Become an FBTI Supporter today
ON THE NAME
The challenge: what to buy. My head is still spinning after wading through the LCBO's advertising-laden, 340-page Holiday 2007 Food & Drink magazine. I see some big glossy ads for wines that will hopefully never touch my lips, hideous cocktail mixes and gadgets that nobody needs.
Add to this, the LCBO avalanche of alluring catalogues, brochures, you name it. From the 64-page Holiday Gift Guide, which can be viewed on the LCBO website, to the expensive Vintages Holiday Glamour Gift Catalogue featuring 43 new items along with individual gift tags.
Having had the opportunity to taste many of these new gifts items, I have to caution you - some are good, many so-so. As for new Vintages gifts, none are as good as my recommended wines in last week's column. Don't rush, there's no dearth of great buys. Next Saturday's Vintages release, for instance, has some serious showstoppers.
The first item in the Vintages gift guide is the humongous Italian Tenuta S. Anna 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon (600080) at $149.95 for 5000 ml (or 6 2/3 regular bottles - aka Mr. Big). While collectors like big bottles from an investment point of view, when it comes to everyday wine like this, big doesn't makes much sense unless you have a really huge family. Big bottles are, well, just that - big, but not necessarily better. And if you don't like it, you sure can get stuck with a lot of it. After all, how much sangria can anyone drink?
I know it isn't fair, but last Saturday, I slipped a decanter of Mr. Big into a comparative Sassicaia vertical. While it was pleasant enough, no one was fooled. It ended up being yummed up at a Grey Cup party the next day which turned out to be the perfect venue.
One magnificent value in the large format, however, are the remaining magnums of Tedeschi 2004 Capitel Dei Nicalo Valpolicella Classico Superiore (15313) at only $34.95. It's well structured and plummy with lingering dried ripe red cherry flavours.
Also let me recommend a few of the specialty gift packs, which are much more functional and offer good value. From Chile: Concha Y Toro Casillero del Diablo Duo Pack (621326) at $24.95 with a delicious, crisp, peachy 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Central Valley and a solid, dusty, red cherry flavoured 2006 Carmenere Rapel Valley. From Australia: Wyndham Estate Shiraz Duo Gift Pack (49692) at $35.95 with a highly recommended, ripe, juicy 2004 Bin 555 Shiraz and hefty, extracty, menthol-tinged 2003 Shiraz Show Reserve. From South Africa: Two Oceans Duo Gift Pack (5629) $19.80 with a crisp, bright, lemon-melon 2007 Sauvignon Blanc and slightly spicy, ripe, plummy 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot from the Western Cape. From Spain: Osborne Solaz Duo Wooden Gift Box (621433) at $20.90 with a plummy Solaz 2004 Tempranillo-Cabernet Sauvignon and a gently juicy 2005 Merlot-Tempranillo.
Another great gift the fully-revised, updated The World Atlas of Wine Sixth Edition by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson, which is a treasure trove of information for all wine lovers. Ignore the $59 retail price on the inside jacket, it's currently available at Chapters-Indigo website at only $38.94 ($36.99 irewards) - to see click here.
Also, rather try and second guess your taste, I am gifting readers my updated INSIDER'S BEST BUY GUIDE detailing the top 42 Vintages best buys from the past four releases. It is laid out by colour/country and is complete with my tasting notes and store availability. Use the npreader password to access this guide - to see click here.
Last but not least, consider gifting my Vintage Assessments newsletter, which gives detailed tasting notes/ratings prior to each of each of the 23 Vintages releases. It's available exclusively to National Post readers at a $30 discount. To take advantage of the offer click here.
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
use our Tasting
Notes Database: click
Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada