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

Wine Picks October 30, 2017

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.

Red Wine

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2015, Marlborough, New Zealand: Always a delight! This Kim Crawford Pinot Noir is a perfect balance between fleshy ripe plums and lively, racy acidity for dishes such as grilled pork chops. Medium-bodied, smooth and supple. Terrific value. Pinot Noir food pairings: veal medallions, lamb in a red wine sauce, roasted pork loin, Tourtière, prime rib roasted. Drink: 2016 - 2020 626390 13% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Weingut R&A Pfaffl Sandstein Zweigelt 2015, Niederosterreich, Austria: A plummy, berry-rich Austrian red wine made from the Zweigelt grape. Medium- to full-bodied and smooth. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2015 - 2018 235662 12.5% D 750 mL $23.50 Score: 91/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Weingut R&A Pfaffl Waldgarten St.Laurent 2013, Niederosterreich, Austria: A velvet smooth, medium-bodied Austrian red wine made from the St. Laurent grape. Fleshy ripe aromas and flavours of dark berries and spice. Pair with grilled lamb. Drink: 2014 - 2018 235670 13% D 750 mL $23.50 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Castello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico 2014, Tuscany D.O.C.G., Italy: Racy and ripe with lots of juicy mouth-watering action on the palate for pasta in tomato sauce or pizza. Aromas of tart dark berries and smoke. Decant 1 hour. Great value. Chianti Classico food pairings: pizza, sausages, lasagna. Drink: 2015 - 2019 219808 13% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. October 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Santa Margherita Ripasso Valpolicella Superior 2014, Tuscany D.O.C., Italy: A juicy, full-bodied Italian red wine from the Valpolicella region. Aromas of black cherry and fresh earth. Dried herbs and spice on the finish. Medium- to full-bodied. Pair with grilled pork chops. Ripasso Valpolicella Superior food pairings: meat lovers' pizza, chicken wings, grilled burgers, sausages. Drink: 2016 - 2023 492538 14% XD 750 mL $24.95 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Casella Family Brands Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, South Australia, Australia: Beautifully structured and complex with layers of dark fruit and smoke aromas. Full-bodied with a long finish. Great cellar wine. Decant 1-2 hours and pair with a rare steak. Drink: 2012 - 2030 14.5% XD 750 mL $50.00 Score: 93/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Weingut R&A Pfaffl Wien.2-Red 2015, Niederosterreich, Austria: A crisp, racy cool-climate Austrian red wine blend of Zweigelt and Pinot Noir grapes. Aromas of tangy wild dark berries and spice. Medium-bodied and smooth. Pair with roast chicken or pork chops. Drink: 2015 - 2018 235738 13% D 750 mL $20.85 Score: 89/100. October 2017. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fontanafredda Raimonda Barbera D'alba 2015, Piedmont D.O.C., Italy: Classic Italian red wine with racy acidity for many dishes. Complex and layered with dark spices and black fruit. An attractive scent of smoke on the nose of this full-bodied Italian red wine. Some grip on the palate from tannins, but this can be helped with 1-2 hours of decanting. Pair with a rare filet mignon. Barbera D'alba food pairings: meat lovers pizza, pork tenderloin, Mexican dishes, grilled sausage. Drink: 2017 - 2021 23135 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 91/100. October 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Motto Wines Unabashed Zinfandel 2015, California, United States: Juicy purple and black plum aromas with dark spice and smoke. Full-bodied, but not heavy. This smooth, robust Californian red wine is made from the state's iconic grape Zinfandel. Some terrific notes of cherry and blackberry on the finish. Pair with roast turkey and grilled meats. Zinfandel food pairings: meat lovers' pizza, chicken wings, grilled burgers, sausages. Drink: 2016 - 2019 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Motto Wines Backbone Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, California, United States: A robust, full-bodied Californian red wine made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Aromas of cassis and wild blackberry. Decant 1 hour and pair with a rare steak. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: meat lovers' pizza, chicken wings, grilled burgers, sausages. Drink: 2016 - 2021 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

