Winecurrent
April 24, 2017 Newsletter

Newsletter Highlights include:

Australia FlagContinuing to focus on premium, family-owned wineries, Vic visited three fascinating McLaren Vale wineries who are making their mark with internationally recognised wines. You can easily add interest and another layer to your wine-appreciation and wine-purchasing skills and enjoyment by clicking here.

  • Susan Desjardins recently attended a ‘Taste Ontario’ event and offers keen insights through a clutch of wine reviews she sent along that appear in and following the Main Release in the newsletter below. 
  • Lisa IsobelleLisa Isabelle’s back from tasting en primeur reds in Bordeaux, France and wasted no time in attending the most recent Vintages Release tasting, She provides a comprehensive array of wine reviews showcasing Feature wines from Washington and Oregon, Germany, and Rosés as well as within and following the balance of the April 29 release wines.
  • Exceptional-value wine Exceptional Value! – 3 of 70 wines in this newsletter currently in stores met the strict quality-price guidelines. They’re easily identified in the newsletter via the exceptional-value checkmark above. Which strict quality-price guidelines? Click here.
  • 5-star Wine – No wine in this newsletter that is currently available in stores rang the 5-star bell.
  • Lisa Likes – Flat Rock Chardonnay 2015 earned 4 ½ stars @ $18.95 found under Ontario: White Wine; Edna Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 earned 4 stars @ $20.95 found under California: Red Wine; Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2013 earned 4 stars @ $23.95 found under Italy: Red Wine.
  • Vic Picks – Cannonball Chardonnay 2014 earned 4 ½ stars @ $23.95 found under California: White Wine; Bodegas del Abad ‘Abad Dom Bueno’ Mencía 2008 earned 4 stars @ $15.95 found under Spain: Red Wine.

Access the LCBO store nearest you with stock of any wine with an LCBO product number by clicking on the number shown in brackets in wine reviews then clicking on ‘Select Stores’ and entering your postal code—the number of bottles available in stores near you is displayed—or by clicking ‘Check all stores’ where you’ll see stock available in all LCBO stores. For Vintages Release wines, stock should be displayed the Friday before a Saturday release, updated every 24 hours, some stores post earlier. LCBO Portfolio wines (wine not in Vintages) should always closely reflect stock in stores, updated every 24 hours. However, it’s always best to phone stores showing stock before you go.
Vintages Release: April 29, 2017

Feature: Washington State and Oregon Wine

**** drink now
Elk Cove Pinot Gris 2015
Willamette Valley $24.95 (955906) 13.0% alcohol
Intriguing aromas of orchard fruit meld with beeswax, spice and a subtle floral note translating to succulent red grapefruit, nectarine and pineapple on the palate. It’s dry, medium-light bodied with a tangy citrus and ginger mid-length finish. Pour on its own or enjoy with light summer fare. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Argyle Pinot Noir 2014
Willamette Valley $33.95 (909499) 13.9% alcohol
Pale-ruby in colour, subtle red fruit aromas—cherry, raspberry and pomegranate—are supported by hints of dried herbs, spice and red licorice on the nose of this cool-climate Pinot Noir. Dry, medium-light bodied with perceptible tannin, the palate offers flavours of tangy red fruit with notions of strawberry-rhubarb jam and white pepper persisting through the mid-length, mouth-watering finish. Aerate/decant two hours before serving. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Domaine Drouhin ‘Cloudline’ Pinot Noir 2014
Willamette Valley $29.95 (159970) 13.5% alcohol
Fresh and flavourful, this dry, medium-bodied, cool-climate Pinot Noir offers expressive aromas of tart red fruit, vanilla, cloves and a hint of smoke. Crisp and clean on the palate with gentle tannins, flavours of racy cranberry, red cherry and strawberry complement the lively acidity while spice and mineral notes linger on the extended, lip-smacking finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Underwood Pinot Noir 2015
Oregon $22.95 (421198) 13.5% alcohol
This 100% Pinot Noir is sourced from vineyards across the state of Oregon, each adding unique characteristics to the final blend. Earthy, savoury aromas and flavours of forest floor, spice and roasted espresso bean are supported by lively red fruit. It’s dry with a fresh texture and bright acidity offering a tart cherry and raspberry mid-length, tangy finish. Enjoy with grilled salmon burgers. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Hogue Riesling 2014
Columbia Valley $15.95 (363291) 12.5% alcohol
Pleasant aromas of tangerine, peach, honey and ginger open this medium-bodied, off-dry Riesling. Ripe orchard fruit flavours burst on the palate offering a juicy freshness while a streak of tangy acidity tempers the sweetness. Weighted in texture, it has a persistent ripe peach and citrus finish. Serve this good-value Riesling with spicy Thai dishes. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Columbia Crest H3 Chardonnay 2014
Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley $20.95 (441998) 13.5% alcohol
Sixty percent of this wine was aged in a combination of French and American oak with the balance only seeing stainless steel maintaining the unique fruit and mineral characteristics of wines from this region. An expressive nose offering aromas of orchard fruit, honey and vanilla segue to flavours of caramel apple, vanilla bean and butter on the richly textured palate. Dry, medium bodied, a vibrant spine of acidity maintains freshness through the long, flavourful finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Seven Falls Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Wahluke Slope, Columbia Valley $19.95 (360222) 14.5% alcohol
Lifted aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant and dark plum, garnished with notes of dry leaves, spice, vanilla and milk chocolate open this well-balanced, great-value Cab. Aged 18 months in 62% French and 38% American oak, about 50% new, translates to flavours of toast, espresso bean and spice on the palate lifted by fresh-tasting dark fruit. Serve this dry, full-bodied, approachable red with grilled beef burgers. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Lone Birch Syrah 2013
Yakima Valley $20.95 (420695) 14.1% alcohol
Savoury notes—dusty earthiness, leather and cedar—are supported by pure fruit aromas of black berry and dark cherry adorned with lovely hints of violet and lavender. A concentrated river of blackcurrant and cassis flows over the palate joined by notions of leather and black pepper. Dry, full-bodied, with a soft, smooth texture, it remains lively and bright with lasting, concentrated dark fruit flavours persisting through the moderately lengthy finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Chateau Ste. Michelle ‘Indian Wells Red Blend’ 2013
Columbia Valley $26.95 (421081) 14.5% alcohol
This blend of predominantly Syrah and Merlot—with a smattering of 5 other grape varieties—spent 16 months in French and American oak before bottling, 46% new. The appealing nose captivates with pronounced dark fruit aromas with undercurrents of cedar, espresso bean, mint and violet. Dry, full-bodied, soft and hinting of creaminess on the palate, concentrated flavours of blackberry and blackcurrant are layered with baking spice and black peppercorn. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Canoe Ridge ‘The Expedition’ Merlot 2014
Horse Heaven Hills, Columbia Valley $27.95 (486928) 13.8% alcohol
This wine spent 10 months in 70% American and 30% French oak before bottling. It entices with lifted aromas of blackberry and blueberry jam with suggestions of chocolate-mint and vanilla. Medium-full bodied and dry, it’s firmly structured with perceptible tannin and bright acidity offering attractive notions of baking spice and minerality on the lengthy, fruit-laden finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot 2014
Columbia Valley $21.95 (486936) 13.5% alcohol
This Wine of the Month is a deliciously smooth, rich and approachable red, tempting the nose with ripe dark fruit, cloves, sweet pipe tobacco and black pepper. Dry, medium-full bodied, dark plum and wild raspberry flavours surge over the palate followed by notions of spice, vanilla and mocha. Nicely structured with well-integrated tannins and fresh acidity, this pours well with braised short ribs. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Hogue ‘Genesis’ Merlot 2013
Columbia Valley $19.95 (349415) 13.5% alcohol
Heady aromas of dark fruit interwoven with baking spice, vanilla and cocoa open this well-balanced red. Dry, medium-plus weight, it displays a generous, soft texture framed by perceptible tannin and fresh acidity. Ripe plum and blackberry notes replay on the palate and through the mid-length, spice and vanilla finish. Aerate/decant a couple of hours and serve alongside seared duck breast with blueberry compote. (Lisa Isabelle)

