JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2007

Awesome wines for snobs:

Merry Christmas!

To celebrate this festive season, I have decided to recommend some of the finest wines there are.

From what I have observed, people are not afraid to lay down some hard cash in exchange for some really expensive items, often as gifts for other people (such as clients and bosses).

Well, if people are willing to spend the money, this week's items are some of the most brilliant wines I have tried in a long while.

RED WINES

(1) Château Léoville Barton
      -Blend
      -St-Julien
, Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage 1998
       (Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $98.00
       (available at a few stores)
      -
L.C.B.O. # 999490
      -9/10



COMMENT: Without doubt, this is one of the most underrated items available this holiday season. Made by one of the most respected estates in Bordeaux, the key thing to understand with Léoville Barton, which is owned by Anthony Barton, is its incredible value! Right now, the '98 is revealing a lot of earthy notes and light fruit, with very silky overtones on the palate. A delicate wine, I do not think it is yet ready for drinking.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Chinese-style spare ribs --- enjoy!

(2) Paul Jaboulet Aîné
      -'La Chapelle'
      -Syrah (grape varietal)
      -Hermitage,
       R
hône, France
      -Vintage 2003
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -PRICE: $159.00
       (available through
       Halpern [agency])

      -9.5/10



COMMENT: If you are able to get your hands on this wine, consider yourself lucky! Extremely decadent and complex, this wine affords both one's nose and palate with all sorts of wonderful sensations, from light tobbaco to extremely 'dark' fruit. Carrying great tannins, the palate is surprisingly silky, with an extremely long finish. Though there might be a few bottles still lying around within the L.C.B.O. system, my advice is to get in touch with the agency provided above. NOTE: if you can't find the '03, the '04 (though less volumptuous, overall) is also superlative.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Aussie rack of lamb with mint --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Domaine Weinbach
      -'Cuvée Laurence'
      -Gewürztraminer
      -Alsace, France

      -Vintage 2004
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $74.00
      -L.C.B.O. # 736975
       (available at Queens Quay
       and Bayview)
      -8.75/10




COMMENT: I am astonished that the L.C.B.O. still has a few bottles of this wonderful wine in its system. Boasting magnificent petrol notes, lichen, and pineapple scents, this is a first-rate Alsatian Gewürztraminer. It is made by one of the finest houses in Alsace, and will make a great gift for any true wine enthusiast.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Lobster --- enjoy!

(2) Krug
      -'Grand Cuvée' (half-bottle)
      -Champagne, France
      -Non-vintage
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $119.00
       (available in larger stores
       within L.C.B.O. system)
      -L.C.B.O. # 38588
      -9.25/10




COMMENT: After thinking about it (albeit for just a few seconds), I thought it might be wise to include a sparkling wine among my recommendations for the Christmas season. Made to near-perfection, this is one of the finest Champagnes I have enjoyed in a long time. Overloaded with tiny bubbles, the non-vintage Krug offers incredible notes of truffles and mushrooms, toasted scents and nuts, as well as glorious dried, 'temperate' fruit. Refined (to put it mildly).

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Caviar --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email me at julianhitner@hitnerwine.com

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