August 15, 2016 Newsletter

Newsletter highlights include:

  • Exceptional-value wine Exceptional Value! – 4 of 47 wines reviewed meet strict quality-price guidelines; they’re easily found throughout the newsletter via the value checkmark. What strict quality-price guidelines? Click here.
  • 5-star Wine – no wine rang the five-star bell.
  • Vic Picks – Calamus ‘Steely – Unoaked’ Chardonnay 2013 with 4 stars @ $14.95 found under Ontario: White Wine; Ravenswood ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel 2014 
with 4½ stars @ $21.95 found under California: Red Wine; Gérard Bertrand ‘Terroir’ Corbières 2013 with 4 ½ stars @ $16.95 found under France: Red Wine; Leone De Castris ‘Maiana’ Salice Salentino 2014 with 4 ½ stars @ $14.95 under Italy” Red Wine.

Access the LCBO store nearest you with stock of any wine with an LCBO product number by clicking on the number shown in brackets in wine reviews then clicking on select stores and entering your postal code. The number of bottles available in each store near you is displayed. For Vintages Release wines, stock should be displayed the Friday before a Saturday release, updated every 24 hours, some stores post earlier. LCBO Portfolio wines (not Vintages) should always closely reflect stock in stores, updated every 24 hours. However, it’s always best to phone first.

August 20, 2016 Vintages Release

Feature: German Riesling

• The following four wines from Germany have a second-tier designation – Qualitätswein. You don’t have to be fluent in German to take a stab at the translation (Quality wine). The confusion is, that until recently Qualitätswein mit Prädikat was the highest designation. However, the highest designation is now Prädikatswein, with Qualitätswein second. The major difference between the two is that Qualitätswein and lower designation table wine may add sugar to fermenting wine while only the highest designation, Prädikatswein, forbids it.

**** drink now
Schloss Schönborn Riesling 2011
Qualitätswein Mosel $16.95 (653535) 10.0% alcohol
An aromatic petrol/mineral nose gives way to an off-dry stream of ripe pit fruit and pear interlaced with crisp, lip-smacking acidity. Balanced and beautiful, this has good weight and texture with plenty of charm. Give it a go with tandoori chicken, Pad Thai or other spicy Asian dishes. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Cliffhanger Riesling 2015
Qualitätswein Mosel $17.95 (464883) 11.0% alcohol
Aromas of beeswax and pit fruit show the way for a sweet and tang, slightly off-dry wash of racy citrus entwined with ripe pear and nectarine. This is medium bodied with decent texture and a medium-length, well-balanced finish. Pour as an aperitif or alongside a spicy Asian dish. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Thörle Feinherb Riesling 2015
Qualitätswein Rheinhessen $18.95 (420091) 11.5% alcohol
Flint and minerality mingle with aromas of citrus and peach on the nose of this off-dry, sweet and tang beauty. A lively scintillating line of lemon curd and lime cordial bathe the palate with deft balance and considerable élan. It finishes in a blaze of sweet and tang, delectable and lip-smacking good. Consider a multiple purchase to drink now to 2019. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now
42 Sweet Riesling 2015
Qualitätswein Mosel $17.95 (464842) 9.5% alcohol
Tropical fruit and honeyed aromas intro an über-sweet gusher of honey-dipped orchard and pit fruit blanketing the palate persisting through the finish and aftertaste. Essentially a dessert wine, it sets up well when served with fruit flan or crème brûlée. (Vic Harradine)

The Main Release

Fortified Wine: Vermouth

• Vermouth is an aromatized, fortified wine that has flavours added by the addition of herbs, spice, fruit, roots and/or bark. It is made from wine, or wine must. It can be white, rosé, red or yellow and is fortified by high-alcohol, neutral brandy. It’s believed to have originated in China some time before 1000 BC with the more modern-day version produced first in Turin, Italy in the latter half on the 18th C. It can dry or sweet. It was traditionally made with wormwood added, this is now banned—among many other side effects are kidney failure, paralysis and death. The following Vermouth is sweet. A stunning aperitif over the rocks, here are ten cocktail recipes using sweet Vermouth courtesy