Mini-Feature: German Wine

• There are two classifications of ‘quality’ in German wine. The lower quality is now called - Qualitätswein, the higher – Prädikatswein.
• The lower classification was formerly known as—Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete or simply, QbA. It’s now known as, Qualitätswein. These are simple easy-drinking, usually inexpensive wines sourced from less-ripe fruit to which it’s legal to add sugar, usually done to boost the alcohol level. There are also exceptions with good quality wine produced in this class. The higher quality classification was formerly known as Qualitätswein mit Prädikat or simply, QmP. It’s now known as Prädikatswein to which no sugar may be added and there are regulations in place to make certain grapes are virtually fully ripened at harvest. In such a cool climate, ripe grapes are prized. All Prädikatswein wines are also graded according to sugar level in the unfermented grape—in Germany measured on a hydrometer scale in degrees Oechsle at harvest – going from less sweet to sweetest, those levels are Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese/Ice Wine, Trockenbeerenauslese.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Reichsgraf Von Kesselstatt ‘Kaseler Nies’chen’ Riesling Kabinett 2014
Qualitätswein, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer $24.95 (940908) 8.5% alcohol
Lifted aromas of white peach, candied lemon, beeswax and petrol inform the nose of this medium-sweet, low-alcohol, age-worthy gem. It’s medium weight, rich and round on the palate, with flavours of ripe stone fruit, lemon, honey and a flinty minerality balanced by well-defined acidity delivering an extended, flavourful finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

Feature: Rosé Wine

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Featherstone Rosé 2015

VQA Niagara Peninsula $15.95 (117861) 13.2% alcohol

Candy apple pink, this dry rosé is a delight with aromas focused on wild red berry fruit and also offering earthier notes and a whiff of roasted red pepper. It’s fruity on the palate, clean in texture, tasting of juicy red cherries and strawberry-rhubarb jam, along with the savoury earthy notes subtly adding character. Palate pleasing and fresh on the finish, you’ll enjoy this with a spinach/strawberry salad with salmon. (Susan Desjardins)

