JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 21, 2007

WINES FOR THE CELLAR:

In the past decade or so, increasing numbers of winemakers throughout the world are crafting their wines in such a way so that they may be drunk at an earlier date. This is because, endless statistics aside, more and more people wish to consume their wine almost immediately after they bring it home from the store.

This being said, however, there still remain plenty of winegrowing regions around the world (particularly in France) where winemakers take great pride in producing wines that are capable of maturing beautifully in the cellar for years on end (sometimes decades).

This week, I share my knowledge of four of these types of wines in the hopes that a few people will go out, buy them, and subsequently lay them in their cellar(s) for the aging that they (that is, the wines) most rightly deserve!

RED WINES

(1) Château Beaucastel
      -Châteauneuf-du-Pape,
       Rhône, France

      -Vintage 2004 (HOLD)

      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $92.15
     
-8.75/10



COMMENT: Though hardly a cheap wine, Beaucastel is indisputably one of (if the not the) finest producers in the Southern Rhône winegrowing region of France. The 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, while showing very little right now, is a very complex wine, capable of aging for at least fifteen years. Make no mistake, right now this wine is very 'tight' on both the nose and palate, revealing very little of the brilliance it possesses to even the most sensitive taster. Cellar it with pleasure!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Plain roasted duck --- enjoy!

(2) Cape Mentelle
      -Margaret River, Australia
      -Cabernet /Merlot
      -Vintage 2004 (HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $22.15
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: Though indisputably drinkable at a young age, red wines from Cape Mentelle (at least from what I have observed) tend to have the capacity for exceptionally long aging, especially the Cabernet/Merlot blend. Boasting a lot of dark fruit, this is a 'big' wine, which, at present, is still notably herbaceous and very tannic. To the cellar it goes!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Aussie lamb chops --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Domaine Weinbach
      -Alsace, France
       ('Schlossberg,' Grand Cru)

      -Riesling
      -Vintage 2004 (HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $55.00
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: In the winegrowing region of Alsace, Riesling in France unquestionably reaches its highest level of quality. And, to be certain, Dom. Weinbach is one of the most prestigious producers of Riesling (among other 'cool climate' white grapes) in all of France. A little spicy and very clean, the 2004 'Schlossberg,' though highly enjoyable at present, will have no problem being tossed in the cellar for a good seven-to-ten years (maybe more).

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Marinated rainbow trout --- enjoy!

(2) Joseph Drouhin
      -Burgundy, France
       (Puligny-Montrachet)
      -Chardonnay
      -Vintage 2005 (HOLD)
      -
L.C.B.O. PRICE: $53.15
      -8.75/10



COMMENT: Two years later, many experts are lauding 2005 as an absolutely beautiful vintage for Burgundian wines; and, from what I have tasted thus far, I do believe this to be a fairly accurate assessment. Several months ago, I tasted this particular wine, made by the ever-respected house of Joseph Drouhin; with a nose of great finesse and breed, as well as lovely light-butterscotch nuances and mild fruit on the palate, this wine should age extremely well for a very long time. Off to the cellar with thee!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Seasoned chicken breasts --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

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