JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, JANUARY 12, 2008

No matter what the occasion, an enjoyable get-together ought to never be without some sort of booze. And since wine is the theme of my website, I thought I'd lend my voice to the masses of party-hosts out there on what wines are good to serve.

Now, unless you are exceedingly wealthy, the purchasing of fine wine for a party (especially a large one) can often prove exceptionally difficult. Without question, wine can make the hosting of a party very expensive, so it is very important to select cheap wine that does not seem to taste like 'bulk.'

For my part, I am delighted to offer a few suggestions on what might pass for items that taste more expensive than they really are.

RED WINES

(1) Yvon Mau
      -Merlot
      -Languedoc
, France
      -Vintage doesn't matter
       (Drink Now)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $9.20
       (available everywhere)
      -
L.C.B.O. # 336743
      -8/10



COMMENT: 'Top value' is a term I do not often use (the reason being that I seem to find most people use such an expression too liberally); and yet 'top value' is probably the most apt term I could use to describe this wine. As cheap as can be, one could lie and say it costs $15.00 to one's guests and actually sound convincing. Uncomplicated, this Merlot offers nice fruit and sound structure; in other words, it is a wine for true wine lovers. Plus, at just 11.3 % alc./vol (instead of, say, 14.5 %), it is a 'safer' wine to give to your guests.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Lemon-roasted chicken --- enjoy!

(2) Trapiche
      -Malbec (grape varietal)
      -Argentina

      -Vintage doesn't matter
       (Drink Now)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $8.80
       (available everywhere)
      -L.C.B.O. # 501551
      -8/10



COMMENT: Dirt cheap, this is an excellent wine to provide for large parties. Like the wine mentioned above, it is relatively straightforward, with nice, dark fruit, and a lovely aftertaste. At 12.5 % alc./vol, it is also not overly alcoholic. In the end, I am surprised that I have never recommended this wine before. I suppose it just got overlooked ...

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Steak, pure and simple --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Dr. Loosen
      -'Dr. L'
      -Riesling
      -Mosel, Germany

      -Vintage 2006
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $14.85
      -L.C.B.O. # 599274
       (available at most outlets)
      -8.25/10




COMMENT: I suppose it might seem strange that I am recommending a white wine that costs about five bucks more than the two reds I suggested above. But I would not be much of an advisor if I were to not mention this stupendous Riesling from one of the finest estates in Germany, Dr. Loosen. With a lovely steely mineral note about it, along with beautiful fresh fruit, this wine ought to fit well in a party-going atmosphere. More importantly, at just 8.5 % alc./vol, serving it is a sign of a mindful host.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: King crab legs --- enjoy!

(2) Freixenet
      -Sparkling Wine
      -Cava, Spain
      -Non-vintage
       (Drink Now)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $13.35
       (available everywhere)
      -L.C.B.O. # 88591
      -8/10




COMMENT: No party is complete without sparkling wine; and since Champagne costs a fortune, one must always be prepared to offer an alternative. Like its name suggests, Freixenet is (at least on my palate) best known for its freshness and reliability. It is commonly made from three local Spanish grapes (though Chardonnay is now often included), and can be enjoyed with a minimum of scrutiny. A fizz for fun (not snobbery).

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pita and Guacamole --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

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