Monthly Picks: December 2010

For the month that brings us Christmas dinner and New Year's Eve parties we've got a selection of big (and mostly red) wines for the Monthly Picks selection. Share these beauties with friends and celebrate in style.

Viñas Centenarias 2006 Sabor Real Tempranillo (Toro) Spain - $15
A raw, unfiltered, unbridled and meaty wine from the Toro DO region of Spain. This 100% Tempranillo wine may turn out to be the best valued bargain of the year with a rustic bouquet of dark cherry, minerality, dried fruits and loads of toasted oak and earthy notes.
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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Franc (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - $17
Intense aromatics of savory herbs, dark fruit, vanilla and oak. A juicy texture on the dry palate with good continuity of flavours from the nose. Medium-plus tannins and acidity help create structure and frame the fruit flavours nicely.
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La Frenz Winery 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - $28
Round tannins and big dark berry flavours on the palate. Intense aromas of cassis and other dark fruits on the nose plus wanted oak notes.
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Fairview Cellars 2008 The Bear (Golden Mile Bench) Okanagan Valley - $35
The richness from the nose is carried through to the dry palate where the concentration of the dark fruit flavours hits you with the perception of sweetness. The fruit is followed by savoury toasted oak and mineral flavours with fine, integrated tannins.
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Château des Charmes 2007 Equuleus (St. David's Bench) Niagara Peninsula - $40
With 12 months in French barriques, the Equuleus is full of grainy oak aromas and flavours. The medium-intense nose does offer some nice dark berry notes, but they are mixed in with the savoury and aromatic characters of flowers, green coffee beans, vanilla, smoke and leather. The dry palate is easily characterized as "Old World" with earthy flavours, tomato stalk, bell pepper, dark berry and good minerality.
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Poplar Grove Winery 2006 The Legacy (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - $50
A blend of 70% Merlot, 24% Cabernet Franc and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon with intense aromas of dark fruits, oak and prunes with aromatic, perfume notes. The dry palate is supremely textured with concentrated flavours - good continuity from the nose. A touch of pepper spice lingers on the long, balanced finish.
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Rollingdale Winery 2007 Pinot Noir Ice Wine (West Kelowna) Okanagan Valley - $60
Massive concentration of fruit aromas and flavours (apricot jam, strawberry, fuzzy peaches candy and raspberry cremesicle) are nicely contrasted with impressively high acidity. This leads to a very long, balanced and satisfying finish.
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Meyer Family Vineyards 2009 Micro Cuvée Chardonnay (Naramata Bench) Okanagan Valley - $70
The long white wine in the monthly picks section is certainly a special occasion wine. The balance of fruit-to-acid-to-minerality is exquisite. Orchard fruits mingle with savoury oak notes and meld with citrus and melon characters. Highly concentrated on the palate with good continuity of flavours from the refined nose. The texture reminds one of a great cigar in the way it envelopes your mouth while never being overbearing.
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 - Liam Carrier ©copyright 2010

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