May 9, 2017 Newsletter

Newsletter Highlights include:

Australia flagd’Arenberg, Hewitson and Rockford Cellars: Tucked away in the Barossa Valley there’s a winery with the oldest Mourvèdre vineyard in the world and another whose owner makes wine as it was done well over a hundred years ago and yet another from McLaren Vale who is making a multi-million dollar investment in architecturally stunning, glass cubes. You can learn of these three wineries and purchase their wines from the LCBO or via Ontario agents.
Susan Desjardins

Mondo del Vino – The Sicilian Connection: Susan Desjardins recently flew to Italy to attend Vin Italy – a massive wine exhibition with wine-tasting opportunities galore. She was on her way to Sicily so focused on those. If you’ve ever thought of attending this or another major international wine event, you’ll find Susan’s article enlightening. If you’re interested in the wines she tasted that are now available at the LCBO, you’ll enjoy her wine reviews, as well.

  • Exceptional-value wine Exceptional Value! – 3 of 78 wines currently in stores meet the strict quality-price guidelines. They’re easily identified in the newsletter via the exceptional-value checkmark above. Which strict quality-price guidelines? Click here.
  • 5-star Wine – No wine in this newsletter that is currently available in stores rang the 5-star bell.
  • Lisa Likes – Grand Vin de Glenelly Red 2010 earning 4 ½ stars @ $19.95 found under South Africa: Red Wine; Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino 2010 earning 4 ½ stars @ $55.95 found under Italy: Red Wine; Conde Valdemar ‘Reserva’ 2009 earning 4½ stars @ $19.95 found under Spain: Red Wine.
  • Vic Picks – Parker Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay 2015 earning 4 ½ stars @ $19.95 found under Australia: White Wine; Wakefield Merlot 2015 earning 4 ½ stars @ $18.95 found under Australia: Red Wine. Vinicola de Castilla ‘Señorío de Guadianeja’ Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva 2004 earning 4 ½ stars @ $25.95 found under New in Private Order; La Poulardière Côtes du Rhône ‘Blanc’ 2016 earning 4 stars @ $13.95 also found under New in Private Order.

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 stores near you is displayed—or by clicking ‘Check all stores’ where you’ll see stock available in all LCBO stores. 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 (wine not in Vintages) should always closely reflect stock in stores, updated every 24 hours. However, it’s always best to phone stores showing stock before you go.

Vintages Release: May 13, 2017

Feature: New Zealand

• The following wine was sourced from six separate vineyards, fermented with indigenous yeast then aged 11 months in oak, 27% new.

****1/2drink now
Pencarrow Pinot Noir 2015
Martinborough, North Island $24.95 (692301) 13.5% alcohol
Fresh, lively aromas of red currant and cherry introduce a gorgeous mouthful of ripe black currant, pie cherry and spice. This is medium weight with generous texture and framed by good acidity from twist top to last drop. It’s underpinned by soft, fine-grained, ripe tannin and finishes with deft balance, crunchy red fruit flavour and oodles of style and charm. Pour alongside roast of chicken or smoked, grilled duck breasts. (Vic Harradine)

• The following family-owned winery is run by Hermann and Agnes Siefred and their three children. They planted their first vines in 1973. Fruit for this wine was sourced from the Brightwater and the Clover Road vineyards. The ‘Old Coach Road’ pays homage to the first mail—back in the 1850s—making its way through the Moutere Hills in Nelson.

****1/2 drink now
Seifried Estate ‘Old Coach Road’ Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Nelson, South Island $18.95 (483495) 12.5% alcohol
The price-quality balance tips well in your favour. Savory herbs and vegetal note aromas make their way through the lifted nose. It bathes the palate with a medium-weight, nicely textured stream of piquant spice, pit fruit and tangy lemon zest. With persistent replays on the lingering finish and aftertaste, it provides a balanced, crisp and refreshing finish. Pour with pan-seared fish. (Vic Harradine)

• The following winery is owned and managed by Kimberley and Kevin Judd, with the name Greywacke taken from the rounded, greywacke stones found in vineyards. They absorb, store and give back the sun’s heat to the vines, helping to ripen grapes.

****1/2 drink now
Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Marlborough, South Island $24.95 (164228) 13.5% alcohol
Mineral notes, sharp spice and kiwi fruit aromas set the table for a delectable flow of palate bathing flavour with Key lime and Meyer lemon interweaving with piquant spice and wisps of passionfruit. This is mid weight with creamy-smooth texture—was left on lees for a short time—and a boatload of flavour and charm while the finish is lip-smacking good. Delightful on its own, it pours well with steamed mussels or grilled prawns. (Vic Harradine)

Spirits: Sake

**** drink now
Takara Sake ‘Sho Chiku Bai Premium’ Ginjo Sake

California $12.95 300 mL (960088) 15.0% alcohol

This Ginjo is smooth and mellow throughout with wisps of rose petals and anise on the nose. It bathes the palate with a light-medium bodied and über-smooth wash of licorice, lemon tang and notions of tapioca pudding. The folks at Takara suggest serving chilled. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now
Homare Nigori Strawberry Saké

Fukushima Prefecture, Japan $21.75 500 mL (384776) 7.0% alcohol

This blend of low-alcohol sake and strawberry fruit coats the palate with a delightful mouthful of strawberry milkshake. One would be hard-pressed, if tasting blind, to detect the alcohol; it’s simply delicious. Serve chilled or over ice, making certain to shake the bottle well before pouring. (Vic Harradine)

The Main Release

Ontario: White Wine

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Cave Spring ‘CSV’ Riesling 2015
VQA Beamsville Bench $29.95 (566026) 11.5% alcohol
Fruit sourced from the low-yielding, 30+-year-old vines was used to produce this well-crafted Riesling displaying wonderful balance. High-toned aromas of lemon peel, white grapefruit and honeysuckle on the nose segue to crisp green apple, tangy citrus and a lasting mineral finish on the palate. Medium-light-bodied, it’s off-dry with a streak of racy acidity providing balance. Enjoy with spicy tuna tartare. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Château des Charmes ‘St. David’s Bench’ Chardonnay 2014

