Monday, January 22, 2018

My Vintages February 3 Recommendations

Dry, light and fruity in a glistening package, Bottega Gold Prosecco  is $27 worth of elegant sipping, calling forth ripe apple, pear and citrus notes and a zesty Key lime acidity.

    For something perfectly pink and bubbly with a French accent, there's Luc Belaire Rare Sparkling Rose, $40, that gets you an additional dimension of subtle fruit nuances. This time, it's fresh baked cherry pie with a dash of melon and raspberry coulis.

    Continuing in this unseasonably pink vein, there's Lapostolle Le Rose 2016 from Chile, one of the very best roses anywhere, for a bargain $18, dry, suave, food friendly and loaded with gorgeous strawberry and white pepper stoniness. Stock up now for spring! 

    Organic and biodynamic, seriously under-priced, Paarl South Africa's Jontys Ducks Pekin White 2015 is a versatile, food friendly everyday pleasure, round and stony with lime zest, Anjou pear and chalky limestone underpinnings. $16. Buy this by the case! 

    Speaking of zesty, this entry from Austria's Kamptal is electric! Kitmansberg Gruner Veltliner 2016, $17, will test all those people who say: "I just love really dry wines!" but actually prefer California-style residual sugar every time. In this case, think white grapefruit on steroids with limestone and granite underpinnings. Wonderful with grilled or pan-fried white fish, raw shellfish, and as an aperitif.

    If the term "toasty oak" turns you off, try the stony, steely, slightly flinty Chablis 2015 from J Moreau & Fils, $23. This northern outpost of Burgundy is rightly famed for its elegant aristocratic Chardonnay whites with their understated apple/pear nuances and legendary minerality.

    For a softer, more perfumed Chardonnay, from the south of France, Novellum 2016 is a steal at $18. Very different, easy-drinking, dry, fruitier with a hint of orchard fruit, especially white peach and scarcely any oak at all.

Among the most pleasurable red wines, Murphy-Goode Merlot 2013 is very well named.(Merlot-phobic Myles can just go Sideways!) Velvety, almost cuddly, mouth-coating and deliciously chewy (soft tannins), it leans towards black fruits and berries with a whiff of smokiness, $23. 

    Heftier by far, the brawny Mount Riley Syrah 2016 is smoky, tarry and mouth-filling, in a good way. Marlborough on New Zealand's South Island, it's really quite Rhone-like with crushed black pepper, roasted meat, ripe berry and old leather notes. Complex and intriguing, $19. 

    Overshadowed by the lordly Pinot Noir of Burgundy, the Gamay-driven reds just to the south rarely get their due. However, the Jean-Paul Dubost's Beaujolais-Villages Climat Le Tracot 2015 will not be denied. There's a hint of that classic Band-Aid aroma from the whole cluster fermentation followed by a superb coulis of ripe berry aromas and flavors. Silky tannins, drinking well now, $20.

From France's deep south in Corbieres, bordering the Med, Chateau Treviac 2015 gives big and hearty a good name, $17. Black currant, forest floor, leather, smoke and crushed black pepper call for big roasts, stews and steaks or burgers.

    Best of all but hard to find: Marchand de Gramont Vieilles Vignes Nuits-Saint-Georges 2015. Maybe the outstanding wine of the entire February 3 release. They say a great red Burgundy will cost you $250 -- $50 each for the first four crappy ones and another $50 for that ethereal bottle you're seeking. This is that bottle, and it's $59.95. aromas of crushed wild strawberries, damp earth, exotic spices, new leather and grated truffles! Online or in the flagship LCBO stores only. There's also an interesting red Bordeaux on offer there from crazy French actor Gerard Depardieu called Ma Verite, $49.95, that garnered an impressive 92 Parker points but our lab sample was untasteably corky. Dommage!

    For the plutocrats:  a superb and rare single vintage 1998 Armagnac from the leading producer, De Montal, seductive smoky citrus, dark honey, caramel and baking spices that should really be sold as an aphrodisiac. $143.95. Sorry!

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