Natalie MacLean - delicious wine picks and pairings
www.nataliemaclean.com

Wine Picks December 3, 2015

Login to see Natalie's scores and notes

Reviewed Wines | All Wines | Group by Wine Type | Group by Country/Region

Increase Font Size | Decrease Font Size


Note: This batch of wine reviews is not part of the bi-weekly Vintages Releases. Instead, it's a collection of wines outside the Vintages section in store (general list) or wines sent to me directly from wineries that may not yet be available in liquor stores. Click on the Winery or Wine Agency link to get more info.

Dessert Wine

Forté Generations Wine Company 2007, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Taste-wise this is a cross between tawny port and a nutty sherry. Bitter toffee, dry caramel and toasted nuts. Try it with hard cheeses and nuts. Food pairings: pecan pie, pavlova, bread pudding, chocolate mousse.. Drink: 2013 - 2018 361758 18% S 500 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value Dessert Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fruit Wine

Happy Knight Wines Black Currant Wine, Kingston, New Brunswick, Canada: The essence of black currant but in a much more enjoyable liquid format. Terrific on its own or with pie. Drink: 2015 - 2017 13% S 750 mL $13.00 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Red Wine

Urlo (Scream) 2013, Delle Venezie Igt, Italy: This full-bodied Italian red wine is a blend of Syrah 25%, Cabernet 25%, Merlot 25%, Sangiovese 15%, Alicante 5%, and Petit Verdot 5% grapes. Each varietal was fermented separately, with temperatures and maceration carefully managed to provide distinct, fruity aromas and vibrant color. After blending, the wine was aged for 6 months in small French oak barriques. The colour is a deep ruby red hue with purple tints. Aromas of black cherry, vanilla spice, blackberry and smoke. A long and persistent finish with polished tannins. Pair with a rare steak. Drink: 2014 - 2018 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravage 2014, California, United States: Lots of smokey campfire goodness on the nose and palate of this full-bodied Californian Cabernet from toasty oak aging. Aromas of mocha, black plum and vanilla spice. Pair with a juicy steak or gourmet hamburgers. Drink: 2015 - 2018 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Founders' Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California, United States: Very juicy and succulent Californian Cabernet with terrific aromas of fleshy ripe black and purple plums. Smooth and layered on the palate. Great value for this price. Pair with hamburgers or meat lovers' pizza. Drink: 2014 - 2018 534263 13.5% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Magnotta Winery Grand Reserva Carménère 2012, Maipo Valley, Chile: Full-bodied, luscious and smooth with many layers of black plum flavour. An extraordinary Carmenere. Pair with grilled lamb. Drink: 2014 - 2020 15% XD 750 mL $29.00 Score: 91/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sterling Vineyards Vintner's Collection Merlot 2013, California, United States: Fleshy ripe plums and blackberries. Juicy, layered and full-bodied. Perfect for grilled lamb or pork chops. Merlot food pairings: lamb, steak, stew. Drink: 2014 - 2018 622837 13.5% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Heartland Spice Trader Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Langhorne Creek, South Australia, Australia: Solid value here with a full-bodied Australian red wine made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Aromas of blackberry and dark spice. Nicely done. Pair with rare meats. Drink: 2014 - 2017 429241 14.5% XD 750 mL $17.00 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel 1999, Napa Valley, California, United States: Glorious structure and tannin in the 1999 vintage which was a cooler year so the wine shows as slightly more austere but highly agable. There's a black pepper note from start to finish. This is a through back to early Californian winemaking in the best of traditions. It has the character of mature barolo and chateauneuf-du-pape. A beautiful through-line in this wine. Drink: 2009 - 2018 599183 13.5% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 94/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: A remarkably long-lived Californian Zinfandel that proves the ageable nature of these wines when crafted correctly. In warmer vintages there is more eucalyptus oil that blows from the nearby trees and coats the grapes imparting a hint of mint, which was the case for 2006. There were heat storms that year so the grapes are riper with more dark fruit