Good Value Wines May 2004
By Natalie MacLean
Dry Rose and Sweet Dessert Wines
2002 RIESLING ICEWINE HENRY OF PELHAM, Product # 430561, Niagara, Ontario $56.65 (375 ml half bottle): Nectar of the gods that it dessert on its own or lovely with a fruit flan or crème brulee. Score: 90/100.
2003 VINA VILANO ROSADO 386383, Rose Still Table Wine, Ribera Del Duero, Spain, Bodegas Vina Vilano $11: Light rosewater and perfumed nose. A dry wine with a pleasant, slightly bitter finish that would be excellent with cold chicken, pate and other picnic fare. Serve slightly chilled. Score: 85/100
2003 VINELAND ESTATES RIESLING DRY V.Q.A., Product # 167551, Ontario, Canada $10.95: Gorgeous nose of peach and floral aromas, lots of bright acidity which makes it great for seafood and shellfish and salads. Also a nice light sipper for summer at 11% alcohol. Score: 89/100. Best Value White Wine
2003 FETZER GEWURZTRAMINER, 350843, California $13.95: Classic lychee and rose petal aromas, off-dry. Score 85/100
2002 BRANCOTT MONTANA MARLBOROUGH SAUVIGNON BLANC, 129528, New Zealand $14.50: Very herbal and grassy with refreshing crisp acidity. Excellent for seafood and salads. Score 89/100.
2002 CHARDONNAY BARREL FERMENTED HENRY OF PELHAM 268342, Niagara, Ontario $18.95: Spicy green pear, exotic and wonderful. Available in the Vintages Essentials section of some LCBO stores and from the winery at 905-684-8423. Score: 90/100. Favorite White Wine
2002 WYNNS COONAWARRA ESTATE CHARDONNAY, 468728, South Australia $14.95: Winemaker Sue Hodder turns out consistently balanced and elegant wines. This one has butterscotch and nutty aromas with a whisper of oak and smoke. Score: 88/100.
2003 LINDEMANS BIN 65 CHARDONNAY, 142117, Australia $9.95: There's a reason that this is the number-one selling white wine in Canada and elsewhere: good value. It's an easy-drinking wine that's not too heavily oaked and has ripe tree fruit. Be sure to serve oaked chardonnays at the right temperature: too cold and all you taste is the oak; too warm and they're flabby. Ideally it's around 8-10 degrees Celsius. Rieslings and sauvignon blancs, both crisp whites, can be on the colder end of that spectrum. Score: 86/100.
2000 CHARAMBA DOURO, 352963, Douro, Portugal, SOCIEDADE AGRICOLA E. COMERCIAL $8.15: An easy-drinking, smooth red with mocha and cassis. Score: 85/100.
2001 ERRAZURIZ DON MAXIMIANO CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 335174, Chile $16.40: Beautiful balance, ripe red fruit, round on the palate. Score: 89/100.
2002 VINA SAN PEDRO CASTILLO DE MOLINA RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON, 339176, Chile $13.40: Very similar style to the wine above. The 2001 vintage was excellent too: a consistently good producer. Score: 89/100.
2003 YELLOW TAIL SHIRAZ, 624544, South Australia, CASELLA WINES $11.25: This simple but lip-smacking delicious wine has made a lot of people happy (including the guys who market it). Ignore the snobs who say this isn't a real wine. This dry wine actually tastes full of sweet ripe red fruit and chocolate. Score: 85/100.
2003 LINDEMANS BIN 50 SHIRAZ, 145367, Australia $11.95: Great value and an ideal companion to barbecued meats. Ripe red fruit. Score 86/100.
2002 ROSEMOUNT DIAMOND SHIRAZ CABERNET, 214270, Australia $12.95: Plummy soft and not a lot of tannin. Red berries. Score: 88/100.
2001 PENFOLDS KOONUNGA HILL CABERNET MERLOT, 613240, Australia $14.95: Very good value for this smooth, round wine with ripe red fruit. Score 88/100.
2001 CARMEN GRANDE VIDURE CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE, 439166, Chile $16.90: A seriously great wine for the general list. Deep and ripe dark plums, juicy and delicious. Score 90/100.
2001 CLINE ZINFANDEL, 489278, California $15.10: The most consistently good zin from California. Great value and taste with ripe berries. A happy summer wine that's not too heavy and extracted. Score 92/100.
2002 INNISKILLIN PINOT NOIR V.Q.A., 261099, Ontario $13.95: Ripe cherries and a soft, plush texture that would be lethally great with salmon, cold chicken and Viggo Mortensen. Score: 88/100.
2002 DEAKIN ESTATE MERLOT, 577395, 13.5% Alcohol, Australia Victoria, Australia, Wingara Wine Group $11.95: If you like to give your palate a good wallop, this is great bang for the buck. A monster merlot from Down Under with ripe red fruit. Score: 86/100.
2002 SANTA CAROLINA MERLOT RESERVA, 324590, Chile $11.95: Elegant and balanced. Ripe red fruit without showing off. Perfect dinner companion if Viggo is busy. Score 89/100.
2002 BEAUJOLAIS-VILLAGES, 122077, Burgundy, France, Georges Duboeuf $12.95: A light to medium-boded red with spicy cherries. Perfect for picnics. Score: 85/100.
2003 RODET COTES DU RHONE, 8979, Rhone, France $10.55: Unbelievable price for this cedary, red fruit, spicy wine. Medium- to full-bodied. Score: 87/100. Best Value Red Wine
LATOUR DE FRANCE COTES ROUSSILLON VILLAGES, 578757, Roussillon, France, Vignerons Catalans $10.25: Terrific value for a balanced Old World wine. Cedar notes and red fruit. Light- to medium-bodied. Score: 84/100.
2002 TARAPACA CARMENERE RESERVA, 602375, Chile $11.90: Dark red fruit, cassis, plums and a pleasant bitter chocolate finish. Score: 88/100.
2002 FORESTVILLE MERLOT, 487736, California, BRONCO WINE COMPANY $11.20: Simple and smooth. Blends into the background like Norah Jones at Starbucks. Plush, ripe red fruit. Score: 87/100.
2001 SUMAC RIDGE MERLOT VQA, 593079, British Columbia $13.95: Rich and deep with ripe dark red fruit and mocha. Positively yum! Score: 91/100.
2002 DELICATO FAMILY VINEYARDS SHIRAZ, 585059, California $11.95: All-round, all-purpose easy-drinking red. Medium-bodied. Score: 84/100.
2001 WOLF BLASS BROWN LABEL SHIRAZ, 390872, Australia $26.95: A stunner! I can't believe a wine this good is on the shelves year round. Aristocratic nose of ripe dark fruit, mocha, leather, cigar and all that good stuff. Forget their yellow label, the good stuff at Wolf Blass is now moved upstream. Score: 95/100. Favorite Red Wine
2002 CHABLIS 'Saint Martin', Domaine Laroche, 365023, $22.95, AC, Burgundy, France: I'm a fan of these Old World chardonnays that aren't over-oaked yet have exotic spice and pear notes. Terrific with chicken and cream pasta dishes. Also comes in the half bottle for $13.95. Score: 90/100.
2001 WYNDHAM ESTATE SHIRAZ BIN 555, 189415, South Australia $14.95: Delicious! Spicy, ripe plums, round and generous. Score: 89/100.