July 17, 2017 Newsletter

Newsletter Highlights include:

  • Exceptional-value wine Exceptional Value! – 9 of 80 wines currently available meet the strict quality-price guidelines. They’re found throughout the newsletter easily identified via the exceptional-value checkmark above. Strict quality-price guidelines? Click here.
  • 5-Star wine – There was only one wine in the newsletter available for purchase that earned a 5-star rating – Charles Baker ‘Picone Vineyard’ Riesling 2013 @ $35.20 found under Ontario: White Wine.
  • Vic Picks – Rabl ‘Löss’ Grüner Veltliner 2015 earned 4 ½ stars @ $ 14.95 found under Feature: New Favourites; Quails’ Gate Chardonnay 2014 earned 4 ½ stars @ $23.95 found under Okanagan Valley: White Wine; Henry of Pelham ‘Old Vines’ Baco Noir 2016 earned 4 ½ stars @ $19.95 found under New in the LCBO; all three of the following are found under New in Ontario Wineries: Rosehall Run ‘Estate Grown & Bottled – Hungry Point - Unoaked’ Chardonnay 2016 earned 4 ½ stars @ $19.95; Tawse ‘Quarry Road’ Gewürztraminer 2016 earned 4 ½ stars @ $24.95 and Redstone ‘Redstone Vineyard’ Pinot Gris 2016 earned 4 ½ stars @ $24.95. 
  • Finding Waldo – amplographers have identified this grape as being genetically similar to zinfandel with both being clones of crljenak kaštelanski, a grape variety from Croatia… find me below.

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 before going.

Vintages Release: July 22, 2017

Feature: New Favourites

• The following 2016 Featherstone Sauvignon Blanc recently won Silver at the prestigious All Canadian Wine Championships.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Featherstone Sauvignon Blanc 2016

VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.25 (89011) 12.5% alcohol

This dry, medium-bodied summer sipper opens with expressive aromas of passion fruit, guava and acacia flower mingling with subdued herbal notes of hay and nettle. Creamy and smooth in texture, a vein of vibrant acidity keeps the palate fresh showcasing fleshy orchard fruit, pineapple and grapefruit on the lengthy vibrant, cleansing finish. Chill and serve on its own or with pan-sautéed seafood. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Hogue ‘Genesis’ Syrah 2012
Columbia Valley, Washington $18.95 (687822) 13.5% alcohol
Billows of smoke, graphite, herbal notes and peppery spice aromas herald a mid-plus bodied, creamy smooth river of dark Bing cherry and ripe mulberry robed in camphor and tarry notes. The finish adds replays flecked with tangy acidity and wisps of dark chocolate. Pour with red pizza or gourmet sausage. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now
Invivo Pinot Gris 2016
Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand $16.95 (367771) 13.5% alcohol
Pit fruit and ripe apple aromas on the nose, this blankets the palate with a textured rush of sweet, ripe fruit—apple, pear and yellow plum—intertwined with baked apple and blood orange. These all replay on the predominantly sweet finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Rustenberg ‘RM Nicholson’ 2015
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch, South Africa $18.95 (278390) 14.0% alcohol
Grilled herbs, smoke and dark ripe berry fruit aromas set the stage for a grand entrance of crunchy red fruit—currant, plum and cherry—with stage hands of piquant spice, racy tang and green tomato leaf and tannin waiting in the wings. It spreads over the palate with good fruit flavour adorned with peppery spice and excellent tang. The mid-length finish is tight and a bit tart. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Pierre-Luc Bouchard Muscadet Sèvre & Main 2015
AOC Loire, France 14.95 (82461) 12.0% alcohol
There are aromas of tropical fruit, floral notes and wisps of flinty bits. There’s plenty of flavour and mouthfeel on the palate showcasing ripe fruit flavour—grilled pineapple, mango and blood orange—with a dreamy/creamy mouthfeel. The soft, plump finish dishes up more of the same with just a bare whisper of acidity and tang. Pour with roast chicken. (Vic Harradine)

• Here’s the skinny on the following 2015 Rabl ‘Löss’ Grüner Veltliner: buy a few, possibly a case, twisting tops over the next 12 months. When the 2016 vintage shows up, rinse and repeat. Löss is silt-sized sediment formed by the layering of wind-blown dust.

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value!
Rabl ‘Löss’ Grüner Veltliner 2015
DAC Kamptal, Austria $14.95 (295709) 12.5% alcohol
The price-quality proposition is wildly in your favour. With its peach, pear and slate/mineral aromas on the nose, the door opens to an outburst on the palate with a delightful, delicious surge of lemon curd and Key lime acidity melding with crisp green apple, ripe pear and notes of peppery minerality. It finishes lengthy with replays, well paced, well balanced, lip-smacking good. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2015 La Guardiense ‘Janare’ Falanghina del Sannio is from the ancient falanghina grape that is indigenous to Italy. La Guardiense is a 50-year-old, co-operative winery with 1000 members producing high-quality fruit. Only fruit from a specific hilly area northeast of Naples may be labelled, ‘Falanghina del Sannio’. Tasted at different times and locations, Vic and I both loved this.

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value! Two Glasses!
La Guardiense ‘Janare’ Falanghina del Sannio 2015
DOP Campania, Italy $16.95 (387647) 13.5% alcohol
The dedication to quality is reflected in this good-value, Tre Bicchieri, award-winning white. Lifted aromas of ripe peach, pear and honeysuckle are introduced on the nose. Dry, medium-light bodied with good texture; flavours of orchard fruit reappear on the palate joined by a pleasant savory herbal note. Versatile and food friendly, it offers a lengthy, lemon-flavoured mouth-watering finish. This exceptional-value gem delights on its own or paired with an array of summer fare. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Alba Vega Albariño 2015

DO Rias Baixas $16.95 (488973) 12.5% alcohol

Crafted from 100% Albariño grapes from northwestern Spain, this offers concentrated aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon zest and a floral bouquet. It’s medium-full bodied with a textured mouthful of juicy, ripe peach and apricot along with a squeeze of lemon and mineral notes persisting through a long, satiny-smooth finish. Serve this versatile white with pan-seared fish or grilled seafood. (Lisa Isabelle)

The Main Release


• From the house made famous by ‘Champagne Charlie’, the following Heidsieck Champagne was marketed up and down the eastern seaboard of the U.S. in the early 1850s by Charles ‘Champagne Charlie’ Heidsieck who, among his many exploits, was arrested as a Confederate spy and once ‘owned’ 1/3rd of Denver, Colorado. Click the above link to learn more of this amazing character. Then pick up a few of the following.

