April Release Recommendations

By Natalie MacLean Print this page   Send this page to a friend

Highly Recommended White Wines

56955 Villa Mt. Eden Chardonnay 1999, California $17.35 -- beautiful buttery, oaky chard for when you're in the mood for one

458885 Cape Mentelle Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Australia $17.50 -- you can't taste the semillon directly (least I can't) but it's doing its work in making the SB rounder and smoother without losing its refreshing character

727024 Te Kairanga Wines Chardonnay 2000, New Zealand $18.70 -- another big, buttery, oaky chard (and I mean that in the best way -- it's a distinct style that lots of folks enjoy -- kind of the opposite of the crisp, herbal SB)

957670 Seifried Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2000, New Zealand $14.65 -- I wish I could set these notes to music: "Nobody does it better -- makes me feel sad for the rest!" back for the upteenth time, this gorgeous, crisp, herbal SB is a terrific summer, food wine -- and god bless 'em they haven't raised the price

976803 Weingut Schloss Reinhartshausen Riesling Spatlese 1990, Germany $18.70 -- terrific food wine, great acidity and floral notes, apples

977595 Domaine Szeremley Pinot Gris 2000, Hungary $11.30 -- smells and tastes like a big, buttery chard to me -- great value!

Highly Recommended Red Wines

727925 Cain Five Cabernet Blend, California $99.95: The irony of this release is that my favourite wines were Californian and the most grossly over-priced wines were Californian. (Cain Five is my number one wine in this release with rich dark fruit, smoke, sage.) While fine wines do cost more to make, and even though our dollar is still in the fermentation vat, neither of these two factors fully account for the soaring prices. (Granted there are still some reasonably priced wines from the sunshine state -- but they are now the exception rather than the rule.)

What's interesting is when you taste these wines beside entries from Australia and Chile that may not be as well made in some cases but deliver a significantly better price-quality ratio. Would you rather pay $15-$20 for a wine that is a 8.5 out of 10, or $80-$100 for a wine that is 10 out of 10? The answer may differ by person, mood and occasional, but my bet is on the first horse.

975920 Estancia Meritage 1998, California $53.40 -- another over-priced beauty, dark chocolate, rip fruit, balanced oak

738229 Heathfield Ridge Cabernet 1998, Australia $17.80 -- here's exactly what I'm talking about -- wonderful wine, juicy (will get your juices running), round, spicy, ripe fruit for a great price!

723627 Yanmah Ridge Cabernet/Merlot 1998, Australia $18.40 -- here's another that's smokier, darker and richer

524926 Yalumba Shiraz 1999, Australia $19.95 -- terrific mellow, smooth drinking with ripe fruit -- no intellectual arguments with this one

743989 Chapel Hill Shiraz 1998, Australia $21.95 -- my favourite shiraz of the bunch -- and there was quite the competition in this release! Big, dark, inky, black fruit but not too alcoholic... this winery also has a cabernet in this relaese that was rated 90 -- but I didn't get to taste it (not a huge risk though, especially since it's only $20.75)

535104 St Hallet Shiraz Blackwell 1998, Australia $24.50 -- dark fruit, pencil shavings (I'm not joking) -- a toss up between this one and the Penfolds below as to my second favourite shiraz of this release

468637 Penfolds Old Vine Shiraz/Grenache/Mouvedre, Australia $28.60 -- gorgeous dark fruit, hint of mint, not too heavy but full-bodied

744482 William Cole Cabernet/Carmenere 2000, Chile $12.50 -- excellent value with generously ripe fruit

459206 Casa Lapostolle Merlot 1999, Chile $34.70 -- normally I dislike merlot on its own but this is wonderful, mellow -- a smooth operator

966200 Joseph Drouhin Ladoix 1998, Burgundy $25.45 -- a wonderful Old World pinot noir: sour cherries, barnyard, medium-bodied

960914 Domaine du Tradadis 1999, Rhone $14.95 -- lots of spice and cedar, good value

733634 Viti Francesco Colucci Copertino 1998, Italy $10.85 -- great value, easy drinking

980649 Banfi Centine 1999, Italy $8.95 -- at this price you could cook with it, but it's a neat little sipper too (Think about the nights when you're on your own and feel too guilty to open up anything over $12, this is your bottle -- who cares if it doesn't keep? One must always plan for these evenings -- I'm only looking out for your happiness.)

715110 Boscaini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1997, Italy $35.85 -- my favourite amorone for ten years now... and the 1997 vintage is even more wonderful -- full of cherries and spice without being so full-bodied and alcoholic as to rip your face off... if you love amorone don't pass this one by

443721 Chateau Ksara Reserve du Couvent 1999, Lebanon $12.60 -- terrific value, very dry (a touch tannic but drinkable)

948083 Quinta de Abrigada 1998, Portugal $15.95 -- if you always order a smooth merlot in a restaurant, dare to step out with this one

368290 Bodegas Aragonesas Mosen Cleto Crianza 1997, Spain $10.45 -- terrific value