Wine of the Week for May 28, 2006

Penmara Five Families Shiraz 2002 - $12.85
tyle: R1/R2

This one nicely fits between the Lean & Fruity and the Rich & Juicy categories: perfect for this long overdue backyard weather. The nose shows loads of spice, red currant and spiced crabapple, with traces of wood and cardamom. The palate is a bit reserved relative to the nose, yet is spicy and juicy with a fresh acidity and little tannin. Pretty good body and length, this is definitely a vin du porch for warm weather or one to take to a casual party. Burgers bbq chicken would be good choices. (LCBO 565929)

Wine of the Week for May 22, 2006

KWV Chenin Blanc 2005 - $7.45
Style: W2
South Africa

Don’t be put off by the low price here. This wine is a perennial bargain that seems to always deliver. The colour is rich lemon-straw. Upfront aromas show ripe lemon and apple with nuances of grass down deeper. The palate is somewhat laid back, but it's plenty tasty, showing ripe grapefruit, a touch of lemon and traces of apple and spice. Somewhat on the light side, but with good length. Good food candidates include seafoods, mild fish and schnitzel. (LCBO 18689)

Cellar of Shame – Where I pay tribute to the general free-fall in quality on LCBO General List shelves.

Banrock Station Shiraz Tetrapak - $13.90
(1000 mL)
It’s disappointing to see an otherwise good company put out something like this. There’s a bit of mineral and a trace of cardamom, but that is ruined by an over-riding aroma of wet cardboard. It’s grotesquely sweet even for a shiraz, hollow and remarkably tasteless. Not even suitable for party plonk.

Wine of the Week for May 15, 2006

Angoves Stonegate Cabernet/Shiraz 2003 - $9.60
Style: R3

The Cabernet rides on top here, with aromas of spices, wood, dried cherry and iodine. Very firm on the palate -- well structured -- with blackberry flavour, lightish tannins and firm acid core. Very good body and length. Quite a bargain and well suited to lamb, quail, or hunter stew. (LCBO 618447)

- Bonus VQA Feature -

Willow Springs Baco Noir 2005 - $9.95
Style: R2
Ontario: Stouffville

This one comes from the LCBO’s “craft winery” program, which features a small number of selections from lesser-known wineries (although there appears to be lots of this one at LCBO stores). The Testa family grow their own grapes in Stouffville and also bring some in from Niagara. Their Baco shows a riot of cherry, dried cherry, black currant and blueberry aromas. It’s very smooth on the palate, with negligible tannins, a solid acid core, and plenty of berry and cherry flavours. With good body and length, this may be the ideal BBQ wine. (LCBO 620112)

Wine of the Week for May 8, 2006

Masi Modello Delle Venezi Bianco 2004 - $9.95
Style: W3

Based on the native Garganega grape, this is not your usual Italian white quaffer. With a light green straw colour, it shows a rather gewurztraminer-like nose with rich orange zest, musk and a touch of dried cherry. The palate is round and mellow with a perfectly balanced acidity -- not obvious, but very full and flavourful and with good body and very good length. A total bargain, it would work well with roast poultry, stir fry or turkey burgers. (LCBO 564674)

Wine of the Week for May 1, 2006

Bolla Rosso Di Sicilia 2003 - $10.95
Style: R2

You may have to work at ignoring the tall blue botte but inside is a delightful surprise. The deep garnet robe is showing beginnings of brick. The nose is rich and smokey, with aromas of dried fruits, leather and tobacco. Rather substantial on the palate -- juicy, with dried fruit flavours plus more of the leather. With firm acidity, solid tannins, a full body and very good length, it's quite stunning for the price. A good partner for roasts, hard cheeses or just about anything in a red wine sauce. (LCBO 621128)