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.

The new website is now available!

The new website is now available!
Click the image to link to

Friday, May 27, 2011

Selections for May 28th

From the May 28th, 2011 LCBO Vintage Release

This weekend’s LCBO Vintages release zeros in on the wines of California and Alsace.  Now I admit that I tend to cringe at the sight of California on the cover of a release; not because I don’t enjoy the wine – they’re usually way ahead of the pack.  But I endeavour to recommend wine to the ‘Selections’ group that falls into the $12 to $19 range and the average Cali normally leaves that price tag in the rear-view-mirror. That said, I did find a really good deal for you… 

The first red is a fascinating Pinot Noir from Alsace while the second is a richer wine from Lodi, California.  The whites include a nice French Sauvignon Blanc and an off-dry Riesling from Germany.  The fortified selection this weekend is a 20 year tawny from one of the oldest houses in Portugal and for the cellar, how about a nice Brunello?


2009 Joseph Cattin, Pinot Noir – Alsace
An amazing nose of cinnamon spice, cherry, and fungus.  This wine is soft, simple, and by no means extracted or aggressive; a nice example and a good match for a variety of foods.  Try it with ham or stuffed mushrooms.  LCBO #224618 / $14.95 (D)

2007 Stanza, Cabernet Sauvignon – California
Lodi is much further north than the popular AVA’s (American Viticultural Areas) of Napa and Sonoma and I’ve enjoyed some really good wines for surprising little cost from the region.  This Cali-Cab shows dusty tannins and a nice hit of red fruit.  A nicely balanced wine that will pair well with steaks on the BBQ.  LCBO #232363 / $16.95 (XD)


2009 Henri Bourgeois, Petit Bourgeois – France
This one starts out soft and increases in intensity as you sip.  Classic varietal aromas and obvious lemon and green apple on the palate.  It’s medium dry so expect a touch of sweetness.  I love old-world Sauvignon Blanc and this is why.  LCBO #672345 / $14.95 (D)
2009 Gunderloch, Fritz’s Riesling – Germany
A lovely floral/citrus nose and just the right amount of sweetness to taste.  Normally I just take a sip or two of each wine and move on to the next when I’m tasting for ‘Selections’ but some wines don't need the fancy analysis and description, so I stopped and sat down to enjoy the entire glass; a wonderful summer Riesling.  LCBO #216366 / $13.95 (MD)


Warre’s, Otima 20 year old Tawny Port - Portugal
I’ve been drinking this barrel-aged port for several years but have always had to purchase out-of-province so it’s nice to finally see the 20-year Warre’s at the LCBO.  Next to Kopke, Warre’s is the oldest brand of port; I believe the house was established in 1670!  This wine shows a lovely nose of figs, raisin, and apricot.  A slight orange-peel tang greets you on the palate but it quickly fades in the glass to show that great tawny smoothness.  You’ll enjoy this!  LCBO #682716 / $39.95 (S)

One for the Cellar

2004 Ruffino, Greppone Mazzi, Brunello di Montalcino - Italy
Someone asked me the other day why the cellar selections are always more expensive.  The answer is that these are premium wines and they have the stuffing to not only last for several years but each will continue to improve in the bottle.  It’s sort of like investing your money – wait a while and your investment will accumulate some interest.  When you finally make a withdrawal, you’ll have a better wine than when you started.

Brunello is one of the ‘Big Italians’ and a clone of the Sangiovese grape common in Italy’s Chianti region.  The main difference is one of climate, for in Montalcino, Brunello achieves a greater degree of ripeness.  Expect a big wine with smooth tannins and full of dark cherry, raspberry, and chocolate.  You can enjoy this one now by decanting but it will also continue to evolve over the next 5 years in the cellar.   LCBO #926402 / $49.95 (XD)