Vintages Wine Picks for October 1, 2005

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

Please note: If you're a wine producer and would like me to review your wines coming out through the LCBO Vintages monthly release program, Classics or general list, please send me a sample as early as possible. If my review is published early enough on my site and in this newsletter, it may also be used in the LCBO's catalogue. As well, when I taste the wine apart from the 200 other wines in each release (as is the case at the LCBO-hosted tastings), it has a better chance of standing out. For details, click here.

Italian Red Wine

947465 PIO CESARE BARBARESCO 2000 $69.95 DOCG (XD = extra dry): Aromas of leather, mocha and smoke in this robust, deep and delicious red. Score: 92/100.

658351 DUE PALME PRIMITIVO 2002 $13.95 IGT Salento (D) VC: Previous vintages of this wine won numerous awards at various competitions around the world. Expect the same for the 2002 vintage of this Zinfandel by any other name. Expect ripe raspberry, plum and cocoa aromas and flavors. Enjoy with rich meat dishes or barbecued back ribs. My note: Delicious and a great value. Round and robust with aromas of chocolate. Score: 89/100.

652438 CASTELLO DI GABBIANO 'BELLEZZA' 2000 $49.95 IGT Toscana (XD) VC: Forcefully fruity on the nose, exhibiting aromas recalling cedar, leather, walnut, coffee and blueberry jam notes, this 100% Sangiovese Grosso wine is medium full-bodied and very supple. Even in its youth, this is a wine you should decant. Food match: white truffle pasta or risotto, roasted game bird. My note: Great balance and distinction. Warm-hearted red with dark red fruit. Score: 90/100.

984997 TEDESCHI 'CAPITEL DEI NICAL“' 2001 $16.95 DOC, Valpolicella Classico Superiore (D) VC: To intensify the flavor profile of this wine, the grapes are picked fully ripe then allowed to dry on mats for about one month prior to pressing. The resulting wines are more flavorful and have a higher alcohol content than standard Valpolicella. Enjoy with turkey dinner or braised lamb. My note: Another wines I've recommended vintage after vintage. Robust wine that demands food. Good mouth-watering attack. Drink with lamb, stew and roast. Score: 89.5/100.

Californian Wine

948737 CA'DEL SOLO MALVASIA BIANCA 2004 $19.95 Monterey (D = dry): A lively and crisp white for when you're ready for something different. Lovely with seafood and shellfish. Score: 91/100.

990440 KENWOOD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $24.95 Sonoma County (XD) VC: Kenwood is legendary for producing lush, ripe and delicious Cabernets, such as this one. They also successfully bring a beautiful balance to the wines with a judicious use of oak. Enjoy with rare beef dishes. Food match: rare beef dishes. My note: One of the most reasonably-priced California producers with consistently delicious wines. This one has mocha and dark plums. A touch tannic. Drink 2006-2009. Score: 89.5/100.

592931 SEBASTOPOL VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR 'DUTTON RANCH' 2001 $29.95 Estate Bottled, Russian River Valley, Sonoma (D): Gorgeous New World pinot with aromas of cherries and spice. Great Balance. Score: 91/100. Favorite Red Wine

Chilean Wine

975219 VI—A CARMEN 'NATIVA' CHARDONNAY 2004 $17.95 Maipo Valley (D) VC: Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this organic wine contains 27 mg/L of free sulphur. MY note: I've recommended this wine for several vintages now. It's an excellent value and bursting with ripe pears and spicy notes. Drink with pork roast and chicken. Score: 89/100.

975359 VI—A CARMEN 'NATIVA' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $18.95 Maipo Valley (XD) VC: Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this organic wine contains 20 mg/L of free sulphur. MY note: Another winner from Carmen. Aromas of mint, plums, chocolate. Round and robust A touch tannic. Score: 89.5/100.

Australian Red Wine

738567 GRANT BURGE BAROSSA VINES SHIRAZ 2002 $16.95 Barossa Valley (XD): Excellent price for this rich and deeply layered red. Lots of blackberries and plums. Score: 90/100.

658047 HARE'S CHASE BAROSSA RED BLEND 2003 $25.95 Barossa Valley, South Australia (XD) VC: Hare's Chase is near the village of Marananga in the Barossa Valley. The Marananga Valley is a sub-region distinguished by its red clay based soil. That and the region's low annual rainfall ensure a small crop, perfect for ripe, concentrated grapes. This wine is a blend of 25% Merlot, 63% Shiraz, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Tempranillo. Enjoy it with roast leg of lamb or other flavorful meats. My note: Minty, mocha goodness. Velvet texture. Score: 89.5/100.

