Good Value Wines June 2006

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Sparkling Wine

1999 Cipes Blanc de Noirs Summerhill Winery (445312, $35) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol. Okanagan, BC: The best producer of sparkling wine in Canada. Rich and deep aromas of toast, nuts and red fruit. Drink with cream-sauce pasta and soft cheeses. Buy from the winery at Score: 89/100.

White Wines

2004 Deinhard Green Label Riesling (8094, $10.95) 9.4% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 4 Moselle-Saar-Ruwer, Germany: This simple, soft, medium dry sipper has lovely ripe aromas of melons and peaches. Makes a wonderful aperitif and pairs nicely with seafood, crab, salads, veal and basic chicken or pork. Score: 84/100.

2005 Folonari Pinot Grigio (229542, $12.95) 12% Alcohol/Vol. Veneto, Italy: Made from grapes grown on hillside vineyards in Veneto and Trentino. Inviting aromas of lemon and lime zest and green apples. Not overly fruity or oaky. Very typical of the region and wine style. Pairs well with shellfish, antipasto and cream-sauce pasta. Score: 85/100.

2005 Oyster Bay (316570, $17.95) 11.0% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: XD Marlborough, New Zealand: Classic Kiwi sauvignon blanc. Refreshing herbal, melon and grapefruit notes. A dependable producer year after year. Drink it with seafood, shellfish, salads, chicken and pork. Score: 88/100.

2004 Chateau des Charmes Riesling Estate VQA (277228, $15.95) 13.0% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Niagara, Ontario: A medium-bodied, flavorful white with aromas of lemon and lime. Pair with seafood, Asian dishes and cream-sauce pastas. Score: 85/100.

2005 Henry of Pelham Riesling VQA (268375, $11.95) 11.2% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Niagara, Ontario: Lemon zest and citrus notes make this wine perfect for salads, grilled vegetables, shellfish and seafood. Score: 86/100.

2004 Peninsula Ridge Sauvignon Blanc VQA (592303, $18.95) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: XD Niagara, Ontario: Nobody makes sauvignon blanc better in Canada than Peninsula Ridge. Refreshing, clean palate with gorgeous aromas of white grapefruit and herbal essence. Drink with shellfish, seafood and poultry. Score: 90/100.

2005 Hawthorne Mountain Gewurztraminer ($12.99) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. Okanagan, BC: Rich, full-bodied and unctuous aromas of rose petals, lychee nuts, passionfruit, orange blossoms. Pair with Asian and other medium spice dishes, pork and chicken. Buy directly from the winery at Score: 88/100.

2005 Red Rooster Gewurztraminer ($14.99) Okanagan, BC: A lovely light style with haunting floral and honeydew melon aromas. Buy from the winery at Score: 87/100.

2005 St. Hubertus Pinot Blanc ($12.50) Okanagan, BC: Very typical/classical pinot blanc style with clean aromas of white peach and grapefruit. No oak. Drink with seafood. Buy directly from the winery at Score: 84/100.

2005 Lake Breeze Pinot Gris (568709, $16.00) 14.0% Alcohol/Vol. Okanagan, BC: Redolent of melon, peaches. Refreshing and zippy. Buy from the winery at Score: 86/100.

2004 Summerhill Ehrenfelser (40016, $19.05) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol. Okanagan, BC: Exotic orange peel and tropical fruit. Crisp and off-dry (touch of sweetness). Organic winery. Drink with Asian dishes and shellfish. Buy from the winery at Score: 89/100.

Red Wines

2004 Deakin Estate Shiraz (560821, $12.10) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Victoria, Australia: Round, ripe dark berry and plum flavors with a little spice and warm oak. Full-bodied. Drink with lamb, sausage or barbecue fare. Score: 85/100.

2002 Palandri Merlot (621748, $18.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. West Australia: Supple, simple and full-bodied red with aromas of black fruit and plums. Aged in oak for twelve months. Score: 86/100.

2004 The Little Penguin Merlot (598912, $12.45) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 South East Australia: A round, juicy, innocuous wine with sweet, plummy fruit. The wine equivalent of the sitcom Friends: everybody’s happy, no major issues probed. Drink with hamburgers and fast food. Score: 84/100.

