Wines to romance your Valentine. . .


Savour a sampling of California Cabernet Sauvignons from some iconic producers, mostly from Sonoma and Napa, in the February 4 LCBO Vintages release.

Cabernet Sauvignon (winespeak: Cabs) is a grape that benefits from consistent warm weather and an extended growing season. California offers the long warm days to ripen the fruit and the tannins, as well as cooler nights to retain fresh acidity. Napa’s geography creates a range of climates, from the southern vineyards, influenced by the cooling air from San Francisco Bay, to the warmer inland viticultural areas to the north. Sonoma, growing more grapes than Napa, also has the range of terroir found in Napa, largely due to the same climatic influences. The fog and cloud cover born on the Pacific Coast, extended growing degree days, altitude and soil all play a role in creating distinct styles of wine.   

The feature on Greek wines offers the opportunity to try modern, stylish wines produced using indigenous grapes (such as Xinomavro and Agiorgitiko among the reds, the white varietal, Moschofilero, and the well-known sweet Muscat) from one of the oldest wine-growing regions in the world. Classical writers such as Homer and Socrates mentioned the benefits of wine in their works. While postcard impressions are of a dry, hot, sunny climate, the grape growers are focusing on north-facing slopes and higher altitudes to produce quality fruit with good levels of acidity and concentrated fruit flavours.  

If you’re looking for wines for Valentine’s Day, there are some compelling choices, including the Corte Pavone Brunello, but my choice to make a splash would be the Jackson Triggs ‘Entourage Silver Series’ Brut Méthode Classique, or if your dear heart has a sweet tooth, try the G. Marquis Vidal Icewine. There are a couple of very good values under $15 in the release, including the Dry Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and the Château Haut-Canteloup Côtes de Bordeaux. For Ontario wine lovers, I would recommend the Pondview Riesling and the Cattail Creek Cabernet/Merlot (both wineries have been featured in our Savvy Selections wine of the month club).

Cheers and Enjoy,

If I only had $100, I would buy . . .
LCBO Vintages Release as of Saturday, February 4, 2012

Jackson Triggs ‘Entourage Silver Series’ Brut Méthode Classique 2006
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
$22.95 (Vintages #234161) 12.0% alcohol
Aged 36 months in bottle on the lees, this pale gold sparkling wine offers enticing aromas of toasted brioche, lees, citrus, orchard fruit and mineral. Dry, medium bodied, toasty and citrusy, it has an ample persistent mousse. Vibrant acidity assures a lovely fresh texture and an extended finish. Pop the cork for your Valentine!

Château Lamothe de Haux Blanc 2010
Côtes de Bordeaux, France
$14.95 (Vintages #909341) 12.5% alcohol
This is an excellent and unique value, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle that offers the attractive pungency of gooseberry, grapefruit, citrus zest and subtle vegetal notes. Firmly dry yet smooth, medium bodied, vibrant citrus and racy acidity create a clean balance, mouth-cleansing pithiness delivering a refreshing and long lasting finish. Pasta with grilled chicken in a cream sauce would be a good match

Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Dry Creek Valley, California
$24.95 (Vintages #642207) 14.5% alcohol
Blending of small amounts of the classic Bordeaux varietals to this Cab has added substance, harmony and complexity. Rich ripe fruit aromas, crème de cassis, spice, cedar and mocha tantalize. Dry, full bodied, robust, almost brawny, this wine is crafted on a firm spine of tannins and lively acidity, offering an intriguing array of flavours, from well-defined tangy cherry/berry fruit through espresso and notes of dried herbs and spice that linger on the long dry finish. A wine to serve with rare meats and that will cellar 5-7 years. Great value!

Don Nieto Senetiner ‘Don Nicanor’ Malbec 2008
Mendoza, Argentina
$17.95 (Vintages #178657) 14.5% alcohol
Aged 12 months in French oak, this inky black Malbec offers great value. Dry, full bodied, the aromas are intense—dark berry, plum, floral, cedar, spice and vanilla—and the dark fruit flavours equally concentrated, the floral, spice and cedar notes adding complexity on the palate. There’s good structure bringing balance, and a lasting consistently flavourful finish. Serve now with rare grilled meats, or cellar a few bottles medium term.

Château Haut-Canteloup 2009
Côtes de Bordeaux, France
$13.95 (Vintages #264747) 13.0% alcohol
You’ll want to pack the cart with this award-winning Bordeaux blend of Merlot and the Cabernets. Deep crimson, it’s loaded with aromas of sweetly spiced black berries, vanilla, cedar and a floral nuance. Dry, medium-full bodied, earthy, leathery notes underlie dark fruit and vanilla. Perceptible tannins and lively acidity frame the ripe fruit, an attractive dry fresh finish wrapping up the package. Enjoy with beef or lamb and drink regularly over the next few years.

Grand Total: $94.75



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