Monthly Archives: May 2013

Louis Jadot Combes Aux Jacques Beaujolais Villages 2010

Louis Jadot Combes Aux Jacques Beaujolais Villages 2010

France, $20

We’ve just finished a multi-page survey of all that is great in Burgundy (look for it in our June Issue) and this week’s selection riffs of that. Beaujolais—and in particular Cru Beaujolais that come from one of 10 designated areas—have been all the rage with sommeliers in the past few years.

But while there are some stars out there, sadly my experience is that given the high prices (often in the $40 range) they attract in Canada, I’d rather spend my money elsewhere—like two bottles of this exquisite bottle from Jadot.

It’s a category down from Cru, Beaujolais Villages, but who cares when you get this fresh, balanced wine with floral and
strawberry notes?

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Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Santa Carolina Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2011

Chile, $13

For the June issue, I was tasked by one of our editors to help her find a replacement for Kim Crawford sauvignon blanc, the super-popular, very well made wine from New Zealand. I came up with three (you=ll have to wait until June to find out which ones!) but this selection from Chile’s Santa Carolina could just have easily been on
the list.

It comes from the cool Leyda Valley, which sits just off the Pacific and is really making a name for itself in their world of sauvignon blanc. Expect a roundish sack of vanilla, grapefruit and some grassy notes. It tastes like a wine twice its price, and has very little in common with the Chilean sauvignon blancs from the Casablanca Valley which, though only a few dollars cheaper, tend toward one-note flavor profiles.

I’ve had a soft spot for Santa Carolina since I worked in Edmonton’s The Wine Cellar in the early 90’s—we sold cases and cases of their cab/merlot blend, bringing most customers their first taste of the wine juggernaut that is Chile. This sauvignon blanc only reinforces my faith in the brand.

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Mazzei Castello di Fonterutoli Badiola 2010

Niepoort Dialogo Branco Douro 2011

Italy, $20

Like everyone else, I go through wine phases where I get hooked on a certain grape or region and ride it until I get bored. Well, I’ve been on a Chianti kick for about 16 months and every time I think it’s time to switch gears I run into a wine like this smoking deal for Mazzei that has me fall in love all over again.

It’s the Manny Pacquiao of wines, powerful without being overly heavy, with waves of dark cherry and dried cranberry. At 70% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon it is technically a super-Tuscan, not a Chianti, so maybe I am expanding my horizons a bit—though its big brother, the Fonterutoli Chianti Classico, is also amazing. And if you love the point scores, our pals at the Wine Spectator gave it 92 of ‘em.

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Niepoort Dialogo Branco Douro 2011

Niepoort Dialogo Branco Douro 2011

Portugal, $20

I’m not so naïve as to assume that the pleasure one derives from wine comes solely from what’s inside the bottle. There’s the joy of discovering a new region, a new grape and the small charge one gets from a well-designed package…AND there’s what’s inside the bottle. This new-to-the-market bottling from Portugal’s famed Niepoort family succeeds on almost every level. It’s from the Douro, which is famous for Port, but only now is it starting to gets props for its table wine (and the white are even more nascent).

It’s a blend of—wait for it—codega do larinho, rabigato, gouveio, dona branca, viosinho and bical. I’m not making those names up—they’re actual Portuguese grape varieties. And the label is super engaging and fun. All that would only go so far if the stuff inside weren’t so compelling and lively in the glass. It’s fresh without being overly acidic or bracing, and has lovely white peach aromas and—just so you know you’re in Portugal—a long, almost salty but pleasing aftertaste. One of the most fun white wines I’ve had all year.

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