****1/2 drink now
Charles Heidsieck ‘Brut Réserve’ Non-Vintage

AOC Champagne $69.95 (36962) 12.0% alcohol

This blossoms forth with a bouquet of baking brioche, tree fruit and an endless stream of fine-bead bubbles adorned with crisp, lip-smacking flavour. Golden yellow-hued, there’s a lovely array of lively refreshing flavours with zesty citrus, mineral notes and white peach to the fore. One can never go far wrong with a bottle of this and freshly shucked oysters. As Champagne prices go, this offers great value. (Vic Harradine) 

Sparkling Wine

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value!
Cathedral Cellars 'Methode Cap Classique' Brut 2010

WO Western Cape, South Africa $16.95 (296426) 11.5% alcohol

Produced from a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir, this refined, vintage-dated, sparkling wine spent 24 months on the lees and offers a clean, crisp profile and fine, persistent mousse. Dry, light-medium bodied, it's defined by notes of almond biscuit, green apple, citrus and mineral. There's a tangy note of lemon zest on the extended, refreshingly dry finish. This is a great choice to celebrate with friends or enjoy with a light meal. (Susan Desjardins)

Ontario: White Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Cave Spring Estate Chardonnay 2015
VQA Beamsville Bench, Niagara Escarpment $18.95 (156552) 13.5% alcohol
Delicate aromas of baking spice, floral notes and minerality introduce a value-laden chardonnay. It’s creamy smooth with oodles of flavour and charm on entry and mid-palate with baked apple, poached pear and white peach before cleaning up crisp and refreshing on the finish and aftertaste with a glorious wash of excellent tang and acidity. This is medium weight with a lingering lip-smacking finish. Pour alongside roast chicken, turkey or pork medallions. (Vic Harradine)

***** drink or cellar Exceptional Value! Oh Canada!
Charles Baker ‘Picone Vineyard’ Riesling 2013
VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Escarpment $35.20 (241182) 10.1% alcohol
This 5-star Riesling dishes up a bracing line of acidity and tang with nerve, verve and laser-like focus throughout. Aromas of lemon-lime and slate/minerality introduce searing lemon curd and lime zest somewhat ameliorated by wisps of peach, pear and apple while riding the palate and persisting through the dry, mouth-watering aftertaste. It’ll be friendlier for sipping when popping corks 2018 to 2023; however, terrific right now poured with freshly shucked oysters, sushi or ceviche. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Fielding ‘Unoaked’ Chardonnay 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 (164491) 12.5% alcohol

Nutty aromas mingle with floral and orchard fruit before coating the palate with solid fruit flavour—yellow peach, ripe pear and crisp Granny Smith apple to the fore. It’s medium weight with good texture and a cleans up nicely on the finish with sweet, ripe fruit balanced with tangy acidity. Give this a go with grilled calamari under a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. (Vic Harradine)

Okanagan Valley: White Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Quails’ Gate Chardonnay 2014

VQA Okanagan Valley $23.95 (377770) 13.0% alcohol

There’s excellent acidity, stunning flavour and persistent purity of fruit here. Gorgeous aromas of baking spice, caramel and orchard fruit unleash a balanced and beautiful wash of ripe pear and crisp green apple interwoven with nutty and mineral notes on the palate infusing the lively, refreshing finish. Pour on its own or with roast pork. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Henry of Pelham ‘Speck Family - Reserve’ Baco Noir 2014

VQA Ontario $24.95 (461699) 13.5% alcohol

Here’s another gem from a series of fabulous, recent baco noir releases by this premium producer. Pipe tobacco, roasted herbs and exotic incense aromas abound. It bathes the palate with a full-fruited, beautifully textured stream of boysenberry jam, sweet black plum compote and oodles of spice. This is medium-plus bodied with a lingering finish. Poured perfectly with grilled, smoked back ribs slathered in spicy barbecue sauce. This was aged +18 months in premium American oak – now fully integrated. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Kew ‘Barrel Aged’ Gamay Noir 2014
VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 (515270) 13.0% alcohol
Smoke and toasty aromas open this light-medium bodied gamay. It streaks across the palate riding bracing acidity expressed as sour cherry, racy passionfruit and tart cranberry dotted with wisps of piquant spice and grainy tannin. The abbreviated, drying finish replays palate flavours and tannin. Aerate/decant a couple of hours serving with pasta in tomato sauce. (Vic harradine)

***1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
North 43° Cabernet Franc 2013
VQA Four Mile Creek $12.95 (447292
This is mid-weight with good mouthfeel, racy and tannic throughout. Aromas of campfire smoke and mentholatum introduce a thin line of nerve and verve—passionfruit and racy pie cherry interwoven with sharp spice and notes of forest floor. It finishes in a blaze of acidity, mouth-watering tang and grippy tannin. Aerate/decant two hours pouring with Swiss steak. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: Rosé Wine

***1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Delphine Rosé 2016
VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula $16.95 (498527) 12.7% alcohol
Strawberry and rhubarb aromas interweave with savory herbs and spice on the nose of this light-on-its-feet blend of pinot noir and cabernet franc. Delicate flavours of red berry fruit bathe the palate along with piquant spice and racy tang persisting through the short finish and aftertaste. Pour with pastitsio. (Vic Harradine)

