Although wine has been perfected in Europe and the Middle East over thousands of years, the “Old World” doesn’t necessarily hold a monopoly on beautifully crafted, delicious wines. Look to the “New World” for fresh inspiration: California, Ontario, Chile and Australia have some of the best.
Irony Chardonnay 2011 (Napa Valley)
A well-priced Chard that punches above its weight. Straw coloured with an apple, toasty oak and barnyard nose; full and rich on the palate with oaky, toasty and caramel flavours. Satisfying length. ****½ (89+). Food match: roast pork; ripe Brie. $19.95 • Vintages #27409
Jekel Pinot Noir 2011 (Santa Barbara County, California)
You won’t find a better California Pinot at this price. Deep ruby colour with a nose of raspberries, rust and sun-dried tomatoes. Medium-bodied and dry on the palate, it offers well extracted flavours of black raspberry and cherries carried on lively acidity. ****½ (89). Food match: duck breast; veal medallions.
$19.95 • Vintages #27268
Montes Twins 2011 (Chile)
I’m not often swayed by label designs but I couldn’t resist picking up a bottle with its hilarious drawings by British cartoonist Ralph Steadman. Twins refers to the bend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile’s Colchagua Valley. Dense purple in colour, the bouquet is spicy blackcurrant and blackberry backed by vanilla oak – flavours that fill the mouth. ****(88). Food match: lamb dishes; or beef. $12.95 • LCBO #352054
Flat Rock Nadja’s Vineyard Riesling 2012 (Ontario)
If you like brisk Mosel-style Riesling, you’ll go for Nadja. Pale straw colour with a nose of minerals, lime and grapefruit; light to medium-bodied, crisply dry, elegant with good mid-palate fruit (apricot). ***** (90). Food match: smoked salmon; oysters.
$19.95 • LCBO #578625
The Yard Wine Company Ad Lib Hen and Chicken Oaked Chardonnay 2010 (Western Australia)
Great value here. Straw coloured with a green tint; high-toned, barnyard nose with vanilla oak; full-bodied, mouth-filling flavours of tropical fruit carried on bracing acidity. ***** (90). Food match: roast chicken; veal chop. $109.95 • LCBO #297697
Quasar Limited Edition Pinot Noir 2011 (Casablanca Valley, Chile)
Ruby colour with a high-toned nose of raspberry and elderberry; medium-bodied, dry, spicy cherry flavour. Well worth the money. ****½ (89). Food match: duck breast; lamb chops. $17.95 • LCBO #366526