Four Must Buys this Labor Day Holiday Weekend

If you’re like me, you look forward to Vintages Saturday with equal parts excitement and dread… excitement, because soon you will be sipping on a new wine… dread because there goes another 100 bucks out the window (granted, it’s on wine but still). This coming weekend is another Vintages release and I’ll whisper sweet somethings in your ear about a few bottles you should pick up that offer great value for what’s in the bottle.

Villa Mt Eden ZinThose of you who follow this column know that I have a love-on for Zinfandel. I try not to wear my heart on my sleeve too much but when it comes to summer and BBQ, there is no better wine to have with your pork products… therefore, don’t even hesitate to pick up a bottle (or three) of Villa Mt. Eden Antique Vines Zinfandel 2008 ($19.95 – #256719). The 2008 is not a typo; it is five years old already, and that has given the wine time to mellow and smooth, but there is still plenty of what makes Zinfandel such a hedonistic wine: cherry-cola, vanilla, licorice and sandalwood… this is intense, mouth-filling satisfaction. (****+)

White fans looking to cool down this weekend should look no further than the 2010 Waimea  Viognier ($19.95 – #325969) – these are the oldest Viognier vines in New Zealand and they make one heck of a delicious wine. In my notes, I put “almost too good for words,” but I’ll give it a try: floral, orange zest, lovely spice and a really nice acidity to balance it all out. This is the one I’ll be kicking back with on Sunday afternoon as the kids lament having to go back to school. (****+)Waimea Viognier

For those of you looking for something even more exotic, check out the 2010 Breca Garnacha Old Vines ($19.95 – #329086). This wine really is a steal and is in the 90-point highlight package that LCBO is plugging, so get to your store early. It’s a stunning display of deliciousness with plum, cherry, cassis, blackberry and chocolate, along with some mineral-chalkiness so the fruit doesn’t get away – plus look for the interesting spice notes that also show up. (****½)

I just want to remind you all that it is, in theory and unofficially, the last weekend of summer, so make the most of it with Little Beers. Buy yourself some heavy cream, then head to the liquor store and grab a bottle of Diego Zamora Licor 43 ($34.95 – #263780). Buy a dollar store shot glass and fill the glass about three-quarters with the Licor 43 (****½), then top with a little bit of the heavy cream… you can thank me later, when your headache dissipates and you start again next weekend.  Cheers.

Licor 43