JULIAN HITNER TORONTO WINE CONSULTANT

"For love of everything that is wine"

WINES OF THE WEEK FOR SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2007

'Workhorse' Wines:

To start the new season off, I have decided to recommend wines that are not only reliable, but also able to tough it out with different types of foods. In my opinion, we need more 'workhorse' wines, ones that do not always have to be paired with a specific dish in order to exact the greatest amount of enjoyment!

RED WINES

(1) Antinori ('Villa Antinori')
      -Toscana [IGT], Italy
      -Vintage doesn't matter
       (Drink Now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $24.10
      -L.C.B.O. # 53876
       (available at all L.C.B.O. outlets)
     
-8.25/10



COMMENT: From one of the most highly-regarded estates in all of Italy, Antinori can trace its roots over two-dozen generations! Put simply, they know how to make wines of quality. The 'Villa Antinori' is a blend of 60% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 5% Syrah. My past notes on this wine have always included such comments as 'ripe fruit,' 'soft texture,' and 'fine structure.' On a more personal side, seeing as how I will be traveling to Florence in October, I will be sure to visit the Piazza Antinori and go to their restaurant, where 'Tignanello' is sold by the glass at a nice price!

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Any pasta or 'medium-meat' dish; also goes well with heavier poultry --- enjoy!

(2) Cathedral Cellar
      -Coastal Region, South Africa
      -Cabernet Sauvignon
      -Vintage doesn't matter
       (Drink now or Hold)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $16.95
      -L.C.B.O. # 328567
       (a Vintages 'Essentials' item)

      -8/10



COMMENT: Several years ago, I opened up a bottle of the 1995 vintage; though merely an 'entry range' wine, it still boasted lots of fruit, and had developed a beautiful texture. Since then, I have come to expect a very high standard from this particular label, and it never fails to disappoint vintage after vintage. Always a bit rustic at first, this wine is best noted for its 'smoky' fruit. For its type, it is a 'large' wine, but still pairs well with many types of dishes (though I wouldn't serve it with mussels). Note: the Shiraz is also as consistently good.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Any 'free range' meat or 'goofy' birds --- enjoy!

WHITE WINES

(1) Villa Maria ('Private Bin')
      -Marlborough, New Zealand
      -
Sauvignon Blanc
      -Vintage doesn't matter
       (Drink Now)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $16.15
      -L.C.B.O. # 426601
       (available at all L.C.B.O. outlets)
      -8.25/10




COMMENT: Consistently praised by critics, this NZ Sauvignon Blanc can deservedly be called a 'workhorse' wine, both for its reliability and for the options it brings towards enjoyment. Carrying great citric notes and lovely, breezy fruit, it can easily be drunk on its own or with all sorts of seafood, pasta, and poultry dishes (though I would keep an eye on the sweetness of the sauce). This particular wine sells extremely well at the L.C.B.O., so if you need to buy more than a case, you'd best check the L.C.B.O.'s online inventory.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Almost anything that isn't too sweet; I have also found it pairs great with pork --- enjoy!

(2) Beringer ('Founders' Estate')
      -California, U.S.A.
      -Chardonnay
      -Vintage doesn't matter
       (Drink Now)
      -L.C.B.O. PRICE: $18.95
       (available at all L.C.B.O. outlets)
      -L.C.B.O. # 534230
      -8/10




COMMENT: No sense in denying it, the world craves California-style Chardonnay, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, as it allows different wineries to create ones that are unique if they wish to distance themselves from the competition. However, there are times when the reverse is even more preferable, in that there exists brands that are consistently the same year after year. For my part, I would have to state that Beringer admirably fits the latter category. Neither too buttery nor too oaky, the Founders' Estate is a big-though-well-balanced item, and can go well with all sorts of 'bigger' dishes.

PAIRING SUGGESTION: Heavy meats and pasta sauces --- enjoy!

ANY QUESTIONS?

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