***1/2 drink now
Atamistique ‘Serbal’ Malbec Rosé 2016
Mendoza $16.95 (493031) 13.0% alcohol
Vibrant orange-pink in colour, this 100% Malbec rosé offers a fruit salad of aromas—ripe red apple, blood orange, nectarine and strawberry. Medium bodied with a round mouthfeel, there’s a slight sweetness on the palate reminiscent of candy apple and red grapefruit. Serve chilled on a summer patio. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink now
Jean-Max Roger ‘La Grange Dimière’ Sancerre Rosé 2016
AOC Sancerre $25.95 (490813) 13.5% alcohol
A gorgeous, pale salmon-pink colour introduces this 100% Pinot Noir rosé from the Loire Valley. The nose offers suggestions of wild strawberry, zesty lemon, green apple and a nuance of fresh herbs. Dry, medium-light bodied, flavours of red currant and lemon are underscored by a distinct mineral note. It finishes bright and refreshing with a hint of salinity encouraging another sip. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink now
Carte Noir Rosé 2016
AOP Côtes de Provence $18.95 (319384) 13.0% alcohol
Enticing aromas of raspberry, pink grapefruit and nectarine with a dusty mineral note open this blend of Grenache and Cinsault from the south of France. Dry, medium-light bodied, with marked acidity, the palate showcases fresh red fruit flavours—red currant, strawberry and red plum—with a hint of springtime rhubarb on the mid-length finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink now
Brancaia Rosé 2016
IGT Rosato Toscana $19.95 (490953) 12.5% alcohol
This 100% Merlot rosé offers an aromatic nose of strawberry, red plum and crab apple with a slight hint of brioche. Dry, light bodied, it finishes mid-length with lively acidity and uplifting flavours of crisp red apple, tangy white grapefruit and fresh strawberry. Pour alongside a mesclun salad topped with crumbled chèvre. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink now Exceptional Value!
Viña Esmeralda Rosé 2016
DO Catalunya $13.95 (490920) 12.5% alcohol
Delicate pink in colour, the nose of this 100% Garnacha rosé offers attractive aromas of flowers, red berries, stone fruit and red licorice. Off-dry, the palate is crisp and mouth-watering, with strawberry and raspberry flavours supported by citrus zing. Pair this appealing, mid-length rosé with spicy chicken satay. (Lisa Isabelle)

The Main Release

Icewine

****1/2 drink now Oh Canada!
Henry of Pelham Cabernet Icewine 2013

VQA Short Hills Bench $39.95 200 mL (672402) 9.5% alcohol

Aromas and flavours of spice, strawberry and mixed field berry abound. It’s balanced on a pin with sweet ripe fruit mingling with tangy acidity on the palate and stunning finish. It’s full bodied and fully textured and not the least cloying. Pour on its own as dessert for a decadent, romantic treat for two or alongside strawberries dipped in dark chocolate. (Vic Harradine)

Ontario: White Wine

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Featherstone Four Feathers 2016
VQA Niagara Peninsula $14.95 (341586) 12.5% alcohol
This value-laden, harmonious blend of Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc expresses aromas and flavours typical of each grape varietal. Orchard fruit, zippy citrus, exotic tropical fruit layered with hints of rose and ginger aromas on the nose provide segue to a mouth-watering wash of crisp apple, ripe pear and peach on the palate. Medium bodied and slightly off-dry, it offers a fresh fruit finish perfect with pan-seared white fish. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value! Oh Canada!
Featherstone ‘Black Sheep’ Riesling 2016
VQA Niagara Peninsula $16.25 (80234) 10.0% alcohol
Supporting eco-friendly farming, this is named after sheep who assisted trimming grape leaves in the fruiting zone of the vines. Medium-bodied and off-dry, it offers lifted aromas of tart green apple, citrus, honeydew melon and elderflower. Careful handling of fruit and a cool fermentation resulted in refreshing, pure fruit flavours of lemon-lime, white grapefruit and nectarine with mineral and floral notes persisting through the mid-plus length, tangy finish. Serve this stunning, well-balanced gem with crab cakes or lemon-grass chicken. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Flat Rock Chardonnay 2015
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $18.95 (286278) 13.5% alcohol
Tropical fruit aromas interweave with lemon butter, vanilla and spice in this alluring white. Creamy in texture, balanced with bright acidity, the palate is awash with intense fresh fruit flavours of red apple, pineapple and grapefruit with spice and mineral notes lingering through the long finish. Enjoy this very good-value Chardonnay with apple-stuffed, roast pork tenderloin. (Lisa Isabelle)

Ontario: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Stratus ‘Wildass Red’ 2013
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $19.95 (86363) 13.3% alcohol
This red blend delights with aromas of dark fruit adorned with spice, cocoa and vanilla on the nose while the palate offers a round, smooth texture and skilful balance of succulent red and dark berry fruit, fine acidity and well-integrated tannins. Share this delicious, easy-going red with friends at a casual barbecue. (Lisa Isabelle)

California: White Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Cannonball Chardonnay 2014

Sonoma County $23.95 (311563) 13.7% alcohol

Aromas of floral notes, apple and pear abound on this medium-full bodied, fully textured gem. It’s rich, ripe and luscious unleashing a river of full-fruited ambrosia with ripe juicy yellow peach, pear and yellow plum to the fore. The lingering finish dishes up more of the same decorated with tangy citrus and wisps of sweet vanilla. Delicious on its own, it pours well with chicken, pork or veal. (Vic Harradine)

California: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Edna Valley Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Central Coast $20.95 (369959) 14.0% alcohol
Deep-purple in colour, intense ripe dark fruit aromas intertwined with notions of leather, dark chocolate and mint on the nose, herald a mouth-coating wash of juicy blackberry, dark plum and blackcurrant jam on the palate. It’s dry, full bodied, soft and velvety in texture, displaying clean, firm structure, concentrated dark fruit, baking spice and black pepper flavours persisting through the warm, medium-long finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

Australia: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Cimicky ‘Trumps’ Shiraz 2012

Barossa Valley $19.95 (27383) 14.5%alcohol

This is dark and inky with alluring woodsy, ripe, black cherry aromas that follow through on the palate. It’s value-packed and full bodied with a pinch of smokiness and noticeable tannin entwining with expressive dark plum flavours creating layers of delicious nectar. Partner with roast beef or strong-flavoured charcuterie. (Julie Stock)

