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***** drink or cellar
Charles Baker 'Picone Vineyard' Riesling 2006
VQA Vinemount Ridge, Ontario $35.00
This stunning wine is an absolute 'must-buy' for Riesling lovers. Charles Baker, ex-Cave Spring Cellars, sourced the grapes from Chef Mark Picone, ex-Vineland Estates and had it made by wine maker J. L. Groux, ex-Hillebrand Estates. An ex-rated wine? Yes, ex-cellent. Full bodied and fully textured, it drenches the palate with a dazzling array of fruit—white peach, citrus and yellow plum—and a vigorous attack of zingy acidity that's brilliantly balanced with 24g of residual sugar. It creates that yin and yang of sweet and tart that pairs so well with spicy Asian cuisine. This will come into its own late 2008 and will continue to drink well for another five or more years. Order from www.charlesbaker.ca for home delivery or pick some up at Stratus Winery. (VH)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Gian Piero Marrone Barbera D'Alba 2003
DOC Barbera D'Alba, Italy $23.95
The light and lively bright red colour carries through to the weight and texture of this light- to medium-bodied red. Racy and spicy, it delivers copious amounts of sour cherry and spiced black plum flavours. There's enough tannin here to allow it to pair well with a spicy meat dish in a tomato-based sauce like spaghetti Bolognese. Order this by the 12 bottle case for home delivery from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

**** drink or cellar
Gian Piero Marrone 'San Carlo' Langhe Rosso 2001
DOC Langhe Rosso $38.95
Named for grandfather Carlo, this blend (70% Nebbiolo, 20% Barbera, 10% Dolcetto) is the 'family wine', crafted with loving care and attention. Violet and currant aromas form the lifted nose of this medium-bodied and well-balanced N. Italian red. The texture is bolstered by firm tannins and deep, rich concentrated fruit in the cherry and dark berry zones. The finish is glorious and fruit forward. Order this for home delivery by the case (min. 6 bottles) from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

****1/2 drink now
Podere Brizio Brunello di Montalcino 2001
DOCG Brunello di Montalcino, Italy $70.00
Alluring floral and spice aromas drift off the glass of this gorgeous full-bodied Brunello from the famed Montalcino area of Tuscany. Fully flavoured—mulberry, cassis and sour cherry—it's also well-supported by ripe tannins. The 24 months in new French oak added structure and texture; this truly shines when paired with food. Bruschetta with crumbled grilled goat cheese is a perfect partner. Order this by the 12 bottle case for home delivery from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

**** drink now
Podere Scurtarola Vermentino Bianco 2004
IGT Toscana $31.95
And now for something completely different; here's a white wine with a supple tannic structure. Vermentino is the grape and this wine was fermented on the skins rather than having the juice separated from the skins before fermentation. The result is a full-bodied, fully-textured white that exhibits a lifted nose of white flowers and mineral notes while the racy tangy flavours of citrus, spice and hints of oak burst upon the palate. Unusual and delicious. Order this for home delivery by the case (min. 6 bottles) from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Poggio Torselli Chianti Classico 2004
DOCG Chianti Classico $22.00
This is a gorgeous red (85% Sangiovese / 15% Cabernet Sauvignon) that is full bodied, rich and bold. The Cab was aged in new French oak, adding oaky aromas and a firm tannin structure. There are touches of cassis and mint flavours, also from the Cab, while the Sangiovese contribution is textbook—tangy spicy cherry flavours. More new world than old, it's delicious now after a two-hour decant/aeration or paired with grilled rare red meat. It will drink well into 2012. Order this by the 12 bottle case for home delivery from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

**** drink now
Stratus 'Wild Ass' Red 2004
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $19.00
The undisclosed blend alters each vintage. In this '04 it offers a delicious medium-bodied red that's round and ready for early drinking. Look for dark cherry and black currant aromas that replay in the flavours on the palate. You'll also detect notes of cassis and dark chocolate flavours. There's enough tannin for structure and enough moderating tanginess for balance. This will please those seeking a smooth and silky red, especially when paired with roast pork or roast chicken. Order this for home delivery by the case (min. 6 bottles) from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

**** drink now
Stratus 'Wild Ass' Riesling 2006
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $19.00
Rosewater and floral aromatics bound from the glass of this medium-bodied gem. Suppleand fleshy on the palate, the flavours are quite vivid and in the tropical fruit zone, with honeydew melon to the fore. The finish is lengthy and luxurious with amazing balance between the bracing acidity and residual sugar—easily measuring-up to a fine Alsatian Riesling. Order this for home delivery by the case (min. 6 bottles) from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

**** drink now
Stratus 'Wild Ass' White 2004
VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario $19.00
You'll find an unlikely-assortment of five grape varieties here that fit together beautifully, like pieces of a puzzle. The lifted aromas of musk melon and floral notes follow through seamlessly to the creamily-textured flavours of tropical fruit—melon and pineapple. The finish is dry and clean with notes of citrus and vanilla. Chicken Kiev is a lovely match here. Order this by the case (min. 6 bottles) for home delivery from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)

**** drink now
Tenuta Roccaccia Bianco di Pitigliano 2006
DOC Bianco di Pitigliano, Italy $13.95
This white blend (80% Trebbiano / 20% Chardonnay) from Tuscany offers perfumed floral and pit fruit aromas. It also delivers a delicious mouthful of racy citrus, peach and nectarine flavours on its medium-bodied frame. The finish is clean and refreshing with a lemon-lime bite that makes it a perfect partner with shellfish - mussels steamed in white wine, garlic and leeks, for instance. Order this by the 12 bottle case for home delivery from Carlo at www.mamasboywines.com. (VH)