Vintages Release September 3, 2005

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French Red Wine (Burgundy)

700906 DOMAINE ANTONIN GUYON CHAMBOLLE-MUSIGNY 'CLOS DU VILLAGE' 2002 $57.95 AC, Monopole (XD = extra dry): A good earthy pinot noir (always the red grape in Burgundy) with classic aromas of cherries. Drink 2006-2010. Score: 92/100.

993063 JOSEPH DROUHIN GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN 2002 $48.95 AC (XD): Lovely, full-bodied and perfumed red fruit from one of my favorite negociants (merchants). Drink 2006

652420 DOMAINE PARENT POMMARD 'LES CHAPONNIÈRES' 2002 $69.95 AC, 1er Cru (XD) VC: Youthful medium ruby/purple color leads to a very attractive, classic Pommard nose of black and sour cherry, mineral/earth, leather and hints of truffle. It is dry with very good concentration; attractive fruit below dusty tannins. This medium-bodied, long finishing, structured wine will reward 3-6 years in a cellar. My score: 90/100.

680850 DOMAINE PAVELOT SAVIGNY-LÈS-BEAUNE'LA DOMINODE' 2002 $47.95 AC, 1er Cru (XD) (Jean-Marc & Hugues Pavelot): Earthy with aromas of sour cherries and a long finish. Drink 2007-2012. Score: 90/100.

653022 DOMAINE ROBERT ARNOUX NUITS-ST-GEORGES 2002 $59.95 AC (XD) (Pascal Lachaux): Full-bodied and concentrated but balanced. Lots of berry fruit. Score: 89/100.

586800 DOMAINE TAUPENOT-MERME MOREY-SAINT-DENIS 2002 $59.95 AC (XD) VC: Classic pinot noir characteristics, including cherry, raspberry and beet root are all present here. This dry wine has a very firm tannin structure with the fruit waiting patiently beneath. Give this 5+ years in a cellar. My note: Full-bodied with cherries and earth. A touch tannic so age it. Drink 2008-2012. Score: 90/100.

587055 DOMAINE TOLLOT-BEAUT SAVIGNY-LAVIÈRES 2002 $44.95 AC Savigny-lès-Beaune, 1er Cru (XD): Black concentrated fruit. A touch tannic. Full-bodied. Drink 2006-2012. Score: 91/100.

940551 FAIVELEY MERCUREY'LA FRAMBOISIÈRE' 2002 $29.95 AC (XD): An excellent value for Burgundy. Lovely perfume and ripe cherries. Drink 2006-2009. Score: 88/100.

586867 FERNAND & LAURENT PILLOT POMMARD 'CLOS DE VERGERS' 2002 $69.95 AC, 1er Cru (XD) VC: A silky wine with sweet raspberry, smoke and spice notes. On the palate, it is dry, very well-balanced and eminently-drinkable now with a roast beef dinner. It will also reward short to mid-term cellaring (2-5 years). My note: A magnificent Burgundy with layers of perfumed fruit that will envelope you. Strength without heaviness. Drink now (and fast before it's gone). Score: 93/100. Tied for Favorite Red Wine

999672 LOUIS LATOUR BEAUNE 'VIGNES FRANCHES' 2002 $56.95 AC, 1er Cru (XD): Lovely balance. More cherries. Mouth-filling and delicious. Drink 2007-2013. Score: 90/100.

Sparkling Wine

338459 CLOUDY BAY 'PELORUS' 2000 $37.95 Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand (XD): From the maker of the famous sauvignon blanc comes a lovely, round, toasty with a whiff of raspberries. Terrific value. Score: 90/100.

Argentine Red Wine

677567 FAMIGLIA BIANCHI CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $15.95 Mendoza (XD) (Bodegas Valentin Bianchi): An extraordinary wine for the price. Lots of ripe, deep red berry fruit. Full-bodied. Score: 90/100.

Chilean Red Wine

640888 SANTA CAROLINA 'BARRICA SELECTION' CARMENERE 2003 $14.95 Rapel Valley (XD): Warm, rich fruit. No surprises; a comfort wine for fall like a soft sweater. Full-bodied. Score: 88/100.

651513 TERRAMATER SHIRAZ/CABERNET 2002 $11.95 Maipo Valley (XD): Right in the sweet spot where Chile excels: value wines in the $9-$12 range. This is terrific value for the money. Juicy red fruit. Score: 87/100. Best Value Red Wine

Australian Red Wine

595439 'COCKFIGHTER'S GHOST' SHIRAZ 2002 $22.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia (XD) (Poole's Rock Wines): Aromas of mint and chocolate *that's not to say its sweet: it's completely dry). Lovely wine. Full-bodied. Score: 90/100.

595405 HUGH HAMILTON 'THE RASCAL' SHIRAZ 2003 $24.95 McLaren Vale, South Australia (XD) VC: Fifth generation winemaker Hugh Hamilton is proud of his reputation as 'the black sheep' of the family. He's a rule breaker who knows what he wants from his wines and his larger-than-life personality is reflected in his larger-than-life wines. My note: Lovely, balanced wine with red fruit and pepper. Smooth and full-bodied. Score: 89.5/100.

606624 RING-BOLT CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $19.95 Margaret River, Western Australia (XD) VC: Look for red and black currant aromas and flavors plus hints of spice and tobacco. Enjoy with slightly spicy beef dishes. My note: Full-bodied and juicy. Great with many hearty dishes. Score: 89/100.