Australia: Rosé Wine

**** drink now
Zonte’s Footstep ‘Scarlet Ladybird’ Rosé 2016
Fleurieu Peninsula $15.95 (408476) 13.5% alcohol
This coral-coloured blend, 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Grenache, is named for the ladybugs that destroy vineyard pests. There’s a lovely floral note—rose and lilac—supported by strawberry, red cherry and red plum aromas. Dry, medium bodied, with a sense of fruit sweetness, flavours of red berries, apricot and grapefruit pith persist through the mouth-watering, mid-length finish. Enjoy with ham and Gruyere quiche. (Lisa Isabelle)

South Africa: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Rustenberg ‘Buzzard Kloof’ Syrah 2013
WO Simonsberg-Stellenbosch $24.95 (414151) 14.5% alcohol
Named after the buzzards circling the ravine (kloof) in which the vineyard is situated, this well-balanced, deftly structured Syrah offers an expressive nose of ripe, dark berries and plum with savoury, gamy, earthy and black pepper notes. Blackberry and cassis coat the palate with spice, black pepper and violet notes adding interest and complexity. Dry, full-bodied with firm tannins, decant an hour before serving or cellar for up to 10 years. There’s good value here. (Lisa Isabelle)

France: Red Wine

**** drink or cellar
Maison Chanzy Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2015
AOC Bourgogne $22.95 (408158) 12.5% alcohol
Lifted aromas of fresh red fruit adorned with earth and spice grace the nose while the palate’s lively and juicy with red cherry and strawberry flavours joined by cloves and an earthy mineral note. Dry, medium bodied, a well-defined vein of acidity runs through the mid-plus length, tang-infused finish. This would be a great introduction to AOC Bourgogne, Pinot at an attractive price. (Lisa Isabelle)

Italy: Red Wine

****1/2 drink or cellar
Fontanafredda 'Serralunga d'Alba' Barolo 2012

DOCG Barolo $44.95 (943290) 14.0% alcohol

Semi-transparent garnet, this was crafted with indigenous yeast and underwent malolactic fermentation in concrete then aged in cask. It delights with fragrant floral and fruit notes interwoven with subtle spice, a whiff of cedar and earthy mineral undertones. Dry, medium-full bodied, this is a harmonious, suave wine underpinned by refined tannin and smooth texture. There's complexity and depth in layered flavours, elusive notes of mushroom and dried herbs, hints of fennel, tangy red cherry and berry. Showing an enduring, dry finish, it’s designed for lengthy aging or serve now with braised beef and mushroom arrosto. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink or cellar
Lamole di Lamole Blue Label Chianti Classico 2013
DOCG Chianti Classico $23.95 (476317) 13.5% alcohol
Notions of smoke, tea and violet mingle with tart red fruit aromas while the vibrant palate displays flavours of blackberry, red plum, spice and floral notes. Dry, medium-full bodied, with notable tannin, the red fruit is evident through the moderately lengthy, tangy finish. Pair with herb-encrusted grilled beef tenderloin. (Lisa Isabelle)

**** drink or cellar
Rocca Delle Macie Chianti Classico Riserva 2013
DOCG Chianti Classico $23.95 (930966) 13.5% alcohol
This Wine of the Month is from the heart of Tuscany spending two years ageing in oak barrels before bottling. Aromas of red cherry and red currant garnished with pungent herbs and spices are precursors to a tangy, flavourful red. It’s firm in structure, medium bodied with fine acidity showcasing flavours of red currant, dried cherry, hints of spice and cocoa through the dry, lingering finish. Pour with meat-based lasagne. (Lisa Isabelle)

Spain: Red Wine

**** drink now
Bodegas del Abad ‘Abad Dom Bueno’ Mencía 2008

DO Bierzo $15.95 (291989) 13.5% alcohol

This is 100% Mencía fruit sourced from stony vineyards and vines averaging 35 years of age. Piquant spice, rose petals and a red and black currant bouquet introduce a juicy stream of tang-laden, red berry fruit—currant, cranberry and wisps of raspberry. It’s mid-full weight with decent mouthfeel and a lingering, quite dry, mouth-watering finish. It’s well-priced and interesting in that it has some age, but drink up soon. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Bodegas Burgo ‘Viejo Licenciado’ Reserva 2008
DOCa Rioja $23.95 (370023) 13.5% alcohol
The garnet hue of this wine suggests its age. Red cherry and strawberry aromas, underpinned by fig, tea, violet and star anise, herald a wash of lively red fruit, spiced plum and mocha bathing the palate. Medium-plus weight and velvety smooth in texture, its dry, well-balanced with a lengthy spice-laden fruit-filled finish. Enjoy with slow-cooked beef stew. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Luis Cañas Crianza 2014
DOCa Rioja $17.00 (336719) 14.0% alcohol
This blend of predominantly Tempranillo, with Garnacha, from vines that average over 30 years old, spent 12 months in 60% French oak and 25% American before bottling. Intense aromas of red cherry, strawberry, baking spice and vanilla emerge from the glass. Dry, medium-full bodied, the lively, fresh fruit character replays on the palate while sweet spice and an herbal note linger on the lengthy aftertaste. This would be delicious with grilled chorizo sausage. (Lisa Isabelle)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserva 2009
DOCa Rioja $29.95 (976670) 14.0% alcohol
This well-balanced red blend—Tempranillo/Graciano/Garnacha—spent two years maturing in French oak barrel followed by further aging in the bottle before release. Lifted aromas of dark fruit, fig, leather and sandalwood introduce a wash of fleshy cherry and strawberry leading to savoury, herbaceous notes—grilled herbs and olive tapenade—on the lengthy finish. Serve with grilled rosemary and garlic rubbed leg of lamb. (Lisa Isabelle)

New in Vintages

• This is a Vintages Essentials wine always available in select stores.