**** drink now
Cocchi Vermouth Di Torino
Italy $27.95 (461913) 16.0% alcohol
A spirited nose - pun intended - of iodine, orange peel, spun sugar and caramel will certainly get your attention. Flavours of candied peel marmalade, sweet, honey-dipped mandarin orange and aromatic bitters attack the palate with gusto persisting through the long and über-delicious aftertaste. Primarily used in cocktails—Martini, Manhattan—it’s quite good on its own, over ice. (Vic Harradine)

Dessert Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Cave Spring ‘Indian Summer’ Select Late Harvest Riesling 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula $24.95 (415901) 375 mL 12.5% alcohol

A true treasure; if you haven’t given this a try, I can’t encourage you strongly enough. Not an icewine, but grapes from the VQA sub-appellation of Lincoln Lakeshore were hand picked and pressed while partially frozen. It pours well with pan-seared spiced pâté, aged hard cheese, foie gras or fruit flan. Perfumed aromas of apricot, herbs and spice, honeyed pit fruit and lemony citrus herald a delightful flow of poached pear, peel marmalade and lemon-pie filling juxtaposed with a balancing, tangy line of racy citrus keeping it far from cloying on the finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

Sparkling Wine

**** drink now
Balbi Soprani Brachetto D’Acqui
DOCG Piedmont $15.95 (298570) 6.5% alcohol
This punches well above the price regarding versatility—offer it well chilled to arriving guests, serve it well chilled with fruit or chocolate dessert, as well as value—it’s a low-alcohol sparkling wine that’s flavourful and fun. It may not win approval from a group of know-it-all wine snobs, but it’ll please most people who are offered a glass. Spoiler alert – it’s full of bubbles and delicious, sweet, red berry fruit flavour. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: White Wine

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Calamus ‘Steely – Unoaked’ Chardonnay 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 (210062) 12.5% alcohol

This offers very good value. Stylish aromas of green apple and ripe pear mingle with tropical fruit on the nose of this mid-weight, value-packed Chardonnay. It bathes the plate with good mouth feel and clean crisp flavour—flinty/mineral notes interweave with lemon zest and wisps of white grapefruit. Flavours persist and replay on the lingering, mouth-watering aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Cave Spring ‘Estate Bottled’ Chardonnay Musqué 2014

VQA Beamsville Bench $16.95 (246579) 13.5% alcohol

There’s the honeyed sweetness of melon on the nose of this unique Chardonnay clone—known for its perfumed character—mingling with floral notes and hints of ripe stone fruit. Off-dry, light-mid weight, the wine is fruity and fresh, the floral character in evidence on the palate, fine acidity harmonizing with the sweet fruit, a hint of spice tantalizing. Tasty and easy drinking, you’ll enjoy this with crab cakes or lobster ravioli in a cream sauce. (Susan Desjardins)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Closson Chase Vineyard Chardonnay 2014
VQA Prince Edward County $29.00 (148866) 12.5% alcohol
Aromas of toasty oak, exotic spice and caramel herald a sleek river of citrus tang—lemon curd and Key lime—interwoven with notes of minerality and ripe pear. This is light-medium bodied with delicate texture, good structure and well-integrated oak followed by a lick of baking spice and grapefruit pith on the crisp, clean finish. Pour with pan-seared fish or grilled seafood. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Tawse Winery ‘Sketches of Niagara’ Riesling 2014

VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.20 (89029) 10.0% alcohol

Opening with delicate aromas of Key lime, lemon and notions of flint and slate, this coats the palate with a deliriously delicious, sweet and tang flow of lime cordial, lemon curd and grilled pineapple. It’s balanced on a pin with persistent purity of fruit and lingering aftertaste that’s to die for. Exceptional wine at a wonderful price; pick up a few for easy drinking now to 2018. (Vic Harradine)

• Trail Estate, a relatively new (2011) Prince Edward County winery, reached out to Ed Hughes in Niagara to purchase fruit for the following wine. It’s not often a grape grower earns mention in a wine review, but this grape grower, Ed Hughes, has earned the right; a former chef he’s been at this for a number of years and is a 2007 graduate from  Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute. Serious amateur winemakers line up to purchase his fruit, as do professional winemakers. Trail Estate winemaker, Mackenzie Brisbois, a PEC native and grad of Niagara College’s Winery and Viticulture Technician program, handled these grapes to perfection, huge kudos to her for giving life to the following gem. Pick up a few and pour with all manner of seafood or lightly spiced Asian cuisine.

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Trail Estate Riesling 2014
VQA Lincoln Lakeshore, Niagara Peninsula $19.95 (468082) 12.9% alcohol
Aromas of piquant spice with wisps of petrol, citrus and talcum powder dominate the nose on this mid-weight, delectable, barely off-dry Riesling. On the palate, a steely, citrus-lined flow of lemon curd and white grapefruit streak across the palate garnished with peach, pear and mineral notes. It’s well paced, very well priced and lip-smacking good from twist top to last drop. Hats off to winemaker, Mackenzie Brisbois, not the last we’ll hear from her. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Norman Hardie ‘County Unfiltered’ Pinot Noir 2014
VQA Prince Edward County $45.20 (125310) 10.9% alcohol
Roasted savory herb and spice aromas precede a delicately textured line of sweet berry fruit on the palate supported by barely perceptible pie cherry acidity. Replays persist throughout the monumentally lengthy finish and aftertaste garnished with wisps of soft tannin and touches of elegance. This is light on its feet with good purity of fruit and deft balance. (Vic Harradine)

• With a serendipitous stroke, the iconic Canadian band, The Tragically Hip, will give their final rock concert in Kingston, ON on the exact day this wine will be released by the LCBO – August 20. As the Vintages catalogue suggests, why not make a toast to Gord Downie and the band that very evening with a glass or two of the following red blend fashioned by Ottawa-native and Stoney Ridge Estate chief winemaker, Jeff Hundertmark.

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery ‘The Tragically Hip Fully Completely Grand Reserve’ Red 2013
VQA Niagara Peninsula $24.95 (411595) 13.0% alcohol
Aromas of savory, peppery herbs, floral notes and dark berry fruit abound. The herb notes replay on the palate interweaving with blueberry, black currant and tang-laden sour cherry. This red blend—46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc—is medium bodied and well balanced with a long aftertaste of berry fruit, mocha and vanilla. (Vic Harradine)

Oregon: White Wine

***1/2 drink now
Foris Pinot Gris 2014
Southern Oregon $22.95 (544312) 13.9% alcohol
There are wisps of pit fruit, floral and honeyed aromas on the nose. A light-on-its-feet, delicately textured flow of lemon, lime and apple bathe the palate persisting through the lengthy, refreshing, dry finish robed in drying grapefruit pith. This lovely, light sipper can be enjoyed on its own or with lighter fare. (Vic Harradine)
California: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Ca’ Momi Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Napa Valley $26.95 (315002) 13.8% alcohol

Red and black berry fruit, mocha, smoky notes and spice aromas leap from the glass of this mid-full bodied, well-textured gem. It’s dominated on the palate by a laser-like line of crisp acidity with sour cherry, passion fruit and red currant to the fore. It’s nicely balanced on the finish with a rush black plum compote and briary berry. Considering the tony neighbourhood and the exchange rate, this offers very good value. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Ravenswood ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel 2014