681098 STONEHAVEN SHIRAZ 2004 $12.95 'South Eastern', Australia (XD) VC: Stonehaven was the first settlement in the Limestone Coast region of South Australia. This namesake winery was opened in 1998 and is located just south of the town of Padthaway, the 'gateway' to the region. Consistently rated a best buy year after year, with its intense cherry and black pepper characteristics, this Shiraz is best enjoyed with lamb or chicken satay in a coconut and peanut sauce. MY note: An extraordinary value for the money. Plump and simple; juicy and round. A crowd pleaser for a large party. Score: 87/100.

New Zealand White Wine

359513 CLOUDY BAY CHARDONNAY 2003 $33.95 Marlborough, South Island (XD) VC: Cloudy Bay's is one of New Zealand's top producers and their sauvignon blanc is regarded by many as one of the best in the world. A warm autumn in 2003 enabled Cloudy Bay to produce this intensely flavored, fruit-focused chardonnay. My note: Ripe tree fruit and delicious mouth-filling texture. Not too oaky. Score: 90/100.

957670 SEIFRIED ESTATE SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 $16.95 Nelson, South Island (XD) VC: Nelson-based Seifried Estate is possibly the best New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc producer not in Marlborough. Stylistically, the family-owned Seifried winery creates wines that are halfway between the legendary aggressive style and the more recent elegant interpretation. As a result, their sauvignon is excellent as a sipper and an ideal partner with seafood, such as calamari, bivalves and even spicy shrimp dishes. My score: 89/100.

South African Red Wine

652602 GUARDIAN PEAK SHIRAZ 2003 $12.95 WO Stellenbosch (XD) VC: Guardian Peak is a remarkable 'reds only' winery owned by Rust en Vrede Estate and managed by the same stellar winemaking team. My note: Full-bodied with dark, spicy red fruit. Great value. Shiraz is definitely South Africa's red wine. Score: 88/100.

677468 'RAILROAD RED' SHIRAZ/CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2003 $12.95 WO Western Cape (XD) (Graham Beck Wines) VC: This brilliant overachiever won a Silver Medal at the 2004 International Wine Challenge in London, England. My note: A terrific full-bodied red with peppery notes. Perfect for steak and barbecue. Score: 88/100.

South African Rosé

999821 MULDERBOSCH CABERNET SAUVIGNON ROSÉ 2004 $12.95 WO Stellenbosch (D = dry) VC: Hold on to summer beyond the Labor Day weekend with this wonderful rosé. My note: Lovely crisp rosé from a producer of marvelous sauvignon blanc. Score: 88/100.

French White Wine

930842 'DOMAINE LA BATTEUSE' CHARDONNAY 2003 $12.95 Vin de Pays d'Oc, Midi (D) (Bernard Delmas) VC: This wine is certified organic by the ECOCERT organization. Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this wine contains 18 mg/L of free sulphur. Enjoy this fruit-forward, unoaked chardonnay with flavorful seafood dishes. My note: Fantastic value for this party wine. Round and delicious. Score: 85/100. Best Value White Wine

French Red Wine (Southern France and Rhone)

936880 CHÂTEAU LES OLLIEUX 2000 $17.95 AC Corbières (D) (François Xavier Surbezy, Prop.) VC: Aged for six months in French oak, this wine is a blend of 31% Grenache, 33% Syrah, 31% Carignan and 5% Mourvèdre. An intense bouquet of herbs, plum jam, Brio and menthol dominate this well-made Midi wine. It is dry, ripe, round, generous, full-bodied and long finishing. Enjoy it with lamb shank or braised beef. My note: Dark, black fruit... a brooding wine. Score: 89/100.

720466 PAUL JABOULET 'DOMAINE DE THALABERT' CROZES-HERMITAGE 2001 $33.95 Rhone Valley AC (XD): Exotic and wonderful blend of spicy cherries, cedar forest. Full-bodied and mouth-watering. Great with a range of hearty dishes and meats. Drink 2005-2010. Score: 90/100

973735 PAUL JABOULET HERMITAGE 'LA CHAPELLE' 2001 $159.95 AC (XD): One of the loveliest Rhone wines I've tasted. Splurge and find out what a mind-bending experience the Rhone can be. Ripe red fruit under a softly carpeted pine needle forest floor. Layers of happiness, especially for those with generous dinner expense accounts. Score: 95/100. Tied for Favorite Red Wine

French Rosé

950733 DOMAINE DES PEIRECÈDES 'CUVÉE ARIANE' ROSÉ 2004 $13.95 AC Côtes de Provence (D) (Alain Baccino) VC: Enjoy this rosé blend of Syrah, Cinsault and Grenache with lighter seafood dishes or just sip on your back patio and dream of sun-dappled Provence.

German White Wine

970129 STUDERT-PRÜM RIESLING KABINETT 2003 $18.95 QmP, Wehlener Sonnenuhr, Estate Btld. (MD = medium dry): Love it! Ripe pears and loads of depth. Mouth-watering and great for a range of dishes from pasta cream sauce and seafood to lightly spiced Asian dishes and curry. Score: 91/100. Favorite White Wine

Italian Red Wine

977421 CASTELLO DI MONSANTO CHIANTI CLASSICO 2002 $24.95 DOCG (XD) VC: Classic Chianti aromas and flavors of cherry and spice are here. This dry wine is wonderfully smooth with good fruit flavors and moderate intensity on the finish. Enjoy with a full meat pasta dish. My note: Lovely bright red fruit, mouth-watering juiciness. Great for tomato-sauce pasta, lasagna and pizza. Also available in the handy half bottle size (375 ml) for those nights when you're on your own and need to take care of yourself (651604, $14.95). Score: 86/100.

974394 FRESCOBALDI 'CASTIGLIONI' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $19.95 IGT Toscana (XD) (Marchesi de Frescobaldi): Fresh and lively red fruit. A touch tannic so let it age a bit. Drink 2006-2008. Score: 89/100.

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