July Release Recommendations

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July 12: Highly Recommended Fortified Wines


426189 Trenel et Fils Framboise de Bourgogne, Burgundy $26.95: If you love the taste of raspberries, you'll love this liqueur. It's sweet but not too cloying -- a great substitute for raspberry pie. 84


985366 Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal $34.95 (375 ml half-bottle): lovely almond and caramel. Half bottles are terrific since you and a friend can have a glass after dinner for a whole week without feeling like, gee should we open a whole bottle? 90


980391 Dow's 20 Year Old Aged Tawny Port, Portugal $49.95 (750 ml standard bottle): more almonds with hazelnuts and toffee. The Wine Enthusiast gives it 96. I'll go with 92.


July 12: Highly Recommended White Wines


545004 Mission Hill Chardonnay Reserve 2001, BC $17.95: From one of BC's (and Canada's) best producers, a lovely chard with apple, melon and figs. 87


624619 Mission Hill Late Harvest Riesling Reserve 2001, BC $24.90 (375 ml): Gorgeous sweet wine that has perfect balance. Who needs dessert? Heck, who needs dinner? 92


447441 Cave Springs Riesling Icewine 2000, Niagara $59.95 (375 ml): Beautiful. Riesling-based icewines win hands-down over others, such as vidal. 92


557165 Henry of Pelham Off-Dry Riesling 2002, Niagara $14.95: An easy-drinking with a touch of sweetness that is soft on the palate. Won silver at the 2003 Ontario Wine Awards. 85


901058 Salmon River Vidal Icewine 1999, Niagara $34.95 (375 ml): A steal for icewine, gorgeous honey and pear aromas. 90


723775 Thomas & Vaughan Chardonnay Vintner's Select 2000, Niagara $14.95: You won't get chardonnay this good this cheap unless you hold up the liquor store. (This is not a directive.) Buttery, utterly loverly. 89.5


594341 R.H. Phillips Chardonnay 2001, California $19.95: Apple and spice: As good as Mom's apple pie, well actually, Mom didn't bake, but she shopped well. As good as President's Choice apple pies. 88


981670 Mount Riley Sauvignon Blanc 2002, New Zealand $17.95: We can't seem to get enough NZ SBs with their refreshing herbal and zesty finish -- perfect for seafood and hot summer nights. Great value. 88


720250 Bellingham Sauvignon Blanc 2002, South Africa $11.95: Incredible value. Simple, zippy and refreshing. Best drunk young, though you can wait until you get home from the liquor store. 83


962829 Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling Kabinett 1999, Germany $16.45: Assertive acidity with lovely tree fruit. 94


711929 Quinta de Pancas Chardonnay & Arinto 2001, Portugal $10.95: Here it is, your party wine. Super-duper value. Not too oaky, nice fruit. 84 Best Value White Wine


July 12: Highly Recommended Red Wines


545012 Mission Hill Pinot Noir Reserve 2001, BC $17.90: Terrific price for such a feral grape. Sweet cherry fruit and a silky texture. 87


586404 Inniskillin Pinot Noir Montague Vineyard 2000, Niagara $24.95: This wine keeps popping up, but that's OK because I keep liking it. Lots of barnyard funk and dood-si-doe disco. Swing your cherry round and round, drink it in the glass, then put it down. 89


977173 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, California $39.95. Gorgeous dark chocolate, cassis and blak plums. 90


555607 E&J Gallo Cabernet Sauvignon Frei Vineyard 1997, California: Delicious as usual, a wine you can buy year after year. But I hope they don't keep going up in price. Gina are you listening? 88


720524 Cockfighters' Ghost Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, Australia $22.95: I like a juicy wine, one that make my mouh water and keeps me seeking that elusive thirst-quenching sip. This one has plums and berries. 86


962324 Pooles Rock Firestick Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Australia $13.95: Faaaaabulous value, darling. Loaded with cherries and spice.87


