JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2007

GOOD GIFT WINES:

Though hardly the Christmas season, I have often been consulted by both friends and family members on the subject of what wines make for good gifts. If truth be told, a bottle of wine can make a really excellent present, especially since more and more people in North America are becoming more knowledgeable about wine as an 'institution.'

At the same time, a bottle of wine meant as a gift need not necessarily be expensive. There are plenty of items from which to select at the L.C.B.O. that do not cost a fortune, which will still invariably please the intended recipient: I would call these items 'thoughtful wines.'

RED WINES

(1) Kay Brothers ('Hillside')
      -McLaren Vale
      -Shiraz
      -Vintage 2003 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)

      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $56.15
     
-8.75/10



COMMENT: From a lesser-known estate in the premium winegrowing region of McLaren Vale, Australia, Kay Brothers produces some seriously delicious Shiraz, with densely-layered fruit and lovely chocolate and floral scents. Quality is extremely high, and prices are (accordingly) not unreasonable. The 2003 'Hillside' Shiraz should make an outstanding gift for people who appreciate wonderful, mouthfeeling Aussie Shiraz. It is a damn fine wine!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Steak --- enjoy!

(2) Podere Collelungo
      -Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy
      -Vintage 2001 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $49.00
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: Before I tried this wine several weeks ago, I had never before actually heard of the estate. On tasting it, however, I was seriously impressed at its quality; with beautiful wild cherries and light wood, this would make a wonderul gift to any person who adores Italian wine, especially considering the price.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Pasta with herbed tomato sauce and ground sausage --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Dom. Christian Moreau
      -Chablis, Burgundy, France
       ('Vaillon,' Premier Cru)

      -Chardonnay
      -Vintage 2005 (DRINK NOW OR HOLD)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $34.95
      -8.5/10



COMMENT: For its part, the L.C.B.O. 'Vintages' section usually offers quite a fair selection of premium Chablis, and the 'Vaillon' by Christian Moreau would seem to confirm that consumers really do get what they pay for: an elegant 'Old World' Chardonnay that makes for an excellent gift. Boasting light fruit (pears) and mineral content, it is a lovely gem of an item.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Steamed clams --- enjoy!

(2) J.J. Prüm
      -Graacher Himmelreich,
       Mosel, Germany
      -Riesling Auslese
      -Vintage 2004 (HOLD)
      -
L.C.B.O. PRICE: $49.00
      -8.75/10



COMMENT: Made by one of the most prestigious wineproducing houses in all of Germany, this sweeter-style Riesling is extremely complex, with magnificent touches of light fruit and lemon, as well as an overall structure that is matched by very few other wines of its type in the world. Makes a superb gift for those who love German Riesling!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: White chocolate --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

Email me at julianhitner@hitnerwine.com

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