California: White Wine

**** drink or cellar
Decoy Chardonnay 2015
Sonoma County $30.95 (311555) 13.5% alcohol
This is a crowd-friendly California chardonnay with no rough edges; it bathes the palate with delightful flavour, creamy smooth texture and full of charm. Aromas of spice, baked apple and pear provide segue to a medium-plus bodied, generously textured wash of tropical fruit and hints of peach coating the palate persisting through the balanced-on-a-pin finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Kenwood Chardonnay 2015
Sonoma County $18.95 (158790) 13.5% alcohol
This opens with aromas of spice, sweet, ripe tropical fruit and vanilla. A medium-plus bodied and textured flow of sweet peach, pear and ripe pineapple mingle with sweet vanilla and butterscotch on the palate and finish with wisps of oaky notes appearing on the aftertaste. It pours well with baked ham glazed with honey or maple syrup. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Simi Chardonnay 2015
Sonoma County $19.95 (673806) 13.5% alcohol
Toasty notes and baking spice set the table for a smorgasbord of flavour with baked apple, poached pear, tropical fruit and lemon acidity to the fore. These replay on the finish in spades. This is mid-weight and well balanced offering value. (Vic Harradine)

California: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Joel Gott ‘815’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
California $24.95 (444059) 13.9% alcohol
Savory herbs, gamy notes and charred toast aromas herald a medium-bodied nicely textured stream of rich dark fruit—cherry and black currant—intertwined with racy tang, sweet vanilla and dark bittersweet chocolate underpinned by still-evolving tannin. Aerate/decant for three hours before pouring with well-seasoned, grilled striploin. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Sterling Merlot 2012
Napa Valley $19.95 (330241) 14.5% alcohol
Heavily perfumed aromas of grilled herbs, piquant spice and charred toast lead the way for a lively shower of ripe bramble berry and black currant enveloping the palate framed by racy tang and decorated with spice and wisps of tomato leaf. It’s full bodied with good mouthfeel plus a firm and considerable underpinning of tannin. Stash this away for another 18 months or pour now after a three-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

Oregon: Red Wine

**** drink now
A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir 2014
Oregon $26.95 (229781) 13.5% alcohol
Opening with spice and floral aromas this washes over the palate with rich dark fruit flavour—briary berry and juicy, dark, Bing cherry—interlaced with earthy/toasty notes. This is medium bodied and nicely textured with a balanced, bountiful finish and aftertaste. There are strong earthy/mushroom notes on the aftertaste adding a positive dimension to the tasting experience. Pour with smoked and grilled duck breasts or grilled root veggies. (Vic Harradine)

Washington State: Red Wine

****1/2drink or cellarTwo Glasses!

Seven Falls Merlot 2012

Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley $19.95 (420711) 14.5% alcohol

Susan and I were both impressed with this—the sandy soil in the vineyard allows incredible drainage helping produce this dense, fully fruited merlot. Aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg and black plum make way for a plush, luscious wave of juicy ripe, bramble berry fruit, sweet vanilla and dark bittersweet chocolate. It spent 18 months in oak—80% French, 20% American—now seamlessly integrated. It’s a gorgeous red; mid-full bodied with silky mouth feel, soft, ripe tannin and lingering, lip-smacking finish. It’s very good value, pick up a few. (Vic Harradine)

Chile: White Wine

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value!
Arboleda ‘Single Vineyard’ Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Aconcagua Costa $17.95 (510339) 13.5% alcohol
This is a wonderful sauvignon blanc from a Chilean, cool-climate zone near the Pacific Ocean. Piquant spice, gooseberry and grassy aromas billow from this light-medium weight gem. A surge of flavour explodes on the palate with savory herbs, lemongrass and tang-laden white grapefruit interwoven with apple and pear. It finishes in a blaze of mouth-watering tang and a monumentally long aftertaste—stock up. (Vic Harradine)

Australia: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Dandelion ‘Lioness of McLaren Vale’ Shiraz 2015
McLaren Vale, South Australia $21.95 (357475) 14.5% alcohol
Lifted aromas of eucalyptus and spice abound in this much-medaled Shiraz followed by a spice and tang-laden wave of red currant, tangy pomegranate and cassis. This is full bodied with considerable texture and lingering, balanced finish decorated with ripe tannin on the aftertaste. Aerate/decant a couple of hours before serving alongside rare-grilled and well-seasoned flank steak.

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Thorn-Clarke ‘Terra Barossa’ Shiraz 2015
Barossa, South Australia $16.95 (595306) 14.0% alcohol
Alluring aromas of briary berry, exotic spice and fennel precede a gloriously rich stream of black raspberry and dark plum interweaving with mixed spice and excellent tang. This is almost full bodied with generous mouthfeel and persistent purity of fruit. There’s also good structure brought about by an underpinning of soft tannin, easily ameliorated by a two-hour aeration/decant. This has plenty of life—a multiple purchase is a wise one. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Wakefield Wines ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir is, obviously, from Wakefield Wines, owned and managed by the Taylor family of Australia. Their wines trade as ‘Taylor Wines’ in Australia and most of the Southern Hemisphere and Asia. They trade as ‘Wakefield Wines’ in most of the Northern Hemisphere, including Canada, due to trademark restrictions concerning the primarily Port producer, Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman Ltd. They are also a member of the select and prestigious, Australia’s First Families of Wine.

****1/2 drink now
Wakefield Wines ‘Estate’ Pinot Noir 2016

Adelaide Hills $19.95 (197392) 14.0% alcohol

Lifted aromas of red berry fruit, cherry and savory herb set the table for a smorgasbord of palate-coating flavour. Racy passion fruit and tangy red currant interweave with juicy black cherry and ripe raspberry berry notes providing a yin and yang / sweet and tang experience that’s balanced and beautiful. It’s medium-weight and well textured with a dry, mouth-watering finish that lingers—you shouldn’t, the price-quality balance tips well in your favour. (Vic Harradine)

New Zealand: White Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Awatere Valley, Marlborough, South Island $23.95 (713958) 13.0% alcohol
Lemon-lime, citrus and green herbal notes dominate the nose of this gorgeous sauvignon blanc. A tang-infused river of grapefruit and lime flavours mingle with piquant spice and gooseberry racing over the palate and dominating the mouth-watering, lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. Pour alongside mussels steamed in cream, Pernod and fennel. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Waimea Sauvignon Blanc 2015
Nelson, South Island $18.95 (714295) 13.0% alcohol
This is a crowd-pleasing mix of ripe tropical fruit and the Kiwi aromas and flavours of gooseberry, citrus and passionfruit you might be expecting. Aromas of gooseberry and tropical fruit precede a bracing line of tang and acidity with passionfruit, lime zest and savory herbs. This is mid weight with a mouth-watering finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

