JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, JULY 19, 2008

Wines for the hot summer:

I realize these wine suggestions have been a long time coming (*I'm a busy man*), but I trust my readers will find the wait has been worthwhile.

Although some may disagree, I would argue the hot summer months are not entirely conducive to enjoying 'big' red wines, as the outdoor (and indoor) humidity would simply make such wines taste almost soup-like.

That is why my recommendations for this week are on the cooler, lighter side of things. In hot, humid weather, hearty Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon will simply not do! And, please believe me, full-throttle
Chardonnay is not much better.

So, what will work, then? Keep scrolling down.

RED WINES

(1) Torlesse
      -Pinot Noir
      -
Canterbury, New Zealand
      -Vintage 2004
       (DRINK NOW)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $20.95
       (the '06 is also available
       through Hobbs & Co. [agency])
      -L.C.B.O. # 699330
      -8.25/10



COMMENT: I eagerly opened up a bottle of this delicious Pinot Noir about a week ago: it was consumed mightily quick. Not an overly complicated wine, its perfume and tasty fruit components (such as raspberries and strawberries) are what make it so lovely. To be enjoyed at around 15 degrees Celsius, Torlesse is most certainly a terrific buy. Luckily, there are still quite a few bottles left within the L.C.B.O. system. Also, if you wish to buy the more recent '06 vintage, the staff at Hobbs & Co. are agreeable to deal with.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Cantonese-style Satay Beef --- enjoy!

(2) A.A. Altesino
      -'Altesino' ('Rosso')
      -Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon
      -Toscana [IGT], Italy

      -Vintage 2006
       (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $18.95
       (still widely available)
      -L.C.B.O. # 658369
      -8.25/10



COMMENT: While this might not come as a surprise to more experienced wine enthusiasts, many Italian red wines remain remarkably approachable in hot weather, provided they are (at least) somewhat appropriately temperatured. The 'Altesino' is, in my view, an appreciable example of such an Italian wine. What I like best about it is its fruit: the '06 'Altesino' actually tastes like it came from grapes! From notes of cherries to traces of candied apples, it ranks as a wine worthy of suggestion to others.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: A little prosciutto, dried crackers, with Pecorino Romano (nothing fancy) --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Weingut Dr. von Bassermann-Jordan
      -Riesling Kabinett (QmP)

      -Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten,
       Pfalz, Germany

      -Vintage 2006
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $21.95
       (there still some bottles
       lying around in the system)
      -L.C.B.O. # 988147
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: I know! I know! German wine is complicated! For our purposes here, let us just state that German Riesling in the  'Kabinett' style tends to be dry (with a slight hint of sweetness). The Bassermann-Jordan is, in my opinion, the winery of the questionable 2006 vintage. Their '06 Kabinett (the grapes of which hail from the famous Deidesheimer Paradiesgarten vineyard) is a gorgeous specimen, with fresh lemon, kerosene, and melon all presented in a delicate manner. With full, bracing acidity, this is a wine that performs well above its price.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Smoked sausage --- enjoy!

(2) Anakena
      -Viogner
      -Rapel Valley, Chile
      -Vintage 2007
       (Drink Now)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $13.95
       (still available in most
       L.C.B.O. outlets)
      -L.C.B.O. # 45138
      -8.25/10



COMMENT: The new darling grape of wine enthusiasts worldwide, Viognier is best known for its ripe, apricot-like scents and flavours on the nose and palate. The '07 Anakena from Chile is what one could call a 'textbook' example of Viognier: lots of delicate apricots, as well as fresh fruit. Well-crafted, the people at Anakena have a great deal to be proud of, not just with their Viognier, but  with other wines from them I have recently tried.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Roasted whole chicken with herbs and onions --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

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