winery Red Paw Vineyard Syrah 2007, V.Q.A., Four Mile Creek, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Terrific Syrah, one of the best I’ve tasted from Niagara! Lovely, lovely toasted and peppered aromas of mulberry, blackberry and black raspberry. Great structure and length. A good candidate for the cellar. 144774 12.5% D 750 mL $23.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Canepa Reserva Privada Carmenère 2008, Rapel Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Elegant, restrained with aromas of cassis, tar, dark chocolate and cedar. Sophisticated structure, good concentration of fruit and elegant complexity. DC. My note: A river of generous black cherry flavours and dark spices. Terrific price! 82586 13.5% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2008, Casablanca Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Wild ferment refers to the wild airborne yeasts that are naturally present on grapes in the vineyard which, according to some, create a more dramatic flavour profile during fermentation than the more conventional cultivated yeasts available. This wine shows brightly attractive cherry and raspberry fruit accented by floral and smoke notes, leading to a crisp, lengthy finish. My note: What a deliciously fin wine! Juicy ripe cherries and strawberries. Supple smooth layers of medium-bodied goodness. You won’t be disappointed. 510396 14.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Veramonte Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Merlot Carmenere 2006, Colchagua Valley, Chile: Vintages Wine Panel: Inky ruby. Fresh red and dark berries on the nose. Lively raspberry and blackcurrant flavors are firmed by tangy minerals and given depth by dark chocolate, picking up fine-grained tannins with air. A refreshingly pure blend, with very good finishing cut and persistence. JH. My note: Juicy-wonderful! Just dripping with fleshy berry flavor and plums. I love it! This wine is a blend of 36% cabernet sauvignon, 31% syrah, 17% merlot and 16% carmenere. 712463 14.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Saint-Hilaire Uijttewaal A & F Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, A.C., Médoc, Bordeaux, France: Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concours Général Agricole 2007 in Paris. Rustic, cedary and tannic, this full-bodied bruiser will soften with 2 hours decanting. Classic blackberry, blackcurrant, violet and smoky notes. A pleasing finish. 138651 13% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Coulonge Daniel & Nicolas Roux, Vign.-Récolt. Meritage 2005, A.C., Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concours Général Agricole 2006 in Paris. Ready-to-drink 2005 Bordeaux, featuring aromas of blackberry, blueberry, plum, vanilla, mocha and a mild toastiness. Dry, lush, round and ripe. This is almost New World in style. My note: An absolute steal for Bordeaux! This rustic charmer comes fightin’ out of the bottle with black cherries, cedar and smoke. Needs decanting for 1-2 hours because of its tannins but it’s incredibly tasty, well-structured and you can’t mistake the classic Bordeaux signature. Meritage food pairings: barbecued back ribs, steaks. 138743 12.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

La Fleur Anne Union De Producteurs De Saint-Émilion Merlot Blend 2005, A.C., Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: A fine representation of the 2005 Bordeaux vintage. Loads of flavour, ably balanced by a streak of tannin and acidity. Look for spice, cherry, cassis, plum and tobacco notes. Dry with good fruit surrounded by firm tannins (cellar it 3-5 years). A good wine to start a cellar with. My note: A pleasant Bordeaux that has some attractive blackberry and cassis notes, some smoke and good depth. Full-bodied and tannic: decant for 1-2 hours. While it doesn’t have the complexity of the finer Bordeaux, it also doesn’t have the price tag. 139048 12.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Domaine Grand Veneur Les Champauvins Alain Jaume & Fils 2007, A.C., Cotes De Rhône Villages, France: The Rhone offers staggeringly great value! This red is redolent of luxurious black cherry liqueur on the rose then a river of flavor flows over the palate with violets, cedar, black raspberry and dark spices. Terrific structure, balance, depth and length of finish. Bring it on! Drink: 2009 - 2016 76331 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Hauchat Jean-Bernard Saby & Fils Merlot Blend 2006, A.C., Fronsac, Bordeaux, France: Terrific value for this tasty red: not complex but tasty. Notes of blackberry, cassis, and dark spices. A lovely velvet texture. A bottle to enjoy now. 123489 13.2% XD 750 mL $15.00 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Mont Tauch Tradition Carignan Grenache Syrah 2007, A.C., Fitou, Midi, France: Winner of a Gold Medal at the Concours Général Agricole 2009 in Paris. And now for something completely different, juicy peppers, black plums and berries with a smooth medium- to full-bodied textured. Not for analysis: drink and enjoy! 