Vintages Release August 20, 2005
By Natalie MacLean
677583 DR. KONSTANTIN FRANK JOHANNISBERG RIESLING 2002 $22.95 Semi Dry, New York (MD = medium dry): Vintages catalogue (VC): Dr. Konstantin Frank is a legend in New York's Finger Lakes wine region. A pioneer in the U.S. Eastern wine industry with a particular passion for riesling, he was the first to plant European noble grape varieties in the 1960s. He passed away in 1985, leaving his son Willy to carry on the legacy. This is an excellent opportunity to explore the unique characteristics of Finger Lakes Riesling. My note: A lovely, balanced riesling with classic ripe peach fruit and minerality. A great accompaniment to many dishes, such as chicken, cream pasta, Asian and curry. Score: 90/100.
719435 LA CREMA PINOT NOIR 2003 $29.95 Sonoma Coast, California (D): VC: For more than 25 years, La Crema has specialized in producing exceptional pinot noirs from the cool Sonoma Coast. Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse crafts rich, velvety textured wines. Look for soft cherry, spice and herbal flavors and aromas. Enjoy with veal tenderloin or grilled salmon. My note: One of my favorite California pinots. A plush, generous texture and rounds, supple plum fruit. A rarity to have such a great wine in the half bottle format (product number 732040 for $14.95). Score: 91/100
954834 RODNEY STRONG PINOT NOIR 2001 $19.95 Russian River Valley Estate (D): VC: The Russian River Valley is well established as the 'go to' region for quality Pinot Noir in California, and Rodney Strong has been growing 'the heartbreak grape' there for over thirty years. Black cherry, spice, chocolate and smoke are the hallmarks of this elegant and refined wine. My note: An incredible value in what is largely an over-priced region. Beautifully fragrant and alluring. Score: 90/100.
650341 TERRAVID CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001 $13.95 'Vino Premium', Maipo Valley (XD = extra dry): VC: Medium-purple in color with a rich nose of currants and sweet berry fruits. The delicious fruit flavors continue to dominate on the palate with lots of support from some firm tannins. Impressive and well structured. Enjoy with beef dishes now or over the next four years. My note: A pleasant and delicious wine at a great price. Score: 87/100. Best Value Red Wine
656645 'LALLA GULLY' RIESLING 2003 $19.95 Pipers River, Tasmania (MD) Taltarni Vineyards: VC: The Lalla Valley, located in North Eastern Tasmania, has had great success with cool climate grape varieties such as Riesling, creating exciting and intense wines with distinct personality. This is Taltarni's inaugural vintage of this lively, refreshing Riesling. Look for citrus and floral aromas with a mineral background, a soft round palate with a good balance of racy acidity and a long intense finish. MY note: a aromatic white wine, with mouth-watering acidity that makes it ideal for seafood, shellfish, cream pasta and salads. Score: 89/100.
595660 BAILEYS OF GLENROWAN '1920s BLOCK' SHIRAZ 2001 $38.95 Victoria (XD): VC: As the name implies, the grapes for this Shiraz were hand-harvested exclusively from a parcel of vines planted in the 1920s on the Baileys' property at Glenrowan. This deeply flavored and robust Shiraz, has won gold medals at the 2004 National Wine Show of Australia and the 2003 Royal Hobart Wine Show. Food match: grilled lamb. My note: One of the best shirazes I've tasted. I love it because while it's full-bodied, it doesn't hit your palate like a sledge hammer. It's rich, deep and juicy. Score: 91/100.
935890 BLUE PYRENEES SHIRAZ 2001 $19.95 Pyrenees, Victoria (XD): VC: This wine boasts an impressive number of honors, but none more prestigious than its Gold Medal from the 2003 International Wine and Spirits Competition in London, England. My note: Juicy and full-bodied. Dark plums and a hint of mint in the aroma. Score: 89.5/100
432948 CHÂTEAU DES CHARMES VIOGNIER 2003 $18.95 St. David's Bench VQA Niagara Peninsula (D): This is the style of viognier I love: floral but subtle, mouth-watering for food but not overpowering. Perfectly calibrated for pleasure. Score: 90/100.
657221 COTTESBROOK SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 $15.95 Marlborough, South Island (XD): Terrific and refreshing white that has classic herbal and passionfruit aromas. Drink with seafood, pasta, chicken. Great price. Score: 89/100. Best Value White Wine
975672 KIM CRAWFORD SAUVIGNON BLANC 2004 $19.95 Marlborough, South Island (XD): A classic among NZ SBs. Try this no-fail lovely white with so many dishes. Score: 92/100.
656405 GOVERNOR'S BAY PINOT NOIR 2003 $18.95 South Island (D): VC: The fruit for this wine was sourced from both the Canterbury and Marlborough regions. Pale ruby in color, it has layers of complex aromas including cherry, raspberry, bacon and smoke. Dry, medium-bodied and very well balanced with lots of cherry fruit on the palate, leading to a medium-long, crisp fruit finish. Very satisfying. Food match: pan-fried sole with fresh basil. MY note: New Zealand is hitting it out of the park with red wines too. I love their take on pinot: spicy, racy and bursting with lovely red fruit. Score: 90/100.
