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Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough

Sauvignon Blanc

Babich Family Estate, Wakefield Downs, Single Vineyard, 2011

Marlborough, New Zealand

Established in 1916 by Josip Babich, this winery has remained in family hands. It now ranks in the Top 50 World’s Most Admired Wine Brands, according to Drinks International.

It came as no surprise to see Babich emerge as the winner in our extensive blind tasting of over 50 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc’s. This comes from a single vineyard in the Awatere River, a sub-region of Marlborough, the capital of New Zealand Sauvignon. The wines are known for their minerality and purity.

The wine is fermented in stainless steel and minimally treated throughout the winemaking process. The nose bursts with fresh and lively aromatics of melon, passion fruit and citrus. The palate is dry yet fruity, light in body, well balanced and very refreshing.

Food and wine pairing: In hot climates this is the ultimate dry white wine, enjoyed as an aperitif or with light and fresh seafood dishes such as crab, oysters or scallops.

Grenache, Carinena, Syrah

Grenache, Carinena, Syrah

Torres, Salmos, 2008

Priorat, Spain

Torres is unquestionably one of the greatest names in Spanish winemaking. In 1999, readers of Wine Spectator magazine voted Torres as “The Most Important Winery in Spain”.

In 2007 Torres unveiled a new wine called Salmos, from the small region of Priorat on the northern Mediterranean coast close to Barcelona. This region has shot to fame after several of the wines received extremely high scores from the major critics. Much of the quality is attributed to the black slate soils, called licorella.

The wine is made from Grenache, Carinena and Syrah. The color is almost inky black. The nose is shows dark black fruits. The palate explodes with flavors of black cherry, licorice, vanilla and more sweet spices. It’s rich, full-bodied and extremely powerful wine.

Food and wine pairing: Stews, pastas in tomato sauce, red meats and hard cheeses pair well with this rich red wine.

Riesling

Riesling

Dr. Loosen, Erdener Treppchen, Spatlese, 2010

Mosel valley, Germany

Ernst Loosen is the owner of a winery that can trace its history back over 200 years. In fact, back then Mosel Rieslings were the most expensive wines in the world.

This wine comes from the Treppchen vineyard, close to the town of Erden. Long ago, stone steps were built into the vineyard’s steep hillside to help workers reach the vines.

A “Spatlese” is made from late harvest grapes that have achieved a high level of ripeness. This, combined with the halting of the fermentation, has created a wine with a pleasant degree of sweetness.

The nose is young and vibrant, and bursts with aromas of stone fruits like peaches and apricots. The palate is medium bodied, elegant and delicate, with enough acidity to counter-balance the sweetness. This wine will age for 20-30 years, but is delicious now.

Food and wine pairing: The medium sweet character of the wine will suit spicy Indian and Asian dishes, and fresh fruit plates.

Riesling

Riesling

Selbach-Oster, Zeltinger Sonnenuhr, Spatlese, 2009

Mosel Valley, Germany

Since 1660 the Selbach family has been producing some of the very finest Rieslings in the Mosel Valley. This is arguably the greatest of all the German wine regions, which is known for the incredibly steep slopes, slate soils, and wines that are capable of ageing for decades.

This wine comes from the Sonnenuhr vineyard which is close to the village of Zelting. It is made entirely from the Riesling grape, which is picked when the level of sugar in the berry qualifies it to be classified as a “Spatlese”, or late harvest. This indicates the wine is medium sweet.

The nose shows enticing aromas of sweet apricots, peaches and honey, with a subtle mineral character. The palate is medium in body, with succulent honeyed flavors and sweet apple, with a zesty acidity that dance across your palate. This is a wine of great elegance, delicacy and style.

Food and wine pairing: The medium sweet character of the wine will suit spicy Indian and Asian dishes, and fresh fruit plates.

Meritage: Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot blend

Meritage – Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot blend

Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou, AC St. Julien, 2nd Grand Cru Classe, 2007

Bordeaux, France

Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou is, without question, one of the very finest wines of Bordeaux. It is a top performing second growth and consistently rated 90 points and higher by the critics. The 1995 vintage was awarded “Best Red Wine in the World” by Wine Spectator and the 2009 awarded a perfect 100 points by Robert Parker.

It is owned and operated by the dynamic Bruno Borie, the 3rd generation to manage the estate. The stately chateau is surrounded by 75 acres of beautiful vineyards, planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.

This 2007 vintage shows fragrant aromas of cassis, flowers and cedar. The palate is classically dry, quite full in body, with some chewy tannins, and flavors of toast, dark chocolate, vanilla, and black cherry. Elegant and approachable, with exceptional length, Ducru is one of the finest wines in the world.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect complement to red meats such as lamb and beef, and ideal with hard cheeses like aged Cheddar.

