October Release Recommendations
By Natalie MacLean
Oct 5: Highly Recommended White & Sweet Wines
993253 Featherstone Riesling 2000, Niagara $9.95: holy smokes, what a great wine for this price! Generous tree fruit, good acidity -- excellent with food. Won a gold medal in the 2001 Great Lakes Wine Competition.
734095 Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001, New Zealand $14.95: This one ties with the one below as my favourite SBs in this release of many great ones. The usual lawn-mower classic: herbal, mouth-watering and delicious!
742866 Koura Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2001, New Zealand $19.90: first tried this last year at the Ottawa Wine Show and was so taken with it I bought a case since you could only buy it then on consignment. Get some while it lasts -- more peapod and generous than the one above-- you can't go wrong either way.
999912 Sonop Sauvignon Blanc 2001, South Africa $9.80: your el-cheapo party wine (and when I say this I don't mean it tastes cheap, it's just that it is cheap cost-wise, but tastes like a $20 wine) -- this one is organic if you want that too. Lemon and floral notes.
Oct 5: Highly Recommended Red Wines
948935 Rutherford Hill Merlot 1999, California $15.95: I keep recommending wines from this winery -- for both the style/quality and price. Lovely, supple, balanced merlot, easy-drinking -- slip into fall gently. Wine Enthusiast calls the winery one of America's great merlot producers.
420802 Gallo of Sonoma Zinfandel 1997, California $19.85: I think I need to host therapy classes where we all move beyond our perception of Gallo as just jug wine. This is quite the opposite -- look at it this way, the world's largest winery can afford to invest in quality without making you pay through the nose for it because they want to improve their image, so cash in while ou can, because so far, each of their wines is always "worth" 50% to 100% more -- that is, the "Gallo of Sonoma" label. Coffee, plum and smoky flavours.
492843 Seppelt Chalambar Shiraz 1997, Australia $19.75: A prolific gold medal winner, offers minty dark chocolate flavours.
571182 Maglieri Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, Australia $19.90: lovely all-round cab, good value, cassis, leather and herb.
985416 Collett Woodstock Shiraz 1999, Australia $19.40: I feel as though I should write this review in CAPITAL LETTERS because this wine is HUGE! They must of hand-wrung each grape for all the grape and intensity they could squeeze out of it. This minty, dark plum whopper weighs in at 14% alcohol. Who needs LSD?
981357 Delheim Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, South Africa $16.95: I'm buying this one so paws off (in my store, that is... I was chatting with another wine writer at this tasting and we agreed that we collude against ourselves when we recommend the wines we love. Don't worry, I won't recommend any decoy wines.)
947127 Chateau La Vieille Cure 1999, Bordeaux $29.95: Lovely Old World style with black cherries and smoky wood.
944017 Chateau Les Hauts de Pez 1998, Bordeaux $23.80: Another Old World classic, a touch tannic so it needs aging 3-5 years.
583369 Masi Brolo di Campofiorin 1996, Italy $29.90: If you wonder what this type of wine tastes like, try this one because it's a best of breed wine. Big, warm, generous fruit, good acidity and just plain interesting -- so different from what we're used to. (I guess that would a relative statement.)
954503 Quinta do Noval 10 Year Tawny Port, Portugal $28.95: Never tried tawny port? That's like eating pancakes without syrup -- one mustn't go through life without a tawny. Try it as an after-dinner sipper -- it'll keep for weeks so don;t worry about just having a small nip each evening (and morning).
Oct 19: Highly Recommended White & Sweet Wines
990663 Ashbrook Estate Chardonnay 2000, Australia $19.70: If you need a big oaky chard, here it is -- it's balanced though.
991109 Redgate Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2001, Australia $17.95: Received a 92 from an Aussie wine mag... really interesting wine: herbal yet lush with semillon.
957670 Seifried Sauvignon Blanc 2001, New Zealand $14.85: A favourite year after year. "Don't cry for me Chardonnay!" Don't look back at the chardonnay section as you walk on by... herbal, great acidity, tree fruit.
733147 Xanadu Semillon 2000, Australia $19.95: Another best of its type wine -- fascinating wine, fleshy, ripe fruit.
719757 Domaine Henry Pelle Menetou-Salon 2001, Loire $17.95: Interesting little sipper in the style of a SB, grapefruit zest. Also comes in the handy little half-bottle size.
Oct 19: Highly Recommended Red Wines
990549 Sinclair Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, Australia $23.90: Lovely all-round cab, with black pepper, rich dark fruit.
971366 Xanadu Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Australia $26.50: One of the best cabs in this release, gorgeous fruit and structure.
452508 Cape Mentelle Cabernet-Merlot 2000, Australia $17.80: Stunning wine, coffee, herbs, black raspberries.
721548 Evans & Tate Cabernet-Merlot 2000, Australia $17.75: Beautiful wine, dark berries, well-known Aussie writer gave it an 89.
991646 Pooles Rock Cockfighter's Ghost Pinot Noir 2000, Australia $21.70: Unforgettable name, lovely wine -- much like Californian PNs -- jammy sweet fruit, light to medium-bodied.
930743 Hedges Three Vineyards 1998, Washington $32.85: One of the state's best producers, you must try Washington wines if you haven't. This is very dark chocolate, a touch of (good) bitter on the finish.
606764 Vina Caliterra Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Chile $19.95: Minty, smoky, yummy -- very Australian (and I mean that as a compliment).
983361 Chateau D'Aiguilhe 1999, Bordeaux $36.95: Wow Nellie! A touch tannic (something a few years' aging will take care of), but this is so amazing! Robert Parker gives it a 90. Yikes. Spice, licorice, coffee -- your basic Starbucks blend with a twist.
701706 Domaine des Aires Hautes Les Combelles 1998, Midi, France $9.90: El-cheapo party wine, yah-baby. Plum, spice and raspberry.
747972 Jerome Quiot Gigondas 2000, Rhone $21.40: Very Rhoney -- cedar, smoke and dark fruit, yum.
713412 Vini Farina Amarone 1998, Itay $32.75: Beautiful big amarone -- red fruit not the usual black-as-night fruit. which makes it more drinkable I think.
239277 Bodegas Montecillo Rioja Gran Reserva 1994, Spain $30.95: Best of breed, among the Wine Spectator's top 100 wines of 2001.