LCBO Sale Pick of the Week: Mar. 17

Villa Maria 2013 Private Bin Pinot Noir (Marlborough, New Zealand)

Sale $17.95, Regular $19.95
Discount (until Mar. 27): $2.00
LCBO # 146548 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: The juiciest cherries, blueberries and cranberries with a hint of sweet spice.
Pairs with: Salmon, trout, steelhead; ham and charcuterie; duck.
Good for: Singing out loud — this is a happy wine. Or, it’ll make you happy.
Alcohol: 13.5%
Drink: Now.

Why we're drinking this
An outstanding wine for the price — even at the regular price! It’s rare to find such tightly focused and exuberant Pinot of this caliber for under $30, let alone under $20. Villa Maria makes about 80,000 cases of this wine, making it a large-scale operation by any measure. That they are able to wrangle this finicky grape and craft it into such a delicious and genuinely expressive wine is quite remarkable. It’s quite clearly a modern, easy drinking, fruit-forward style, very much in keeping with what New Zealand does best. Consistently well rated by the critics, the 2012 took gold at the New Zealand Wine Awards. The 2013 vintage on sale now is just as good.

Tasting note
Very pretty nose of dark cherries, cherry Kool-Aid and cherry cough syrup (I like the smell of cough syrup). Yes, cherry is a theme, also pomegranate and cranberry. There’s a whiff of cinnamon and some dusty earth too. The palate brings more of the same in a beautifully balanced package. The fruit is ripe but not too sweet. This is a dry, lively, lip-smacking wine. The mid-palate delivers dark berry and fruit flavours. Tannins are light and soft and the acidity offers the perfect counterpoint. The oak is merely a background player, offering sweet spice hues and a whiff of tobacco. A clean, honest and very pretty wine in a New World style. It’ll be great with grilled salmon, trout or steelhead.

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This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder