Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vintages Wine Selections for the April 2nd Release

In this release the LCBO features the wines of the French Bourgogne (Burgundy) and South Africa. While many of the great Bourgogne wines are out of our price range, I was still able to find several in the $15 to $25 range. The red burgundies are made from the pinot noir grape and the whites are chardonnay. What gives these wines such great character are the limestone soils on the hilly slopes and the cool climate. When I visited this region over 10 years ago, I was quite surprised to see that it was contained in such a small area. The wine-growing part of this area in the heart of Burgundy is just 40 kilometres long, and in most places less than 2 kilometres wide, hosting more than 3,000 wine producing domaines. The area is made up of tiny villages surrounded by a combination of flat and sloped vineyards on the eastern side of a hilly region, providing some rain and weather shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. The best wines - from "Grand Cru" vineyards - of this region are usually grown from the middle and higher part of the slopes, where the vineyards have the most exposure to sunshine and the best drainage, while the "Premier Cru" come from a little less favourably exposed slopes. The relatively ordinary "Village" wines are produced from the flat territory nearer the villages.

Most wine aficionados will agree that some of the best reds in the world, are the aged wines of Bourgogne. They display a distinct ‘barnyard’ nose, are a deep burnt red in colour and they will last on your pallet for a very long period of time. So, if the opportunity arises, buy one of the Grand Cru wines and age it properly for 10 years or more. The wait will certainly be worth it.

Finally, before I list this week’s selections, beginning this week, I will now feature a special recipe in each blog. Several of the Burgundy wines recommended this week, suggest food pairing with either duck or Coq au Vin. The Coq au Vin is a delicious recipe that includes a whole bottle of wine in the recipe and please remember, that when cooking with wine don`t go cheap. Cook with the same wine that you will pair with the meal. Please click on this link to download the recipe for Coq au Vin:

Selections for $20 to $25

Domaine Gille Côtes De Nuits Villages 2008, Ac, Prop. Récolt.; Burgundy, France
LCBO #210864; Rating – 91; $24.95

Excellent Burgundy for the price. A beautiful medium weight wine that`s packed with flavour and has excellent length. Serve with coq au Vin.

Alain Geoffroy Beauroy Chablis 1er Cru 2008, Ac; Burgundy, France
LCBO #733501; Rating – 89, $24.95

This vibrant and well-structured wine is a great value for a 1er Cru Chablis. Pairs well with any shellfish or seafood dish. Drink now or even cellar for 3 to 5 years.

Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 2009, Ac; Burgundy, France
LCBO #124305; Rating – 89; $22.95

Very typical Chablis that is subtle, stony-mineral and with decent depth and intensity on the palate. Great for sipping or pairs well with shellfish or poached trout.

Red Wines for under $20

Rivera Cappellaccio Riserva Aglianico 2005, Doc Castel Del Monte; Puglia, Italy
LCBO #984120; Rating – 90; $18.95

A dark, bold and savoury wine that is medium-full bodied. Above average intensity and excellent length. Will benefit from another year in the cellar. Pair with bold, rich dishes.

Umani Ronchi San Lorenzo Rosso Conero 2007, Doc; Marche, Italy
LCBO #981191; Rating – 89; $15.95

John Szabo describes it as clean, ripe, fruity, delicately oaky, elegant, fresh and floral; black pepper and says it is a really fine drinking wine at a nice price.

The Oak Valley Blend 2005, Wo Elgin; South Africa
LCBO #214361; Rating – 88; $16.95

A Bordeaux style blend of primarily merlot and 27% cabernet franc. Dense and elegant with very good flavour depth. Drinkable now, but one or two years of aging will help to soften the tannins.

Domaine Roux Père & Fils Côte De Beaune Villages 2009, Ac; Burgundy, France
LCBO #208520; Rating – 88; $17.95

Simple and well priced Burgundy. Dry, medium bodied and balanced acidity. Try paired with grilled tuna, herbed steaks or roast duck.

Rocca Delle Macìe Chianti Classico Riserva 2006, Docg; Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #111641; Rating – 88; $15.95

Great value for a sumptuous red from Italy. Lots of fruit and finesse for the price. Try with cioppino (Italian fish soup).

Ortas Tradition Côtes Du Rhone Villages Rasteau 2009, Ac; Rhone, France
LCBO #998716; Rating – 88; $15.00

A young plumy and rich Rhone that is simple but still classic. Very serious wine for the money. Try it now or age for 2 or 3 years.

White Wines for Under $20

Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay 2008, California, USA
LCBO #369686; Rating – 89; $19.95 for 750ml; $11.95 for 375ml

A very pleasant and rich wine that is not over powered with oak. Nice balance and very good to excellent length. Will pair nicely with poached salmon and dill sauce.

Pelee Island Winery Vendange Tardive Pinot Gris 2008, VQA Pelee Island; Ontario, Canada
LCBO #224196; Rating – 88; $16.95

Medium gold colour with notes of apple blossom, peach and apricot. Very good length. Nice for sipping or serve with salmon or chicken accompanied with a peach-mango salsa.

Domaine Saint Saturnin De Vergy Bourgogne Hautes Côtes De Nuits Blanc 2009, Ac; Burgundy, France
LCBO #128686; Rating – 88; $18.95

A clean fresh French Chardonnay that is medium weight and delicately oaked. Easy drinking with very good to excellent length. Good entry level burgundy. Serve with classic roast chicken.

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