VQA St. David’s Bench $19.95 (430991) 13.0% alcohol

From the bitter winter and late spring of the 2014 vintage come alluring aromas of toasted nut, sweet ripe orchard fruit and citrus. The viticulturist and vintner’s skills are on display in the creamy, lush texture of this well-crafted, medium-full bodied wine. Harmonious, complex and showing beautiful structure and texture, the lively acidity and subtle mineral character complement clean flavours of juicy ripe pear, melon and grilled pineapple. Hints of toasted coconut and the warmth of sweet baking spices add depth while the fine balance extends through a persistent, tangy, buttery finish. Well done, and a fine value! Serve with rosemary roast chicken with pan-roasted root vegetables. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Inniskillin ‘Reserve’ Riesling 2014
VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 (34025) 12.0% alcohol
Medium straw in colour, aromas of caramel apple, apricot and cantaloupe mingle with floral and mineral notes. It’s dry, medium-light bodied offering a crisp, refreshing mouthfeel and gentle flavours of stone fruit, honey and red apple, finishing mid-length with a suggestion of ripe fruit sweetness. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Konzelmann ‘Late Harvest’ Gewürztraminer 2014
VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.75 (392357) 13.0% alcohol
This offers very good value. Aromas burst from the glass—honeydew melon and pineapple alongside piquant spice and notions of rosewater. Medium-sweet, rich in texture, the flavours are intense showcasing ripe pineapple, red apple with characteristic floral and spice notes. It finishes mid-length with a touch of grapefruit pith on the zesty finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

California: White Wine

***1/2 drink or cellar
Tom Gore Chardonnay 2014
Sonoma Valley $19.95 (458810) 13.5% alcohol
This will please those who enjoy a barrel-aged Chardonnay. Aromas of baked apples, grilled pineapple and lemon merge with vanilla, spice and butter notes on the nose and replay on the palate. It’s dry, medium-bodied, creamy and round in texture with concentrated flavours of apple, lemon curd and butterscotch lingering through the finish. Serve with baked brie topped with pears and honey. (Lisa Isabelle)

California: Red Wine

***1/2 drink or cellar
Cline Pinot Noir 2015
Sonoma Coast $27.95 (329649) 14.0% alcohol
This fuller-bodied Pinot Noir spent 10 months in French oak, 40% new, and offers sweet aromas of blackberry, dark plum, chocolate covered cherries and vanilla. Dry, mid-plus weight with a soft, juicy texture, palate-coating flavours of ripe cherries, spice and sweet vanilla extend through the finish. Serve with balsamic-glazed Portobello mushroom burgers. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar  
Edmeades Zinfandel 2013

Mendocino County $22.95 (105924) 15.0% alcohol

Small percentages of Petite Sirah and Syrah enhance this expressive, enticing Zinfandel. This deep-ruby red showcases complex aromas of spiced rose, cedar, vanilla, dark berry, cherry and plum. Full bodied, the gentle tannic frame underpins juicy texture arising from lively acidity complementing concentrated rich dark fruit. Elusive notes of licorice and dark chocolate tantalize the palate while finishing dry, warm and fruity. This is a great match for pork back ribs or herbed braised chicken thighs. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar
Michael David ‘Petite Petit’ 2014
Lodi $26.95 (213017) 14.5% alcohol
The inky, purple colour sets the tone for this expressive blend of 85% Petit Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot. Ripe dark fruit unites with an array of oak-derived aromas—toast, vanilla, spice and dark chocolate. Dry, full-bodied with firm well-integrated tannin, the palate offers stewed dark berries, cocoa and spice flavours through the long warming finish. Enjoy with BBQ ribs. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Rodney Strong ‘Knights Valley’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Knights Valley $39.95 (456723) 14.5% alcohol
This is 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot and hails from one of the warmest appellations in the US. It offers lifted aromas of blackberry and cassis with inviting mint, floral and spice notes. It’s dry, full-bodied with a rich mouthfeel and concentrated, long finish of blackberry, cassis, spice and pepper. Pour with grilled rib-eye steak. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Rodney Strong Merlot 2013
Sonoma County $23.95 (497933) 14.5% alcohol
Ripe red and dark plum and blackberry interweaving with herbal notions of cedar, mint and oregano, open this silky-smooth, well-balanced Merlot. Dry, medium-full bodied with bright acidity and soft tannin, rich dark fruit flavours are enhanced with fig, spice and dark chocolate on the palates. It finishes medium-long with a hint of vanilla. Enjoy with pepper-crusted lamb loin. (Lisa Isabelle)

Chile Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Espino ‘Single Vineyard Gran Cuvée’ Carmenère 2012
Maipo Valley $19.95 (59337) 13.4% alcohol
This wine—produced with the signature grape of Chile—offers intriguing aromas of red and dark pit fruit with notable herbal elements of sundried tomato, dry leaves, spice and black pepper. Medium-full bodied, smooth and supple in texture, flavours of sweet cherry, black currant, roasted red pepper and baking spices endure through the lasting, fruity finish. Pair with roasted summer vegetables topped with feta cheese. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar  
Santa Carolina ‘Gran Reserva’ Petit Verdot 2013

Rapel Valley $16.95 (7484) 14.5% alcohol

A touch shy on the nose, this dusky red shows some mineral qualities underlying the black fruit, spice and savoury licorice notes. Big and bold with the warmth of spice and pepper, it offers a focused core of intensely flavourful blueberry, blackberry and plum fruit. The tannins have been tamed to provide firm structure, but the defining character is its pure expression of the grape. Finishing dry and long, it’s a good match for rare-grilled meats. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar  
Viña Tarapacá ‘Gran Reserva’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

DO Maipo Valley $17.95 (18721) 14.0% alcohol

There’s good fruit and fine balance here with roasted savory herbs and forest floor aromas making way for a mid-plus bodied stream of cherry/berry fruit, mixed spice and wisps of mushroom and musky bits on the palate. This is nicely textured with good structure and a lingering finish that’s dominated by mushroom and musky notes. (Vic Harradine)

Australia: White Wine

• The following fabulous Coonawarra Chardonnay was fashioned from cooler plots predominantly from viticulturist, Brett Williams’ vineyard, the balance from a small plot from V&A Lane. The Williams fruit was barrel-fermented—first malolactic conversion followed by alcohol fermentation –then aged in new French oak barriques for 9 months with regular lees stirring. The V&A was fermented in stainless steel and blended later.

