Natalie MacLean - delicious wine picks and pairings

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Peter Wilkins

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Filus Torrontés 2011, Salta, Argentina: Pretty and simple with lots of light laughter and pleasure. White flowers and lime lift. Drink: 2012-2014. 273581 13.10% XD 750 mL  $13.95 Score: 88/100. April 14, 2012 Best Value White Wine. Full Review
Kaiken Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Mendoza, Argentina: A stunning quality and taste for this price point! Rich and full-bodied with lip-smacking delicious black fruit aromas and just enough toasty oak. Vibrant and alive. Drink: 2012-2015. 143248 14% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 89/100. May 12, 2012 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Benmarco Dominio Del Plata Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Mendoza, Argentina: Classic cassis and blackcurrant aromas in this robust red wine from one of Argentina's best winemakers. Savoury, juicy and full-bodied. Great price! Try it with a hearty meat dish. Drink: 2014-2019. 232637 14% XD 750 mL  $18.95 Score: 91/100. April 26, 2014 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Graffigna Grand Reserve Malbec 2010, San Juan, Argentina: Smoky with dark fruit: perfect for barbecues! Lots of rich flavour here with a satisfying full-bodied texture. Fire up the grill and crack open a bottle! This is one of Argentina’s best malbecs at this price point and previous vintages of the wine have won numerous awards in competition. Stock up now for your early spring and summer gatherings, especially though on the patio with the grill as this wine will drink beautifully. Drink: 2012-2016. 162149 14.50% D 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 91/100. June 8, 2013 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Crios Dominio Del Plata S.A. Torrontés 2012, Argentina, Argentina: A profusion of white flowers and happiness on the nose. Just the right amount of acidity for almost all dishes, except maybe steak. Lively and pretty on the palate with another field of white flowers. This also works nicely as an aperitif on a sunny patio as the sun warms your shoulders. Have another sip. Life is beautiful. Drink: 2012-2016. 1834 13.50% D 750 mL  $13.95 Score: 89/100. June 8, 2013 Best Value White Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Alamos Seleccion Malbec 2010, Mendoza, Argentina: A robust red with great depth and complexity at an excellent price point. The grapes for this red are grown in the the San Carlos region in the Uco Valley. Syrah add so much character to this blend with fleshy blackberries and cherries. It's full-bodied, balanced and smooth. Perfect for barbecues. Drink: 2012-2016. 322800 13.50% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 91/100. June 8, 2013 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Finca El Origen Reserva Torrontés 2010, Cafayate Valley, Salta, Argentina: White floral aromas and a profusion of peach-pear happiness. Try this white if you haven't and open your world to more happiness. Drink: 2012-2014. 262089 14% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 89/100. April 28, 2012 Best Value White Wine. Charming Grilled Chicken Wine Full Review
De Bortoli Wines - Yarra Valley Gulf Station Pinot Noir 2011, Yarra Valley, Victoria, Australia: Love it! Bright and vibrant with cherry-berry fruit. Medium- to full-bodied and satin smooth. A true hedonist's wine. The grapes for this wine come from the Brookland Vineyard. It has a fleshy cherry vivacity on the palate as well. Lots of mouth-watering acidity. Some dark spices and attractive red berries on the finish. Terrific for planked salmon or roast beef. Drink: 2012-2016. 15511 13% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 93/100. May 25, 2013 Top Rated Red Wine. Perfect Pasta and Tomato Sauce Wine Full Review
Josef Chromy 2008, Tasmania, Australia: This bubbly hails from the cool climate of Tasmania, where it excels in making other cool climate wines such Pinot Noir, part of this blend. Aromas of mixed spices, freshly baked bread and green apple dominate in this vibrant sparkling wine. Pair with shellfish. Drink: 2013-2017. 393629 12.50% D 750 mL  $29.95 Score: 90/100. December 6, 2014 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Oscar's Estate Vineyard Shiraz Viognier 2011, Barossa Valley, South Australia, Australia: This could be the ultimate hamburger wine! Full-bodied, generous, juicy and crowd-pleasing: it's ready to get on the table beside all the fixins. Suffused with black fruit, pepper and dark spice, this is a wine that is as essential as mustard and ketchup with hamburger feast. Drink: 2014-2018. 287961 15.90% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 93/100. May 10, 2014 Best Value Red Wine. Heavenly Hamburger Wine Full Review
