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Wine Pick of the Week - continued

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December 22, 2011

Aren't you clever? You've shopped, wrapped, prepped and primped and are ready for the happy onslaught of family, food, and merriment. All that remains is to select choice wines and shuck a few dozen oysters (for the Chablis, of course).



France +359844

For 90 years, 300 growers in chilly Chablis have been contributing Chardonnay fruit to the La Chablisienne co-operative, one of many venerable and fine wine-making collectives in Europe. The excellent 2009 vintage gives the La Pierrelée admirable concentration, finesse and ageability. Citrus and chalky scents prepare the palate for taught acidity, green apple and lemon flavours, and a stoney, lingering finish. Ultra-correct Chablis for a remarkable price and a natural with local oysters on the half shell—truly one of the world's great wine and food pairings. The chilled, briney, creamy oysters temper the wine's vigorous acidity and counter the steely nature of Chablis. There is also a heavenly matching of terroir as the vines' roots luxuriate in ancient chalky soils formed when blizzards of oysters clouded the Jurassic seas.

Find more best-value medium whites




If you're of the prime-rib-for-holiday-dinner-not-turkey persuasion, our medium red category winner is what you need. Mellow, firm, and earthy, this mature Italian red hails from Apulia on the heel end of Italy's boot. The grape is the ancient Aglianico (say ah-lee-ahn-eeko) that flourishes in volcanic soils of the Castel del Monte region. Aglianico can have quite muscular tannins and a few years of time in the bottle softens the structure, bringing the wine into balance. Developed, complex scents of plums and leather together with mature, silky tannins and a long, spicy finish need the simplicity of a beef roast with natural pan jus.

Find more best-value medium reds

December 15, 2011

The Holiday season is at full boil now, with the first Hanukkah candle waiting to be lit on December 20th, and Christmas and Kwanzaa just a dozen days away. This is a good time to lay in a few cases of exceptional value wines that thrilled our judges, as well as a few special bottles for special meals. Go ahead and have a festive splurge.



Australia +379149

Western Australia is fast gaining a superstar reputation for stylish Chardonnay, and this beauty from Evans & Tate speaks to the uniquely cool and breezy maritime climate of Margaret River. Acids stay brisk and fresh in this environment, and the Metricup Road Chard features lemon and apply fruit with crunchy crispness, that perfectly balances touch of rich oak and toast. It all adds up to an elegant white for just $20, and a tasty pairing for potato latkes, baked brie, or coconut-crusted prawns.

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Grant Burge The Holy Trinity GSM 2007


Australia +130989

Big, rich and red scarcely does justice to this suave and handsome wine from Grant Burge in South Australia's Barossa Valley, one of our rich red winners. The "holy trinity" refers to the dynamic trio of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre that pays tribute not only to these grapes' long heritage in OZ, but also to the famous blends of Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhone. Sweet dark berries, mellow spice, and floral lifts grace this refined wine's nose, and the palate features concentrated ripe-fruit flavours, mineral complexity, and lingering silk-textured finish. Brilliant with a perfectly juicy turkey, or roasted leg of lamb (and the price has recently dropped by $3!)

Find more best-value rich reds


December 8, 2011

‘Tis the season for entertaining with a little glitter, flamboyance and indulgence. Set an elegant table, polish the crystal stemware, light the candles, and serve our Best of Category rich white and rich red wines with dinner. Fuss in the kitchen a little—you, your guests, and the wines deserve it.




This luxurious Chardonnay truly defines rich white. Pampered fruit from the Castle Vineyard is lavished with new French oak, lees contact, and gentle handling once in the winery. It smells of peaches, lemon curd, and clove spice (evoking thoughts of Meursault), with flavours of baked apples, tropical hints, brioche and minerals. Our best of category rich white has just the right balance of decadence and finesse, and is full-bodied and lusciously textured to match pan-seared scallops with Chablis cream sauce, or lobster thermidor.

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B.C. +130989

Elite Painted Rock crafts winner after winner and this quality Syrah is a testament to both the vision of winemakers John & Trish Skinner and the special environment of Skaha Lake’s east shore. Powerfully built with 18 months in new oak, this wine has distinctive violet, dense black fruit, herbal, savory, meaty notes and the kind of mineral twang, rugged tannins, and fresh acidity of classic Rhone Syrah. The best of old and new world style with rich fruit, firm structure and glorious stamp of terroir. For dinner, serve duck breast with an intense, woodsy porcini demi sauce with a few dried cherries and sage leaves tossed in as you sauté the mushrooms. Juniper-marinated, bacon-wrapped venison loin would be fitting as well.   

Find more best-value rich red wines

December 1, 2011

Welcome to another 12 months of weekly picks as we taste our way through 109 terrific winning wines from the 2012 Wine Awards Competition. In late October, 16 judges were cloistered at the Vancouver Club for three days, evaluating over 800 wines from 16 countries. Wines were grouped into style categories, just the way we think about and buy wine. You’ll find our winners organized into 10 groups: sparkling, light white, medium white, rich white, rose, light red, medium red, rich red, dessert and fortified wines. This logical, intuitive sorting of wine by style makes is easy to pair to your mood, and with food. Drink up!



FRANCE +142836

A good place to start is our Best of Show wine, a cru Beaujolais full of finesse, exuberant juicy fruit, and lithe structure.  Ruby-hued with floral scents, dark cherries, herbal and earthy lifts, the dry palate shows piercing berry flavours with spice, gamey notes and distinct minerality. Refreshing and wonderfully balanced with agile tannins, it has all the elements a brilliant food wine needs—acidity, structure and intense flavour. Gamay is the cheerful grape of Beaujolais, and there are 10 cru villages that give us wines with deeper flavour, firmer body and greater complexity than basic Beaujolais. Our winner is from the cru of Brouilly (say brew-yee), and try it this weekend with roasted pork loin, a cheesey potato gratin and sautéed red cabbage.

Find more best-value light red wines

Recent Comments


Loved the Hester Creek Trebbiano!! Two thumbs up!!!
Palmer Ranch Real Estate
Sarasota Golf Course Homes

by Lakewood Ranch Real Estate on Apr 26 2010 at 11:36 AM