France: White Wine

**** drink or cellar
Joseph Cattin Riesling 2015
AOC Alsace $15.95 (259788) 13.0% alcohol
Aromas of floral notes citrus and spice make way for a value-packed, lighter-styled Riesling that will certainly appeal to those looking for a crisp, refreshing white wine. Soft flavours of Key lime pie and lemongrass caress the palate infusing the dry, mouth-watering finish. Pour on its own as a delightful sipper or alongside pan-seared or grilled fish or seafood. (Vic Harradine)

France: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Château La Fleur Pourret 2009
AOC Saint-Émilion Grand Cru $38.95 (455667) 13.5% alcohol
This is pricey, but attractive in most other ways—perhaps as a gift for someone special, including yourself, or a special occasion, perhaps a birthday, anniversary or a Thursday. Rich aromas of exotic spice and delightful dark berry fruit dominate the bouquet. It bathes the palate with ripe bramble berry and tangy red fruit melding on the palate with wisps of dried currant and mocha. It’s balanced and beautiful with a bountiful finish of fruit, tang and elegance. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Château La Gravette Lacombe 2012
AOC Médoc $23.95 (295808) 13.0% alcohol
The average age of vines is 25 years and is made up of 70% cabernet sauvignon/28% merlot/2% petit verdot. This vintage is quite fleshy and ripe with good acidity throughout. Aromas of dark berry fruit and floral notes give way to a medium-bodied flow of black currant, blueberry and wisps of red cherry bathing the palate with streaks of good tang and acidity throughout—it’s good to go now after a two-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Roche de Bellène ‘Cuvée Réserve’ Pinot Noir Bourgogne 2014
AOC Bourgogne $20.95 (299859) 12.5% alcohol
This entry-level, red Burgundy offers up aromas of lively red fruit and sharp spice. It rides a nervy wave of tang and bracing acidity on the palate—passion fruit, sour cherry and racy red currant—adorned with earthy notes and savory herbs. This is medium weight with tart finish and an underpinning of grippy tannin. Aerate/decant two hours pouring with poblano peppers stuffed with rice, minced beef and plum tomato then roasted. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Claude Gros ‘La Condamine Paulignan’ Minervois 2013
AOC Minervois $17.95 (493528) 14.5% alcohol
There’s ripe, sweet fruit galore in this medium-plus-bodied, gorgeously textured red blend—Syrah/Grenache/Carignan/Cinsault. It coats the palate with a salad bowl of flavour—black raspberry jam, dark, juicy red cherry and kirsch liqueur along with notions of mixed spice and savory herbs. It finishes with palate replays and a firm underpinning of tannin on the dry, lingering, mouth-watering finish. Aerate/decant two hours before serving. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Xavier Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012
AOC Châteauneuf-du-Pape $44.95 (244814) 14.5% alcohol
This rich, ripe red blend—65% grenache/20% syrah/15% mourvèdre—sports a firm underpinning of still-evolving tannin. There’s good purity of fruit—black currant and red cherry—structure, sprigs of savory herbs and excellent tang throughout. It’s medium-plus bodied with creamy smooth texture and plenty of heft. Aerate/decant three hours before serving with well-seasoned, grilled beef tenderloin or pop corks after 2018. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Xavier Côtes du Rhône 2015
AOC Côtes du Rhône $17.95 (297317) 14.5% alcohol
Aromas of charred toast, mixed spice and notions of cherry/berry fruit dominate the nose. There’s oodles of crunchy red fruit on the palate along with dark briary berry, grilled savory herbs and billows of campfire smoke. It’s mid-full weight with good texture and a lengthy, balanced and bountiful finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

France: Rosé Wine

****1/2 drink now
Saint Aix Rosé 2016

AOP Coteaux d’Aix en Provence $22.95 (451906) 13.0% alcohol

This gives up delicate aromas of floral notes, red cherry/berry fruit and wisps of citrus. It streaks over the palate with a riveting line of acidity—red currant, sour cherry and cranberry flavour. This is light-medium bodied with light texture and a tang-laden citrussy finish with a blood orange pith on the aftertaste. Pour with prawn ceviche, freshly shucked Malpec oysters or sushi. (Vic Harradine)

Italy: Red Wine

• The following 2014 Varvaglione ‘Papale Linea Oro’ Primitivo di Manduria is made from the primitivo grape. The primitivo grape has been identified by amplographers as being genetically similar to zinfandel with both being clones of crljenak kaštelanski, a grape variety from Croatia.

***1/2 drink or cellar
Varvaglione ‘Papale Linea Oro’ Primitivo di Manduria 2014
DOP Primitivo di Manduria $22.95 (261784) 14.0% alcohol
This envelops the palate with black plum compote, figs and raisins decorated with baking spice and confectionary chocolate notes. It’s quite sweet on the palate although finishing somewhat dry, possibly off-dry. It pours well with smoked, grilled, pork ribs slathered in spicy barbecue sauce—spicy food and sweet or off-dry wines—red or white, depending on the cuisine—are often great partners. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Giacomo Mori Chianti 2014
DOCG Chianti $21.95 (68858) 13.0% alcohol
Hints of red berry fruit, earthy notes, savory herbs and wisps of smoke aromas introduce an involved shower of tang with pie cherry and cranberry interwoven with tarry notes. It’s medium bodied with depth, complexity, good texture and a fairly lengthy finish and aftertaste. Pour with all your favourite Italian dishes that involve tomato sauce and pasta. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Castelforte Amarone Della Valpolicella 2013
DOCG Amarone Della Valpolicella $29.95 (496414) 15.0% alcohol
Fig, raisin and piquant spice aromas swirl from this well-paced, very well-priced Amarone. Flavours ride a ripe sweet wave of herb-enhanced bramble berry and black raspberry nicely juxtaposed with crunchy red currant and red plum washing over the palate infusing the balanced finish. It’s medium-full bodied with good mouthfeel and a bittersweet Amarone bite on the aftertaste. Pour with grilled steak and for an after-dinner treat try a glass with salty shards of Parmigiano reggiano and/or chunks of dark bittersweet chocolate. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Zeni Marogne Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2014
DOC Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore $17.95 (220830)
Delicate aromas of berry fruit and floral notes open the lighter-styled Ripasso. It delivers a palate-bathing stream of sweet, kirsch liqueur, cherry pie filling, spice box and racy tang adorned with spice and mocha. It finishes with replays on the dry, mouth-watering aftertaste. This pours well with pasta Bolognese and pasta puttanesca. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Sartori ‘Mont’Albano’ Refosco Dal Peduncolo ‘Rosso’ 2015
IGT Delle Venezie, Italy $16.95 (492546) 12.0% alcohol
This organically grown red is one of the few vines in the world that has stems turning red during ripening. Aromas of dark cherry/berry fruit and mixed spice give way to a medium-bodied, textured flow of red currant and black cherry interlaced with sprigs of savory herbs and spice. The finish and aftertaste showcase green tomato leaf characteristics melding with an underpinning of unripe tannin. (Vic Harradine)

