How I make my selections...

Rarely will I publish a review of a wine that I did not enjoy; my taste is purely individual, as is your own. If I write about a particular wine, I do so because I also want you to try it.

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Selections for Dec 11, 2010

From the December 11th 2010 LCBO Vintages Release

With the holiday season upon us there will certainly be opportunities to purchase a few bottles over the next couple of weeks.  Whether for yourself, family or a close friend, be sure to gift something that will leave a lasting impression.  This week's LCBO Vintages release profiles a wide range of wines and the prices in the current issue (compared to the last one) are considerably closer to what most of us are willing to shell-out for a good bottle of wine.

I picked up a few bottles this morning to sample for this issue of the 'North of 9 Selections' and the following two red, two white, a fortified selection, and one for the cellar, are in my opinion, representative of good value for the varietal and region.   I hope you enjoy them too.


2008 Yalumba, Shiraz/Viognier 
Viognier is a white grape varietal which makes this Aussie red a touch unusual. Yalumba has blended a very small amount of the fragrant Viognier with their mighty Shiraz, a varietal typical of south Australia.  The result is a powerhouse wine which I found a touch aggressive straight out of the bottle.  After an hour of breathing time however, the deep inky purple Shiraz began to show its softer side. This full bodied wine seemed to mellow nicely in the glass with some air though make no mistake, while it is very good, it is also a very dry Shiraz and not one to sip on its own but instead, will pair perfectly with a rich red meat dish.  Decant 1-2 hours before serving. LCBO #524926 / $19.95 (XD)

2008 De Martino Legado, Riserva Cabernet Sauvignon
Opened at lunch, the nose was quite fragrant but the mid palate was flat - nothing to write home about was my initial reaction but later in the day - Wow! The nose exploded with peppermint and the mouth-feel rounded out nicely.  It is bone dry with dark fruit and an earthy aftertaste.  A very interesting Chilean wine for sure!  Decant 2-3 hours before serving    LCBO #205674 / $14.95 (XD)


2009 Bougrier, Vouvray
'Consistently excellent' best describes this Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley in France. Bougrier's Vouvray is one of my 'go-to' wines and it never disappoints.  The style is off-dry with notes of exotic fruit and a hint of honey plus just the right amount of acidity to pair will a multitude of foods or simply on its own as an aperitif.  Save yourself the trip back to the store and buy a few bottles.  LCBO #106880 / $13.95 (MD)

2008 Jackson-Triggs, Proprietors' Grand Reserve Chardonnay
This Niagara Chardonnay has spent 8 months in new oak and that style is quite prevalent in the vanilla and almond extract notes but these characteristics are balance by some nice tropical fruit and good acidity.  This is a big wine and a rare opportunity where a white will also benefit from decanting.  Let it breath for an hour. Very good. LCBO #593996 / $20.95 (D)


Royal Oporto 10-year old Tawny Port
The LCBO calls this 200ml bottle a 'Stocking Stuffer' and I agree whole-heartedly. If you have not yet tried Tawny Port, this is the perfect place to start. Tawny is an oak-aged fortified wine and the 10-year designation is the average time the wine has spent aging in wood.  The oak softens the wine's hard edges and slowly changes its colour to a soft tawny-brown.  Traditionally, port is served on the cool side but I prefer mine at room temperature with milk chocolate - Wow!  LCBO #661223 / $12.95 (S)

One for the Cellar:

2005 Ascheri Vigna dei Pola, Barolo
The 2000 version of Ascheri's Vigna dei Pola was voted top wine at the North of 9 Fine Wine Barolo tasting last March.  Italy's Barolo is a product of the Nebbiolo grape and wines from the 2005 vintage will benefit from at least 7-10 years in the bottle.  Vigna dei Pola is aged as separate components in large Slovenian oak, new barriques, and stainless steel and then rejoined before bottling. Expect a big wine which is surprisingly light in colour filled with red fruit, subtle earthy notes, and a touch of spice.  Cellar it until 2012 - It's worth the wait.  LCBO #739920 / $41.95 (XD)