If I only had $100, I would buy these wines at Vintages

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If I only had $100, I would buy . . .

LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, August 6, 2011

There are great values to be had in the feature on Chilean wines in the August 6 LCBO Vintages release. While the country has developed a reputation for such iconic wines as Montes Purple Angel, Chile can be counted on to deliver reliably ripe, fruity full-flavoured accessible wines. The country is quite isolated by natural features, bound on the north and south by a desert and Antarctica, on the east and west by the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. This isolation has proven beneficial, keeping the country’s wine-growing regions largely free of the infamous phylloxera louse which decimated vines around the world in the late 1800s. Since then most vines are grafted onto American rootstock, an expensive practice not required in Chile. As a country with a wide range of altitude, climate and exposure, Chile can successfully cultivate many varietals, including Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc among the whites, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Carmenére, it’s most famous grape, among the reds. Prior to the phylloxera infestation in France, Carmenére was one of the blending varietals of Bordeaux. The vine was brought to Chile in the mid-1800s and for many years was assumed to be Merlot. In the mid 1990s, it was properly identified and has become the signature red varietal of Chile, known for being approachable, intensely purple colored, spicy character and soft velvety body.

This release also includes a small feature on B.C. wines, including a luscious full-bodied Chardonnay from Burrowing Owl, a classic Gewurztraminer from Dirty Laundry Vineyards, a fruity Merlot from Gehringer Brothers, a rich full Pinot Noir from See Ya Later Ranch, and a Bordeaux-style red blend from Laughing Stock. A long narrow valley, the Okanagan offers a range of climate, terroir and exposure, with almost every property overlooking a lake or river. The featured wineries are located in the central and south Okanagan, where the interplay of hot summers, shadows on the mountainside and unique microclimates create the context for outstanding wines. Finally, this release provides the unique opportunity to sample a fabulous off-dry sparkling wine from Nova Scotia’s Benjamin Bridge. The great value in this release means we’ve included 6 wines in the selection!

Cheers

Susan

Anakena ‘Lilén Single Vineyard’ Viognier 2010
Requinoa, Chile
$13.95 (Vintages #45138) 13.5% alcohol

A golden cascade into the glass foreshadows the smooth texture and lovely balance of this dry, medium-full bodied wine. Tangy aromas tantalize the nose—floral, stone and tropical fruit. The fruit replays on the palate, a stream of citrusy acidity refreshing and the characteristic touch of pithiness coming through on the lasting finish. A great value, you’ll enjoy it with barbequed shrimp and grilled vegetables.

Anakena ‘Single Vineyard’ Pinot Noir 2009
Leyda Valley, Chile
$13.95 (Vintages #208439) 13.5% alcohol
This wine displays a lovely balance and weight, depth of aromas and flavours and a fine silky texture. It’a all about rich ripe red fruit, with a garnish of spice and an appealing earthiness. Dry, full flavoured, the fine tannins and acidity make for a very approachable wine. Hints of spice and white pepper add complexity on the lasting finish. An excellent value.

Chilensis ‘Reserva’ Carmenére’ 2010
Maule Valley, Chile
$12.95 (Vintages #657981) 14.0% alcohol
Dry, medium-full bodied, this ruby wine entices with aromas of berry fruit, vanilla, smoky roasted pepper and a herbal note. The rich ripe dark fruit—blueberry and luscious black cherry—harmonizes with ripe tannins and fresh acidity. Peppery notes and a hint of espresso garnish the finish. A very nice value and a good choice for spicy pork ribs.

Emiliana ‘Adobe Reserva’ Syrah 2009
Rapel Valley, Chile
$12.95 (Vintages #213553) 14.0% alcohol
Deep purple, this award-winning organic wine is highly fragrant with aromas of spicy rose, dark berries, licorice and smoke. Dry, medium-full bodied, well structured, the rich ripe black berry flavours caress the palate, subtle peppery smoky notes persisting through the generous finish. Grilled red meat and a few bottles will liven up the party!


Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 2010
Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia
$25.00 (Vintages #256289) 8.5% alcohol

Finally, this delectable Nova Scotia wine has made it to Ontario. A winemakers’ favorite at a spring tasting in Ottawa, you won’t want to miss out. Benjamin Bridge is building a reputation for outstanding sparkling wines, many of which sell out within weeks of release. Nova 7 is a secret blend of several Nova Scotia varietals, the principal one being New York Muscat, created in the style of light, off-dry Italian sparklers. Light on its feet with a delightful fine creamy mousse, it offers lovely floral, peach, lime-splashed mango and mineral notes, harmonized with fresh acidity, creating a tangy yet fruit-filled mid-length finish. Have I said it’s wonderful . . . Sip it for pleasure or enjoy with light summer salads with a fruity vinaigrette.

Gehringer Brothers ‘Dry Rock Vineyard’ Merlot 2009
VQA Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
$18.95 (Vintages #229898) 14.4% alcohol

A deep ruby, this enticing wine offers complexity on the nose and palate. Aromas of red berry, plum, spice, herb and smoke drift from the glass. Dry, medium bodied, there’s depth and concentration of fruit and intriguing notes of earth, char and pepper that persist on the lasting finish. An approachable, accessible wine from the South Okanagan. Enjoy it with grilled rib steak or cellar short term.


Grand Total: $97.75

More about my blog post: If I only had $100, I would buy…
There is a myriad of wines out there, so it’s often a challenge deciding what to select when the
LCBO Vintages catalogue comes out every two weeks or so. Like a kid in a candy shop, your attention darts from one treat to another, but what to choose . . . Something to serve to your guests this weekend? Something to put away for a special occasion? Something to store for a autumn afternoon?

I recognize that each person’s tastes and preferences are unique. “If I had $100 . . .”, will be posted just prior to LCBO Vintages releases and will highlight unique wines I have tasted that provide good value; the selection will total no more than $100.

Occasionally, I may include an optional wine – you can substitute or add it for a little more or a little less! Print this off as your shopping list knowing that these wines have been selected by a Savvy Sommelier who has sipped, savoured & swirled countless wines before they arrived on the shelves in Vintages.  Hopefully you too will find a new favorite wine.  And when you do, quickly save your pennies to buy a bottle or two more.  Warning that once a wine is gone from a particular Vintages release, that vintage, and sometimes that wine, is gone for good!

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