Natalie MacLean - delicious wine picks and pairings

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Russell McDowell

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Vina cobos Felino Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina: The Malbec grapes for this elegant red wine are selected from several mountain vineyards in the Uco Valley and Lujan de Cuyon districts of the Mendoza wine region that are planted at altitudes of 2,300 and 3,800 feet above sea level. The cool nights high on the mountainside where the vines for this wine are planted provide a lively, vibrant balance for this full-bodied wine that is redolent of blackberry and black cherry. Terrific smoky finish with a lingering note of dried herbs. Finishes with attractive black fruit and minerality. Polished tannins. Pair with prime rib. This unfiltered Argentine red wine is produced by the renowned Californian winemaking consultant Paul Hobbs. Drink: 2016-2020. 118067 14.50% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 93/100. January 27, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Perfect Pasta and Tomato Sauce Wine Full Review
Susana Balbo Signature Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Uco Valley, Mendoza, Argentina: Robust and savoury with blackberry and wild cassis. Firm tannic grip. A great value. Pair with a rare steak. Dominio del Plata produces this blend of 95% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and 5% Merlot grown at 1,160 metres above sea level. The wine was aged for 13 months in 80% new French oak barrels and 20% second use French oak. Winemaker Susana Balbo has been unofficially dubbed the "Evita of Wine" in her native Argentina. She had been making superb wine for 25 years as a winemaking consultant before establishing her own winery, Dominio del Plata, in 1999. The Signature line of wines are her premium portfolio. Drink: 2016-2020. 260919 14% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 91/100. January 27, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Harmonious Hard Cheese Wine Full Review
Fincas Patagonicas Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina: Pitch black in flavour and hue: this is a brooding, blockbuster, don't mess with me wine. Holy smoke. Black currant, black, charred plum and roasted blackberry. This wine has walked through the fires of hell and lived to tell the tale. Pair with grilled meats. It's the only thing this wine knows. Drink: 2017-2022. 450155 14.20% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 92/100. August 5, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Plush Pork Wine Full Review
La Linda Old Vines Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina: A juicy, full-bodied Argentine red wine made from the Malbec grape. Aromas of fleshy black plums, cracked black pepper and smoke. The vines are planted at 960 metres above sea level in the Andes Ridge of the Mendoza region. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2014-2019. 507442 13.40% D 750 mL  $15.95 Score: 88/100. October 30, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Miss Harry Grenache Syrah Mourvèdre 2013, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia: Full-bodied, smooth and supple with black plums, some mint and smoke. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Shiraz, Mouvedre, Cinsault grapes. Spice and smoke on the finish. Pair with barbecued spare ribs. Drink: 2017-2022. 107870 14% XD 750 mL  $23.95 Score: 91/100. March 18, 2017 Top Rated Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Wynns Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay 2015, Coonawarra, South Australia, Australia: This robust Australian Chardonnay was fermented in oak barrels to add richness and depth. Drink: 2016-2020. 468728 13% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 92/100. July 8, 2017 Best Value White Wine. Cool Creamy Cheese Wine Full Review
Dirty Laundry Vineyard Not So Knotty Chardonnay 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia V.Q.A., Canada: This fresh, crisp BC white wine made from Chardonnay grapes and is unoaked, thus the reference to "Not so knotty" (wood). Reminds me more of fresh linens on a spring day than Dirty Laundry with aromas of lime and lemon zest. Pair with crossing off the last item on your chores list and fresh seafood. Drink: 2016-2019. 353144 13.90% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 30, 2016 Best Value White Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut Sparkling Wine, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia Bc V.Q.A., Canada: Drink: 2017-2022. 206326 13% XD 750 mL  $30.95. November 11, 2017 Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Vineland Elevation St. Urban Vineyard Riesling 2015, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario Vqa, Canada: Another terrific off-dry Vineland Riesling from the solid 2014 vintage. Aromas of lime and lemon zest with a deep core of minerality. Pair with fresh halibut in a beurre blanc sauce. Drink: 2016-2020. 38117 8.40% M 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 90/100. March 18, 2017 Best Value White Wine. Calm Curry Wine Full Review
Quails' Gate Estate Winery Old Vines Foch Reserve 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC VQA, Canada: A gorgeously rich and complex red wine made form old vines foch grapes from BC with deep, dark plum flavours, smoke and spice. Pair with grilled meats. Decant 1 hour. Drink: 2015-2020. 639666 14.50% D 750 mL  $24.95 Score: 92/100. October 30, 2017 Top Rated Red Wine. Luscious Lamb Wine Full Review
