Natalie MacLean - delicious wine picks and pairings

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Susana Balbo Crios Malbec 2015, Mendoza, Argentina: Tasty and full-bodied Argentine red wine with black fruit and toasty smoke aromas. Supple and smooth. Winemaker Susana Balbo is one of the most respected names in the Argentine wine industry. This particular Malbec has a great finish. Pair with lamb chops. Great price. Drink: 2017-2020. 162529 14% XD 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 90/100. January 6, 2018 Best Value Red Wine. Harmonious Hard Cheese Wine Full Review
Wolf Blass Yellow Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Langhorne Creek McLaren Vale, Australia: Wolf Blass first made 250 cases of the Grey Label Shiraz, but realized he could not earn a living based on such a small production of a premium-priced wine. Thus was born Yellow Label in 1966. It was created to be a crowd pleaser with the goal of quality, character and consistency, according to current winemaker Chris Matcher. Consistency is key as Yellow Label is designed to give consumers confidence that they are getting the same signature taste each time. That was the challenge to maintain when Yellow Label moved to regional selection of grapes for this vintage rather than widespread blending. Chris says that they achieve it through careful vineyard management and barrel selection. This Cabernet offers great value and attractive aromas of blackcurrant and cassis. Pair with a juicy steak. Drink: 2016-2021. 251876 13.50% D 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 90/100. January 8, 2017 Best Value Red Wine. Full Review
Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine Brut Sparkling, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A, Canada: This sparkling gets better every year, even though it's not vintage-dated. Lovely finesse and mousse with green apple vibrancy. The grapes were hand-picked in 50 pound lugs so they weren't bruised. The winery does press fractioning meaning the first bit of the juice (the head) and the last bit (the tail) aren't used in the wine just the juiciest, tastiest part of the juice. They also use the traditional Champagne method to make the wine. The wine spends 30 months on the lees which gives it a creamy texture. Serve as an aperitif on its own or add 1 oz. of Riesling Icewine or 1 oz of Cabernet Franc Icewine to 3 oz of Cuvee Catharine to make a Kir Catharine. Drink: 2020-2025. 217521 12% XD 750 mL  $32.95 Score: 92/100. March 6, 2020 Top Rated Sparkling Wine. Gorgeous Gift Wine Full Review
Moët & Chandon Brut Imperial Champagne, Marne Valley, Champagne, France: A gorgeous Champagne, with frothy mousse and persistent bubble. Aromas of brioche, golden apple and toast. Long, refreshing finish. Pair with shellfish. Drink: 2022-2030. 453084 12% D 750 mL  $72.45 Score: 93/100. January 8, 2017 Top Rated Sparkling Wine. Full Review
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. 365312 12.50% XD 750 mL  $62.50 Score: 93/100. June 10, 2022 Top Rated Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Chevalier Monopole Brut Dry Rosé Sparkling, Burgundy A.C., France: I almost don't want to review this one as I'd rather hoard it for myself all summer long. Yet again, I will throw myself on the flames of self-sacrifice. This is freakin amazing. Gorgeous rosè. Is the price a typo? Fresh strawberries drying after a summer rain on a July afternoon. Take me there. Drink: 2017-2023. 485920 12% MD 750 mL  $16.95 Score: 93/100. April 2, 2021 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Gérard Bertrand Crémant De Limoux 2015, Languedoc A.P., France: Crisp, fresh and toasty with green apple goodness and a lovely, racy seam of acidity for shellfish and fried chicken. Terrific value. Drink: 2015-2019. 438838 12% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 90/100. December 8, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Calm Curry Wine Full Review
Graham Beck Brut Sparkling Wine Méthode Cap Classique, Western Cape W.O., South Africa: This South African sparkling wine is one of the best in the country and is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. Graham Beck is known for superb technique and finesse when it comes to sparkling wines. Great value. Drink: 2016-2019. 593483 12% XD 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 92/100. September 18, 2019 Top Rated Sparkling Wine. Scrumptious Seafood Wine Full Review
Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut Cava, Penedès D.O., Spain: A delightful, flavourful Spanish sparkling wine from one of the country's best producers. This is a fraction of the price of Champagne, and yet performs at that level. Crisp with lime lift and a long fresh finish. Drink: 2016-2021. 392548 12% D 750 mL  $19.95 Score: 94/100. August 5, 2017 Best Value Sparkling Wine. Sensational Shellfish Wine Full Review
Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Cava, Penedes D.O. , Spain: Superb value! Toasty, earthy, dry and refreshing sparkling wine that's a fraction of the cost of Champagne. Lovely yeasty notes on the nose with some toasted apple and almond on the finish. Stock up for your parties and weddings now. 216960 12% D 750 mL  $15.95 Score: 90/100. May 12, 2022 Best Value White Wine. Full Review
Torres Altos Ibéricos Crianza Tempranillo 2014, Rioja D.O.C.A., Spain: A superb Spanish red wine, especially at this price point! Full-bodied, rich and layered with aromas of black fruit, dark spice, earth and toast. This robust Spanish red wine is made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, the country's flagship red wine varietal. The wine was matured for 12 months in oak barrels followed by prolonged bottle aging before being released from the winery. Pair with game meats. Serve at 17-18 degrees Celsius. Drink: 2016-2019. 18767 14% D 750 mL  $14.95 Score: 90/100. July 5, 2018 Best Value Red Wine. Best Beef Wine Full Review

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