ones that didn't get away!
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ON THE NAME
With so many wines appearing every two weeks in each Vintages release, it is easy to miss some exceptional buys. In May, for instance, there were 239 items hit the shelves. As each release has at least one thematic, wine reviewers tend to get trapped into focusing on those highlights. Today, I unearth all those May best buys - all under $20, which almost got away.
First, I am going to focus on key, ready-to-enjoy, fresh, unoaked whites. From Austria's Krems comes a tasty, albeit well-priced, morsel: Sal'mon Groovey 2006 Grüner Veltliner (669606) at $12.95 from the house of Salomon-Undhof. This ultra modern screwcap rendition of a very traditional, Austrian specialty is crisp, very dry, unoaked and medium-light bodied with spicy, yellow grapefruit flavours with a zesty finish.
I was hoping that readers wanting to try Austrian wines might be able to check out JK Wine Bar on Church where some dozen Austrian wines all served in Riedel stemware were supposed to be featured by the glass. Sadly, most of them have sold out. As JK only lists private imports, the JK cupboard is almost bare. With numerous Austrian wines sitting in Vintages, it's a shame that taste treats like the still-available, In-Store-Discovery (aka ISD) Zahel 2005 Gelber Muskateller Classic (23556) at $19.95 are incapable of finding their way on to JK's hallowed list.
Another variety that doesn't get much press is Chenin Blanc. In the May 12th release there were two terrific South African releases at Vintages, both from the Stellenbosch region and from the same producer. The first is the exceptional Ken Forrester 2006 Chenin Blanc (945139) at $16.95, which was an ISD. Only a few cases of this lovely, dry, well structured, honeyed, ripe pear flavoured ISD remain of the 53 cases of 6 originally ordered.
Somewhat cheaper at only $11.95, is the fragrant, bright, floral, ripe lemon-apricot driven Ken Forrester 2006 Petit Chenin (29322), which also happens to be 100% Chenin Blanc. It too comes with a screwcap closure, but unlike its higher priced brother, hundreds of cases remain.
A surprisingly sleeper from Italy's Veneto shouldn't be missed - Tenuta Sant'Antonio's 2005 Soave Superiore Monte Ceriani (29843) at $17.95. Its gently honeyed, spicy, nicely structured, ripe lemon-melon flavours make it a perfect companion with fresh seafood.
Closer to home, Henry of Pelham 2006 Pinot Blanc (618827) at $14.95 is another good choice for seafood. This bona fide Canadian wine comes with the official VQA Niagara Peninsula designation meaning that it is 100% Canadian content. As for quality, happily it's pretty tasty with crisp, fairly light bodied, spicy, melon-lemon flavours. Originally released last summer, it's actually showing better today than 9 months ago.
If you are looking for something with just a hint of sweetness, Jean-Baptiste 2005 Riesling Kabinett (480517) at $15.95 is a crowd pleaser and perfect afternoon sipper. From Germany's Rheinhessen, the honeyed, spicy, juicy, ripe apple-melon flavours will hit the spot when served chilled.
Moving on to reds, here are two winners. From Italy, the well priced, accessible, fruity, Sicilian IGT Poderi del Sole 2003 Nero d'Avola Terra di Levante (26054) at $15.95 offers great, ready-to-enjoy value. It's harmonious, tangy, plummy, ripe red cherry flavours will go with almost anything that comes with a with tomato based sauce.
Finishing up with one of the best buys of the release, don't miss the deliciously, fruity-juicy Del Fin del Mundo 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2005 (31179) at $13.95. It has great extract and loads of black cherry purée flavours with a slightly cedary finish. At this price, who cares if it tastes a bit like Syrah, Malbec and/or Merlot - it's perfect with BBQ ribs.
National Post readers can review all my May tasting notes in Vintage Assessments using the npreader password click here
June 5 - Wines of Alsace and Rhone Valley Tasting
Friday, June 8-9 - Artevino
June 9 - Artevino Gold Medal Tasting Dinner
June 10 - Toronto Taste 2007
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
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