****1/2 drink or cellar  

Parker Coonawarra Estate Chardonnay 2015

Coonawarra $19.95 (447029) 13.5% alcohol

This value-laden gem leaps from the glass with aromas of baking spice, peach, apricot and nutty notes. It coats the palate with a nicely textured surge of lemon zest and green apple adorned with melon and pear. It’s mid-plus weight with good complexity, structure and purity of fruit—it’s balanced and beautiful from twist top to last drop. Pour with roast chicken, veal or pork. (Vic Harradine)

Australia: Red Wine

• Vic recently tasted the following wine almost one year after the review below. This time he noted it ready to drink now, better with a three-hour aeration/decant, awarding it 4 ½ stars given the softening of the tannin already, while still retaining all its other attributes as expected – purchase now and reap those rewards.

**** cellar  
Wakefield Merlot 2015

Clare Valley, South Australia $18.95 (683201) 14.0% alcohol

This cellar-dweller has it all—it’s medium bodied, well balanced, structured and concentrated with velvety texture; it’s chockful of fruit, excellent tang, a lengthy finish and time on its side via a solid whack of still-evolving tannin. Pick up three or more popping corks annually beginning in 2019. Patience and careful cellaring should be handsomely rewarded. (Vic Harradine)

Austria: White Wine

**** drink now
Salomon Undof ‘Groovey’ Grüner Veltliner 2016
Kemstal, Austria $14.95 (669606) 11.5% alcohol
Aromas of orchard fruit and citrus, with nuances of acacia flower, dried straw and white pepper open this refreshing, value-packed white. The palate showcases zesty lemon and grapefruit flavours with an underpinning of bitter green herbs and a stony mineral note. It’s dry, medium-light bodied with vibrant acidity leaving a tangy, mouth-watering finish. Serve with pan-seared white fish topped with a tropical fruit salsa. (Lisa Isabelle)

South Africa: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Grand Vin de Glenelly Red 2010
WO Stellenbosch $19.95 (360339) 14.5% alcohol
This good-value blend of predominantly Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, with Merlot and Petit Verdot playing minor roles, offers an intensely perfumed bouquet evoking aromas of spiced dark fruit, tobacco leaf, graphite and eucalyptus. Nicely structured, velvety tannins and enlivening acidity frame the concentrated, ripe flavours of blackberry and cassis while notes of cocoa, black pepper and smoke are apparent into the lengthy, full-flavoured finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

France: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Domaine de la Colline St-Jean Vacqueyras 2014
AOC Vacqueyras $26.95 (38661) 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of savoury herbs, red and dark berries and a pleasant floral note introduce this medium-full bodied, firmly structured, nicely balanced red from the southern Rhone. Flavours of dark cherry, raspberry, cocoa and baking spice wash over the palate. An herbal note reappears, lingering on the lengthy, dry finish. This could stand up to grilled sirloin steak topped with blue cheese. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Domaine les Grands Bois ‘Cuvée Philippine’ Côtes du Rhône-Villages 2015
AOC Côtes du Rhône-Villages 18.95 (286344) 14.5% alcohol
Opaque purple in colour, this Grenache and Syrah-based blend offers aromas of blackberry, cassis and strawberry jam with notions of vanilla and anise. Dry, full-bodied with firm tannins, it finishes long and concentrated with juicy dark fruit, vanilla and spice flavours followed by a savoury, peppery finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Château Fontenelles ‘Cuvée Renaissance’ Corbieres 2013
AOP Corbieres $19.95 (148692) 14.0% alcohol
Dark berry fruit, grilled savory herbs and espresso roast aromas unleash a torrent of palate-coating flavour—briary berry, sprigs of local herbs and notions of red cherry decorated with vanilla and black plum. This is medium-plus bodied with good mouthfeel and a delectable, lip-smacking finish. The price-quality ratio skews well in your favour—buy early and buy often. (Vic Harradine)

**** cellar  
Tessellae ‘Old Vines’ Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre Côtes du Roussillon 2014

AOP Côtes du Roussillon $18.95 (343517) 14.5% alcohol

Sourced from 70-year-old vines, this red blend—50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre—saw absolutely no oak. Aromas of local savory herbs, black currant and sweet/savory spice bathe the palate with a delectable wash of dark cherry and ripe mulberry nicely balanced with a dollop of racy tang on the palate with replays through the lengthy finish. There’s also some grainy, rustic tannin underpinning it all that’s easily taken care of with a two-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

Italy: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Tormaresca Trentangeli 2014
DOC Castel del Monte $19.95 (435529) 14.0% alcohol
This red blend—70% Aglianico, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah—matured 12 months in French and Hungarian oak and a further eight months in bottle before release. Involved aromas of blackberry and raspberry interwoven with orange peel, spice and violet open this dry, medium-plus weight blend. Sweeter notions of cherries and fresh raspberries mingle with baking spice and tea leaves on the palate and persist through the lengthy, dry finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Castello di Gabbiano ‘Riserva’ Chianti Classico 2013
DOCG Chianti Classico $22.95 (216309) 13.5% alcohol
Delicate notions of spice and earth accent the red fruit of this dry, medium-bodied Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot. It’s well-structured with firm tannins and tangy, tart cherry and cranberry flavours alongside subtle notions of oak ageing—spice, cocoa and espresso bean. A restrained note of tea emerges on the extended, dry finish. Enjoy with meat-based tomato sauce over pasta. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Corte Pavone Brunello di Montalcino 2010
DOCG Brunello di Montalcino $55.95 (237263) 15.0% alcohol
A powerful nose of ripe red and dark fruit is layered with pipe tobacco, figs and a hint of leather. The vibrant palate offers succulent spiced berry fruit, coffee bean and a mineral note supported by fresh acidity and smooth, velvety tannins. Dry, full-bodied, ripe cherries and spice drive the long, mouth-watering finish. Treat yourself and pair with beef tenderloin with a side of truffle mashed potatoes. (Lisa Isabelle)

