Five rosés and eight reds from Australia, Canada and France

"... five of the best rosés available so far this year, five well-priced Australian reds, two Canadian Pinot Noirs, and a good Cru Beaujolais ..."

available in Ontario after June 10, 2017

In this review article, I present five of the best 2016 rosés that I’ve tasted this year to date. My highlight is the excellent 2016 Rosé De Léoube from Provence, which I’ve rated at 90 points, a very high score for a rosé in my books. Two other French rosés are from the Côtes de Provence and Luberon, the 2016 La Riviera Côtes de Provence Rosé, and the 2016 Château Val Joanis Tradition Rosé. The final two rosés are from Australia and Canada respectively, the 2016 Turkey Flat Rosé from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, and the 2016 Quails’ Gate Rosé from the Okanagan Valley.

Of the eight red wines, five are Australian, two are Canadian, and one is French. The first two Australian wines are Cabernet Sauvignons from Margaret River: the 2012 Stella Bella Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2014 Domaine Naturaliste Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon. Next is a GSM (a Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend), the 2015 Robert Oatley GSM Signature Series from McLaren Vale. The last two Australian reds are Shiraz, the 2014 Sidewood Shiraz from the Adelaide Hills, and the 2015 Franklin Tate Estates Shiraz from Margaret River.

Two Canadian Pinot Noirs are highlighted, the 2013 Domaine Queylus Tradition Pinot Noir from Niagara, and the 2015 Meyer Pinot Noir from the Okanagan Valley. The final wine is a vibrant Gamay Noir from Beaujolais, the 2013 Stéphane Aviron Vieilles Vignes Moulin-À-Vent.


ROSÉ DE LÉOUBE 2016, AC Provence

Vintages #491100 • $25.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 90/100
The wine is a blend of Grenache and Cinsault, with small amounts of Syrah and Mourvèdre. It is a lighter salmon colour, with pleasant aromas of cherries, raspberries, strawberries and perfumed red apples, graced by floral notes of roses and lavender. The wine is bone-dry, with firm acidity and a medium body. The palate is direct and linear, and the fruit component picks up a subtext of wild rosemary and thyme, and then finishes with a subtle apple skin bitterness. Very good, with the complexity and depth to justify the slightly premium price.
Tasted June 6, 2017 • THE LIVING VINE INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #494120 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
This blend of Grenache and Cinsault is a paler salmon colour. Rather subtle aromas of strawberries, raspberries and red apples are complemented by notes of rosemary, thyme and lavender. The wine is dry, with lively acidity, balanced alcohol and the merest hint of tannic burr. The fruit is pleasant and direct, and focuses on the salty-mineral finish. A classy, food-friendly rosé.
Tasted June 6, 2017 • NEWGENWINES (Agent) • Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #707281 • $15.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
The wine is a paler salmon colour. The nose shows pretty cherry, raspberry and strawberry fruit, but there is also an herbal, savoury and stony essence that I really like. The wine is dry, with crisp acidity and a medium body. The savoury element reaffirms under the fruit on the palate, and the finish lingers with berry fruit supported by a light tannic and salty edge. An excellent value for a classy rosé.
Tasted June 6, 2017 • ALLEGRO WINE IMPORTS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


TURKEY FLAT ROSÉ 2016, Barossa Valley, South Australia

Vintages #68916 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100
This is a Grenache-based rosé, with a residual of 5% split between Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Mataro (Mourvèdre). The wine is light salmon with pink highlights. The nose suggests apple blossoms, strawberries, and raspberries, with a lemon-tangerine zest, and hints of dried herbs. The wine is dry, with bright acidity that keeps the palate crisp and quite fresh, and yet there is a balancing weight and substance. The finish is firm and fruit-filled, with a whisper of tannin.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • TRIALTO WINE GROUP LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


QUAILS' GATE ROSÉ 2016, BC VQA Okanagan Valley

Vintages #275842 • $18.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88/100
The wine is medium-depth salmon-pink in colour. Bright strawberry, raspberry, watermelon and red-apple aromas are enhanced with light notes of spice and green herbs. It is rather dry, with crisp acidity and a pleasant apple skin bitterness that keeps the palate firm. The finish is drying, with pleasant lingering fruit. This is 70% Gamay, with 20% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Gris.
Tasted June 6, 2017 • HOBBS & COMPANY (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


STELLA BELLA CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2012, Margaret River, Western Australia