2003 Wolf Blass Grey Label Shiraz, Australia (390872, $29.95) 14.0% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 The grapes for this wine were grown in the McLaren Vale. The wine was aged for eighteen months in new and seasoned French and American oak, which gives it a rich, round and full-bodied texture.

2004 Alice White Shiraz (550517, $12.80) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 South Eastern Australia: Supple, soft, simple and full-bodied with aromas of sweet red fruit and plums. Perfect for the barbecue. Score: 85/100.

2004 JJ McWilliam Cabernet Merlot (621599, $9.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: 1 Australia: Deep, rich, dark and full-bodied. Round and robust. One of the oldest wineries in Australia, established in 1877. Score: 86/100.

2004 McWilliams Hanwood Estate Shiraz (610683, $13.95) 13.8% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Australia: Dark red currants and plums with some spice. A brooding, whopper of a wine. Score: 87/100.

2005 Lindemans Bin 50 Shiraz Southcorp (145367, $11.95) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1: Velvety smooth with lovely layers of plum and blackberry. A comforting, full-bodied wine. Drink with pork, veal and barbecue. Score: 85/100.

2004 De Bortoli Deen Vat 8 Shiraz (621649, $14.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 New South Wales, South East Australia: Aged 12 months in oak. Generous dark red fruit with a hint of mint. Juicy and full-bodied. Drink with steak and stew. Score: 88/100.

2003 d’Arenberg D’Arry’s Original Shiraz (942904, $19.95) 13.9% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D Australia: Aged 18 months in oak. A blockbuster shiraz with some grenache blended in. Ripe dark red fruit and a full-bodied, muscular texture. Score: 90/100.

2003 Twin Fin Pinot Noir (613281, $13.95) 13.3% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 California: A juicy, mouth-watering flavors of cherries and strawberries. Supple and medium-bodied. An incredible price. Drink it with salmon, chicken and pork. The screw cap is a bonus. Score: 87/100.

2002 Sterling Vintners Collection Merlot (622837, $15.80) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 California: Mostly merlot with a touch of cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc blended in as accents. A wonderful wine for the money. Balanced, full-bodied, supple with marvelous aromas of black cherries and spice. Drink with pork, lamb or beef. Score: 89/100.

2003 Wente Cabernet Sauvignon (301507, $15.55) 12.9% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Livermore Valley, California: A delicious red with notes of plum, blackberry and sweet cherries. Drink with steak, lamb and beef. Score: 88/100.

2003 Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon Fetzer Vineyards (342428, $19.95) 12.09% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D Mendocino County, California: A balanced, medium- to full-bodied red with aromas of black cherries and blackberries. The grapes for this wine are farmed organically. Score: 88/100

2004 Rosenblum Zinfandel (284653, $19.95) 15.7% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D California: A vibrant, happy wine that doesn’t feel as big as the alcohol content would lead you to believe. Still, it’s full-bodied and bursting with flavors of ripe raspberries and sunlight. Drink with roasts and barbecue. Score: 88/100.

2004 Ravenswood Zinfandel (359257, $19.95) 13.6% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D Sonoma, California: Deep and rich with layers of dark berries. Lovely. Score: 89.5/100.

2004 Cline Syrah (733758, $17.95) 14.3% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D California: Dark, deep, rich, juicy and full-bodied. Ripe blueberries and blackberries with some black pepper. Perfect for pepper steak, barbecue, hearty meat dishes and stew. Score: 88/100.

2004 Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir (124594, $24.95) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol. Willamette Valley, Oregon: A spectacular wine from a strong producer. Fermented in neutral French oak barrels so that the clarity of the fruit is evident. Medium-bodied. Silky and supple texture with seductive aromas of black cherries and nighttime adventure. Pair it with salmon, tuna, game birds, mushroom dishes and marriage proposals. Score: 90/100.

2002 Escudo Rojo (613224, $16.90) 13.2% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Maipo Valley, Chile: A Chilean winery owned by Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Bordeaux, France. Made from a blend of cabernet sauvignon (58%), carmenere (27%), cabernet franc (8%) and syrah (7%) grapes grown in the Maipo Valley, at the foot of the Andes Mountains. Smooth, supple texture with rich notes of dark red fruit and mocha. Full-bodied and balanced. Drink with steak and other hearty meat dishes. Ontario agent: 416-367-5600 Score: 88/100.