flavour. The acidity though remains high enough for dishes such as grilled rabbit and even salmon. Only 1000 cases were produced of this wine. Drink: 2012 - 2020 599183 14% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 93/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Dickerson Zinfandel 2012, Napa Valley, California, United States: Winemaker Joel Peterson says that "airoir" affects the taste of this wine. The vineyards are planted close to eucalyptus trees and the oil from the trees blows off and coats the grapes lightly imparting a light hint of mint. This wine displays dazzling aromas of ripe red berries and other fruits. It was aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, of which 30% was new. The barrels are made from oak primarily from the Navarre forest in France, and they are seasoned outside where the weather impact their final flavour profile and brings out their natural wood-grain tannins. Joel uses hand/manual punch down to extract more flavour. Drink: 2016 - 2022 599183 13.5% XD 750 mL $41.00 Score: 92/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2006, Sonoma, United States: The original farmer on this plot was a vibrant character named Old Teller who wore an ascot. He farmed organically. Later, after he sold the plot, it feel into disrepair and those precious old vine zinfandel bushes were strewn among rusting cars and appliances in a junkyard. The land almost got purchased for a home sub-division. Fortunately, it was saved as were the vines. This is a precious piece of Zinfandel history and preserves the character of old vine zin in every bottle. Such a beautifully textured wine. It has dry tannins yet almost a porty finish with glorious notes of mulberry and blackberry. Zinfandel food pairings: prime rib, cheddar, hamburgers, lamb, liver, nachos. Drink: 2013 - 2020 684571 14.8% XD 750 mL $59.95 Score: 93/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 1999, Sonoma, United States: When wines made from the Dickerson vineyard are young, they're almost shrieking in their intensity. However, they have tremendous ability to age and resolve into aromas of cedar brush and blackberry becoming almost like claret in their elegance (aged Bordeaux). Zinfandel food pairings: prime rib, cheddar, hamburgers, lamb, liver, nachos. Drink: 2009 - 2018 684571 14.8% XD 750 mL $59.95 Score: 94/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel 2012, Sonoma, United States: A spectacularly rich and full-bodied Californian Zinfandel from one of the state's best producers. This single vineyard wine sources grapes from the Old Hill parcels in Sonoma that feature Tuscan red hill and gravelly loam soils. For the 2012 vintage there were 1,596 cases produced and the wine was bottled in May 2014. Zinfandel food pairings: prime rib, cheddar, hamburgers, lamb, liver, nachos. Drink: 2014 - 2019 684571 14.8% XD 750 mL $61.00 Score: 95/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Menage A Trois Midnight Red 2013, California, United States: Richly extracted dark berry flavour and mocha on the nose and palate of this luscious, smooth, full-bodied red wine. Don't wait until midnight to drink it though. Pair with dinner at 7 pm. Drink: 2014 - 2018 434597 13.5% D 750 mL $17.50 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Villa Cafaggio Chianti Classico 2011, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: A robust, tannic, acidic Italian red wine that's medium- to full-bodied and ideal for pasta in tomato sauce or spicy sausages. Chianti Classico food pairings: bucatini with sausage and peas, roast beef, pizza, breaded veal cutlets. Drink: 2015 - 2018 176776 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Besieged 2013, Sonoma County, California, United States: Full-bodied, juicy and savoury with juicy black plum and blackberry flavours. This is a robust Californian red wine blend of Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfanedel, Syrah, Barbera, Alicante Bouschet and Mouvedre grapes, produced by Ravenswood winery and winemaker Joel Peterson. Pair with prime rib. Food pairings: spare ribs barbecued. Drink: 2014 - 2018 414136 14.5% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 91/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel 2013, California, United States: Juicy, smooth and supple Californian Zin, with fleshy black plums and blackberries and just enough of a smoky weave. Perfect for barbecued meats. Zinfandel food pairings: spaghetti Bolognaise, aged cheddar, grilled lamb loin, grilled duck breast, Italian sausage burgers. Drink: 2014 - 2018 359257 14% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