Domaine de Grand Pré Vintner's Reserve L'acadie Blanc 2010, Nova Scotia, Annapolis Valley, Canada: A clean, crisp white with great acidity for shellfish and seafood. Light- to medium-bodied. Food matches: shellfish, poultry and veal. Drink: 2012-2014. 3463000012 12% XD 750 mL  $15.91 Score: 89/100. March 1, 2012 Full Review
Flat Rock Cellars Riesling 2012, V.Q.A., Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Soooooo lovely! Apricot and honeysuckle aromas give this wine a lovely, natural fruit fleshiness and sweetness, but this wine is never cloying as it's beautifully balanced with mouth-watering acidity for a wide range of dishes. Luscious and seductive with a medium body and long finish. Highly recommended. Drink: 2012-2017. 43281 11% MD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 91/100. January 4, 2014 Best Value White Wine. Charming Grilled Chicken Wine Full Review
Keint-he Winery and Vineyards Voyageur Pinot Noir 2012, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: A lovely, silky medium-bodied red wine with attractive aromas of fleshy berry and dark cherry with some spice on the finish. Nice aperitif or companion to seafood or roast turkey. Drink: 2013-2016. 373407 12.50% D 750 mL  $18.00 Score: 90/100. April 26, 2014 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Smoke & Gamble Reserve Cabernet Merlot 2010, V.Q.A., Ontario, Canada: Lovely balance in this full-bodied, supple red. Lots of character but not heavy. Dark fruit, smoke with a long finish. A blend of 49.5% merlot, 37.2% cabernet sauvignon and 13.3% cabernet sauvignon. Drink: 2013-2016. 332825 13.60% XD 750 mL  $18.95 Score: 89/100. April 27, 2013 Complete Cheese Pizza Wine Full Review
Featherstone Winery Cabernet Franc 2012, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A rich, medium- to full-bodied red wine with enticing aromas of mocha and black fruit. There's a savoury note on the mid-palate with a satisfying long finish. Perfect for dinner parties and more casual get-togethers. This wine was matured in American oak. Decant 1 hour for maximum pleasure. Try it with grilled pork chops. Drink: 2013-2017. 64618 12.30% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 89/100. July 16, 2014 Luscious Lamb Wine Full Review
Henry of Pelham Winery Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling White, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, VQA, Canada: This sparkling gets better every year, even though it's not vintage-dated. Lovely finesse and mousse with green apple vibrancy. The grapes were hand-picked in 50 pound lugs so they weren't bruised. The winery does press fractioning meaning the first bit of the juice (the head) and the last bit (the tail) aren't used in the wine just the juiciest, tastiest part of the juice. They also use the traditional Champagne method to make the wine. The wine spends 30 months on the lees which gives it a creamy texture. Serve as an aperitif on its own or add 1 oz. of Riesling Icewine or 1 oz of Cabernet Franc Icewine to 3 oz of Cuvee Catharine to make a Kir Catharine. Drink: 2010-2013. 217521 12% D 750 mL  $29.95 Score: 91/100. October 17, 2013 Gorgeous Gift Wine Full Review
Mike Weir Winery Riesling 2008, V.Q.A., Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada: Mineral-petrol nose with fleshy ripe peach. A touch a sweetness makes this very food friendly. Great mouth-watering acidity. Drink: 2012-2016. 229286 11% M 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 89/100. February 18, 2012 Best Value White Wine. Full Review
Strewn Winery Gewurztraminer Riesling 2010, Niagara, Ontario VQA, Canada  467662 11.80%  750 mL  $11.95. March 1, 2012 Full Review
Calamus 2008 Cab Sauv. 2008, Niagara Lincoln Lakeshore, Canada Drink: 2012-2015. . March 1, 2012 Full Review
O'Leary Wines Vineland Estates Cabernet Merlot 2010, V.Q.A., Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada: Smoky with mocha richness that wraps around fleshy black plums. Shows pride of place along with a jubilant P/T multiple (price: taste). Pretty darn amazing really for the price. Drink: 2012-2016. 779327110067 13% D 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 89/100. August 3, 2012 Best Beef Wine Full Review
Terra Noble Gran Reserva Carmenère 2009, Maule Valley, Chile: Gorgeous! Layers with voluptuously fleshy black plums and berries. This wine goes on and on and on. Thank-you. Drink: 2012-2015. 957050 13.50% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 92/100. September 29, 2012 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Cono Sur Carmenere Syrah Rose 2010, Chile: Fleshy ripe strawberries and raspberries tickle your nose and senses. Terrific mouth-watering acidity makes it a wonderful companion to salads and seafood. This is a robust, flavourful rose. Drink: 2010-2012. 234567 13.50% MD 750 mL  $9.90 Score: 87/100. January 3, 2012 Full Review
