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, June 24, 2011

Selections for June 25th

From the June 25th, 2011 LCBO Vintage Release

As my quest for really good wine at a fair price continues, this weekend’s LCBO Vintages release profiles the wines of Argentina.  In recent years, South America has emerged to become the go-to region for reasonable priced high quality red wine, specifically that of the Malbec and Carmenère varieties in addition to the more recognizable Cabernet Sauvignon and Spanish Temparnillo.  But winemakers here also craft lovely white wines from Chardonnay and the wholly Argentine variety of Torrontés.  I encourage you to visit your local wine shop over the next couple of weeks to explore these fantastic tasting opportunities. 

In this edition of Selections, I profile a food friendly Malbec from Mendoza and a mind-boggling Aussie Shiraz for a mere $15.  Niagara’s Flat Rock Cellars is at it again with their mouth watering off-dry Riesling and I’ve found a Spanish Verdojo white for those in search of something slightly different.  The North of 9 tasting group is sipping sparkling wines from around the world on July 10th so I thought I’d get everyone’s palate warmed up with an Italian Prosecco which, let's just say, I found to be a very curious wine.  Of course, I’ll also add another label to your cellar with this weekend’s Cellar Selection. 


2007 Carla Chiaro, Reserve Malbec – Mendoza, Argentina
Black cherry and spice makes everything nice; medium-light in body with a sweet acidic core and that should pair very well with a variety of food choices. LCBO #235085 / $14.95 (XD)

2008 Marquis Philips, ShirazMcLearen Vale, Australia
This is wine on overdrive; like a teenager screaming down the backroads, speedometer pegged and stereo cranked in their parent’s new car; any faster and it could all fall apart.  At 16% alcohol/volume, I expected something overblown but amazingly, this holds itself together very well.  A mix of plums, raspberries, vanilla, and cracked pepper swerve around your palate; there’s heat but not the anticipated alcohol burn for such high concentration.  Medium to full bodied and a very modern style but fun to drink at the same time – Buckle-up Baby, we’re going for a ride!  LCBO #017475 / $15.00 (XD)


2010 Flat Rock Cellars, Riesling – Niagara, Canada
A fragrant nose of pronounced lemon and lime.  Crisp minerality and a clean level of acidity will pair this nicely with summer salads or fish on the BBQ.  But the clincher for me is how it smoothes-out toward the finish placing this Riesling above so many other similar examples.  LCBO #043281 / $16.95 (MD)

2009 Pedro Escudero, Fuente Elvira, Verdejo
The night grape.  The juice of the Verdejo grape is high susceptible to oxidation and is therefore harvested at night when the ambient air temperature is cooler to prevent premature oxidation of the grape must.  The Verdejo variety produces wines that are both soft and full on the palate showing a combination of tropical fruit and the occasional nutty characteristic intertwined with a spicy finish.  Enjoy this one with lemon chicken.  LCBO #218313 / $13.95 (D)


Ponte, Extra Dry Prosecco - Italy
This is the most bizarre sparkling wine I’ve tasted in a while: a lovely floral and peach nose with a big hit of citrus infused spritz on the palate and then it’s gone – no finish to speak of. Rather perplexed, I reached for something to add a touch of flavour to the equation; a fresh raspberry in this case and Wow! what a difference.  On its own, I found this rather disappointing, but pair it with a dish of fresh fruit and you have yourself a real treat!  Enjoy.  LCBO #226076 / $15.95 (D)

One for the Cellar

2009 Benmarco, Cabernet Sauvignon - Mendoza, Argentina
Mendoza is considered the heart of the winemaking industry in Argentina.  At the foothills of the Andes mountains, the combination of semi-arid desert conditions and vineyard elevations between 1500 and almost 5000 feet above sea level aid in the production of richly flavourful wines.  Generally speaking, the wine here is bigger and bolder with more pronounced primary fruit and fuller tannins.  And because at higher elevations temperature decreases and the UV index increases, these wines also contain a greater concentration of polyphenols which studies have proven is good for your heart.

Expect a great depth of dark fruit in this richly flavoured and full bodied Cab.  Try it now if you like, pairing it with beef or pork tenderloin grilled to perfection, but it will also benefit from a couple of years in the cellar to soften the tannin structure.      
LCBO #232637 / $16.95 (XD)