Private Order

• Order the following wines—plus those in many 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.

White Wine

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Familia Conesa ‘La Doncella de las vinas’ 2015
Vino de la Tierra de Castilla, Spain $14.30 12.5% alcohol
This Chardonnay is certified organic and vegan. It opens with a gorgeous nose of stone fruit, pineapple, mango and honeysuckle notes. A persistent flow of ripe peach and pear merge with tangy citrus on the palate and endure through the long mouth-watering finish. Serve this easy-drinking white with barbecued chicken and fresh mango chutney. (Lisa Isabelle)

• Fruit for the following white wine from family-owned Domaine Auquier was sourced from 25-year-old vines. Two brothers—Claude and Jean-Luc Auqiuer—have been perfecting their wines over the past three decades. It saw no oak; it was aged on its lees leading to the gorgeous texture experienced in the wine below.

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Domaine Auquier Luberon 2015
AOP Luberon, France $12.20 13.5% alcohol
This 80% Grenache Blanc, 20% Ugni Blanc blend offers highly scented aromas of honeysuckle and pit fruit. A well-textured and deftly balanced flow of ripe apple and peach bathes the palate with wisps of citrus and peach skin. It finishes crisp, clean and refreshing. This could be your white ‘House Wine’—it’s terrific value and extremely versatile; sip on its own, pour as a welcome wine or aperitif, or pair with white meats, grilled chicken and Caesar salad or seafood. (Vic Harradine)

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Familia Conesa ‘El Beso de las Uvas’ 2014
DO Pago Guijoso, Spain $22.05 14.0 % alcohol
The Pago designation of origin is the most difficult to obtain in Spain and refers to a single-estate wine created and bottled in that domain. This Chardonnay—aged 5 months in French oak barrel—exhibits aromas of caramel apple, zesty citrus and ripe peach. It’s dry and well balanced with a round, supple texture and flavours of Bosc pear, crisp green apple and a kiss (un beso) of lemon which lingers though the long, bright finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

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Fratelli Ponte ‘Fiore di Loto’ Moscato d’Asti 2015
DOCG Moscato d’Asti, Italy $18.50 5.5% alcohol
This low-alcohol spritzy gem from Piedmont displays fresh, pure aromas of nectarine, pineapple and mango accented with orchard blossoms. The sweetness is balanced with lively acidity and offers flavours of ripe orchard fruit and ginger on the delicately effervescent palate. This is summer in a glass. Serve as a refreshing aperitif on a sunny patio. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Domaine Antugnac ‘Les Grands Penchants’ 2014
IGT Haute Vallée de L’Aude, France $16.90 13.0% alcohol
This stunning gem is sourced from some of the oldest Chardonnay vines in the Languedoc with high-diurnal temperature variation and well-drained subsoil of clay and limestone. Aromas of tropical fruit, ripe pear and mixed spice precede an explosion of ripe pear, apple and yellow peach with a good citrus underpinning. It’s medium weight with generous mouth feel and balanced lingering finish with wisps of peach skin on the aftertaste. Don’t pass this by; both price and wine are compelling. (Vic Harradine)

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Alba Vega 2015
DO Rias Baixas, Spain $18.15 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)

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Vegamar ‘Selección’ Merseguera 2015
DO Valencia, Spain $14.30 12.5% alcohol
Merseguera, a fragrant native grape of Valencia, is rarely seen as single varietal. Lively and lifted aromas of orange blossom, lime, tropical fruit and honeycomb dominate the nose leading to red apple, ripe pineapple and a trace of peach skin on the palate. It’s dry, medium bodied with good texture and fresh, fruity finish. Pair with grilled garlic shrimp. (Lisa Isabelle)

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Château d’Antugnac ‘Terres Amoureuses’ Limoux Blanc 2014 

AOC Limoux, France $21.70 13.5% alcohol
Hand-harvested Chardonnay from 35-year-old vines was placed in stainless steel vat where free run juice was transferred to oak barrel, 10% new, where fermentation, malolactic conversion and short aging took place along with lees stirring. Aromas of citrus toast and baking spice herald a medium-weight, tangy river of lemon curd, Granny Smith apple and peach skin dancing on the palate, infusing the crisp, mouth-watering aftertaste. Pour with fish and seafood or grilled calamari rings. (Vic Harradine)

• The following wine was sourced from 100% Viura grapes that remained on their skins for three months after fermentation while maturing in new American and French oak barrel as well as French acacia casks. Acacia trees grow in France amongst the oak trees used for oak wine barrels, as well as other European countries. It’s often used to provide structure and texture without overt oak aromas and flavours. It has less tannin and is said to preserve freshness, varietal character and floral notes.