Spain: Red Wine

***1/2 drink now
Burgo Viejo Crianza 2013
DOCa Rioja $15.95 (168815) 13.5% alcohol
Baking spice—nutmeg and cinnamon—mingle with sprigs of savory herb aromas on the nose of this sleek, light-bodied red. It races over the palate with tart sour cherry, racy red currant and toasty/oaky notes persisting through the finish and aftertaste. It’s dry, and quite drying, on the aftertaste. Pour with baked meat loaf smothered in plum tomatoes. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink or cellar
Monasterio de las Viñas ‘San José de Aguarón Reserva’ 2012
DO Cariñena $14.95 (166579) 13.5% alcohol
This was hand harvested from vines with an average age of 40 years—70% Garnacha/20% Tempranillo/10% Carignan showing off its garnacha with racy tang and acidity throughout and a drying finish and aftertaste. A tight, tart wash of sour cherry and red currant streaks over the palate persisting through the aftertaste with great élan. This pours well with lasagna or spaghetti and meat balls in tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Bodega Ontañón ‘Gran Reserva’ 2005
DOCa Rioja $38.95 (939736) 13.5% alcohol
This is an example of a mature, character-driven Gran Reserva. A bouquet of black plum, leather, savory herbs and spice provide segue to a medium-bodied river of fruit flavours—mixed field berry fruit and red cherry—mingling with toasty oak, tobacco leaf and sweet vanilla. It’s a tempranillo-dominant red with a 5% splash of graciano, another five or more years of life, medium-plus weight with reasonable texture and a lingering aftertaste of berry fruit, tang and mocha. (Vic Harradine)

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages Release: August 5, 2015

****1/2 drink or cellar
Barossa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Barossa Valley $21.95 (493551) 14.0% alcohol
This showcases rich, luscious flavour, great balance and a dry, mouth-watering aftertaste. Involved aromas of grilled savory herbs, spice, floral notes and berry fruit abound. It rolls over the palate well-balanced, medium-plus bodied and nicely textured with a deep, delectable stream of black currant and black raspberry interlaced with mint and pie cherry tang. It finishes with flavour replays and lots of charm. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2015 Curvos Loureiro Vinho Verde was sourced from 100% Loureiro [low-rye-rue] fruit, a noble grape indigenous to the Vinho Verde region in northern Portugal.

**** drink now Exceptional Value!
Curvos Loureiro Vinho Verde 2015

DOC Vinho Verde (471284) $12.95 12.0% alcohol

Lifted aromas of ripe fruit-peach, pineapple and melon are layered with honeysuckle and ginger. A rush of nectarine, green apple and lemon flavours garnished with crisp acidity persist through the mid-length saline finish. This dry, medium bodied wine has a refreshing, light spritz that would complement a seafood salad at brunch. (Lisa Isabelle)

• The following 2014 Bodega Garzón Tannat saw no oak, settling for nine months in stainless steel on its lees. It was farmed from 1000 minute vineyard plots dotting hillsides only 11 miles from cooling Atlantic Ocean breezes.

**** drink or cellar
Bodega Garzón Tannat 2014
Uruguay $19.95 (497008) 14.0% alcohol
Spice box, dark cherry fruit and chocolate aromas unleash a full-bodied, generously textured surge of palate-coating flavour with rich red, and black currant decorated with piquant spice and gamy notes persisting through the dry, racy finish. Pour alongside something with heft—cassoulet, osso buco or if you can get your hands on some, venison steaks. (Vic Harradine)

New in Vintages

**** drink or cellar
Alpha Box & Dice ‘Kit and Kaboodle’ 2014
McLaren Vale/Langhorne Creek $24.95 (489849) 14.0% alcohol
This unique red blend of 55% montepulciano/30% cabernet sauvignon/15% barbera offers up lively aromas of piquant spice and red cherry/berry fruit on the nose. A medium-bodied, bountiful wash of ripe briary berry is balanced nicely by the tang of passionfruit and red currant, bathing the palate, infusing the dry, lip-smacking finish. Pour with spaghetti Bolognese. (Vic Harradine)

New in the LCBO

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Henry of Pelham Pinot Noir 2016
VQA Niagara Peninsula $16.95 (13904) 13.0% alcohol
Lively fresh aromas of bright, red currant and cranberry introduce a racy stream of crunchy red fruit—passionfruit, Montmorency cherry and pomegranate. Medium bodied with good texture, this finishes in a blaze of mouth-watering acidity and lip-smacking tang. Pour alongside baked poblano or bell peppers stuffed with rice, minced beef and plum tomatoes. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Henry of Pelham ‘Old Vines’ Baco Noir was aged 18 months in American oak barrels, both one- and two-year old.

