Wine Picks November 12, 2005

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


BOLLINGER 'SPECIAL CUVÉE' BRUT CHAMPAGNE AC: Wow! This is a gorgeous champagne, with rich aromas of toast, tangerines, spice and oak. A full-throttled bubbly suitable for special nights with that new James Blond. (Yes, I meant to say Blond.) Score: 92/100. Product number: 384529 (D = dry) $69.95

California Red Wines

RENWOOD ZINFANDEL 2002 'Sierra Series', Sierra Foothills VC: Renwood is a multi-award winning Zinfandel specialist. The fruit was hand-harvested from several vineyard sites. Each vineyard lot was fermented and macerated separately as well as matured separately in a combination of new and seasoned American and French oak barrels. The final blend was determined by what each barrel brought to the 'game'. Enjoy with stuffed veal tenderloin, filet mignon or lamb chops. My note: A juicy, mouth-watering brambly berry wine. Full-bodied and a touch tannic. Drink 2005-2009. Score: 90/100. Product number: 942581 (D = dry) 750 mL $19.95

SANTA BARBARA WINERY SYRAH 2001 Santa Ynez Valley VC: This multiple-award winning wine was aged in a variety of oak barrels, 30% new wood, for over a year. This hearty wine is a natural with country cooking, grilled meats and many cheeses. My note: Round, balanced and full-bodied. Score: 89.5/100. 630616 (XD = extra dry) 750 mL $19.95

GLASS MOUNTAIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001 California (Prod. & Btld. Markham Vineyards) VC: Glass Mountain is the name of a real, volcanic mountain located to the east of Yosemite National Park, in northern California. Enjoy this explosively fruity wine with slow roasted back ribs or grilled steaks. My note: Great value. Aromas of ripe red fruit and full-bodied texture. Score: 89/100. 727511 (XD) 750 mL $15.95

RODNEY STRONG ZINFANDEL'KNOTTY VINES' 2001 Sonoma County VC: The majority of the vines for this single vineyard Zinfandel were just under 100 years old in 2001. Rodney Strong ages the wines for 12 months in a combination of new and seasoned American and French oak. The combination adds more layers of complexity and elegance than one type of wood. Enjoy with beef tenderloin dishes. My note: Rich aromas of mocha and berries. Tastes like cabernet but what the heck, it's delicious. Score: 89.5/100. 363358 (D) 750 mL $19.95

Argentine Red Wine

CATENA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 Mendoza VC: The combination of a long family tradition of quality winemaking and a new state-of-the-art winery makes Nicolás Catena's product some of the most sought after wines in Argentina. Expect aromas of currants and black cherry as well as some smoky notes in this elegant, medium-full bodied Cab. My note: Notes of chocolate and black fruit. Round and full-bodied. Touch tannic. Drink 2006-2008. Score: 89/100. 985002 (XD) 750 mL $19.95

Chilean Red Wines

ECHEVERRIA CARMENÈRE 2004 Central Valley VC: This Merlot-like fruit driven and well-balanced red won a Gold Medal at the 2nd Annual Wines of Chile Awards in 2005. It also took home the trophy for Best Value. My note: A simple peppery red perfect for a grilled or pepper steak. Score: 85/100. 658559 (XD) 750 mL $12.95

PÉREZ CRUZ SYRAH RESERVA 2003 Limited Edition, Maipo Valley: Lovely balance and round rich red fruit flavors. Full-bodied. Score: 90/100. 589812 (XD) 750 mL $22.95

MONTES CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2004 Oak Aged, Colchagua Valley VC: Viña Montes, named for winemaker and co-owner Aurelio Montes, is one of Chile's leading producers. This juicy fruity Cabernet is another best buy! Enjoy with gourmet pizza, hearty stews or chili. My note: Fantastic value, with lovely aromas of black plums and cocoa. Score: 88/100 464479 (XD) 750 mL $12.95 Best Value Red Wine

French White Wine

W. GISSELBRECHT GEWURZTRAMINER 'RÉSERVE SPÉCIALE' 2004 AC Alsace VC: The attractive golden straw color leads to a nose reminiscent of mandarin orange, peach, lychee, grapefruit and lime. Gently dry, this good value gewurz shows excellent body and lengthy finish. Enjoy with Thai curried chicken or lobster. My note: Soft and luxurious, with classic lychee aromas. Fans of gewurz will love it. Score: 90/100. 678003 (D) 750 mL $16.95

French Red Wines

CHÂTEAU GROSSOMBRE 2000 AC Bordeaux (Beatrice Lurton, Prop.) VC: Beatrice Lurton – the sister of the flying winemakers, Jacques and François – acquired this winery in 1990. A supple, approachable Claret (67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot) with aromas of coffee, cedar, cassis and vanilla bean. This dry wine is quite robust and almost chewy. Medium full-bodied with a lingering fruit and silky tannin finish. Enjoy with moderately rich beef, lamb or game dishes. My note: Dark rich fruit and layers of Old World finesse. Drink 2006-2009. Score: 89.5/100. 943712 (XD) 750 mL $18.95