**** drink or cellar
Featherstone Cabernet Franc 2015
VQA Niagara Peninsula $19.95 (64618) 12.5% alcohol
Ripe, dark fruit aromas combine with herbaceous notions of dry leaves, tobacco and graphite on the nose. Dry, medium bodied with defined tannin, the palate’s lively and juicy with blackberry, dark cherry and tart cranberry flavours mingling with spice while mineral notes and hints of tomato leaf appear on the dry, savoury finish. Serve with herbed leg of lamb. (Lisa Isabelle)

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages Release: August 5, 2017

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Château des Charmes ‘Old Vines’ Riesling 2014
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $17.95 12.0% alcohol
A classic gem—sourced from fruit of some of the oldest Riesling vines in Niagara—this offers aromas of lemon-lime, mineral notes and subtle lingering hints of white flowers. Dry and delightfully crisp on entry, the finely honed acidity carries tangy flavours of lemon zest and green apple over the palate infusing the lengthy, bright finish. (Susan Desjardins)

Vintages Release: Summer, 2017

****1/2 drink or cellar Exceptional Value! Oh Canada!
Château des Charmes Cuvée d’Andrée Rosé 2015
VQA Niagara-on-the-Lake $15.95 (333260) 12.7% alcohol
This award-winning Pinot Noir Rosé shows great complexity with aromas of pomegranate, melon, strawberry and hints of fragrant dried herbs. It’s dry and exquisitely balanced with fresh, lively texture underpinning intensely flavourful fruit through the clean, fruity aftertaste. It has significant impact and weight, you can enjoy with appetizers or salads—try melon and prosciutto with spinach—or a main of grilled salmon, pork or chicken. (Susan Desjardins)

Vintages Release: TBD

• You’re destined to fall in love with the following 2016 Wismer Vineyard – Foxcroft Block Riesling from 2027 winemaker extraordinaire, Kevin Panagapka.

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
2027 Cellars ‘Wismer Vineyard - Fox Croft Block’ Riesling 2016
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $22.95 9.5% alcohol
This opens with entrancing aromas of lime, apricot and mineral. While residual sugar suggests off dry, the tasting experience is dry, clean and refreshing with racy lime, ripe apricot and minerality replaying on the palate and infusing the finish. It showcases lovely balance and a zesty, mouth-watering aftertaste. Serve chilled with pan-seared fish or enjoy on its own. (Susan Desjardins)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Chapel Hill ‘George Block’ Chardonnay 2016
McLaren Vale $25.00 12.5% alcohol
Lovely aromas of baking spice, pineapple and lemony citrus stream from the nose of this medium-bodied, nicely textured Chardonnay. It bathes the palate with a sweet and tang river of fine citrus acidity—Key lime and Meyer lemon—riding over a bed of ripe peach and white nectarine—all deftly balanced and intertwined through the mouth-watering finish and aftertaste. (Vic Harradine)

**** drink or cellar
Chapel Hill Mourvèdre 2014
McLaren Vale $30.00 14.5% alcohol
This showcases purity of fruit throughout, good balance and plenty of style and charm. Spice-forward aromas of red berry fruit and black plum introduce a surge of tang-laden flavour with boysenberry and dark cherry adorned with spice, tarry notes and grilled savory herb to the fore. It’s medium bodied with good mouthfeel and a lengthy, lip-smacking finish that’s simply gorgeous. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Chapel Hill 2013 ‘Bush Vine Grenache was sourced from hand-harvested, bush-vine fruit, fermented 10 to 12 days in open-top fermenters, basket-pressed and coarsely racked into one- to five-year-old 300 L hogsheads then bottle un-fined and un-filtered.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Chapel Hill ‘Bush Vine’ Grenache 2013
McLaren Vale $30.00 14.5% alcohol
Floral aromas meld with red and black berry fruit and savory herb on the nose of this mid-weight, well-textured red. There’s wonderful spice-driven tang on the palate delivered through a stream of passionfruit and pie cherry interwoven with wisps of cocoa and warm, earthy notes. The ever-present spice notes are joined by dry, mouth-watering, crunchy red fruit on the mouth-watering finish and aftertaste. Outstanding sipped on its own, divine with charcouterie—spiced olives, sharp cheese and spicy deli meats. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2015 ‘The Parson’ Shiraz won a trophy at the 2016 ‘The Great Australian Shiraz Challenge’ and a Gold Medal at the Royal Adelaide Show, also in 2016. Fruit was gently pressed and fermented then allowed eight days on skins before maturing in tight-grained, well-seasoned French oak.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Chapel Hill ‘The Parson’ Shiraz 2016
McLaren Vale $19.95 14.5% alcohol
This is very good value with plenty to offer—purity of fruit, balanced on a pin and structure delivered in a drink-me-now style. Grilled savory herb, piquant spice and perfumed floral notes provide segue for a rich wave of palate-coating flavour—boysenberry and blueberry interweaving with wisps of mixed spice and underpinned with soft, ripe tannin. It’s medium-plus bodied with complexity, balance and a long, lip-smacking aftertaste—well matched with burgers, red pizza, steak and gourmet sausage. (Vic Harradine)

• Small vineyard lots for the following 2014 Chapel Hill Shiraz were picked and fermented separately on skins a minimum 8 days in open-top fermenters then gently basket pressed and barrel aged in 600 L French hogsheads, 20% new for 18 months, racked and returned periodically then bottled un-fined and un-filtered.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Chapel Hill Shiraz 2014
McLaren Vale $30.00 14.5% alcohol
Savory-laced aromas of floral notes and berry fruit set the table for a smorgasbord of structured and complex flavour from this medium-plus bodied, generously textured gem. A wide swath of boysenberry and tangy black currant envelop the palate decorated with piquant spice and oodles of charm. There is persistent purity of fruit and a lingering dry finish of crunchy, red berry fruit. Pour with grilled rack of lamb. (Vic Harradine)

• Fruit sourced for the following Chapel Hill 2014 ‘The Parson’ Cabernet Sauvignon was open-top fermented, left on skins up to 9 days with daily plunging before basket pressed and matured in tight-grain French oak barrel with regular racking.