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta ‘Fermentado Barrica’ Viura 2015
DOCa Rioja, Spain $16.95 13.0% alcohol
Heady honeysuckle and ripe orchard fruit aromas bolt from the glass of this heavenly textured Viura. There’s considerable lemon and grapefruit pithiness on the palate as a result of the extended skin contact along with pear, apple, spice and wisps of oak. This is medium weight with a crisp refreshing finish and aftertaste. It pours perfectly with lemon chicken. Great now, even better in 6 months. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Fratelli Ponte Roero 2015
DOCG Arneis, Italy $16.95 13.5% alcohol
This lacey, balanced-on-a-pin, hand-harvested, 100% Roero opens with lifted aromas of lemon blossom, exotic incense and apricot. A complex, nicely textured stream of beautifully balanced nectar bathes the palate with lime cordial, white peach and lemon curd to the fore. It finishes with persistent purity of fruit, lip-smacking tang and a boatload of charm and elegance. Pour on its own, it’s delicious, or alongside lighter-styled white meat or sea food appetizers. (Vic Harradine)

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Bodegas Ugalde ‘Bianai’ Blanco Rioja 2015
DOCa Rioja, Spain $12.00 12.5% alcohol
Sourced from high-density planted, 100% Viura grapes, this lighter-styled Spanish white offers aromas of ripe pear and apple with citrus notes. It glides over the palate light-medium bodied with delicate texture and flavours of Granny Smith apple, peach and lemon zest. It finishes with replays along with peach skin and lemon-lime tang. Pour with prawn ceviche, sushi or pan-seared calamari. (Vic Harradine)

• The following wine is sourced from 100% Viura, a.k.a. Macabeo, an indigenous Spanish grape. It’s used as a single-varietal in making fresh, juicy wine meant for early consumption and less frequently as a Reserva or barrel fermented where it can age. It’s also one of the major grapes—along with Xarello and Parellado—used in making Cava—Spain’s most famous sparkling wine.

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Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta Blanco Rioja 2015
DOCa Rioja, Spain $12.45 13.0% alcohol
Floral notes and orchard fruit aromas precede an uncomplicated tangy wash of lemon curd, pineapple and oodles of racy tang streaking over the palate infusing the crisp, refreshing, mouth-watering finish and aftertaste. This really struts its stuff poured alongside freshly shucked oysters with a dash of hot sauce and dribble of fresh lemon juice. (Vic Harradine)

Red Wine

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Fratelli Ponte ‘Vini’ 2013
DOCG Barbera d’Asti Superiore, Italy $21.30 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of dried red cherry and sunned red currant are united with savoury herbs, spice and a whiff of smoke. Aged 18 months in a combination of stainless steel, large oak casks and oak barrel, this well-balanced, dry red finishes with a mouth-watering tang and flavours of red cherry, pomegranate and cloves. This is a great pairing with tomato-based pasta dishes or pizza. (Lisa Isabelle)

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Fratelli Ponte Barbera d’Asti 2015
DOCG Barbera d’Asti, Italy $15.95 14.0% alcohol
Piquant spice, earthy notes and rose petal aromas open the door for a delicious, balanced stream of red and black currant flowing across the palate decorated with spice and wisps of cassis. This is quite smooth throughout with harmonious ripe fruit and racy tang and a mid-length, dry aftertaste. Hand-harvested, 100% Barbera fruit was fermented then aged 6 months in stainless steel tank then a further 6 months in bottle before release, not a stick of oak. This is good value. (Vic Harradine)

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Valentini Monteregio Rosso 2014
DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima, Italy $14.65 13.5% alcohol
This Tuscan appellation was granted DOC status in 1994. The family-owned estate vineyard faces southwest near the Monteregio Castle. Primarily Sangiovese blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s laden with aromas of red fruit, baking spice and a touch of vanilla. It’s dry and full-bodied with approachable fine-grained tannin displaying flavours of ripe cherry, blackberry jam and sweet baking spice on a long, juicy finish. There’s great value in this food-friendly red. (Lisa Isabelle)

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Valentini ‘Vivoli’ 2013
DOC Monteregio di Massa Marittima, Italy $21.30 14.0% alcohol
A blend of 95% Sangiovese and 5% Merlot produced this elegant wine with intense red fruit aromas accented with black pepper and cedar, The palate is awash with ripe cherry and red plum complemented by subtle spice and vanilla notes. Dry and medium-full bodied with well-integrated tannin, it finishes long and warm. This’ll pair nicely with grilled spring lamb. (Lisa Isabelle)

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Domaine Antugnac ‘Coté Pierre Lys’ Pinot Noir 2014
IGP Haute Vallée de L’Aude, France $21.70 13.0% alcohol
Charred toast, grilled herbs and savoury notes abound on the nose of this translucent-ruby, light-on-its-feet, Pinot Noir. Candied red berry notes mingle with passion fruit and cherry cordial on the palate while the mid-length finish offers subtle replays garnished with minerality, wisps of soft tannin and sprigs of herbs. This was aged approximately 12 months in oak barrel after free-run juice was cold soaked and punched down twice daily leading to a two-week fermentation. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Château d’Antugnac ‘Aux Bons Hommes – Haute Vallée’ Limoux 2012 
AOC Limoux, France $16.90 14.0% alcohol
This delightful red blend—70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Syrah—opens with aromas of cedar and field berry fruit. A complex, structured line of baking spice and red and black berry fruit coat the palate robed in good tang and soft, fine-grained tannin. This all persists through the lingering aftertaste, balanced, beautiful and lip-smacking good. Aerate/decant an hour or so before pouring with burgers, steak or beef fajitas. (Vic Harradine)

