New in LCBO

***1/2 drink now 
Argento Chardonnay 2015
Mendoza, Argentina $9.95 (597701) 13.0% alcohol
Ripe red apple and hints of honeydew melon aromas open this value-packed, medium-bodied, balanced and charming Chardonnay. It bathes the palate with a wash of tropical fruit, peach and pear flavours garnished with citrusy notes and it finishes dry, refreshing and tangy. Pour with green salads topped with grilled chicken or pan-seared fish and other seafood. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Argento Malbec ‘Reserva’ 2014
Valle de Uco, Mendoza, Argentina $13.95 (363192) 14.0% alcohol
Smoke, espresso roast and hints of dark berry fruit on the nose, this classy red coats the palate with juicy red and dark fruit—black Bing cherry, black plum and tangy red currant. This is well balanced with depth, purity of fruit and oodles of charm. It finishes lengthy and dry with plenty of flavour and pleasurable tang. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now 
Enigma Chardonnay 2015
California $13.95 (428854) 13.5% alcohol
This will find its fair share of fans. There’s toasty oak and caramel aromas on the nose of this creamy-smooth, crowd-friendly California Chardonnay. The toasty oak and caramel replay on the palate garnished with sweet ripe tropical fruit, peach and pear with hints of soft citrus notes. It’s medium weight finishing with ripe, sweet fruit and good texture; it pours well with pasta in white sauce or chicken à la King. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Con Sur ‘Bicicleta’ Pinot Noir 2015
Valle del Bio Bio, Chile $11.10 (341602) 13.0% alcohol 
Aromas of cherry and strawberry open the door to a dry, fruity wash of red cherry/berry flavour decorated with spice, savory notes and excellent tang. This is light-medium bodied with a lovely finish and aftertaste—sweet, ripe fruit meets up with tangy sour cherry and the partnership is a successful match. The price-quality ratio skews well in your favour. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now 
Ghost Pines ‘Winemaker’s Blend’ Chardonnay 2014
Monterey/Napa/Sonoma Counties $19.95 (308122) 13.8% alcohol 
Multi-County fruit was whole-bunch pressed and fermented in stainless steel before settling and aged sur lie in French and American oak. A gorgeous array of baking spice, vanilla and orchard fruit aromas set the table for a smorgasbord of flavours—tropical fruit, sweet, ripe pear and hints of citrus and spice. It’s mid-weight and good value with generous texture, depth and complexity. It finishes balanced and mouth-watering. Pour with roast chicken, pork or veal. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar 
Ghost Pines ‘Winemaker’s Blend’ Merlot 2013
Sonoma County/Napa County $19.15 (454876) 14.4% alcohol
Plum and spicy notes of cedar and tobacco interweave with an earthy quality on the nose. The spice tickles and warms the palate, accenting lush flavours of black cherry, berry and plum while 15 months in French and American oak barrel offers smoky notes of toast and coffee bean. There’s good structure here, ripe tannin, a velvety texture and freshness offering balance to the ripe fruit of this ideal vintage. Finishing dry and fruity, it pairs well with grilled meats. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Pinot Blanc 2013
VQA Okanagan Valley $15.95 (145094) 14.0% alcohol
Produced in a warm vintage, with fruit harvested from estate vines, some planted three decades ago, this wine offers lovely aromas of tree fruit, mineral and sweet citrus. Dry, it combines great presence and silkiness on the palate with light texture. Vibrant underpinnings of clean acidity lift the flavours of pear, quince and grapefruit, a slight pithy note persisting through the refreshing finish. A great value and an ideal summer sipping wine. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Mission Hill ‘Five Vineyards’ Pinot Noir 2014
VQA Okanagan Valley $17.95 (145128) 13.5% alcohol
From another warm Okanagan vintage, this Pinot Noir showcases ripe cherry/berry fruit on the nose, a dash of spice and dried herbs with lovely lingering aromas of vanilla. Dry, mid-weight, the cherry and mouth-watering red berry flavours pour in a wave across the palate, mingling with earthy notes of beet and the lovely flavour of spiced vanilla. The acidity is well-defined, the tannins light and supple, the notes of well-integrated toast lingering on the finish. Enjoy with grilled salmon and spinach salad with sliced beetroot. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Megalomaniac ‘Pompous – Red’ 2013
