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Perfect Fall Libations
Obscure varieties from Welschriesling to Semillon
© Michael Vaughan 2005
National Post Weekly Wine & Spirits Columnist
Saturday, October 22, 2005


All listings are automatically linked to the LCBO database)
If there is a product that interests you, just click on the name below and you will instantaneously connected with the LCBO database. The product will appear in blue and all you have to do is click on the name again and then the next screen will provide details along with the store search. Just click on store search. The number of bottles in each store is updated nightly. Call the store first to see if stock still remains (each store phone number is listed).

Besides Scotch, the current Vintages release features a number of perfect Fall libations. Let’s begin with Sherry, which used to be drunk in copious amounts in distinguished universities around the world. While Tio Pepe is the pre-prandial drink of choice, a half bottle of Emlio Lustau Solera Reserva ‘Rare’ Amon Tillado ‘Escuadrilla’ (660324) at $15.95 with its warming 18.5% alcohol will definitely take the chill away. The complex, intense, rather spicy, sweet, caramel nose will make you think that it tastes sweet – it doesn’t! The intense, dry, slightly peppery, very nutty, stewed plum, prune and caramel flavours linger on the palate.

While Pinot Gris tends to be for summer enjoyment, this flavourful, bright effort from the Okanagan Valley shouldn’t be missed. Mission Hill 2004 Pinot Gris Reserve 2004 (537076) at $18.95 has very attractive, fairly intense, ripe pear nose with some tangy rhubarb-grapefruit notes. On the palate it has juicy, pear-lemon-white peach flavours with a lingering finish.

Talking about white peach, I was bowled over by California’s Ironstone 2004 Viognier (946665) at $16.95 with its extremely attractive, intensely fruity, ripe white peach flavours. It is well balanced and dry with hints of ripe lemon-lime on the refreshing finish. It shows great versatility, but sadly only 168 cases are available.

Moving on let me recommend a zippy Austrian white made from a grape that rarely appears in Vintages. Hans Nittnaus 2004 Welschriesling Trocken (660118) at $13.95, which would do a plump Fall oyster proud. Welschriesling may have nothing to do with the noble Riesling grape, but this very fine Burgenland effort has a super vibrant, slightly spicy, honey-tinged, ripe grapefruit nose. It is crisp, very dry and bright, overflowing with ripe lemon-grapefruit flavours that show excellent length and good acidity.

Another variety that you don’t see all that often is 100% Semillon. From Australia’s Barossa Valley St. Hallett 2002 Semillon (658005) at $18.95 is a wonderful example and received a Gold Medal at the 2004 Royal Hobart International Wine Show. A must-buy among aficionados, it has a very attractive, gently toasty, butterscotch-tinged, ripe melon nose. Dry, medium-full bodied and very tangy on the palate, the complex, ripe lemon-melon flavours are complemented by a lingering lime-driven finish. An excellent effort, it will last many years and will go well with white meats and poultry.

Great Burgundy is always hard to find and decent Pouilly-Fuissé even more challenging. Imagine my surprise when tasting the remarkable Georges Duboeuf 2003 Pouilly-Fuissé ‘Clos Reissier’ (656793) at $27.95. It is perfectly balanced with delicious, ripe, pear purée flavours and a lingering, toasty finish.

While the latter, which is made from Chardonnay, it is not to be confused with Pouilly Fumé, which is made from Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. Jean-Claude Chatelain Pouilly-Fumé ‘Saint-Laurent-L’Abbaye’ (958801) at $23.95 is another winner with an appealing, classy, complex, maturing, nutty nose with some waxy lemon notes. Its very dry, well structured, crisp, dried ripe lemon flavours would be perfect with oysters.

Moving on to some best buy reds, you can’t miss with a wonderfully priced Coteaux du Languedoc blend of 80% Syrah and 20% Grenache from the French Midi. Make way for 2000 Château Valoussière (652255) at $12.95, which is produced by Philippe et Frédéric Jeanjean. The nose is remarkable: spicy, slightly earthy and smoke-tinged with stewed ripe plums and black cherries. For under $13, it is solid and surprisingly well structured with slightly smoky, lingering, ripe plum purée flavours, which are capable of evolving for a few years.

Saving the best for last, one will have trouble finding any sparkler under $30 to match 2003 Blanquette De Limoux Grand Réserve Brut (656470) at $15.95. George & Roger Antech have done an excellent job with this blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Mauzac. Made in the traditional Champagne method, it has a gently toasty, ripe lemon nose. On the palate it is very dry, crisp and surprisingly well structured with intense, ripe lemon flavours, good mousse and a lingering, gently toasty finish. This Cuvée received a Gold medal at the Concours General Agricole Paris 2005.

Originating is a small area around the town of Limoux in southeastern French Pyrenees; it is only second Blanquette de Limoux to be listed in Vintages in the past five years! Many are shocked to discover that Limoux is the home of the world’s first cork-stoppered sparkling wines made at the Abbey of St-Hilaire in 1531.

2001-2002-2003-2004-2005 Tasting Note Database
Our tasting note database from December 31, 2000 to July 2005, covers every Vintages release product for the past 55 months. There are more than 9,000 notes in the database data. Just enter the name of the product, supplier name or CSPC number. Or you can search by type of wine, country of origin, even wine agent! Nothing could be easier. Also you can get information on the agent by clicking on the agent’s name, as well as current LCBO store inventory by clicking on "Check LCBO Availability", which will automatically tell you the number of bottles at LCBO as of last night.

To use our Tasting Notes Database: click here

** For All Visitors **
Vintages Releases
 To see the complete list of upcoming products from the
October 29 release, including In-Store Discovery items,
click here (sorted by date of release).
You can also see it sorted by agent click here

  To see the complete list of upcoming products from the
November 12 release, including In-Store Discovery items,
click here (sorted by date of release).
You can also see it sorted by agent click here

Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada 2005
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