Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Q" is for Quick Choices For Fabulous Reds

If you're celebrating Valentine's Day at home, you may want to pick up a couple of bottles of great reds at reasonable prices. Using the CSPC #, this makes shopping "quick" and easy.

Over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to taste a whole array of red wines. Some of these were okay; others, great!

In the Vintage section of the LCBO you’ll find Etim 2007, (CSPC #146019), $14.95, Montsant, Spain. This is a powerful red wine offering lots of black pepper, smoke and cassis in the aromas. In the aromas you’ll also find a mineral quality, the smell of limestone, which can be found in the soil of the vineyards of Montsant in the province of Tarragona (Catalonia), Spain. Dark berries, leather and spice coated in great structure with velvety texture and full body is found on the palate. Decant this wine for an hour or so to take the edge off its tannins. Etim an excellent choice to partner with game birds and meats.

Portugal is worth considering, not only for its Port, but also for its table wines. The principal red grape varieties of the Douro region include Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Francesca and Touriga Nacional. These varieties are grown in schist and granite soil profiles surrounded by a continental climate featuring hot and dry summers and very cold winters.

Recently, the LCBO released into Vintages a lovely Portuguese wine called Sogrape Reserva Douro 2003 D.O.C., (CSPC # 335208), $17.95. In this wine I found aromas of ripe plums, chocolate and spice. The palate swirls with flavours of red fruit, spices and smoke, embraced by full body, firm tannin and a long finish. I really enjoyed this wine. It’s a fabulous partner for game meats, duck, goose, lamb and roast beef.

This month the LCBO is showcasing its best releases scoring over 90 points with an average cost of between $17.00 and $25.00. I experienced one of the wines last night called Juan Gil Tinto 2006, (CSPC # 1677), $21.95. This baby scored 91 points by Robert Parker ( The Monastrall grape variety is fermented dry to produce a wine with finesse and complexity. The Monastrall grape grown in Spain was believed to be the same variety as France’s Mouvedre. Today, however, experts are still not quite sure. Monastrall does produce big, bold, tannic reds that soften with age, very much like Mouvedre.

The nose of Juan Gil is at first delicate with aromas of violets. Give it time to age in a decanter. The nose opens up offering lots of dark berry flavours. Medium body with dark berries, loads of structure, and a long finish come through on the palate. The wine was aged for a year in both American and French oak. While the wine can take some cellar aging for a few years, it is also highly drinkable now. Marry this wine with heavy dishes, such as roast beef, gourmet burgers, venison, goose and duck. Spaghetti with buffalo used in a meat sauce would taste great alongside a glass of Juan Gil. Pizzas will require pepperoni or other red meats.

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