available in Ontario after May 27, 2017
Here is a mix of both super-premium and affordable wines from California and Australia. The five American wines begin with the very good, and rather classic, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chateau Montelena. It is followed by three Pinot Noirs from Santa Barbara County: the 2013 Sanford Pinot Noir, the 2014 Hitching Post Hometown Pinot Noir, and the 2014 Nielson by Byron Pinot Noir. The fifth wine is a rather good and more affordable wine from the Central Coast, the 2014 Bell Town Cabernet Sauvignon.
Both the Australian recommendations are Cabernet Sauvignons: the 2013 Flying Fish Cove Wildberry Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Margaret River, and the 2015 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon from Clare Valley.
CHATEAU MONTELENA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Calistoga, Napa Valley
Vintages #718452 • $74.95 • 750ml. • 91/100Deep, dark purple in colour, the rim is starting to show some red. Coffee-tinged and spicy aromas lead into a core of dense blackberry and plum fruit, with cedary resin underneath. The wine is dry, with balanced acidity, elevated alcohol and fine, persistent tannins. The fruit on the palate is juicy and ripe, edging into the jammy spectrum, but it remains focused and tight, giving an impression of elegance rather than easy generosity. Relative to the field, a good value for a pretty classic and restrained Napa Cab.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • ROGERS & COMPANY (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
SANFORD PINOT NOIR 2013, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara County
Vintages #206680 • $44.95 • 750ml. • 90/100Medium-depth crimson in colour. The nose is slightly muted, showing bright raspberry and cherry aromas, with a note of dry earth and oak-derived spice and vanilla. It is dry, with crisp acidity, and fine, chalky tannins. The fruit jumps on the palate, adding blackberry notes to the red fruit, and some earthy depth to complement the rather elegant structure. A compelling California Pinot.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • MONDIA ALLIANCE CANADA INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
HITCHING POST HOMETOWN PINOT NOIR 2014, Santa Barbara County
Vintages #256644 • $29.95 • 750ml. • 89/100The wine is medium-depth bright red, showing garnet on the rim. The bright red cherry, raspberry and blackberry nose is slightly perfumed, with notes of spice and dried herbs, and a pleasant undertone of damp earth. It is dry, with firm acidity and fine, chalky tannins. On the palate, the fruit adds a sour cherry edge, and has a little more "pinot" depth than the nose suggests. Excellent value for a California Pinot.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • GLEN-WARD WINES INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
NIELSON BY BYRON PINOT NOIR 2014, Santa Barbara County
Vintages #438523 • $23.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Medium-depth red in colour, just hinting at garnet on the rim. There is a pretty orange blossom and orange zest edge to the core of red cherries and raspberries. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity, balanced alcohol and fine tannins. The fruit is pleasantly tangy on the palate, with a hint of menthol. Not much Pinot character here, but pleasant, lively and attractive. Very good value.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • B AND W WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
BELL TOWN CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014, Central Coast
Vintages #495226 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88/100The wine is deep ruby-red in colour. Aromas of vanilla and cedary resin underlie blackberry, black currant and plum fruit, with a dusting of dry herbs and spice. Dry, with elevated acidity, balanced alcohol and fine tannins, there is plenty of juicy fruit on the palate, making the wine approachable and easy to drink. Simple, direct, and a good value.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • TERRA FIRMA WINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
FLYING FISH COVE WILDBERRY RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2013, Margaret River, Western Australia
Vintages #493312 • $37.95 • 750ml. • 89/100Deep ruby-red, with a narrow crimson rim. Lively aromas of black currant, blackberry, black cherry and plum fruit dominate the nose, with a pleasant herbal note, sweet vanilla and cedary resin. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, some constrained warmth from the alcohol, and fine, building tannins. The fruit remains focused on the palate, and the finish cools and dries. Well-structured with good varietal character.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • EUROVINTAGE INTERNATIONAL INC (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation
WAKEFIELD CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2015, Clare Valley, South Australia
Vintages #744235 • $19.95 • 750ml. • 88/100Deep, dense ruby-purple in colour. Aromas suggest fresh and ripe blackberries, black currants and plums, with a leafy tone and a note of eucalyptus. The wine is dry, with firm acidity, elevated alcohol and fine persistent tannins. Juicy fruit on the palate is backed by vanilla and oak spice — a little too much heat for elegance, but all in all, a good value.
Tasted May 12, 2017 • VIN VINO WINE MERCHANTS INC. (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBO • Share Recommendation