963678 Eldredge Blue Chip Shiraz 2000, Australia $27.95: Vibrant mint chocolate with plums. 89


713115 Voyager Shiraz 2001, Australia $22.95: Lovely black fruit and a dark heart. 90


976761 Albert Morot Les Cent-Vignes Beaune 1er Cru 1999, Burgundy $59.95: earthy, mushroomy, bright cherries. 90


721100 Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Korae 2001, Veneto, Italy $11.95: another easy-drinking party wine. 82


717611 Kenwood Old Vine Zinfandel 2000, Lodi, California $21.95: spicy, kiss of oak, ripe. 88


747824 Murphy-Goode Liar's Dice Zinfandel 2000, Sonoma, California $31.95: my favourite zin in this release, juicy, ripe, bursting with flavour. 93


952168 Round Hill Zinfandel 2000, California $15.45: smooth, medium-bodied wine with berries. 88


284653 Rosenblum Zinfandel 2000, California $19.95: sweet plums and blackberries, spice. 90.


936633 Edmeades Zinfandel 1999, Mendocino, California $35.95: velvet textures, plush dark red fruit. 91


953414 Meridian Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel 1999, Paso Robles, California $19.95: juicy plums, brambleberries. 89


July 26: Highly Recommended White Wines


594010 Jackson-Triggs Proprietor's Reserve Vidal Icewine 2001, Niagara $47.80 (375 ml): Lovely balance between the honeyed fruit and the citrus acidity. 92


309575 Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2002, New Zealand $13.95: Terrific value. Another crisp, classic NZ SB. 87


905323 Geheimrat Wegeler Erben Riesling Kabinett 1999, Germany $13.95: Another great value for floral refershment. 88


993956 Weingut Moguen Riesling 2000, Germany $10.95: Another contender for the best value in this release. Limae, apple and pear. 85


July 26: Highly Recommended Red Wines


969873 RH Phillips Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, California $26.95: Lovely dark rich fruit. 89


983742 LA Cetto Petite Sirah 2000, Mexico $9.95: Now a favourite of those in the know, who like to pretend it's a $20 wine (and get away with it). Not complex, but lots of easy-drinking peppery pleasure. 82


725127 Grant Burge Miamba Shiraz 2001, Australia $19.95: Pow! Boom-kabam! A muscular shiraz for action figures. 89.5


943282 Unison Gimblett Gravels Unison 2001, New Zealand $27.95: A stunning wine with leather, spice and a kiss of oak. 90


713909 Vina Concha y Toro Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, Chile $11.95: Terrific value for this tasty organic wine. 81


748533 Chateau Palmer Alter Ego 2000, Bordeaux $82.95: Stunning wine for a special occasion. Old World finesse and balance Needs aging of 5-7 years. 97


717389 Chateau de Pez 1999, Bordeaux $43.95: Rustic Old World gem. Decanter magazines gives it five stars. I'll give it 89.


978155 Domaine Vincent Girardin Santenay Clos de la Confrerie 1999, Burgundy $32.95: Fantastic value for Burgundy. Dusty cherry nose and palate. 92 Favourite Red Wine


736789 Domaines Mommessin Fleurie Domaine de la Presle 2002, Beaujolais $19.95: Don't snicker at beaujolais, especially this one -- it's got grace, punch and the power to delight. Medium-bodied with spicy cherries. 90


982553 Domaine de Panisse Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2000, Rhone Valley $32.95: Typical cedar and dark fruit nose. Medium-bodied. 88


719286 Domaine de l'Ameillaud 2001, Rhone $9.50: Exceptional value. Good peppery wine for the barbecue. 84 Best Value Red


978940 Cantina Cooperativa Botromagno Pier Delle Vigne 1997, Italy $22: Super-concentrated cherry-berry flavour. 89


992701 De Rham Enoteca Primitivo 2001, Italy $11.95: Another great value that simple and easy-drinking. 81