July 2, 2014 Newsletter

The LCBO revised their website at the end of last week and that means we also need to change so you can continue linking to the stock available in particular LCBO stores from wine reviewed in winecurrent, both in the newsletter and those archived on the site. You can continue doing that as we move forward as we’ve made the necessary changes starting with this newsletter. Enjoy!

Oh Canada! Canada Day is not the only time you’ll want time to stock up on Canadian wines. They’re winning accolades, medals and trophies at home and all over the world against international competitors. We’ve flagged them Oh Canada!. Most are available now and you can take advantage of stunning vintages experienced recently in Ontario—2010 and 2012. 

We’re compliant with Canada’s new spam guidelines as all subscribers did so voluntarily by entering their email address. There is also an "Unsubscribe" link included in every newsletter, if you decide you no longer wish to receive winecurrent. However, you might want to forward this newsletter along to your wine friends as they can also subscribe by simply entering their email address on the site. Thank you!

Highlights include:

  • Exceptional value wines Exceptional Value!  – a bonanza, 10 of 73 wines meet the strict quality-price guidelines – most under $18. with eight in the Main Release and two following, all identified by the Exceptional Value!  icon. What strict guidelines?  Click here.  
  • 5-star wines – four wines rang the 5-star bell. A Tawse Riesling for $23.95; a Hamilton Russell Chardonnay for $32.95; Kuhlmann-Platz Muehlforst Gewürztraminer for $18.95 and a Tawse Icewine Riesling 200 mL for $34.95 
  • New in Ontario Wineries – There are 14 wines to choose from in this newsletter and many more once you access the link to each winery. The wineries will accept your order and deliver direct to your home, office or restaurant. Most Ontario wineries will ship wine by the case directly to you. 

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, then entering your postal code. You can also see the number of bottles available in each store. For Vintages Release wines, the stock should be showing on the site by the Friday before a Saturday release with some stores posting earlier. For LCBO Portfolio wines, it should closely reflect stock in stores, updated every 24 hours, still, always best to phone first.

Feature: Spanish Wine

****drink now
Burgáns Albariño 2012
DO Rías Baixas $18.95 (945063) 12.5% alcohol
There’s lots going on in the nose, floral, flinty minerality and honeysuckle aromas abound. It shows good weight and oodles of texture with deft balance and charm. A racy crisp line of lemon curd and lime interweave with pineapple and white nectarine persisting through the long, tang-laden crisp, refreshing aftertaste. Pour with pan-seared prawns, fish or calamari rings. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink now
Viña Olabarri ‘Gran Reserva’ 2005
DOCa Rioja $24.95 (329102) 13.5% alcohol
Nine-years on, this hits its stride with a bouquet of dried cherry fruit, leather, black plum and floral notes. It bathes the palate with a smooth mellow mouthful of red and dark cherry, mocha and milk chocolate. Its mid-plus bodied with decent texture and a balanced and beautiful finish and aftertaste. Good value here. (Vic Harradine)

****drink or cellar
Finca Constancia 2011
Vino de La Tierra de Castillia $18.95 (376384) 14.0% alcohol
An unusual blend of Syrah, Garnacha and Cabernet Franc, cedar, floral notes and hints of berry fruit aromas precede a well-balanced splash of sweet and tang with a still-resolving underpinning of tannin. Red cherry, briary berry and notions of espresso roast and sweet vanilla and toasty oak coat the palate infusing the long finish. Aerate/decant for three hours pouring with boned, grilled leg of lamb. (Vic Harradine)

****drink nowExceptional Value!
Muruve Roble 2011
DO Toro $13.95 (280404) 16.0% alcohol
Sweet ripe fruit dominates, but not over the top despite the hi-octane alcohol. There’s good balance with ripe black cherry, black currant and mulberry moderated nicely with tangy red cherry and red currant all interwoven with espresso roast and oaky bits, especially on the lingering finish. It’s medium-plus weight with good mouth feel and oodles of charm. This crowd-pleaser is to be served with burgers, gourmet sausage or pizza. (Vic Harradine)

Spirits: Single Malt Scotch Whisky

  • What do you get when you taste three Juras and three Dalmores? An entertaining exercise when you taste with larger-than-life, Isle of Jura, Master Distiller, Willie Tait. Over lunch at Ottawa’s new eatery on Elgin Street, Deacon Brodie’s Pub, Willie pronounced, in a brogue you could cut with a porridge spurtle, ‘People need to taste these, it’s no good to just read critic’s reviews.’ So… what’re you waiting for? 