Lodi $21.95 (942599) 14.5% alcohol

Sage and thyme aromas meld with dark berry fruit on the nose of this gorgeous, fruit- and spice-laden Zin. A fully textured wash of crowd-friendly, luscious dark fruit—bramble berry, plum and cherry—garnished with baking and peppery spice coat the palate infusing the balanced, juicy aftertaste. There’s a fine-grained tannin underpinning that’s easily ameliorated with a three-hour aeration/decant. Pour alongside barbecued back ribs mopped with spicy red sauce. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Sivas-Sonoma ‘Old Vine’ Zinfandel 2013
Sonoma County $24.95 (291096) 15.0% alcohol
Zin lovers take note, this has much to offer. Aromas of spice, mixed field berry fruit and baking spice unleash a rich, luscious, balanced and beautiful wash of bramble berry jam, grilled herbs and mocha bathing the palate, persisting through the delicious finish and aftertaste. Give this a go with pulled pork smothered in spicy barbecue sauce. (Vic Harradine)

Oregon: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Underwood ‘Oregon Grown’ Pinot Noir 2014
Oregon $21.95 (421198) 13.0% alcohol
Red cherry/berry fruit, spice and savory herb aromas on the nose, this spills over the palate with a lovely array of red berry fruit—strawberry, cherry and raspberry wrapped in roasted herbs and piquant spice. It’s medium weight with good mouthfeel and a lingering finish. Pair and pour with grilled duck breasts or roast bird. (Vic Harradine)

Washington State: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Buried Cane Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Columbia Valley $19.95 (402081) 13.8% alcohol
This is dark purple when poured, almost opaque. Aromas of espresso roast, field berry fruit and baking spice introduce a dense, intense flow of black currant jam and cassis intertwined with sweet vanilla, and lip-smacking tang. It’s quite good value, medium-full bodied with good texture and wisps of ripe, soft tannin on the long aftertaste. Aerate/decant two hours before serving. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Chateau Ste. Michelle 'Columbia Valley' Syrah' 2013

Columbia Valley $21.95 (949651) 13.5% alcohol

Co-fermented with a touch of Viognier, bursting with aromas of blackberry, blueberry pie and licorice, this crowd-pleaser tickles the senses with its floral nuances and lifted notes of exotic spice and cracked pepper. Dry, mid-full weight, the palate is awash with flavours of cassis jam and black raspberry coulis underlain with supple tannins, a mineral quality and fine acidity. The finish is long and dry with a pleasing toasty quality. Serve with herbed grilled leg of lamb or duck confit. (Susan Desjardins)

Chile: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Casas Del Toqui ‘Terroir Selection Gran Reserva’ Pinot Noir 2012
Casablanca Valley $19.95 (443499) 14.0% alcohol
Red berry fruit and spice set the stage for a lighter-styled wash of ripe cherry/berry fruit and spice-laden kirsch liqueur flavours dancing on the palate persisting through the fruit-filled finish. It’s a delightful sipper and pours well with supermarket rotisserie chicken and roast potatoes. (Vic Harradine)

Australia: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Dutschke ‘Jackson’ Cabernet/Shiraz 2012
Lyndoch, Barossa Valley, South Australia $27.95 (447037) 14.7% alcohol
Baking spice, sweet vanilla and red berry fruit aromas set the table for a smorgasbord of palate flavours with bramble berry, cassis and baking spice to the fore. It’s full fruited, deftly balanced and nicely structured with a lengthy aftertaste adding wisps of a manageable, soft tannin underpinning. It’s a delicious 60% Cabernet Sauvignon/ 40% Shiraz red blend with plenty to offer. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Yalumba ‘The Strapper’ GSM 2013
Barossa Valley, South Australia $19.95 (295873) 14.1% alcohol
Black licorice, dark berry fruit and vanilla aromas cut loose a mid-full bodied, nicely textured stream of sweet ripe mulberry and black currant with good balance. There’s loads of sweet, ripe fruit, good acidity and perceptible tannin on the abbreviated finish. Pair with grilled, well-seasoned steak after a three-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

New Zealand: White Wine

**** drink or cellar
Kim Crawford Pinot Gris 2015
Marlborough, South Island $19.95 (369850) 13.0% alcohol
Floral notes and tropical fruit aromas precede a lighter-styled Gris that bathes the palate with tangy lemon-lime acidity interlaced with honey-tinged pear and apricot flavours. It’s a straightforward Gris providing pleasure with or without food. (Vic Harradine)