2004 Isla Negra Merlot Cono Sur Vina Tocornal (516294, $9.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Maipo Valley, Chile: Loads of dark fruit, cassis, mocha and smoky oak notes. Full-bodied. Pair with grilled meats and steak. Score: 86/100.

2004 Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo Shiraz (568055, $11.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Chile: Casillero del Diablo means Cellar of the Devil… love the naughty connotations. Smoky aromas of plums and berries. Aged 6-8 months in American oak. Terrific price. Full-bodied. Drink with grilled meats, Mexican dishes, barbecue, fire and brimstone. Score: 87/100.

2003 Cousino Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon (212993, $14.80) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Chile: Black currants, cassis and mocha notes. Full-bodied with a long finish. Decant for one to hours. Drink with lamb, grilled meats and steak. Score: 89.5/100.

2003 Santa Digna Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Miguel Torres (177451, $14.95) 12.1% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D Chile: Aged six months in American oak. No filtering. An explosive, full-bodied wine with dark red fruit and mocha notes. Full-bodied. Pair with smoked and grilled meats and sausage. Drink 2006-2008. Score: 89.5/100.

2004 Trumpeter Merlot La Rural Bodegas y Vinedos (467985, $14.00) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Argentina: Round, lush and full-bodied with notes of plums, cassis and mocha. Drink with grilled meats, steak and stew. Score: 85/100.

2003 Fleur du Cap Shiraz (340422, $12.95) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 South Africa: Black fruit, smoke and vanilla notes. Simple and full-bodied. Drink with stew and steak. Score: 84/100.

2005 Obikwa Shiraz (527499, $8.95) 14.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 South Africa: Sweet cherries and plums. Round and full-bodied. Drink with Italian dishes, meats and stews. Score: 84/100.

2003 Graham Beck Shiraz (607796, $17.95) 14.0% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: XD South Africa: One of my favorite producers from South Africa. Aged 12 months in oak. Dark aromas of black plums, blackberries and spice. Decant one hour. Drink with meat casserole and venison. Score: 89/100.

2005 Château la Margue Costieres de Nimes Rosé Domaine De Lamargue (622167, $10.95) 13.8% Alcohol/Vol. Rhône Valley, France: A lovely rosé from southern France that drinks well as an aperitif or paired with salmon, cold meats, tuna or pâté. A blend of syrah and grenache with lively aromas of strawberries and raspberries. Serve lightly chilled. Score: 85/100.

2004 Georges DuBoeuf Beaujolais (212480, $12.30) 12% Alcohol/Vol. Burgundy, France: A light, simple, soft wine bursting with jubilant cherries. Made from the gamay grape. Perfect for picnic lunches with cold cuts and pate. Score: 84/100.

2004 La Vieille Ferme Perrin & Fils (263640, $10.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Côtes du Ventoux, Rhône Valley, France: Made from a blend of syrah, grenache, mouvedre and cinsault grapes grown high on the slopes of Mount Ventoux. A basket of cherries, spice and cedar. Full-bodied and wonderfully balanced. This is one of my favorite producers from the Rhône Valley; the Perrin family also makes the famous Château Beaucastel. Drink with roast chicken or turkey, grilled meats and Mediterranean dishes. Score: 87/100.

2003 Chapoutier Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Bernardine, Rhône Valley, France (972331, $39.95) 14.0% Alcohol/Vol. Sugar Content: D: Gorgeous and richly layered red with dark aromas of spice, cedar and black cherries. Score: 90/100.

2003 Domaine des Salices Syrah Lurton (926287, $13.95) 12.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: D Midi, France: Aged 11 months in oak. Soft, supple, simple and full-bodied. Notes of cedar and cherry. Drink with grilled meats. Score: 85/100.

2003 Rosso di Sicilia Bolla IGT (621128, $10.95) 13.1% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Venezie, Italy: This simple but delicious full-bodied red from southern Italy has aromas of ripe cherries. A blend of 60% shiraz and 40% nero d’avola grapes fermented in stainless steel. Its mouth-watering acidity makes it pair well with pasta, lasagna, roast beef and grilled meats. For an Italian wine, it’s price incredibly well. Ontario agent: 905-238-3222 Score: 84/100.

