Wine of the Week for November 27, 2006

Chateau Bonnet Entre-deux-mers 2005 - $12.95
Style: W2

After a couple of years absence from LCBO shelves, it’s nice to see this tried and true performer back. Made from sauvignon, semillon and muscadelle, in the Bordeaux manner, it shows rich aromas of grapefruit, gooseberry and mineral with a trace of rose petals. Soft and easy on the palate with a light acidity and a continuation of the grapefruit and gooseberry. A bit on the light side, making it a good partner for brie/camembert, Thai, fish with dill, grilled peppers, or shellfish. (LCBO 83709)

Wine(s) of the Week for November 20, 2006

There's a significant amount of hype associated with "Beaujolais Day", which signals the release of nouveau wines -- the season's first wines -- on November 16th. But regardless of the marketing push, the wines are typically high quality and not automatically frivolous stuff. Nouveau is food flexible and can work well with pork chops, veal, sausage, poultry, paté, cured meats, charcuterie, fresh cheeses, and flavourful fish.

Here are the current offerings at LCBO stores -- both Beaujolais and other nouveau styles -- and will most likely to be found close to the checkout.

Geo. Duboeuf Gamay Nouveau 2006 - $8.95
France: Burgundy
Why is this Gamay and not Beaujolais? Simple: the grapes are sourced from just outside of Beaujolais proper. Look for a full, fruity nose of black currant and blackberry. The palate shows traditional nouveau flavours of cherry and strawberries with a firm acid core and moderate tannins showing up at the tail end. What you expect from the style, and a bargain. (LCBO 891846)

Cantina de Negrar Novello Del Veneto 2006 - $8.95
Italy: Veneto
The nose shows attractive strawberry and spice with an intriguing chemical note. Rather substantial in the mouth, with firm tannins, strawberry and sour cherry flavour and a repeat of the chemical impression. Not for everyone, and possible a challenge with food, but will appeal to the adventurous. (LCBO 899955)

JeanJean Syrah Primeur 2006 - $9.95
France: Languedoc
Bright, light ruby colour. On the nose: rich raspberry, vanilla and a bit of licorice. Certainly syrah-like on the palate, with the crisp acidity of youth, light tannins and cherry flavour. Crisp, clean and refreshing. (LCBO 899948)

MezzaCorona Novio Novello 2006 -$9.95
Italy: Alto Adige/Trentino
Delicate aromas of citrus and dried berries with a soupçon of spice. Rather full in the glass, with a solid backbone, moderate tannins and bright red currant flavour. Made from Teroldego and Lagrein grapes, this one shows substance and refreshment. (LCBO 669275)

Mommessin Beaujolais Nouveau 2006 - $13.45
France: Burgundy
Full, ripe berries, perfume and a trace of vanilla. Opens with a fresh, crisp acidity, followed by dried berry flavours and light tannins. This is good mainstream stuff with a bit of extra stuffing. (LCBO 897934)

Pisse Dru Beaujolais Nouveau 2006 - $13.95
France: Burgundy
This one is a rather simple affair, showing nuances of floral, sweet cherry and vanilla. The palate is a bit rough around the edges but decent enough. May be a good idea to set it aside for a few months, but the rule is “no later than Easter”. (LCBO 669259)

Geo. Dubeouf Beaujolais Nouveau 2006 -$15.95
France: Burgundy
A deep ruby colour here. Look for basic cherry and strawberry aromas, but the palate is a fruit bomb -- rich and juicy with substantial tannin. The price seems justified. (Not found on the LCBO system, but it is in stores)

Wine of the Week for November 13, 2006

Bellingham Founder's Sauvignon Blanc 2005 - $13.95
Style: W2
South Africa

Done right, and with the proper terroir, sauvignon can be one of the most intriguing wines. This is a terrific rendition, showing rich asparagus, grapefruit and honeysuckle aromas, plus a touch of grass. Rather mouthfilling, with a crisp, forward acidity and grapefruit throughout. Very good body and length. Try with fish with dill, grilled peppers or as a foil for hollandaise sauce. (LCBO 665315)

Wine of the Week for November 6, 2006

Calliga Agiorgitiko 2004 - $ 11.95
Style: R3

I was challenged recently to find out why this is called the “St. George” grape. Well, it’s named after the town of Agios Georgios (which is now called Nemea). Whatever the name’s origin, this is one of Greece’s great indigenous grapes. The colour shows a deep garnet with beginnings of mahogany. There is a pleasant port-like aroma off the top that gives way to pepper and perfume with nuances of vegetal and caramel. Rich, smooth and juicy on the palate, with cherry, raspberry and vanilla, all supported by solid tannins, and a silky finish. I’d go with rich cheeses, beef stew or grilled portobellos. (LCBO 619262)