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Wine Picks January 11, 2017

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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.

Red Wine

Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2015, Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, Walker Bay W.O., South Africa: Breathing this in is like walking into an opium den for wine lovers. Satin pillows of fleshy black cherry invite you to lie back, close your eyes and let your senses roam. Surely one of South Africa's finest Pinot Noir producers! Hamilton-Russell leads the way in the country for cool-climate viticulture and racy, exciting wines. Sophisticated and complex, but extremely easy to drink. Lavish fleshy ripe cherry aromas and flavours yet not simple or sweet. Complex, elegant and layered South African Pinot Noir from a master producer. Some dark spice on the finish. Silk texture. Chapter three of my second book (Unquenchable) includes a visit to this winery and dinner with the brilliant Anthony Hamilton Russell. This is easy to mistake for a top shelf Burgundian Pinot. Pair with your holiday dinners, especially those featuring roast turkey or chicken. Pinot Noir food pairings: lamb kabobs, venison burgers, roast veal, beef Carpaccio. Drink: 2016 - 2022 999516 14% XD 750 mL $57.95 Score: 95/100. January 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Predator Old Vine Zinfandel 2014, Lodi, California, United States: Campfire smoke, hickory and toasty oak with black fruit on the nose. Full-bodied and smooth. Old vines really do show their age nicely in a wine with deep concentration of dark fruit flavours. Supple, mouth-filling and delicious. Which dish to pair with the Predator? I'm sure you can hunt down something in the kitchen. Zinfandel food pairings: vegetarian stew, roasted root vegetables, roast saddle of rabbit with raspberry coulis. Drink: 2016 - 2021 219485 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. January 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir 2015, Central Valley, Chile: A plush, juicy, berry-ripe Chilean red wine made from the Pinot Noir grape. I challenge you to find Pinot Noir this delicious at this low a price. Lots of ripe and fleshy cherry aromas and flavours. Pair with grilled chicken. Pinot Noir food pairings: pasta, grilled poultry, seafood and mild fish. Drink: 2015 - 2018 341602 13.5% D 750 mL $11.95 Score: 88/100. January 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Malivoire Wine Company Guilty Men Red 2014, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Love the low alcohol on this cool climate Niagara red wine yet it's still packed with juicy, layers of red berry flavour! A rich, layered, mouth-filling red wine with mocha notes from oak aging. This Niagara red wine is a blend of red grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon (30%), Merlot (40%), and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Gamay and Pinot Noir, made by one of the province's most respected wineries that operates on a gravity flow basis so the grapes and juice are gently handled. Pair with game birds. Food pairings: grilled or roast beef, lamb, duck or game with mushrooms, garlic and tomato sauce. Drink: 2014 - 2017 192674 12.7% D 750 mL $14.95 Score: 88/100. January 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

E. Guigal 2012, Cotes Du Rhone, France: A superb southern French red wine from the Rhone Valley with gorgeous aromas of black cherry and cigar box. Guigal is one of the most respected winemakers in the region, and indeed, in the country. Full-bodied yet supple and smooth. Pair with grilled meats. Wow for the price. Food pairings: grilled hamburger, barbecued lamb cutlets, pork chops. Drink: 2015 - 2020 259721 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. January 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Torres Gran Coronas Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Penedès, Spain: What a magnificently balanced, structured and sculpted Spanish Cabernet! The grapes for this lusciously ripe Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon grow on vines planted on the belvedere of the Mas la Palana estate. Aromas of blackberry jam, dark spice and some pepper. Pair with grilled meats. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: lamb Bolognese, grilled New York strip loin, hard cheese, braised pork shanks, veal chops. Drink: 2014 - 2020 36483 14% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 91/100. January 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cusumano Nero D'avola 2015, Sicily, Italy: The Cusumano family has been making wine for more than 60 years on the southern Italian island of Sicily. Their expertise and craft shows in the glass of this exceptional red wine. An exceptional wine for the money! This Italian red wine is made from the Nero d'Avola grape, the iconic red grape of the island of Sicily. Layers of fleshy black (nero) fruit and pepper spice. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2015 - 2019 143164 14% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 90/100. January 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Chateau De Montgueret Brut Cremant de Loire, Loire, France: Floral, lime blossom, pretty: lots of acidity for food, medium-bodied. This isn't Champagne, but is made using the same methods of production with a second fermentation in the bottle to trap the bubbles, and based on Chardonnay grapes. Pair with fried chicken. Drink: 2016 - 2019 217760 11.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. January 2017. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Boekenhoutskloof Wolftrap Viognier Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc 2014, Western Cape, South Africa: A vibrant and crisp South African white wine blend of Viognier, Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc grapes at an excellent price. Notes of lemon, lime, lanolin and fresh cut grass. Pair with vegetarian dishes and salads. Drink: 2014 - 2018 292532 13.8% 750 mL $13.95 Score: 89/100. January 2017. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Wakefield Estate Chardonnay 2015, Clare Valley, Adelaide Hills, South Australia, Australia: This Chardonnay over-delivers on the price-quality ratio. Full-bodied with green apple and toasty oak aromas. Perfect for roast chicken. Lovely melon and pear notes on the finish of this Australian Chardonnay Chardonnay food pairings: turkey burgers, crab cakes, chicken breast, lobster in butter sauce, cheese. Drink: 2016 - 2018 711556 14% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. January 2017. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Caliterra Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Curico Valley, Chile: The winery owns 1085 hectares or 2681 acres of land of which 75% is untouched land. Cool nights and gentle breezes temper the sun's heat. A terrific, amazing wine for the money. A grassy, herbal, fresh, zesty Chilean white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc grapes. Very well priced for the quality. These grapes are grown in one of the country's cool climate regions. Errazuriz owns 50% of this winery. Aromas of tomato leaf and lime zest on the finish. Pair with fresh seafood. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: shellfish, grilled chicken or pork. Drink: 2015 - 2017 275909 13.5% D 750 mL $8.95 Score: 89/100. January 2017. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Vineland Estates Winery St. Urban Riesling 2007, Twenty Mile Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Tart and lovely! It’s a wake-up call for your mouth and needs food. Gorgeous aromas of lime, white peach, grapefruit and summer days. Let this wine have its way with you. Riesling food pairings: shellfish, sushi. Drink: 2008 - 2018 38117 8.4% D 750 mL $20.00 Score: 91/100. January 2017. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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