San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Carmenere 2014, Maule Valley, Chile: Wow, this single vineyard Carmenere rocks! Carmenere is arguably the flagship red wine of Chile. It has it all: concentrated, rich black fruit flavours and depth, yet it's supple and smooth with a long finish. Velvet on the palate, lingering in the mind. The wines from San Pedro's 1865 line come from its own vineyard planted with a specific variety. The Carmenere comes from the winery's property in the Maule Valley, with rolling hillside vineyards averaging 20 years of age and planted in alluvial soil with angular stones to control plant vigour. This robust red wine finishes with notes of cassis and dried tobacco. Great balance and depth. Try it with a rack of lamb tonight. Highly recommended. Drink: 2016-2019. 249201 14.50% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 92/100. December 30, 2016 Best Value Red Wine. Glorious Game Wine Full Review
Vina Montgras Amaral Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Leyda Valley, Chile: A terrific, delicious Chilean white wine for the money. Clean notes of lime and lemon, with a citrus lift on the finish. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the cool-climate Chilean region of the Leyda Valley that borders and is moderated by the Pacific Ocean. Pair with shellfish. Drink: 2016-2017. 367292 13.50% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 91/100. December 30, 2016 Best Value White Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Domaine De Vaugandy Brut, Vouvray, Loire, France: Full-bodied, robust dry French bubbly. Good value with lots of sensory pleasure. Great price. Finishes with lime citrus, Asian pear and green apple. Pair with fresh seafood. Drink: 2016-2019. 154567 12% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 91/100. November 26, 2016 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Château Peyros Cabernet Franc Tannat 2011, Madiran, South West A.C., France: Tanned leather and black fruit with a good grip on this full-bodied red wine. Great price. Perfect for hearty meat dishes. The quality designation for this wine is AC. This is a robust southern French red wine blend of 60% Tannat and 40% Cabernet grapes, both offering lots of tannic grip on the palate. Aromas of black raspberry, liquorice and clove-spice. Drink: 2016-2019. 208249 13.50% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 90/100. January 27, 2017 Top Rated Red Wine. Glorious Game Wine Full Review
Cave De Hoen Mausberg Brut Crémant D'alsace Blanc De Blancs, Alsace A.C., France: Toasty and refreshing with an expensive looking label which is always a plus at fancy get-togethers where you don’t want to blow the budget but serve good stuff. White peach and melon and baked bread. The Alsace wine region is right next to Champagne, so it shares many similarities in climate and soil, and thus style. Pair with sushi and shellfish. Drink: 2017-2020. 171785 12.50% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 90/100. August 5, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Famille Perrin Réserve 2015, Côtes Du Rhône, Rhône A.C., France: This moderately priced southern French white wine blend is produced by the Perrin family, who also make the coveted Chateau de Beaucastel and have been making wine for five generations. Lovely French white wine from the Rhone Valley! Not too oaky or fruity: a delicious blend of earth and sunshine. Full-bodied with layers of Asian pear and a hint of smoke in this AC wine. Lots of energy and character in this Old World charmer. Primarily made from the Grenache Blanc grape, with some smoke and melon on the finish. Great price. Lovely lick of lime zest on the finish. Pair with pasta or seafood in a cream sauce. Drink: 2016-2019. 499509 13.50% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 90/100. September 30, 2017 Best Value White Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Foss Maraï Prosecco, Veneto, Italy: Very crisp and dry Italian sparkling wine, with white peach and grapefruit aromas and flavours. Mouth-watering and juicy. Great aperitif or pair with fresh seafood. Drink: 2016-2019. 729392 11.50% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 89/100. January 8, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Splendid Salad Wine Full Review
Ruffino Prosecco, Tuscany, Italy: A fresh, crisp, vibrant Italian sparkling wine with attractive aromas of freshly cut lemon and lime. This Prosecco makes for a wonderful aperitif or pair it with seafood, shellfish and friend chicken. Drink: 2016-2019. 467811 13.50% D 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 91/100. January 8, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Full Review
