Monday, November 4, 2013

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  • Monday, November 4, 2013

Nov. 9 LCBO Wine Picks: Holiday Stars + Dessert Wines



Wine Picks from November 9, 2013 LCBO VINTAGES Magazine
Now that we're past Halloween, the 3 remaining Vintages releases of 2013 will all hover around the concept of "wines for the holiday season". The next release, which will be in LCBO outlets across Ontario, will be on . This release is titled "The Stars Are Aligned" and features 30 "top-quality" wines geared for your enjoyment during the holiday season, or as excellent gift-giving options.

When choosing a wine to give as a gift, it's helpful to know your recipient's tastes - does s/he like big, powerful reds, or lighter reds, or perhaps soft, elegant whites, or big, oaky Chardonnays. It also helps to know if s/he prefers dry wines or sweet wines. Knowing this information will go a long way to ensure that your family, friend or colleague enjoys the wine that you have generously gifted.

There's an interesting selection of 8 sweet dessert wines in this release, which is the secondary focus of the release. There is a Late Harvest Vidal, Honey wine, Cranberry/Maple "wine", Vidal Icewine, Tokaji, Vin Santo, and a couple of Ports, one of which is a 1994 vintage Port. One notable omission from the list is Riesling Icewine. I have no doubt that all 8 will be enjoyed by sweet wine lovers, but just 4 of these made my wine picks below as great buys. The Sherry from Spain is not part from the dessert wine feature and is off-dry. So, you may want to just sip it on it's own or pair it with not-so-sweet desserts.

Wine Review of 2009 Antinori Guado Al Tasso from Tuscany, Italy
Back to the main feature of the release, of the 23 wines that are featured, only 4 made my cut. First and foremost is the 2009 Antinori Guado Al Tasso (93 pts), which is a blend of 60% Cab Sauv, 25% Merlot, 12% Cab Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, and costs $100. I had the pleasure of tasting this at Halpern Enterprises annual Grand Cru wine tasting held recently in the AllStream Centre at Exhibition Place. As I approached the building, the front doors were adorned with very expensive vehicles such as a Lambourghini and Bentley, among others. I could tell I was in for a special treat - which it was. It was a very high-end event featuring many premium-quality and premium-priced wines. The Antinori wine mentioned in this paragraph was one of the highlights for me, as you will see in my tasting note. It's a big wine that will age for many years.

Also from The Stars Are Aligned features is the medium-bodied Norman Hardie Unfiltered Niagara Pinot Noir. Norm continues to pump out the stars! The Jonata Todos Red is a big blend consisting of - wait for it - 63% Syrah, 12% Sangiovese, 11% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon and dollops of Grenache, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. And finally, the Dead Arm Shiraz is big, dry (XD) Shiraz that could have easily been featured in a Vintages Halloween Release.

From the rest of the release, the Chilensis Lazuli is a blend of 6 grapes (36% Cab Sauv, 21% Malbec, 16% Petit Verdot, 10% Merlot, 9% Syrah, 8% Carmenére) and Organic and Certified Sustainable. If you want to taste a mature Bordeaux without the trouble of ageing it yourself, then check out the 2004 Château Bréhat, which is a blend of mostly Merlot, with Cab Franc and Cab Sauv in support. Also check out the Jean-Michel Dupré, which is made using Gamay Noir from vines planted in 1918! The Reserve des Vignerons is straight Cab Franc, while the Domaine Grand Nicolet is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. The Spanish Pétalos makes my list again, this time with the 2011 vintage and is made using the Mencía grape.

For white wine lovers, there isn't much I found interesting enough to recommend, except for a couple of Chardonnays. The Zolo Chardonnay is unoaked, while the Hidden Bench Chardonnay is from "The Stars Are Aligned" feature and is (not heavily) oaked.

Enjoy my wine recommendations for this week. Remember to stock up as we approach the holidays, and get a head-start on gift-giving.


Red Wine:
  • CHÂTEAU BRÉHAT 2004 - AC Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux, France (#348672) (XD) - $16.95
  • JEAN-MICHEL DUPRÉ VIGNES DE 1918 RÉGNIÉ 2011 - AC, Beaujolais, France (#344895) (XD) - $17.95
  • CHILENSIS LAZULI 2010 - Estate Btld., Maule Valley, Chile (#348128) (XD) - $17.95
  • RÉSERVE DES VIGNERONS SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY 2010 - AC, Loire, France (#103879) (XD) - $17.95
  • NINQUÉN ANTU CHILEAN MOUNTAIN VINEYARD SYRAH 2011 - Colchagua Valley, Chile (#675371) (XD) - $17.95  reviewed here
  • CASAS DEL BOSQUE GRAN RESERVA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2011 - Maipo Valley, Chile (#353086) (XD) - $19.95
  • SILENI THE PLATEAU PINOT NOIR 2012 - Hawkes Bay, North Island, New Zealand (#132142) (XD) - $19.95
  • DOMAINE GRAND NICOLET VIEILLES VIGNES RASTEAU 2010 - AC, Rhône, France (#155481) (XD) - $22.95
  • BEST’S GREAT WESTERN BIN NO. 1 SHIRAZ 2012 - Great Western, Victoria, Australia (#222323) (XD) - $23.95
  • DESCENDIENTES DE J. PALACIOS PÉTALOS 2011 - DO Bierzo, Spain (#675207) (XD) - $24.95
  • NORMAN HARDIE UNFILTERED NIAGARA PINOT NOIR 2010 - VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#208702) (XD) - $39.00
  • D’ARENBERG THE DEAD ARM SHIRAZ 2009 - McLaren Vale, South Australia (#981183) (XD) - $54.95
  • JONATA TODOS RED 2009 - Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Barbara, California, USA (#218941) (XD) - $59.95
  • ANTINORI GUADO AL TASSO 2009 - DOC Bolgheri Superiore, Tuscany, Italy (#986380) (XD) - $99.95  reviewed here

White Wine:
  • ZOLO RESERVE CHARDONNAY 2012 - Mendoza, Argentina (#347765) (XD) - $16.95
  • HIDDEN BENCH CHARDONNAY 2011 - VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada (#068817) (XD) - $28.95  reviewed here

Dessert Wine:
  • LUSTAU PENÍNSULA SOLERA RESERVA PALO CORTADO - DO Jerez, Spain (#677856) (D) (375 mL) - $17.95
  • KONZELMANN SPECIAL SELECT LATE HARVEST VIDAL 2011 - VQA Ontario, Canada (#359216) (M) (375 mL) - $19.95
  • MUSKOKA LAKES WINERY RED MAPLE 2012 - Canada (#050039) (S) (375 mL) - $23.95  older vintage reviewed here
  • DOW’S 10-YEAR-OLD TAWNY PORT - DOC Douro, Portugal (#246967) (S) - $28.95
  • POÇAS COLHEITA PORT 1994 - Vieilli en fût, DOC Douro, Portugal (#216424) (S) - $41.95

Sparkling Wine:
  • ABBAZIA MOSCATO D’ASTI 2012 - DOCG, Piedmont, Italy (#265397) (M) - $14.95
  • SEGURA VIUDAS BRUT RESERVA HEREDAD CAVA - Traditional Method, DO, Spain (#558825) (D) - $29.95


The rest of the wines from this release can be found here.


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