142810 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cave De Crouseilles Folie Du Roi 2006, A.C., Madiran, Southwest, France: A black brooding rustic gem with blackberry, cedar, dark spices, licorice and pepper. Decant for 2 hours. Full-bodied with a smoky finish. Yum! 147991 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Camensac 5E Cru Classé Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 1995, Ac Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: The aromas and tannins to have evolved in this wine. It is now at the very peak of its drinkability. A great mature Bordeaux for Christmas dinner at an incredible price, especially for a classified growth. My note: If you want instantly aged Bordeaux, this is your bottle. Don’t save it, drink it now. You’ll discover what mature Bordeaux tastes like from a great vintage. Don’t expect big fruit or big anything: this is liquid subtlety with tertiary aromas of violets, leather, cigar box and truffles along with some back notes of blackberries and espresso. 155564 12.5% XD 750 mL $54.95 Score: 92/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château L'hospitalet La Réserve Rouge, Gérard Bertrand Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre 2007, A.C., Coteaux Du Languedoc, La Clape, Midi, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine is a multi-award winner, including a Gold Medal at the 2009 Decanter World Wine Awards. A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre, this powerful wine exhibits aromas of red and black berries, violets and vanilla. Tannins are present, but only to balance the fruit. My note: A generous black-fruited wonder with luscious, full-bodied notes of blackberries and dark spices. Peppered black raspberries play across your palate just before you lean forward and ask for another top up. Terrific! Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre food pairings: Lamb Navarin (lamb stew). Drink: 2009 - 2013 682492 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Chambert Malbec Merlot Tannat 2004, A.C., Cahors, Southwest, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This blend of 71% Malbec, 20% Merlot and 9% Tannat won a Silver Medal at the Challenge International du Vin 2006. My note: This simple, rustic full-bodied red blooms with notes of peppery blackberry and black raspberry, licorice, smoke and brambles. 720821 12.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Du Prieuré Des Mourgues Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre 2007, A.C., Saint-Chinian, Midi, France: Vintages Wine Panel: One of Saint-Chinian’s strongest producers, Château du Prieuré des Mourgues takes Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre and barrel ages them separately for 12 months. The final blend accentuates the fruit of the Syrah, the pretty cedar tones of the Grenache, the backbone of the Mourvèdre, plus the vanilla from the oak to create this finely made, food-friendly wine. It has all the generous fruit that was expected from the Midi in the 2007 vintage. My note: Simple and lip-smacking tasty! This full-bodied red offers notes of black raspberries and cherries with some pepper at the back. Judicious use of oak wraps the package nicely. Decant 2 hours. Syrah Grenache Mourvèdre food pairings: grilled leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary. 985598 12.7% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Rocher Lideyre Philippe Bardet, Prop. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, A.C., Côtes De Castillon, Bordeaux, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine won a Silver Medal at the Concours Régional des Vins d’Aquitaine. A lively Graves wine with aromas of cherry, blueberry, earth/mineral and cassis. Dry and well balanced, the supple tannins bring a fine structure to this wine. You could cellar it for a year or two, but why bother? Decant it and enjoy. My note: Absolutely delightful! Highly aromatic and perfumed with blackberry, violet, truffle and smoke. Decants for 2 hours and enjoy! Perfect for suave dinner parties. Cabernet Sauvignon Blend food pairings: grilled or braised meat. Drink: 2009 - 2013 138867 13.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Telavi Wine Cellar Marani 2005, Napareuli, Kakheti Region, Georgia: Vintages Wine Panel: Discover why Telavi Wine Cellars’ estate-grown, medal-winning wines are so popular internationally. This red offers lovely aromas of cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant and its palate is silky with nicely integrated oak. My note: A full-bodied, juicy, generous red in the New World style. You might mistake it for being from Australia. Lovely ripe plums and blackberries and a dark chocolate infused finish. Terrific price. Food pairings: hearty stews, mature cheeses. 48116 13.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tbilvino Alazanis Valley Red Saperavi Rkatsiteli 2007, Georgia, Georgia: Vintages Wine Panel: Actually a blend of the red Saperavi and white Rkatsiteli grapes, this wine is a medium ruby colour in the glass. Interesting aromas of cherry pie filling, red currants and crushed raspberries lead the way. These are joined in the mouth by cranberry and pink grapefruit flavours. Medium in sweetness, the wine is nicely balanced by a seam of acidity that persists on the tasty finish. Enjoy this unique treat. Although this red has a touch of sweetness, it’s balanced beautifully by the ripe red berry fruit and spices. Lovely notes of blackberries and plums. Saperavi Rkatsiteli food pairings: turkey and cranberry sauce, pork with a fruit reduction, fresh fruit tarts. 142109 12% M 750 mL $11.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Leone De Castris Villa Santera Primitivo Di Manduria 2007, D.O.C., Puglia, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Winemakers in Puglia are specialists in crafting Primitivo (a.k.a. Zinfandel) and Leone de Castris is among the most famous producers in the region. This beautifully balanced Primitivo features aromas of plum and raspberry and is made in a much more structured style than the fruity versions coming out of California, although the familiar profile is certainly there. It will reward short-term cellaring, or savour tonight. My note: A mocha nose followed by emerging blackberry and blueberry aromas. Full-bodied and vibrant with a lust of life. Primitivo Di Manduria food pairings: grilled steaks and roasted red peppers. 730952 14.1% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fattoria Di Basciano Vigna Il Corto 2006, I.G.T., Colli Della Toscana Centrale, Tuscany, Italy: Black plums, espresso, violets, and blackcurrants flow through the core of this wine with a lovely finish bursting with dried herbs and smoke. Full-bodied and supple. 134775 14% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Piccini Riserva Chianti Classico 2005, D.O.C.G., Tuscany, Italy: A straight-forward, pleasant wine with medium-bodied, tart cherries and mouth-watering goodness. Not a long finish but that doesn’t matter when you’re knocking it back fairly quickly because it’s so tasty. Perfect for a variety of acidic and tangy Italian dishes. 134791 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tenuta Olim Bauda La Villa Barbera D'asti 2007, D.O.C., Piedmont, Italy: A pleasant with bright berry and red currant fruit, some spice, and field flowers. Medium- to full-bodied and supple smooth. 135665 14% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cascina Bruciata Barbaresco 2004, D.O.C.G., Piedmont, Italy: A lovely, silky full-bodied red with fleshy raspberries and strawberries and a peppered finish. 135905 14.3% XD 750 mL $49.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Geografico Chianti Classico 2006, D.O.C.G., Tuscany, Italy: Juicy great flavors of black cherries, smoke and cedar! Full-bodied, balanced and eminently tasty. 142281 13% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Antinori Guado Al Tasso 2006, D.O.C., Tuscany, Italy: Mocha wrapped plums and fleshy blackberries. Some violets and truffled notes. Full-bodied and delicious! 986380 14% D 750 mL $89.95 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Johner Estate Moonlight Pinot Noir 2007, Waipara, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand: Vintages Wine Panel: Pretty cool-climate South Island Pinot Noir featuring aromas of cherry, plum, woodsmoke and a hint of beetroot. Dry, velvety, approachable and very well made. A ripe, flavorful Pinot. My note: Juicy bright with dancing cherries and strawberries. Smooth, silky and medium-bodied. So very, very delicious! Pinot Noir food pairings: rich fish dishes, grilled pork roast. 141895 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

