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ON THE NAME
It's a Vintages miracle. On the eve of next Monday's annual German wine fair, two wonderfully delicious Rieslings are featured in today's release. For those who don't know, Germany's Rieslings reign supreme. They are one of the world's best wine buys. Lay down the stunning 1993 vintage Rheingau below today and you will thank me.
Let me kick off with Schloss Reinhartshausen 1999 Erbacher Marcobrunn Riesling Spätlese (29033) at $25.95. I know it's a mouthful, but it's definitely worth it. Here is an 8-year-old white, which is still drinking perfectly. Bright light yellow in colour, the nose is intensely honeyed with spicy, juicy, ripe melon fruit. It's like silk on the palate - smooth and supple with gently sweet, lingering, fresh melon flavours. Serve well chilled with spicy Thai or Malaysian dishes.
It comes from the village of Erbach on the northwest side of the Rhine River near Mainz where grapes have been growing since Roman times. The tiny Erbacher Marcobrunn designation consists of only 5.2 hc (12.8 acres), while the riverside Reinhartshausen estate housed the Prussian royal family and produces spicy, full flavoured Rieslings from rich loam soils.
The best buy of the Vintages release: Schloss Reinhartshausen 1993 Erbacher Schlossberg Riesling Auslese (29025) at $29.95. Grown in an adjoining small 5.68 hc. estate-owned vineyard (referred to as a monopole), it has a deep yellow colour and a complex, Seville orange marmalade nose. It is gorgeous on the palate; seductively sweet but balanced with gobs of Seville orange marmalade and honeyed apricot purée flavours. Try with foie gras, dessert or just by itself at Easter. With 8.5% residual sugar (vs. 5.8% for the Spätlese), it can keep for many years. Also, once opened, can last for several weeks as long as you recork the bottle immediately after opening and keep it in the fridge.
Other whites worthy of a detour include the delicious, ready-to-drink, fruity Calatrasi 2005 d'Istinto Catarratto/ Chardonnay (28886) at only $14.95. Look for classy, ripe pear aromas and dry, gently honeyed, elegant, pear purée flavours. Only 2,400 bottles of this Sicilian delight are available.
Another Spring delight, this time from the French Midi, is Lurton 2005 Domaine des Salices Viognier (487272) at $13.95. The very spicy, honeyed, crisp, ripe lemon- melon, toast-tinged flavours will dance on your tongue. A fine foil to a variety of seafood or poultry dishes and comes with a convenient screwcap closure.
Moving on to reds, at only $11.95 the hefty Chakana 2005 Malbec (3509) from Argentina's Lujan de Cuyo region of Mendoza offers great value. Extremely deep intense purple in colour, it is dry and fairly extracty with juicy, ripe plum and baked cherry flavours plus some mocha notes on the finish. With BBQ season about to start, this would be perfect with a rare rib steak.
Looking for something special from today's Vintages Australia focus? Don't miss Wolf Blass 2003 Gold Label Sparkling Pinot Noir/ Chardonnay (606285) at $20.95. It shows fine effervescence and has that classic, dry, well-balanced, ripe lemon-melon taste with a lingering, gently toasty finish. Capable of challenging some Champagne costing twice the price, it's perfect for discerning palates who drink nothing but the best.
Today at Vintages: a special complimentary tasting of Martell XO Cognac (29165), which fetches $199.95 per decanter. Only120 bottles of this rare in-store discovery are available. Taste it with Poulain dark chocolate, plus there is a special draw including special Martell Cognac glasses signed by French designer Andrée Putman. From 11-2 at LCBO Store #10 (Summerhill) 10 Scrivener Square, or 11-4 at LCBO Store #1 (Weston & 401).
National Post readers wanting to attend the Germany: Wines with Jazz event at Roy Thomson Hall on Monday, April 2 click here (905-815-1581). To see the full 46-page catalogue with 120+ wines click here Also, to download details on the April 2 Vintages Delist Sale (each item is linked to my tasting note database) click here
Saturday, July 22, 2006 I recommended one of the best Pinot Noir values
ever tasted at Vintages *** out of three stars.
The good news is that it is back at the same price: Miguel
Torres 2004 Mas Borras Pinot Noir (673483) at
$25.95 (to check LCBO store availability click on the name). The terrific,
well-structured, ripe plum and elegant black cherry flavours linger
sublimely on the palate. Hints of lime-tinged, vanilla custard dance on
the finish. Miguel Torres is justifiably proud of this wine. At 2006
Madrid Fusion, Miguel Torres explained the secret to the high quality
of Mas Borras: very low yields from well-established 10 hc. vineyard
located in the highest and coolest mountainous region of the upper
Penedés in the municipality of Santa María de Miralles. Aged in classis
Nevers French oak (50% new) for 12 months, it is delicious to drink now
and it will hold well for the next year or two.
Get Michael Vaughan's notes on all 347 March Vintages releases
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
use our Tasting
Notes Database: click
Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada