Friday, August 19, 2011

Vintages Release - August 20, 2011

It may be back to school time in two weeks, but we still have many weeks of summer weather ahead of us. So this weekend relax and enjoy your down time with some great produce from our local farmers markets and match it with some of these lovely value wines that the LCBO will release this weekend.


Corn is in abundant supply right now and there is nothing better than crisp, fresh, sweet corn. Corn is best if eaten within 2 days from the time it is picked, so if you are buying it at the grocery store, it is probably 3 to 7 days old. I suggest that you buy it at your local Farmer’s market or find a convenient road side stand. My favourite place is on 6th Line, just south of Derry Road between Mississauga and Milton. They plant ‘supersweet’ corn and quite often they will pick you a dozen while you wait …for $5/dozen it can’t be beat. To take full advantage of that fresh sweet flavour, cook it on your BBQ in the husk. I soak it in the sink for about 20 minutes, then place it on the hot grill, turning it every few minutes until the husks are nicely browned (about 15 to 20 minutes). You can then set it aside and continue cooking the rest of your meal, as the husks will trap the heat  at least 20 minutes. Be careful when husking as it can be very hot. I use gloves or husk under cold running water. Fine Cooking magazine has a great article on grilling corn and several wonderful recipes as well. Trust me, I have tried every method of cooking corn and this is by far the tastiest way to prepare this wonderful summer delicacy.


Quinta De Ventozelo Touriga Nacional 2007, Doc Douro; Douro, Portugal
LCBO #657452;  Rating – 90; 19.95
A wonderful medium-full bodied wine that shows a wonderful nose and excellent nose. Drink it now or it will get even better over the next 5 years.

Château L'argentier Vieilles Vignes De Carignan 2007, Vin De Pays Du Gard; Languedoc Roussillon (Midi), France
LCBO #250712;  Rating – 90;  $19.95
This wine is made from carignan vines that are 72 years old. The winemaker has done a wonderful job with this smooth wine that is dense in flavour with excellent length. I have this earmarked for a grilled boneless leg of lamb that is marinated with plenty of rosemary.

Kumkani Cradle Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Wo Stellenbosch; Stellenbosch, South Africa
LCBO #107391;  Rating – 90; $19.95
South Africa produces some fine wines and this is a clear example. Drink now or let it rest for 5+ years. Excellent length and depth.

Mas Foraster Josep Foraster Criança 2006, Montblanc, Do Conca De Barbera; Spain
LCBO #218321;  Rating – 88;  $13.95
A blend of cabernet sauvignon, Syrah and Tempranillo. Well balanced with very good length and at a great price.

Villa Medoro Montepulciano D'abruzzo 2008, Doc; Abruzzo, Italy
LCBO #242321;  Rating – 88;  $15.95
This is a very appealing wine that may be compared to a new world cabernet. It has solid flavour and complexity beyond its price. Drink it now!

Château De Flaugergues Cuvée Sommelière 2007, La Méjanelle, Ac Coteaux Du Languedoc; Languedoc Roussillon (Midi), France
LCBO #65896;  Rating – 88;  $17.95
This is a very simple, drinkable red that is medium bodied with very good length.

Château De La Sauveuse Cuvée Carolle 2008, Ac Côtes De Provence; Provence, France
LCBO #250704;  Rating – 88;  $18.95
This is a very ‘earthy’ wine that will pair well with gamey meats. Pair with herb encrusted rack of lamb with a black peppercorn sauce.

Domaine La Croix Belle Syrah 2009, Côtes De Thongue Igp Languedoc; Languedoc Roussillon (Midi), France
LCBO #160150;  Rating – 87;  $12.95
For $13 this offers great character and finish. Will pair nicely with ribs, wings, burgers or sausages!

Frascole Chianti Rufina 2007, Docg;  Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #85167; Rating – 87;  $15.95
This is a basic Chianti with very good finish. Serve with Pasta Puttanesca.


Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Marlborough, South Island; Marlborough, New Zealand
LCBO #160085;  Rating – 90;  $9.95
375ml bottle – A nice clean and polished wine with citrus, green herb and tropical fruit flavours. A perfect size for two on the patio.

Chalone Monterey County Chardonnay 2009, Monterey County; California, USA
LCBO #80226;  Rating – 90; $16.95
A classic rich California Chardonnay, with excellent length that is a great value wine at this price. Drink it now or even cellar for 2 to 3 years.  Pair with a rich seafood pasta or grilled Atlantic salmon.

René Muré Signature Gewurztraminer 2009, Ac Alsace; Alsace, France
LCBO #61218;  Rating – 90;  $17.95
This is a wonderful gewurz with good to excellent length. Will pair well with Asian foods or try with lamb curry.

Montes Limited Selection Leyda Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Leyda Valley; Leyda Valley, Chile
LCBO #32060;  Rating – 89;  $14.95
A very complex nose of green herb, lime and citrus with excellent length. Good value for the money.

La Ferme Du Mont La Truffière 2009, Ac Côtes Du Rhône; Rhone, France
LCBO #234716;  Rating – 89;  $16.95
A classic southern Rhone wine that features subtle grapefruit and peach flavours. It is a mid-weight wine and has good to very good length. Serve with grilled shrimp or calamari.

