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Trapiche Broquel Torrontes 2008, Cafayete Valley, Salta, Argentina: Vintages Wine Panel: This fragrant, floral and elegant Torrontes won a Gold Medal at the 2009 Argentina Wine Awards. One sniff and sip tells you why. Light peach, fresh apricot, melon, white flowers and lemon meringue aromas dominate. Quite dry and crisp with elegant fruit beneath. The apricot, peach and lemon replay beautifully on the palate. A great palate cleanser between courses. My note: Bring a bouquet to the table in a bottle: gorgeous floral aromas with white peach and lime. A summer’s day to brighten any evening. Mouth-watering and zesty. Medium-bodied. 127118 13.50% D 750 mL  $15.95 Score: 90/100. August 15, 2009 Full Review
Kaiken Icon Malbec 2007, Mendoza, Argentina: This as yet unnamed flagship wine for Kaiken is breath-taking in it's scope and depth. It's made by blending Malbec grapes from different vineyards that the estate owns. Classic, deep, rich and redolent of dark fruit and smoke. A wine for collectors. 14% XD 750 mL Score: 95/100. June 12, 2009 Full Review
Limited Edition Syrah 2005, Mendoza, Argentina: My favorite wine in a terrific line-up from this producer. Generous, balanced and plush. Aged 12 months in French oak. Aromas of violets, cinnamon and blackberry. Superb. 14% D 750 mL  $15.00 Score: 96/100. June 12, 2009 Full Review
Masi Corvina Malbec 2007, Tupungato Valley, Argentina: A sublime wine of incredible depth and dimension. On the nose, blackberry, cassis, black cherry and mocha. This wine is a blend of 70% Corvina and 30% Malbec grapes. It was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Lovely length. You do need to decant this wine for 1-2 hours: I left it open overnight and it was fabulous the next day. 79095 14.50% D 750 mL  $29.95 Score: 90/100. July 11, 2009 Favorite Red Wine. Full Review
Kangarilla Road Shiraz Viognier 2006, McLaren Vale, South Australia, Australia: Minty-blackberry great! A whoosh of flavor and aroma wakes up the senses and says, get ready to enjoy! Full-bodied, mouth-watering and tasty. This wine is a blend of Shiraz (92%) and Viognier (8%). The Viognier lifts the palate and brightens the wine making it ever so much more interesting. The wine was aged for 14 months in new French oak barrels. 127548 15% D 750 mL  $27.95 Score: 92/100. September 12, 2009 Full Review
Cave Spring Cellars Merlot 2006, V.Q.A., Niagara Escarpment, Ontario, Canada: Vintages Wine Panel: The 2006 vintage in Ontario was cool. At first, '06 wines made with Bordeaux grapes were a touch muted. Now, a year or two on, the wines are starting to make a big impression. Cave Spring's Merlot is a prime example. Well-handled toasty oak surrounds an array of aromas, including black cherry, plum, vanilla and coffee bean, as well as a hint of minerality. On the palate, it's dry with good fruit replays, and moderate tannins bring fine balance. Medium-bodied with a lingering finish. Try it tonight. My note: a juicy, generous, plumy wine loaded with berry-ripe flavors and dark chocolate notes. Smooth and supple with full-bodied warmth. This is a wine that gives you coming back for more … and more. 235051 13.50% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 90/100. August 15, 2009 Full Review
Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse Cabernet Sauvignon Blend 2005, A.C., Pauillac, Bordeaux, France: Is it okay to purr for a tasting note? Fine, let me add some words … just a minute, I need another sip. Okay, I’m back now. Lovely, voluptuous aromas of black raspberries and cherries, fleshy plums and blackberries. Well-judged oak, medium-bodied, plush and long. Top me up please. Drink: 2011-2022. 502997 13% XD 750 mL  $52.00 Score: 93/100. August 1, 2009 Full Review
Château D'aiguilhe Merlot Cabernet Franc 2005, A.C., Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France: Devastatingly great the kind of wine that destroys you for others and makes life more expensive. The chateau is owned by Stephan von Neipperg. Just thought I’d mention that, not sure why. Concentrated, opulent aromas of purple plums, blackberries, coffee, smoke and dried herbs. A full-bodied blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Drink: 2010-2020. 501163 14% XD 750 mL  $48.00 Score: 93/100. August 1, 2009 Full Review
Nicolas Potel Montagny 1Er Cru Pinot Noir 2007, A.C., Burgundy, France: Vintages Wine Panel: Classic, elegantly oaked southern Burgundy white. Toast, baked apple, tropical fruit, hazelnut, butter and mineral tones all present themselves for your approval. Dry with very nice harmony between the fruit and the oak. Medium full-bodied with a very long and very pleasing finish. My note: Gloriously voluptuous! White peach and pear with butter and vanilla-spice. Full-bodied and round. 127431 13% XD 750 mL  $24.95 Score: 92/100. August 15, 2009 Full Review
