Gamay and Pinot Noir set the tone in this selection, with very well-priced and highly quaffable wines. The two Gamays are from Niagara and Beaujolais: the 2014 Tawse Gamay Noir Niagara Peninsula, and the 2013 Georges Duboeuf Domaine Mont Chavy Morgon. The two Pinots are a very pleasant regional Burgundy, the 2013 Maison Chandesais Les Guillottes Hautes Côte de Beaune, and the truly delicious 2014 Hubert Brochard Les Carisannes Pinot Noir from the Pays du Val de Loire. If you are not familiar with the lighter, crunchy Pinots from the Loire, this is a very attractive entry point.
Staying on the lighter side, try this fresh and lively Chianti, the 2013 Fèlsina Berardenga Chianti Colli Senesi, the kind of Chianti that focuses on fruit and acid. The final four wines come with a little more weight, alcohol and tannic structure, but have enough fruit essence to appeal widely for barbecues and outdoor dining. The first two are Chilean: the 2013 Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre Carmenère from the Colchagua Valley, and the 2013 Undurraga Sibaris Gran Reserva Syrah from the Cachapoal Valley. The final two wines are from the old world, the 2012 D’Angelo Aglianico Del Vulture from southern Italy, and the 2013 Quinta Do Encontro Preto Branco Reserva Red from Bairrada in Portugal.
2014 TAWSE GAMAY NOIR, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Vintages #322545 • $19.20 • 750ml. • 89/100This is a very good example of Niagara Gamay. The nose fills with aromas of raspberries, blueberries and cherries, a top note of violets and rose petals, a light sprinkling of green herbs with a definite peppery note, and hints of toast and oak spice. Brisk acidity defines the palate, where the modest oak adds a subtle breadth and richness and a lightly resinous underpinning. Tannins are light and fine, and gather lightly on the finish. Quite lovely.
Tasted June 28, 2016 • TAWSE WINERY INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 GEORGES DUBOEUF DOMAINE MONT CHAVY MORGON AC
Vintages #276477 • $21.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100The wine is a darker but still translucent ruby-red. Aromas suggest ripe blackberry, cherry and black currant fruit, with notes of tobacco leaf and sandalwood. Firm acidity and lightly chalky tannins frame the fruit on the palate, that has a pleasantly lingering stony finish. My only concern is some bottle variation — on the first tasting the wine had a slightly cooked or stewed character, but the second tasting presented ripe fruit with some freshness, the way I assume this wine should taste.
Tasted June 25, 2016 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 MAISON CHANDESAIS LES GUILLOTTES HAUTES CÔTE DE BEAUNE AC
Vintages #445205 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a pleasant regional Burgundy, beginning with that authentic translucent ruby-red appearance that shows garnet on the rim. Fresh raspberry, cranberry and blackberry fruit aromas are complemented by cinnamon spice and a hint of dry earth. Crisp acidity and fine tannins are backed by modest alcohol, and nicely frame the fruit and earthy undertones that take on a stony edge on the crisp finish. A good value.
Tasted June 25, 2016 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2014 HUBERT BROCHARD LES CARISANNES PINOT NOIR, IGP Vins de Pays du Val de Loire
Vintages #450502 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a Pinot Noir from the broad IGP designation Vins de Pays du Val de Loire, although the vineyard of origin Les Carisannes is in the commune of Bannay, just north of Sancerre along the Loire river. The wine is medium ruby-garnet, featuring crisp raspberry, blackberry and cherry aromas, slightly spicy, with notes of dry leaves and dusty earth. The wine is light, very dry, crisp, with modest alcohol and fine, lightly textured tannins. This is a crisp, crunchy, dry and rather simple Pinot in the Loire style — and a very good value.
Tasted June 25, 2016 • NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 FÈLSINA BERARDENGA CHIANTI COLLI SENESI DOCG
Vintages #454520 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Colli Senesi is a subzone in the southern part of the Chianti region, situated in the hills around Siena — still a DOCG, but far less prestigious than its neighbours Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. But that can be all to the good, as in this case, when the winemaking isn't trying for super extraction colour and tannin, or burdening the wine with unnecessary oak. This wine is a medium ruby-red, just hinting at garnet on the rim. The nose presents bright cherry and plum fruit, with some earthy, leafy and black olive sub tones, and a hint of oak spice. Nicely structured, with crisp acidity, moderate alcohol, and fine tannins, the palate balances the fruit and savoury elements. This is an enjoyable, quaffable Chianti, that will provide lots of enjoyment over the next three years or so, but could be cellared a little longer.
Tasted July 5, 2016 • LIFFORD WINE & SPIRITS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 LAPOSTOLLE CUVÉE ALEXANDRE CARMENÈRE, Colchagua Valley
Vintages #169813 • $24.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100This Carmenère, supplemented with 15% Syrah, is deep, dense ruby-purple. A core of blueberry, blackberry and plum fruit aromas are surrounded by obvious woody-resin and coffee notes, with a nuance of dry herbs. Elevated alcohol and ripe tannins carry the bold fruit, coffee, wood and earthy tones on the palate. The wine is approachable, rich, ripe and vaguely sweet — I would prefer a little less oak, but it remains attractive nevertheless.
Tasted June 28, 2016 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 UNDURRAGA SIBARIS GRAN RESERVA SYRAH, Cachapoal Valley
Vintages #443556 • $16.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This Syrah (perhaps a little more Shiraz in my view) hails from the Cachapoal Valley, just north of the Colchagua Valley. It pours deep, dense ruby-purple, with aromas of blueberry, blackberry and plum fruit, hints of vanilla, spice and dry earth, all modified by a savoury and meaty undertone. Elevated alcohol and ripe tannins frame the juicy fruit on the palate, where a light menthol note adds some interest. This is a very approachable and attractively priced wine.
Tasted June 28, 2016 • DIONYSUS WINES & SPIRITS LTD. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2012 D'ANGELO AGLIANICO DEL VULTURE DOC
Vintages #971689 • $17.95 • 750ml. • 88.5/100You can expect both high acids and high tannins from Aglianico, and this wine is true to form: with very firm acids, and ripening but still very grippy and slightly gritty tannins. The wine is deep ruby-purple, and while there is cherry, blackberry, black currant and blueberry fruit, the wine is equally earthy and savoury, with spice and dried leaves. This is a big, bold and tannic wine, but alcohol is moderate and the body is just slightly more than medium, meaning that it is very food friendly. This will work well with barbecued red meat which will soften the tannins. An excellent price.
Tasted July 5, 2016 • LA CANTINA IMPORTS (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
2013 QUINTA DO ENCONTRO PRETO BRANCO RESERVA RED, DO Bairrada
Vintages #452755 • $18.95 • 750ml. • 88/100This is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Baga, with a small amount of the white grape Bical, from the region of Bairrada in Portugal. The wine is deep, dense ruby-purple. Fruit on the nose is ripe with some freshness, suggesting blueberry, blackberry and plums, with undertones of dry earth and licorice. Crisp acidity and ripe tannins balance slightly elevated alcohol. The ripe fruit on the palate takes on a slightly liqueured note, and adds some spice to the savoury element. This is an excellent barbeque wine — with a full body, some complexity, but still some freshness for balance. Good value.
Tasted June 28, 2016 • NOBLE ESTATES WINES & SPIRITS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation