Value for money is what counts. You won't find
any wines here that aren't worth buying. Feel free to scroll through
this list and see everything we’ve been sampling but, if you’re in a
hurry (or very thirsty), you can just click on any of the following
words to be whisked electronically to the category of your choice:
Dry White Wines
Dry Red Wines
Everything Wine Express recommends is in the
Liquor Control Board of Ontario’s regular stores, unless marked (v) for
Vintages stores, or (c) on Consignment, by the case through an importer.
Call the LCBO’s Infoline 416/365-5900 for the
store nearest you that has the wine. If your local store doesn’t have
it, the manager will order in the wine at no extra cost and notify you.
Oh, and by the way, if you need a refresher on
our rating system (the ratings are in red), just flip back to the main Wine Picks main page for a quick refresher
-- in helping you choose a refresher quickly!
Sèvre & Maine Sur
Domaine Gildas Cormerais,
733691 (v) $11.95
Moules et frites, s’il vous plait? Mussels and oysters beckon this
ultra-crisp, dry white, all green apple, citrus, stony mineral and
pears. Unoaked, that’s what sur lie really means, left on the spent
yeast (lees) rather kept in cask to take on barrel influence, therefore
offering a steely foil to seafood/ shellfish dishes.
Domaine des Salices Viognier ‘04 87
Jacques & Francois Lurton,
Vin de Pays d’Oc, France
487272 (v) $12.95
Spicy apricot, peach, citrus, mineral, oaky and aromatic, all at the
same time! From the (flying winemaker) Lurton brothers’ fine Languedoc
range yet low-priced and great value. Great with spicy chicken,
seafood, all by itself. Its red sibling Salices Syrah ‘03, 926287,
$13.95, is rich, ripe, plush, fleshy, BBQ perfect (89).
Spätlese ‘03 90
QmP, Erdener Treppchen,
670646 (v) $17.95
Nectar from the Monks’ House Estate – Cistercians made wines at Erden,
Ürzig and Wehlen since the 12th C and the Eymael family since 1806
(the clan includes the Waldorf-Astoria Astors). One of the finest
mid-Mosel sites, its slate-rock cliff vines produce classic Riesling,
albeit a big version in scorching 2003: off-dry with peach, tangy lime
zest, stone, petrol and white grapefruit notes, elegant acidity, and
refreshingly low (7.5%) alcohol. A connoisseur’s Riesling. Super value,
can cellar to 2010.
Wegeler Estate Riesling ‘02 89
QbA, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Germany
675777 (v) $15.95
From nearby Bernkastel, and showing more typical fresh acidity than the
fatter ‘03s, the Wegeler has a zippy core of crisp peach, apricot,
papaya, just offdry and a perfect aperitif or complement to white
meats, seafood salads. Now to 2010.
Disznókö Tokaji Dry
681544 (v) $12.95
Key limes, custard and citrus, quite the flavor combo in this powerful
dry wine made from Furmint grapes normally used for sweet Tokaji,
delivering a fragrant clover, hay, honey bouquet with rich, ripe
apple-peach-pear on the palate. Try with lobster, shrimp, herb-roasted
chicken, veal roast. Enjoy now.
Jordan Winery, WO Stellenbosch,
663302 (v) $15.95
An exciting tropical fruit cocktail, aromatic and heady, that coats
your tongue with lemon zest, green figs, gooseberry, pink grapefruit,
melon, mineral and fresh straw flavors. Finishing dry and crisp, well
balanced and delicious. From cool hillside overlooking Stellenbosch and
Cape Town. The family can’t use the Jordan name because of Jordan
Vineyard in Healdsburg, CA.
Chenin Blanc ‘04
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, S
978544 (v) $13.95
Enjoy the whiff of toasty oak, grilled hazelnuts, quince, ripe
Delicious apple, melon, peach and lime aromas and flavors and the fine,
clean acidity. Here’s a rich, ample white, dry with layers of fruit
flavors from an estate founded by Huguenots in 1692. Serve with
seafood, shellfish, veal or chicken. Amazing value.
