Food & WineSay sí to Spain, Portugal and Great Value

Say sí to Spain, Portugal and Great Value

Say sí to Spain, Portugal and Great Value

Time once again for a tour around the Vintages shelves of the LCBO, and after a bargain-filled January, there is very little to get excited about. There is only a handful of wines from the February release that are truly wonderful for the money spent. Let’s start with the Domaine Grand Veneur 2010 Les Champauvins Côtes du Rhône ($18.95 – #0076331) from the Rhône Valley.It’s sexy and supple with plum, cherry, chocolate. You’ll also find great spice on the finish and all at a pretty good price (****½).

Juan Gil 2010 Red

My next selection comes from Italy. There is so much going on in the Pelassa Bricco Enrichetta Langhe 2011 ($16.95 - #0305508) that you’ll think you paid more. Lilac, leather, mocha and spice take the lion’s share of the work with hints of raspberry, spiced cherry, dark berries and good balancing acidity. It is a real pleasure to sip, even better when paired with pasta or the meat dish of your choice (****+).

One of my favourite Spanish producers, Juan Gil has a great red. The Juan Gil 2010 Red ($21.95 - #0001677) is a true beauty, sexy and smooth with blackberry jam aromas and dark fruit that follows onto the palate. This is one to stock up on for summers to come (****+).

For those of you going through white withdrawal and looking to get your Chardonnay fix, there’s a Kendall-Jackson 2011 Vintner’s Reserve that’s out in two sizes: 375ml ($11.95 - #703710) and 750ml ($19.95 - #369686), depending on the size of your Chardonnay itch.  Buttery with melon, vanilla cream, apple and peach-cobbler notes. The wine uses oak as a seasoning and not as a main ingredient  and that makes it very tasty (****). If you’re looking for something a little more exotic in the world of white wine, try the Statti Mantonico Bianco 2010 ($18.95 - #317644) from Calabria. This is refreshing with peach, lime, orange zest and some interesting canned pineapple notes (****).

Devil’s Corner 2011 Pinot Noir

Head to Argentina where the Nieto Senetiner 2010 Gran Reserva Malbec / Petit Verdot ($17.95 - #295170) offers terrific value in a wine that delivers lots of dark fruit, red licorice, vanilla and creamy notes then balances it all with some sour cherry (****). Just across the Andes in Chile, you’ll be happy to discover Tabali 2009 Reserva Especial ($22.95 - #107540) with its juicy blend of Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Blackberry, black pepper, blueberry, black cherry and sandalwood also make a welcome appearance (****+).

Tasmania is one of those unsung gems in the world of Pinot Noir making. Time and time again, I am impressed with that grape in this place. Devil’s Corner 2011 Pinot Noir ($20.95 - #317966) will satisfy. Lovely spice, great balancing acidity, powerful yet somehow restrained fruit that meets up with some delicacy and finesse to me is the complete package and is a wine you won’t soon forget (****).

It you’re looking for something from the same part of the world (Australia) that will blow you over with flavour, check out the Rolf Binder 2009 Ma I? Have This Evening Shiraz Mataro ($19.95 - #295899). (Yes, it’s really called that.)It’s seductive with lots of fruit, big aromas, massive flavour yet shows elegance and complexity. On a night out or, better yet, a night in, this wine has your back (**** ½).

Bargain hunters should flock to this “rather rare bird” (as the Vintages Panel calls it), Caruso & Minini Sachia Perricone 2010 ($13.95 - #211854) from Sicily, made with the Pignatello grape.– It has black licorice, cassis, coffee and cocoa. It is an excellent wine to have on hand for the upcoming BBQ season.

Spain and Portugal have the possibility to boom big in the next few years (and I’m gonna keep saying that till it happens) as the wines are excellent value and of excellent quality. Of the four wines listed below all are four stars and above and none break the $15 price barrier.

Castelo de Azurara 2010 Reserva

Portugal: No Ports here, instead it’s a bottle of Castelo de Azurara 2010 Reserva ($14.95 - #314542) which has hints of spearmint as a backdrop for all the red fruit screaming out of the glass (****). The Herdade do Sobroso 2010 Sobro Red ($14.95 - #306563) is a red to just drink and enjoy. There’s some cedar knocking at the back door, but it’s nothing that’s going to take away from the big, black-fruited taste (****).

Spain:  Pinol Ludovicus 2010 Tinto ($13.95 - #313791) is a Grenache-based blend with four other grapes mixed in for seasoning. Plum, black cherry, hints of chocolate, vanilla are all smooth and supple. It is great value in an easy-drinking red (****). Grab the Tarima 2010 Monastrell ($12.95 - #310151). Where else are you going to find a $13 red that’s this yummy now, and can still easily age 5+ years? It is loaded with plum and cherry and balancing spice that helps keep the fruit from running away with it all (****).

Enjoy the wines. Be sure to catch up with my weekly selections at

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