New in LCBO

Spirits: Liqueur

****1/2 drink now 
Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira 

Product of Italy $22.95 (215988) 28.0% alcohol

This is premium, almond liqueur with premium, natural ingredients—sip neat or on ice, mix in tea, coffee or orange juice, or in sparkling wine or mixed drinks. Marzipan, vanilla and orange marmalade on the nose, this is flavourful and fully textured, but far from heavy or cloying. It delivers a balanced, persistent stream of sweet marzipan with a dried almond bite—a delightful combination persisting throughout. (Vic Harradine)

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Luxardo dei Cesari Sambuca Liqueur 

Product of Italy $19.95 (40196) 38.0% alcohol 

Seeds of star anise fruit are steam distilled to make a number of licorice-tasting liqueurs—Sambuca, Ouzo, Raki, Pastis. Sambuca is unmistakably black licorice on the nose. It coats the palate with a glorious surge of concentrated, warm, sweet, black licorice mingling with berry fruit on the aftertaste. Drink frozen (think vodka), drink flaming (think 3 coffee beans) or toss neat (bottoms up). It’s also popular in classic cocktail recipes readily found on the net. (Vic Harradine) 

White Wine

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Über Riesling Kabinett 2015
Prädikatswein, Pfalz, Germany $14.10 (395517) 10.0% alcohol
Delicate aromas of floral notes and soft citrus are precursors to a lively off-dry surge of sweet and tang enveloping the palate, persisting through the mouth-watering aftertaste. Flavours of lemon-lime cordial, blood orange and grilled pineapple abound. This is light-medium weight with good mouthfeel and value-packed. Serve alongside spicy Asian dishes. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand $18.95 (489112) 12.5% alcohol
No mistaking this—aromas signal Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough. Grassy notes, savory herbs and gooseberry aromas swirl from the glass. The palate’s ablaze with sweet and tang as a surge of ripe stone fruit gives way to a solid line of racy acidity expressed as lemon zest, piquant spice and freshly squeezed lime. It’s mid weight with good texture, a lingering lip-smacking finish and punches well above the price. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Laurent Miquel ‘Pere et Fils’ Chardonnay 2015
IGP Pays d’Oc, France $13.10 (157909) 13.0% alcohol
The price-quality ratio skews well in your favour; it warrants keeping a few bottles on hand. 
Tropical fruit, lemon and honeydew melon aromas introduce a balanced river of delightful flavour bathing the palate—lemon curd, white nectarine and Key lime pie interwoven with white grapefruit and wisps of peach skin. Pour on its own or pair with roast chicken, pork or veal cutlets. (Vic Harradine)

Red Wine

***1/2 drink or cellar 
Pasqua ‘Romeo and Juliet - Superiore’ Ripasso 2014
DOC Valpolicella Ripasso, Italy $18.95 (476903) 13.5% alcohol
Aromas of cedar and charred toast precede a medium-bodied, well-textured stream of red currant and rhubarb decorated with tart red cherry racing over the palate persisting through the warm fade. There’s a lick of tannin on the finish and aftertaste. Aerate/decant for a couple of hours and pour with meat-lovers pizza or lasagna. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now 
Boschendal ‘The Pavillion’ Shiraz – Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
WO Western Cape, South Africa $12.10 (222299) 14.0% alcohol
Charred toast and campfire smoke aromas introduce this priced-right, fruit-forward red blend. It envelops the palate with black currant and ripe mulberry intertwined with tang-laden acidity and an underpinning of firm tannin. It’s medium bodied with texture and lingering finish layering on a medicinal cherry flavour. Pour with burgers, gourmet sausage or meat-laden pizza after a two-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

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Lupi Reali Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2015
DOC Montepulciano d’Abruzzo $10.80 (486647) 12.5% alcohol 
Smoke and toast interweave with mixed field berry aromas on the nose of this value-packed, crowd-friendly red. It caresses the palate with a medium-weight, creamy-smooth, wash of ripe bramble berry and rich, luscious cherry adorned with wisps of tangy red current and mixed spice. It’s delicious from twist top to last drop with the finish adding dark bittersweet chocolate. (Vic Harradine)

Rosé Wine

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Bodegas Gran Feudo Rosada 2016
DO Navarra, Spain $12.10 (165845) 13.0% alcohol
Spice and red cherry/berry aromas waft from the nose of this light-medium bodied Garnacha-dominant Rosé. Delicate flavours of red currant and strawberry are enveloped by red grapefruit pith and sharp acidity on the palate and infusing the aftertaste. Pour chilled with ham and egg omelet or grilled, planked salmon. (Vic Harradine)

Sparkling Dessert Wine

• The following low-alcohol Fresita is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscatel and strawberries. Yes, small, fresh, handpicked Patagonian strawberries.

***1/2 drink now 
Fresita Sparkling Wine Non-Vintage
Product of Chile $14.15 (383901) 8.0% alcohol 
Candied aromas of cherry cordial dominate the nose of this strawberry-infused sparkling wine. It pours in the glass with a profusion of frothy bubbles dishing up a sweet stream of red cherry and strawberry interweaving with spice and maraschino cherry over the palate and into the aftertaste. Pour with your favourite red-fruit flan or enjoy this happily on its own. (Vic Harradine)