New in Vintages

Champagne

• The following Non-Vintage Armand de Brignac ‘Ace of Spades - Gold’ Brut is crafted at Cattier, a Champagne house since the mid-1700s. Its recent incredible surge in sales/popularity is due to a long-time fan, now majority owner, American rapper, Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter. It’s a blend of 40% pinot noir/40% chardonnay/20% pinot meuniere from premium vineyards and an assemblage of the 2009, 2010, 2012 vintages. This is packaged in an opaque bottle.

95drink or cellar 
Armand de Brignac ‘Ace of Spades - Gold’ Brut Non-Vintage
AOC Champagne, France $305.95 (220244) $305.95 12.5% alcohol
Floral and biscuit aromas on the nose precede endless streams of miniscule bubbles in the glass. This is elegant and refined, but doesn’t lack in texture—it’s creamy/dreamy smooth—flavour or complexity. A firm flow of lemon-lime tang, ripe apple and notions grilled pineapple persist on the palate and lengthy finish. It’s crisp and refreshing, delicious and elegant. (Vic Harradine)

Icewine

88drink or cellar Oh Canada! 
Jackson-Triggs ‘Reserve’ Vidal Icewine 2015 
VQA Ontario $39.95 (389411) 375 mL 9.5% alcohol 
Mango and ripe yellow peach aromas unleash a gusher of sweet, honeyed flavour on the palate with honey-drizzled peach pie and candied apricot coating the palate and persisting through the finish. It’s full bodied and generously textured delivering a sticky, sweet aftertaste. Pour with quality blue cheese or fruit flan. (Vic Harradine)

89drink now Oh Canada! 
Peller ‘Private Reserve’ Vidal Icewine 2015
VQA Ontario $27.30 (18564) 200 mL 11.5% alcohol
Deep golden-yellow in the glass, the nose offers up whispers of buckwheat honey, spice and orange peel marmalade aromas. It bursts onto the palate with an intense surge of sweet flavour—honey-soaked, baked apple, treacle, sweet ripe mango and poached pear. This is full bodied and creamy smooth on the palate with lengthy, reasonably balanced aftertaste. Pour with foie gras, soft white cheese or spiced honey cake. (Vic Harradine)

• Fruit for the following 2015 Sonoma Cutrer ‘Russian River Ranches’ Chardonnay was hand harvested, hand sorted and whole-cluster pressed. Free-run juice was allowed to settle in tank for a few days before fermented in 85% oak and 15% tank with full malolactic conversion. Wine was matured sur lie in French oak barrel.

White Wine

89drink or cellar 
Sonoma Cutrer ‘Russian River Ranches’ Chardonnay 2015 
Sonoma Coast, California (608653) $27.95 14.2% alcohol
Baking spice, oak, pear and apple aromas abound. A medium-full bodied, generously textured surge of tangy lemon curd and Key lime interweave with baked apple and spice along with hints of grapefruit pith on finish and aftertaste. It’ll all come together with another 12 months in bottle, rewarding patience handsomely. Pour with fall squash soup. (Vic Harradine)

Red Wine

90drink or cellar 
Marchesi de' Frescobaldi ‘Tenuta di Castiglioni’ 2014
IGT Toscana, Italy $21.95 (145920) 13.0% alcohol
This red blend—cabernet sauvignon/merlot/cabernet franc/sangiovese—matured 12 months in French oak barriques and a further two months in bottle before release. Alluring aromas of red and black berry fruit mingle with mocha on the nose of this medium-bodied, nicely textured gem. It bathes the palate with a round, smooth stream of red currant and pie cherry interlaced with mixed spice and grilled savory herbs. It finishes dry, lip-smacking good. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2014 Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a limited-time-only, $5.00 off the price shown below, now to November 5, 2017.

90drink now 
Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Knights Valley, California $43.95 (352583) 14.3% alcohol
This is rich, ripe and rarin’ to go… now. Aromas of sweet, ripe black berry fruit, dark cherry and baking spice waft easily from this full-bodied, fully textured, full-Monty flavoured cab. Satin-smooth palate flavours of black currant and dark Bing cherry interweave with mixed spice, dark chocolate and sweet vanilla enhanced by soft tannin adding structure and interest on the lengthy finish and aftertaste. In a perfect world, there would be more acidity, but enjoyed with grilled, well-seasoned roast or steak may fully mask this imperfection. (Vic Harradine)

86drink or cellar 
Gnarly Head ‘Old Vines Zinfandel 2015
Lodi, California $18.20 (678698) 14.5% alcohol
Grilled savory herbs and campfire smoke aromas announce a ripe, rich, sweet flow of black currant jam and black raspberry intertwined with crunchy red fruit—currant and cherry—evolving into a deftly balanced palate-pleasing, tasting experience. This is medium-plus bodied and nicely textured with a savory- and spice-laden bite on the aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

93drink or cellar 
Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012
DOCG Amarone della Valpolicella, Italy $52.95 (413179) 16.5% alcohol
Wood smoke, cedar and bramble berry fruit aromas provide segue for a rich, luscious, hi-octane, though deftly balanced and simply delicious stream of ripe fruit and soft tang with dried dark fruit, black berry and dark plum front and centre along with support from spice, earthy notes and notions of ripe red cherry. This is medium-plus weight with good texture, structure and a lingering full-of-flavour finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)