Vintages #487777 • $29.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
The wine is deep ruby-red, showing crimson on the rim. A minty, chocolate attack is followed by aromas of raspberry, blueberry and black currant fruit, with a hint of violets. Dry, with firm acidity, slightly elevated alcohol and fine tannins, the wine is well-balanced with just a little warmth on the mid-palate. Add undertones of forest floor and a light menthol lift to the pleasant, fully ripe fruit and oak-spice elements, and you have a focused and relatively supple wine. This Cabernet Sauvignon has 3% Merlot.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • H.H.D. IMPORTS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #489906 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
Deep ruby-red in colour. Mint, cedar and a light floral note introduce aromas of plums, raspberries, black cherries and black currants. The wine is dry, with balanced acidity, slightly elevated alcohol, and chalky, mouth-coating tannins. Notes of chocolate and vanilla become more apparent under the fruit and herbal elements on the palate. Certainly there is some warmth, but there is better balance than in many wines of this style.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • AUTHENTIC WINE & SPIRITS MERCHANTS (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


ROBERT OATLEY GSM SIGNATURE SERIES 2015, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Vintages #489658 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
Deep ruby in colour, the nose presents aromas of blueberry, blackberry and black cherry fruit, with notes of dry earth, baking spice and a light menthol lift. While the fruit is fully ripe, there is a pleasant lingering fragrance and freshness. The wine is dry, with firm acidity and fine tannins. Heat builds on the mid-palate, the fruit and menthol notes repeat, and a cedary undertone carries into the tannic finish. 48% Grenache, 47% Syrah and 5% Mourvèdre.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • EPIC WINES AND SPIRITS INC. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


SIDEWOOD SHIRAZ 2014, Adelaide Hills, South Australia

Vintages #446146 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
The wine is deep ruby-purple in colour. Pleasant fruit aromas — ripe to slightly jammy, but with a lift of freshness — suggest blackberries, plums and black currants, with bright mint and an undertone of chocolate. Dry, with balanced acidity and elevated alcohol, the tannins are fine and are still rather chewy. The fruit on the palate is full of life despite its very ripe nature, possibly due to the partial whole-berry fermentation. The finish lingers with tannins and fruit. Aged 16 months in French oak.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • VINOLUNA (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


FRANKLIN TATE ESTATES SHIRAZ 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia

Vintages #489948 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
The wine is deep ruby-purple. Aromas suggest ripe to over-ripe cherry, blackberry and plum fruit, with notes of violets and dry herbs. It is dry, with firm acidity, slightly elevated alcohol, a medium-full body, and ripe, slightly chewy tannins. The red and black berry fruit is ripe and plummy on the palate, heat is evident but constrained, with a menthol lift and a subtle cedary undertone. Overall there is lots of life here: the fruit retains an element of freshness, and the wine is in good balance. A pleasant barbeque wine.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • WINE GURU SELECTION INC (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #392738 • $29.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 89/100
The wine is medium-depth red, showing some garnet on the rim. Hints of toast and vanilla are followed by aromas of ripe cranberry, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry fruit, with a nuanced earthy underpinning. Crisp acidity and fine, almost silky tannins define the palate, that carries the lovely fruit with some fine, Pinot depth. This is showing very nicely now, though I'm sure it will cellar for at least another three to five years.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • PHILIPPE DANDURAND WINES LTD. (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


MEYER PINOT NOIR 2015, BC VQA Okanagan Valley

Vintages #392449 • $24.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
The wine is a medium to deep ruby-red, showing clear red on the rim. Aromas of ripe strawberry, raspberry and red cherry fruit are backed by a mushroom and dried earth undertone, giving the wine good Pinot character. Bright acidity balances firm alcohol and fine tannins that have some chalky texture. The palate is rich and ripe, though with enough acidity to carry that ripeness with some ease. A light cedary tone underscores the finish. This is a well-made Pinot in a riper Okanagan style.
Tasted June 6, 2017 • MEYER FAMILY VINEYARDS INC (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review



Vintages #368134 • $19.95 • 750ml. • WD Score 88.5/100
This Gamay is medium-depth red, and still shows red on the rim. Aromas of cherries, raspberries and blackberries remain quite fresh, with a lightly candied note too, while light floral and peppery tones are complemented by leafy, earthy undertones. The wine is very dry, with crisp acidity, moderate alcohol, a just-medium body, and fine tannins. While the wine isn't austere, it lacks the generosity that some people require from cru Beaujolais, but I really like the firm, lean and linear structure. Very good, and a good value.
Tasted May 26, 2017 • NICHOLAS PEARCE WINES INC (Agent)Find it at your nearest LCBOShare Review


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