JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2008

2005 Bordeaux:

Young though I may be, how fortunate I am to be privy to sample some of the finest Bordeaux wines (possibly) ever made!

Put simply, the hype behind the 2005 Bordeaux vintage is very much justified, for the wines are beyond glorious --- they are miraculous.

Sadly, not being wealthy, I will never be able to afford most of the items I try as a 'professional.'

In any event, for those of you with big pockets, heed my suggestions, for you will be rewarded.

RED WINES

(1) Château Lafont-Rochet
      -Blend
      -
St. Estèphe, Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage 2005
       (Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $61.50
       (not yet released in stores)
      -
L.C.B.O. # 580902 (could change)
      -9/10



COMMENT: What can I say? Here is an excerpt from my tasting notes: "A little closed right now .... Light toast and earthy currants ... excellent ... surprisingly open fruit .... Lovely finish .... Terrific balance and refinement. " To be certain, I enjoyed this wine immensely, and, for its price (which is bound to go up) and quality, I would argue that it is not overpriced. It is a fantastic wine. Buy it (if you can find it)!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Lightly minted rack of lamb (Greek style) --- enjoy!

(2) Domaine de Chevalier (Rouge)
      -Blend
      -Pessac-L
éognan, Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage 2005
       (Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $81.35
       (not yet released in stores)
      -L.C.B.O. # 580035 (could change)
      -9/10



COMMENT: This wine hails from an estate with which most true wine enthusiasts hold the greatest respect. It does not command high points from Robert Parker, so it remains relatively cheap when compared, qualitatively, to its counterparts. The beneficiaries of this is you and me! A tad closed, yet displaying lovely rose scents, toast, currants, and red licorice. Tannic, but remarkable overall integration and elegance, this wine should age an extremely long time. Let's hope the price does not rise too much when it finally reaches L.C.B.O. shelves.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Marinated pork chops --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte (Blanc)
      -Blend
      -
Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage 2005
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $108.10
       (not yet released in stores)
      -L.C.B.O. # 581116 (could change)
      -9/10




COMMENT: Every year, this estate manages to produce a white wine (and, to a lesser extent, a red wine) that outmatches most of its more expensive counterparts throughout Bordeaux. Extremely youthful at present, with all the butterscotch and toast that goes with it, what makes this wine stand out above the rest is its overall personality. From being light and floral on the nose to being fat and complex on the palate, the price at which this wine is being asked is deceptively expensive. Such an excellent and brilliant wine!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Prawns prepared with a little garlic --- enjoy!

(2) Domaine de Chevalier (Blanc)
      -Blend
      -Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage 2005
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $119.00
       (not yet released in stores)
      -L.C.B.O. # 581041 (could change)
      -9.25/10



COMMENT: This is the first time I have ever, in the same issue, recommended two wines from the same estate. But such quality and value cannot be ignored, and Dom. de Chevalier deserves far greater adulation than it presently receives from North American 'critics.' This white is heavenly, with such aromas as oak, butterscotch, vanilla, and a little 'mineral-like' attitude. What's more, it has superb balance and complexity, and an extremely long life ahead of it (at least in my opinion). At $119.00, it is the most expensive wine I am recommending in this issue; if you have deep pockets, good people, buy it!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Steamed mussels with pasta --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email me at julianhitner@hitnerwine.com

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