Wine Cents Value List – Top 10 Under $20 – December 2010

Jacques Lurton Touraine, 2008, France, $19  (Varietal:  Sauvignon Blanc)

Jacques Lurton is known as a flying winemaker.  With his roots in Bordeaux, he has travelled the world, successfully building his business and brands in France, Australia, Chile, and Spain.  But above all, and true to his heritage, Jacques believes in the regions of the Loire – Touraine, Sancerre and Pouilly, the cradles of Sauvignon Blanc.  To quote Jacques,  “I find that the Sauvignon Blanc of Touraine, in particular, offer mineral characters beyond compare. This is a highly aromatic wine, releasing scents of pepper, guava and smoked flavours. On the palate, the wine is fat, leading to freshness, superb acidity and a marvellous mineral sensation complemented by fruit flavours. The screw cap guarantees perfect preservation and the same pleasure bottle after bottle.” This wine is perfect on its own as an after work or pre-dinner drink, and with food – any seafood, a pizza, quiche or a dry cheese like sheep cheese.  For more information, visit Jacques Lurton.

May the angels continue to fly with you Jacques.

Château de Gourgazaud Minervois, 2007, France, $12.95 (Varietal:  Syrah and Mourvedre)

Château de Gourgazaud is situated in the South of France in the Languedoc, a region that has been known for producing wines of superb value.  In the heart of this region is Minervois, and more specifically “Cru La Livinière”, where the limestone and alluvium soils produce Chateau de Gourgazaud Minervois, a blend of Syrah and Mourvedre with intense purple color, spicy red berries, and fleshy, fruity wine.  This wine has been chosen for the Wine Cents Value List because of it’s quality, it’s affordability, and its affinity with foods that keep us warm on this part of the hemisphere!  Enjoy with red meats, grilled or caramelised vegetables , barbecued foods, and cheeses.  For more information, visit Chateau de Gourgazaud.

Road 13 Chardonnay, Canada, $40.90 CDN  (Varietal:  Chardonnay)

No, there’s no typo.  It’s $40.  We know this is supposed to be Top 10 under $20, but we couldn’t help it.  Because we believe that value doesn’t mean cheap…it means good quality for the dollar.  And let us tell you – this Chardonnay will go down as smoothly as the money will leave your wallet.

There is great complexity and concentration in this wine. The fruit characters range from Okanagan through tropical and are accompanied by mineral, gun smoke and dough-like aromas and flavours. The wine has structure – a tactile presence in the mouth – and this will allow significant ageing time. Because of this structure the wine is one to have with dinner – protein and creamy sauces are in order. Although this wine was fermented and aged exclusively in new barrels it remarkably comes off as only lightly “oaked,” a testament to the weight and purity of its fruit character.  For more information, visit Road 13 Vineyards.

Dr. L Riesling, 2008, Germany, $18.99 (Varietal:  Riesling)

Riesling is all they grow at Dr. Loosen and in addition to its unmatched ability to capture the essence of a vineyard’s terroir, Riesling is one of the few grapes that is capable of producing a complete spectrum of wine styles, from bone dry to monstrously sweet.  The 2008 Dr. L has a touch of sweetness, but at the heart it is crisp, citrusy, minerally clean and floral, with tropical and citrus fruits like mango and pear and apple.  Food pairing?  Try thai curry or spice that can be balanced by the citrus.  For more information, visit Dr. Loosen.

Michel Torino Don David Syrah, 2006, Argentina, $17.00  (Varietal:  Shiraz)

Que syrah, syrah! How can you go wrong with spice, cassis and cloves, wrapped in vanilla?   From the Bodega El Esteco winery in the Salta province of Argentina, the Don David Syrah pairs extremely well with the winter warming foods like roasts and hearty stews.  For more information, click here.

Cooper Mountain Pinot Noir Reserve, 2007, Oregon, $19.95  (Varietal:  Pinot Noir)

A blend of their different vineyards, the 2007 Reserve Pinot Noir is pleasant with red cherry fruit and a smooth toasty coffee bean finish.  Pinot Noir is a traditional favorite for turkey dinner. It’s subtle earthy undertones and often mushroom inspired flavors surround the fruit features of the wine and tend to show well with the traditional flavors of turkey and stuffing. And not only is Cooper Mountain good for turkey, it is good for you – organic and biodynamic.  For more information, visit Cooper Mountain.

Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry, Spain, $19.95

Cream sherry is the magical result of Oloroso and Pedro Ximénez.  But it’s pairing partners might surprise you.  Cream sherry is best served over ice or paired with a butter cookie, fresh fruit (especially melons), cream cheese, Crème brûlée, or flan. On the flipside, it also goes well with a main course like game ravioli au jus or bacon wrapped venison and au gratin potatoes. The sweet flavors of caramel and crumb in the Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry create create a seductive contrast.  It is relatively light for a cream-style Sherry and would be the ultimate match for a pumpkin or pecan pie.

Tapena Garnacha, 2008, Spain, $9.95  (Varietal:  Garnacha/Grenache)

Garnacha (gar-NA-chah), aka “Grenache”, is the most widely planted red wine grape in Spain. Tapena Garnacha is a versatile wine, with intense black cherry, soft tannins and spice.  As much as it is an easy drinking wine, it is an easy pairing wine – ham, olives, cheese – but with the versatility to go with grilled fish or lamb.  For more information, visit Tapena Garnacha.

Yalumba Scribbler, 2008, Australia, $17  (Varietal:  Cabernet Sauvignon + Shiraz)

This Yalumba Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz wine draws on the strong heritage and unmatched diversity found in Australia’s most celebrated wine region, the Barossa.  ‘The Scribbler’ pays homage to one of Yalumba’s most renowned wines ‘The Signature’ Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz, made continuously since 1962.  Cedar, blackcurrant, tobacco.  Perfect with grilled sausage or meats.  Perfect.  For more information, visit Yalumba.

Inama “Vin Soave” Soave Classico, 2008, Italy, $16 (Varietal: Garganega)
The Vin Soave is perhaps the most representative wine comprising a blend of Garganega selected from the Inama vineyards in the hills in the heart of the Classico zone. Dusted with smoke, minerals, flowers and peaches, the wine is rich in texture and has a slight almond taste that makes it a phenomenal complement to the walnut dressing in this MatchMaker recipe.