**** drink or cellar
Chapel Hill ‘The Parson’ Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
McLaren Vale $19.95 14.5% alcohol
Aromas of dark berry fruit mingle with minty and floral notes on the nose of this full bodied, nicely textured Aussie Cab. Black and red currant, black licorice and sweet vanilla coat the palate carried along on a tight taut underpinning of still-resolving tannin and excellent acidity. You could drink now after a three-hour aeration/decant knowing there are great rewards to be reaped for careful, short-term cellaring—pour 2019 to 2023. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Chapel Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
McLaren Vale $30.00 14.5% alcohol
This Cab Sauv was sourced from carefully selected McLaren Vale fruit and produced only six barrels—from the best of the best. Red berry fruit, savory herb and gamy notes introduce a well-balanced, well-structured river of tangy red currant, pie cherry and cranberry cascading over the palate interwoven with cassis and dark plum compote. It finishes dry and mouth-watering with a boatload of elegance and charm. (Vic Harradine)

• In the following Chapel Hill 2014 ‘The Vicar’, small-lot, vineyard plots were harvested, gently pressed and fermented a minimum 12 days in small-batch open fermenters. Following basket-pressing, wine was matured 20 months in barrel with periodic rack and return then bottled un-fined and un-filtered.

***** drink or cellar
Chapel Hill ‘The Vicar’ Shiraz 2014
McLaren Vale $55.00 14.5% alcohol
This is stunning Shiraz showcasing balance, persistent purity of fruit, firm structure, and complexity. Aromas of peppery spice, grilled savory herbs and gamy notes herald a teeth-staining, palate-coating mouthful of delectable flavour—black currant and ripe black plum interwoven with mixed spice framed by mouth-watering, balancing acidity. The finish and aftertaste are monumentally long. There are +15 years ahead and it’s drinkable now after a three-hour aeration/decant. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 57% Sangiovese/43% Shiraz blend showcases Sangiovese fruit sourced from +30-year-old, estate-grown vines. Mark Lloyd, General Manager/past winemaker at Coriole, is a true pioneer in recognizing and planting vines of Italian origin in McLaren Vale, South Australia. The painting on the wine label of the following wine is by Mark Lloyd’s mother, Mary (Molly) Kathleen Lloyd.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Coriole Vineyards Sangiovese/Shiraz 2016
McLaren Vale $27.00 14.5% alcohol
Lifted aromas of black pepper, red fruit and wisps of floral notes open this medium-weight, well-textured, balanced beauty. There’s persistent purity of fruit with strawberry/rhubarb and tangy red currant adorned with spice and savory herbs dazzling the palate infusing the lip-smacking finish and aftertaste—ready to drink now and simply delicious. Pour with a deli board and baguette—spicy olives, mortadella, capicola and Provolone cheese. (Vic Harradine)

• With the first commercially produced Fiano in Australia in 2005, Coriole Vineyards owner/winemaker Mark Lloyd has been proven quite a visionary, producing wines such as the following excellent Fiano from the 2016 vintage. It’s a low-yielding variety with pronounced aromas and flavours. It has also become more widely planted in Australia.

****1/2 drink now
Coriole Vineyards Fiano 2016
McLaren Vale $27.00 13.0% alcohol
Lemon, floral notes and buckwheat honey aromas abound on the nose of this crisp and refreshing Fiano. It’s medium bodied and carries flavours of mandarin orange, Key lime and notions of nutty notes along on a line of tang-laden acidity. Finishing dry and mouth-watering, give this a go with freshly shucked, briny Malpec oysters under a squeeze of fresh lemon or with prawn ceviche. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2012 Optimist Reserve was sourced from single-vineyard, estate-grown, 35-year-old Chenin Blanc vines

****1/2 drink now
Coriole Vineyards ‘The Optimist - Reserve’ Chenin Blanc 2012
McLaren Vale $28.00 12.5% alcohol
Exotic aromas of citrus, incense and tropical fruit are precursors to a surge of palate-coating, tang-laden flavour with mandarin orange, Key lime and honeyed stone fruit riding a spirited line of clean and refreshing acidity. It’s medium bodied with textured mouthfeel and a lingering, lip-smacking finish. It’s ready to drink now and lovely to sip on its own or poured with lemon chicken or prawn and chorizo paella. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Coriole Vineyards Negroamaro, an indigenous red grape from southern Italy, is now grown almost exclusively in Apulia, in particular, Salento—the heel of the Italian boot. It can produce incredibly dark-coloured, red wine.

****1/2 drink now
Coriole Vineyards Negroamaro 2016
McLaren Vale $27.00 13.5% alcohol
This is Coriole’s first bottling of this varietal; it was fermented in open-top, bees-wax-lined, concrete fermenters and hand plunged. Ruby hued and quite aromatic—mixed spice and red berry fruit spill freely from the glass of this balanced and beautiful red wine. A gorgeous mélange of tangy red fruit—crunchy raspberry and ripe, juicy cherry—cascade over the palate adorned by piquant spice and great élan. It finishes lengthy with oodles of lip-smacking-good, racy fruit flavour. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Nero d’Avola was added to the Coriole stable recently proving a runaway winner with previous vintages capturing Gold medals and Trophies by the armful. It was whole-berry fermented in small, open-topped, beeswax-lined concrete vats and spent time maturing in well-seasoned oak barrel.

