New in Vintages

**** drink or cellar 
Catena ‘High Mountain Vines’ Chardonnay 2016
Mendoza Argentina $19.95 (918805) 13.0% alcohol
Aromas of baked apple and fruit salad abound in this yellow-gold hued chardonnay. It bathes the palate with lemon pie filling and tropical fruit with wisps of caramel and Key lime. It’s medium-bodied, generously textured with good balance on the finish and aftertaste. Pour with your favourite chicken—rotisserie roast, Mary Brown’s, nuggets, KFC, beer-can, St Hubert, clay-bake… you get the idea. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now 
Guillaume Auréle Viognier 2015
IGP Pays d’Oc, France $13.95 (380741
Honeyed pear and apricot aromas give way to a medium weight, well-textured river of dried orchard fruit and tart apple flavours persisting through the finish followed by a distinctive grapefruit pith on the aftertaste. The price is certainly right. Pour with lighter-styled appetizers. (Vic Harradine)

• Vic recently attended a Vintages Essentials tasting in Toronto hosted by Vintages at the LCBO Head Office. Here are some of the wines tasted with many more to follow in future winecurrent publications.
New in Vintages Essentials: always available in select stores. However, it’s important you check that each vintage date matches reviews below as stores may have the past vintage or even the past vintage and the one reviewed. The reviews below pertain only to the indicated vintage.

White Wine

****1/2 drink now 
La Chablisienne ‘Les Venerables’ 2014
AOC Chablis, France $26.95 (215525) 12.5% alcohol
A benchmark effort here for reasonably priced Chablis—it’s mid weight with decent texture, a lively line of lemony tang and a lip-smacking, dry finish and aftertaste. Aromas of pear, apple and chalky mineral notes segue a nerve and verve wash of lemon zest and white grapefruit adorned with Granny Smith apple and ripe Bartlett pear on the palate. Pour with prawn ceviche, green-lipped mussels steamed in white wine and garlic or oysters Pernod. (Vic Harradine)

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Casas del Bosque ‘Reserva’ Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Casablanca Valley, Chile $14.95 (974717) 14.0% alcohol

There’s a lovely, arresting pungency to the nose—herbal notes vying with tangy cut peppers and hints of asparagus underlying the notes of citrus. On the palate it’s zesty and vibrant with passionfruit, lemon-lime and fresh-cut herbs riding the finely-honed edge of acidity and clean seam of mineral. This has great intensity and a lingering tangy finish. It’s a great value and superb choice to refresh your palate on a warm summer day. (Susan Desjardins)

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Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay 2015
Napa Valley, California $23.95 (84988) 14.5% alcohol
This is a ripe, mellow beauty, quite restrained without overt oak, rich, ripe and ready to drink. It’s medium-full bodied with generous mouthfeel and a delightful stream of flavour enveloping the palate—caramel apple, baking spice and poached pear nicely balanced with grilled pineapple and lemon-lime tang on the back palate and aftertaste. As Napa chards go, the price-quality ratio skews well in your favour. (Vic Harradine)

Red Wine

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Bastion ‘Réserve - Du Bastion’ Pinot Noir 2014
AOP Bourgogne, France $19.95 (50575) 12.5% alcohol
Lightly hued in the glass, this wafts easily on the nose with delicate aromas of mixed spice, grilled savory herbs and red berry fruit. A soft, nicely paced wash of blood orange, pomegranate and cranberry mingle with beetroot and earthy notes persisting through the tangy finish and aftertaste. Hard to find better quality red Burgundy at this price point, it’s very good wine and very good value. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2013 Bodegas Lan Crianza has the term ‘Crianza’ on the label as a guarantee this tempranillo-dominant red was matured for at least 12 months in oak before bottling.

***1/2 drink now 
Bodegas Lan Crianza 2013
DOCa Rioja, Spain $16.95 (166358) 13.5% alcohol
A muted nose of berry fruit, oaky notes and mocha unleash a racy line of lively, tang-infused red fruit flavour with passionfruit and sour cherry interwoven with piquant, peppery spice and vanilla. This is mid-weight with palate flavour replays on the dry finish and aftertaste. Pour with pasta in tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar 
Monte Zovo ‘Sa’ Solin’ Ripasso Valpolicella 2014
DOC Valpolicella Ripasso, Italy $18.95 (650713) 14.0% alcohol
Campfire aromas mingle with gamy notes and dark berry fruit on the nose of this rich, ripe Ripasso. A surge of sweet ripe fruit and toasty/oaky notes blanket the palate adorned with spice, still-evolving tannin and crunchy red fruit—cranberry, currant and raspberry. It finishes dry with good tang and acidity. Paired and poured well with manicotti or pasta puttanesca sauce with garlic toast. (Vic Harradine)

• Be certain you check the vintage date on the following 2012 Marchese de’ Frescobaldi ‘Castel Giocondo Brunello di Montalcino bottle(s) in the store where you shop as there may well be 2011 still remaining and the 2012 vintage is the one reviewed below.

***** drink or cellar 
Marchese de’ Frescobaldi ‘Castel Giocondo’ Brunello di Montalcino 2012
DOCG Brunello di Montalcino, Italy $52.95 (650432) 14.5% alcohol
This showcases purity of fruit, a deft tang/fruit balance and plenty of years ahead to mature—pop corks now, after a three-hour aeration/decant, or 2019 to 2026. Alluring, sexy aromas of baking spice, smoky notes, berry fruit, floral and cedar abound. A supple flow of full-flavoured ambrosia envelops the palate with crunchy red fruit—pomegranate and cranberry—interlaced with black currant, dark plum, spice and juicy Bing cherry. It’s medium-full bodied with good mouthfeel and a lingering finish underpinned by still-evolving ripe tannin. (Vic Harradine)