The Goatfather The Goats Do Roam Wine Company Sangiovese Barbera Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, W.O., Coastal Region, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: Here’s an offer you can’t refuse. Cheeky Charles Back of Fairview Wines and his ubiquitous goats are at it again with this special ‘family blend’ featuring the Italian varieties Sangiovese (54%) and Barbera (28%) as well as international superstar Cabernet Sauvignon (18%). Just in time for the holiday season, it’s the perfect gift for that wine-loving movie buff or goat herder in your life, or enjoy it yourself . You won’t fughetaboudit. My note: I love the sense of humour on this label and hey, the wine is good too! Not complex but what the heck do you want at this price? Ripe blackberries and black cherries. Smooth and full-bodied. A terrific grazing wine! Sangiovese Barbera Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: gnocchi, tomato sauce. 11072 14.6% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 86/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Landskroon Paul De Villiers Shiraz 2007, W.O., Paarl, South Africa: Vintages Wine Panel: Cellar master and owner, Paul de Villiers is a direct descendant of the French Huguenots who settled in the Cape in the 17th Century. This Shiraz won a Silver Medal at the prestigious Michelangelo International Wine Awards in 2009. Aged for 18 months in mostly new American oak, this 100% Shiraz is deep ruby-purple in colour and features aromas of light cocoa notes and ripe mixed berries. It’s dry, medium bodied with soft blueberry, blackberry and milk chocolate flavours balanced by medium acidity and ripe tannins. My note: A deep and delicious red with terrific mocha-rich macerated blackberries and cherries. Layers and layers of flavor goodness with an espresso-infused finish. Fantastic price. Shiraz food pairings: beef fillet with black pepper, grilled herb-encrusted lamb. 56432 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Juan Gil Monastrell 2008, D.O., Jumilla, De Cepas Viejas, Spain: Vintages Wine Panel: Juan Gil is a specialist with the Monastrell variety. This grape – also known by its French name, Mourvèdre – is thought to have originated in Spain, where select producers use it to produce intense, deeply coloured varietal wines. Here is a great example from Spain’s Jumilla region. The wine spends four months in a mix of French and American oak, adding toast and coconut accents to the floral, red fruit, and earthy aromas and flavours. Try it with mushroom and wild rice dishes, or savoury meat stews. My note: Purply, brambly greatness! Lip-smacking delicious: full-bodied with wondrously long flavor persistence (yes they’ll chase you). 13656 14.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Atteca Old Vines, Bodegas Ateca Garnacha 2007, D.O., Calatayud, Spain: This wine is made from garnacha grapes grown on vines 80 to 120 years old. Mocha, espresso notes encase the fleshy blackberry. 103473 14.6% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Puerta Bonita G5 Vinos Sin Ley S.L. Garnacha 2007, D.O., Vinos De Madrid, Spain: So different, love it! Dark peppered fruit with a plummy base. This wine is made from grapes grown on vines that are 120 years old. That means their flavours are very concentrated. Concentrated, deep and layered. 132266 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Celler De Capçanes Mas Donís Barrica Old Vines Garnacha Syrah 2007, D.O., Montsant, Spain: A lovely purple-coated wine with undernotes of brambleberry, blueberry and blackberry. This wine is a blend of 85% Garnacha (vines are more than 80 years old) and 15% Syrah. The wine was matured eight months in French and American oak, and bottled without fining and filtration. Full-bodied and terrific! 705863 14% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bodegas Ontañón Reserva Tempranillo 2004, D.O.C.A., Rioja, Spain: Terrific for the money with aristocratic balance and length. Black raspberry liqueur and an espresso finish. 725895 12.4% XD 750 mL $25.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: This classic Sonoma Cab is brimming with sensual aromas of cassis, toasty oak, black coffee, vanilla and spice. The dry palate is loaded with sweet fruit and toasted oak flavours which are nicely offset by a lively acidity. It’s a classy, medium full-bodied wine, with a long, fruity and firm finish. My note: I love this wine! Classic proportions and balance with enticing mocha-rich aromas on the nose followed by fleshy blackberries, raspberry preserves and a vanilla-spice finish. Part of the Vintages Essentials Collection . Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: beef carpaccio, filet mignon, grilled lamb chops. 352583 13% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 92/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Shafer One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Stags Leap District, Napa Valley, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: This wine doesn’t have the detail of their famed Hillside Select, but it’s remarkably close in quality. The texture, that signal aspect of SLD fruit, is layered and as rich as French roast coffee, with an underlying tension that keeps the wine focused on high-toned red fruit, dark earth and violet scents. It’s powerful and guarded when first poured, growing sleek and classical with a day of air. This should drink increasingly well over the next ten years. WSP. My note: Aristocratic New World elegance: one of the best-made California Cabernets, period. Love the way they bring it all together: lovely black fruit aromas, smoke, balance, length. 45476 14.5% D 750 mL $85.95 Score: 95/100. December 2009. Favourite Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gnarly Head Gnarlier Head Old Vine Zinfandel 2006, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: This Old Vine Zin impressed our panel, showcasing how “America’s grape” can make a wine that’s both fun-loving and serious at the same time. It’s bursting with ripe blackberry, black cherry, bramble and sweet oak aromas and flavours. Dry, full bodied with a soft, mouth-filling texture and an extraordinarily long finish. Finely balanced and drinking well now, it will pair beautifully with braised ribs. My note: Brambleberry and blueberry bright with a ripe, fleshy fruit core that brings you back to the glass sip after sip, guzzle after guzzle. Full-bodied, supple and satisfying. 67785 15% D 750 mL $27.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Pazzo Call Me Crazy Proprietary Red Bacio Divino Named Varietal Blends-Red 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: The seductive 2006 Pazzo may not be as rich as the 2005, but it offers a boatload of pleasure at a realistic price. It is a peppery, spicy, slightly herbal, deliciously fruity red that is meant to be consumed during its first 2-4 years of life. RP. My note: Dark cherry liqueur runs through it with a long lovely finish. Full-bodied doesn’t begin to describe it. 677708 14.6% XD 750 mL $34.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Inniskillin Niagara Estate Reserve Series Cabernet Franc 2007, Niagara-On-The-Lake, Canada: This mocha-rich, full-bodied red rolls over the tongue with wave after wave of flavor (and pleasure). Aromas of dark plums, blackberries, dark chocolate and just the right touch of oak round out this hedonistic wine. It's perfect for dinner parties and less formal gatherings when a robust red ties the evening together. Cabernet Franc food pairings: roasted lamb, duck confit, carbroiled steak; grilled chicken; game dishes with rich berry sauces. Drink: 2009 - 2015 91140 13.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hawkes Wine & Winery Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Sonoma County, California, United States: Rich, complex and full-bodied with layers of blackberry, mocha and black plum. Lovely acidity for balance with a terrific finish. Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: BBQ rib steak with blue-cheese butter;rare prime-rib. 146878 14.3% XD 750 mL $31.95 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Georges Gardet Champagne, A.C., Champagne, France: Vintages Wine Panel: For Champagne of this quality, this is a terrific value. This release will be from a more recent lot than the review below, but Gardet crafts a consistent house style. My note: A toasty great bubbly with white peach and green apple and freshly baked bread. 924654 12% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Favourite Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

