This is not a New Years Resolution. It is too late in January for that. What this is, is a suggested list of wines, or styles of wines, that you may want to consider trying. Maybe you have never tried wines from Argentina? Why not? With my list below, I give some reasons you may want to try these wines. If you cannot find a particular wine, you may be able to get a person from your local wine shop to find you a similar wine. All the prices I list are for BC. I will give you a few choices in different price ranges.
The weather this month is cold and miserable, if you are here in the Northern Hemisphere. So I am going to suggest that you try a Malbec from Argentina. This is a full bodied red wine, with good tannins to give it some backbone, and will go with a nice winter stew or roast.
- Trivento Amado Sur, 2010, Argentina ($15.99). This is a red blend of Malbec, Bonarda, and Syrah. Deep ruby in colour, with chocolate and vanilla on the nose. Full body, dry, with dark fruit and pepper on the palate. Soft tannins make this an inviting, easy to sip wine.
- O. Fournier Alfa Crux Malbec 2008, Argentina. Deep purple in colour. Nice deep plum aromas. Plums, cherries and cassis flavours. And a bit of licorice in the mid palate. Smooth and dry. Really nice.
If you cannot find these, a Malbec by Catena, BenMarco, or Dona Paula should be around in most wine shops.
Still more miserable cold weather, so let’s go with another big red. This month’s suggestion is a Merlot from BC or Washington State. Merlot from both these places seem to be bigger and more muscular than Cabernet Sauvignon for some reason. Something special with our terroir.
Lake Breeze Vineyards Seven Poplars Merlot 2009, BC ($24.99). Deep garnet in the glass with an opaque core. Deep, dark cherry with vanilla aroma. Quite a brooding aroma. Full body, dry but very fruity, with black cherries and ripe plums. Medium tannins. Quite tasty.
- Hester Creek Estate Winery Merlot Reserve 2008, BC ($26.99). Pale translucent garnet in the glass. Interesting nose, with orange peel, vanilla and cherries. Medium body, dry, with cassis, cinnamon, cloves and cherry flavours. Very nice.
- Novelty Hill 2008 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Merlot, Washington (US$28) – Light garnet colour. Smoky, raspberry and mocha nose. I really enjoyed the aromas from this wine. Medium body with red cherries and some oak. Fine tannins. Light and lingering fruit flavours on the finish.
- Barrage Trifecta Merlot 2008, Washington – Pale garnet in colour. Lots of violets on the nose as well as cloves. Medium body, round with lots of ripe plums, cassis and cherries. Round mouth feel, with soft tannins and medium acidity. Cloves and spice on the finish. Very tasty.
If you cannot find any of these wines go to your Chile wine aisle. Santa Rita makes good quality wine across the board. Look for their entry level Santa Rita 120 Merlot or higher quality Santa Rita Reserva Merlot.
Spring is surely coming. Flowers for sure will be sprouting in Vancouver, but maybe not in other parts of Canada. So let’s go with a Port. This is a fortified wine produced in Spain. I enjoy having a small glass while unwinding at the end of the day before going to bed, but it is also good with your dessert after dinner. Yes some of these wines are quite expensive, but you only drink a small glass at a time, so you can enjoy it over many evenings with family and friends.
Niepoort LBV 2005, Portugal. This is a Late Bottled Vintage port. This one is medium ruby in colour. Light aromas of cherries and apples. Light body, medium sweetness, but quite spicy on the palate. Flavours of plums, dark cherries and some vanilla.
- Sogrape Vinhos Ferreira 20-Year-Old Duque de Braganca (Portugal). Light tawny colour in the glass. Ripe sweet fruit and Malmsey Madeira nose. Round mouthfeel, medium sweetness. Apples, plums, chocolate and spice. Nice.
- Fonseca Guimaraens Quinta do Panascal 2001 Port (Portugal). Deep purple colour. Very nice dark fruit nose. Red delicious apples, black cherries and spice on the palate. Medium tannins. A very elegant port.
- Fonseca 20 Year Old Tawny Port, Portugal ($63.99). A tawny port is aged in wooden barrels, which exposes the wine to oxygen causing oxidation. As a result, these wines gradually turn to a golden-brown colour. The exposure to oxygen also imparts “nutty” flavours to the wine. This wine had caramel and roses aromas in the glass. Amazing flavour with sweet spices, nuttiness and butterscotch. Sweet but dry with a long length.
Again if you cannot find any of these, try a Dow’s 10 Year old Tawny port or their Late Bottled Vintage 2005/06. These wines should be readily available.
Spring is soon upon us, so maybe an unoaked Chardonnay would make your day, or month. Here are some suggestions from BC. Not all Chardonnays are made with gobs of oak influence. Give an unoaked version a try. Maybe enjoy with a pork roast or chicken.
Domaine de Chaberton Unoaked Chardonnay 2008, BC. Pale lemon in colour, with lots of tropical fruit and pear aromas on the nose. Medium body with apple, peach and pineapple flavours. Medium acidity to make the wine refreshing.
- Dirty Laundry Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay, 2007, BC. Light lemon colour. Tropical fruit, lemon, and honey on the nose. Some roundness in the mouth. Vanilla, apple and pear flavours.
- La Stella Leggiero Unoaked Chardonnay 2009, BC. Light lemon colour. Flowery and grapefruit aromas. Quite an unusual nose, but very nice! Light body with lots of pink grapefruit flavour and a bit of almonds on the finish. High acidity to keep the wine refreshing. Long length. A very nice wine.
If you do not have access to any BC wines, I recommend again to head for your Chile wine aisle. Errazuriz Unoaked Chardonnay, Anakena Unoaked Chardonnay, or Santa Rita 120 Unoaked Chardonnay (entry level, very reasonable price).
The rest of the months will follow as we progress through the year. So keep this one book marked and watch toward the end of April for my suggested wines to try in May – August. Enjoy!