The Grange of Prince Edward Estate Winery Estate Pinot Noir 2013, Prince Edward County, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A mouth-watering Prince Edward County Pinot Noir with aromas and flavours of tart red cherry and cranberry. Lots of acidity on the palate. Medium-bodied and smooth. Pair with planked salmon. Pinot Noir food pairings: roast turkey with cranberry sauce or rosemary rack of lamb. Drink: 2015 - 2017 230227 13% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Enigma Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California, United States: Exceptional quality and taste for this price point! This robust Californian Cabernet offers aromas of black plum and cassis. Perfect for grilled pork chops. Drink: 2014 - 2017 428847 13.5% D 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Escorihuela Gascón 1884 Malbec 2013, Mendoza, Argentina: Lots of attractive coffee-espresso aromas on the nose of this robust Argentine red wine. Full-bodied, smooth with black fleshy fruit on the palate. The Malbec grapes for this wine are hand-harvested from vineyards planted at the foot of the Andes mountains. The wine is aged for 8 months in oak barrels by winemaker Gustavo Marin. Finishes with black pepper and mocha. Pair with a pepper steak. Malbec food pairings: barbecued beef, chili con carne, mushroom burgers. Drink: 2015 - 2018 375444 14% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 91/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Monte Zovo Sa'solin Valpolicella Ripasso 2012, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: Produced by Montezovo, this full-bodied red wine has a lovely bite plus rich, ripe blackberries and dark fruit. Just enough toasty oak. Wonderful wine for the price point: full-bodied, juicy, and layers of rich black cherry aromas and flavours. Good acidity, nice balance overall. Made using the Appassimento method of drying the grapes to concentrate the flavour, depth and heft. Pair with game meats. Fire up the grill! Drink: 2013 - 2017 650713 14.5% XD 750 mL $18.95 Score: 90/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Quantum 2012, Napa Valley, California, United States: Elegant, long and complex with dark fruit and smoke. A blend of traditional Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. Great cellar candidate. Drink: 2014 - 2024 107358 14.9% D 750 mL $69.95 Score: 93/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fontanafredda Ebbio Nebbiolo 2013, Langhe, Piedmont D.O.C., Italy: Lots of acidity with aromas of tart and sour cherry. Full-bodied and fairly smooth. Pair with tangy tomato sauce or spicy sausages. Nebbiolo food pairings: grilled pork sausages, lamb, hamburgers, roasted game meat. Drink: 2014 - 2018 397448 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Convento San Francisco Crianza 2009, Ribera Del Duero D.O., Spain: This Spanish red wine is mouth-watering and savoury with aromas of dried herbs and leaves, tobacco leaves, and anise. Firm but integrated tannins with a good finish. Pair with prime rib. Drink: 2014 - 2018 206409 14.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grand Vin De Glenelly Red 2009, Stellenbosch W.O., South Africa: Love the woodsy, cedar brush, wild berry notes on the notes. Full-bodied with lots of layers and terrific complexity. Pair with rare steak. Drink: 2014 - 2018 360339 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 2015. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Château De Ségure 2012, Fitou A.P., France: Rustic and woodsy with attractive wild cherry. Full-bodied with good acidity for meat dishes. Drink: 2014 - 2017 370254 14% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beni Di Batasiolo Langhe Rosso Dolcetto Barbera Nebbiolo 2013, Piedmont, Italy: Full-bodied with good acidity for tangy tomato dishes. Dried black fruit and some dried herbs. Pair with a rare steak. Dolcetto Barbera Nebbiolo food pairings: gourmet sausages, meat-based pasta dishes, barbecued chicken, rare roast beef. Drink: 2013 - 2017 981019 13% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Trapiche Extra Brut Sparkling 2014, Mendoza, Argentina: Extraordinary value for the price point. Smokin! Robust and full-bodied and toasty. Deeply satifying. Perfect for your holiday parties. Drink: 2014 - 2016 262261 12% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kim Crawford Fizz Methode Traditionnelle 2009, Marlborough, New Zealand: All the grapes for this sparkling wine come from the Marlborough region. It's crisp and clean with lovely notes of green melon and green apple. Perfect as an aperitif or companion to seafood and vegetarian dishes. The winemaker Anthony calls 2009 a terrific vintage. Drink: 2013 - 2016 381236 12% D 750 mL $30.00 Score: 92/100. December 2015. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cono Sur Sparkling Pinot Noir Rose, Bio Bio Valley, Chile: Very nice bubbly for the price. Aromas of field strawberries, yet dry and toasty. Cono Sur delivers value in all of their wines. Drink: 2014 - 2016 365205 12% D 750 mL $13.90 Score: 86/100. December 2015. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Menage A Trois Prosecco Glera, Veneto D.O.C., Italy: Light, pretty and floral with a hint of peach freshness. Nice aperitif, especially at this price. Drink: 2015 - 2017 9998807130 11% D 750 mL $17.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trapiche Extravaganza, Argentina: Floral and pretty with peach sweetness, though not cloying. Great aperitif. Pair with light seafood dishes. Drink: 2014 - 2016 11.5% MS 750 mL $17.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Maccari Prosecco, Treviso Doc, Italy: Crisp, fresh and clean with aromas of lime zest and lemon blossom. Racy acidity for shellfish or as an aperitif. Drink: 2015 - 2017 11% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Urlo (Scream) Pinot Grigio 2014, Delle Venezie Igt, Italy: This wine was aged for 3 months in stainless steel tanks to preserve the wine’s freshness and crisp acidity. The hue is a pale straw yellow. Aromas of white grapefruit and lime-citrus. Light to medium-bodied with racy mouth-watering acidity for seafood and shellfish. Drink: 2014 - 2016 13% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Founders' Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013, California, United States: A crisp, dry and refreshing Californian Sauvignon Blanc with notes of lime zest. Beringer makes balanced Sauvignon Blanc that is true to the grape’s essence, with a vibrant Californian signature. Finishes with lovely tropical fruit and some smoke. Pair with fresh seafood. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: grilled prawns, spicy curry. Drink: 2013 - 2016 407643 13.5% D 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. December 2015. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Reif Estate Winery Hanging Man Kerner Nouveau 2015, Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Pretty, light-bodied and floral Niagara white wine that's perfect as a chilled aperitif or companion to a light seafood dish. Fresh fresh and vibrant. Drink: 2015 - 2016 408013 10% MD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Henry of Pelham Winery Riesling 2013, Short Hills Bench, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A spectacular Niagara Riesling that almost jumps from the glass to wrap itself around your taste buds. Aromas of lime zest and lemongrass. The grape yield is kept to just 2 tons per acre to concentrate the flavor. It's also press fractioned to use the best juice and whole cluster pressed. A long, satisfying finish. Pair with vegetarian dishes and roast turkey. Riesling food pairings: briny shrimp, scallops, mussels and clams are great with this wine, roast pork as well as pasta with white sauce. Drink: 2014 - 2021 643361 11% MD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 93/100. December 2015. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Placido Pinot Grigio 2013, Delle Venezie I.G.T., Italy: Clean and crisp with aromas of lemon zest and lime. Pair with fresh seafood or shellfish. Drink: 2013 - 2016 588897 12% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Scacciadiavoli Grechetto 2014, Umbria I.G.T., Italy: Herbal, crisp and lime-fresh with green notes of zesty, racy acidity for shellfish. Light-bodied and clean. Drink: 2014 - 2016 427591 12.5% XD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 87/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2013, Napa Valley, California, United States: Butterscotch toffee love in this Californian classic Chardonnay! Some apple and peach wrapped lovingly in caramel form generous oak aging. Full-throttle Chardonnay for lovers of the genre. This Californian Chardonnay is a heavy-hitter: full-bodied, layered and rich. Toasty oak, smoke, vanillin, caramel and baked peach pie from generous oak aging. Pair with quail or Cornish hen. Chardonnay food pairings: fish cakes with a rhubarb relish.. Drink: 2015 - 2020 26682 14.7% XD 750 mL $44.95 Score: 93/100. December 2015. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Beringer Founders Estate Chardonnay 2013, California, United States: Buttery and rich with campfire smoke from toasty oak aging on this Californian Chardonnay. Green apple brightness mid-palate. Drink: 2013 - 2017 534230 13.9% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. December 2015. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Trésors De Loire Joseph Verdier Vouvray 2014, Loire A.C., France: Soft and floral with pleasant aromatics and some balancing acidity for the natural fruit sweetness. Lovely aperitif or companion to seafood. Drink: 2014 - 2017 427427 11.5% M 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. December 2015. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


© 2018 Natalie MacLean