Planeta La Segreta Bianco ‘04 87
IGT Sicilia, Italy
581546 (v) $15.95
Yellow gold, exuding filbert and vanilla aromas, with stone fruit,
tropical notes, citrus and mineral aromas, a restrained, intense and
elegant palate and fresh aftertaste. Very food friendly, from local
Grecanico and Fiano plus 30% Chardonnay and 10% Viognier. Try it with
grilled fish or shrimp. Its red partner, La Segreta Rosso ‘04, 936773,
$15.95, rates (86), capitalizing on its smoky, berry-rich Nero d’Avola
grapes plus 20% each of Merlot and Syrah. Pasta-pizza perfect and the
Rolling Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon
Cumulus Wines, Central Range,
678821 (v) $14.95
Restrained herbal, sage, lemon grass/citrus, apple and red grapefruit
style – none of that aggressive gooseberry-grassy NZ approach here. A
good party starter or accompaniment to a spring salad, asparagus quiche
or salmon carpaccio. Ready to roll! Sibling Rolling Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot ‘04, 678490, $14.95, is a Big Easy red (86), all berry fruits
and gentle tannins, nice value.
Frédéric Laplace ‘03 86
Pierre Laplace, Pacherenc du
Vic-Bilh Sec, France
681650 (v) $13.95
Pacherencs are tangy whites from local Arrufiac, Courbu and Manseng
grapes. Vic-Bilh is The Old Country in the language of Béarn,
between the Pyrenees and the Atlantic. The deep yellow wine can be dry
or sweet. This Sec is bone dry, stony, aromatic and restrained with a
baked fruit note and soft apple nuance. Have friends guess the
appellation! Serve with crab, lobster, skate or shrimp.
Salitage Unwooded Chardonnay ‘05 86
Pemberton, W Australia
675504 (v) $22.95
Lots of cool microclimates in W Oz: hence wines of great freshness,
crisp acidity and, in this case, flavors and aromas of binned apples,
stone fruit, pink grapefruit, lees and citrus, uncluttered by barrel or
oak chip treatment. Versatile aperitif/food wine.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Godello/Chardonnay ‘04 87
Bodegas Adriá, DO
673509 (v) $13.95
Quite the mouthful! A dry white from Spain’s cool northwest
commissioned by UK merchant Guy Anderson, versatile with
seafood/shellfish or as aperitif, with a peach-grapefruit bouquet, a
steely, spicy citrus palate and a food-friendly finish. Then there‘s
(gasp!) Mad Dogs Posh, a blend of Monastrell (alias Mourvèdre),
Cab Sauvignon and Tempranillo ‘02, 673616, $17.95, from sunny Jumilla,
all spicy red currants, new leather, oak and toast (86). Great value,
Robert Mondavi Fumé
Napa Valley, California
221887 (v) $24.95
Delectably aromatic with floral, lemon grass and peach-pear tones
flowing into pineapple/melon on the tongue, caressed by a subtle smoky
oak-vanilla in mid-palate and a stone-mineral finish. Top-notch with
smoked trout, salmon carpaccio, chèvre.
Chateau Ste-Michelle Chardonnay
Columbia Valley, Washington
232439 (v) $17.95
Everyday value Chardonnay, fresh, packed with pineapple, citrus,
buttery vanilla and toasty notes with a hint of coconut from American
oak. From the pioneering giant of Washington State wineries, food
friendly and people friendly.
Byron Chardonnay ‘03 88
Santa Maria Valley, California
953778 (v) $29.95
Intense, bold and brash, putting the “char” in Chardonnay! Toasty,
buttery oak up front, with major green apple, ripe Anjou pear and
watermelon fruit playing crisp back-up vocals, and a zippy fresh black
pepper and citrus aftertaste. Now to 2009.
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
591313 (v) $16.00
Big raspberry-strawberry-cola flavors, black pepper and a hint of
tobacco leaf are the drawing cards here, and this chillable red has a
crisp cut of acidity that helps it marry well with roast ham, chicken
Trénel Juliénas ‘04
682641 (v) $16.95
Dusty rose-scented, purple-hued, oozing raspberry liqueur and cola
aromas and delivering juicy quaffing contentment. Can be chilled
lightly for summertime porch/patio meals, great with roast poultry, or
dark chocolate. Right now!