La Linda Old Vines Malbec 2014, Mendoza, Argentina: A juicy, full-bodied Argentine red wine made from the Malbec grape. Aromas of fleshy black plums, cracked black pepper and smoke. The vines are planted at 960 metres above sea level in the Andes Ridge of the Mendoza region. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2014 - 2019 507442 13.4% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. October 2017. Best Value Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Old Vines Foch 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Rich, full-bodied and supple BC red wine made from the hybrid grape Foch picked from old vines that concentrate flavour. Aromas of purple and black plum, pepper, and spice. Pair with grilled meats. Foch food pairings: bison or beef. Drink: 2015 - 2018 639625 14% D 750 mL $24.99 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Old Vines Foch Reserve 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A gorgeously rich and complex red wine made form old vines foch grapes from BC with deep, dark plum flavours, smoke and spice. Pair with grilled meats. Decant 1 hour. Foch Reserve food pairings: lamb kebab or moussaka. Drink: 2015 - 2020 639666 14.5% D 750 mL $24.95 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hester Creek Estate Winery The Judge Golden Mile Bench 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: Still tightly wound tannin-wise, but this towering BC red wine will come together with cellar time, then decant 1-2 hours. Aromas of black fruit, smoke and toasty oak. Winemaker Robert Summers makes this wine from some of the oldest vines in the Okanagan for this wine on the Golden Mile Bench. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot grapes. Drink: 2015 - 2021 14.2% XD 750 mL $54.32 Score: 91/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Quails' Gate Estate Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A robust, complex and layered BC red wine made from a Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Wild blackberry, spice and smoke on the nose. This will improve with some cellar time. Decant 1-2 hours and pair with grilled meats. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: cocoa and black pepper rubbed beef tenderloin or leg of lamb.. Drink: 2016 - 2022 639617 14% D 750 mL $26.99 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Hester Creek Estate Winery Block 3 Reserve Cabernet Franc 2014, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada: A full-bodied, juicy, smoky BR red wine made from Cabernet Franc grapes. Aromas of black fleshy plums and dark berries with a lick of spice. Long finish. Great satisfaction. Pair with grilled meats. Drink: 2015 - 2020 13% D 750 mL $30.00 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Frog's Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, United States: The 2014 vintage was outstanding for this wine, a robust Californian red made from the classic Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Aromas of wild blackberries, black currant and smoke. Complex, balanced and offering a long finish. Decant 2 hours. This Californian Napa Cali Cab Sauvignon is produced by a winery founded in 1981 by John Williams and Larry Turley. The grapes are dry farmed and it shows here in the depth and complexity of this wine. Pair with kobe beef. Cabernet Sauvignon food pairings: hearty meat dishes, hard cheese, braised pork shanks, sizzling New York strip steaks, Asian chicken salad. Drink: 2016 - 2023 932400 13.6% D 750 mL $83.95 Score: 94/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Frog's Leap Merlot 2014, Rutherford, Napa Valley, California, United States: A glorious, mouth-watering Merlot with generous aromas and flavours of fleshy ripe black plums and a little smoke. Decant 2 hours. This Californian Merlot is produced by