JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2007

PINOT NOIR AND RIESLING:

These days, wines made from Pinot Noir are among the most trendy and sought-after in the world, as people simply cannot get enough of its unique scents and flavours, as well as the mystical romanticism surrounding it. While many winegrowing regions have attempted to harness this grape, only a handful of places seem to have got it right --- I think people will enjoy the red wines I have selected this week, even though they will probably never be able to get their hands on them.

While it is beyond dispute that Chardonnay still holds the title of 'king of white grapes,' the noble Riesling varietal is by no means one that wine experts, growers, and enthusiasts have ignored. With top-quality German Rieslings getting even better with each passing year – along with the exciting new Rieslings coming out of Austria, New Zealand, and Australia – there is good reason to think that Riesling might one day come to equal Chardonnay in terms of popularity.

RED WINES

(1) Craggy Range (‘Te Muna Road Vineyard’)
      -Martinborough, New Zealand
      -Pinot Noir
      -Vintage 2003 (DRINK OR HOLD)
      -Available in Quebec for $51.00
       (Thank the L.C.B.O., everyone
        - "Thanks, Dad!")
      -8.75/10



COMMENT: Outstanding Pinot Noir, with chocolate truffles, beefy notes, and a very chewy mouthfeel. Distinctly New Zealand in style (in other words, not too alcoholic or overbearing), this wine carries a great deal of complexity, and should not be confused with any other Pinot Noir from around the world.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Slow-roasted duck (or maybe turkey --- enjoy!

(2) Louis Jadot
      -Pommard, Burgundy, France
      -Vintage 2002 (HOLD)
      -Unavailable! (I couldn't find it)
     
(Thank the L.C.B.O., everyone
       - "Thanks, Dad!")

      -8.5/10



COMMENT: Alas, this wine is such a beauty, and yet it is nowhere to be found (I tried it several years ago at a public tasting put on by Lifford Wine Agency). Very delicate (though a bit raw when a tried it), this wine has great complexity, and will probably be an excellent item to hold onto in one's cellar for at least a decade to come. NOTE: the 2003 was also superb ... maybe that will be easier to find, though I doubt it.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Wild game on a bed of rice --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Saint Clair
      -Marlborough, New Zealand
      -Riesling
      -Vintage 2005 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $15.95
      -8.25/10

COMMENT: Whenever I taste this wine, I am always ready to issue it the praise it rightfully deserves. With small hints of lemon and petrol, this has one of Marlborough's best-value top-quality Rieslings; it is very crisp (with a tiny hint of spiciness) and holds just the right amount of fruit, and can easily be enjoyed on its own.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pork cutlets that are breaded and fried --- enjoy!


(2) Reichstrat von Buhl
      -Pfalz, Forster Bischofsgarten, Germany
      -Riesling Kabinett
      -Vintage 2003 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $18.95
      -8.25/10

COMMENT: Without going into the complicated details of the German wine-labeling system, all I can say is that this wine is worth the extra effort to seek out, especially for wine enthusiasts who appreciate Rieslings that can stand long-term aging (there were only five bottles left in the L.C.B.O. system when this article was written - I expect them to be gone!). This wine is made from one of the most respected houses in all of Germany. It is also not a simple wine, and must be aged at least five years before it will start displaying its glorious flavours!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Steamed crab legs --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email me at julianhitner@hitnerwine.com

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