JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2007

WINES NOT TO BUY:

Once in a while, so-called 'wine experts' like myself try to warn people about which wines
– particularly ones popular at a given present time – to never buy. And, believe me, there are plenty such wines within the L.C.B.O. system that I would never touch in a thousand years ... well, perhaps not a thousand years, but a damn long time. Thus, for this week's selections, I offer my readers a couple of suggestions on which wines to avoid like the dreaded annoying neigbours (*not that I would know anything about such a simile*).

RED WINES

(1) Wolf Blass ("Yellow Label")
      -SA, Australia
      -Cabernet Sauvignon
      -Vintage (doesn't matter)

      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $17.15

      -7.5-7.75/10



COMMENT: This wine, though one of the most popular Aussie items within the L.C.B.O. system (it is a 'General List' product), is one of the overpriced and lousiest of them all. I am convinced people purchase it because they are familiar with it, but for all the wrong reasons. Not only is it obnoxiously fruity and amply one-dimensional, it does not even age properly (though some of my more generous colleagues might say it could withstand a few years). My advice: stay clear of this wine!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: The toilet bowl --- enjoy!

(2) Sterling Vineyards
      -Napa Valley, California, USA
      -Merlot
      -Vintage (doesn't matter)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $30.15
      -7.75-8/10



COMMENT: At Christmas time, I am amazed (as I walk through major L.C.B.O. outlets) at how many people purchase this particular label. Brutally fluffy with fruit and high alcoholic content, this wine stinks worse than unwashed athletic undergarments. It is a Vintages 'Essentials' item, which means it is widely available – this might help explain why it is so popular. The one thing that saves it from being undrinkable is that it is so overpriced that one feels forced to gulp it down!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Fasting --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Santa Margherita
      -Valdadige, Trento Alto Adige, Italy
      -Pinot Grigio (grape varietal)
      -Vintage (doesn't matter)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $17.15
      -7.75/10



COMMENT: What saves this wine from being a total washout is that it is not entirely bad. Granted, it is way overpriced and is almost without any flavour, but it is – at least structurally – not a complete failure. It is sold as a Vintages 'Essentials' item, which probably explains its popularity. If one likes Pinot Grigio, I suppose this is an acceptable wine (for people that don't mind being ripped off).

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Roasted money bills --- enjoy!

(2) Mouton-Cadet
      -Bordeaux, France
      -Vintage (doesn't matter)
      -
L.C.B.O. PRICE: $13.20
      -7.75/10



COMMENT: Does this wine really deserve to be among those that one would quantify as being ill-advised to buy? The answer, I believe, is yes. For too long, too many people have been opening up their wallets to pay for this Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc blend from Bordeaux that really does not measure up, what with the somewhat-sour notes it contains, as well as its overall lack of charm. One can purchase a far superior Chilean bottle for a few bucks cheaper!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Nothing --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

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