Five-star wines that are easy on the wallet

Palate-pleasing Chardonnay has legs from here to ya-ya


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Amaral Cool Climate Sauvignon Blanc 2010

This wine won a gold medal at the 2010 Concours Mondial du Sauvignon in Bordeaux — and it deserved it. Don’t be fooled by the colour, which is almost water white. This bargain-priced Sauvignon packs a lot of flavour. A grassy, green bean and lemon nose, it’s medium-bodied with fresh, lively flavours of green plums. The acidity gives it great length. Match it with oysters and other shellfish. (Vintages# 48025, $14.95)


Penfolds Thomas Hyland Chardonnay 2009

Not your usual Aussie Chardonnay in that it doesn’t whack you across the mouth with oak. It’s medium straw in colour with a high-toned bouquet that offers minerally, smoky, tropical fruit nuances. Full on the palate but not overwhelming, with nicely balanced fruit and a whisper of oak carried on a fresh acidic core. Pair with salmon or roast chicken. (Vintages# 611228, $19.95)


Lingenfelder Freinheimer Musikantenbuckel Riesling Kabinett 2009

Rayner Lingenfelder is one of Germany’s top winemakers (even if he did start his career with Blue Nun). Don’t be intimidated by the name. This light-bodied wine is quintessential off-dry German Riesling with its minerally, apricot and honeyed nose and well-balanced spicy, citrus and peach flavours. A great sipping wine or try it with Thai food. (Vintages# 87593, $17.95)


La Crema Pinot Noir 2008

This cool climate Pinot is more elegant than previous vintages. Deep ruby in colour with a nose redolent of black cherries, smoke and minerality, it delivers rich flavours of ripe, spicy black fruits on the palate. It’s full-bodied and mouth filling without coming on overly hefty. A perfect wine for duck breast or rack of lamb.
(Vintages# 719435, $29.95)


Chateau Haut-Chaigneau 2006

Merlot is predominant in the blend, with only 10 per cent Cabernet Sauvignon and five per cent Cabernet Franc. Not the greatest of Bordeaux vintages, but this Haut-Chaigneau made a lovely wine. Dense purple-ruby in colour, it sends off notes of cedar, spicy oak and sweet berry fruit on the nose. It’s medium-bodied, elegant with soft tannins and a good mouth feel, finishing with a dark chocolate flavour. A mature cheddar would be my choice. (Vintages# 87650, $27.95)

Post City Magazines’ wine columnist, Tony Aspler, has written 14 books on wine and food. Tony also created the Ontario Wine Awards. He can be heard on 680News.

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