Riesling

Riesling

Fritz Haag, Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr, Spatlese, 2010

Mosel valley, Germany

Fritz Haag is one of the iconic producers in the Mosel, with a history dating back to 1605. Indeed, fine Mosel Rieslings were once the most expensive wines in the world, and Haag was at the forefront.

Haag cultivates Riesling in the famous Brauneberger Juffer Sonnenuhr vineyard, which is planted on the precipitously steep slopes of the Mosel valley.

A “Spatlese” is made from late harvest grapes, that have achieved a high level of ripeness, and so the wine is medium sweet.

The nose bursts with aromatics of peaches and apricots, and shows excellent freshness, minerality and vibrancy. The palate is medium bodied, low in alcohol, elegant and delicate, and with enough acidity to counter-balance the sweetness. We hope you enjoy it.

Food and wine pairing: The medium sweet character of the wine will suit spicy Indian and Asian dishes, and fresh fruit plates.

Shiraz from McLaren Vale

Shiraz

Kangarilla Road, 2009

McLaren Vale, South Australia

This vintage was rated 91 points by James Halliday, and received similar high scores from other critics who describe it as a classic Australian Shiraz. Indeed, McLaren Vale produces some superb wines and is an area that is rated by many as highly as the Barossa.

The super ripe grapes bask in the sun, developing intense sweet aromas of blueberry, raisin and dark chocolate. In the winery macerations in open top fermenters extract deep purple colors, abundant weight, and a light touch of dusty tannins.

Only a moderate amount of new oak is used, allowing the wine to display its fruit forward style and concentrated flavors.

Food and wine pairing: The best matches are with beef, lamb and hard cheese but it can be enjoyed by itself if you like full bodied reds.

Riesling

Riesling

Dr. Loosen, Erdener Treppchen, Spatlese, 2009

Mosel Valley, Germany

Ernst Loosen is an icon in Germany, and around the world. He is, without question, the best ambassador for great Mosel Riesling. He was named as a “Decanter Man of the Year”, a very prestigious award.

This wine comes from the Treppchen vineyard, which sits on perilously steep terrain. Centuries ago, workers built stone steps into the vineyard’s steep hillside to help them tend the vines.

A “Spatlese” is made from late harvest grapes that have achieved a high level of ripeness. This, combined with the halting of the fermentation, has created a wine with a moderate degree of sweetness, an attribute that is highly prized in German winemaking.

The nose bursts with aromas of peaches and apricots, and shows excellent freshness and vibrancy. The palate is medium bodied, elegant and delicate, with enough acidity to counter-balance the sweetness. This wine will age for 20-30 years, but is delicious now.

Food and wine pairing: The medium sweet character will suit spicy Indian and Asian dishes, and fresh fruit plates.

Meritage: Merlot & Cabernets

Meritage – Merlot & Cabernets

Chateau Monbousquet, AC St Emilion Grand Cru, 2006

Bordeaux, France

Chateau Monbousquet is one of the new star properties of the Right Bank in Bordeaux. When Gerard Perse purchased the property in 1993 he made huge investments in the cellar and the vineyards, and totally revolutionized the quality. This 2006 vintage was rated 92 points by Robert Parker.

The blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is typical of many St Emilion estates.  But the low yields, precision vineyard management and Michel Rolland’s touch in the cellar have created a superb wine.

The nose shows notes of coffee, milk chocolate, plum and vanilla. The palate is powerful yet elegant, with full body, refined tannins, soft acidity and depth of flavor.  This wine will age for another decade but drinks well now.

Food and wine pairing: The perfect match with beef, lamb, and hard cheeses.

Sangiovese from Tuscany

Sangiovese

Poggio Antico, Altero, DOCG Brunello di Montalcino, 2006

Tuscany, Italy

Brunello di Montalcino is one of the great wine regions of the world, located in the southerly part of Tuscany. Here, the Sangiovese grape variety is king and produces classic wines with long ageing potential. By law, the wines must not be released for 5 years after the vintage to enable them to evolve, develop, and soften.

The color is a deep ruby and a touch of garnet on the rim, which is a sign of age. The complex nose draws you in with notes of licorice, red and black cherry, cedar, earth and leather.

Dry, full bodied, with a chewy texture to the tannin, the beautiful flavors unravel on the palate. This wine has all the hallmarks of quality – balance, intensity, concentration, complexity, elegance and length. We hope you enjoy it.

Food and wine pairing: Pairs well with pasta in a tomato sauce, red meats, and hard cheeses.