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Bodegas Martínez Lacuesta Crianza Rioja 2011
DOCa Rioja, Spain $19.95 13.5% alcohol
This value-packed, Tempranillo/Graciano/Mazuelo red blend is from a great vintage. It was matured 18 months in new and seasoned American oak casks. Fragrant aromas of sandalwood, leather and piquant spice interlace with spice box on the nose of this medium-weight, über-smooth gem. It bathes the palate with black and red currant mingling with toasty notes, grilled herbs and fine-grained, ripe tannin. This is balanced with persistent purity of fruit and a lengthy, fruit-laced, dry finish. (Vic Harradine)

• This 6th generation, family-owned Domaine is now managed by Béatrice Bécamel who earned her stripes through her DNA, hands-on experience and a viticulture/vinification certificate. The original property, Château Bolchet, was purchased by her great-grandfather in 1900. She now manages 40 hectares of approximately 40-year-old vines with soils of primarily terraced, rounded pebbles left by ancient rivers from which the following red blend—55 % Syrah, 40% Grenache, 5% Cinsault—was sourced.

**** drink now Exceptional Value! 
Domaine du Bolchet Costières de Nîmes 2015
AOP Costières de Nîmes, France $12.95
This delightful red blend opens with delicate aromas of floral, spice and red berry fruit. It washes over the palate, mid-weight and nicely textured with excellent tang expressed in red currant and pomegranate flavour dressed in mixed spice and an earthy note. It’s nicely balanced with lengthy, dry, mouth-watering aftertaste. The price-quality balance tips well in your favour. (Vic Harradine)

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Bodegas Ugalde ‘Bianai’ Crianza 2013
DOCa Rioja, Spain $15.20 13.5% alcohol
This red blend—80% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, 5% Mazuelo—spent 12 months maturing in American oak barrel and a further 6 months in bottle before release. It opens with alluring aromas of floral and spiced notes wrapped around red cherry/berry fruit. A ripe, fruited stream of currant and cherry robed in sweet and tang bathes the palate—creamy smooth and deftly balanced replaying on the aftertaste. Good value here; pour with roast chicken or grilled lamb chops. (Vic Harradine)

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Bodegas Familia Contesa ‘La Doncella’ 2014
Vino de la Tierra, Spain $14.30 13.5% alcohol
Predominantly Tempranillo with a 20% splash of Syrah, this organic red dishes up a dazzling nose of peppery spice, floral notes and ripe, dark berry fruit. A firm, structured flow of dark cherry and racy red currant streak over the palate garnished with roasted herbs and underpinned by still-evolving tannin. Aerate/decant three hours and serve with grilled, seasoned red meat or pop corks 2018. (Vic Harradine)

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Bodegas Vegamar ‘Selección’ Garnacha 2015
DOP Valencia, Spain $14.30 13.0% alcohol
This deftly balanced, fresh and juicy red showcases ripe fruit and excellent acidity throughout. Aromas of exotic spice, red licorice and berry fruit precede a lively balanced wash of red currant and briary berry interwoven with notions of milk chocolate and kirsch liqueur. It’s a lovely expression of Grenache pleasing palate and purse. Pour with prawn and chorizo paella, red pizza or pork fajitas. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink now Exceptional Value! 
Dezzani ‘La Guardia’ Rosso 2013
DOC Monferrato, Italy $15.40 14.0% alcohol
Aromas of smoke, fig and raisin roll easily from this medium-bodied, very nicely textured, red blend—86% Dolcetto, 11% Barbera, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon—aged in seasoned, large oak casks for 12 months. There’s great purity of fruit, balance and structure at an extremely attractive price. It flows over the palate with a gusher of black currant and dark cherry dressed with spice box and red berry tang. The aftertaste is lengthy and lip-smacking good. Pair with steak, burgers, gourmet sausage or meat-laden, red pizza. (Vic Harradine)

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Valentini ‘atunis’ Merlot 2012
IGT Toscana, Italy $29.95 14.5% alcohol
This is balanced with good structure, balance and depth—very pretty, indeed. Espresso roast, grilled herbs and black plum aromas abound on the nose of this mid-plus weight, creamy-smooth gem. Juicy bramble berry and spice-infused dark Bing cherry coat the palate with notions of dark chocolate and sweet vanilla. The finish is long, luscious and memorable with replays and tangy bite on the aftertaste. The hand-harvested, 100% Merlot was fermented in stainless steel then aged 18 months in small oak barrel. (Vic Harradine)