Errazuriz Single Vineyard, Max Reserva Estates Carmenère 2009, Aconcagua Valley, Chile: An incredible wine for the price! Gorgeous layers of plush black plums with a smoky weave that takes you right along to the finish. Lovely! Drink: 2012-2016. 273300 14.50% XD 750 mL  $18.95 Score: 91/100. March 3, 2012 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Domaines Roche Château Croze De Pys Prestige Malbec 2009, A.C., Cahors, Midi, France: A rich, full-bodied red with black fruit and smoke aromas. This wine is a blend of Malbec and Merlot grapes, from a family who has been growing vines since 1773 in this region. This red displays that history with lots of heft, concentration and depth. It finishes with some pepper and smoke. I'd drink it with brisket or prime rib. Drink: 2012-2016. 681668 13% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 91/100. May 11, 2013 Best Value Red Wine. Complete Cheese Pizza Wine Full Review
La Vieille Ferme Rosé 2011, Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France: Incredibly great price for a wine of this quality and taste! Bone-dry and refreshing with lovely aromas of field raspberries. Yum! Drink: 2011-2013. 622134 13.50% XD 750 mL  $10.95 Score: 88/100. June 22, 2012 Full Review
Remy Pannier Rosé D'anjou 2007, Loire Valley, France: Absolutely delightful! Summer sunshine in a glass and great refreshment for when it's hot. Light and carefree with notes of ripe strawberries. Drink: 2007-2009. 12641 10% D 750 mL  $12.95 Score: 87/100. May 7, 2009 Full Review
Santa Margherita Brut Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene, D.O.C., Veneto, Italy: Wonderful bubbly, packed with peach and pear notes! Want to service bubbly at your wedding or large reception but not break the bank? This is your go-to sparkler. Can’t beat the value/taste/price ratio. Yum! 687582 11.50% XD 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 89/100. September 4, 2010 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Full Review
La Fiole Prosecco, Veneto, Italy: Excellent value for this toasty, crisp Italian sparkling wine. Serve as an elegant aperitif or companion to fresh seafood. Drink: 2013-2016. 394577 11% D 750 mL  $15.60 Score: 89/100. November 15, 2014 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Villa Maria Private Bin Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand: The Hawke's Bay region of New Zealand tends to be warmer than Marlborough (especially the nights are not as cool), thus it's better known for later ripening grapes such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Villa Maria demonstrates this amply in the glass with a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet grapes. A special area known as Gimlet Gravels provides most of the fruit for this wine and yet it's only 800 hectares in total, with old soils of fractured rock that are free draining which means the vines suffer as they should to produce great wine for you. In fact, you can go down 20 to 30 feet here and still find gravel as this was an old river bed that became exposed in the 1880s after an earthquake. This wine is amazing in that it delivers far more heft, weight and dark fruit flavour than you'd expect from just 12.5% alcohol. Yay! Drink: 2013-2018. 310300 12.50% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 89/100. February 1, 2015 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Villa Maria Cellar Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2012, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Wow, what a stunner! A profusion of lime and lemongrass mingles with bright nuances of grapefruit and chives. Even though this lovely New Zealand white wine is laser-focused in its crisp cleanness, there's also depth and richness here. Perfect for such a wide range of dishes from fresh seafood to herbed chicken. Lip-smacking delicious! Drink: 2014-2017. 974527 13% D 750 mL  $21.95 Score: 94/100. February 15, 2014 Top Rated White Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: Vintages Wine Panel: This is the half-bottle size of our fine Essentials Collection product (035386). A great wine for two. My note: My go-to Sauvignon Blanc when I want to be sure I’m getting great lime-chive refreshment at a reasonable price. This is classic and deserves the spectacular reputation it has. Drink: 2011-2014. 160085 13% XD 375 mL  $9.95 Score: 89/100. August 20, 2011 Full Review
Spinyback By Waimea Pinot Noir 2009, Nelson, South Island, New Zealand: Sweet cherry fruit and some spice with a plush medium-to full-bodied weight. Incredibly great price Drink: 2009-2014. 60079 14% D 750 mL  $15.95 Score: 88/100. June 11, 2011 Complete Cheese Pizza Wine Full Review
José Maria Da Fonseca & Van Zeller Vintage Port 2000, D.O.C., Douro, Portugal: A spectacular port from a classic vintage that's an incredible value at this price. Layers of fleshy black plum and blackberry flood the senses. Full-bodied, textured and layered with a long finish. This port would make a terrific conclusion to any meal. Pair it with chocolate desserts and quiet conversation. Drink: 2014-2020. 339200 19% S 750 mL  $24.95 Score: 96/100. October 26, 2013 Top Rated Dessert Wine. Divine Dessert Wine Full Review