Cave Talmard Mâcon Uchizy 2009, Ac; Burgundy, France
LCBO #733956;  Rating – 88; $15.95
A very nicely priced wine from the home of the world’s oldest Chardonnay.  Try it in comparison to the Chalone from Monterey County above.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vintages Release – August 6, 2011

The summer is only half over, so you still have plenty of time to enjoy some great wines on the deck and dock. If you missed my Red Wine Sangria recipe from the July 23rd blog, it is something that you must try, especially when hosting friends to a backyard BBQ. It’s a great way to begin the evening.

This week’s release features: 
  • An amazing Cava – (Spanish - champagne style wine) for only $13.95 
  • Five Italian reds that are very food friendly 
  • A very nice Sherry
  • These are hard to find, so grab one now and put away for that special recipe 
  • Some nice sipping whites 



With regard to food and recipes, my favourite cooking magazine is called Fine Cooking. The recipes are healthy, seasonal and local and are tried and tested to be great. I especially like that virtually all of their recipes are available on their website at The August/September issue is one of the best ever and features some amazing seasonal recipes. Try the Gratinéed Tomatoes with Asiago and Fresh Herbs or Five-Spice Grilled Chicken with Hoisin-Maple Glaze and if you struggle with grilling chicken on the BBQ, read their article on grilling using indirect heat. It’s the key to cooking grilled chicken perfectly.



Jean Paul Brun Côte De Brouilly 2009, Ac; Beaujolais, France
LCBO #235127;  Rating – 90;  $18.95
Another delicious 09 Beaujolais that is light on the palate, nicely balanced with good depth. Pair with roast chicken or grilled pork tenderloin.

Nicosia Fondo Filara Nerello Mascalese 2008, Igt Sicilia; Sicily, Italy
LCBO #222653;  Rating – 89;  $14.95
Nice wines from sicily? You better believe it. These grapes are grown on the volcanic soils of Mt. Etna and pair beautifully with meat based tomato sauces.

Petra Zingari 2008, Igt Toscana; Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #244228;  Rating – 89;  $16.95
A blend of equal parts Sangiovese, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot aged entirely in stainless steel. A nice wine for $17 that will last for another 4 to 5 years.

Montaro Rosso Di Montalcino 2006, Doc; Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #237297;  Rating – 89;  $17.95
A wonderful sangiovese with berry nose and a long finish. Well balanced and drinkable at any time.

Zolo Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Mendoza, Argentina
LCBO #54098;  Rating – 88;  $15.95
A medium body elegant cabernet that is well balanced with very good length. It’s certainly worth a try for the price.

Rocca Delle Macìe Chianti Riserva 2006, Docg; Tuscany, Italy
LCBO #111641;  Rating – 88;  $15.95
David Lawrason from wine Align states; “This vintage continues to impress with a combination of richness and edge. Good to very good length.”

Terredora Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio Rosso 2008, Doc; Campania, Italy
LCBO #93088;  Rating – 88;  $18.95
Grown on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius above the Bay of Naples. It’s mid-weight, dense with very good to excellent length. Try it with pizza margherita or a tomato based pasta sauce.



Bodegas Argüeso San León Manzanilla Clásica Sherry, Do Jerez; Jerez, Spain
LCBO #703066;  Rating – 93;  $16.95
A rich and powerful sherry with great length. Try it as an aperitif with Spanish olives and Marcona almonds.



Villa Mt. Eden Grand Reserve Bien Nacido Chardonnay 2007, Santa Maria Valley; California, USA
LCBO #393892;  Rating – 91;  $19.95
Mature and drinkable now. It has a wonderful nose, is rich and very smooth. Very good value for the price. Pair with grilled salmon or roast chicken.

Ciù Ciù La Merlettaie Offida Pecorino 2009, Doc; Marche, Italy
LCBO #245670;  Rating – 90;  $16.95
A food friendly Mediterranean style wine with lots of depth and character for the money. Pair with fish grilled with olive oil and fresh herbs.

Crios De Susana Balbo Torrontés 2010, Salta, Argentina
LCBO #1834;  Rating – 89;  $11.95
A nice blend that features notes of citrus and peach. Great value and worth a try at the price.

William Fèvre Chile Gran Cuvée Chardonnay 2009, Pirque, Maipo Valley, Chile
LCBO #45146;  Rating – 88;  $16.95
One of the leading winemaker of Chablis has taken their winemaking skills to Chile. This has a flinty nose, with some pear and honey. It’s medium weight with excellent length. Try it against a French Chablis for comparison.

Trio Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2010, Casablanca/Rapel/Limarí Valleys; Casablanca Valley, Chile
LCBO #678656;  Rating – 87;  $13.95
This is a well made sauvignon blanc that is fresh and zesty. It has solid depth and length for the price. Very good value.



Mont Marçal Brut Reserva Cava, Do; Catalunya, Spain
LCBO #229021;  Rating – 89;  $13.95
A wonderful Cava that can be enjoyed anytime and anywhere with any food. Great complexity and depth for the price.