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Henry of Pelham ‘Old Vines’ Baco Noir 2016
VQA Ontario $19.95 (459966) 13.0% alcohol
Campfire smoke, tarry notes and gamy bits waft from this well-made, very well-priced baco. A rich, luscious flow of dark cherry and black plum envelop the palate mingling with piquant spice and dark bittersweet chocolate. It’s medium-full bodied with creamy smooth texture, persistent purity of fruit and a lingering, balanced and bountiful finish and dry, lip-smacking aftertaste. What’s not to like? (Vic Harradine)

**** drink now Exceptional Value!
McGuigan ‘Black Label’ Pinot Grigio 2016
Australia $11.10 (441576) 12.0% alcohol
The price-quality proposition is well in your favour with this dishing up as much or more as others at double this price. Alluring aromas of citrus and tropical fruit replay on the palate with a lovely wash of mango, grilled pineapple and lemon curd persisting through the crisp, clean and refreshing finish. Sip on its own or pour this mid-weight nicely textured grigio with pan-seared fish or roast chicken. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2 drink now
McGuigan ‘Black Label’ Rosé 2016
South Australia $11.10 (484592) 12.5% alcohol
This tasty grenache/sauvignon blanc blend opens with aromas of strawberry and raspberry with sprigs of herbs for an undertone. It bathes the palate with ripe, sweet fruit from briary berry and kirsch liqueur infusing the rich finish and aftertaste. Give this a go with fruit flan or fresh strawberries in a bowl under a light dusting of sugar. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2015 McGuigan ‘Black Label’ Shiraz is also available in magnum (1500 ml) for $20.20 (406868).

***1/2 drink now
McGuigan ‘Black Label’ Shiraz 2015
Australia $11.10 (325787) 13.5% alcohol
The involved nose of charred toast and dark, ripe fruit aromas introduces a fruit-laden river of ripe red and dark cherry interwoven with black plum and earthy notes on the palate. This is medium- bodied and nicely textured with a well-balanced finish and plenty of tang. It really shines with the grilled red meat that you pull from your barbecue. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Red Knot Shiraz 2014
McLaren Vale, Australia $18.00 (619395) 14.0% alcohol
This perennial favourite of Aussie red-wine lovers shows up for the party decked out in alluring aromas of spice and dark berry fruit aromas followed by a medium-weight stream of delicious flavour with cassis and red cherry adorned with sweet vanilla, baking spice and ripe, soft tannin. It’s creamy smooth on the palate then balanced, beautiful and lip-smacking good on the finish. Pour this with your next meal from the outdoor grill. Aerate/decant an hour before pouring. (Vic Harradine)

New in Ontario Wineries

• Order by the bottle or case for daily delivery to home, office or restaurant online from Henry of Pelham or pick up from the winery at 1469 Pelham Rd, St. Catharines ON.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Henry of Pelham ‘Estate - Fumé Sauvignon Blanc 2016
VQA Short Hills Bench $19.95 13.5% alcohol
Tropical fruit, honey and grassy note aromas all leap from the glass. It showers the palate with a medium-bodied wash of grapefruit juice and oaky notes along with sharp spice and apple skin. The finish is dry and lengthy infused with citrus pith. Remove from refrigerator 20 minutes or so before pouring. A bit more time in bottle will be handsomely rewarded. (Vic Harradine)

• Order the following by the case for daily office or home delivery direct from the winery using this link - Rosehall Run - or pick it up from the cellar door on your next visit to the winery in Prince Edward County. It’s just over a two-hour drive from the GTA or Ottawa via the 401. Here’s a map

• The following 2016 Rosehall Run sauvignon blanc vines were hand-watered through a particularly dry growing season making it the first vines watered in Rosehall’s 16-year history in the County. One-third of the juice was fermented in new Acacia wood barrel with the balance in stainless steel resting on lees six months. Two-thirds was fermented in stainless steel resting on lees for six months. The remaining 500 L was barrel fermented in a new Acacia wood barrel, also six months.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Rosehall Run ‘Estate Grown & Bottled – Hungry Point’ Sauvignon Blanc 2016
VQA Prince Edward County $24.95 13.0% alcohol
Delicate aromas of savory herbs and wisps of sharp spice and baking brioche precede a medium-bodied, palate-bathing, textured wash of lemon-lime and crisp, green apple interwoven with grapefruit pith flavour. It finishes in a blaze of mouth-watering tang. Pour with lemon sole of pan-seared fish under freshly squeezed lemon juice. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Rosehall Run Unoaked Chardonnay was fermented cold in stainless steel to preserving alluring aromas and fresh, purity of fruit flavours. The alluring aromas are due in part to the 25%, old-vine, clone 809—aka chardonnay musqué—fruit in this wine.

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Rosehall Run ‘Estate Grown & Bottled – Hungry Point - Unoaked’ Chardonnay 2016
VQA Prince Edward County $19.95 13.0% alcohol
Lifted, alluring aromas of floral notes, citrus and orchard fruit abound. It dishes up full-blown flavours of lemon yoghurt, Key lime pie and mineral notes bathing the palate infusing the balanced and beautiful, lip-smacking finish. It’s medium bodied with, stunning purity of fruit, good mouthfeel and excellent grapefruit tang on the lingering aftertaste. Pour with pan-seared fish, grilled prawns, roast chicken or pork. (Vic Harradine)