Domaine Vincent Girardin,
727966 (v) $19.95
Father to son for 11 generations, so they’re pretty much got the wine
making right, and they also grow vines in illustrious Corton, Volnay
and Pommard. This Pinot Noir is elegant, subtle and fresh with a touch
of oak to frame the truffle-Earl Gray aromas and flavors of sweet
red/black berry and earthy beet. A fine intro to red Burgundy, to
accompany feathered game, mushroom risotto, grilled salmon. Now to 2010.
Louis Latour Santenay ‘03
Santenay, Burgundy, France
682450 (v) $36.95
With only 5% Chardonnay vines in Santenay, here’s a bit of a (white
wine) rarity. This spa-town offers rest-cures for over-indulgent
Burgundy fans! The wine is a blast of ripe apple, pears, peaches, dried
fruits, vanilla and hazelnuts, smooth and pleasurable with solid heft.
Often overshadowed by its illustrious Chassagne and Puligny neighbors.
Domaine Du Ruault
Nöel Millon & Fils,
672618 (v) $12.95
Fully ripe, berry nose, tobacco leaf (from Cab Franc), big and spicy
with solid tannins. The core cherry, blackcurrant, forest floor flavors
are easy to take. An everyday favorite. Salads, BBQ, sipping.
Finca Luzon Tinto ‘04
DO Jumilla, Spain
672915 (v) $10.95
Powerhouse from the emerging Jumilla region showing blackberry,
boysenberry, mocha, raisin and mineral tones. From old Syrah and
Mourvèdre vines close to the Mediterranean with yields lower
than many Pomerols, this has surprising density, smoothness and well
integrated tannins. A great value!
Prado Rey Roble ‘03
Real Sitio de Ventosilla,
DO Ribera del Duero, Spain
674465 (v) $14.95
Quite a wine for the money, tasting like a mediumbodied Rioja,
balanced, with creamy cherry and blackberry cola flavor, resins and a
smidge of vanilla and oak. Great with BBQ, smoked meats, oxtail and
game. Cellar 3-5 years.
Château De Treviac ‘04
670505 (v) $13.95
Big-boned with a fragrance of dry underbrush, thyme, sage and rosemary,
lip-smacking blackberry- plum, spice and tar, with gentle tannins and
no bitterness. Barbie-friendly and wallet friendly. Enjoy now.
Château Saint Germain ‘03
Côteaux du Languedoc,
670505 (v) $13.95
As burly as its ex-Legionnaire winemaker, Didier Cabanes, this Syrah,
Grenache, Mourvèdre blend is the real deal! Fully organic and
low in sulphur, bursting at the seams with scents of spicy ripe black
cherry, Damson plum and beetroot, a whiff of new leather and smooth
Rasteau Tradition Rasteau ‘03
998716 (v) $15.95
Cocoa, chocolate, peppercorns and herbs, and raspberry- kirsch nuances
swamp the senses with tobacco leaf on the finish in this fine example
of southern Rhône wine making from the co-op in this pretty hill
village. Serve with confit de canard.
Jl Chave Offerus ‘03
937474 (v) $28.95
Smoked meat, licorice and lavender, flavors of wild plums, olives and
garrigue, a powerful wine from a heady vintage. One for collectors,
from a great producer, to cellar and cherish.
Domaine Du Crampilh Vignes
673194 (v) $17.95
Orange peel, nectarine, mocha and tannins, from Tannat, the Madiran
signature grape, still closed but spectacular in 3-5 years. Cab Franc
and Cab Sauvignon contribute bouquet and finesse, while Fer Servadou,
adds complexity. Young Madiran goes with garbure soup (and is used to
wash out your bowl), roast game, kebabs, duck or goose liver, chicken
stew and Pyrenean cheeses. Old Madiran is better with foie gras, stews,
braised meats and chocolate.
