Good Value Wines December 2006
By Natalie MacLean
2005 Tokaji Furmint dry (Puklus), Hungary product number = 608505, $12.95: Looking for something different? Try this exotic wine that's redolent of rose petals, green apples and citrus notes. Serve slightly chilled. Pair it with light curries and Asian dishes. Score: 87/100.
2004 Moselland Divinum Riesling Spatlese, Germany 619676, $11.95: Floral and citrus notes. Light- to medium-bodied. Wonderful. Drink with soft cheeses and seafood. Score: 88/100. Best Value White Wine
2006 Stoneleigh Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 293043, $14.95: Full-bodied with herbal, grapefruit, lime and gooseberry notes. Drink with salads, seafood and vegetarian dishes. Score: 88/100.
2006 Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 620062, $14.50: Aromas of lime zest and guava fruit. Refreshing and simple. Score: 87/100.
2006 Villa Maria Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand 426601, $16.15: Intensely aromatic with a long finish. One of the most consistently good, value-priced NZ SBs. Aromas of gooseberry and grass. Drink with chicken, pork, fish and salads. Score: 89/100. Favorite White Wine
2004 McWilliams Hanwood Estate Chardonnay, South East Australia $13.95: Nice oaky, round chard with buttery and apple notes. Drink with grilled salmon, lobster and corn dishes. Score: 87/100.
2005 Carmen Nativa Chardonnay, Chile 975219, $17.95: The organic wine has wonderful aromas of peaches, smoke and oak. Round and full-bodied. It drinks well with roast chicken. Score: 89/100.
2003 Tawse Chardonnay, Niagara, Ontario $42: Concentrated with incredible pear and peach fruit. An exotic nose and a long finish. Oaky but balanced. Great structure. Order from the winery: 905-562-9500. Score: 91/100.
2004 De Bortoli Deen Vat 8 Shiraz, Australia 621649, $15: Simple, delicious and full-bodied. Great quaffer for hamburgers and pizza. Aromas of ripe berry fruit. Score: 86/100.
2003 Matua Valley Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, New Zealand 610964, $15.95: Medium- to full-bodied with delicious plum and berry aromas. Sealed with a screwcap... yay! Score: 87/100.
2004 Sacred Hill Merlot, New Zealand 610980, $14.40: Vibrant acidity gives it a refreshing character and the ability to pair with tomato sauce, and other zesty dishes. Ripe aromas of red fruit. Layers of supple fruit and goodness. Yay for a screwcap. Drink with roasts and poultry. Score: 88/100.
2004 Ubuntu Shiraz, South Africa 665281, $10.95: Aromas of chocolate and plums. Full-bodied. Drink with a rich roast. Score: 88/100. Best Value Red Wine
2002 Sinai Hegyi Cabernet Sauvignon, Hungary 687160, $15.95: A well-balanced and delicious wine. Smooth and medium-bodied with dark red fruit aromas. Drink with roasts and meat dishes. Score: 87/100.
2004 Domaine de Champ de Cour Mommessin Moulin-a-Vent, Beaujolais, France 430876, $19.95: A lovely medium-bodied wine that's nothing like beaujolais nouveau. Ripe aromas of raspberries and plums. Drink with roasts, turkey and game meats. Score: 88/100.
2004 French Roots Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, France 665414, $13.90: An incredible price for a smooth, robust wine with dark fruit aromas, cedar and Old World essence. Drink with roast beef and lamb. Score: 88/100.
2003 Chateau Bonnet, Bordeaux, France 99044, $16.90: Notes of smoke, tar, oak and black fruit. Robust and brooding. Love it, especially for the price. Decant for 1-2 hours first. Drink with steak, stew or lamb. Score: 87/100.
2003 Secco Bertani Valpolicella, Italy 12443, $14.15: Medium-bodied with ripe red fruit aromas. Ideal for tomato in pasta sauce, pizza, and lasagna. Score: 87/100.
2005 Farnese Montepulciano Casale Vecchio, Italy 612788, $12.25: Notes of chocolate and dark plums. Delicious! Full-bodied and dry. Score: 89.5/100.
2003 Cantina di Negrar Amarone Della Valpoicella, Italy 44784, $28.95: Full-bodied but not over-extracted (not too much alcohol and flavor, etc). Ripe aromas of black fruit. Drink with game, roasts and hearty meat dishes. Score: 90/100. Favorite Red Wine
2004 Riscal Tempranillo, Rioja, Spain 620898, $11.60: Notes of dark plums and raspberries. Good acidity, which would make it ideal for pasta in tomato sauce, lasagna and sausage. Long finish. Incredible value. Score: 88/100.
2005 Peller Estates Reserve Cabernet Franc, Niagara, Ontario 128850, $18.99: A rich, balanced wine with black fruit aromas, smoke and oak. Drink with hard cheeses and lamb. Score: 88/100.
Dessert Wines and Liqueurs
Starbucks Cream Liqueur 20669, $29.95: Baileys to the extreme: richer and better made. Silky texture. Drink it on the rocks or slightly chilled and it'll be a white Christmas despite global warming. Score: 90/100.
Innsikillin Vidal Icewine, Okanagan, BC $45: A lush, opulent wine from the Plut Vineyard. Ripe tropical and peach notes. Score: 91/100.
2004 Peller Estate Private Reserve Vidal-Riesling-Ehrenfelser Icewine, Okanagan, BC $45: A honeyed dessert wine with notes of marmalade and lychee nuts. Not much acidity and therefore not as complex as the pure riesling-based icewines, but nonetheless delightful. Score: 90/100.
2005 Nk'Mip Cellars Riesling Icewine, Okanagan, BC $45: Honey and apricots with a luscious texture. Score: 90/100.
2004 Henry of Pelham Riesling Icewine, Niagara, Ontario $55: Lovely aromas of apples, peaches and apricots. Score: 90/100.
2005 Jackson Triggs Riesling Icewine, Okanagan, BC $55: Aromas of honey, apples and pears. Rich and elegant. Drink with poached pears and blue cheese. Score: 91/100.
2005 Inniskillin Dark Horse Estate Vineyard Riesling, Okanagan, BC $55: Peaches, apricots and pears. Gorgeous with a fruit flan or biscotti. Score: 92/100.
2005 Jackson Triggs Sparkling Riesling Icewine, Okanagan, BC $65: Rich and sweet but gorgeously balanced. It's like two wines in one: dessert and bubbly. Ripe aromas of peach and mango. Drink with pate, fois gras and fruit desserts. Score: 93/100.
Nat Decants 100-Point Scale
95-100 Brilliant, Exceptional
90-94 Excellent, Superb
89.5 Hovering on the doorstep of excellence, better than very good
85-89 Very Good
80-84 Good (still worth buying and drinking)
79 and below Average to poor (I don't include these in the newsletter due to space constraints)
This isn't necessarily the wine with the highest score, as high scores go to the wines that best typify their region and style. Rather my favorite wines are just that: the ones that appeal to me most personally and to my own taste.
Best Value Wines:
Not necessarily the cheapest wine, but the one that maximizes the price-quality ratio. (Although I don't always go by strict mathematical ratios on this either, but rather what seems to me to represent tremendous value.)
For more details on how I do my wine reviews and tips on how to find these wines click here. To find dishes to match these wines, click here.
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Copyright © 2006 by Natalie MacLean. All rights reserved. Please ask permission of the author before copying or using this material.