• The vines for the following 2016 Rosehall Run Pinot Gris were hand watered to compensate for the dry growing season with vines performing admirably, although with a meagre yield of 1.4T to the acre—a boon for purchasers, less so for the winery bottom line. Fruit was hand-picked, sorted and cold pressed with 2/3rds resting in neutral oak—500L puncheons—with fermenting and settling 4 months on light lees, the balance fermented in stainless steel.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Rosehall Run ‘Estate Grown & Bottled – Hungry Point – Pinot Gris 2016
VQA Prince Edward County $24.95 13.0% alcohol
Honeysuckle, beeswax and peach aromas introduce a tart, tang-laded steam of lime and passionfruit streaking across the palate with nerve, verve and great élan. This is mid weight with a dry, mouth-watering finish and aftertaste, Pour alongside freshly shucked oyster under a squeeze of fresh lemon and dotted with hot sauce, sushi or prawn ceviche. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Rosehall Run ‘Just One Rose’ Rosé is a delightful gamay noir-predominant blend with the remaining 10% from pinot noir. It’s what Rosé is meant to be: fresh and lively on the palate with oodles of lip-smacking tang right through to the mouth-watering finish, the perfect accompaniment to food, as well as being a sterling sipper.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Rosehall Run ‘Just One Rose’ Rosé 2016
VQA Ontario $17.95 13.0% alcohol
A bouquet of rose petals and red berry fruit waft easily from this complex Rosé. It envelops the palate with tang-infused flavour—pie cherry, passion fruit and ruby red grapefruit—persisting through the mouth-watering finish. Medium-bodied and nicely textured, it’s crisp, refreshing and bountiful. Take out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving with a mixed deli platter, charcuterie board or Caesar salad adorned with grilled chicken strips. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Rosehall Run ‘Hungry Point’ Pinot Noir macerated 96 hours, fermented in both small, closed fermenters with punchdowns as well as in open-top small lot bins with , both for three to four weeks, lightly pressed and settled, the wine matured in mostly seasoned French oak, only 20% new, then bottled unfined and minimally filtered in May 2017.

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Rosehall Run ‘Estate Grown & Bottled – Hungry Point’ Pinot Noir 2016
VQA Prince Edward County $24.95 12.0% alcohol
Piquant spice, red berry fruit and tobacco leaf aromas provide segue to a fine line of tangy acidity expressed as crunchy red currant, ripe red cherry and racy cranberry spreading over the palate, providing a tangy finish. This is nicely balanced and light on its feet with flecks of earthiness and wisps of beetroot and minerality on the medium-plus aftertaste. This pours particularly well with coq au vin or red pizza. (Vic Harradine)

• A damaging frost at the end of May 2016 caused Rosehall Run to look to the south to source premium fruit from prestigious Twenty Mile Bench. The 60% merlot and 40% cabernet franc fruit in this are from +25-year-old vines and were matured separately for 14 months in French oak then blended and bottled unfined. The following 2016 Rosehall Run Merlot/Cabernet is the result of that and the considerable winemaking prowess of Rosehall Run’s co-owner/winemaker, Dan Sullivan and his team.

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Rosehall Run Merlot/Cabernet 2016
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $24.95 13.0% alcohol
This showcases purity of fruit, balance and oodles of delectable tang. Briary berry, savory herbs and camphor aromas blossom from this medium-bodied red blend. It bathes the palate with ripe, red-fruit flavours—currant, cherry and plum—robed in excellent tang and piquant spice. The finish and aftertaste are nicely balanced. Give it a go with pasta and meatballs in tomato sauce or poblano peppers stuffed with minced beef, tomatoes and rice. (Vic Harradine)

• 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.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Tawse ‘Growers Blend’ Rosé 2016
VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 12.0% alcohol
This bright and lively, refreshing red blend of Pinot Noir/Cabernet Franc/Gamay/Pinot Gris is salmon-hued with aromas of floral notes and freshly sliced strawberry. It bathes the palate with off-dry flavours of ripe strawberry and red currant flecked with racy orange tones. It finishes in a dry, clean, crisp and refreshing blaze. Pour as a delightful sipper or alongside pan-seared salmon… even the colour matches. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Tawse ‘Quarry Road’ Gewürztraminer is certified organic and biodynamic.

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Tawse ‘Quarry Road’ Gewürztraminer 2016
VQA Vinemount Ridge $24.95 11.5% alcohol
Aromas of spice, marmalade and rosewater introduce a medium-weight, nicely textured stream of gorgeous flavour with lychee fruit, piquant spice, mandarin orange and grilled pineapple to the fore. It finishes with soft citrus tang, mixed spice and a lengthy balanced, clean and refreshing aftertaste. This pours well on its own and alongside baked ham or quiche Lorraine. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Tawse Gamay Noir matured 8 months in French oak barrels. This is also available, to restaurants/licensees only, in 20L KeyKegs.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Tawse Gamay Noir 2016
VQA Niagara Peninsula $18.95 (322545) 12.5% alcohol
An involved nose of peppery spice, red cherry with gamy and earthy notes announce a lovely mouthful of gamay on the palate with ripe strawberry and black raspberry intertwined with black licorice and peppery notes galore. This is well paced with medium weight, medium texture and excellent fruit and tang balance on the finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Tawse ‘Quarry Road - Unfiltered’ Pinot Noir was single-vineyard sourced from fruit certified both organic and biodynamic. Kudos to Paul Pender, Rene Van Ede and all the viniculture/viticulture team for this pinot noir.

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Tawse ‘Quarry Road - Unfiltered’ Pinot Noir 2016
VQA Vinemount Ridge $34.95 13.0% alcohol
This truly sings on the nose, palate and lip-smacking finish—it has structure, purity of fruit, complexity and charm. A complex nose of orange peel, minerality, earthy notes and black berry fruit aromas beguile. The persistent stream of strawberry, rhubarb, red cherry and spice envelops the palate infusing the lingering finish and aftertaste. Soft tannins appear on the fade; aerate/decant for three hours or pop corks 2019 and beyond. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2013 Tawse ‘Laundry Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc matured for 18 months in French Oak barrels.

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Tawse ‘Laundry Vineyard’ Cabernet Franc 2013
VQA Lincoln Lakeshore $34.95 (130997) 13.5% alcohol
Graphite, earthy notes, savory herbs and black currant aromas abound. A medium-plus bodied, generously textured swath of juicy bramble berry, tang-laden pie cherry, savory herbs and mixed spice blankets the palate replaying on finish and aftertaste infused with still-evolving tannin. If need be, aerate/decant a few hours pouring with well-seasoned grilled medium-rare premium beef, best to pop corks 2019 and beyond. (Vic Harradine)

• Order the following wines by the case for daily home, office or restaurant delivery online at Redstone Winery or phone toll free 1 844-563-9463, or pick up by the bottle or case by visiting the winery at 4245 King Street, Beamsville ON.