**** drink now
Coriole Vineyards ‘Nero’ Nero d’Avola 2016
McLaren Vale $25.00 14.0% alcohol
Peppery spice and savory herb aromas abound on this medium-weight flavourful red. It coats the palate with a red and black currant laced with piquant spice and black licorice persistent and pure through the lingering, mouth-watering finish and aftertaste. There’s deft balance and good structure with ripe, soft tannin adding interest. Pour with pastitsio, manicotti or pasta and Bolognese sauce. (Vic Harradine)

• The majority of fruit for the following 2015 estate-grown Shiraz was sourced from vines with an average age of approximately 40 years.

****1/2 drink now
Coriole Vineyards ‘Estate Grown’ Shiraz 2015
McLaren Vale $28.95 14.5% alcohol
This opens with an involved nose of peppery spice and sweet vanilla mingling with berry fruit aromas. An explosion of juicy, tangy fruit blankets the palate with ripe mulberry, racy red cherry and perceptible, fine-grained tannin infusing the long, dry finish. Aerate/decant three hours or twist tops 2019 to 2025—there’s a lot of life, maturity and excellent sipping ahead. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Coriole ‘Reserve’ is named for one of the founders, Mary Kathleen Lloyd. It was hand harvested from three small, estate vineyards and is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Coriole ‘Mary Kathleen - Reserve’ Cabernet/Merlot 2013

McLaren Vale $40.95 (745489) 14.5% alcohol
It’s early days in the bottle development of this premium red blend. A subdued nose offers savory herb, baking spice and dark berry fruit aromas Delectable ripe fruit—currant, blueberry and black cherry, interlaced with racy tang—passion fruit and cranberry, still-evolving tannin and a world of promise envelop the palate for now. It’s full bodied and full flavoured—to enjoy to its fullest, open 2020 to 2030. (Vic Harradine)

• The following two ultra-premium Shiraz were hand picked from single-vineyard, dry-grown, Coriole estate vines planted in 1919. This wine is listed in the ‘Excellent’ category of the vaunted ‘Langton’s Classification of Australian Fine Wines’. They were matured in French-oak barrel 18 months and bottle-aged another 12 before release.

***** cellar
Coriole Vineyards ‘Lloyd Reserve’ Shiraz 2012
McLaren Vale $100.00 14.5% alcohol
The 2012 Lloyd Reserve is opaque and highly scented—aromas of sweet vanilla, black plum and cedar leap from the glass. It showcases full-on fruit flavour, excellent tang, firm structure, depth and complexity. A broad swath of ripe, sweet briary berry and juicy black cherry intertwined with dark bittersweet chocolate and earthy notes coat the palate persisting through the monumentally lengthy finish and aftertaste. Pour 2019 to 2035

***** cellar
Coriole Vineyards ‘Lloyd Reserve’ Shiraz 2013
McLaren Vale $100.00 14.5% alcohol
Peppery spice, oaky notes and sweet vanilla aromas provide segue for persistent purity of fruit and a beautifully structured and balanced Shiraz. It’s full bodied with good mouthfeel and considerable depth and concentration in the juicy, crunchy, palate-enveloping flavour—pie cherry and red currant interwoven with savory herbs and earthiness. Dark cherry/berry fruit evolves on the back palate and it finishes with solid tannin underpinning framed by excellent tang. Cellar carefully, 2020 to 2030, pouring with grilled, seasoned strip loin. (Vic Harradine)

• Indigenous to Italy, the white grape Fiano is becoming more popular in South Australia as plantings have recently flourished there. The following 2016 Fiano recently won a ‘Gold Award - Judged with Food’ at the Sydney International Wine Competition.

**** drink now
Wits End Fiano 2016
McLaren Vale $25.00 13.0% alcohol
Exotic spice and honeyed aromas abound, precursors to a medium-weight, beautifully textured river of mandarin orange, pear and marzipan framed with racy, citrus tang. It races over the palate with great élan persisting with purity of fruit infusing the mouth-watering, lip-smacking finish and aftertaste. Pour with grilled or pan-seared seafood. (Vic Harradine)

• Fruit for the following 2016 Wits End Vermentino was sourced from a 13-year-old, single-vineyard, five-acre plot. Vermentino, a white grape widely planted in Italy, is now gaining vineyard plantings in Languedoc, France as well as South Australia.

****1/2 drink now
Wits End Vermentino 2016
McLaren Vale $20.00 12.0% alcohol
Aromas of tropical fruit, floral and straw notes swirl from the nose of this mid-weight delectable gem. Key lime, lemon curd and mineral flavours ride a tang-laden spine of mouth-watering acidity from twist top to last drop. This spent a brief time on its lees, with partial stirring, after tank fermentation. There’s generous mouthfeel with a racy finish followed by a lingering, lip-smacking aftertaste. Built for early drinking, pour with prawn ceviche, pan-seared fish or mussels steamed in white wine. (Vic Harradine)

• The following is a 50% Grenache/36% Tempranillo/14% Graciano red blend.

