Upstream in Winecurrent

Vintages Release: January 21, 2017

***1/2 drink now 
Ferraton Samorëns 2014 
AOC Côtes du Rhône – Samorëns $14.95 (168708) 13.5% alcohol 
Aromas of red berry fruit, earthy notes and spiced cherry waft from this mid-plus bodied, nicely textured red blend—85% Grenache/10% Syrah/5% Cinsault. Drying tannin mingles with sour cherry and a solid line of tang streaking across the palate infusing the finish. Better paired with food, especially red pizza, pasta in tomato sauce or lasagna. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar 
Sextant Wines Zinfandel 2013
Central Coast, California $21.95 14.8% alcohol
Quiet aromas of red cherry, spice and floral notes set the table for a smorgasbord of flavours including black plum compote ripe red cherry and espresso roast. It’s medium-full bodied with good mouthfeel and plenty of oomph. It’s quite savory on the finish with a solid hit of grilled savory herbs dominating the lengthy aftertaste. A food wine, pour alongside smoked, grilled back ribs mopped with spicy BBQ sauce. (Vic Harradine)

Vintages Release: February 4, 2017

**** drink or cellar 
Flagstone 'Dragon Tree' Cape Blend 2013
WO Western Cape $16.95 (37549) 14.5% alcohol
A blend of 35% Cabernet Sauvignon/33% Shiraz/30% Pinotage/2% Malbec, this deep-red hued gem shows a tinge of orange. Aromas of moss, black pepper, dry mint leaf and dark chocolate abound. It's tart and jammy on the palate with tannin that begins in the back seat gradually moving forward while bursting with flavours of red cherry, especially on the finish. This is drinking well now and good value. Pour with smoked beef carpaccio. (Dave Isaacs)

Vintages Release: February 18, 2017

****1/2 drink or cellar 
Jim Barry ‘The Lodge Hill’ Shiraz 2013

Clare Valley, South Australia $24.95 (998476) 14.0% alcohol

Legions of red wine-lovers anxiously await each release of this well-priced, Aussie Shiraz from cooler-climate Clare Valley—this won’t disappoint. It opens with aromas of red and black berry fruit, licorice, spice and grilled herbs. A balanced-on-a-pin, medium-plus bodied wash of ripe mulberry and black currant is joined by racy red currant on the palate along with peppery spice. It finishes dry and mouth-watering good. Good to go now, a two-hour aeration/decant amplifies its many attributes. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar 
Gérard Bertrand ‘Grand Terroir Les Aspres’ Syrah/Mourvèdre/Grenache 2013

AOC Côtes du Roussillon $18.95 (413245) 14.0% alcohol

This is value-laden, balanced on a pin and fully fruited with depth and concentration. Aromas of baking spice, roasted herbs and dark berry fruit introduce a creamy smooth surge of black currant, bittersweet chocolate-dipped cherries and wisps of fennel and mineral notes. It’s full bodied with a lengthy mouth-watering aftertaste and a boatload of charm. Dare I say… yummy. (Vic Harradine)

****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)

Vintages Release: March 18, 2017

**** drink or cellar 
Faustino Rivero ‘Ulecia’ Reserva 2009
DOCa Rioja, Spain $17.80 13.0% alcohol
Appealing aromas of cedar and red and dark berry fruit introduce a racy, light-medium bodied flow of tangy red currant and pie cherry bathing the palate with considerable charm and élan. It develops dark chocolate and passionfruit flavours on the medium-length finish and aftertaste. This has plenty to offer paired with pasta in tomato sauce, red pizza or lasagna. (Vic Harradine)

Vintages Release: April 15, 2017

****1/2 drink or cellar 
Woods Crampton ‘Barossa Shiraz’ 2015
Barossa Valley, Australia $19.85 14.0% alcohol 
The generous nose overflows with re cherry/berry aromas interlaced with hints of piquant spice and charred toast. It coats the palate with a full-bodied, generously textured mouthful of ripe mulberry jam, black currant and tangy bits of pie cherry. It persists through the lip-smacking finish and aftertaste, lingering and luscious. There’s good depth and concentration and it’s fabulous with food—grilled rack of lamb. (Vic Harradine)

Vintages Release: May 13, 2017

**** drink or cellar 
Chateau Haut-Mazieres 2014
AOC Bordeaux $15.25 12.0% alcohol
Alluring on the nose, aromas of mixed spice adorn dark cherry and red berry fruit aromas. This red blend—65% Merlot/30% Cabernet Sauvignon/5% Cabernet Franc—matured 9 months in seasoned barrel with partial malolactic conversion. It spills over the palate with ripe fruit—black briary berry and racy currant cloaked in excellent tang, good balance, value and charm. The lengthy aftertaste is dry, racy and lip-smacking good. Pairs well with grilled beef accompanied by sauce forestiere. (Vic Harradine)

  • The following red blend—60/40 - Grenache/Syrah—is from 40-year-old vines, handpicked and sorted before being de-stemmed for a 12-day maceration. After pressing and fermentation, only 1/3rd of the wine received a brief four-month maturation in barrel.

***1/2 drink or cellar 
Domaine Jaume ‘Altitude 420’ Vinsobres 2014 
AOC Vinsobres $16.95 13.5% alcohol
Intriguing aromas of campfire smoke and grilled savory herbs provide segue for a medium-bodied, well textured flow of black currant and pie cherry interwoven with piquant spice, mineral notes and espresso roast. It’s quite dry on the mid-length finish and aftertaste. Pour alongside well-seasoned burgers or grilled gourmet sausage. (Vic Harradine)

Vintages Release TBD, 2017

**** drink or cellar 
Flagstone ‘Music Room’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
WO Western Cape $TBD 14.5% alcohol
This opaque deep-plum coloured red greets with a wonderfully full nose of cherry, black currant, sage, toast, and smoke. It's full bodied and jammy in the mouth with tannins that are evident but very well integrated. The aromas on the nose follow through as distinctive flavours with the smoke and cherry lingering nicely on the aftertaste. Overall, it’s an excellent South African Cab. (Dave Isaacs)