Château Du Chassagne-Montrachet En Pimont Michel Picard, Récolt. Chardonnay 2003, A.C., Burgundy, Chassagne-Montrachet, France: Vintages Wine Panel: This ’03 Chard has a very intense and appealing nose. Aromas suggest apple pie, pear, spice and Portuguese custard. On the palate, it’s a bit more restrained but in that very attractive way. This is a big wine with elegance and finesse. Full-bodied and long finishing. Enjoy it tonight. My note: An elegant, well-structured Chardonnay with ripe peach and pear, vanilla smoke and hazelnut. Opulent and satisfying. Perfect for outdoor dinner parties. Drink: 2009-2016. 110213 13.50% XD 750 mL  $49.95 Score: 92/100. June 6, 2009 Favorite White Wine. Full Review
Château La Serre Merlot Blend 2005, A.C., Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, France: Subtle with great finesse. Translation: good stuff! Complex, full-bodied with a long finish. Dark fruit and vanilla-spice. Drink: 2009-2015. 501437 14% XD 750 mL  $58.00 Score: 90/100. August 15, 2009 Full Review
Scopetani Riserva Sangiovese Malvasia Trebbiano Chianti 2006, D.O.C.G., Tuscany, Italy  164814 12.50% D 750 mL  $13.95. June 26, 2008 Full Review
Monte Del Frá Ca' Del Magro Custoza Superiore Garganega Cortese Trebbiano Toscano Tocai Chardonnay Riesling Sauvignon Blanc 2008, D.O.C., Custoza Superiore, Veneto, Italy  165670 13% XD 750 mL  $14.95. April 17, 2008 Full Review
Terre Di Verona Cantina Valpantena Amarone Della Valpolicella 2006, D.O.C., Veneto, Italy: Gorgeously rich, concentrated and extracted with a river of cherry liqueur running through it. Beautiful expression of life’s pleasures. Full-bodied beauty that will age well. Drink: 2009-2023. 117291 14.50% XD 750 mL  $39.95 Score: 93/100. August 1, 2009 Favorite Red Wine. Full Review
Casa Vinicola Cortese Barolo 2004, D.O.C.G., Piedmont, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Exemplary modern Barolo with plenty of forward fruit on both the nose and the palate. Primarily plum, rose petals, masala spice, leather and ripe cherry aromas. On the palate, the wine is fairly tannic, but the fruit is quite forward considering the youthfulness of the wine. Will easily last a decade, but only needs about 2-4 years to enter its drinking window. A very good value Barolo from a delicious vintage. My note: Exquisitely balanced with great finesse. Packed with dark truffles (the mushroom not chocolate kind), violets. Fresh-turned earth 9that’s a good thing) and blackberries. 119677 13.80% D 750 mL  $31.95 Score: 92/100. August 15, 2009 Full Review
Canaletto Merlot Nero D'avola 2008, I.G.T., Sicily, Italy: A gorgeously plummy-rich wine with supple layers of blackberries and dark spices. Full-bodied and balanced with a savory note on the finish. Closed with a screwcap. 29421 12.60% D 750 mL  $11.95 Score: 89/100. July 11, 2009 Full Review
Vesevo Beneventano Aglianico 2006, I.G.T., Campania, Italy: Vintages Wine Panel: Aglianico continues to impress as a grape variety, and here's another fine example. Features expressive aromas of blackberry, blueberry, licorice and smoky oak. This full-bodied, ripe wine with fine mid-palate tannins is a long-finishing wonder. My note: Gorgeously rich and full-bodied with sweetly ripe plums and berries and a mocha-infused finish. So very tasty. 120907 13.60% XD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 90/100. June 20, 2009 Full Review
Cloudy Bay Vineyards Ltd Chardonnay 2007, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand: A toweringly beautiful Chardonnay with rich aromas of ripe peach, pear, hazelnut, butterscotch and vanilla smoke. Balanced, deep and long. Ultimately satisfying. A Chardonnay lover’s Chardonnay. 359513 14% D 750 mL  $37.95 Score: 93/100. December 5, 2009 Favourite White Wine. Full Review
Johner Estate Moonlight Pinot Noir 2007, Waipara, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand: Vintages Wine Panel: Pretty cool-climate South Island Pinot Noir featuring aromas of cherry, plum, woodsmoke and a hint of beetroot. Dry, velvety, approachable and very well made. A ripe, flavorful Pinot. My note: Juicy bright with dancing cherries and strawberries. Smooth, silky and medium-bodied. So very, very delicious! 141895 13.50% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 5, 2009 Full Review
Torres San Valentín Garnacha 2007, D.O., Catalunya, Spain: Savory and mouth-watering: top me up! Floods the senses with blackberries and raspberries. A terrific spicy finish. Great for evenings on your own: no need to feel sorry for yourself with this wine. 673541 13.50% XD 750 mL  $13.95 Score: 90/100. August 15, 2009 Full Review
