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Best Wines of 2003 (December 24, 2003)

Well, thank God it's over. 2003 was not a banner year for Toronto (think SARS, mad cow, blackouts). But in the wine world there were some highlights – Bordeaux, Germany – even if Ontario didn't get much of a harvest.

Here are my best of the year.

Bargain Red of the Year
Wine Name: 2001 Jeanneret Wines Shiraz
Variety: Shiraz/Syrah
Country/Region: Australia
Price: $14.50 (375 mL) *the 750 mL size will be on sale at LCBO for $18.95 in mid-January
Rating:
Drinkability:
Wine Style: Red Full-bodied
Appearance: dense ruby
Nose: intense, blackberry, vanilla
Taste: sweet fruit, blackberry with lively acidity
Date Reviewed: August 21, 2003

Bargain White of the Year
Kanu Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2003 from Stellenbosch, South Africa. A Vintages product (#907089) that has a wonderfully complex nose of quince, citrus and melon, all of which are combined in a lively dry, medium-bodied taste that lingers on the palate. (Vintages, $11.50)

Best White for Quality and Value
Wine Name: 2001 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay Estate
Variety: Chardonnay
Country/Region: South Africa
Price: $25.85
Rating:
Drinkability:
Wine Style: White Dry Full-bodied
Appearance: straw
Nose: Burgundian nose – barnyard, apple, citrus
Taste: spicy, orange and pear flavours, richly extracted, good length with a toasty finish
Date Reviewed: January 3, 2003

Best Red for Quality and Value
Wine Name: 2000 Cave de Tain l'Hermitage Hermitage Gambert de Loche
Variety: Shiraz/Syrah
Country/Region: France (Rhone )
Price: $44.00
Rating:
Drinkability:
Wine Style: Red Full-bodied
Appearance: dense purple-black
Nose: inense, roasted note, pencil lead, blackberry, vanilla
Taste: very elegant, great balance, sweet fruit flavours, flavours of roasted meat and blackberry carry through. Soft tainns but great structure.
Date Reviewed: September 26, 2003

Best Dessert Wine for Quality and Value
Wine Name: N/V Chambers Rosewood Rutherglen Muscadelle Liqueur Tokay
Variety: Muscat
Country/Region: Australia
Price: $14.95
Rating:
Drinkability:
Wine Style: White Sweet Full-bodied
Appearance: mahogany
Nose: tea leaf, toffee
Taste: full-bodied; molasses, fruit cake, intense, great length
Date Reviewed: March 14, 2003

Best Ontario White
Legends Estates Chardonnay Reserve 2002 ($27 at the winery) – very Burgundian in style; straw colour with a smoky, citrus and toast nose; elegant, medium-bodied, crisp and nutty, lovely mouth feel. Great length.

Best Ontario Red
Wine Name: 1999 Chateau des Charmes Cabernet Franc St. David's Bench
Variety: Cabernet Franc
Country/Region: Canada (Ontario )
Price: $24.95
Rating:
Drinkability:
Wine Style: Red Full-bodied
Appearance: dense ruby with a mature rim
Nose: cedar, red berry
Taste: richly extracted, well made with a firm structure; red currant and raspberry flavours
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2003

Wine of the Year
Wine Name: 1999 Robert Mondavi Merlot
Variety: Merlot
Country/Region: U.S.A. (California )
Price: $49.55
Rating:
Drinkability:
Wine Style: Red Medium-bodied
Appearance: dense purple
Nose: intense blackcurrant-blackberry
Taste: richly extracted, lovely clean fruit, great balance. The best Mondavi Merlot I've tasted
Date Reviewed: October 10, 2003

Drinkability Legend

bottle1.gif = Drink Now. bottle2.gif = Hold for 1 to 2 years. bottle3.gif = Hold long term.

 

 

 

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