Spain: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Alceño ‘12 Meses’ Monastrell 2011
DO Jumilla $15.95 (398925) 14.5% alcohol
This offers good value. Lifted aromas of dark cherry and raspberry jam merge with savoury notes of oregano, anise and cedar on the nose. Dry, medium-full bodied, the palate is ripe and warm offering flavours of red cherry, blackberry, spice and mint extending through the lengthy finish. Enjoy with grilled sausages. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Conde Valdemar ‘Reserva’ 2009
DOCa Rioja $19.95 (947309) 13.5% alcohol
Principally Tempranillo blended with Graciano and Mazuelo, this evolved Rioja offers a fragrant nose of ripe berry fruit, fig, cedar, leather and earth. Dry, mid-plus weight, flavours of juicy berries, dried herbs, tea and spice persist through the long, savoury finish. Good value and ready to drink now, serve alongside pork chops with mushroom sauce. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Palacios Remondo ‘La Vendimia’ 2015
DOCa Rioja $16.95 (674564) 14.5% alcohol
This fruit-forward red blend—60% Tempranillo / 40% Garnacha—offers aromas of ripe red fruit—cherry, plum and raspberry—with hints of spice and vanilla. Dry, medium-full bodied with perceptible tannin, the tangy red fruit replays on the palate. Decant an hour before serving and enjoy with dry-rubbed, grilled ribs. (Lisa Isabelle)

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages Release: Date TBD

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
d’Arenberg ‘The Hermit Crab’ Viognier – Marsanne 2016
McLaren Vale $17.95 (662775) 13.3% alcohol
Aromas of honeyed pit fruit and nutty notes introduce a medium-bodied, generously textured, creamy-smooth palate-bathing flow of white nectarine and ripe apricot nicely balanced with tangy lemon curd and Key lime pie adorned with piquant ginger. The finish is lengthy, dry, crisp and refreshing. Pour alongside roast chicken, pork or poached lemon sole. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now
d’Arenberg ‘The Money Spider’ Roussanne 2016
McLaren Vale $21.95 (656710) 12.7% alcohol
A quite nose of floral notes with wisps of tropical fruit aromas open this mid-weight Roussanne—only free-run juice used without malolactic conversion. Flavours of melon, tang-laden lemon-lime and hints of grilled pineapple race over the palate with great élan. It finishes in a blaze of racy grapefruit with soft pith infusing the tangy finish and aftertaste. Pour with prawn ceviche or freshly shucked oysters. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now
d’Arenberg ‘The Stump Jump’ Chardonnay 2013
Fleurieu Peninsula, McLaren Vale $14.95 13.3% alcohol
This is very good value. Seeing only a brushstroke of seasoned oak, this dishes up a lip-smacking, crowd-pleasing Chardonnay tang. Aromas of green apple, citrus and mineral notes make way for a light-on-its-feet stream of crisp, green apple, racy lemon curd and a spoonful of lively salinity streaking across the palate infusing the crisp, clean and refreshing finish. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
d’Arenberg ‘The Custodian’ Grenache 2014
McLaren Vale $19.95 (713040) 14.4% alcohol
An involved, lively nose of piquant spice, pencil shavings and dark berry fruit aromas set the table for a smorgasbord of rich, luscious flavour—boysenberry, kirsch liqueur and rich black cherry—mingling with racy passionfruit, tangy red currant and black licorice in an irresistible sweet and tang, yin and yang tasting experience. It’s mid-plus weight and value-laden with a lingering, juicy finish. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 cellar
d’Arenberg ‘The High Trellis’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
McLaren Vale $19.95 (943456) 14.2% alcohol
Floral notes, perfumed exotic spice and notions of iodine aromas on the nose, this sports a full-Monty rush of palate-coating flavour with briary berry, tang-laden pie cherry and crunchy red currant to the fore. This medium-plus bodied, nicely textured Cab has miles to go as it’s quite taut and firmly underpinned by still-evolving tannin—twist caps 2020 to 2025 and pour with grilled-rare, well-seasoned striploin. The price-quality balance tips in your favour. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
d’Arenberg ‘The Footbolt’ Shiraz 2014
McLaren Vale $19.95 (984021) 14.5% alcohol
This punches well above the price, is well structured and showcases good balance and complexity. Aromas of earthy/mushroom, piquant/peppery spice and dark berry fruit abound. A delicious flow of ripe, bramble berry and spice-laden black plum flavour coats the palate decorated with espresso roast and dark bittersweet chocolate. It’s medium-full bodied with good mouthfeel and a balanced lengthy aftertaste layering on notions of grilled savory herbs and oodles of juicy tang. Aerate/decant three hours before serving. (Vic Harradine)

***** drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
d’Arenberg ‘The Laughing Magpie’ Shiraz - Viognier 2012
McLaren Vale $29.95 (936971) 14.4% alcohol
This showcases persistent purity of fruit, excellent fruit and tang balance, exceptional value and oodles of charm. Aromas of dark berry fruit, exotic incense and spice cake introduce a tapestry of palate-bathing flavour with black currant, cassis, and boysenberry compote interwoven with red currant, racy pie cherry and baking spice. This is medium-plus bodied with good mouthfeel and a lengthy balanced finish. (Vic Harradine)

***** cellar
d’Arenberg ‘The Dead Arm’ Shiraz 2013
McLaren Vale $54.95 (430512) 14.6% alcohol
Rich and complex, dense and fruit-laden, this opens with lifted aromas of grilled savory herbs, earthy/gamy notes and red and black cherry/berry galore. It’s fully-fruited, full-bodied, fully textured and full of elegance and charm. A palate-coating surge of flavour showcases dark plum, ripe mulberry and wisps of cassis adorned with sweet vanilla, black licorice and notes of minerality and gamy bits overshadowed by a firm tannin underpinning and framed by excellent tang. Twist tops 2019 to 2026 after careful cellaring. (Vic Harradine)

• The following single-vineyard Riesling earns its ‘gun metal’ handle from the grey-coloured stones in the vineyard.

****1/2 drink now
Hewitson ‘Gun Metal’ Riesling 2015
Eden Valley $25.00 12.0% alcohol
This offers an involved nose of flinty/mineral notes along with floral, citrus and orchard fruit aromas. Early-morning, hand-picked fruit was hurried to the winery contributing greatly to the crisp, refreshing flavour—Key lime and flinty mineral notes streak across the palate infusing the lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. Pour with seafood ceviche or grilled calamari. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now
Hewitson ‘Lu Lu’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Adelaide Hills $23.00 12.0% alcohol
With fruit sourced from one of the highest—approximately 650 metres—coolest spots in the Adelaide Hills, it dishes up aromas of tropical fruit, savory herbs and floral notes. It races over the palate with great élan, tangy lemon-lime, wisps of grassy notes and white grapefruit with all persisting the long, long, mouth-watering finish. Built for sipping on its own of food pairing, give it a try with mussels steamed in white wine or pan-seared scallops under a squeeze of fresh lemon. (Vic Harradine)

• The ‘Belle Ville’ in the following Hewitson wine refers to a property in Provence as well the two grape varieties in the wine that are also favourites in the Provençal region—a Grenache/Cinsault blend.

