Six sure fire signs of spring

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Without skipping a beat, a sign of spring is the arrival of the annual California Wine Fair.  This always quickly sells out. Ottawa is April 5 at the Westin Hotel and Toronto is April 8 at the Fairmont Royal York. The Fair features 130+ wineries offering 400 wines!  This year  features some of the new trends in the California wine industry.

Can’t wait until the California wine industry arrives in town?  Then this weekend’s LCBO Vintages March 16 release highlights California wines, focusing on pioneering winemakers who made a mark on the industry, starting in the mid 1970s, with their keen attention to quality. These determined winemakers combed their focus on matching key grape varieties to ideal soils and new hillside sites with single-minded attention to viticultural practices and innovative winemaking techniques.

Recognition came in 1976, when Château Montelena’s Chardonnay and Stag’s Leap founder Warren Winiarski’s Cabernet Sauvignon won the Judgement of Paris in their respective categories. This LCBO Vintages release provides the opportunity to savour some of these iconic wines, from Château Montelena Chardonnay to Duckhorn Merlot, Ravenswood Zinfandel, Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon and Inglenook ‘Rubicon’ Cabernet Sauvignon. These iconic California wines are priced beyond my budget of an assortment of wines that total max $100 for this blog.  I do however recommend that you consider splurging!

Another sign of spring is the focus of the clean fresh white wines produced in Europe’s alpine regions—Austria, Alsace, Germany, Hungary and Italy. Look for some fabulous Rieslngs and Pinot Gris. The general release delivers great value wines.  Others worth noting beyond my list below are: the perennial value, Château Hauchat ($14.95), Pierre Henri Morel’s absolutely fabulous Côtes du Rhône-Villages ($15.95), Torre Quarto’s ‘Bottaccia’ produced from Puglia’s little-known but delicious Uva di Troia ($14.95) and an outstanding value from Spain, Piñol’s Grenache blend, Ludovicus ($13.95).

Given all the great values, here are my top picks and there are 6 wines just under my $100 set limit!

Cheers and Enjoy!

Susan

 

If I only had $100, I would buy. . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, March 16, 2013

 

Balthasar Ress ‘Hattenheimer Schützenhaus’ Riesling Kabinett 2011

Rheingau, Germany
$17.95 (Vintages #735241) 10.0% alcohol


Straw/green, this is a fabulous Riesling displaying subtle, complex aromas and flavours of mineral, citrus, stone fruit and herb. Dry, a touch spritzy, the fruit and herb notes are framed by fine acidity and the underlying minerality.

 

Cave de Hoen ‘Heimberger’ Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace NV

AOC Alsace, France
$16.95 (Vintages #168948) 12.5% alcohol
This dry, pale salmon sparkling wine made in the traditional method, displays a fine effervescence that persists on the palate. Delicate aromas and flavours of red field berries—cranberry, currant and raspberry—dominate, while lively acidity carries the flavours through a crisp, palate-cleansing finish. A great wine for sipping at Easter, or to be paired with salads, fish or white meats.

 

Malivoire Riesling 2011

VQA Niagara Escarpment, Ontario
$15.95 (Vintages #277438) 10.5% alcohol
Finely crafted, this is a clean, lively white wine offering an attractive floral fragrance, along with aromas of citrus, orchard fruit and mineral. Light-medium bodied, a touch of residual sugar is paired with clean, refreshing acidity. Great balance and lovely flavours of lemon-lime, ripe apple and mineral right through the finish. Enjoy with pan-fried halibut or roast chicken or pork.

 

Rockway Vineyards ‘Small Lot Reserve’ Red Assemblage 2010

VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$16.95 (Vintages #321893) 14.0% alcohol
High-toned aromas of ripe dark fruit, spiced rose and a touch of roasted red pepper lift from the glass of  this blend of the Cabernets and Merlot. Dry, on the full side of medium bodied, this red wine is round, smooth, balanced and flavourful. Quite lush dark berry and plum flavours wash across the palate, supported by the subtle structure of well-integrated tannins and fine acidity. Notes of sweet baking spice and toasty oak garnish the fresh, round, fruity finish. Deftly crafted and an excellent value. 

 

 

 

Château Hauchat 2010

AOC Fronsac, France
$14.95 (Vintages #123489) 13.5% alcohol
This fragrant, dry, medium-full bodied Merlot-domianted red wine is a remarkable value! There’s complexity on the nose—red and black fruit, spice, vanilla and mineral. On the palate, there’s a fine marriage of firm tannins, plum and cherry/berry fruit, and fresh acidity, while lovely spicy notes and nuances of mineral and toast carry through the dry finish. A few bottles are in order for meals featuring robust red meats.

Nuova Cappelletta Barbera del Monferrato 2010

DOC Barbera del Monferrato, Italy
$16.95 (Vintages #719518) 14.0% alcohol
This is a reliably good producer known for its commitment to biodynamic agriculture. The red wine doesn’t disappoint, with lovely floral aromas, red fruits, spice and a touch of vanilla. Dry, medium bodied, sweet spice and vanilla replay, combining with flavours of red berries and kirsch. The wine is subtly yet firmly structured and beautifully balanced, offering a touch of warmth on a long mouth-watering finish. A great choice for mushroom arrosto with roast pork.

 

Grand Total: $99.70

 

 

 

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