New in LCBO

**** drink or cellar 
Amity Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013
Willamette Valley, Oregon $27.95 (124594) 13.0% alcohol
It’s pronounced will-A-mitt, dammit. Piquant spice, tobacco and field berry fruit aromas herald a racy, dry wash of red currant and pie cherry entwined with good berry tang underpinned by fine-grained tannin. It’s mid weight with good texture and lengthy, lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. Pour after a two-hour aeration/decant alongside pasta in basil-tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar  Oh Canada!
Château des Charmes Méthode Traditionelle Brut Non-Vintage
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $22.95 (224766) 12.5% alcohol
Three years on the lees is expressed in delicate aromatic notes of wild honey, lightly toasted nut and glazed brioche layered on scents of citrus, nectarine and pear. The texture is rich and round, the mousse generous and refined. Clean yet restrained acidity frames the tasty flavours of ripe apple, lively citrus and butter-brushed croutons, the sweetness of the fruit lingering through the tasty finish. Delightful to sip on its own, this’ll pair well with roast pork or chicken with apples and butternut squash. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Lagaria Chardonnay 2013
IGT Terre Delle Dolomite, Italy $13.55 (404483) 13.0% alcohol
Lagaria is family owned and uses only estate-grown fruit to produce quality-driven, value-packed fine wine. Alluring aromas of tropical fruit, apple and pear open the floodgates to a delectable mouthful of ripe Bosc pear, juicy white nectarine and pineapple tang. It’s mid weight and nicely textured with a balanced, crisp and refreshing finish showcasing citrus tang and orchard fruit. This pours well with chicken, veal, pork and grilled or pan-seared fish or seafood. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar Exceptional Value! 
Lavau Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages 2011 
AOC Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages, France $13.50 (421024) 13.5% alcohol
This red blend—an even split of Grenache and Syrah—offers delicate aromas of spice box and red cherry before unleashing a spice-laden river of red currant and pie cherry interlaced with kirsch liqueur and dark bittersweet chocolate. It’s medium weight with good mouth feel and balanced, crowd-pleasing finish and aftertaste. Pair with burgers, steak, meat-lover’s pizza or beef fajitas. (Vic Harradine)

• Sherry is perhaps the least understood wine. It helps keep the prices ridiculously low—a good thing—but it also keeps hordes of wine-lovers from trying different styles—definitely not a good thing. If you’re one of the latter and have a few minutes, please read what comes up when you click this, and if so inclined, pick up a bottle of the following from one of the best Sherry producers on the planet.

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value! 
Lustau ‘Los Arcos’ Amontillado Non-Vintage
DO Jerez, Spain $15.35 (375097) 18.5% alcohol
Incredibly versatile at the table, pour with consommé, rabbit stew, game paté, smoked duck, mushrooms, ibérico ham/prosciutto or aged, hard cheese. The amber-green-hued liquid gives off delightful aromas of almond and toffee caressing the palate with nutty nuances mingling perfectly with caramel notes. It’s medium bodied with a perfectly balanced finish offering magical sweet and dry tang on the aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar 
Vintage Wine Estates ‘Tribunal – Red’ 2012
Sonoma County, California $18.95 (394817) 2012
Aromas of dark berry fruit, sharp spice and espresso roast set the stage for a fruit-forward, flavour-laden gusher of cassis, briary berry and wisps of sour cherry for balance. It’s medium bodied and creamy smooth in texture with a lengthy tang-laden finish with good tannin for structure and interest. A two-hour aeration/decant won’t hurt. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink nowExceptional Value!  Oh Canada!
Small Talk ‘Shiny’ Apple Cider
Product of Canada $3.25 (407668) 7.0% alcohol
Vegan and gluten free, produced from Ontario apples, this hard cider shines lemon-yellow and clear in the glass. It shows attractive aromas of ripe apple and fresh-cut apple peel on the nose and palate, offering a fine, mouth-filling and lingering effervescence. Refreshing and clean with a pleasant slightly bitter note on the lively and lengthy finish, it’s a delightful sipper or would pair with roast pork with a butternut squash risotto. (Susan Desjardins)

***1/2 drink now  Oh Canada!
Small Talk Vineyards ‘Faux Pas’ 2013
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $14.95 (343384) 13.0% alcohol
A crisp and dry, tasty Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc blend, this opens with sharp spice and citrus aromas. It washes over the palate with racy lemon curd, Key lime and wisps of tangy grapefruit. The mid-length finish is quite refreshing. This is a wonderful light-on-its-feet aperitif that’ll get gastric juices flowing. It also pairs well with pan-seared fish or grilled seafood. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now  Oh Canada!
Small Talk Vineyards ‘Burning Ambition’ 2013
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $14.95 (310433) 13.5% alcohol
This slightly off-dry, Riesling-Gewürztraminer blend dishes up lovely aromas of rose petals and lemon pie filling. It’s light-medium bodied with good texture and fruit-forward sweet and tang on the palate and through the lingering aftertaste. It’s a wonderful sipper and pours well with spicy Thai and other spicy Asian dishes. It rested 14 months in stainless steel tank, saw no oak and there’s very good value here. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar 
Wolf Blass ‘Gold Label’ Syrah 2013
Adelaide Hills, Australia $24.90 (399477) 14.5% alcohol
Spice-driven aromas of cherry/berry fruit and sweet vanilla portend the medium-weight, nicely textured stream of ripe mulberry and black juicy cherry juxtaposed with racy red currant and tangy passion fruit on the palate. It’s nicely balanced with good structure and fruity mid-length aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)