Wine of the Week for January 30, 2006

Angove Bear Crossing Cabernet-Merlot - $10.95
Style: R3

Here's another entry in the "cute animal" arena. However, this wine doesn't need a cuddly label to be yummy. Rich ruby red, it shows delicate aromas of spice, dark fruits, plums, and a touch of vanilla at the close. Quite crisp with firm-but-yielding tannins, and flavours of plum and vanilla, closing with a hint of sweetness. Quite full, with very good length. Would do well alongside chili, grilled tuna or mushroom sauce. (LCBO 592766)

Wine of the Week for January 23, 2006

Folinari Pinot Grigio - $23.95 (Magnum)
Style: W3
Italy: Veneto

We're skirting the $12 ceiling here. The tasted bottle was a magnum, which is nicely discounted form the $13.05 for a 750 mil. The colour is brilliant almond-straw. Look for heady aromas of spice and citrus with traces of pinesap and almond. The palate is lively and juicy, showing lemon, orange and spice, with a crisp acidity. Very good body and length. It's quite a mouthful and would go well with full flavoured fish, BBQ chicken or roasted pork. (LCBO 621821; also in 750, 229542, at $13.05)

Wine of the Week for January 16, 2006

Creekside Black Label Cabernets 2002 - $12.95
Style: R3
Ontario: Niagara

One of the advantages of living in Ontario is wines like this. With a full black-cherry garnet colour, its huge, spicy oak aromas override the whole show, leading eventually to black currant, vanilla and a hint of lemon grass. Rather mouthfilling, showing good integration on the palate, supported by cherry flavours, firm tannins and a lightly tart acidity. A bit of a showpiece in the oak department, and it may seem better balanced in a year, but open it now if you want to revel in that spicy new wood. Literally screams out for a leg of lamb. (LCBO 620708)

Wine of the Week for January 9, 2006

Deinhard Hans Cristof Liebfraumilch 2003 - $9.95
Style: W3

Here's a recommendation you probably thought you'd never see. Wasn't Liebfraumilch that cheap jug wine we turned to when we tired of Baby Duck? The regulations say that it must be a "quality" wine, but typically that was no guarantee of a "good" wine. Thankfully, most wines have improved over the years. The nose here shows goodly amounts of honey, peach and ripe macintosh apple with a hint of leafiness. Very soft on the palate, but with good apple and stone fruit flavours. Just off-dry with a lightish body and good length. Could this revive an entire class of wine? Hard to say, but this is a pretty decent showing. A good match for delicate fish or to warm up the room. (LCBO 3269)

Wine of the Week for January 2, 2006

Casillero del Diablo Carménere 2004 - $11.95
Style: R2

The French winemakers have all but abandoned this grape, but in Chile they've taken up the cause with terrific results. This one shows rich aromas of plum, chocolate, cherry and vanilla. Soft, round and creamy on the palate, delivering sweet fruit flavours and "delayed action" tannins. It's still a youngster and would benefit from a year or two more age, but is perfectly enjoyable now. Treat as a meaty merlot and pair with bean stew, tuna, or rich stews. (LCBO 620666)