Times at Vintages
To see this article as it appears in the National Post click here
ON THE NAME
It's almost "trick or treat" time. For me, there's nothing scarier than a disappointing bottle of wine. With today's Vintages release has some of both.
For instance, I not sure what's scarier? The uninspiring taste of Ringbolt 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. The fact that a staggering 1548 cases was bought. Or, the sky high selling price of $19.95. Regarding the latter, it's readily available south of the border for under $12 US a bottle.
Moving on to the treats, despite being the smallest in years, there are quite a few on hand. For Chardonnay fans, there are three standouts. The least expensive is KWV Cathedral Cellar 2005 Chardonnay (328559) at $14.95, which is from South Africa's Paarl region. Dry, rich and well-structured, this whopper of a white has loads of cedary, ripe, lemony, pear flavours with a lingering, caramel driven finish. It's ready to drink and perhaps best with poultry. A little will go a long way.
Moving up the price ladder to $17.95, I was very impressed with finesse of Yalumba 2005 Eden Valley Wild Ferment Chardonnay (39271). It too has great concentration but less overt oakiness. Its slightly spicy, ripe lemon-melon-lime flavours are accompanied by lingering caramel custard notes.
My final recommendation comes from California's Napa Valley. Unfortunately, Clos du Val 2005 Carneros Chardonnay (297499) has jumped from $23.95 a year ago to $26.95, which was the price back in September 2003. It has full-bodied, ripe lemon-melon-lime flavours with a long buttery, brioche finish. It's very tasty and would be a best buy except that case retail price south of the border is only $16.19 a bottle.
If you are looking for a delicious white to surprise your friends, check out a rather amazing Trebbiano (aka Ugni Blanc) from Italy's Veneto region. While most Lugana is quite docile, this one stands up and says hello. And at $27.95, it is probably the most expensive one I have ever tried. Nevertheless, Sergio Zenato 2005 Lugana Riserva (928218) is deliciously dry with rich, honeyed, ripe melon flavours and just a hint of caramel-pear on the finish. Perfect with a Fall roast chicken.
Talking about pairing wine with poultry, as a Riesling fan, I relish the ripe fruit and intense minerality found in the best from Alsace. At $39.95, Domaine Zind Humbrecht 2005 Riesling Gueberschwihr (686246) it isn't cheap, but it is great. Dry and well structured, it has an abundance of lingering, ripe lemon-melon-apple flavours. A true classic.
As for reds, some today's best buys come from Italy. Frescobaldi 2005 Tenuta di Castiglioni (974394) at $22.95 is a modern Tuscan blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Sangiovese. On the palate it shows great harmony and its plummy, ripe cherry flavours will marry with a wide variety of dishes.
If you want something a bit cheaper with lots of fruit, then the new edition of New Zealand's Oyster Bay 2005 Merlot (692343) at $18.95 is on target. It's medium-light bodied with dried ripe cherry and juicy plum flavours.
Looking for a classic bubbly? Move quickly because Taittinger Champagne Brut Reserve (814723) at $59.95 is always a quick sell out. It is very dry and nicely structured with refined, gently toasty, ripe lemon flavours along with excellent effervescence and mid palate.
The final treat is a half bottle of one of the world's great Sherries. Gonzalez
Byass Apostoles Palo Cortado (969527) at $24.95
has to be savoured slowly. This seductive 30-year-old has complex, sweet,
smoke-tinged, plummy, crème brulée flavours. A perfect warmer for a
- 2007 Tasting Note Database
use our Tasting
Notes Database: click
Copyright Food & Beverage Testing Institute of Canada