Vintages Release June 2005

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May 28 Release Wines

Niagara White Wines

913699 ANGELS GATE RIESLING SÜSSRESERVE 2003 $12.95 VQA Niagara Peninsula (D = dry) Vintages Catalogue (VC): Süssreserve is the technique of adding reserve grape juice for a touch of sweetness. This wine won a Silver Medal at the 2004 Ottawa Food and Wine Show. My note: A fantastic price for such a pretty sipper. The sweetness is barely noticeable and serves to soften the wine, giving it a ripe peach aroma. Score: 85/100.

957399 ANGELS GATE 'OLD VINES' CHARDONNAY 2003 $23.95 VQA Niagara Peninsula VC: Vibrant pale yellow colour leads to impressive nose of toasted coconut, green apple, fresh vanilla and hints of butter and pear. This full-bodied, creamy-textured wine is well-balanced by a fresh seam of acidity. Enjoy now with seafood, such as lobster or crab. Will also reward 2+ years in a cellar. My note: My favorite Ontario chardonnay by far. Mostly I think Ontario should stick to riesling for white wines. But Angel's Gate is simply masterful in coaxing the most concentrated and delicious aromas from old vines chardonnay. Worth trying to compare with chards from other regions. Score: 90/100.

Niagara Red Wines

591313 MALIVOIRE GAMAY 2003 $15.95 Estate Bottled, VQA Niagara Peninsula (D): A peppery, spicy medium-bodied red that would be perfect with barbecue food and a pepper steak. One of our best small producers in Niagara. Score: 89/100.

California White Wines

586271 TWO TONE FARM CHARDONNAY 2002 $19.95 Napa Valley (D): A lovely, buttery chard with medium oak and aromas of vanilla and green apples. Score: 89/100.

California Red Wines

537597 IRONSTONE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $16.95 Sierra Foothills (XD = extra dry) VC: Ironstone Vineyards has grown from humble beginnings to become California's largest winery/entertainment complex. Nestled against the Sierra Foothills are Ironstone's famous wine caverns, tasting room, gourmet delicatessen, heritage museum, jewelry shop, culinary school, scenic gardens, amphitheatre and much more. Ironstone also finds time to make quality wines like this medium-bodied, approachable Cabernet Sauvignon. Expect rich fruit and spicy characteristics as well as some added complexity from the small amount of Cabernet Franc added to the mix. Enjoy with rich cheeses or pasta in tomato sauce. My note: One of the best value producers in California, offering both consistent and delicious wines. Also comes in the handy half-bottle size (375 ml) for nights when you're on your own or showing uncommon restraint. Product number 571380; $9.45. Score: 89/100.

945014 ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001 $21.95 Napa Valley (XD) 375 mL: The 750 mL size (255513) is a part of the LCBO's Essentials Collection (meaning it's in stores year round). An elegant red with depth, balance and Old World finesse. I smell violets, I do! It's rare to get such a terrific wine in the half bottle size. Score: 92/100.

959338 RUTHERFORD HILL MERLOT 2001 $29.95 Napa Valley (XD): Aromas of plums, vanilla and smoke. Full-bodied and gorgeous. Also comes in the half bottle size (948935, $17.45). Score: 92/100.

586206 TWO TONE FARM MERLOT 2001 $19.95 Napa Valley (XD): Medium- to full-bodied with black plums and cherries. Score: 90/100.

655977 WATTLE CREEK SHIRAZ 1999 $32.95 Alexander Valley (XD): Big black fruit, good acidity for food and a rich, full-bodied texture. Score: 90/100.

Australian White Wines

651398 YERING STATION CHARDONNAY 2002 $19.95 Yarra Valley, Victoria (D): Oaky, butter and spicy. Full-bodied. Score: 88/100.

Australian Red Wines

984021 D'ARENBERG 'FOOTBOLT' SHIRAZ 2002 $19.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia (XD) VC: Footbolt was the name of a champion racehorse that belonged to winemaker Chester Osborn's great grandfather, Joseph Rowan Osborn. My note: full-body contact sport wine. A touch tannic. Rich dark fruit. Drink 2007-2020. Score: 89/100.

French Red Wines

650598 VIEUX CHÂTEAU DES JOUANS 2000 $23.95 AC Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux (XD) (Faure Furlan, Prop.) VC: A very attractive, value-priced 2000 Bordeaux that really shows the strength of the vintage. Medium-deep, youthful ruby colour with aromas that recall blueberry pie, cassis and chocolate mint. On the palate, it is dry and fairly tannic with layers of glorious fruit and cedar underneath. Give this 5+ years in a cellar. My note: Grab these value-priced Bordeaux from the spectacular 2000 vintage when you can. This one has attarctive bitter chocolate notes, cassis and black cherries. Drink 2008-2013. Score: 89/100.

653147 CHÂTEAU DE LA RIVIÉRE 2000 $39.95 AC Fronsac, Bordeax (XD) VC: The owners of what is considered one of the best properties in the Fronsac, Château de la Rivière, have put the wines up against various Bordeaux First Growths in blind tastings and won. The wines are principally made with Merlot, plus smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. My note: Also comes in the half bottle (653089, $19.95). The 2000 vintage is strongly oaked but will come together with aging. Drink 2008-2012. I also tasted the 1999 vintage which I'd rate 89/100 and the 1998, my favorite at 90/100. The 1991 was well past it's prime.

