Consignment Wines

Australia

***** drink or cellar
Clairault Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Margaret River $21.90
This striking blend (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot) saw extended skin maceration then 24 months in French oak. Margaret River produces 1% of Australian wine and 20% of its premium wines, position this among the 20%. Rich and concentrated aromas and flavours—boysenberry, spice-infused bramble berry and minty black cherry, coat the palate in waves. There are ripe fine-grained tannins for structure and ageing potential, and enough zest for good balance. Well-integrated oak and a lengthy balanced warm finish (15% alcohol) portend exquisite drinking now to 2014. The Ontario agent is Hobbs and Company at www.hobbswines.com. (VH)

California

***1/2 drink now
Mandolin Vintners Chardonnay 2006
California $13.85
Spice box and tropical fruit on the nose, it springs into action once it hits the palate—spiced apple, yellow peach and zesty citrus flavours are right up front. It's light to medium bodied with a pleasing mouth feel and a zippy refreshing finish. Great when sipped on its own as a hunger-inducing aperitif, it also pairs well with shell fish and fish, especially under a drizzle of fresh lemon. The Ontario agent is Small Winemakers Collection at www.smallwinemakers.ca. (VH)

**** drink now
Waterstone Winery Chardonnay 2006
Carneros $23.55
Just a light brush stroke of oak (4 months - French), great balance and a lovely expression of fruit, earn this 'elegance' and 'finesse' descriptors. Notes of mineral, floral and vanilla segue to a creamy-textured medium-bodied rush of expressive fruit flavours—tropical, tree fruit and lemony citrus. The finish is balanced and lengthy, adding another layer of flavours, nectarine and spice. The Ontario agent is Small Winemakers Collection at www.smallwinemakers.ca. (VH)

****1/2 drink now
Z52 Wines 'Truchard Vineyard' Zinfandel
Napa Valley $32.00
No mistaking this as anything but fully textured and full-flavoured Zin—concentrated aromas and flavours of bramble berry jam, cassis and spiced black plum compote drench the palate and senses while the dollop of zesty tang adds balance. Ripe tannins provide structure and ageing potential. The finish is dry, clean and refreshing with red currant and zesty red cherry flavours galore. Well-made - well-priced. The Ontario agent is Small Winemakers Collection at www.smallwinemakers.ca. (VH)

Chile

**** drink now
Estampa Viognier-Chardonnay 2006
DO Colchagua Valley $14.30
The price-quality balance is tipped well in your favour with its juicy refreshing mouthful of flavour, creamy texture and zesty finish—all bringing you back for more. Nectarine, lemongrass and spice on the nose, the flavours include white peach and lemon-lime citrus notes. This can be served as an aperitif or beautifully paired with mussels, clams or grilled white fish under a squeeze of fresh lemon. The Ontario agent is Hobbs and Company at www.hobbswines.com. (VH)

South Africa

****1/2 drink now
Hartenberg Estate Weisser Riesling 2006
WO Stellenbosch $16.90
This Weisser Riesling (common synonym in S.A. for 'genuine' Riesling, distinguishing it from misnamed varieties) delivers a lifted nose of smoky and mineral notes then a terrific gusher of sweet ripe fruit flavours—nectarine and peach with moderating Granny Smith apple and citrus. Medium to full bodied, the texture is pure velvet gliding along on a warm (14% alcohol) bed of tantalizing sweet and sour tang. The glorious finish is lengthy and luxurious. Spicy Asian cuisine is a perfect pairing. The Ontario agent is Hobbs and Company at www.hobbswines.com. (VH)