New Zealand: Red Wine

***1/2 cellar
Waimea Pinot Noir 2014
Nelson, South Island $22.95 (447508) 13.5% alcohol
This begins with a funky nose of mushroom/earthy notes, black cherry and charred toast aromas. It’s fresh and lively on the palate with an abundance of tang delivered via sour cherry and passion fruit flavours decorated with ripe black plum. It’s tight and tart on the finish with a lick of grainy tannin. Aerate/decant a couple of hours before serving with roast chicken, turkey or smoked and grilled duck. (Vic Harradine)

South Africa: White Wine

**** drink or cellar
‘Vintage Selection’ Spier Chenin Blanc 2015
WO Swartland $16.95 (455618) 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of honeysuckle flinty/mineral notes and orchard fruit open the door for a medium-plus bodied, smooth-as-silk river of ripe white nectarine and honeydew melon juxtaposed with tangy citrus. It finishes with more of the same, well priced, well paced and a lengthy, mouth-watering good aftertaste. Sip on its own or with roast chicken, pork cutlets or pan-seared, freshwater pickerel. (Vic Harradine)

France: White Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Jean-Marc Brocard ‘Domaine Sainte Claire’ Chablis 2014
AOC Chablis $23.95 (356634) 12.5% alcohol
Fruit for this was sourced from 30-year-old vines and fermented by indigenous yeast. A nose of mineral/steely/flinty aromas unleash a solid line of bracing, tang-laden acidity with blood orange, Key lime and lemon zest to the fore. It’s medium weight with decent texture and an extended, clean, crisp and refreshing finish and aftertaste. A large platter of freshly shucked oysters garnished with hot sauce and freshly squeezed lemon is called for. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now
Les Charmelles Sancerre 2014
AOP Sancerre $27.95 (448571) 12.5% alcohol
Piquant spice with grassy/nettles aromas leap from the glass of this gorgeous expression of classic Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc. A laser-like ribbon of gooseberry jelly and riveting acidity streak across the palate infusing the crisp, clean finish. There’s a truckload of flavour on the mouth-watering aftertaste. Pour with fish and all manner of seafood. (Vic Harradine)

France: Red Wine

***1/2 drink or cellar
Château Hauchat 2013
AOC Fronsac $16.95 (123489) 13.0% alcohol
Given the challenging vintage, this Merlot-dominant blend has developed particularly well. Smoke, cedar and berry fruit aromas herald a grainy river of tannin and rustic flavours with black currant and black cherry robed in steely/mineral notes and good tart acidity. It’s medium weight with a lip-smacking finish. Aerate/decant two hours and pour with a rare-grilled, well-seasoned slab of beef. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
l’Expression de Margaux 2010
AOC Margaux $33.95 (431734) 14.0% alcohol
Wood smoke, tar and oak aromas roll from this medium-plus bodied, creamy-smooth red. It coats the palate with tang-laden fruit—pie cherry, red currant and black plum, ripe and delicious. It has depth, concentration and persistent purity of fruit while the finish provides structure with soft, fine-grained tannin. Pour with grilled beef tenderloin. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Château la Bastide ‘Optimée’ Corbières 2011
AOP Corbières $19.95 (448662) 14.0% alcohol
This value-packed, rich, red blend—80% Syrah/20% Grenache—spent 12 months in French oak barrique. It opens with hi-toned aromas of dark berry fruit, peppery spice and black licorice before coating the palate with a gorgeous flow of luscious black currant, cassis and juicy, black Bing cherry, satin smooth and quite delectable. It’s full bodied, with structure depth and concentration. How good is that? Pick up a few. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Domaine Roche-Audran ‘César’ Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2012
AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages $24.95 (452243) 15.0% alcohol
This 100% Grenache gem dishes up aromas of local wild herbs, red licorice and fresh, lively, red and black fruit on the nose. A palate-coating flow of sweet, ripe mulberry, black bramble berry and baking spice interlaced with vanilla and kirsch liqueur. It finishes with replays, good balance and a lengthy, lip-smacking finish—a lovely wine. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Gérard Bertrand ‘Terroir’ Corbières 2013
AOP Corbières $16.95 (394288) 13.5% alcohol
Here’s a crowd-pleasing Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre red blend that barrels from the glass with lifted aromas of ripe berry fruit and spice before letting loose with a full-fruited stream of rich, luscious, palate flavours—dark berry fruit, sweet vanilla, fennel and mocha. It’s mid weight with satin-smooth mouthfeel and a fairly lengthy balanced and dry, mouth-watering finish and aftertaste. Go for the gusto; back up the van. (Vic Harradine)