Jura 12-year-old ‘Elixer’
Isle of Jura, Scotland $59.95 (367482) 46% alcohol
The Elixer is sweet and spicy, showcasing complexity and structure. Aromas of woody, earthy notes interweave with orange blossom and spice. It’s smooth and creamy with mellow flavours of peel marmalade and lemon zest. The finish is lengthy with notions of caramel. (Vic Harradine)

Jura 21 year old
Isle of Jura, Scotland $186.95 (375378) 44% alcohol
There’s a good deal of complexity here with Christmas cake spice and floral notes on the full and fragrant nose. Honeyed fruit and sweetened citrus wash over the palate and through the persistent aftertaste interweaving with nutty notes and dark chocolate. There’s good concentration and excellent structure throughout while the smooth finish layers on bits of oak. (Vic Harradine)

Jura ‘Superstition’
Isle of Jura, Scotland $63.95 (38927) 43% alcohol
Aromas of earthy and toasty notes mingle with wisps of iodine providing segue to a mouthful of spice-laden, gloriously complex wash of deep, rich flavour—mandarin orange, lemon curd and sweet marmalade. There’s no doubting Willie Tait was the artist who fashioned this beauty, and in his own likeness—like Willie, it has depth, complexity and is larger than life. (Vic Harradine)

Dalmore 12 year old
Scotland $65.10 (38901) 40% alcohol
This is dense, powerful and spice-laden. Aromas of flowers, piquant spice and caramel precede a robust, palate-coating torrent of sherry, nutty notes, orange zest and marmalade. It’s smooth on the finish with oaky notes on the warm aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

Dalmore 15 year old
Scotland $105.95 (164541) 40% alcohol
Sweet toffee and vanilla mingle with aromas of orange liqueur and ginger. These replay on the palate and are joined by almonds, oak and earthy notes. It’s sweet on the finish with mandarin orange, candied citrus peel and exotic spice. (Vic Harradine)

Dalmore 18 year old
Scotland $174.95 (236182) 43% alcohol
Complex and densely structured, this offers stylish aromas of orange blossom, sweet vanilla and notions of sherry and mocha. It bathes the palate with espresso roast, orange cordial and bittersweet chocolate interlaced with baking spice and spiced lemon zest. Flavours are echoed on the lively, lengthy finish. (Vic Harradine)

Specialty Wine

****drink now Oh Canada!
Rosewood Estates ‘Harvest Gold - Dry Mead’ 2013

Product of Canada Niagara Escarpment $15.20 (346767) 500mL 11.0% alcohol 

A lighter-styled, honey-wine offering from Rosewood, this offers up aromas of yellow peach, talcum powder and hints of guava. Bathing the palate with honeyed tones—melon and a salad bowl of tropical fruit, it’s light on its feet with a delicate touch throughout. It finishes with brushstrokes of buckwheat honey and musk melon. (Vic Harradine)  

Sparkling Wine

***1/2drink now
Oyster Bay Sparkling Cuvée Rosé Non-vintage 

New Zealand $21.95 (280172) 12.0% alcohol 

This attractive pink-hued sparkler, fashioned from 20% hand-harvested Pinot Noir and 80% low-yielding Chardonnay, was fermented in the Charmat a.k.a. Cuve Close method. It hustles from the bottle with an energetic mousse and aromas of red berry fruit and spice with hints of brioche. It delivers spirited and lively flavours of citrus and red currant interwoven with sweeter and riper cherry on the lip-smacking aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellar
Château Moncontour ‘Cuvée Prédilection Brut’ Vouvray 2011
AOC Vouvray $18.95 (168963) 12.0% alcohol
Ripe apple, mixed spice and buttered toast aromas herald a flavour-packed mouthful of spice-laden white peach, yellow plum, crisp green apple and quince jelly. It’s mid weight and with good mouth feel and balanced palate flavours replaying on the crisp, refreshing finish. The price-quality ratio skews well in your favour. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellarExceptional Value!
Loosen Bros. ‘Dr. L.’ Sparkling Riesling
Deutscher Sekt $14.95 (296095) 12.0% alcohol
This is deftly balanced, full of flavour with a dazzling aftertaste. Hints of citrus and honey on the nose, it dishes up robust flavours of racy green apple, tangy blood orange mingling with sweet nectarine on the palate. It’s light on its feet with palate flavours replayed on the finish and aftertaste joined by crisp, refreshing ruby red grapefruit—lip-smacking good. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: White Wine

****drink now Oh Canada!
[Château des Charmes ‘Estate Bottled’ Chardonnay Musqué 2012 

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $16.95 (640516) 13.5% alcohol 

Golden in the glass, this wine is produced from a particularly aromatic clone of Chardonnay, evidenced by lifted aromas of ripe stone and orchard fruit, preserved citrus and spiced floral notes. Dry, medium bodied, the wine shows noticeable weight and a creamy texture. Flavours of peach, pear and citrus zest are well matched to subtle, clean acidity and a pleasing touch of tangy white pepper on the finish. Enjoy with chicken Caesar salad or planked salmon. (Susan Desjardins)

****drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Peninsula Ridge ‘Barrel Aged’ Chardonnay 2011 

VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 (211490) 12.0% alcohol 

The heady nose of exotic spice, mandarin orange, green apple and lemon zest provide segue to a mid-weight, well-textured river of green apple, key lime and racy lemon tang. It finishes in a blaze with toasty notes interspersed with yellow peach and crisp, clean acidity on the finish and lip-smacking aftertaste. Pour alongside pan-seared fish or sea food. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellarExceptional Value! Oh Canada!
Tawse ‘Sketches’ Riesling 2013 

VQA Niagara Peninsula $17.95 (89029) 10.5% alcohol
Granny Smith apple, piquant spice and floral notes presage a dazzling array of lifted and lively flavours with racy Key lime pie, lemon curd and crisp, refreshing green apple to the fore. This is light on its feet and dances across the palate with creamy smooth mouth feel and oodles of charm. The finish is refreshing and mouth-watering delicious. Terrific as a starter wine, it pours well with pan-seared or grilled sea food, or freshly-shucked oysters. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: Red Wine

****drink now Oh Canada!
Redstone Winery ‘Reserve’ Cabernet Franc 2010

VQA Lincoln Lakeshore $29.95 (381244) 13.5% alcohol  

Delicate aromas of floral notes and red berry fruit interweave with notions of bell pepper and graphite presaging a creamy smooth, tang-infused wash of ripe, juicy bramble berry and dark Bing cherry interwoven with wisps of pomegranate and savory spice. It’s medium bodied with good texture, balanced and brimming with cool-climate charm. It’s good to go now and on to 2019 and shines with spiced lamb burgers and root veggies. (Vic Harradine) 

Ontario: Rosé Wine

****1/2drink nowExceptional Value! Oh Canada!
Featherstone Rosé 2013

VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 (117861) 13.0% alcohol 

This is one of the top 2013 rosés tasted and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. It’s also a double-gold winner at the All-Canadian Wine Championships. Aromas and flavours of red cherry, red currant and spice abound. It’s mid-full weight, fully flavoured, dry and lip-smacking good from cork pop to final drop. Great for sipping and versatile at the table—pour with a deli platter, grilled salmon or roast chicken. (Vic Harradine) 

California: White Wine

****drink or cellar
Francis Coppola ‘Diamond Collection Gold Label’ Chardonnay 2012
Monterey County $19.95 (708305) 13.5% alcohol
Gorgeous aromas of toffee, floral notes and baking spice introduce a balanced and beautiful, palate-bathing wash of mandarin orange, lemon zest and some flinty notes. It’s medium-full bodied and nicely textured with a long finish. Pour on its own, with roast chicken or slow-roast pork. (Vic Harradine)

California: Red Wine

****1/2drink or cellar
Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Napa Valley $49.95 (91058) 14.3% alcohol
Savoury herbs, piquant spice, gamy notes and dark berry fruit aromas precede a structured, complex wash of black currant and ripe mulberry melding with kirsch liqueur, charred toast and a solid tannin underpinning. It’s mid-full bodied with good texture and lengthy finish that layers on more fruit and tannin. Pop corks 2016-2021. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellar
Bonterra Zinfandel 2011
Mendocino County $19.95 (530139) 14.5% alcohol
Wood smoke, mocha and berry fruit aromas on the nose, this struts its stuff on the palate with a river of bramble berry jam, fig Newton and spice-infused black plum. It’s a lovely rendition of Cali Zin with a resounding finish and aftertaste of black juicy cherry, cassis and mocha. Balanced and beautiful throughout, this mid weight, nicely textured gem pours particularly well with spicy barbecued ribs. (Vic Harradine)

****drink or cellar
Cannonball Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
California $23.95 (291666) 13.6% alcohol
Dark chocolate and cherry/berry aromas herald rich, luscious, hedonistic ripe cherry fruit and ripe mulberry swimming in a pool of milk chocolate. It’s medium-plus bodied with creamy smooth mouth feel and a long mellow finish and aftertaste garnished with good moderating acidity underpinned by soft tannin. (Vic Harradine) 

Australia: Red Wine

****1/2drink or cellar
Barossa Valley Estate ‘Ebenezer’ Shiraz 2007 

Barossa Valley, South Australia $39.95 (971705) 14.5% alcohol 

Winemaker extraordinaire, Stuart Bourne, accesses many lots of the best Shiraz in the Barossa for his E&E Black Pepper Shiraz—much of it also finds its way to Ebenezer. Savoury herbs, black pepper and dried currant on the nose, it coats the palate with structured and balanced, ripe, sweet mulberry, black plum compote interlaced with espresso roast and dark chocolate. It’s medium bodied with good mouth feel and elegantly defined. Aerate/decant for two hours and serve with grilled rack of lamb. (Vic Harradine)

