JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, MAY 19, 2007

New Zealand Brilliance:

Two days ago, I attended the annual New Zealand Wine Fair at the lovely Design Exchange building down on Bay St., which is located just south of King St., where the intersection had been blocked due to a piece of marble that had fallen off the Bank of Montreal building several days prior --- such incompetence!

Suffice it to say, most of the wines presented were of superb quality, from crisp and zesty Sauvignon Blanc to delicious and fruity Pinot Noir.

This week, then, it is my pleasure to suggest some of these gems as possible 'wine purchases' for one's consumption.

RED WINES

(1) Torlesse Wines
      -Canterbury, New Zealand
      -Pinot Noir
      -Vintage 2004 (DRINK NOW)

      -PRICE: $22.95 (sold through Hobbs)
     
-8.25/10



COMMENT: As most wine enthusiasts are well aware, fine-quality Pinot Noir is not cheap; but this little item from the South Island of NZ is pretty damn reasonable. With 'loose' berries on the nose and some very fine fruit on the mouth (along with a very long finish), this is a beautiful Pinot Noir.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Sausage (South African style) --- enjoy!

(2) Alpha Domus
      -Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
      -Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon
      -Vintage 2004 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -PRICE: $20.00 (sold through
       The Merchant Vintner)

      -8.25/10



COMMENT: Made in the 'Bordeaux style,' the 2004 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon from Alpha Domus is indeed quite lovely, with light currants and a fine finish. Smooth overall, this is wine for people with enough courage to venture beyond NZ Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc and explore the many other 'noble grape varietals' New Zealand has shown to be capable of mastering.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Seasoned lamb chops --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Fairhall Downs Estate Wines
      -Marlborough, New Zealand
      -Sauvignon Blanc
      -Vintage 2006 (DRINK NOW)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $20.00 (approx.)
      -8.25/10




COMMENT: Made from a winery that has always impressed me with the overall quality of their wares, the 2006 Fairhall Downs Sauvignon Blanc is quite limy/lemony, with lots of gooseberries on the nose and palate. Carrying a terrific finish, this wine is the epitomy of first-rate, zesty and crisp NZ Sauvignon Blanc.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Rainbow trout --- enjoy!

(2) Martinborough Vineyard Estate
      -Martinborough, New Zealand
      -Chardonnay
      -Vintage 2005 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $34.00
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: Though the Sauvignon Blanc grape varietal is unquestionably NZ's 'white trump card,' it is becoming increasingly recognized that NZ is capable of producing excellent Burgundian-like Chardonnay; and the 2005 from Martinborough would seem to confirm this concretely. Showing great finesse, with the lightest of butterscotch and vanilla, this is a very refined and unique item. Quite pleasing!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pasta with a white wine-based sauce in light herbs --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

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