**** drink or cellar
Wits End Grenache - Tempranillo 2015
McLaren Vale $20.00 14.0% alcohol
Leaping from the glass with lively aromas of piquant spice and red berry fruit, this streaks over the palate with a surge of crunchy red fruit—red currant, pie cherry and passion fruit—garnished with dark plum and a boatload of mixed spice. This is medium-bodied with good texture and blessed with a long, tang-laden finish. Pour this drink-me-now red with manicotti, pasta Bolognese or Swiss steak. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2015 Luna Shiraz was sourced from low-yielding fruit from an outstanding vintage and three premium, organically farmed vineyards. It fermented and aged separately before blending after maturation for 15 months in a combination of 20% new and 2nd- and 3rd-fill French oak barrels. There’s a splash of 5% Barbera fruit, as well.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Wits End ‘Luna’ Shiraz 2015
McLaren Vale $18.95 14.0% alcohol
This showcases good structure, purity of fruit, good balance and complexity. Aromas of black pepper, floral notes and baking spice introduce a wide swath of tangy black currant, black plum compote and bramble berry fruit decorated with piquant spice, black licorice and oodles of wonderful tang. It’s medium bodied with generous mouthfeel and lengthy, balanced and beautiful finish. Lovely on its own and ready to drink now, it also pours well with grilled beefsteak or lamb. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Alpha Crucis ‘Titan’ Shiraz is Chalk Hill’s flagship wine; it’s highly sought after and is exceptional value.

***** drink or cellar Exceptional Value!
Alpha Crucis ‘Titan’ Shiraz 2015
McLaren Vale $35.00 14.5% alcohol
Highly perfumed exotic spice and dark berry fruit waft from this full-bodied, fully textured and full-Monty flavoured Shiraz. This highlights persistent purity of fruit—red and black currant with spice-packed black plum, firm structure from fine-grained tannin and many adornments on the palate with sweet vanilla, baking spice and earthy notes to the fore. Aerate/decant this three hours pouring now to 2024 alongside premium, grilled and seasoned, beef tenderloin. (Vic Harradine)

New in Ontario Wineries

• Order the following two wines by the case for daily delivery to your home, office or restaurant in Ontario online via this link - 13th Street Winery.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
13th Street Winery Pinot Gris 2013
VQA Creek Shores $19.95 12.5% alcohol
This bone-dry Gris shows great poise and balance. Floral, mineral and citrus notes tantalize the nose. With fruit picked in two batches – one early to help define the well-developed spine of acidity, the second two weeks later providing fruity flavours of melon, pear and citrus. It’s well balanced and flavourful showing just a touch of spritz. A notion of grapefruit pith adds zest to the lasting finish. (Susan Desjardins)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
13th Street Winery ‘Sandstone Vineyard’ Gamay Noir 2014
VQA Four Mile Creek $29.95 (130195) 13.0% alcohol
Here’s a wonderful expression of Niagara Gamay Noir showing lifted aromas of ripe red berry and plum fruit, notions of turned earth and hints of vanilla. Mid-weight and dry on the palate, there’s breadth and depth of flavour—mixed berries, spice and dried herbs, a whiff of game and a dash of peppery notes. Light tannin and fresh acidity assure balance and underpin the long, tangy aftertaste. Serve with chicken tagine. (Susan Desjardins)

• Order the following two wines by the case for delivery to home, office or restaurant in Ontario online from Featherstone Estate Winery.

**** 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)

****1/2 drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Featherstone Pinot Noir 2013
VQA Twenty Mile Bench $24.95 12.0% alcohol
Intriguing aromas of red cherry, cranberry and wild strawberry meld with spice, tobacco, leather and campfire smoky notes in this small-batch Pinot Noir from the Twenty Mile Bench sub-appellation. Dry and well-balanced, this mid-weight red shows juicy, bright flavours of tart cranberry and raspberry framed by lively acidity while delicate notes of spice, earth and smoke linger on the mid-plus length finish. (Lisa Isabelle)

• Order the following wine by the case for daily delivery to your home, office or restaurant in Ontario online via this link - Greenlane Estate Winery.

• Greenlane winemaker, Dianne Smith, has maintained her sense of humour, despite some of the devastation wrought on vines by Mother Nature in the last few years. As she says, ‘The Chardonnay has stood up to almost everything thrown at it– a tenacious beasty!’

**** drink or cellar Oh Canada!
Greenlane Estate ‘Betrayed Tenacious C’ Chardonnay 2014
VQA Niagara Escarpment Twenty Valley $19.95 13.2 % alcohol
This medium-bodied, nicely balanced Chardonnay offers fruity aromas and flavours of stone and tree fruit mingling with mineral notes. The oak aging delivers creamy texture, buttery notes and hints of spice while clean acidity assures a bright, lingering finish. Serve with a cheese plate or grilled chicken salad with toasted almonds. (Susan Desjardins)

• Order the following two wines by the case for daily delivery to your home, office or restaurant in Ontario online via this link - Leaning Post Wines.

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Leaning Post Wines ‘Wismer Vineyard’ Riesling 2015
VQA Niagara Escarpment Twenty Valley $25.20 12.0% alcohol
Quite delightful and lively on its feet, this combines sweetness of fruit with notions of flowers and wet stone. Dry, light and bright, there’s a nice balance of refined citrusy acidity and flavours of apple and pear through the crisp, tasty finish. This is a versatile wine to serve on its own or with light salads. (Susan Desjardins)

**** drink now Oh Canada!
Leaning Post Wines Pinot Noir 2013
VQA Niagara Escarpment Twenty Valley $30.20 12.5% alcohol
Produced from a blend of fruit sourced from three vineyards—Wismer, Queenston, Lowrey—this is a light-medium bodied, old-world style Pinot Noir. Showcasing aromas and flavours of sun-ripened red berries, earth, herbs and spice, it has a smooth, silky texture. Slight toasty notes mingle with notions of earth on the flavourful aftertaste. It’s a great match for grilled salmon or duck confit. (Susan Desjardins)

Cheers, Vic, Lisa, Susan