Italy: White Wine

• The following wine from the island of Sardinia, Italy, is made from the white Vermentino grape, thought to be indigenous to Italy with plantings surmised to be in existence in northern Sardinia since the 14th C under the name, Arratelau. It’s also known in France as, Rolle.

****1/2 drink now
Contini Pariglia ‘Vermentino Di Sardegna’ 2014
DOC Sardinia $18.95 (455238) 13.0% alcohol
Aromas of peach, pear, apple and minerality abound. A dense and intense flow of juicy lemon-lime and grapefruit interweave with ripe apple and pear coating the palate with good balance and sense of purpose. It finishes crisp and refreshing with lashings of lip-smacking acidity. There’s good purity of fruit throughout—pour with breaded pork cutlets, roast chicken or grilled seafood. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now
Zenato Pinot Grigio 2015
IGT Delle Venezie $15.95 (37648) 12.5% alcohol
Honeyed pit fruit and floral aromas set the table for a smorgasbord of flavours—tropical fruit and apricot meld beautifully with racy lemon curd and white grapefruit streaming over the palate with good balance and oodles of charm. This is light on its feet with decent texture and a clean refreshing aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

Italy: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Bosio Barbera d’Asti 2014
DOCG Asti $13.95 (454009) 13.0% alcohol
This punches well above the price with oodles of fruit and juicy acidity. There are aromas of lilac, piquant spice and red berry fruit galore. A lively, fresh wash of red currant and pie cherry skips across the palate infusing the tang-laden, dry finish. Serve with red pizza or a baguette with meat-laden deli platter. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Leone De Castris ‘Maiana’ Salice Salentino 2014
DOC Salice Salentino $14.95 (717959) 13.5% alcohol
This old-vine Negroamaro and Red Malvasia blend is structured and blessed with oodles of charm from cork pop to last drop offering exceptional value. The quiet nose of spice and floral notes with wisps of mixed field berry fruit gives no indication of the fresh lively flavours that command attention riding a wave of well-balanced, red and dark cherry mingling with peppery spice and dark bittersweet chocolate. Pick up a few for burgers, wings, fajitas, red pizza and gourmet sausage. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Campopazzo Chianti Classico 2012
DOCG Chianti Classico $20.95 (454512) 13.5% alcohol
Hi-toned aromas of pipe tobacco, pencil shavings and tarry notes are precursors to a rich, ripe wash of flavour with black currant, cherry and spice underpinned by soft, ripe tannin and good, balancing acidity on the palate and dry, mouth-watering finish. This is mid weight with firm texture and flecked with savoury herbs on the aftertaste. Aerate/decant for two hours pouring with grilled rack of lamb. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Tommasi ‘Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico’ 2012
DOCG Valpolicella Classico $49.95 (356220) 15.0% alcohol
Dried raisins and wisps of figs on the nose, this shifts into high gear with a gorgeous river of deep, rich fruit flavour—black plum compote and black cherry—and hints of Ribena coating the palate infusing the lingering finish. It was crafted from hand-harvested Corvina/Corvinone/ Rondinella/Oseleta and aged in Slovenian oak barrel. It’s full bodied and well balanced with firm structure and good bones. Drink now, after a two-hour aeration/decant, and on to 2023. (Vic Harradine)