CHÂTEAU SUAU 'CUVÉE PRESTIGE' 2001 AC Premières Côtes de Bordeaux VC: This near evenly split blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc exhibits lovely cassis, blueberry and toast aromas. On the palate it is quite dry with an assertive tannic grip currently surrounding the fruit. An excellent value-priced cellar starter wine. Give it 2-4 years. My note: Excellent cellar value with dark, smoky aromas. Drink 2006-2009. Score: 89.5/100. 943555 (XD) 750 mL $20.95

CHÂTEAU DES JACQUES MOULIN-À-VENT 2002 AC (Domaine Louis Jadot) Beaujolais VC: Food match: filet mignon, grilled salmon. My note: medium-bodied with bright cherries. Balanced and juicy. Score: 89/100. 700187 (XD) 750 mL $28.95

MAS DE BRESSADES 'CUVÉE EXCELLENCE' 2003 AC Rhone Valley Costières de Nîmes (Cyril Marés Prop.) VC: Food match: rich meat-based pastas, veal parmesan. My note: Black peppery fruit with mouth-watering juiciness. Score: 90/100. 708750 (D) 750 mL $18.95

German White Wine

QmP, Hochheimer Hölle, Estate Btld.: Love the sweetness which is perfectly balanced with the refreshing acidity. One of the best food wines on the planet. Bring on the curries, the Asian fare and spicy chicken wings. Score: 90/100. 722413 (M) 750 mL $19.95 Favorite White Wine

Italian Red Wines

MALENCHINI 'BRUZZICO' 2001 IGT Toscana: Exotic and different from your run-of-the-mill reds. Full-bodied aromas of plums, blueberries and coffee. Score: 90/100. 658427 (XD) 750 mL $29.95

MONTELVINI 'EL ZUITER' ROSSO 2000 IGT delle Venezie VC: This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Refosco exhibits aromas of plum, black cherry, coconut, chocolate and oak tones. It is dry and fruity with a very generous style. Almost New World in its fruit intensity. Enjoy with rich roast beef or lamb dishes. My note: Notes of chocolate, black plums and spice. Lose yourself in this voluptuous wine. Score: 90/100. 969741 (D) 750 mL $19.95 Favorite Red Wine

Portuguese Red Wines

HERDADE DO PERDIGAO 'VINHA DO ALMO' 2003 Vinho Regional Alentejano VC: A cornucopia of aromas are apparent here, including blackberry, blueberry, dried plum and licorice. This dry wine is rich, supple yet balanced. It is medium bodied with a very long finish. Enjoy with mature cheeses or roast beef with root vegetables. My note: Juicy red with ripe black fruit. Score: 88/100. 677773 (D) 750 mL $17.95

J.M FONSECA QUINTA DE CAMARATE 2001 Vinho Regional Terras do Sado VC: Almo is the Portuguese name for elm trees. The wine is named for this tree as they surround the vineyard where the grapes were sourced. My note: A simple juicy red that would be delicious with steak or stew. Score: 87/100. 357962 (D) 750 mL $13.95

Dessert Wines

370007 PILLITTERI VIDAL ICEWINE 2004 VQA Niagara Peninsula (S = sweet) 375 mL $34.95 VC: Yellow gold in color with aromas of honey, ripe plum, pineapple, apricot and grapefruit rind. Lush and almost creamy in the mouth with apricot and caramel flavors leading to a medium-long finish. My note: A voluptuous, rich icewine. Score: 90/100.

544791 REIF ESTATE VIDAL ICEWINE 2002 VQA Niagara Peninsula (S) 200 mL $24.95 VC: This wine was chosen as the Meridian Credit Union Wine of the Year at the Ontario Wine Awards 2005, the competition's top honor. My note: Lovely aromas of ripe tree fruit such as peaches. Score: 88/100.

413724 CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES 'PAUL BOSC ESTATE' RIESLING ICEWINE 2001 VQA Niagara Peninsula (S) 375 mL $59.95 VC: Deep yellow gold in color, it has classic and complex Riesling nose of wet slate, petrol, lime, pears, peach and orange rind. A fascinating wine that's quite German in style. Sweet with excellent balance and concentration on the palate, very elegant with great aroma replay and a long finish. My score: 89/100.

542399 KONZELMANN RIESLING ICEWINE 2003 VQA Niagara Peninsula (S) 375 mL $53.95 VC: Full straw color with bright floral aromas as well as layers of granny smith apple, peach, and tropical fruits. Sweet but with racy acidity, it has lemon, honey and nectarine flavors and a hint of spice on the medium-long finish. My score: 90/100.

591321 MALIVOIRE RIESLING ICEWINE 2003 Miseck Vineyard, VQA Niagara Peninsula (S) 200 mL $36.00 VC: Pale straw color with wonderful aromas of honey, passion fruit, pear compote as well as subtle mineral and floral notes. Delicate, sweet and elegant with well balanced flavors of melon, pear and spice and a medium-long finish. My note: Too opulent for words. This is a gorgeous icewine, one of the best I've tasted. Score: 95/100. Favorite Dessert Wine