****drink or cellar
Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz/Cabernet 2012
Padthaway, South Australia $16.95 (186114) 14.5% alcohol
There’s quite good balance, tang and fruit throughout this medium-bodied, nicely textured perennial favourite. There’s myriad aromas and flavours with dark berry fruit, red tangy cherry, spice and savory herbs to the fore. It finishes full of juicy, sweet fruit and charm. Pour alongside grilled burgers, gourmet sausage or meat-laden pizza. Good value. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellar
The Hedonist Shiraz 2010
McLaren Vale, South Australia $23.95 (90191) 14.0% alcohol
Rich heady aromas bound from the glass—dark berry fruit, cracked black pepper and baking spice galore. It’s a full-bodied, fully flavoured, tang-laden red. Red and black currant interweave with spice and mocha, coating the palate infusing the aftertaste. It’s a crowd-pleaser to be poured with grilled rack of lamb or grilled beef tenderloin. (Vic Harradine)

New Zealand: White Wine

****drink or cellar

Elephant Hill Sauvignon Blanc 2012
Hawkes Bay, North Island $19.95 (96644) 12.5% alcohol
This opens with sharp aromas of piquant spice, green savoury herbs and grassy notes. It streaks across the palate with gooseberry, tangy passion fruit and crisp Granny Smith apple. It’s medium weight with a tang-laden finish of citrus and spice. Pour alongside chèvre, prawn ceviche or grilled calamari rings. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink now
Lawson’s ‘Dry Hills’ Gewürztraminer 2011
Marlborough, South Island $18.95 (60129) 14.5% alcohol
Rosewater, exotic spice and tropical fruit aromas announce off-dry, spice-laden waves of grilled pineapple, yellow peach and ripe apricot flavours garnished with baking spice. It’s mid-full weight with a creamy/oily texture and lingering, balanced, mouth-watering finish. Pour with spicy Asian cuisine or white pizza drizzled with spicy oil. (Vic Harradine)

****drink or cellar
Sileni ‘Cellar Selection’ Sauvignon Blanc 2013 

Marlborough, South Island $17.95 (662882) 12.5% alcohol 

Grassy, nettles and herbal aromas introduce a solid line of ripe fruit and tang with purity of fruit throughout. Passion fruit, gooseberry preserves and passion fruit dominate the palate along with notions of tropical fruit and crisp green apple. It’s mid weight with good mouth feel and a solid line of lip-smacking acidity throughout. The aftertaste replays palate flavours resulting in another solid effort for Sileni. This offers good value, as well. (Vic Harradine)

New Zealand: Red Wine

***drink or cellar

Mount Riley Pinot Noir 2012
Marlborough, South Island $19.95 (60137) 13.0% alcohol
Bistro-styled and tang-laden, this dishes up aromas of red berry fruit, savory herbs and mixed spice. There’s a broad beam of acidity riding a wave of red currant and sour cherry interwoven with cranberry and spice with riper dark berry fruit making an appearance on the racy, mid-length finish. Pour with pasta in tomato sauce. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellar
Staete Landt ‘Paladin’ Pinot Noir 2010
Marlborough, South Island $36.95 (376731) 14.0% alcohol
Savory herbs, toasty notes and red cherry/berry fruit aromas mingle with mixed spice and on the nose of this pale-ruby hued Pinot. It’s well balanced, generously textured with loads of red and black cherry flavour interlaced with spice-laden black currant and notions of earthy bits and beet root. This showcases good complexity, structure, sense of purpose and a lengthy finish, dry and mouth-watering. (Vic Harradine)

South Africa: White Wine

*****cellarExceptional Value!
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2012
WO Hemel-en-Aarde Valley $32.95 (931006) 13.5% alcohol
From one of the planet’s top producers of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this is best drunk 2016-2022. Toasty/smoky aromas mingle with honey, toffee and citrus notes on the nose. It bathes the palate with complexity, structure and charm, needing only time to come together. Peach, pear and green apple are wrapped in toasty oak, mineral salinity, tangy citrus and nutty notes on the palate and lingering finish. (Vic Harradine)

South Africa: Red Wine

****drink or cellar
Cathedral Cellars Merlot 2011

WO Western Cape $14.95 (522219) 14.3%

The fruit for this ruby-hued wine came largely from the warm vineyards of Swartland, it was fermented at a low temperature to capture that ripe fruit then aged 16 months in a combination of new and seasoned oak. It offers complex aromas and flavours of black cherry, plum, roasted red pepper, spice and a touch of cedar. Dry, medium bodied, the ripe spicy fruit explodes on the palate framed by subtle tannins and well-integrated oak. Fine toasty notes carry through the remarkably fresh, fruity finish. A well-crafted, savoury wine. (Susan Desjardins)

****1/2drink or cellar
The Chocolate Block 2012 

WO Western Cape $39.95 (129353) 14.0% alcohol

Mainly Syrah, this blend also includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Cinsault and Viognier. Inky and opaque, this is a rich, powerful wine offering concentrated aromas of plum, black berry, spiced rose, exotic spice and a whiff of its namesake, chocolate. Dry, full bodied, it's dense and intense, the ripe dark fruit’s framed by ripe yet perceptible tannin and lifted by fresh acidity that comes through in the tang of raspberries. Notes of pepper and dark chocolate mingle on the persistent dry finish. A well-crafted wine that offers depth, complexity and longevity. (Susan Desjardins)