• The following vintage-dated 2015 Sparkling Rosé was sourced from two estate vineyards—Laundry and Redfoot—produced in the traditional method, aged on lees 12 months and is 100% Pinot Noir.

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Redstone Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé 2015
VQA Lincoln Lakeshore $24.95 12.0% alcohol
Delicate aromas and fine-bead mousse make an introduction for this vintage-dated gem. It explodes on the palate with a racy, tangy line of ripe red cherry, pomegranate and rhubarb flavours quite clean, crisp and refreshing. Perfect for serving and sipping as a welcoming wine, it also pours well with ceviche or sushi. It’s light on its feet throughout and finishes dry, tart and mouth-watering delicious. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2016 Redstone ‘Redstone Vineyard’ Pinot Gris is not yet certified—these things take time—but is farmed organically and biodynamically.

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Redstone ‘Redstone Vineyard’ Pinot Gris 2016
VQA Lincoln Lakeshore $24.95 12.0% alcohol
Floral notes and honeyed pit fruit aromas blossom from this gorgeous Gris. It washes over the palate with buckwheat honey, white nectarine and nutty nuances framed in bracing lemon acidity enveloping the palate persisting through the crisp, clean, mouth-watering finish. This is medium bodied with good texture and lingering aftertaste. Pour on its own and pair with pan-seared tuna or roast chicken. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2012 Redstone ‘Redstone Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon was matured 18 months in French oak barrels.

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Redstone ‘Redstone Vineyard’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
VQA Lincoln Lakeshore $45.95 13.5% alcohol
Aromas of pipe tobacco, baking spice, mocha and dark berry fruit waft from this approachable, mouth-watering cabernet sauvignon. It bathes the palate with a creamy smooth wash of piquant spice and crunchy red berry fruit—currant and cranberry—interwoven with tingling acidity and wisps of soft, ripe tannin. It’s complex and structured with an excellent fruit/acidity balance and lengthy, luscious finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

New in Consignment

• Order the following wine by the case plus those in previous newsletters 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.

• Fruit for the following 2016 ‘WhataboutMe’ Malbec was sourced from high-altitude vines at 1200m, hand-harvested from 8-10-year-old vines, undergoing 12 days maceration with 3 pump-overs daily and bottled non-fined.

**** drink or cellar
Alpasión Wines ‘WhataboutMe?’ Malbec 2016
Mendoza, Argentina $14.95 15.0% alcohol
This punches well above its weight with the price-quality and risk-reward propositions well in your favour. Aromas of rich, ripe berry fruit, savory herbs and piquant spice make way for a high-toned, balanced and beautiful river of bramble berry jam, pie cherry and excellent tang coating the palate persisting through the long, luscious, dry finish and aftertaste. Pour with burgers, gourmet sausage, red pizza and grilled steaks. (Vic Harradine)

• Order the following wines—plus those in previous newsletters—by the case (some in cases of six) for home, restaurant or office delivery in Ontario from VinoLuna wine agency. Contact via website, VinoLuna, by Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  , or in the GTA phone 416 587-6691.

• The following 2015 Domaine de Vervine Vacqueyras is a grenache-dominant red blend of 65% grenache/30% syrah/5% mourvèdre. In order to use the AOC Vacqueyras designation, the regulatory body require at least 50% of any red wine to be made from grenache grapes.

****drink or cellar 
Domaine de Vervine Vacqueyras 2015
AOP Vacqueyras, France $24.95 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of ripe, dark cherry/berry fruit, peppery spice and wisps of iodine are precursors to a mouthful of über-ripe black plum, kirsch liqueur, savory herbs and warm peppery notes on the finish. It’s medium-full bodied with good texture and lengthy aftertaste. This pours particularly well with beef tortillas, grilled gourmet sausage or fully loaded cheese burgers; it has good heft and crunchy acidity along with the really, ripe fruit. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2015 Domaine D’Aigues Luberon has fruit sourced from 60% syrah/20% grenache/15% carignan/5% cinsault vines averaging 25 years of age.

**** drink or cellar
Domaine d’Aigues Luberon 2015
AOP Luberon, France $14.95 15.0% alcohol
This deep-ruby blend of syrah, grenache and carignan entices with lifted aromas of cherry, blackberry, sweet spice, black pepper and leather. Medium-full bodied and dry, with a weighted texture reflecting the high alcohol, it displays flavours of ripe cherry, plum jam with a touch of spice and black pepper. It finishes with good structure and lengthy, spice-infused red berry aftertaste. Enjoy with steak au poivre. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Ravoire & Fils ‘Rhône to the Bone’ 2015
AOP Côtes du Rhône, France $14.95 14.0% alcohol
This is a fruit-filled, red blend—65% grenache/35% syrah—with sweet, ripe flavours throughout. Aromas of floral notes, dark cherry and piquant spice abound. A persistent river of ripe, black cherry, cassis and kirsch liqueur flecked with peppery and earthy notes wash over the palate, medium bodied, nicely textured, with considerable charm. There are wisps of ripe tannin on the finish; aerate/decant a couple of hours before serving. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Domaine de Beaumière Côtes du Rhône 2015
AOP Côtes du Rhône, France $14.95 13.0% alcohol
Produced from the fruit of 40-year-old vines, this elegant blend of 80% grenache and 20% syrah opens with aromas of cherry and plum mingling with notes of garrigue, baking spices and violet. Dry, medium-full bodied with perceptible tannin and clean acidity, red fruit and spice replay on the palate while a hint of black pepper persists through the mid-plus length finish. Pair with a traditional cassoulet. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Domaine Épicuriale ‘Cuvée Gourmande’ Côtes du Rhône 2015
AOP Côtes du Rhône, France $14.95 14.0% alcohol
This blend of 70% syrah, 30% grenache offers a wealth of aromas—red and dark berry fruit, smoke, espresso bean and charcuterie. Dry, mid-plus weight, it’s firmly structured with drying tannin and lively acidity. Ripe, sweet fruit—cherry, plum, blackberry—mingles with baking spices and cocoa lasting through the extended, warm finish. Aerate/decant for two hours and serve with grilled venison burgers. (Lisa Isabelle)

Cheers, Vic and Lisa