****1/2 drink now
Hewitson ‘Belle Ville’ Rosé 2016
Eden Valley $25.00 12.5% alcohol
Strawberry and floral aromas waft from this stylish Rosé—it showcases depth and character throughout. A heavenly textured mouthful of black currant and ripe red raspberry bathes the palate decorated with piquant spice and ruby-red grapefruit tang. This is gorgeous sipped on its own with enough oomph to pair perfectly with a deli platter or roast chicken with potato salad. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Minimal Intervention’ Sangiovese was certainly that—it saw no oak, did not undergo malolactic conversion and was naturally settled then bottled without fining or filtration.

**** drink now
Hewitson ‘Minimal Intervention’ Sangiovese 2015
Barossa Valley $25.00 14.0% alcohol
A lively juicy nose of red cherry/berry fruit is precursor to a tang-laden stream of crunchy, red fruit—cherry, cranberry and pomegranate—mingling with piquant spice and savory herbs. It’s medium weight with good mouthfeel and a lingering crisp, dry aftertaste. Sip on its own or pour with pasta in tomato sauce or Swiss steak.

• The following Hewitson ‘Miss Harry’ is a delectable southern Rhône Valley blend—Grenache, Mourvèdre, Shiraz, Cinsault, Carignan—sourced from dry-grown, old-vine fruit with some Grenache +100 years of age, and overall averaging 70 years of age.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Hewitson ‘Miss Harry’ 2014
Barossa Valley $25.00 14.0% alcohol
This red blend—Grenache, Mourvèdre, Shiraz, Cinsault, Carignan—opens with lively aromas of savory herbs, floral notes and wisps of cherry. A medium-bodied, well-textured, creamy-smooth flow of ripe red berry fruit—strawberry, raspberry and crunchy passionfruit—adorned with cassis and oodles of spice blankets the palate. This showcases purity of fruit, complexity and absolutely delicious. There’s good structure from soft-grained tannin and a balanced and beautiful, lengthy finish. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Ned and Henry’s’ Shiraz is named for the owners’ two sons.

****1/2 drink now
Hewitson ‘Ned and Henry’s’ Shiraz 2016
Barossa Valley $28.00 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of piquant spice, sweet vanilla and dark cherry/berry fruit precede a rich and luscious surge of bramble berry and black plum compote enveloping the palate with excellent spice, tang and acidity providing interest and good balance. It’s medium-full weight with textured mouthfeel and a lingering, lip-smacking aftertaste layering on complexity, structure and soft-grained tannin. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Old Garden Vineyard’ is sourced from single-vineyard Mourvèdre vines that are recognized as the oldest in the world.

***** drink or cellar
Hewitson ‘Old Garden Vineyard’ Mourvèdre 2013
Barossa Valley $88.00 14.0% alcohol
Fruit for this 100% Mourvèdre was sourced from vines planted in 1853—put another way, at 2013 harvest, vines were 160 years of age. Savory herbs and black cherry abound on the nose providing introduction to a luscious palate-bathing outpouring of ripe mulberry and wisps of cassis decorated with dark bittersweet chocolate and notions of black licorice—absolutely delectable. It showcases deft balance, complexity, persistent purity of fruit and a lengthy finish. (Vic Harradine)

• The following is Hewtson’s flagship Shiraz seeing 24-months maturation in premium French oak barrique.

***** drink or cellar
Hewitson ‘Falkenberg Vineyard’ Shiraz 2014
Barossa Valley $88.00 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of earthy notes, dark berry fruit and cedar provide segue for a tang-laden river of red fruit—pie cherry and raspberry—interwoven with briary berry, black plum and savory herbs and spice. This is medium-full bodied with excellent texture and a long, bold and balanced finish and aftertaste infused with fennel and mocha. It has structure, with depth, complexity and pure fruit flavour from cork pop to last drop—it was tough to spit this. Aerate/decant two hours, pouring now to 2025. (Vic Harradine)

• Fruit for the following Rockford 2015 Riesling was hand-harvested from premium, hand-pruned, old vines growing in cool-climate Eden Valley—it’s released 12 months later than most Eden Valley Riesling gaining weight and complexity in the process.

****1/2 drink now
Rockford Eden Valley Riesling 2015
Eden Valley $23.50 12.5% alcohol
Perfumed aromas of tropical fruit, floral notes and minerality waft easily from this medium-weight, creamy textured gem. It races over the palate with great élan, Key lime and lemon curd persisting through the crisp, clean finish and aftertaste. There’s plenty of Wow! factor here with racy tang and lip-smacking acidity throughout. Pour with steamed mussels or pan-seared fish under a squeeze of fresh lemon. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Semillon pays homage to three growers from which fruit was sourced—the Matschoss, Sibley and Kalleske families.

**** drink now
Rockford ‘Local Growers’ Semillon 2014
Barossa $22.50 12.2% alcohol
Fruit for this was picked at the peak of ripeness—aromas of tropical fruit, stone fruit and floral notes are underpinned by flinty/minerality. Bracing acidity, delivered through lemon-lime and grapefruit tang, streak over the palate persisting through the mouth-watering finish and aftertaste This is medium-plus weight with good mouthfeel. There’s a bit of oak ageing here also contributing to the weight. Pour now with fish or seafood or give it another three years pouring with roast pork or chicken. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Alicante Bouchet, aka Alicante Bouschet, has been a staple in the Rockford portfolio for more than thirty years. This grape is unusual and is known as a ‘teinturier’ grape due to its red flesh. Virtually all wine grapes—red, black or white—have white flesh. This wine was crafted using saignée method (loose translation – bleeding)—in saignée, the wine remaining after the ‘bleeding’ is often made into a red wine.