France: White Wine

*****drink nowExceptional Value!
Kuhlmann-Platz Muehlforst Gewürztraminer 2012
AOC Alsace $18.95 (168864) 13.0% alcohol
Asian spice, lychee and nectarine aromas provide segue for a full-flavoured, fully textured, palate-coating wave of tangy racy citrus and honey-drizzled peach and mango. It’s mid weight with a creamy smooth texture and a long, lip-smacking finish. Pour with tandoori chicken or spicy Shanghai noodles. (Vic Harradine)

France: Red Wine

Château Gachon ‘Cuvée Les Petits Rangas’ 2010
AOC Montagne Saint-Émilion $18.95 (280040) 14.0% alcohol
Pour after 2017 to ameliorate still-resolving tannin in this tightly wound cellar dweller. Roasted herbs, toasty oak and spice box aromas unleash a wash of red and black berry fruit and spice firmly wrapped in tannin. It’s mid-full weight with decent texture and long, dry, tangy finish. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellarExceptional Value!
Château de Gourgazaud ‘Réserve’ 2010
AOC Minervois La Livinière $16.95 (986083) 14.0% alcohol
A Syrah/Mourvèdre red blend, this is a perennial favourite that’s rich, luscious and balanced. Toasty oak and dark berry fruit aromas herald a delightful mouthful of cassis, ripe mulberry and black Bing cherry garnished with spice and sweet vanilla—dare I say… yummy. Lengthy and rich on the finish, it’s also balanced and beautiful. (Vic Harradine)

***drink or cellar
Mas des Bressades ‘Les Vignes de Mon Père’ Cabernet/Syrah 2011
Vine de Pays du Gard $21.95 (712174) 14.9% alcohol
Plummy notes, roasted herbs, toasty oak and spice aromas on the nose, this delivers a bracing line of acidity—cranberry, red currant and pomegranate—on the palate and tang-laden aftertaste. It’s mid weight with decent mouth feel and a savory finish with red berry fruit and perceptible tannin underpinning. Pour with spaghetti Bolognese. (Vic Harradine)

****drink or cellar
Ortas ‘L’Estellan’ Gigondas 2011
AOC Gigondas $24.95 (328435) 15.5% alcohol
This is a lovely Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre red blend with delicate aromas of red berry fruit and roasted herbs. The interplay between ripe dark fruit—black currant and mulberry—and red fruit tang—red currant and sour cherry—dish up quite a juicy mouthful as they dance over the palate and infuse the long, lip-smacking, dry finish. Pour alongside grilled rack of lamb.

France: Rosé Wine

***1/2drink now
Château La Croix de Queynac Bordeaux Rosé 2012
AOC Bordeaux $15.95 (119529) 12.5% alcohol
Aromas of spice, currant and rose petals introduce a gusher of red berry, red cherry and blood orange infused with spice notions of herbs. It’s light-medium bodied with a tangy, crisp, refreshing finish. Pour with white pizza on the dock or deck. (Vic Harradine)

Italy: White Wine

****drink now
Cerrino Brîch ‘Menu’ Moscato D’Asti 2012
DOCG Asti $16.95 (159822) 5.5% alcohol
Spiced honeyed aromas intro a river of spritzy sweet ripe melon, mango and peach dancing lightly over the palate infusing the aftertaste. Pour chilled on its own or alongside lemon pound cake or fruit flan—lo alcohol, slightly spritzy, highly perfumed, sweet, ripe fruit, summer in a glass. (Vic Harradine)

Italy: Red Wine

****1/2drink or cellarExceptional Value!
Pipoli Aglianico Del Vulture 2010
DOC Basilicata $15.95 (320507) 13.5% alcohol
This is robust, rustic and rarin’ to go; for the adventurous imbiber, not the faint of heart. Aromas of wild flowers, gamy bits and exotic spice mingling with pipe tobacco set the stage for a surge of dark, juicy fruit—black plum, Bing cherry, ripe mulberry—interweaving with piquant spice, anise and good moderating tang. It’s mid-full weight with good mouth feel and a surprising smooth and mellow, flavourful finish—pick up an armful. (Vic Harradine)

****drink or cellar
Canonica ‘A Cerreto’ Sandiavolo 2006 

IGT Toscana $27.95 (270256) 14.0% alcohol 

A cedar, black berry and dark toast bouquet heralds a rich and smooth, fruit-laden wash of mulberry, black currant and dark plum burnished with mint and espresso roast. It’s mid-weight and nicely balanced throughout. It finishes with a shower of black plum compote and black raspberry wreathed in moderating acidity and underpinned by perceptible tannin. Pour with rare-grilled hangar steak or grilled strip loin after a two-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2drink or cellar
Antiche ‘Terre Venete’ Ripasso Valpolicella 2012
DOC Valpolicella $17.95 (178459) 13.5% alcohol
This is touch lighter and tangier than many Ripasso, but will have its share of admirers. The quiet nose begrudgingly gives up aromas of toasty oak and fig while the palate’s treated to a tang- and spice-laden wash of sour cherry and red currant interweaving with notions of raisins and baking spice. It’s light-medium bodied with a supple tannin underpinning and a finish that’s dry and crisp. (Vic Harradine)