VQA Ontario $16.15 (341610) 13.0% alcohol
Smoke, spice and red cherry/berry aromas roll from this medium-weight, nicely balanced red blend—Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Cabernet Franc. Red and dark cherry, black plum and spice bathe the palate while the lengthy finish dishes up lively tang. Sips well on its own and pours perfectly with penne arrabiata or lasagna. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now 
Porta 6 ‘Red Wine’ 2013
Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal $12.60 (427377) 13.5% alcohol
Aromas of dark berry fruit, spice and earthy notes make way for a palate-coating river of black berry and mulberry jam nicely juxtaposed with oodles of lively, balancing, mouth-watering tang. This is a blend of grapes often used to make Port. It’s medium bodied and lip-smacking good with texture and a dry, racy aftertaste. Pour alongside burgers, red pizza or roasted bell peppers stuffed with hamburger, rice, onion and tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now 
Rodney Strong ‘Charlotte’s Home’ Sauvignon Blanc 2014
Northern Sonoma, Sonoma County $19.05 (449207) 13.5% alcohol
Lemon yoghurt, cantaloupe and pear aromas provide segue for a nicely balanced, palate-bathing flow of ripe mango and nectarine along with racy lemon tang replaying through the medium-length finish and aftertaste. This has good weight and texture and provides good flavour and balance throughout. A warm-weather Sauvignon Blanc pouring well with chicken or pork as well pan-seared fish or seafood. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Southbrook ‘Seriously Cool’ Chardonnay 2015
VQA Ontario $15.95 (457481) 12.0% alcohol
An aromatic burst of pear, apple and citrus notes open this medium-bodied, deftly balanced Chardonnay. It makes its way across the palate with pronounced sweet and tang—ripe melon, pear and red apple melding with tangy lemon-lime and racy grapefruit. It finishes with more of the same, balanced and beautiful. Pour with pan-seared seafood or roast chicken. Good value here. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now 
Tarquino Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Wine of Argentina $9.95 (447052) 13.0% alcohol
Herbal and citrus aromas introduce this tangy gem—the price-quality balance tips well in your favour. This is finely tuned with a laser-like stream of white grapefruit and tangy lemon curd streaking over the palate infusing the crisp clean finish. This pours well as a warm-weather sipper or served with white pizza, ceviche or pasta in cream sauce. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Tini Romagna Sangiovese 2013

DOC Romagna, Italy $7.75 (179432) 12.0% alcohol
Wow, a nicely balanced, tangy Italian red for under eight dollars—who knew? Fresh red cherry and cranberry roll over the palate garnished with spice and excellent tang. It’s lively and juicy throughout the dry, lip-smacking finish. Pour with pasta in tomato sauce, lasagna or pasta puttanesca. Some stores may still have the 2013 on shelves, no worries as it too scored as an exceptional-value wine. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Miguel Torres ‘Las Mulas – Reserva’ Merlot 2015
Central Valley, Chile $12.95 (454868) 14.0% alcohol
This certified-organic Merlot is full of dark fruit and excellent lip-smacking tang. It saw a brief six months of French oak. Aromas of dark toast, coffee bean and spice herald a palate-coating stream of black plum and dark cherry infused with good acidity persisting through the finish and aftertaste. Pour with grilled meats, burgers and gourmet sausage. There’s exceptional value here. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Trius Rosé 2015
VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 (341743) 12.0% alcohol
Alluring aromas of strawberry, watermelon and spice introduce and light-on-its-feet, dry, tart stream of red berry tang—currant and cranberry—infused with piquant spice and hints of passionfruit. The mid-length finish layers on more of the same. Pour with pan-seared salmon for a gastronomical and visually pleasing match. (Vic Harradine)