2004 Folonari Valpollicello DOC (828, $12.45) 12.0% Alcohol/Vol. Veneto, Italy: Juicy cherries with some spice. Mouth-watering acidity makes this wine ideal for tomato-sauce pasta, pizza, lasagna and sausage. Medium- to full-bodied. Score: 87/100.

2001 Vereto Salice Salentino Agricole Vallone (471730, $10.05) 13.0% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Puglia, Italy: Made from negroamaro and malvasia grapes. Full-bodied and mature with enticing aged aromas of leather and spice and dried cherries. Vibrant acidity means that this wine needs food. Drink with meat casserole, aged cheese and lasagna. Score: 87/100.

2004 Negroamaro Rosso Salento Mezzomondo IGT (588962, $7.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Puglia, Italy: Puglia is in the heel of southern Italy, an area of exploding innovation and value when it comes to winemaking. An incredible wine for the money. Luscious layers of dark red fruit and mocha. Drink with pizza, pasta, grilled meats or hamburgers. Score: 88/100.

2003 Masi Campfiorin (155051, $16.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Veneto, Italy: Made from the Veronese grape corvine, which is semi-dried and double-fermented (a process called ripasso). Loads of ripe and mouth-watering cherries with hints of chocolate for roundness. Full-bodied and smooth. Drink with hearty meat dishes, lasagna, pizza, osso bucco, wild mushroom risotto and veal Parmigianino. Score: 87/100.

2001 Masi Toar IGT (342444, $21.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Veneto, Italy: “Toar” refers to the volcanic soil from the vineyard terraces in which the Veronese grapes—corvine and oseleta—are grown for this wine. Aromas of rich, dark fruit made in a modern style. Drink with grilled and roast meats and lasagna. Score: 88/100.

2004 Osborne Solaz Tempranillo/Cabernet Sauvignon (620922, $10.00) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Rueda, Spain: Aged four months in oak. Black cherries and plums. Full-bodied and simple. Drink with hard cheeses, ham, steak, sautéed and roast chicken. Score: 86/100.

2002 Castillo de Almansa Reserva Bodegas Piqueras (270363, $10.25) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Almansa, Spain: A blend of tempranillo, monastrell and granacha grapes. Aged 12 months in oak. Vibrant red fruit made in a clean, modern style. Decant for a couple of hours for maximum pleasure. Drink with roast meats and pork chops. Score: 86/100.

2003 Periquita José Fonseca (25262, $9.25) 12.0% Alcohol/Vol. Setubal, Portugal: A simple and delicious red with cherries and plums. Medium-bodied. Drink with medium-spicy dishes and meats. Score: 85/100.

2002 Southbrook Cabernet/Merlot VQA (669333, $14.95) 12.6% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Niagara, Ontario: Juicy and delicious, with black plums and cherries. Score: 87/100.

2004 Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir (118844, $13.95) Okanagan, British Columbia: A lovely medium-bodied wine that would drink well with salmon, cheicken and pate. Score: 87/100.

2003 Chateau des Charmes Gamay Noir Droit VQA (582353, $15.95) 13.5% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Niagara, Ontario: I love this wine vintage after vintage. It has delicious aromas of cherries and black pepper. Perfect for pepper steak, barbecue, ribs and pasta in tomato sauce. Score: 87/100.

2003 Jackson-Triggs Okanagan Merlot VQA (543876, $13.95) 13.8% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 British Columbia: A spectacular wine for the money. Aged in French and American oak. Notes of cherries, plums, blackcurrant and vanilla. Full-bodied with a long finish. Drink with rare steak, veal, beef Wellington and meats done in a red wine reduction sauce. Score: 89.5/100.

2004 Stoney Ridge Pinot Noir Reserve VQA (669291, $16.95) 13.0% Alcohol/Vol., Sugar Content: 1 Niagara, Ontario: A spectacular wine for the price. Aged one year in French/American/Hungarian oak. Gorgeous, thrilling aromas of cherries, strawberries and raspberries. Richly layered and deeply satisfying. Wash away the cares of this world. Drink with salmon, pork, veal, and pate. Score: 89/100.

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Copyright © 2006 by Natalie MacLean. All rights reserved. Please ask permission of the author before copying or using this material.