Wine of the Week for December 25, 2006

La Puerta "Chardonnay" 2005 - $8.95
tyle: W3

The nose here shows a slight resemblance to a ripe gewurz, with a rich honey, mango, apricot and apple peel mix. The palate is finely textured with peach and citrus flavours atop a solid acid spine. A delight but not all that Chardonnay like -- perhaps they've tossed in a bit of Torrentes. For the gewurz lover, this is one terrific bargain, and it shows enough chardonnay character to work on that front as well. Could be a good match for that left-over turkey or perhaps a bit of ham roast. (LCBO 614693)

Wine of the Week for December 18, 2006

Santa Carolina Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2004 - $12.95
Style: R3


This unassuming wine shows good blackberry, green pepper and cardamom aromas with a bit of oak at the tail end. Rather light for a cab, with blackberry, vanilla and milk chocolate flavours supported by fine tannins. This is the cab to open on a Tuesday night with pizza, spaghetti or a simple chicken dish. (LCBO 275925)

Wine of the Week for December 11, 2006

Strewn Semi-dry Riesling VQA 2005 - $10.95
Style: W3
Canada: Niagara

My mission lately is to find good, reasonably priced riesling -- not an easy task with shelves dominated by cheap chardonnay in tetra-pak. This one, from Strewn in Niagara-on-the-Lake, is understated, but totally authentic, with aromas of citrus and dried peaches, plus nuances of petrol, beeswax and cold cream. The palate is like fine silk, and I would say closer to off dry, with just a whisper of sugar, crisp acidity and delicate citrus/apple flavours. Very good body and length with a tangy close. Wonderfully refreshing and a great match for pork, or anything spicy. (LCBO 616599)

MADD as Hell ...

I was very disappointed on the weekend to see a report on MADD Canada. Apparently, of the $12 Million they collect every year, only 19% actually goes to the cause. A 'good' charity can direct as much as 80% of their fund-raising to doing what they set out to do. I think the next time that MADD calls and asks me for a $100 donation, maybe I'll give them what they seem to really need: $19.

One more bubbly to consider

Ch. De Montguere Cremant de Loire Brut NV - $18.95
Style: Off Dry
Francemoke on the finish. Very good body and length, and you can get two bottles for the price of a co

Rich mousse, slightly short-lived, with a fine almond-lemon colour. Rich, ripe citrus, apple and spice aromas with a trace of toast at the rear. Creamy, round, crisp and spicy on the tongue, with a full mousse, the merest hint of sugar, and a wave of smparable champagne. (LCBO 621896)

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Wine of the Week for December 4, 2006

Casillero del Diablo Carmenère 2005 - $12.55
Style: R2

Not everyone is enthusiastic about Chile's signature grape, but this perennial favourite is a good argument for its success. With an inky black cherry colour in the glass, it shows rich aromas of green pepper, dark chocolate, black raspberry and spicy oak. Rich and creamy on the palate, verging on sweet, it has huge berry flavours, soft tannins and a solid backbone. Very good body, long, with an authoritative tannic close. In a word, yummy, and a solid partner for beef stroganoff, chilli, or moussaka. (LCBO 620666)