Miguel Torres Mas Borràs Pinot Noir 2007, D.O., Penedès, Spain: Vintages Wine Panel: The fruit for this gorgeous Pinot Noir is sourced exclusively from the small Mas Borrás vineyard where yields are kept very low to concentrate the fruit flavors. Aged in new Nevers French oak barriques for several months, it is rich with violet, cocoa, pomegranate, raspberry and earth aromas. The dense fruit flavors are brought into focus by ripe tannins and mild acidity. If there is a better Pinot Noir from Spain, we have yet to find it. Cellar it for up to 10 years. My note: Oh please, take me away now with a case of this wine. Lock me in a cabinet until I finish it and then I’ll come out again. Full-bodied but supple and silky with rich, layered berry fruit and some mocha notes. A finish that goes on and on. 673483 13% XD 750 mL  $29.95 Score: 93/100. September 12, 2009 Full Review
Bonny Doon Vineyard Grenache Cinsault Rosé 2008, California, United States: One of my favorite rosés year after year. Old World balance and length with New World vitality and fruit. Ripe raspberries and earth. Lovely aperitif. A blend of 58% Grenache, 18% Cinsault, 10% Roussane, 7% Mouvedre, 4% Syrah and 3% Grenache Blanc. Closed with a screwcap. 707018 14% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 91/100. July 11, 2009 Favorite Rosé. Full Review
Cline Cellars Syrah 2007, Sonoma County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Made with grapes sourced primarily from Cline’s Sonoma County vineyards, this well-priced, fleshy and full-bodied Syrah will have you singing its praises! Look for aromas and flavors of blackberry, cracked pepper, plum and leather with a hint of oak, and a medium-long, peppery finish. My note: One of the best values in the liquor store for when when you want a full-on, robust red with juicy berry flavors but not heavy oak. This is a superb wine: This producer is always consistently great at every price point in its range. This wine is part of the Vintages Essentials Collection. 733758 14.30% D 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 90/100. April 21, 2009 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Robert Hall Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Paso Robles, California, United States: A chocolate-rich, dry wine with notes of briar, blackcurrant and cassis. Full-bodied and rounded. Delicious! 25205 14% D 750 mL  $29.95 Score: 90/100. August 1, 2009 Full Review
De Loach Pinot Noir 2006, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY, Sonoma, California, United States: Gorgeously ripe cherries with plush depths and satin texture. A fantastic Pinot for those who love the fruity style rather than the earthy style. Some violets and a dash of dark spice make this a wonderful and complete package of pleasure. 119024 14.50% D 750 mL  $29.95 Score: 91/100. August 1, 2009 Full Review
Painter Bridge South Ridge Syrah 2006, Paso Robles, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: Deep purple-ruby in color, this Syrah is packed with ripe fruit accented by spicy notes. The nose opens to sweet blackberry, black cherry, anise and black pepper. These flavors carry through on the palate, whose plush fruit flirts with jamminess but is restrained by fine, silky-smooth tannins. Very approachable. My note: Plush, plush, plush! Land a satin cushion of plums and berries, bounce to a basket of flavor. Full-bodied with boundless flavor and energy. Yay! 948240 13.50% D 750 mL  $18.95 Score: 90/100. August 1, 2009 Full Review
Bonny Doon Vineyard Le Cigare Volant Grenache Mouvedre 2004, California, United States: A spectacularly rich and deep red with fragrant peppery blackberries and black raspberries. Savory, meaty notes with a lip-smacking delicious finish. This wine is a blend of 38% grenache, 35% syrah, 12% mouvedre, 8% carignane and 7% cinsault. It was aged in French oak barrels for 18 months. 975847 14.50% D 750 mL  $36.95 Score: 92/100. July 11, 2009 Full Review
Chateau St. Jean Pinot Noir 2006, Sonoma County, California, United States: Lovely cherry-laden Pinot with baking spices and a lick of pepper. A wine for romance and first dates… these should be the same thing, but perhaps not necessarily. 687970 14.20% D 750 mL  $24.95 Score: 93/100. August 1, 2009 Full Review
Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Knights Valley, Sonoma County, California, United States: Vintages Wine Panel: This classic Sonoma Cab is brimming with sensual aromas of cassis, toasty oak, black coffee, vanilla and spice. The dry palate is loaded with sweet fruit and toasted oak flavours which are nicely offset by a lively acidity. It’s a classy, medium full-bodied wine, with a long, fruity and firm finish. My note: I love this wine! Classic proportions and balance with enticing mocha-rich aromas on the nose followed by fleshy blackberries, raspberry preserves and a vanilla-spice finish. Part of the Vintages Essentials Collection . 352583 13% XD 750 mL  $39.95 Score: 92/100. December 5, 2009 Full Review

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