657627 PLUNKETT 'BLACKWOOD RIDGE' SHIRAZ 2002 $21.95 Victoria (D) VC: Not all Australian Shirazes are fruit bombs. Compared to much of South Australia, Victoria is moderately cooler, thus creating wines that can show a fine balance between the fruit, acid and tannin. Plunkett's Blackwood Ridge' is a case in point. Our panel was quite excited by the complex fruit flavors that surrounded the tannic core. This is an Oz Shiraz that will reward mid-term cellaring (2-5 years). My note: Juicy and mouth-watering with dark red fruit. Score: 90/100.

677492 REDBANK 'FIGHTING FLAT' SHIRAZ 2001 $20.95 Victoria (XD) VC: Redbank's vineyards are situated in the foothills of the Pyrenees in Western Victoria. The area had previously been known for gold mining. The 'Fighting Flat' is a nearby clearing where miners had gathered on Sunday afternoons to 'let off some steam'. This cool climate Shiraz is an excellent value. Look for the one-two punch of spicy plum and raspberry fruit as well as clove and eucalyptus notes in this medium-bodied, ready-to-drink Shiraz from the makers of the sought-after 'Sally's Paddock'. My note: Good all-round wine with ripe plums. Score: 89.5/100.

New Zealand White Wine

981670 MOUNT RILEY SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 $17.95 Marlborough, South Island (XD) VC: Food match: seafood, light meat, crisp salads and vegetable dishes. Grassy and crisp. Classic NZ SB. Score: 89/100. Best Value White Wine

Bordeaux Sweet Wine

926444 CH¬TEAU ROUMIEU 2003 $23.95 AC Sauternes (S = sweet) 375 mL half bottle (Catherine Craveia-Goyaud, Prop.) VC: The 2003 Bordeaux vintage was one of the hottest on record. Enjoy this Sauternes with some fresh foie gras or blue-veined cheeses. My note: A stunning dessert wine. Rich and unctuous. Score: 92/100.

Burgundian White Wine

656835 LA CHABLISIENNE CHABLIS 1ER CRU 'FOURCHAUME' 2002 $33.95 AC (XD): Textbook chablis: crisp, ripe pears, mineral notes and a racy character. Yeah baby! Score: 90/100.

German White Wine

657171 REICHSGRAF VON KESSELSTATT RIESLING KABINETT 1999 $16.95 QmP, Graacher Domprobst, Estate Btld. (MD = medium dry) VC: Classic maturing Riesling aromas of petrol, peach, limeade and mineral/slate tones. Medium dry, ripe and fruity, yet with a fine mid-palate crispness for balance. Light to medium-bodied, this wine has a long, elegant finish. Enjoy with spicy Asian cuisine or as low alcohol (8% alc./vol.) evening sipper. My note: Gorgeous balance and concentration. Score: 90/100.

944181 KURT DARTING GEW‹RZTRAMINER KABINETT 2002 $15.95 QmP, DŁrkheimer Nonnengarten, Estate Btld. (M) VC: A beautiful full gold color leads to aromas that recall lychee, spice and grapefruit rind. It is medium in sweetness, but is ably balanced by a fine seam of acid. The aromas replay superbly on the palate. This almost Alsatian style Gewurz is medium-bodied and has a long finish. Enjoy with rich fish or seafood dishes. My note: Stunning! Ultimate wine for Asian and spicy dishes. Score: 91/100. Favorite White Wine

Spanish Red Wine

368290 BODEGAS ARAGONESAS 'MOSEN CLETO' 2001 $10.95 DO Campo di Borja (D) VC: The return of the 'dust-covered stranger'. 'Mosen Cleto' is an eminently quaffable wine that comes in an instantly recognizable, grit-encrusted bottle. Enjoy this on pizza night or with barbecued hamburgers. My note: Love the instant-old look of this bottle. A simple, jammy wine that will serve you well on chilly fall nights. Score: 85/100. Best Value Red Wine

Canadian Red Wine

537175 LAKEVIEW CELLARS PINOT NOIR 'BUTLER'S GRANT' 2002 $13.95 VQA Niagara Peninsula (XD) VC: Lakeview crafts an elegant Pinot, with aromas of red cherry, ripe raspberry and some woody tones. The flavors replay the fruit aromas with an additional layer of earthiness. Its medium-light bodied with a long, dusty and dry finish. My note: Great price for pinot. (Miles would smile.) Aromas of sweet cherries. Good balance. Score: 88/100.