Taurino Riserva Rosso ‘01
AC Salice Salentino, Piemonte,
411892 (v) $16.95
A steal, full of bright fruit notes, mainly cherry, plum, mulberry, and
tarry, herbaceous, leathery notes that deliver an affordable everyday
red. A blend of 85% Negroamaro and 15% Malvasia Nera, with aromas of
sausage, dried herbs, fennel, and licorice.
Bolla Le Poiane ‘01
DOC Valpolicella Superiore,
135293 (v) $19.95
Hugely aromatic with black pepper, new leather, oak, cedar, grapes,
berries and walnuts. Mediumweight, with good length, and smoky from oak
aging. Great with steak, lamb, veal, pasta and pizza.
Barrel-Matured, WO Klein
Karoo, S Africa
663187 (v) $16.95
From a family-owned/operated estate in the cool Tradauw Valley where
the slow-ripening grapes take on a delicious blackberry-tinged,
cedary-earthy, red currant elegance in this Bordeaux blend. More Euro
than New World. Now to 2010.
Domaine Jean Bousquet Cabernet
Tupungato Valley, Mendoza,
678813 (v) $12.95
Spicy and elegant beyond expectations: sporting a dab of toasty new
oak, silky red and black berry fruits and very smooth tannins.
Enjoyable now as your everyday quaffer and worth every cent.
Killerman’s Run Cabernet
Kilikanoon, S Australia
675223 (v) $18.95
Very poised and tightly crafted with classic Bordeaux cedary, red
currant, mulberry, pepper and tobacco notes. More French than Oz, with
supportive oak and fine tannins. Good for 6-8 years. Killerman’s Run
Shiraz ‘02, 925453, $18.95 is bigger and bolder, with plum, mocha and
chocolate balanced against subtle oak (89), 15% alc, now to 2012.
Château Bertinerie ‘03
Premières Côtes de
Blaye, Bordeaux, France
674267 (v) $18.85
This hot, hot vintage has delivered a gulpable New World style,
charming and generous with ripe red currant, cedar, cassis and black
cherry aromas echoing on the palate. Merlot, 60%, Cab Sauvignon, 37%,
and a nip of Cab Franc: very typical for the Right Bank, now to 2010. A
Château Fombrauge ‘03
591180 (v) $56.95
An ancient estate now under the watch of überguru Michel Rolland,
Fombrauge is a comer (and the largest property) in St-Emilion,
especially in this opulent vintage. Smoky, kirsch, spice box, mocha,
blackberry, damson, green figs and black licorice vie for attention.
Drinking now but will reward 10 years cellaring.
Château La Tour Carnet ‘03
591156 (v) $49.95
Dating back to the Crusaders and, like Fombrauge now owned and
refurbished by Bernard Magrez, La Tour Carnet is a 4th Growth, among
the Bordeaux nobility, an ancient fortress in the Médoc. The ‘03
is more elegant and restrained than Fombrauge, dominated by Cab
Sauvignon rather than Merlot. A thoroughbred for cellaring.
Château Les Trois Croix ‘02
Famille Patrick Léon,
Fronsac, Bordeaux, France
681528 (v) $33.95
Très élégant! Subtle yet intense, pure and classic
Merlot-dominated Bordeaux from the Right Bank, finely balanced with
lovely fruit, soft tannins and great length, the work of
ex-Mouton-Rothschild winemaker Léon. Food versatile, elegant,
675397 (v) $17.95
Barrique-aged 70/20/10 Cab/Shiraz/Merlot and a meticulously made red
with a blast of black cherry, golden raspberry, currants, plums and
cinnamon with smooth tannins and immaculate manners.
St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz ‘03
Barossa Valley, S Australia
535104 (v) $28.95
A vintage with rains and uneven ripening, saved by sourcing grapes from
many parcels, from 10- to 80-year-old vines: named for winemaker Stu
Blackwell who’s done a fine job in coaxing out the black currant,
violet, mocha, dark chocolate, plum and blackberry signature of this
wine. Serve with braised or grilled meats. Now to 2012.
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