November Recommendations

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

Nov 1: Recommended White Wines

966820 Forrest Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2002, New Zealand $19.95: classic NZ SB with herbal and gooseberry notes and even some tropical tree fruit. Mouth-watering acidity makes a terrific wine for cream dishes and seafood. Score: 89/100

958801 Jean-Claude Chatelain Pouilly-Fume 2002, Loire Valley, France $24.95: Gorgeous, complex Old World sauvignon blanc with zesty acidity, lemon-lime aromas and light smoke. 90

905653 Weingut Schloss Schonborn Riesling Spatlese 1995, Rheingau, Germany $19.85: Rieslings continue to be my favourite white wines for their lovely tree fruit and mineral character. This one throws in a little outboard motor, yes that petrol nose is an acquired aroma, but once you acquire it, you'll go squirrelly for it. 90

722405 Weingut Gunderloch Riesling Auslese 2001, Rheinhessen, Germany $43.50: Perhaps you think I've missed my medication in recommending a white German wine with unreadable label for $43.50? No, I'm on my full meds alright, which include the better-than-prozac lift of this wine when possible. Spicy, racy, zesty, minerally, tree fruity... as they say in the brochure: It's got it all! 96 Favourite White Wine

Nov 1: Recommended Red Wines

968982 Chateau des Charmes Gamay Droit 2000, Niagara $14.95: Sometimes you just want to thank the winemaker personally (thanks Paul!)... this lovely gamay is a far cry from some of those insipid beaujolais nouveau wines. It has a divine peppery character with glorious ripe cherries... simple hedonism at its best. 90 Favourite Red Wine

110478 Angove's Classic Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2001, South Eastern Australia $12.95: Deal of the century, buy this one by the caseload for the holidays. It's juicy, ripe, delicious and smooth with excellent short-term aging potential of about 17 minutes (the time required to get it home from the liquor store). 85

906891 Andrew Harris Shiraz 2001, Mudgee, Australia $15.95: A big honkin' shiraz with a brain (translation: some structure not all fruit, but what fruit there is is lovely: black plums and cherries with white pepper). 88

906115 Leasingham Bin 61 Shiraz 1999, Clare Valley, Australia $26.55: Deep, dark and brooding like the scary shower scene music... with spice, pepper and that exotic drak fruit from the Phone trees that we all seek. 88

607812 Graham Beck The Ridge Syrah 2001, South Africa $19.95: Good value for the money. Currants, spice and full-bodied flavour. 87

909507 TerraMater Shiraz Reserva Unfiltered 2001, Chile $19.50: Luscious black plums and cassis, a touch tannic (will age 3 years at least). Gold Medal winner at Concours Mondial Bruxelles 2003. 90

708594 Chateau La Gasparde 2000, Bordeaux $17.95: Ah, those 2000 Bordeaux... nice to find one that doesn't require putting your china up on eBay. Although this one isn't a heavy-hitter in terms of body, it delivers lots of medium-bodied ripe cherries and currant. And at 12.5% alcohol it's a welcome relief for your tired palate. 88

711317 Chateau de Beaucastel 2000, Rhone Valley, France $65.95: Pricey but worth it. One of the Rhone's best producers. This one has gorgeous cedar forest and spice notes with a ripe river of black cherries running through the middle. It also comes in the half bottle (968750 for $33.95... why shouldn't you drink great wine when you're alone?) Parker gives it a 94 but I'll go with 91.

331900 Guigal Gigondas 2000, Rhone Valley Smokin! Cassis, cherries and black pepper too. Should age at least 10 years. 90

917948 Vacqueyras 2000, Rhone Valley $25.60: Another Old World gem. A long, looong finish (in fact, I can still taste it from last Tuesday). More cedar forest and wild red berries. 89

900274 Donnafugata Sedara 2001, Sicily, Italy $14.85: Tony Soprano's wine? (As in Donna forgetabout dis wine!) Splendidly rich juicy red fruit with a sprinkle of spice. Great with richly-flavoured meat dishes. 85

Nov 15: Recommended White and Fortified Wines

284307 Graham 20 Years Old Tawny Port, Portugal $26 (half bottle 375 ml): Almonds, honey and loads of alcoholic warmth. You start the fire, I'll the glasses. 90

906495 Le Bonheur Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2003, South Africa $12.90: Your white wine deal of the century. Get 'em now before the holidays. This has lovely herbal notes, refreshing and will stand up to all those palate-killing holiday canapés. 84 Best Value White Wine

390203 Montes Chardonnay 2001, Chile $23.45: Here's your big, round, mouth-filling chard with a twist: spicy pear notes that make it almost Old World in its sophistication. 89

909200 Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett 2001, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany $16.95: A steal at this price. Lemon-lime acidity and lovely floral aromas. 89

907741 Brauneberger Juffer Riesling Spatlese 2001, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer $28.95: Love it even though it is more "aggressive" in its acidity. Drink only with food, but it'll go the distance with your toughest matches from cream to seafood to tomato sauce. 86

Nov 15: Recommended Red Wines

586313 Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Reserve 2000, Niagara $18.95: I've recommended this wine for several vintages now. Loads of black fruit and pepper, yet it's smooth on the palate. 90

251835 Gray Monk Estate Pinot Noir 2001, BC $16.40: I wish we could get more of these lovely wines from BC in Ontario. This one has pure, sweet fruit (it's a dry wine though), completely integrated tannins and gives a lot of medium-bodied, easy-drinking joy. 86

914200 Rosenblum Ancient Vines Zinfandel 2001, California $24.95: One of the best zin producers. This wine is bursting with jammy ripe strawberries and raspberries. 88

974105 Clos La Chance Merlot 2001, Central Coast California $25.95: Lovely and rich without going overboard. Full of currants and chocolate. 88

906263 Yarra Burn Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, Yarra Valley, Australia $31.45: Cassis, currant, classic structure. Beautifully balanced. 89

542100 Rufus Stone Shiraz 2000, McLaren Vale, Australia $23.95: I've been a fan of this particular wine from Tyrell's for several vintages. It is a big boy (or buxom gal) kind of wine: juicy, ripe but not overdone. 88

911958 Annie's Lane Old Vine Shiraz/Grenache/Mouvedre 1999, Clare Valley, Australia $29.80: We've had the value-end of the line from this producer here, now they're stocking the premium line. It's still great value for the quality: a rich wine of many nuances and long finish. 90

522219 Cathedral Cellars Merlot 1999, South Africa $16.95: Marvelous value, gorgeous acidity with dark velvet fruit. 88

974873 Cremaschi Furlotti Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2001, Chile $11.95: Can't beat the price, a simple one-note wine but what a nice little ring it has. 81

716944 Chateau de Rochemorin 2000, Chile $28: Perfectly balanced, medium-bodied wine that has ripe, almost sweet fruit. 90

328997 Agric Dino Illuminati Riparosso 2001, Italy $12.95: A spicy little number, not fruit forward but an interesting quaff. 84 Best Value Red Wine