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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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wine for the Weekend

As the warmer weather approaches, I’d like to emphasize the importance of proper serving temperature.  If you serve your wine at the ambient temperature on a hot day, say at 23˚C, the wine will feel clumsy and in many cases appear ‘hot’ in terms of alcohol.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, over-chilling your bottle will mute both the aromatics and taste leaving you questioning why we make such a fuss about this subject in the first place. 

As a demonstration of the difference temperature can make, can I suggest that you try this week’s white selection at the warmer end of the spectrum.  You should note a very pronounced butter aroma and taste.  Then, chill the wine to 10-12˚C and note how the citrus and mineral side is enhanced.  Two very common serving errors are over-chilling white wine and serve reds much too warm.  In the side column of this page, I have included a link to the North of 9 Serving Temperature chart - feel free to view, print, or download a copy for your reference. 

This week’s edition of Wine for the Weekend takes us to California’s Russian River Valley for a very expressive bottle of aged Chardonnay followed by a quick trip down-under for an easy-drinking red blend. 

Our Wine Spot this week is courtesy of a gentleman who also reviews wine online via his own website.  We connected on WineAlign a few months ago and met in person at the Spanish tasting event in Toronto last week.  His food pairing alone makes my mouth water; I can’t wait to try it with the wine…     


2009 Brockenwood, Cricket Pitch – South East Australia

Bright, juicy, and fresh.  A medium-bodied blend of Cab. Sauv, Merlot, and Shiraz that shows aromas of blueberry, raspberry and dried leaves.  Nowhere near as heavy as so many Aussie efforts, and actually a refreshing change.  The package finishes with just a hint of sweetness.  A pleasant red to sip on its own or to pair with burgers / ribs on the bbq as the weather warms up.    
$19.95 (731638) Vintages (dry)

2007 Marimar Estate Chardonnay, Don Miguel Vineyard – Russian River Valley, California

This biodynamic wine explodes with the aroma and flavour of butter and hazelnuts.  But that intensity is quickly neutralized by a lightning streak of freshly squeezed citrus and crisp mineral sensations. The butter aroma and taste are the product of  ‘malo-lactic fermentation’ whereby the natural malic acid (think green apples) in the wine is converted to its lactic form – hence the softer creamy character. It can be too much for some people though this example does find a good balance.   A definite shoe-in for sea food. 
$19.95 (270090) Vintages (dry)

Cousiño Macul Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Maipo Valley, Chile | 750ml | $15.45

Thomas has a Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon for us from Chile in this week’s Wine Spot.  He recalls a vibrant nose of red fruit, especially raspberry and cherry along with soft hints of smoke and vanilla. The palate is medium to full bodied and nicely balanced with minimal acidity and grippy but soft tannins. Darker berries, such as blackcurrants come through here along with the previously mentioned smoke and vanilla.

Thomas suggests pairing this Chilean red with a thick medium-rare slice of roast beef au jus and mashed potatoes - perfect for Sunday night!

Thanks for the Wine Spot Thomas!
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>> If you would like to provide our group with a Wine Spot, simply send me a quick note and I’ll publish your wine and food pairing for everyone to enjoy.