Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | April 2008
|All's Well That Blends Well|
Margaret Swaine - National Post
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Cocktails are tres chic again, so with spring finally here you might want to stock up on celebratory spirits. The premium and deluxe categories are at the heart of the trend: Both have enjoyed a recent surge in sales. The majority are white spirits including some cool vodkas like Stolichnaya Elit, an ultra creamy smooth Russian, and, from Poland, U'Luvka, which is silky and lightly fragrant. Square One organic vodka and 360 Vodka, with its recyclable glass and eco-audit on the label, are Earth-friendly types.
Some come in designer bottles, such as the one for Corzo Silver tequila created by Fabien Baron, an influential figure in Mexican fashion. The spirit, with its lovely agave aromatics and peppery yet smooth taste, lives up to its look. El Dorado single-barrel Demerara rum from Guyana is the hit of the rums with its nicely balanced caramel smooth mellow taste.
No. 209 Gin LCBO No. 71621 (April Premium Spirits release); $59.95
This American made gin takes its name from distillery No. 209 in California, which dates back to the late 1800s and was revived by entrepreneur Leslie Rudd. It's a gin for those who love citrus. Bright and refreshing, the citrus peel component is at the forefront with juniper and other botanicals, such as cardamom, playing second fiddle. Distilled five times, it's silky smooth.
Roberto Cavalli Vodka LCBO No. 64451 (April Premium Spirits release); $87.40
Italian fashion designer Cavalli designed a sensual opaque bottle with a glass snake wrapped around it and a reptile pattern at the base. Made in Italy from grains grown in the southwestern Alps, the nose is fragrant and the overall effect is of delicacy and lightness. The fashion statement bottle is not practical when it comes to pouring, but we forgive as the vodka slithers down like silk.
Legenda del Milagro Anejo Tequila LCBO No. 52548; $70.30
Milagro tequilas, from 100% blue agave estate-grown in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, were launched in January and luckily can still be found. The reposado spends six months in barrel and is more spiced and peppery than this anejo, which rests for 18 months in oak. Smooth with vanilla sweetness and nice complexities, it's lovely drunk straight but would also give good depth to a special cocktail.
Hine Rare VSOP Cognac LCBO No. 356857; $ 79
Hine cognacs are notable for their delicacy, refinement and fruity notes. The Rare is a blend of over 25 Grande and Petite Champagne cognacs, none less than six years old. It's a classic - nutty, delicate, rounded and nicely fruity. Its smoothness and depth elevates it to XO standards while Hine Antique XO ($ 158.60), with its uplifted, richly mellow refinement, is also much loftier than its category.
Domaine de Valmont Grand Cru Morges 2006 LCBO No. 660126 ( Vintages April 12 release); $ 17.95
Switzerland's special white grape is chasselas and the city of Morges in Vaud is noted for this varietal, which it celebrates in a harvest festival each fall. Valmont's version is typical of the grape; dry, racy, harmonious with hints of minerals. Its gentle supple nature makes it pleasant with light hors d'oeuvre, fish or white meats and Swiss cheese, of course.
Christian Moueix Merlot 2005 LCBO No. 961227 (Vintages Essentials); $ 14.95
The Moueix company, which owns 10 chateaux in Bordeaux including Petrus, is rightfully renown for its skill with merlot grapes. This special cuvee is a blend of wines from growers in Cotes de Castillon, de Francs and de Bourg appellations. French-bordelaise in style with herbaceous, pine-cone flavours and good acidity, it's nicely balanced and structured. Typical of Christian Moueix's wines, it is classy, subtle and a real bargain.