Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stock Up for Patio Season - Wine Selections for the LCBO May 28 Release

If you have been saving for a rainy day, our latest weather patterns indicate that the “day” has arrived and what better way to spend it than on a nice bottle of wine. The May 28th release features the wines of California and Alsace, but my selections are quite wide and varied. There are several wonderful reds from Australia, Chile, Italy, Spain and the US; two delightful Rosé and an inexpensive sparkling made traditionally in Burgundy.
With regard to local produce, we are starting to see the first of the new season with asparagus, fiddle heads, ramps (wild leeks) and dandelion greens. I will post some recipes that feature these products and the wines that pair nicely.
P.S.  For the second year I am participating in the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is a 2-day, 200 mile cycling adventure that will raise over $14 million for cancer research. My goal is to raise at least $3,000 this year and it would be great if you could help me achieve this. Please click on this link to donate to this wonderful cause:

Premium Red Wines (under $25)

I Greppi Greppicante Bolgheri 2007, Doc; Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #170381;  Rating – 90;  $23.95
A modern Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc that is very polished and attractive. Well focused with excellent length. Drink now through to 2016.

Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, California, USA
LCBO #706275;  Rating – 90;  $24.95
David Lawrason from Wine Align describes this best “This has very good substance and cabernet character for the price - better than some California heavyweights at two or three times the money. It is a fairly dense, dark and reserved cabernet with a well integrated nose of chocolate, currants, dried herbs and leather. Quite full bodied and well extracted with firm but not austere tannin, and very good to excellent length. Best now to 2016.

Red Wines (under $20)

Plunkett Fowles Stone Dwellers Merlot 2008, Strathbogie Ranges, Victoria Australia
LCBO #221838; Rating – 91;  $19.95
Made in the style of great Bordeaux wines this is medium to full bodied with very good length. For the price it is the best value of the release. Grab a few bottles before it disappears! Drink now or over the next five years.

Emiliana Winemaker's Selection Syrah 2009, La Quebrada, Casablanca Valley Chile
LCBO #212407;  Rating – 90;  $18.95
This is a blend of 88% Syrah, 7% Merlot and 5% Viognier. The nose is of black pepper, cherry, smoke and vanilla. Would pair well with bbq’ed ribs in a spicy sauce.  Excellent length. Drink now, or over the next five years.

Apollonio Terragnolo Primitivo 2004, Igt Salento Rosso; Puglia, Italy
LCBO #211813;  Rating – 89;  $17.95
This wine from the 2004 vintage is ready to drink now, medium-full bodied with very good length. Ideal for grilled ribs or steaks on the bbq.

Domaine Mercouri Red 2006, Vin De Pays Des Letrinon, Greece
LCBO #652974;  Rating – 89;  $18.95
An old school traditional style red, that reminds of Italy’s nebbiolo. Medium weight with very good to excellent length.

Coto De Imaz Reserva 2004, Doca Rioja, Spain
LCBO #23762;  Rating – 89;  $19.95
This seven year old wine is ready to drink now. A traditional Rioja that is mid-weight with very good to excellent finish. Drink now to 20 14.

Westside Red Troublemaker Blend 1, Paso Robles, California, USA
LCBO #682831;  Rating – 89;  $19.95
How can you go wrong with a name like this? A blend of 53% syrah, 37% mourvedre and 10% grenache from the 2008 and 2007 vintages, with a bit of 2009 added for brightness.  This full bodied wine has excellent length and is full of flavour. Drink now to 2015.

Banfi Centine 2008, Igt Toscana, Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #980649;  Rating – 88;  $8.95 for 375ml
This half-bottle is a blend of Sangiovese (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and Merlot. It is medium bodied with a smooth finish that is drinkable now. Perfect for that mid-week Pasta Puttanesca dinner with grilled Sweet Italian Sausage. Click here for the recipe.

White Wines (under $20)

Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc 2009, Wo Stellenbosch, South Africa
LCBO #231282;  Rating – 90;  $17.95
This is a quite rich, honeyed, spicy style. It's medium-full bodied, dry and well extracted with excellent length. Try pairing it with roast chicken or lemon pepper grilled salmon.

Louis Robin Chablis 2009, Ac, Burgundy, France
LCBO #210831;  Rating – 89;  $19.95
Sitting on a patio, a lovely chilled Chablis in your glass …does life get any better? This mid-weight wine fills the bill with its minerality and essences of lemon-lime and apple on the finish. Great wine for the price. Pair with Chevre from prince Edward County’s  Fifth Town Artisan Cheese. Available at Culinarium on Mt. Pleasant.

Angels Gate Mountainview Chardonnay 2008, VQA Beamsville Bench, Ontario, Canada
LCBO #116384;  Rating – 88;  $18.95
A nice example of the world class Chardonnays that are being made right here in Ontario. A well balanced wine that is great for sipping over the next three years.

The Winery Of Good Hope Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2009, Wo Stellenbosch, South Africa
LCBO #158121;  Rating – 88;  $11.95
John Szabo calls this a ‘Top Value Alert’.  His review; “the palate is light-medium bodied, refreshingly citrus and orange/lime/grapefruit flavoured, with lightly honeyed notes and a touch of wood, then comes the beautiful balance and refined texture, and a finish than lingers on and on. And then you check the price and say wow, that's an outstanding value. A beautiful, balanced wine built on elegance and drinkability.

Rosé Wines  (Don’t Skip this Section!!)

Rosé wines got a bad rap due to the cheap wines produced and marketed in the 70’s and 80’s. There are some truly great Rosé wines that are great for summer bbq’s and parties.
Château De Trinquevedel Tavel Rosé 2010, Ac; Rhone, France
LCBO #729947;  Rating – 89;  $17.95
From John Szabo “Finally a dry rosé with some character and class - you can tell that this is an appellation dedicated to rosé wines rather than one that allows them as an afterthought.” Medium full-bodied with very good to excellent length.

Emiliana Adobe Reserva Rosé Syrah 2010, Rapel Valley Chile
LCBO #229690; Rating – 88;  $11.95
Very well balanced, dry and refreshing. A Rosé with excellent character for the money.


It is not commonly known, but sparkling wines will pair well, with virtually any food. So if you are ever stumped, or you’re serving a mix of food that would require several different pairings, your ‘go to’ wine is Sparkling. BTW, only wines produced in the Champagne region may be called ‘Champagne’. However, using the same traditional wine making techniques there are many great wines available from around the world and at reasonable prices.

Veuve Ambal Brut Crémant De Bourgogne, Ac; Burgundy, France
LCBO #209619; Rating – 88;  $15.95
This is a well-balanced, dry and crisp sparkler from Burgundy. The flavour intensity, depth and length are worth far more than the asking price. Mid-weight, with very good length. Great value.

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