J. Lassalle Préférence Brut, Premier Cru Champagne, A.C., Champagne, France: Vintages Wine Panel: The lot number and disgorgement date may differ from the review below but non-vintage Champagnes are designed in a consistent house style. The NV Brut Premier Cru Preference is a brighter more focused wine than the Cachet d’Or. The wine exhibits notable purity and focus in a medium-bodied style, as attractive suggestions of pears, flowers, mint, spices and minerals emerge. The lot # 4271 is identified on the cork, and this bottle was disgorged on January 14, 2008. AG. My note: A toasty, tasty bubble with pleasant approachability. 27615 12% XD 750 mL $48.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Veuve Clicquot Non-Vintage Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Champagne, A.C. Champagne, France: Notes of green apples, orange zest and white peach on the nose with toasty goodness through the core and finish. Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Champagne food pairings: potato chips, fried food, sushi, seafood, vegetarian dishes. Drink: 2008 - 2008 563338 12% D 750 mL $67.95 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Tabalí Tabalí Reserva Especial Chardonnay 2007, Limari Valley, Chile: Round and rich with lovely notes of green apple, toast and hazelnut. Balanced and satisfying. Drink: 2009 - 2011 663005 14% D 750 mL $18.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling 2008, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia: Searing line-petrol loveliness in a bottle! Don’t be afraid to try this very different style of wine and open up your world of hedonistic happiness. I love this for its difference, its zest and its embrace of life. 138537 12.5% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2007, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia: Terrific Chardonnay with generous layers of green apple, hazelnut, almond, vanilla spice and smoke. Full-bodied and lip-smacking delicious. Chardonnay food pairings: grilled salmon steaks, lobster, sushi. 611228 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hugo Markus Huber Grüner Veltliner 2008, Niederösterreich, Austria: Vintages Wine Panel: Even with its difficult-to-pronounce name, Grüner Veltliner (Groon-er VELT-lynn-er) has become the white wine of choice amongst the smart set in Ontario. Grüner is known for producing quite aromatic and fruity wine with a vibrant, crisp acidity and spicy undertone. Huber’s ‘Hugo’ was launched with the 2003 vintage as an opportunity for customers to experience the wonders of Grüner at a value price. My note: A green line of refreshment with a white pepper laser focus of grapefruit, green melon and lime. No oak. Grüner Veltliner food pairings: spiced seafood, chicken paprika. 641506 11.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Le Clos Jordanne Village Reserve Chardonnay 2007, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Le Clos Jordanne makes some of the Niagara’s most sought-after Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. The talented Thomas Bachelder was honoured as Winemaker of the Year at the 2009 Ontario Wine Awards. An incredible value, the ’07 Village Reserve Chardonnay is once again stellar and a great addition to any holiday table. Look for aromas and flavours of ripe citrus fruit, rich peach, vanilla and hazelnut, all balanced by fresh acidity and leading to a very long finish. My note: Luxurious hazelnut-apricot-apple goodness: dripping with opulence yet it’s balanced and laser-focused. Canada’s benchmark Chardonnay: to paraphrase Trudeau, watch them! 33936 13.5% XD 750 mL $25.00 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Creekside Estate Winery Reserve Chardonnay 2006, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: Creekside’s reserve line is, well, reserved for the best wines of the vintage. After an extensive barrel selection process, the finished wines represent the cream of the crop. This Chardonnay was fermented with wild yeast and then matured for 10 months in French barriques (60% new). The result is an impeccably balanced wine with a wonderful core of apple and tropical fruit surrounded by a delightful toastiness. This impressive wine will reward 2-5 years in a cellar, or enjoy it tonight. My note: A lovely, full-bodied Chardonnay with aromas of ripe pear and green apple. Chardonnay food pairings: stuffed pork tenderloin. 49593 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Errazuriz Aconcagua Costa Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Aconcagua Valley, Chile: Mouth-wateringly herbal and grassy: very refreshing! Chives, gooseberry, lemongrass and grapefruit. Very vibrant and worth your attention. 135426 13.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 89/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Eblin-Fuchs Ellenwihr Riesling 2007, A.C., Alsace, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This organic wine contains just 23 mg/L of free sulphur. It’s fairly light on its feet with pure citrus flavours, zesty acidity and a pretty, crisp apple finish. My note: This seeringly bone-dry wine cries out for food! Aromas of grapefruit and tart limes. Terrific mouth-watering acidity. Riesling food pairings: fish stew, charcuterie, sashimi, sushi. 