****1/2 drink now
Rockford Alicante Bouchet 2015
Eden Valley $20.50 10.1% alcohol
This value-packed, off-dry, Rosé-styled beauty offers an alluring nose of savory herbs, peppery spice and ripe strawberry aromas. Red fruit flavours abound with cranberry and pie cherry to the fore supported by ripe mulberry and black berry fruit. It’s particularly well balanced with sweet and tang perfectly proportioned on the palate and throughout the lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. This pours exceptionally well slightly chilled with bruschetta or a deli platter of smoked meat, spicy black olives, soft, smelly cheese and baguette. (Vic Harradine)

• The must—grape skins, and seed from the preceding Alicante Bouchet saignée, Rosé-styled wine—was utilized in the following wine, hence the ‘Frugal Farmer’ moniker.

**** drink or cellar
Rockford ‘Frugal Farmer’ Grenache/Mataro/Alicante Bouchet 2015
Eden Valley $22.50 12.6% alcohol
Sprigs of herbs and red cherry/berry fruit aromas herald a racy, tangy stream of red currant, black currant and ripe black plum. There’s good mouthfeel and plenty of tang from twist top to last drop in this red blend—it’s medium bodied and finishes lengthy. Pour with red pizza or pastitsio. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Rockford ‘Moppa Springs’ 2012
Eden Valley $28.00 14.4% alcohol
This Grenache-dominant, red blend dishes up sexy aromas of exotic spice, floral notes and dark berry fruit. A broad swath of rich and luscious flavour blankets the palate with ripe briary berry and cassis interwoven with peppery spice and savory herbs. It’s mid-plus weight with heavenly texture and a boatload of style and charm. It finishes dry, balanced and bursting with crunchy lively fruit flavour. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Rod and Spur is 2/3rd Shiraz and 1/3rd Cabernet Sauvignon named for the hard-working growers who spend the cool winters hand-pruning vines in the traditional ‘rod and spur’ method.

**** drink now
Rockford ‘Rod and Spur’ 2013
Barossa Valley $34.50 14.2% alcohol
Bright and lively red cherry/berry aromas mingling with spice and herbs set the table for a smorgasbord of flavours—spice, mint and earthy notes interplay with blueberry, pie cherry and black plum compote bathing the palate infusing the finish and aftertaste. This is medium bodied with a boatload of fruit flavour and tang on the lingering finish. Pour with pasta in tomato sauce or Swiss steak. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Rifle Range’ Cab from Rockford is sold in an interesting, proprietary, uniquely shaped bottle.

****1/2 cellar
Rockford ‘Rifle Range’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Barossa Valley $45.00 13.6% alcohol
Aromas of incense, rose petals and baking spice suggest an involved, complex Cabernet Sauvignon and it delivers that in spades. A tight and taut stream of black berry, eucalyptus and black currant interplays with earthy notes, pipe tobacco and dark bittersweet chocolate. It’s medium-full bodied with firm structure and good depth and a lingering aftertaste underpinned by perceptible tannin.

• You’ll find the following Rockford ‘Basket-Press’ Shiraz listed in the top tier of the über-premium ‘Langton’s Classification of Australia’s Fine Wines’ placing it with 20 other wines as the most highly sought-after Australian wines on the open market. It spent 24 months maturing in wood and further 18 in bottle before release. (Vic Harradine)

***** cellar
Rockford ‘Basket Press’ Shiraz 2013
Barossa Valley $63.00 14.1% alcohol
This evocative Shiraz showcases owner, Robert O’Callaghan’s dedication and single-minded focus on delivering the best wine, from the best fruit using traditional thinking and methods. It showcases persistent purity of fruit—black plum and mulberry compote mingling with red berry fruit and pie cherry—deft balance, structure—ripe, soft, fine-grained tannin, texture—creamy smooth, weighty—and complexity. It’s medium-full bodied with a lengthy finish and aftertaste. Pop corks 2020 to +2030. (Vic Harradine)

New in Vintages

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!

Lungarotti ‘Rubesco’ Sangiovese Colorino 2013

DOC Rosso di Torgiano $17.95 (368548) 13.5% alcohol

Ruby with a garnet note, this aromatic blend—Lungarotti’s most popular worldwide—offers complex and intriguing aromas—floral notes, mineral and tobacco, plummy fruit with a touch of spice and subtle oaky notes. Medium-full bodied, with a tangy texture, the ripe yet firm tannins underpin tasty berry fruit mingling with notes of smoked meat, dried herbs, spice and pepper. There’s great length to the dry finish. It’s a wonderful match with tomato and meat-based pastas, or with lamb ragout. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar

Barone Montalto 'Collezione Di Famiglia' Viognier 2015

IGT Terre Siciliane $15.95 (435479) 12.5% alcohol

This wine was produced from grapes grown on a cool east-facing slope to maintain freshness. It shows lifted orange blossom aromas mingling with a basket of stone and tropical fruits. Dry, on the full side of medium bodied, it has a lovely creamy yet fresh texture, and replays the ripe fruit—apricot and mango—garnished with tangy notes of lime and tangerine. There's good length through the clean tasty finish. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar

Barone Montalto 'Collezione Di Famiglia Passivento' Nero d'Avola 2016

IGT Terre Siciliane $17.95 (477976) 13.5% alcohol

The climate allows not only ripening to full flavour intensity, but the opportunity to dry some of the grapes in the method locally known as 'passivento' – after some drying on the vine, the grapes are exposed to constant air circulation for about 20 days. The rich fruit flavours of this deep ruby wine launch a fragrant assault on the nose, the palate is fruit forward with a tasty compote of sweet cherries and berries, plum and fig balanced by soft ripe tannins and good underlying acidity. Well balanced and fruity on the finish, you'll enjoy this with barbecued meats and veggies. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar
Tornatore ‘Etna’ Rosso 2014
DOC Etna, Sicily $21.95 (487090) 14.5% alcohol
This was hand harvested on the north slope of Etna from a combination of Etna’s native grapes—Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappucci, the latter used to soften tannins of the former). The excellent 2014 vintage showcases balance, structure and significant complexity. Fermented in stainless with some oak aging, it’s a medium-bodied blend offering aromas of red fruit, spice, dried meat, herbs and earth. Smooth and silky on the palate and underpinned by supple tannins, the vibrant red cherry/berry fruit has intriguing notes of mineral, cedar and spice on the lengthy dry finish. Pour with mushroom arrosto or meat-based pasta. (Susan Desjardins)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2013
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $45.95 (416321) 12.0% alcohol
A rich, expressive nose of ripe apple, lemon zest, and pineapple adorned with notions of buttered toast, acacia flower and wet stone open this complex, certified organic and biodynamic Chardonnay. Dry, medium-full bodied, it’s creamy in texture, backed by bright acidity with ripe, fresh fruit flavours of green apple, white grapefruit and grilled pineapple extending into the long, flavourful finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellarOh Canada!
Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir 2012
VQA Viewmount Ridge $35.75 (307686) 12.5% alcohol
Showing restraint and elegance, delicate aromas of cranberry, red cherry, lavender, earth and spice open this well-balanced gem. Dry, medium bodied, with good structure and fine acidity, tart red fruit flavours are backed by notions of savoury herbs and spice. It finishes bright and clean, tangy cranberry and mineral notes lasting through the mid-plus length finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