744375 SIMONSIG CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2001 $12.95 WO Stellenbosch (XD): VC: An attractive South African Cab that's an excellent value. Inky in color, there is a herbaceous quality on the nose alongside typical red currant and berry aromas. It's medium full-bodied with more red fruit on the palate, subtle oak and light tannins. My note: A solid performer. Oaky, dark fruit and a touch tannic. Score: 87/100.
652636 VILLIERA ESTATE SHIRAZ 2002 $15.95 WO Stellenbosch (XD) VC: The nose exudes ripe fruit, and spicy pepper aromas with a slight vegetal note. On the palate, expressive round fruit flavors balance well with the subtle oak and medium tannins. My note: South Africa's best bet among reds is shiraz. This one is delicious, a real crowd pleaser for large gatherings. Score: 89/100.
641555 CHÂTEAU LAMOTHE DE HAUX 2001 $17.95 AC Premières Côtes de Bordeaux (XD) (F. Neel/M. Chombart) VC: This wine, a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. Enjoy this rich, fruity, well-balanced wine with roast beef or lamb chops. My note: A great price for Bordeaux. This simple, medium-bodied wine has a lovely balance. Score: 88/100.
918565 DOMAINE DE VALMENGAUX 2002 $29.95 'Valentin Clementine Margaux', AC Bordeaux (XD) (Béatrice et Vincent Rapin) VC: An incredibly flavorful, deeply colored Bordeaux. The color is deep ruby; the aromas are of raspberry, cedar, new leather and smoked meat; the palate is dry, very flavorful, balanced yet impactful. It is ready to drink, but will also reward short-term cellaring (1-2 years). Food match: herb-encrusted roast beef with roasted potatoes. My note: Terrific value! Medium- to full-bodied. A touch tannic. Drink 2006-2008. Score: 90/100.
453241 DOMAINE DU CLOS VERDY CHIROUBLES 2003 $16.95 AC Beaujolais (D) (Georges Boulon, Prop.) VC: The tannins that supply structure to this fruit-forward product suggest this wine will reward short-term cellaring (1-3 years). In the meantime, you can groove on the blueberry, black cherry, strawberry and pepper aromas and flavors. Enjoy with veal tenderloin. My note: Light- to medium-bodied, vibrant, spicy with dancing cherries. Jubilant, celebratory wine. Score: 88/100.
588756 DOMAINE DE LA SERRE 'HYPOGÉE' 2002 $39.95 AC Côtes du Roussillon Villages, Midi (D) 'Hypogée' translates into English as hypogene, a Greek-derived word that means 'produced under the surface of the earth', a rather apt reference to how important soil is to grapes. This wine is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Carignan and 20% Grenache. A smoky, black cherry, oak spice and pepper-infused wine that is quite full and intense on the palate. The tannins are evident enough that this wine will reward 4+ years in a cellar. My note: A knock out! Big black fruit but still balanced. Score: 91/100. Favorite Red Wine
937516 JACQUES FRÉLIN 'ARMEN' CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2002 $12.50 Vin de Pays d'Oc (XD) VC: The wine is certified organic by the ECOCERT. Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this wine contains 14 mg/l of free sulphur. Enjoy this bright, juicy, flavorful Cab around your late summer barbecue. My note: Great value. Medium- to full-bodied with red plums and chocolate notes. Score: 88/100. Best Value Red Wine
597104 CHÂTEAU D'OR ET DE GUEULES 'LES CIMELS' 2001 $16.95 AC Costières de Nîmes, Rhone (XD) (Diane de Puymorin, Prop.-Récolt.) VC: Rich and flavorful, it also had an exceptional cedary aroma and tannin structure suggesting good ageing potential. My note: Sour cherries and fresh cedar aromas. Score: 90/100.
931097 ZILLIKEN RIESLING KABINETT 2002 $19.95 QmP, Saarburger Rausch, Estate Btld. (MD): A terrific producer and a great white wine. So soft and smooth yet packed with silky tree fruit, minerality and many nuances. Score: 92/100. Favorite White Wine
651638 MORMORAIA CHIANTI COLLI SENESI 2004 $14.95 DOCG (XD) VC: Open a bottle of this young, fresh and very lively Chianti for the ultimate Tuscan experience. As with many Tuscan producers, Mormoraia also produces a line of superb olive oil. If you cannot find Mormoraia's oil, pick up any quality Tuscany Extra Virgin Olive Oil, match it to this wine and create a fine Italian feast. My note: Simple, medium-bodied sipper that would be ideal with tomato-sauce pasta and lasagna. Score: 86/100.
974436 PENHA D'AIA DOURO TINTO RESERVA 1999 $14.95 DOC Douro (XD) (Arlindo da Costa Pinto e Cruz) VC: Our panel was most impressed by the fruit bowl aromas of berries and sour cherry plus vanilla, coffee and violets. An excellent match for rare cuts of meat, roast pork or flavor pasta with meat sauce. Our Quality Assurance laboratory has determined that this organic wine contains 6 mg/l of free sulphur. My note: Great price. Simple, juicy red. Score: 85/100.
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