Whether you’re building your dream cellar collection, or looking for the ideal pairings, here are some ideas to get you started…
By Natalie MacLean
2011 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe La Crau, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhône AC, France (LCBO #951475, $96.95): Superb! Polished, bright and vibrant, when I expected a
monster of a dark-red wine. The heftis there, yet it’s unbelievable that the alcohol on this is 14.5%—it’s so balanced, elegant and long in the finish. Pair with Kobe beef.
Sweetness: extra dry. Drink: 2016–2028. Score: 96/100.
2009 Louis Jadot Beaune Theurons, Burgundy AC, France (LCBO #42838, $58.95):This premier cru offers lots of enjoyment in the glass. Fleshy black cherry, earth and some dark spice. This medium-bodied French red wine is smooth and long lived, with a great finish. Pair with line-caught fresh seafood. Sweetness: extra dry. Drink: now–2020. Score: 91/100.
2011 Pascual Toso Alta Reserve Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina (LCBO #261958, $33.95): The grapes for this towering Argentine red wine were sourced from the Barrancas Vineyard. It provides the deepest, darkest concentrations of blackberry, blackcurrant and black plum that I’ve tasted in a while. Full-bodied and smooth, this delivers lots of hedonistic satisfaction. This wine will benefit from two hours’ decanting. A long, satisfying finish. Pair with filet mignon or a pepper steak, or with herb-roasted lamb. Sweetness: extra dry. Drink: now–2019. Score: 93/100.
2010 Beringer Quantum, Napa Valley, California, United States (LCBO 362400, $69.95): Mocha and dark chocolate are provided by generous oak aging, then step back to reveal dark fruit and spice on the palate. This wine needs serious cellar time and decanting before you enjoy it with hearty meat dishes. Sweetness: extra dry. Drink: 2016–2022. Score: 91/100.
2011 Penfolds Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia, Australia (LCBO #414987, $44.95): A hallway breeze of minty cool rushes out of the glass, then you open the door to fleshy black fruit on the palate and a lovely long finish. Full-bodied and smooth. This is a flagship wine for Australia, from a master producer. Great complexity, balance, structure and depth. It will do well in the cellar, but I challenge you to wait as it’s terrific now! Decant for 1–2 hours. Pair with filet mignon, pork tenderloin or hard cheeses. Sweetness: extra dry. Drink: now–2021. Score: 92/100.
2011 Luce, Luce della Vite 2011, Tuscany IGT, Italy (LCBO #685263, $99.95): Drop-dead gorgeous, creating a wine spa for your tongue. This is a proposal wine: Make any offer while sipping on this blockbuster and you’re almost guaranteed acceptance. The seductive nose is of black violets dipped in moonlight and fleshy black plum. But this is all about texture: Satin, wrapped in silk, wrapped in clouds. Pair with truffle-accented pasta. Sweetness: extra dry. Drink: 2015–2028. Score: 98/100.
2003 José Maria Da Fonseca & Van Zeller Vintage Port 2003, Portugal (LCBO 638924, $24.95): An excellent port with tremendous depth, concentration and length. Aromas and flavours of fleshy back fruit, dark spice and smoke. Perfect for evenings when a fire is blazing and the comforts of home are around you. Try it with hard cheeses, Black Forest cake, and gripping mystery novels. Sweetness: Sweet. Drink: 2014–2020 Score: 96/100.
Natalie MacLean, author of the bestseller Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines, offers a free newsletter and mobile apps on Ontario’s largest wine site at www.nataliemaclean.com.