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages release: July 19, 2014

****1/2drink now Oh Canada!
Benjamin Bridge ‘Nova 7’ 2013

Gaspereau Valley, Nova Scotia $25.95 (256289) 7.0% alcohol
A slight peach-skin blush and heady, perfumed aromas of sweet Turkish delight, honeysuckle, exotic musky spice and lemon-lime notes open this balanced, spritzy, gem. Lime-soaked guava, blood orange and sweet, spice-laden candy apple bathe the palate infusing the lengthy finish and aftertaste. It’s summer in a glass and lip-smacking good. Pours well as an aperitif or paired with blue cheese like Blue Bénédictin. (Vic Harradine)

New in Vintages

****1/2drink nowExceptional Value!Oh Canada!
Featherstone ‘Black Sheep’ Riesling 2013 

VQA Niagara Peninsula $16.95 (80234) 9.5% alcohol
Aromas of green apple, lemon grass, mineral notes and hints of white flowers precede palate-bathing, delicate and deftly balanced flavours of lime cordial, lemon curd and lightly honeyed pineapple. It’s structured, stylish and light on its feet, tripping across the palate with tang and pizzazz. It finishes in a blaze of lip-smacking ambrosia and is not to be missed. (Vic Harradine)

  • The following are Vintages Essentials wine, always available in select stores. 

***1/2drink now
Kim Crawford ‘East Coast’ Unoaked Chardonnay 2013

Marlborough/Hawkes Bay $18.95 (991950) 13.0% alcohol
Delicate aromas of honeyed pit fruit mingle with wisps of toffee apple and nutty notes. Mid-full weight and nicely textured, it runs over the palate with flavours of pineapple yoghurt, lemon chiffon pie and lime cordial. It’s balanced and straightforward with a finish and aftertaste showcasing ripe peach and melon. Pour with chicken kebabs. (Vic Harradine)

****drink now
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2013 

Marlborough, South Island $19.95 (35386) 12.5% alcohol
Aromas of gooseberry, canned peas and piquant spices/herbs jump from the glass. It’s racy and tang-laden showcasing quintessential Marlborough flavours with passion fruit, citrus and tropical fruit interwoven on the palate persisting through the crisp, refreshing aftertaste. Mid weight with good mouth feel, pour alongside chèvre or sea food—mussels, fish or calamari. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Tawse ‘Sketches of Niagara’ Chardonnay 2012 

VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 (89037) 12.5% alcohol

Lively and lifted on the nose, aromas of ripe yellow plum and nectarine interlace with wisps of citrus. A crisp, refreshing, generously textured river of baked apple, vanilla and tangy lemon curd bathe the palate. It’s medium bodied with complexity, richness and charm. The finish adds wisps of minerality and toast with each sip as good or better than the previous—it’s also very good value. (Vic Harradine)

  • Order the following wine from ‘Vintages Direct’ 1-800 266-4764—they’ll ship one bottle or more to the LCBO retail store of your choice. 

****drink or cellarOh Canada!
Tawse ‘Growers Blend’ Meritage 2011 

VQA Niagara Peninsula $29.95 (384958) 13.0% alcohol
This is a lovely, savoury red blend—42% Cab Sauv, 40% Merlot, 18% Cab Franc—that opens with aromas of lively red fruit with cherry, currant and briary berry to the fore. It lights up the palate with flavours of red plum compote and red cherry interweaving with mocha and handfuls of savoury herbs. It’s mid-full weight with good mouth feel and a racy, dry finish garnished with notions of tomato leaf. Pour with slow-roast pork brushed with spicy barbecue sauce. (Vic Harradine)

New in the LCBO Portfolio

  • Receive 5 bonus AirMiles on the following wine now to July 19, 2014. 

****drink now
Meinhard Forstreiter ‘Grooner’ Grüner Veltliner 2012 

Neiderösterreich, Austria $15.20 (168625) 12.0% alcohol
This is one of those value-laden, can’t-miss, go-to wines when pairing with chicken, pork, white pizza or gilled calamari rings—it’s über versatile at the table. Floral notes, pit fruit and mineral notes on the nose, it bathes the palate with a rich ripe river of honeydew melon, white peach and tangy lemon zest. It’s mid weight with good mouth feel and crisp, refreshing, mouth-watering finish. What’s not to like? (Vic Harradine)

***1/2drink now
Nobilo ‘Monkey Bay’ Pinot Grigio 2013
New Zealand $13.95 (93666) 13.0% alcohol
Floral, spice and citrus aromas mingle with notions of honeydew melon prior to bathing the palate with a balanced and flavourful wash of creamy smooth ripe peach and pear garnished with a light splash of Meyer lemon. It’s light on its feet with a mid-length slightly off-dry finish and aftertaste. Pour on its own or alongside lighter-styled appetizers. Good value. (Vic Harradine)

