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 15, 2012

Wine for the Weekend

Sometimes we just need to step outside of the comfort zone to really understand – I wound up in Vancouver last Sunday at a Japanese Yakiniku house and loved every single bite.  I smirk because I’ve only walked by the place forty times enroute to more familiar North American tastes… like Subway or Starbucks.  Quality wine consumption this week has also ranked well above average and I’ll share a few thoughts on that after presenting this week’s edition of Wine for the Weekend.

Our white this week was a sporadic grab on my way through the wine shop.  Not only was it a last minute impulse buy, but this Burgundy Chardonnay may turn out to be a new favourite in our household.  I haven’t done an Aussie Shiraz in a while, and with BBQ season in full swing, I’ve found a high quality bargain wine that will compliment your ribs and burgers with just the right amount of lip-smacking spice.


2009 Domaine Jean Pierre Sève Terroir Pouilly Fuissé – Burgundy, France

Forgive me for sneaking above the $20 upper limit, but this one is worth it!  Pouilly- Fuissé, pronounced [poo-yay fwee-say] <~ seriously, that’s how you say it.  This is mid-level but reasonably priced Chardonnay from the Mâconnais region of Burgundy. Effortlessly complex with just a touch of oak that blends perfectly with the citrus and mineral elements while no single component over-powers the others.  This wine presents you with the option of thinking about what’s in your glass or simply quaffing it down - it really is that good!  Enjoy this with shellfish or soft cheeses.  
$23.95 (681056) Vintages (dry)

2010 Deakin Estate ShirazVictoria, Australia

Here’s a reliable under $10 bottle (I need to compensate for the last one).  Another tasty Shiraz from down-under in the modern but not overblown style.  Expect aromas of dark fruit and an interesting dried leaf thing go on in the glass.  The body is full with more dark fruit and cassis in generous proportions; rounding out the finish is the characteristic pepper spice.  Enjoy this one with bbq’d fare, but chill it slightly before serving.  The summer heat will emphasis the alcohol in these big reds to the point where they can become too much. $9.95 (560821) LCBO General list (dry)

Domaine Jean Grivot, Vosne-Romanée, 1er Cru les Beaux-Monts 1999

I really must share the story of this amazing bottle.  This mind-boggling wine was purchased several years ago at the LCBO Fine Wine and Spirits auction in Toronto.  There were three bottles in the lot, each from a different vintage: ’95, ’97, and the 1999 above.  Some people have a fancy car or boat.  They pour premium fuel into it every weekend to feed their passion and energize their adrenalin.   I have a wine cellar; its content is my fuel and the source of this passion.  On occasion, one of these treasures takes my breath away...

The three-bottle-lot cost just under $400 plus all the additional fees associated with buying wine at the auction.  Unquestionably, that is an excessive amount of money to spend on something that risks such a high potential to disappoint.  And while the ’95 and ’97 were both very good, they both failed to generate the surge of emotion that I continually search for in a bottle of wine.  The 1999, on the other hand, was one of the best vintages in recent Burgundy history and one which left me with a different impression not soon forgotten.

What makes wine of this calibre so fascinating is the history of the region and the rarity of the bottles.  Anything from the village of Vosne-Romanée is truly a treat to taste; a wine from premier cru Beaux-Monts vineyard is not only a rare find, but it edges on the surreal, for only 200m from where these grapes grow are the Grand Cru vineyards Domaine de la Romanée-Conti and the home of the most sought after wines in the world.  To put it in perspective, for the automotive enthusiast, that’s like window-shopping at a Lamborghini or Rolls Royce dealership.

At 13 years old, the wine showed no signs of age whatsoever.  Normally red wine takes on a brick hue as the colour pigment fades over time, the fruit will also begin to fade, making way for aromas of cedar, leather, and earth.  The Beaux-Mont showed none of these traits and could have easily cellared for another decade.  But I was hosting an online Burgundy discussion, and what better time to share the experience than with a group who truly understand the need for vinous perfection.  Imagine ripe cherry, plum, and cinnamon spice; clean and pure with a delicately confident personality; dry, very dry, and the darkest Pinot I have seen to date with a finish lasted well into the night.

To discover a wine like this reinforces the need to continually educate newcomers on the incredible potential of this subject.  The soul of wine lies in Burgundy… you will find it, if you are willing to explore. 

 ~> I’d love to hear your thoughts on a food & wine pairing:  What is your favourite dish?  And which wine highlights the flavours of the food?  Send me a quick note with your thoughts and I’ll publish it in a future edition of Wine for the Weekend.