Five wines are the apple of my I

Roasted Lobster with Tarragon Butter Sauce/Eric Vellend

as seen on canada.com

Over the past week I’ve offered up suggestions for great Ontario wines and screaming values from new sites in the Old World. My phone is now dialed in and my eye set on some bottles straight from the church of Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration. They may not be cheap but their 5g speed and spiritually restorative powers will see you through the decompressing weekends of your life.

The Sparkling

The grapes: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay

The history: Roederer Estate Brut was the first California sparkling wine to be produced by Champagne house Louis Roederer

The lowdown: Is there a better California sparkling wine than this Anderson Valley star?

The food match: West Coast oysters on the half-shell

Roederer Estate L’ermitage Brut Sparkling Wine 2003 (183392, $54.95) nine years on whiffs more aromas than a perfume factory. There is yeast, of course, along with citrus, pear, lime, ginger, strawberry leaf, toffee and even tobacco. Utterly iridescent, at once feminine and erudite of Champagne and then shuffles to a leesy and tangy filled udder of rudesse. “Sparks fly on E Street” when the Ermitage “walk it handsome and hot.”  92

The White

The grape: Chardonnay

The history: Heavy-handed style from Laura Catena out of Mendoza

The lowdown: Full-on California treatment, complete with toasted oak and tropical fruit

The food match: Pan-roasted lobster, tarragon butter

Luca G Lot Chardonnay 2010 (167338, $27.95) casts a simple twist of fate as it’s tropically restrained and not overblown as found in previous vintages. Toast in balance, big on pineapple, passion and bananas, porcine but at the same time crustaceous. Tons of vanilla custard, crème catalana and spicy to finish.   89

The Reds

The grape: Cabernet Sauvignon

The history: Crafted from a blend of fruit from across different vineyard plots in the Mayacamas Mountains, 2,800 feet above the Sonoma valley

The lowdown: The moderating effects of mountain altitude combined with forested hilltops helps to produce profound Cabernet fruit

The food match: Roasted beef tenderloin, foraged mushrooms

Stonestreet Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (4002, $29.95) concentrates herbs, olives, cocoa and campfire smoke. Rides the oak train in first class. Alexander Valley does Cabernet in a Rhôneish way, more Streetheart than Rolling Stones. A coup de coeur under my thumb. Hard core CVR** for the price.   90

The grape: Pinot Noir

The history: From a stalwart Pinot producing village in the Côte Chalonnaise south of Beaune in Burgundy

The lowdown: Nothing entry-level about this Mercurey. This is serious juice from a less than household name producer

The food match: Seared and rendered duck breast, pinot noir and peach reduction

Château Philippe-le-Hardi Mercurey Les Puillets 1er Cru 2009 (295071, $29.95) is a resplendent sniffer, rich, robust and steeped in cherry wood. The tannins and back bite may cause a screwface but this open door to the heady 2009 Burgundy vintage shows off Mercurey’s potential.  “Oh, now! I tell you what red is!”   89

The grape: Sangiovese

The history: Named for one of the feudal properties of the Ricasoli family

The lowdown: Guicciarda is the type of wine that bridges the gap between ancient Chianti and the modern world

The food match: Tuscan braised beef short ribs, caramelized cipollini onions, kale

Barone Ricasoli Rocca Guicciarda Chianti Classico Riserva 2008 (943613, $24.95) is a velvet gloved, shag carpeted, darkly hued modern Tuscan. The sun-dried berries, spicy currants and granular acidity recall the momento mori, carrying its ancestors in it’s every gesture. The price has remained fixed for as long as I can remember so the Guicciarda retains it’s spot as best CCR under $25.  90

CVR** – Vintage Direct Curiosity-to-Value Ratio

Good to go!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s