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Labels for Special Occasions  
--  If it is not good enough for my dinner guests, you won't find it here.  --  

Zenato, Amarone della Valpolicella 2009 - Veneto, Italy

My notes remain fairly consistent on this wine from one vintage to the next. "Amarone with a more new-world twist." This is a mouth filling, palate coating, assault of goodness; gobs of stewed fruit with an underlying spice character; it's really quite amazing, but in no way old-world. Ultra rich, viscous, port-like and lip-smacking good. '09 is a big year in Veneto, so let this one cellar until 2015+ or at the very least, decant 1-2hrs before serving.

$49.95  LCBO #413179
$49.75  SAQ #879445


Heinrich Vollmer, Altum Pinot Noir 2008 - Pfalz, Germany

This impressed me - a fuller tasting pinot by comparison, though still able to retain its varietal character; plum skin, overripe raspberry, baked cherries and subtle hints of smoked meat. Traditionally called Spätburgunder in Germany, this bottle presents a curious authenticity and unique twist to the more familiar and popular pinot noir examples that are often misconstrued as lightweight wines.  

$21.95  LCBO # 375279


Cloudy Bay, Sauvignon Blanc 2013 - New Zealand

The longstanding King of Kiwi Sauvignon and arguably the best of the new world style.  Grassy and herbal with loads of racy but focused citrus acidity; passion fruit, grapefruit, lime, and gooseberry.  Spectactuar with Asian fare, salads, and seafood dishes.

$31.95  LCBO #304469
$31.00  SAQ  #10954078


Studert-Prum, Riesling Spatlese 2012, Graacher Himmelreich - Mosel, Germany

This is one of those wines you keep coming back to. Even with vintage variation, Studert-Prum retains great consistency from one year to the next.  The '12 Kabinett Riesling is light weight with perfect amounts of clean minerality, citrus verve and intriguing petro notes, though certainly not overpowering.  The core is lifted by a balance of sweetness and acidity.  Try with pork tenderloin, stuffed turkey, or Asian fare.

$20.95  LCBO #160853


Organized Crime, Pinot Noir 2009 - Niagara/Beamsville, Canada

The winery's name hints at a tale of two local but feuding Mennonite churches, one who's members (allegedly) stole the other's pipe organ in the middle of the night. The content of the bottle is equally enticing and this Pinot is one that will surely make you sing to a higher being!  Medium bodied with earthy undertones that mingle with dark cherry, cranberry and notes of cinnamon spice.  The price is on par with Pinot of comparable quality throughout the talented winemaking regions of the world - enjoy this showstopper from your own backyard, Canada!

$34.20  LCBO #364406


Jonata, La Poesia de Jonata Pinot Noir 2007 - California, USA

California dreamers will lose their mind over this wine - it is exceptional in every way that is warm climate Pinot.  I prefer a touch more earth-like character with my heartbreak grape, but this really is outstanding and will pair beautifully with traditional holiday dinners like baked ham or the turkey feast with all the rich trimmings.  

$79.00  LCBO #220509


Bonny Doon Vineyards, Le Cigare Volant 2008 - California, USA

Simply fantastic - nothing is masked by artificial additives or industrial meddling whatsoever.  Expect cinnamon, dried cranberry and cherries with hints of pepper spice; beautifully balanced, slightly transparent and in no way representative of the stereotypical California style.  My third time and certainly not my last.   This is a wine intended for those who prefer to think while they drink!

$39.75  LCBO #975847
$49.00  SAQ  #10253386


Bachelder, La Petite Charmotte 2011 - Burgundy, France

Somewhat bewildering upon initial inspection, this wine gives very little for the first 20 minutes; I almost poured it back into the bottle to march it straight back to the store - but that would have been a huge oversight.  With some gentle decanting and a touch of patience, this Cote de Nuits effort displays a delicate balance of red fruit and subtle herbs.  Certainly not aggressive and not a wine to be overpowered by rich food; this is something quite special from Quebec-born Thomas Bachelder. 

$49.95  LCBO #357228


Elderton, Command Single Vineyard Shiraz 2005 - Barossa Valley, Australia

A friend of mine calls this 'Poor man's Grange' and he's not too far off the mark. Power and elegance; it coats your senses with smoke, chocolate, ripe currants, and cassis - but it's the mix of raspberry and black pepper on the finish that wins me over each time. Jaw-droppingly good wine for a special occasion.  Decant a minimum of 2 hrs before serving or cellar until 2015. Tasted multiple times and most recently in January 2014.  You're unlikely to find the '05 vintage on store shelf at this point, but the 2006 is a stellar year in south Australia as well and readily available.

$73.25  LCBO #716142


Glen Carlou, Petit Verdot/Tannat 2009 - South Africa

Two heavyweight but lesser known grape varieties (Petit Verdot and Tannat) make up the blend of this South African show-stopper. Streams of deep garnet stain the glass of this highly extracted and aromatic bombshell. The nose shows pronounced blackberry, ripe raspberry, woodsmoke, and cassis while the palate is rather restrained by comparison and surprisingly uplifting - fascinating on its own, though I suspect even better alongside a richly flavoured meal.

$21.95  LCBO #363440


Domaine de Riaux, Pouilly Fume 2011 - Loire, France

In the unlikely event that new world Sauvignon Blanc is a touch to aggressive for you, this is a more traditional example showing less grassy character and more delicate notes of apple, lime, gooseberry with hints of creamsicle on the finish - lovely and my preference for Sauvignon.

$25.95  LCBO #200063