141234 12.8% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Edmond Rentz Reserve Gewurztraminer 2008, A.C., Alsace, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Gewurztraminer absolutely thrives in the vineyards of Alsace. The terroir is exactly what this aromatic, intense grape needs to produce balanced, deeply delicious wines that are both great sippers and excellent food matchers. My note: Soooo very pretty! Floral, lychee and white peach: wow this is stunning! It may be an acquired taste, but once you acquire it, you’ll be happier. Full-bodied, unctuous (love suing that word) and beautifully textured. Gewurztraminer food pairings: spiced Asian food, smoked fish, pork tenderloin, grilled prawns, roast stuffed chicken. 141721 14.1% MD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Helfrich Pinot Gris 2008, A.C., Alsace, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Pinot Gris is a very versatile, characterful partner for a variety of foods. My note: This wine makes my mouth water just smelling it! Aromas of ultra-ripe peaches and pears, with a little apricot and orange zest in the background play with your senses. Then in your mouth, this wine does more of that wonderful mouth-watering action to whet you appetite. It finishes dry and refreshing. Terrific! Pinot Gris food pairings: lighter appetizers, fish, seafood, poultry, pork. 141788 12.6% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château Haut Selve Sca Des Châteaux Branda Et Cadillac Sémillon Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon Gris 2007, A.C., Graves, Bordeaux, France: This wine is comprised of 50% Sémillon, 35% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Sauvignon Gris. Lovely and alluring lemon spice on the nose following by mouth-watering luxury and layers in the mouth. Some ripe apricot on the finish. Not heavily oaked, lovely balance. 682369 12.5% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt Riesling Kabinett 2004, Q.M.P, Graacher Domprobst, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany: Vintages Wine Panel: For a five-year-old Riesling, it is still remarkably youthful in colour, aromas and flavours. Colour is medium yellow gold with a pretty green tinge still evident. The nose is complicated, with pear, apple, apricot, grapefruit, petrol, lemon custard and lime all being suggested. Medium in sweetness at first, then it almost immediately dries out to medium dry due to good acid crispness. Body is medium, but the finish is elegant and lengthy. My note: Soft, fragrant, floral and so very alluring! Light- to medium-bodied with ripe note of peach, pear and apricot. A touch of sweetness makes it perfect for many dishes yet this is balanced with terrific acidity. Riesling Kabinett food pairings: salmon steaks with lemon-dill sauce, pâté, cold cuts, grilled pork chops. 140772 10% M 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

L'armangia Il Giai Giovine Ignazio Moscato D'asti 2008, D.O.C.G., Piedmont, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: This tasty, frothy Moscato d’Asti is a unique treat. Alive with floral aromas and a touch of heady sweetness on the nose. The palate is brimming with cascades of candied fruit and fresh flowers, with a moderate sweetness rounded out by the effervescent texture. These traits, combined with the lower alcohol percentage (5%), makes it an ideal sipper as an intermezzo with sorbet, at the close of a meal or with a light dessert. My note: Lovely, lovely flavour: make yourself instantly happy with this lightly effervescent bubbly. Ripe peach, peach and apricot. The perfect aperitif. 135632 5.3% MS 750 mL $14.95 Score: 91/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cloudy Bay Vineyards Ltd Chardonnay 2007, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: A toweringly beautiful Chardonnay with rich aromas of ripe peach, pear, hazelnut, butterscotch and vanilla smoke. Balanced, deep and long. Ultimately satisfying. A Chardonnay lover’s Chardonnay. 359513 14% D 750 mL $37.95 Score: 93/100. December 2009. Favourite White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Chateau Montelena Chardonnay 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: A lovely Chardonnay with enticing notes of white peaches, pear, green apple, almond and smoke. Full-bodied and dry. 701748 13.7% XD 750 mL $53.95 Score: 90/100. December 2009. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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