Wine of the Week for October 2, 2006

Deakin Estate Chardonnay 2005 - $10.05
Style: W1

Wow, they're giving away Chardonnay. That was my reaction to this delectable wine when I saw the price. There's lots of ripe apple and lemon on the nose along with a good bit of spice and just a touch of caramel. Full and juicy on the palate with spicy notes, lemon and baked apple flavours, soft acidity, and a smokey close. Very good body and length. A great package that will go well with salmon, cream sauces or BBQ chicken. (LCBO 588418)

And now, the bad news…

It’s getting a lot tougher to find decent wine at a decent price on LCBO shelves these days. I was at a tasting of General List products last week and tasted nearly 100 products. I came away with 1 white wine under $14 that I felt I could recommend. The rest were $14 - $16 dollars. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which I have addressed in my newsletter. The main culprits, I think, are the agency's emphasis on cheap bulk wines (house brands, tetra-paks) and so-called “premium” wines – those priced around the $15 level. This leaves the $9-$12 range pretty lean. I’ll keep looking, but my guess is I’ll have to raise my ceiling from $12 to $15.

Wine of the Week for September 18, 2006

Henry Of Pelham Cabernet-Baco VQA 2004 - $12.50
Style R1
Ontario: Niagara

Rich ruby-garnet colour. Mellow dark plum, cherry, spice and smokey oak. Very easy on the palate, in a beaujolais weight, with dark berries, plum, smoke and spice, with modest tannins and a firm spine. Good body and length. A wonderful mid-week quaffer, showing lots of distinctive character. Try with vegetarian chilli, pizza or tomato sauces. (LCBO 252882)

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

Domaine Vincon Feteasca Neagra

This one was a first for me. Aside from being an outright palate-killer, this wine was so coarse, so nasty, that I actually went rifling through my briefcase to see if I had anything resembling a red flag to hang on the bottle as a warning to others. This wine should be sold with a warning label or, better still, packaged up and sent back to its country of origin where even the distillers may have second thoughts about it. Avoid at all costs!

Wine of the Week for September 11, 2006

Lindemans Bin 85 Pinot Grigio 2005 - $10.95
Style: W3

The gray pinot is still on a roll, although the field is getting a bit over-crowded. Look for lemon and grapefruit aromas, with nuances of pine bough, ripe apple and spice. The palate is a bit raw, but pleasant enough, with a brisk acidity, apple and baked lemon flavour and a slightly sour tail end. Body and length are quite good. A tad in-elegant but decent and would work well with roast chicken, medium-flavoured fish, or sushi. (LCBO 668947)

Wine of the Week for September 4, 2006

Four Emus Shiraz 2004 - $13.95
Style: R2

Since the LCBO started pushing 1-litre "premium priced" tetrapaks, there seems to be a shortage of decent bottled wines in the under $12 category. This one, from Hardys, shows an inky black cherry colour. The nose presents subtle aromas of dark chocolate, dark plums and rosemary. Rich and juicy on the palate, with blueberry and dark chocolate flavours, firm tannins and a solid acidic spine. Almost big, with very good length. A real comfort wine, not too big, with plenty of character, that would go well with BBQ or tomato sauces, or any bigish roast. (LCBO 614347)