Poças Special Reserve Tawny Manoel D. Poças Jr. Port, D.O.C., Douro, Portugal: Very satisfying after-dinner drink. Toffee and coffee without being overly sweet. Drink: 2012-2018. 286229 20% S 750 mL  $15.95 Score: 88/100. October 13, 2012 Best Value Dessert Wine. Full Review
Graham Beck Shiraz 2009, W.O., Coastal Region, South Africa: This wine was aged in French and American oak for about a year and a half. It displays alluring aromas of dark fleshy plums, smoke, espresso and even some attractive tarry notes for extra depth. Incredible concentration and power with a long finish. Great with hearty meat dishes. Drink: 2010-2016. 607796 14% D 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 93/100. May 25, 2013 Top Rated Red Wine. Charming Grilled Chicken Wine Full Review
Obikwa Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Western Cape, South Africa: A pleasant, full-bodied red with an amazing price. It's smooth with toasty oak and some tasty blackberry aromas. Drink: 2010-2013. 662323 13% D 750 mL  $8.95 Score: 87/100. January 3, 2012 Full Review
Freixenet Cordon Rosado Cava, Penedes, Spain: How festive is this pink bubbly? Aromas of ripe field raspberries tickle your note. Float a raspberry on top for an extra festive touch. Drink: 2014-2016. 217059 11.50% XD 750 mL  $13.95 Score: 88/100. August 15, 2014 Favorite Sparkling Wine. Enchanting Feta Cheese Wine Full Review
Codorníu Selección Raventós Brut Cava, D.O., Spain: You can't beat the price of this Spanish bubbly. Fresh, crisp and toasty. Drink: 2014-2015. 521773 12.50% D 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 87/100. November 8, 2014 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Fantastic Fried Chicken Wine Full Review
Valdemar Inspiración Selección 2010, Rioja D.O.C.A., Spain: This DOCA appellation wine is complex and layered with aromas of dark fruit, smoke and savoury notes of bacon. It's a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Graciano grapes that was matured for 10 months in French and American oak barrels. Black and purple plum liqueur concentration with a dry finish. Amazing for the price. New World power, Old World finish. Highly recommended. Drink: 2014-2019. 166512 13.50% XD 750 mL  $17.00 Score: 90/100. May 10, 2014 Best Value Red Wine. Luscious Lamb Wine Full Review
Marques de Riscal Reserva 2008, Rioja, Spain Drink: 2012-2020. 32656 14% XD 750 mL  $22.10. March 1, 2012 Full Review
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava Sparkling, D.O. Penedès, Spain: This crisp, refreshing sparkling wine is made from the local grapes Macabeo and Parellada. This bubbly almost leaps from the glass with aromas of baked bread, green apple and lees. Very dry and zesty. Great fizz for the New Year or with shellfish. Drink: 2013-2015. 216960 12% XD 750 mL  $14.25 Score: 89/100. December 7, 2013 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Gorgeous Gift 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: 2013-2018. 392548 12.50% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 94/100. December 6, 2014 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Sonoma County, United States: Mocha and cedar brush on the nose of this attractive, full-bodied, supple Californian red wine. The palate continues on a savoury note, with some smoke and wild blackberry. Beautifully balanced. Great value for this price. Drink: 2013-2018. 292151 13.50% XD 750 mL  $18.95 Score: 90/100. February 1, 2015 Best Beef Wine Full Review
Ravenswood Vintners Blend Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, California, United States: Ravenswood is known for very full-bodied zinfandels, and this cabernet is also robust, but in a smooth, balanced and mouth-watering way. Packed with blackberry and cassis flavours with some smoke on the finish. Terrific! Ravenswood is one of the famous three R's of California wineries famous for their Zinfandel (Ridge and Rosenblum being the other two), which sometimes overshadows just how well they make Cabernet Sauvignon. Don't blame me if you get hooked on this cab: I warned you. Pair with prime rib. Drink: 2013-2018. 606632 13.50% D 750 mL  $17.95 Score: 91/100. January 24, 2015 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review
Ste. Michelle Wine Estates 14 Hands Hot to Trot Red Blend Hot to Trot 14 Hands Vineyards Columbia Valley 2009, Washington, United States: Dynamite for the price! Simply wow. Smooth, full-bodied and packed with luscious dark plum and blackberry aromas. This wine takes its name from the time when wild mustang horses ran freely around the hills of eastern Washington State where this wine is made. Drink: 2010-2014. 226522 13.50% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 89/100. January 3, 2012 Heavenly Hamburger Wine Full Review

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