New in the LCBO Portfolio

***1/2 drink now Exceptional Value!

Barone Montalto 2016 Pinot Grigio

IGT Terre Siciliane $9.60 (73148) 12.0% alcohol

Harvested from a single vineyard beside the winery, this offers appealing aromas—fruit notes of citrus, melon and yellow plum with hints of mineral. Dry, light-mid weight, the juicy fruity flavours replay on the palate. Early harvest of the fruit ensures a fresh texture and a lively finish tasting of grapefruit zest. Sip or serve with fish or seafood. (Susan Desjardins)

***1/2 drink now

Viticoltori Acquiesi Brachetto d'Acqui Sparkling Non-Vintage

DOC Piedmonte $13.50 (375667) 6.5% alcohol

This sweet fizz is produced by the Mondodelvino group and deserves a mention for its light floral aromas and flavours of sweet red cherry/berry fruit, accented on the palate by a hint of rhubarb. The light spritz of the wine helps balance the sweetness of the fruit and provides a pleasing light finish. Serve this well chilled on its own or with fruit and soft cheese. (Susan Desjardins)

New in Ontario Wineries

• The following Tawse wines are available by the case for daily home, office or restaurant delivery online at Tawse Winery or for pick up by the bottle or case at the winery at 3955 Cherry Ave, Vineland ON.

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Tawse Estate Chardonnay 2013
VQA Niagara Peninsula $37.95 (344804) 12.5% alcohol
The fruit for this elegant Chardonnay was sourced from 4 vineyard sites and spent 16 months in French oak before bottling. Lovely aromas of yellow apple, white peach, lemon-lime with slight floral and mineral notes, replay on the palate. This is dry, medium bodied, crisp and refreshing with a lengthy, tangy citrus and mineral finish. Enjoy alongside salad topped with grilled salmon. (Lisa Isabelle)

• The following Quarry Road Chardonnay is also available through LBCO direct delivery

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay 2013
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $35.35 (111989) 12.5% alcohol
This 100% Chardonnay was whole-bunch pressed, fermented with indigenous yeast and aged 16 months in French oak prior to bottling. Butterscotch, vanilla and spice aromas are joined by tangy citrus and crisp orchard fruit on the nose. The palate is fresh and lively showcasing crisp green apple, zesty citrus with spice and mineral notes adding interest. Dry, medium bodied, it’s beautifully balanced and offers a lasting mouth-watering finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Tawse Cherry Avenue Pinot Noir 2012
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $48.95 (398347) 13.5% alcohol
Red fruit aromas—cherry, cranberry and red currant—are complimented by spice, cocoa bean and a lovely floral note on the nose. Notions of baking spice, vanilla and earth garnish the fleshy, ripe fruit flavours on the palate. Dry, mid weight, there’s an impressive freshness to the texture and a distinct mineral note that lasts through the lengthy finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

New in Consignment

• Order the following Barrumundi wine by the case for home, restaurant or office delivery in Ontario 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 now Exceptional Value!
Barramundi Chardonnay/Viognier 2016

Wine of Australia $11.95 13.5% alcohol

Aromas of apple, pit fruit and wisps of honey introduce a delicious mouthful of summer in a glass—ripe nectarine, honeydew melon and lemon yoghurt galore. It’s medium bodied with creamy smooth mouthfeel and a balanced and beautiful aftertaste. You’ll be hard pressed to find better value than this—don’t hesitate to pick up a case. (Vic Harradine)

New in Private Order

• Order the following wines by the case for home, restaurant or office delivery in Ontario from VinoLuna wine agency by Email - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or if in the GTA, phone 416 587-6691.

**** drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Firriato ‘Nari’ 2016
IGT Terre Siciliane $13.95 13.5% alcohol
Savory-laden aromas of dark berry fruit open this sweet and tangy, Nero d’Avola / Petit Verdot red blend. It blankets the palate with sweet-ripe mulberry and red plum mingling with spice and pie cherry persisting through the mid-length finish. It’s medium bodied and nicely textured with a warm aftertaste joining wisps of grainy tannin. Aerate/decant two hours pouring with spaghetti Bolognese or pasta in rich tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)  

**** drink or cellar
Vinicola de Castilla ‘Señorío de Guadianeja’ Tempranillo Crianza 2014
DO La Mancha, Spain $16.95 13.5% alcohol
This 100% Tempranillo matured six months in American oak before bottling. It’s a pale-red hue in the glass with delicate aromas of spice, vanilla and mixed field berry fruit. It bathes the palate with a delightful flow of crunchy red fruit—pie cherry and red currant—mingling with spice and hints of cocoa. This is light on its feet with good style and plenty of tang from cork pop to last drop. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Vinicola de Castilla ‘Señorío de Guadianeja’ Tempranillo Gran Reserva 2004
DO La Mancha, Spain $22.95 13.0% alcohol
After macerating on skins for 12 days, this underwent malolactic conversion then spent 36 months aging in American oak. Aromas of red cherry, leather and spice unleash a spirited rush of red berry fruit, black plum and hints of passionfruit streaking across the palate, infusing the finish and aftertaste. There’s persistent purity of fruit, good balance and a lengthy, tang-laden aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Vinicola de Castilla ‘Señorío de Guadianeja’ Cabernet Sauvignon Gran Reserva 2004
DO La Mancha, Spain $25.95 13.5% alcohol
A lovely orange hue in the glass, it offers alluring aromas of caramel, dark chocolate and hints of toasty notes. It blankets the palate with a broad swath of excellently textured, mature dark fruit—black berry, black cherry and ripe mulberry—dancing across the palate with boundless energy followed by a lingering finish and aftertaste. Pour on its own or enjoy with roast beef or steak. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Bodegas Valdelacierva ‘Valdelamillo’ was sourced from 100% Tempranillo. After macerating on skins up to 15 days, the hand-picked fruit from +25-year-old vines was matured 12 months in American oak barrel and another three months in bottle before release.

