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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Friday, January 7, 2011

Selections for January 8, 2011

From the January 8th 2011 LCBO Vintages Release
It's been almost a month since the LCBO issued a Vintages release so I'm rather keen to taste the latest offerings. The January 8th issue brings good value for your money and rightfully so, December for most of us is a very expensive month. If you're like me, you also ate too much food over the holidays and have (or had) great intentions of living life on the leaner side this month. With that, can I recommend a few labels to pair with a healthier fare:
I picked up several bottles for sample from the Jan 8th Vintages release catalogue and the following two red, two white, one fortified selection, and one for the cellar, are in my opinion, good value for the varietal and region.
2008 Tolloy, Pinot Noir
If you're up on your heart-smart reading you'll realize that grape skins contains an antioxidant known as Reversatrol and since the juice for a red wine spends considerably longer soaking with the grape skins, a greater amount of this antioxidant is found in the wine. There is much debate on the benefits of Reversatrol but research does show that Resveratrol may be linked to a reduced risk of inflammation and blood clotting, both of which can lead to heart disease. Interestingly, of all the red wines, Pinot Noir typically contains the highest degree of antioxidants, so I thought I'd do you a favour and recommend this nice Italian Pinot. This one is interesting for a couple of reasons: In Italy, Pinot Noir is also known as Pinot Nero which at the LCBO we don't see very often. The 2009 Tolloy is very much an old world wine: you will find it soft and very light in both colour and body. The fruit hides behind a very dry core of earthy notes. Enjoy this one with a grilled chicken salad and sprinkle a bit of the wine on the salad instead of dressing. LCBO #193441 / $15.95 (XD)
2008 St. Hallett, Shiraz/Grenache
When you've had enough of the 'smart food' and decide to return to normal living, try this Australian blend of Shiraz and Grenache along side a beef tenderloin smothered with a peppercorn sauce. There's lots of fruit here but not overpowering and it's followed by a hint of black pepper. Nice round mouth-feel and lots of black fruit and cassis on the finish. Very easy to drink. LCBO #024117 / $14.95 (D)
2009 Chateau Les Bertrands, Cuvee Tradition
Though you won't find it in bold print anywhere on the label, dry white wine from Bordeaux is almost always Sauvignon Blanc; this one has a touch of Muscadelle added to it. The French have been crafting great Sauvignon for longer than anyone else, they just don't market it with fancy advertising campaigns. The '09 Chateau les Bertrands shows very fragrant floral aromas with a hint of pear. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied and beautifully balanced with rather pronounced lime on the finish which I really enjoyed. This wine will go beautifully with white fish or sea scallops. LCBO #190967 / $14.95 (XD)
2009 Domaine du Vieux Chai, Muscadet de Sevre-et-Maine
This light-bodied white is from Sevre-et-Maine, a sub-region in Loire, France. The term Sur-Lie (on lees) is a style of winemaking where the wine ages in a vat or barrel which also contains the sediment produced during the winemaking process. Normally, the clear wine is pumped off into a new barrel after which the sediment is discarded. In this example, the wine was left 'sur-lie' to absorbed additional flavour. This selection has pronounced pears and citrus notes but even more interesting is the slight effervescence or carbonation which adds a nice tingle as you sip. This will pair well with a variety of seafood dishes. LCBO #200048 / $13.95 (D)
Leacock's Rainwater Maderia
There really isn't much in this release in terms of sweet/dessert wines so I'll dig a bit deeper... Back in the October 16th, 2010 release, I was thrilled to see the return of Leacock's Rainwater Maderia. The term 'rainwater' is actually a designation of the Maderia's style, this one being very light on the palate; not like a Vintage Port or Oloroso Sherry. And it's not as sweet as you might expect either, Leacock's has a slight tang that works well on its own as an aperitif or paired with a semi-sweet dessert. Interestingly, the oldest wines in the world are all Maderia and once open, a bottle will last well over a month. Serve it slightly chilled. LCBO #189159 / $21.95 (MD)
One for the Cellar:
2007 Domaine Pavelot, Savigny-les-Beaune, 1er Cru aux Gravains
Yes I know the name is a lot to swallow, but the LCBO has it in the wrong order in their magazine. Pavelot is the last name of the producer, Savigny-les-Beaune is the name of a village at the top of Burgundy's Côte de Beaune where truly beautiful Pinot Noir is made, and aux Gravains is the name of the vineyard where the grapes are grown. The 1er Cru translates as 'premier vineyard or plot' meaning the vines are ideally positioned on the hill or côte and in terms of quality, the only designation greater in Burdundy is Grand-cru but for that, you must pay dearly. Pinot from Burgundy is my absolute favourite and I'll tell you from experience that Savigny-les-Beaune is a lovely wine for a special occasion. At the moment, this one is a rather bold but let it mellow in the bottle for a while and enjoy it perhaps with your turkey feast in 2013. You'll be sorry if you only buy one! LCBO #206136 / (D) $47.95