Holiday Wines in Today's Vintages release
So here it is the last Vintages release until the New Year. In today’s selection of 128 items, along with 10 Instore discoveries, I am looking for things that can be shared and will hopefully bring a smile to a guest’s lips. While there are number of bargains, you will definitely have to shell out for the gems.
With hors d’oeuvres and seafood, one will be hard pressed to beat Kim Crawford 2005 Sauvignon Blanc (975672) at $19.95 from New Zealand’s South Island Marlborough region. While some of the very popular 2004 are still on the shelves, I am happy to report that the 2005 seem to be tasting even better than the 2004. It has jumped to 13.5% alcohol (up from 12.5) and still comes with screwcap. It is dry and slightly honeyed with very spicy, fairly intense, grassy, ripe lemon-melon flavours with a hint of grapefruit and rhubarb on the finish. Personally, I love KC’s SB with plump oysters.
favourite of mine is Riesling with its fresh, honeyed, zesty flavours. It
is funny that in comparative blind tastings, Riesling will often beat
Chardonnay in terms of popularity. And yet, most of these same tasters
will still persist in buying Chardonnay! So while you have your guests
captive, pour them a glass of ‘RK’
(733295) at $15.95. I must admit that “RK” is much easier to remember
than Reichsgraf Von Kesslerstatt. This tasty estate bottled Mosel weighs
in with only 11% alcohol. For a German white, it is definitely on the dry
side but has those lovely, ripe, melon-apple-pear fruit flavours that make
it most accessible. You will find that it is a real crowd pleaser.
course, Chardonnay is always on the menu, so it is nice to find a pair
from South Africa that are so diverse stylistically and yet offer great
value at $13.95 Starting with the youthful 2004
Bushman’s Creek Chardonnay
(659730), it comes in a screwcap bottle. You will find the nose is fresh
and fruity with spicy, ripe pear purée fruit. It shows some mellowness on
the palate, which is well balanced - again with those spicy, ripe pear purée
flavours shining through. A very accessible, easy drinking style that
would go well with your turkey.
By contrast, the one-year older Cathedral Cellar 2003 Chardonnay (328559), also at $13.95, shows more complexity and depth. It also has a lot more alcohol – 14.4% vs. 13% and added richness due to barrel aging. The vanilla-tinged, baked pear nose is followed up by medium-full bodied, gently toasty, baked pear flavours that show very good length. It is destined to do well with more flavorful white meats, such as lamb. A terrific value, it won a Gold Medal at the Decanter 2005 World Wine Awards in the under 10£ class.
searching for a special occasion Chard will not be disappointed with Joseph
Drouhin 2002 Puligny-Montrachet
(710657). In know that $57.95 is a serious chunk of change, but given what
I have tasted recently from the Classics, I van assure you that its money
well spent. Light yellow colour., the solid, dried ripe pear nose is
blessed with some lime purée and caramel notes. It is very bright and
well structured with ripe, lemony, key lime pie flavours and a lingering,
vanilla-tinged finish. Burgundy that stands up and says hello.
Before leaving the whites, I want to mention a great sweetie from the Barsac region of Sauternes. For that extra special slice of foie gras, a half bottle of chilled 1997 Château Coutet (677914) at $34.95 will do wonders. This viscous, mouthfiller ranks as a 1er Cru Classé and is loaded with sweet caramel, ripe lemon meringue and pineapple flavours that go on and on.
Moving to reds, my release highlight is a profoundly tasty, extremely classy, Pinot Noir from Sonoma. Landmark Vineyards 2003 Grand Detour Pinot Noir (737890) at $39.95 is worth every penny. Fairly deep purple red colour, the nose is ultra Burgundian with elegant, intense, ripe black cherry fruit. The ripe, harmonious, fairly juicy, ripe black cherry flavours with a lingering, lime and mineral tinged finish will make you swoon. It is a perfect, albeit not inexpensive, candidate for the Christmas turkey. It does come in a half-bottle format (566869) for $21.95 – a lamentable 10% up charge per ounce.
Considerably less expensive but also very tasty is an Aussi Shiraz that focuses on that juicy black cherry theme. At only $19.95, Torbreck Vintners 2004 Woodcutter’s Shiraz (927533) offers great structure and loads of flavour without compromising accessibility. Hailing from the Barossa Valley, the smoky, spicy, juicy black cherry purée nose carries over perfectly to the palate.
Even less expensive is my best buy Spanish red from the respected family-owned house of Vincente Gandia. It is located in Utiel-Requena in the Levant region, which borders the Mediterranean, just inland from the coastal town of Valencia. While this area used to known for its everyday bulk wines, Gandia has made great strides in significantly raising the bar.
Gran Verema 2000 ‘Old Vines’ Tempranillo Reserva (660548) at $14.95 will put many considerably more expensive wines to shame. The nose is rather cedary with some plumy, dried red cherry notes. It is spicy and quite well structured with herb-tinged, plumy, dried red cherries flavours and a dusty chocolate finish. A bargain-priced red for that rare holiday ribeye.
Tasting Note Database
use our Tasting
Notes Database: click
Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada