This release features some fine wines from the cool climes of New Zealand. They are currently finishing up their fall harvest and releasing their wines from vintages past. I’ve listed one nice Pinot Noir and a couple of crisp Sauvignon Blanc wines. I’m seeing a lot of asparagus at the market these days and nothing pairs better with grilled asparagus than a nice crisp Sauvignon Blanc.
Here are two interesting wines to try. Quite often recipes call for Sherry or for a real treat the Tokaji will go great with Foie Gras, a mild Roquefort cheese or with fruit or nut-based desserts and cheesecake.
Gonzalez Byass Elegante Palomino/Pedro Ximénez Sweet Cream, Do Jerez; Spain
LCBO #196824; Rating – 92; $14.95
Dark mahogany colour with rich aromas of raisins, mocha, dark chocolate, nuts and fruit pastries. It’s medium sweet and very smooth. A wonderful after-dinner drink with blue cheese or fruit-based custards.
Pannon Tokaj Tokaji Aszú 3 Puttonyos 2003, Tokaj Hegyalja Hungary
LCBO #74328; Rating – 92; $21.95
This exceptional version of Tokaji features aromas of dried fruit, honey and candied rind. Enjoy with fruit tarts, berry pies or my favourite …foie gras. Click here for my favourite foie gras recipe (SAUTEED FOIE GRAS WITH CARAMELIZED APPLES & MANGO SAUCE)
Red Wines Close to $20
Napa Ridge Petite Sirah 2007, Napa Valley California, USA
LCBO #213686; Rating – 90; $19.95
The petite syrah grape was developed for blending, but over time because of its full rich flavour has become a wine unto its own. It is a predominantly Californian grape where it grows well. This particular wine has excellent length and will pair nicely with strong meats …game, beef, lamb and spicy sauces. Enjoy now and over the next 5 years.
Valiano Chianti Classico Riserva 2005, Docg; Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #211706; Rating – 89; $20.95
Sorry for the extra dollar here, but this is well aged (mature) and ready to drink over the next 2 or 3 years. A full bodied wine with higher alcohol (13.5%) this will work well with hearty fare or a nice salty Italian cured sausage.
Château Saint André Corbin 2008, Ac St Georges St Emilion, Bordeaux, France
LCBO #43810; Rating – 89; $21.95
The LCBO review says it best “Winner of a Gold Medal at the 2010 Concours Général Agricole in Paris. This elegant Merlot-based wine features aromas and flavours of black cherry, mint, anise and menthol. Dry, with lots of fruit up front, in synch with balanced acidity and ripe tannins. Age it for up to 10 years or enjoy it tonight with prime rib and roasted root vegetables.”
Cave De Rasteau La Domelière Rasteau Côtes Du Rhône Villages 2009, Ac; Rhone, France
LCBO #22292; Rating – 88; $15.00
Lovely Rhone wine at a reasonable price. A mid-weight wine, rich on the palate with very good length.
Mas Des Dames La Dame 2008, Ac Côteaux De Languedoc; Languedoc Roussillon (Midi), France
LCBO #223214; Rating – 88; $15.95
Compare to the Cave De Rasteau above at similar pricing. A medium weight wine, fairly dense that over delivers for the money. A fine summer BBQ wine.
Falesco Vitiano 2008, Igt Umbria; Umbria, Italy
LCBO #950204; Rating – 88; $15.95
A lovely blend of Merlot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon. Great value for the money and infinitely drinkable and food friendly.
Lone Kauri Reserve Pinot Noir 2009, Marlborough, South Island New Zealand
LCBO #214858; Rating – 88; $16.95
From the LCBO panel “Classy Marlborough Pinot with aromas of strawberry-rhubarb, black cherry and wood smoke. Dry, fruity, ripe and round with a touch of crispness for balance. Flavourful, and ready to drink. A prime Pinot for grilled salmon steaks.” Definitely worth a try for the price.
Viñas Elias Mora 2008, Do Toro, Spain
LCBO #209650; Rating – 88; $18.95
For the cellar. This is a powerful red that needs 2 years of aging. Full bodied, fairly dense and very good finish. Will pair well with savoury roasts and stews.
Grove Street Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Sonoma County, California, USA
LCBO #161190; Rating – 87; $15.00
The critics seem divided on this. David Lawrason rates it 84 and calls it boring. John Szabo says that with its depth and complexity it is great value and comparable to wines at triple the price. Try a bottle with a nice T-bone on the BBQ and find out for yourself.
White Wines for $20 and Under
Eradus Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island New Zealand
LCBO #225557; Rating – 89; $17.95
A lovely medium weight classic NZ sauvignon blanc with excellent length and focus. Pairs well with grilled spring asparagus.
Pierre Sparr Réserve Gewurztraminer 2008, Ac Alsace; Alsace, France
LCBO #747600; Rating – 89; $17.95
David Lawrason states “This is a whopper and quite mature, from the golden colour through the ripe apricot, honey, lychee and a touch of earthiness and spearmint. It's medium-full bodied, medium sweet, very smooth.” Try with Asian fare.
Fielding Estate Winery Unoaked Chardonnay 2008, VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada
LCBO #164491; Rating – 88; $15.95
This is a very nice summer sipping wine, similar to an unoaked French Chablis. Very good length and balance. Try it with pasta vongole.
Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc 2009, Marlborough, South Island New Zealand
LCBO #224428; Rating – 88; $18.95
John Szabo says it best …” Stylish, fragrant example here, with above average depth and complexity. Flavours range from yellow grapefruit through papaya, guava and passion fruit, with above average concentration and length. Fine wine for current enjoyment.” Sounds good to me!
Triade Bianco 2009, Igt Campania, Campania, Italy
LCBO #214718; Rating – 87; $12.95
A wonderful white blend of three Italian varietals. Above average depth and flavour intensity with very good length. A bargain summer sipper at the price.