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Saturday, January 28, 2012



1. Antoine Moueix Merlot Bordeaux 2010, +245860 GL LCBO, $12.95, an easy drinking affordable Bordeaux, twist top, 13.5% ABV, from a Saint Emilion specialist. Young vines give it a characteristic light tannic finish, but it could go either way as a sipper or with food


2. 181 Merlot Lodi 2008, +226530 GL LCBO, $16.95, another easy drinking merlot from California. The number 181 refers to the Merlot clone imported from Pomerol; the wine emphasizes its roots. Best as a sipper.


3. Mionetto Il Prosecco NV, +588053 GL LCBO, $11.95, weighing in at 10.5% ABV and with a crown cap, this newest addition to the growing list of proseccos in Ontario meets a demand for lower price and lower alcohol. The category has apparently exploded last year, up 16% across Canada. No cork means a lower wholesale price to the LCBO. Off-dry, frizzante style, aperitif or party wine.


4. Cantine Clavesana D'Oh Dolcetto di Dogliani 2010 Piemonte, $12.95 GL LCBO, +268037, is a welcomed addition, principally because of its fruitiness. It'll give Beaujolais a run for its money at 12.5% ABV. 90% of the company's production is Dolcetto (the co-op has 350 vintners), and 90% of all that is for domestic sales – so only 10% is exported. Expect warm red fruit tones, very useful as a sipper.


5. Mountain Road Wine Company Chardonnay 2007 Unoaked Niagara, +700067 Winery Only, $14.95: orchard fruit, good long finishing acid, highly extractive body, more like an aging Chablis. 13.7% ABV. An aperitif wine.


6. Mountain Road Wine Company Chardonnay Barrel Fermented 2006 Niagara, Winery Only, $15.95: one of my fave wines, aromatically positive, expressive Euro mode, good creamy oaking, food wine, long finish, maturing well (over five years now). Best with cheese, fish and chicken. 13.9% ABV. First Prize Ribbon at Royal Winter Fair in 2010.


7. Mountain Road Wine Company Chardonnay Reserve 2006 VQA Beamsville Bench, Winery Only, $25.95: typical baked apple and tropical fruit, butter, vanilla, caramel and cream, highly extractive, some underbrush, rich and fat. Body leads to good mouthfeel on the mid-palate. Cuvee 2010 Gold Medalist.


8. Mountain Road Wine Company Vidal Icewine 1999 VQA Steve Kocsis Vineyard Beamsville Bench, 375 mL, +977049, Winery Only, $39.95: tropical fruit, oranges and honey, but acidity balances sweetness, leading to a rich long finish. Considering its age, this is a bargain wine. It got a Lieutenant-Governor's Award 2011 for Excellence in Ontario Wine.


9. Tokaji Yellow Muscat 2010 Puklus Cellars Hungary (+46508 Vintages, $14.95 retail, 750 mL, Vintages January): 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. Floral aromatics. 12% ABV, a bit less this year. Serve with later courses (fruity mains, salads, cheeses, off-dry desserts).


10, Santa Rita Medalla Real Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 Maipo (+275594 Vintages, $19.95 retail): offers immense value, with its deep black fruit (cherry-berry), vanilla, toast, some anise, very French like. 5% Cabernet Franc added, 14.5% ABV, aged 14 months in mixed-use oak barrels, ready to consume now. All the grapes come form 15-year-old low yield vines of Alto Jahuel in Maipo.


11. Rodney Strong Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve Russian River Valley Sonoma 2009 ($34.95 b consignment, Mark Anthony): with 14.5% ABV, this baked apple and vanilla-driven white leaves a long, buttery finish. Lees stirring has promoted creaminess. There is something here for all Chardonnay lovers, or at least for those who dislike stainless steel. Barrel fermentation in French oak (one-quarter new), all malolactic, and 13 months aging.


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