  • Take $2. off the price shown for the following wine until July, 20, 2014. With the temporary discount taking this to $13.95, it earns an Exceptional Value! icon 

***1/2drink now
Shingleback ‘Haycutters’ Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2012 

Adelaide Hills, McLaren Vale, Australia $15.95 (207365) 12.0% alcohol
Aromas of lemon-lime, floral notes and hints of melon precede a racy mouthful of lemon zest, grapefruit pith and lively gooseberry. It’s medium bodied and nicely textured with crisp, refreshing finish and aftertaste. Pour with sushi, chèvre or breaded and grilled calamari. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Strewn ‘Rogue’s Lot’ Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula $13.95 (65342) 12.9% alcohol
A pretty even split of the two grapes listed with a splash of Merlot, it jumps from the glass with a swashbuckling array of aromas—forest floor, pipe tobacco and exotic spice. It’s fully flavoured and creamy-smooth textured with a palate-coating wash of black currant, dark juicy cherry and rustic hints of grainy tannin and sour cherry. The price-quality balance tips in your favour and gets even better with food—burgers, red pizza or steak. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Strewn Gewürztraminer 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula $12.95 (65359) 12.8% alcohol
Exotic spice, rose petals and honeyed orchard fruit presage a spice-laden river of racy lemon-lime citrus, grilled pineapple and a salad bowl of ripe tropical fruit. It’s light-medium weight with good texture and a mid-length finish. This pours well alongside white pizza, roast or grilled chicken. There’s good value to be had here. (Vic Harradine)

New in Ontario Wineries

****1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Featherstone ‘Red Tail’ Merlot 2012 

VQA Twenty Mile Bench $19.95 (131540) 13.5% alcohol
Hand picked and hand sorted, this value-packed beauty was inoculated with indigenous yeast. It offers up aromas of black plum, baking spice and dark field berry fruit, bathing the palate with a silky smooth wave of ripe briary berry and black plum interweaving with sweet spice. Deftly balanced with purity of fruit, structure and oodles of style and charm, it finishes lengthy, fruit-forward and delicious. What’s not to like? (Vic Harradine)

• Order the following four wines by the mixed case of 6 or 12 for daily home, restaurant or office delivery in Ontario from Huff Estates.

****1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Huff Estates ‘South Bay Vineyards’ Chardonnay 2011
VQA Prince Edward County $29.95 13.0% alcohol
Toffee apple, baking spice and dark toasty/oaky aromas precede a palate-bathing river of crisp green apple, tangy lemon pie filling and tropical fruit. It’s balanced and beautiful, lip-smacking delicious. Medium-full bodied with fully textured mouth feel, the finish is racy and refreshing with good tang, style and a hint of toasty oak and minerality. A tour de force from a challenging vintage—hats off to Burgundy-born winemaker, Frédéric Picard. (Vic Harradine) 

****drink nowOh Canada!
Huff Estates Gamay 2012
VQA Ontario $24.95 13.5% alcohol
Aromas of piquant spice and red cherry waft from the glass of this medium-weight, nicely textured Gamay. It dishes up a lovely array of flavours—blueberry and other dark berry fruit garnished with spice and hints of minerality. It’s lively and crisp throughout with oodles of spice and red berry tang on the mouth-watering finish. Pour alongside tomato and beef-stuffed poblano peppers. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Huff Estates Pinot Noir 2012
VQA Prince Edward County $29.95 12.5% alcohol
Roasted/toasted herbs, floral notes and exotic spice aromas precede tangy, spice-laden red cherry, red currant and black plum flavours mingling with baking spice and savoury herbs. Medium weight and nicely textured, the finish and aftertaste replay flavours with structure, balance, consistency and length. Pour alongside smoked duck breasts. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Huff Estates ‘Cuvée Janine’ Sparkling Rosé 2012
VQA Prince Edward County $29.95 12.5% alcohol
This is a beauty, full of flavour and charm—100% Pinot Noir and methode traditionelle. It opens with floral notes, strawberry and spice on the nose before delivering a glorious mouthful of bubbles with ripe red cherry, red plum and spice dancing on the palate, replaying through the persistent, balanced and beautiful finish. The persistent, fine-bead stream of mousse, deft balance, structure and style coalesce into a crisp, refreshing treat for the senses. This won a bronze medal at the All-Canadian Wine Championships. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2cellarOh Canada!
Pillitteri Estates ‘Winemakers Selection’ Merlot 2010

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $68.00 13.0% alcohol
Exotic spice, dark fruit and floral notes provide a grand entrance for this dazzling Merlot. It’s balanced and structured with complexity, purity of fruit and miles to go before it wakes. Rich, luscious black Bing cherry and ripe black currant flavours mingle with espresso roast and notions of tobacco and anise. It’s full bodied and fully textured with a solid tannin underpinning and wonderful acidity through the persistent finish. There’s enough of everything, properly proportioned, to expect even more—pop corks 2020 – 2025. (Vic Harradine)