***1/2 drink or cellar
Bodegas Valdelacierva ‘Valdelamillo’ Tempranillo Crianza 2014
DOCa Rioja, Spain $15.95 14.0% alcohol
Ripe black currant, spice and earthy notes introduce a medium-full bodied, nicely textured river of tangy, juicy fruit decorated with piquant spice and grilled savory herbs coating the palate infusing the lingering finish and aftertaste. Pour with pastitsio or lasagna after a two-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Bodegas Valdelacierva ‘Valdelamillo’ 2012 Tempranillo Reserva was fashioned from hand-picked Tempranillo vines a minimum of 25 years old. It was matured 27 months in American oak barrel and a further seven months in bottle before release.

**** drink or cellar
Bodegas Valdelacierva ‘Valdelamillo’ Tempranillo Reserva 2012
DOCa Rioja, Spain $19.95 14.0% alcohol
Rich, lively aromas of piquant spice, dark berry fruit and earthy notes make way for a tang-laden line of red currant, sour cherry and tangy blood orange. This is medium bodied and nicely textured with a lingering, dry, savory, mouth-watering finish. It pours particularly well with tomato, curried goat and root vegetables cooked in a tagine. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2014 ‘Catania’ was sourced from hand-harvested, older vines with an average age of 70 years. Fruit was matured for 12-14 months in French and American oak barrel—both new and seasoned—before being settled in bottle for a further eight months.

**** drink or cellar
Viñedos y Bodegas Gormaz ‘Catania’ Crianza 2014
DO Ribera del Duero, Spain $15.95 14.0% alcohol
Alluring aromas of ripe, dark berry fruit black plum and cedar roll from this incredibly juicy, smooth and mellow, good-value beauty. It’s quite rich on the palate with generous flavours of red and black cherry interwoven with spice and tang. Flavours persist on the tangy aftertaste framed by racy red fruit—pie cherry and passionfruit. Pour with pasta in tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Heredad de Uruena ‘Fórum Etiqueta Negra’ is quite interesting as it is a red blend incorporating Tinto Fina and Tinta del País—two native varieties that are both clones of Tempranillo.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Heredad de Uruena ‘Fórum Etiqueta Negra’ 2011
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León, Spain $21.95 14.5% alcohol
This is a red blend of Tinta Fina and Tinta del País, both Tempranillo clones. Wisps of cherry pastille and exotic spice precede a gorgeous gusher of palate-bathing fruit flavours—ripe mulberry, black cherry and hits of vanilla and tangy kirsch liqueur. It’s nicely balanced with good weight, structure and mouthfeel. It finishes with more of the same, delectable and lip-smacking good. (Vic Harradine)

• Hand-picked fruit for a proprietary red blend for the following 2012 Heredad de Uruena ‘Santo’ underwent extended maceration then cap punch-downs before 10 months maturation in 80% French and 20% American new barrels.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Heredad de Uruena ‘Santo’ 2012
Vino de la Tierra Castilla y León, Spain $21.95 14.5% alcohol
An involved nose of black licorice, dark fruit and spice aromas provide segue for a gorgeous broad swath of palate-bathing flavour with cassis, black Bing cherry and ripe sweet mulberry persisting over the lengthy finish. This is mid weight with creamy smooth mouthfeel and plenty of style and charm. It showcases purity of fruit, balance, and good acidity and tang. The aftertaste layers on bittersweet chocolate and sweet vanilla—dare I say… yummy. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Bodegas Ugalde ‘Bianai’ Reserva 2012
DOCa Rioja, Spain $19.95 13.5% % alcohol
Aromas of earthy notes, cedar and floral notes make way for a medium-bodied, tang-laden gusher of sour cherry and red currant streaking across the palate with racy acidity, great élan. It’s nicely textured, persistent and true with flavours replaying through the dry, mouth-watering, lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. Pour with chicken paprikash. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Finca Albret red blend hails from Navarra, Spain, a region with wine production dating back to the 2nd Century. By the Middle Ages it became a powerful independent state with close ties to France. It’s proximity to the pilgrim’s path—Camino de Santiago—and inclusion in guidebooks because of it, helped sustain its viticulture and viniculture practices.

**** drink or cellar
Finca Albret Crianza 2013
DO Navarra, Spain $15.95 13.5 % alcohol
Lively fruit, mixed spice and cedar aromas on the nose make way for a balanced stream of rich, luscious, palate-bathing stream of black plum compote adorned with piquant spice, touches of oak and black cherry along with racy acidity and tang. It’s medium weight with good texture and a long, dry, balanced finish. Pour with meat-laden red pizza. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Finca Albret Reserva 2012
DO Navarra, Spain $19.95 14.0 % alcohol
This 90% Tempranillo/10% Merlot blend offers aromas of grilled savory herbs, fennel and black berry fruit. A well-balanced and flavourful stream of tangy cherry and black currant wash over the palate, medium weight and nicely textured. It finishes crisp and quite dry with plenty of tang. Pour alongside spaghetti Bolognese. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
La Poulardière Côtes du Rhône ‘Blanc’ 2016
AOP Côtes du Rhône, France $13.95 14.0% alcohol
This is a southern-France, value-packed, white blend—30% Grenache Blanc/30% Viognier/20% Clairette/20% Roussane—sporting lovely fresh aromas of honeyed stone fruit and wisps of rose petals. It blankets the palate with a powerful, spice-laden wash of lemon curd and ginger snap riding a racy river of delectable sweet and tang—absolutely delicious. It’s medium bodied and slightly off-dry with good texture and a notion of white grapefruit on the crisp, refreshing finish. Pour with spicy Asian cuisine. (Vic Harradine)

Cheers, Vic, Lisa, Susan