Tenuta S. Anna Di Valdobbiadene Prosecco, Veneto D.O.C.G., Italy: White peach refreshing. Toasty and summery. Perfect for big parties and weddings. Drink: 2016-2018. 281386 11.50% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 90/100. September 2, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Sartori Montegradella Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2012, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: An extraordinary wine for the price! Wowsers. Mocha and smoke wrap around fleshy black plums. Voluptuous and luxurious, with full-bodied weight and a rich texture. The Sartori 2012 Valpolicella Classico Superiore offers lots of pleasure in the glass. Full-bodied with attractive aromas of dark fruit, spice and smoke. Perfect for tomato and meat sauces or hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2016-2020. 473157 14% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 92/100. December 30, 2016 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Oyster Bay Cuvée Rosé, Marlborough, New Zealand: A lovely persistence of tiny bubbles beading along the sides of the glass in this toasty New Zealand sparkling wine. Aromas of citrus spice and strawberry flan. The chardonnay grapes in this blend come from Hawkes Bay region, while pinot noir grapes hail from Marlborough. Lovely persistence of flavours and bubbles. Crisp, clean finish. A solid value for a sparkling wine: crisp, clean and fresh. Try with fried fish, potato chips, roast turkey and New Year's resolutions. Stock up now for the holidays! Drink: 2017-2020. 280172 12% D 750 mL  $21.95 Score: 91/100. July 8, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Oyster Bay Merlot 2015, Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand: Savoury and juicy with lip-smacking delicious fleshy black plum aromas on the nose and palate. Round, smooth, supple Merlot with a saucy, spicy finish. Medium- to almost full-bodied. This would be a great match for grilled lamb. Drink: 2017-2020. 692343 13.50% D 750 mL  $18.95 Score: 90/100. September 30, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Remarkable Roast Chicken Wine Full Review
Quinta do Crasto 2015, Douro Valley DOC, Portugal: Terrific price for this juicy unoaked robust Portuguese red with good balance and concentration of flavour. This blend of four indigenous grapes offers aromas of cedar, black cherry and cranberry. Plushly textured. This producer is one of five in the Douro Valley known as the Douro Boys. Drink: 2016-2019. 81588 13.50% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 88/100. October 30, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Mooiplaas Estate The Coffee Bean Pinotage 2016, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: Totally coffee-espresso on the nose and palate of this pinotage, and unapologetically (and delightfully) so. Weirdly wonderful: end your day with the alcoholic version of your morning coffee. Full-bodied and smooth red wine with some black fruit flavours as well. The coffee-style pinotage has become popular among South African winemakers. The grape Pinotage, the most iconic red wine for South Africa, was originally created by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes. Produced by Mooiplaas Wines, this red wine is robust, rugged and full of character. The espresso notes are derived from both the toasting and type of French oak barrels in which the wine is aged. Try it with gourmet hamburgers or meat lovers' pizza. Drink: 2017-2022. 251165 14% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 90/100. August 5, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Luscious Lamb Wine Full Review
Cathedral Cellar Brut Sparkling 2010, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: A crisp, fresh South African sparkling wine with toasty aromas and green apple freshness. This South African bubbly was made using the Méthode Cap Classique, which is similar the Méthode Traditionnelle or the traditional method of the second fermentation in the bottle, as they do in the Champagne region. The winery's cellar is cathedral vaulted with stained glass thus the name. Pair with fresh shellfish or fried chicken. Drink: 2017-2019. 296426 12% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 91/100. July 22, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Cathedral Cellar Kwv Triptych Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: This WO-designated wine is smooth, smoky and delicious with full-bodied layers of fleshy black plums. Amazingly great price for the quality. This wine is a blend that leads with cabernet sauvignon, but also includes shiraz and merlot grapes. Just enough toasty oak aging to bring this whole delicious package together. Good finish. Try it tonight with meat lovers pizza. Drink: 2016-2019. 53124 14% D 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 91/100. December 30, 2016 Best Value Red Wine. Glorious Game Wine Full Review
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Penedes, Spain: Superb value! Toasty, earthy, dry and refreshing sparkling wine that's a fraction of the cost of Champagne. Lovely yeasty notes on the nose with some toasted apple and almond on the finish. Stock up for your parties and weddings now. Drink: 2017-2020. 216960 12% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 90/100. September 4, 2017 Best Value White Wine. Full Review
Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut Cava, Penedès D.O., Spain: A delightful, flavourful Spanish sparkling wine from one of the country's best producers. This is a fraction of the price of Champagne, and yet performs at that level. Crisp with lime lift and a long fresh finish. Drink: 2016-2021. 392548 12% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 94/100. August 5, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review

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