****drink nowOh Canada!
Pillitteri Estates Viognier 2011

VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.00 12.5% alcohol
What a difference a year has made, since last tasted, and not the only Pillitteri wine to have made great strides with just a bit more ageing. Orange blossom and honeysuckle aromas interweave with yellow pit fruit on the nose. It’s rich and flavourful with good mouth feel and a salad bowl of melon, peach and pear garnished with spice and excellent lemon acidity. The finish layers on a not-uncommon notion of grapefruit pith—good value. (Vic Harradine) 

***1/2drink or cellarOh Canada!
Riverview Cellars ‘Salvatore’s Reserve’ Syrah 2012

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $29.95 13.1% alcohol  
Cracked black pepper, dark chocolate and dark berry fruit aromas introduce juicy, lively tang-laden flavours with racy red cherry, cranberry, mixed spice box and hints of tobacco to the fore. It’s medium bodied and nicely textured with oodles of lip-smacking acidity throughout. Pour with pasta Bolognese. (Vic Harradine)

***1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Riverview Cellars Riesling-Gewürztraminer 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 11.5% alcohol
Lychee, floral and spice aromas provide introduction to a creamy smooth mouthful of lychee, sweet, ripe peach and mango. It’s light-medium bodied with oodles of flavour and that tell-tale bite of Gewürztraminer on the finish and aftertaste. Pour on its own or pair with spicy Asian cuisine or white pizza. (Vic Harradine)

• Order the following two wines along with those reviewed in the June 19, 2014 newsletter by the mixed case of 6 or 12 for daily home, restaurant or office delivery from Rosewood Estates.

****1/2drink nowOh Canada!
Rosewood Estates ‘Select Series’ Pinot Noir 2012

VQA Niagara Escarpment $22.00 13.0% alcohol
A quiet nose of delicate spice, red berry fruit and earthy notes introduces a balanced and beautiful wash of tangy sour cherry and ripe bramble berry interlaced with beetroot and spice. It’s medium bodied with creamy smooth mouth feel, stylish and structured with purity of fruit throughout. It finishes balanced and fruity, dry and refreshing. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2drink or cellarOh Canada!
Rosewood Estates ‘Lock, Stock and Barrel’ 2012

VQA Niagara Peninsula $34.00 13.5% alcohol 
Winner of the trophy for ‘Best Red Wine of the Year’ at the recent All-Canadian Wine Championships, this red blend dishes up aromas of ripe black plum, baking spice and notions of dark juicy cherry. There’s a tsunami wave of flavour coating the palate with black currant, sweet ripe mulberry and sour cherry garnished with spice and roasted herbs. It’s full bodied, fully textured and framed by good moderating acidity with a solid underpinning of still-resolving tannin. Aerate/decant for four hours. (Vic Harradine)

****drink nowOh Canada!
Strewn ‘Terroir – American Oak’ Chardonnay 2012

VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $24.95 14.2% alcohol
A gold-medal winner at Sélections Mondiales des Vins, this has a glorious nose of sweet spice, vanilla and notions of caramel. It washes over the palate with toasted, desiccated coconut, mixed spice and notions of lime yoghurt interwoven with apple and pear. Medium weight with good mouth feel and a lengthy, crisp finish and aftertaste, another six months in bottle should completely integrate the oak. (Vic Harradine)

  • Order the following two Tawse wines by the case or mixed case (free delivery over $100) for Monday to Thursday home, restaurant or office delivery from Tawse

*****drink or cellarOh Canada!
Tawse ‘Icewine’ Riesling 2013 

VQA Niagara Peninsula $34.95 (204990) 200 mL 10.0% alcohol
Alluring aromas of orange blossom, piquant spice and honeyed citrus provide segue for an elegant and balanced wash of white peach, peel marmalade and lemon curd. It’s nicely textured and stylish throughout with excellent moderating acidity through the lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. Versatile at the table, pour with foie gras terrine, Stilton or fruit flan. It’s the perfect gift for someone special. (Vic Harradine)

*****drink or cellarExceptional Value!Oh Canada!
Tawse ‘Quarry Road’ Riesling 2013 

VQA Vinemount Ridge $23.95 (198853) 10.0% alcohol
Aromas of minerality, orange blossom and citrussy notes herald a huge mouthful of ripe fruit—nectarine and blood orange—interwoven with tangy citrus—Key lime and lemon, garnished with grilled pineapple. This has structure, complexity and purity of fruit. It’s slightly off dry with good weight and texture, the finish beguiles with a lengthy, crisp and refreshing aftertaste robed in tang and mineral tones. Pour on its own or with spicy Asian cuisine, sushi or scallop ceviche. (Vic Harradine)

Cheers, Vic and Susan