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Chai Du Grand Vaudasniere Vouvray Demi-Sec 2017 12% abv.  Loire Valley, France

Tasting Notes: Vouvray: even if you know little about wine you are likely to recognize this name. It is the proprietary name given to the many different styles of wine made in this region from the Chenin Blanc grape. Demi-Sec indicates an off dry style: not fully sweet like a dessert wine, but not bone dry. Eye: 15 karat gold, lime tints. Nose: dried peach, apple cider, washed stones, chalk, with time opens to clover and creamed honey. Palate: Smooth, round, full, dried apricot, peach, canned pears in syrup, good depth, medium length finish. Firm acid holds the fruit together. Drink now, although this wine will age for a period of time. Pairing: extremely versatile. It can handle spicy foods like enchiladas, and will also match roasted pork, fowl (Easter ham, Easter Turkey). It will pair with your macarons or biscotti for dessert, and will complement you showcase cheese board.

Price: $23.99 750 ml

 

Ken's Picks


Quail's Gate Fortified Vintage Foch 2015 17.5% abv  Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Marechal Foch is a hybrid varietal that does very well in continental climates. It is one of only a handful of wine grapes in which the flesh (as well as the skins) is deep red. The wine cannot be called 'Port' because it is not made in Portugal. Eye: molasses, dark coffee rim. Nose: rum raisin ice cream, black cherry jam, figs. Palate: viscous and unctuous, but not cloying, dried currants, dark raisins, plum reduction, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla extract. Pairs well with Valentine's Day dark chocolate, dried fruits (figs, dried cherries), blue cheese, cigars, contemplation in your favorite leather chair. Drink now, but will age for another 2-3 years and perhaps longer.

Price: $26.99 375 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Primus Carmenere 2017 Apalta, Colchagua Valley 14% abv.  Chile

Tasting Notes: Carmenere, the grape that was once a staple in French Bordeaux vineyards, has found a new home in Chile, where the climate and geography provide almost ideal conditions for this late ripening sun lover. Eye: semi-opaque, black plum, crimson rim. Nose: cocoa, plum, dried dates, black cherry, black licorice, kirsch. Palate: plums confirmed, dark chocolate, black currants, vanilla, chewy tannins, but not unbalanced. This wine belies the price: lots of stuffing here. Drink now. Probably ageworthy for another 2 - 3 years in good conditions. Pair grilled meats, hard cheeses, sturdy pasta dishes with red sauce, burgers in the summer.

Price: $19.99 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Quails' Gate Gewurztraminer VQA 2018 13.5% abv  Okanagan Valley, B.C.

Tasting Notes: Gewurztraminer roughly translates to 'spicy traminer'; it's a famously aromatic variety, and Quails' Gate has crafted a text book example with the 2018 expression. Eye: pale gold, green hints. Nose: a fruit salad of lychee, white peach, gala apple, and rose petal. Palate: honeysuckle, pear, orange-ginger marmalade, Turkish delight. Enough acidity to hold the fruit accountable. The wine is an excellent foil for Christmas turkey; it can accommodate both white and dark meat, and will handle the tricky sides including cranberry sauce! Drink now. Oh and for those who need to know it's vegan friendly. If you want to know more about vegan friendly wines, read my article on our website. Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones!

Price: $23.49 750 ml.

 

Ken's Picks


Bender Pinot Noir 2017 13.5% abv  Pfalz, Germany

Tasting Notes: Pinot Noir from Germany...say whaaa? And yet here we have a great expression from Andreas Bender, whose reputation is based on meticulous attention to details and a dedication to modern sustainable viticulture and old world vinification. Eye: deep amber, red plum, dark tea. Nose: plums, cinnamon, loam, rose petal, orange rind. Palate: medium body with light grained tannin, red plum, strawberry compote, hints of clove and currant. Fragrant, balanced, with a satisfying depth. If you like Old World Pinot Noir but might not like Old World prices, give this wine a go! Drink now - 2021

Price: $22.99 750 ml.

 

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