a winery founded in 1981 by John Williams and Larry Turley. The grapes are dry farmed and it shows here in the depth and complexity of this wine. Pair with grilled pork chops or lamb. Drink: 2016 - 2022 707489 13.4% D 750 mL $49.95 Score: 93/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Frog's Leap Zinfandel 2015, Napa Valley, California, United States: A mouth-watering Californian red wine made from the state's iconic Zinfandel grape (79%) with a splash of Petite Sirah (19%) and Carignane (2%) grapes for extra dimension. This Californian Zin is produced by a winery founded in 1981 by John Williams and Larry Turley. The grapes are dry farmed and it shows here in the depth and complexity of this wine. Winemaker John Williams has such a great sense of humour, from the Ribbit on the cork (referring to Frog's Leap) to the slogan time's fun when you're eating flies. Under the barcode on the bottom back label, it says: Open other end." Yet he takes winemaking very seriously and produces spectacular wines like this one. He farms organically, and what I also love about this Californian Zinfandel is that it doesn't knock you over with huge alcohol like the 14-15% typical of Ca Zins (this one is only 13.6%). Vibrant, fleshy and alive with aromas and flavours of fleshy purple and black plums, a dancing blackberries. Balanced and complex. A zinfandel lover's zinfandel. Pair with grilled meats, but not frog's legs. Zinfandel food pairings: sausage cassoulet, meat kabobs, grilled chicken breast. Drink: 2016 - 2021 593525 13.6% D 750 mL $49.95 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cloudfall Pinot Noir 2016, Monterey County, California, United States: A plush, supple, satin-smooth Californian Pinot Noir from the cool climate of Monterey County. Aromas of black cherry and spice. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2017 - 2020 13% D 750 mL $25.00 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Black Tower Pinot Noir Dornfelder 2016, Rheinhessen, Germany: Simple but tasty German red wine made from the Pinot Noir grape, which is called Dornfelder in Germany, with some bright cherry notes and good acidity. Soft texture and light- to medium body. This wine has come a long way in quality since the 1980s. Pair with roast chicken. Drink: 2016 - 2018 580118 12% D 750 mL $10.95 Score: 83/100. October 2017. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fontanafredda Barolo 2013, Piedmont Docg, Italy: Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy's first king, bought this winery in 1858 and started making wines. The estate today is now owned by entrepreneur Oscar Farinetti. This northern Italian red is surprisingly nimble and elegant for Barolo, which usually strikes a much deeper chord. Great mouth-watering acidity for tangy tomato and meat sauces. Full-bodied and smooth with aromas of tart cherry and wild violet. Barolo food pairings: red meats, especially braised or roasted served with a rich red wine reduction, hard cheeses such as pecorino and parmesan, the older the better, quality dark chocolate. Drink: 2018 - 2025 20214 14% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 91/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Fontanafredda La Rosa Barolo 2012, Piedmont D.O.C.G., Italy: This robust northern Italian red wine from the spectacular 2012 vintage is made by winemaker, Danilo. The vines are planted in sandy soils which makes it a more elegant Barolo. The vineyard is named after the Italian King's mistress, Bella Rosine, in the 1800s. Aromas of violets, truffles earth and blackberry. Pair with wild boar. Barolo food pairings: aged meats and cheese, herbed roast beef, roast veal, hamburgers. Drink: 2017 - 2027 40105 14% XD 750 mL $74.95 Score: 94/100. October 2017. Top Rated Red Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosés

Mateus Rosé, Portugal: A sweet Portuguese rose with notes of cherry. Perfect for 1970s retro parties. Drink: 2017 - 2017 166 11% M 750 mL $10.10 Score: 74/100. October 2017. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sparkling Wine

Jackson-Triggs Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling 2009, Niagara, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: Dry, crisp and refreshing with aromas of lime and lemon zest. Nicely priced for sparkling wine. Great for parties, especially those involving fried chicken. This is the 2009 vintage which I tasted back in 2013 -- I have not had an opportunity to taste more recent vintages. Drink: 2013 - 2015 353078 13% XD 750 mL $29.95 Score: 91/100. October 2017. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne, Champagne A.O.C., France: Great finesse and elegance, persistence of bubbles. This is assembled from 35 crus and 40% Chardonnay, so while not a Blanc de Blancs (all white wine grapes, that is Chardonnay), this bubbly still has the elegance of that style. Pair with shellfish, especially fresh oysters. Drink: 2017 - 2022 365312 12.5% XD 750 mL $59.95 Score: 93/100. October 2017. Top Rated Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Villa Conchi Brut Selección, Cava D.O., Spain: A crisp, refreshing sparkling wine from Spain that's a fraction of the price of Champagne. Toasty and vibrant. Drink: 2017 - 2020 386979 11.5% D 750 mL $15.95 Score: 88/100. October 2017. Best Value Sparkling Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Cave Spring Cellars Riesling 2014, Niagara Escarpment, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada: A lovely, off-dry Niagara Riesling from one of the province's best producers of this genre. Aromas of fleshy ripe peach and pear. Served as a chilled aperitif or companion to seafood. Riesling food pairings: pan-fried salmon or shellfish; boiled lobster or crab meat; curried shrimp; buttered chicken; Bavarian-style sausage (weisswurst); barbecue pork; baked ham; breaded veal; roasted poultry and game. Drink: 2016 - 2022 234583 11% MD 750 mL $14.95 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Weingut R&A Pfaffl Wien.1-White 2015, Niederosterreich, Austria: A crisp, Austrian white wine blend of Riesling, Gruner Veltliner and Pinot Blanc grapes. Aromas of lime zest and grapefruit. Racy acidity for seafood and shellfish. Drink: 2015 - 2018 235720 12% D 750 mL $20.85 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Weingut R&A Pfaffl Zeiseneck Gruner Veltliner 2015, Niederosterreich, Austria: A crisp, dry, refreshing Austrian white wine made from the country's iconic Gruner Veltliner grape. Aromas of lime and lemongrass. Racy acidity for shellfish. Drink: 2015 - 2018 235654 12% XD 750 mL $22.30 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Weingut R&A Pfaffl Haidvertel Gruner Veltliner 2016, Weinviertel D.A.C., Austria: A gorgeous, crisp, clean Austrian white wine made form the country's classic Gruner Veltliner grape. Pure refreshment and icy chill in the glass: perfect as an aperitif as the weather warms up. Aromas of fresh asparagus with green melon and white pepper. Pair with seafood, shellfish and summer. Drink: 2016 - 2020 369867 12.5% XD 750 mL $19.99 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Villa Maria Estate Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Marlborough, New Zealand: A vibrant Sauvignon Blanc with a crisp, lime-fresh nose and racy acidity on the palate that's perfect for seafood. Notes of grapefruit and fresh herbs on the finish makes this a terrific chilled aperitif as well. Highly recommended. Drink: 2016 - 2018 426601 12.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Best Value White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc 2016, Rutherford, Napa Valley California, United States: Intense lemon vibrancy on the nose and palate, which also offers green apple tartness. Assertive mouth-watering acidity. Crisp and refreshing with nuances of long wispy grass in a fresh spring rain. Finishes with green apple and lime tang. Try it with vegetarian dishes. This Californian Sauvignon Blanc is produced by a winery founded in 1981 by John Williams and Larry Turley. The grapes are dry farmed and it shows here in the depth and complexity of this wine. Sauvignon Blanc food pairings: bell peppers, cheeses, shellfish, Caesar salad, corned beef and cabbage. Drink: 2017 - 2019 966036 13% XD 750 mL $35.95 Score: 90/100. October 2017. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Blue Nun Rivaner 2016, Rheinhessen, Germany: A simple, medium-sweet wine with peach notes. Meant for drinking not thinking ;) Pair with light simple dishes and 1970s retro parties (think hot dog canapes on a toothpick). Drink: 2016 - 2018 729 9.5% M 750 mL $8.95 Score: 80/100. October 2017. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Frog's Leap Chardonnay 2015, Napa Valley, California, United States: A gorgeously rich and full-bodied Californian white wine made from the classic Chardonnay grape. The grapes are dry farmed and it shows here in the depth and complexity of this wine. Aromas of toasted almond and golden apple. Pair with roast chicken or turkey. Chardonnay food pairings: scallops with a sesame ginger dressing, spinach and pepper jack stuffed chicken, beef bourguignon, pan-fried cod with lemon butter sauce, toasted ravioli served with Alfredo sauce. Drink: 2016 - 2020 713552 13.1% XD 750 mL $39.95 Score: 92/100. October 2017. Top Rated White Wine Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


© 2018 Natalie MacLean