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Tuesday, January 12, 2010


1. Tokaji Yellow Muscat 2008 Puklus Cellars Hungary (+46508, $14.95
retail, 750 mL, Vintages): related to Muscat Blanc, from older vines,
done up in Late Harvest style, with that peachy complexity, medium-
bodied, but with lemons and pineapple acidity on the longer finish.
12.5% ABV. Serve with later courses (fruity mains, salads, cheeses,
off-dry desserts).

2. Chateau des Charmes Aligote 2008 VQA NOTL, $13.45 +284950 General
List: fresh floral character, slight lemon and apples in refreshing
acidity. Used in Burgundy as a Kir cocktail (Aligote wine plus crème de
cassis), very nice over the holidays. 12% ABV.

3. Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Merlot 2006 VQA NOTL, $14.45 +454991
General List: 12.5% ABV. Mix of cabernet sauvignon (60%), cabernet
franc (24%) plus merlot (16%) for that cooler climate Bordeaux-style
blend. Nine months in French oak. Expect cassis and bell pepper notes,
all in balance, ready to drink soon.

4. Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2007 VQA Okanagan, $14.95,
+300301 General List: from five different areas in the Okanagan, mostly
contract grapes, made by John Simes. No oak, similar in style to
aligote (citric, apples) but with some tropical finish from the added
sunshine. 12.5% ABV.

5. Mission Hill Five Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2007 VQA Okanagan,
$14.95, +118893 General List: from five different areas in the
Okanagan, mostly contract grapes, made by New Zealand winemaker John
Simes. No oak, similar in style to cooler climate sauvignon blancs,
with that grassy herbaceous quality. Slightly hot finish, with 14% ABV.

6. Mission Hill Five Vineyards Pinot Noir 2007 VQA Okanagan, $16.45,
+118844 General List: from five different areas in the Okanagan, mostly
contract grapes, made by John Simes. Entry level pinot, but cooler in a
medium-body and approachable tannic structure. Typical strawbs and
cherries. A year in French oak. 13% ABV.

7. Mission Hill Five Vineyards Cabernet Merlot 2007 VQA Okanagan,
$16.45, +257816 General List: from five different areas in the
Okanagan, mostly contract grapes, made by John Simes. More body than
2006, very spicy in approachable layers. Fruits dominate (plums,
cherries, strawbs, raspberries). 45% cab sauvignon, 25% cab franc, 30%
merlot. 14 months in mixed US and French oak. 13% ABV.

8. Mission Hill Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 VQA Okanagan, +553321
Vintages, $22.95: from their own vineyards in Oliver and Osoyoos, aged
in mixed US and French oak for 17 months, and just recently bottled.
Mouthfilling but needs more aging time. Richness dominated by dark
fruits (plums, black cherries, cassis, blackberries) and dark
chocolate. Time will mellow out the blend and make it even more
dramatic. Slight jaminess on the back palate.

9. Stoneleigh Chardonnay 2007 Marlborough, +288795 General $16.95:
13.5% ABV, cool climate approach balanced off by wood nuances,
exhibiting some creaminess amidst the fruit. Sip or with food. Check
out its affiliation with Random House of Canada book clubs at and read value-added collars for book
selections four times a year.
10. Mike Weir Wine Sauvignon Blanc 2008 VQA Niagara, $15.95, +686972
LCBO: typical zesty stress notes of grapefruit, lime and other citrus
fruits, plus a pretty good finish that demands food. Three months in
French oak contributes to the body. A first course wine that will hold
its own against any Kiwi contenders. No tasting notes on the bottle,
but the grapes come from two Chateau des Charmes vineyards.
11. Mike Weir Wine Pinot Noir 2007 VQA Niagara, $21.95, +75: 8 months
barrel aging in new and old French oak, after 3 times daily punchdowns.
Typicity is Burgundian, albeit with softer fruit tones enabling a food
partnership that is wide-ranging. Christmas Turkey (any style)?

12. Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Haynes Barn Merlot Cabernet 2007
Okanagan Valley, $15.95, +145144 LCBO: a smooth entry-level VQA from
British Columbia, another cherry-berry wine with a good fruit set from
the West Coast. Slightly more than half Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon,
23% Cabernet Franc, aged in US and French oak for 14 months, 13.5% ABV
(but not a hot finish).
13. Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery Larch Tree Hill Riesling 2008
Okanagan Valley, $13.95, +145136 LCBO: typical MVC but with a warmer
climate fruit set emphasizing ripeness (citric, apple, peach) and some
anise. Party wine or food wine when you need an off-dry beverage for
Asiatic food. 13% ABV.
14. Ganton & Larsen Prospect Winery The Census Count Chardonnay 2008
Okanagan Valley, $14.98, +92296 LCBO: continues the historical
allusions in this vinous series (census here refers to a bird count on
Christmas Day in 1905). Some apple and pear malic tartness, plus limes,
is offset by a broad balance with some oak tones. 13.5% ABV, 20% was
barrel fermented in French and US oak, six months on the lees.
15. Chateau des Charmes Sparkling Brut NV, +145409 LCBO, $22.95: citrus
complexity but some baked component (apple pie?) too from the two to
three years on lees. 50-50 pinot noir and chardonnay. Great crisp
16. Chateau des Charmes Vidal Icewine 2006, 200 mL presentation package,
+565861, $25.95: a mélange of apple, peach, some apricot ripeness, and
finishes off-dry with some citric acidity. Stainless steel. 9.5% ABV
17. Nederburg Cabernet Sauvignon Paarl Manor House 2007 South Africa,
+68767, $16.95, Vintages February 6, 2010: black fruit and mocha tones
all the way. A year and more in new and used small French oak, nuances
of wood and vanilla. Still needs a bit of time.


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