Portugal: Red Wine

**** cellar
Quinta Nova De Nossa ‘Senhora Do Carmo’ Colheita Tinto 2011
DOC Douro $19.95 (452748) 14.0% alcohol
This unoaked gem is fashioned from high-quality Port grapes and needs a bit more time in bottle—drink 2018-2023. A rich, ripe gusher of bramble berry and black cherry coats the palate with gusto garnished with piquant spice and hints of bittersweet chocolate. It’s medium bodied with good mouth feel and plenty to reward the wine lover with a little patience. (Vic Harradine)

Spain: White Wine

***1/2 drink now
Val De Vid Verdejo 2015
DO Rueda $14.95 (452086) 13.5% alcohol
Aromas of fresh-mown hay and citrus notes pave the way for a delicate wash of tang-laden Key lime pie and lemon pie filling meeting with softer melon and yellow plum. There’s considerable acidity throughout helping to make this a wonderful pairing with prawn ceviche or pan-seared fish. (Vic Harradine)

Spain: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Bodega Alceño ‘Premium 50 Barricas’ Syrah 2012

DO Jumilla $14.95 (398933) 14.5% alcohol

There’s a 15% splash of Monastrell in this buy-me-now, drink-me-now red that spent 6 months in new French and American oak. Dark and alluring in the glass and on the nose, aromas of dark berry fruit, earthiness and spice box set the table for a smorgasbord of rich luscious flavour—black berry, cassis and red currant interweaving with vanilla and dark coffee. It’s mid-plus weight with good mouth feel and a long, fruity and well-balanced aftertaste. A case of this won’t stay around long—pour with burgers, steak, red pizza, ribs or wings. (Vic Harradine)

Switzerland: White Wine

***1/2 drink now
Edelweiss 2014
Vin de Pays Suisse $17.95 (385021) 11.5% alcohol
A quiet nose of pit fruit, pineapple and citrus aromas herald a lighter-styled wash of pear, apple and juicy peach gliding over the palate robed in wisps of tangy citrus. The mid-length finish and aftertaste produce replays, nicely balanced, crisp, clean and mouth-watering. Pour with water crackers and Brie or Camembert. (Vic Harradine)

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages Release: September 3, 2016

****1/2 drink or cellar
Frei Brothers ‘Reserve’ Zinfandel 2014
Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County $24.95 (281758) 14.8% alcohol
Heady aromas of spice and cedar introduce a spice- and tang-laden stream of deftly balanced, sustainably farmed Zin. It bathes the palate with luscious flavours of black cherry, dried currant and plum jam adorned with moderating tang. It’s mid-full weight and structured with good mouthfeel and persistent purity of fruit from cork pop to the very last drop of the dry, delectable finish. (Vic Harradine)

New in the LCBO

***1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Sue-Ann Staff ‘Fancy Farm Girl – Foxy Pink’ Rosé 2014
VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 (469338) 11.0% alcohol
Aromas of rose petals and strawberry abound. This is mid weight with oodles of tang and a lingering aftertaste. Flavours of strawberry cordial mingle with red grapefruit tang on the palate and dry, crisp finish. Sip on its own or with any manner of lighter fare—cheese plate, deli platter or charcuterie. (Vic Harradine)

Private Order Wine

• Order the following wine by the case for home, restaurant or office delivery in Ontario along with those published in the previous newsletters from Nokhrin Wines or Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , if in the GTA phone 416 704-8617.

**** drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Quinta das Camélais Dão ‘Reserva 2013
Dão, Portugal $13.95 13.5% alcohol
This value-packed red blend was sourced from Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Alfrocheiro that spent a short time in French and American oak before bottling. Lively fresh aromas of graphite and mixed berry fruit precede a luscious, rich wash of red berries, piquant spice and wisps of satin-smooth tannin. It rolls over the palate medium-bodied and well textured with time on its side—pour now to 2021. Aerate/decant for three hours serving with meat-lovers pizza, burgers or grilled gourmet sausage. (Vic Harradine)

Cheers, Vic