590570 CHÂTEAU CESSERAS 2001 $18.95 AC Minervois la Livinière, Midi (XD) (Jean-Yves et Pierre-André Ournac): Weirdly great! Aromas of purple plums and blueberries with almost liqueur-like ripeness in the fruit. Score: 88/100.

Italian White Wines

954024 TIEFENBRUNNER PINOT GRIGIO 2003 $16.95 DOC Sudtirol-Alto Adige (D) VC: Tiefenbrunner is rightly considered one of the finest producers in the Alto Adige. Their Pinot Grigios frequently outshine others from the same region. The warm 2003 vintage delivers even fuller flavours than usual. My note: Typical aromas for pinot grgio: lemon and grapefruit with a zesty acidity. Score: 87/100.

Spanish Red Wines

985093 CASTILLO PERELADA TINTO RESERVA 2001 $22.95 DO Empordà-Costa Brava (D) VC: Our panel found this blend of Garnacha (Grenache), Cariñena (Carignan), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to be ripe, full-bodied and almost New World in style. Food match: beef or lamb casseroles. My note: Dark red fruit. A touch tannic. Full-bodied. Drink 2006-2009. Score: 89/100.

Rosé Wines

654988 DOMAINE DE NIZAS ROSÉ 2004 $13.95 AC Coteaux du Languedoc, France (XD) VC: Domaine de Nizas was a critical success right from the get go. Owner John Goelet hit it big with California's Clos du Val and Australia's Taltarni. This rosé, the first in our market, is a blend of 50% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 20% Syrah. Food match: aperitif, warm summer salads. My note: Medium-bodied, dry wine with lovely strawberry aromas. Good acidity. I suggest you chill all these rosés, not as cold as a white wine but they'll be more refreshing that way. Score: 85/100.

319392 CHÂTEAU LA TOUR DE L'ÉVÊQUE ROSÉ 2004 $13.95 AC Côtes de Provence, France (XD) (Régine Sumeire, Prop.-Récolt.) VC: The garlic- and oil-based cuisine of Provence seems to have a real affinity for the region's best rosés, like this one. Whether serving a homemade aioli (the great garlicky dipping sauce) or pan-seared scallops grilled in butter and garlic, Château la Tour de l'Évêque Rosé will be an ideal match. My note: Very nice for the price. More strawberries and refreshing acidity. Also comes in half bottle (707463, $7.95). Score: 85/100.

319368 CHÂTEAU D'AQUERIA TAVEL ROSÉ 2004 $18.95 AC Rhone Valley, France (XD) (Soc.Civile Agricole Jean Olivi): One of the classic rosés of France. Medium- to full-bodied with berry aromas. Also comes in half bottle (712000, $11.95). Score: 87/100. Favorite Rosé

654996 ZENI BARDOLINO CHIARETTO 2004 $10.95 DOC, Classico Veneto, Italy (D) VC: Chiaretto is Bardolino's word for rosé wines. The region is known for creating crisp, refreshing, fruit-scented wines that are excellent as aperitifs or with lighter fish and seafood dishes. My note: Light and pleasing. A touch of sweetness softens and rounds this wine like rain clouds far off on a summer day. Score: 86/100.

June 11 Release Wines

Loire Valley, France White Wines

655076 DOMAINE D'ORFEUILLES VOUVRAY 'LES COURDRALES' 2002 $18.95 AC (D) (Bernard Herivault, Prop.): Lovely aromas of citrus. Juicy. A touch sweet. Score: 88/100.

716498 'LE PETIT SAINT-LOUIS' CHÂTEAU DE MONTGUÉRET BLANC 2004 $13.95 AC Anjou (D) (Mme. D. Lacheteau, Prop.-Récolt.) VC: The aromatic Chenin Blanc, used exclusively in the creation of this wine, makes a superior companion for spicy Asian food, freshwater fish, seafood or stuffed pork tenderloin. My note: Typical chenin blanc with lemon notes and vibrant acidity. Score: 83/100.

California White Wines

980433 RUTHERFORD HILL CHARDONNAY 2002 $25.95 Napa Valley (D): Exotic spicy pear, lemon and green apple notes. This is my favorite style of chard: robust but not heavy nor too oaky. Score: 90/100.

California Red Wines

550582 TRINCHERO 'MAIN STREET' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2000 $54.95 Napa Valley (XD) VC: This wine won a rare Double-Gold Medal and Best of Class Award at the 2005 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. To celebrate fifty years of their success with Sutter Home, the Trinchero family opened their namesake winery in 1998. They have made excellent strides over the last several vintages creating superb quality wines like this rich, single vineyard Cabernet. My note: Lovely, rich full-bodied red. A bit over-priced. Score: 901/00.

Chilean White Wines

404178 CALITERRA CHARDONNAY RESERVA 2003 $ 13.95 Casablanca Valley (XD) VC: Caliterra is the joint venture of California's Mondavi winery and the owners of Viña Errazuriz. Its name is short for "La Calidad de la Tierra", or "the quality of the land". This fresh and elegant Chardonnay reflects the highest quality of Chile's cool climate Casablanca Valley. My note: Spicy green apples. Nice balance. Medium- to full-bodied. Fantastic price. Score: 88/100. Best Value White Wine

Australian White Wines

651331 HOPE ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2003 $13.95 Estate Grown, Hunter Valley, New South Wales (D): Mouth-watering goodness. Round and buttery with more of dem green apples. Terrific price. Score: 88/100.

Australian Red Wines

936971 D'ARENBERG 'THE LAUGHING MAGPIE' SHIRAZ VIOGNIER 2003 $25.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia (XD): I love the way a bit of the white grape viognier in this blends lifts and accentuates the red grape shiraz. This is a thick, full-bodied, luscious wine. Score: 90/100.

New Zealand White Wines

616243 KONRAD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 $16.95 Marlborough, South Island (XD): Terrific refreshing white with classic herbal, grassy and zesty citrus flavors. Score: 90/100. Favorite White Wine

French Red Wines

940106 CHÂTEAU DAUZAC 2001 $49.95 AC Margaux, Bordeaux (XD): Full-bodied and powerful. Classic aromas of cassis and black currant. Well-oaked. Drink 2006-2010. Score: 91/100.

653618 CHÂTEAU REYSSON RESERVE 2001 $25.95 AC Haut-Mèdoc, Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux (XD) VC: This wine was a crowd favourite at our Tour de France event in Toronto in February 2005. Château Reysson is built upon 2nd century ruins and it is believed to be a property that once belonged to the Bituriques Vivisque tribe, founders of Burdigala (Bordeaux). Today, Reysson makes delicious, rich wines with a 57/43 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend. My note: Excellent price for such an elegant wine. The 2001 vintage was overshadowed by the hype about 2000, but 2001 is excellent. This wine has black fruit, smoky notes and a pleasant bitter finish. Score: 90/100.

941351 DOMAINE COMTE GEORGES DE VOGÜÉ CHAMBOLLE MUSIGNY 2002 $99.95 AC Burgundy (XD): Magnificent wine, even though it's overpriced. Enticing aromas of dark cherries and spice. A wine that will play with your emotions. Has both length and depth. Score: 92/100. Favorite Red Wine

597864 DOMAINE NUDANT LADOIX 1ER CRU 'LES BUIS' 2002 $35.95 AC Burgundy (D) VC: This wine's approachable style makes it an excellent choice for those wanting to explore the 2002 Burgundy vintage. Our panel found aromas of berry, smoke and forest floor. This charming Pinot Noir would be a fine match for filet mignon, roast beef or stuffed veal tenderloin. My note: Soft berries but no fruit bomb. The 2002 vintage was one of Burgundy's best in the past ten years. Score: 90/100.

719120 CUVÉE DU VATICAN CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE 2001 $33.95 AC Rhone Valley (XD) (Diffonty Félicien & Fils, Prop.): Cherry liqueur richness and depth. Big alcohol and full-bodied flavor. Score: 90/100.

Italian Red Wines

653212 SELLA & MOSCA 'MEDEUS' 2000 $29.95 IGT Isola dei Nuraghi, Sardinia (D) VC: Looking at this label will definitely not turn you to stone. Nor will this 'Medeus' (Medusa) sprout snakes when you open it. This is an elegant blend of Cannonau (Grenache), Carignano (Carignan), Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Silky and elegant, this internationally-styled wine has bright aromas, including plum, cinnamon and new oak spice. The finish is long and richly fruity. Food match: roast beef, grilled lamb. My note: Love it! Rich and deep with many layers of dark fruit. A vibrant acidity makes it perfect for pasta, pizza and lasangua. Score: 91/100.

Spanish Wines

680678 MIGUEL TORRES 'NEROLA' XARELLO/GARNACHA 2003 $16.95 DO Catalunya (D) VC: Launched with the 2001 vintage, 'Nerola' is a new line from Miguel Torres designed for enjoying on the back patio with your friends. These are the first wines made by the 4th generation of Torres, Miguel's daughter, Mireia. Miguel convinced Mireia to switch from chemical engineering to oenology. She studied in Montpellier, France then spent two vintages at the family's Chilean property in the Curicó region. It was during her tenure there that she developed the idea for this wine. She experimented with a variety of grapes and winemaking techniques before hitting on the blend you find here. My note: Robust yet balanced wine with juicy dark fruit. Score: 89/100.

707059 CELLER DE CAPÇANES COSTERS DEL GRAVET 2000 $28.95 DO Montsant (D) This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cariñena. Montsant finally achieved its own DO (quality region designation) in 2001. As this example shows, Montsant can produce better wines than the Tarragona area to which it was formerly attached. My note: Dark ripe red fruit and leather notes. Full-bodied. Score: 90/100.

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Copyright © 2005 by Natalie MacLean. All rights reserved. Please ask permission of the author before copying or using this material.