JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, JUNE 16, 2007

Superb Blends:

This week, my focus is on 'blended wines,' in other words, wines that are made up of more than one grape varietal. As is well known by true wine enthusiasts, wines that carry more than one grape (especially red wines) tend to be more complex than those that include only a single varietal. Granted, there are several notable exceptions to this fact, including premium wines of Burgundy (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay), Germany (Riesling), and Napa (Cabernet Sauvignon). All the same, however, in such winegrowing areas of the world where more than one grape is employed, the results can be truly extraordinary.

RED WINES

(1) Cteau Léoville-Las-Cases
      ('Close de Marquis')

      -St. Julien, Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage 2003 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)

      - L.C.B.O. PRICE: $75.00
       (available at Summerhill, as of early-June)
     
-9/10



COMMENT: From the deadly hot 2003 vintage, this 'second wine' from the most prestigious estate from the Bordelais appellation of St.-Julien is as sexy as they come! Closed at present, this appears to be one of few wines that carries that, in spite of the 'soupy' and 'fat' vintage, is able to demonstrate pure pedigree. Not cheap, to be certain, but brilliant. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. Can be stored for up to ten years (maybe longer).

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Prime rib --- enjoy!

(2) Cantine Giacomo Montresor
      -Amarone della Valpolicella,
       Veneto, Italy
      -Vintage 2000 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $60.15
       (Only a few bottles left within system)

      -8.75/10



COMMENT: For people that are familiar with Amarone, it is very hard not to love it. Made from three regional grapes (Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara), it is generally a very full, chewy wine, with deep flavours and a long finish. The Amarone that I am recommending this week is one of the best I have tried in a long time. Filled with awesome fruit flavours and delightful scents, this wine is not cheap, but it is exemplary.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Lasagna, made from a full-flavoured ragu --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Stratus ('Stratus White')
      -Niagara, Canada
      -Vintage 2004 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -PRICE: $44.00 (Sold out at winery)
      -8.5/10




COMMENT: While it is pretty much impossible to actually obtain this wine, I wanted to give the Stratus estate the credit it deserves for its being able to produce a multi-blended white wine of such calibre. Made from six different grapes, this is quite complex, with light toasty notes, along with a hint of vanilla and butterscotch. Congrats to those that managed to get a bottle of it!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Marinated turkey breast --- enjoy!

(2) Cteau Suduiraut
      -Sauternes, Bordeaux, France
      -Dessert Wine
      -Vintage 2003 (HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $50.05 (375 mL)
      -8.75/10



COMMENT: For my part, I am happy to say that I bought this particular wine on 'Futures' several years ago, and they are now resting comfortably in my cellar. Made from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, this sweet wine is not one what would call 'straightfoward.' Offering all sorts of lovely sweet-fruit scents and flavours, this wine is extremely deep and long on the mouth and finish. Can be laid down for a very long time, perhaps more than twenty years.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Strong cheese and dry crackers --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email me at julianhitner@hitnerwine.com

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