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ON THE NAME
I am sitting in the garden watching shafts of sunlight dance through my perfect glass of pink. There is something magic about the summer's twilight that makes rosé taste fresher and more sumptuous than ever. Good news - I have tracked down a tremendous buy on the LCBO general list.
From the Spain's Cataluña comes the light reddish coral coloured Torres de Casta 2006 Rosado (619916) at $11.15. This decisive blend of 65% Garnacha and 35% Carinena has vibrant, plummy, ripe strawberry flavours and a crisp, refreshingly dry finish. It shows wonderful versatility and is surprisingly well structured.
For those dreaming about a winter getaway, this and 32 other non-sparkling general list Spanish wines come with 5 bonus Air Miles. There is, however, a catch - isn't there always with the LCBO? You have to buy at least two bottles to get 10 Air Miles (up to 5 to get 25). Unfortunately, no information about this was posted in LCBO stores or on their website earlier this week. Happily, the LCBO has now extended the promotion until September 22nd. To see the list on Air Miles promotion click here.
Of the last remaining two whites on the LCBO general list, the top scorer is Marques de Riscal 2006 Rueda Blanco (36822) at $11.45. This refreshing, stainless steel blend of 85% Verdelho and 15% Viura has light, tangy, lemon-melon flavours with a chalky, pear tinged finish. It comes with a convenient screwcap closure - something that would have been inconceivable a decade ago.
Of the 22 reds tasted, the top three in terms of scores come from Rioja. First at $19.15 is Montecillo 2001 Rioja Reserva (621003). The colour is typical for an older Rioja - very deep red with an ambering edge. The nose shows good complexity - roasted ripe plum and dried cherry notes with refined cedar notes. Ditto for the palate, which is both smooth and lingering. This and other mature Riojas tend to be perfection with steak.
In second spot with just one-half point less is Marques de Riscal 2003 Rioja Reserva (32656) at $23.75. It is still very youthful with an intense deep purple colour. It is more of a Robert Parker Jr. styled red - intense, mouthfilling and extracty. The rather cedary, dried plum, woodsy, sun dried tomato flavours needs time (2-3 years) to mellow.
In third spot is Montecillo 2003 Rioja Crianza (144493) at $14.75, which is a definite best buy. Look for well structured, plummy, dusty red cherry flavours with a lingering, cedar tinged, dried strawberry finish. This is very accessible and has wide appeal.
Just a bit more expensive at $16.15 is my personal favourite: Miguel Torres 2005 Atrium Merlot (621755). This 100% Merlot from the Penedès region oozes ripe black cherry fruitiness. Aged for 6 months in French Allier (20% new), it finishes with lovely, mocha-cedar notes.
Moving on to some great Vintages buys for the upcoming holiday weekend. If you have been searching for that definitive Bordeaux, don't miss the sublimely delicious 2003 Château de la Rivière (653147) a steal at $32.95. Based on Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, it comes from the commune of Fronsac on the right bank just west of Libourne.
It has solid, rich, ripe plum, smoky lime-mocha-chocolate flavours with a terrific finish. Great for roast beef or a rare steak, it should be decanted a couple of hours before serving. At present, it's even tastier than some first growths. Dollar for dollar, it is the best Bordeaux of the year!
In the cheap and very cheerful department is my current Vintages best buy white from Argentina's Mendoza region: Alta Vista 2006 Premium Torrontés (37127) at $12.95. Sublimely expressive, the intense, spicy, Muscat-lychee flavours are a perfect foil to spicy appetizers, as well as hot Thai and Indian cuisine. Enjoy.
Vintages and General List Delisting Sale
Starting on Monday, August 20th, some 24 Vintages products will be put on sale. To see the detail list click here. On the same day there will also be 3 General List Spirits that will be put on sale, click here to see the list. Also check out the list of 70 products in the Vintages VQA Delisting sale that started on last Monday, August 13th. To see the detail list click here.
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
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Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada